An Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma

Dear Msholozi,

Let me be the first to congratulate you on your victory at Mangaung. Yes, I know others have congratulated you before now, but I am the first to do it without any ulterior motive whatsoever. I am neither bright enough to understand the tender process, nor am I sufficiently ambitious to want a position in government.

I know I have been a bit nasty about you in the past, but that was then and this is now. I want to make a fresh start. I am not saying this merely because word on the street is that the next seven years will see a draconian crackdown on your critics.

Word on the street is notoriously unreliable in a country where the streets are overrun with liars and drifters, unemployed political analysts, crack whores and tattooed men who think child maintenance means washing them once a week.

However, if they are to be believed, the time shall come when you will no longer allow your good name to be sullied by the riff-raff of the fourth estate. Should this come to pass, may I suggest you start at the far end of the alphabet?

By the time you get Zapiro to see the error of his ways, I will be old and toothless and no danger at all to the security of the state. However, I would still appreciate the option of being tortured. Nothing too heavy, mind you. A little light whipping and perhaps some hot wax dripped onto my nipples would do nicely in my dotage.

Well done, too, on getting rid of that Kgalema Motlanthe fellow. He is awfully inscrutable, like the Chinese. He even looks Chinese. Did you ever meet his parents? He got those Beijing eyes from somewhere, and it sure wasn’t south of the Limpopo. As for that rat-like cunning. He didn’t accidentally commit political suicide, you know. Too smart for that.

If you had to make discreet enquiries, I bet you’d discover his advisor is a gentleman by the name of Mac E Avelli. As a former cattle-herder, you probably haven’t read much of Machiavelli’s works. I mean no disrespect, here. Some of my best friends are in the cattle-herding business. Actually, they’re more in the cattle-eating business. But I’m sure they wouldn’t consider themselves above a spot of herding. Especially if they were driving the cows towards the Spur. Mmm, burgers.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Mangaung. You must be enormously relieved that it’s all over. You go back to being called president and the city goes back to being called Bloemfontein. Everyone’s happy. Well, not everyone. Helen Zille isn’t, for a start.

She said it was a sad day for South Africa. What rubbish. A sad day for South Africa would be when a Muslim government declared sharia law, outlawed alcohol and stoned adulterers on Saturday mornings.

What a terrible world this would be if we couldn’t get drunk and cheat on our wives and husbands now and then. On the other hand, there is the lopping off of the limbs of bag-snatchers and the ban on women drivers, so perhaps it balances out.

Madame Zille also said she found it “inconceivable” that you could be re-elected party president given the giant cumulonimbus hanging over your head. Bear in mind, comrade, that this is a woman who also finds it inconceivable that the producers of Come Dance With Me and Fashion TV would sooner set themselves on fire than have her on their shows.

Give a woman a province and she wants the whole country.

There are also those poe-faced puritans who call themselves democrats, then bemoan the fact that 2 986 ANC cadres have effectively decided, on behalf of 50 million people, that you will be in charge of the country for the next seven years. How dare they.

Many fine African leaders no longer even bother with the imported notion of leadership conferences. Declaring yourself president for life would have saved a lot of money on snacks and condoms. Next time, cancel the show and simply invite a few close friends around to the compound.

They can still stuff their faces and fornicate until the cows come home, so to speak, and it will be cheaper than travelling to another godforsaken town to pay lip-service to a concept that originated in ancient Greece. Look at Athens today. It’s in worse shape than Bloemfontein, and that’s saying something.

By lavishing praise upon your noble personage, you may accuse me of running with the hounds and hunting with the hare, but I assure you, my liege, my intentions are strictly dishonourable. That’s right. I lied earlier. I do want a position. Not in government, though.

I want Squirrel Ramaphosa’s old job. I’m not sure what he did exactly, but I do know he made a filthy amount of money in a relatively short period of time by doing little more than smiling and nodding at the right people.

I enjoyed the pictures of you and Squirrel hugging and laughing after the vote. Who wouldn’t be happy? After all these years of sloping down the corridor and trying to scrounge fifty bucks from Kgalema, you will soon have a deputy president who will quite happily fork out a few million. When I say happily, I mean he will do it with a smile. It’s the nod you have to watch out for.

It’s a toss-up whether business or politics is the most noble of callings. Both involve duplicity, abuse of the legal system and a single-minded devotion to self-enrichment. I suppose it’s all a question of degrees. Not that you have one. Ha ha. This, from a man who has only his matric.

You could get yours, you know. After a certain age, they virtually give these things away. You wouldn’t even have to write an exam. Send a chap to the nearest government school and get him to pick up a blank national senior certificate. In the unlikely event that the principal has principles and refuses to hand it over, have your man shoot him at assembly the next morning. This is how the next generation learns.

But don’t let them learn so much that they work out how to read. What am I saying! This has been your plan all along. And, judging by Mangaung, it’s working splendidly. As a victim of the elite, among whom I count myself and I hope you forgive me, you are a man who can relate to the poor. Good for you.

The problem with the poor is that once they get an education, they think they’re something special and the next thing you know they’re reading newspapers and not voting for you.

If Squirrel gets precious about the loan repayments, dump him and hire me. I can’t offer you money, but I can advise you on what wine you should order with the fish. Do you believe me? Of course you do.

Don’t be so gullible. The truth is that I can’t tell the difference between wine and brandy or even chicken and fish. Do you see how easily subterfuge comes to me? I’m perfect for the job. Call me before another party snaps me up.

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma

  1. shufflesdu says:

    literally laughing out loud!

  2. Richard says:

    Great stuff Ben, you outdoing yourself again. Brilliantly done !!

  3. Armand Schonfrucht says:

    As always ,

    a great plrasure to read you……..Armand.

  4. black heath says:

    What a writer!

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