South Africa: Ramaphosa Builds Up a Head of Steam - Now He Must Maintain It


A number of recent actions by President Cyril Ramaphosa suggest he is now determined to take charge.

There has been hand-wringing by many in the commentariat, and ordinary voters, about the alleged lack of leadership by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Time and time again he has been called on to lead. In South Africa, this can be difficult. There are multiple actors leading different constituencies that want different outcomes. Things happen fast here, and often.

That will not stop Ramaphosa from trying. It may be difficult, but the future of his presidency could hinge on his actions - and of late he has been taking action.

It started with the announcement that Ramaphosa would not attend the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. Political leaders love to go to this event. Foreign affairs is often a welcome break from the difficult diurnal details of domestic politics, and appearing at a big event like this ensures that you lead your news bulletins back home and look powerful. For Ramaphosa to give this up was an explicit message that the home issues are more important than anything.

Then came the apology for the violence and looting Ramaphosa made at the funeral of...

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