The ANC won the general elections in South Africa on 8 May with a reduced majority. The party has ruled since the democratic transition in 1994, but has failed to tackle internal corruption. The disillusionment of the people was reflected in a low turnout.
'Lots of my friends made the political decision to not vote. It makes me sad, as I believe in participatory elections. But there is a lack of attractive options. The main opposition parties don’t offer ideal futures either. And they are too contradictory to unite against the ANC.
People have lost their faith in the ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa, and for good reason. He was a non-executive director of Lonmin, the multinational that owned the mine where police killed 34 workers in a protest. He is also an extremely wealthy man, representing capitalist monopoly in South Africa, which is something to be really concerned about.
I am not very optimistic about the future. Even if Ramaphosa is better than his predecessor Zuma, I think that changing the leader won’t deal with the systematic corruption within the ANC. Actually, I want to run for president at some point in my life, so I am trying to use the privilege and knowledge I gather abroad and put it to work in my country.
South Africa is facing many challenges, but if there is one issue that needs to be addressed, it’s environmental concerns. Not once did I hear about the environment in the political debate. It is shocking. Floods are killing people and farmers are suffering the worst drought in years, which results in food insecurity. The black population has the highest vulnerability to environmental problems. Living conditions in townships are horrible and people are forced to rely on polluted water.
We need to make the connection between environmental and social justice and start supporting the most vulnerable people. I believe one way to do this is by promoting green jobs. The politicians need to change their attitude and start working together to build a state that addresses extreme poverty first.’