Le­bo­gang Hoveka

CityPress - - Voices -

Eigh­teenth-cen­tury philoso­pher Wil­liam King­don Clif­ford wrote in The Ethics of Be­lief: “It is wrong al­ways, ev­ery­where, and for any­one, to be­lieve any­thing upon in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence. If a man, hold­ing a be­lief which he was taught in child­hood or per­suaded of af­ter­wards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, pur­posely avoids the read­ing of books and the com­pany of men that call into ques­tion or dis­cuss it, and re­gards as im­pi­ous those ques­tions which can­not eas­ily be asked with­out dis­turb­ing it – the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”

This is what we should make of Kgabo Ma­di­todi’s open let­ter ex­tolling the per­ceived vices of a David Mabuza pres­i­dency.

Although Ma­di­todi pre­tends to be some wet­be­hind-the-ear po­lit­i­cal tab­ula rasa, he is no novice to pol­i­tics. His in­tel­lec­tual as­pi­ra­tions are well known and doc­u­mented. So he ought to know bet­ter. We must hoist him by his own petard.

The New York Times he ref­er­ences be­longs to a le­gion of epis­tem­i­cally lazy, vac­u­ous and mi­crowave jour­nal­ists who re­heat stale sto­ries to turn pub­lic sen­ti­ment against po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents.

We ought to en­ter the fray when those who are bruised, abused and beaten into a sem­blance of quiet dig­nity, con­tin­u­ally face the pesti­lence of un­jus­ti­fied pub­lic ha­rass­ment. Ours is coun­try where sto­ries are rou­tinely cooked up to frus­trate any form of po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tion.

Truth is Mabuza is on record re­gard­ing all the al­le­ga­tions Ma­di­todi lev­els against him. Here is an ad­junct head of state, who stands in Par­lia­ment to say a hu­man nearly died that night — “I was in pain.” Our re­sponse is to ac­cuse him of fab­ri­cat­ing his ill­ness to con­sort with the Gup­tas.

This is in­hu­mane. I know of no in­tel­li­gent hu­man who would take six months leave just to grab a joyride with the Gup­tas un­der some guise of med­i­cal care.

But even more com­pelling is that, as

Iearly as 2015, Mabuza was open about his ill­ness and con­tin­ues to an­swer ques­tions, de­spite the pub­lic tor­ment and strip­ping of his dig­nity he rou­tinely en­dures.

Per­haps like the Temp­ta­tions, like an old book sit­ting on a shelf, he is tired of talk­ing to him­self. Per­haps he wishes fel­low hu­mans would have the kind­ness to pick him up and look in­side. He is hu­man af­ter all; noth­ing of that which is hu­man should be alien to him.

Clif­ford fur­ther re­minds us that: “In­quiry into the ev­i­dence of a doc­trine is not to be made once for all, and then taken as fi­nally set­tled. It is never law­ful to sti­fle a doubt; for ei­ther it can be hon­estly an­swered by means of the in­quiry al­ready made, or else it proves that the in­quiry was not com­plete.”

One is not en­ti­tled to say “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be nec­es­sary to make me in any de­gree a com­pe­tent judge of cer­tain ques­tions, or even able to un­der­stand the na­ture of the ar­gu­ments.” Then, if so, such a per­son should have no time to be­lieve.

A cur­sory read­ing of the New York Times’ ar­ti­cle would have in­formed Ma­di­todi that it lacks ba­sic news val­ues. At best it is akin to a bush me­chanic’s ver­sion of the plagiarism of old sto­ries. There is no point in ar­gu­ing with Ma­di­todi and com­pany; their minds are paid and made.

In his ren­di­tion, Thuma Mina live at the Mar­ket The­atre, Hugh Masekela taught us some­thing about the temer­ity, and liver, of hea­thens and false prophets. As he in­vited the au­di­ence to sing along, they were re­luc­tant. He never man­aged to get them go­ing, so he gave up and said, “Mnxa aba­he­deni laba”, these ones are hea­thens.

Ma­di­toti and his ilk are spoil­sports, they refuse to sing along to the ris­ing of a new dawn.

He should just get back to work and re­peat af­ter me: It is wrong al­ways, ev­ery­where, and for any­one, to be­lieve any­thing upon in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence.

Hoveka is a com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist in the of­fice of Deputy

Pres­i­dent David Mabuza

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