GARETH VAN ONSELEN: SA’s civil war
The ANC is now a minority party. Its legitimacy and hegemony rests only on the idea of the ANC —that is a fragile state of affairs for a country
SA is in the grips of a low-grade civil war. There is the ANC, and the people. And they are at each other’s throat. It is not metaphorical, but real. Blood is being spilt. At its heart lies the legitimacy of the state, against which everyone, in one way or another, has taken up arms.
Police stations are guarded by private security firms; ambulances are now accompanied by armed guards; hospitals are besieged by violence; schools are burnt or destroyed, along with clinics and libraries; in some towns, gangs — in the form of an organised mafia, or disorganised terror — have effectively usurped power; death threats and political assassinations are commonplace; and public infrastructure, both hard — trains, cables, buses, and soft — electricity, water, are vandalised and stolen.