RET Lonely Hearts: Why the fightback is fading, and what comes next
The ANC's Radical Economic Transformation faction, or RET as they are popularly known, came into being ahead of the party's national conference in December 2017.
Styling itself as an ideological grouping in the governing party that champions economic reform to the benefit of the poor, it was in actual fact a grouping of politicos with strong and demonstrable links to the Zuma-Gupta state capture network.
Led by corruption-accused Ace Magashule, supported by nefarious characters like Carl Niehaus and pretenders to the presidential throne including Lindiwe Sisulu, the RET faction has became synonymous with the toxic and often criminal divisions that characterise the ANC.
During the first two years of President Cyril Ramaphosa's presidency, the RET faction proved a disruptive force inside the party.
Magashule, for example, made a habit of openly defying the president, while others, like Ekhuruleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, became one of the cheerleaders of the RET Louis Vuitton vanguard. But their potency has in recent times significantly diluted as Ramaphosa managed to consolidate his influence in the organisation and people like Magashule were politically neutralised.
In this week's Friday Briefing, News24's political editor, Qaanitah Hunter, argues the RET faction is dead, but it might not be the end for Ramaphosa's internal wranglings.
Political analysts Ebrahim Fakir and Mpumelelo Mkhabela argue the problem is not the RET faction, but the ANC and that Ramaphosa still has a rocky road ahead.
The cover is a parody of The Beatles' famous Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover - if you haven't noticed - done by the ever-creative Rudi Louw. Take note of the track listings … including "Nomvula in the Sky with Diamonds". With apologies to John Lennon…
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Pieter du Toit
Assistant Editor: In-depth news
Without any leadership, the only glue that, so far, bonds the anti-Ramaphosa faction - whether it is through RET or not - is self-interest, writes Qaanitah Hunter.
The internal organisational crisis faced by the ANC demonstrates that the party no longer has competing ideas, but contradictory visions. Ebrahim Fakir writes that these contradictions are not germane to the RET faction, but are a consequence of the ANC's general incoherence.
As the anti-Ramaphosa faction flounders, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has been given a lifeline to re-organise the party and increase his margin of support from the near-split of the 2017 Nasrec conference. But it won't be an easy road ahead for him, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.
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