- The new leader is banking on growth to make South Africa a well-functioning state again
- President Cyril Ramaphosa has impressive credentials; investors and financial markets have welcomed his first decisions
- If the new government’s “New Deal for Jobs, Growth and Transformation” agenda fails to work, radicals are likely to gain power
During the era of Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s fourth president, who ruled from 2009 until his resignation on February 14, 2018, the country descended into a deep economic crisis with major social and political consequences. Cyril Ramaphosa, chosen by the parliament’s National Assembly to replace the controversial veteran of the anti-apartheid fight, is a decade younger and a participant in the same struggle who went on to become a trade union leader and businessman. He is respected for his negotiating skills.
The head of the African National Congress (ANC) and now president of South Africa tasked with making it a functional state again, Mr. Ramaphosa will need to rely a lot on his famed ability to reconcile differences. He presides over a ruling party and a multiethnic society increasingly divided between radicals and reformers.