In case you missed The Letter, you can catch up on it here.

This is what has happened in the meantime…

Gareth Cliff: “I had a great lunch with Presidential Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, in his personal capacity today. I had the duck, he had the fish. We discussed my letter to Government, the Information Bill, his recent trip to Egypt, and his allergy to some kind of tree that grows in Cape Town.

I’m sorry to disappoint those who thought he wanted to shut me down; and to those who thought he’d arrive with a detailed 5-year plan to address all the points of my letter, I will remind you that these things are a process - and that government acknowledges many of the matters raised.

The overwhelming tone and direction was positive, constructive and amiable. Zizi did suggest that I don’t tell any cabinet ministers that they’re ugly, something my own mother reminded me is very bad manners. The channels of communication are open, there was no draconian reprimand and he insisted that I continue to engage with government and society about things which we all ought to be brave enough to discuss, even if we disagree.

I maintain that we have all the problems to contend with ahead of us, and I won’t back down from my belief that these things need to be addressed urgently. This is the first step. The journey for South Africa, in the words of Mark Gevisser is a “rocky road rather than a flight in a space-ship.”

So to those who thought I was anti-government, no gallows have been constructed on the lawns of the Union Buildings. I have been reassured that we live in a free, open, tolerant society where your opinions and mine can share a space. There will be many conversations in the future, and I am pleased to say that the President’s office can take criticism better than even I thought they could. In the words of President Zuma : “That’s where the difference comes…”.

Now the real work must begin… ”

Reference: Chronicles of Cliff

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