Even when politicians caught lying, they shrug it off
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In recent times, it doesn’t seem as if the joke is really a joke at all. So many blatant lies are uncovered every day that nobody bothers to take notice any more.
Maybe that’s the whole idea. Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Home Affairs, stands up and announces that the infamous Gupta brothers were never granted South African citizenship at all. It was all just a nasty plot, probably cooked up by the lying capitalist press.
Shortly afterwards somebody finds the Guptas on the official voters roll, registered to vote at Saxonwold Junior School. That would seem to prove they were not only citizens, but registered to take part in choosing the next leaders of our country.
Does anybody care? Apparently not. Here we have a cabinet minister being shown (as the EFF claim) to be a pathological liar. And nothing happens.
No wonder the ordinary “man in the street” regards all politicians as liars. Even when they are caught telling huge fibs, they shrug it off and get on with their lying, as if to say, “Well yes, of course we lie. Lying is what we are paid to do.”
This is not just a little matter of being mistaken (sorry, everybody, we were misinformed). The Gupta fiasco has cost South Africa billions of rands. They have stolen vast sums from citizens.
Our international standing has plummeted, our credit rating has sunk because of them. The government has had to raise taxes to try and recoup the Gupta thefts. We are all suffering because they tricked our leaders into paying them billions.
Now, while we are all hurting financially, Gigaba tells us there was no crooked dealing getting them citizenship. No, he says, they were never granted citizenship at all. They were. Now those of us who care, are watching the situation with renewed interest.
In this new, enlightened South Africa that’s so keen to get rid of corruption what happens to politicians who lie?
Are they fired, reprimanded, prosecuted or imprisoned? Or are they patted on the back for doing what good politicians have always done? Hey, Mr Politician, we saw your lips moving.
I was interested to read that a Canadian aircraft company is trying to trace the Gupta brothers, who have made off with a state-of-the-art plane without bothering to pay for it. There’s apparently a small matter of $27 million owing on it.
I wonder whether they’ll ever find that aircraft. Could be anywhere in the world and probably resprayed to look like a UN relief craft. Or a wedding party.
People should be careful when choosing a tattoo. Remember it’s a permanent thing.
It may be pretty to have a butterfly on your chest at the age of 20, but people might be puzzled when you die at the age of 92 and they try to understand why you had a picture of a pterodactyl on your body.
* Biggs writes a daily column, "Tavern of the Seas" for the Cape Argus newspaper.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.