macroafricaintel | South Africa – Mmusi’s DA (2)

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Figurehead with little influence
In response to a question about one of his points about Maimane not being an effective leader thus far, Wits’ Southall has this to say. “There was always a suggestion that [Maimane] was backed as a relatively inoffensive black successor by Zille, and he has to try to span the awkward divisions across race within the DA, wherein there is quite a powerful old white guard. So the battles within the DA tend to reflect that.”

New African also sought to know why Wits’ Southall thought Maimane had thus far failed to capture the public imagination.

“Maimane is a preacher, so has some reasonable ability to capture the public imagination in public speaking, but is not particularly ‘charismatic’, and in fact is less publicly appealing in many ways than Zille in her prime, who speaks fluent Xhosa, was a very good campaigner in the townships, and could dance with the best of them.”

“Maimane is a bit stilted. To be fair, its a difficult role he has to fill.  And as an opposition leader, he has to compete with [Julius] Malema, who is bombastic, full of fiery speeches, and makes a public spectacle, and is always in the news. In fact, he creates news, Maimane doesn’t.”

A recent incident vindicates some of the points raised by Wits’ Southall. No, the pertinent example is not the “forty-four out of ten South Africans don’t have a job” slip of the tongue Maimane suffered on the campaign trail in March.

It is rather the faux pas Maimane committed during Ramaphosa’s question and answer session in parliament in early March, when he attempted to ask a question in the local language. He made a mistake in the use of the right protocols in his reference to Goodwill Zwelithini, the Zulu king.

His error forced Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, who is a member of parliament (MP), to point out the difference between a ‘King Zwelithini’ and a tribal chief like himself.

“The honourable member just misled the house”, echoed Mandela, “there is a difference between a king and a traditional leader being a chief…King Zwelithini is addressed as such ‘His Majesty’”. Thereafter, national assembly speaker Baleka Mbete ruled that Maimane “be sensitive to the protocols”; amidst laughter by some of the black MPs. Maimane asked the remainder of his question in English afterwards.

The slight error on the right protocol was not the substance of Maimane’s question; which was on land expropriation. But to be corrected on such small but very important local nuances is probably evidence of why Maimane still does not appeal very much to the hearts of many black South Africans. He should not have to be corrected on these things.

Maybe a slight bump
So what are the DA’s chances in the upcoming elections in May? New African asked Langelihle Malimela, Johannesburg-based Senior Africa Analyst at IHS Markit.

“The DA is unlikely to progress much further than the 22 percent that it managed in the 2014 poll. I would hesitate to put a number to this, but I think that they will climb by perhaps three to five percent.”

“This is largely because the DA has done the majority of its growth over the years by eating into the share of other smaller parties, rather than eating into the ANC. In this regard, they have probably approached a ceiling and are unlikely to grow a lot more, at least for the time-being.”

“They have encroached a little in recent times on ANC votes, but not substantially. This is because the data shows that as ANC voters have begun to punish the ANC for corruption etc. in recent times, the majority of them have done so by not voting at all, rather than voting for another party, including the DA.”

“This tells you that the opposition in South Africa still struggles to take advantage of the ANC’s blunders.”

“In terms of manifestos, really the ANC and DA cancel each other out. Both place great emphasis on growing the economy, cleaning out corruption and improving education.”

“Where the DA has tended to fall short is in the realm of Black Economic Empowerment (or BEE). This is a policy regime that aims to transform South Africa’s economy by giving preferential access to economic opportunities to people of colour in South Africa.”

“Given that the DA is an historically white party, it has always been equivocal in how it approaches this matter and voters have tended to pick up on this.”

“The latest manifesto flatly rejects BEE in the manner that it has been implemented by the ANC, which has resulted in the enrichment of a quite small, politically connected elite, increased corruption and largely failed to change the demographic make-up of the South African economy.”

“But in its place, the DA has not been able to suggest a coherent alternative that prioritises redress, and speaks to the aspiration of a rapidly urbanising black middle class.”

An edited version was published in the April 2019 issue of New Africa magazine

macroafricaintel | South Africa – Mmusi’s DA (1)

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Mmusi Maimane, the head of South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, should ordinarily be popular with most South Africans. He is black and so should naturally appeal to black South Africans. And since he is married to a white woman, whites should naturally warm up to him as well.

As head of the DA, which is still adjudged by most black South Africans, as a party that promotes the interests of whites, Maimane ought to fit in perfectly. But that has not been the case. In other words, Maimane’s black heritage has not proved to be as much of an asset as the DA likely hoped.

Ironically, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Maimane’s counterpart in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), likely ticks most of the boxes on the key traits the DA likely sought in their leader.

Ramaphosa has mass appeal with Blacks, Whites and Indians in South Africa. And yet this should ideally be Maimane’s forte.

What the DA has going for it as a party, however, is a reputation for service delivery. It has demonstrated this in the relatively better-run Western Cape province, which it has been governing since 2009.

But why is this reputation not resulting in more popular support? One of the reasons is that memories of apartheid still run deep. There is hope that this might change in the future, however.

Younger South Africans, who naturally would increasingly have vague memories of apartheid, might eventually buy into the DA’s message; especially if the ruling ANC continues to flounder on the provision of basic public services and does not succeed in checking the corrupt activities of its cadres. But that future is probably still a long way off.

 

Thus, there is a sense Maimane is probably resigned to the fact that the DA may not be a ruling party at the federal level for a long while. And it is almost certain the DA would not be one under Maimane’s leadership.

What do experts think? New African asked Roger Southall, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, who first highlights points on the subject from an earlier paper he wrote and thereafter answers our follow-up questions.

“The Democratic Alliance, the official opposition, had sought to divest itself of the tag of being the party of white liberalism by becoming more racially diverse and progressively transforming its free-market [orientation] into a social market orientation.”

“However, for all that it had increased its vote share and representation in parliament from one previous election to another, it had proven incapable of taking advantage of the ANC’s dismal record of governance and an upsurge of popular ‘Zuma must Fall’ sentiment which had swept the country during the latter years of his presidency.”

“Although it had played an important role in demanding accountability by Zuma in parliament and via the courts, the DA had been outshone in this regard by the theatrical performances of the EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters].”

“Despite the many scandals of the Zuma administration, the DA’s likeable but ineffectual leader, Mmusi Maimane, had failed to capture the public imagination.”

“Worse, his predecessor, Helen Zille (who remained Premier of the DA-ruled Western Cape) had antagonized vast swathes of the black public (whose support the party was desperate to attract) by a long series of ill-advised ‘tweets’ which highlighted what she regarded as the constructive aspects of colonialism.”

“To be sure, a solid party performance in the 2016 local government elections had led to ANC defeats and the forging of coalitions between the DA, the EFF and smaller parties to run Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela metro (Port Elizabeth) but these were soon to come under severe strain.”

“Indeed, the latter one had collapsed in a racially-charged dispute in August 2018. Most damagingly, the DA had fallen out with Patricia De Lille, its own mayor of Cape Town, in an extended fractious battle in which unspecified charges of corruption were rebutted by equally unspecified charges of the party being run by a white cabal.”

“De Lille’s eventual resignation from the DA, after various court battles, threatened to fracture its hold over the Western Cape’s Coloured community and, as a result, its control over the province (which it had swept in 2014 with 59 percent of the provincial vote).”

An edited version was published in the April 2019 issue of New African magazine

macroafricaintel | South Africa: Will Ramaphosa bring down the house? (2)

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Out of his hands
In a nutshell, while Ramaphosa’s position as ANC president may not be secure, he has deftly ensured that his anti-corruption effort would be able to take on a life of its own with or without him on the saddle.

“South Africa is a constitutional democracy in which the head of government does not decide who gets prosecuted for corruption or any other crime. Not even Jacob Zuma could decide that, much to his regret”, says Steven Friedman, a research professor and renowned political scientist at the University of Johannesburg.

“Ramaphosa did not even appoint the head of the prosecution service alone – he was careful to ensure that she was chosen by a committee consisting mainly of professional lawyers so that he could not be accused of influencing the process”, adds Friedman.

“Who is prosecuted will, therefore, be determined by the National Director of Public Prosecutions [Advocate Shamila Batohi], an independent person recently appointed with the support of the entire legal profession”, the UJ professor avers further.

Already, the South African president has announced a new special investigative unit to prosecute the state capture allegations: “We have agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, that there is an urgent need to establish in the office of the NDPP an investigating directorate dealing with serious corruption and associated offences, in accordance with section 7 of the NPA Act.”

So, he is certainly heading in the right direction. The key question is whether he would be able to stay the course as the casaulties of his anti-corruption war start to get closer to home.

Oxford Analytica’s Robinson has cogent views on the question. “While his administration has faced public criticism for not hastening anti-corruption investigations, especially the slow pace of prosecutions or some notable withdrawn cases (e.g., Estina Dairy Farm, Ajay Gupta arrest warrant), the fact is that if Ramaphosa tries to interfere in ongoing investigations he risks going down the path of politicising South Africa’s anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies as his predecessor did – which is what allowed the process of state capture to emerge in the first place.”

IHS Markit’s Malimela also has some views on this. “Given the evidence that has come out of the state capture Inquiry, it is hard to see Ramaphosa trying to protect anyone.”

“Remember that South African courts are very independent, and while Ramaphosa has a slim majority in the ANC, the ANC has been losing power overall in any case, and thus in a parliament where they enjoy an ever slimmer majority, it is very difficult from here on, to protect anyone against whom the NDPP finds solid evidence (which won’t be hard).”

“The new NDPP is very highly qualified, competent and respected, and has left the ICC [International Criminal Court] where she worked for 9 years to return to the NPA where she began her career. Much is expected of her.”

“My point is that, it may not be all up to him, and how far he will go. And that was his intention. He has played it very well in the sense that he is giving law enforcement institutions the space and resources to do their work: and they are starting to. But it will be a marathon, not a sprint.”

An edited version was published in the March 2019 issue of New African magazine

macroafricaintel | South Africa – Will Ramaphosa bring down the house? (1)

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

In mid-February, Bantu Holomisa, president of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), a political party, exclaimed “we now know the cost of state capture…billions of rands have been stolen and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been weakened”. Holomisa made these remarks at UDM’s manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth against the backdrop of renewed load shedding by the country’s state power utility monopoly, Eskom, which the UDM president attributed to state capture. “Like Prasa, Eskom is no longer able to perform service as it should”. He was only stating the obvious.

At his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) a week before, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the matter quite succinctly. “The revelations emerging from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture and other commissions are deeply disturbing, for they reveal a breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing that challenges the very foundation of our democratic state”. More importantly, “where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently”, the president added.

Incidentally, Holomisa’s speech a week after, happened at exactly the same time the ruling African National Congress (ANC) president was addressing party faithfuls at their own manifesto rollout in Limpopo. “President Ramaphosa may be a decent man, but he is just one man”, Holomisa remarked.

“There is nothing to stop the ANC from deciding to remove him just as they recalled Thabo Mbeki and replaced him with a person facing over eight hundred criminal charges”, the UDM president added. Holomisa was also speaking from personal experience: the ANC expelled him in 1996, after he testified before the Desmond Tutu-led Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Incidentally, Ramaphosa had, only just days before, during his response to the SONA debate in the South African parliament, been defending himself against accusations by Congress of the People (COPE) president Mosiuoa Lekota, a former member of the ANC and former minister of defence, that he betrayed his struggle comrades to the apartheid regime when he was a student leader. Ultra-leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party has called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the accusations by Lekota.

And about a month before, EFF leader Julius Malema also asked Ramaphosa to clear the air on the actual relationship between his son Andile and Bosasa (registered as “African Global Operations”), a facilities management firm implicated in state capture that was recently liquidated by its sponsors after banks refused to do business with it.

In light of this context, how far will Ramaphosa go to fight corruption within the ruling ANC and the state? How far can he really go? New African posed these questions to top political analysts.

Treacherous politics
“Ramaphosa has already started to tackle corruption by replacing the boards of corrupted firms and hiring credible prosecutors”, says Adeline Van Houtte, Africa analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in London. “Cracking down on corruption and prosecuting offenders remain key elements of Ramaphosa’s agenda”, she adds.

“But whether Ramaphosa succeeds depends on elections outcome on May 8th. But even if the ANC wins, he will face ferocious opposition to the clean-up from within his party. He will therefore need to tread carefully as it would be easy for rivals to remove him from the party leadership”.

Thus, “Ramaphosa is constrained in different ways in terms of combatting corruption at the state level and within the ANC itself”, says Oxford-based Jason Robinson, a senior Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica.

Langelihle Malimela, Johannesburg-based senior economics and country risk analyst at IHS Markit, provides additional context. “It is all likely to drag though, for some time. In other words, it will be some time before many prominent people are actually put on trial.”

“What Ramaphosa has done is to place emphasis on building institutions and following due process. It has served him well in the sense that, when he has gone after someone, such as his firing of the SARS [South African Revenue Service] commissioner, he has prevailed in the ensuing legal storm.”

“On the downside, it makes him appear indecisive and slow. But he is trying to ring-fence these institutions and put them on solid footing in case he is removed in future by the party.”

An edited version was published in the March 2019 issue of New African magazine

macroafricaintel | South Africa: What is Malema’s game?

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

In November, South Africa’s public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan filed a complaint with the police against Julius Malema, the firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), an ultra-leftist political party increasingly gaining ground amongst poor black South Africans. Shortly afterwards, Mr Malema filed his own charges against Mr Gordhan, calling him corrupt. Hitherto, Mr Malema had largely not been challenged quite so strongly by those at the receiving end of his sharp rhetoric.

That Mr Gordhan chose to go through the legal route could also be interpreted to mean he is confident no skeletons would be found in his cupboard. Mr Malema and his party do not believe that for a second. Still, there are not many cadres of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party that would be willing to take Mr Malema on that determinedly.

The EFF alleges Mr Gordhan has a foreign bank account – which ministers are not allowed to have – with the Royal Bank of Canada, for instance, a claim he denies. An investigation by News24, a South African newpaper, shows the bank account details were probably made up, however. It reports Mr Gordhan does not have Canadian citizenship nor is he in the process of acquiring one. So, he could not have been able to open the said account. It remains to be seen what the legal process would reveal.

Rising stature
But Mr Malema and his EFF party are having other effects on South African politics. Without a doubt, the ANC has tilted more to the left than would ordinarily be the case were the EFF not gaining popularity. For instance, the ANC argues the expropriation of land without compensation being championed by the EFF was ANC policy from the outset.

Most would agree, however, that had the EFF not made it a major issue, the ANC would probably not have been too eager to follow through on it so quickly. In early December, the South African parliament adopted the report of its constitutional review committee that recommended the amendment of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. A clear win for the EFF.

The EFF could also rightly claim credit for now free tertiary education. Although former president Jacob Zuma probably did it self-servedly, having little else to show for a legacy, he was nudged along by the EFF’s rhetoric. And there have been quite a number of other political wins for the EFF. Mr Malema did mention before the fact that former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was not as honest as was perceived; on the extent of his association with notorious acolytes of Mr Zuma, the Guptas, for instance.

Truth is, Mr Malema has been proved right more times than he has been proved wrong. Lately, however, he has been going off script. If his accusations against Mr Gordhan are proved to be wrong and malicious, it would hurt his credibility greatly. Maybe on Mr Gordhan, he is simply shaking the tree in the hope a fruit would fall down.

Not so different
Evidence is beginning to emerge that Mr Malema enjoys an expensive lifestyle. His residence in a posh area of Johannesburg is believed to have been acquired via the patronage of a wealthy cigarrete tycoon. His increasingly vociferous verbal attacks and not so subtle threats against some journalists are also disturbing. There is also the issue of the failed VBS Bank which allegedly implicates EFF’s deputy president Floyd Shivambu and the party itself.

More disturbingly, Mr Malema’s rhetoric has recently begun to border on the violent. True, he often qualifies his remarks afterwards to suggest he did not mean that at all. Still, those at the receiving end are no longer taking his attacks lying down. His public spat with a female journalist of Indian descent is well-known, for instance.

Amid all these, it begs the question about whether the EFF can be taken seriously. And whether Mr Malema, should he get the chance, would make a good president for South Africa. To his credit, were he not of stronger stuff, he would long have been in oblivion by now, after Mr Zuma kicked him out of the ANC. So, he is certainly presidential material. But for a complex country like South Africa, is his makeup complicated enough to manage the many nuances of the job? More importantly, what is the EFF’s strategy? New African sought the views of Darias Jonker, director for Southern Africa at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy.

“The strategy of the EFF is to come to power as soon as possible, and to merge with the ANC in the medium- to long-term to consolidate power and rule the country for as long as possible. Given this objective, their tactics change regularly as the political situation – and particularly the situation in the ANC – changes.”

Since Mr Zuma’s departure, the EFF has been struggling to find a new narrative. And since the ANC has been pre-empting it on some of its trademark policies, and even joining it to champion some, there is increasingly little difference between them.

Eurasia’s Jonker provides some background: “The party was created following Zuma’s ANC kicking them out, and thus an anti-Zuma narrative was pushed due in equal parts resentment towards Zuma and political opportunism that benefitted from voter dissatisfaction with Zuma.”

The EFF initially sought to work with Cyril Ramaphosa, Mr Zuma’s successor. So they did not boo him in parliament like they did Mr Zuma and largely went along with his policies. And until recently, there has not been much the EFF could whip the ANC president with. The Marikana massacre no longer has as much bite since Mr Ramaphosa promised he would visit the widows there with none other than Mr Malema himself; having been accused of insensitivity for not doing so hitherto.

A recent revelation that the president’s son donated a huge sum of money towards his father’s campaign for the ANC presidency and Mr Ramaphosa’s less than convincing forgetfulness in his explanation to parliament about the matter, suggests there might be something to fight him with at last. That is, if he continues on his dogged anti-corruption path.

On the defensive
“Although the EFF is willing to work with Ramaphosa if that brings them to power, they are being threatened by Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption campaign and overall reform agenda”, opines Eurasia’s Jonker. “In particular, two issues are at stake here: investigations by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) into Malema’s tax affairs and investigations by the South African Reserve Bank and law enforcement agencies into the collapse of VBS Bank. With VBS, the EFF allegedly benefited when funds went to companies linked to close relatives of Malema and Shivambu, and then were used to pay for services procured by the EFF or by properties occupied by Malema and his family.”

“Malema’s tax affairs have been a persistent problem for him: initially SARS was scrutinizing benefits he received from companies that won tenders in Limpopo province while he had lots of influence there as leader of the ANC Youth League, but then SARS also started looking at the illegal cigarette industry and in particular Adriano Mazzotti – an alleged manufacturer of illegal cigarettes and patron to both the EFF and Malema.” Consequently, Jonker believes “the EFF has been doing whatever it can to deflect these issues. Thus the attack on Gordhan, Treasury and the SARB [South African Reserve Bank]. They have also moulded these attacks into propaganda that feeds into resentment towards White Monopoly Capital.”

“Ironically, the EFF now has a shared interest with the Zuma faction in weakening and removing Ramaphosa. The two sides are thus working towards the same objective and are likely to be sharing and leaking information that could incriminate Ramaphosa and his allies. We saw this with the leak of information concerning Nhlanhla Nene’s meetings with the Guptas, and probably also Ramaphosa and his son’s links to Bosasa and the Watson family. These dirty tricks will continue, and indeed the fightback against Ramaphosa will continue, for as long as the Malema and Shivambu are threatened with potential legal action. Thus, we expect this to continue through to the 2024 election.”

An edited version was published by New African magazine in January 2019

macroafricaintel | South Africa – Inquiry nation

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Nhlanhla Nene, the former South African finance minister, probably now wishes he stayed away from public office after his unceremonious exit a few years ago from the administration of former president Jacob Zuma. His “integrity” was paying off. He had some lucrative board memberships and there were probably more on the way before he was beckoned upon again to serve his fatherland. What did Mr Nene do? He lied about the extent of his association with the Guptas, a now infamous Indian family which rose to stupendous wealth on the back of the South African Commonwealth. This was revealed at the ongoing commission of inquiry into state capture led by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo. Malusi Gigaba, another former minister, whose video of himself engaged in a private indiscretion became public, had to resign as well. His exit from cabinet was not particularly due to the video scandal, though. The Public Protector, the country’s anti-graft body, asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action against him in late October for allegedly lying under oath.

The two star politicians are a good study of contrasts. Their personalities are different. Mr Nene is ideally discreet, quiet and not one for the limelight if he can help it. Mr Gigaba, on the other hand, is attention-seeking, aims to be suave, and dresses flashily. And even as Mr Gigaba insists he has done nothing wrong, and that his resignation was not an admission of guilt, revelations since then suggest he may have likely lied about some of his activities in government. Mr Nene’s case is pitiable because there was really no need for him to lie in the first place. There is probably no senior member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party under Mr Zuma’s leadership who did not have to deal with the Guptas at some point in time. And it is to Mr Nene’s credit that he never succumbed to the pressure they put on him to do wron

Public interest is served by probes
Asked about his thoughts on the trend of inquiries under Mr Ramaphosa’s leadership, Darias Jonker, director for southern Africa at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, in London says, “This is a positive trend for Ramaphosa, in the sense that it is a safer tactic to use in his strategy to remove or neutralize his opponents within the ruling African National Congress. First, by building up a solid case against them there is less room for them to wriggle out of these allegations once they get tested in court. Second, because the inquiry is public the allegations against the Zuma patronage network are being aired in the open and the public is becoming increasingly aware of the scale and audacity of the patronage network. This will boost Ramaphosa’s image as a reformer. One downside is that the inquiries take time, and some people are impatient with the slow pace and want to see arrests and court cases: but Ramaphosa is playing a long game.”

Ronak Gopaldas of Signal Risk, a risk consultancy, in Cape Town shares similar sentiments. He believes the corruption inquiries are “definitely positive.” He opines further: “From a governance and institutional perspective, we have seen a positive shift since Ramaphosa took over. There is a cleanup being undertaken and these commissions are attempts to get information out in the open and to build consensus. It also provides Ramaphosa with necessary ammunition to act against those implicated without burning his political capital within the ANC, which remains tenuous given the narrow victory margin in December.”

But would it indeed help to curb corruption as envisaged? Mr Jonker believes so: “The inquiries are part of Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption reforms and will drastically reduce the grand scale corruption in national and provincial government and in SOEs [state-owned enterprises]. Smaller scale corruption will, however, persist across government and be a particular problem on the local government level.” For his view, Signal Risk’s Gopaldas says “the commisions themselves are simply a start – much will however depend on whether Ramaphosa is able to act decisively against corruption, reform the ANC and replace captured organisations with competent technocrats. In this sense, the commissions should be seen as the diagnosis rather than the cure.”

Simply put, these inquiries make a difference. And there is empirical evidence to back the claim. New research by Eric Avis and Frederico Finan, both of the University of California at Berkeley, and Claudio Ferraz of Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro published by the Journal of Political Economy in October finds in Brazil that “being audited in the past reduces future corruption by 8 percent, while also increasing the likelihood of experiencing a subsequent legal action by 20 percent.” Expectedly, there is now palpable hesitation on the part of some ANC politicians to testify before the Zondo commission. It is increasingly clear quite a couple of them lied about the extent of their malfeasance and misdemeanour under Mr Zuma. Could the revelations cost the ANC at the polls? What does Eurasia’s Jonker think? “Yes and no. The opposition will use the revelations to paint the ANC as endemically corrupt, which it largely is. However, other major opposition parties also have serious corruption allegations haunting them, and voters know this too.”

But Ramaphosa wins as well
There are other ongoing commissions of inquiry. One has just been commissioned to investigate the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the investment manager of the state pension fund. There would probably be more. Consequently, Mr Jonker of Eurasia Group believes there could be inquiry fatigue at some point, “especially if there are no arrests of high-level state capture participants.” That said, even as the motivation for establishing these inquiries might not be entirely altruistic, they are inadvertently beginning to serve the public interest.

Ironically, some day in the future, there might be inquiries into how past inquiries conducted their affairs. But not yet; that is even as Mr Ramaphosa’s foes probably wish otherwise. Could the costs of these inquiries become a subject of inquiry at some point, for instance? Eurasia’s Jonker does not think so. “No. Ramaphosa’s detractors are complaining about the cost in an effort to undermine him, but in reality the cost of the inquiries are a fraction of the sums that were taken from the public purse through corruption and patronage. The public knows this and it is not keeping tabs on the costs involved.” Besides, “many voters who turned away from the ANC because of the corruption and mismanagement during the Zuma years will return to vote for Ramaphosa now that he is being seen as a fighter of grandscale corruption,” he adds.

Also published in my BusinessDay Nigeria newspaper column (Tuesdays). See link viz. https://www.businessdayonline.com/columnist/rafiq-raji/article/south-africa-inquiry-nation/

macroafricaintel Weekly | 10 Dec [Update]

By Rafiq Raji, PhD
Twitter: @DrRafiqRaji

Click here for PDF version

Date Data / Event Period Forecast Previous
10 Dec Nigeria GDP, % yy Q3 2018 0.8 [act. 1.8] 1.5
11 Dec South Africa Mining Production, % yy Oct 2018 -1.7 -1.8
11 Dec South Africa Manufacturing Production, % yy Oct 2018 -0.1 0.1
12 Dec South Africa CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 5.3 (0.3) 5.1 (0.5)
12 Dec South Africa Retail Sales, % yy Oct 2018 2.8 0.7
13 Dec South Africa PPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 6.8 (0.4) 6.9 (1.4)
31 Dec South Africa PSCE, % yy Nov 2018 5.2 5.8
31 Dec South Africa M3. % yy Nov 2018 5.7 6.0
Seychelles CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 4.1 (0.2) 3.4 (0.2)
Tanzania CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 2.9 (0.2) 3.2 (-0.3)
Botswana CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 3.8 (0.4) 3.6 (0.7)
Namibia CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 5.3 (0.4) 5.1 (0.4)
Nigeria CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 11.4 (0.9) 11.3 (0.7)
Ghana CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 9.2 (0.6) 9.5 (0.7)
Ethiopia CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 11.1 (0.3) 11.5 (-0.3)
Mauritius CPI, % yy (mm) Nov 2018 2.7 (0.3) 2.8 (0.4)