The Mpumalanga ANC played a key role in Cyril Ramaphosa's victory over Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, announced on Monday.  It took months and months of wrangling and lobbying, scenario planning and number crunching by the provincial chairman to get to this point.  It started with identifying a chink in the armour of the numerically superior faction aligned to President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma and his backers control the largest ANC provinces - mainly KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. It emerged that Mpumalanga would bring the second-largest delegation to the conference.  Ramaphosa's backers had to turn over large chunks of these two provinces. They had Senzo Mchunu and Bheki Cele working KwaZulu-Natal but needed an entry into Mpumalanga.  Enter David Mabuza, the Mpumalanga chairman with an iron-clad grip on his province, who was solidly part of the so-called "premier league" but recognised after the 2016 election that the ANC was in trouble.  He was also massively uncomfortable with the rising...

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