Bruce’s List: A daily guide to informed reads.
It seems to be all over bar the shouting. The DA will have mayors in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), Pretoria (Tshwane), Johannesburg and Cape Town. The first three they’ll do with the votes of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), (though in PE they could probably scramble together a victory without Julius Malema’s help) and Cape Town they own. Malema said yesterday the EFF would vote DA mayors in where it could (and Inkatha ones where it could in KwaZulu Natal) but would not participate in the governments in those cities and towns. It would sit in opposition and vote, or not vote, on issues as they came up. And as the ANC has piously agreed to take collective responsibility for its poor showing in the August 3 municipal elections, said Malema, “we will punish you collectively”. And boy, has he ever done that. A question mark hangs over the council meeting in Johannesburg next week as the EFF appears to have told the Democratic Alliance it would not want to vote for its mayoral candidate, Herman Mashaba, the businessman. But then Malema appeared to retreat from that somewhat, in order to ensure the ANC did not slip through. And Mashaba himself appeared during the day to suggest that he would be prepared to step aside in the interests of the party. So even Johannesburg should not be a problem.
The result is a shattering one for the ANC, of course. Its leader and the country’s president, Jacob Zuma, are on the ropes. It isn’t that the results, on paper, look that bad. It still won what in most countries would look like a handsome national majority of the votes. It is because the mind-shift required by the ANC to come back from this as a united and confident force is so great it is almost impossible to imagine around whom such unity could be crafted. ANC members, leaders, branches and institutions are at each other’s throats. The party is at war with itself and any new leader would need a great deal of money to throw around to create some sense of common purpose again. But there isn’t any money. And with the DA and EFF controlling almost 80% now of municipal spend in the country they will flood the news in the next two years with revelations, accusations and legal action as they uncover the extent of the graft that has taken root in the ANC, especially under Zuma.
Yesterday was a big day. Apart from Malema’s press conference, DA leader Mmusi Maimane introduced a loose alliance of four smaller parties with the DA that he could even carry into a general election. People underestimate the value of that. Both Bantu Holomisa (UDM) and Mosiuoa Lekota (Cope) took their small parties into the alliance and if, come 2019, they were able to leverage the DA financial and organisational muscle, they would present the ANC with a serious threat to its national majority. Here is Stephen Grootes setting the scene today along with some admiration for the way Malema and Maimane cleverly orchestrated their public announcements yesterday. The ANC people trying to fight this battle for the public heart must be dead on their feet: Battleground Metros: Broad DA-led coalition – supported by EFF – poised to take over from ANC.
And, also in Daily Maverick, here’s Greg Nicolson clearly enjoying Malema’s masterful press conference in Alexandra (Maimane’s was in a hotel in Sandton): Battleground Metros: The day the EFF punished the ANC. And Cyril Madlala reminds us that while yesterday’s press conferences in Johannesburg dealt with the rest of the country, today the action moves to KwaZulu Natal, supposedly the ANC’s heartland, where the EFF will announce it is going to support the IFP wherever it can. That, too, will hurt the ANC big time. Read on: KwaZulu-Natal: Opposition Big Three get ready to stand up to the ANC.
RW Johnson isn’t the most popular political analyst in SA but he is one of the best, if not the best. Politicsweb has produced a two-part series by the great man on the results and the aftermath of the elections and they are really worth reading, I promise you. I even enjoyed the part where Johnson has a little go at me, for suggesting, he says, that Maimane may even become head of state after the 2019 election. Actually I was quoting (admiringly, I admit) someone else saying that, but it’s no big deal. However, it is one thing for the ANC to be on something of a slide. It is quite another to explain to me how they will stop it. In that case, yes, I do see a faint possibility of a President Maimane if the tactics of the EFF today were to be repeated in 2019. If the EFF were able to kick the ANC right out of government in 2019 by electing a DA president, it most certainly would: here’s part one: A 'breakthrough' election?
For Caster Semenya fans, here’s a treat from the white, liberal Economist magazine which cuts through all the rubbish that’s said and written about her and makes the simple point that sport is made up of all shapes and sizes and strengths of people and that they should be able to compete whatever their gift or anomalies are. I hope she breaks athletics’ oldest world record tomorrow: Why the women’s 800m will be the most controversial race of the Olympics.
Finally, in the US, Donald Trump has once again taken the knife to his presidential campaign. Having hired a maverick manager and then fired him and replaced him with a more conventional figure, Donald has opted for maverick, or downright dangerous, again. He’s losing the race, badly, but he doesn’t know it and in a way that’s the most frightening thing about him. Here’s The New York Times on the latest change: Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign.
And I loved this great Washington Post compendium-type news analysis deriding Trump. There are also great links in the piece for you to follow if you have the time: Trump is entirely delusional about why he’s losing. His new campaign shakeup proves it.