Ramaphosa will struggle to lift growth before the 2024 general election

The president’s convincing victory will partly calm investor anxiety over the coming months

MNCs can expect stable—if muted—customer sentiment thanks to the perceived reduction in political risks over the coming months. However, companies should plan for divergence in confidence between industries and customer segments, and calibrate their marketing and sales strategies, and product portfolios accordingly. Demand growth among power-intensive sectors, such as manufacturing, mining, and construction, will struggle owing to deteriorating electricity supplies, as will public sector demand given chronic fiscal constraints. In contrast, service sector customers (such as ICT and private sector healthcare) and high-income households will offer resilient opportunities. Looking farther ahead, MNCs across industries should prepare for steadily weakening customer sentiment in the months ahead of the April 2024 election, especially as it becomes clearer that the ANC will fail to secure more than 50% of the vote.


  • President Cyril Ramaphosa secured 2,476 votes against 1,987 for his rival, Zweli Mkhize, to win re-election as president of the ANC—and therefore of the country—at the governing party’s national conference on December 19, 2022. 
  • The president’s authority was boosted by the election of four of his preferred candidates to crucial ANC leadership positions, known locally as the “top seven,” although the position of deputy president of the ANC—a powerful position that is considered to be occupied by the apparent successor to the president—was secured by one of his detractors, Paul Mashatile. 
  • Ramaphosa’s reappointment follows several tumultuous weeks that has seen his popularity nosedive among South Africans. He avoided an impeachment vote in December over a long-running corruption scandal involving the theft of allegedly illegally held foreign currency from one of his properties in 2020.

Our View

Ramaphosa’s reappointment bodes well for policy continuity—at least until the April 2024 general election—the effects of which on investor sentiment were demonstrated by the near 2% jump in the value of the rand against the dollar after the result was announced. The ANC is now unlikely to oust him before the 2024 election because of a lack of an alternative electable candidate. Over the next 16 months, Ramaphosa will strive to kick-start the economy and revive the ANC’s fortunes by attempting to implement economic reforms (e.g., continuing the overhaul of state-owned power utility Eskom), improve governance standards, and tackle corruption. However, his capacity to do so will be constrained by his need to keep the deeply divided ANC unified behind him until the election. Consequently, he will likely maintain a prudent fiscal stance while pursuing piecemeal reforms that will fail to meaningfully address the country’s structural economic problems before the 2024 election, resulting in slowing GDP growth and waning ANC popularity.

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