A letter to President Zuma

Dear Comrade Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma the First, President of the Republic of South Africa, Head of the Household, Defender of the Faith, Pastor of the Flock, Defeater of the Mbeki, Msholozi of Msholozis, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, Owner of Property in Nkandla, Shuffler of Cabinets and Destroyer of Things, I hereby greet you.
First of all, allow me to congratulate you. It doesn’t matter on what. You can decide. The important thing is that a man of your intellect is congratulated on a regular basis.
Well done, though, on deposing the ringleaders responsible for attempting to boost our economy. The last straw came when that seditious anarchist posing as our finance minister flew off to sell South Africa to investors in Britain. Not even Pravin Gordhan has the right to sell South Africa, even though he’s a Durban ou and would have given them a good price and all.
The real purpose of his mission was obviously to buy heavy calibre calculators and recruit mercenary accountants for a rebel army. You know what these financial types are like. Beneath their dimpled, chubby exteriors lurk lean, mean killing machines. Or worse, adding machines. It’s a good thing you have moved fast on this. Without your intervention, the Union Buildings would be overrun by well-educated polyglots and we’d all be speaking algebra by Christmas.
I am among the millions of patriotic South Africans silently applauding your firing of Gordhan and other free-thinking radicals of his ilk. I say silently because most of us are either savagely hungover or too weak with disease and hunger to engage in the physical act of clapping. We need to conserve our energy so that when 2019 rolls around, we will be able to crawl to the nearest polling station and vote for the ANC. Many of us won’t have the strength to make it back home and will probably die right there in the ballot booth. This is a small price to pay for keeping in power the most glorious political party Africa and indeed the world has ever seen.
You’re a genius, boss. By turning your reshuffle into a bloodbath, nobody could accuse you of gunning specifically for the finance minister and his deputy. It’s a bit like the way Israel bombs an entire Palestinian suburb just to get one cheeky Hamas commander. Sure, your scattergun approach is a bit rough on the others, but there are casualties in any war and I’m sure they are all very grateful for even having had the opportunity to buttress their bank accounts … I mean, serve the people.
Brilliant move making Malusi Gigaba minister of finance. A man who knows his way around the Saxonwold shebeen, he might not be the brightest but he’s a snappy dresser and that’s all that really counts in this portfolio. Also, he speaks English like a proper Zulu and his “Christian” name is Knowledge. What more do you need? Best of all, his sexiness will deflect attention away from the man really running the ministry – his deputy Sfiso Buthelezi.
According to Who’s Who Southern Africa, Buthelezi  is or maybe was the chairman of Robben Island Ferries and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, both of which are considered not so much efficient modes of transport as they are unreliable death traps.
He’s done some other stuff, too. Banking. That sort of thing. As long as he keeps taking calls from our government in exile in Dubai, he’ll do just fine.
Good move, too, making Faith Muthambi minister of public service. With the unemployment rate higher than a Rastafarian on Haile Selassie’s birthday, the public no longer expect to be served and the comrade will therefore not be required to fill her usual quota of damage.
And nice work retaining social development minister Butterbelly Dlamini. It’s important to have someone in cabinet who consistently sets the bar at its lowest so that everyone else shines by comparison.
Your real masterstroke, though, was appointing Fikile Mbalula as Minister of Police. I, for one, look forward to stepping over the bodies of criminals who have died laughing.
What’s this I hear that three of your top six are unhappy? Have you run out of funds to guarantee their support? If Squirrel Ramaphosa, Gwede Mantashe and Zweli Mkhize have turned rogue, you know what to do. No, not the elephant option. It’s too soon to start shooting dissidents. That comes in your seventh term as president.
You need to kick their arses to the curb and issue a decree that the top six shall henceforth be known as the top three. If you start getting bad vibes from Baleka Mbete and that other one with the face, kick their arses to the curb, too. Then it’s just you – the top one. Round up the judges, muzzle the media and Bob’s your uncle. Is Bob your uncle? He certainly behaves as if he has a strand or two of those magnificent Zuma genes.
Speaking of Squirrel, he briefly showed signs of developing a spine but then decided to stand by his man. Good for him. The best kind of loyalty is the dumb, unquestioning kind. Tell your ex-wife to be nice to him when she is in charge.
I don’t know why everyone is making such a fuss. The only people who stand to get hurt in all of this are the poor. You’d think they would be used to it by now. They can’t afford petrol, food or medicine whether the cabinet is reshuffled or not, so no real harm is done by getting rid of the clevas and deploying the fawners and flatterers who have been waiting so anxiously for their turn at the trough … I beg your pardon, their turn to serve the nation.
I like the way you use the delusively jejune phrases “radical economic transformation”. It appeals to your semi-literate power base as well as to white people, who know that nothing ever changes for them. Whatever delightfully reckless decisions you take, they get to keep the Range Rover, the tennis lessons and the beach house. If you really want to hurt them, take away their satellite dishes and shut down Woolworths.
I have a friend who said he preferred it when you were a cavorting, giggling, marrying kind of president. A good-natured, bumbling, harmless buffoon, as it were. He said he doesn’t like what he described as “the new vicious, lying, sociopath you”. He wanted to know where the fun you had gone. I called him a shallow imperialist dog and threatened to beat him soundly. He threatened to drink all my whiskey so we called it a draw.
So, what a week it’s been. I thought it a bit rude of Ahmed Kathrada to die on the very day that you were planning to fire Gordhan for gross competence. We didn’t know at the time, of course, that you were also planning a clean sweep of all the other embarrassingly capable members of your cabinet. You must have been terribly upset having to wait a few days before beginning the bludgeoning, particularly since you have come to rely on Indians to be there when you need them.
I believe the family foundation requested that you stay away from the funeral. They probably thought you’d be so overcome with grief that you’d cause a scene with your singing and dancing. Or did you and Uncle Kathy have a fall-out? I’m sure it was over something trivial. He probably insisted on the constitution being respected or was against the idea of state capture. Ridiculous. That’s the elderly for you.
By the way, nice work getting a few of those communists out of government. PW Botha would be proud of you. If any of the leftover bolsheviks like Blade Nzimande start causing trouble, send them to the gulags. Do we have gulags? We must at least have a salt mine somewhere. When apparatchiks go bad, they need to be severely punished. It’s the only language they understand.
And whatever happens, keep pushing that collective responsibility ruse. I think it slipped your mind a bit this week. If the rand falls and the economy nosedives, it’s only right that those who survived the cull get to share the consequences. And by consequences I obviously mean financial spin-offs.
Anyway, comrade leader. It’s time for my evening weep. As the sign on the back of the taxi says, “When days are dark and friends are few …” I don’t know how it ends. The taxi rolled before I could read the rest.

34 thoughts on “A letter to President Zuma

  1. Ann Badings says:

    Thanks Ben, I had forgotten how to find the laughs in all this shit, was back to the bad old days of apartheid, lying awake at night worrying about what was so horribly wrong with our country. You just swivelled my head back into position: worry without (wry) laughter at the human condition is a thoroughly indigestible mix. Salud!

  2. Neil says:

    Your reference to Israel bombing a whole suburb to get at one Hamas target is insensitive, not true, nor funny and detracts from an otherwise witty article.

    1. Haha thanks. I was wondering how long it would take.

  3. Sharon says:

    Have followed you for so many years and have all of your books.
    Why not give “talks” to invitation – only guests? Name your price.
    I’ll be the first to host such an auspicious occasion.

    1. Thanks, Sharon, but that’s a slippery slope. It starts with talks and the next thing you know you’re running for a seat on the city council.

  4. Jody says:

    Ben….Hey….now …😂 you’ve made my day….BRILLIANT….Ben for President….🎉🎇🎊🎆

  5. Hein Kotze says:

    Love it!!

  6. Jenny Walter says:

    I have felt like crying all day …. your column has helped a bit … not with the crying, but with a lot of wry laughing

  7. Lilian Janson says:

    A beautifully written tongue-in-cheek “letter”. It sums up the present situation to a T. I agree with Clyde Simpson though, if any of jz’s sycophants read this they will see it as praise; the reason being they are too ….. to understand the subtleties in the letter.

  8. zuma says:

    excellent propaganda comrade!

  9. Thozi says:

    I also nearly died laughing, like those criminals for Mbaks :-). Brilliant! Thank you

  10. W says:

    What a brilliant piece!

  11. Clyde Simpson says:

    My concern is, with his simplicity and lack of logic,he is likely to read the sarcasm as positive feedback!

  12. Brett Murray says:

    Just burped up my latte laughing. Perfect.

  13. javypanz says:

    LMAO, brilliant. Truth is stranger than fiction… You do need a daily column!

  14. Barrie says:

    The deed done, the country on its knees, the Zuptas rule, the poor old defenceless farmers killed, the grannaries empty, the poor and the old starting to die. Inkandla a new swimming bath. The outside world laughing. The vultures waiting.

  15. Parween Joommal says:

    Just love your wit!

  16. Ben you biscuit! when the revolution arrive, i see you in the front – whip in one hand, whisky in the other, ready to ride the marauding masses onto the battlefield for the fight over ANC jerseys and KFC meals.

  17. wildcoastdawn says:

    I am soo glad I found this site. Made my day. Excellent writing Always. Thank You!

  18. Brenda Harding says:

    ” With the unemployment rate higher than a Rastafarian on Haile Selassie’s birthday”, you just get better than this, man I love your columns, me too cannot wait to read what you write next

  19. Fiona says:

    Brilliant , absolutely love your mind!

  20. Jane says:

    Considering what will happen to the treasury you/we won’t need to make a living ! But as one of the last surviving minds that ‘has the bottle’ (meths is cheaper than whiskey I believe) to navigate the insanity of politics and the bs involved and show it for what it is – I think a collection is called for or at least a Trovato Benefit Ball – we can’t lose you Ben. Much too valuable as you repeatedly demonstrate.

  21. Brilliant. I love it. Pity your writing is not in all the daily papers. But then we all know how a lot of south africans view satire. As always, i eagerly wait for your next.

    1. Thanks Deborah. It is a pity I don’t have a daily column, largely because then I would stand to actually make a living from it.

    2. ryall hochfelden says:

      I agree, a brilliant “letter”, just WISH he could be published in ALL the other official languages and the respective newspapers and social media as well.

  22. Corinne Hudson says:

    Marvelously wickedly insightful stuff. But REALLY, Tina Joemat-Petterson part of the “embarrassingly capable” ?

  23. wbfreelance says:

    I feel the pain.

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