Ramaphosa Apologizes for Bad Infrastructure, Then Experiences It

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(Bloomberg) — In the past 24 hours, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa had to apologize for the poor state of the country’s infrastructure before having first-hand experience of just how bad it is.

On Sunday, he spoke to the national broadcaster on the sidelines of an election campaign appearance in the northern town of Mahikeng to say sorry for some of the most severe power cuts South Africans have yet experienced. The next day, he joined commuters on a 45-minute train trip to the capital, Pretoria. Unexplained delays meant that the trip lasted more than three hours and he was late for a meeting of the ruling party’s leadership.

It’s not an ideal situation for a man who is trying to convince voters to back his African National Congress in elections in May, when many of them already blame the party for the country’s inadequate public transport and failing power grid.

Having already said that he plans to restructure the state power utility, Ramaphosa kept up his tough talk while stuck on the train.

It’s going to take more than that to convince potential voters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net, Pauline Bax, Gordon Bell

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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