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Blessing sins is never a good idea

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Publish Date: 17 February 2009 04:42PM
Article history

The ruling African National Congress has been rocked – again – by corruption charges against one of its most senior members. This time one of its real holy men, Carl Niehaus.

And although announcing that he will no longer be the party’s official spokesman, the ANC – again – seems to be protecting those found with their fingers in the cookie jar. While fresh allegations against the former Churchman is rolling in, the ANC said they will find a new role for him.

Yesterday the South African Sunday Times reported that Niehaus was facing eviction from his R45 000 a month home after apparently owing his landlord over R300 000. The newspaper published text messages allegedly sent by Niehaus to his landlord in which the he blamed the ANC's "serious organisation challenges" for the lack of payment. He said the ANC failed to pay him for three months’ salary.

On Friday, the weekly Mail and Guardian in Johannesburg reported that Niehaus was alleged to have forged the signatures of senior Gauteng officials, including former finance MEC and current premier, Paul Mashatile while he was the chief executive of the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (Geda).

But now the ANC is saying it will protect Niehaus. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said in an interview the ANC had been aware that Niehaus had been "relieved of his duties" after corruption allegations at Geda, but that the organisation believed in helping its cadres. "There is no poor judgement in assisting cadres of the movement who have gone through difficult periods," said Mantashe in the interview.

Mantashe has said that Niehaus will be re-deployed to another position within the ANC.

So who is this man being protected by the ANC?

Carl Niehaus is an Afrikaner who comes from a small town called Zeerust in the North West Province. He went to the Rand Afrikaans University studying to become a preacher in the conservative Afrikaner Dutch Reformed Church. In 1980, six months before he would have written his final exams, he was expelled for putting up posters on his campus calling for equal non-racial education and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

He resigned from the Dutch Reformed Church and became a deacon in a township church in Alexandra near Johannesburg. He also joined the party that is now protecting him. He worked underground against the apartheid government until he and his fiance Jansie were arrested in 1983.They were found guilty of high treason. Carl received a 15-year prison sentence and Jansie four. While Jansie served all four, Carl served seven.

During the first democratic elections in 1994, Niehaus was head of the ANC's media liaison unit and became a member of parliament in the National Assembly. Later he became spokesperson of one of South Africa’s largest churches – the Rhema church before returning to the ANC as spokesman.

Recently he told the media that he was sodomised repeatedly in prison. He also now admitted to fraud in a radio interview last week.

He lives an extravagant lifestyle. The Sunday World yesterday published allegations about his spending. It reported Niehaus was arrested in Sun City after failing to pay a R70 000 bill. Niehaus confirmed this.

While opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance and the Independent Democrats are suddenly jumping on the band wagon asking for audits, investigations and laying criminal charges, the only question we should ask about Niehaus’s sad tale, is why is the ANC protecting him?

Is it because he was part of the struggle? If this is the case, it is yet again a blessing to its members that anything is allowed as long as you were part of the fight against apartheid.

Apartheid has left many legacies and it is hard enough to eradicate them. May blessing the sins of those who fought it, never be one of them.

Comment on this Article | Start a forum on this topic

27 Feb 2009, 18:16

En so het die helde hulle gat gesien.

Mooi man mooi...

11 Mar 2009, 08:55

wat n siek siel

22 Mar 2009, 17:31

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