The year 2017 was an unsettling one for South Africans. It was the year of Jacob Zuma – of his landmark loss in the Constitutional Court and his subsequent April Fools’ Day non-apology. It was the year of the State of Capture report, the Gupta Leaks and the fall of British PR saboteurs Bell Pottinger. As this turbulent year unfolded and our country reeled from one Zuma upheaval to the next, many South Africans had their eyes and hopes fixed on one possible salvation: the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president at the party’s December conference. The business community was particularly desperate for this outcome. Ramaphosa was one of them, after all. He spoke their language. They had trust and rapport. The hope that Ramaphosa represented after the disaster that was eight years of Zuma was intoxicating. If Ramaphosa could defeat Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at Nasrec, so the story went, our nation’s creeping despair would be washed away. The rand would be "picked up", corruption would ...

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