For the privileged among us, one of the few upsides of lockdown was the chance to watch master filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s long yet brilliant The Irishman. I hope President Cyril Ramaphosa managed to settle down on the sofa with his family one evening to watch it. He would like it because a chunk of it is about legendary US trade unionist Jimmy Hoffa.

In his excellent biography of Ramaphosa, the academic Anthony Butler retells the story of how the president was influenced by a Sylvester Stallone movie called F.I.S.T. It was loosely based on Hoffa’s life and the scene that gripped Ramaphosa captures Hoffa negotiating wage increases with trucking industry bosses. The unions were demanding a 5.5% increase and the bosses were refusing to go beyond 5%...

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