South Africa: In the Fraught World of ANC Politics, Mboweni Needs Ramaphosa to Cover His Back


If Tito Mboweni's economic paper is to survive it will need a political sponsor - it will need Cyril Ramaphosa to own it. So far, there are signs that the president is behind it.

"Just call me Thatcherite" - words attributed to Thabo Mbeki, when the then-deputy president rolled out an economic plan that later defined both his presidency's success and demise. That was in 1996, when Mbeki, seen as the de facto prime minister under Nelson Mandela, grabbed the bull by the horns in mapping out a policymaking path that remains a key case study on how the ANC runs South Africa.

Tito Mboweni, was a youngish labour minister then. Right now, he is one of the veterans of the Cabinet and alongside Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is allocated seats high up in meeting rooms, close to the president, who sits at the top.

Two decades later, Mboweni is where Mbeki was, albeit in a completely different set of circumstances. Mbeki had all the authority, legal and implied, when Mandela handed him the ropes to run his administration as one of the two deputy presidents (alongside FW de Klerk). Mboweni is only the economics policy figurehead under the Ramaphosa presidency....

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