Exemplary good spirit

Ordinarily, the switching on of electricity in the obscure township of eMondlo, KwaZulu-Natal, would not be worth paying too much attention to. But that IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa jointly addressed a gathering there, augurs well for the institutionalising of political tolerance.

Ordinarily, the switching on of electricity in the obscure township of eMondlo, KwaZulu-Natal, would not be worth paying too much attention to. But that IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa jointly addressed a gathering there, augurs well for the institutionalising of political tolerance.

KwaZulu-Natal has shown itself more prone to political intolerance than any other province. It is a powder keg that, if not kept moist, might be the scene of untold misery.

That is why what may be a small gesture of switching on electricity in this unheralded community means much more than government showing it can deliver. It has sent a strong message that being political opponents is not the same thing as being enemies.

Buthelezi deserves special mention for the magnanimity he showed by acknowledging and praising the ANC record in delivering services and appointing women to senior positions in government. In an election period, it would have been easy to turn a blind eye or try and accentuate the negative.

The ANC too deserves praise for sharing the stage with Buthelezi and not be tempted to allow making the event one for political points-scoring. Congratulations to all involved. South Africa will sleep easier tonight because of your example.

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