President Cyril Ramaphosa — often diffident, apologetic and tired looking — for once sounded confident and optimistic in delivering his reply to the presidency budget vote last Thursday.

Building on the theme of his much-criticised state of the nation address last February, using the fynbos of the Cape as a metaphor for the resilience of South Africans, he said: “Our country has suffered great devastation. And as Covid-19 continues to spread within our communities and as it continues to take people’s lives, we cannot yet say that we have extinguished the flames of this pandemic. But what we can say, is that we are now seeing some of the green shoots of recovery...

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