African National Congress
The African National Congress (ANC) is a social-democratic political party in South Africa. It has been in power since the election of lawyer, activist and former political prisoner Nelson Mandela at the first free and fair elections in 1994, and has been re-elected at every election since, though with a reduced majority every time since 2004. Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent President of South Africa, has served as President of the ANC since 18 December 2017.
The ANC was founded on 8 January 1912 by John Langalibalele Dube in Bloemfontein as the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), its primary mission was to bring all Africans together as one people, to defend their rights and freedoms. This included giving full voting rights to Black South Africans and mixed-race South Africans and, to end the apartheid system introduced by the National Party government after their election victory in 1948.
The ANC originally attempted to use non-violent protests to end apartheid; however, the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960, where 69 Black South Africans were shot and killed by police and hundreds wounded during a peaceful protest; contributed to deteriorating relations with the White minority government. On 8 April 1960, Governor-General Charles Robberts Swart declared the ANC illegal, and they would remain outlawed for the next thirty years. After being outlawed, the ANC formed the Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) to fight against apartheid utilising guerrilla warfare and sabotage.
After thirty years in exile, during which many ANC members had been imprisoned or forced to flee abroad, the country began its move towards full multiracial democracy. On 3 February 1990, State President F. W. de Klerk repealed the ban on the ANC and released Nelson Mandela from Victor Verster Prison on 11 February 1990. On 17 March 1992, a referendum on the continuation of apartheid was held; but only White South Africans could vote. The majority of the electorate voted to abolish apartheid and the ANC were allowed to stand at the 1994 general election, which for the first time; allowed all South Africans regardless of race the right to vote.
Since 1994, the ANC has polled better than 55% at all general elections, including the most recent 2019 general election; where the ANC received their worst electoral result to date. However, the party has been embroiled in a number of controversies since 2011 and has been steadily losing ground to smaller parties.