"Imagine life without the ANC in charge of South Africa," ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule challenged supporters at a party rally this week. They could not. Very few can. But a world without Jacob Zuma? No problem. The ANC is a modern marvel. Here is an institution that for two decades has wrought profound, all-encompassing and unrelenting destruction. Yet the institution itself, for all the pain and incompetence it has produced, remains largely immune to critical interrogation. Thus, to blame. Instead, enamoured by the various personalities that constitute the party’s hierarchy, the media — the primary facilitators of this lazy myopia — ensure a permanent vicious circle, in which the president of the ANC is the party, and the party is the president. And so, the ANC never falters, only its leaders. In this way, there is no ANC. There is only the transitory extension of one man’s personality. There is no organisational culture, well-established and set down in writing, only the te...

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