Racial animosity and political party partisanship in South Africa: the case of the African National Congress and the black African majority

SOURCE: Democratization
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2017
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.L.Gordon
KEYWORDS: AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC), ELECTIONS, RACIAL SEGREGATION
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9896

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Abstract

As it is in many countries, racial rhetoric is a feature of South African national government elections. The use of such rhetoric provokes the question, how much is political party support in the country driven by interracial animosities? Using the nationally representative public opinion dataset, the South African Social Attitudes Survey, this article looks at party closeness to the African National Congress (ANC) amongst the black African population. The ANC is one of the oldest and most powerful political parties on the African continent and currently dominates South Africa???s parliamentary government. Constructing four indexes of racial attitudes and behaviours, the article investigates whether partisanship with the ruling party can be predicted by racial animosity. The period under investigation is 2010???2014. Bivariate and multivariate quantitative techniques are employed to test the relationship between ANC partisanship and racial animosity. The results of this investigation show that racial enmity in the country is troublingly widespread. Public opinion analysis, however, found no correlation between racial acrimony and ANC partisanship. Other factors are driving black African identification with the country???s ruling party. The implications of these results for the study for political party support in South Africa are discussed and future avenues of research presented.