Ramaphosa's backers, who are a majority in the NEC, laid all the blame on one man - Zuma. So the NEC took a decision that its structures - including the women's league, the youth league and the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association, all of which have been staunch Zuma supporters - should not show support for party leaders or members facing corruption allegations.

The intention was to dissociate the party from its ugly past in the hope that voters would buy into the notion of a Zuma-free ANC. It is a move that could spruce up the party's image and improve its electoral fortunes, especially in urban areas outside KwaZulu-Natal where Zuma is persona non grata.

However, the NEC may have shot itself in the foot. Zuma is facing 16 charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud. This is in relation to 783 questionable payments connected with the arms deal over which Zuma's former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was jailed for corruption.

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