Carol Paton Writer at Large

It is reassuring to learn that President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the first steps to restructure the government by establishing a policy advisory unit in the presidency. The lack of capacity in his office has been a big issue. It has been unable to respond adequately to important issues, even court cases. His advisers — legal, economic and political  — are low-key. Some, such as economic adviser Trudi Makhaya, are at sea in the world of politics, waiting to be told what to do rather than developing an agenda and proactively putting issues on the table. Ramaphosa’s political advisers — Steyn Speed and Khulu Mbatha — are practically invisible. They don’t carry much political heft and the extent to which they are able to formulate a strategic approach to the political leadership challenges the president faces, while cloistered away in their offices, has not been demonstrable. The most significant appointment Ramaphosa has made is that of Roshene Singh, who came in as chief of staff ...

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