Take the rap

2008-01-29 00:00

Doubtless some white South Africans will have reacted to news of Peter Hain's fall from grace with cynical glee. As a leading instigator of the (ultimately successful) campaign to bring about the sporting isolation of the apartheid regime, he was heartily disliked even by many who opposed the National Party government for its racist policies.

Having built a political career in Britain and risen to ministerial rank in the Labour government, he resigned his post because of his failure to declare a substantial donation to his election campaign.

Before he is too roundly condemned, however, let it be noted that his decision to resign exemplifies the principled accountability which is expected of office bearers in a democracy and that, even with apartheid now gone, continues to be conspicuously missing from South African political life.

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