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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Business Day by Anthony Butler.]

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet reshuffle has been widely greeted as “balanced”. The relatively sanguine assessment from analysts, however, may underestimate the possibility of a leftward shift in policy over the medium term.

Several factors have distorted analysts’ perceptions. Disproportionate attention has been focused on the fate of a small number of Zuma-era malfeasants. Many observers believed Ramaphosa would be forced to reappoint ministers such as Malusi Gigaba, Bathabile Dlamini and Nomvula Mokonyane to the cabinet because they featured high on ANC candidate lists. The fact that Ramaphosa swept them aside was a step forward, but only starting from a position of low expectations.

The “good ANC” versus “bad ANC” narrative that was central to the movement’s election campaign continues to shape analysts’ expectations. Theuns Eloff, chair of the FW de Klerk Foundation’s board of advisers, calculated in this spirit that only five out of 28 cabinet ministers “are known Zuma supporters … this implies that Ramaphosa has more than 80% of his cabinet not in opposition to him or his plans”. This rather depends on what his plans may be.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.3% y/y in August 2019 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in August 2019 (PPI)
3.1% q/q (2nd quarter of 2019)
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