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It is widely believed in the business and investment community that while President Cyril Ramaphosa is treading softly on economic reform right now, after the election, when he is returned with a large majority, he will have the space to make the changes the economy needs. As is often the case in life, this is a situation where people are believing what they want to believe. However, it has little grounding in reality, which will likely turn out to be quite different. After the election has passed, the next ANC hurdle will already be looming over Ramaphosa. The ANC’s national general council (NGC) — its mid-term gathering between conferences — is usually held in July, two-and-a-half years through the ANC term of office. It is due in 2020 and, while it will probably be delayed by a few months, it will need to be held before the year ends. No voting takes place and no policy resolutions are passed at the NGC. Its function is to provide an opportunity for assessment of the ANC conferen...

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