There are many false assumptions about the power of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the state of the ANC on the downhill run towards the sixth democratic elections. The first is that Ramaphosa can steam ahead with his agenda irrespective of who features from number two downwards on the ANC election list. Even Ramaphosa knows this is not possible. From the get-go, he panicked. Immediately after he was elected ANC president at the party’s national conference in December 2017, Ramaphosa’s face fell as the names of the other top six were revealed. The ANC is not a one-man show. Major decisions are made by the collective. While weighted in Ramaphosa’s favour now, the ANC national executive committee can still swing against him. Unlike Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa has not yet asserted his authority in the ANC. This is evident in his vacillation on issues such as land expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank. Secretary-general Ace Magashule runs...

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