Two months into the job, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa still needs a job description. At the same time, deputy president Paul Mashatile is settling in the west wing of the Union Buildings. He has assembled a respectable advisory team and hit the ground running, looking to establish himself as an authoritative figure while his boss does nothing.

Mashatile attended the African Continental Free Trade Area conference in Cape Town this week and wasted no opportunity to meet with key business figures. Ramokgopa suffered his first loss when his electricity plan was rejected at this week’s special cabinet meeting, called by President Cyril Ramaphosa...

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