The ANC’s election manifesto launch over the weekend — unofficially opening the campaigning season for the May elections — was more a show of force than the delivery of a concrete plan to get SA running optimally. The 66-page document contains a stark admission by the party and its president, Cyril Ramaphosa: "We accept that mistakes have been made and, in some critical areas, progress has stalled." If one looks back at the five years since the party’s last manifesto, in 2014, it is clear that progress not only stalled in the intervening years, but that the priorities of the government under then president Jacob Zuma shifted almost entirely from delivery to a self-serving project of accumulation by elites. Thereafter, governance was characterised by an intense battle between those driving state capture and those resisting it — a struggle that became more pronounced when Ramaphosa took over as caretaker president in February 2018. It is within this context that the ANC has launched i...

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