Yesterday, after a delay of almost 36 hours, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as the new President of the ANC. Clearly, the market thought it was coming, because the Rand had a very strong day:

cyril ramaphosa and the rand

But this morning, South Africa’s social media is reckoning with the rest of the ANC executive. Specifically: David Mabuza (Deputy President), Ace Magashule (Secretary General) and Jessie Duarte (Deputy Secretary General). Those three are all in the ‘Dlamini-Zuma’ camp – and if you’re going to accept that description, then it means that the ANC executive is now split firmly down the middle.

So the question that is being asked: was this a shift in the balance of power toward an uncaptured ANC? Or was the ANC executive just hamstrung?

The good news

The good news is that the ANC is not completely captured.

After all, if it were, then Cyril Ramaphosa would not be in the top seat.

The bad news

There is almost no chance of a presidential recall (although I’m not sure why anyone ever really hoped for this – kindly refer to all those failed ‘no confidence’ motions).

And we still have President Zuma’s spur-of-the-moment, ignore-my-finance-minister-and-the-commission-I-established, free tertiary education announcement to deal with.

Which means that South Africa has emerged from the ANC conference with:

  • A new R40 billion shortfall in government financing; and
  • A fettered ANC executive.
Cyril Ramaphosa has his work cut out for him

The hope is that the junk ratings and such can be averted by the new leadership change in the ANC.

The concern is that a lot of damage can be done in a year and a bit. And some of it was done on Friday with that rogue announcement.

On the other hand

Cyril won.

Which is far better than the fully state-captured alternative.

Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and sometimes things that are only loosely related. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at Also, check out the RA podcast on iTunes: The Story of Money.