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Deputy President David Mabuza has an uncanny ability to micromanage a gathering. This much was clear at the ANC’s provincial general council in Mpumalanga in 2017, when Mabuza — then the provincial premier and party chair — left the stage just to adjust some sound equipment.

It’s the kind of attention to detail that can be intimidating. And it would almost certainly have caused second thoughts for anyone toying with the idea of opposing his plan to support “unity” ahead of the Nasrec elective conference a few weeks later...

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