What is political power? This is such an important yet misunderstood question for SA’s future after Tuesday’s vote. There is a kind of mass hysteria among the local media and some investors that constantly puts breathless hope above all else — especially rational analysis of this key question. Political power exists fundamentally to self-perpetuate, to survive, to pass through succession planning and to protect. Only then is it useful for other things, be that job creation, boosting reform or rent extraction. President Jacob Zuma’s ability to survive despite the odds shows raw political power and the ability to utilise that. His ultimate skill is to turn the ANC’s collectivism back in on itself for his own advantage. Declarations that the opposition somehow won on Tuesday may well be true when viewed with hindsight in 2019, but they are irrelevant now. The vote actually went better for Zuma than I had expected. I thought that while the motion would fail to win 201 votes, a larger nu...

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