Cyril Ramaphosa's 2018 in review: Thuma Mina, the economy and land reform

Cyril Ramaphosa's 2018 in review: Thuma Mina, the economy and land reform

2018 has been Cyril Ramaphosa's debut as the president of not only the ANC, but of the country. takes a look at some of the highlights from the Presidents year

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After being voted in as the new head of the African National Congress party, trade unionist Cyril Ramaphosa would take over from Jacob Zuma as the countries president.

After increasing pressure from the public Jacob Zuma announced his resignation and shortly after President Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa's new leader. takes a look at the year the president has had in his new position:

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Thuma Mina

In a brilliant State of the Nation Address ( SONA) the new President had sought to unite the country after exiting the turmoils of Jacob Zuma's rule.

He had called citizens to action by referencing a Hugh Masekela song 'Thuma Mina' which translates to 'Send Me'.

The speech had gone viral and sparked a mass of citizens as well as businesses who pledged their support of the campaign.

Ramaphosa had said:

“Allow me to recall the words of the late great Bra Hugh Masekela.In his song, ‘Thuma Mina’, he anticipated a day of renewal, of new beginnings.He sang:“I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around. When they triumph over poverty,I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS,I wanna lend a hand, I wanna be there for the alcoholic, I wanna be there for the drug addict, I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse, I wanna lend a hand, Send me.”

READ ALSO: 2018 in review: What South Africa endured in politics last year

The economy

President Cyril Ramaphosa has secured a deal between the South Africa government and the largest commercial bank in China, Bank of China, worth $1.1 billion (about R15 billion).

The deal will see the bank invest heavily in establishing special economic zones in South Africa. A special economic zone is due to be established in the Musina-Makhado corridor in Limpopo.

The zone will include the construction of a coal power plant, a cement production plant and several stainless steel and chromium/manganese plants.

Ramaphosa, has placed the blame of the country's economic woes at Jacob Zuma's feet.

He has blamed the 10 years of former president Jacob Zuma’s tenure for the troubles the country is facing.

Ramaphosa said the high unemployment rate and corruption are key issues he and his government need to tackle, blaming Zuma's decade-long tenure as president for SA's current problems.

Land Reform

Ramaphosa wrote an editorial in the Financial Times to make it clear to the world exactly how land expropriation will work.

He said that land reform is important for South Africa's growth, as reported by EWN. Ramaphosa wrote that a lot of the economic inequalities of the apartheid era is still alive and that the inequality between white and black South Africans is one of the most prominent hurdles in the country's economic growth.

The president added that the inequality must be lessened in order for South Africa to reach its full economic potential. Ramaphosa clarified that the land reform programme will not threaten investment in South Africa's economy. He added that it will not wear away property rights or negatively affect agricultural production.

A stern leader for those in Cabinet

Cyril Ramaphosa truly believes in leading by example and has, for the most part at least, held his Ministers to a higher standard.

In a surprising turn of events, President Ramaphosa has announced there will be no salary increases for members of his Cabinet and several other government positions in the coming financial year.

The Presidency made the announcement on the 8th of December and cited the current economic hardships of South Africa as part of the reason.

News24 reported that the Presidency also said the President's decision is influenced by his aim to make the state more considerate and show restraint.

The President appreciates that for government to have wider support for its programmes, it must implement and demonstrate through practical actions its commitment to exercising prudence.

Malusia Gigaba had reportedly been asked to step down by the President following the finding that the Home Affairs Minister had perjured himself when asked about the Fireblade debacle.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing calls from opposition parties and civil society organisations such as the Black Sash and Freedom Under Law to fire the minister of women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini.

This comes after the Constitutional Court found that Dlamini was reckless and grossly negligent in the way she handled the social grants payment debacle which gripped the nation in 2017 while she was still minister of social development.

Cyril has managed to save some face for the ANC but only the upcoming elections will be able to show if he has managed to do enough to help the party retain power.

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