Mon Oct 24 20:17:55 SAST 2016

The truth will set us free; lies will not build a democracy

The Times Editorial | 14 April, 2016 00:34

Politicians are a critical part of our lives. Their decisions shape our present and our future. So it is unnerving when political entities appear to have no clue about the rule of law, or the facts at hand.

Yesterday the ANC Women's League hurled all sorts of insults at Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, accusing her of being quick to investigate President Jacob Zuma but unable to investigate private institutions.

The members of the women's league are meant to serve as the voice of the public, but their accusations are inaccurate and do not benefit our democracy. We ask the women's league, and others, to open their eyes before they open their mouths, and read the plain print of the public protector's mandate.

It states, in black and white, that the public protector cannot investigate:

  • Court decisions and sentences;
  • Private individuals;
  • Private companies; and
  • Professionals not employed by the government, such as doctors and lawyers.

This nation expects its political officials to stand always on the side of fact - and not spread lies. Office bearers have a duty to act in a way that benefits the nation.

As the media, we pick no sides - but we will always favour the facts.

The fact is that the Constitutional Court's verdict on the upgrading of the president's Nkandla homestead found both the man and parliament to be lacking.

The judgment might be upsetting to some ANC members but it is not an invitation to destroy our constitutional structures, or to twist facts for the sake of political point-scoring.

Truth must always be at the foundation of our society.

When politicians ignore or distort the facts it sends out a negative message, not only to the citizens of this country but to the world.

Pause before you speak. And think before you accept a statement as true.


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