When South Africans were ordered to stay at home, businesses to shut their doors and churches to abandon their pews as the pandemic rolled in more than a year ago, one of the reassuring voices was Zweli Mkhize, the health minister.

If there was ever a cabinet minister of the year award in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government for 2020, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Mkhize, who, as the face of SA’s response to Covid-19, carried the weight of the largest pandemic in the world in more than a century...

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