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On Ndlozi’s bad manners. and Nene’s lying

It is no secret that the EFF have bad manners, and aren’t exactly keen on letting other people make their points – as was made clear in the debate between political analyst Prof Mcebisi Ndletyana and Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi over former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

Ndletyana was talking about how a lot of high ranking politicians had indeed met with the Gupta family, and how that in and of itself was not a major issue.

Ndlozi interrupted the professor by repeatedly saying ‘he lied’.

The professor got irritated and stated that Ndlozi was being uncivil, and should let him finish his point.

Ndlozi claimed he didn’t like lies and that he felt he didn’t have to listen to them.

My Take

If you don’t let someone make their point, you don’t know what their point is. How can you know someone is lying, if you aren’t going to listen to what they say?

Further, Nene lied, this was good reason for him to get fired. In fact simply keeping his mouth shut about the Gupta meetings was good reason for him to get fired.

Cyril Ramaphosa didn’t need to get blindsided by the questions that raised, he deserved at least the decency of knowing the full story when he re-appointed Nene as finance minister.

But Ndlozi could have addressed in his own time, he didn’t have to interrupt the professor.

That said, according to The Citizen in 2017 Michael Oatley, the former chairperson of CIEX accused Tito Mboweni of lying about their investigation into Absa’s Apartheid debt.

Mboweni said that he had appointed an independent investigative team that recommended the matter be closed.

Oatley said that the team has never said this, and had in fact found the transactions between Bankorp, Absa and Reserve Bank were “illegal”.

Now so far as I can see the debt had prescribed so it wasn’t collectible anyway – but still, if honesty is the issue will the EFF be calling for Mboweni’s head now?

And when somebody else gets named and we find something similar in their pasts, will the EFF call for their heads?

And what about the leader of the EFF? In 2015 SARS accused Julius Malema of lying about where he got the money to settle his taxes according to News24.

Or how about Malema’s lies about Johann Rupert? Saying Rupert never challenged him in court isn’t good enough, that is a liar’s defense because fairly often people don’t take this stuff to court because of the Streisand Effect, if Malema’s not lying lets see the evidence.

Or how about the way the EFF has spread lies about Malusi Gigaba’s country of birth? Gigaba was born in Eshowe. According to EWN, Tebogo Mokwele claimed to have evidence calling this into question – well where is it?

Of course their lying is part of why I don’t support the EFF, so with regards to Nene he lied and so far as I’m concerned that was good enough reason to sack him, but so far as I can see when you get down to brass tacks, when you get down to what he did as finance minister, he doesn’t look that bad.

Nene met with the Guptas, but at the end of the day he repeatedly rejected the nuclear deal, and didn’t sell them the PIC’s stake in Independent Media.

Contrast this with Brian Molefe – Molefe also lied about meeting the Gupta family. The difference is that Molefe headed Eskom, which had extensive dealings with the Guptas, and entered into a whole lot of unfavourable contracts with the Gupta family’s coal mines.

We don’t care too much about the meetings, we care about how the price of power was driven up to make the Guptas rich.

The response from Nene’s critics on his good behaviour regarding the nuclear deal has been that this was merely doing his job, that this was not praiseworthy but rather doing the bare minimum.

This I think of as the “Do you want a cookie” mentality. The problem with this mentality is if you do not consider it positive or praiseworthy when somebody does what they’re supposed to do, don’t act so surprised when they don’t.

A YouTuber going by the name of the Amazing Atheist fairly recently responded to one of these cases where people were demanding someone apologise for something or other, by saying that person shouldn’t.

His point was to ask when last anybody saw someone apologise and the people calling for it actually accept the apology. He pointed out that people don’t, they say the apology was insincere because it only came after strong public pressure – which yeah it did – and that apologising only makes you look weak to your supporters.

I don’t agree with a lot of what TJ Kirk has to say, but in this case I think he’s dead right. If you’re caught doing something wrong, chances are apologising will just make things worse for you.

And that I think is where this “Do you want a cookie” mentality leads – to a point where there is a greater cost to correcting bad behaviours than continuing to engage in them.

Nene’s resignation means he did the right thing, he steps away with honour. Sure he shouldn’t have lied, but credit where due, he doesn’t appear to have been a crook.

Which in the current ANC is pretty exceptional.  I will praise him for that, because if I don’t, can I honestly say that there is a point to someone not being crooked, and not bending on things like the nuclear deal?

I want to see more of that in our government, not less, so I am willing to give credit for it.

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