How are the KPMG and McKinsey sagas playing out in the ANC heartland? What do they mean in places that have been voting consistently for the governing party since 1994? For the past five years, I have been working in towns in the eastern Free State. Here, people’s growing disenchantment with the ANC is matched only by their distrust of anybody else with power or influence. In the local government elections held in 2016, the communities in which I’ve been working returned ANC councillors with 70%-80% of the vote, albeit with a vastly reduced turnout. I haven’t visited since KPMG and McKinsey exploded into the news, but a WhatsApp group of 45 people that I established for research purposes some time ago is an effective shrinker of distance. The group is a motley crew of municipal workers, petrol attendants, township businesspeople, a hairdresser, the manager of a small crèche — ordinary folk.Not everyone’s views are the same, of course, but most of those who responded to my questions ...

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