22 March 2019

South Africa: Rating Agencies Are Likely Looking for Changes Larger Than South Africa's Political System Can Deliver


The language of rating agencies is often obscure; publicly Moody's talks about 'persistent structural challenges' and the risk of 'fiscal slippages in the face of both slower growth and increasing political pressures'. What this means is that they are looking for some substantial and fast policy changes, probably larger than SA's political system can manage.

The ANC has slightly belatedly released its list of parliamentary candidates. What does the list tell us about the ANC's economic policy agenda? Depressingly, not much.

The SA economy has underperformed dramatically over the past decade, trailing not only average GDP growth of developing countries, but also average global growth. From 2o14, it has even trailed average of the normally slower developed countries' growth. It's even trailed its own post-apartheid history until 2008. So, you might expect the party would treat this issue as an absolutely vital priority, and it would tailor its candidate list to include new thinkers, new candidates who would be in a position to vitalise President Cyril Ramaphosa's New Dawn promise.

Turns out, not so much. The list, in fact, reflects the opposite: A dramatic and emphatic lack of change.

In some ways, this is unsurprising. Parliament is not where ANC...

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