South Africa’s governing ANC reviews policy amid falling support

South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), holds its crucial policy review conference this week amid growing difficulties for the organisation.

The meeting will review policies adopted at the party’s last elective conference held in 2012. The party is under pressure on several fronts:

  • Rising disaffection with the slow pace of change, as shown by soaring popular protests about poor delivery on key socioeconomic issues. Unemployment, poverty and inequality remain stubbornly high.

  • Declining electoral support, as shown by the 2014 elections. Reverend Frank Chikane, one of the party’s stalwarts, has warned the ANC faces the real prospect of its support falling below 50%. Support for the party dropped to 62.16% in national elections last year from 65.9% in 2009.

  • Growing anger at rampant government corruption, culminating in marches by civil society.

  • State-owned enterprises, which are central to the party’s idea of a developmental state, are ailing because of poor leadership and political interference.

  • Rising tensions between politicians and the judiciary, the independent media and other state organs charged with holding the executive to account.

  • An ongoing electricity crisis that has slowed the pace of economic growth.

  • Rising factionalism that has weakened its key alliance partner the Congress of South African Trade Unions.