One of the more unpleasant sights last week was that of EFF leader Julius Malema and his red brigade in parliament disrupting the state of the nation address and making South Africans wait an hour and a half to hear President Cyril Ramaphosa. What looked like the most unseemly aspect of it all was the deeply personal attack on former president FW de Klerk, who was there as a guest of parliament, in line with a convention that sees former presidents and deputy presidents being invited to state of the nation speeches. De Klerk qualified on both counts, as did Jacob Zuma, who was said to be away receiving medical treatment in Cuba.

This being SA, the madness didn’t stop there. Who would have put money on the EFF emerging as the winners out of all that? But somehow they did. By the end of the week, the main topic of discussion was not their childish and undemocratic behaviour, but the opposition DA’s troubled relationship with the country’s past...

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