The depth of exiles' psychological injury is clear today - rampant corruption, Life Esidimeni, state capture. In Johannesburg a condemned building full of public servants going through the motions of running a provincial government finally catches fire and the blaze takes three days to extinguish.

Nothing the ANC touches works properly; not the hospitals, not the schools, not the trains. Not the fire hoses. No water pressure, you see.

Left to the ANC alone, there is no prospect of any of this getting better. The party simply doesn't have the will to manage our vast social and mechanical complexity on the ground.

What happened? How did we get from booting out Jacob Zuma to recession so fast? How did we get back to a R20 pound sterling with a solid finance minister? How did we get to the point where there is no money to fix anything that's wrong? We're at a standstill. There's a pall, an ennui, over us. There is so much to repair, but talking about it seems pointless. We cannot get past race. Land, which a few years ago would have ranked quite low on the expectations of the poor, is the new answer to everything. That is rubbish, yet now it must be dealt with. The ANC, which raised the question, cannot answer it with one voice. Its common ground is to change the constitution so that it can do what it likes. This is typical. The ANC has always been ineffective, always the victim. It fought a feeble armed struggle. In exile it begged for money in Europe on the backs of black people suffering back home. Now, with the ANC back home and in power for more than 20 years, the poverty it claimed to hav...

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