Stop trying to hide your failings with euphemisms, weasels


Stop trying to hide your failings with euphemisms, weasels

SA is at the bottom of the pile on so many global tables that matter, but when it comes to these, it’s at the top


This week’s standoff in Nkandla will tell us a lot about who we are as a country. It will speak volumes on where we stand on the rule of law and equal treatment of all citizens, and how even-handed the state and its agencies will be in applying the adage that no-one is above the law or beyond its reach.

The exquisite deference and patience of the courts for the serial filibusters, inept lawyering and wanton destructiveness of Jacob Zuma have finally been exhausted. It took a long time, decades, for this path to Nkandla to be reached. But at this crucial moment, Yogi Berra’s famous advice, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it”, must be rejected if we have a fighting chance to consecrate our 1996 promise that our new democracy would be subject to the rule of law, not to the rule of men — strong, delinquent or otherwise.

While the events surrounding Nkandla have brought out the very worst in the usual suspects, criminal and otherwise, and the ragtag remnants of the JZ faction and his bilious spokespeople, they have certainly provided us with a fresh reminder of the one area in which SA plays in the very top league. The use and abuse of euphemisms. And this is not just an exercise in philology or the study of language, but provides a useful explanation for the state of the nation right now...

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