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If there's one universal truth that we've gathered from the disastrous presidency of Jacob Zuma it is that if you were of any use to him personally and in his public life, you had to at least meet one member of the infamous Gupta family. And if you were really important, those meetings weren't merely at the master's table at any ANC gathering, but in the confines of their family home in Saxonwold. To varying degrees, the survival of any minister or state official was dependent on how happy the president's inner circle was with their performance. In the worst-case scenarios keeping Zuma's friends happy was more important than looking after the state itself. To serve in his administration, one had to meet these very important friends, and if you were of a weak character, you'd bow to their will. So the fact that finance minister Nhlanhla Nene had met the former first family (one can only hope that this is true) is by itself no surprise. The fact that he and his one-time deputy, ...

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