The Tripartite Alliance in South Africa has previously provided the governing African National Congress with diverse support, securing it victory at the polls. It is now riven with dissension.
South African labour unions have shown themselves to be effective in translating the prescripts of the law into benefits for their members. This is particularly true in the public sector.
The ANC will be judged by its ability to deliver on its promises to provide basic services and good governance, practise sound financial management and combat corruption this election year.
Pundits will closely watch President Jacob Zuma's January 8 statement to see what he and the governing ANC consider to be priorities for the country in 2016.
President Jacob Zuma's era has been characterised by a high turnover, not only of cabinet members, but also senior public officials and executives in state-owned enterprises.
South Africa's left wing trade unions may have found an unlikely ally in their objection to the proposed VAT hike. The OECD says there are other options South Africa could consider to raise revenue.