Niehaus is no different from any other politician

2009-02-21 00:00

When I first heard about ANC comrade Carl Niehaus’s dishonest and devious dealings and his subsequent admission of guilt, I could not have imagined that it would have grown and blown up to the extent that it has.

Although I felt that he did the right thing by resigning from his position as official party spokesperson of the ruling ANC, I respected him for admitting his wrongdoings. This is a rare gesture from a politician, even with his back against the wall, as is the case with Niehaus.

Even though he has proved to be a congenital liar, he still had the balls to take responsibility, although this is something that does not excuse his wrongdoing and should not get him off the hook as he still needs to pay the price for his deeds.

Having gotten used to the “Niehausasia” as the wake swept through the media and especially the opposition political parties who are (they seem to be the only ones who truly understand the power of the media) taking full advantage with elections around the corner, something dawned on me.

What is so new about what Niehaus had done or what he is or was? What was so fresh about a politician who lies, connives, steals, deceives and swindles?

Absolutely nothing. He has not reinvented the wheel, he has merely modified what there is there to make the wheel turn freely.

I am trying to work out what it is that surprised many, including myself, because our provincial legislatures and Parliament are full of people such as Niehaus. If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the characteristics mentioned are part of the requirements that are needed to make it into these houses.

Travelgaters are still serving in Parliament. In fact, they were involved in the dismantling of the Scorpions, which is another argument altogether.

Travelgaters stole from us yet they were forgiven and while some remain in Parliament, others were redeployed to other tiers of the government. What you get from stealing from the poor is a better-paying job and you don’t have to face the full wrath of the law.

What about the northern KwaZulu-Natal council that was dissolved, only to have its members put back on the party’s election list and who were re-elected in municipal elections? And what about the person who tried to bribe a police officer but who co-chaired the committee that switched off the life-support machine of the Scorpions?

I am sure Niehaus would not have resigned had the elections not been so close. Politicians are a different and special breed of people who have regard only for their own flexible and fluid laws.

Niehaus is made of the stuff that all politicians are made of.

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