BP 512: The State of SA’s Political Opposition

1. Introduction

An eighteenth century French lawyer called Joseph de Maistre observed, probably disapprovingly, ‘Every nation gets the government it deserves.’ But do nations also get the opposition parties they deserve?
The African National Congress is now in its 27th consecutive year of governance; in all that time it has never dipped below 50% of the vote, and has usually won 60% or more. This has been achieved in elections which are acknowledged as free and fair, and in which a plethora of parties has appeared on the ballot. Voters have certainly not lacked for choice – on paper at least.


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