South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has a long fight ahead of him. Sworn in last February, after the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, he has promised to clean up the rampant corruption that has long haunted the nation. Ramaphosa is indeed starting off his tenure with a bang, commissioning a multi-expert review panel to investigate South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA). The move is regarded as a major stepping-stone towards restructuring the SSA, identifying the factors that led to its rampant abuse and now forging it into a valuable institution.
The SSA was forged in 2009, after five of the nation’s security agencies were combined by Zuma into one larger intelligence apparatus. Although the government insists the point of unification was to streamline information, the result—rather than creating transparency—was an increasingly disorganized, difficult to supervise web working at the behest of the president.
Ramaphosa has multiple challenges ahead of him: he must strengthen the country’s much maligned tax system while also working to stabilize the South African Rand, which is now at a six-month low. However, if Ramaphosa can inspire confidence in investors and his tax base by rooting out those who enabled such corruption, there is still a good chance South Africa can emerge from the legacy of Zuma’s noxious presidency a stronger, more unified nation.