Even as the baying of a growing pack of opposition hounds reaches a previously unheard of crescendo, all of them would be advised not to underestimate the wiliest political fox in the country, President Jacob Zuma.
He may not have a grasp of straightforward numbers or any understanding of global economics, but even his fiercest critics will admit that the Nabob of Nkandla is a survivor.
The predictable descent into junk status as ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lost patience with earlier pleas that South Africa was intent on reviving a lagging economy, inevitably followed Zuma’s heavy-handed midnight Cabinet hatchet job.
It cannot, surely, have come as a surprise in the wake of Zuma’s unveiling of a system of “radical economic transformation”. Either Zuma misjudged the suddenness of being toppled from the ranks of preferred investment destinations, or he misread world reaction particularly badly.
If it was ignorance which led Zuma to make the decisions he did, the president is guilty of an arrogance which ignores the experience and wisdom of wiser heads better versed than he.
More frighteningly, though, is a growing feeling that Zuma just doesn’t care. If this is even to be partially believed, he does not deserve to call himself a president or classify himself as a leader.
The S&P downgrade is proof of that. A leader cannot surely willingly embark on a path that exhibits a surfeit of potholes and false directions certain to make life even more difficult for the suffering poor under the control of his leadership.
And it is the poor, not the overpaid fat cats in parliament, the public service or state-owned enterprises who will bear the brunt as our already spiralling national debt takes on a more savage velocity of its own.