The ANC is pained immensely by stories of corruption, Cyril Ramaphosa told the New York Times. “We are highly conscious of the damage that corruption does to a party and a country … but with some cases maybe we have made the approach too legalistic, and maybe that approach needs to be reassessed … and that’s all I have to say about that.”  The final sentence revealed a man staggering under intense pressure, but otherwise it was Ramaphosa in a nutshell, pouring yet more oil on oil-slicked waters, telling us corruption is bad, even shocking, but that prosecutions have to be handled carefully. One can rail against a president who seems slow to act against looters, but one can’t doubt the pragmatism in such a statement: Ramaphosa can’t wield power if he no longer has it, and the fastest way for him to lose it is to start publicly hunting the apex predators who stalk the fetid, festering corridors of Luthuli House. In other words, it was Peak Ramaphosa, bobbing and weaving to keep up wit...

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