Pressure is mounting on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to stabilise the government’s shaky finances and rescue an economy teetering on the brink of recession.
Since taking office in February last year, Ramaphosa has repeatedly pledged to ignite growth and reverse nine years of misrule by his predecessor Jacob Zuma. His ability to undertake reforms has been constrained by a ruling party faction that wants the government to play a greater role in the economy and by powerful labor unions opposed to state-spending and job cuts.
Warnings that South Africa is on a precipice have come from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, business executives and economists from Absa Bank and other lenders. Even Tito Mboweni, Ramaphosa’s finance minister, has taken to Twitter to vent his frustration at the slow pace of reform.
Here are samples of the growing drumbeat:
When Ramaphosa took office, “market expectations for growth-enhancing reforms were high,” the fund said in a January 30 statement. “However, sluggish implementation and persistent policy uncertainty did not validate those expectations, and business confidence is now close to all-time lows.”