Watching The Defectives

The ANC has once again dipped its grubby little paws into a Checkers bag full of recycled careerists and come up with an interim board for the SABC.

“Comrades, we’re offering you this chalice.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing. Well, it’s poisoned. Apart from that, it’s fine.”

“Great! We’ll take it.”

The previous bunch of rats jumped ship when the broadcasting behemoth began listing dangerously to port. One of them, scurrying to catch the remnants of summer in Sea Point, paused only to bite Helen Zille on the toe.

I was reminded of the SABC recently when I tried to buy a television set without providing a salary slip, proof of political affiliation, original birth certificate, tax clearance, police records and a report from a mental health practitioner.

Nobody in their right mind would give the SABC any personal information whatsoever. To avoid a lifetime of being tracked down by the bounty hunters over at VVM Attorneys, all I had to do was find someone with a TV licence.

One option was to go around the neighbourhood pretending to be a licence inspector. I would explain that the Broadcasting Act entitled me to shoot them in the face if they refused to accompany me to Game to verify the validity of their licence.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go to those lengths.

My father is an old school anarchist and will jump at any opportunity to break the law. But he is also scrupulously honest. I don’t know why he’s not in jail.

“Here’s my licence,” he said to the salesman. “But the TV’s not for me, it’s for my son. That’s him over there, trying to put a remote control down his trousers.”

SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane and deputy dawg Thami ka Plaatjie – better known as Ratman and Nobbin – were first to bail. A trio of white women – one of them with actual broadcasting experience – was the last to go.

Suzanne Vos blamed the debacle on both Ratman and communications minister Dina Pule, whose academic achievements are roughly on a par with mine. If only I could say the same for our pay cheques.

Pule’s story sounds like a Shakespearean play written by one of Isidingo’s scriptwriters. I cannot even begin to unravel the convoluted plot involving a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a dodgy weave, serious buck-passing in the digital migration debacle and the hiring of an incompetent chief financial officer for the SABC, who, to be fair, wasn’t so incompetent that she wasn’t able to sign off on a sponsorship deal that helped make the minister’s boyfriend several million rand richer.

And when it comes to Telkom, Pule’s machinations make Hamlet seem like an episode of Friends.

I suppose it’s a hard tradition to break. Anyone who has ever been in charge of information in this country, going back to Rupert van Riebeeck’s time, has lied, schemed and connived. It’s what they are paid to do.

Is there a country anywhere in the world where the information minister speaks nothing but the truth? Maybe in the Netherlands, but only because you can get sodium pentothal in the Dutch parliament’s cafeteria. For weed, you have to go to Amsterdam. It’s only 50kms from The Hague, for heaven’s sake. Stop complaining. If I could do it, so can you.

President Zuma reluctantly accepted the board’s resignation – his first choice was to have them shot as part of the entertainment on Human Rights Day – and the ANC cherry-picked a fresh batch of sacrificial lambs. And these baa-baa black sheeple will report for duty with a yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. One for the master, one for the minister, and one for the New Age reporter to make it look less sinister.

While we taxpayers were being taken roughly from behind, DA MP Marian Shinn politely raised her hand and pointed out to her fellow lawmakers that many of us had been scarred and embittered by political interference in the SABC and suggested that it come to an end. I suppose if one has never experimented with powerful drugs or threesomes that have gone horribly wrong, the occasional ministerial intervention in the affairs of the national broadcaster may well leave the more sensitive parliamentarian traumatised.

Personally, I don’t give a damn. I watch eNews Channel Africa for my news because I would rather be subjected to an endless loop than poorly pronounced propaganda.

Someone called Zandile Tshabalala is the ANC’s choice for board chair. Isn’t he the striker for Bafana Bafana? No, hang on. It’s a she. Don’t look at me like that. We whiteys recognise names like Betty and Beauty. We can’t tell our Zandiles from our Zwandiles. Give us time. It’s only been 700 years.

Tshabalala has extensive experience in banking and business, which makes me wonder if the ANC has trouble with its acronyms.

SABC. FNB. FICA. SARS. PSL. SAPS.

It’s all the same to them. Let’s make Riah Phiyega chairman of the SABC and put Oupa Magashula in charge of the police. They could hardly do any worse.

The ANC wants Noluthando Gosa to be deputy chair. This would be her third stint as a member of the board. I am almost certain that if she were allowed to decline the “offer” without fear of reprisals, she would. On the other hand, she seems to be some kind of high-flying estate agent and is probably impervious to threats and insults of any kind.

A lot of very bright people applauded Zuma’s decision in 2011 to appoint a commission of enquiry into the arms deal and only now are they beginning to realise it was a monumental set-up right from the start. I knew this all along, and I only have a matric. Thank god I didn’t waste any more time studying.

And it’s the same with the SABC board. The ANC will toss in one or two nominally independent names to appease the slavering dogs of democracy, but the rest will be the same malleable stooges they have always been.

And so the scene will be set for yet another gripping episode of Lawless & Disorder.

There is only one way out of this mess. Make me chairman of the board. I don’t give a hot damn who the minister is. I would tell him or her to fuck off every time he or she contacted me. I do that anyway, regardless of who is calling.

I wouldn’t even want a salary. They can put me on the dop system. The opportunity to broadcast real news, good movies and decent porn would be reward enough.

If Robert Mugabe can shake Pope Francis’s hand without one of them bursting into flames, anything is possible.

Up Yours, 2012

It has been such a fabulous year.

My mother died, Brenda ran off and shagged a welder in Hermanus and the appalling Jacob Zuma is with us for the next seven years. I can hardly wait to see what 2013 brings.

Perhaps I will be hit by a meteorite. Or, if I’m really lucky, a series of unfortunate events will wipe out my life savings and I will become a crack addict living off wharf rats and prostitutes. I don’t even want to get into the worst case scenarios.

Here are a few more predictions for the new year.

China takes an interest in South African real estate. After a traditional money-exchanging ceremony at Nkandla, a delegation from Beijing puts in a cheeky offer for Limpopo. President Zuma accepts on condition they take the Eastern Cape as well.

Squirrel Ramaphosa becomes deputy president and begins running South Africa like a business. Longer working hours, strictly monitored sick leave and a reduction in perks sparks a wave of resignations. GDP quadruples in six months.

SABC 3 launches a hard-hitting investigative programme aimed at exposing the government’s achievements.

The new Miss South Africa is Chinese.

Tourists begin avoiding Durban after the council takes over uShaka Marine World and celebrates the occasion by throwing a Ventersdorp family into the shark tank.

The Afrikaner resistance movement suffers a major setback when their new leader, Tos van der Tossboks, inadvertently submits the plans for their next coup attempt to the Johannesburg city council.

The DA government in the Western Cape introduces speed limits for wheelchairs and roadblocks in supermarket aisles to clamp down on drunk trolley-pushers.

SAA introduces cheap fares to London by offering limited seats in the wheel wells of their Boeings. They hope to capture the refugee market.

Flushed with success after its battle to prevent school inspectors from raising standards, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union wins its members the right to work in a child-free environment three days a week.

After having urged Africans to stop trying to be white by straightening their hair or keeping dogs as pets, President Zuma called on them to reject other crazy foreign notions such as overseas holidays, king-size beds, microwave ovens, air travel, telephones and computers.

Kgalema Motlanthe resigns as the poster boy for Gamblers Anonymous.

PigSpotter is nominated for a human rights award.

Eskom hikes electricity tariffs by fourteen million percent. We grumble for a bit, then cough up.

The labour ministry declares Sunday illegal and introduces a six-day working week. We hold a candle-lit vigil on Saturday and report for work the next day.

The president fires Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and replaces her with Chester Missing. We take to the streets but call off the protest after realising we’re missing the rugby.

North Korea donates a missile defence system to help protect Zuma’s Nkandla residence against a possible nuclear attack by war-mongering countries such as Malawi. Zuma shows his appreciation by replacing his Mshini wam’ act with a Gangnam Style dance. An outraged South Korea severs ties with South Africa.

Julius Malema is jailed on money laundering charges. He is released on medical grounds after developing a conscience.

The government builds a nuclear power plant in Thyspunt. People from the region are easily identified by their ability to glow in the dark. Three-headed kittens are sold on the roadside.

Bafana Bafana win the Africa Cup of Nations after immigration officials at OR Tambo International refuse the other teams entry because of insufficient blank pages in their passports.

The Hawks announce that swimmer Chad le Clos is suspected of being the mastermind of a drug and gun smuggling cartel with links to the Mafia, the Colombian underworld and the Chinese Triads. The investigation is shelved after investigators fail to find any evidence. They later concede to having been the victims of misinformation. They remain convinced, however, that Archbishop Desmond Tutu is involved in human trafficking.

On the international front …

Israel apologises for being such a bully and gives Palestine their ball back.

Prince Harry (codename Big H) destroys the Taliban with a single bullet accidentally fired while frolicking with three Cambodian prostitutes in a gold-plated Jacuzzi fitted inside his Apache helicopter.

Russian president Vladimir Putin steps down and becomes Pussy Riot’s new manager.

The National Rifle Association demands that every American has the right to drive tanks to work, make bullets for food and use Agent Orange as a weedkiller.

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a three-toed sloth. The British people are beside themselves with joy and celebrations go on for weeks. The first pictures of the royal sloth are sold for millions.

With international cycling finally free of doping, a Nigerian wins the Tour de France in a record time of three months, two weeks and nine days.

In the wake of their ban on miniskirts because they encourage rape, Swaziland bans books because they encourage thinking, cars because they encourage travelling and voting because it encourages democracy.

An Open Letter to Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education

Dear Comrade Angie,

Well done on getting the league to nominate Jacob Zuma for a second term as coxswain of the national gravy boat. Without him leading from the stern for another five years, the good ship RSA would run aground in no time at all.

To be honest, and I think honesty is important at times like these, you scare me a little. I don’t know if it is because you are black, a woman or a teacher. During what I laughingly call my life, I have been frightened by all three demographics at one stage or another. Truth is, you are the first black female teacher I have encountered. Not that we have ever had an encounter, of course. We need to clarify this because people like you and I have enemies who would relish the opportunity to destroy our reputations by leaking a doctored sex tape implicating us in a four-in-a-bed romp with Eugene Terreblanche’s widow and Steve Hofmeyr. I can’t afford that kind of scandal.

I cannot get over the nerve of these bloody counter-revolutionary agents in the capitalist running dog media suggesting that you only endorsed Zuma because any other president would fire you for doing such an appalling job as education minister. I think you have acquitted yourself remarkably well. Just the other day I met a child who could almost count to a hundred. Well, he got to 34. And he was 19, but small for his age.

I enjoyed the way you apologised for the late delivery of schoolbooks in Limpopo while denying liability at the same time. It is a wise fish who knows its way around a hook. I say this with the utmost respect. Or, as the matrics would have it, respek.

I must also congratulate you on never having once nominated a woman for the position of president of South Africa. Who among us will ever forget your words: “We are not a feminist organisation. We are a women’s organisation.”

Bravo, madam! Bravo! I applaud not only your courage in drawing a clear distinction between conventional red-blooded womenhood and the mental illness known as feminism, but also your implicit recognition that South Africa is nowhere near being ready to have someone who is not a man running this country.

Women tend to hire other women and it wouldn’t be long before the Union Buildings were overrun by civil servants in skirts and ugly shoes. You have obviously given some thought to the hazards of menstrual synchrony. I know I have. The country would be thoroughly ungovernable for three to five days a month. If they got their timing right, Swaziland would be able to colonise us.

If I were a woman, I wouldn’t want a president who has only ever dabbled in a single wife. I would want one who dives into women head-first. Wallows in them. Marries them. Impregnates them. Puts them on a roster so they all get their turn to appreciate the executive member. That’s what I call democracy, even though it may sound like a dicktatorship.

As a woman who clearly knows her place in the pecking order, you were obviously instructed by someone wearing trousers to nominate Squirrel Ramaphosa for the position of deputy-president. Whatever happened to that Motlanthe fellow? He got 13 votes to Squirrel’s 62. I expect you will be hunting down the dissidents in the days to come. You cannot have independent thinkers in your ranks. That’s where the rot sets in. Next thing you know, your members will be demanding the right to stand at the braai instead of in the kitchen.

And that, comrade, is a slippery slope.

Aluta continua. Up to a point.

Application For The Post Of CEO Of Armscor

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was alarmed to learn that Armscor does not currently have anyone in charge. With no pilots to fly the Gripens and our submarines up on bricks, our flanks are vulnerable to warmongering nations like Lesotho. There is already ominous assegai-rattling coming from Swaziland. As you know, their lunatic king is claiming a chunk of KwaZulu-Natal all the way down to the coast on the grounds that every country deserves a harbour.

But it is not only beyond the fringe where danger lurks. Our security forces must also be fully equipped and capable of subduing an increasingly violent section of our population. Their mood is ugly and right now they pose the biggest threat to this country’s internal stability.

I am talking about our police force.

With apparent free license to go on strike, form death squads or open fire on ordinary civilians, our men and women in blue are the new Tonton Macoutes.

Have you seen what is happening in Durban? The metro police have taken over the city and are running amok in the streets while the council cowers in its well-feathered nest. My first act as CEO of Armscor will be to despatch air and ground forces to eThekwini to help these officers understand, in the language of Rooivalk attack helicopters and G6 cannons, that their job is to maintain law and order.

Please inform the minister of defence that, in future, these decisions will be made by me. We cannot leave such critical matters in the hands of a woman. I am not being sexist (some of my best friends are transgendered bisexual paraphiliacs) but whether it’s quelling a civil insurrection or dressing for dinner, she is going to take forever to get ready. Our enemies will capitalise on this.

You fail to mention how much the position pays, but I am not a greedy man and will settle for half a million rand a month. I do not expect a company car. However, I will be needing a modified Centurion tank with a built-in bar fridge, water bed and three-person jacuzzi. And a stripper’s pole. And maybe a disco ball. War is hell and one must keep one’s spirits up.

You mention in the ad that you are looking for a visionary leader. In that case, you will be happy to know that visions are the one thing I have plenty of. Especially around 3am on a Sunday morning when the absinthe is finished and the goats have gone to bed. Admittedly, some of my visions are a little on the unrealistic side, but there is one that involves jet-propelled statues of the Virgin Mary fitted with concealed anthrax dispensers that I will discuss in greater detail with my team.

You say a strong political and commercial awareness is essential. I presume that means you don’t want some DA-supporting idiot who is going to be suckered into buying Uzis from Israel at a million shekels a piece.

Acquiring cheap weapons from the right sort of people will not be a problem for me. This is South Africa. I was in a shebeen the other day and the owner asked if I wanted a piece of artillery with my Black Label. It would have been rude to say no.

Having said that, I don’t think we should be fiddling about with conventional weapons. We are neither a conventional country, nor do we have a conventional government.

Until the exploding Virgin Marys are ready, we need to concentrate on our nuclear capability. Obviously I’m not talking Fat Man and Little Boy, here. I’m talking about pocket nukes, small enough to be fired with catapults at targets big enough to warrant that kind of lesson. Take Julius Malema, for example. Drop a very small atomic bomb down his trousers and he will be a changed person, I guarantee it.

I will also personally supervise the production of Agent Orange, except I will change it to blue because orange is gay. This fabulously toxic defoliant worked wonders for the Americans in Vietnam and there is no reason it won’t work when it comes to flushing no-good hippies out of the Knysna forest.

Your ad says you are looking for a person of influence boasting excellent communication skills. While I think boasting is vulgar, I should point out that I certainly know a thing or two about influence. When it comes to convincing people to agree with my point of view, I employ a combination of methods used by the legendary Dale Carnegie and Francesco “The Beast” Matrone of the Camorra group, masters of persuasion in their own right.

As for communication skills, well, I have always found that shouting and slapping are the most effective tools when it comes to getting one’s message across.

Since there is no reason not to believe the job is mine, you might as well begin refurbishing my office. Please model it on the Centurion tank I mentioned earlier.

You may also go ahead and hire a team of crack sangomas. Let us be clear on this. I do not want to get there and find the building overrun with sangomas on crack.

Why sangomas, you ask? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it. Don’t make me slap you. All but 34 of the striking mine workers at Marikana used muti before the police got medieval on their asses. This stuff clearly works. With our best and brightest sangomas working for Armscor, our troops will no longer need body armour. That’s a huge saving right there. We won’t be manufacturing armoured vehicles, either. Second-hand Toyotas and VW Jettas, painted with muti, will be indestructible in battle. Europe will be ours by Christmas.

You say a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement? This is fantastic. I have spent most of my life as a bachelor and know all the tricks of the trade. I can’t imagine, though, why the head of Armscor would need to know how to maintain seven girlfriends without them finding out about each other.

I also have top security clearance from my wife, Brenda. She says I can’t remember anything as a result of years of alcohol abuse. I’m sure you agree this would be useful should I ever be tortured by foreign agents. In fact, in the morning I probably won’t even remember applying for this job.

A last request. I cannot relocate to Pretoria because I am allergic to the pollen and the people. Armscor will have to relocate to Umdloti. I will make space in the spare room.

Looking forward to contributing to the destruction of the human race!

Tripoli – Heaven on Earth

I have never seen such a shouty bunch as those Libyans. Always with the fists in the air and the nonstop chanting and yelling. Do they ever have a normal conversation or is everything done at top volume with spittle and bullets spraying seven ways to Sunday?

As for all this “God is great” business, well, I don’t know about that. I can sort of understand if you are surrounded by sparkly waterfalls and topless nymphettes floating in bottomless pools of beer and you’re suddenly overtaken with the urge to shout, “God is great!” But to be surrounded by dead bodies and bearded lunatics firing wildly into the air in the ugliest city ever built and be shouting “God is great!” is something I don’t get. It’s a bit like belonging to a religion that says you can’t eat or drink during the day for one month a year, but, if the occasion calls for it, feel free to shoot your enemy in the face. If you want a cigarette afterwards, you’re going to have to wait until the sun’s gone down. There’s a lot to be said for self-restraint. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to glorify God and purify the soul.

Being a prolapsed journalist, I couldn’t help feeling that I should have been outside the Bab al-Aziziya compound wearing a flak jacket and reporting on the fall of Tripoli instead of poncing about in a lilac frock in Claremont with my bum hanging out.

I didn’t have a choice. The nurse made me put it on. SlutWalks aside, dressing like that is simply asking for trouble. Especially if you’re a man living in Cape Town. What could possibly go wrong in an operation to rebore my ear that the surgeon might need immediate, unobstructed access to my bottom?

I was the only patient in a five-bed ward. If this was a state hospital, it would have been 10 to a bed with chickens roosting in the cupboards. With nothing better to do, the nurses swarmed in to take my blood pressure, look up my skirt and pry into my personal life. Did I want to give the hospital permission to dispose of the remains? What a peculiar question. Who is treating me, Dr Jack Kevorkian? Can’t be. He’s dead.

By remains, apparently, the nurse was referring to whatever it was that the surgeon would be removing from my head. In that case, I’ll take it all home with me as a gift for my aberrant loinfruit, Clive, to add to his growing collection of human bone fragments.

Another nurse stared at me blankly when I told her why I was there. My surprise at discovering that she had never heard of an exostosis was surpassed only by her shock at discovering that I was currently between religions. I was going to suggest she put me down as an atheist, but at best I would have had to spell it and at worst she would have summoned security to pin me down while the resident priest performed an emergency exorcism.

A bubbly young blonde burst into the room and introduced herself as the anaesthetist. If I were dressed a little more appropriately, I might have got out of bed and made for the door. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate bubbly blondes as much as the next man. I’m just not sure I want them pumping me full of one of the substances used to execute murderers in Texas, especially not on a Monday morning when everyone is distracted by the perioperative nurses swapping dirty weekend stories.

She asked if I wanted a pre-med to relax. This is where it starts. They slip you a couple of pills to loosen you up and the next thing you know, you’re unconscious and they’re swigging bottles of lightly wooded chardonnay and drawing silly faces on your willy. I took the pre-med. Let the girls have their fun.

Another victim was wheeled into the ward, his worried girlfriend at his side. They looked at me with that curious mixture of dispassion and disgust with which one regards people lying in hospital beds, even if one happens to be lying in one oneself. Wiping the drool from my chin, I thought it important that they knew I wasn’t just another suppurating bag of pus on the last lap of life.

Surfer’s Ear,” I said, tapping the side of my head before jabbing myself in the eye. With the pre-med kicking in nicely, it must have sounded more like, “Zervazeer.” They didn’t look at me again.

A sullen orderly with the rewarding job of wheeling patients between the wards and the operating room dragged me down the corridor, through a set of doors and parked me in a corner next to a fridge. The last thing I remember was trying to see if there was any beer in it.

I woke up ravenous, unhinged and savagely cotton-mouthed. I expect it was a huge party in that theatre, with the anaesthetic probably being administered through a giant bong followed by morphine drips for all.

A nurse said she’d bring me lunch. Since I was paying the hospital R35 000 for the day, I was looking forward to a bottle of chilled Dom Perignon White Gold followed by a Javanese rhino carpaccio and a fillet of rare Kobe beef garnished with white truffles and slivers of coelacanth.

I was given a cheese and tomato sandwich and asked if I wouldn’t mind seeing myself out.