Few things were debated as intensely in business and political circles in the lead-up to the election as what kind of a president Cyril Ramaphosa would be in this, his first real term. Now that we have had the election, the cabinet selection, the ANC’s selection of parliamentary committee chairs and the state of the nation speech, we are getting a good idea.

He is the kind of president who wants to have his cake and eat it. Making choices and trade-offs is not Ramaphosa’s inclination, nor his strength. The speech, which introduced several new spending priorities, including more money for Eskom much sooner, promised fiscal prudence in the same breath without any honesty on the implications for the fiscus...

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