Month: June 2014

A letter to the Hon. Julius Malema

Dear Honourable Comrade Commander-in-Chief,

Congratulations on landing once again with your bum firmly in the butter.

If sheltered employment is what you’re looking for, you could do a lot worse than parliament. Hell, for a million rand a year, I’d also dress up in a fire engine red onesie and shiny plastic hat.

To be honest, I’m not sure red is your best colour. Sure, it brings out your eyes. But it makes you look … how can I put this sensitively? It makes you look fat. Enormous. If you were a Teletubby, even Tinky Winky would suggest you go on a diet.

At least you’re in good company. If all 400 MPs had to jump up and down at the same time, the earth would be knocked off its axis and we’d all go spinning off into space. But, as they rightly point out, they’re not to blame. It’s the food that’s served in parliament. Too much, too good, too free to resist.

The expression on President Zuma’s face was classic. It varied between, “What the hell am I doing here?” and “What the hell is he doing here?” I bet he never saw that day coming when he engineered your banishment from the ANC.

You’re going to make him and the others pay, aren’t you? Oh, yes. You most certainly are. By the time you’ve finished settling your grudges, the rich will be poor and the poor will be rich. At which point, the poor will go back to being poor.

You were making a good point about the importance of white people learning to speak an African language until someone stood up at the back and asked why you were speaking in the language of the colonial oppressor. What an idiot. Had he forgotten that you wrote rule number one? Never leave home without your race card. Well done. You certainly put him in his place, which, as far as I could tell, is on a sheep farm in 1948.

You accused Zuma of being afraid of white people. That’s not entirely fair. Most of the world is afraid of white people. You also suggested he was intimidated by white monopoly capital. Monopoly money isn’t real. You do know that, right? Once you’re president, you can make it legal tender. But until then, let’s learn to tell the difference between political games and board games.

I liked the way you dealt with Thandi Modise, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. Sure, she was chairing the debate, but first and foremost she is a woman and should know better than to talk back to a man of your considerable stature. She’s a cheeky one, make no mistake. You’ll have to keep her on a short leash in future.

And the next time someone shouts, “Order!” while you are talking, you know what to say. “Make mine a double.”

Oh, yes. Well done on calling for that statue of Louis Botha on a horse to be removed and thrown into the dustbin of history. I don’t like horses at the best of times and have never understood the need to commemorate them in such a public way. I don’t care who is sitting on its back. Get rid of it.

Anyway, good luck for your trial in September. Many of your honourable colleagues in parliament are in some way or another involved in fraud, corruption, racketeering or money laundering and they’ll never see the inside of a courtroom. Learn from them.

Revolutionary yours,







Death or glory

Hello. My name is Ben Trovato and I am an addict.

My bum is a mess of weeping couch sores and my face looks like roadkill. And still I cannot stop. If there is a game of soccer on the telly, I have to watch. I wallow in my own filth and watch. Fifa has turned me into a low-rent junkie and it’s pathetic.

Trying to get me off the couch right now is like leaving a gram of coke on the heated seat of Maradona’s diamond-encrusted bidet and expecting him to flush it away. It’s simply asking too much.

During Wednesday’s game between Spain and Chile, the bad yellow-eyed woman skulked in the kitchen repeatedly smashing a meat tenderiser into what I assumed was my dinner. As it turned out, there was no dinner.

At one point she stood over me and reached into her pocket. I knew the odds were high that she was going for the pearl-handled shooter she uses to keep the barbarians at bay. But even as I sensed that death was only moments away, I was too weak to move. “Beer,” I croaked, waving feebly in the direction of the fridge.

She withdrew her hand and I closed my eyes. Well, one of them. I kept the other on the telly in case someone scored. The sound of thousands of voices shouting in Spanish drowned out the gunshot and I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my chest. A wet patch spread across my heart and everything went black. Goodbye, cruel world.

Apparently I passed out, not away. Low blood sugar combined with an angina attack and the prospect of the defending champions being knocked out of the World Cup was too much for my shattered central nervous system. The wet patch was beer, not blood. The bad yellow-eyed woman slapped me back into consciousness and brandished a calculator at me. Was she going to bludgeon me to death with it?

“By the end of the weekend, you will have watched 34 consecutive games without moving,” she barked. She prodded angrily at the calculator. “Thirty-four games over 11 days. That’s 3060 minutes. Let’s make it 52 hours, including injury time.”

Injury time? That didn’t sound good. Perhaps she meant the time it would take the paramedics to surgically separate me from the couch.

I have had careers that lasted less than 52 hours. Still, I wasn’t precisely sure what point she was trying to make. It’s been like this all week. At some point I lost my vision.

“I’ve gone blind,” I shouted. There was cheering coming from the television. “Who scored?”

I heard the bad yellow-eyed woman walk into the room. “Who’s playing?” she said. A cruel trick to play on a man who had done little more than swallow and shout in well over a week; a man who had consumed enough alcohol to incapacitate a herd of wildebeest; a man who … who the hell was playing? Through my swollen eyeballs, I could barely make out the field. It looked like there were 500 people on it. Some were riding elephants, others were dressed as rabbits. I began to get afraid.

“It’s an advert,” she said. “And it’s half-time. Korea against Russia. Do you even know where some of these countries are?” Of course I did. Korea was just to the left of Japan, down a bit, to the right, down a bit, more, more, to the left, up a bit, not too much, stop. Thank you. That felt wonderful.

There are still 14 days to go before this terrible business is over. The pressure is enormous, especially on my bladder, and I have already booked my place in the downstairs toilet for 10pm on the night of 13 July.

I may have lost the use of my legs by then and my only hope is that I am not too weak to crawl.


Jungle Fever at the World Cup


Underage bromeliads cavorting around a psychedelic pumpkin. Depraved mangrove-men banging up against flirtatious fuschia.

Just in case you thought you were watching the Chelsea Flower Show moments after someone slipped acid into the water coolers, the announcer explained. “They represent the vegetation of Brazil. It’s an allegory.” He stopped short of adding, “You idiots.”

It takes a special skill to spend months choreographing a show like this, and then make it appear as if everyone was told to forget what they had learnt, put on their craziest outfits, do a line of coke and go wild. Hell, get some of your mates to dress up as transvestite wraiths and carry you around in a canoe if that’s what turns you on.

If that had been my show, I would have thrown in a chorus line of coca plants and a herd of mules as a subtle way of thanking the world’s schnarf fiends for their part in boosting Brazil’s economy.

I was so looking forward to watching Bafana Bafana crash out in the first round but, as we all know, we failed to qualify. One of the consequences was that Gordon Igesund lost his job as coach. What kind of punishment is that? In some countries he would have had his legs chopped off.

Igesund. That’s Swedish, isn’t it? Hmm. The ANC has blamed a Swedish woman for inciting our mineworkers. We must impose sanctions against Sweden at once. No more of our fine box wine for them.

The Brazilian anthem sounded like thirty thousand men shouting at their wives. I started watching the opening game but after Brazil scored an own goal, it all become too much and I had to go and lie down.

A lot of people don’t understand soccer. By people, I mean women. At some point during the next 30 days, your husband, boyfriend, brother or father will insist that you watch at least one of the World Cup games.

“What do you mean ‘you don’t care who wins’?” they will shout. They will tell you that the last time Germany and England had a clash of this magnitude, three million people died.

Whatever you do, don’t shrug your shoulders and say, “It’s just a game.” Not unless you have the local paramedics on speed-dial.

Like everything else, the Greeks invented soccer. The Chinese, however, claim they came up with the idea. And the Egyptians say it was them. Today, you couldn’t put together a halfway decent team if you had to choose the best players from all three countries.

There are 32 nations competing in eight groups. If, at any stage, you’re confused about who is where, just google ‘group positions’. It won’t tell you much about the World Cup, but you’ll learn a bunch of stuff that will come in handy at your next ménage à treize.

You might think there should be only one law in soccer – no stabbing – and you would be right. Instead, there are at least 17. The men watching the game with you will insist there are many more laws than that. They will make them up as they go along.

Here is a truncated version of the basic ones you’ll need to know if you hope to stand a chance of following the game. First, make sure you are in control of the remote at all times.

Law 1. Soccer can be played on grass or artificial turf, but it must be green. This is nothing short of colourism. Five minutes into the game, go and stand in front of the TV with your arms folded. Demand to know why the pitch can’t be yellow or blue. Refuse to move until you get a satisfactory answer. Or you’re threatened with a gun.

Law 2. The ball must be spherical in shape and made of leather or another comparable medium. Its circumference must be in the range of 27 to 28 inches. Or, in African terms, the size of the average willy. I have seen children playing soccer with a ball made of plastic bags wadded together with an elastic band. They should be arrested and charged.

Law 3. Matches are played by two teams of 11 to a side. You may ask, why 11? Why not 13? Or 27? Turn the TV off and wait for an answer. It will be quick in coming. My advice is that you’re quick in going. Run away and hide the remote. Use it to bargain for your life.

Law 4. Players are required to wear a jersey, shorts, shin guards, socks and cleats. The socks must cover the shin guards entirely. Because there’s nothing more obscene than an exposed shin guard. It’s discriminatory, is what it is. Players should be allowed to express their individuality by wearing whatever they please. Insist that everyone in the room removes their clothes in protest. You will probably need to google ‘group positions’ at some point.

Law 5. The referee is the authority on the field, and his word is law. This is ridiculous, considering that so many of them shouldn’t be allowed onto a pitch without a guide dog on a leash.

Law 6. The assistant referees are primarily responsible for assisting … blah blah blah. They have no real power and are generally used for target practice by people in the cheap seats.

Law 7. A soccer match is comprised of two 45-minute halves. Another outrageous rule. They should keep playing until one side surrenders.

Law 8. Kick-off is determined by a coin toss. Boring, right? Why not toss a dwarf? Two sports in one. Better value for money means bigger crowds. I’m surprised Fifa hasn’t thought of it.

Law 9. Some drivel about the ball being in or out of play.

Law 10. A goal is scored when the entire ball has crossed the goal line. A silly rule. A goal should be deemed to be scored if the player runs around like a sheep dog, tears his shirt off and thrusts his hips at the crowd.

Law 11. The offside rule. The inability to understand this rule is not necessarily gender-specific, as a lot of men seem to think. I have on many occasions jumped up and put my boot through the telly after the ref blew his whistle for no reason other than to stop my team from scoring. The offside rule is more complicated than Fermat’s last theorem. Never ask anyone to explain it without first being sedated.

Law 12. Fouls and misconduct. There are more potential offences in soccer than there are on the books of the International Court of Justice. If players adhered to the letter of the law, the game would essentially be netball with feet and about as exciting as synchronised swimming. No pushing? No spitting? What is this – the Gautrain?

Law 13. Free Kick is broken into two categories, direct and indirect. There is no such thing as a free kick.

Law 14. The penalty kick. The referee uses this to punish goalkeepers to whom he has taken a personal dislike. When you see the goalie lose the match single-handedly, after previously stopping 374 shots, you will weep at the injustice of it all and almost immediately begin taking it out on your partner. Next to Law 11, Law 14 is the biggest cause of divorce among couples who watch soccer.

Law 15. The throw-in. I know. How can there be a law governing the picking up of a ball and throwing it back into the game? All you need is a pair of arms. And hands, obviously. The only reason you wouldn’t have hands is if you played for Saudi Arabia and got caught nicking an extra biscuit at halftime.

Law 16. The goal kick. Who cares?

Law 17. The corner kick. Marginally more interesting than the goal kick because it puts the player in close proximity to a hostile, heavily armed mob.


Shoot me now

If you’re going to expose yourself, there’s no better place to do it than in the Namib Desert.

“Come up,” said my daughter, Liberty. “We’ll shoot you.” A lot of fathers live in fear of hearing those words. Did she have patricide in mind, or something a little more visual? It was hard to say.

Flying from Cape Town to Windhoek takes as long as it does to fly from Cape Town to Durban, except it’s four times more expensive and twice as weird.

Alice fell down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. You get the same feeling landing at Hosea Kutako International Airport.

Liberty was born in Windhoek – something for which I have repeatedly apologised. She and her Belgian-born boyfriend, Laurent, graduated from Afda film school in Cape Town a couple of years ago and have set up their own production company in Namibia.

When I told her that my memoirs had been published and that I needed to decide whether I should once and for all ditch my disguise, which has served me well over the past ten years as a writer, she suggested we head for the desert.

Laurent’s parents own Namib Sky Balloon Safaris near Sossusvlei. They live, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. Crime isn’t a problem. If you do get stabbed, it’ll be by an oryx or a porcupine.

This is an agoraphobic’s worst nightmare. Rolling plains, mountains and dunes disappear into the distance. It’s vast, empty and primal.

“So will you be taking all your clothes off?” Laurent asked nervously. He had already seen me wearing high heels and one of Liberty’s short, tight skirts – for a photo that accompanied my Sunday Times column – but I could see the idea of me prancing about, willy a-flap in the breeze, might stretch familial ties to breaking point.

“Let’s get out there and see what happens,” I said. They loaded up their gear and we headed off into the shimmering nothingness.

There’s a reason you don’t see many people in black overcoats wandering about the desert. I sweated like a sick pig as they filmed me running, walking and eventually crawling. Laurent fired up the drone while I went off to sit in the middle of one of the many freaky fairy circles in that area. It came towards me at a terrible speed. Moments before it whacked into my head, Laurent sent it soaring skywards, the GoPro capturing a moment of terror on my face.

Did I get naked? Watch the video.



Liberty & Laurent of Endemic Productions on location.




The home of Laurent’s parents, who own Namib Sky Balloon Safaris


A misanthrope’s lament

Writing is a solitary business. But so is life, if we allow it be.

I’m neither talented nor crazy enough to be a genuine recluse, yet I find myself becoming increasingly isolated. It’s not so much that I dislike people. It’s more that I am no longer prepared to share my time with the dull and the witless. And there are so many more of them around than there are of the other kind. And yet. Being a loner comes at its own cost. Especially when mixed with dark rum and wild women.

British poet Felix Dennis sums it up rather nicely.

You cannot live as I have lived and not end up like this.

You cannot walk where I have walked denying the abyss.

Long nights of iguana joys and terror on the wheel

Will lead you to a labyrinth where Minotaurs are real.

And there’s the rub for amateurs; they act as if they care,

Too slow to cauterise a need to strip their wires bare:

You cannot dance with Dracula and wave away the kiss.

You cannot live as I have lived and not end up like this.


Twisting the wrong arm of the law


Last weekend I bribed my first policeman. Yes, I know. It’s shocking to think that I have lived in this country my whole life and only now has this happened.

I have friends in Joburg who bribe cops two or three times a month. I’m talking about ordinary, law-abiding people. Criminals obviously bribe the police a lot more frequently. It’s an occupational hazard and is probably tax deductible.

I was returning home from a dinner party – which, I might add, is a reprehensible business on its own. What depraved monster conflated the two? Dinners and parties are very different animals. They must be held separately, in separate parts of the house, if not the city. Eating is nothing but the sating of a savage, primal urge. It’s as messy and brutal as sex and shouldn’t be done in front of others. One needs to make a beast of oneself. Get feral. Use all your fingers and your whole face. I’m talking about eating, here, although this applies equally to sex.

Once your belly is full (after dinner – if it’s full after sex, you’re doing it wrong, although there are some people, mainly Germans, who would disagree), you may proceed in a disorderly fashion to the party. Which is what I did.

With my 12th book having recently been published, I am now too important to drive myself around. I have someone to do it for me. It’s not a formal arrangement in the sense that she has agreed to it, or, for that matter, even knows about it. It’s on a more ad hoc basis. Or, in the case of nights out, ad hic.

On the night in question, I decided that I should take the wheel. The decision was made at 153km/h. My driver seemed to think it was less likely that the evening would end in a twisted heap of burning wreckage if she remained behind the wheel. I showed my disagreement by tugging at the wheel and pulling on the handbrake. Actions really do speak louder than words.

She pulled over in an ungainly fashion, phrases ill-befitting a lady pouring from her mouth, and we switched seats.

“Let’s see how you like it,” she said, sawing at the wheel. I laughed, cuffed her playfully across the head and brought the car back under control. It was hard to ignore the flashing blue light in my rearview mirror.

I checked the back seat for any stray contraband. It was clean, apart from 15 cans and 21 dumpies of Tafel lager. They’d been there for a while. It’s not as if I drive around like that on the off-chance that I feel like a beer. I just hadn’t got around to taking them out of the car and putting them in the fridge.

I pulled over and got out, partly to get away from the angry passenger and partly to intercept the cop before he reached the mobile bottle store. He was Saps, not Metro. He asked for my driver’s licence. My wallet was in for repairs, but my licence was in my pocket. I pulled it out, along with a wad of banknotes and my credit card. His pupils dilated as they adjusted to the sight of money.

“Have you been drinking?” he asked. What a ridiculous question. Everyone on the road after 11pm has been drinking. Everyone. Without exception. It was 2am. What did he think I’d been doing – researching the nocturnal mating habits of the Western Leopard Toad?

I said I’d had a couple of beers, but doubted that I was over the limit. There was a very good chance I was telling the truth. I’m 1.94m and weigh 102kgs. The amount of alcohol it takes to make me feel even a little tipsy would kill a smaller man.

He went back to his van and I considered making a run for it. It’s been a while since I ran anywhere. My heart probably couldn’t stand it. I would have to take a slow amble back to my car. It wouldn’t work. When he got back he told me that he had radioed for the traffic police to join us. Great. Sounds like the makings of a party. I even have beer!

So we waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually I said we should both be in bed and that we needed to sort something out. I explained that I didn’t mean we should be in bed together, but in our own beds, in our own homes. He wanted to know if I had any suggestions.

“A spot fine, maybe?” I brought out the crumpled banknotes. He glanced at my hand and shook his head.

“It’s better we go to the autobank,” he said.

My first rotten cop. There we were beneath the trees in the early hours of the morning, gently corrupting one another. It was almost romantic.

He walked over to my car and got into the driver’s seat. I was confused.

“Should I follow in your van?” It seemed to make sense that if he was taking my car, I’d take his. He laughed and said I should get in the back. The passenger, relieved that somebody other than me was driving, chatted amiably to the constable.

A couple of kilometres down the road, he pulled in to a garage. I got out and withdrew a thousand bucks. We returned to his van and I slipped the cash into his paw. He pointed to the back seat of my car. I opened the door and hauled out a six-pack. Anything else take your fancy, officer? How are you doing for shoes? I tell you what. I’ll throw in the woman if you promise to leave me alone.

He took the money and the beer back to his van and I drove home.

Now. Condemn me if you will, but bear in mind that this cop was bent long before our paths crossed. And it’s no good using the street kid argument. Not giving them money doesn’t mean they’ll go away. Which brings me to the ‘sliding doors’ scenario.

While we’re waiting for the traffic police to arrive, I decide not to offer a bribe because it’s illegal. Besides, I don’t feel at all drunk. I get breathalysed. The result is positive. I’m the equivalent of two beers over the limit.

I get pushed into the back of the van and taken to a police station where I am booked and thrown into a filthy cell. There are seven other men in there. Their eyes are red and full of nothing. Within half an hour, I have been wrestled to the ground and had my boots stolen. At 3am I am woken by two men holding me down while a third rips my pants off. My screams for help are ignored as a man with a spiderweb tattooed on his neck does unspeakable things to my bottom.

I’ll pay the bribe, thanks.


So very launched


I don’t know why my publisher, Pan Macmillan, decided that I needed two launches for my book – Incognito – The Memoirs of Ben Trovato – in the space of a week in Cape Town. Perhaps they wanted a backup in case one of the launches had to be aborted like a cheap North Korean nuclear missile test.

Both events were wildly successful. Then again, I also think World War Two was wildly successful.

The man given the onerous task of interrogating me at Kalk Bay Books on 28th May and again at the Book Lounge on 5th June was the legendary troubadour and troublemaker, Roger Lucey.

The denizens of the Deep South emerged from their lairs to guzzle wine and beer at Kalk Bay Books, while the urbanistas did the same a week later at the Book Lounge, conveniently located across the road from the depraved Kimberley Hotel.

Thierry Cassuto – Maestro Geppetto of Puppet Nation ZA – had his contacts in the underworld deliver six bottles of Jameson’s to the Book Lounge, where shooters were shot and laughs were had.

Bella, who features in Incognito, stepped in to lend a hand. She said the only reason she let me live was because I had made myself look far worse than her in the book and she felt sorry for me.

Making my first public appearances after writing as Ben Trovato for over a decade was both terrifying and exhilarating. Apparently I have to do it all over again – twice – at the South African Book Fair next weekend. It’s enough to make one give up writing altogether.

Here are some photos from both launches.

Ben_DSC0053 (1)_DSC0047me&rog





The Naked Launch II



CAPE TOWN is jammed with people wandering the streets at night looking for a free drink, a good time or shelter from the storm. If you’re one of them, come to the launch of Incognito – The Memoirs of Ben Trovato on Thursday. You won’t be sorry. I might be, but you won’t.

The invitation says 5.30pm, but the earlier you come, the sooner you can start drinking. I’m hoping to get there around midday. If I’m not in the bookshop, I’ll be across the road in the bar of the Kimberley Hotel. It’s your round.

Incognito Launch - Kalk Bay Books - 28 May 2014

Date: 5 June 2014

Time: 17h30 for 18h00

Where: The Book Lounge 71 Roeland Street

RSVP: or 021-4622425

Ben Trovato – Incognito – The Book Lounge – 05 June 2014


Beer, books and brawling



Cape Town’s literary community was rocked to its foundations last week when beer was offered for the first time ever at a book launch.

Guests who attended the launch of Incognito – The Memoirs of Ben Trovato at Kalk Bay Books on Wednesday evening were shocked to discover cans of lager standing alongside the ubiquitous bottles of red and white wine.

“We go to launches all the time and have never seen anything quite like it,” said Judith Bentley-Smythe. The 98-year-old former librarian said she was in two minds about staying for the event.

“Many of us look forward to enjoying half a glass of warm Cabernet Sauvignon at literary soirees, and I wasn’t the only one to be taken aback by the sight of beer on the drinks table.” Bentley-Smythe said her main concern was that the presence of beer would lower the tone of the event and attract the “wrong element”.

“Beer is unfortunately the tipple of ruffians. I was afraid that a brawl would erupt. At my age I cannot afford to break a hip.”

But not everyone shared her concern. Vincent Terblanche, a retired snoek fisherman, said it was the first time he had attended a book launch. “There was some oke dressed all in black, like Zorro, and he was speaking a lot of kak about some book he wrote. I only stayed for the free beer.”

A ripple of consternation swept the packed room when guest speaker, Roger Lucey, opened the floor to questions and Trovato produced a bottle of Jameson’s. The writer told the crowd that anyone wishing to ask a question must first have a shot of whiskey. Witnesses report that the bottle was empty within twenty minutes.

A man who would only give his name as ‘Jack’ said he was asleep in his bunk across the road at the Haven night shelter when the commotion woke him. He said he got dressed and walked over to the bookshop. “It took a bit of time to work out what was happening, and then I started asking questions. I asked if anyone knew what time the trains start running and I got a shot of whiskey. Then I asked what day it was, and the same thing happened. It was like I died and went to heaven.”

An employee of Kalk Bay Books said it was a launch unlike any other. “While most people certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, it is not something we would like to encourage. We are, after all, talking about books and need to show respect for the creative process,” she said.

Approached for comment once he had finished signing dozens of books for people who were no longer sure what event they were attending, Trovato said, “Fuck off. I’m drinking now.”



Everybody must get stoned.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng is on a mission to put the fear of God into us. He believes South Africa would be a far better country “if religion could be allowed to influence the laws that govern our daily lives”.

Bear in mind that this is the same man who told the Judicial Service Commission that his God – the Christian God – wanted him to be Chief Justice.

Seemingly hellbent on turning South Africa into some kind of weird secular theocracy, Mogoeng said the religious oaths ministers took when they were sworn into Cabinet were provided for in the Bible and an understanding of the scriptural consequences of making promises and breaking them would help many to live up to their promises.

Actually, no. Our politicians don’t break their oaths because they lack an understanding of the scriptural consequences. They do it because there is no evidence that God even exists. They may as well say, “So help me Teletubbies” for all it serves to keep them on the straight and narrow.

The words themselves are all wrong. So help me God. Why the cry for help? This reeks of victimhood, the first defence of the truly guilty. When being sworn in, the president, cabinet ministers and parliamentarians should have concluded their oaths of office with, “… and should I fail to do so, may God make my head explode.” Or, worse, “May God render me destitute.” Or impotent.

It’s all too easy to easy to break your oath of office if you’re entrusting your promise to a supernatural entity whose method of ensuring obedience is to do nothing, even in the face of the most heinous acts of evil. Who wouldn’t be tempted to fiddle their expenses knowing that God is disinclined to stop or punish those responsible for child rape and chemical warfare?

And don’t tell me that God moves in mysterious ways. If anyone moves in mysterious ways, it is we humans. God, as far as we can tell, doesn’t move at all.

The head of the country’s judiciary went on to say: “A legal framework that frowns upon adultery, fornication, separation and divorce … would help us curb the murders that flow from adultery (and) help us reduce the number of broken families …”

I don’t know about your neighbourhood, Judge, but where I come from, bonking the plumber’s wife three doors down doesn’t always lead to machete fights at dawn.

And outlaw divorce by all means, but then you can expect an increase in homicides. And adultery. Which, as we all know, involves lashings of fornication. Going to be a tricky business, this framing laws forged in the hellfires of eternal damnation.

He also said perjury was “on all fours with the … biblical injunction that ‘thou shalt not bear false witness’”. And this: “Theft is the semen that breeds fraud and corruption”. There’s a bit too much focus on jiggery-pokery here. One more ejaculation of messy metaphors and I’m leaving.

Instead of swanning about quoting from Romans, Mogoeng would serve this country better if he spent his time identifying the plethora of legal loopholes through which so many lawyered-up lowlifes manage to slip.

Here are some rules embedded in religions which may or may not one day find their way onto our statute books.

No wearing of clothes made from a mix of wool and linen.

No sleeping with a woman who has her period.

If you are fighting with another man and your wife tries to rescue you by grabbing your opponent’s goolies, you must cut off her hand.

There will be stoning in the event of: Homosexuality, astrology, being a disrespectful child, being a drunken son, blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, perjury, incest, bestiality and witchcraft.

No eating pigs, camels or assorted seafoods.

No tattoos.

One hundred lashes for pre-marital sex.

No wearing of the colour yellow.

No black dogs as pets.

No lying on your back and crossing your feet.

Women may shave but not pluck.

No blood transfusions.

A Moabite may not marry the daughter of an Israelite.

Women shall not wear pants.

No lamb for the uncircumcised.

No wine for the Nazarites. Or grapes.

No selling of beautiful women.