Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Beyond post-apartheid politics? Cleavages, protest and elections in South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 August 2018

Marcel Paret
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA and Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Declining electoral support for South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), suggests a potential weakening of the anti-apartheid nationalism that defined the immediate post-apartheid period. Using two surveys of voters in primarily poor and working-class black areas, conducted during the 2014 (national) and 2016 (local) elections, as well as three case studies of protest by workers, poor communities and students, this article examines the social cleavages and political dynamics that underpinned deepening political competition. Results show that voting decisions varied according to gender, age, ethnicity and receipt of welfare benefits. Different public provisions mattered most during national versus local elections, demonstrating that voters paid close attention to government operations. Underscoring political fluidity, some instances of protest reinforced ANC dominance while others fed into support for the opposition. The findings challenge notions of uncontested one party dominance, revealing instead that some poor black voters are critically evaluating the ANC's performance and developing oppositional political identities.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Alexander, P. 2012. ‘Barricades, ballots and experimentation: making sense of the 2011 local government election with a social movement lens’, in Dawson, M.C. & Sinwell, L., eds. Contesting Transformation: popular resistance in twenty-first century South Africa. London: Pluto Press, 6379.Google Scholar
Beresford, A. 2012. ‘The politics of regenerative nationalism in South Africa’, Journal of Southern African Studies 38, 4: 863–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blais, A., Nadeau, R., Gidengil, E. & Nevitte, N.. 2001. ‘Measuring strategic voting in multiparty plurality elections’, Electoral Studies 20: 343–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Booysen, S. 2011. The African National Congress and the Regeneration of Political Power. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Booysen, S. 2012. ‘“The ballot and brick” – enduring under duress’, in Booysen, S., ed. Local Elections in South Africa: parties, people, politics. Bloemfontein: Sun Press, 295314.Google Scholar
Bratton, M., Mattes, R.E. & Gyimah-Boadi, E.. 2005. Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Butler, A. 2014. ‘The ANC's campaign in 2014’, in Schulz-Herzenberg, C. & Southall, R., eds. Election 2014 South Africa: the campaigns, results, and future prospects. Auckland Park: Jacana, 4257.Google Scholar
Cheeseman, N. 2015. Democracy in Africa: successes, failures, and the struggle for political reform. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chipkin, I. 2016. ‘The decline of African nationalism and the state of South Africa’, Journal of Southern African Studies 42, 2: 215–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Leon, C., Desai, M. & Tugal, C.. 2015. Building Blocs: how parties organize society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Duncan, J. 2015. The Rise of the Securocrats: the case of South Africa. Auckland Park: Jacana.Google Scholar
Everatt, D. 2016. ‘The era of ineluctability? Post-apartheid South Africa after 20 years of democratic elections’, Journal of Southern African Studies 42, 1: 4964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fakier, K. & Cock, J.. 2009. ‘A gendered analysis of the crisis of social reproduction in contemporary South Africa’, International Feminist Journal of Politics 11, 3: 353–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferree, K.E. 2010. Framing the Race in South Africa: the political origins of racial-census elections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedman, S. 2015. ‘Archipelagos of dominance. Party fiefdoms and South African democracy’, Comparative Governance and Politics 9: 139–59.Google Scholar
Giliomee, H. & Simkins, C.. 1999. The Awkward Embrace: one-party domination and democracy. Cape Town: Tafelberg.Google Scholar
Goren, P. 2005. ‘Party identification and core political values’, American Journal of Political Science 49, 4: 881–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gouws, A. 2014. ‘Women and the election: The “not so good story” to tell’, in Schulz-Herzenberg, C. & Southall, R., eds. Election 2014 South Africa: the campaigns, results, and future prospects. Auckland Park: Jacana, 118–32.Google Scholar
Grootes, S. 2016. ‘Things fall apart: downward pressure as ANC government loses its grip’, Daily Maverick, 24 October. <http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-10-24-things-fall-apart-downward-pressure-as-anc-government-loses-its-grip/#.WBonC6I9YnJ>, accessed 2.11.2016.,+accessed+2.11.2016.>Google Scholar
Healy, A. & Malhotra, N.. 2013. ‘Retrospective voting reconsidered’, Annual Review of Political Science 16: 285306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Horowitz, D. L. 2000. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Koepke, J.R. & Ringe, N.. 2006. ‘The second-order election model in an enlarged Europe’, European Election Politics 7, 3: 321–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lodge, T. 2014. ‘Neo-patrimonial politics in the ANC’, African Affairs 113, 450: 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morrell, R., Jewkes, R. & Lindegger, G.. 2012. ‘Hegemonic masculinity/masculinities in South Africa: culture, power, and gender politics’, Men and Masculinities 15, 1: 1130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mosoetsa, S. 2011. Eating From One Pot: the dynamics of survival in poor South African households. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.Google Scholar
Mkhabela, M. 2017. ‘Is Ramaphosa the ethnic unifier the ANC needs?’, News24, 12 December. <https://www.news24.com/Columnists/Mpumelelo_Mkhabela/is-ramaphosa-the-ethnic-unifier-the-anc-needs-20171208>, accessed 2.3.2018.,+accessed+2.3.2018.>Google Scholar
Naidoo, L. 2016. ‘The anti-apartheid generation has become afraid of the future’, <https://mg.co.za/article/2016-08-17-leigh-ann-naidoo-delivers-compelling-speech-at-ruth-first-memorial-lecture>, accessed 28.10.2016.,+accessed+28.10.2016.>Google Scholar
Paret, M. 2016a. ‘Contested ANC hegemony in the urban townships: evidence from the 2014 South African election’, African Affairs 115, 460: 419–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paret, M. 2016b. Local Government Elections 2016: some preliminary findings from an exit poll of voters. Johannesburg: Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg.Google Scholar
Paret, M. & Runciman, C.. 2016. ‘The 2009+ South African protest wave’, WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 19, 3: 301–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Paret, M., Sinwell, L. & Ndibongo, B.. 2014. ‘Are the red berets the calm before a real leftist storm?’, Mail & Guardian, 16–22 May, p. 12.Google Scholar
Schulz-Herzenberg, C. 2016. ‘Shifting electoral trends, participation and party support’, Journal of Public Administration 51, 3: 487512.Google Scholar
Sinwell, L. & Mbatha, S.. 2016. The Spirit of Marikana: the rise of insurgent trade unionism in South Africa. London: Pluto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Southall, R. 2013. Liberation Movements in Power: party and state in southern Africa. Woodbridge: James Currey.Google Scholar
Southall, R. 2016. ‘The coming crisis of Zuma's ANC: the party-state confronts fiscal crisis’, Review of African Political Economy 43, 147: 7388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomlinson, M. 2011. ‘Managing the risk in housing delivery: local government in South Africa’, Habitat International 35: 419–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Webster, E. & Orkin, M.. 2014. ‘Many believe workers’ party could help solve SA's issues’, Business Day, 14 July. <https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2014-07-15-many-believe-workers-party-could-help-solve-sas-issues/>, accessed 3.3.2018.,+accessed+3.3.2018.>Google Scholar

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 86
Total number of PDF views: 838 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 06th August 2018 - 27th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-898fc554b-p5tlp Total loading time: 0.283 Render date: 2021-01-27T10:27:20.872Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Beyond post-apartheid politics? Cleavages, protest and elections in South Africa
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Beyond post-apartheid politics? Cleavages, protest and elections in South Africa
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Beyond post-apartheid politics? Cleavages, protest and elections in South Africa
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *