ANC Women’s League president and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini did not say South Africans must forgive state capture as they have forgiven apartheid, her spokesperson Lumka Oliphant says, insinuating the minister was misinterpreted in a News24 report over the weekend.
Yesterday, replying to a question on the latest allegations related to state capture, Dlamini lamented the inconsistency of South Africans when criticising public figures accused of wrongdoing.
She made a bizarre comparison between forgiving apartheid and forgiving an individual implicated in state capture. “The problem with South Africans is that we are not consistent,” she began.
“There are people who have a licence to do as they please in the country and we keep quiet about that. But there are people we follow very closely and do not give them a chance to recover. If we were able to forgive apartheid, why is it difficult to forgive someone else and ensure there is remedial action on some of the issues. That is what you could do.”
Asked whether the report misquoted Dlamini, Oliphant demanded The Citizen make its own interpretation. “I won’t do that because the truth is the truth, as you have seen it. What is your conscience saying?”
ANC Youth League spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said Dlamini’s comment was problematic, as it seemingly condoned wrongdoing. But he said it could have been interpreted in various ways and the headline of the report, “Forgive state capture like you forgave apartheid…” was but one interpretation.
He added that her statement was also wrong in that it did not address state capture as inclusive of private business interests controlling legs of the state, such as National Treasury.
It’s not the first time Dlamini has seemed willing to sweep wrongdoing under the carpet. Last year, in an interview with the SABC, she referred to “smallanyana skeletons”, cautioning party members not to air the ANC’s dirty laundry in the media.
“All of us in the NEC have smallanyana skeletons and we don’t want to take out skeletons because all hell will break loose,” she said. – firstname.lastname@example.org