“Ramaphoria” fades

(Bloomberg) --

The “Ramaphoria” that spread in South Africa after Cyril Ramaphosa ended the scandal-ridden reign of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, in February seems like a distant dream.

Africa’s most industrialized nation yesterday entered a surprise recession, hit by the president’s failure to enact quick reforms and by the perfect storm of global trade wars and market turmoil that’s rocked countries from Brazil to Turkey.

To detractors, Ramaphosa has taken his eye off the economy as he deals with ruling party infighting, rooting out graft in state companies and pursuing constitutional change to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation — a move that’s popular among parts of the black majority but has spooked investors. Unemployment is close to a 15-year high.

Arguably South Africa’s most gifted politician since Nelson Mandela — he co-founded the biggest mineworkers’ union and negotiated the constitutional arrangements to end apartheid — Ramaphosa appears to critics to be too cautious.

That could come back to haunt him when his African National Congress faces a general election next year. The danger is a population running out of patience for the delivery of what the ANC — Africa’s oldest political movement — has long promised: economic liberation.

“Ramaphoria” fades

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“Ramaphoria” fades

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