EXTRACT

South Africans are becoming restless with the New Dawn hype. In real terms, people's lives have become harder since Ramaphosa took office. We are in the midst of a winter of discontent as the impact of the VAT increase hits home, hiking the price of food, clothing, electricity and communications. Successive fuel price increases have resulted in further escalation in the cost of living.

Ramaphosa's response to the disgruntlement has been to appoint an independent panel to consider "the most effective way to mitigate the impact of the increase in the VAT rate on poor and low-income households". Earlier this month, he said a group of ministers would announce in two weeks a package of economic measures to cushion the public from the crippling effects of fuel price hikes and the VAT increase.

During Thabo Mbeki's first term as president, Nepad was the buzzword. There were various incarnations of the continental plan before the "New Partnership for Africa's Development" took shape. Mbeki and a few other African leaders championed Nepad, ensuring it was adopted by the AU and promoting it at international forums like the UN. Nepad was mentioned in almost every government speech and the business community latched on to the dream for Africa's development. The media reported extensively on the Nepad roadshow. There was great hope that the plan would aid Africa's recovery, draw investment, promote good governance and support conflict resolution.I only stopped to think about this great Nepad belief system after I heard a senior journalist tell his editor: I don't know what the president is saying. It was true that many of us could sometimes not understand what Mbeki was talking about but were scared to ask in case people - particularly Mbeki himself - thought we were stupid. So ...

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