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A decade ago, the South African Communist Party (SACP) was faced with what should have been an easy choice: to rise above factionalism or become part of a faction in the battle between supporters of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma in the Polokwane war for the presidency of the ANC. Unfortunately, it decided to be part of the factional dynamic. The SACP decided to be part of the Zuma coalition — at one point I referred to it as a coalition of the irrational — and forgot that rising above destructive tendencies such as factionalism is an essential element of its historical mission. Allow me to digress a bit: about a year before the Polokwane conference, I was invited, with two other political analysts, to share my views with members of the National Intelligence Agency about the internecine battle for power and money that was tearing the ANC apart at the time. During my presentation, I made the point that our intelligence services were the midwives of our post-apartheid dispensation given t...

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