Day: September 14, 2018

South Africa suffers from truth decay

The latest crime statistics were released into the wild this week. That’s where the good news ends. But it’s not all bad news. Residential robberies are down 0.4%, thanks to the moron across the road finally remembering to close his windows at night. Carjacking, arson and the theft of cars and motorbikes is also down, which probably has more to do with petrol prices than anything else.

Murder is more popular than ever and even old school crimes like bank robberies are making a comeback. If nobody actually gets hurt, I think bank robberies are kind of cool. When it comes to wrist-slittingly dull and depressing places, banks are right up there with the worst of them. I can think of nothing better to liven up proceedings than a couple of guys in balaclavas shouting at everyone to get down on the ground. Banks are heavily insured. The robbers get what they came for, the bank gets it back from the insurance company, and your money is safe. Everyone wins.

Stock theft is up, which is good news for farm animals that enjoy visiting new places. Goats probably more than sheep or cows. Goats love to travel. Drunk driving is on the increase although it’s not really. What’s happening here is that roadblocks are on the increase. Fewer roadblocks would see a dramatic decrease in this statistic. Anyway, most of us regularly drive under the influence of all manner of dangerous things, like love and religion and resentment.
“What have I done, officer?”
“I saw the way you looked at that Porsche Cayenne. You were driving under the influence of envy.”

There seem to be ten main categories of crimes. And, if you know your Bible, you will also know there are Ten Commandments. Coincidence? Yes, of course. When god gave the tablets to Moses – who almost certainly didn’t have a prescription – he made it clear there was no room for ambiguity. No wiggle room. No grey areas. No divine prosecutor who could make dockets disappear, which is a bit of a pity. If one of the disciples had slipped a few shekels to a bent clerk in the law firm Pontius Pilate & Sons, the world might be a very different place today.

But we’re not in Mount Sinai any more, Toto.

We could be, though. Our legal system is, after all, based on Roman-Dutch law. We can forget about the Dutch part. They’re a lawless mob who smoke weed and shag openly on houseboats, buses and even bicycles. There are parts of Amsterdam where you can barely move for stoned, copulating couples. You don’t even want to know what’s happening with the dykes.

Which brings me back to the Roman part of our law. Basically, it’s Roman law that killed Jesus. It’s also the same law that will quite feasibly see the resurrection of Jacob Zuma.

So, yes. When it comes to law, the Romans and the Dutch can just fuck right off. The Criminal Procedures Act is so long-winded and convoluted that nobody has ever read the entire document. Lawyers are cherry-pickers of the first order. They take the bits that suit them and fling them at a judge who is so punch-drunk from years of people crying and lying that the only thing keeping him upright is the knowledge that at the end of this long and tortuous road lies a pension of substance.

Speaking of lies, isn’t that one of the commandments? Thou shalt lie. No, wait. That’s one of the ANC top six’s ten commandments. Or one of the ANC top ten’s six commandments. Like Easter, it’s a moveable feast of subterfuge and greed. Hide the eggs in an offshore account.

My doctor gave me a 12.7% chance of having a stroke or heart attack in the next ten years, so I don’t have time to fuck about with all ten commandments. Let me just take the one about lying.

Our leaders have come up with some top-notch ones in the last few days. I’m not talking about little white lies that little white people tell. We’re talking premier league whoppers the size of sperm whales, here. Respect. If you’re taking the road that leads away from the truth, make sure you own that damn road. Hide in plain sight. Implausible deniability. Speak to my lawyer.

Let’s start with Jacob Zuma. A couple of nights ago he delivered the key note address at a Sasco event at the Walter Sisulu University. I don’t know what Sasco stands for or where the university is located. I could find out but since I’m not getting paid for this I have even less reason to do research. Do your own goddamn research. During his speech, made entirely in English, he said, “I don’t know English.” He asked students to help explain what is a state. Nobody put their hand up. They did laugh, though. With him? At him? Hard to say. He took a stab at it and, with a bit of prompting from what might have been a politics student too wasted to find his way back to the dorm, came up with the executive, legislature and judiciary.

“What is this thing called state capture?” he said. Students in the front row cried out and an usher came around and squirted milk into their eyes. “Does it mean these three arms have been captured?” he said, spreading his arms wide.
A couple of stoned journalism students giggled at Zuma’s inability to count the number of arms he has. Maybe they were picturing him with three arms. We’ll never know.
“Is it true? Just explain the truth about it.” A weird shuffling swept through the auditorium, as if the students knew the wrong answer might see them being forced at gunpoint to change to the humanities, condemning them to a lifetime of poverty.

Calling state capture a “politically decorative expression”, he said there was no state that was captured. “There are some people doing things with other people. Individuals,” he said. He’s right, of course. This applies to everyone throughout history who has ever done things with anyone else.

“Not a single one of the three is captured,” Zuma said, to a deafening round of uneasy murmuring.

Moving on.

In parliament the other day, Deputy President David Mabuza had to answer a question about a flight on a Gupta-owned jet to Moscow three years ago. The DA wanted to know if he was accompanied by Ruslan Gorring, a man who negotiates mining deals between Russia and foreign governments.

Mabuza said he had been on painkillers and couldn’t recall who was on the flight. There were only five other people on the plane. “I was taken to Moscow in a very terrible condition,” he said. He may well be telling the truth. I once tried to board a flight to Atlanta in a very terrible condition and three men in suits and dark glasses removed me from the queue at he boarding gate in front of all the other passengers. I can barely remember anything, either.

Moving on.

A Sunday Times journalist reported that a bunch of top ANC people had met Jacob Zuma at the Maharani Hotel in Durban to discuss the dethronement of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The denials ranged from there was no meeting to there was a meeting but it had nothing to do with anything to I was just passing by when I saw some comrades at the bar and joined them.

Also pictured at Schrödinger’s meeting was ANC Women’s League secretary general Meokgo Matuba. By way of commenting, she sent the reporter a picture of a handgun. Except she didn’t, because she “shares her phone with many people”. She might be telling the truth. I once left my phone … no, I didn’t. I can’t even be bothered to make something up.
Matuba told one reporter, “Actually no, I didn’t send a gun to Qaanitah. If it’s her take that I sent the gun to intimidate her, my sincere apologies.” You have to be a 9th-level Ninja of Duplicity to be able to deny culpability while simultaneously expressing remorse with such brazen panache.

cat burglar

Breaking news!

Right, then.

Thanks to the Sunday Tribune’s decision to axe my weekly Durban Poison column – a move right up there with Decca Records’ decision not to sign The Beatles in ’62 – I have spent the last couple of weeks gathering my thought and getting my duck in a row. I have only one thought and one duck, both of which involve finding something to keep me from drifting off the freeway and down the boulevard of broken dreams.

When I posted my farewell column, many of you were outraged and threatened to cancel your subscriptions to the Tribune, destroy Independent Media and make the country ungovernable. I was deeply touched by your messages of support and even offered to read some of them to my landlord in lieu of rent. He said he’d prefer money.

Craig was one of the first to suggest a viable alternative. “Simple solution,” he wrote. “A site all of us who appreciate Ben’s work can subscribe to. He has a huge following and rightly so. I suggest a stipend a month to read his incredible wit. Whatever you think it is worth. Cheaper than the paper and it is the only thing in it worth reading. Will keep him in beer and all of us highly entertained. I hope everyone is in.”

I thought he’d be shouted down by the anarchists and the tightwads, but the idea proved more popular than I expected.

Mark said he’d “happily pay a couple of bob, maybe even a pickled egg as well”. Anthea offered a case of beer a month. Dan said “We’ll pay” and Dave said he’d be happy to “sign up to some funny shit weekly”. Jennifer said she’d pay to get her “weekly chortle/eye roll/guffaw fix” while Penny, Sandy, Pamela and Sherry all said they’d be delighted to subscribe to my online posts. Penny also said she couldn’t live without my column, so we do need to keep her wellbeing in mind.

Matthew said he’d pay to read my stuff and he’s a lawyer. It’s almost unheard of for a lawyer to offer to pay for anything. Rigid (possibly drunk) said, “You’re one of my favourite thinkers. I’d pay to read your columns. Not what they’re worth, of course, but I’d pay. Let me know how.”

So now I’m letting you know how.

You will soon notice that my blog looks different. That’s because it has grown up, left home and become a website. I started my blog in 2011 and began using it as a kind of retirement home for my writing. During that time, it has attracted 50 000 followers. That’s more than even Jesus scored in his first seven years. He has overtaken me since then, obviously.

My 657 posts have been viewed a staggering 943 500 times. I say staggering because that’s the condition I was in after writing most of them.

In the past year, my blog has been visited by people from every country in the world apart from Central African Republic, South Sudan, Western Sahara, Iran, Turkmenistan, Greenland, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and North Korea.

When I told my friend Ted that I have readers in 186 countries, he projectile snorted beer through his nose with such force that a hadeda in the neighbour’s tree was knocked from its perch. WordPress fortunately provides very detailed statistics and he was forced to withdraw his claim that my relationship with the truth made Donald Trump look honest.

In what appeared to be an attempt to make amends, he said, “You should capitalise on your brand and monetise your content.” I thought he’d had a stroke because none of that made any sense to me so I slapped him hard across the head, which is apparently what you need to do if you suspect someone is having a brain attack.

After calming down, he used simple words and diagrams to explain. I have to admit that it made sense, although I did warn him to never again call me a brand. “I am a man!” I cried, rising to my knees and attempting to strike a noble pose.

Let’s not get sidetracked.

Editors haven’t exactly been beating a path to my inbox since the Tribune released me back into the wild. In some ways, I am relieved that I haven’t been sucked right back into meeting brutal deadlines and complying with the plethora of draconian editorial restrictions that come with writing for a mainstream newspaper.

On the website you’ll find a PayFast button. Or something like that. I appreciate that not everyone will be in a position to contribute and that’s fine. But if you are, that’s even more fine. You will also be able to buy books and posters and other contraband.

You, the people, are now my new employers. Congratulations!

PS. I’m taking you all with me to my new home and you should get redirected to the new site. But if you’re not, please make a note of my new address – https://bentrovato.co.za – and subscribe to the site.

It’s not active just yet but it should be up and running first thing Monday morning. Unless my web guy has a nervous breakdown.

Here it is again – https://bentrovato.co.za

gothere