[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Essop says sorry... to some
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Jun 15 07:11:40 BST 2008
Essop Pahad in The Sowetan, August 2002, writing about his former high
school teacher: "Brutus disappeared without trace from the
anti-apartheid struggle many years before 1994, and re-emerged in the
last few years to hurl invective at the democratic government and
programs for Africa’s recovery. However, to the extent that on some
issues such as eradicating global inequality, we may agree, perhaps
there is hope for co-operation. Welcome home Dennis the Menace! Hope
this time you will stay, the better to appreciate that we cannot not
allow our modest achievements to be wrecked through anarchy. Opponents
of democracy seek such destruction. But if you intend once more to leave
for demonstrations elsewhere, we can only retort: et tu Brute!"
Kind words and kudos for some as Pahad delivers his farewells
June 15, 2008 Edition 1
Chiara Carter and Sibusiso Ngalwa
He has been called a mugger, media-thumper and Stalinist supreme;
lampooned by some, feared by others; but there was no vestige of his
hallmark combative style when Essop Pahad, minister in the presidency,
delivered his last presidency budget speech in the National Assembly
Instead, there was a handsome apology, a gentle word of appreciation for
another veteran politician, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Inkatha Freedom
Party leader, and a eulogy for his boss, President Thabo Mbeki, who has
been Pahad's friend and comrade since the 1960s.
"I would like to thank all members of the opposition, especially their
leaders, for the robust debates we have engaged in and to anyone whom I
may have offended, I want to extend my sincerest apologies," said Pahad.
Of Mbeki, he said: "Your leadership has brought to our country peace and
stability, including macroeconomic stability. You are a mentor, teacher
and an exceptional leader with a lekker sense of humour. You are a
wonderful listener, you hear what people say and you have the patience
of Job. You are a democrat and an ardent proponent of good governance
and thus your commitment to the African renaissance, Nepad and the
African Peer Review Process."
Pahad also singled out Buthelezi, a former cabinet colleague and, on
occasion, bitter political foe, for a "special word of thanks for your
kindness and unfailing courtesy".
Buthelezi, for his part, while not masking the differences he had with
Mbeki during his years as home affairs minister, said the president was
a great patriot with a rare grasp of the workings of the state and
always worked to advance the country's interests.
Mbeki paid lavish homage to Buthelezi, saying he had once regarded him
as his "comrade in arms".
"In the years since [Buthelezi] stopped serving in the national
government, I have made it a point to listen carefully to everything he
says. Constantly, I have marvelled at his wisdom and his deep concern to
sustain a value system that is critical to the survival of our
democracy," said Mbeki.
He also acknowledged Buthelezi's "unfailing sense of courtesy". "Even at
my age, this is a deeply human characteristic I must still emulate
successfully from Umntwana wa kwaPhindangene [Buthelezi's title as a
traditional leader]. Shenge, many thanks for everything you have done
for all of us."
But the presidency debate was no mutual backslapping exercise.
Those on the lookout for ANC internal tensions found significance in the
words and body language of ruling party MPs who are closer to the new
Meanwhile, the opposition made a meal of South Africa's woes. While, for
the most part, they acknowledged Mbeki's success as a respected world
statesman and South Africa's economic growth under his watch, they
lamented the high levels of poverty and unemployment and highlighted the
need for a more upfront policy towards Zimbabwe as well as the country's
problems of HIV/Aids, crime, the recent xenophobic attacks and the
Mbeki lambasted Kenneth Meshoe, the African Christian Democratic Party
leader, as a fibber, challenged Sandra Botha, the Democratic Alliance
parliamentary leader, to do more than just carp and sardonically dubbed
Patricia de Lille, the Independent Democrats leader, "Patricia the
patriot" - a reference to De Lille's habit of beginning a critique of
government by saying how much of a loyal South African she is.
Mbeki's address - one of his last speeches in the National Assembly -
came in the face not only of criticism from the opposition, but calls
from within the ranks of his own comrades as well as some of the media
for him to step down.
He said it was not his sole responsibility to lead and that the
country's socioeconomic problems could not be solved overnight.
"What we need is not some supreme leader, but a leadership, including
the honourable members, which understands the imperative relating to the
fundamental social transformation of our country," he said.
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