In the ferment surrounding the ANC leadership contest, the widening gap between the geography of ANC support and the economic heart of the country has gone unnoticed. ANC membership translates into political influence and has been rising in relatively poor and mostly rural provinces but falling behind in better-off urban regions. The divide between political clout and economic capacity is risky for the economy. Without efforts to close the gap, the consequences are likely to be damaging. The chart compares the proportion of total ANC delegates to the elective conference from each province with its share of the national population. Mpumalanga and the North West have almost twice as many votes as one would expect, reflecting their large ANC membership. Conversely, Gauteng has only two-fifths of the expected votes and the Western Cape only a third. So their interests are greatly underrepresented. With a quarter of SA’s population, Gauteng has only 10% of ANC votes! What’s more, Mpumala...

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