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The choice that could save South Africa, or wreck it - The Economist

Under President Jacob Zuma, the state is failing. Contracts are awarded through bribes and connections; ruling-party members murder each other over lucrative government jobs; crooks operate with impunity.

Next week comes a moment that may determine whether South Africa slides further into this mire or starts to recover. At a conference that starts on December 16th the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is due to choose the successor to Mr Zuma as its leader, and thus its candidate for presidency of the country. The front-runners are Mr Zuma's ex-wife and preferred candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa. For South Africa and for the whole African continent, Mr Ramaphosa needs to win.

Mandela weeps

South Africa is no longer in the forefront of the world's consciousness, as it was in the 1990s when it made its miraculously peaceful transition from a racist regime to a modern democracy. But it still matters, and not just to its 57m people. With its superior financial and physical infrastructure, it is Africa's economic hub. Its diplomatic and moral authority shapes southern Africa, for worse as well as better: without its support, Robert Mugabe would have lost power in Zimbabwe long ago. And, at the moment, it is the site of the most visible battle in the world between good and bad government.

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by Bjinse on Thu Dec 7th, 2017 at 09:46:04 PM EST
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