A tongue-in-the-cheek look at this week’s political events that mattered. The author has taken slight literary licence with the facts but only 10% are claimed to be exaggerations of the truth. As stranger things have happened, even that portion may well represent reality.
As the old adage goes, a week in politics is like an eternity. Undeniably the reason for this maxim is that the unexpected frequently occurs transforming yesterday’s hero into today’s enfant terrible. Such was this week.
First South Africa witnessed the ignominious exposing and disgracing of one of South Africa’s foremost and preeminent intellectuals with a penchant for the appellation Doctor. With his scraggly beard and precisely enunciated words, nobody had possessed the temerity to request a certified copy of his academic qualifications.
Needless to say for three weeks nobody could obtain clarity about how to address Pallo Jordan. Was it the commonplace Mister that the ordinary citizen has to uncomplainingly endure or was it the more erudite and haughty appellation Doctor. To avoid possible law suits, he was addressed merely as a lowly Sir during the interregnum.
That ingenuous solution too fell afoul of the BEE Police as the term was deemed to be too Eurocentric with inherently overt Colonialist undertones. To obviate all such spurious implications, the generally accepted Zulu terms baba, mdala & ixhegu were used as a proxy. Fortunately none of the perfidious mlungus accidently used the word ugogo.
More importantly perhaps were the unintelligible responses from the ANC. Some rejoinders such as Jacob Zuma’s pleas to Pallo that doing the honourable thing and falling on one’s sword was not an ANC tradition fell on deaf ears. Hence the drastic measure by Pallo to redeem himself by resigning from the ANC was viewed as an overreaction.
The response from Mary Metcalfe who should be somebody who values qualifications was quoted as advising Pallo that absolution could be obtained merely by – as she aptly put it in housekeeping terms – “tidying” up his CV. I contend that the removal of the paragraph relating to his tertiary education of which he apparently has none, should be viewed far more seriously than a correction of a typographical error as the Head of Education at Wits implies.
Then there was the comment by the ANC Whip, Mr – not Dr – Stone Sezani who trenchantly argued that the possession of a PhD was not a requirement to be a Member of Parliament and hence, by deduction, it was not a “crime”. Mdala Sezani should be prosecuted both by the Logical and the Grammar Police for the use of a non-sequitur together with disambiguation exacerbated by the conflation of disparate logics.
Another ANC undeployed – hence unemployed – Member bemoaned the fact that Pallo should not be castigated for claiming to possess a PhD because like all loyal ANC Cadres, he was too involved fighting Apartheid, which was far more important, that he did not have time to study. This MP, who shall remain nameless on the spurious grounds that I have forgotten his name, would like us to believe that should we too be too impecunious or otherwise unavailable to study, we can claim to possess tertiary qualifications without having actually studied.
Such selective outrage at Pallo’s critics should axiomatically be an affront to ordinary South Africans.
The Farlam Commission of Enquiry into the Sharpeville, I mean, Marikana Massacre where 34 mineworkers were mercilessly gunned down by police had a VIP Defendant this week. The Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, an ex-President of NUM and now Non-Executive Director of Lonmin had the misfortune to be cross-questioned by Mr Dali Mpofu, a lieutenant in the EFF Tsunami. Mr Mpofu would gladly have not have charged his clients, the victims of the shooting the going rate of R3500 per hour, for the privilege of extracting schadenfreude [that is malicious enjoyment on others’ misfortune], as he used the opportunity to belittle Cyril’s achievements. For the most part, Mr. Ramaphosa remained phlegmatic. The mineworkers in attendance were unassuaged by the platitudes of Cyril as he pleaded mea non culpa to complicity to murder.
Cyril’s performance was of the command variety with his sang froidian calmness and coolness in the face of the derisive comments by advocate Mpofu should surely entitle him to be awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallantry. His woefully inadequate responses to the accusation laid at his threshold stretched the credulity of survivors and their spouses who chanted ”Murderer. You have blood on your hands.” In spite of the tensions, Judge Farlam maintained some semblance of order during Cyril’s stint in the chair.
Mpofu’s implication that Ramaphosa’s hand directly held the hand that held the gun that pulled the trigger is fanciful at best. While Cyril might have sat on the ANC’s NEC – National Executive Committee – but making Cyril personally culpable for ordering the Minister of Police to shoot the Miners also formed part of the showmanship which is the style of the EFF.
The fact that Cyril had “inadvertently” bid on a buffalo for R10m some time ago was also raised as another red herring. What it does is to prove to the Voting Masses in South Africa that Cyril has lost touch with his worker/unionist roots and now forms part of bourgeois capitalist class. This does not bode well for his chances of election as the future President of the ANC and by default, of South Africa.
A week would not be normal in South Africa if its illustrious Teflon-coated President were not embattled in yet another corruption saga. Intelligent people actually find mistakes a learning experience. Not so our singing-dancing-smiling President. In South African parlance, the word “Zuma” has even been shortlisted by the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary as a euphemism for escaping the consequences of one’s crimes by smiling profusely while chanting the mantra “I KNEW nothing.” This defence might have worked when employed by the dim-witted waiter Emmanuel in the John Cleese comedy, Faulty Towers, but Mr Zuma intellegent people easily recognise such juvenile obfuscation. Despite claims that this is a deeply flawed version of a traditional Zulu defence, Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley and Presidential Spokesman, Mr Mac Maharaj both avow that it is only the overtly racist Whites who conflate Zuma and Nkandla and decry it as corruption.
Mr Hulley or is that Advocate Hulley – but first show me the relevant unabridged and unexpurgated qualifications – even had the temerity and impertinence after stalling the Courts in SA since 2009 regarding the so-called spy tapes alleging complicity by the Intelligence Services in the covert operation against Zuma to now concede at the Constitutional Court that there are no grounds on which he should not hand over the incriminating tapes to the DA.
Clearly Michael Hulley is the master of the stalling tactic for which the government has paid him according to Wikipedia R8m since 2009.
Nice work when you can get it.
Julius Malema will no doubt disband his Entertainment Committee after their inability to organise yet another disruption in South Africa. As the best that they could brainstorm was a repeat trashing of the Gauteng Legislature, Malema was not impressed. His thoughts were on something more spectacular like perhaps incinerating the Houses of Parliament or perhaps Nkandla. Millions of Rands of free publicity was foresworn and of course foregone by such timid tactics by his lieutenants.
Malema still avows that the EFF is the Government–in-Waiting. On every occasion when he reiterates this inane comment, DA Supporters flee to the Department of Home Affairs to renew their passports.
The ANC has finally found a scape goat for the Nkandla imbroglio. Mr Zuma’s personal architect Minenhle Makhanya has been charged with fraud amounting to R155m. What has not become clear is how a non-Department of Public Works official forced the Department to spend R250 instead of R1m?
The saga continues.
Of all the facts presented only two were incorrect. Name them.
To misquote Red Kowalski from the Springbok Radio drama series Taxi , “If I do not see you through the week cruising the Gauteng highways without your eTag, I will see you at the races over the weekend.”