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Making sure South Africans hold their new government accountable is essential if the country is to succeed under Jacob Zuma, believes Mamphela Ramphele, an anti-apartheid activist and prominent South African businesswoman.
“We underestimated what it means to govern a modern democracy,” she told Reuters. “In that context we have made many mistakes. The first mistake was to conflate the leader, the party, the government and the state. That conflation leads to the undermining of state institutions … and abuse of state resources for party political reasons.”
Ramphele, a doctor and former World Bank official, is among a group of professionals who helped draft three potential scenarios for the country into 2020.
There is a healthy one, of course, in which the government works with business and civil society and is held accountable for its actions and service delivery. After that is one in which the African National Congress government takes a strong role with little opposition – it leads to authoritarian rule. The worst case scenario points to corruption and decay.