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A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Friday, 31 March 2017


A week in politics is a long time. During a week in #SouthAfrican #politics more can happen than anyone can reasonably imagine. Since Monday we've had the recall of the #FinanceMinister from an investor roadshow, the death of the extraordinary struggle stalwart, #AhmedKathrada (aka #UncleKathy), a #CabinetReshuffle, including the firing of the excellent Finance Minister Gordhan and his Deputy Jona and the inevitable abused South African Rand in freefall. I think that South Africans need to permanently on permanent Post- (and Pre-) Traumatic Stress Disorder medication and therapy.

Perhaps the highlight for me in a week of lows was the response to the eulogy at Uncle Kathy's funeral given by past-President Mothlanthe when he read extracts from an open letter written a few months ago by Kathy to President Zuma suggesting that he step down. Almost as one, the huge crown of mourners stood to give a rousing applause to Kathy's words from the grave. The crowd mostly consisted of ANC members, including numerous MP's and some Cabinet Ministers. Minister Gordhan also received a standing ovation when he was acknowledged as having the same qualities of integrity, nobleness and congruence as Uncle Kathy. There were of course some notable exceptions to the standing ovation: Deputy President Ramaphosa probably knew that he would be fired if he was seen to be standing and applauding, although the safe money would say that it took immense will-power for him to remain seated. 

Which brings me to the point of this blog.  Despite massive public and private criticism of Zuma by ANC veterans, we have nonetheless seen several failed no confidence votes in Parliament. People who openly criticise him outside of Parliament cannot bring themselves to vote with the Opposition, no matter how much they despise the man. Whether they are just plain fearful or whether they think that a vote with the Opposition labels them as not loyal to the ANC is hard to tell, but one thing is clear: those who continue to support Zuma in no confidence debates, but don't actually want him to continue raping and pillaging the country are completely out of alignment with their Say, Feel and Do, that is, their personal integrity. What they say and feel about the man is completely at odds with what they do. How must it be to be in their skins when they are so out with their personal integrity? Disturbing as the thought may be, the principle is no different from taking and carrying out orders to exterminate people, no matter how personally abhorrent it might seem.

So my hope for all of those who stood and applauded at Uncle Kathy's bidding for the President to step down is that they can grow some balls and vote with their consciences at the next, looming no confidence debate. They might just discover that their greatest fear of appearing disloyal to the ANC would in fact be proven wrong. As long as Zuma remains at the helm, the ANC is going down in the next election (in my humble opinion). Voting Zuma out of power might be the one thing that can save the ANC. It might also prove to be the most loyal thing any ANC MP can do for his or her party. 

Isn't it nice when you can both do the right thing and maintain your personal integrity. It's actually the same thing. 

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