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Zuma’s balancing act

June 5, 2009

South African President Jacob Zuma has a tough balancing act to perform as he begins his term in office.

 On the one hand, Zuma is anxious to assure investors that there will be continuity in the economic policies that have secured the country’s status as the regional powerhouse.

On the other, he has to address the increasingly vocal demands of his allies in the labour movement, whose support propelled him first to the leadership of the ruling ANC and then to the country’s top government job after April 22 elections.

But what the unions want – increased social spending to cushion their members against the ravages to the global recession that has now also landed in South Africa – would mean veering away from the prudent fiscal stance that has ironically cushioned the country from the worst of the world crisis.

Investors are also keen to see whether Zuma bows to pressure not to renew the contract of central bank Governor Tito Mboweni, loved by financial markets but vilified by unions that say a pre-occupation with inflation targeting has seen the Reserve Bank maintain a tight monetary policy at the expense of economic growth, impoverishing millions.

Can Zuma please one side without alienating the other? And if it comes down to choice, will the President opt to sacrifice his alliance with the Left to maintain South Africa’s international standing? How essential is union support for his success as President and can the ANC stay in power without it?


Mr. President knows how to do his job according to his oath. Poor South Africans took a big risk by putting him in office despite his own blunders. This means he now has to put people first. He needs to create jobs,opportunities,provide serious public services & take control of the country & economy in way it will benefit all South Africans black & white. We want to less crime to at least feel safe in our own country. It is time we do things for ourselves & work hard as a country.I’m fedup about stupid promises just get things done properly.I have been working in UK for nearly 9 years now. I want to come home but Mr President does not convince me that he can deliver anything at all. Health is still a problem,housing,water,electricity I mean everything including simple things. We are now hosting the World Cup but people are starving, I mean that is just plain stupidity,please the government has to get a grip how long does it takes for the MPs to figure out how to make better changes in their departments? In UK a lot of South Africans are desperately needing study scholarships to study further before returning home. There is no help, no organization looking after South Africans in UK. If the gorvenment thinks they are playing the game by sanctioning those who emigrated by not looking after them. Is not going to win. If we get scholarships over UK we can be more valuable to South Africa & actually settled at home if our country is solid.

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