Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the state of the nation address was what the president didn’t say. Jacob Zuma made no mention of SA’s banks. Although there was a good smattering of references to radical economic transformation, there were no specifics. And the war that the Gupta family has unleashed on the banking sector saw no advance through the president’s speech. This was a surprise. The banking sector is the one institution that is standing, like an oversized bouncer with fists on hips, in the way of those who want to move large sums of ill-gained money. It also stands in opposition to economic calamity. It was the CEOs of the banks who met with the ANC’s top leadership in the days after the firing of then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and explained the financial disaster that was sure to follow. That forced the ANC to act against the president and compel him to overturn his decision. That humiliation surely remains raw. The Guptas are becoming increasingly desperate a...

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