Number One, your time is up

Dear Comrade Jacob Zuma, Prince of Patronage, Fighter of Crime Fighters, King of the Courts, Defender of Lawsuits, Ambassador of Appeals, Bête Noire of the Bench.
I get the feeling you might not be around for too much longer and wanted to thank you for everything you haven’t done this year. You haven’t, for instance, declared war on any of our neighbours. Nor have you managed to turn South Africa into a united economically strong well-run country. The last thing the world needs is another Australia. You also haven’t succeeded in butchering the economy beyond the point of no return. Never mind. You still have time.
Speaking of dejection and despair, condolences are in order. I was watching the heavyweight fight in the North Gauteng High Court this week and was disappointed when your opponent Judge President Dunstan Mlambo won on points after going the full distance. I suppose some of his points were valid. “We are of the view that the president was ill-advised and reckless in launching a challenge against the remedial action of the Public Protector.” Who the hell is advising you? Steinhoff’s people? Lawyers on weekend pass from Weskoppies?
Other points weren’t at all valid. “His conduct falls far short of the expectation on him as the head of state to support institutions of democracy.” I don’t agree. When it comes to you, we the people have no expectations whatsoever. We don’t even expect you to support your family, let alone run a government. That’s what the Guptas are for.
To make you pay for the fight out of your own pocket seems damnably unfair. It’s not like you started it. Well, I suppose you did. But still. If you’re short of cash, my advice is that you put the wives in a cheap hotel and stick Nkandla on Airbnb. You could also borrow from your boy Duduzane. He’s like human bitcoin. Get in now before he moves to the emirates. Or Pollsmoor.
Quite frankly I don’t know why you appointed Mlambo as a judge in the first place. Were you not aware that he comes from the same stable as legendary southpaw Dikgang Moseneke and slugger Mogoeng Mogoeng? These guys are old school. They still believe in frumpy concepts like truth and justice and will never throw a fight no matter how much you threaten or pay them.
Didn’t you lose another fight against Mlambo just the other day? Yes, you did. He ordered your pet bipedal ruminant Shaun Abrahams to be put out to pasture and a proper chief prosecutor to be appointed by deputy president Squirrel Ramaphosa. True to form you have now demanded a rematch. Please stop doing that. Your Stalingrad defence has collapsed like a two-legged dog with a middle ear infection and you’re going to reach a point where all this appealing starts to look like begging. It’s unseemly. And if you get slapped with another bunch of legal bills you’re going to have to borrow from your ex-wife. There’s nothing worse than that.
Unless you appeal the latest judgement – it’s becoming hard to keep track – you have 30 days to appoint a commission of inquiry into state capture. Thanks to Mlambo’s inexplicable attachment to ethics and the law, the judge presiding over the probe will be appointed not by you but by the indecently honest Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Imagine if he appoints Mlambo? You might as well cancel everything and report directly to Zonderwater Prison. And if Shaun the Even-Toed Ungulate is ousted and replaced by, say, Thuli Madonsela, you’ll soon enough have those 783 annoying counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering to deal with.
Anyway, you might be bruised and battered, but as long as you remain president of the country there is still a chance of escape. By now I expect you’re no longer capo dei capi of the ANC. This must be quite a relief. The party is suddenly awash in rats scrambling for the moral low ground. It’s unlikely they will ever make it to the high ground, but you’ve probably noticed that a lot of colleagues have already started avoiding your calls. You might have to do the same to Atul and the lads at some point. I can’t see the bromance continuing for much longer. For a start there’s hardly anything left that’s worth stealing. I suppose they could still dismantle Table Mountain and move it to Dubai. I’d rather you gave them Limpopo.
If your ex-wife becomes president, you’re going to have to get her to abandon this Roman Dutch law business that’s causing you so much trouble. It’s a ridiculous concept. Have you been to Rome? They toss Christians to the lions, for heaven’s sake. That’s incredibly cruel. Lions belong in the bush, not the Colosseum. As for the Dutch, they smoke so much weed it’s surprising that they can come up with anything more complex than a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich.
Big weekend for you, this is. Massive. Big weekend for all of us, I guess. The only difference is that our personal freedom and finances aren’t dependent on the outcome. Not to the extent that yours are, anyway. If Nkosazana wins, investors will abandon South Africa but the stock market will go up as the rand weakens and all the rand hedge stocks gain value. I don’t know what this means, either. I read it somewhere. I don’t suppose you get much time to read anything apart from legal documents, although even then it’s more likely you have them read to you. By one of our grade four pupils, it would seem.
It’d be a shame if Squirrel had to win. And not just because you’d probably have to go to jail or into exile. All those ANC cadres who have worked so hard for so long to find ways to screw the system will be out of work. There’s a lot of competition in the private sector and professionals like the Stellenbosch mafia have pretty much cornered the market.
In Joburg alone a newly formed unit has recorded over two thousand cases of corruption involving almost R15-billion. More than 450 officials linked to bribery and corruption have been arrested and dozens more suspended. If Squirrel comes in and helps the DA to clean things up, a lot of institutional expertise in the specialised field of white collar crime will be lost.
Truth is I’m not wild about either option. I don’t trust anyone who is prepared to spend R18-million on a buffalo. Beer, yes. Buffalo, not so much. And he’s tight with Coca-Cola, a company with a worse record than my ex-wife when it comes to mistreating people. On the other hand the economy could do with some Venda financing.
I don’t like Nkosazana very much either. She’s short and surly and reminds me of my old woodwork teacher who used to beat us with a cricket bat. I’m also not convinced of her ability to exercise good judgement. I’m not talking about her marrying you, but there is that matter of cigarette smugglers contributing to her campaign. Smuggling I don’t mind, but cigarettes are the devil’s work.
Anyway, comrade, have a good Christmas. If someone gives you shares in Oakbay, get them off your hands as soon as possible. Or use them to start a fire. Burn your house down. Claim the insurance. Move to Mexico. That’s what I would do.

A pair of dogs is not a paradox

I got an email from Discovery Health this week. The subject line reads, “Ben, here’s what you can look forward to in 2018!” Wait, don’t tell me. Higher premiums? An increased reluctance on your part to pay for any treatment that doesn’t involve the loss of at least two limbs? My pitiful retirement savings being wiped out because Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is elected ANC president?
I didn’t bother opening the email for the same reason I don’t answer the phone or see who’s at the door. The news is not going to be good. Whoever it is, they’re either going to want to know if I’ve found the Lord or if I’ve found the money. What part of “prescribed debt” don’t they understand?
To their credit, Discovery doesn’t care much for wheedling or threats. You don’t want to pay? Fine. Miss a monthly payment and the paramedics will leave you in the parking lot. Face up, at least, so you can see the stars while you gently expire. Discovery is caring in that way.
In other news, at least seven people suspected of being vampires have been hunted down and killed by villagers in Malawi in recent days. This is in keeping with the Christmas spirit, especially in a country that is 80% Christian. Next to money-lenders and Romans, Jesus hated vampires most of all. Just because I’m not a Christian doesn’t mean I’m a vampire-boetie. I make a point of avoiding bats altogether. Bats and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are really just bats in human form. Not vampire bats, obviously. The more benign kind. Fruit bats, perhaps.
And moving on to that glittering jewel East London, where someone from the Selborne College class of 2017 came up with a rip-snorting poster designed as an invitation to a social event for matric pupils. The “artist” used an iconic image on which to base his masterpiece. Remember the photo of a dying Hector Pieterson being carried by Mbuyisa Makhubo while his sister‚ Antoinette Sithole‚ ran alongside? It was taken by Sam Nzima in 1976 during the Soweto uprising.
So this by-product of white privilege creates a caricature of the image, but Hector is now just a body without a head, wearing a Selborne blazer. Mbuyisa and Antoinette are depicted with the heads of dogs. The boy dog seems alarmed. The girl dog appears to be howling.
There have been accusations of insensitivity, but we should be grateful that this fine young man chose a South African image to parody. He might have used that picture of the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the road after an American napalm attack, possibly putting her in water wings and snorkelling gear. Maybe a pair of flippers for added comical effect. Or what about Jesus on the cross in a clown suit with a Panda head? That would’ve been good for a few laughs.
The cretin, who remains nameless, has apologised for “any misunderstanding caused by the artwork”. That was decent of him. We’re not very bright, you see, and misunderstandings come easily to the likes of us, especially where art is involved. For instance, I was in Florence this one time and came across a statue of some oke called David. I felt sorry for the bugger because his willy was so small so I tried to put some broeks on him but got arrested by the carabinieri. I don’t know what the artist was thinking. Mickey de Angelo or something. Sounds foreign.
He said it was never meant to reflect racism or prejudice. I’m talking about the Selbourne muppet, not de Angelo. Of course it wasn’t meant to reflect these things. You’d have to be mentally ill to think there was something not right about manipulating an image of a dying boy and two terrified youngsters running from the police. I mean, two of them had dog’s heads! There’s nothing funnier than people with animal heads. And it’s not like he gave the Hector Pietersen character a dog’s head. He has no head at all. The symbolism here, in case you’re a complete moron and missed it, is that the blazer is being passed on to the incoming matrics. Or something.
“I was commissioned to do an artwork that expressed loss‚ grief or sadness that the matrics could relate to,” said the boy genius. This must be some school for its matrics to feel devastated at having to leave. I celebrated wildly after walking through the hellish portals of St Bastard’s for the last time. I’ve never really stopped. Then again, unlike Selborne, my school didn’t come with hot and cold running servants, pool tables, cable television and mouthwatering meals.
But why the dogs? In the words of the idiot savant, “The two people have been adapted into dogs as symbolism to our school. Selborne is often referred to by its official symbol of a greyhound or whippet and was in no way meant to be derogatory or disrespectful to any person.”
Ah, my boy. You will come to learn that metaphors are tricksy things. Treat them roughly and you’ll pay a dear price.
Sensing an impending scandal, the governing body was quick to distance itself from the poster, the artist, dogs in general, metaphors in particular and everything that happened between 1875 and 1994.
It was perhaps unfortunate that social media distributed a photograph of 25 boys, every one a proud member of the glorious Caucasian race, drinking beer around the poster at a gathering at the Old Selbornian Club. They were clearly working on issues of transformation. Now we are sober and later we shall be drunk. That’s transformation at its best.
I’d never heard of Selborne College until now. Like most people in this country, public or private sector, I don’t give a damn about education. Too much learning is a dangerous thing. The more words you know, the more trouble you’re likely to get into. That’s why people who communicate in little more than grunts and hisses are the happiest. And they get nice jobs at home affairs and the traffic department.
You think things are bad now? Wait twenty years, when our grade four kids are taking up government positions. Almost 80% of them are functionally illiterate. Out of 50 countries that took part in a reading literacy study, South Africa came stone last. Maybe the ability to read at 10 years old isn’t vital. Maybe the important thing at this age is to know how to hotwire a car and file the serial number off a 9mm Beretta.
The study also revealed that a quarter of kids under three are stunted. So there’s going to be an entire generation of unemployed short-arses who can’t read anything more complicated than a Wimpy menu. But it’s okay because by the time they’re grown up Noksazana Dlamini-Zuma will be in her fifth term and we’ll all be living in caves and eating locusts anyway.

A letter to our next president

Dear President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,
I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your election to the highest office in the land. Please do not panic or consult a sangoma. I am not back from the future. Yes, I am fully aware that the election is only in 2019, but there is no reason to think that you won’t be our next president and my name will go down in history as the first person to congratulate you.
If, for some bizarre reason you don’t win, I shall withdraw my congratulations and deny ever having written to you. I would also prefer it if you did not attempt to contact me. However, this unfortunate situation is unlikely to arise since you are blessed with the magical name of Zuma.
Marrying Jacob was the smartest thing you ever did. Well, second smartest. The smartest thing you ever did was divorce him. Had you not shed those shackles of matrimony, your sparkling charisma would have dulled as you became lost in the common herd. A woman of your intellect and individuality demands to be the wife and not simply a wife among many.
I see your slave name is Clarice. How unusual. The only other Clarice I have ever come across is Clarice Starling, the FBI agent who unfortunately got eaten by well-known Baltimore psychiatrist, Dr Hannibal Lecter. Today, of course, this piece of American history ranks as a nostalgic triviality compared to the hideous atrocity committed in their last general election.
Some people, members of the ANC Women’s League, mainly, say that South Africa is now ready for its first female president. This is nonsense. The country has been ready since 1883 at least. While Paul Kruger could speak Afrikaans, basic English and several African languages – much like your ex-husband – he married Maria du Plessis, a feisty young girl who could just as easily have become president. Maria was 14 at the time, but she would have grown into the role between baking, embroidering and breeding. Our history is awash with missed opportunities.
Speaking of which, I’d like to also congratulate you on your tenure as chairperson of the African Union Commission. I’m sure a lot of African governments were nervous that you would work tirelessly to end their profitable civil wars and help them out of their least developed country status, costing them enormous amounts of money in foreign funding. You never failed them, comrade. Well done.
I was very impressed with the welcome the government afforded you when you returned from your sabbatical in Addis Ababa. Even when you were just popping out to Woolies, you had armed security and a three-car blue-light escort. At first I thought this was a courtesy being extended to all unemployed people, but it turned out to be just you. That’s okay. It shows the government cares about one of its jobless citizens at least. A friend of mine said the ANC was psychologically grooming the electorate to vote for you. I called him an unreconstructed cynic, confiscated his beer and chased him from my home. The electorate cannot be brainwashed. For a start, they’d need a brain in the first place.
When I saw pictures of you visiting the poor a couple of weeks ago, even going so far as to touch them, I took this as a sign that your campaign for the presidency had begun. Apparently I was wrong. Apparently your visit to Stinkwater township near Hammanskraal was simply because you care. I see you were accompanied by celebrity “prophet” Pastor Mboro from the Incredible Happenings Ministry. Amen, sister. Incredible happenings, indeed. Perhaps when you are president you can rename the township. I’m sure the locals would appreciate it.
A couple of days later you were in Ixopo talking to more poor people. Was this campaigning?
“This is not a campaign,” shouted Zamo Nxumalo, chairperson of the ANC’s Harry Gwala region. “It’s part of the programmes of the ANC, so her visibility should not be seen as campaigning.” Mluleki Ndobe, mayor of the Harry Gwala district, was also desperate to quell rumours of campaigning. “Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a humble and accessible leader of all the sectors of society either rich or poor, educated or uneducated.”
I hope you have had this man arrested. How dare he go around calling you humble? I think it’s pretty clear to everyone but the clinically insane that the meek aren’t going to inherit the earth any time soon. We want someone who will loudly and proudly continue the Zuma tradition of turning South Africa into the continent’s greatest excess story. We want more of everything, even if it is only power cuts, unemployment, crime, ignorance and water-borne diseases. Not that we’ll have much water by the time you take your seat in the Ovaltine Office, but still.
So it’s a two-horse race, hey? Your only other female competition is the speaker of parliament, Baleke Mbete, who isn’t much competition at all considering that she can’t recognise anyone. If we didn’t have Squirrel Ramaphosa as deputy president, you’d have a clear run at the title. Damn your selfish eyes, Squirrel.
The last thing this country needs is a smart, eloquent, hard-working, independently wealthy, globally respected businessman with a law degree on his wall and the Olof Palme prize on his bookshelf. He also regularly gets begging letters from the chairman of Standard Bank and Please Call Me messages from vagrants like Patrice Motsepe. Even worse, he clings to old-fashioned beliefs that corruption is somehow wrong. What a loser.
Thing is, comrade, South Africans tend to vote for losers. I’m talking about Jacob, here. I should point out that I only consider him a loser because he lost you, a real catch in anyone’s book. What the hell happened to you guys? I know his third wife committed suicide and his fourth tried to poison him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not easy to live with. Was it the singing and dancing that did it? I’d want to murder him if I had to hear Mshini Wam warbling from the shower every morning for sixteen years.
Come to think of it, you were probably put off theatrical performances of any kind in 1995 after it was found that, as minister of health, you had lied to parliament about where the R14-million had come from to fund the musical Sarafina II. Big deal. When it comes to musicals, everyone lies. Imagine a scandal involving a paltry R14-million! It’s almost cute.
I liked you when you were foreign minister. You didn’t do or say anything while Mad Bob Mugabe taught those white farmers and, as it turned out, his economy, a lesson never to be forgotten. You called it “quiet diplomacy” and you were very good at it. I look forward to your “quiet presidency”. This seems to run in the family because no matter what happens, your ex-husband resolutely refuses to appear on television to reassure the nation. Will you also let the lawyers do all the talking?
Hey! Maybe you and Jake get together again after the election. You get Nkandla and he doesn’t get charged. The Guptas know how to throw a damn fine wedding party and Dubai would be perfect for the honeymoon. Blue skies, warm water, friendly banks. What’s not to love?
Good luck with the not campaigning. You’ll have my support when it comes to not voting.