Can the Ramaphosa Express Salvage South Africa’s Economy?

One of the most effective slogans of the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, has been “a better life for all”. The trouble is, when one party has nearly all the power, the kind of people who seek power in order to abuse it and grow rich flock to join that party. Corruption, always a problem, became so widespread under Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president from 2009 to 2018. In those nine lost years Mr Zuma’s chums systematically plundered the state. Honest watchdogs were sacked. Investors fled, economic growth stalled, public debt soared and unemployment (even by a narrow definition) rose from 23% to 27%. Eskom, the bloated, looted national electricity firm, can no longer reliably keep the lights on or factories humming. Corruption has crippled public services. With an election next month, there are questions whether incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa is the right person to turn the party’s image around and in turn, change the country’s fortunes.


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