2012 marks the centenary of the ANC. It is also the year in which the ANC holds its five-year conference, where Jacob Zuma and his allies will seek to hold on to the Presidency while other factions within the Tripartite Alliance will attempt to unseat him. Now, more than ever, to the victor the spoils.
Martin Plaut and Paul Holden argue that power does not reside in traditional institutions such as Parliament or even the Cabinet. Rather, power lies within the ANC-led Alliance which, with no founding document and no written constitution, is an unstructured and mutable political hydra with business and criminal elements in close attendance. It is the interaction between these forces which is the real story behind post-apartheid South Africa. In a country where poverty is rampant and institutions are weak, the battle for power is set to intensify.
Plaut and Holden unravel how we have reached such a pass in South Africa. What are the origins of the Alliance and will it survive the current power struggles? Who are the forces -- some shadowy, some criminal -- that operate within or alongside the Alliance? Most importantly, they seek to answer the burning question of whether South Africa is destined for the dysfunctional -- another of Africa's tragedies -- or whether there is still the promise of growth and a stable democracy.