In recent news, South Africa’s leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), announced its new alliance and presidential candidate for the upcoming elections against the longtime majority party, the African National Congress (ANC). Anti-apartheid activist and former World Bank director Mamphela Ramphele joined the DA as their presidential candidate, along with her political party Agang South Africa. This move has been flagged by some as an effort on the part of the DA to less like “a defender of white privilege” and more like an interracial, and therefore inclusive, party.
These will be the first elections held since the death of Nelson Mandela this past December, and it is still unclear whether this new coalition and presidential candidate will make any headway in breaking up ANC’s majority stronghold in South Africa’s parliament. Thus far, the ANC has dismissed this new maneuver by the DA, calling it a “rent a black” and “rent a leader” tactic. Given the ANC’s relatively unchallenged majority power since the end of apartheid, is it time for a more inclusive democratic change through an improved and viable political party and leader? Is this new coalition capable of making this change, or is this just a political ploy to gain the black South African vote? It will certainly be interesting to see how these elections unfold and whether this new coalition can appeal to a new generation of voters.