Sun Oct 23 05:32:07 SAST 2016

Ministers' hissy fit risk to all

By unknown | Sep 25, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

May you live in interesting times is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse.

May you live in interesting times is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse.

The derivation might be apocryphal, but these times certainly are interesting.

What were the 14 cabinet ministers who resigned on Tuesday thinking?

All well and good that these servants of our immediate ex-president wanted to demonstrate their loyalty to their boss. But their fealty cost us a bundle.

In these uncertain political and economic times surely they knew skittish investors would drop us like a hot potato at the first sign of insecurity. And drop us they did as the rand and stock market bordered on collapse.

Fortunately the new regime had the good sense to make nice as soon as possible and the markets and currency edged back gingerly.

Politicos on both sides were clearly sending out messages. Fine, but couldn't they conduct their affairs out the public eye without risking our nation's economic stability?

We can't avoid thinking Mbeki's loyal servants deliberately put us at risk to show the triumphalist Zumaites that the world at large was watching their barn-storming activities.

The brat pack surrounding our new leaders is enough to raise anyone's hackles. But Mbeki's loyalists have finally put paid to the tired mantra trotted out by generations of ANC leaders: "We're loyal and disciplined members of the party, deployed wherever called on to do so."

This applies less to ministers such as Trevor Manuel who almost immediately signalled they would serve the party and its new president in any role assigned to them.

Bully for you, Trevor, you almost single-handedly pulled us back from the abyss.

But let no one be confused by the lofty prattle from other Cabinet ministers who acted selfishly by jumping ship. Many share your concern about the way President Thabo Mbeki was treated, yet few would have risked what some of your cronies did - and then immediately recant. Where's the principle in that?

Strange days indeed.


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