It is sometimes said of politicians that they are all hat and no rabbit. It isn’t always true: Clement Attlee, the formidable but undemonstrative British prime minister of the 1940s, was all substance and no show. But in the case of President Jacob Zuma, the inescapable fact is that there is neither show nor substance. Zuma’s state of the nation address last week (or state against the nation, as Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane dubbed it) was an embarrassingly obvious cut-and-paste job, with little new and barely any attempt to re-package what we knew already. It was significant that the currency hardly reacted to the speech. The violent ejection of the Economic Freedom Fighters, the walkout by the DA, the inability of speaker Baleka Mbete to keep control, Mbete’s ignorance of the rules of parliament and the poverty of the speech’s content — this was just a replay of what happened last year. Citizens of various political persuasions shook their heads, and changed the channel...

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