In the movie Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino, Samuel L. Jackson renders with great fervour one of the best-scripted lines in cinema history:
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”
Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille has come out swinging after the courts pronounced that the Erasmus Commission appointed by the former Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool, to probe allegations that her administrations illegally spied on renegade councillor Badih Chaaban, was unlawful and unconstitutional.
Like a mad woman after learning of indiscretions of her philandering husband, she unleashed her wrath and promised to strike upon Rasool, Vodacom and Judge Nathan Erasmus with great vengeance and furious anger, as she believes they attempted to destroy her. It appears Zille truly believes that she is beset with on all sides by the iniquities of vindictive conspirators and tyranny of evil renegades of the ANC.
Infuriated and gnashing her teeth (assuming they’re not false), Helen has demanded that the Minister in the Presidency, Kgalema Motlanthe, dismiss Ebrahim Rasool, whom he recently appointed to advise him on his work in Parliament.
Her office released this statement, “As a public servant, Rasool is required by the Constitution to promote and maintain “a high standard of professional ethics”. However, in the light of the Cape High Court judgment, it is clear that he is unfit for any form of public office.
“It is inappropriate for Minister Motlanthe to be advised by someone like Rasool, and if Motlanthe is to become the next president or deputy president of this country — as it is has been suggested in some quarters — it is only right that he demonstrates his probity and suitability for these positions by acting decisively now against the mal-administrators in his midst.”
It is not long ago that the honourable mayor reacted with shock at the firing of Rasool as premier of the Western Cape. She said, “Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool’s removal from office is bad for the provincial government and the city of Cape Town, which has to work with the province.”
The fuming mayor further demands that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) probe Judge Erasmus for misconduct and compromising the integrity of the judicial system for his part in heading the unlawful and unconstitutional commission against her, based on the judgment that, “the involvement of Erasmus J in the commission has unnecessarily involved the judge in the political controversy surrounding the commission, which may damage the confidence of the public in the judiciary’s core function of determining matters in court”.
She further demands that the Public Protector investigate whether the Erasmus Commission constituted an abuse of public funds.
By the time the mayor is finished with her campaign of vengeance, the provincial government may be left with no officials in office. She demands that the police commissioner Mzwandile Petros resign, in light of the fact that he acted illegally when he passed on to Rasool information that the police obtained in a search of the home of private investigator Philip du Toit.
Vodacom handed more than six months’ worth of Zille’s detailed call records to the Erasmus Commission and the angry mayor is considering legal action against the cellphone giant for assisting Rasool “to spy on her.” It appears the mayor is ignorant to the fact that Vodacom responded to a subpoena from what they deemed to be a judicial commission of inquiry and could not have smelled its unlawfulness and unconstitutionality.
Helen Zille is an angry woman and risks epitomising the stereotypes of women as spiteful and senselessly vengeful. She needs to be cognizant of the fact that harbouring resentment is detrimental to physical and mental well-being. At the rate she is going, she risks being locked in the straightjacket.
Forgiveness can bring peace to the soul of the forgiver and the forgiven. The Holy Book requires of us to forgive one another; “for he that forgives not his brother his trespasses stands condemned before the Lord; for he remains in greater sin.”
Former president, Nelson Mandela, said, “We especially should learn to forgive each other because when you intend to forgive, you heal part of the pain, but when you forgive you heal completely. As Africans, we have suffered in terms of slavery and colonialism for a very long time. Forgiveness has remained our best cultural heritage’’
It may be the demands of feminism to unnecessarily appear tough and resolute when holding positions of authority; that the display of “balls” is a requisite trait in all situations however inappropriate. But reason dictates that a person is superior to his/her enemy if (s)he refuses to take revenge; that those who focus on revenge only exacerbate their own suffering.
In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo’s act of revenge against Tybalt arguably set the tragedy in motion. Israel and Palestine is mired in the cycle of violence primarily that neither side is willing to halt its aggression and forget about past incursions in the spirit of rebuilding relations and good neighbourliness.
Helen Zille may be acting in the belief that hers is the right to seek redress in the light of the finding of the courts, but such vengeful action undermines the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation that informed our democratic dispensation. She should sustain what is our cultural heritage. Continuous frowning at her enemies, for a woman of her maturity, would only exacerbate her facial creases.
An eye for an eye would make the whole world go blind!