The problem with this perspective is cancel culture isn’t real, at least not in the way people believe it is. Instead, it’s turned into a catch-all for when people in power face consequences for their actions or receive any type of criticism, something that they’re not used to. I’m a black, Muslim woman, and because of social media, marginalized people like myself can express ourselves in a way that was not possible before. That means racist, sexist, and bigoted behavior or remarks don’t fly like they used to. This applies to not only wealthy people or industry leaders but anyone whose privilege has historically shielded them from public scrutiny. Because they can’t handle this cultural shift, they rely on phrases like “cancel culture” to delegitimize the criticism.
Statement from the office of former president Thabo Mbeki regarding the City Press interview with Advocate Willem Heath
The office of former president Thabo Mbeki has noted Advocate Willem Heath’s interview in the City Press newspaper’s edition of December 4, 2011 in which he makes defamatory and malicious allegations against the former President.
Among others, Advocate Heath alleges that “during his tenure …as President of the Republic”, the former president “abused his position to compromise the criminal justice system by blocking some investigations into corrupt practices and ‘initiated’ the corruption and rape charges preferred against President Jacob Zuma by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions”.
Former president Mbeki categorically rejects all the allegations Advocate Heath has made. They are devoid of all truth.
The allegations made by Advocate Heath are very grave, more so because they are made by the Head of the Special Investigation Unit, a critical organ of our criminal justice system and suggest illegal conduct on the part of a former head of state and government.
Although Advocate Heath, a former judge, does not seem to have much regard for the decisions of the courts (including the Constitutional Court) except those with which he agrees, it is worth emphasising that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found no basis in the allegation of political interference on the part of former president Mbeki and the then Cabinet in the corruption case of President Zuma.
Among other things, the SCA said that “the allegations (of political interference) were … irrelevant … gratuitous and based on suspicion and not on fact”.
The legal representative of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation has today formally approached government to provide evidence of all the allegations made by Advocate Heath.
The office of former president Thabo Mbeki also notes comments attributed to President Zuma about Advocate Heath insofar as they may relate to the latter’s comments on the former president.
In the past, former president Mbeki has drawn attention to the use of fabrications to advance particular political agendas and to divert attention from the pressing challenges of the day.
If our broad leadership at all levels of society do not address this tendency, it may become an indelible part of our political culture and make it impossible for our country to address the real challenges we face.
Since his retirement, former president Mbeki has avoided commenting on domestic politics. It is with great reluctance that he is now being forced to comment on Adv. Heath’s allegations.
» Issued by the office of former president Thabo Mbeki, Johannesburg, December 8 2011