On 27 February, the National Assembly of South Africa passed a motion on land expropriation, tabled by the Economic Freedom Fighters and supported by the majority of parties in parliament, including the ANC. The motion was passed by 241 against 83 and called for a process to review the constitution and possibly change it to allow for land expropriation without compensation. Parliament’s Constitution Review Committee will conduct “public hearings” to illicit “public comment” and report back to parliament in August. If a constitutional amendment is recommended, it requires the support of two-thirds of members of the National Assembly as well as the support of 6 of the 9 provinces. Even then, the last word would be from the Constitutional Court, which is the highest decision-making body as far as constitutional legality is concerned.

The last two months have seen renewed worries about the economy. It was meant to be a period of optimism, with plenty of positive figures on unemployment, wage growth and so on. Yet in spite of the figures, the markets are jittery and the bourgeois is gradually realising that none of the problems that caused the crisis in 2008 have been resolved. If anything, they have become even worse.

A wave of optimism has swept across South Africa since Jacob Zuma resigned as president of the country last Wednesday. There was a collective sigh of relief that the 9-year scandal-ridden presidency of Zuma was finally over. Middle-class commentators said that a ‘new dawn’ has arrived. But Marxists have explained many times that the crisis facing South Africa is not that of an individual, a single political party nor one section of the ruling class. The political crisis is only an expression of the crisis of the capitalist system as a whole. And as long as the system survives, changes at the top will not result in changes of anything fundamental.

Extraordinary events over the last few days, surrounding the fate of Jacob Zuma, have plunged the ANC – and the country – into a deep crisis. Zuma’s scandal-plagued presidency is clearly untenable for the Ramaphosa faction, which marginally controls the ANC. Moreover, Zuma’s continued presence is destabilising the whole political situation and could damage the ANC’s electoral prospects in 2019. Big business is desperate to dig itself out of a hole. The problem for them is that the balance of forces between the two fighting ANC factions is very even, as we saw at the national conference in December. Now the crisis in the party has put the whole country in political limbo.

Interest in socialism has skyrocketed over the last two years. Millions of people yearn for change and want to fight back against capitalism. They are looking for ideas and an organization that can help them do just that. But there is as yet no viable point of reference, no mass socialist party, no clear and confident exit indicated out of the burning building. As a result, most people doubt whether a serious challenge to the system and its institutions can be mounted, let alone its total overturn. This explains the revival of interest in reformism.

We have received this comment after the recent Liberian presidential elections. Although we do not necessarilly agree with everything written in the article, we publish it here for the interests of our readers.

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