Et tu, Brute?" — meaning "Even you, Brutus?" or "You too, Brutus?" — has come to be associated with betrayal by those we trusted most. William Shakespeare presents these as the last words of Roman emperor Julius Caesar, spoken upon noticing that his friend and protégé Brutus is among those who have fatally stabbed him. It is an expression of the pain and shock we feel on realising that those we trusted with our lives, or with something precious, have gone behind our backs to betray us. I got a sense of this sentiment in the reaction to former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene’s disclosure to the Zondo commission about meeting the Guptas at their Saxonworld home several times prior to his removal from office in December 2015 — and his apology for previously lying about his association with the family. I believe talk-show host JJ Tabane’s disclosure that he worked with erstwhile communications minister Faith Muthambi invoked the same feeling of betrayal. Legally and morally we are entitl...

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