THE decision by the Gauteng education department to reinstate Jomo Mogale, the leader of Khutsong's campaign not to be incorporated into North West, is yet another reminder of how power corrupts.
By giving Mogale his job back, government has effectively admitted that firing him was an arbitrary act meant to punish him for his political views rather than for the stated reasons of being a bad teacher.
While Mogale might be able to rebuild the life that politicians had come so close to destroying, we should spare a thought for the thousands of other lives in Khutsong that will not enjoy a second chance.
Scores of young people are in or have tasted jail. Schoolchildren have lost at least a year of learning. Relations between neighbours and former comrades remain strained because of their support for or opposition to provincial borders being arbitrarily redrawn.
Houses, official buildings and shops remain gutted, bearing the scars of people's fight to be heard by a government that thought that might was right.
The Gauteng government might think that they have done an honourable thing by reinstating Mogale, but until they also take steps to address the greater harm they have caused the people of Khutsong as a whole, blame nobody who reads their act as a sham to appease the one man they think was the troublemaker.
We wait with baited breath to hear what the government has planned to show its remorse for such an embarrassing abuse of state power.