Incoherent policy dents South Africa’s global reach

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ANC factional politics overshadow a muddled diplomatic approach


  • Election-related crises in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will likely prompt ambivalent responses from Pretoria.
  • Corruption revelations involving the Gupta business family could implicate more transnational firms operating in South Africa.
  • A further shift towards the BRICS states, rather than the West, will define the end of Zuma’s presidency -- despite internal ANC unease.
  • Rising populist and anti-Western rhetoric from the ruling ANC will further dampen foreign investor sentiment.


Domestic politics are dominating the end of President Jacob Zuma’s tenure, due to finish in 2019. While the ruling party used to pride itself on its regional conflict resolution efforts, diplomatic efforts in South Sudan have taken a back seat to increasingly important cultural and diplomatic links with trade partners such as China and Russia.

Despite South Africa’s economic and political clout, neither Zuma nor his Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa attended a recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa. Zuma’s push for South Africa to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) has undermined the country’s standing among Western partners.


See SOUTH AFRICA: Anti-West bias mars global influence - June 7, 2016

© Oxford Analytica 2021. All rights reserved. This content contains general information about geopolitical, macroeconomic and social developments or (where stated) other matters. It does not contain advice or recommendations that may be relied on. Where links to external websites are provided, this does not indicate that Oxford Analytica or Emerald Group agree with, endorse or have checked for accuracy the contents of said sites.

Expert Briefings powered by Oxford Analytica
Stay up to date
Sign up to the Expert Daily Briefings email alert and receive up-to-the-minute analysis of global events as they happen.
*If your university does not have access to Expert Briefings, visit our information page to find out more.