South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa - a Determined President Hampered By the Quagmire of State Capture

President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo)

Taking the measure of President Cyril Ramaphosa's first 100 days in office and beyond reveals a sea-change for which he gets no credit through the combined effects of a political fightback and an economy so bad it casts an overall pall.

South Africa's kleptocracy disorder has been replaced by a regime of reform. This is not to say that corruption has ended, but there is a discernible challenge to how the state was repurposed to condone and expedite capture.

Yet, in the popular narrative, it is as if no progress has been made. "Slow. Too slow." That is the general perception of the administration, a perception that began with a bang of hope and has already fizzled into the standard cynicism with which the political class is regarded. Is this fair?

A look at what Ramaphosa promised in February in his State of the Nation Address, the interpretation of which got mangled in his one sentence on bullet trains and smart cities, shows good progress. (see graphic). There is a...

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