Militant Mandela Passes the Baton

  • Share
  • Read Later
MAFIKENG, South Africa: Nelson Mandela formally handed over control of his party Wednesday to his designated heir, Thabo Mbeki, amidst media reports that the African National Congress was taking a harder line towards South Africa's privileged white minority. But Mbeki's talk of "completing the revolution" and "continuing the struggle" should be read less as signaling any intention of attacking domestic and foreign business interests - which he sees as all-important components of the country's efforts to generate economic growth - than as the opening volleys of the party's 1999 election campaign.

The continued rank-and-file enthusiasm for the populist Winnie Mandela has sounded a warning to the partyís leadership: The impoverished majority have yet to see tangible benefits from the ANCís moderate economic policy. To ensure their support at the polls, the party is likely to reclaim the banner of liberation by intensifying rhetorical attacks on white economic privilege. But these attacks are unlikely to translate into a policy shift.