Even when you have left South Africa, the ANC wants to keep in touch with you. In its discussion document about international relations, prepared ahead of its policy conference in June, the party says other parties were mobilising support in countries with large expat South African communities, and so should the ANC, especially since a Constitutional Court ruling in 2009 that South Africans abroad should have the right to vote.
It does not mention the Democratic Alliance (DA) by name, however, which has established branches in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States where a number of South African expats live.
"Other political parties have taken advantage of this ruling and mounted campaigns abroad to [woo] our people to vote for their parties. It will be surprising if they have not established structures to continue and sustain their campaigns," it says, adding: "the ANC needs to enter the battlefield by linking with former anti-apartheid movements and the continuation of our International solidarity work, this would enhance our mechanism/forums abroad. These will also assist the organisation in the battle of ideas debate on the international area and will root internationalism in the movement."
The ANC said since the unbanning of the broader movement and the return of the majority of its members from abroad, "less attention has been given to the life, plight and political needs of those of our people who for various reasons remain or were redeployed abroad."
Since the advent of democracy, however, South Africa has spread its footprint abroad "to almost all major centres of the world". Many companies have also opened shop in especially other African countries, and South Africans were stationed there.
The ANC identifies the U.S., Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, the United Kingdom and Cuba as countries with sizable South African expat populations.
The ANC said structures abroad could also help facilitate people to people and cultural relations, as well as building a "global progressive movement" and further relations with social movements and "progressive non-state actors of common mind".
The ANC Women's League in January had a meeting in Ethiopia with the stated aim of establishing a desk for expats in that country, but this isn't mentioned in the ANC's documents.
The DA Abroad already has a large branch in the United Kingdom, and another sizable one in France. It also has structures in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Ghana, China, Thailand, Namibia and Hong Kong.Suggest a correction