I stood in a voting booth on Monday morning and had one last look for a party that didn’t exist. I knew it wasn’t there, of course. But still, as I ran my finger down that column of little squares, each one demanding either grubby pragmatism or naive idealism, I hoped it might magically appear, offering a collection of uncompromised virtues.

What I was looking for was simple. I wanted a party with the gravitas and the nation-building ambitions of the activist-led ANC, before greed and cynical cronyism turned it into a sewer. I wanted the bureaucratic punctiliousness of the best of the DA, without the accompanying collapse into shrill self-righteousness when faced with valid criticism, or dog-whistles blasted at a rapidly ageing and shrinking enclave of voters...

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