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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Financial Times by David Pilling and Joseph Cotterill.]

In a little over a week, the African National Congress will take one of the most important decisions in its 105-year history. At a drab convention centre near Soweto, thousands of delegates from the continent’s oldest liberation movement will gather to elect a new leader.

The winner will take over a party in crisis. He or she will replace — as party leader and then potentially as president — Jacob Zuma, whose scandal-ridden decade in charge of the ANC has seen an explosion of alleged corruption and cronyism, a damaging split and a once-unthinkable slide in the party’s popularity.

There has been a deadening drift in policymaking, too. The economy never properly recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and, though no longer in technical recession, is still shrinking in per-capita terms. More than one in four South Africans is unemployed and 17m of the country’s 52m people receive some kind of government benefit.

Business confidence is at its lowest since 1994 and, according to one report from the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has sunk deeper than at any time since the 1980s when the country was facing the full brunt of international sanctions. One banker estimates companies are sitting on up to R1tn in cash because of uncertainty about the investment climate.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.9% y/y in August 2018 (CPI) & +6.3 y/y in August 2018 (PPI)
-0.7% q/q (2nd quarter of 2018)
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