Cyril of the ANC: toeing the party line or straightening it?

25 April 2021 - 00:00 By Sunday Times Editorial

President Cyril Ramaphosa will make two long-awaited appearances before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture in coming weeks. This week, for two days, he will wear his party colours, testifying as head of the ANC. Later, he will testify as head of state, but it is his first appearance that will be more keenly awaited, and for good reason. While we are asked to believe, and there is some evidence of this, that the government is being run by determined new brooms sweeping clean, the corresponding clean-up of the party has been more problematic, to put it charitably.

Ramaphosa paid a high price for his victory at the ruling party's national conference at Nasrec in 2017. Part of that price was the inclusion of factional figures, prime among them secretary-general Ace Magashule, in the top leadership. Magashule has become a beacon for party discontents under the banner of radical economic transformation. Some of his followers face serious criminal charges, as he does, and are being asked to "step aside" from their party roles until their cases have been finalised. The RET camp dismisses these actions as politically inspired, led by the Ramaphosa faction to purge opponents...

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