Will Ramaphosa face up the challenges?

After weeks of political procrastination, Jacob Zuma vacated Mahlamba Ndlopfu (the presidential palace) last week. Cyril Ramaphosa took over after the forced resignation but how certain is it that he could turn the wheel of poverty and instill into the population especially the poor, the feeling that things are changing and will change for their good, and also generate a real momentum? That will be the £1 million pound question when you look at the statistics.

One of the biggest countries in Africa with a booming economy, South Africa 33 years after apartheid ended, is still facing the same challenges with no hope that things will improve any time soon. Thousands are living in abject poverty with no electricity, poor sanitation, and no elementary schooling (80% of nine year-olds are illiterate). To top it all of, the country is on the list of the world’s most dangerous places to live in with high levels of violent crime. Even though, sexual assaults, common assault, grievous bodily harm and other crimes has decreased according to the latest South African Police statistics release, murders and robberies have increased. Various governments have made consistent efforts to improve people’s life but in truth there is still huge room for improvement.

The new president has to tackle a series of issues without delay, amongst many others, the situation of Cape Town, the country’s second largest city. Cape Town is running out of water due to drought (The worst in more than a century), the rapid growth of the population and climate change. The total number of HIV infected people is on the rise 270 000 (240 000 – 290 000) new HIV infections and 110 000 (88 000 – 140 000) AIDS-related deaths in 2016 according to UNAIDS.

(Soweto the famous South African township)

Unemployment remains at an unprecedented high level across the population in a country tipped by Goldman Sachs as the “big emerging market story” of 2018. Although the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 330 thousand to 5.88 million from 6.21 million in the third quarter, it is still at a high level with employment rate falling by 21 thousand to 16.17 million from 16.19 million in the previous period.

The new President is facing enormous structural problems linked to lack of skilled workers and corruption, to cite but a few.

Cyril Ramaphosa is becoming the South African version of Hercules who needs to clean the Augean Stables. He will need to unify his party, the ANC, well before the next elections, and find a way to associate the whole nation regardless the skin colour, the origin and the background to build a real nation.

The latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics, as of December 2013, showed that around 220 000 South Africans live in the UK. Some came for job security, stability, others came with student visas or temporary work visas.” But is the change at the head of the state good news for South African or “Saffas” living in Coventry? Will the new dawn encourage them to go back to their country and help unify the shattered rainbow colors?

Cari Swanepoel is a Young South African and she thinks Ramaphosa as the new president of South Africa is a positive step forward for the country. “ Ramaphosa’s designation cannot harm us more than the damage that has already been done”

“Cyril Ramaphosa as new President in South Africa is good news but only good results and deep change can really tell if the country is turning a new leaf” said Nehemiah Coetzee father of three girls living in Coventry. “ The uncertainty of things is not encouraging and I think my family’s future is here. Going back to South Africa? Maybe in future certainly now” added the middle-aged man with a smirk which said it all.

South Africa The rainbow nation with a beautiful blend of several racial, religious and ethnic groups needs a real and powerful will to change the mindset otherwise the same causes will have the same effects and lurch this beautiful nation into a labor of Sisyphus like story. No need for Einsteinian wisdom to point out key areas that needs to be addressed:

  • More South Africans in work
  • Better school education for most black people
  • Better and adequate infrastructure to boost a faster economic growth
  • Fight Corruption which is undermining state services
  • And the most important, finally build a united South Africa from a nation with a divided society.

It might be time for politicians to roll up their sleeves and get on with the titanic job of reconciliation as everybody matters to give to the rainbow its mighty colors and help the country to shine at last.




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