The opportunity for emerging political figures to make their mark is considerable.
Here are five political leaders from around the world who are emerging as significant talents and possible contenders for influence in 2017 and beyond.
The ANC got rid of one president , Thabo Mbeki (right) in 2008. The groundswell against incumbent Jacob Zuma is growing.
The fallout at the meeting of South Africa's governing ANC clearly exposed how the party's factionalism has spilled over into government. This is likely to paralyse governance even further.
South African President Jacob Zuma. What next?
South African President Jacob Zuma's days of spinning out court cases indefinitely and at taxpayers' expense may soon come to an end -- possibly his worst news in a week of bad news.
Protestors call for the removal of South Africa President Jacob Zuma outside court in Pretoria, the capital city.
For the moment President Zuma's supporters control the governing ANC's levers of power. But an unprecedented number of people in the ANC are turning against him. How long will the centre hold?
University authorities in South Africa have agreed to most fees protesters’ demands. Yet, the protesters keep moving the goalposts. Do they want more than fees to fall?
Johannesburg skyline: the challenge is to create a city that is liveable, safe and resource efficient.
Populations revolt when lives are improving but not fast enough to meet their rising expectations.
Des van Rooyen, cooperative governance minister and new treasurer-general of the MK Military Veterans Association.
MK, the army of the then banned ANC, electrified millions of oppressed people to rise against the apartheid regime. Today, its veterans are being used in factional battles within the ruling party.
A supporter arrives at an ANC rally in July 2016 addressed by President Jacob Zuma.
In this new world where its lost thousands of votes does South Africa's ruling ANC know who it is, how to be in opposition, or how it might fight its way back to winning ways?
Herman Mashaba, businessman and member of the Democratic Alliance, now mayor of Johannesburg.
Business people who become politicians can bring fresh energy into the public service. They come from an ecosystem that is driven by urgency to produce measurable results.
The Democratic Alliance’s Herman Mashaba celebrates victory as Johannesburg’s new mayor after the ANC’s defeat.
The Star/Boxer Ngwenya
South Africa's watershed local elections have resulted in upsets for the ANC in key metropoles. But will the new, minority coalition regimes live up to their mandate of providing basic services?
EFF leaders Godrich Gardee, left, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivamvu brief journalists in Alexandra, near Johannesburg.
The EFF is sending a strong message to South Africans that it wants to be known as the only political home for radical change.
President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former anti-apartheid activist Sophie de Bruyn at the unveiling of a monument to the 1956 women’s march.
South Africa's past tells us that, under certain conditions, women mobilise in ways that produce significant political results. But the country's present shows how easily these gains can evaporate.
Is the ANC now just another box on the ballot?
While South Africa voted to chasten the ANC, Zambians endured an election campaign filled with abuse and claims to Godliness.
South African President Jacob Zuma reacts during the official announcement of the municipal election results in Pretoria.
Various commentators have wrongly over the last 22 years said that black people voted blindly for ANC governments. There's no better example why the academy needs a dramatic post-colonial overhaul.
South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party leader Mmusi Maimane.
Patronage and clientelism is slipping away from the ANC and accruing to those who pledge their political futures to the Democratic Alliance. It will have to guard against incumbency arrogance.
Not there yet: Mmusi Maimane campaigns in Johannesburg.
The ruling ANC has been seriously challenged by the Democratic Alliance, but South African politics is still about white privilege and black exclusion.
Supporters of South Africa’s governing ANC with a mock coffin of the opposition EFF at the ANC’s Siyanqoba rally ahead of local elections.
The ANC has faced an inexorable, gradual decline in support since 2004. There is no evidence that it has been able to reverse this trend.
Supporters of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Front at an election rally.
South Africans are expressing disillusionment with the African National Congress. But dissatisfaction with the ruling party does not automatically translate into support for other parties.
The ANC’s top brass at the party’s rally ahead of municipal elections.
The ANC's waning urban vote and growing support rural is not a political trend unique to South Africa. Many of Africa's liberation-movements-cum-governing-parties now depend on rural support for political longevity.
Voters wait their turn outside a polling station at Nkonjeni village in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The country is gearing up for local elections.
The opposition Democratic Alliance is hopeful that the African National Congress will fail to win a majority in three metros. This will open the door for it to rule in coalition with smaller parties.