Pravin Gordhan, fired; Mcebisi Jonas, fired; Derek Hanekom,fired; Ngoako Ramatlhodi, fired; Dipuo Peters, fired. It came under the cover of darkness. The courtesy of an explanation no, instead a statement: “I have decided to make changes to the National Executive in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.”

The public service got the middle finger, incompetence was rewarded.

The king has locked himself away in his castle. Outside political and civil formations scurry. Threats. Negotiations. Insult. More negotiations. Even the king’s generals have abandoned him. Loyalists hurry to justify.

While political leaders paid tribute to a struggle veteran, they spoke of their own struggle. “Zuma must fall! Zuma must fall!” the chants rang. “The ANC must choose either the people of this country, or the Guptas,” insisted one. “He leaves us at a time when the problems are very clear, and who is the problem and what is the problem,” added another. “If you had ears to hear and eyes to see, you would step down as Kathy required,” contended a third. “Zuma must fall! Zuma must fall!” the chants continued.

Inside the castle, lonely footsteps echo in hallways. As the condemnation grows, so does the disdain of the beleaguered king. Outside, uncertainty and rage rule the day.

Officially nothing is being done; unofficially a lot has been said. Unintelligible intelligence. Some, none the wiser. A cry for morality. Principle was also sacked from cabinet, values left the night before. A movement stands on the brink of collapse.

In between a funeral and a memorial, five ministers lost their jobs, and 55 million people are poorer for it.