When the ANC came to office in 1994, wise people warned that our new democracy would have passed its first test only once power had peacefully changed hands. But the ANC was so ascendant, its decline so far off, that the idea of this moment remained hazy and abstract. Is the long-awaited test finally upon us now in the closing months of 2017? Part of the strangeness of the situation is that we don’t know. Matters are so uncertain that nobody at all — not Jacob Zuma, not Cyril Ramaphosa and certainly not Mosebenzi Zwane, who claims that everything is wrapped up — can predict what sort of state SA will be in come January. True, those who warned of democracy’s first test were not imagining the situation we’re in now. The ANC is in office with a healthy majority and no election is scheduled for another two years.But factions of politicians, bureaucrats and businesspeople have hijacked the state with criminal intent and the ANC’s elective conference in December may very well test their w...

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