'Coalition Country' by Leon Schreiber (Tafelberg)

With Africa still in the grip of “Ramaphoria”, the honeymoon period of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s much-publicised “new dawn”, this offering by political commentator Leon Schreiber attempts to explain what likely scenarios will emerge in the next decade, and what repercussions may result from each. 

Ramaphosa has won praise for his efforts to attract investment since taking office, but Schreiber, a research specialist at Princeton University, has all but concluded that the ANC will no longer enjoy the power of its past 24 years. 

Basing much of his argument on the outcome of the 2016 local government elections, when the DA, with the backing of the EFF and smaller minority parties, wrested control of three major metropoles from the ANC, he posits that coalition governments will dominate that political landscape for some time to come. That is not to say the ANC is a spent force. 

Looking in his crystal ball, Schreiber readily acknowledges ANC- EFF coalitions are a very real possibility, either at national, provincial or local level. Already the ANC and EFF have sought to unseat the DA’s Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip, and while no formal alliance has been brokered, there are indications that the two parties could at some point come together in the region. 

What Schreiber describes and suggests is not new. For some time, South Africans have recognised that “king-makers”, particularly the EFF, will play a significant role in shaping the future. Many in the country are extremely fatigued by political commentators giving “post-match analyses” on television, as these insights barely scale above a blow-by-blow accounts. 

In this respect, Schreiber does stand out from the rest. Refreshingly, he is a realist, drawing his conclusions from fact and statistics, rather than emotive fervour, painting the commentator as a voice to be reckoned with (or accumulate Twitter followers). 

He is bold in his assertions, but not in such a way to provoke; rather, he has painstaking observed and analysed what has brought South Africa to this point in its history, and how this relates to its place in the world economy, a reality frequently overlooked.