For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)
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Africans are world champions at moaning, especially this time of year when we
are exhausted and the price of food (and drinks) is only going one way.
to myself over the past few days and weeks, complaining about how tough this
year was. And then I told myself to get over it.
fair analysis of South Africa in 2018 should come to a factual conclusion that
we are in a much better place than 12 months ago.
Of course we
still have major issues like crime, unemployment, corruption, racism and
inequality, but let's force ourselves to pause for a moment and look out of the
window at the year that was.
the weeds to see the cosmos flowers.
And no, this
is not a naïve love letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, but you have to be
really cynical and/or utterly stubborn not to acknowledge the changes his
arrival at the Union Buildings have triggered.
A year ago,
South Africa was holding its breath as the ANC faithful had to choose between
turning a new page or keeping the status quo at its Nasrec conference.
close, but sanity prevailed and Ramaphosa narrowly beat the Zuma faction's
candidate to become ANC president. The importance of this moment cannot be
overstated; it effectively brought an end to the capture of the ANC and the
state by Jacob Zuma, his family and his friends, the Guptas.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is now one of Ramaphosa's closest allies in the
Presidency, where she interacts with the private sector on the president's
behalf. In a master stroke, Ramaphosa also sent her to the North West to sort
out the mess left by Supra Mahumapelo, a staunch leader of the "Premier
League" and Dlamini-Zuma backer.
is the de facto deputy president
while David Mabuza kisses babies, cuts ribbons and visits his GP in
some of Ramaphosa's other master strokes?
appointment of Pravin Gordhan as Minister of Public Enterprises has seen a massive
clean-up effort of the state-owned enterprises. Eskom, Transnet and Denel have
new CEOs and boards. Forensic investigations have been completed or are
underway and 2019 must surely produce some court cases involving the Zuma-era
enablers and looters.
has "saved" the South African Revenue Service from the disastrous
reign of Tom Moyane and his lieutenants, but it will take time to restore
confidence and calm at this crucial organ of state. Ramaphosa got the
green-light this week to appoint Moyane's successor.
Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks have seen the appointment of new, competent
and trusted heads to kick-start the criminal justice sector into action. The
ball is now firmly in the court of Shamila Batohi and Godfrey Lebeya to show
the country what they are made of.
louder than words and we need to see some high-profile arrests and prosecutions
in 2019 to restore the confidence of the public in our justice system.
resignations of Nhlanhla Nene and Malusi Gigaba as ministers of finance and
home affairs introduced a new era of accountability which didn't exist under
Zuma. Ramaphosa will have to be very consistent in applying the good governance
test; Cabinet still has some serious rogues with not-so-small skeletons in
and Nugent commissions have been a revelation and the Mpati commission into the
dealings of the Public Investment Corporation will give South Africans further
insights into how their money was (mis)managed under the previous
management of the land expropriation debate has seen the opening up of honest,
hard conversations between black and white South Africans. I still think he
jumped the gun by announcing the ANC would support an amendment to the
Constitution, but it is fair to say the sting has been removed and the debate
about land ownership is much more mature than it was six months ago.
Ramaphosa needs to win an election as ANC president and there is a growing
school of thought in the (black and white) middle classes that he needs to be
given a clear mandate to govern on his own terms.
will correctly argue that a vote for the ANC is not necessarily a vote for
Ramaphosa. The party oversaw the institutionalisation of corruption and
nepotism in the civil service and it will be almost impossible for one man to
remove all the stains.
But what is
Both the DA
and EFF, as well as the smaller opposition parties, have serious soul-searching
to do over the festive season before they hit the campaign trail early in 2019.
has shown his hand; the voters have seen his willingness to clean up the mess
left by the ANC. His opponents will have to convince the electorate that they
can do better.
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