Analysis: Mandela's party weakened but survives

4:10 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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USA TODAY- If you're an optimist, South African democracy is well established and solid enough to withstand the trauma of Nelson Mandela's passing.

Mandela's African National Congress has won all four national elections since the advent of democracy in 1994 though its popularity has gradually eroded. Headed by President Jacob Zuma, the ANC still commands a two-thirds majority in parliament before elections in 2014.

The ANC rules in an alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party, of which Zuma was once a member. Communist and union officials contest elections under the ANC banner.

Zuma, South Africa's president since 2009, is a 71-year-old Zulu populist whose personal life is marked with controversy. He has four wives and 20 children. He was charged but not convicted of rape and corruption.

John Kane-Berman, the head of the South African Institute of Race Relations, says there are enormous divisions within the ANC, and he predicts the party could eventually split.

(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)

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