President Jacob Zuma’s last appearance as ANC president, on a stage surrounded by the outgoing national executive committee (NEC) ahead of his political report, was unassuming. This was no longer about him. It was about the candidates competing for his position and who will lead the ANC later during this conference, which takes place at Nasrec until Wednesday. It was impossible to see which of the contenders for the top job had the numbers: although delegates sang for their preferred candidates ahead of Zuma’s political report, not a t-shirt in sight bore their images. Delegates from KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Free State, some from Mpumalanga and from the ANC Women’s League sang for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as she sat stone-faced on the stage where the NEC was seated. She eventually gave a small smile, and took out her phone apparently to take pictures or videos of her supporters. She made her rounds on stage, greeting Lindiwe Sisulu and Jeff Radebe, who had both put their names in th...

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