The ANC, the European project, coalitions and the economy

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his Inauguration Address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday. Ramaphosa was re-elected to lead the Republic of South Africa for a second term following the National Assembly election of the President on 14 June. GCIS.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his Inauguration Address at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday. Ramaphosa was re-elected to lead the Republic of South Africa for a second term following the National Assembly election of the President on 14 June. GCIS.

Published Jun 21, 2024


By Redge Nkosi

The kerfuffle around coalitions should have been seen for what it was: political gimmickry. With the African National Congress (ANC) failing to achieve a governing majority in the 2024 May elections, the question should not have been with whom, but rather, what are to be the most likely social, economic and political implications of an ANC-led government that has a Democratic Alliance (DA) in it. Tell tales of some pact could be discerned long ago.

During the 2021 local government elections, the ANC’s Paul Mashatile had let it slip that they “want to keep the ANC position below 50% even in the national elections”. Such puerile, crime against logic talk, did not excite much attention, or censure from the ANC. Elsewhere, the DA had been rightly gloating that the ANC was implementing its sectarian policies.

More disturbing was the ANC government’s tactful rejection of its own highly transformational and very sound national policies on land, central banking, banking etc, see for example their 54th national conference resolutions – roundly rejected by European capital and its political voice, the DA. Instead, the ANC was enthusiastically implementing academically laughed-out delusional policies such as austerity, penal rates etc, whose empirical record is that of dispossession, economic shrinkage, debt build-up etc. These are applauded by the DA and its European ‘markets’ players as sound policy.

The ANC, most specifically its very tiny but financially powerful clique that is a beneficiary of European capital (I call this ‘corrupting capital’) and those that benefit from the patronage that flows from the clique’s financial power and influence (I call this ‘patronage capital’), have long been in what I call an ‘invisible coalition’ with the DA, which include local European big business and local European not-for-profit organisations (NPOs), pursuing European interests as those of apartheid, albeit in a democratic setting.

As he who pays the piper calls the tune, the corrupting capital’s interests became government priorities. The ANC clique’s role was and is reduced to being an active broadcaster and promoter of the bourgeoisie ideology of dispossession, to the majority poor and working class so they remain in a state of false class consciousness even when policy clearly does not positively redound to them.

In this election, to help the ANC reduce its support and thus consummate a formal ANC/DA coalition, thus further deepening European interests, the European (corrupting) capital, the primary source of South Africa’s rampant corruption, sponsored parties to splinter the African and ANC vote.

Thus through a combination of the DA’s political noise, foreign and local European capital pressure (often labelled as white monopoly capital), and European NPO activism, European interests are additionally entrenched by way of regulatory and policy capture. Regulatory capture as an economic theory, says that regulatory agencies (i.e. government departments, its direct agencies, SOEs, reserve bank etc. get dominated or influenced by the interests they regulate and not by public (national) interest, whereas policy capture denotes the undue influence by vested interests (big business, apartheid apologists, interested researchers etc) on public decision making.

The said forms of capture are buttressed by historical institutionalism, which should have been destroyed or radically transformed a long time ago.

Historical institutionalism says that the path-dependence nature of institutions (say the Reserve Bank, Treasury etc), once created, not only are they resistant to change, they also seek to preserve an inbuilt distributional bias in favour of those people, societies or groups or races or systems they were created to serve.

In SA, historical institutionalism remains strong and alive, especially in the very critical areas where radical transformation should have long taken place: macro-economic/financial institutions. It is also in these areas that the ANC’s powerful clique is weakest, leaving local and foreign European groups exercising disproportionate influence and control. Therefore, a combination of historical institutionalism, regulatory, and policy capture on the one hand and ANC’s tiny clique and its patronage networks on the other, have rendered the economy highly untransformed and totally in the hands of Europeans.

Moreover, these people and domestic institutions, together with foreign ones such as the fraudulent credit rating agencies, and international financial institutions, have become the ideological apparatuses for dispossessing Africans, but also deepening foreign and local European interests in SA to the detriment of the majority. Their ideological hegemony over society is well known and so is their formative influence on the reproduction of existing relations of production.

The recent African Peer Review Mechanism condemnation of rating agency Fitch’s neo-colonial support for a highly regressive ANC-DA coalition, demonstrates how these ideological apparatuses (local and foreign) are used to advance and defend European interests vis a vis African interests on African soil. Policy continuity, which is widely sought by these foreign and local Europeans, implies broadening European interests while simultaneously increasing the global record unemployment among blacks, mostly Africans, the world record inequality, poverty, etc.

So, the recent open calls by the DA, European-owned and run big businesses and their aligned NPOs together with their foreign European entities for a coalition with the ANC, was to formalise their highly beneficial invisible coalition at a time when their most valued asset, Cyril Ramaphosa, is still in power. The DA is on record for wanting to “work” with the Ramaphosa-led ANC, the man they know is best suited to advance their European interests.

Threats about the Rand and the economy by ‘markets’, code for European interests in SA, are their most potent tools to continue their domination. Such threats, however, would easily be filibustered had the government and its agencies had full national interest at heart, as they have all the infrastructural and instrumental power at their disposal. Markets are not the economy, therefore national economic interests, not ‘markets’ interests should dictate.

Furthermore, the coalition noises from the DA and its constituent partners, especially big business, go beyond the domestic European project. They actively seek to influence SA’s location away from the BRICS to their collapsing Anglo-American led world disorder. BRICS threatens their neo-colonial and apartheid interests.


First, the formalised coalition, misleadingly clothed as a government of national unity will, sooner or later, cost a split in the ANC. The ANC’s progressive Europeans of national interests, sheltering under the communist party, alongside the union (Cosatu) will find it very hard to work with the ANC. Some rapture can be expected here too.

Second, the current economic and social disaster wrought by the invisible coalition’s neoliberal policy, and the corrupting and patronage capital’s grand corruption will increase as a result of the formalised coalition, as European interests seek to deepen their hold. This will eventuate through their aggressive pursuit of dehumanising and economically misguided policies such as fiscal and monetary austerity, de-risking private sector finance, climate finance, penal rates, state entity privatisations, utilities privatisations etc.

In short, apartheid’s violent accumulation by dispossession continued through the invisible coalition will get worse with this formalised coalition. Through increased regulatory, policy capture and historical institutionalism, European interests will gain more leverage, thus controlling democracy more than it does today. All these will be at the cost of severe hardship for the majority, potentially igniting a powder keg upon which the country has been thrust by the same coterie of operators.

Redge Nkosi is the executive director and head of research for money, banking and macroeconomics at Firstsource Money and the founding director of the London based International Monetary Reform.