The battle for the ANC is increasingly being described as a fight between good and evil.

According to this view, the side that wants Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to be the party’s next president is prepared to buy the votes of ANC branches. Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign, it is said, would never do that. If he wins it will be because the rank and file are tired of the rot and have warmed to his promise of a cleansed ANC.

Dlamini-Zuma has rooting for her people who would intimidate and even kill their adversaries, this view suggests. Behind her are forces prepared to cancel elections and suspend democracy to keep power. Those backing Ramaphosa harbour no such people. Dlamini-Zuma’s backers are in politics to get rich, it is said; they are after power so that they can rig tenders and steer public money into private hands. Ramaphosa’s people, in contrast, want to save SA’s public institutions from ruin.

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