Following the hoopla surrounding the top six positions in the ANC at the Polokwane conference, elections to the remaining 80 seats on the national executive committee provided a mere footnote. But the list invites close scrutiny.
Among the most successful candidates were Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Tony Yengeni and Ruth Bhengu, all of whom have criminal records. Others have a cloud of corruption allegations hanging over them. And had it not been for the expansion of the committee, a number of worthy figures such as Naledi Pandor would have been excluded.
What does this tell the public about the values held by the ANC and its members, its attitude to the rule of law, and its understanding of leadership? There is a sense that Polokwane could represent a historical crossroads for South Africa. Do some of those elected to high office in the ruling party give a clue to the nature of the road ahead?