Cyril Ramaphosa’s elevation to the presidency of the ANC was a close call. Some of his backers were swayed by their fear that a victory for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would plunge the ANC to defeat in the 2019 elections. Fear of the electorate also hastened Jacob Zuma’s removal from the state presidency. A "dignified exit" in reality allowed the ANC as a whole to turn on its former leader, so marking a clear dividing line between a discredited "old ANC" and Ramaphosa’s allegedly quite different party. Wednesday’s painful budget also sent a signal to the people. Tax rises were spun as a result of Zuma’s disastrous decisions and his corrupt administration. Acting Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba — perhaps in exchange for the promise of a smaller but still gratifying blue light convoy — blamed Zuma for the unanticipated higher education funding announcement in December. Ramaphosa’s political priority is presumably to deliver a resounding victory to the ANC in the 2019 elections. His first ca...

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