COMMENT

Doomed but delighted

David Bullard writes on the media's euphoric post Rugby World Cup piffle

OUT TO LUNCH

Do you remember, not so very long ago, when there were calls from our kleptocratic ANC rulers for the springbok to be scrapped as a symbol of SA rugby? It carried with it, we were told, all the baggage of the oppressive apartheid era causing those of a nervous disposition to weep uncontrollably and to seek safe spaces in which to hide.

It was a symbol of white oppression and it was unthinkable that it should be flaunted on a rugby jersey or any item of clothing in a public space. Along with the old South African flag (which some can see even when it isn’t there) images of this vile, pronking creature would by today’s standards have qualified as “hate speech” and those wearing it in public would have been dragged to the Equality Court.

Fast forward to last Saturday’s World Cup victory against England in Tokyo and you’d be hard pressed to find a member of the ANC who doesn’t think that the springbok is the cutest little creature in the bush. But that’s what sport does as the Roman satirist Juvenal pointed out almost 2 000 years ago. If you want to take the rabble’s mind off political failings and corrupt practices give them bread and circuses.

___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Barely seconds after the final whistle had been blown the usual hypocritical reptiles crawled out from under their stones to take credit for the win pointing out that this was proof that South Africans could work together for a better future. To my horror, many otherwise sentient beings on social media fell for all this nonsense and I was accused of being a Grinch for raining on the parade.

Well, Grinch or not, it’s perhaps wise not to take too much notice of the complete piffle that the mainstream media were churning out in the wake of the win. If you were to believe one leading news source then the actions of 15 rugby players in Tokyo last Saturday was going to do more for the SA economy and the confidence of the people of this beautiful land than Cyril and team had managed to achieve in the past eighteen months.

Eskom debt? Nothing to fret about. 30% unemployment? Don’t worry, be happy. Collapsing economy? In your dreams sunshine. In fact, so much positivity came out of this one win that I wondered whether the ANC couldn’t replicate it more often. Think what we could do for the economy if we could win the Tour de France next year or if the SA Underwater Orienteering squad could bring home whatever it is that underwater orienteers clamour for.

All the World Cup rugby win proved was that a multiracial team of South Africans played much better rugby than a multiracial team of Englishmen. It was a tremendous sporting achievement but talk of it “uniting a nation” and “proving that we can all work together” is pure flummery and, when the post coital afterglow of victory wears off, will vanish as fast as a VBS bank deposit. The reality is that we are deep in the hot and smelly stuff and being rugby World Champs isn’t going to change a thing.

For example, take this tweet from our Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to her 74000 followers following our Moody’s re-grading to a negative outlook late on Friday:

“God deliver us from these rating agencies and oppressors of the downtrodden for economic freedom in our lifetime and generations to come”.

Now I appreciate that there is a keen battle taking place between Mkhwebane and former speaker of the house Baleka Mbete for the prize for dumbest and most embarrassing statements from a female South African politician but does the ANC have no control over their pronouncements?

Mbete’s interview on Al Jazeera two weeks ago puts her well ahead of the PP at the moment purely on the quantity of sheer stupidity she managed to spout during her interview. However, the PP has continuous form which some feel should put her in the lead. Suffice to say that both are worthy contenders and maybe we should announce a draw.

So what are we to make of this latest wisdom coming from Advocate Mkhwebane? Does she really believe that ratings agencies are the oppressors of the downtrodden? Is this the official view of her employer and is there not a danger that some of her 74 000 followers on Twitter could be as stupid as this (or even stupider) and believe such tosh?

If it isn’t the official view then I would suggest she gets a rap across the knuckles for this tweet. And what is this “economic freedom” you speak so fondly of advocate? If it’s the freedom to work, live and spend your after tax money in whatever way you see fit then I’m in total agreement. But I can’t see how a ratings agency could possibly affect those rights.

If, on the other hand, it’s the right to help yourself to other people’s money, confiscate their land, tell businesses who they must employ and what they must pay them etc. etc. then I’m afraid we have to part ways because, as so often, you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

It may well be that I have grown far too cynical in my old age and that the magic of our World Cup victory has united our nation once again in the expectation of great things to come. But while overpaid clowns like Mkhwebane and Mbete are allowed to roam free and spout their ill informed views on social media and international TV channels I still feel we may have a few obstacles to overcome.

In the words of Mr Paul McCartney “yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay”.