Can such a man even be entrusted with the responsibility of leading the country?

Even the lame so-called public apology he made at Rhodes University recently came from a question from a university student.

Otherwise, the man who has now suddenly woken up to the possibility of occupying the top spot at Luthuli House would continue to avoid the issue of Marikana.

It is now public knowledge that in the wake of the unprotected strike by Lonmin workers in August 2012, Ramaphosa, instead of using his vast experience as a trade unionist in the mining sector to open negotiation channels with the disenchanted workers, chose to influence his chums in government to crush the strike with force.

Ramaphosa’s true colours as a heartless capitalist who cares only about profit and not the plight and wellbeing of workers was publicly laid bare a week before the second anniversary of the massacre.

In August 2014, he appeared before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry investigating the circumstances that led to the killing of 44 people, 34 of them by police two years earlier.

Represented by a crack legal team, his submission before retired Judge Ian Farlam was a rather lame and pathetic bunch of excuses for a man with a track record of fighting for the rights of mineworkers.

His performance was of a man who sought to absolve himself of any blame for the unprotected strike by workers fed up with earning peanuts and living in hovels, and the actions of police which followed his intervention.

Under cross examination Ramaphosa blamed the global economic downturn for Lonmin’s failure to reach its target of building 5500 housing units for workers and converting hostels into family units by 2011 as outlined in its social labour plans.

In November 2010, two years before the Marikana massacre, Ramaphosa – whose company Shanduka was a minority shareholder in Lonmin – became chairman of the company’s transformation committee. He was also nonexecutive member of the company, that was listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The transformation committee’s tasks included driving issues such as housing and employment equity among others.

At the time, the Farlam Commission heard that Lonmin had only built three houses of the envisaged 5500.

It was put to Ramaphosa that in fact, between 2006 and 2007 when the plan was supposed to have been implemented, Lonmin’s revenue had increased from $1.8-billion to $1.9-billion.

It was further revealed that the 2007 to 2008 revenue increased from $1.9-billion to $2.2-billion. And these figures he knew from the top of his head. When it was put to him that, given the figures, he could not hide under the issue of financial constraints for Lonmin’s failure to deliver on its social responsibilities, he resorted to blaming the legacy of apartheid.

Ramaphosa also accepted that the failure to address the issue of housing contributed to labour instability in the mining sector.

Five years on he has still not taken any decisive steps to finally confront the issue of Marikana, which continues to be a blight on his legacy and reputation.

While the commission did not find Ramaphosa or his actions directly responsible for the killings, in the court of moral and public opinion, his role in Marikana will forever be remembered as that of a man who cared only about profits and protecting the interests of capital when he should have done otherwise.

How can anyone expect a genuine apology from a man who knew every cent his company made and not about the deplorable living conditions of his workers?

Can such a man even be entrusted with the responsibility of leading the country?

Lucas Ledwaba