Jacob Zuma ruled, but Cyril Ramaphosa will govern. It is this difference that could transform a weak state based on patronage, where warring ministers built their fiefdoms and handed out favours, into an administration that is able to function with a common purpose and in a co-ordinated way. As basic a requirement as this is of any government, after the Zuma years it is not one SA will take for granted again. Friday’s state of the nation address was met with resounding elation, not least by the numerous former comrades of Cyril Ramaphosa from the 1980s and 1990s who sat in the public gallery and the array of former government officials hounded out of the bureaucracy. We hope Ramaphosa can persuade them to come back into politics and into the government. The speech was an impressive and methodical list of the government’s new priorities. All of these have been at the core of what many parts of society have been demanding, from organised business to labour to the political opposition ...

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