Western Cape Premier Helen Zille produced a substantial newsletter on the water crisis, "Day Zero and the way forward", on Monday. To say it was well received is an understatement. The media and public devoured it with wild enthusiasm. For example, with an accompanying link to her piece, Peter Bruce, highly critical of Zille in the past, went so far as to tweet: "All other issues aside, when the sh*t hits the fan, who you gonna call? – this woman. Inspiring, frightening piece...".That kind of hyperbolic sentiment was replicated a thousand times over on social media. There are a few reasons why the piece was so embraced. For one, in a crisis the public wants information. It’s a bit like being diagnosed with a terminal disease — your first instinct is to understand. Information gives you something to hold on to and Zille, who is authoritative by nature, provided a raft of the good stuff. But the letter encapsulated something else too, something less tangible. It seemed to embody the k...

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