South Africa Faces Threat From Populism, Former Minister Says

(Bloomberg) -- Populist rhetoric has fueled unrealistic expectations of a quick fix to South Africa’s jobs and inequality crisis, Mcebisi Jonas, the country’s former deputy finance minister, said in an editorial in the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.

South Africa has lost its way and “in the absence of fresh, big ideas, the ruling party could easily turn to short-term populism,” Jonas wrote. The country needs to dismantle patronage networks, rebuild state institutions, improve education and foster inclusive growth, he said.

Jonas told a judicial commission of inquiry in August that a member of the politically connected Gupta family offered him 600 million rand ($42 million) to take the top ministry post and threatened to kill him if he spoke of the offer. Jonas declined to take the money and the role and resigned his post last year.

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