An Open Letter to President Jacob Zuma

Dear Msholozi,

I am a huge fan of yours and an even bigger supporter of the ANC, that glorious revolutionary movement to which I would dearly love to belong. Since you are the party’s number one member, I implore you to grant me entrance to this exclusive club.

I tried to apply online but was incapacitated with fear. Logging on to the ANC’s website is not a natural act for a white man. In the old days, my back door would have been kicked down and Kaptein Skok de Kock would be asking me questions while his sidekick checked my prostate with a cattle prod.

To be on the safe side, I created a false identity for myself – Abdul-Aziz Ben’t-Ariel Hlobongo. I was hoping that with a few quick clicks I could become an ANC member and start reaping the benefits first thing tomorrow morning. Easier said than done.

Are you aware that nowhere on the ANC’s website does it indicate how one can become a member? It does, however, provide the details of a Nedbank account into which I am invited to make a donation.

“Any information you provide will be treated confidentially,” it says. But I am not providing information. I am providing money.

I suppose in these treacherous times, information is as important as hard cash – both, for instance, can help keep one out of jail. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not talking about the missing arms deal tapes, here.

I found a link to ANC merchandise but was disappointed to find just two items for sale. The vibrant leather jackets are a bit out of my price range, but if I ever have a spare R1 620 and feel the urge to spend the evening in a gay biker’s bar, I’ll definitely come to the ANC first.

The other item is a poster of Nelson Mandela. I hope I am not speaking out of turn here, but don’t you think a poster that says: “Mandela for President – The People’s Choice” is a tad dated? Why not a poster of Thabo, saying: “Mbeki for President – The Poephol’s Choice”? Or one of you: “Zuma is President – No Choice”.

The only party that understands business might want to consider offering more than just a jacket and a poster on its website. What about handcrafted ebony and ivory backscratchers? Or jars of money-scented lotion to grease even the toughest of palms? How about a genuine doctor’s certificate that cadres can use should they need to get out of jail in a hurry? Give it some thought. The possibilities are endless.

Hang on. I do apologise. I’ve just come across a link explaining how one can go about becoming a member. It seems awfully complicated.

I was under the impression that all one had to do was have a passable singing voice, a reasonable sense of rhythm as it pertains to the national dance – the toyi-toyi – and a basic understanding of why socialism is not a viable alternative for South Africa.

I am concerned that you list only five rights but eleven duties of members. But perhaps this is how it should be. Duty comes first. Some of the rights remind me of the words of the prophet Joe Strummer: “You have the right to free speech – as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.” You should put it out as a public service announcement. With guitar.

The duties are a bit off-putting, to be blunt. Are you even aware of the duties? They are outrageous. Here are just four of them. Behave honestly. Observe discipline. Combat harmful propaganda. Carry out decisions of higher bodies. It reminds me of my time in the army.

Being a member of the ANC should be an opportunity to make a lot of money and have a bit of a laugh at the same time. I really can’t see the point otherwise. And, comrade president, nor can you.

At the ANC’s 101st birthday party in Durban the other evening – an event I was unable to attend due to previous commitments – you said a wise businessman would support the ANC because it meant he would be investing in his business. “Everything you touch will multiply,” you said, giggling endearingly.

The only thing I ever touched that multiplied was a calculator.

I want a piece of this action, compadre. I understand that, if I wish to benefit, I will need to join the ANC. However, the annual membership fee of R12 is out of my reach at the moment. Hard times have fallen upon me and I need every cent for beer and newspapers, neither of which I am prepared to live without.

If you can waive the membership fee, then I am prepared to meet you half way and form a business. I don’t know what it will be because I am a failure at almost everything. But you shall be my King Herod who bestows the Midas touch upon his loyal subjects. Or something. Hebrew parables are hard to fathom at the best of times.

To be honest (duty #7), it isn’t the membership fee alone I am struggling with. To become a member, I have to visit your offices. Having grown up in Durban, I thought it would be easy to find my way there.

Your offices are in Stalwart Simelane Street, according to your website. I don’t know where this is. I have tried asking but everyone I spoke to thought I was a plain-clothes cop. They either ignored me or spat on the ground. Perhaps they were IFP supporters.

This is how people get killed in this town. Merely asking for directions brands you politically and the next thing you know, you’re having your arms chopped off at the intersection of Problem Mkhize Boulevard and Swapo Avenue. Not that they intersect. I might be white, but I’m not stupid. I’m simply trying to make a point. I forget what it was.

Anyway. Don’t worry about the DA. Lindiwe Mazibuko might have said your remarks were deeply irresponsible, but she also used phrases like “leveraging of state resources”. This is a direct translation from the original Swedish and provides conclusive proof that she was raised by Scandinavian wolves who fled to the Canadian Rockies to escape the insufferable Nordic elitism that tore so many wolf packs apart in the late 1970s.

This means she isn’t even human, let alone African. Get your men to bring her in at once. Make sure they have a muzzle. She might be rabid.

Others are saying you can’t tell the difference between party and state. This is ridiculous. Sure, both words have five letters in them, which can be confusing, but most people can tell they are not the same. And you, sir, are not most people.

I think you should impose sharia law at once. Remember, you can do whatever you like in your last term as president. I look forward to seeing Helen Zille dancing in a burqa and Pieter Mulder begging for minority rights with no hands.

Good news! I have formed a business. Between writing to you and visiting the fridge, I have inadvertently fashioned a crude office for myself. From tomorrow, I will be buying and selling things. It could be shares on the stock exchange or it could be snoek. I haven’t decided.

Durban is hell at the moment, so I will be needing a fan. Please let me know the amount of “information” I should deposit into the ANC’s account in order to get a good deal from your people in the fan industry. I mean our people.

And if you want anything at all – uncut diamonds, second-hand crocodiles or unit trusts that fell off the back of a lorry – I am your man. Put the word out.

This is fun. It’s like being a Freemason without having to learn funny handshakes, attend secret meetings or exclude women.

No, wait. What am I talking about? It’s just like being a Freemason.

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