Tag: jacob zuma

Dirty, rotten scoundrels

Lying is the new truth. Girls are the new boys. Dogs are the new cats. It occurs to me that I can write any gibberish and get away with it because nobody can tell the difference or perhaps even gives a damn.

This past week, Eskom’s dissembling chair Dr Ben Ngubane and our ethically flaccid myrmidon of an energy minister appeared before a parliamentary committee and performed the foxtrot, waltz, tango and samba – all from a sitting position. The room was awash in sophistry and subterfuge when Ngubane lifted his hands like some kind of wounded messiah. “Give us the benefit of the doubt,” he wheedled. The longest of shots with nary a blush in sight.

What does this man have a doctorate in? Audacity? Shamelessness? Was he genuinely impervious to the cloying stench of doubt that pervaded the room, let alone the country, or does he simply think we’re all complete idiots? Like most wannabe messiahs, a bit of both, I expect.

Meanwhile, above the rattle and hum of overheated shredding machines at Megatwatt Park, liquidators appointed to wind up a mining company owned by Ngubane and his wife Sheila are proceeding with a court application in which they accuse the couple of using fake documents to personally lay claim to the lucrative mining rights.

A little more of that yummy benefit, sir? Perhaps drizzled in dashed expectations with a splash of misplaced trust?

I feel ill. Let’s move on to matters marginally less nauseating but equally repellent. The tripartite alliance, once hailed as the great unifier of workers, socialists and the exploited – everyone apart from white people, in other words – has almost overnight been reduced to the ANC standing bewildered in the middle of the ballroom wondering where its dancing partners have gone.

Cosatu has made it clear to President Jacob Zuma that he should stop checking his in-box for invitations to their insurrectionist soirees. The Communist Party, clinging to the teachings of some of history’s most impressive mass murderers, moves upwind whenever Zuma’s name is mentioned. The churches have Elysium-mailed a photo of the president to St Peter so that he can stick it up on the Pearly Gates in the event that Zuma, post mortem, manages to bribe his way out of hell. The veterans and stalwarts are rattling their Zimmer frames. The deputy president thinks we’re becoming a mafia state and wants a judicial commission of inquiry. And the general populace, among whom I reluctantly count myself, can do nothing more than shake its head and order another round.

The ANC says the confederacy of dunces formerly known as the tripartite alliance “is founded on a common commitment to the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution”. Right now I don’t have the energy to research these so-called objectives. Quite frankly, I’m struggling to make it to the fridge and back. I imagine, though, that they don’t involve selling the country to a sprawling family of robber barons from Uttar Pradesh.

Political analysts keep saying that Zuma is against the ropes. That this or the other latest scandal is the one which will bring him to his knees. But it never happens. A long time ago, when he ditched all pretense at being an honourable man, Zuma adopted what’s known in legal circles as the Stalingrad defence. Here’s the definition.

“This is a strategy of wearing down the plaintiff by tenaciously fighting anything the plaintiff presents by whatever means possible and appealing every ruling favourable to the plaintiff. Here, the defendant does not present a meritorious case. This tactic or strategy is named for the Russian city besieged by the Germans in World War II.”

As we all know, or, in my case, as I’ve just learnt, the Nazis got their arses handed to them in a battle that lasted just over five months. Today the city is known as Volgograd.

In South Africa, where Bolsheviks and Nazis shop side by side in Woolworths, the forces of democracy are bravely fighting the Battle of State Capture. One day, Zuma’s name, like that of Stalingrad, might also be changed. My personal preference is inmate #1/9/2017.

The ANC’s national executive committee is meeting as we speak. Well, as you speak. I live alone and don’t speak much at all. I’m just sitting here on a broken chair hoping that I can finish this column before the beer runs out.

The NEC is a big organ with lots of members. And while Zuma has lots of organs and a big member, the NEC has the power to end his career as commander-in-thief. They did it before to Thabo Mbeki. In terms of ethics and morality, Mbeki was like Jesus compared to Zuma.

Thing is, experts say, not that we can believe a word anyone says any more, that Zuma has the support of at least 60% of the NEC. These are the patriots who saved his Teflon-coated skin in November last year. According to the ANC’s website, which I eventually managed to access after threatening to take Telkom to the International Court of Justice, the NEC has 107 members, 21 of whom are ex-officio members. I don’t know what that means. Maybe they have to bring their own lunch. Among them are cabinet ministers and members of parliament, all of whom are going to have to vote in an upcoming motion of no confidence in the president. Unless, of course, the NEC does the right thing this weekend.

The party’s incomprehensible secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, says that voting against the president would be a betrayal of the ANC and that the party needs to deal with its problems internally. There we go, then. The old organised conspiracy theorist subculture. The illness, if it even exists, will be treated from within. Vaccinations cause disease. Blood transfusions and medical treatment are the work of the devil. Christian Scientists. Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Amish. Scientologists. The ANC.

Brazil has the Zika virus. We have the Zuma virus. What a time to be alive. Or, if this carries on for much longer, dead.

A letter to our next president

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Dear President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma,

I wanted to be the first to congratulate you on your election to the highest office in the land. Please do not panic or consult a sangoma. I am not back from the future. Yes, I am fully aware that the election is only in 2019, but there is no reason to think that you won’t be our next president and my name will go down in history as the first person to congratulate you.

If, for some bizarre reason you don’t win, I shall withdraw my congratulations and deny ever having written to you. I would also prefer it if you did not attempt to contact me. However, this unfortunate situation is unlikely to arise since you are blessed with the magical name of Zuma.

Marrying Jacob was the smartest thing you ever did. Well, second smartest. The smartest thing you ever did was divorce him. Had you not shed those shackles of matrimony, your sparkling charisma would have dulled as you became lost in the common herd. A woman of your intellect and individuality demands to be the wife and not simply a wife among many.

I see your slave name is Clarice. How unusual. The only other Clarice I have ever come across is Clarice Starling, the FBI agent who unfortunately got eaten by well-known Baltimore psychiatrist, Dr Hannibal Lecter. Today, of course, this piece of American history ranks as a nostalgic triviality compared to the hideous atrocity committed in their last general election.

Some people, members of the ANC Women’s League, mainly, say that South Africa is now ready for its first female president. This is nonsense. The country has been ready since 1883 at least. While Paul Kruger could speak Afrikaans, basic English and several African languages – much like your ex-husband – he married Maria du Plessis, a feisty young girl who could just as easily have become president. Maria was 14 at the time, but she would have grown into the role between baking, embroidering and breeding. Our history is awash with missed opportunities.

Speaking of which, I’d like to also congratulate you on your tenure as chairperson of the African Union Commission. I’m sure a lot of African governments were nervous that you would work tirelessly to end their profitable civil wars and help them out of their least developed country status, costing them enormous amounts of money in foreign funding. You never failed them, comrade. Well done.

I was very impressed with the welcome the government afforded you when you returned from your sabbatical in Addis Ababa. Even when you were just popping out to Woolies, you had armed security and a three-car blue-light escort. At first I thought this was a courtesy being extended to all unemployed people, but it turned out to be just you. That’s okay. It shows the government cares about one of its jobless citizens at least. A friend of mine said the ANC was psychologically grooming the electorate to vote for you. I called him an unreconstructed cynic, confiscated his beer and chased him from my home. The electorate cannot be brainwashed. For a start, they’d need a brain in the first place.

When I saw pictures of you visiting the poor a couple of weeks ago, even going so far as to touch them, I took this as a sign that your campaign for the presidency had begun. Apparently I was wrong. Apparently your visit to Stinkwater township near Hammanskraal was simply because you care. I see you were accompanied by celebrity “prophet” Pastor Mboro from the Incredible Happenings Ministry. Amen, sister. Incredible happenings, indeed. Perhaps when you are president you can rename the township. I’m sure the locals would appreciate it.

A couple of days later you were in Ixopo talking to more poor people. Was this campaigning?

“This is not a campaign,” shouted Zamo Nxumalo, chairperson of the ANC’s Harry Gwala region. “It’s part of the programmes of the ANC, so her visibility should not be seen as campaigning.” Mluleki Ndobe, mayor of the Harry Gwala district, was also desperate to quell rumours of campaigning. “Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is a humble and accessible leader of all the sectors of society either rich or poor, educated or uneducated.”

I hope you have had this man arrested. How dare he go around calling you humble? I think it’s pretty clear to everyone but the clinically insane that the meek aren’t going to inherit the earth any time soon. We want someone who will loudly and proudly continue the Zuma tradition of turning South Africa into the continent’s greatest excess story. We want more of everything, even if it is only power cuts, unemployment, crime, ignorance and water-borne diseases. Not that we’ll have much water by the time you take your seat in the Ovaltine Office, but still.

So it’s a two-horse race, hey? Your only other female competition is the speaker of parliament, Baleke Mbete, who isn’t much competition at all considering that she can’t recognise anyone. If we didn’t have Squirrel Ramaphosa as deputy president, you’d have a clear run at the title. Damn your selfish eyes, Squirrel.

The last thing this country needs is a smart, eloquent, hard-working, independently wealthy, globally respected businessman with a law degree on his wall and the Olof Palme prize on his bookshelf. He also regularly gets begging letters from the chairman of Standard Bank and Please Call Me messages from vagrants like Patrice Motsepe. Even worse, he clings to old-fashioned beliefs that corruption is somehow wrong. What a loser.

Thing is, comrade, South Africans tend to vote for losers. I’m talking about Jacob, here. I should point out that I only consider him a loser because he lost you, a real catch in anyone’s book. What the hell happened to you guys? I know his third wife committed suicide and his fourth tried to poison him, but that doesn’t mean he’s not easy to live with. Was it the singing and dancing that did it? I’d want to murder him if I had to hear Mshini Wam warbling from the shower every morning for sixteen years.

Come to think of it, you were probably put off theatrical performances of any kind in 1995 after it was found that, as minister of health, you had lied to parliament about where the R14-million had come from to fund the musical Sarafina II. Big deal. When it comes to musicals, everyone lies. Imagine a scandal involving a paltry R14-million! It’s almost cute.

I liked you when you were foreign minister. You didn’t do or say anything while Mad Bob Mugabe taught those white farmers and, as it turned out, his economy, a lesson never to be forgotten. You called it “quiet diplomacy” and you were very good at it. I look forward to your “quiet presidency”. This seems to run in the family because no matter what happens, your ex-husband resolutely refuses to appear on television to reassure the nation. Will you also let the lawyers do all the talking?

Hey! Maybe you and Jake get together again after the election. You get Nkandla and he doesn’t get charged. The Guptas know how to throw a damn fine wedding party and Dubai would be perfect for the honeymoon. Blue skies, warm water, friendly banks. What’s not to love?

Good luck with the not campaigning. You’ll have my support when it comes to not voting.

The people shall govern – or at least boo those who do

I was hoping to make it onto the guest list for the World Economic Forum on Africa that was held in Durban last week but someone must’ve intercepted my invitation. One of David Mahlobo’s spooks, I expect, who then tried to sell it on the black market. There is a white market, too, but I’ve never been to that one, either.

The WEF’s motto is, “Committed to improving the state of the world.” Well done, lads. The world has improved tremendously since the organisation was founded by some German dude in 1971. Today there are only 800 million people living below the international poverty line.

If you are reading this and wondering whether you’re one of them, it is safe to say that you’re not. Unless, of course, you are spending your $1.90 a day on a newspaper or a few miserable megabites of data instead of a bread roll and half a rat.

The people who set international poverty lines are those who, at the age of four, lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission when their pocket money was reduced to $5 an hour because Daddy’s seventh wife was taking three properties, nine cars and one of the islands.

I want to see the poor setting their own poverty lines, if only to avoid conflict between the poor themselves. I imagine this artificial construct causes ructions among the needy.

“You can’t sleep on my pavement. Fuck off.”

“What? Why?”

“Heard you’ve been earning above the international poverty line.”

“Oh, come on. I got $2 for weeding a garden.”

“Don’t care. You stepped over the poverty line. Go sleep up-pavement with the other larneys.”

Later, at around 3am, a fight breaks out over the rand/dollar exchange rate and a bottle of wine. A man walking his dog is stabbed in the leg. That’s all I know.

The World Bank, staffed by some of the most oppressed people in the world, sets the international poverty line. It only seems fair, then, that they should also set an international wealth line – a line beyond which nobody may go without having to subject themselves to a range of nasty challenges. A financial Fear Factor, if you will.

Sure, earn R60 000 a month, but if you want to go higher you have to subject yourself to public humiliation and … oh, wait. That’s called parliament. To be fair, your average MP isn’t rich, relatively speaking. They are sleepists and sheeples, sure, but they aren’t particularly wealthy. They might have their little fingers in the odd pork pie here and there, but they aren’t up to their elbows in opulent diamond encrusted pies drizzled in crushed rubies and served on platters engraved with the Gupta coat of many arms.

So. We are called upon to worry about the poor when they drop below a certain level of income. Get them up to $2 a day and we can sleep easily. But let it fall to a point where they can’t afford sherry or crack and we have to hire extra security, crank up the voltage on the electrified fencing and get a fresh pack of dogs that are more interested in killing than they are in eating. Better yet, dogs that kill the poor and eat them. Two birds etc.

Clearly worried about the consequences of the docile poor becoming the violent poor, the World Bank came up with two goats in 2013. No, they didn’t. They came up with two goals. Having a spot of finger trouble at this point. There are, though, people who would come out and vote if their government had to promise them two goats. Zimbabwe, for one. Probably Britain, too, at this point.

Two goals, then. The first was to reduce the percentage of people living in extreme poverty worldwide from 10.7% to three percent by 2030. That’s a lot of numbers for one sentence and I imagine most of you will be struggling to grasp what’s going on here. My cat just looked at me and smiled as if to say, “You’re projecting, mate,” which is weird because I don’t own a cat and even if I did it’s unlikely that it would use a word like mate. More chance it’d say bru or bro. Or, knowing cats, arseface.

So 2030 rolls around and the World Bank sends out its inspectors. Senseless takers. The lowest of the high. Men with bruised egos and basic martial arts skills inveigle their way into the poorest areas of every city around the world.

“Evening, sir. Would you describe yourself as a. comfortable or b. living in extreme poverty?”

“You’re standing on my face.”

“Oh, I see. Now you need a face to talk. You’re doing alright then, aren’t you?”

“I haven’t eaten since Tuesday …”

“It’s only Thursday.”

“Tuesday last week. Please. I need …”

“I’ll mark you down as one of our successes. Well done. You’re in the top three percent.”

“Do I get something?”

“Of course you do. You get to bask in the reflected glory of the World Bank reaching the first of its goals.”

“Some vodka would be nice.”

That’s the thing about those who loiter on the fringes of the international poverty line. They don’t see that they are dragging down global averages and ruining it for the rest of us. All they want is alcohol and a seat in parliament. Wouldn’t say no, myself.

The World Bank’s second goat is to “promote shared prosperity in every country in a sustainable way”. As far as weasel words go, these are right up there with, “In sickness and in health”. Not to mention “radical economic transformation”, Jacob Zuma’s penultimate straw which continues to be grasped by the rats blindly refusing to abandon the rotten ship Patronage.

Finance minister Malusi Gigaba, parachuted into the ministry without the benefit of a parachute, has recently taken to referring to his boss’s latest vote-catching phrase as “inclusive growth”. Fortunately, the international investor community is easily fooled when it comes to dressing up heavy words like “radical” in soft synonyms like “inclusive”. Now that I’ve given the game away, I fully expect to be shot at dawn. Or, given the speed at which our government works, 3pm. Unless it’s a Friday, in which case I’ll be executed on Monday. Unless the firing squad calls in sick.

Thing is, we don’t have anyone remotely approximating a Castro or Guevara in this country. If any of our politicians ever threatened to take to the bush, we’d have Gert from Brakpan calling in to a radio talk show saying, “Howzit boet. Ja, listen, I fink I found these rebel okes. They lekker dronk here by Kosi Bay.” And that would be the end of it.

We’re not going to take up arms because most of us earn so little that we’d have to choose between bullets or a gun. I’d rather have the gun because you can at least throw it at someone. I don’t know anyone who’d run away if you started throwing bullets at them. I probably would but that’s because I react badly to having anything thrown at me. Two marriages will do this to you.

For a long time, terrible things happened in this country before America allowed us to have proper elections. Now, confronted by our adversaries, we boo them.

As we all know, Zuma wasn’t able to address Cosatu’s rally on May Day because people wouldn’t stop booing. This is a good thing. Booing is free and there is little chance of being arrested for it. Your house might be set slight and you’ll never get a government tender again, but booing is almost always preferable to detention without trial and certainly an improvement on torture.

The ANC Youth League’s porcine president, Collen Maine, subsequently threatened to boo deputy president Squirrel Ramaphosa, who had addressed a rally in Mpumalanga without being booed or, as far as I know, even saying the word boo. I don’t know when exactly this mini Hindenburg plans to boo Squirrel.

I am relieved, though, as I’m sure are many of you, to hear that the fight for power will be conducted through booing and not the traditional African method of machetes at dawn.

Vladimir, we’re sorry

Dear Comrade Vladimir, Putin of all Putins, Ruler of Russia, Emperor of Eurasia, Capturer of Crimea, Nemesis of the Balkans, Vlad the Impala and Brightest Tsar of All, I throw my unworthy self at your feet.

While I am down there, allow me to apologise for this week’s disastrous court ruling that dashed Russia’s hopes of covering our countryside with nuclear power stations. Yes, I know we had an agreement, but what happened is not our government’s fault. None of us wanted to have to rely on the filthy wind or stupid sun for power. The problem lies with our courts. Unlike your country, we are still struggling to get the right people into the judiciary. Give us time.

If you are going to bomb us, please aim for the courts. The Western Cape High Court in particular is a hotbed of anti-nuclear, pro-marijuana snowflakes. If your missiles can’t reach Cape Town, send in the navy. Your men can come ashore at Camps Bay under cover of lunchtime. The police there have been trained not to question white people about anything.

I expect that our president is deeply embarrassed by the latest turn of events. I don’t just mean financially embarrassed either, although it will take some explaining to the wives why they might have to wait a bit longer for their R50-million apiece.

When Comrade Zuma got his men with pens to sign a cooperation agreement with your Rosatom heavies, he wasn’t to know it was unconstitutional and unlawful. For him to know that, he would’ve had to ask someone. He is a very busy man, our president. He doesn’t have time to go around asking people for advice. Also, he had to fire his finance minister for refusing to make duplicates of the keys to the treasury. So he got a combination lock and a new minister who can’t remember the combination. We’re not even back to square one. We’re just going in circles.

Our then idiot energy minister Tina someone-or-other – who is undoubtedly still an idiot but has since been fired and her name expunged from mortal memory – signed the secret deal with your guys last year. No problem there. Secret deals are good. However, we have a handful of people in this country who haven’t emigrated to Australia and for some reason they think they are entitled to question what the government does. This often leads to court cases and red faces in high places. You don’t have this problem. If anyone questions the Politburo, or whatever you call your inner circle these days, you get someone to cut their legs off. Not personally, obviously. You can’t be spending your days despatching brutes with chainsaws to sort out every unhinged bolshevik when you have a royal flush in a high stakes game of political poker in Syria while simultaneously toying with that kandy-coated tangerine-flake unstreamlined warbaby in the White House.

I have a confession to make. “What?” I hear you shout. “Without even being tortured?” Sorry. This is no time for jokes. Thing is, I stopped following Russian politics when Yeltsin stabbed Gorbachev in the forehead with a broken glass. A waste of good red wine if you ask me. So you’ll forgive me when I say I thought the Communist Party was still in charge. You won’t? I didn’t think so. You are not a man to whom forgiveness comes easily. Not your fault. That’s what happens when you’re breast-fed up to the age of 16.

Anyway, you probably stopped following South African politics on … what was it? Wednesday? When the nuclear deal went arse over kettle, to coin a phrase popular with the bleeding-heart liberals who sprawl across our judicial benches sucking on bongs and quoting from the constitution as if it were a real thing.

Your Communist Party got 13% in the last elections. Ours didn’t even stand. Hell, the general-secretary can barely stand. I see your party, United Russia, is firmly in control. Well done. Our ANC is very dominant, too, even though President Zuma is still looking for his machine gun and doesn’t ride horses with his shirt off. Not while on duty, anyway. We don’t know what he rides while he’s on holiday. He might not even wear trousers, for all we know.

I hate to quote Wikipedia but they have proved marginally more reliable than tea leaves and bone throwing, and they say that United Russia “has no coherent ideology; however, it embraces specific politicians and officials with a variety of political views who support the administration”. It’s uncanny how similar this is to our ANC. The only difference is that we embrace anyone with a variety of ways to launder backhanders and … oh, right. Wikipedia knows about the chainsaws.

I have to ask you something, comrade president. Does United Russia also rely heavily on the support of the benighted proletariat and failed agronomists less familiar with the Dow Jones Index than they are with the goat/chicken exchange rate? We call it the rural vote. I suppose in your country you’d call it the Ural vote. It doesn’t matter. The point is, we’re both big fans of a multi-party dictatorship based on ignorance and fear.

But let us return to matters nuclear, since it is quite likely the only interest the Kremlin has in us. Or rather, had in us.

I was shocked when Judge Lee Bozalek – if that’s his real name – ruled in favour of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute. Shocked because two shadowy organisations nobody has ever heard of succeeded in depriving me and my friends of 9.6 GW of nuclear energy. I don’t know if that’s a week’s worth or what. I don’t know what a GW is. VW, I know. And 9.6? That’s a low number. It doesn’t sound like a good deal for one trillion rand. For that kind of money I’d expect at least 75 000 GWs per person, per day. With a free bag and maybe a T-shirt.

Comrade Vlad, perhaps you’re looking for answers and nobody at the Union Buildings or even at the head office in Saxonwold is taking your calls. This seems likely, especially if you’ve already paid the bribes. I think I know what happened here. The case has been dragging on for 18 months and Judge Bozalek shut the whole thing down because he had to get home and start the braai. Also, he might be Ukrainian.

Apparently the whole shebang was meant to be debated in parliament long before those agreements were signed with invisible ink in an unlit room on a moonless night in the middle of the darkest month of the year, thus “flouting democratic processes”. Oh, please. I can’t speak for Russia, but we are a nation of flouters. We flout at the drop of a cat. I fully expect a Floutist Party to contest the next election. I’d certainly vote for them.

Besides, aren’t parliamentary debates more for the benefit of the international investor community than the great unwashed? After all, United Russia has a 76% majority in parliament and the ANC – which can’t be called united in any sense whatsoever – has 62%. With those odds, it’s not even gambling. The house is guaranteed to win every time. The game is rigged and that’s how it has stayed ever since the Ancient Greeks invented democracy and sodomy.

It is even more saddening that this kangaroo court of ours jumped to its rabid conclusions on Chernobyl Day, a day the world sets aside to celebrate nuclear power and tries to forget the men and women who died doing whatever it was they were doing when the number four reactor reacted badly to a late night safety test. We all react badly to being tested late at night. It’s no reason to be anti-nuclear.

Comrade, I urge you not to give up on us. We have other things we can give you. Would you like an elephant? I see you on the cover of GQ magazine wearing nothing but a pair of armadillo boots and ivory spurs, urging a giant tusker into a full-blooded gallop. Maybe heading into a fight with a Zimbabwean riding a hippo. I don’t want to tell you what to do. You have your own fantasies.

I’ll pop in for vodkas next time I’m in Moscow.

Do svidaniya!

VladImpala

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