Jean-Jacques Cornish

South Africa is more highly thought of abroad than its own citizens believe

There is a growing belief among academics and political observers that South Africa will be ruled by an African National Congress coalition after next months election.

This rests on the  poor performance by the current ruling party in opinion polls indicating its will lose its overall parliamentary majority. This that has fallen from  62% when Nelson Mandela led it to power in 1995  and to 57% at the previous election in 2019 

Dirk Kotze, a lecturer in University of South Africa, who widely quoted as an authoritative commentator in South African media says the ANC would be loathe form an alliance with the breakaway uhMkonto WeSizwe led by disgraced former President Jacob Zuma or the far left Economic Freedom Fighters led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema.

He believe the ANC is more likely to turn to the Democratic Alliance or the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party to make up its majority in the legislature.

“Who this is will largely determine South Africa’s foreign policy,” says Kotze.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa wants to adopt a more non-aligned centrist approach. This is not the classical Global South posture.

“As a member of BRICS, South Africa  will maintain good relations with Russia and China.

“This will not, however be to the detriment of relations – particularly economic  ties with our traditional Western trading partners.

Kotze says the United States is a good example.

“Washington might be angry with South Africa  because of its tough stand against Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its refusal to condemn Russia’s operation in Ukraine but it remains one of South Africa’s top three tradition partners and regards South Africa ss the gateway  to Southern and Central Africa: Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic Congo.

“Africa is a highly contested economic market. I am told by sources in the Department of Economic Relations and Cooperation that he five major summits between Africa and the U.S., Japan, China, Turkey and the EU will grow to nine next year.”

Kotze says Ramaphosa’s desire to play to meditating role in international conflicts will not be affected by the ANC’s poor political performance.

“South Africa remains more favorably regarded abroad that it does at home where corruption, failure of service delivery and poor economic performance have whittled away at ANC support.” 

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.