To the ANC, everything is a fire pool now. Its leaders, when seconded to the government and exposed as failing, thump their chests in victimhood, lurching for the lexicon of excuses, reframing it all as “out of context” or a “political witch-hunt”.

Asked last week on radio about the backlog in mining licence applications, South Africa’s avuncular mining minister Gwede Mantashe rounded on the Daily Maverick, which had simply reported what his own department had told IFP MP Themba Msimang in parliament. Msimang had asked how many applications had been approved this year, and Mantashe’s officials replied that of the 2,525 applications received since April, “nil” had been processed. ..

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