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Cyril Ramaphosa, many pundits agree, said all the right things in his state of the nation address, and I suppose they’re right: when the Luminous Council of Supreme Eminences sends its Messenger down to the bunker to tell you whether you and the other hostages will be getting a new leather chewing-strap this year, anything positive sounds about right.     

I’ll explain in a moment, but first, in the interests of balance I should tell you that I believe Ramaphosa spoke honestly and from the heart at certain points in his speech. When he compared the burning of parliament to the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, he gave us an entirely transparent look inside the mind of the ANC, where fires at important buildings are, like coronaviruses, naturally occurring events are almost impossible to pre-empt...

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