Category: Durban Poison

One from the archives

I know it’s a bit early for nostalgia, but here’s a letter I wrote to the one-time lion of Africa eight years ago.

 

To: Zimbabwe President His Excellency Robert Mugabe

1 Feb. 2009

Dear Mr President,

As per your request, I examined your wife, Grace, upon her recent return from China and may I say what a lovely woman she is. You are a very lucky man.
Having said that, however, I would be failing in my duty if I did not admit to having detected one or two interesting anomalies in her psychiatric make-up.

While Grace admits to having attacked a man upon leaving a Hong Kong shopping mall, she maintains that she was stricken by an episode of snow blindness and mistook the photographer for a Ninja assassin working for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

I find her version of events entirely plausible. History has shown us that the Chinese cannot be trusted. You only have to ask the Japanese. Or place an order at my local takeaway. You ask for stir-fried shrimp and they give you chicken that smells like fish. But I digress.

During our session, Grace used her lipstick to draw several organograms on my office wall, proving that the triads are controlled by the House of Lords. This makes perfect sense given that Britain ruled Hong Kong with an iron fist for 150 years.
 Grace told me her primary concern was that Hong Kong, her preferred shopping destination, would now be closed to her.

I assured her that these fears were unfounded. All it would take is a call from you to President Hu Jintao threatening to cut off their rhino horn and close down the shoe shops.

I am, therefore, pleased to inform you that Grace is a healthy, normal woman. Well, she will be once the operation has been performed. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with a good man in Pyongyang.

In the meantime, I would like to suggest that you keep her indoors, preferably away from the windows, for the next 12 months.
 As far as medication goes, not that she needs it, you may wish to consider slipping 1500mg of lithium into her Beluga caviar each morning.
And if there is any buspirone, propranolol or clonidine lying around State House, you could always stir it into her raw rabbit spleen and fish eagle foie gras.
 It is up to you.

Yours eternally,

Professor Benjamin Trovato (Dipso.M.Aniac Chimanimani Univ.)

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Bitcoin se ma se blockchain

If you had bought R50 worth of bitcoin five years ago, you’d be worth R50-million today. You have read this sort of thing before. And it has left you crippled with self-loathing and regret.

You go to someone’s braai to forget the sting of failure and a drunk man shouts into your face, “It’s not too late. Get in now!” It sounds like he knows what he’s talking about because you’re also drunk so you get into your car and race to the mall shouting and singing but when you get there you can’t find the bitcoin shop because it’s 2am so you take the money you were going to invest and spend it at the shebeen instead.

In the morning, hungover, depressed and scouring the internet for free porn, you inadvertently come across news that bitcoin has slumped after plans to increase the cryptocurrency’s block size were cancelled. You don’t understand what it means, but you do recognise the word ‘slumped’. Filled with schadenfreude, you turn up the music and drink every bit of alcohol in the house.

Much later you go to bed, possibly on the floor, still congratulating yourself on not having wasted your money on this dirty pyramid scheme. Burbling about burst bubbles, you pass out and wake up two days later to the news that bitcoin has surged 500% while spittle was dribbling from your mouth. And so the cycle of self-flagellation begins all over again.

In the entire history of people, no girl or boy child has ever left home with a dream of pursuing a career that involves mindless drudgery and physical toil. People who do an honest day’s work are usually one bond repayment away from the homeless shelter. I am not the only one interested in making filthy amounts of money by doing nothing more strenuous than checking Google once a day to see what’s happening to the price of bitcoin. So don’t judge me.

Even though the R50-into-R50-million ship has already sailed, it still sounds like the kind of action I should have a piece of. Bitcoin currently has a market value of $105-billion. Once I have directions I will go down to that market and tell the man at the bitcoin stall that I want to buy some of his damn fine bitcoins. I’ve seen pictures of them on the internet. Shiny gold coins with a B on them. I don’t know how big they are. Probably as big as manhole covers. I’d have to pick up a couple of guys at the robots to help carry them to the car.

But it’s not that easy. It never is. Apparently you don’t actually get a bag of coins in return for your cash. You don’t get anything. Maybe an email. I don’t know what it says. Perhaps something like, “Dear Sir/Madam, thanks you for helping my dead father pay for his operation. Your bitcoins are in the post.”

If I was walking down the street and a man sidled out of a dark alley and said, “Psst. Wanna buy some of this?” and opened his jacket and there was nothing there, I’d say, “I can’t see what you’re selling. Get away from me.” And if he said, “It’s cryptocurrency, man. It’s good shit. The best. It’ll make you rich. Believe me,” I’d be more inclined to buy whatever drugs he was on.

I don’t think I’m mentally incompetent, even though some of my decisions in life might suggest otherwise, so I don’t understand why I can’t understand what’s going on. Perhaps there’s something of the Dunning-Kruger effect at work here.

Take this sentence. “Volume across bitcoin exchanges jumped to 436 021 bitcoins on Sunday. BitMEX, an exchange for cryptocurrency derivatives that allows shorting, saw record activity.” There are people out there who will read this sentence, raise an eyebrow and nod knowingly while stroking their well-groomed beards. Then there are those who will simply nod off while stroking their imaginary cat. I’m with the cat people.

And don’t for one minute think that it’s only bitcoin you need to get your head around. Bitcoin came home late one night in August, drunk as usual, and had a fight with itself. We’ve all been there. When bitcoin woke up, an entirely new creature called bitcoin cash was standing in the doorway with its hands on its hips saying, “I’ve had enough of this. You’re on your own.”

Since then bitcoin cash, like every woman who has ever left you, is doing very well for itself. Glowing, in fact. It jumped 32% since last Friday. I don’t even know which Friday I’m talking about. It doesn’t seem to matter. Bitcoin, still staggering about the kitchen looking for aspirin, slumped to its knees and had a bit of a weep.

Apparently speculators were spooked when a faction of the cryptocurrency community scrapped plans to increase bitcoin’s block size, preventing it from moving unessential data off its underlying blockchain thereby allowing mermaids to grow legs while red dogs performed cartwheels and the moon deflated.

What worries me is this talk of a faction. Are they rebels? How powerful are they? Who are they? What weapons do they have? My financial advisor said they’re probably just a bunch of fat boys lolling on futons in their parents’ basements pecking at their keyboards with one hand and masturbating with the other. He said there was nothing to worry about. He’s never been right before so I don’t know why he would be now.

It gets even more complicated. When bitcoin cash flounced out on her own, shares in companies that make graphics cards used in the mining of digital coins were dragged down along with bitcoin’s sorry hungover ass. So much in this sentence doesn’t make sense. Mining? It’s like expecting us to believe that Snow White never once slept with the dwarf who kept finding the biggest diamonds. Mining is a filthy business at the best of times.

And it’s no good turning to Wikipedia for enlightenment, either. The oracle of the indolent says bitcoin was invented by someone called Satoshi Nakamoto who might or might not exist. And down the rabbit hole we go.

Bitcoin was released as open-source software in 2009 and is peer-to-peer.” There was this one time I surfed a wave from Bay pier to Snake Park pier and it ended badly. I’m not saying that investing in bitcoin will end with metaphorical fishing line wrapped around your throat, but I’m not not saying it either.

The nice thing about bitcoins, apart from them being sexy golden unicorns, is that you don’t have to buy a whole one. Like you can get a mutton bunny in a half or a quarter, so you can buy a millibitcoin or, if you’re not so hungry, you can get a satoshi to take away. A satoshi is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin. If you bought one for twenty cents eight years ago, you could buy a Ferrari today.

Happy flagellating.

Unknown-2

Dead elephants tell no tales

US President Donald Trump is reversing an Obama-era ban on hunters importing trophies of elephants killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Are his sons planning another hunt? Here’s a letter I wrote to the little fuckers in 2012.

 

Hey boys!

Just wanted to congratulate you on your successful hunting trip to Zimbabwe.

Our papers have been full of pictures of you guys holding up dead leopards in a pink mist of vapourised waterbuck. You’re real heroes in these parts, let me tell you. There has been a bit of criticism, but it’s coming mainly from white bunny-hugging do-gooders who think wild animals are there to be photographed instead of destroyed like the vermin they are. Bloody liberals.

I see you managed to bag three of the Big Five. Well done! But what stopped you from going for a full house? You got the buffalo, elephant and leopard, but missed the rhino and lion. And you call yourselves Trumps? Just kidding.

I’m sure it’s not your fault. I bet the organisers of the hunt failed to tether them securely and they escaped before you could drive up and shoot them in the face.

Donald Jr., I particularly enjoyed the picture of you holding an elephant’s tail in one hand and a knife in the other. You can even see the legs of the elephant lying on the ground to prove that you got it off the animal and not from a curio shop.

I bet you also cut off its trunk and poked it through your zipper and pretended you had a giant willy. I certainly would have.

I liked the shot of you guys posing next to a crocodile strung up from a tree. It reminded me of those old pictures from your Deep South. Now that the darkies are off-limits, croc-lynching could be the next big thing in Alabama. Wanna be partners? You gun ’em down, I string ’em up.

By the way, did you know that we also have a Small Five that are tremendous fun to kill? Meerkats are my best. If you’re quick, you can run up and kick them before they bolt for cover.

Your brother, Eric, could have been waiting in an imaginary end zone to catch the flying ‘kat. Touchdown! American football, Africa style. What’s not to love?

Another of my favourites is the tortoise. Hunting tortoises is usually done when you have a hangover. I’m sure you had lots of those on your trip because the only way to survive Africa is to drink heavily while firing blindly into the night.

So what you do is set up your chair within shouting distance of a reliable servant – you don’t want to run out of Bloody Marys – and wait for a tortoise to come along.

Put your foot on his back to stop him from getting away. This is where it gets tricky. He will have retracted himself, making a clean head shot impossible.

Don’t shoot him in the shell if you plan on using him as a paper-weight. They shatter easily. Rather take a leaf out of your father’s book: cut off his lights and water and starve him out.

You said the local villagers were overjoyed at getting the meat from your hunt. And why wouldn’t they be? Leopard carpaccio garnished with a sprinkling of civet cat and drizzled with crocodile jus doesn’t appear on the menu in the Matetsi area all that often.

When I read that the hunt organisers were called Hunting Legends, I thought they were offering legends like President Robert Mugabe. Now there’s a trophy you should have on your wall.

But I suppose he would put up too much of a fight. Not that you lads aren’t bok for a fight. Far from it. A kudu is a hell of an adversary. You were just fortunate to come across one that was drugged.

To be honest, a lot of the wild animals in southern Africa are on drugs these days. They also lack any real work ethic and spend most of the day sleeping. Smelly freeloaders. No wonder we kill them.

You were also lucky to have survived shooting a tusker. Many elephants, particularly in Zimbabwe, are known to explode without warning and, even from a distance of 300 metres, you could easily have lost a leg. Or worse, had your hair messed up. Gel is hard to come by in the bush.

I’m not much of a hunter myself, but I think I know why you boys enjoy it. For a start, Eric is a girl’s name and he has a lot to prove. And your name is Donald Jr., and yet it is Eric who looks more like your father. No wonder you’re angry.

You said the money you paid for the hunt will be used to fund nature conservation in Zimbabwe. I presume by “fund nature conservation” you mean “arm Zanu-PF veterans”. That’s okay. We understand code in these parts. No names, no pack drill.

My wife, Brenda, says you’re both latent homosexuals. As my Uncle Pervy used to say, “Better latent than never.” Anyway, you’ll be happy to know that I beat her soundly for her insolence.

I must say, though, Eric, you do look pretty damn sexy with that leopard draped over your shoulders. It brings out your eyes.

And Donald Jr., seeing you straddling that dead buffalo makes doggie style seem positively Christian.

Y’all come back again!

Unknown-1Unknown

Amazing Grace

Dear Comrade Grace,

Congratulations on achieving what nobody else has been able to in 37 years – get Robert Mugabe to stand down. This is especially remarkable at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to get him to stand up.

Looking back, it might have been a tiny miscalculation on your part to get your husband to fire vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Who would’ve thought a war veteran with strong military ties would have had the army in his corner? I’m no political strategist, but it seems to me that you might have moved a little quicker with your plan. If Bob had abdicated last week and installed you as president, you could have had your defence force rounded up and jailed by now. You could have borrowed our army to imprison your army. We’re not using ours at the moment. Give our soldiers a mutton curry pie and a Coke and they’ll do anything.

I was astounded that half a dozen armoured personnel carriers could simply drive into Harare and instantly put an end to life as you know it. Is it possible that Bob himself was behind the coup-that’s-not-really-a-coup? I read somewhere that you had started beating him. I always assumed he enjoyed it. Perhaps he only said he did to keep you happy. Some husbands are like that.

When President Zuma called for calm and restraint, do you think he was talking directly to you? After the awkwardness of having South Africa captured by an overweight immigrant family from Uttar Pradesh, the last thing the region needed, as the Zimbabwean army gently eased the passage of the new national democratic project, was to have you burst from state house shrieking and swinging a nine-plug extension cable at anything that moved.

I believe Zuma is sending his state security minister, Bongani Bongo, to have a chat with Bob and the new boys. Try to get in with Bongo. He’s a good man to have on your side. His predecessor loved massages. You must have all manner of oils and unguents lying about the palace. Bob doesn’t get to look like that without lashings of intensive skin care. Roll up your sleeves and give Bongo a bit of a rub. You don’t even have to pretend to enjoy it. Talk about espionage when you’re doing it. He likes that. Slap him around a bit. We’d like that.

Apparently Zuma spoke to Bobbles this morning. He said he was fine. Or fired. Or on fire. It was a bad line. I don’t suppose his health matters much to you any longer. What a tremendous weight off your mind, let alone your hips. It couldn’t have been easy being married to a 138-year-old man. Does he still wake up in the middle of the night and order Winston Churchill to be shot?

I hear you’ve, er, gone off for a bit of a holiday. You certainly deserve a break. One minute you’re shaking your booty to a North Korean marching song on ZBC while picking out an outfit for your inauguration and the next you’re in the boot of a loyal lackey’s car racing for the Vic Falls border.

Apparently you have a farm in the south of Namibia. You’ll love it there. Okay, Keetmanshoop isn’t exactly Singapore in terms of shopping and health care, but there are a lot of bottle stores and, well, that’s about it.

Do your two gorgeous boys realise they’re going to have to get real jobs now? Poor little things. They must be devastated. Still and all. Keetmanshoop is a far healthier environment for Robert Jr and Bellarmine than, say, Chikurubi Prison. Try to interest them in sheep farming. It’s better than alcoholism. Not really, but don’t tell them that.

Anyway. Don’t let the fire go out of those crazy black eyes of yours. I’m a big fan. Not big enough for you to come and live with me, I should point out. I am partial to the mad ones, but, Grace, you’re next level and I’m just not ready for that right now.

Pamberi ne chimurenga! Pameberi ne karakul farming!

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The right to bare arms (and everything else)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has ruled against a proposed nudist-friendly beach on the KZN South Coast. As everyone knows, public nudity is a far greater threat to South Africa than, say, state capture.

Rev Mike Effanga, leader of the group that opposed the idea, welcomed her decision. “Laws are informed by morality and if you break the laws, you are offending morality.” The group took their fight to the public protector after the local council approved the application for a nudist beach by “relaxing” relevant by-laws.

“They should have told the nudists to go be naked in their bathrooms like everybody else,” squealed the reverend.

Here’s a letter I wrote in 2015 to the man who saved our souls.

 

Dear Reverend Mike Effanga,

I wish to applaud you on behalf of all right-wing, I beg your pardon, right-thinking South Africans for your efforts to stop those backsliding nudist barbarians from getting their wicked way.

As you know all too well, the Hibiscus Coast municipality – quite clearly agents of Satan – voted last year to allow people to take their clothes off on a beach in your area. Unfortunately, they chose a section that is hidden away and hard to reach. This makes it difficult for those who wish to protest. Luckily, there are many of us who are prepared to go out of our way to be offended.

This country has only 2 800kms of coastline. If we give these heathens 500m of it to practise their degenerate sun-worshipping ways, where will it end?

Cape Town allows nudists at Sandy Bay and look at that city today. Gay people walk openly in the streets. We don’t need that kind of wanton licentiousness here.

If God had meant for us to walk around naked, he wouldn’t have given Adam and Eve those fig leaf ensembles to wear. The unadorned human body is a disturbing sight and I, for one, can no longer even visit my local swimming pool for fear of turning into a slavering beast incapable of controlling my most basic of urges.

I cannot believe these handmaidens of hell are planning their naked launch for Good Friday. Jesus wouldn’t be happy with that, I can tell you. Isn’t it enough that he has to deal with yet another anniversary of his crucifixion? I may be wrong but I’m sure he’d rather we just stopped mentioning it altogether.

I’m talking about that nasty business in Calgary. Nudist beaches, I bet he’d want to know about. What am I saying? Of course he knows about it. He’s Jesus. And if he didn’t get the memo, you can be damn sure his Father knows of the horror about to be unleashed upon Mpenjati beach.

I must confess there are times I walk around my house without any clothes on. It is simply too hot. However, you will be pleased to know that I do punish myself afterwards with a light flagellation followed by several Bloody Marys.

Nudity, unlike murder, poverty and child abuse, is not something we can tolerate. If we allow people to voluntarily remove their clothes on a beach far away from decent God-fearing folk, what will we allow next? Seances in the Margate Wimpy?

While you are on this crusade, have you given any thought to the farm animal situation? I’m sure I am not the only one to have noticed the growing number of cows along the South Coast. I think you know what I’m saying. Udders. I need go no further.

Once you have won this battle against the idolatrous undressed, I urge you to consider demanding clothes for livestock. It need not be anything fancy. Simple loincloths and four-cupped bras will do.

I understand you run an outfit called Worldwide Gospel Ministries. Your website has an interesting quote from Luke. “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching.” That’s exactly what the nudists are afraid of – Peeping Toms.

It goes on. “Verily, I say unto you that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”

I’m a bit confused here. Luke clearly wasn’t a vegetarian. But the Lord serves the servants? That doesn’t sound right. Imagine if this happened in South Africa. The servants would be ungovernable in no time at all.

In your ministerial profile you state your nationality as “Kingdom of Heaven.” Nothing wrong with that. Presumably you have your citizenship papers. I imagine the home affairs office up there is more efficient than the one down here.

Your website says that apart from healing the sick and broken-hearted, you also bring sight back to the blind. You are truly a man of many talents. What would you do if, say, one of those rotten nudists was sick, broken-hearted and blind? Tricky one.

I see you have 18 friends on Facebook. That’s okay. Jesus only had 12.

Anyway, congratulations on getting the pagans on the council to agree to listen to your objections for a second time. As you said recently, “The voice of the people has to be heard. The decision to have a nudist beach here is illegal, immoral, unethical and undemocratic.”

And therein lies the rub. Oops. I apologise. “Rub” is one of those words which, if used carelessly, can lead to the corruption of weaker souls. It won’t happen again.

What I’m trying to say is that it takes a wise man to point out that a decision taken by a majority of democratically elected councillors is, indeed, undemocratic. Some might say the voice of the people has been heard, but, as we both know, they are the wrong people. Not all people are people.

Well, I’m sure you and your Concerned Citizens Group will succeed in denying the Devil his due. Nobody wants to be cast into the hellfires of eternal damnation, even if they are politicians.

155429

A Letter to the Leader

Dear Comrade President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, Corrupter of the Weak, Don of Dubai, Capo dei Capi, Lord of the Beasts and the Fishes, Emperor of Nkandla.

Congratulations on still being on your feet. I mean that metaphorically, of course. I expect you’re probably lying down right now. And who could blame you? These are trying times and a man needs his rest. Besides, lying is your default position. I apologise. White monopoly capital made me say that. I will discipline myself this evening.

I imagine you were as surprised as anyone to learn that there’s a new book out in which you’re portrayed you as a cross between Al Capone and the leader of the 28s. I was outraged by the scurrilous parallels. For a start, Capone wore Brooks Brothers suits, Fedora hats and shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo. You wear Pending Law suits and shoes by Glenn Agliotti. I’ve never seen you in a hat. Is it because they don’t make them in butternut size? That’s headist, that is.

Also, the 28s would never have you because you don’t drink or take drugs and can’t be trusted. You don’t even have any tattoos. But that’s okay because you have your own gang with its own rules. You have to admit that The Cabinet is a bit of a lame name for a gang, but still. It’s the power you wield that counts. And let’s not forget you also have at least 350 loyal foot soldiers sitting in your safe house in Cape Town.

I won’t take up too much of your time. You’re doubtlessly very busy instituting defamation charges against one Jacques Pauw who wrote a scurrilous pack of lies in a fake ‘book’ titled The President’s Keepers, available at all reputable bookstores but selling fast so avoid the Christmas rush and get your copy now. What? Who said that? It’s almost as if Johann Rupert himself is dictating this to me. I shall undergo an exorcism right after disciplining myself.

I have never heard of an author called Pauw. He sounds foreign. Get your man Mahlobo to check him out. No, wait. You shifted Mahlobo out of state security and in to energy. It’s an obvious move as far as career paths go, if you think about it. Or not. Far be it for me to question your thinking when it comes to reshuffling your gang. I am nothing but a voter, the lowest on the food chain in a one-party democracy, and I am lucky to be alive.

So. Back to this alleged book. Pauw, by all accounts a fifth columnist from the fourth estate, claims that for the first four months of your presidency you were on the payroll of your friend Roy Moodley’s security company for R1-million a month, which, after tax, came to R1-million a month. So what? Everybody moonlights once in a while. Security guard wouldn’t be my first choice, but each to his own. Your day job only pays R250 000 a month. Nobody can live on that. Well, I suppose I could if I cut down on drinking during the week, but nobody with four wives and 22 children can live on that.

Pauw’s so-called book also claims that you never submitted tax returns for at least the first five years of your presidency and then put all your pawns in charge of SARS so you’d never have to cough up. If this is true, you have the wardens on Robben Island to thank. They allowed you to play chess, did they not? A harmless board game that teaches strategy. What could possibly go wrong?

Aren’t you glad you don’t live in America where prosecutors aren’t afraid to do their job? The FBI has just indicted Paul Manafort, one of Donald Trump’s former henchmen, merely because he took out a home loan and then mischievously spent some of it on buying another property. Imagine what they’d do to you?

That was a very smart move putting Shaun Abrahams in charge of the NPA. You should probably give him some sort of medal when all this is over. How about the Order of Medusozoa or, in terms that the uneducated can understand, the Order of the Jellyfish. If you prefer, there are many other spineless wonders to choose from.

By the way, your man Gigaba is doing a splendid job of keeping the wolves from your door. One thing mystifies me, though. What’s he talking about when he says we can’t afford a nuclear energy programme? Didn’t he get the memo from Moscow?

His medium-term budget, however, was a master class in deflection. By taking an unprecedented stab at the truth, your flak-catcher managed to distract attention away from you, allowing you to continue working on your retirement plans unhindered.

The ratings agencies seemed their usual gloomy selves after his speech, though. The aptly named Moody’s said the mini budget signalled “a marked credit-negative departure from earlier fiscal consolidation efforts”. What does this even mean? It’s like some kind of weird word salad. Ignore them. Oh, right. Sorry. To ignore and deny are policy mainstays that continue to serve you well.

Thing is, denials can get a bit stale over time. Taxpayers want to be kept entertained by increasingly outrageous claims of ignorance and innocence. That’s why it was such a refreshing change to have you reject instead of simply deny the slanderous filth in Pauw’s bestseller. Well, you didn’t reject all the allegations. Just the ones that dealt with your tax affairs. That’s the most important one, I suppose. It’s what brought Capone down. Then again, he didn’t have the cops, prosecutors and taxman in his pocket.

Your auditor-general appears to have caught some kind of rare honesty bug. You might want to get the exterminators in. He said this week that SOEs (ATMs to you) were “regressing” as a result of inadequate controls, monitoring and oversight. Nobody needs that kind of negativity.

But it’s not all bad news. Irregular government expenditure has increased by 55% since last year. It’s now standing at a healthy R45.6-billion. This must be some kind of record. Your home province has kept the flag flying by taking two of the top three spots in the highest single contributor category. Congratulations, then, to the KZN transport department for taking first place for wasting a breathtaking R3.9-billion. Also, big up to the health department which took bronze for squandering an equally impressive R3-billion.

I hear the ex-wife’s presidential campaign is being funded by cigarette smugglers. Good for her. The country would benefit hugely if more people started smoking. Old people are a drain on the economy. More smokers, fewer old people. Nkosazana is doing South Africa a great service. Please thank her for me.

I also heard that you told the high court you’re willing to establish an enquiry into state capture before the end of the year as long as you can dictate the terms of reference and appoint the chairman. Fair enough. What about getting Comrade Judge Chris Nicholson out of retirement? If it wasn’t for him, you’d be in your thirteenth year of a fifteen-year sentence by now. In theory, anyway. I’m sure if you had been tried back in 2009, you’d have come down with a bad case of the Shaiks and been released after a month or two.

What do you think about this Peter Hain character poking his nose where it doesn’t belong? One minute he’s fighting apartheid and the next he’s trying to bring down the ANC government. Typical bloody liberal. Can’t be trusted. He’s just jealous that you have the Guptas and he doesn’t. And now he wants to destroy a bunch of banks just because they laundered a few billion rands of our taxpayer’s money. Try to get him on the payroll before he causes even more trouble.

Anyway. Must dash. Got to renew my passport in case your ex becomes president of the ANC and then the country. You couldn’t live with her so I don’t see why I should have to.

A loota continua.

Dr Ben Trovato

Whip2

Swallowing is good for you

The European swallow stands about five-foot-six in its socks, burns easily in the sun and enjoys a pint or two with the lads. It is also a small migratory bird.

In our summer months, the European swallow of the featherless variety can be spotted in coastal towns from Umhlanga to Hermanus. Come winter, he returns to his natural habitat and can be spotted in The Cock and Balls in Fulham High Street.

I am an African swallow. We prefer to conserve our energy – not to mention our limited financial resources – and migrate within the country. Winters in Durban, summers in Cape Town. Sprawled in my nest in Westbrook on the east coast, nursing a damaged wing after attempting to fly home from a friend’s house one unhinged Friday night, it struck me that the seasons had turned. My instincts said it was time to head west. My instincts have never been wrong, give or take a couple of marriages and a career in journalism.

And so I find myself hunkered down in a shack in the milkwoods of Kommetjie typing with fingers crippled from frostbite. I am clothed in a stinking onesie stitched from the fur of a dozen dassies and lined with the skins of two careless Cape seals.

I appear to have mistimed the migration. Cape Town alone decides when to call it summer. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’d rather die of hypothermia than head back down the Transkei’s Roadkill Road.

A cloud of panic hangs over this southern tip of Africa. It used to be bong smoke, but now it’s panic. Word on the street is that Cape Town will run out of water by March next year. This is good news. I should be back in Durban by then. What? Don’t look at me like that. Okay, fine. It’s bad news for the people who live here. They could always move to Durban. By next Christmas we’ll all be drinking Chardonnay and paying R5m for a roach-infested rat hole in Gillespie Street.

I’ve never been a huge fan of water. Salt water, yes, but only because the ocean is made of it. I can understand why people would buy bottled water in a country where landmine victims outnumber cars, but nobody ever died in South Africa from drinking tap water. Unless maybe the tap belonged to a neighbour who suspected you of trying to turn him into a frog and shot you in the back while you were bent over drinking. Which probably happens fairly often in Limpopo.

Every day there are fresh statistics to scare the living hell out of everyone in Cape Town. The six dams that supply the city are currently at 38% capacity. Isn’t this quite good? It’s more than I got for maths in matric and I turned out okay.

In the old days when rain was a thing, consumption in the metropole was at 1.1 billion litres per day. It now stands at 585 million litres. A massive reduction. But the number is still too big for us to fully udnerstand. Look at it this way. We’re consuming the equivalent of 292 Windhoek draughts for every man, woman and child. Per day. That’s a reasonable average for the Cape Flats, but you’re not going to get those heroic levels in Constantia and Bishops Court.

I suppose not all of it is getting chucked down people’s throats. There’s bathing and watering gardens and washing cars and a lot gets wasted in places like workshops and hospitals where staff get grease and blood under their fingernails.

But apparently that’s still too much. The city wants people to shower for no longer than a minute. If you get caught running a bath, you’re stripped naked and publicly flogged in Adderley Street. I tried showering for one minute. At six-foot-four, there’s a lot of ground to cover. Sixty seconds was just enough to lather up into a striking resemblance of the abominable snowman. So no rinsing then? Seems unduly harsh. I went and stood outside, letting the freezing wind blow the suds from my quivering body. I didn’t want to use a towel because that would’ve meant having to wash it at some point. The penalty for washing towels is a light stoning. For now. I expect it will be escalated to the amputation of a hand by January. I went to the mall later with flaking patches of dried soap on my face and arms. Mothers covered their children’s eyes. I saw one woman gag.

It has also been recommended that you don’t flush the toilet if you’ve only had a wee. This isn’t a problem for me because I wee outside. Not in the street. In my garden. It’s a territorial thing. When I was married I’d sometimes do it indoors if it was very cold outside. One night my wife caught me in the act of marking my territory in the lounge. I stood there with my willy out, telling her it was the cat. That I was the cat. And the cat was me. Luckily she was hallucinating on benzos and found it all quite plausible. She poured me a saucer of milk and went back to bed. Actually, she didn’t even bother with the saucer.

In Cape Town, you’re also supposed to stand in a bucket when you shower, then use that water to wash the children who have to stand in their lunch boxes, then use that water to wash the baby in a soup bowl, then use whatever’s left over to water the one plant you have chosen to save.

On the rare occasion it does rain, the roads of suddenly full of people driving around aimlessly.

“Quick, get in the car. We’re going to Knysna.”

“Are you mad? Why?”

“They’re having rain. The car’s filthy.”

People are advised to close the toilet lid when flushing, presumably to save the seven drops that might splash onto the floor. They are also encouraged to use disinfectants, face masks and gloves where required. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve done my ablutions I generally don’t need to have the crime scene cleaners around.

Apparently Phase 1 of the disaster plan had been implemented. I didn’t even know there was a plan. A better one might have been to make provision for this crisis several years ago. They knew. Oh, yes. They knew alright. But there’s nothing sexy about desalination and groundwater abstraction projects. Not when you live in a city of mountains and beaches and a waterfront that makes Durban’s look like a dumping ground for junkies, vagrants and medical waste. Which is what it is.

We are warned that supply might be disrupted during peak water usage times. Being ‘self-employed’ I don’t know what this means but it seems unlikely I’ll be affected. People who live in high-lying areas will experience outages. I live two metres above sea level. I’ll be fine up until Donald Trump melts Antarctica and, in the middle of a drought, I drown in my sleep.

The city has appealed to people in low-lying areas – like Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu – to curb their usage to help their less fortunate brothers and sisters who are suffering terribly up on the slopes of Clifton and Camps Bay. Seems fair.

The city has also installed seven thousand “water management devices” on the properties of “delinquent” water uses. These are not juvenile delinquents. These are grown-ass people who just don’t give a damn. So their pipes are fitted with the equivalent of ankle monitors.

The city is divided into pressure zones. For instance, there’s no pressure in Observatory. You can wake up at midday, smoke a blunt and get a tattoo or a shot of tequila right there in the main road. No pressure at all.

There’s been talk of remotely manipulating valves in the reticulation network, but this seems to be some sort of code and nobody understands what it means. Apparently it reassures people. Not the paranoiacs, obviously.

If an area is using water above the daily limit, pressure will be reduced to force consumption down. Once consumption is reduced, pressure will be restored. It’s the old “I’ll have sex with you when you give up drinking” ploy. It’s the carrot and stick method, although I’ve never used either during sex, and it doesn’t work because there’s always one guy who wants to fill up his pool and wash his Range Rover, racehorse and trophy wife.

On my way for a surf at Muizenberg the other day, I passed two lots of people down on their hands and knees on the side of the road. This being Cape Town, I reckoned they were drunk, praying or doing yoga. Being the deep south, it could easily have been all three. But no. They were hunkered around an outlet from a mountain stream, desperately filling bottles and drums.

One of them looked a bit like Immortan Joe, the disgruntled civil servant who featured in Mad Max: Fury Road, a documentary about water shortages and how even a woman from Benoni can survive without an arm or leg or even a sense of humour.

Let’s end on a history lesson. Who said this? “It has only been through a century of dedication and a commitment to engineering excellence that the City of Cape Town has been able to guarantee clean water for an ever-expanding population. We are more than up to the task.”

a. Jan van Riebeeck in 1652.

b. Cecil John Rhodes in 1890.

c. Patricia de Lille in 2013.

It wasn’t Jan or Cecil.

It just occurred to me that a water shortage might also mean a beer shortage. Let the stockpiling begin.

Barricades