OVER the past decade, I have noted a great shift in the political landscape of this country as far as opposition parties are concerned.
In the mid-1990s, the opposition parties were quite vibrant. However, slowly but surely - I don't know whether through the formidability of the ANC or through their own weaknesses - they have all begun to fizzle out.
The demise of the New National Party was inevitable but what has happened to the others?
Azapo and the PAC seem to have destroyed themselves - what with all their power struggles and leadership problems.
The IFP has localised itself to KwaZulu-Natal, the ACDP remains a one-man party revolving around the Reverend Kenneth Meshoe - and Bantu Holomisa's UDM, a breakaway party from the ANC, was always going to struggle.
I remember a heavyweight DA comprising Tony Leon, Douglas Gibson and Jack Bloom, but where are they now?
I don't know if this only occurs to me but I hardly hear of the DA any more, save for a scattering of statements from the Western Cape.
Of course we all know how Cope started out but what their future is now has become hard to assess.
Yes, South Africa is a democratic country.
The ANC wins fair and square and has the full backing of the majority of the people.
But as things stand right now, the ANC is kept on its toes by its "opposition within" rather than from outside its ranks.
This arrangement seems to be working for the ANC but in the long run, is this state of affairs an arrangement that will truly safeguard democracy - and hence stability and growth - in South Africa?
Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria