In just more than two weeks President Cyril Ramaphosa will celebrate the fourth anniversary of his ascendance to the top job in the governing ANC. This came after a bruising campaign that pitted him against Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma — or rather, the factions aligned with them took each other on.

The promise of reform underpinning the Ramaphosa ticket, labelled the New Dawn, was touted as a statement of intent signalling how he planned to lead the party, and ultimately SA. At its core, the message seemed important. The ANC had descended into a motley crew of factions and hangers-on united less by ideological patterns than patronage persuasions. Its descent into chaos had inevitably filtered through to the state at large, where many of the variables necessary for a functional state had been gradually undermined...

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