“But so far there is little sign of change from the ANC. Marikana should be a wake-up call to the government, but South Africa’s leaders, engrossed by factional infighting, appear deaf. If the government does not respond more vigorously, the country could see a surge in the kind of populism peddled by Mr Malema.
The immediate test of the ANC is its leadership election, to be held at its conference in December. Kgalema Motlanthe, the deputy president, is Mr Zuma’s most likely opponent. Some think he would be a more competent leader, but he is less popular than the president and has not officially said whether he will stand.
That leaves Mr Zuma unchallenged for now. He came to power promising to tackle unemployment and corruption, but has accomplished little. He owes so much to South Africa’s vested interests that it is difficult to imagine him embarking upon radical reform. If he is simply re-elected without promising anything new, it will be a worrying sign that the ANC has failed to grasp what ails their country. The tragedy of Marikana appalled South Africans and outsiders alike. If it does not jolt the government into action, what will?”
The SAIRR have come out in support of the report (link)
The Presidency has released a statement saying that it is highly misleading (link). The substance of Maharaj’s statement is that the credit downgrading of the country needs to be viewed in the context of the global economic crisis, that the strikes have been over-emphasised and that advances in socio-economic rights have been ignored by the Economist.
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University of Cape Town