Tony Leon Columnist

With just two televised speeches earlier in 2020, on March 15 and April 21, President Cyril Ramaphosa flew into the stratosphere of public approval. This rarefied plane has been occupied by few politicians, and none of his competitors or predecessors apart from Nelson Mandela.

Ramaphosa was in control of a national emergency; decisive steps were unveiled and he offered reassurance and steely resolve. A panicked and fearful citizenry united across the normal dividing lines of race and class in their approval for “The Man in the Arena”, as he dubbed himself in 2019, with acknowledgment to Theodore Roosevelt...

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