Was it a coup attempt? Did she or didn’t she? Did he or didn’t ...

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Was it a coup attempt? Did she or didn’t she? Did he or didn’t he?

The confusion emanating from SA’s security forces after last week’s mayhem is a threat to our democracy

Deputy editor: Sunday Times

There is a picture of former spy boss Thulani Dlomo, in a dark blue three-piece suit against a white shirt, ensconced in an armchair in an office, the South African flag behind him. His face tells a happy but confusing story. The twinkle in his eyes makes it hard to gauge whether he’s failing to stifle a rancorous laugh or if he’s simply giggling. Spies do that. They thrive on confusion, normally a consequence of information peddling.

It was amazing for me that a simple image of a man some South Africans love to hate could bring to the surface such confusion when Dlomo is quite a puzzling figure. This week he left many wondering if he was the mastermind behind the ruinous events of last week. 

Yet his giggles, or naughty smile (OK, whatever it is) are emblematic of the state many of those behind last week’s um, well, shall we call them riots, are in. They must be in stitches about how our cabinet ministers are nervously and indirectly accusing each other of incompetence in the wake of the riots. No, no, no, these were not mere riots or pure criminality, but an insurrection, if we believe our president, Cyril Ramaphosa, right? There was, he told us, a major sinister force behind the mayhem. ..

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