Events in the US are following recent SA history to a degree that is uncanny. Three years ago we had a president who did not want to lose office lest he go to prison. He was prepared to bring down our constitutional order to get his way. Today the US president believes his enemies will jail him if he relinquishes power. And so he plans not to go.

There is still much we do not know about Jacob Zuma’s last year as president. But some things we do. It is certain, for instance, that he mulled the idea of suspending indefinitely the ANC’s elective conference at Nasrec in December 2017, thus leaving him as party leader in perpetuity. In the end he doubted he could pull it off. And in any case he calculated that his candidate, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, would win on the conference floor. Had he anticipated her defeat he would almost certainly have tried to derail the conference. What would have happened next is anyone’s guess.

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