To slightly modify Winston Churchill: never, in the field of South African politics, has the future of so many depended on the integrity of so few.
When the fewer than 400 MPs walk into parliament tomorrow to cast their votes on the future of Jacob Zuma, they should know that this is a ballot that is, arguably, even more important than the one that finally brought us democracy in 1994.
It is, on one hand, a choice for the man we want running our country, a man who represents, at best, a sickening venality and greed and, at worst, a deeply damaging, corrupt world view.
On the other hand, though, it is also a ground-breaking decision on whether democracy will be part of our future.
In the first case, a vote in favour of Zuma will say to the country and to the world: we, as parliamentarians, are comfortable with the current astounding levels of corruption in South Africa. It will also say: we, as parliamentarians, care more about our own welfare than we do about bringing about real change and delivering a better life for all.
A vote in favour of Zuma is also confirmation that the person casting it believes the African National Congress is more important than the people of South Africa – the people who have food snatched off their tables by the corrupt.
A vote in favour of Zuma means the MPs will ignore the injunction of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng that their oath of loyalty is to the constitution and people of South Africa and not to any political party.
An ANC which is allowed to continue, tomorrow, to thumb its nose at the constitution is an ANC that can then jauntily set off along the road to a de facto one-party state. And that is a bloody and destructive road…