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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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