This is not a good time if we want our politics to be guided by a moral compass that tells politicians how to behave towards people who are different to them. A moral compass tells us what we should not do. In a society divided by race, gender and other identities, it should signal what not to say about people who do not look or sound like those in your group. Across the board, our politicians lack that compass because the people who shape the national debate lack it too. Last week, Gauteng premier David Makhura, who usually tries to say the right things, delivered a rant at foreign nationals, particularly those from neighbouring states, who “get almost everything” from this country. Trump-like, he insisted Southern African countries should pay for the health services their citizens use here. Like health minister Aaron Motsoaledi, he claims the health system’s flaws are caused by foreigners who use it — despite reports last week that refugees and asylum seekers are being denied life...

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