chapter  6
12 Pages

Comparison and conclusion: Lessons and prospects

Lijphart’s speculation regarding the ANC’s future development as a dominant party and the possibility of it following a path similar to that of the INC during the two decades after independence is founded upon perceived party agentive similarities between the two regional party system confi gurations. Though a welcome statement, it is nevertheless a fl awed one. As the discussions in the preceding three chapters have shown, INC dominance had a much more inclusive, accommodative, participatory and decentralised basis than the evolving system of one-party-dominance in South Africa. The alleged representativeness of the ANC is, more often than not, a refl ection of strategic top-down decisions, such as party list nominations, from above, rather than indicating representation emerging from community-based factional bargaining. Furthermore, party agency in South Africa involves the highlighting of a somewhat artifi cial cleavage rather than the ‘muting’ or containment of cleavages in order to corroborate the dominant party’s catch-all rationale as was the case in post-independent India. Consequently, and surprisingly, the Congress system could rely on more profound consociational underpinnings than the ANC’s unfolding dominant party rule, the initial institutional powersharing arrangements of the South African context notwithstanding.