Imagine if politicians apologised

2010-06-26 00:00

SO the Italians and the French, both of whom were finalists in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, have disgracefully bowed out of the World Cup in South Africa, in what must rank among the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.

At least the French were on a go-slow and they did not try to conceal this from the public. The Italians, however, were not only the world leaders, but also the defending champions.

I know that some people are thinking that Bafana Bafana also exited disgracefully as they are the first hosts to exit the tournament during the group stages but being host does not buy you a pedigree, while being the world champions does imply you have an impressive pedigree.

Following their exit, Italian coach Marcello Lippi took full responsibility for the team’s poor performance.

He did not pass the buck as he apologised for failing to lift the team tactically and physically. He did not point fingers and he was big enough to take all the blame as the chief accounting officer, if you will.

While this does not change what happened, it is refreshing to hear someone being honest enough and having the courage to know that the buck stops with them.

What has been good about the World Cup is how our beloved politicians have been operating below the radar, suspiciously so, if you ask me.

I would not be surprised if we wake up after the World Cup to find that the politicians have given themselves exorbitant bonuses, their terms of office have been extended indefinitely and all opposition parties have been banned, among various new legislative enactments.

Lippi’s honourable actions got me thinking about what lessons we could learn from him as a country, especially the politicians.

The mere fact that you are part of the process of making the laws that govern the country does not make you above the law.

Just like the citizens who vote politicians into power, politicians can and do make mistakes. What is critical is their actions after they have made the mistakes.

If only politicians could be modest and apologise every time they err, the world would be a better place.

Then again, the time set aside for parliamentary debate would be spent accepting apologies instead.

Maybe they could declare their apologies when they declare their assets. But how many of them really declare everything?

While the ANC would need to apologise for thinking they are God’s gift to South Africa, Cope’s leaders would need to apologise for having half a brain and for thinking they are the party.

It’s like a shebeen queen thinking she is the shebeen.

The DA’s Helen Zille would need to apologise for not only thinking she is the emperor of the Cape, but for also those toilets without doors.

God-Zille, this is not a problem you can flush away. It will continue to stink.

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