A SMAC in the Face #68: The NHS is in ICU

The ANC inherited a morally and ideologically compromised state, but one which was the envy of Africa in many ways.  It was far and away the most advanced educationally, industrially, technologically and had a first world level banking system.  The provincial hospital system provided a fantastically affordable and top notch service albeit with disparities across racial lines.  With South Africa the darling of the world, the first 15 years were plain sailing and the economy grew significantly.  This allowed the medical system to be equalised across racial lines.  However, the consequences of badly thought through policies, corruption, state capture, the burgeoning of indolent and incompetent supernumeraries in the state sector and the defunct SOEs put increasing pressure over the next 15 years on all state activities.  Eventually the medical system copped it and it flatlined in 2023.

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A SMAC in the Face #66: The Elephant in the Room

By every metric, South Africa is bleeding.  It’s as if we’ve been infected by a haemorrhagic virus like Ebola which causes every organisation in the country to bleed.  Actually, it’s a well-known virus that’s been around for 30 years – the ANC. 

Barring SARS, SARB and the Department of Finance, every department and most municipalities are dysfunctional and supplying fewer or more shoddy services every year.  Institutional memory and competence were replaced with anyone from a disadvantaged group as long as they vaguely matched the job requirements. Nor did they look too hard at the applicants’ experience, track records or qualifications.  This combined with preferential procurement created fertile ground for the virus to flourish until incompetence and corruption now dominates every facet of the public sector economy.

This SMAC will not look into the Health Department which is eyeing the private Medical Aid reserve funds or that Water and Sanitation needs up to R1 trn to sort it out or anything similar. The remit is too large.  This SMAC will restrict itself to the sorry sordid sagas of the SOEs and their toxic debt piles that are bankrupting them and hobbling the economy.

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A SMAC in the Face #65 – The ANC turns 112

The ANC was founded on 8 January 1912 which, if you are of the minority who have arithmetic skills, know that it makes the ANC 112 years old.  I don’t know why I bothered as you are likely to have reading skills as well otherwise you would not be reading this.  Actually, I introduced this contentious note because during the week long birthday celebrations we will be told how the ANC has created a better life for all and free access to education will be one of them, not that they moved the meter much in the 30 years they’ve been in power.

With the ANC facing its most strenuous electoral challenge this year, we will have the galling sight of the posturing politicians outdoing themselves in regaling us with their achievements.  It’s more likely to be a networking opportunity (in the corruption sense) and a chance for the ANC parasites to sell all manner of ANC themed regalia, probably including black, yellow and green rough riders.

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A SMAC in the Face #64: The Pesky Fly in the ANC’s Fetid Ointment

The ANC has a symbiotic relationship with shit.  In the 30 years in charge of the country, the ANC has created a pile of doggy do and then has fed off of that individually and organisationally.  Jacob Zuma is the embodiment of that.  He has been both the creator in chief and the parasite in chief.  He has also been the main shit stirrer.  No more so than when he shocked the ANC and political commentators just before Christmas by announcing that he is going to vote for the MK Party while remaining an ANC member.

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A SMAC in the Face #63: The Future is Dangerous

2023 saw Biden play hide and seek with the exit from the podium a number of times while Trump played hide and seek with the truth, the Republication debates and his innumerable court cases.

Internationally, the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine droned on, much to the horror of around 300,000 Russian mothers, not that Putin cared.  His ‘chef’ Prigozhin tried to execute a coup d’etat and failed.  It didn’t take long for Putin to execute a coup de grace and change him into pulled beef by placing a bomb on his plane.  He got off lightly.  He was dead before he knew it.  Normally it takes years to die in a forgotten Siberian Gulag, or between minutes and weeks to die by Russian poisoning as you reflect on your reckless ways, or about 3 seconds of wondering what the world record is of surviving freefall onto concrete from your 10th floor apartment.

It was turning out to be a boring year until Hamas put on their one act production of egregious killing, rape of the most sexually repressed kind, beheadings, mayhem and hostage taking of innocents across the age spectrum.  The Israeli response to the deaths of about 1400 was, “We raise you 20,000.”

On the home front, things meandered on and one could just platz from all the platitudes spewed out in Squirrel’s ‘Family Meetings’.  He did once wistfully wish that we could be less negative like the Chinese.  What planet does he live on? Negativity and criticism results in immediate cancelling by the state and strenuous re-education to teach you the error of your ways.  Just ask Jack Ma, probably China’s richest man. 

6 years after it began and 18 months after the last volume of the Zondo Commission into State Capture thudded onto Squirrel’s desk, 5437 pages in all, the Prison’s Department still has to put out a tender for orange jumpsuits. Ho, hum.

2023, though, will be remembered as the year the electricity died.  Future parents will tell their kids about how tough it was growing up without electricity and how they went through gate and UPS batteries like Malusi Gigaba goes through teeth whitener and baby oil.

So Much for 2023.  The forecast for next year is mild with a chance of meatballs, or big Macs with a side order of bone spurs if Trump wins, but the coming years don’t look good – actually, sunny, too sunny.

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A SMAC in the Face #62: Il Trump and the New ‘T’ Party

I thought the (Mis)Advent(ure) Calendar was to be the last SMAC for the year but, while popping antacid tablets like smarties after overindulging on Christmas eve with family and contemplating a huge Christmas lunch with friends, I was inspired by an aspect of Trump.  Perhaps my distended stomach triggered an uncomfortable association with the detestable man.

Trump is a runaway shoo-in for the Republican nomination and he’s getting itchy bone spurs at the thought of sticking it to all his enemies when he returns to the White House.  At his rallies, he has been testing out the various borderline dictatorial actions he will take and has found that his band of cult followers lap it up. With the exception of Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney, all the Republican Grandees have obsequiously acceded to his de facto leadership and the Republicans have essentially become the party of Trump or a T party.

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A SMAC in the Face #61: The SA (Mis)Advent(ure)Calendar

In the nigh on 30 years of ANC misrule, it desperately tries to convince everyone and itself that it has done a good job.  The two main metrics they quote are that they have rolled out electricity and water to virtually the whole population.  True, but they are both running sores and for similar reasons – corruption, incompetence and cadre deployment. 

Yes, they rejigged the racial distribution of wealth but mainly by making a few black people fabulously wealthy and giving a multitude of overpaid sinecures to black people in government while unemployment rose to amongst the worst in the world.  Our consistently world beating GINI ratio changed from reflecting the black/white wealth divide to reflecting those who got to eat at the trough and those who missed out and are jobless and rely on a variety of grants.

By most other metrics, SA is a failing state.

Unfortunately, SMAC can offer no solace and only a cynical view of what will be a cheerless Christmas for many as they face a bleak time with nothing but Cyril’s platitudes to sustain them.

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(Not) A SMAC in the Face #60: Braking Brad

Normally SMAC’s contribution to the world is a combination of being irreverent, zany, cynical and acerbic, and so the overarching title, A SMAC in the Face, is appropriate. 

But just to prove that SMAC can also be nice, normal and straightforward, this SMAC is a tribute to an up-and-coming SA sports star and all-round nice guy, Brad Binder.  He has been living on the edge in that insane sport of motorbike racing at the highest level where his uncompromising approach to cornering naturally led to the title – Braking Brad.  Hopefully it will also lead to a world title soon.

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A SMAC in the Face #59: A Stormy in a D-Cup

With Donald J. Trump, one-time Acting President of the US of A and fulltime leader of the MAGA movement, darling of the NRA, Evangelicals, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, anti-abortionists and any number of disaffected idiots and conspiracy theorists, election, climate change and vaccine denialists, things get messy pretty quickly.  And complicated.  So, bear with me in this long intro.

Once upon a time in 2006, Donald Trump, probably frustrated at not getting any nookie from his pre, neo- and post-natal Melania, ended up in a one-night stand with a leading porn star, one Stormy Daniels.  This was to end badly for him.  Not necessarily that night.  As I haven’t read her Full Disclosure book, I can’t give you the skinny, if that’s the right word with Donald, on his performance.  No, it came back to bite him ten years later on the eve of his winning the 2016 Pestilential erection.   

He tried to cover his arse, a technical legal term, by buying her off.  The problem was the source of his funds.  His fixer, one Michael Cohen, has already been sentenced to three years in chookie and is spitting mad.  Trump is now belatedly facing a court case in New York State, starting in March 2024.  This is slap bang (which is probably was he did to Stormy with a bit of tickle to show his softer side) in the middle of the Republican primaries.  He recently tried to get it moved to Federal court which would kick the can down the road until, he hopes, he’s Acting President again and hence untouchable and completely declassified.

And so, the countdown begins on his comeuppance on his godownance a long, long time ago.

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