I’ve been mulling over the word “ethics” lately, for obvious reasons.
It’s such a subjective term, that upon reflection, I’m astonished that judiciaries and legislatures across the world have managed to write sets of rules for society, let alone apply them.
At the risk of being branded a member of the irrelevant colonial blue-rinse brigade, I consulted the Oxford English Dictionary for a quick definition, which is: ethics – PLURAL NOUN – Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.
That’s about as clear as mud, really. Who knows what determines our personal ethics? I’ve been known to go back in to the Pick ‘n Pay after discovering in the parking lot that I wasn’t charged for the bag of dog food reclining at the bottom of my trolley. The teller nearly fainted when I told her I’d come back to pay for it. By the time I made my second, somewhat humiliated exit, she and her packer were convulsed with laughter.
By the same token, this week I heard on radio that one of the biggest items shoplifted in South Africa is baby formula, so pricey (and necessary) that stores are tagging them with those electronic thingies that sound an alarm when they are taken through the exit doors.
Let me tell you that I’d steal formula for my baby if I wasn’t able to feed her. If I was desperate enough, I would certainly try. I haven’t had to (which is obvious enough, given that I can afford to feed two bottomless Labradors), but I would if there was no other way. The saying goes that people would “beg, borrow or steal” in dire circumstances. When it comes to my children, I most certainly would. In that order.
That’s where my set of ethics stands, in very simple terms. Some people would find it utterly weird that I went back to pay for an item at a supermarket chain that turns over millions, justifying it (not wrongly) with all the times that tellers carelessly ring up our grocery items twice. Others would say that stealing isn’t excusable under any circumstances whatsoever. Still, I’m guessing that most of us are at around the same grading, or society wouldn’t work at all.
So then we come to a person like Jacob Zuma, who’s personal moral code is off the graph. Let’s stop the incredulous insults (for the moment) and just delve a bit deeper. How does his conscience allow him to sleep at night? How does he mock half a country and fool the other half on a regular basis, while claiming the moral high ground? How does he talk about nation-building and social cohesion with a straight face?
It simply must be that he is differently wired to me and millions of others. It’s not his culture, his background, his genetics or his religion that have caused it. This is obvious because many 75-year-old Zulu men who grew up in Apartheid South Africa and were moulded by the ANC, are honourable and noble individuals, who wouldn’t dream of behaving as he does.
So I’m guessing Mr Zuma has some sort of chemical imbalance in his make-up. He’s recognised the same disability in others and kept them close.
I would suggest further that his morals are so seriously stunted that the majority of the ANC’s leadership took years to even spot them, let alone acknowledge them. Then, probably, it took more time for disbelief to become an undeniable reality. Why else would this tortured journey with him at the helm have taken so long to play out?
I’m no psychologist. I have no spiritual credentials. I am genuinely bewildered and curious. My common sense tells me that nothing happens without a reason.
I look at his face on television (mostly with the sound off) and simply wonder about him. What is going on inside that head? I’m not looking for funny, smart-ass remarks here, so don’t comment in that vein, please. But neither is it a rhetorical question.
Much has been said of the psyche of Donald Trump. Who’s examining the behaviour of Jacob Zuma and coming up with some expert opinions? I would be most interested to hear.
In the meantime, I’m convinced there are blown fuses in the brain of the person who occupies the Presidency of South Africa. And the ANC has the responsibility to consider this possibility and rid us of him.
If Mr Zuma was ever brought before a court of law, I for one, would support mitigating circumstances of mental incapacity – unless someone came up with a better idea.
To the ANC – I’ve discovered to my shame, that my set of ethics and sense of justice can be compromised by this state of emergency.
Take this maniac’s hand out of the cookie jar. Remove his sniggering presence from Parliament.
Cut your party’s umbilical cord with the Guptas by firing all Zuptarites.
Do all that and I reckon most people would look the other way.
Let Jacob live out his days (under strict medical supervison) as the Mad King of Nkandla. Seriously.
Just allow South Africa to be herself again.