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The sight of Donald Trump’s cabinet, from his vice-president down, scrambling to swear on TV that it wasn’t them who called their boss reckless and amoral reveals that there is more paranoia in the White House than in our halls of power during the Zuma delinquency. The difference is that many in the ANC who abased themselves to shield "Number One" had previously shown great courage and sacrificed much. The fall, therefore, was all the greater. The fact that most have again switched loyalties points to the problem President Cyril Ramaphosa faces in imposing a coherent policy. The ANC remains a hydra-headed behemoth of rival interests — communists, capitalists, traditional leaders, careerists and looters.

To enforce unity, the Zuma option was to command sufficient patronage to buy consciences; the Ramaphosa route is to work towards consolidating his personal power unequivocally. Until then, the president has to pander to all factions. But first during the Zuma dereliction and no...

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