Meanwhile, the United States will be hosting the first U.S.-Africa Summit in August, and South Africa is set to be a major interlocutor on renewal talks for the African Growth Opportunity Act, which expires in 2015. Understanding the context for South Africa’s foreign policy engagements will be crucial as Europe and the United States redefine relations with that country.
Important shifts are occurring in South Africa’s political landscape. Contrary to expectations in the transatlantic community, the African National Congress (ANC) secured 63 percent of the votes, distantly followed by Democratic Alliance with 22 percent and the newly established Economic Freedom Fighters with 6 percent. However, the ruling ANC suffered significant setbacks in major economic centers such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Port Elizabeth. This trend will likely continue. Dividing lines, still racial and socio-economic in nature, are also increasingly generational and geographical, with a growing rural-urban split. This year’s presidential election was the first in which so-called “born-frees” — black South Africans born after the end of Apartheid in 1994 — were able to participate. Many chose not to. Voting patterns, which have largely been guided by the legacy of the anti-Apartheid struggle, will increasingly be about the government’s ability to address high levels of unemployment, the delivery of basic services, and widespread corruption