JOHANNESBURG — In a recent SABC interview, former ANC MP Makhosi Khoza hit out at the party’s spokesperson, spin doctor Zizi Kodwa, calling him a “pathological liar” live on air. Millions of people no doubt watched Khoza’s takedown of Kodwa. Meanwhile, millions may also agree that the ANC has largely become a dishonest party, ruled by the number one liar, President Jacob Zuma. In this piece, Horwitz does his own takedown of the ANC, highlighting how it’s become a party that nobody can trust anymore. – Gareth van Zyl
By Errol Horwitz*
Luthuli House recently issued a press release announcing that following a review and investigation of leaked Gupta emails, the ANC had charged high ranking ANC members with multiple criminal counts ranging from corruption, fraud, theft to racketeering. According to the press release investigations thus far had resulted in recovering R50 billion stolen from taxpayers. The amount recovered is earmarked for RDP housing projects.
Fake news – damn right!
But, let’s consider the press release within the parameters of context and timeframe. Prior to Zuma coming to power the veracity of the press release would likely have been accepted at face value without the need for verification or explication. However, in light of today’s surreal political landscape statements emanating from the ANC and Zuma administration are no longer believable. For too long they have engaged in a pattern and practice of distortion, outright lies and deceit, creating a legacy of mistrust never before seen or imagined.
Since 1994, and for several years thereafter, we lived the lie that South Africans were exceptional, imbued with ubuntu, and instilled in the biblical belief that we are our brother’s keeper willingly accepting responsibility for the welfare of others.
The wave of disillusionment ended after Jacob Zuma was elected South Africa’s president. Following his election the bareness of Zuma’s flawed moral character, abominable in many ways, surfaced like a painful erupting boil, which despite judicial interventional lancing continues unabated.
Zuma’s baleful character has been the quintessential springboard for despotism, nepotism and cronyism. The common denominator for these isms is his prevarication and obfuscation. His egregious abuse of facts has secured him the right to sit at the table in the post-truth era with the likes of Donald Trump (admittedly in a league of his own), Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
Zuma is no stranger to playing fast and loose with the truth. Who can forget Zuma’s claim that the money he received from Schabir Shaik was a loan, or his unadulterated lie for firing Nene to deploy him to a fictitious position at Brics Bank that never existed for him, or his endless prevarications concerning improvements to Nkandla. To put it bluntly: Zuma is a compulsive liar because lying feels right to him.
Zuma’s mendacity is a contagion that has spread and metastasized throughout his administration, creating a de facto policy of dishonesty. Zuma and his minions do not consider it the Mark of Cain to be seen as dishonest or lying. Also, being in close proximity to Zuma facilitates the onslaught of compulsive lying disorder. The incessant lies, deceit and bald denials by ruling party officials has struck South Africa’s body politik as if it were carpet bombed with the destructive power of napalm.
The Zuma administration’s predilection to playing fast and loose with the truth has eviscerated its companion “trust”, and in doing so, has increased the existential threat of its extinction.
A recent case in point is a report in the Sunday Times of an attempt to siphon off billions of rand from the Public Investment Corporation to bail out SAA, coupled with a plot to fire its CEO, Dan Matjila. According to the report a stratagem was hatched to remove Matjila to gain access to funds controlled by the PIC, following his refusal to a request from chairperson Dudu Myeni to loan bankrupt SAA R6 billion.
In his interview with the Sunday Times Matjila claimed that after rejecting Myeni’s request unnamed persons wanted him removed to get to pension money managed by the PIC.
The report did not sit well with Minister Gigaba who hastily convened a press conference with board members present. The conference began an hour and 20 minutes late owing to a meeting between Gigaba and board members. The delay was seemingly necessary to cajole Matjila to take back what he said in his interview with the Sunday Times. Unsurprisingly Matjila did so, adding that the article was “distasteful [and] inaccurate”. The Sunday Times, despite Matjila’s about-face, stands by its story.
Even if Matjila’a assertions are true, it matters not, because of the ANC and the Zuma administration’s fundamental crisis of credibility – an ongoing pattern of systematic prevarication that has destroyed trust, credibility, and a loss of confidence in this government. This sadly translates into a disgraceful and consistent record of blatant lies that few trust anything that drips from the lips of ANC government officials. It also translates into a modern variant of snake oil salesmen who have sold a bill of goods to the nation.
If one believes in prayer, now is the time.
- Errol Horwitz was a political activist in the 60’s, and returned to South Africa a few years ago, after residing abroad for more than three decades.