Tag: jacob zuma

No stress please, we’re Zulu

A study done last year by Bloomberg found South Africa to be the second most stressed country out of 74 surveyed. The title is currently held by Nigeria. Anyone who has driven through Lagos will understand why. It was damnably close though, with us missing the top spot by a mere point-one percent. Hopes are pinned on Jacob Zuma staying in power. This would almost certainly bump us into first place.

However, our chances of making it to world number one suffered a setback when our Teflon president said at his 75th birthday party that there was no Zulu word for stress. Stress, he said, was a white man’s disease.

“I do not have stress,” he said. You know who else doesn’t suffer from stress? Megalomaniacal sociopaths. Self-serving narcissists. Avaricious scofflaws who give fresh meaning to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

“In the Zulu nation‚ stress does not exist,” he said. “You can go to a traditional healer asking to be healed from stress‚ but they do not have muti for stress.” Zuma is probably right about this. Traditional healers might not be able to give you muti for stress, but they will give you muti to turn your unpleasant neighbour into a chicken. That will go a long way towards alleviating the stress you don’t have.

I’m not sure that Zuma is right when he calls stress a disease. It’s more of just an anxious gnawing feeling, which isn’t the same as, say, cancer or tuberculosis. Sure, stress can probably cause a disease, but you have to watch your terminology. Next thing, you’re saying a virus can’t cause a syndrome and before you know it you’re slumped over a counter telling the barman that you were the president once. Sure you were, sir. I think you’ve had enough.

People who have studied for seven years and know their way around a stethoscope tell me that stress can affect your mind and body. Oh, please. So can alcohol. It’s pretty much the only reason we drink the filth. But then we get drunk and it’s impregnations and proposals and off to the magistrate’s court and ten years later a man in a white coat gives us six months to live. That’s stress for you. It’s not the alcohol. It’s never the alcohol.

As someone who has studied medicine for a number of decades without ever having to write exams or pitch up on graduation day, I can confidently say that stress is not the killer it’s made out to be. The real killers are your boss, your bank manager and your spouse. The accessories are your children and sometimes your parents.

Stress can also be triggered by things other people might consider minor. Like getting to the bottle store an hour before it opens. Or realising that you’ve been contributing to the R550-million given to King Zwelithini and his loved ones over the last ten years while the Royal Household Trust apparently raise funds for the tribal monarchy down at the Suncoast Casino.

Conventionally, however, the top three causes of stress are the death of a loved one, a divorce and moving house. There’s no arguing with the first, but I’d say there are more stressful things in life than getting divorced and moving house. Driving, for starters. I’d rather live in a homeless shelter than do a morning and evening rush hour commute.

If you live in Cape Town, over your working life you’re looking at 800 days – nearly three years – of doing nothing but changing from first to second gear while listening to an idiot DJ and brimming with hatred for humanity. And there’s no point cursing the traffic. You are the traffic.

While a loved one’s death tops the list, death as a thing isn’t stressful at all. People we don’t know are dying all the time and we don’t get stressed about that. This is quite normal because we are, in essence, savages.

The positioning of divorce at number two on the list should be condemned and set aside. If death is qualified as stressful only if it happens to a loved one, then so too should divorce. Divorce is only stressful if you are crazy in love and the person formerly known as sweetheart isn’t. This situation usually presents itself in the space of one terrible evening.

It’s less stressful to allow your mutual hatred for one another to develop over a period of years so that by the time one of you suggests divorce, it’s a huge relief all round. Just say goodbye. Don’t get drunk and have a last pangalang. You don’t want any accidents that might entail you having to see each other, no matter how fleetingly, every second weekend and alternate school holidays for the next 18 years.

I am facing my second divorce and already I am girding my mental loins for a third marriage, which I fully expect to happen because there is little point in stopping once you’ve had two of anything. If you have ever tried two of something and never had a third, I’d like to know what it is.

Number three on the stress list is moving house. This is clearly not true. Unless you’re moving from uMhlanga to uMlazi or from Camps Bay to Pollsmoor Prison, there’s no reason to get upset. The most stressful thing about moving house is trying to stop the packing tape from sticking itself to the roll. Some people lose the packing tape altogether and end up stabbing themselves in the eye.

Then there’s something called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale and a more lucid definition: “Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise.” Or, in terms that you and I can understand, “This is fucked up and I’m running away.”

I don’t know who Holmes and Rahe are and nor do I care. They’re not politicians so there is no real reason for them to lie. That’s good enough for me. They surveyed more than 5 000 patients and asked them to say whether they had any experience of a series of 43 events in the previous two years.

Each event had a different weight for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. These events include things like jail time, sex difficulties, trouble with in-laws, trouble with the boss and minor violations of the law – in other words, stuff we all live with every single goddamn day.

Being a little drunk, I did the test and scored an impressive 393. I thought that was pretty damn good. Higher than I’ve ever got for anything. With that kind of mark you want to rush home and burst through the front door and shout, “Honey, I got almost 400 on the test!” But honey’s on the couch in front of the TV slack-jawed and drooling with 500mg of benzodiazepines ponying around the arterial racetrack. Anyway. The results of my score? “You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.”

And that’s it. They don’t tell you that you need to chuck your job, get divorced or stop drinking vodka before 10am. They simply tell you that you’re going to get ill in the near future. Like next year? In the middle of the next sentence?

To be fair, they do suggest solutions. For instance, you can acquire “conflict resolution skills”. Here, this means acquiring an AK-47. It’s a traditional South African way of resolving conflict.

Stressed? Try homicide. You’ll feel so much better.

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Q&A with Jacob Zuma – from the archives

Here’s an interview I did with Jacob Zuma in 2008.

Gel or soap

I’m not much of a gel man, myself. Gel can only prevent you from catching cancer and not much else. A bar of Lifebuoy, on the other hand, takes care of Aids, tuberculosis and yellow fever. I always shower after having sex. So you can imagine how healthy I am after washing seven or sometimes even ten times a day.

Polygamy

I am a big man. Bigger than you think. It is impossible for just one woman to satisfy me. Besides, it is in my culture to have many wives. The more the merrier. I think maybe Hugh Hefner has some Zulu blood in him, but most white men can’t handle more than one wife because they allow them to wear the pants. In my house, I am the boss. None of my wives nag me to fix the roof or ask me where I’ve been when I work late.

The right to bear arms

I am very disappointed that even though I am president of the ANC, nobody has bothered to bring me my machine gun. I have made it clear enough, haven’t I? After all, there aren’t that many lyrics. It’s not as if people could miss the message. Awuleth’ mshini wam. Bring me my machine gun. A simple request from a simple man. Anyway, I’m hoping that someone will find it and bring it to me before my trial starts in September. My machine gun may well influence the outcome.

Education

I am living proof that you do not need an education to rise to the highest office in the land. Comrade Thabo might as well have spent his youth exploring the fleshpots of Europe for all the good those years of studying did him. Of course, it helps to be able to read and write. Everyone should at least be able to read a charge sheet and write an affidavit. But things like maths and biology and all that other rubbish are a waste of time. My advice to the youth is this: learn how to herd cows and goats. A good herdsboy learns how to think and act like a goat. Once you perfect this skill, you can go into politics and even become president one day.

Economic policy

As you know, inflation is sitting at around 60% … or is that unemployment? Maybe it was the matric pass rate. Anyway, it’s not important. These are just numbers. When I am president of the country, I will reset everything to zero and start again from scratch.

Finance

Being able to work out sums is very important when it comes to finance. I was lucky in that I learnt to count from a very young age. When it’s your responsibility to make sure that none of your cattle stray onto the N2, you need to keep track of the numbers. In my culture, cows are money. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses like airlines and clothing shops no longer accept cows as payment. If you don’t have money, you borrow it. This is how global finance operates. Sometimes our government borrows money from institutions overseas. I only borrowed money from Schabir Shaik because he offered better terms than the World Bank. Zero repayments over a period of no years. You don’t get better than that!

The charges

Racketeering? Money laundering? Who do these people think I am? Al Capone? My government created the Scorpions so that they could investigate the real criminals, not decent law-abiding patriots like me and Jackie Selebi. What on earth were they thinking? I will fight these trumped-up charges tooth and nail. Oh yes, before I forget, I would like to thank all those taxpayers who will be making it possible for me to afford the best lawyers around. When I am president, I will give everyone a tax holiday for a week.

The media

There is a perception that I regard journalists as devils. This is not true. They are worse than devils. They are like filthy rats that eat the ship they live on and then jump onto another ship when that one starts sinking. I am just one of their ships. They have many. But I am not concerned. I am suing that scoundrel, Zapiro, for R10-million. With the money, I will start my own newspaper and get parliament to pass a law making it compulsory for everyone to read it. Anyone caught buying any other newspaper will be put to death.

Thabo Mbeki

Comrade Thabo and I go back a long way. He is a very dear friend. Two men couldn’t be closer without actually being gay. We are like Caesar and Brutus, Kennedy and Oswald, Martin Luther King and James Earl Ray, Verwoerd and Tsafendas. You get the picture.

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Makes you wanna nuke

I went to Teazers once to get my nails done.

The Thai manicurist didn’t do a very good job even though I hired a private booth so she could work without the other manicurists distracting me. I left feeling quite frustrated. I doubt that State Security Minister David Mahlobo had the same experience when he visited the Jin Lu Massage and Beauty Salon in Nelspruit. The Chinese are experts when it comes to giving even the most faulty of nails a damn good seeing to.

A lot of very famous people make use of manicurists. Charlie Sheen, for instance, has the best nails in Hollywood. He stopped going, though, after picking up a nasty infection from a dodgy nail file.

Turns out that the owner of the establishment, Comrade Guan Jiang Guang, dabbles in a bit of the old rhino horn trade when business is slow. Who could’ve guessed? Not Mahlobo, obviously. He’s only responsible for providing the government with intelligence on organised crime. Perhaps he didn’t think Comrade Guan was all that organised, what with the odd stray horn being swept up with the end of the day’s toenail clippings.

In other news from the department of pork pies, the government is forging ahead with efforts to make good on the bribes paid by Russia to build our nuclear power stations. Okay, fine. Alleged bribes. This week the department of energy briefed parliament’s energy portfolio committee on matters nuclear. In keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency, the media and members of the public were barred.

Committee chair Fikile Majola said the meeting to discuss forensic reports into the R14.5bn “impairment” suffered by PetroSA on its investment in the Ikhwezi offshore drilling project would also be held behind closed doors.

“What? You’ve lost all our money gambling at the casino?”

“Relax, darling. I didn’t lose it. I suffered an impairment.”

The nuclear build plan is a one, possibly two, trillion rand project and the deal is none of our business. Rightly so. We’re not qualified to have an opinion. The World Bank says ten million South Africans struggle to meet their monthly debt repayments. We’re complete idiots. No wonder they can’t trust us to behave like adults when it comes to finance.

“Sir, this money has been allocated to the nuclear power programme.”

“Ja but I just need a small las, my bru. Gooi a ten mil there. I’ll pay you back. I swear.”

You can’t expect people to understand about splitting the atom when they need help splitting the bar bill. You also can’t expect people to care about the cost of Project Nuke when their only reaction to the news that government irregularly spent R46-billion in one year is to roll their eyes and order another round. And, quite possibly, vote for the same sorry sack of weasels in the next election.

Like my hero Donald Trump, I’m a big fan of fossil fuels. Fossils burn better than anything. Just one vertebra from the spine of a brontosaurus will keep your braai going for a month. And if you chuck a couple of them trilobites and chillibites and whatnot into the Jetmaster, you’re sorted for winter. What’s not to love?

I’m an even bigger fan of nuclear power. You know where you stand with this stuff. Don’t talk to me about renewable energy. You can’t trust the sun, much less the wind. The sun will give you skin cancer while the wind will blow your cap off and you’ll chase it into the road and get hit by a taxi.

Like politics, uranium mining is a filthy business, especially if it gets down your shoes or under your nails. You’d then have to go to the Jin Lu Beauty Salon and run the risk of being seen as a metrosexual fabulist with an unhealthy interest in the keratin-rich pointy bit on the snouts of certain odd-toed ungulates.

The production of a thousand tons of uranium fuel generates a hundred thousand tons of radioactive tailings and four million litres of liquid waste containing head-banging heavy metals and yummy arsenic. But it’s okay because you only have to store the waste for a quarter of a million years before it’s safe enough to let the children play in it.

The best thing about having a nuclear programme is that we can help out our other buddies in Central Asia. Vladimir can do the power stations while the Stans ( Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) can handle the armaments side of things.

It would be silly to have nuclear power stations and not nuclear weapons. Our North Korean friends would laugh at us. Besides, when President Trump phones in the codes, we don’t want to be standing around like Swaziland with our hands down our broeks not bombing anyone because we don’t have any nukes.

I’m not suggesting we make anything on the scale of Fat Man and Little Boy, here. I’m thinking more along the lines of pocket nukes compact enough to be fired by unskilled labourers using rudimentary catapults. The Speaker of parliament could use them to shut the DA up. We could even make baby bombs for personalised use. Take Julius Malema, for instance. Slip a tiny one down his trousers and he won’t be so quick to call for the slaughter of us white devils, I can tell you.

We’ve taken a few shaky steps down Fission Road already. Remember the government’s Pebble Bed Modular Reactor project? Of course you don’t. You barely remember where you were last night. The PBMR frolic, which came to a shuddering halt six years ago, was the equivalent of pouring petrol over R10-billion and putting a match to it. Eight hundred employees were retrenched and the company’s assets mothballed. I hope it worked because moths enjoy nothing more than nibbling on a little uranium hexafluoride before mating. Then again, the project was located in Centurion and if there is one city that could do with an invasion of giant mutant moths capable of sucking up entire buildings through their enormous hairy probosci, Pretoria is it.

That doomed venture could have paid for two billion bottles of Windhoek Lager. That’s a six-pack for every man, woman and child in the country. So listen up. The next time this pitiful excuse for a government loses its mind and tries to set fire to your money, do something about it. Wipe the drool from your chin, get out of your comfy chair and bloody well do something.

Finally, here’s a short guide that might come in handy should the government go ahead with this berserk project that has more to do with meeting the financial needs of the alpha wolf and his ravening pack than it does the country’s energy needs.

At some point, there is likely to be a nuclear disaster. Don’t worry that you might mistake it for a car backfiring in the street. It will be louder than that. Once you have heard the blast, resist the urge to rush outside and see what happened. You need to wait for the radiation to blow away.

Refrain from sexual activity. This is not a good time for a woman to conceive. Unless, of course, you can afford to have another three mouths to feed. And you don’t mind if they’re all on the same baby.

If a reactor near you blows up before you can reach an underground shelter, put on a floppy hat and a pair of decent sunglasses. The flash is very bright and could damage your eyesight. The flash is also very hot and could leave you with a nasty burn if you’re not careful. If this happens, smear a little butter on it right away.

The detonation of a 300-kiloton nuclear device releases 300 trillion calories within a millionth of a second. If you are in the habit of watching calories, you will need to have your wits about you. Get behind a wall or down on the floor and make yourself as small as possible. You really can’t afford to pile on more calories.

The energy of the blast will also create a giant fireball. This won’t be so bad if it happens in Cape Town in winter, but if you live in Durban and it’s mid-summer, the additional heat will be unbearable and you’ll probably want to call in sick.

Waves of thermal energy will ignite fires across the city. If you are having trouble lighting a braai, you will welcome the extra help. Very hot high-speed gales will also spring up, so you might have to postpone the kite surfing.

If you have any old furniture you’ve been meaning to strip down, leave it in the garden. The blast wave will do the job nicely.

Once the blast wave has passed, have a shower to wash off any lingering radiation and put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea. But be quick because the rising fireball will create a suction effect and a lot of stuff will start heading back towards ground zero. If you see cars, trees, animals and so on flying past your window, hold on to something until the winds die down.

There will be a lot of dust and other debris in the air, so if you suffer from hay fever you might want to take an antihistamine. The streets will be quite warm from all that hot air passing over them and it’s best to put on a sturdy pair of shoes before venturing out. Things will look a little different and it’s important that you remain positive. Take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the quiet.

Relief efforts will soon be underway. Unless, of course, everyone is dead.

South Beach Durban. Photograph Graeme Williams
South Beach
Durban. Photograph Graeme Williams

Our time to eat

Twice, in the space of a single day this week, people have mistaken me for Richard Branson. The first time was in the street. “Hey!” shouted the female half of a heterosexual couple. “There’s Richard Branson!” I laughed and waved, casually running my hand through my thick blond hair, then pretended to get into a conveniently parked Porsche. The moment was ruined when an advertising executive with a cocaine moustache darted from a coffee shop and shouted at me to step away from his vehicle.

The second time, I was in a bar that shares a boundary wall with a rehab in the deep south of the Cape peninsula. A grizzled bag of rags and his ravaged buddy shuffled in. I thought they might have been looking for the rehab. The grizzly turned to his sidekick. “Check it out, bru. That Richard Branson oke’s here.” They laughed. Well, they made a hacking, gurgling sound. They were either laughing or dying. I didn’t particularly care. At this point, I was tired of being mistaken for Branson. It seemed cruel and unnecessary. Yes, we share similar hair and, obviously, a penchant for extreme sports and beautiful women. Or, in my case, extreme women and beautiful sports.

By an odd quirk of coincidence, Branson actually was in Cape Town this week. He was here to relaunch something called Virgin Money Insurance. On a moral scale, the insurance industry is one rung above human trafficking. Branson partnered with Telesure six years ago but, like all unequal relationships, it ended in tears when one found the other in bed with a hotter company.

Now, older and wiser, Virgin has entered into a relationship with a boy called American International Group. They sound more streetwise and savvy than the sweet, naïve Telesure, and we’re all hoping this time it lasts. When corporate hearts get broken, we all get broken.

Virgin Money’s Rob Campbell said that when Virgin and Telesure broke up (I bet they still stalk each other on Facebook) they had to “reengineer” the business. They now have the “capacity needed to develop customer-centric insurance products and services”. As opposed to previously, I expect, when the business focused solely on itself. One evening they had the talk.

Telesure: “You know what, Virgin. With you it’s always me me me. This may come as a surprise, but I have feelings, too. And by the way, my eyes are up here. You only ever wanted me for one thing. I’m leaving. And don’t think I don’t know what’s been going on with those Americans. And another thing, you lied about being a virgin.”

There’s no record of Virgin’s response. I imagine it involved a fair amount of sighing and rolling of the eyes.

Branson said he was delighted that the NPA had decided against prosecuting finance minister Pravin Gordhan after learning that Hawks head Mthandazo Ntlemeza had discovered the evidence inside a fortune cookie.

Here’s the really cute bit, though. Branson said, “I wish it had happened in a week’s time, because of the low rand … I’m on holiday here at the moment.” Branson has a net worth of only five billion dollars, so it’s understandable that he’d have wanted to capitalise on a weak rand. It’s horrible how the vagaries of politics can so brutally affect someone’s vacation.

Being something of a nautical type, he also said, “South Africa needs somebody at the wheel of the ship, to steer it into safe waters.” Thank you, Sir Richard, for confirming what many of us have suspected for a long time. The bridge has been abandoned.

I saw an old quote from Branson on Facebook today. “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” Please don’t encourage this sort of thing. This is how our president got the job in the first place. He is one of those people who spend years revelling in the amazing opportunity bit without bothering to get around to the learning bit.

I saw something else on Facebook. “Michael Burry made $8.4bn using common sense. Most people don’t realise how easy it has become to profit like he did.” I might have clicked on the link if it had said that Michael Burry had made $10 000 using common sense. That’s a number I can understand. I can get a picture in my head of what I could buy for R130 000. Just over a thousand cases of beer and seventy bags of salt and vinegar chips. Because I lack the gland in my brain that understands maths, I have to convert everything into beer.

I don’t want to know how to make $8-billion, and not just because my brain would explode if I had to attempt a conversion. I don’t want that kind of money. If I had it, I’d make a lot of people very happy in a short space of time and then I would die spectacularly.

Do you know who does want that kind of money? The brothers Gupta, that’s who. Just over a year ago, deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas found himself in their opulent home in Saxonwold. There, a certain Mr Ajay Gupta mentioned that his family made R6-billion from the state. Understandably, this wasn’t enough. It’s a big family to support. Jacob Zuma’s, I mean.

So, Mr Jonas, they said. Would you mind terribly if we asked you to help us bung the number up to R8-billion? We’d be awfully grateful. Obviously we’d make you finance minister. Did you perhaps bring a bag? We’re quite happy to give you a little something for your trouble. Should we say R600 000? That’s just for the car guard, ha ha. The real money – the R600-million – would go into an account of your choice. May we recommend the Bank of Baroda? Or perhaps you’d prefer something in Zurich? Your colleague, mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane, says Switzerland is lovely at this time of year.

As if that’s not bad enough, supermarkets have begun playing Christmas carols. The psychology is similar to that used by the CIA in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. They play Christina Aguilera and The Barney Theme to get the prisoners to crack and confess to blowing up shit. Checkers plays Jingle Bells and The Little Drummer Boy to get the pensioners to crack and start buying up shit. Because, you know, we idiot consumers might be under the impression that we’re coming up to Easter. Awaaay in a manger … only 49 days to go folks! Hurry! Specials on toxic Chinese dreck in aisle seven! Ding-dong merrily I’m high.

But there’s sad news, too. Whitey Basson, CEO of Shoprite, has reached his sell-by date and is retiring at the end of the year. His salary last year was a meagre R49.7-million. Luckily, the board took pity on him and gave him a R50-million bonus. How sad it would have been if some of his relatives hadn’t found a Ferrari beneath the tree on Christmas Day. The board said he deserved it because he hadn’t received a basic pay increase since 2013. Poor bastard. Nor have I, come to think of it. Where’s my goddamn Ferrari?

So, yeah. Right now everything appears to be revolving around money. It’s either too little or too much. Has anyone, since the Industrial Revolution, ever put up their hand and said, “No, thanks. Really. I have enough money.” Of course not. But you’ll politely recoil when someone passes around the plate of cream scones or bong for the seventh time. “No more for me. Honestly. I’ll explode/vomit/kill everyone in the room.” Why not money? Is there really no limit to how much a person can have? Apparently not.

Speaking of gluttons, I was surprised to hear that Weekend Special a.k.a 2-Minute Noodle a.k.a minister of cooperative governance David ‘Des’ van Rooyen spent so much time at the Guptas house. Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found he’d made at least 17 calls from the Saxonwold compound. They obviously didn’t have time to get their story straight because Atul Gupta told Thuli that the minister had never even been to their house. I suppose it’s possible he was calling from the street outside.

“Atul, open the gate!”

“Who is it?”

“It’s me, David.”

“Who?”

“David, man. Dave. Open up. I think the cops saw me.”

“Dave?”

“Yeah, Dave.”

“Dave’s not here.”

“What the hell? No, man. I’m Dave. Open up.”

The saddest part is that Van Rooyen spent Valentines Day with the Guptas this year. Maybe it’s not sad at all. When you consider that Eskom CEO Brian Molefe visited the Indians 19 times in four months and in six made over forty telephone calls to Ajay, the oldest, sugariest daddy of the family, you have to wonder if there wasn’t perhaps something else going on here. Atul, Ajay and Rajesh. That’s a ready-made threesome right there. Just add malfeasance. Perhaps all this talk of coal mines and contracts was just a smokescreen to cover up what was really happening at Sexonwold. The platinum-plated Jacuzzis, the late-night nudity, the discreet oral favours in return for information. Leopards on leashes and a blindfolded jazz quartet in the corner. A subtle reminder that goodies will be provided but you should bring your own bag. For the sake of the environment, of course. And also fingerprints.

So here we are. I can’t help feeling Thuli didn’t go far enough. I was hoping that by now Radovan Krecjir and Oscar Pistorius would be picking teams for the afternoon game. I don’t know if Zuma, Molefe, Zwane, Van Rooyen, Eskom’s board of directors, the Guptas etc even know how to play soccer. I don’t suppose it really matters. They’d just make up the rules as they go along.

It somehow seems fitting that, at the lowest point of his political career, President Jacob Zuma chose to visit his appalling counterpart in Zimbabwe. Well done, Jake.

Meanwhile, bring on the judicial commission of inquiry. If that gets hijacked, let’s give Dog the Bounty Hunter a call. I’ll put up the first thousand bucks.

Of course, none of this matters if Donald Trump wins on Tuesday. Start building your nuclear bunkers, people. You just never know.

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A letter to Hillary Clinton

My darling Hillary,

Well done! I wanted to be at the very front of the queue to congratulate you on becoming the first president of the United States of America to have lady-bits. How refreshing! Your election to office, I mean, not your lady-bits. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m sure your lady-bits are delightfully refreshing. Oh, dear. This isn’t going well at all. Let me start again.

Well done! Yes, I’m aware that you haven’t won the election just yet but you are going to win and I will then be able to legitimately lay claim to being the first person in the world to congratulate you. I’m rather impressed with myself, actually. It’s not often a South African gets a world first in a category other than alcohol abuse, rape, murder and so on. We take what we can get. Quite often we also take what we can’t get. It’s the politics of liberation. You want it, you take it.

But that’s enough about me. How are you feeling? Exhausted, I bet. Power is a tremendous aphrodisiac and I’m sure Bill hasn’t been able to keep his hands to himself during this final sprint to victory. I only hope he hasn’t been bringing his tawdry harlots home this time around. It’s bad enough you having to listen to the grunting mental exertions of your political rival without also having to contend with the trumpeting of sundry strumpets spreadeagled in the sun room.

Oh, I almost forgot – happy birthday! A little belated, sorry. We’re all a bit belated in this part of the world. So you turned 69 on Wednesday. That’s quite an achievement. I do hope Bill didn’t ruin the occasion by making rude jokes about the number. You know what men are like. Of course you do. Obviously I’m not talking about Donald Trump. He’s not so much a man as he is a giant mango-faced cockwomble.

Isn’t it going to be weird moving back into the White House? And I don’t mean just because darkies have been living there for the last eight years. I mean because of all the history that 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue carries with it. The Oval Office alone has seen everything from Abraham Lincoln’s glass eye to Monica Lewinsky’s vajayjay. I hope your first act as president is to hire a strapping young intern and abuse him in the worst possible way. Treat him real bad. Know what I’m saying? No, Hillary. I don’t mean put him in the White House press office.

Are you disappointed to be rated the second-most-unpopular presidential nominee ever? After all, to a fighter like you, second place means nothing. If only Donald hadn’t set the bar so low that not even bacteria could slide beneath it, you would’ve been the most unpopular. He might have cheated you out of the title, but he damn well won’t cheat you out of the election. If there is any cheating to be done, you’ll be the one to do it.

You lie with such grace and charm that one finds oneself falling a little in love with you. Most of the women I’ve dated have been out-and-out compulsive fabulists with no appreciation for the timeless political arts of fabrication and mendacity.

As for all that nonsense about endangering American lives through a careless attitude towards confidential emails. I see it as a refreshing devil-may-care attitude. Truth be told, nothing turns me on more than a woman who has her own private email server. Hell, I get excited when I meet a woman who has her own car. Or even her own teeth.

Some of your staff recently called you “nuts” and “secretive”. So what? Show me a woman who isn’t nuts and secretive and I’ll show you a man.

I was pleased when you gave up that secretary of state job. I’ve gone out with a few secretaries in my time and it never ended well. Also, you really don’t want your resume to reflect that you were secretary to a Kenyan-born Muslim who might very well prove to have been the Antichrist all along.

People close to you say you’re a workaholic. Me too. No, wait. Alcoholic. Not much difference, though. It takes as much commitment and dedication to reach the very bottom as it does to reach the very top. In South Africa, nobody has ever reached the very bottom. Our leaders in particular sink to exciting new depths every day. This is a bit of a Wonderland country where it is often difficult to tell up from down, right from wrong and why the president isn’t in prison.

People have always said the world would be very different if it were run by women. By people I mean my first ex-wife. She knew everything there was to know about anything and I had no reason to doubt her. So my question is this. Do you think having boobies and a bobcat rather than moobs and man-giblets will make a difference to the way the most powerful country in the world is run? If so, what will you do differently? Once you’ve colour-coded the Situation Room and redecorated the Dog Box (Bill’s bedroom) and after replacing the kitchen utensils “borrowed” by Michelle, what then?

You will be striking a big blow for women and millions of eyes will be on you. Feminists have, however, set you up for failure with their demented cries of “Whatever men can do women can do better” and “Men should be castrated”. Do they expect you to chop the goolies off all your male staff? And how could you possibly bomb terrorists and anyone who might be inadvertently standing near terrorists any better than Barack Obama? Or, for that matter, George W Bush?

I suppose you could send flowers to those who qualify as collateral damage. That would be a nice, feminine touch. And maybe insist that warships are painted in cheery pastel colours in summer and warm earthy tones in winter. Or, and this is a big or, you could unleash your soft, gentle, sensitive, nurturing side that all women possess. Or so I’ve heard. Tap into that and stop the bombings. Ground the drones. Stop the slaughter of innocents. Stop invading countries on the flimsiest of pretexts. Instead, start talking. Hang on. I might need to rethink this. My second wife was a talker and it only seemed to make things worse.

You know what worries me? Virtually everything. But in the American context, I worry that almost as many people will be voting for Donald Trump on November 8 as they will be for you. What in the name of baby Jesus happened to your people? What terrible calamity struck your country to create such a powerful voting bloc of intellectually-challenged race-baiting morons who think the ginger pussy-grabbing cockwomble would make a good leader? Aren’t these people going to be ungovernable after their man loses? Or will they simply go back to stuffing cheeseburgers into their misshapen faces and breeding with their cousins? Why aren’t you answering me, Hillary? Why? Oh, right. I thought this was an email.

Another thing I don’t understand is how you actually conduct your elections. Where I come from, we wake up on polling day, get drunk and vote for the same bunch of corrupt, pot-bellied pigs over and over again. Then we go home, drink some more and spend the next five years complaining.

You people, on the other hand, have a system so complex and convoluted that I’m surprised voters with miniature Trump-like brains can even grasp it.

We don’t have the equivalent of Donald Trump in our country. The closest we might come is a fat kid called Oros, but he lacks Donald’s charisma and is not so bright. Your doppelgänger is probably Helen Zille, the former leader of our official opposition. Like you, she talks a good game but doesn’t have your superior dress sense and salacious spouse.

I read somewhere that you genuinely have America’s best interests at heart and aren’t in it for the money. Is this true or just another smear campaign to make you look bad? You see, our politicians are revered for their ability to steal as much money as they can while in office. It’s become something of a competition, actually, with the different provinces vying between themselves. We also have individual and team categories to see who can loot the most without being arrested. It’s great fun. The game never ends, either, because our prosecutors are kept busy charging the honest ones who try to spoil things for the rest of us.

Anyway. We can chat in person after the election. I expect to be at your inauguration as South Africa’s new ambassador to the US. First, though, I will have to commit fraud or perpetrate some or other crime in defence of our president. It’s the only way to get an ambassadorship these days.

pic2hillary

 

Your turn, Mr President

Dear Comrade Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma the First, by the Grace of God President of the Republic of South Africa, Head of the Household, Defender of the Faith, Pastor of the Flock, Defeater of the Mbeki, Unifier of the Nation, Msholozi of Msholozis, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, Conqueror of the Apartheid Regime and Owner of Property in Nkandla, greetings in the name of the third democratic revolution.

I say third because, as you may have heard, the second has been hijacked by students and the less said about it the better. In fact, you’ve had less to say than anyone. Do you even know there’s trouble at the universities? Perhaps you don’t get the papers any more. If I were you, I wouldn’t. You have enough on your plate, and I’m not talking about that kudu haunch drizzled with warthog jus, either.

Some say democracy and revolution make uneasy bedfellows. That’s rubbish. Uneasy bedfellows would be Julius Malema and Steve Hofmeyr. As you probably know, democracy is a Greek word invented by Plato. ‘Demo’ means ‘the people and ‘cracy’ means ‘are crazy’. An example of this is how 62% of the electorate voted for you and your party to remain in power for another five years.

And what a party it’s been. Especially for you. Not everyone gets the chance to travel the world, meet interesting people (Asians, mostly), play Monopoly with real money and chess with real pawn-people. If there’s one thing you do have, it’s time to spare. That’s the beauty of rule by collective. You take the money and the overseas trips, they take the responsibility.

Perhaps I’m being a little unfair here. I’m sure you’re very busy. A man in your position must spend at least six hours a day with his lawyers. That only leaves 18 hours for the wives. It sounds a lot, but it’s not really. Not when you have four wives. What does that work out to? Just over four hours per wife? No, wait. You dumped one of them after she tried to poison you.

Anyway, whatever time you have left in the day is probably spent helping your kids with their homework, tender applications and impending lawsuits. I can’t work out what that is divided between 22 children. That’s why I’m not your finance minister. Although if you had your wits about you, you’d dump that tight-fisted Gordhan and appoint me at once. I’m a reckless fool when it comes to money. You could take me out for lunchtime drinks and the Treasury would be yours by sunset.

I appreciate, though, that discretion is the better part of valour when it comes to snatching the organs of state. I don’t even understand what I’ve just written, that’s how much of an idiot I am. This is starting to sound like a job application. I do apologise.

I admire you for having the intestinal fortitude to continue going through the motions as head of state. For instance, early last week you addressed something called the South African heads of missions conference in Pretoria. Who are these people? No, wait. Don’t tell me. Upstanding citizens like Bruce Koloane who allowed friends of the Guptas to land at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, Mohau Pheko who lied about having a PhD and Sibusiso Ndebele who is facing corruption charges.

You told our diplomats a side-effect of democracy was that “processes tend to be slower”. This must be very frustrating for you. Progress is not achieved through committees. It is achieved through seizing the moment, the state-owned enterprises and, ultimately, the Treasury.

I am reluctant to quote you back at yourself, but this one has a special place in my heart. “Democracies go through difficulties, precisely because they are democracies. Only in the autocratic dictatorships … there are no problems. When the ruler says they want a bridge here, there is no debate, the bridge will be constructed. No one says there is no money.”

Precisely. Take, for instance, the bridge over the River Kwai. If Pravin Gordhan had been in charge of the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942, things would have been very different. Emperor Gordhan would have said there is no money for a railway and thousands of British prisoners of war wouldn’t have died building the Burma-Siam line. Thank god for autocrats like Hirohito.

And let’s not forget North Korea, one of our brightest stars in the firmament of autocratic dictatorships. Kim Jong-un might have had his hairdresser’s eyes plucked out so the commoner could never gaze upon the Loinfruit Leader’s glorious countenance, which is only right, but one cannot deny that the man gets things done. Despite selfish western sanctions, his nuclear programme continues apace. When he feels like launching a rocket to see if it is capable of reaching Washington DC, even factoring in the added weight of a nuclear warhead, he doesn’t ask permission. He doesn’t ask if there’s money. He just does it. This is why we love Kim.

The other alternative to democracy is, of course, a benevolent dictatorship. This is my personal favourite. Wikipedia says “a benevolent dictator portrays himself as compassionate and altruistic, allowing for some decisions to be made by a democratic process. A benevolent dictator remains in power only while the people allow him to.”

This, comrade president, describes you perfectly. If we ignore words like compassionate and altruistic, naturally.

Your final option – and this is where it gets interesting – is the military dictatorship. We had that under PW Botha. No reason it can’t work again. On the other hand, it’s not exactly the same army, is it? There are no pilots for our jets and the submarines are up on bricks. Also, the infantry is on sick leave. Perhaps the MK Veterans’ Association can prop you up.

You’re right, though. Things move painfully slowly in a democracy. You’re a fast mover – a man who likes to get things done. Look how fast you moved the other day when Thuli Madonsela sent you that list of questions. In no time at all, you were off to Kenya on a state visit.

You told our diplomats, “When people say to you, what is happening in South Africa, why these protests? Tell them it is democracy. When they say why does it look like the ruling party is fighting? That is democracy.” I suppose it could work. It might be better, though, if, faced with difficult questions, our diplomats simply exercised their right to remain silent.

We spend R3.2-billion a year on 122 diplomatic missions abroad. The only country better represented on foreign soil is America, with 126 missions. We need to beat America. Can’t you open a few more embassies or have we run out of countries? They don’t have to be fancy. Perhaps something along the lines of our least expensive embassy, which happens to be in Belarus’s glittering capital Minsk and costs a mere R5-million a year.

Anyway. Good luck with your court application to prevent the public protector’s report on state capture from being released. If the judge asks any awkward questions, get your lawyer to blame democracy. The same goes with Pravin Gordhan. If ratings agencies want to know why your boys in the Hawks are prosecuting the finance minister, tell them that’s democracy.

If things get too hot, you can always take another trip. I hear the weather in Dubai is lovely at this time of year.

An open letter to Shaun Abrahams, director of the National Prosecuting Authority

Dear Comrade Shaun,

Congratulations on rounding up the finance minister and two of his former henchmen from the SA Revenue Service. Like you, I despise people who understand numbers. They aren’t to be trusted. Numbers can mean anything depending on what you do with them. This is why your man, President Zuma, has trouble reading figures more than three digits long. And I need not remind you, of all people, what a trustworthy, reliable, honest person our leader is.

I see you are an advocate. Well done. Your title is so important that it even had a drink named after it. No, wait. I’m thinking of advokaat. Dreadful stuff. Rich and thick, like a lot of people in the legal profession.

You were admitted to the Bar a few years ago. I was admitted to the bar twenty minutes ago. Now I’m just waiting for happy hour. Sorry. That’s a drinking joke and this is not the time to be telling jokes. It is, however, the time to be drinking.

Prosecution is too good for the likes of Pravin Gordhan. The nation was shocked when they got wind of the heinous crime he committed while head of Sars back in 2010. Approving a colleague’s early retirement then rehiring him as a consultant is right up there with Stalin’s purges, if not the Holocaust.

Gordhan should be strung up by the heels and publicly whipped. Better yet, turn him over to the Saudis. They know what to do with people who approve early retirement packages.

None of this would be happening if Gordhan hadn’t dissed you when you ordered him to present himself for a warning statement in August. Basically, he told you to get stuffed. What’s the point of being sheriff if people don’t obey you? It reminds me of when I was made prefect in primary school.

This one red-headed kid kept ignoring my commands so I burnt the school down. It didn’t matter that everyone was affected. The important thing was that this boy suffered for disrespecting the rank of prefect. You, sir, are this country’s über-prefect, and even though your decision to prosecute the finance minister has caused the price of bread to rise and my retirement savings to shrink, I still respect your rank.

It seems, though, you might be prepared to reconsider if Gordhan makes the appropriate grovelling noises. I doubt he will, though. He comes from Durban.

Some people are whining that your decision caused the rand to fall by three percent. Oh, please. I got three percent for maths in tenth grade and I turned out just fine. Comparatively, anyway. These thin-lipped critics with their knowledge of numbers also say that nearly R50bn was wiped off the JSE’s banking index. People like us don’t even know what the JSE is. And we care even less. Right, Shaun? The important thing is to crack down on the evil-doers. Obviously you need to prioritise. Get the real criminals before they do even more damage. Let this one slide and the next thing you know, everyone is getting an early retirement package.

Once the finance minister is safely behind bars, you need to move on the jaywalkers and the litterers. Are you perhaps prosecuting people alphabetically? If, for instance, there was someone whose surname started with Z and who should, for argument’s sake, be expected to answer, say, 783 charges, you probably wouldn’t get around to him for 50 years at least. Can’t get fairer than that.

The timing of your announcement was perfect. Gordhan is due to deliver the medium term something-or-other in parliament in a few days. It’s important to distract him so that he makes mistakes. We need to minimise the risk of him showing up his cabinet colleagues as a mob of mouth-breathing imbeciles. Nobody likes a smartarse.

Come to think of it, Gordhan never even scored a cent from his crime against humanity. That’s not very smart at all. We have countless civil servants managing to successfully loot state coffers every day without being caught. Good for them. Your disinterest in prosecuting suggests that you, like me, have a grudging respect for competent career criminals.

All the president wants Gordhan to do is rotate the country’s gold reserves like Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson did with our oil reserves. Okay, so a billion rand went missing in that deal, but rotating is a tricky business. Incidentally, a couple of liberationists got into my house last weekend and rotated my laptop and camera.

As you know, the problem is that Gordhan selfishly keeps the keys to the treasury on a chain around his neck. We need a minister who will make copies for his friends. The Guptas, for instance, briefly had a key but then lost it when Des van Rooyen ended his weekend stint as finance minister.

The other problem with Gordhan is that he keeps allocating money to doomed causes like education and health instead of helping secure nuclear power deals with our Russian friends. My first choice for Gordhan’s replacement is Fikile Mbalula. Why not? Send in the clowns, I say.

Getting the Hawks to swoop on the finance minister’s home with a summons first thing in the morning was a stroke of genius. This would have sent a clear message to his grandchildren or any other relatives being harboured in his house that the NPA is not to be trifled with when it comes to the illicit granting of early retirement.

Unfortunately, Gordhan had already left for work so your men had to go all the way to his office. What kind of monster goes to work that early? This is another reason he belongs in jail. Putting in a solid day’s work sets a dangerous precedent and creates expectations that simply cannot be met. Diligence must be crushed as a matter of priority.

Your timing was impeccable, serving the summons on Gordhan just after returning from New York where he encouraged business leaders to invest in South Africa. Does the man have no shame? Few of us have the money to go overseas and by jetting off like that, he is rubbing our noses in our own poverty. Fortunately, your decision to prosecute him will ensure that nobody apart from maybe Whitey Basson and Patrice Motsepe will be able to travel further than Nelspruit. If, by bringing Gordhan down, you cripple our economy in the process, so be it. What is the rand, anyway? It’s just paper.

Even after getting the summons, Gordhan continued mouthing off. “The fight against corruption‚ maladministration and waste of public resources will continue,” he threatened from his leafy rebel hideout in Waterkloof.

It’s this kind of radical talk that will destroy our country. Can you not slap him with a gagging order? Why can he not emulate our awesome president and not comment on anything? Why does he not take leave instead of decisions?

While doing research to make sure you are who you say you are, I came across some interesting information. Your favourite movie, for example, is Gladiator. I get the fantasy of trapping people in a net and poking them with a trident, but I can’t help thinking you’re less of a Russell Crowe and more of a Karl Pilkington. Do you know him? He was in a series called An Idiot Abroad.

I also learnt that your mother’s nickname for you is “Pikkewyntjie”. In a language everyone can understand, that means “Little Penguin”. Apparently it was because of the way you walked as a baby and not, as one might imagine, because of your habit of spearing raw fish with your beak. If you face Gordhan in court, I think you should waddle like a penguin. That would throw him off balance.

I particularly enjoyed this quote from your mother. “He was really not an academic boy. Always rugby, rugby, rugby. I would battle to get that child to study.” As we know, rugby has produced some of this country’s finest minds. Look at Bakkies Botha. Man, that oke are clever like a fox.

Do you know who else you should prosecute? The Public Protector, that’s who. Not Busisiwe Mkhwebane. She’s on the team. I’m talking about the renegade Thuli Madonsela. Summons her to answer charges of impugning the dignity of the president. What that poor man has gone through at her hands.

Now that she is no longer in office, there is nobody to protect her. Well, I suppose the public might. In which case, prosecute the public. Issue summonses for all 53 million. Even if they say they have done nothing wrong, I’m sure you will come up with something.

Finally, thanks to you, we can all sleep a little sounder in our beds at night knowing that Pravin Gordhan isn’t out there somewhere, wilfully approving early retirements.

Viva.