Russia, wrote Winston Churchill, “is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. But Russia is an open book compared to the riddle, wrapped in denials, inside the cloud of smoke that is David Mabuza’s relationship with Moscow.

If you like your news sordid you’ll no doubt have followed the curious case of the alleged poisoning of our alleged deputy president, who, the story goes, was slipped something nasty at a birthday party in 2015, struggled to get adequate treatment in SA, and then jetted off to Moscow three months later.

That seems to have been the start of a beautiful friendship, or at least another beautiful friendship: having been discharged by Russian doctors, Mabuza hopped on a flight home with Duduzane Zuma aboard a Gupta-owned jet. (Nothing to see, folks.)

Yes, DD was back in the Motherland earlier this year to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his inevitable victory in Russia’s so-called “elections”. (Please, folks, move along, nothing to see.) And now, it turns out, he’s been back yet again, this time on not-sick leave. (Really, I must insist that you walk on, this is all completely normal, really ... ) On the weekend Mabuza’s personal smoke-blower, Thami Ngwenya, angrily rejected suggestions that the Veep was ill, saying that “at no point” did a statement about Mabuza taking sick leave imply that he was sick. (Seriously, folks, I can’t stress enough how little there is to see here and how urgently you need to move on.) Ngwenya’s explanation didn’t sit well with some people, specifically people over the age of three. Was Mabuza sick or not? And how does someone take sick leave when they’re not sick? Sensing that it had overstepped even its own limits of idiocy, the ANC sent in the heavy hitters this week. Chief whip Jackson Mthembu exp...

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