Years ago while working in the Social Welfare Department of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) under the guidance of Imam  Saban and the late Moulana Karaan I had many unusual and tough meetings.

One day a woman walked into my office and confessed to adultery. To verify her crime, the woman detailed her infidelity to ensure that I did not seek her reunion with her husband. She clearly wanted a divorce. What was appalling was her disregard for the sanctity of the MJC, her indifference to my youth and the crudity in listing her activities. Procedure required that I entreat the husband to appear at a counselling session. After consulting with my elders, I advised him to give a Talaq instead of the wife seeking a Faskh which could be arduous. I suggested that it was in his interest as his wife was unhappy. This was upsetting as I saw him hug his child. I did not have the courage to tell him what I was told as he trusted the advice. To this day I remain conflicted by my lack of complete honesty.

In another case an old lady decided to sell her home way below cost to relatives as they agreed to care for her in her old age in her existing home. In dialog with the relatives, they privately clarified that they were eager for transfer in order to sell profitably and relocate without the old ladies knowledge.

Fearing deceit I told the old lady about their plan and she then confronted her relatives. Cornered by the truth they reacted with deceit. Trusting her relatives, the old lady blamed me of stirring trouble. My integrity was so viciously attacked that I considered if complete honesty was always the best policy.

Moving on from the MJC and after 15 years in politics I have realized that many politicians are masters in the art of mixing truth and deceit and serving the mix as a cure to the electorate.

Example, recently President Zuma said that the African National Congress (ANC) is more important than South Africa. His attempts to explain himself shocked many people. He has also refused to clarify if or when he was going to “pay back the money” regarding Nkandla or if he consider himself guilty at all. The question that we need to consider is: should his upfront approach and indifference to hide intent be measured as noteworthy or condemned.

In the words of the wise, as thinking people we must consider if we prefer to be uncomfortable with the truth or do we prefer to feel comforted with untruth and deceit?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress