The ANC’s recently concluded national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla was filled with virtual excitement. It addressed Covid-19, expropriation without compensation, the Zondo commission and many other hot issues. It was easy to overlook the body’s endorsement of the tedious-sounding district development model.

Yet district development is rare in that it is personally endorsed by our policy-reticent president, Cyril Ramaphosa. Importantly, it has also been championed by his erstwhile rival, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, now co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister...

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