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About a decade ago — before "state capture" and "corruption" engulfed SA’s political lexicon — "1996 class project" was the phrase du jour. Back then, the expression — used derisively to describe the economic policy of the administration of former president Thabo Mbeki — became a rallying cry for the Left, which played a crucial role in ousting Mbeki at the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007. It was a rallying cry that catapulted Jacob Zuma into the presidency. Now, the "1996 class project" seems to be making a comeback, with President Cyril Ramaphosa in his second state of the nation address last Thursday trying to repackage old policies to set SA on a new path. From his plan to split intelligence into domestic and international components, to his announcement of a directorate within the prosecuting authority to focus on state capture, Ramaphosa is turning back the clock to move SA into the future. Undoubtedly the biggest and most urgent throwback concerns the restructuring of Esko...

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