In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa celebrates his 100 days in power on Saturday 26 May. He arrived at the head of the government after the resignation in mid-February of his predecessor Jacob Zuma.
His predecessor was pushed to the exit by his own party, the ANC, outraged by the corruption and scandals surrounding the former head of state, 100 days later, did Ramaphosa meet expectations? What is his record?
One hundred days to tackle corruption, clean up public finances, revive the economy, the task is gigantic. But the mere fact that Ramaphosa is at the head of the state, said a South African political scientist, was enough to restore the credibility of the government. A harsh observation, as the presidency of former leader Jacob Zuma has been tainted by scandals.
For the economist Claude Baissac, in 100 days, Ramaphosa undertook an important household: “Today, the priority is to send a strong signal to the population that corruption is no longer tolerated. This can be seen in the replacement of a number of ministers and the replacement of Zuma’s executives in parastatals. It is obvious that the results of these actions will take a lot of time because during the 10 years of Zuma’s presidency, the corruption, the mismanagement has been such that it will take years.”
Limited room for manoeuvre
The economist regrets that the head of state could not take the necessary measures to revive the economy, but his room for manoeuvre is limited. He is still surrounded by former president Zuma’s allies. Ramaphosa concentrated on consolidating his power at one year of the presidential election.
The danger, according to Baissac: he does not have the time needed to revive growth and lower youth unemployment, a real time bomb. This week, Ramaphosa also endorsed important changes to the management of several state-owned companies – such as the public electricity giant Eskom or the airline SA Express – deeply in debt and corrupted by gangs.