About this time a decade ago, a letter purportedly written by a sitting president of the ANC and his deputy made its way to the media. In the letter, supposedly authored by Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, the pair urged party members not to undermine service delivery in their names ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane in 2007. Whatever its intentions, it is now common cause that the letter failed to either unite the ANC or protect the country’s citizenry from the governing party’s factional battles. A decade later, we find ourselves in a worse position. The economy is a victim of the corrosive effects of the events in the long run-up to the December conference, which, as things now stand may or may not happen. Nowhere is this malaise more evident than in the governance of the largest of the 700-odd state-owned enterprises (SOEs). A fortnight ago, Cyril Ramaphosa, Zuma’s deputy, made an impassioned plea to a teacher union to defend the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) f...

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