What did the ANC think would happen when it elected one of the principal enablers of state capture to run the organisation? The party is tangled up in explanations about why its secretary-general, Ace Magashule, was with former president Jacob Zuma and former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo at a clandestine meeting in Durban last week. Did the ANC really believe that, after being a facilitator of the Gupta looting spree, Magashule would suddenly change sides and abandon Zuma and the Guptas? Magashule proclaimed in Pietermaritzburg in January that "the ANC that we know" would return after five years. His election as secretary-general was the most disastrous outcome for the ANC’s national conference in December 2017, but was symptomatic of the bizarre voting pattern of delegates. Despite there being two distinct factions at the conference, the outcome of the elections for officials veered wildly across slates. There is no rational explanation for why some voted for Ramaphosa as pr...

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