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By Editorial staff


A lighter side to governance: Humour at the heart of new Cabinet

Humor and camaraderie shine at the swearing-in of South Africa's new government. Can laughter pave the way for unity?

Although we know that governing a country is no laughing matter and that the government of national unity (GNU) has some very serious work ahead of it, it was heartening to see the apparent camaraderie and humour which rippled through yesterday’s swearing-in of our new executive.

Perhaps our politicians needed a laugh or two after what were tense negotiations leading to the formation of the new coalition.

But perhaps they could all laugh because, after all, politics is a career to most of them and they would have a nice soft landing into a taxpayer-funded post.

Whatever the reasons behind the smiles at the swearing-in, we say: Long may it last.

It has been said before but this administration has to work together as a team to undo the damage wreaked by the ANC over the past 15 years.

And teams work much better if the members get along with each other.

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There are, though, still worrying areas where the old habits of politicking are dying hard. Some of the members of the GNU cannot resist sniping at each other.

All sides seem to be guilty of this – perhaps because they need to remind those who voted for them that they have not sold out.

That a government committed to South Africa rather than to individual party philosophies or ideologies can bring about positive change has been shown before.

The administration of Nelson Mandela and, to a extent, that of his successor Thabo Mbeki, showed that cooperation and burying of the hatchet can build a nation.

There are two motivations for a politician – greed and ego. We would hope that the latter prevails in our new crop of leaders.

You can’t take your loot with you when you die, but you can leave a legacy which people will admire. It’s up to you, people.

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