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FT.com / World - ANC set to make Mbeki pay despite boom

South Africa's ruling African National Congress appears poised to punish President Thabo Mbeki next week at its leadership elections. And yet the country's economy continues to shine after eight years of growth under Mr Mbeki's stewardship.

Even as the US and UK cut interest rates, South Africa is trying to tame a boom that is evident as much in rising consumer prices and unchecked credit growth as in a surging stock market. The South African Reserve Bank last week raised its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year to 11 per cent, marking a cumulative 400 basis point rise in the past 18 months.

Yet while South Africa's macroeconomic future looks just about as steady as its recent past, that has not stopped many South Africans from criticising their economist-president's economic record ahead of the ANC's leadership contest.

Many voters dissatisfied with the pace of trickle-down prosperity support Jacob Zuma, the populist politician who will probably wrest the ANC presidency from Mr Mbeki at the party conference that opens on Sunday.

Annual GDP growth of around 5 per cent, poorer South Africans contend, is a number that does not translate into fixed roofs and greater family prosperity.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:44:13 AM EST
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FT.com / World - Mbeki policies on economy `disastrous'

The South African government's free market economic policies have been "disastrous" for the country under President Thabo Mbeki's rule, the head of South Africa's most powerful union movement and a close ally of presidential contender Jacob Zuma, said on Wednesday.

Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cosatu, accused Mr Mbeki's government of having lost sight of the concerns of the poor and unemployed during his eight years in power.

"If the world belonged to me, everything stops now," he told the Financial Times, adding that new policies should be the result of a broad, national debate.

Business people will seize on his comments, as Mr Vavi has been a force behind Mr Zuma's increasingly confident campaign to replace Mr Mbeki as the ANC leader at the party's five-yearly elections starting this weekend.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:45:50 AM EST
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There will be no meaningful difference between a Zuma economic policy and Mbeki's economic policies.  The only thing Zuma cares about is Zuma.  

I am no fan of Mbeki, but a Zuma presidency would be disastrous.  The man is a corrupt thug with a tribal mentality and dreadfully regressive attitudes toward women.  He was only acquitted of rape because the South African justice system has no problem with putting the victim on trial.

I tremble at the idea of a Zuma presidency.  Seriously.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:32:52 AM EST
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This is what I mean -- An unstoppable Zunami:

Zuma's entire campaign has been fought on the strength of personality and of the various personae he employs; his is not a battle for ideology and policy, as much as his allies might make it out to be so.

"In the United States we had lots of discussions. I met lots of companies and politicians for that matter," said Zuma.

"And they understood that the ANC is not an individual. Some asked me: `Well what is your policy if you were to win elections?' I said: `Sorry, I've got no economic policy, all policies are ANC policies.'

"There is no individual who has ever had his own policy, they are all ANC policy. You may ask him what strategy lies behind the ANC policy.["]

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:39:42 AM EST
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