South Africa’s ANC Worried About Electoral Support Amid Recession

(Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s ruling party is concerned about losing support after the economy plunged into a recession in the second quarter.

The African National Congress is also worried that the recession could trigger further credit-rating downgrades, the party’s head of economic policy, Enoch Godongwana, told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Africa’s most-industrialized economy contracted in the second quarter, taking it into its first recession since 2009. That complicates the task of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over the ANC at a time when the ruling party’s support slipped to a record low of 54.5 percent in 2016 municipal elections that saw it lose control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and other major cities to opposition coalitions.

Ramahosa has to balance the ANC’s quest to retain its majority in a vote next year with pledges to get the economy back on track and attract $100 billion of investment in the next five years. The party’s Treasurer-General Paul Mashatile will undertake an investor roadshow in the U.S. next week, Godongwana said.

The “Ramaphoria” that buoyed the markets and the public at large after Ramaphosa engineered Jacob Zuma’s ouster as president in February has long since faded and the rand fell to its weakest level in more than two years after the recession news.

The ANC will start to tighten control over policy implementation because it’s been a key constraint for economic growth, Godongwana said. That includes government making a long-awaited announcement on the allocation of spectrum to mobile-phone operators by the end of October, he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.