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 #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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A Quick SMAC: Twitter Teetering on X-Tinction

Elon Musk, the boykie from Pretoria made good, seemed to be a man with the Midas touch.  Since buying Twitter he now seems to rather have a touch of madness.  From the get go, he was not only all over the place, he was all over the planet, if not, all over space.  He has managed to alienate just about everyone with x-twiteratti looking more like a bunch of Angry Birds. 

His unprecedented success has led to excessive arrogance and hubris where he is no longer content to be the smartest man in the room, but the smartest man on the planet (and Mars as well) and is prepared to use up some of his considerable fortune and go down in flames trying to prove this.

He thought that by bringing the X-factor to Twitter he would be creating yet another success story.  Instead, X, formerly known as Twitter, has joined the busted flushes like Artist, formerly known as Prince and Ye, formerly known as Kanye.  Soon everyone will be calling him Prick, formerly known as Musk.

In his latest act of self-destruction, when major advertisers suspended their accounts due to his support of an anti-semitic post, his response on public TV to the was to explete, “Go f**k yourself!”

(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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A SMAC in the Face #54:  Kakistocracy

No, this delightful word, Kakistocracy, meaning rule by the least suitable, is not made up by some disenchanted South Africans.  It actually exists and is particularly apt for the situation in SA.

Inspired by Rodin, click on A SMAC in the Face #54:  Kakistocracy – The Casual Observer for SMAC’s thinking man’s look at the proven outcomes of this form of government for South Africa.

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A SMAC in the Face #53: Hollow Victory Day Parade II

At some time most of us have idled away our boredom trying to spot the 10 differences in two drawings in magazines that lie around. I have reprised a SMAC from one year ago – #31: Hollow Victory Day Parade. Apart from the naughty snails who just do their own thing, the eagle-eyed, well in fact even the myopic, will spot two major differences, namely that the tanks are now T-55s and the presence of a chef as Putin’s right-hand man. Russia celebrates the victory against the Nazis on May 9 each year. These have always been grandiose affairs, as befitting dictatorships, with serried ranks of neatly starched soldiers and endless columns of military hardware grinding over the Red Square cobbles to cow the proletariat while engendering (if I’m allowed to use that word) militaristic fervour and scaring its enemies.

Last year was quite muted contrary to expectations. Their invasion of Ukraine had not gone according to plan. In fact, it was disastrous. In the two and a half months up to the Victory Day Parade, Russia had lost over 1000 tanks and 2500 APCs (armoured personnel carriers) and their military cupboard was looking a bit bare. That was why I portrayed the parading T-72 tanks as mere stage props trundling past.

Things have just got worse. They were humiliated first in the north east when their front collapsed and a few months later when they were ignominiously forced back across the Dnieper River in the Kherson region. In the 439 days of ‘special operations’, Russia has now suffered losses of more than 3600 tanks and 7000 APCs, most spectacularly blown to smithereens. Their war chest is looking decidedly bare by now and, first T-65s and more recently, T-55 tanks have been photographed being railroaded to the west. The latter was Russia’s first post WW II design and production terminated in 1958. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.

The other difference is Putin’s Chef, Yevgeny Prigozhin, restauranteur and oligarch, or is it oleaginous orc*. He wormed his way into the inner bowels of Putin’s cabal and created the Wagner Group which essentially is Putin’s private army. They operate beyond the law and are used externally to do Putin’s wet work. With his special operation going awry, Putin called on him to bolster his army. The head chef scraped the bottom of the barrel and recruited rapists and murderers from the Gulags who were promised freedom if they survived 6 months. Good odds they thought. With not enough time to train them properly and employing suicidal charges that made the Japanese banzai attacks in WW II seem quite reasonable, they were served up to the Ukrainians rare, very rare. The Ukrainians promptly returned them well done, if not crispy, with the message that they did not cut the mustard.

* The Ukrainians refer to the Russians as orcs. Orcs are humanoid monsters created by J. R. R. Tolkien.