In three key areas, the national conference of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, held in December, pointed toward a more purposeful movement, one in theory better equipped to address the country’s challenges and end the era of drift and paralysis caused by the ANC’s apparently endless internecine strife. But conference resolutions are not the same as policy implementation.

Mangaung Conference Puts South Africa's Zuma, ANC Back on Track

By , , Briefing

When South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) convened its national conference in Mangaung in December, the party urgently needed to set a course for calmer waters after a turbulent year. President Jacob Zuma has been accused by the South African media of being a visionless cipher in a country desperate for dynamic and innovative leadership.

Although Zuma’s government is not without achievements, South Africa’s core problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to fester. Corruption, too, has worsened, as measured by Transparency International’s annual index, with South Africa falling five places in 2012. In October, two ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, downgraded the country’s credit rating amid chronic policy uncertainty and a series of mining strikes. The latter led to South Africa’s post-1994 nadir in August, when police shot dead 34 miners at Marikana in behavior more akin to that of the apartheid regime than of a modern democratic state. ...

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