When Cyril Ramaphosa came to power on February 15 2018, he thought he would be leading a reform agenda of delicate political purging and subtle, structural economic reform. Instead, he now finds himself confronted with questions ordinarily faced by wartime presidents. There will be losses, with different forms of calamity in every direction — which is the lesser evil?

In the countdown to when the clocks strike midnight on April 16 2020, Ramaphosa will be on the horns of the ultimate dilemma. Open up the country and risk a public health disaster of unprecedented proportions, or leave it locked up and risk an even greater economic crash and the potential for escalating social unrest?..

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