"Look, I don't want to say that President Zuma has a tendency to go back to his rural Zululand constituency every December, gather a crowd of hard-core believers and then say some batshit loony stuff that would implode his political career in most other countries," said Maharaj. "So I'm not going to say it. That's what my new spokesperson is for."
He said he had run out of plausible-sounding excuses for Zuma and was "cobbling together stuff off the internet, the ANC's copy of Frantz Fanon for Beginners and old excuses from Nat ministers recorded in Hansard".
"There's only so many times you can claim that Msholozi was quoted out of context," he said, adding that the stress of having to "spin the unspinnable" was taking its toll. "I wake up at night screaming, 'Cleva blacks! Owning dogs! Women staying single! Generally corrupt relationships! It's not a compound!' and then I remember what my job is and I get kak depressed."
He said the search had focused on drama graduates. "We need someone with classical training who'll be able to deliver these lines with a straight face," he said. "I just don't have acting chops to sell a statement like: 'He was trying to decolonise our minds'."