It would be easy to turn on Cyril Ramaphosa and accuse him of betraying us, the majority of ordinary South Africans who were sick and tired of the inefficiency and corruption which had brought the country to its knees and who believed he was the cure.
But to do that would be entirely wrong, because it is we who are the ones who made the most grave mistakes. We were mistaken in believing only Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and their sundry hangers-on were responsible for the looting of our country.
We were mistaken in believing that Ramaphosa was “not like them” and was an honest politician with the best interests of South Africa at heart.
We were mistaken in thinking that someone like Ramaphosa could show us the “good ANC”.
Whether or not Ramaphosa resigns as president; whether he challenges the Phala Phala panel report in court or not, he has undeniably badly damaged not only his reputation but also his legacy… and possibly beyond repair in both cases.
And that must surely be playing on his mind now as the rest of his ANC colleagues gather in meetings of the party’s national working committee and national executive committee, like hyenas around a kill, to decide his future.
At this stage, he is unlikely to be remembered as one of the stalwarts of the “internal” struggle against apartheid – the miners, unionists and workers who marched in their numbers in the streets and scared the apartheid government far more than any of the ANC’s alleged armed wing comrades.
He is also unlikely to be remembered as one of the people who brought us our democratic constitution.
He is unlikely to be remembered as the man who tried to break the hold of corruption in South Africa.
Ramaphosa’s legacy may well turn out to be that of the president who had millions in foreign currency hidden in one of his couches and who avoided – and continues to avoid – answering just the basic questions about what happened.
In embarking on his own “Stalingrad defence” to discredit the panel report, or have it declared invalid, Ramaphosa is no better than Zuma, who has fought tooth and nail for decades to avoid having his day in court on corruption charges.
And, while it may well be true that the panel report is badly flawed on matters of law – or even that some of its members may have been biased against the president – the fact remains that Ramaphosa owes us all an explanation.
We want to know where the money came from and was it declared to either or both the SA Reserve Bank and SA Revenue Service; who was the mysterious buyer of the buffalo; why was the money hidden in a couch and why for so long; did he intervene in the investigation of the burglary?
None of his comments – which took months to formulate, by the way – come close to forthright explanations.
So, even the most ardent Ramaphosa fanatic must wonder: what is he hiding?
The worst, though, is the fact that Ramaphosa treats us – those who desperately wanted him to win his anti-corruption fight – as fools, which makes the pain of betrayal even sharper.
But, again: We have none but ourselves to blame.
Hopefully, we learn one hard lesson from this: The ANC is rotten, through and through.