Zuma to Lead South African Democracy Hurt by His Rise
20 Apr 09 | Bloomberg
The African National Congress, which led the fight to end apartheid, may be the biggest threat to South Africa’s democratic institutions even as it prepares for victory in April 22 elections.
The power struggle that ANC presidential candidate Jacob Zuma won against former president Thabo Mbeki has damaged the National Prosecuting Authority and the National Intelligence Agency, said David Unterhalter, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand Law School. It also led the parliament to disband South Africa’s premier investigative unit.
At stake are the independent institutions and the separation of powers enshrined in South Africa’s constitution, which emerged from the negotiated compromise that ended white minority rule in 1994. The statute, agreed to by all the major political parties, was aimed at safeguarding democracy and ensuring that the country’s leaders didn’t abuse their power.
“Institutions have become subject to influence and political factionalism,” Unterhalter said. The ANC unfettered “would come to play a greater and greater role and it would simply be a case of who is in control of the party.”
Zuma, 67, a former ANC intelligence chief who spent a decade in jail for seeking to overthrow the apartheid state, is the favorite to become president: Opinion polls show the ANC will win between 60 percent and 66 percent of the vote, and the president is elected by parliament. >>>
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