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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751

Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.49 n.4 Pretoria  2009


Die ANC en die nasionale demokratiese rewolusie: Polities strategiese perspektiewe


The ANC and the national democratic revolution: Political and strategic perspectives



André Duvenhage

Navorsingsdirekteur, Volhoubare Sosiale Ontwikkeling, Noordwes-Universiteit, Potchefstroom. E-pos:




Die Nasionaal-Demokratiese Rewolusie (NDR) is as konsep en ideologiese raamwerk baie bekend binne die denkpatroon van die ANC en sy bondgenote. Anders as wat soms verwag is, is die NDR as denkraamwerk nie na 1994 opgehef nie, maar slegs in 'n strategiese en taktiese sin geherposisioneer onder die vlag van sosiale, politieke en ekonomiese transformasie. By die onlangse Polokwane Konferensie van die ANC (einde 2007) het die organisasie verskeie resolusies aanvaar wat in lyn is met die grondbeginsels van die NDR wat ook neerslag gevind het in die ANC se 2009-verkiesingsmanifes. Hierdie artikel fokus op die NDR as politiek-ideologiese denkraamwerk met die beklemtoning van polities-strategiese aspekte.

Trefwoorde: Rewolusie, Nasionale Demokratiese Rewolusie, Nasionale Demokratiese Beweging, Sosiale, Politieke en Ekonomiese Transformasie, Politieke oorgang, Thermidor gematigd, Jakobyns radikaal


Recently the leader of the officiai opposition, Helen Zilie, said the following: "The ANC's National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is not only incompatible with democracy, but it lies at the heart of virtually every crisis we face. The electricity crisis, the arms deal, the manipulation of the criminal justice system, the weakening of parliament and threats to the media and the judiciary can all be traced back to the NDR". The ANC 's reaction to this was: "Our tasks are clear: We must advance in unity as we mobilise the masses to build a caring national democratic society. Our National Democratic Revolution will not be halted" (ANC Today, 22-28 February 2008:3, 6).
At the recent Polokwane Conference of the ANC this organisation's commitment to the NDR was confirmed once again, and matters such as poverty relief, job creation and greater social and economic equality were seen to be important priorities of the "Revolution". However, closer examination reveals that the NDR is apparently a direct consequence of complex ideological schools of thought as these are anchored within the broader framework of the philosophy and ideology of revolution; and adapted to distinctive South African political, economic and social circumstances. Political transformation and its underlying philosophy actually only represents a specific face or phase of the NDR and does not necessarily exclude other viewpoints, perspectives and strategies (historic or future). The following aspects need to be accentuated against this background:
 The NDR defines the "religion" of the thinking of the National Democratic Movement (NDM=ANC and others) and is also the "leitmotif within the greater ideological framework.
 The application thereof is often extremely pragmatic (situational) to keep pace with the distinctive South African context and changes within this context.
 The NDR is the fundamental framework (paradigm of ratiocination) within which the "broad church" of the ANC thinks and reaches consensus over matters. (The Polokwane Conference was a striking example of exactly this!)
 The application context of the NDR must constantly be reinterpreted to determine its success (or otherwise) and to link up with changing (read new) circumstances. (This is why
STRATEGY AND TACTICS: are revised anew at each National Conference!)
 Ideologically the NDR draws on complex thinking and tendencies regarding the theory and practice of revolution, for instance Classical Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism (especially the idea of "revolution from above") and Maoism as well as ratiocination pertaining to decolonisation and existentialism.
 A huge number of Afrikaans-speaking people (including politicians and community leaders) have a very limited understanding of this way of thinking (or even no understanding at all) and therefore do not have the ability to interpret current policy and practice meaningfully and set up antipodes for this - where and if needed.
With especially the last-mentioned aspect in mind, the aim of the present article is, firstly, to enable readers better to understand the NDR as the "hard core" of the ANC; and, secondly, to grasp the government's way of thinking as it pertains to South African politics, economy and the society. Although this presentation will touch on a number of strategic aspects of South African politics, it must not be confused with a strategic analysis of the macro-political environment and scenario analysis of the South African political situation. The primary aim is only to get a perspective on the soul of the National Democratic Movement and, in particular, of the ANC.
The article focuses, inter alia, on the following:
 Revolution as a concept and the application thereof within the framework of the NDR.
 A structural analysis of the NDR. Unrestricted.
 The dynamics of the NDR.
 The future of the NDR.

Key concepts: Revolution, National Democratic Revolution, National Democratic Movement, Social, Political and Economic Transformation, Political Transition, Thermidor Moderate, Jakobin Radical.


Full text available only in PDF format.




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1 Verskeie analogieë is al getref tussen Zuma en 'n reddersfiguur (messias) byvoorbeeld: "Jesus was persecuted. He was called names and betrayed. It's the same kind of suffering Mr Zuma has had to bear ... " Ace Magashule soos aangehaal deur SAPA (2008).
2 Daar moet in gedagte gehou word dat die NDR tot in die hart van die Nasionale Demokratiese Bewegings gedefinieer is, maar dat ander denke soos liberalisme, neo-liberalisme en ander vorme van sosiaal-demokratiese perspektiewe ook binne die raamwerk van die "Broad Church" of Ruimhartparty bestaan.
3 Terminologieë en vertrekpunte binne die groter raamwerk van die NDR wat óf gebruik óf geïmpliseer word, sluit in dialektiese en historiese determinisme; antikapitalisties en politieke transformasie voor sosio-ekonomiese transformasie (Karl Marx); wêreldwye rewolusie en die Voorhoede Party (Vladimir Lenin); permanente rewolusie (Leon Trotskie); party-totalitarisme en revolution from above (Josef Stalin); rewolusie as meganisme vir die opheffing van teenstrydighede; die rol van landelikes as instrumente vir rewolusionêre verandering; en die afwisseling van strategieë en taktieke in 'n kontekstuele sin ter bevordering van die rewolusionêre ideaal (Mao Zedong).
4 'n Ontwikkelingstaat word voorgehou as "(a)n activist state that intervenes decisively in the economy with a general progressive agenda" (Strategy and Tactics 2007:20). Hierdie beskouing verskil van die meer konvensionele ontwikkelingstaatbeskouing wat volgens Heywood (1998:94-95) nie 'n sosialistiese agenda behoort te veronderstel nie en wat beskryf kan word as 'n poging "... to construct a partnership between the state and major economic interests, often underpinned by conservative and national priorities".
5 Vergelyk Seliger (1976) vir 'n konseptualisering van ideologie en Duvenhage (2007:2-6) vir sy model ten opsigte van die dinamika van ideologiese denkraamwerke.
6 Hierdie afdeling is slegs 'n samevattende rekonstruksie van die aard en omvang van die komplekse politieke krisis op verskillende vlakke. Vir volledige besonderhede oor die aard en omvang van die krisis, raadpleeg Duvenhage (2007A:1-104).
7 Volgens Heywood (1997:24) word regime beskryf as "... a broader term that encompasses not only the mechanisms of government and the institutions of the state, but also the structures and processes through which these interact with larger society." 'n Disfunksionele regime (soos aangetref in onder meer sagte-; swak en stukkende state) dui op 'n onvermoë om effektiewe en "efficient" regering te verseker. Dit is tans die geval in onder meer plaaslike regering in Suid-Afrika.
8 Hierdie "aaneenlopende skrikbewind" soos verwoord deur Brinton (1965) is nie 'n klassieke-rewolusionêre perspektief nie en sou kon aansluit by Stalin se sogenaamde idee van "revolution from above" wat in die artikel eerder met transformasie in verband gebring word. Die post-Leninistiese tyd in die Sowjet Unie was egter 'n tyd waarin sosiale en politieke onstabiliteit die dood van miljoene mense veroorsaak het en wat tot die vertolking van 'n permanente skrikbewind aanleiding kon gegee het.
9 'n Toespraak met die titel "Let a hundred flowers bloom " is in 1956 deur Mao Zedong gelewer waarin konstruktiewe kritiek teen die staat en Kommunistiese Party in China versoek is. Dit is teen Julie 1957 opgeskort, en kritici het hieroor onder skoot gekom, wat deur sommige as 'n "politieke hinderlaag" beskou is.



André Duvenhage behaal die grade BA en BAHonn in Politieke Wetenskap (beide met onderskeiding) aan die PU vir CHO. In Januarie 1984 word hy aangestel as Junior Lektor aan die PU vir CHO met doseeropdrag in Ontwikkelings-administrasie, Openbare Bestuur en later ook Staatsleer en in 1989 verwerf André 'n Magister kwalifikasie in Ontwikkelingsadministrasie. Hy verlaat die PU vir CHO aan die begin van 1991 en word aangestel as lektor in Politieke Wetenskap aan die UOVS, waar hy in 1994 sy PhD voltooi met 'n proefskrif getiteld Politieke Transformasie in oorgangsamelewings en hy word tot Senior Lektor bevorder. Tydens 1999 inisieer André 'n nuwe akademiese program in Regeerkunde en Transformasie wat op nasionale vlak erkenning verwerf en hy word gedurende 2000 bevorder tot Medeprofessor in Politieke Wetenskap en terself-dertyd aangestel as Direkteur van hierdie program. Binne die bestek van ses jaar het dié nuwe program bykans 'n honderd Magisterstudente opgelewer. Hy keer teen die begin van Oktober 2006 terug na sy alma mater om die pos van Navorsingsdirekteur in Volhoubare Sosiale Ontwikkeling aan die Noordwes-Universiteit te aanvaar. Sy akademiese spesialisareas sluit in Politieke Teorie, Politieke Transformasie, Regeerkunde en scenario-ontledings.

André Duvenhage obtained the BA and BAHonn degrees, Politcal Science, cum laude, at the PU for CHE. He was appointed as a junior lecturer at the PU for CHE, teaching Development Administration, Public Management and later also Political Science in 1984; and in 1989 André obtained a Masters qualification in Development Administration from the same university. In the beginning of 1991 he moved to Bloemfontein, where he accepted an appointment as lecturer in Political Science at the University of the Free Strate; he was subsequenlty promoted to senior lecturer, after completion of his doctorate, with a dissertation entitled Politieke Transformasie in oorgangsamelewings (Politcal Transformation in transitional communities). In the course of 1999 André initiated a new academic programme in Governance and Transformation, which achieved recognition nationally; he was promoted to Associate Professor of Political Science and simultaneously appointed as Director of the new programme during 2000. Within the space of only six years this new programme already delivered approximately 100 Masters students. In October 2006 he returned to his Alma Mater to assume the position of Research Director, Sustainable Social Development at the North West University. Academic areas in which André specialises include Political Theory, Political Transformation, Governance and scenario-analyses.

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