President Cyril Ramaphosa was unfortunately ambivalent about cadre deployment at his appearance before the Zondo commission of inquiry this week. He argued that deployment “cannot be faulted in principle”, while conceding that there are “weaknesses in its practical implementation”.

He is surely right that politicisation is unavoidable and in respects desirable. Public servants cannot help but bring values, intellectual assumptions and personal networks to their roles. In addition, a democratic system requires a public service that is responsive to the policy preferences of a properly elected government...

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