A message that promises hope

In a year that has seen the ANC attract a lot of bad press, its decision to expel its chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe might just restore the country's confidence in the ruling party.

In a year that has seen the ANC attract a lot of bad press, its decision to expel its chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe might just restore the country's confidence in the ruling party.

By acting swiftly and decisively against one of the party's most powerful men, Kader Asmal and his disciplinary committee sent out the message that regardless of who you are, you will be dealt with for any wrongdoing.

Goniwe, who was found guilty of abusing his office by demanding sex from a junior staff member, will not be allowed to stand for any position for the next three years.

Though Goniwe is not the only official to abuse his power, Nomawele Njongo, the young parliamentary administrative assistant who brought the charges against him, must be commended for her bravery and standing up for the truth.

Considering Goniwe's power and standing, Njongo could have been intimidated into withdrawing the charges.

Asmal and his committee found the young woman's testimony to be clear and convincing. Goniwe's defence, however, was "contradictory, inconsistent and therefore ... unreliable".

This verdict is important because it shows the ANC standing firm on matters of principle. The party has been less than explicit when many of its leaders have made utterances that contradicted its non-sexist stance.

Let us hope this verdict is a good pointer for the future.

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