Ramaphosa’s first 100 days

And what it tells us about the shape of the South African state

The Shape of Ramaphosa’s Presidency

Cyril Ramaphosa came to power in South Africa 100 days ago facing a huge challenge: restore the credibility of the Presidency and put South Africa back on the growth track after almost a decade of disastrous rule and entrenched corruption by Jacob Zuma, whose years in power came to be known as “state capture”. Even for someone with as varied a skill-set as Mr Ramaphosa’s - who has succeeded as a trade union leader, politician and businessman – the challenge to deliver what has been dubbed “Ramaphoria” is enormous, for he needs to align this to society in a way that has rarely been done.

His political geometry, employing a careful distribution of power in his cabinet and benefiting from consultation with concentric kitchen cabinets, is both hazardous and necessary. Mr Ramaphosa has moved with both determination and deliberation to start rebuilding confidence in the Presidency and government in what he calls the “New Dawn.” Mr Ramaphosa’s conundrum of renewing a divided party after winning with slim majority and trying to win a clear mandate in the next election will show that his agenda is clear, but how far he can go is less so.

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