They grow up so fast, these presidents. One day they’re listening spellbound to fairy tales such as The New Dawn or anxiously sounding out the words as they read Goldishocks and the Three Bearish Ratings Agencies, the next they’re getting ready for their first vote of no confidence.

For Cyril Ramaphosa, Thursday’s vote is mostly symbolic, a rite of passage announcing to the world that he has put aside the things of a child and is ready to be draped in the gravy-blotched, flyblown mantle of state, and to lift the sceptre of power, and then to be told that it’s not really a sceptre, it’s just a length of pipe that fell out of the ceiling, but it’s cool if he wants to keep it and pretend it’s a sceptre because it means Patricia De Lille can announce a tender to have it replaced, and that means Christmas has come early for the comrades over at Azania Logistics, a pipe-supplying business founded in, well, gosh, it looks like they were founded four minutes before that pipe fell out ...

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