The latest manoeuvres in the relationship dance between the US and South Africa can perhaps best be described as an attempted reset rather than a rapprochement.
US relations with South Africa, which reached a new low over the last year, are poised to get potentially even more tempestuous against a geopolitical background of a brewing scramble for influence over the country by Russia, China and the US.
Not surprisingly, President Joe Biden dispatched his Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on a four-day trek through South Africa at the end of January – on the last leg of a three-country African safari which also included Senegal and Zambia.
The occasion was not lost on the host finance minister, Enoch Godongwana, who mischievously reminded her that “the last time that a US Secretary of the Treasury visited South Africa was in 2014!” That was Jacob J. Lew, serving in President Barack Obama’s administration.
Yellen’s mission is as much a…