It’s hard to say which is the most ridiculous commitment in the ANC’s manifesto. Is it the suggestion to establish a state pharmaceutical company, convert community health workers into employees of the department of health, investigate the return of prescribed assets for pension funds or the undertaking to lower administered prices just as Eskom’s death spiral accelerates? Each is as pie in the sky as the others. All are impossible when subjected to a reality check, and many are recycled ideas that have never been implemented before because they can’t be. But before one gets too frustrated, it is a good idea to remember that the ANC’s election manifesto is not actually a carefully thought-out plan for the next five years, or even a promise of what that party will do if re-elected. It is a negotiated settlement among the ANC’s various parts; an effort to include the demands of all interest groups, regardless of the likelihood of realisation. The primary source of the content and word...

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