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In August 2016, Herman Mashaba was hoisted onto the shoulders of DA members in Joburg. He had a triumphant fist in the air, celebrating his nomination as mayor of SA’s economic capital, with the help of an unlikely ally — Julius Malema’s EFF. Back then the tongue-in-cheek analysis was that Jesus must have finally arrived in Joburg and Tshwane (among others), given Jacob Zuma’s infamous assertion in 2004 that "the ANC will rule SA until Jesus comes back". Today, three years later, the realities of governing with a minority coalition have set in. Governing clearly isn’t an easy feat for the DA on the mean streets of Joburg, even if it campaigned vigorously back in 2016 on its success in running Cape Town. Perhaps Joburg is just harder to fix: the streets in the wealthier northern suburbs are still riddled with potholes, bins on the sides of inner-city streets often bubble over onto the roads, and township residents in Alexandra make no bones about their dissatisfaction with service de...

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