An Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma

Dear Msholozi,

I hear wife #3 is demanding that SA Airlink cough up half a million rand in compensation for jewellery that was allegedly stolen out of her bag while flying from Nelspruit to Johannesburg.

Please don’t get me wrong. When I say “allegedly”, I’m not casting aspersions on the veracity of Thobeka’s story. I’m simply saying that women often forget where they put things.

I bet there are times when you find a bottle of skokiaan in the tumble dryer or a puluma in the microwave. She said the 36 pieces of jewellery were in a cosmetics bag. Does she keep her make-up in the safe?

Were those jewels really worth half a million rand or did you do what most married men do and just tell her they were genuine to shut her up for a while? A lot of women can’t tell emeralds from bits of broken beer bottles. Brenda couldn’t, anyway.

I hope Thobeka’s impressive collection includes plenty of blood diamonds. The last thing we want to be doing is giving our hard-earned cash to the Oppenheimers.

I inadvertently pulled an insurance scam once. I came home very late one night to find that I had locked myself out of the house. Luckily I had a matchbox full of Semtex that I had been saving for a rainy day, so I blew the door off its hinges and went to bed. The next morning I discovered that all my stuff was missing. I filed a claim for R32-million but later that day realised I was in the wrong house altogether. An assessor whittled my claim down to R150 after I was unable to prove that I owned a Lear jet. Do you keep receipts for impulse purchases of this kind? I certainly don’t.

Anyway. Condolences on your falling out with the Guptas and half the ANC leadership. I am sure you are angry with both. But you know how to handle this sort of thing. Do whatever you do when you are angry with all your wives at the same time. Send Gwede Mantashe to his room, Blade Nzimande to Chechnya and Atul Gupta to finishing school to learn the art of discretion.

By the way, I loved those latest pictures of you and Madiba. He seemed a bit tired, though. Not surprising, really. As you said, he was up and about, laughing and shouting and playing practical jokes on everyone. By all accounts, even doing a bit of breakdancing to entertain his increasingly expanding family while the photo op was being set up. Who wouldn’t be exhausted?

My friend Ted said Madiba looked as if he had just got back from the taxidermist. I called him an unmitigated racist and chased him out of the house but then had to phone him and ask him to come back because he had taken his bottle of brandy with him and I couldn’t face another night of sobriety. Well, a night, anyway.

Listen. These Gupta fellows. Are you certain they are worth all this trouble? Sure, they own Sahara Computers and I know how hard it is to get someone to come out and disinfect the hard drive, but still and all. I think it’s time to make new friends.

How about the Chinese? Zong Qinghou is your man. Like you, he doesn’t have much of an education, but he does have R140-billion under his mattress. He also has a very creative accountant, something we all need when it comes to filing our tax returns.

Speaking of which, I hear you’ve been hanging out with Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan. Well done. This is a man who knows his way around a hat. When you see him, please give him this letter.

Dear Mr Jonathan Sir,

My name is Benita Trovato and I am a beautiful woman of 27 living in the paradise of Durban. I have worked hard to save orphans and cripples for my whole life and now I have cancer in my prostrate glands.

Because I do not have long to live, I want to give all my money to charities but not in this country because there is too much corrupt men who will steal my money and spend it on drugs and whores and BMW cars.

I was blessed to inherit some money ($50 million dollars) from my kind father who before he became late was working in the garden of generous Mr Escobar who paid very well in American dollars.

You may be asking why I have chosen you but God told me in a dream that the starving people of Nigeria can make a better use of my savings. The Lord has touched you, Sir. I beg you to help this desperate man from Pretoria.

Next month I am going to have an operation for my diabetes and the doctor said there is a good chance I will not survive. I do not want this to happen while the $100 million dollars from my murdered mother is still in my bank account because our banks are run by bad men who will steal the money as soon as they hear I have gone to Jesus.

It is my Will and Last Testicle that you, President Goodenough, take the earnings and through you spend it on the motherless and other people doing our Lord’s work in Lagos.

Right now I can not ask you to telephone me because my doctor has ordered me to rest and also I can not even give you my number because my relatives are spying on me to make sure I do not give away my billions to charity. They want to execute me and already they have infected me with the cholera while I was sleeping.

Even though I have never met you, I saw your picture in the newspaper and I can see God has made his special mark on you. I want to give you 30% of the $300 million dollars to say thank you for helping an old blind woman from Bloemfontein.

I am too fragile and weak from the malaria to do anything for myself, so I have asked my Lawyer to help with this holy project. He says that because your name is Goodfaith, you will not object to showing you are professional and serious about helping us to help yourself to help the unprivileged.

He is therefore asking for a small amount of $50 000 dollars for proving trust before making arrangements to transfer the $500 million dollars into your personal bank account. He says he can accept payment in the form of cocaine if it is easier for you.

I appreciate if you keep this information top secret because the government will torture me to get my money and that would make the soul of my poor expired father very unhappy. Please hurry because I am also nearly dead.

My email is skabenga@nicetry.con.

Yours in Christ,

Sinenhlanhla Smith (Mr/Mrs)

26 thoughts on “An Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma

  1. Neil says:

    Ben you are a legend!

  2. jaime abrahamse says:

    Ben, I started penning a response to your note on behalf of Goodluck …it started thus but got too ridiculous to post in full :

    “I was handed your note by my good friend Zoom Zoom and appreciate the urgency of your dilemma, we are greatful for the opportunity to help and that you are still alive and well deseased.

    I am so gladly you avoided going through the regular scammers that plague our social network address lists from Ukraine and that you wisely come direct to the horse’s foot and mouth. If you want to run a proper sham in this part of the shambles then you must go to the top of the horse, I always say to Zoom Zoom.

    And never look a gift horse in the mouth because they can have very bad breathing and can run away very quickly if they sense anything is afoot, and they have four of those (normally). And you not not not be chasing running after folds in your conditional….

    As you may already be dead by the time you are reading this, we need to act quickly…

  3. julesie says:

    Ben – quit the writing, your talents are wasted on that lot. Try air-marshalling, I hear there’s a fortune to be made on unsuspecting housewives dripping in cocaine encrusted beer bottle glass. If I could I would pay you a weekly wage for the wry smile you slap on my dial every Monday morning without fail. Ah bugger that…write for free. Aren’t the best things in life supposed to be that?

  4. Leon Economides says:

    Absolutely BRILLIANT, Ben – well done!!! A friend who had emigrated to Canada and had kept an eye on developments in SA, once told me that the ANC regime and its cronies should learn to laugh at themselves. After all, the whole world does! Pity you are no longer with the Sunday Times! What happened? Are they too deep up the ANC’s butt and had to ask you to go?

  5. Heather Stip says:

    Excellent as per usual, Mr. Trovato!

  6. amandzing says:

    All these nice, sober responses from Trovato. Where is Ben and what have you done with him?

  7. Malinda Nel says:

    Great read! I thought it was mrs. Zuma 5? And she really expects people to believe her? Sound like the criminals who are caught on camera and still say ít wasn’t me… I was with my girlfriend.’

  8. Donet says:

    As good as always. Don’t ever stop. Where can we find your weekly letter if S/Times is not using you anymore I’ll start buying Rapport

    1. I need someone to pay me to write. This isn’t a hobby. It’s what I do for a living. Care to get the ball rolling?

  9. SidevieW says:

    Thank you, great smile for the day

  10. Patsy Smith says:

    Wonderful Ben! More please…. (God knows you have enought raw material here)

  11. rory snyman says:

    the funniest thing is that the first things airlines tell you is not to lock any valuables in your suitcase and if you do you have to take out additional insurance. It states this on your ticket. i know as i worked for and airline for 25 years

  12. Dinga Mpunzi says:

    Ben, you ‘re a hoot. Still laughing. Thanks. Great letter but you should know, JZ does not consider it a letter unless it comes by snailmail. Nice try, though. @nicetry. t

  13. anne lapedus brest says:

    Great letter!!!!!!!!!! had to laugh. Well done!! ha Ha.

  14. Brilliant. Now for Epi 2. The letter from the Guptas requesting Diplo Passports & permission to land at Waterkloof and weekend at Nkandla (after all, they seem to be the family that funded it),

  15. Jane says:

    Good morning Sunday Times

    I couldn’t find my absolute all time favourite boy in the last two issues – ok it could
    be down to the overhang from the night before but please don’t tell me you want to
    take our Ben away from us – he is the only link to sanity and humour in our country
    and it is his job to make fools of ALL of us because that is what we are when you take
    away the fancy cars, suits, houses, egos and power. In fact I’m a menopausal lady and
    you know what we can do – should you even think of cutting his column erm space – I will
    personally come and tie myself to the editor’s desk, do a bit of screaming and go on a hunger strike – and trust me it could take a while for that to have its ultimate effect. The same goes for Mondli, Zapiro, Hogarth, Redi to name a few.
    I trust you will do the right thing for the sake of the wellbeing of South African citizens since not many who should be, are!!
    Kindest regards Jane Weston KZN

  16. granny1947 says:

    Great letter from “who the hell are you?”

  17. Werner says:

    Ben, your reality depressed me amusingly, as usual,; thank you. I reckon you should give Helen a call. I give you a running start till Wednesday, then I homing in, okay, deal? Best wishes and regards and all that, Werner (Pissed-off patriot and long term optimist)

  18. David Muir says:

    I love pieces that make me bellow unexpectedly. This one truly did. Only now, I can’t get the cats down off the cupboard.

  19. Wendy says:

    Very good – and all and all…

  20. This is fantastic Ben!

    Hit the nail on the head!

    Thank you!

  21. dzimbudzana says:

    I receive quite a lot of those e-mails from President Goodluck’s subjects. I hope President Goodluck take you up on your offer. Shh shh don’t tell anyone.

  22. Helen says:

    Dear Ben……. As always…..this is excellent………they can cut you from the Sunday Times, but they cannot cut you out altogether…….you go boy go……. From one of you many admirers.

    Helen Veitch Cell 082 469 6772 Sent from Samsung tablet

    Ben Trovato – The Whipping Boy wrote:

    1. Thanks Helen. I’ll stop when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands.

  23. chris mortimer says:

    My number one all time hero. Have to be honest you were number two but Sir Alex has retired. I think as well that booze swilling is more manly than chewing gum. Please never retire and try not to get shot

    1. Thanks Chris. It took a lot of effort on my part to get Sir Alex to stand down, but in the end it was worth it.

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