Simon, all that bombast and you miss the point. The ANC’s ‘broad church’ dominance has kept the post-apartheid political economy in place, despite deep - and growing - structural instabilities. It is common sense that its decline will activate these faults; indeed, it is already happening. In response, the ANC will exploit state resources and move in a more autocratic direction in order to maintain power. In the long run, South Africa’s strong institutions, active civil society and dynamic tertiary sector (well positioned to take advantage of African growth) will see the country through. South Africa is certainly not Zimbabwe, particularly because its capital is more mobile and its political elites are (now) more integrated into the private sector. In the shorter term, however: watch out.
Open societies have not always needed defending in the determined way that they do today. But the tide turned against them after the 2008 global financial crisis, and, more than a decade later, the threat posed by authoritarian nationalism continues to rise.