Forgive, forget, take responsibility; plus 5 highlights from ‘Vrye Weekblad’
Here’s what’s hot in the latest edition of the Afrikaans digital weekly
It is neither relevant nor advisable to equate apartheid to state capture and corruption, writes Piet Croucamp in this week's edition of Vrye Weekblad.
Both these political phenomena, however, left a bloody trail of destruction that calls on our instincts to choose between forgetting, forgiveness and taking responsibility.
Morally apartheid is immeasurably more evil than state capture and corruption. Yet both dehumanised the majority, destroyed life and lives, caused poverty and unemployment and disempowered generation after generation.
Recently Barbara Hogan and Derek Hanekom used various public and social media platforms to rail against the state capturers in our midst.
Trevor Manuel, Thabo Mbeki, Joel Netshitenzhe, Pravin Gordhan, Thoko Didiza and Cyril Ramaphosa have all condemned those who plundered, corrupted and eroded our constitution and economy. Before that, when there was still hope, Albertina Sisulu, Valli Moosa, Jay Naidoo and Nelson Mandela called on Luthuli House to do introspection.
None of these high-ranking individuals has admitted to their role in state capture.
Maybe it is because the systemic, politically driven dismantling of the constitutional oversight functions of the committees in the legislatures was ostensibly the result of majority politics and not initially a clear indication of state capture.
Perhaps cadre deployment initially seemed innocent. Maybe the economic empowerment of loyal cadres was a justifiable political price. Maybe South Africa did really need a new weapons arsenal in the 1990s.
Or maybe we are eventually seeing the residue of political genetics of the liberation movement’s authoritarian power relations and atrocities in the military camps in the frontline states.
The erosion of values underlying the rules of our political game was straightforward and politically vicious.
Only R10 for the first month!
I remember how Manuel taunted the opposition benches after the 2010 vote on the Protection of Information Bill, which aimed to give bureaucrats the power to classify any information as classified and silence journalists. While it never made it to the statute books, it was one of the most pertinent abuses of majorities in committees and legislatures in the history of the democratic constitution.
Since Ramaphosa took over from the corrupt Zuma, Mbeki has sided with the “good guys” of the Ramaphosa faction; his aversion to state capture is on display for whoever might question his efforts to sanitise his own opportunistic political history.
Andrew Feinstein calls Mbeki "complicit" and wrote in The Arms Deal in Your Pocket: "The arms deal and its cover-up were the moments at which the ANC and the South African government lost their moral compass."
Mbeki’s biographer, Mark Gevisser, wrote in The Dream Deferred, "… he understood the risks (associated with the arms deal), but decided that they needed to be taken anyway".
It looks like South Africans decided to forget rather than forgive the unemployment, poverty and destruction that the ANC’s corruption and state capture brought about.
But hidden in the seams and folds of forgetting and denial is the resentment that led to the 8 days in July 2021.
Who will take responsibility when nobody has to or wants to forgive?
Must-read articles in this week’s Vrye Weekblad
WE HAD LEADERS ONCE | At the root of SA's many troubles lie a lack of strategic and ethical leadership. But we don't have to look to the East or to the West for models of successful leadership. The best role model we have is our very own Moshoeshoe.
ALL KINDS OF TANNIES | Don't be afraid to be called Tannie. Wear it like a badge of honour. But find out what kind of Tannie you are first.
THE WEEK IN POLITICS | Max du Preez writes about the hospital tender for skinny jeans, Julius Malema wanting to be vice-president, the Dali and Busi Show, and a politician who screamed at a patient.
FREE TO READ – DIMITRA'S MOVIE | Frederik de Jager tells the story of a Greek transgender woman who on remote island town.
THE ANSWER IS RICH FRIENDS | Parents who want a better life for their children don't necessarily have to send them to better schools or move to better neighbourhoods.