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Anatomy of the ANC in Power: Insights from Port Elizabeth, 1990-2019

Mcebisi Ndletyana
Anatomy of the ANC in Power: Insights from Port Elizabeth, 1990-2019
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2587-9
ISBN: 978-0-7969-2611-1
2020/338 pages
Distributed for HSRC Press
"[An] exemplary study.... Ndletyana's examination of how and why the ANC became so corrupt, so dysfunctional, so focused on benefitting itself and its leading cadres ... is of enormous academic and public-policy value.... Essential."—Choice

"A perceptive and sophisticated analysis of both party and state, and the relationship between them, at the local level."—Janet Cherry, Nelson Mandela University

"A cogent analysis of how a liberation movement is [affected] by transition into political office.... Ndletyana uniquely delves into the reasons behind the ignominious decline of the ANC in a region historically endowed with an excellent corps of cadres." —Joel Netshitenzhe, Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

Observers reacted with shock to the 2016 African National Congress electoral loss in Port Elizabeth, once an ANC stronghold. Yet, argues Mcebisi Ndletyana, that loss should not have come as a surprise—nor, perhaps, should the subsequent absence of reforms within the party.

Ndletyana explores power and politics in Port Elizabeth since 1990, tracing the ANC's postapartheid trajectory of rebuilding and decline. What his study reveals is an organization that not only failed to cohere as a democratic institution, but became an amalgam of greedy factions competing for patronage. Though his canvas is local, his analysis importantly informs what is happening now in South Africa at the national level.


Mcebisi Ndletyana is head of the political economy faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He has also taught at the City University of New York, Marrymount Manhattan College, and the Nelson Mandela Metro University.


  • Introduction.
  • Rebuilding and Path to Power.
  • Adapting to Political Office.
  • "You Keep Your Standard House; I’ll Keep my City Hall."
  • The Decline Begins, 2006-2012.
  • Pseudo Reforms: Concealment of Malfeasance and Interference at City Hall, 2013-2014.
  • Ukufa Kusembhizeni: The Enemy Lies Within!
  • Latshon 'ilang' emini: Sunset at Midday.
  • From Incumbency to Position and Back: A Return to Infamy.
  • Conclusion.