Earlier this year, video footage showed a smiling President Jacob Zuma sitting with an unresponsive Mandela during a visit to the former leader’s home that some viewers thought was a stunt to promote the ruling party. In another incident, ANC supporters said the Democratic Alliance was capitalizing on the Mandela name when it published a pamphlet showing an old photograph of Mandela embracing Helen Suzman, an anti-apartheid activist whose party was a forerunner of the DA.
The African National Congress was a banned group at the forefront of the fight against racist rule, and has dominated elections since the first all-race vote in 1994. It is the front-runner ahead of elections next year, but opposition groups have chipped at its support by highlighting corruption scandals, service delivery gaps and other problems.
The ANC controls all but one of South Africa’s nine provinces; the Democratic Alliance controls the Western Cape.
In a statement this week, retired archbishop Desmond Tutu and other prominent Cape Town residents warned of efforts to make the Western Cape “‘ungovernable’ simply because certain elements disagree with the democratic choice of the majority in that province.”
Demonstrators from poor areas of Cape Town plan to march downtown on Friday to protest what they say are inadequate municipal services, according to South African media. Some violence broke out during a city march by several thousand protesters in October.