‘Drunk’ is a wobbly insult to throw at Bathabile Dlamini
Crude accusations can also unwittingly deflect blame from the former MP
This week, when I wrote a spiky farewell to Bathabile Dlamini, I described her as bad at her job, arrogantly dismissive and shamefully loyal to the agents of state capture. But, many readers told me, I failed to mention one of her most damning traits: her alleged drunkenness.
I think it’s important to explain why I didn’t include her rumoured drinking habits, and why I think such gossip doesn’t help any of us.
The first reason is fairly obvious. If you believe allegations and rumours that she has been drunk in public and at work, then you must also accept the possibility that she has a serious problem with alcohol. Whether you choose to blame her for this problem will depend on your views on addiction, but to draw a link between dependence on alcohol and moral turpitude is to indulge the cruellest and most self-righteous inventions of fundamentalist clerics...