What lies behind the decision to criminally charge South Africa's finance minister?
South Africa has reached a critical point. If patronage politicians win the battle within the ruling ANC and complete the capture of the state, the country will slip from stagnation into the abyss.
A row between South Africa's finance minister and the country's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations has prompted academics to pen an open letter asking President Jacob Zuma to intervene.
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan would need President Zuma’s undivided support to drive bold economic reforms. But, signs suggest that he does not have such support and is undermined by the president.
It is unlikely President Zuma will announce a structural changes in his State of the Nation Address. This, despite education being in dire need of fundamental restructuring and an economy in decline.
For more than 100 years South Africa's ruling ANC and its leaders have often been able to speak to and for the nation with resonance and moral authority, their words matching actions. Not any more.
Pundits will closely watch President Jacob Zuma's January 8 statement to see what he and the governing ANC consider to be priorities for the country in 2016.
South African President Jacob Zuma has lost control of his party and his administration. It is time citizens came together and gave the old man a helping hand to exit.
South Africa has had three finance ministers in four days. President Jacob Zuma will live with the fall-out for the rest of his term. Markets have a long-term memory and won't easily forget.
Academics from several South African universities say that in the current world economy decisions about any country's finance minister cannot be made "lightly or capriciously".
President Jacob Zuma's era has been characterised by a high turnover, not only of cabinet members, but also senior public officials and executives in state-owned enterprises.
The sudden expulsion of the finance minister makes it hard not to be pessimistic about the South African government's ability to manage the difficult challenges it might face in 2016.
It is difficult to analyse political developments in South Africa. Decision-making does not fit any neat political science theory. President Zuma is unpredictable and his policy thinking is woolly.