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Minutes after noon on July 14, a group of looters armed with a forklift breached the walls of an industrial equipment company in Westmead, Durban. Taking their time, they spray-painted "Ramaphosa" in red on one wall and "Zuma", in white, on another, says the owner. A sheep was slaughtered and roasted before they made off with everything from tools and compressors to fridges and fans.

Days later, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned that SA’s democracy was under threat. The week of violence, he said, was part of an attempted insurrection...

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