While it is clear that the ANC faction aligned to President Jacob Zuma and the purveyors of his "shadow state", are on the back foot, it is equally apparent that we are not out of the woods yet. An ardent Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma supporter and businessman declared this week that the governing party’s elective conference in December had been "bought and paid for" and that her position as president was guaranteed. He even suggests that certain ministers are already reporting to ANC Free State chairman Ace Magashule, who is on Dlamini-Zuma’s slate to become secretary-general. It may be easy to dismiss such talk as political gossip, but it would be reckless to ignore it. While it is no longer a two-horse race — with the endorsement of Zweli Mkhize by the Alfred Nzo region in the Eastern Cape and Baleka Mbete’s expression of readiness to stand for the post — the frontrunners remain Dlamini-Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The bravado expressed by the Dlamini-Zuma group should rai...

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