A tale of two Joels

2009-10-24 13:44

WE bade farewell to two Joels this week: Santana and Netshitenzhe.

With good reason, the nation was not too sad to hear that ­Santana was Brazil-bound. An over-paid under-performer, he had only a passing acquaintance with opposition goal-posts. Shame.

On the other hand, Joel Net-shitenzhe was a massive loss to South African public life. As a deputy director-general in the Presidency he played a vital role in modernising the apartheid state to serve the entire public.

His policy co-ordination unit in the Presidency was quietly brilliant in its honest assessment of how far we have come as a country, how far we have to go and what hurdles lie ahead.

As the ANC has gone through a painful metamorphosis from revolutionary movement to a governing party, he has been a voice of reason and often painful reflection.

He is leaving because the unit is being dismembered as the Presidency is restructured.

The nasty comments that have followed his resignation symbolise a corrosive streak in public life. It is littered with the ill-informed views of young and old fascists – the Young Communist League said he was a slave of capital.

This Joel deserves recognition for his role in building a young democracy and speaking up against those who kick the bricks out from under it.

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