Tuesday, March 31, 2009



Reader letter
Mar 31, 2009

HATRED has a way of making fun of good people before it destroys them. Justice Malala, a respected, award-winning columnist for the Financial Mail and The Times is its latest victim — all because of his profound hatred for both the ANC and its president, Jacob Zuma. — Lefu Lechesa, by e-mail

Malala’s desire to write bad things about Zuma or the ANC appears to be inexhaustible. To him, Zuma is an object that has to be ridiculed at all costs, even if it means risking his once good reputation as a political commentator .

Today he is a pitiable flip- flop due to this insatiable hatred. And, as I believe we all know, flip-flops are inconsistent and unreliable people who can barely be trusted for anything. If he were living in the EU, America, Israel, Japan, or Australia, his career would have come to an abrupt end by now.

It probably has slipped his and many a journalist’s memories that in one of his Monday Morning Matters (The Times January 7, 2008), he writes bitterly, “The time to ditch Mbeki is now.”

He goes on, “To wait until the president is forced to hold an election in 18 months is to invite unprecedented corruption. ”

He concludes, “The ANC should use [its parliamentary] majority to give Mbeki the boot immediately”. He is also disdainful of Mbeki for “lying through his teeth about Selebi”. Mbeki is a liar, according to Malala. A nd he might well be right.

Yet, four months later, Malala has the audacity to change his mind about Mbeki, and tells South Africa and the world, “The removal of Mbeki is no solution. The problem is that the policies of the ANC have failed” (The Times, May 19, 2008). What? In January the removal of Mbeki is a solution; in May removal of Mbeki is no solution? Is Malala nuts?

An explanation for this discreditable conduct can only be that Malala is driven by his hatred for Zuma and the ANC. He creates a dilemma for himself where none exists —between Zuma and Mbeki — so he can destroy the former.

Since Mbeki’s removal, Malala has confused callousness, fool-hardiness, and arrogance for good leadership. Mbeki’s insensitiveness is to him suddenly a trait for principle , value and ethical leadership.

He does this simp ly in order to contrast his new-found hero, Mbeki, with the “bad” Zuma.

He employs every trick in the book, and spends a great deal of time trying to find fault with Zuma so he can defile him.

He would rather be morally depraved than fail in his mission to depict Zuma as a really bad guy; an incarnation of the devil not fit to be South Africa’s president.

He will even intentionally invoke racism (call it tribalism) only if he can achieve his goal.

In another of his weekly writings “Watch these people carefully” ( January 5), he selects nine people about whom he writes: Zuma, Mbeki, Lekota, Zille, Manuel, Mboweni, Motsepe, Sexwale and Obama.

Of these, only Zuma has a home: he is “The man from Nkandla” in KwaZulu-Natal.

The reason? To reflect Zuma not only as a protagonist, but also as a Zulu protagonist who should be feared, and then doomed.

Mbeki, for his part, is showered with third degree praises — “the African continent’s most formidable intellectual” and “a man who has immense talent … and can make a massive contribution still in the regeneration and growth of Africa”.

This tribalistic sentiment was widely touted by the media, including — most regrettably— the public broadcaster, during the period leading up to Polokwane.

This is Malala’s sole purpose of writing these and all his other columns .

Will he be kind enough to let his readers know what kind of values he espouses by being so incredibly ridiculous? Is he still rational? Why act as one gone berserk?

Is this still Justice Malala or his animated effigy? The p oor chap really needs help. South Africa can ill-afford to be deprived of the balanced and rare critical expertise Malala once demonstrated , due to the destructive emotions of hatred.

Until 2008 he was a reason for many readers of The Times to look forward to their next issue.