Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, has dispatched three envoys to seven African countries, including Nigeria, to deliver messages of pan-African unity.
This is after he was booed in Zimbabwe on Saturday at Robert Mugabe’s funeral while addressing mourners.
He, however, apologised to the crowd saying the attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa was against the principles of the unity of the African people.
Apart from Nigeria, the envoys are also scheduled to visit Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
Khusela Diko, a presidential spokesperson, said on Sunday that the special envoys will deliver a message from Ramaphosa regarding the incidents of violence that recently erupted in some parts of South Africa, which have manifested in attacks on foreign nationals and destruction of property.
Diko said the envoys will reassure fellow African countries that South Africa is committed to the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity.
He added that they will also brief governments in the identified African countries about the steps that the South African government is taking to bring a stop to the attacks and hold the perpetrators to account.
The recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals had sparked criticism against the South African government across the continent.
Nigeria had boycotted the recent World Economic Summit that held in Cape Town, following the attacks on Nigerians.
The president had also ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians willing to leave the country after receiving the report of a special envoy sent to evaluate the attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.
Of the 640 Nigerians that have indicated interest to return home, 187 have been airlifted by Air Peace and arrived the country on Wednesday.
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South Africa’s economy tipped into recession as it shrunk 0.7 percent in the second quarter, official data showed Tuesday, dealing a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa who came to office in February.
The downturn, which was the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, was driven by contractions in agriculture, transport, trade and manufacturing industries.
StatsSA said agriculture was hit by a fall in field crops, drought in the Western Cape and severe hailstorms in Mpumalanga province that damaged production.
After a revised 2.6 percent contraction in the first quarter, the latest data piled pressure on Ramaphosa who has promised a “new dawn” after his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s scandal-tainted nine-year reign.
Micheal Power, an asset manager at Investec, said domestic and international events had combined to stall economic growth.
“We are getting no help from the outside with the strengthening dollar, the escalating trade war and issues that are now facing emerging markets,” he told AFP.
“In some respects, this can be seen as a good thing if it means that we are now not drinking to avoid the hangover.”
The recession is the first in South Africa since the 2008–2009 global financial crisis, when South Africa experienced three consecutive quarters of economic decline.
Before Tuesday’s data, Bloomberg said only one of 12 economists surveyed had predicted a contraction.
Independent analyst Daniel Silke said on Twitter that the figures reflected an “inability to create confidence-building measures to enhance work opportunities and uplift investor sentiment.”
Ramaphosa, who faces elections in 2019, has been on an investment drive to attract foreign investment and tackle unemployment of about 28 percent.
South Africa’s new president yesterday pledged to tackle endemic corruption and supervise mismanagement in state-owned enterprises
Cyril Ramaphosa, 65,also promised to work hard “not to disappoint the people of South Africa.” He was elected president in a parliamentary vote yesterday after the resignation of scandal-ridden Jacob Zuma, 75,on orders from the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
Ramaphosa will serve out the remainder of Zuma’s term until 2019 elections. Seen as an ally of Zuma, Ramaphosa was appointed deputy president in 2014. Zuma resigned on Wednesday after years of scandals that damaged the stature of the ruling African National Congress party.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng presided over the swearing-in ceremony at the presidential office in Cape Town. Mogoeng congratulated Ramaphosa and shook his hand as onlookers applauded. Mogoeng had earlier read out the former president’s resignation letter.
Opposition leaders, however, said the ruling party protected Zuma for years despite scandals and would be unable to effectively root out corruption within its own ranks. Ramaphosa also said one of the first things he wants to do is have a meeting with the leaders of other political parties “so we can try and find a way of working together.” He said he will outline his policies in a state of the nation address tomorrow evening.
Ramaphosa was the only candidate nominated for election in the parliament after opposition parties said they would not participate. ANC has a majority in the 400-member parliament The opposition instead unsuccessfully called for the dissolution of the National Assembly and early elections. They said ANC party plan to elect a new president was “illegitimate.”
The Democratic Alliance said that the parliament should be dissolved and new national elections should be held because the ruling party-dominated assembly failed to hold Zuma to account for alleged corruption. Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFFP) has made a similar statement.
Zuma said in a 30-minute farewell address to the nation he disagreed with the way the ANC had thrust him toward an early exit after Ramaphosa replaced him as party president, but would accept its orders. Observers said Zuma’s departure late on Wednesday provided evidence of the strength of South Africa’s democratic institutions, from the courts to the media and the constitution.
Zuma, a former member of the ANC’s military wing in the days of apartheid, rose through the ranks of the party to become president. He led the country for more than a third of its time after apartheid.
“Defiant in defeat” and “Going, Going, Gone” were among the newspaper headlines that captured Zuma’s unwillingness to leave. “South Africa’s long nightmare is over,” read the headline from online political news website Daily Maverick. The EFF, which has six percent of the seats in parliament, had sponsored a no-confidence motion in Zuma that would have gone ahead yesterday had Zuma not jumped.
The rand, which has gained ground whenever Zuma ran into political turbulence, soared to a near three-year high against the dollar on word of his resignation. South Africa’s main stock market index jumped nearly 4 percent and headed for its biggest one-day gain in more than two years as investors hailed Zuma’s exit after nine years in office rife with allegations of sleaze and mismanagement.
Ratings agency Moody’s said it was closely monitoring developments in South Africa, focusing on the policy implications of Zuma’s political demise.
The S&P Global agency said South Africa’s sovereign credit ratings and outlook will not be immediately affected by the change of the country’s leadership.
…Faces uphill task
President Cyril Ramaphosa raised the hope of South Africans when he vowed to steer the country from the turmoil that has hurt the economy and briefly sent it into recession last year.
However he faces an uphill task in three areas: Corruption has ruptured the economic structures of the country with both local and foreign investors losing confidence in the system; the 2019 general elections poses another major challenge with a divided ANC which lost key municipalities including Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria in 2016; youth restiveness and xenophobia attacks on non South Africans is yet another challenge he may have inherited from the Zuma administration.
He knows this. He has said, he will be “walking a tightrope, balancing the competing priorities of holding his party together while avoiding economic disaster.” But how he intends to bring the turn around is what South Africans and indeed the world is eagerly waiting to see.
“Cyril Ramaphosa inherits an alarming mess from Jacob Zuma,” said Ben Payton, head of Africa research for Verisk Maplecroft told reporters. Restoring confidence in the troubled mining sector, ending the corruption around state-owned enterprises and winning over Zuma’s supporters within the ANC should be among his top priorities, Payton said. (The Sun)
Newly elected ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again emphasised that he will follow through with land expropriation without compensation.
By Nic Andersen –
On Monday, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa was joined by the ANC top six and his former rival Nkosazana Dlaimini-Zuma. The party leadership are spending the week paying tribute to former ANC presidents. After visiting graves in KZN, Ramaphosa addressed members of the media about a few of the ANC’s plans and goals.
With the ANC now turning 106, celebrations and party events will continue to flow across the country. On Sunday, Ramaphosa met Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, the king was gifted multiple cattle as a gift from the new president.
Ramaphosa reflected on the visit and once again discussed land expropriation without compensation. Mentioning and addressing the two has been described by some analysts as a good move for Ramaphosa.
1/ You've got to hand it to Ramaphosa. In the first week of 2018 he's already started addressing his two primary weaknesses:
A) Moved to shore up rural KZN by visiting Goodwill Zwelithini B) Preemptively shored up his left flank on land https://t.co/Ye1UjcuRed
While Ramaphosa recently said taking back the land will turn South Africa into the garden of Eden, he has also been adamant that it can be done in a way that does not hurt the economy or food security.
On Monday, Ramaphosa again echoed those calls, together with the insistence that land will be expropriated, regardless of whether “they” like it or not.
#ANC106 "..we are saying that land indeed will be returned and we are going to take that land and put it in the hands of our people whether they like it or not it is going to happen" C Ramaphosa ANC President 08.01.2018
“20 years later, indeed we are saying we are taking back the land and giving it back to our people. The commitment made at last year’s conference is a promise that we are going to keep.”
Ramaphosa also again vowed to root out corruption from within the ranks of the ANC. The newly elected ANC president said corruption undermines “the interest of our people as a whole” (The Southern Africa)