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As South Africans endure the seventh week of home imprisonment, the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is, to borrow from the song in The King and I , “a puzzlement”.

First puzzle is our new overlord, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She seems to imagine that viral microbes possess an intelligence wing. And while several of her fellow ministers, and indeed the president himself, appear in public in faux-combat fatigues, it is worth indicating that there is no reason for decisions that result in the crashing of our economy and confinement and curfewing of the population to be “classified”. Covid-19 can’t read the detail, but it would at least provide a rationale for some rules and regulations that seem to combine, in equal measure, both mendacity and incompetence...

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