The official SA response to Robert Mugabe’s death indicates how out of touch with reality our governing party has become. First President Cyril Ramaphosa praises him for his contribution to “regional solidarity and development”, then the ANC applauds him for “throughout his life [being] an ardent and vocal advocate of African unity and self-reliance”. Self-reliance, after he had to breathe his last in a Singaporean hospital because the health system in Zimbabwe has collapsed.

The destruction Mugabe has wrought in Zimbabwe is well recorded. Needing a lot more work are efforts to come to terms with the damage he did to SA, the region and Africa as a whole. The ANC seems quite unable to comprehend its own role in giving him and his “comrades” in Zanu-PF the means to push back democracy. This was especially so under Thabo Mbeki, who acted as Mugabe’s pointsman and enabler...

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