SPARE a thought, if you can, for the president. It’s not so much one thing after the other, but one on top of the other -- and all at the same time, nogal -- and there’s nothing, not a single word, on how to deal with this kind of mess in the little guide books they handed out at Polokwane.
This business with Chief Justice Sandile Ncobo handing in his notice, where the hell did that come from? And now the pressure of having to pick a successor. What about Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke? Or Judge Mogeng Mogeng? Or even a woman, Judge Sisi Khampepe?
Decisions, decisions. And only two weeks in which to find a replacement. Hoo-boy, life at the coalface, hey?
Then there are the unions, always the unions, whining on and on about the dithering re the economic policies and the failure to address the matters of corruption and poverty. And if it’s not the unions, then it’s that damn fool intellectual Moeletsi Mbeki and his snide remarks about song and dance leaders who don’t have the will or the leadership to solve the country’s challenges, as if those were bad things, singing and dancing.
To top it all, the Public Protector’s not very flattering report of the SA Police Service’s suspect deals in trying to lease new buildings in Pretoria and Durban at four times the market rate, and the clamour to get rid of the national police commissioner, General Bheki Cele?
What is wrong with these people? Do they not understand that you don’t just get rid of loyal supporters like Cele? It’s all very well, this chatter of putting the interests of the country ahead of the interests of the party, but what of the risks involved in such drastic action, especially if one is seeking endorsement from said party for a second term as the big chief?
And so Jacob Zuma vacillates, dithers, hums and haws, staring into middle space, a rabbit transfixed in the headlights of an oncoming dumpster truck, as opprobrium and scorn fly about the place like a swarm of killer bees.
Which is why, on that rare occasion when politicians do act boldly, putting principle ahead of privilege in the struggle for the common good, we tend to sit up and take notice and, duly impressed, we are full of praise and express appreciation most pronto.
Take a bow then, Tony Ehrenreich -- you’re not just a Cosatu provincial secretary or the man who would have been our mayor, if we only let you, which we didn’t, but you’re a man of action, bold and brassy, and only the most churlish among us are unmoved by the erudition of your comments to the effect that it is expensive wine and crayfish that is ruining the tourism sector, and that the foreigners are staying away from our hotels in droves because they feel we’re ripping them off.
And where lesser public servants would have balked at expressing such an opinion in public, for fear of widespread ridicule maybe, you not only sallied forth fearlessly and without regard for reputation, but even called on the Ministry of Economic Development to place the Western Cape’s economy under the administration of the national government, so the threat to said economy posed by expensive shellfish and posh booze can be “coherently attended to”, as you put it, and to do so as a matter of urgency.
Well done. You certainly showed them what’s what.
And while we’re here doling out kudos for intellectual capacity, step forward, Jelly Tsotsi.
We thought the ANC Youth League president had gone to ground this week, what with the disclosures that a businessman had allegedly deposited heaps of money into Jelly’s trust fund in return for securing lucrative government tenders.
It was pleasant at first, the silence. But then we began to miss the daily dose of outrage here at Mahogany Ridge. Luckily, the peace was soon shattered.
Wasn’t he in fine form in Queenstown on Thursday, ranting away at “illiterate and uneducated journalists” and calling the anonymous source who apparently fingered him “a baboon” and “a bloody ape”?
There was the customary swipe at white people -- “They must pay for making us slaves . . . we must punish them. And now they must pay. If we don’t we are paying them for calling us kaffirs!” -- before, once again, returning to the lavatory, now the overarching metaphor for our national affairs. “Since I have become the youth league president, I have received no peace. If I go to the toilet they [the media] follow me. They say, ‘He went to the toilet but he didn’t shit.’”
Now, now. No need for the potty mouth.