South Africa’s governing African National Congress celebrates its 104th birthday in 2016. In keeping with tradition, the party’s president Jacob Zuma will deliver the annual January 8 statement, mapping out the party’s main activities for the year ahead.
Historically, the statement has set the tone for government and informed the president of the country’s annual state of the nation address, at the opening of Parliament in February.
The event will be keenly watched to, among other things, gauge what the party considers to be the main challenges facing the country; and how it plans to lead in navigating them.
Among the reasons Zuma’s speech will be closely watched include:
Upcoming municipal elections, which come amid declining electoral support.
Growing anger at rampant government corruption, culminating in marches by civil society.
Recent student protests against rising university fees as well as against racism and vestiges of colonialism in curricula.
Rising factionalism that has weakened the governing tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party.