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Ramaphosa is SA's best bet in May 8 elections - The Economist

Apr 27 2019 12:16
Pelane Phakgadi

With a week and a half to go before the general elections, The Economist is of the view that the incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa is the right man for the job. 

In an article published on Thursday on its site, the highly respected publication looked at Ramaphosa and how he remains the only hope SA has in turning around the seemingly struggling economy which relies only on ratings agency Moody’s to keep it at investment grade.

Moody's is the last of the big three international rating agencies to not have downgraded SA to sub-investment grade, or junk status. Rival ratings agencies Fitch and S&P both downgraded SA to sub-investment grade in 2017. 

If Moody's had downgraded SA to sub-investment grade, the country would have been ejected from the major Citi World Government Bond Index, forcing asset managers to sell billions of rands' worth of SA bonds.

The Economist isn't the only overseas publication keeping a close eye on South Africa and praising Ramaphosa for his leadership capabilities. Last week Times magazine named him among its Top 100 influential leaders, listed in the "Leader" category. Ramaphosa made the list along with Imran Khan, US president Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

Ramaphosa is described having "perfected the art of patience" in a mini biography by Vivienne Walt.

The Economist continues to highlight the economic challenges South Africa is facing, including unemployment and low economic growth. The publication said, "if unaddressed, many South Africans believe that the mix of corruption, an incompetent state, and extreme inequality could threaten the country’s future".

The Economist is of the view that since Ramaphosa has taken over the presidency, he has slowly begun to repair "the damage done by former president Jacob Zuma".

"Pollsters predict he will return as president in the election on May 8th. Much of the South African establishment, including many businessmen, are rooting for him. They argue that Mr Ramaphosa is the only person who can reform the country while holding its social fabric together.

“He is the last hope for democracy," argues Colin Coleman, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs in sub-Saharan Africa, as quoted by The Economist.

Ramaphosa's negotiations skills gained while leading unions in the 80s are tipped to negotiate SA out of downgrades, and bring in investors who are said to have left during the Zuma years, the publication continues. 

The man Madiba wanted

South Africa cannot afford for him [Ramaphosa] to fail; nor can the rest of Africa. The country still "has the continent’s most sophisticated economy, vibrant civil society and feisty media, according to The Economist. 

"Having overcome apartheid without a civil war, it has long been an inspiration to the world. All this is now in jeopardy, but Mr Ramaphosa, the man Mandela originally wanted to succeed him, has a chance to save his legacy. He must not blow it," it concludes. 

Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections.

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