Much as there is a “peace dividend” after a war – when money spent on fighting is channelled elsewhere – so, too, will there be a “Cyril dividend” for the ANC in the 2019 elections.
That much is certain, although analysts and experts differ on how much of a positive influence newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa will have. We think that influence will be considerable … and for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the depth of loyalty which the ANC inspires as something more than an organisation – a belief system, perhaps – should never be underestimated.
This is an organisation which has been around for more than 100 years and done more than anyone else to liberate this country and to improve the lives of its people. The blood of millions of South Africans is not red – it is gold, green and black. There can be no denying that.
Over the wilderness years of the Zuma administration, that loyalty was tested to the utmost and significant numbers of ANC supporters – but particularly the younger generation – drifted away from the party. They would not have someone acting in their name who was perceived to be corrupt, as well as authoritarian and too traditional.
Many of these people gravitated towards opposition groupings like the DA and EFF. Many older voters did not recognise the ANC of Nelson Mandela and OR Tambo and rather than go with the “enemy” they have withdrawn from political activity.
All that changed with the arrival of Ramaphosa’s new political broom and his commitment to ridding South Africa of corruption and state capture.
At the same time, he took away the ammunition from the opposition, leaving them looking rudderless.
The winds of change will blow the ANC back to political success.