Cyril Ramaphosa’s elevation to the presidency of the ANC was a close call. Some of his backers were swayed by their fear that a victory for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would plunge the ANC to defeat in the 2019 elections. Fear of the electorate also hastened Jacob Zuma’s removal from the state presidency. A "dignified exit" in reality allowed the ANC as a whole to turn on its former leader, so marking a clear dividing line between a discredited "old ANC" and Ramaphosa’s allegedly quite different party. Wednesday’s painful budget also sent a signal to the people. Tax rises were spun as a result of Zuma’s disastrous decisions and his corrupt administration. Acting Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba — perhaps in exchange for the promise of a smaller but still gratifying blue light convoy — blamed Zuma for the unanticipated higher education funding announcement in December. Ramaphosa’s political priority is presumably to deliver a resounding victory to the ANC in the 2019 elections. His first ca...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now