Even with a decisive election victory for South Africa’s ruling party this week, the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa could still struggle to push through the tough reforms needed to galvanise Africa’s most developed economy, say analysts and some party insiders.
The former union leader turned business tycoon has promised to introduce major economic reforms and extend a crackdown on corruption if his African National Congress (ANC) party is returned to power in Wednesday’s national election. Ramaphosa’s allies say a result close to 60 percent in this week’s parliamentary vote, which some opinion polls suggest could be possible, would strengthen his hand to deliver on those pledges.
But some analysts and ANC party insiders are sceptical that Ramaphosa would make much progress with reforms, even with a clear election victory. They cite his tenuous grip over the party’s decision-making bodies, where former comrades in the struggle against the brutal apartheid regime are at each other’s throats in a high-stakes battle for power and wealth.
“Ramaphosa needs a united ANC to achieve his agenda, but he doesn’t have that,” said a veteran ANC politician who did not wish to be identified discussing internal rivalries. “His enemies are going nowhere.”