South Africa: ANC's Inner War - After the New Hope, Remnants of the Empire Strike Back


In the twin environments of the ANC and the State, these days the question that matters is how much power President Cyril Ramaphosa really has. Can he appoint the Cabinet he wants, send state capturers to jail, clean up and reform government? Or is he in such political debt, so reliant on people like his deputy David Mabuza, that the ANC is likely to lumber on for much longer? Sunday afternoon's announcement of the ANC sub-committee chairs suggests Ramaphosa has less political power than previously assumed and the struggle looks destined to continue. It might also demonstrate how little last year's conference managed to settle.

In technical terms, the chairs of the sub-committees of the NEC don't necessarily have a huge amount of power. They can't hire and fire, and certainly can't try to overrule the majority of their subcommittee. But they are the public face of their respective groups, which gives them a certain power when reporting back at conferences and national general councils, and when the media is looking for a position/opinion on the issues under their supervision. Thus, Obed Bapela has been the face of the ANC's decision to leave the International Criminal Court...

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