Tag: President Zuma

A complex problem

The gates to the complex had jammed shut and the residents were getting jumpy. People were late for work and I was late for a surf. Through the trees, beyond the electrified fence, I could see the ocean. The onshore wind was picking up. Much more of this malarkey and the best part of the day would be ruined.

We milled about shaking our heads, muttering darkly, pressing our remotes, tugging futilely at the intractable gate. Something heavy hit a roof and ricocheted into the undergrowth. Probably a coconut. Or a drunk monkey. Mrs Cohen from number nine screamed. I laughed.

“It’s not funny!” she shrieked. “We’re trapped here! Anything could happen!” I gave her the lazy eye. “Just relax,” I said. “This isn’t Gaza.”

It was as if I had pressed some sort of panic button embedded in her brain. She went pale, clutched her jewellery and began making a sound identical to the Israeli sirens that follow the firing of a Hamas missile.

“We could tunnel our way out,” I suggested helpfully. The wailing kicked up a notch. Somewhere in the complex, a dog began howling. Mr Pillay from number six shook his head. “Probably best not to mention tunnels,” he said. I nodded towards Mrs Cohen. “Maybe you should go and comfort her,” I said. He shook his head. “I’m a Muslim. She will have a heart attack.” I shrugged, went back to my simplex and turned on the television for another hit of horror.

“A child is being killed every hour in Gaza,” intoned a Sky reporter. In other news, Prince George has celebrated his first birthday. I fetched a beer from the fridge. In times like these, it’s never too early to start drinking.

What does a Hamas fighter even look like? It’s important that people such as Mrs Cohen know these things to avoid mistaking one for a gardener emerging from the shrubbery.

Rebels throughout the ages have generally possessed well-developed egos. Che Guevara went to extraordinary lengths to get his face on a T-shirt. Spartacus had a movie made of his life. And don’t even get me started on Jesus and that whole cross business. You might think at least one of the Hamas soldiers would have taken a selfie by now and leaked it to the press. I certainly would have. Not on one of those cameras with a built-in GPS, obviously. Click! “Hey guys, I …” BOOM!!

The good news is that our government has sent a team led by Aziz Pahad to Israel and Palestine “to convey our growing concern with the escalation of violence there”. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper and just as effective to send an email? No, that’s too impersonal. Maybe a phone call.

“Shalom, can I speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu?”

“Of course not. There is a war on. Who are you?”

“This is Aziz Pahad from …”

“Pahad? You are Arab? Hold on …”

“Actually, I’m representing the South African …” BOOM!!

Just kidding. Not even Israel has a missile powerful enough to reach us. We should all sleep better knowing that.

I barely remember Aziz Pahad. Then again, I barely remember last weekend. Wikipedia reminded me that he was once our deputy foreign minister. Apparently he played a prominent role in South Africa’s attempt to stop the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003. That went well. I imagine after Pahad’s visit, Israel will agree to implement a two-state solution – the state of Israel and the republic of Israel.

I hope he at least gets to have his picture taken with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas. Did you know that Hamas is an acronym? I didn’t. It stands for Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, which means: “Silence! I kill you!”

Meanwhile, in parliament last week, MPs of all stripe and size called on the government to play a more active role in trying to broker a ceasefire between these rebarbative Jews and Arabs. I think President Zuma would be very good at negotiating a settlement, even if it is of the out-of-court kind.

DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa reminded everyone what they already know. “Israel and Palestinian leaders must return to negotiations, all hostilities must be brought to an end, and all strategies employed that result in the death of civilians must cease immediately.”

Or else what, Mokgalapa? If you’re going to state the blindingly obvious, at least follow it up with some sort of threat. Like, “We won’t buy any more Israeli tomatoes at Woolies if you don’t stop.”

Even UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is about as threatening as a harp seal, has issued a warning. “If more than, say, one million Palestinian civilians die, we will be forced to ask Israel and America for permission to hold some sort of meeting.” He then apologised and had a bit of a cry.

The EFF’s pin-up girl for the revolution, Magdalene Moonsamy, said her party was calling for “an immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and not to leave for hours but recall without return”. I’d hate to know what that came out as after being translated into Hebrew. I wouldn’t have thought the situation stood to benefit by sending Israelis back to Israel.

Comrade Moonsamy continued: “We demand the end of Israel’s illegal occupation and further instruct the South African government to end all business with companies that continue to perpetuate terrorism in Palestine.”

The EFF is instructing the government? Way to get them to do the exact opposite. I predict a lot more kosher food appearing in parliament’s cafeteria soon. And don’t be surprised if you see Gwede Mantashe wearing a yarmulke the next time he makes an appearance.

Apart from the overarching apartheid theme, there are many similarities between us and them. Nkandla is roughly the size of Gaza with fewer people but more goats. The Nkandla goats are better off than the people in Gaza, though, in that nobody bombs them. However, they do on occasion get eaten. What they lose on the swings, they gain on the roundabouts. Not that goats care much for playgrounds.

Eskom could learn a lot from Israel. For instance, Israel drops leaflets in a particular area advising residents that there will be load shedding in their area. This gives them thirty seconds to move to another area where load shedding isn’t due for another hour. The load being shed, in their case, mainly constitutes 150mm artillery shells.

Eskom doesn’t even bother with leaflets. They simply shed their load, regardless of whether or not you’ve had time to flee to a neighbourhood that has power. You can do yourself a nasty mischief stumbling around in the dark looking for the matches. Sure, it’s not the same as losing an arm or a leg, or your entire family, but a barked shin at my age is no joke.

 

A letter to the Hon. Julius Malema

Dear Honourable Comrade Commander-in-Chief,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revolutionary yours,

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

Renewing my licence to loot

I was sitting in a bar the other day admiring how young and virile I looked in the photo on my driver’s licence when I noticed that it had expired. In November. What’s the point of having one of these things if nobody ever asks to see it? I feel a bit like that about my willy these days.

I decided to get it renewed, but only because I had read that Durban metro police would be enforcing a clause in the Criminal Procedures Act that says a fine is the same as a conviction. In other words, the moment you pay a fine – whether it be for parking on a yellow line or driving 295km/h in a 60 zone – you automatically incur a criminal record.

This is the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. Want to know what other great laws were passed in 1977? The Prohibition of the Exhibition of Films on Sundays Act, for one.

A survey by the Automobile Association found that three out of four drivers break one or other traffic law every day. Oh, please. Most South Africans break at least five of the Ten Commandments every day. The traffic department and god – sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two – shouldn’t have made it so easy to break the rules.

Expecting us to come to a complete standstill at a stop street is as unreasonable as expecting us not to covet our neighbour’s maidservant. Good help is damnably hard to find these days.

And keeping within the speed limit is as impossible as keeping the sabbath day holy. Bottle stores in Durban are open on Sundays. You won’t find that in Cape Town. That’s why people who live there are going to heaven. We Durban people, on the other hand, are all going to hell. And we’re gonna be ripped to the tits when we check in. Yeehaa! I can hardly wait.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to take this nonsense lying down. Actually, that’s exactly how I’m going to take it. Every time I get a fine, I am going to throw it in the bin, open a beer and lie down.

Since you only incur a criminal record once you pay the fine, the solution is blindly obvious. Don’t pay. Ever. Of course, this also means never answering your doorbell. Once you’ve signed a summons, you’re screwed. Although not necessarily. If there is one thing this country has in abundance, it’s loopholes. And wiggle room. Lots and lots of wiggle room. President Zuma is the überwigglemeister. Watch and learn.

I did a bit of research and found that the only licensing bureaus were at Rossburgh, Pinetown and Verulam. I went onto Google Earth because it’s easier to get directions via a complex communication system involving satellites than it is over the phone.

Could you give me directions to your company?”

Awwwhhh. The lady, she is not here. You call tomorrow.”

I just need directions. Where are you?”

Me? I’m standing here in the office.”

Can you tell me how to get to your office?”

You can take the stairs.”

I’ll be coming by car.”

Eish! Uyahlanya wena. You can’t drive up stairs.”

Google Earth told me that Rossburgh was in Ohio, so I checked out Verulam. It’s nearest to where I live at the moment. I came across a couple of websites critiquing their services. Most of the complaints seemed to be from white people. They made it sound as if they had stumbled into a scene from Dante’s Inferno. My kind of place.

It’s a good thing I was driving a Land Rover because I had to park in some kind of marshy bog. I was then set upon by a mob of Zulu man-boys who offered to take my picture. It made a nice change from offering to take my wallet and phone. They gave me a broken school chair to sit on and someone took my picture with his cellphone while his buddy held a torn sheet behind me.

Allahu Akbar!” I shouted. “Death to the American infidel!” They were meant to laugh and pretend to cut my head off with an imaginary panga, but I suppose they don’t get to watch much al-Jazeera.

The licensing department itself was designed by the same people responsible for the refugee camps in western Sahara. I can’t be in a queue of more than three or four people without my heart filling with murderous intent. Here, there were 30 people slumped on cheap plastic chairs. The people in the middle row looked as if they no longer cared whether they lived or died. I sat down on the last available chair. Ten minutes later, everyone stood up and shuffled one chair down. I cracked and ran for the car.

Marianhill was a lot further but you could see more of an effort had been made in that the licensing department was housed in actual buildings made from bricks with windows and all.

The plastic chairs were occupied by people who seemed to have not yet given up on life. There was air conditioning. There was also a bit of chatter. Someone even laughed.

Then two of the five people doing the testing went on lunch and the mood soured. A ripple of dark mutterings moved up and down the queue. People had jobs to get back to. Meetings to attend. I said nothing. Everyone there could see I had nowhere else to be. I should have shaved. And worn pants.

On my way back from Marianhill, the upcoming election almost killed me. I was trying to read the party posters that hang like condemned men from the lampposts but kept drifting into oncoming traffic.

A DA poster has some smug bloke with his arms folded. The slogan reads, “I want to fight corruption.” Who are you? Superman? I wouldn’t vote for anyone who leapt out of bed first thing in the morning and shouted, “I want to fight corruption!” I imagine it’s the sort of thing Hitler did as a young man. “I want to invade Poland!” Or a teenaged Jacob Zuma shouting at the goats, “I want to be president!” That kind of aggressive ambition hardly ever ends well.

Same with the DA guy proclaiming, “I want to help grow small businesses.” No, you don’t, dude. You’re, like, 19 years old. You want to help grow weed. You’re looking forward to the weekend. You don’t want to get local enterprises off the ground. You want to get laid. Be honest.

The Minority Front has pictures of a dead guy on their posters. Some of them feature the dead guy’s wife. “Keep the Tiger’s legacy alive.” I might vote for them if they were trying to save the Bengal tiger instead of trading on the memory of a dodgy character by the name of Amichand Rajbansi.

They also offer “One vision, One future”. Sounds tedious. I want this country to be run by someone who has so many visions that they have to be darted with a tranquiliser gun at the end of every day.

The ANC’s election posters look like police ‘wanted’ posters. That’s the price you pay for having Jacob Zuma’s face on them. “Together we move South Africa forward.” It’s a jarring message coming from someone who shows every sign of moving ahead so fast that the rest of us are eating his dust. Bulldust.

And to have his grinning mug on the same poster that says, “Defend Madiba’s legacy” is taking irony to frightening new heights.

The ANC also goes big on the bragging. “11 million households electrified!” screams one poster. Never mind that. What this country needs is 11 million people electrified. That’ll empty out the prisons. We could turn them into housing for the poor. One man, one cell.

16 million people get grants!” screams another. You know what would have made a more effective poster? One that said, “Nine people get grants!” That would have demonstrated that the country isn’t full of broken people depending on government handouts for their survival.

3 million people have free housing!” Free? Really? I was under the impression taxpayers might have had something to do with paying for them.

Mamphela Ramphele is still urging us to register to vote. Her election posters will probably go up three weeks after the results are announced.

Cope insists that South Africa deserves a better government. They aren’t necessarily offering to provide it. They’re just saying.

I even saw an IFP poster in Afrikaans. Kom nou, Gatsha. Those people might have voted for you in 1994, but not now. Anyway, most of them are in Perth or London.

On the UDM’s poster, Bantu Holomisa is dressed like a forensic accountant. He says, “CORRUPTION destroys the gains of our FREEDOM.” The only problem using upper and lower case, General, is that when you’re driving past at 180km/h on the wrong side of the road, as I was, the only words that stand out are CORRUPTION and FREEDOM. Bit of a mixed message there, although many in the government would disagree.

The DA is big on their, “Together for jobs” posters. I’m not a huge fan of jobs. I think they are an evil perpetrated on the sheeple and the entire system needs a good overhaul. You want me to do what? And in return you’ll let me stay at home for 21 days a year? Are you out of your fucking mind?

The “Together for jobs” slogan comes with a picture that is presumably meant to represent South Africans. Indian guy, black guy, black woman, white woman, coloured woman. They are all smiling. Why are they smiling? Because there is no white man there telling them what to do. Anyway, he’s not on the poster because he already has a job.