"It’s the economy, stupid." This phrase, which was coined by James Carville, a campaign strategist for Bill Clinton in 1992, is in the air as President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC now try to turn the tide. Ramaphosa has to start with the state and its ability to manage the economy. The size of the cabinet is expected to be reduced, to 25 or 27, according to those in the know. The number of deputy minister posts is also positioned for a cut. The economic ministries are set for some tinkering as well, though the National Treasury is still to be bulletproofed and will remain the apex department for fiscal policy. There is a lot Ramaphosa can do quickly to give credence to the "new dawn" he promised in 2017.

"The ‘new dawn’ is feasible as long as Ramaphosa remains president," says Bank Zero founder Michael Jordaan. "We’ve had a terrible decade under Jacob Zuma: since 2013 economic growth has been lower than 2%, which hardly exceeds the population growth of 1.5% and doesn’t come cl...

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