The ANC and the return of the state to the centre of society
At the end of the summer, some two or three months ago, the governance and political environment was much different than it was now.
The state’s coffers were all but bare, the result of a poorly performing economy and plundered fiscus, and the realities of forced structural changes and reforms were beginning to overtake any and all lofty rhetorical ambitions that the ANC government had.
The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic however changed the whole landscape. Whereas Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was gearing up to start enforcing reforms in the civil service and state-owned companies, two of the biggest drivers of debt, wastage and bad governance, the pandemic forced him to put most of his plans on hold. But it did put the state and state control back at the centre of society with emergency regulations and laws providing sweeping powers not seen since the advent of democracy.
In this week’s edition of the Friday Briefing I argue the pandemic has given the ANC a new lease on life, and that the recent economic recovery document it put forward is evidence of the party’s plans to re-centralise lost control. Mpumelelo Mkhabela, who used to be a colleague in the press gallery in Parliament, writes about the shocking murder of Collins Khosa and asks when the president will reassert his authority. And Elmien du Plessis, one of the clearer constitutional scholars around, says this week’s judgment by the High Court about the legality of emergency regulations is a missed opportunity.
** South Africa Beyond Covid-19, our project which saw 30 of the country’s top analysts and experts (not me!) write about how we chart a way forward, is now available as an e-book from Jonathan Ball Publishers. It's available on Amazon here. Buy it, read it and keep it.
Have a good weekend.
Pieter du Toit
The global coronavirus pandemic has presented an ailing ANC with an opportunity to return the party and state to the centre of South African society, writes Pieter du Toit.
President Ramaphosa has to reclaim his leadership relevance on the Collins Khosa matter and take charge as a commander-in-chief, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.
The unfamiliar landscape of quick executive decision-making and fast-paced law writing over the past few months came as a gift for many a law nerd. At times, it has felt like a quiz show with fingers on the buzzer, ready to answer the question: "Is this legal?" asks Elmien du Plessis.