With the podium awash in cake and catharsis, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe raised his glass and proposed a toast. “The leaders will now enjoy the champagne, and of course they do so on your behalf through their lips.” Later, the leadership drove off in luxury cars on behalf of those who had no transport and stayed in expensive hotels on behalf of those who lived in shacks. Welcome to the year of living vicariously.
The new year has set off at such a blistering pace that it already feels old. Maybe it’s just me. I knew I shouldn’t have sat through the president’s entire speech in Bloemangafonteinung. Even though I took pharmaceutical precautions to offset any negative side-effects, I still feel like tearing my face off and stuffing it up my bottom. Brenda says I might have taken the wrong medication. Yeah, right. As if there’s such a thing.
I don’t even know where to begin. Education, perhaps. Did you see the kiddies on their first day of school this week? Brenda said they looked cute. I thought they looked angry and disillusioned. Perhaps they had been watching cartoons the night before and daddy switched to the news and they saw unruly mobs of semi-literate matric exemptionistas storming the universities and realised they were about to board a runaway train on a 12-year journey to nowhere.
If our best and brightest are prepared to trample people to death in the hope of staving off unemployment for another three years, can you imagine what the others are capable of? Education minister Blade Nzimande must shoulder the blame for this fiasco, but only because he is a communist. There’s a reason the bullseye on a dartboard is red. Wait. That makes no sense. A bull is the highest scoring … well, apart from a triple 20. Forget the analogy. This is the year in which nothing makes any sense and I don’t see why I should be the exception.
I would like 2012 to be remembered for the way the little people stood up for themselves. I’m not talking about dwarves or tokoloshes. I am talking about those who find themselves being treated with disdain and disrespect by everyone from civil servants and spouses to restaurant staff and bosses.
My dream of seeing the government on its knees – and this should be the default position of governments everywhere – is unlikely to be realised. I know this because more than 200 000 Gauteng motorists have already sloped off and registered e-toll accounts with the Cosa Nostra-like SA National Roads Agency. They did this in spite of Cosatu and the Automobile Association pointing out that Sanral’s artful ambush on what are quite clearly public roads would fail dismally if nobody cooperated. The AA is about as radical as the Fish Hoek Croquet Club and yet they have the guts to take a stand against this highway robbery. You craven e-tag-buying cowards, on the other hand, are spineless sheeple who deserve to be fleeced by the state at every turn. Don’t be e-tag ready – be civil disobedience ready.
What else. Oh, yes. The government wants to make it illegal for anyone to issue warnings of severe weather without permission from the SA Weather Service. I kid you not. The penalty? A fine of R5-million or five years in jail. Next on the list will be the prosecution of economists who predict a recession without prior permission from the minister of finance and the incarceration of psychics who tell fortunes without first clearing them with SARS.