Niehaus not rare case

The story of Carl Niehaus' fall from grace has amused a lot of his and the ANC's critics. Niehaus has been found to be a liar and a fraudster who lived far beyond his means.

The story of Carl Niehaus' fall from grace has amused a lot of his and the ANC's critics. Niehaus has been found to be a liar and a fraudster who lived far beyond his means.

He has since resigned from his post as the party's spokesman. But stories about his being less than honest with his financial indiscreations continue to pour in.

Without condoning what Niehaus has done, it would help if we took a moment to reflect on our own relationship with our finances.

Towards the end of last year, the National Credit Regulator reported that about 6,3 million South Africans - that is half of all our employed compatriots, had "an impaired credit record". This means their payments were more than three months in arrears or judgment had been obtained against them for outstanding payments.

Niehaus is therefore not alone. His reasons for being so badly indebted are not unheard of.

They might differ in terms of scale but economists have long counseled against our penchant for confusing our needs with our wants.

Instant gratification and the fledgling bling culture have seen many of us easily fall into the same trap as Niehaus.

So before we cast the first stones, maybe we might just want to revisit our bank managers and see if we have no similar sins.

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