World Cup Jitters

Image-95089-panoV9free-hmscKarl-Ludwig Günsche in Spiegel Online:

The façade of a country in a celebratory mood veils a nation that is actually festering, where people are sick and tired of being fobbed off with promise after empty promise. Labor leaders haven't been shy of threatening strikes during the World Cup. “Nobody must say 'Hold on, there are visitors around, don't do anything about this matter,'” Zwelinzima Vavi, who heads the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said last Thursday. “Our struggles … are bigger than the World Cup.”

Slum dwellers increasingly fight their fate. In Balfour they even shouted down Zuma, the former national hero. One in every two South Africans are unhappy with the public sector and the state's services, according to a survey by the TNS research institute. The ruling ANC party recently lost a ballot in the Western Cape for the first time, conceding their traditional stronghold to the opposition…

Ahead of next year's local elections, the ruling party is nervous, divided and embroiled in internal power struggles. The ANC leadership appears to have silenced the head of the Youth League, Julius Malema, whose hate speeches and chants fomented a climate of violence and racism. But his followers continue to pile on the pressure. Youth League functionary Loyiso Nkohla called on the ANC youth to devastate Cape Town and make it ungovernable. The mayor of the touristy city, Dan Plato, then called on Khayelitsha township residents to challenge the ANC youth with burning tires, an apartheid-period symbol of oppressive regimes. Amnesty International warned that the violent outbreaks could quickly escalate into xenophobic unrest.