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The ANC presidential race at the 54th national conference at Nasrec in December 2017 was more than a showdown between warring factions in the ruling party. It was a battle between two sections of society that neither side could afford to lose. The prize was not only political power but access to state and financial resources. On the side of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was a business and political network that benefited handsomely from the Jacob Zuma administration. This extended from those involved in state capture, some elements in the criminal underworld, to the politically connected across provinces and municipalities who used the state to leverage wealth and power. The Zuma faction was backed by the security agencies in the state with access to covert intelligence funding. There were claims that a foreign power was also involved, but there is as yet no firm evidence of this. On the other side were activists, civil society groups and business leaders, most Cosatu unions and the SACP w...

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