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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Bloomberg by Michael Cohen.]

The race to lead South Africa’s ruling party is turning increasingly nasty.

Allegations that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a front-runner for the post, had extra-marital affairs with at least eight women and paid expenses for some of them were splashed across the front page of the Sunday Independent, which cited Ramaphosa’s private emails to back up the story. It didn’t say how it obtained them. Ramaphosa called the report part of a covert operation to halt his drive to root out corruption in the ruling African National Congress.

“We already had a somewhat toxic political environment in South Africa and it’s just got a bit more ugly,” Daniel Silke, director of Political Futures Consultancy in Cape Town, said by phone. “Extra-marital affairs have not had any dramatic effect on leaders’ political fortunes. For those who wish to damage the Ramaphosa campaign, I would say they would need to try a little bit harder.”

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South Africa at a Glance
59 620 000 (mid 2020 estimate)
2.2% y/y in June 2020 (CPI) & +0.5 y/y in June 2020 (PPI)
-2.0% q/q (1st quarter of 2020)
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