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Politics keeps happening to President Cyril Ramaphosa. He’s constantly being pushed around by events initiated by people who want to bring him down; and being battered by a political narrative he has had no part in formulating. Even his allies —organised business, the vast majority of political commentators, the intelligentsia and most of the urban middle class — are losing the faith.

Ramaphosa needs to find a way to set the agenda. This is difficult when the economy is so weak. Having styled himself as the president of the new dawn who could turn sentiment around by force of his own presence and personality, he must now face the hard truth that a turnaround is now further off than ever. Rather than being a president who will bring a better life for all, he is set to be — for his first term at least — the president who was in charge when times got even tougher...

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