Speaking with forked tongues

EVERY South African citizen has the freedom of speech to say whatever he or she wants.

This freedom is evident in the way our people have voiced their concern about the way they want to be governed by those elected to power.

However, one has noted the continuity of our leaders speaking with forked tongues and at times contradicting each other in the media.

Today one finds a national executive member of the ruling party saying this, the next morning that very statement is criticised by the ANC Youth League or by the leaders of organised labour, for instance.

Statements uttered by Youth League president Julius Malema, Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi are among these examples.

For a country with a young democracy this paints a bad picture of government itself, not forgetting potential investors.

It becomes worse when those statements contain what is seen, in the public eye as opposing and personally damaging to the character of the other leader.

The so-called spokespersons should do their work and President Jacob Zuma needs to call everyone to order.

Let these leaders sit down and convey same messages from the public offices.

Too much freedom of speech is not only a danger to the person, but to the image of the country.

Makhosonke Mkhaliphi Piet Retief