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Ideologies of the ANC and DA

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 3759 words Published: 3rd Oct 2017

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Ideologies of the ANC and DA that serves as intellectual foundation


Ideologies can be defined as a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. Political Ideologies are the pillars and the foundation of any political party. It is important to have noble political ideologies in order to recruit members with the same beliefs in the party’s ideologies. In this essay, I will identify a few of the ideologies of the ANC and the DA by looking into their manifestos and also give a history of relationship ideologies has with election and a democratic country and also give my opinion on the best ideology as intellectual foundation that will make a change in the country.


In the book, Politics by Andrew Heywood, we see an Ideology can be defined as Heywood (2013:27) “A social-scientific viewpoint.” It is a “coherent set of ideas that provides a basis for organized political action.” When looking at this definition one could deduce various information on the political ideologies of the African National Congress and the Democratic Alliance. It is a group a people that forms a political party having a goal to make a difference in the lives of all citizens within the political arena. They also follows certain procedures to govern a country. We need to take into consideration that political ideologies has many facets such as Liberalism, conservatism, socialism, fascism and feminism as a few. Liberalism is the ideology of the Heywood (2013:31) “’industrialized West’ and portrayed as a meta-ideology. It is capable of embracing a broad range of rival value and beliefs.” In my opinion it would be a broad range of diversity that we find political ideologies. It is giving everyone an equal chance .It is a sense of equality. For example, Education for all.

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Heywood (2013:34) Conservatism has its key ideas based on “tradition-accumulated wisdom from the past” Conservative people are people who are prone to change. They expect society to stay the same, not taking into consideration that people change and make mistakes. Conservative people struggle to accept that “nothing stays the same.” Conservatism is found a lot in political structure. It poses many challenges and being conservative as an individual in a group setting in politics can sometimes be difficult.

Heywood (2013:38) Socialism is to” abolish a capitalist economy based on a market exchange.”[1] Its key ideas are: “Community, Fraternity, Social Equality, Need, social class, common ownership.” Socialism relates to a society or an organisation. Socialism within politics strive to economic and political equality within the country and that all citizens are equal which is difficult because we all our diverse and celebrate diversity within our country. We all have our different religions and cultures and we are a different. A socialist is someone who wants to cultivate equality and wants to include every “creed and colour”.

Other ideologies include Heywood (2013:47) “fascism: ‘new man’ a hero motivated by duty and honour and self-sacrifice prepared to dedicate his/her life to the glory of their nation or race and to give unquestioning obedience to a supreme leader.” Fascists are needed for people to believe that there is a leader that can lead the party in the right direction.

Heywood (2013:49)Feminism-“it is more concerned with the reform of the public sphere that is with enhancing the legal and political status of women and improving their educational and career prospects than reordering private or domestic life.”[2]The political sector is dominated by men. In today’s society we see many females who are leaders. The rise of women played an important role in the upliftment of women. They play a very significant role in the country. We need feminist to bring equality of genders. We have a Minister for Women and children.

Political ideologies-an introduction

Eccleshall (1984:79) The ideology of conservatism: “If a society is to prosper, it’s political. Social and economic arrangements must be such as to stimulate and satisfy those with most to contribute to the common good.” [3]Politicians are needed to keep balance between all the facets of a country (the citizens, the environment, infrastructure etc.) the so-called business-man, the farmer and the man on the street is at a centre of equality.

Geoghegan (1984:115) The ideology of socialism “is that all forms of socialism comprise three basic components: a critique, an alternative and a theory of transition.”[4] Socialists have a social responsibility to the country. Everyone to have basic rights and access their basic rights. It is that the political party can see the need and then assess the need and find possible solutions. For example: Taking the man from the street and giving him shelter.

Jay (1984:153) The ideology of Democracy “is in agreement with ideology that states democracy denotes a rather different kind of entity, Democracy simply mean rule byof the people. Within this we have aristocracy, monarchy and oligarchy. Democracies shared many political practices in common.” A democracy simply means everybody. A democracy is a government that is governed “for the people, by the people”. Democracy can be seen as freedom to a certain extent. Democracy is what our leaders fought for, so that we can have equality. Democracy is a form of Ideology where people choose a political party to look after their interest in all aspects of life.

Jay (1984:185) The ideology of Nationalism. “Nationalism is described as a doctrine invented in Europe which holds that humanity is naturally divided into nations, that nations are known by certain characteristics which can be ascertained, and that the only legitimate type of government is national self-government. Nationalism is a political doctrine and not a state of mind.”[5] Nationalists are South African citizens who have strong and firm beliefs in their country. Nationalism is a set of values and beliefs pertaining to the country. Nationalists can also oppress people as they only think of what is nationally possible for its citizens. They are loyal and firm believers in the country.

Political ideologies of the 20th century

Kohn (1966:133) Racialism: “the word ‘race’ is primarily a biological term and denotes groups of men differentiated by anatomical characteristics.” Many barriers exist because of racism. Racism exists everywhere, locally and even globally. In my opinion, racism can be oppression through colour, gender and religion. People are seen as “different” just because they do not have the same skin colour or do not believe in the same religious ideologies. Racism in politics is still very rife since Apartheid and beyond. Racism is the cause of inequality between citizens within a specific country. The biggest example of racism in our country is between the leading party (ANC) and the opposition party (DA).The ANC being “black” dominated party and the DA being diverse but mostly white. The DA maintains a good BEE balance. BEE is a racist attack in order to “rectify” the inequalities of the past Apartheid era.

Kohn(1966:146) Fascism: ”is one of the two great authoritarian mass movements which started in the 20th century in conscious opposition to the middle-class capitalistic civilization of the 19th century. The origins of the fascist movement in Italy are to be found in both the wave of disillusionment and the exacerbated nationalism that swept Italy after 1918.” [6]Fascism is when one leader can not fight socio-economic issues on his/her own and where inequality still exists. Fascism is seen as a mass movement.

Political Science in Africa

Science vs. philosophy: The Need for a relevant political science. Barongo (1983:17) When we define political science “the different branches of inquiry may divide into two group the empirical and non-empirical .Empirical seek to explore, to describe to explain to predict occurrences in the world we live in. Non-empirical had disciplines of logic and pure mathematics whose propositions are proved without necessary reference to empirical findings.”[7] In my opinion, political science is a study. And like any study, thorough research has to be done to obtain more information about the specific topic/idea. Every continent/country has their own political ideologies and beliefs because each country is different. Africa being the poorest continent has a tremendous job in order to compete/compare with first world countries. Although our continent is “poor”, we are rich in resources, especially in research.

SA Politics: An Introduction

The function of political parties in a democracy De Jager (2015:150-151) We see political parties for “representing the interest” of their members. In SA “there is a broad diversity of ideologies, cultures and history and thus interest.” The role of the parties is to ensure that all the interest of their members are taken into consideration. If members put a political party into governance (by voting), the members of that political party expect the party to look after their interests with in the party. The political party must look after the cultural, religious and social beliefs of the members. For example: upliftment within communities and extra-mural activities in wards where the political is in power

“Socialisation and mobilisation: Parties can ensure increased participation of the public by integrating voters into a system and teaching them how and why to play the political game. Doing this they also inadvertently stimulate a sense of political legitimacy for democracy.” Mobilisation is getting a community to be self-sufficient. When political parties creates projects for the community to be self-sufficient. For example: Starting vegetable gardens, informing them about their rights.

“Formation and Recruitment of political leaders: recruit and training political leaders. Not just the ANC has to recruit leaders but the opposition parties.” This consist of encouraging the youth to get involved in politics. It starts at school (debates, trips to Parliament) to inform the youth and make them politically aware of possibilities of a career in politics. In order for them to be successful, they need to have a passion for doing the right thing politics for people. Formation is important to form a youth league to train the youth from an early age.

“Winning Elections and governing: key role of political parties in a democracy is to put forward their philosophies goals and election manifestos to compete for votes. The ANC has won all of the national elections since 1994 because it is very skilled at electioneering and has the largest base of social support.” Canvassing in the area for elections is a form of competition. Politicians say the right things to prospective members even if it is not true just to win votes. If enough people vote, the political party might be successful and win the elections. Many people believe that the ANC brought freedom, but ironically many politicians within the party have been found guilty by the public protector. The ruling party will be in control and hold most seats in government which works to their advantage.

“Maintaining government accountability and influencing decision-making: there are two types of accountability: 1-vertical: emanates through the electorate sine the electorate knows which party is responsible for controlling the government. 2-Horizrontal: channelled through opposition parties which are responsible for systems (e.g.: winning the right to govern).” Jacob Zuma is our president and the leader of the ANC. We need to hold the correct person accountable for his actions. We need to know who will be responsible for the actions of government. Government acts on behalf of the country. The opposition plays an important role to keep the leading party on their toes as competition. The leading party has a lot of influence of decisions with government. They influence decision making as a party.

The Ruling Party ANC.

De Jager (2015:154) “The liberation movement celebrated it centenary in 2012. It is a movement that is born out of Christian values of equality and mutual respect led by an African middle class of lawyers, teachers, church ministers and doctors. The early ANC’s call for inclusion in the South African body of politic was as citizens of a common, non-racial society, informed by Christian and liberal conceptions of justice and humanity. The ANC has also been influenced by the ideologies of communism and Africanism, the different approaches of those who were in exile; trade union movements; and those incarcerated during Apartheid. The influence of these different ideologies and traditions continues to have considerable significance for the organisation, leading it to be called a ‘broad church ‘It also helps to explain why the policies and practices emanating from the ANC cover the spectrum from moderate to radical and from liberal to socialist. The ANC still does not recognise itself as a political party; it insists on being a liberation movement. Currently the party is torn between the values of its founders and those who seek political power for personal interest.” Nelson Mandela played an extremely important role in the ANC and the country. He was the forefather of the “liberation movement.” The ANC strives to keep his legacy alive. Although there was many controversy within the party, they still have some form of success. Julius Malema leaving the ANC led to a decrease in the party, although he left, the ANC is still the most popular political party. They member’s believe that the ANC can not do anything wrong in the political spectrum.

The official opposition The DA

De Jager (2015:155) The DA is the “culmination of a long time of political parties splitting and coalescing but its origins go back to the breakaway by a number of liberals form the United Party in 1959 and the formation of the Progressive Party. Helen Suzman played a major role in the history of the DA. The DA supports a ‘programme of non-racial democracy, a limited state, constitutional supremacy and market economy.’ The party is labelled as the ‘white party’. The primary challenge for the party is its growth as non-white members could not become public representatives pre 1994. The key resource for the DA has been access to government and the use of coalitions”[8]. The DA can be seen as the biggest threat to the leading party. The official opposition party. It is a strong opposition. They are the biggest threat to the ANC. The coalition between the DA and the so called “coloured party” the Independent Democrats lead by Patricia de Lille was one of the biggest political developments we have ever seen post 1994. The history of the party still classifies them as a “white party”. The DA is quite diverse. The Western Cape is governed by the DA and they are doing quite well here. Although they provide competition for the ANC, they do a lot for the province.

The Ideologies of the Democratic Alliance

“What type of society does the DA want to build? 1) The core concept of Zille’s DA is one of an ‘open opportunity society for all,’ which it counter poses to the ANC’s ‘closed crony society for some’ where a clique rules to accumulate wealth. For the DA, a competitive job-creating economy, supported by an efficient education system, are the main drivers of this society. 2) The DA’s education policy subscribes to human capital theory, which considers the purpose of education to be the production of skills for the market, and the raising of productivity and hence economic growth. 3) The DA aims to provide what it refers to as a framework for choice of goods and services, such as schools. The party bases their conception of choice on trickle-down economics; so, as global competitiveness drives economic growth and society becomes richer, its members will be able to exercise the rights and choices for services.” [9]

The Ideologies of the African National Congress.

“For more than a century, has led our people in their aspiration for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society as the strategic goal of the National democratic revolution. To ensure all South Africans have access to adequate human settlements and quality living conditions through programmes that provide one million housing opportunities for qualifying households over the next five years, and providing basic services and infrastructure in all existing informal settlements. Improve and expand education and training by making grade R compulsory, eradicating adult illiteracy, and further improving the quality of basic education up to senior grade. The FET college sector will be expanded, with greater support for the needs of students, and compulsory community service for all graduates will be introduced.”[10]


As we can see from the above information, political ideologies are very important when researching political parties it is also important that the ideologies are in line with the needs of the country (that of the leading party and the opposition party) I agree with the ideologies of the DA as intellectual foundation because their ideologies are more universal and more realistic. All over the world and in all of history, political ideologies were used and accepted by potential members and loyal support of the political party. Various political ideologies should be used as far as possible within the party.

Bibliography/Referencing list

Heywood, A. 2013. Politics. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Eccleshal, R., Geoghegan, V., Jay, R. & Wilford, R. 1984. Political Ideologies:An introduction. Essex: Anchor Brendon Ltd.

Kohn, H. 1966. Political Ideologies of the Twentieth Century. New York: The Macmillan Company.

Baronga, Y. 1983. Political Science in Africa. London: Zed Press Plc.

De Jager, N., Graham, V., Gumede, V., Mangcu, X., Neethling, T., Kotze, J., & Welsh, D. 2015. South African Politics: An Itroduction. South Africa: Oxford University Press Southern Africa (Pty) Limited.


(9 April 2015)


(9 April 2015)

[1] A. Heywood Politics (2013) 27,31,34,38.

[2] A. Heywood Politics (2013) 47,49.

[3] R. Eccleshall Political Ideologies:an introduction (1984) 79.

[4] V. Geoghegan Political Ideologies:an introduction (1984) 115.

[5] R. Jay Political Ideologies:an introduction (1984)159,185.

[6] H. Kohn Political Ideologies of the Twentieth Century (1966) 133,146.

[7] Y. Barongo Political Science in Africa (1983) 17.

[8] N. De Jager South African Politics:An Introduction (2015) 150,151,154,155.

[9] http://africasacountry.com/the-politics-and-ideology-of-helen-zille/

[10] http://www.anc.org.za/docs/manifesto/2014/anc-manifesto.pd


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