With Jacob Zuma finally out, today sees the swearing in of the new President for South-Africa. Last night, Zuma was expected to make his final address to the country before he would either resign or be impeached. True to form, what many call the worst president ever, arrives almost an hour late! He then went on to conduct his final speech where he made the dignified decision to resign rather than to be forced out...
The immediate impact
There was a sense of relief and excitement in the country today as many sense the political change that is to follow. More importantly, though, Cyril Ramaphosa will be sworn in today which is a good show of stability going into the State of the Nation address tomorrow. This will finally signal a start to many South-Africans that Parliament is open for business, as well as to the international community that South-Africa is finally ready for a change.
Next week promises to be interesting as the SONA debate and the Budget speech will be held. What sets Ramaphosa apart from Zuma is the fact that Ramaphosa is a well-educated businessman with a good sense of the economy.
What about Zuma?
He will, unfortunately, receive all benefits of an ex-president including an R2.9 million annual salary, VIP protection, accommodation and medical. I hope he enjoys those benefits as he will also soon be bombarded by the opposition for the 783 corruption charges against him, as well as the State capture inquiry.
Zuma will also remain an ANC member that may be deployed but the chances for that seem very slim...
Cartoon by Findlay at ENCA.com
The economy reacts
Zuma's resignation was met with cheers around the world as this signals a new era for the Rand. The currency has been steadily strengthening following the recall and then resignation of the ex-president. For the first time in almost 4 years, the rand has fallen bellow R11.80 to the US Dollar. This is a clear signal from investors that some hope for South-Africa might follow.
It is also clear that the Nuclear deal will also not be allowed to go through as this would have placed a Debt on the country that would have been impossible to repay. Russia may not be pleased, but so be it if it rescues the entrenched economy...
A sceptical look
Although Zuma has finally been removed from government, there is a huge mess that still needs to be cleaned up. Zuma's announcement in November last year for Free education is still a problem that the budget faces as it is currently impossible to accomplish this goal.
Ongoing corruption charges and inquiries into ministers and MP's have also not evaporated overnight. A decisive move from the new leadership will have to be made to show that the practice of corruption will no longer be tolerated.
On the bright side, the EFF promises that White Shirts (Parliamentary Police) will no longer be necessary...
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