South Africa: In the Run-Up to 2019 Elections, Ramaphosa's Action Options Are Severely Limited

Left: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Right: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Over the weekend President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, publicly assuring him that government and the ANC had no interest in removing land that forms the Ingonyama Trust from his control. This has been widely seen as Ramaphosa "bending the knee" to Zwelithini. Considering that it comes in the context of a difficult and emotive debate about land expropriation without compensation, it is no surprise that Ramaphosa took the line of least resistance.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's action, in assuring Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini that government and the ANC had no interest in removing land that forms the Ingonyama Trust from his control, could be an indication that, despite his own personal wishes, the political terrain in which he is currently operating makes any meaningful reform impossible before the 2019 elections. This nationwide freeze could have implications for many sectors, and particularly for the economy.

Ramaphosa gave every appearance of rushing to KZN last week. Zwelithini had clearly raised temperatures with his holding of an Imbizo, at which speaker after speaker lambasted the findings of the Kgalema Motlanthe-led...

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