THE fundamental problem confronting South Africa today is a political culture that is defective and out of kilter with the needs of the majority of the people. Innovative thinking about transforming the economy is stunted by political infighting at the top, indecision on crucial policy issues, gridlock in departments key to the economy, and a president who is out of depth on the economy.There is thus no alignment of interests between political elites and the public. This is having a damaging effect on the public’s confidence in political leadership. That in turn affects economic performance. Many government departments that form the pivot of an economic cluster, which was set up to co-ordinate policies, suffer from atrophy. The cluster is made up of more than a dozen departments, including the Treasury, economic development and minerals and energy.The country is clearly in desperate need of a new deal to win back confidence. But this won’t be easy given the intricate connection betw...

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