Battle for spoils tearing South Africa's ANC apart - Zille

Sun Nov 4, 2012 11:21am GMT

By Ed Cropley and Peroshni Govender

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling party will fracture before the decade is out, pulled apart by tension between big business and labour that was laid bare by three months of mining unrest, opposition leader Helen Zille said.

In an interview with Reuters, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Zille said the unprecedented mining turmoil, including the police killing of 34 strikers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in August, had exposed unsustainable contradictions in Nelson Mandela's 100-year-old African National Congress.

She attacked the veteran liberation movement that has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid as "essentially a patronage-driven party", with those at the centre keeping power by controlling access to lucrative government contracts.

It would be impossible for the ANC to keep organised labour and communists under the same roof as mega-wealthy post-apartheid industrialists such as Cyril Ramaphosa, a top ANC decision-maker and one of Lonmin's biggest shareholders.

"The next five, six, seven years, up to 2019, will see the ANC come apart. It can't encapsulate and hold together those divergent ideologies in one coherent political party," Zille said in the interview late on Friday.

She described the Marikana shootings, the bloodiest security incident since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, as a "catalytic event" that had exposed the frailties of the formal three-way alliance between the ANC, unions and Communist Party.

"It has never been so dramatically illustrated - big government, big business, big unions - and the ANC being the common denominator between all three."

ANC spokesmen were not immediately available for comment. In the past, the party has dismissed reports of internal divisions as the product of a hostile media and over-excitable political analysts.   Continued...

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille casts her vote during the South African municipal elections in Cape Town May 18, 2011. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham
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