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.