Even the sternest critic of Jacob Zuma cannot deny that the man has staying power. Despite his colourful past and repeated brushes with the law, a poor performance in his first term and a general sense that at the age of 70 he is unfit for leadership, he won a second term as president of the African National Congress in December with 75 per cent of the vote.

Yet his decisive victory notwithstanding, very few are of the view that the best is yet to come for South Africa.

The country’s challenges require much more than the populist hand he tends to play. The official unemployment rate sits stubbornly at 25 per cent, touching 70 per cent among under-25s. The chances of this changing are limited by the grossly under-performing public education system.

Though the budget deficit has been marginally decreasing, projected growth rates continue to fall well below the…

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