Cyril Ramaphosa had an exciting entry into the South African government. The air was pregnant with expectation as the gloss of a billionaire shone on him. “I am a three-minute man,”  I’m told he said, as he prepared to speak at his first cabinet meeting. The ANC made him its deputy president in 2012, expecting him to be a powerful No 2 to Jacob Zuma.

This is how Gwede Mantashe, then ANC secretary-general, explained the choice of Ramaphosa as Zuma’s sidekick: “Cyril Ramaphosa has acquired many new skills that I have no in-depth understanding of — as a businessman that will give him an edge and open up avenues for the ANC to interact with business and maybe reduce the suspicion on the part of business about the relationship with the SACP, which is supposed to be hostile towards business.”..

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