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Ramaphosa’s Next Challenge: Picking a Team to Revive South Africa’s Economy

  • Election victory gives president mandate to battle corruption
  • President is likely to trim number of ministers in new cabinet
Cyril Ramaphosa greets supporters in Johannesburg on May 12.
Cyril Ramaphosa greets supporters in Johannesburg on May 12.Photographer: Wikus de Wet/AFP via Getty Images
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s triumph in guiding his African National Congress to a sixth straight election victory has left him with an even more formidable challenge: to pick a cabinet that can dismantle a shadow state of corruption and revive the flagging economy.

His window of opportunity to install an administration free of ministers tainted by graft and to impose tough economic reforms, without deepening rifts in an already-divided party, may not remain open for long. The ruling party’s 5 percentage-point drop in support in the May 8 election from 2014 -- its worst showing in a national vote since the end of apartheid -- testifies to the public anger over “state capture,” as the looting of public funds under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, is known.