Having helped conduct the ANC in the final line of elections earlier this month, despite the impatience of the South Africans for the party's stubborn corruption, President Cyril Ramaphos will now have to lead his party to a bigger reform.
This is the most important first step to reviving the dying economy and rebuilding the South Africans' faith in their future. The seemingly stable 57.5% profit of ANC is its thinnest victory in national elections after the end of apartheid. Without the personal popularity of Ramaphos – as a negotiator, organizer and businessman – the party would certainly do even worse.
"The most unequal side of the earth"
The low voter turnout this time shows that the public discontent brought about by former President Jacob Zuma's patronizing policy of bribing and plundering state resources. South Africa's economy must also recover: from 2014, it has failed to grow by more than 2%, well below what is needed to reduce unemployment, which has recently hit 27.6%. Nearly half of the 55 million population lives in chronic poverty. South Africa has become what the World Bank calls the most unequal country in the world.
Ramaphos, who took over the chairmanship of former President Jacob Zuma 15 months ago, has already engaged in corruption by sacking some compromised ministers and officials and authorizing investigations. But much of his party has not yet received the message. Several high-ranking maltreats were returned to parliament by the ANC. Ramaphos must keep them out of his office.
He also has to make sure that those responsible for committing corruption in the past are considered responsible. To this end, the President must ensure that the National Prosecutor's Office, which is seriously damaged by Zuma but is now under strong leadership, has the necessary resources. It would be equally necessary and even more bold to replace the South African public defender who did not meet the high standards set by her predecessor.
Foreign investment, Eskom
To speed up the economy of South Africa, Ramaphos promised to attract 100 billion US dollars of foreign investment in five years. It can begin by finalizing a long-delayed legislation that regulates the country's mineral and oil industry, Africa's largest foreign direct investment destination for foreign direct investment in Sahara. It must also respond to investor concerns about plans to change the country's intellectual property protection rules and set cumbersome visa and work permit rules that slow down tourism and starve local companies with foreign talents.
The most productive of all would be to make plans for dividing the losing state power company Eskom, the link between inefficiency and corruption, which now carries more than $ 30 billion in debt. Its frequent repairs cause enormous costs to the economy. Ramaphos has to convince the unions, the supporters of the ANC, that there is something else that can be gained by expanding opportunities and competition rather than by keeping Escom's expanded paychecks and other state-owned businesses.
For too long ANC has voted by effectively linking the privileges of the minority of South African workers with official jobs. The toxic consequences of this are clearly evident in the notorious weak educational system in South Africa. The country spends more than 6% of GDP, with a share larger than that of more developed countries. But while access to education has expanded, South African students are unnaturally represented in international rankings – not least because the UNCT teachers' syndicates have long resisted reform and accountability.
Because of South Africa, such an internal deal must stop. In order to ensure promises of "better life for all" to the ANC, Ramaphos must put his country in front of his party. If you do, both can go to the top.