TO: Vhonani Ramaano, Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee to Nominate a Person for Appointment as Public Protector
FROM: Advocate Ben Trovato
I assume you are a sir and not a madam because I imagine the government has had quite enough of madams fannying about in the office of the public protector.
However, if you are, in fact, a woman, which you may well be considering that you hold the position of secretary, then please accept my apologies. Do not misconstrue this as an act of weakness. I am not grovelling. Do you hear me? This is one of those apologies that men utter beneath their breath as they leave the room, head held high.
I am eminently qualified for the position of public protector and you need look no further. For a start, I am a man. The smart money says the next public protector will be testicularly enhanced. Advocate Thuli Madonsela ruined it for female successors through her pig-headed independence, relentless hard work and refusal to be intimidated.
I can assure you, sir/madam, that I have the balls to be bought many times over.
If, by some act of gross competence, the ANC has not rigged the process and is looking for someone with feminine qualities as well as a backbone, then I am prepared to undergo hormone treatment and develop a firm set of principles. Both scenarios, though, seem unlikely.
Justice is often portrayed as a blindfolded lady holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other. But ask yourself one simple question. Who blindfolded her? A man. Who made the sword? A man. The scales are irrelevant since they represent the weighing of ingredients of a recipe and have nothing to do with the law.
When I am public protector, my first act will be to create a new figure representing justice. It will be based on me, obviously. I don’t care what Lady Justice got up to in her private time, but I won’t be needing a blindfold.
Justice is not blind. You know who is blind? Blind people. None of whom, I might add, are judges or magistrates. Is this blind prejudice? Probably.
It doesn’t matter. Unlike Thuli, I will not bother myself with matters of prejudice when I am public protector. Prejudice is healthy.
Instead of a sword, I would like a Kalashnikov. Swords are gay. When it comes to the brisk dispensing of justice, you can’t go wrong with an AK-47. I don’t mind keeping the scales as long as people understand that they represent the weighing of marijuana and not flour.
On closer scrutiny of your advertisement, I discovered that my office is established in terms of something called Chapter 9 of the constitution. This is unacceptable. It’s no wonder people don’t take the public protector seriously. The only book anyone in this country has ever read beyond chapter 1 is Fifty Shades of Grey. Either we sex up my responsibilities or we move me to the front of the constitution.
The Bill of Rights, for heaven’s sake, comes in at Chapter 2. The only Bill South Africans have heard of is married to Hillary.
I see one of the requirements is that the applicant be a judge or an advocate. Well, you’re in luck. I am quick to judge all sorts of things. Several times a day, I use the phrase, “I’ll be the judge of that.”
Furthermore, I am an advocate. Of all sorts of things. For instance, I advocate the use of recreational drugs and violence against violent people.
I also know many legalistic phrases such as “habeus porpoise” which is Latin for the right to be free like a dolphin. Let me know if you want more examples.
Apparently, I must also be a “fit and proper person”. What the hell does this even mean? I can tell you right now that I am not fit. When I sat down to write this, naked, my belly unfurled like a landslide, crushing entire communities of bacteria nestled in my pubes. I could almost hear the screams. It was horrible. I had to chain-drink a six-pack just to steady my nerves.
I don’t understand why the public protector has to be fit. Unless, of course, you mean in the British yobbo sense of the word. As in, “Phwoar! Look at her. She’s well fit.”
In that case, yes, Thuli is rather fit. Nice smile. Soft voice. But that’s women for you, innit? They start off all giggles and whispers but give it a couple of years and they’re melting your eyeballs with their voice.
As for the other thing, I can assure you that I am a proper person. What else could I be? A man with the hindquarters of a kangaroo? A three-legged homunculus with the face of a chicken? Don’t be ridiculous.
I understand that I am to be appointed by the president on the recommendation of Parliament.
This works well for me. The ANC, with its majority, has shown that it brooks no interference in how the legislative branch of government conducts itself.
Democracy comes in many guises and we must be prepared to fight this insidious evil wherever it rears its ugly head. I don’t know how Thuli slipped through, but I’m willing to bet the voting cattle won’t make the same mistake this time around.
I know the job is a poisoned chalice and I don’t care. I have been married twice. Poisoned chalices and I go back. I also don’t give a damn what breed of unprincipled boot-licking freeloaders endorse me.
Although I was trained as a journalist, my years of worrying about integrity and ethics are behind me. All I care about now is money.
I am prepared to come to work five days a week, but this might not be in everyone’s best interests. Do you understand what I’m saying here? Let me spell it out in case you’re a bit slow. The more time I spend in the office, the more chance there is that I will be forced to investigate Someone Important. Perhaps even someone who occupies the Ovaltine Office.
In other words, it would be better for all concerned if I stayed at home. And when I say home, I mean travelling around the Caribbean with no way of being contacted. Should this not be an option, I suppose I could pop in two or three days a week. I am not a morning person, so this will be restricted to afternoons.
Quite frankly, the workload scares me. Thuli says there is a problem in this country and it’s getting worse. More and more people are coming forward with complaints about corruption.
I will do what I can to quash these complaints. If that doesn’t work, I know people who can quash the complainants themselves. This will be for your account, not mine.
We will also need to review my seven-year term of office. I am not a rusher. I have spent several seven-year periods in my life accomplishing very little. I prefer to lie down and think. And laugh. And, I suppose, drink. But they all go together, do they not? Think, drink and laugh. This is what god really meant when he talked about the Holy Trinity.
We might have to change the designation, too. The name “public protector” is wide open to misinterpretation. The last thing we want is ordinary people thinking that my job is to protect them. Protect from what? Have you seen ordinary people? They are appalling, with their tatty children and outstretched hands, always wanting electricity and jobs and flushing toilets and teachers with diplomas.
The public protector shouldn’t have to protect people. Guns protect people.
The advertisement clearly states that I will have the power to investigate shenanigans in any sphere of government and “take appropriate remedial action”. Remedial action might, I should warn you, involve emigrating.
One can, after all, only take so much.