As a nation how many times do we need to be reminded that:
- A society is as healthy and educated and secure as the most marginalised and vulnerable of the society.
- The truth will be revealed. That no amount of oppressive censorship and violent intimidation is able to keep a lid on the truth eternally.
- Corruption collapses on itself. That anything built on injustice and inequality has within it the seeds of its own destruction.
- Denial delays healing. Denial of lesson 1-3 leads to sickness and possible death.
For the biblical prophets these lessons were the Law. The Law of the Lord. According to the prophets the Law of the Lord was as firmly fixed as any law of nature. Therefore, to reject them would be as futile and as reckless as rejecting the law of gravity. The prophets would constantly remind the powers that be and society at large that these Laws are not negotiable. A government decree cannot make them cease to exist. Even if everyone decides that these Laws don’t apply, they do not disappear. They remain active. If we transgress them we will find out the hard way. We may find out after three days when the stone is rolled away or after forty years of wandering through a desert, but the point is we will find out. And here is another Law. The longer it takes for us to find out that no society is exempt from these Laws the more extensive our destruction will be.
As a result of our Apartheid past one would think that we would have learnt these lessons once and for all but sadly it seems every new crop of people in power must to learn them for themselves.
In the last number of years and even in the last few weeks we have seen these Laws apply:
- State-Capture as a whole and the Zondo Commission of Inquiry is the overarching example of this;
- Mafia-like cartels fleecing State owned entities slowly coming to light;
- Bullying by management in an institution of higher learning and assassinations in another institution of higher learning;
- A tourism board into English league soccer;
- A JSC listed International Holdings company that is more like a Ponzi scheme than business now bankrupted;
- An individual flipping a housing estate with government partnership for millions in profit;
- The LOTTO board mansions;
- PRASA derailment of Metrorail, etc. etc.
In each case marginalised and vulnerable people have been left more marginalised and vulnerable while a tiny number of people have become filthy rich. But the truth always stretches towards the light of day. Sure it does not do this on its own. It takes convicted and courageous people to draw open the curtains – even just a crack – to let a slither of light in to pierce the darkness. And soon the flow of truth is unstoppable.
The first reaction by the powers and benefactors of the corruption is to accuse the truth-tellers of wrongdoing. To huff and puff. To fire, dismiss, and intimidate and sometimes even assassinate. Their denialism and violent reaction eventually is their undoing – exposing themselves to be exactly who the whistle-blowers said they were.
When it comes to holding onto the truth, investigative journalists in SA are like a dog with a bone. They simply do not let it go. We owe so, so much to these journalists. By joining the dots of the corruption they help us as a nation to short circuit our denialism, and lessen the time we live with the lie which in turn limits our own self-destruction.
Jesus said: “…Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.” [Luke 12:2-3].
For this reason regardless of the steep headwinds of resistance that whistle-blowers and journalists face in the field, the wind of the Spirit of Truth is always at their back. And this ultimately makes the difference. Truth alone is able to carve out a free future.