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Our democracy is finally growing up

The news that several top members of the African National Congress intend to form an opposition party is welcome indeed, said<strong> </strong>Barney Mthombothi in the <em>Financial Mail.</em>

Barney Mthombothi
Financial Mail

South Africa’s biggest party is splitting up—and none too soon, said Barney Mthombothi. The news that several top members of the African National Congress intend to form an opposition party is welcome indeed. The ANC has governed ever since the end of apartheid, in 1994, and it has become tyrannical. Perhaps that was inevitable: After all, the ANC was “supported with almost religious zeal” by blacks during the apartheid era, and when it achieved power its views were seen as gospel. Dissent was heresy. For years now, party members have felt “intimidated and unable to express their true feelings.” Nobody—not even Cabinet ministers—dared to question party orthodoxy even when it was clearly preposterous, such as the contention that AIDS was not caused by HIV. South Africa badly needs a strong opposition party so that we can finally have an “honest debate on major issues such as reform of the electoral system and funding for political parties.” Only then will we be able to “curb the excesses and arrogance of the ruling elite.”

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