It is fine to criticise Cyril Ramaphosa. A person in his position should come under intense scrutiny. But it is not fine to criticise him at the expense of contradicting oneself. For then one loses one’s claim to seriousness. When Ramaphosa came to office many pundits poured cold water over his incipient presidency. Whoever he might be as an individual, it was said, he was shackled to the disaster that was the ANC. He would have to give Jacob Zuma and other key figures amnesties. Or, if granting them formal indemnities was too shameful, the cases against them would vanish with a nudge and a wink. For Ramaphosa could only govern his party, it was said, if he made peace with its villains. And that would require letting them roam free. The pundits who issued this warning were wrong. Ramaphosa has not made the sorts of deals that would permit villains to roam free. On the contrary, he is giving the criminal justice system as much space to nail them as is within his power, as constricted...

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