South Africa: Julius Malema and His Open Books Promise - Come Home, Chickens

opinion

Five months ago, Julius Malema made the following promise: 'Any journalist who wants to go through the EFF's books is more than welcome... We want you to satisfy yourselves.' Any takers?

Politicians have breathtaking latitude when it comes to campaign communications. Outrageous promises and sometimes blatant falsehoods are the norm.

Given the nature and purpose of campaigning, there is no immediate problem with this. But what happens when that latitude is abused beyond the ambit of campaigns and is instead used by members of Parliament as a tool to protect their own interests and reputations at the expense of constitutional demands? Can that abuse ever be legally constrained?

Five months ago, Julius Malema appeared on the Eusebius McKaiser show on 702 Talk Radio. After expressing distaste for "disingenuous people", he made the following promise:

"Any journalist who wants to go through the EFF's books is more than welcome. Make arrangements with Leigh-Anne. Leigh-Anne will open the books... We want you to satisfy yourselves."

Having essentially proclaimed himself a practitioner of all things genuine, one would have thought this promise would have been fulfilled by now. Not so.

Instead, every request made by investigative journalists to date has been rejected. It...

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