Cyril Ramaphosa was elected South African president in February 2018 on a wave of optimism, following the forced resignation of former president Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa spoke of a “new dawn” and vowed to use his time in office to serve the people of South Africa. He invited opposition parties, the media and the public to hold him accountable to the commitments he makes. That is exactly what we intend to do. Over the first 100 days of his presidency and beyond, we will track every kept and broken promise to hold the president to his word and keep you updated about whether he followed through on everything he said he would do.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have seen some immediate improvements in governance, investor confidence and the fight against corruption. Here are the big victories of his first 100 days in office.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has had 100 days in office to tackle some of the most complicated challenges, including rescuing South Africa’s ailing state-owned enterprises, fuelling economic growth and untangling a web of corruption entrenched in government structures. While the jury is out on whether he succeeded in all of these, there were, at the least, some small victories for the Ramaphosa presidency.
The issue of land reform has largely dominated discussions Ramaphosa’s presidency, with the ANC adopting land expropriation without compensation as its official policy at its national conference at Nasrec. In his reply to his State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa said land redistribution would be an urgent priority for his administration.
With several ministers in former president Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet being implicated in state capture, one of the first promises President Cyril Ramaphosa made was to reconfigure the executive arm of government.
He promised to hold those in power to account with lifestyle audits and vowed to clean up the leadership of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and sort out the mess at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), responsible for the distribution of social grants.
It is no secret that South Africa’s economy has suffered tremendously over the past nine years with low growth and increased unemployment. At the centre of the economy is job creation and poverty reduction. To this end, President Cyril Ramaphosa has spoken about the need to grow and reinvigorate the economy, during his State of the Nation Address and on several other occasions. He has set several goals to achieve this, including placing the youth at the centre of the South African economy going forward.
“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
But this is easier said than done. State capture has permeated every level of government and it will be a mammoth task for the Zondo Commission of Inquiry to decipher how the Guptas influenced and looted state institutions. There will further be no follow through without an independent National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), which Ramaphosa vowed to stabilise.
On several occasions, President Cyril Ramaphosa has shared his concern that many state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are experiencing severe financial, operational and governance challenges. He said that his government will intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise SOEs, which includes Eskom, Prasa and SAA.
Education has been a political hot potato ever since Fees Must Fall and former president Jacob Zuma may well have saddled his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, with an impossible task when he announced free higher education and training for poor students on the eve of the ANC’s national elective conference in December.
Agriculture and land reform will be one of the defining issues of Cyril Ramaphosa’s presidency. The ANC’s December 2017 policy decision to accept land expropriation with compensation, has led to concerns of unconstitutional land grabs and threats to food security.
Ramaphosa indicated, in his reply to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate, that land redistribution would be an urgent priority for his administration in order “to free all of us from the bitterness and pain of the past”. But he added that it would not be done with “smash and grab interventions”.
“We need to see mining as a sunrise industry,” was how President Cyril Ramaphosa prefaced his plans for the mining sector during the State of the Nation Address.
“With the revival in commodity prices, we are determined to work with mining companies, unions and communities to grow the sector, attract new investment, create jobs and set to the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability.”
He vowed to intensify engagement with all stakeholders on the highly-controversial Mining Charter.
A healthy lifestyle has been at the forefront of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mission to win the hearts and minds of South Africans ahead of the 2019 national elections. His early morning walks with the public in Cape Town and Soweto have been hugely popular so far.
However, it will take more than encouraging a healthy lifestyle to fix South Africa’s healthcare issues.
The first NHI projects targeting the most vulnerable people in society will commence in April 2018. An additional R4.2bn has been allocated to this programme from the 2018/2019 budget. Ramaphosa also committed to renewed campaigns against cancer, HIV/Aids and other illnesses.