The threat of the global North has become a recurring concern at the ANC’s national policy conference, with the party saying it needs to be prepared for any policy shifts that could be announced on Africa.
International relations subcommittee chair Edna Molewa said South Africa was “on its tiptoes” about United States President Donald Trump and what stance he could likely take on relations with Africa.
“We are concerned with the American situation, which is Trump moving out of everything. We are … watching with a hawk’s eye to see what kind of reaction … we’re going to have to make,” she said.
During its presentation on strategy and tactics on the fourth day of the conference, the ANC noted the shift in geopolitical relations, which it said were unfavourable to “progressive forces”, including the ANC.
Political education chair Nathi Mthethwa, who presented the strategy and tactics document at the conference, said some countries in the North were beginning to lean towards a right-wing agenda.
“The forces are moving towards right, centre-right and to a certain degree even considering the possibility of [the] far-right being a factor,” he said.
“The fact [is] that you are seeing an ascendance of a narrow nationalism. And this narrow nationalism and chauvinism, where we are talking about the US and so on, is ascending against a backdrop of a meeker global progressive movement.”
The perceived threat of the North has also seen the ANC putting the formation of a Brics (Brazil, India, China, Russia, South Africa) ratings agency on the agenda, with hopes of seeing it become policy.
Mthethwa noted that the Brics formation was not given the space it needed to function because it was challenging the status quo set by developed countries. “If we look at where Brics is currently, we make a point that it wasn’t going to be easy for Brics to think that they easily could have challenged the status quo and not be challenged,” he said.
The North is implicated in the ANC’s fears of a regime change, which are mentioned in the organisational diagnostic report delivered by secretary general Gwede Mantashe. The report lists regime change as a threat that faces all developing countries, with the North trying to gain access to those countries’ mineral resources.
Violent service delivery protests, the #FeesMustFall movement, and #ZumaMustFall demonstrations were listed as traces of a revolt against the ANC-led government.
The ANC has been urged to deal with infighting and factionalism in order to adequately monitor external threats against it.