Ramaphosa’s Presidency: What Has Changed? ISPI Dossier. South Africa: Starting Over, May 2019
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) still holds power in a nearly hegemonic way. Nevertheless, the popularity of the party is decreasing while economic and social inequalities are deeply entrenched in the country.
The legacy of apartheid cannot be dismissed in explaining the state of South African society but the ANC is now facing its own responsibilities, especially since many cases of corruption and mismanagement of public resources have been revealed, particularly under Jacob Zuma's presidency. It is in this difficult context for the ANC that Cyril Ramaphosa was elected party leader in December 2017 and then president of South Africa after Jacob Zuma's resignation in February 2018. This succession has highlighted the deep divisions within the ANC. More than a year after taking office and on the eve of the 2019 general elections, Cyril Ramaphosa faces a dual task: to preserve the unity of his party and to remedy the dissatisfaction of a growing proportion of voters by proposing concrete changes.