Is President Cyril Ramaphosa a businessman? If so, what kind? Does it matter? Should we care? I think it does matter. If there is one characteristic of the successive ANC administrations since democracy, it is a convoluted and somewhat debilitating relationship between the government and business. During the Mandela years there was enormous goodwill but little true understanding of business’s actual needs, but it didn’t matter because everything was so much better than what preceded it. Thabo Mbeki introduced regular meetings with senior businessmen, local and international — much to the ire of the trade union movement and radicals in the party. Yet Mbeki delivered the country’s best economic growth so far. His rude ousting turned out to be a kind of lesson for the Zuma administration: don’t sidle up to business. The relationship with business turned inward and became corrupted, sour and discreet. It was no accident that this period also delivered some of the worst growth statistics...

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 articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

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