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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Stephen Grootes.]

One of the defining questions of the political year that is 2018 so far has revolved around the true extent of power President Cyril Ramaphosa commands right now, and whether he is consolidating his grip on the nation, and on the ANC. It is a complex question, involving determinations around both his apparent support base in the country as a whole, and his political strength within the ANC itself. No analysis, however, should exclude looking ahead, to assess the risks to his power consolidation process. And while, generally speaking, it is probably fair to say that Ramaphosa’s grip on power is increasing, there is also at least one stark risk that could lead to him being significantly weakened.

When trying to evaluate the strength of a current president, it is tempting to ask about the respective strength of other ANC leaders during the same stage in their terms of office – to look at where Thabo Mbeki was at the start of his term as ANC leader, and where Jacob Zuma was at this time 10 years ago.

In both cases, they appeared to have a firm grip on power. Even as Mbeki had been elected unopposed, the problem he had, as Zapiro illustrated so aptly, was the size of the shoes of the person who had come before him. Zuma, in 2008, was the man who mattered, even though Mbeki was still State President. Zuma had won by a large majority at Polokwane, and Cope was not yet still-born.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in September 2018 (CPI) & +6.2 y/y in September 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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