This article is part of a series on Western meddling to foment unrest and destabilize BRICS nations in an effort to ensure the continuation of Western economic and political control over the Global South. The first part, focusing on Brazil, can be found here. Still to come: BRICS under attack in Russia, India, and China.
NEW YORK — (Analysis) Major protests have gripped South Africa in recent months as political forces have emerged to give voice to a growing discontent with the government and ruling party. Beneath the surface of these demonstrations organized around legitimate grievances, however, there’s an undercurrent of political manipulation.
South Africa and its ruling African National Congress (ANC) party have been targeted for destabilization due to the country’s burgeoning relationship with China and other non-Western nations, most obviously typified by South Africa’s inclusion in BRICS, the association of the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Last year, for example, China surpassed the United States and European Union as South Africa’s largest trade partner, and the ANC has been hard at work promoting further trade cooperation. Answering questions in the National Assembly, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa explained: “We trade more effectively with China because the relationship is based on win-win; mutual benefit that they can get out of the relationship and that we can get out the relationship.”
But recent protests against the ANC government have threatened the ruling tripartite coalition of the ANC, along with the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions.
A number of groups on the left such as the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, and the National Union of Metalworkers, have taken part in the protests touched off bystudent demonstrations against university fees.
At the same time, however, Western-backed opposition forces led by the Democratic Alliance have positioned themselves as leaders and beneficiaries of the anti-government movement.