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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Bloomberg by Antony Sguazzin.]

Shorn of their most important campaign weapon, scandal-ridden former President Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s biggest opposition parties are turning to populism as they scramble for votes in the most competitive election since the end of apartheid.

The two main challengers to the ruling African National Congress are increasingly echoing the anti-immigrant and race-baiting bias that’s come to dominate politics in the U.S. under Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, as well as Italy and parts of Eastern Europe.

“Secure our borders” reads a campaign poster of the second-biggest party, the Democratic Alliance. Its spokesman on immigration proposes a “humane” deportation program for undocumented migrants he says are a major source of crime and who take welfare checks and anti-AIDS drugs meant for South Africans. The signature poster of the Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-biggest party, features a picture of its leader, Julius Malema, emblazoned with “Son of The Soil,” a slogan that alienates Asian, mixed-race and white South Africans.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.3% y/y in August 2019 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in August 2019 (PPI)
3.1% q/q (2nd quarter of 2019)
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