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For the reality is that the ANC is still honeycombed with corrupt placemen entirely willing to fight their corner to keep their rackets going and Ramaphosa is far too weak to carry out the general purge that many would like to see. Indeed, in the ANC’s biggest province, KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma has dug in and is playing the Zulu card for all it is worth, with his supporters angrily protesting against the fact that their leader will soon be brought to trial for corruption. They blame Ramaphosa for having forced Zuma’s resignation and angrily insist that they will force Ramaphosa out too before long. Some are even suggesting secession from the centre by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC.

Faced with this sea of troubles Ramaphosa’s main initiative has been to launch a campaign to attract $100 billion in foreign investment. He is certainly right to see economic growth as the essential means to get out of the current mess, the other necessary elements being a thorough purge of corrupt elements and a large programme of infrastructural investment.

The trouble is that foreign investors are hardly clamouring to pour their money into a country that is in such a mess and which, according to the US State Department, is among the world’s top ten most anti-American countries, judged by UN votes. Most businessmen would like to see evidence of some tough-minded market-friendly reforms before risking their cash. But Ramaphosa is too weak to carry out such reforms even if he wanted to.

At present he is trying to talk up the economy — which, as Larry Summers argued some time ago, is the very cheapest form of economic stimulus. Most predict that this will only produce growth of 2 per cent or less, in which case the country will drag along much as now. The sad irony is that Ramaphosa is probably the best President that the ANC has yet produced. But he has taken power at a juncture when the cumulative mistakes and squandered opportunities of ANC rule have not only become a crushing burden but have largely worn out the patience and public support on which the party has depended until now.
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Richard Stephens
June 7th, 2018
12:06 PM
I've never heard such doom and gloom! What about all the positive things that are happening in South Africa - things that we could only dream about with Zuma at the helm!

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