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Ten years and 500-billion stolen rands later, you’d forgive South Africans for being jumpy about government wastage and you’d understand why opportunist politicians are using that anxiety to their advantage. Still, I can’t help feeling that some of the maths isn’t adding up.

Take, for example, Julius Malema’s concern, reiterated last week, that the Zondo commission is costing too much. With a price tag of more than R350m and counting, Malema says, the commission “has become very expensive” and “cheaper ways of arriving at the same conclusion” should be investigated...

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