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President Cyril Ramaphosa is playing a high-risk political game. While it is the duty of an elected politician in high office to serve his country, it is also a compelling priority to stay in office. Ramaphosa’s eye is inevitably on the 2019 national elections. Like Theresa May when she took over the Conservative Party in Britain, he does not have an electoral mandate – that was owned twice, for all his faults, by Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa will be wary of May’s precedent (when she called an election that backfired on her and weakened her party). He desperately wants a mandate to consolidate his grip on the ANC. This is why he is trying to outflank the populists in his own party, as well as the radical position of the EFF, announcing prematurely that the ANC supports a constitutional amendment to allow land expropriation without compensation. It seems foolhardy, considering the public consultation process has not been completed, let alone any report that might come out of it. This, despi...

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