Revelations of a R500,000 donation towards Cyril Ramaphosa’s expenses for his campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017 have generated a minor public outcry. The electoral contest held at Nasrec in Johannesburg was not just about money. Ramaphosa’s team emphasised the candidate’s trade union and business pedigrees, and consistently advanced the myth that a deputy president always goes on to become ANC president. Ramaphosa’s adversary, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, traded on her experience in government, and on the seniority she had acquired as chair of the AU Commission. The ANC’s potential vulnerability in the 2019 national and provincial elections was another key campaign issue, and so too were various policy differences about the character of radical economic transformation. Money was nevertheless central to the campaigns. There were many decent people involved in Ramaphosa’s team and they tried to draw clear lines about ethical campaigning. Insiders have said there was meant to be no di...

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