lies are driving sa to the brink

Politics is said to be "the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant". I could not help but recall this insightful observation by Henri Queuille.

Politics is said to be "the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant". I could not help but recall this insightful observation by Henri Queuille.

This French politician must have been speaking from experience because in his lifetime he served three terms as prime minister of France. Plato took this folly of politics further by asserting that "those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber".

The passing of time has done nothing to counter the truth and wisdom of Plato and Queuille's pronouncements on this dirty game called politics. And if politics is a game, then you and I, the ordinary folk, are the pawns and losers.

Recent events have sadly confirmed that our political leaders are not deserving of the word leader and will play and manipulate the truth to suit themselves.

Former Limpopo premier Sello Moloto is being praised for exposing the crass materialism, corruption and bullying tactics of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

This week Moloto came out his hiding place to hog the headlines. He claimed Malema secured his much-spoken about wealth and tenders by bullying municipalities in Limpopo.

If his accusations against the quarrelsome youth league president are true, why has he kept quiet all along? He should have had the integrity to stand up and expose this rot when it mattered. I can only conclude that Moloto is "exposing" Malema not on principle, but because the fight between them has become personal.

If he had any respect for the people he led while he was premier and if he cared about the wellbeing of poor communities in Limpopo, he should have stood up earlier, pointed the finger at Malema and shouted "this is the man who is bullying elected leaders and stealing from you".

By waiting until it is convenient for him to reveal the truth, Moloto has put his personal interests above those of the community - a perfect example of "postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant".

The ANCYL is also hypocritical in pronouncing itself on the missing R500000. The general-secretary of the SA Communist Party, Blade Nzimande, was long accused by a former comrade, Willie Madisha, of failing to account for money meant for the party's coffers.

It is no secret that the accusation against Nzimande was levelled at the time of the overt purging of Mbeki supporters within the tripartite alliance. Because the youth league was unapologetically anti- Mbeki and his supporters, it chose to keep quiet.

Now that the spotlight has turned on one of its own, the league is trying to deflect attention and belatedly asking these questions about the missing money. The time for that has long past. If the league smelt a whiff of corruption by Nzimande and felt that he had to account for these funds, then they should have made it a matter of principle back then.

The ANCYL should have had the guts to stand up for the truth and demand accountability, instead of choosing the expedient route of challenging people once they have fallen out with them.

South African politicians are not the only ones who show enthusiasm for choosing to cover up wrongdoing by their colleagues and then speaking out once the damage is long done.

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell once looked me in the eye during an interview and insisted that the US would never apologise for the war on Iraq because it was based on sound evidence.

After leaving office, Powell suddenly "remembered" that the intelligence on Iraq was false. The entire world suffered, lives were lost and an entire country and region were destabilised.

Politicians must keep in mind that lying is done with words and also with silence. Brazen lies and personal vendettas are driving our country to the brink and, sadly, there are too few men and woman bold enough to say "Enough".