Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation. This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.
It has been almost two week now since the publication of After the Party, Andrew Feinstein’s book in which he claims the ANC bigwigs – from President Mbeki to Trevor Manuel to Essop Pahad – stopped a vigorous investigation of the arms deal because senior ANC figures and perhaps the ANC itself benefited from arms deal bribes.
Curiously, despite these obviously defamatory claims by Feinstein, not a single ANC cabinet Minister or official implicated in the shameful cover up, nor the President, nor the ANC as an organisation, have issued denials of any of Feisntein’s claims. Neither have they attacked him or issued instructions to their lawyers that he be sued. I was waiting for the letter from the President to let rip last Friday, but the President had other canards on his brian, perhaps because the truth of Feinstein’s book was to difficult to bluster away.
Does this mean the ANC and all those ANC bigwigs implicated by Feinstein have now in effect admitted that everything Feinstein have written is true? If they do not sue or demand a retraction, that is surely the only conclusion to be drawn from the silence. I suppose then the silence can be viewed as a strategic one: the ANC has probably decided to say nothing in the hope that Feinstein and his irksome obsession with the truth would go away.
This silence seems to confirm that the arms deal was the beginning of the end for the ANC as a moral, principled and incorruptible freedom movement and the end of the beginning of the ANC as a money-grabbing, unprincipled and corrupt political party. Would it have been different if Thabo Mbeki had not been President? My continuing admiration for some ANC leaders and the respect for the pre-arms deal ANC makes me hope and believe that it would have been different.
But now we will never know. What I do know is that I will never again believe one single word Essop Pahad says because he now has the credibility of a second hand car salesman in Virginia.BACK TO TOP