Of all the tripartite alliance partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) was the biggest winner of the 2007, post-Polokwane consensus. The reds walked away with plum positions and strategic portfolios in the Cabinet — higher education, economic development, trade and industry, forestry and fisheries, and public works. A deputy ministership here and parliamentary seats there characterised the newfound, cosy consensus between the alliance partners. And to top it off, the faction of the ANC that emerged triumphant in Polokwane gave the reds seats at the tables of the governing party’s highest decision-making structures — its national working committee and the national executive committee. This new arrangement, the argument ran, would make sure the poor and marginalised would finally taste the material fruits of freedom they had long been denied by the neoliberal faction ousted in the Limpopo capital. Many programmes of action were announced to deal with the structural defects ...

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