President Cyril Ramaphosa has long called for an end to factions in the governing ANC. He made this call to the party’s national executive committee (NEC) upon his election as the party’s president and it was central to his reform agenda. The NEC is the party’s highest decision-making body between national conferences, and it is that structure that backed former president Jacob Zuma’s recall from high office in 2018. It was also behind ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule stepping aside pending the outcome of a corruption case.

But it is also the NEC that Ramaphosa has tried to appease in appointing the national executive after the ANC’s 2017 elective conference, at which he was elected by a small margin. What Ramaphosa does not seem to see is that most in the ANC agree that he single-handedly delivered the party’s 57% majority in the 2019 general election and the only way for him and the party to reverse an electoral decline in successive elections would be to deliver...

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