Every time President Jacob Zuma does something momentous, like reshuffle his Cabinet, the overwhelming response is that things can’t get any worse. But we have come to learn that they can and — as happened on Tuesday — they just did. The appointment of David Mahlobo, the singularly untalented "intelligence minister", as the new minister of energy is one of these moments. After the appointment of Faith Muthambi, who first presided over the destruction of the SABC and who now holds the delicate matter of the public service wage bill in her hands, and that of Mosebenzi Zwane, who as mining minister has rendered the mining sector uninvestible, there was a sense that we had reached the bottom. But Mahlobo’s appointment and that of his replacement, Bongani Bongo, plumb new depths of cynicism and self-interest on the part of Zuma. First, this time round Zuma consulted none of the other officials in the ANC top six, making full use of his presidential powers without reference to the collect...

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