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South Africa - Political Parties
SACP leaders, considerably weakened by the murder of Chris Hani in 1993, debated the possibility that the party no longer represented a political asset to the ANC, as they prepared for the April 1994 elections. They realized that the SACP could do little to help the ANC broaden its popular support beyond its liberation allies, and public opinion polls gave the SACP, alone, strong support among only about 5 percent of voters. By including a large number of SACP members among the electoral delegates representing the ANC in the April 1994 elections, however, the SACP was able to gain significantly more representation in the national and provincial legislatures and more key posts in the government than it would have, had it run independently.
Inkatha Freedom Party
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP, also Inkatha) is a Zulu-based political party, based in its ethnic stronghold, KwaZulu-Natal. It is the ANC's main rival in the black community. Between 1970 and 1990, Inkatha portrayed itself as a moderate and democratic organization, contrasting its views with extremist positions within the ANC. But in the early 1990s, the IFP became increasingly intransigent in its efforts to preserve its traditional power base in KwaZulu, while the rest of the country was moving closer to nonracial democracy under the now moderate NP and ANC leadership.
The SACP and the ANC in the 1950s held similar views about policy and tactics as embodied in the ANC's Freedom Charter; in addition, they both advocated the use of guerrilla warfare against the apartheid regime in order to bring about the dual-phase revolution of political liberation followed by economic transformation. Party members reportedly persuaded the ANC to abandon African nationalism in favor of nonracialism, however, although the SACP, unlike the ANC, viewed the primary objective of the revolution as the creation of a socialist state. After many leaders of both organizations were arrested in 1963, both the SACP and the ANC shifted their political and military bases of operations to neighboring African states.
At the outset of World War II, the CPSA opposed efforts to counter the Nazi threat, primarily because of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, which led to Soviet neutrality. Party members campaigned against military recruitment of blacks (and Indians) in South Africa, arguing that the "natives" should not be sacrificed to perpetuate their own exploitation. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the CPSA echoed Moscow's shift to support the anti-Nazi campaign, and the South African government responded by releasing some CPSA activists from detention and permitting political activities in support of the war effort.
Although the ANC became the country's dominant political party in 1994, it still faced a number of long-term problems. The issue of political succession had yet to be resolved. President Mandela and other senior party leaders were members of the older generation, whose active leadership years were drawing to a close. Mandela had pledged he would not seek reelection in 1999. His most likely successors--Thabo Mbeki, the former ANC secretary for international affairs, and Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC secretary general since 1991--had not demonstrated the decades of practiced leadership of their seniors.
The present-day NP emerged out of Afrikaner organizations of the early 1900s. Founded by General J.B.M. Hertzog in January 1914 as an expression of Afrikaner ideology and ethnic nationalism, the NP sought to strengthen racial separation and to oppose British rule in South Africa. The NP, in alliance with the Labour Party--a white organization led by Colonel F.H.P. Creswell--defeated General Jan C. Smuts's ruling South African Party (SAP) in parliamentary elections in 1924. In 1933 the NP formed an alliance with the SAP, and the alliance was formalized in 1934 as the United South Africa National Party, or the United Party (UP). The merger prompted staunch segregationists from Cape Town to establish the Purified National Party under the leadership of Daniel F. (D.F.) Malan, to counteract the UP's relatively moderate positions on race. The UP ruled until it was unexpectedly defeated by Malan's party (then known as the Reunited National Party, owing to a reconciliation with a conservative faction of the UP) in parliamentary elections in May 1948. After the 1948 elections, the victorious alliance--again under the banner of the NP--ruled without interruption until April 1994.
SACP chairman Joe Slovo was the most prominent party member in government in 1994. Slovo was a trained lawyer and advocate, a member of the Johannesburg Bar, and one of the original members of MK, the ANC military wing. He served on the ANC's revolutionary council from 1969 until it was disbanded in 1983, became the first white member of the ANC's NEC in 1985, and served as MK chief of staff until April 1987. He was appointed SACP general secretary in 1986, following the death of Moses Madhiba, and continued in that post until 1991, when he became party chairman. Slovo was appointed minister of housing in the Government of National Unity in May 1994 and served in that post until his death in January 1995.
Despite efforts at Africanization, the CPSA failed to establish strong ties with black political organizations, many of which were dominated by traditional tribal leaders. In 1928, for example, the ANC denounced the "fraternization" between the ANC and the CPSA. ANC President James T. Gumede was removed from office in 1930, after trying to educate ANC members about Marxism. Even as the CPSA gradually succeeded in recruiting more black members, its leadership continued to be white. For this reason, two ANC Youth League leaders in the 1940s--Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu--opposed any alliance between the ANC and the CPSA at that time.
After the PAC was banned in 1960, the organization went underground, with headquarters located in Maseru, Lesotho. It was led by an executive committee, the members of which had either evaded arrest or been released from prison. The PAC's senior leaders included its charismatic founder, Robert Sobukwe; acting president Potlako Leballo, who resigned under pressure in 1979; Vusumazi Make, who succeeded Leballo; John Pokela, who became leader in 1981; Johnson Mlambo, who succeeded Pokela as chairman in 1985; and Clarence Makwetu, who became president in 1990.
In the 1994 elections, the DP's performance was considered disastrous, as it won only 1.7 percent of the vote and gained only seven seats in the National Assembly. The voting results revealed that it had failed to broaden its urban, middle-class, and English-speaking white base. It had won only about 3 percent of the coloured vote in the Western Cape, a comparable percentage of the Indian vote in KwaZulu-Natal, and no significant black support.
The Freedom Front (FF) is a right-wing Afrikaner political party established in March 1994, following a split among extremist organizations, to ensure a proapartheid presence in the April elections. It is a successor to the Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF), which was founded by General Constand Viljoen, who had also served as chief of the South African Defence Force (SADF) until November 1985. Viljoen emerged from retirement in 1991 to lead a group of right-wing former generals in forming an alliance of Afrikaner parties. As the AVF, the alliance included the White Protection Movement (Blanke Bevrydingsbeweging--BBB), the Boerestaat Party (Boer State Party, the military wing of which was known as the the Boer Resistance Movement, or the Boere Weerstandsbeweging--BWB), the Conservative Party of South Africa (CP), the Reconstituted National Party (Herstigte Nasionale Party--HNP), the Oranjewerkers (Orange Workers), and the Republic Unity Movement. The AVF's objective was to unify the extreme right and to advocate the formation of a volkstaat , an autonomous Afrikaner nation-state, in a postapartheid South Africa. However, even some AVF leaders were troubled by the violent racism and political extremism of some members of the front. Their refusal to participate in the nation's first nonracial elections weakened the movement, and in March 1994 General Viljoen and his allies broke away to form the FF.
In the 1994 elections, the FF received only 2.2 percent of the vote, gaining nine National Assembly seats. The party performed best in Gauteng, where some 40 percent of its votes were cast. Its participation in the elections helped to legitimize the electoral process and thus to neutralize the violent threat that the extremist right-wing extraparliamentary forces could have posed to the new political system. In doing so, it bolstered the standing of Viljoen and others who sought to preserve Afrikaner cultural autonomy through nonviolent means.
In the mid-1950s, the ANC formed the Congress Alliance with other antiapartheid organizations to oppose the white state. On June 26, 1955, alliance members adopted the Freedom Charter, which advocated the creation of a nonsocialist multiracial society, but the debate over the charter widened an ideological rift in the ANC between Charterists and Africanists, concerning the question of multiracialism. A few activists opposed the ANC's inclusive policies and established the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) in 1959 to press for black political control.
Other Political Parties
The Democratic Party (DP) was established in April 1989 as a liberal, centrist party. It was formed as an amalgamation of four liberal political groupings, the most important of which was the recently disbanded Progressive Federal Party (PFP), led by Zach de Beer. The coalition also included the Independent Party (IP), led by Dennis Worrall; the National Democratic Movement (NDM), led by Wynand Malan; and a group of reform-minded Afrikaners dubbed the "fourth force." The DP then became the primary left-of-center parliamentary opposition to the NP. It won 20 percent of white support in the 1989 general election, giving it thirty-three parliamentary seats.
Although the party did not publish membership figures, much was known about its organization--a federal structure divided into four provincial parties, linked through a Federal Council. At the lowest level were the party's local branches, consisting of 500 or fewer members. Local branches in rural areas reported to a District Council, which comprised a leader, a deputy leader, a secretary, and elected representatives from each local branch in the district. In addition, local branches elected Constituency Divisional Councils. Above each divisional council were a Head Council, a Provincial Congress that met annually, and a provincial leader. At the apex of the NP was the thirty-seven-member Federal Council that met at least once a year. The national leader of the NP, who until 1994 was also the state president, was elected by the party's parliamentary delegates in caucus.
The NP then spearheaded the reform process that paved the way for the postapartheid political system (see Constitutional Change, this ch.). The NP also sought to project a new party image. In 1990 it launched a nationwide recruitment drive for new members of all races, appointed a new management council and new regional secretaries to oversee its reforms, and established new training programs for party leaders, to emphasize racial tolerance. These changes broadened the party's parliamentary support. In May 1991, five MPs deserted the Labour Party, which since 1965 had represented the interests of the coloured community, to join the NP delegation. Their view that the new NP best represented the interests of their community was rejected by most of the Labour Party, but the NP continued to seek the support of the roughly 1.6 million voters in the coloured community.
The ANC's major political partner throughout most of the apartheid era was the SACP. SACP leaders helped the ANC to secure the support of communist and socialist governments during its period of exile, played important roles in ANC policy formulation, and helped to consolidate support for the ANC in the labor movement. The SACP at times played a moderating role in the ANC, too; for example, in early 1993 SACP chair Joe Slovo drafted the ANC's proposals, couched in a "sunset clause," to compromise and to share power with the NP. Slovo's position was that compromise was necessary because the party was "not dealing with a defeated enemy," but with the NP as a minority party.
The NP's dominance over political and security organizations gave it a vast patronage pool for its mostly Afrikaner constituency. Numerous cultural, social, economic, and religious organizations also furthered Afrikaner interests, including the Afrikaner Broederbond (later Broederbond, or Brotherhood), Nasionale Pers (National Press), South African National Life Assurance Company (Sanlam), the Voortrekkers (a scouting organization), the Federation of Afrikaner Cultural Organisations (Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge--FAK), Helpmekaar (an Afrikaner social service organization, roughly translated "mutual aid"), and Volkskas (People's Bank).
The ANC's leadership structure consists of the president, deputy president, secretary general, deputy secretary general, and treasurer general. A ninety-member National Executive Committee (NEC) consults with senior officers and influences decisions on important issues. A twenty-six-member National Working Committee (NWC), chosen from the NEC, oversees day-to-day decision making and administration and manages the party's functional departments. The seven appointed members of the President's Committee serve as presidential advisers and assistants.
The IFP in the 1990s is a tightly knit and authoritarian organization, dominated by Buthelezi. Its political structure consists of local branches organized into regions and provinces. The IFP's four provincial councils are led by the IFP National Council. Provincial delegates elect representatives to the annual general conference, where delegates to the National Council are elected each year. The IFP's power base is rooted in three sources--the former KwaZulu homeland bureaucracy, which the party controlled by virtue of its dominance over the local legislature and provincial government; the Zulu traditional leaders--i.e., chiefs and headmen; and the Zulu population, including the inhabitants of large squatter settlements near several cities, especially Johannesburg and Durban.
Mrs. Mandela went on to organize an independent power base in the restive and impoverished squatter camps, where she was respected for her activism on behalf of the poor. In some communities, Mrs. Mandela was able to capitalize on the widespread distrust of government that extended even to black leaders like Nelson Mandela. During the preelection negotiations, she had criticized power-sharing proposals as a deal between "the elite of the oppressed and the oppressors" and had charged ANC leaders with "the distortion of a noble goal in favor of a short-cut route to parliament by a handful of individuals." But while she chided ANC leaders for their new-found "embourgeoisement," Mrs. Mandela continued to live in relative luxury in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. Even after she fell out of favor with the government led by her husband in 1994, she remained popular, especially among the poor and unemployed. Her defiance of the government led to her removal from office in March 1995.
The SACP was originally founded as the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) in July 1921 in Cape Town. The CPSA was formed out of the merger of several leftist organizations, including the International Socialist League (ISL), the Social Democratic Federation, the Durban Marxist Club, the Cape Communist Party, and the Jewish Socialist Society. The CPSA affiliated with the Communist International (Comintern), headquartered in Moscow, which provided it with political direction, although some party factions opposed Moscow's intervention in South African affairs.
From 1960 to 1990, the PAC's activities ranged from mass action campaigns, such as a campaign in 1960 to overcome what it termed "black psychological subservience to whites," to protests against the hated pass laws that required black South Africans to carry identity documents. One such demonstration in March 1960 led to at least sixty-seven deaths at police hands and more than 11,000 arrests in subsequent disturbances. The PAC's military wing, the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA)--then known by the name "Poqo" (loosely translated "blacks only")--also engaged in an underground armed struggle against white-dominated political and cultural institutions (see Consolidating Apartheid in the 1960s, ch. 1).
The close ties between the SACP and the ANC, particularly the predominance of SACP members in the ANC, have always been controversial, and in 1959 prompted a split by black nationalists from the ANC to form the militant Africanist, anticommunist PAC. The SACP-ANC relationship evolved into a symbiosis, derived in part from their dual memberships and overlapping leadership ranks. Throughout the 1980s, for example, the SACP was well represented on the ANC's NEC and in other key ANC positions, and in ANC-affiliated labor organizations, such as COSATU.
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As advocates of the black liberation struggle, the PAC's founders criticized the ANC for diluting black nationalism by accepting white members (and Asians and coloureds). The PAC also opposed the ANC's alliance with the SACP because most PAC leaders rejected Marxist economic dogma (although the PAC had advocated some Maoist tenets in the late 1960s). Instead, the PAC advocated an indigenous form of African "communalism." It rejected the ANC's Freedom Charter because the charter sought to guarantee minority rights in a future postapartheid state, and issued instead the Azanian Manifesto in 1959. The manifesto promoted armed struggle by black South Africans as the only means of seizing power, overthrowing capitalism, and restoring their birthright of African landownership. Finally, unlike the ANC, which engaged in extensive political organizing through formal party structures, the PAC believed in the inevitability of national liberation through the spontaneous revolt of the masses.
South African Communist Party
In 1994 the South African Communist Party (SACP) was not an independent political entity, but a strong faction within the ANC, where its members held important leadership positions. Former party leaders, Joe Slovo and Chris Hani, for example, had both served as chief of staff of the ANC's military wing and on its most important committees. The SACP won strong representation in the National Assembly in 1994, not by participating openly in the April 1994 elections, but by having SACP members well represented among delegates from the ANC.
South Africa's political party system underwent radical transformation in the early 1990s when previously illegal parties were unbanned and participated in the April 1994 elections. In what international observers called a "developing multiparty system," parties were challenged to become all-inclusive and not to limit their appeal to their traditional constituent groups. They also had to reorient themselves to participate in the bicameral multiracial legislature rather than the previous tricameral apartheid-based parliament. The most successful of the parties in the April 1994 elections (and the South African Communist Party) are described below, in order of decreasing parliamentary strength.
Following the PAC's unbanning in 1990, it reorganized as a legal political party, although its military wing continued to operate underground until 1994. Its internal organization consisted of a thirty-five-member National Executive Committee led by President Makwetu, first deputy president Johnson Mlambo, second deputy president Dikgang Moseneki, and general secretary Benny Alexander.
Although the ANC primarily represents the interests of the majority black population, its membership is open to whites, coloureds, and Asians, as well. It had appealed to all races to join in 1969, and a substantial number of white liberals did join during the 1970s and the 1980s. In April 1991, five white members of parliament representing the Democratic Party left that party to join the ANC, giving the ANC official parliamentary representation for the first time in the all-white House of Assembly.
Under P.W. Botha's leadership in the 1980s, the NP began to change directions, first to reform, and then to dismantle, apartheid. Although these reform initiatives led to a number of splits within the NP, the reformist wing (referred to in party parlance as verligte , or "enlightened") was sufficiently strong, its parliamentary delegation sufficiently disciplined, and its national leadership sufficiently cohesive to enable the party to remain in power as its members vigorously debated the question of reform. The NP quickly recovered after its conservative faction, led by Transvaal NP leader Andries Treurnicht, abandoned the party in February 1982 in protest against the proposed "power-sharing" constitution that established the tricameral parliament. Treurnicht launched the Conservative Party (CP), which gained immediate parliamentary representation through the conversion of seventeen NP members of parliament. The NP nonetheless retained its majority in the next elections in 1987.
Much of the support for the FF comes from farmers' organizations in the former Transvaal and the Free State. Among the FF's leaders are several former Conservative Party members of parliament, former high-ranking military officers, and a former chairman of the Broederbond.
In preparation for the April 1994 elections, the DP's economic program gave top priority to creating jobs in a "free market economy with a social conscience," while rejecting the "nationalization of privately owned businesses and the expropriation of property for political purposes." The DP also opposed "economic populism," socialism, and the "politicization of education, housing, and social services." Its political program criticized the interim constitution for failing to eliminate laws that allowed detention without trial, and for failing to ensure the political independence of the media. The DP also opposed the antidefection clauses in the interim constitution, which made it difficult for members of parliament to break ranks and vote against the dictates of their party leaders. The DP called, instead, for a constitution based on individual rights, property rights, press freedom, women's rights, proportional representation within constituencies, federalism, devolution of federal powers to the provinces, and the direct election of senators by the provincial electorates.
Although whites dominated the party in the 1920s, some CPSA leaders attempted to strengthen its reputation as an indigenous communist organization by increasing its African membership and orientation. David Ivon Jones and Sidney Percival Bunting, formerly of the ISL, translated the concept of social revolution into a struggle for a "black republic" and a "democratic native republic, with equal rights for all races." The major stumbling block they encountered was the belief, inherent in Marxist dogma, that all workers fundamentally share the same interests. In South Africa, white workers generally felt they had little in common with their black counterparts and feared that any improvements for black workers would reduce their own status and income.
When the SACP was unbanned in February 1990, its strength was difficult to estimate because many party members had been underground for years. In July 1990, a party spokesman publicized the names of twenty-two SACP members who were prominent in national politics but said that the names of others would remain secret. In 1991 SACP leaders estimated that the party had 10,000 dues-paying members, but refused to publish the party's membership rolls.
The ANC's annual national conference brings together more than 1,300 representatives, whose functions are to elect the NEC and to nominate delegates to the party's National Assembly, which meets every five years. At a working level, the party has nine national departments--Information and Research, Manpower and Development, Foreign Affairs, Youth, Political Education, Information and Publicity, Finance, Religious Affairs, and Women--as well as branches in each of the provinces.
By the mid-1940s, CPSA membership was increasing, and the party had gained influence after a few CPSA members (all white) won political office. After the 1948 NP election victory, however, the government quickly restricted black political activity and in 1950 banned the CPSA. The party went underground temporarily but also strengthened its ties to local nationalist organizations, such as the ANC. During the years it was banned, while the ANC continued to operate legally, the CPSA viewed the ANC as the primary expression of black aspirations for a multiracial socialist state under eventual communist leadership. The Comintern's Sixth Congress declared that "the CPSA could now play an active role in the ANC." The party re-emerged in 1953 under the leadership of Joe Slovo and his wife, Ruth First, and changed its name to the SACP.
Several other political parties participated in the 1994 elections, although, with the exception of the African Christian Democratic Party (which gained two seats in the National Assembly and seats in three of the nine provincial legislatures), none received more than 1 percent of the vote. These parties included the Sports Organisation for Collective Contributions and Equal Rights (SOCCER), the Keep It Straight and Simple Party (KISS), the Women's Rights Peace Party (WRPP), the Worker's List Party (WLP), the Ximoko Progressive Party (XPP), the Africa Muslim Party (AMP), the African Democratic Movement (ADM), the African Moderates Congress Party (AMCP), the Dikwankwetla Party of South Africa (DPSA), the Federal Party (FP), the Luso-South Africa Party (LUSAP), and the Minority Front (MF).
The NP failed to gain many black votes in the April 1994 elections but nonetheless won the second-largest vote--20.4 percent of the total, gaining eighty-two seats in the National Assembly. The NP won a majority in the Western Cape, garnered the second-largest vote in seven provinces, and ranked third in KwaZulu-Natal. Despite its second-place performance in the elections, the NP--by virtue of its long-term political dominance--still exerts strong influence in the state bureaucracy and the country's security forces.
In the early 1990s, the ANC took a number of steps to broaden its political base. It reactivated the ANC Youth League in order to bridge the generational gap between its older leaders and young members. In addition, propelled by the many politically active women in the organization, the ANC reactivated its Women's League in order to promote women's rights nationwide. The ANC Youth League and the ANC Women's League work in cooperation with the corresponding departments within the ANC.
The IFP's commitment to Zulu autonomy remained strong after the elections. In May 1994, at a caucus of the KwaZulu legislative assembly, Inkatha formed a new society called Iso Lesizwe, or Eye of the Nation, with Chief Buthelezi as its president. The new organization dedicated itself to pursuing Zulu autonomy "within the parameters of democratic and pluralistic forms of government and along with all the other peoples living in the ancestral territory of the Zulu nation." Debate over this issue intensified in 1995 and 1996.
Inkatha was originally established in 1922 as a cultural movement to promote the Zulu heritage. It was rejuvenated in 1928 by the Zulu king, Solomon ka Dinuzulu, as Inkatha ya kwa Zulu (Organization of the Zulu). During this phase, controversy arose over the party's activities. For example, critics claimed that funds collected from Natal's impoverished black population were misused to pay for King Solomon's lavish life-style. Others suggested that the organization's 1928 constitution, written by a white lawyer from Durban at the urging of white businessmen in Natal, was intended to ensure that the party would express the interests of the traditional tribal elites, the conservative black petite bourgeoisie, and a few white power brokers. After a period of relative inactivity, and following an unsuccessful attempt to revive it in 1959, Inkatha ya kwa Zulu was reestablished as a political organization in March 1975 by KwaZulu's chief minister, Mangosuthu (Gatsha) Buthelezi. Buthelezi renamed the organization Inkatha Yenkululeko Yesizwe (National Cultural Liberation Movement). In August 1990, following the unbanning of antiapartheid organizations, Inkatha proclaimed itself a political party, the IFP, with membership open to all races.
CPSA members were divided over the increasing Comintern intervention in local affairs. Moscow urged the CPSA and all communist parties to continue to be small, revolutionary elite organizations, and to rid the party of alleged "rightist" elements. In 1931 a new Stalinist faction, led by Douglas Wolton, Molly Wolton, and Lazar Bach, assumed leadership roles in the CPSA and proceeded to purge the party of many white leaders. In the internal upheaval that followed, the party lost black support, too, and weakened its ties to labor. As its leadership ranks were "Stalinized" and leading party activists fled the country, CPSA membership dropped from an estimated 1,750 members in 1928 to about 150 in 1933. Racial divisions continued to exist between the predominantly white leadership and the largely black membership ranks.
The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) was established in April 1959 by ANC dissidents who opposed that group's multiracial orientation and advocated black liberation within an exclusively black nationalist context. The party was founded in the black townships of Orlando and Soweto, outside Johannesburg, where it has received most of its support. The government declared the PAC an "unlawful" organization in 1960, because it advocated violent rebellion against the government. Like the ANC, the PAC was recognized by the United Nations (UN) and by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as an official South African liberation movement. It was unbanned on February 2, 1990.
The IFP ultimately participated in the elections, after the ANC and the NP agreed to consider international mediation on the issue of provincial autonomy and agreed to reinforce the status of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and the Zulu homeland. The party's late entry cost it popular support at the polls, however. The IFP managed to win barely one-half of the vote in Natal and only 10.5 percent of the nationwide vote, with most of its support in KwaZulu and the area around Johannesburg.
Although Inkatha and the ANC had close ties in the early 1970s, their relationship deteriorated after that. Inkatha became especially threatened by ANC organizing efforts among educated and urban Zulus. The ANC criticized Buthelezi for becoming the leader of the KwaZulu homeland, and thereby accepting the government's demographic manipulation for apartheid purposes. The ANC pressed for a more militant antiapartheid campaign and waged a propaganda war against Buthelezi, demonizing him as a "stooge" of apartheid. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this rivalry degenerated into violent conflict, spilling over into townships and rural areas, and claiming the lives of thousands of black South Africans.
From its primarily Zulu political base, Inkatha has played an important role in national politics. In 1977 it was the largest legal black movement in the country, having an estimated 120,000 members; by the late 1980s, its leaders estimated their membership at 1.5 million (considered highly inflated by the inclusion of the party's 600,000-member Youth Brigade and 500,000-member Women's Brigade). It has never managed to recruit many members outside the Zulu community, however.
The DP advocated the abolition of apartheid and the creation of a nonracial social democratic state through the protection of human rights, a government based on proportional party representation and universal suffrage, an independent judiciary, collective bargaining in industrial relations, and economic growth through individual entrepreneurship. Ironically, the NP adopted some of the DP's notions about reforming the apartheid state in 1989 and 1990, thus depriving the DP of some of its political base. A few DP leaders advocated an alliance with the ANC; others favored joining the NP; and the embattled center--led by the party's leader de Beer--sought to develop a distinctive, liberal, centrist image that would serve to mediate between the ANC and the NP. At the same time, the DP sought, without much success, to expand its support among all racial groups.
Over the years, the ANC built up a strong support network in many Western and Eastern-bloc states, in cooperation with overseas antiapartheid groups. Although certain Western states, particularly Scandinavian countries, provided financial support, the ANC's logistical support, including the supply of weapons, came from the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The ANC also attained observer status at the UN and during the 1980s broadened its diplomatic ties with Western states.
Although the PAC played little role in the multiparty negotiations during 1993 and early 1994, it formally suspended its armed struggle in early 1994 and agreed to participate in the April elections. It gained only 1.2 percent of the national vote, receiving five seats in the National Assembly, and it won one seat in each of three provincial legislatures--in Gauteng (then Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging--PWV), KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape.
The government declared the ANC an illegal organization on April 8, 1960, as part of a government crackdown and state of emergency following violent antiapartheid incidents at Sharpeville and Langa. The ANC went underground, many of its cadres left South Africa for exile in neighboring states, and its leaders adopted armed struggle as a means of achieving their goals. In 1961 ANC and SACP leaders created a joint military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe ("Spear of the Nation," also known as Umkhonto, MK). The principle of armed struggle through guerrilla warfare to overthrow the South African regime superseded the goal of gaining political rights for all citizens. ANC sabotage and attacks between 1960 and 1962 led to the arrest of many party leaders. At the 1963 trial that became renowned as "the Rivonia trial," Mandela, Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, and others were convicted of treason and were sentenced to life terms in prison. Most ANC leaders fled the country, established ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, and continued their struggle against the Pretoria regime.
In 1994 the ANC proposed a number of controversial cabinet appointments, adding to the difficulties inherent in transforming itself from a former liberation movement into a broad-based political party. A notable case was that of Winnie Mandela, who had earlier been regarded as South Africa's "first lady of liberation." She had staged a political comeback after being stripped of her official posts in the ANC and after being shunned by many black leaders because of her 1991 conviction for her part in a kidnapping that had resulted in a death. Her five-year jail sentence was set aside for a fine, but she was subsequently removed from the ANC's NEC and as head of its Welfare Department.
The PAC has eight working committees and a five-member National Coordinating Committee. Its members are organized into 105 local branches nationwide. Affiliated organizations include the Azanian National Youth Unity (Azanyu), a youth wing; the All African Student Committee (Aasac); the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu); the African Organisation for Women (AOW); the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM); the Sobukwe Forum, a London-based faction; and the Pan-Africanist Students' Organisation (PASO), which has branches at several South African universities.
The most dramatic changes in the NP began in 1989, when President Botha relinquished his party leadership following a stroke and was replaced by then Minister of Education F.W. de Klerk. De Klerk committed himself to establishing a new postapartheid South Africa, over the objections of Botha, who had retained his position as president. The NP's Federal Council in June 1989 went on to pass a five-year plan to reform apartheid. As de Klerk and Foreign Minister Roelof ("Pik") Botha prepared to discuss their planned political reforms with Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda later that year, President Botha objected to the pace of the proposed reforms, and he opposed any plan to hold discussions with Kaunda. In August 1989, his intransigence finally prompted the cabinet to ask him to resign. He did so in a televised broadcast, and de Klerk succeeded him as president. In national elections in September 1989, the NP under de Klerk's leadership remained in power both in the national House of Assembly and in the provincial legislatures, and de Klerk was confirmed as president for another five-year term.
Some Western observers and South African political leaders hoped that the IFP, rooted in Zulu tradition and Western in its outlook in support of a federalist democracy and free enterprise, would attract moderate South African blacks to its ranks. That prospect dimmed in the climate of escalating violence leading up to the 1994 elections. Buthelezi protested against his being sidelined by what he considered "ANC-NP collusion" in the negotiating process, and in early 1994 he announced that the IFP would boycott the country's first free elections.
In the early 1990s, the National Party (NP), led by President de Klerk, led the white community in radically transforming the apartheid system and ushering in nonracial democracy. This process also served to transform the NP into a modern democratic party, while at the same time depriving it of the uninterrupted political dominance it had enjoyed for some forty-five years.
As the dominant party in the national unity government, the ANC had to balance the need to co-manage (along with the NP) the country's finances to facilitate economic growth against its long-standing affiliation with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the labor confederation known for vigorously defending workers' interests against those of the previous government. The ANC also had to overcome its image as a violator of human rights after its leaders acknowledged there had been instances of torture, execution, and abuse of dissidents in its exile camps and in some black townships during the antiapartheid struggle. In 1993 the party apologized for past abuses, but it refused to punish its human rights violators or to pay compensation to the victims or their families.
African National Congress
The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 as the South African Native National Congress, under the leadership of Dr. Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, a Durban attorney. It was renamed the African National Congress in 1923. Although the ANC cooperated to some degree with the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA--later, in 1953, the South African Communist Party, or SACP) in the early 1920s, cooperation ceased in 1927 when some traditional African leaders opposed white-led communist involvement in the black nationalist movement. In the 1930s, the ANC's influence declined, primarily because it was unsuccessful in representing black grievances and was weakened by factionalism and leadership disarray. The ANC's revival in the 1940s was largely the result of a dynamic group of young leaders--including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, and Anton Lembede--who were influenced by a pan-African version of black nationalism. In 1943 they established the ANC Youth League to mobilize mass protest against racial discrimination. Following the rise to power of the NP in 1948 and its implementation of strict apartheid laws, the ANC, with many of the Youth League founders then in leadership positions, responded by launching a series of countrywide defiance campaigns. This activism invigorated the ANC and resulted in the movement's growth from 7,000 to some 100,000 dues-paying members in 1952.
Until the ANC and the NP-led government entered into negotiations over the country's political future in 1991, the ANC's ideological platform for opposing apartheid ranged from Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi's strategy of passive resistance (in the early 1900s), to pan-Africanism (in the 1940s), to the Freedom Charter in 1955. In 1969 the ANC adopted an official policy advocating armed struggle to gain political control of the state, and in 1988 it promulgated the Constitutional Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa, derived from the Freedom Charter of the 1950s. These guidelines called for a nonracial democratic state based on universal franchise. In August 1989, the ANC adopted the Harare Declaration, advocating multiparty negotiations to arrive at a new form of government, giving strong emphasis to the concept of individual rights.
As the April 1994 elections approached, the party tried new approaches to win support among the country's black majority. One of its campaign tactics was to emphasize its active role in dismantling apartheid and to portray itself as the liberator of the country's black population. The NP also portrayed the ANC as intolerant of political dissent.
Slovo had been a hard-line communist, a Stalinist, when he joined the party in the 1940s, but along with others in the SACP had followed Moscow's 1980s reforms. By 1987 Slovo and his associates espoused the creation of a multiparty state with a mixed economy, and sought to broaden the party's membership base. This liberal philosophy might have explained the SACP's large representation among ANC leaders in the 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet system in the late 1980s had weakened the SACP's outside support and appeared to have weakened the appeal of the socialist ideals the party espoused for South Africa. Party activists believed, nonetheless, that the remaining economic disparities among racial groups provided fertile ground for SACP recruitment in the 1990s.
You can read more regarding this subject on the following websites:
List of political parties in South Africa - Wikipedia
South Africa Country Studies index
Country Studies main page