Back in the nobler days of the ANC, when Nelson Mandela stepped down after serving only one term as SA’s president, his chosen successor was the former mining union leader Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa lost out, subsequently withdrawing into private business where he amassed a small fortune. Twenty years later, he has a chance to make Mandela’s wish come true by becoming head of the ANC at a five-yearly conference to be held this weekend. That would put him in pole position to become president of the country when general elections are held in 2019. Those who want to salvage the soul — not to mention the electoral fortunes — of the ANC regard Ramaphosa as their only hope. The party that once inspired the world with its vision of a non-racial, equal-opportunity society has descended far from those ideals. Not only has it become, under President Jacob Zuma, a party of rank corruption. Almost worse, it is woefully incompetent, lacking a coherent vision of how to transform the lives of the ...

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