Cyril Ramaphosa’s first state of the nation address as elected president of the country struck a welcome balance between realism about the depth of the current crises and optimism about how this can change under his administration. He did not mince his words on the problems in governance, the economy and social relations.

It is good that the president made the economy the first of his seven priorities, noting that it is a “concern rising above all others”. We know that our problems are vast unemployment, poverty and inequality. The president also acknowledged that economic renewal must take into account the changing nature of work and must be attuned to needs of the global climate crisis...

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