POLITICS
17/04/2018 09:07 SAST | Updated 17/04/2018 09:38 SAST

Good Work So Far, Mister President. Keep It Up.

Ramaphosa has, however, failed to keep three key promises.

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Running a government, and a state, in a period after severe capture is extremely difficult, but a HuffPost audit of President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address in February shows he has made good progress.

Ramaphosa's state of the nation address, delivered the day after Jacob Zuma was forced to resign, was never going to be an easy speech to make. It had been crafted for Zuma, and its agenda was status quo rather than the new deal that Ramaphosa came to power on.

The new president had little room to manoeuvre, but he inserted elements designed to drive confidence and to respond to the concerns and risks about where the country, and the government, were headed. South Africa was sitting on the precipice of a downgrade to junk status if Moody's decided on a subinvestment grade rating for the country.

Many of his key promises were geared to lift confidence about the economy and to return it to a growth path. Thus, he had to show seriousness at the treasury, and Ramaphosa used his February 26 Cabinet reshuffle to bring back Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister. He fired 10 ministers, three of whom were caught in the Gupta family network of cronyism, but it was the change to Treasury that ensured that Moody's did not downgrade South Africa's sovereign rating on March 24.

The president also reshuffled former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini to a ministry in the presidency. This served to help him keep another promise: to ensure stability in how social grants were paid when a Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) contract ran out. Effective grant payments are vital to South Africa's well-being.

Ramaphosa wants to build a legacy on turning around South Africa's chronic level of youth unemployment.

With 6 million young South Africans not in work or training, Ramaphosa promised a youth employment service. Together with the business community, he delivered on this in March – if it works, the plan will get 1 million young people into internships over three years.

He also promised clarity on how Zuma's free-fees plan would be funded, and the Budget in February fleshed this out.

Ramaphosa has not yet managed to keep three key promises: Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has not managed to ensure a new version of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which holds the mining charter, was passed in the first quarter of 2018.

And while Ramaphosa has promised to "...urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised", this has not yet come to pass.

Additionally, the new administration promised to get a new national minimum wage passed – and has so far failed to deliver on that one, too.