South Africans lose faith in ruling ANC as income inequality grows

South Africa will vote on 29 May – three decades after the end of apartheid. The African National Congress has been in power since then, but polls are predicting the party will lose its majority with many voters disgruntled by its failure to address inequality.

When the African National Congress (ANC) came to power led by Nelson Mandela, it promised to improve the lives of black South Africans following decades of apartheid – a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed from 1948 to 1994.

Thirty years on, South Africa suffers from one of the world's worst rates of income inequality.

While the ANC denies it will need a coalition, polls say an end to its single-party governance is likely.

Joblessness, poverty

"I don't want to even talk to the ANC," Dalene Raiters, an unemployed 48-year-old who lives in a single room in Johannesburg with her sons and grandson, told Reuters.

"Mandela's dream is not their dream."

Like those of many South Africans, Dalene's family is sustained by grants.

She receives the equivalent of €54 per month for two minor dependents, supplemented by handouts from the local mosque, feeding schemes and odd jobs for neighbours.

Although record unemployment and a struggling economy are major issues for voters, the ANC is touting South Africa's welfare system – a rarity in middle-income economies – as a landmark achievement.

"They are an investment in the future."

Social security and economic prosperity were the bedrock of ANC policy when it won power in 1994.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Surprise comeback of South Africa's ex-president Jacob Zuma could challenge ANC
South Africa marks Freedom Day ahead of tense election
South Africa's ANC struggles with corruption scandals ahead of key elections