Editor’s Note: May 08, 2019

Different election – same problems for South Africa

South Africans go to the polls today for the country’s sixth general election since the end of Apartheid in 1994.

The ruling African National Congress will win the vote, but a strong showing is seen as essential to quelling party infighting and strengthening president Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability to drive much-needed reform.

He faces a familiar checklist of problems that have dominated South African elections for years.

Principal among these is reversing its economic decline. Growth and investment have stagnated in recent years amid growing concerns about governance under Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma, who was forced out in February 2018.

In 2017 South Africa lost its investment-grade rating following downgrades by Fitch and S&P, reflecting low business and investor confidence. Unemployment and inequality are rampant, due to a lack of progress on structural reform since the end of Apartheid, fueling frustration with theANC’s failure to deliver on repeated promises of an economic revival.

None of this is new, or news. South Africa’s structural problems are well understood, not least by the government, which has no shortage of well-crafted development plans to tackle them.

The real question is whether Ramaphosa’s government can, and will, be able to make meaningful progress once victory is secured.

From The Continent

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