South Africa: SONA 2019, Take Two, Coming Under a Dark Cloud of Economic Nonperformance and ANC Factional Fractures

President Cyril Ramaphosa in the National Assembly on Wednesday for his first presidential budget vote debate speech.
analysis

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday delivers his second State of the Nation Address in just over four months with an election in between. Since his February address, economic data has been dreadful, state-owned entities such as Eskom and SAA haemorrhaged billions, and the governing ANC spats over the South African Reserve Bank and broader economic policy have unsettled the rand, investors and governance. Thursday's address is a tough test.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has maintained there is a plan since delivering his first State of the Nation Address on 16 February 2018. And that plan is unfolding at some levels, mostly in government and its institutions, and in a series of commissions of inquiry and panels of experts which the president is empowered in law to establish.

Over the past 16 months, institutions that had been hollowed out have new bosses, be that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) or the Hawks and the police's Crime Intelligence. The Zondo State Capture commission is publicly hearing testimony on corruption and politically motivated dodgy dealings, as is the inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the government-owned asset manager of R2-trillion of workers' social savings and pensions.

Crucial,...

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