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Zuma’s balancing act

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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.

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