Seven must-read articles on Ramaphosa's first 100 days in power
One hundred days ago, Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of SA. How has he done? Here are seven articles and videos on his performance
First up is Business Day's editorial comment, published under the headline 'Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days'.
This from the editorial:
The biggest impact of that has been confidence. Without the fiscal space to stimulate a stagnant economy, confidence was the most powerful ingredient the government had to offer. Since December, business confidence began to lift. The critical matter during the first 100 days and beyond is sustaining Ramaphoria, lest Ramaphobia — the fear that Ramaphosa might not be able to save the country — should gain a foothold.
Top of the confidence-building measures has been the rapid replacement of the leadership of state-owned companies. As this is where most of the risk to the economy and the rot was centred, the focus has made good sense. The changes, including those announced on Thursday in time to squeak into Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office, have been sweeping.
The depth of the problems, though, should not be underestimated: South African Airways is still in a liquidity crisis and Eskom is in what looks like a death spiral. South African Express and Denel have been depleted. We are still to see how brave Ramaphosa will be in taking the knife to these companies.
Also part of the confidence-building measures are the appointments of a strong, independent economic adviser and several special economic envoys, and the announcement of an ambitious investment target of $100bn. Two summits, one on jobs and one on investment, are planned.
These do little but indicate Ramaphosa’s good intentions. What investors, ratings agencies and business are looking to are structural reforms that can remove blockages to growth.
Writing for the Financial Mail, BusinessLIVE editor Ray Hartley writes under the headline 'War on four fronts - Ramaphosa’s first 100 days'.
This from the article:
It is conventional wisdom that generals and politicians should avoid waging war on more than one front. Such battles stretch your resources to breaking point and require constant attention lest there be a surprise attack.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is fighting on four fronts:
• He must consolidate his position within the ANC as his enemies attempt to weaken him from within;
• He must breathe life into a damaged state that has lost the will and the capacity to deliver effectively;
• He must persuade a jaded electorate to back his party; and
• He must win over investors to turn a moribund economy around.
The tensions are real: retain party unity by placating the authors of state capture, and the programme to rebuild the state falters and the electorate becomes sceptical; emphasise a radical policy shift to persuade voters that democracy will finally deliver, and investors become restless.
Business Day's new editor, Lukanyo Mnyanda, was among those on a panel chaired by Hilary Joffe on Business Day TV where the first 100 days were discussed. Click here to watch the video:
The Financial Mail carried the article 'So far, so good Cyril' by seasoned political commentator Richard Calland.
So far, Ramaphosa has barely put a foot wrong. He has distanced himself from the Zuma administration — no mean feat as he was Zuma’s deputy from 2014. Aided by his #TummyMustFall early morning walks, he has been able to project himself as both energetic and approachable, in contrast to his predecessor.
His first state of the nation address, less than 48 hours after Zuma resigned, was well delivered and well received.
He had to hide his talents under the Zuma bushel for years and kept a relatively low profile during his decade in business before that, so many people exposed to his leadership talents for the first time have been pleasantly surprised.
For those who knew him in the 1980s and 1990s, it was less surprising.
But the real test is whether he will be sharp enough and, where necessary, ruthless enough to use power now that he has won it.
The answer to that question, based on his performance so far, must be a resounding yes. He ousted Zuma from power, reshuffled the cabinet, fired or suspended key agents of the state capture project (such as Tom Moyane at the SA Revenue Service), and embarked on a wide-ranging clean-up of state-owned enterprise boards.
Tom Eaton has the ability to turn an issue on its head and shake it until the money falls out. Instead of writing about Ramaphosa, he chose to imagine Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's first 100 days, had she won.
Here's what he had to say in 'Now imagine Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's first 100 days ...' :
We start five months ago, as a beaming Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is congratulated by a sombre Cyril Ramaphosa. A moment later she is embraced by Jacob Zuma, grinning from ear to ear. She has just become the new president of the ANC. The rand slides from R14 to R18, but ANC Twitter dismisses this as the last gasp of reactionary capital, and Minister Nomvula Mokonyane reiterates that she and her comrades will pick up the currency no matter how far it falls.
The next morning, the Presidency announces that rumours of an early exit by Zuma were nothing but a malicious effort by the DA, EFF and the media to create division within the party. Zuma will complete his term and step down as planned in May 2019.
The only major change will be the redeployment of Comrade Ramaphosa, who has agreed that he will best serve the party as the ambassador to New Zealand. He will be replaced as deputy president by the beloved new leader of the glorious movement, Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The rand goes to R20, and Julius Malema goes ballistic, vowing that he will not set foot in parliament while Jacob Zuma is in office.
Finally, Bekezela Phakathi found out what opposition leader Mmusi Maimaine thought of Ramaphosa's performance in an article with the headline 'Cyril Ramaphosa underwhelming so far, says Mmusi Maimane'.
Here's an extract:
President Cyril Ramaphosa is governing on a fragile, compromised mandate and might not be able to effect the change that SA needs to turn around, the DA says.
Ramaphosa reaches his first 100 days in office on Thursday, and DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the president’s tenure so far had been "underwhelming".
"South Africans have rightfully expected much more from the president," Maimane said.
"We remain stuck in a jobs crisis, while our country is not safe from crime and our politicians continue to commit acts of corruption and nepotism.
"Tax is up, jobs are scarce, petrol is increasing and food is becoming unaffordable."