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General News of Friday, 12 May 2017


S.A crisis affects rest of Africa – Mahama

The current political crisis and near-recession facing South Africa has an impact on the rest of the continent, especially southern Africa, former President John Dramani Mahama has said.

The African National Congress (ANC), the party of South African leader Jacob Zuma, is divided following the President's sacking of the respected Pravin Gordham as Finance Minister.

Many South Africans have repeatedly accused Mr Zuma of corruption, with intense scrutiny of his ties to a family of local tycoons. He has denied any wrongdoing.

However, analysts say Zuma has struggled to live up to the standards of previous leaders of the ANC, such as Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. The ANC is the party which brought Mandela to power in the 1994 elections.

Reacting to the disturbing developments in South Africa in an interview with Al Jazeera, Mr Mahama said: “Countries like Ghana have a strong affinity for the African National Congress (ANC) as it was the main instrument in fighting against apartheid. We all celebrated South Africa's liberation from apartheid. Nelson Mandela is an icon to us all.

“We cannot afford to not be concerned with what is happening in South Africa. They recently even lost Johannesburg in the local elections. This is something that should not happen. It is obvious that the ANC is losing ground and I wish they would get a grip and turn things around.

“I don't anticipate them losing power in the next elections [in 2019], but there's a groundswell of dissatisfaction and I hope our comrades in the ANC do a proper reflection and correct things before they get worse.”

Asked if the crisis in South Africa had an impact on the rest of Africa, Mr Mahama said it did not because “I have said that South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt are the biggest economies in Africa and they have a certain responsibility to drive investment and prosperity on the continent.

“When South Africa is going through what it's going through, the crisis and near-recession, it affects the rest of the continent, especially the sub-region.

“These larger economies have a responsibility to drive prosperity. It happened in South-East Asia. Japan's prosperity is what's driven a lot of progress in South-East Asia. China, Korea and Vietnam are all invested in this.

“The bigger economies have the responsibility in their geographical areas. I think in Africa these three countries need to get their act together to drive integration and investments. We all continue to watch what's happening in these countries and hope that they turn things around.”