President Cyril Ramaphosa moved to assert his political authority in the face of criticism that he is being undermined by ministers who have created a state of confusion in business and wider society with contradictory regulations during the nationwide lockdown.

The issue came to the fore last week when co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who narrowly lost the ANC leadership race to Ramaphosa in December 2017, told the nation that a decision to allow the sale of tobacco products during the current phase, which started on May 1, was being reversed. This was just six days after Ramaphosa had said such sales would be allowed.

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