Like an impi on steroids

Jeremy Gordin on Zille's mission to Nkandla, Joburg's world class potholes and other matters

I guess these are our diēs caniculārēs, our Dog Days, or certainly mine, in the southern hemisphere, or, at any rate, here, in Joey's.

Yup, the temperature is 32 degrees C or thereabouts, much too hot for a plump fellow. My nipple clamps keep getting sweaty. My ex-girlfriend, Ms Tremolo Derrière, has to keep adjusting them.

Everywhere you drive, there are potholes. They are omnipresent. And I'm referring to the Parkview, Parkhurst, Parktown North, Emmarentia and Greenside areas, not the eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Whoopsi-doodle, how's your poodle, there goes your axle or your rim or your tyre. Or all three. Clunk, clunk, clunk. Tell someone who cares, pay the bill, says Graeme at the garage. Remember, about a year ago, they fixed the holes and dongas in the main streets? Not any more, china; not before Mangaung; we're busy at Nkandla; clunk, clunk, and clunk.

SAA and now Telkom, those pillars in days gone by, appear to be on the edge of the abyss; I don't think they're going to make it either. One-Time Airlines is gone one time. The accounts department of the worldliest-class city on the continent doesn't know its arse from its elbow, its debits from its credits.

"Don't phone Bara!" the Daily Sun warns - "No one will answer. The line's been down for the past 3 weeks." Don't phone anywhere, friends, not even the office of a reputable life assurer (in this particular case, Sanlam). The phone might not be down but you'll get a call centre - and the line might just as well be down.

As if all that weren't worrying enough, it has emerged that the pigs went and messed with the Marikana "crime scene" (aka the area where they had gunned down the miners) and "planted" weapons (pangas, etc) next to corpses so as to ... so as to what? Show us how dangerous the miners were? How worthy they were to be gunned down by automatic fire?

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose... Eugene de Kock used to tell me (for the purposes of his book, A Long Night's Damage, which I ghost-wrote) how he and his guys, having found no weapons being carried by the men they had just ambushed and killed, used to plant weapons in the men's vehicles or around them...

Aha, but here on page 11 of yesterday's Star there seems to be a fine opinion piece into which one could sink one's intemellectual teeth. It's titled: "Is this the worst leader of the ANC in a century?"  A massive pic of JGZ and a massive headline.

If this writer has something penetrating to say, if he's put together a really good synopsis of Zuma's clay feet (pardon the mixed metaphor), this could be good, huh? (Not that I think the ANC leaders have all been such colossi, but who cares what I think?)

I settle down for a moment in one of Lord Voldemort's (Terry Moolman's) chairs to read...

Paragraph 3: "...Zuma represents all that the ANC stands against. He is on public record for having adulterous sex with his daughter's visitor who was more than 30 years his junior."

O heaven preserve and cosset us. What the hell is adulterous sex? The last time I checked it out, sex was sex. (Just adjust that clamp would you, hon?)

The woman wasn't his daughter's visitor. She had phoned him, the president-to-be himself, allegedly about her brother having been bitten by a snake in Swaziland. I know, I know, but that's what she herself said in court. She also had rather (I'm sorry to say, but der troof is der troof, as Roelf Meyer might have said) a chequered career when it came to sexual congress. Didn't you come to court? Can't you read the phuquin record? Didn't you read my book? Doesn't anyone get anything right any more?

"Jesus wept," as James Joyce's father (feckless John Joyce) used to say, "and by Christ He was right." Because the bozo (an ex-Sasco president - NB - and ANC member called Mandla Seopela) then continues: "By 2010, Zuma was at it again when it emerged that he ... impregnated a person far younger than himself ... etc."

I am going to platz if I have to hear again about how many women Zuma's shtupped and how many years younger than he they are and how many wives he bloody has.

None of it has anything to do with whether he's the worst leader of the ANC in a century. More to the point, his sexual and marital predilections have nothing to do with what kind of a leader he is (or isn't, as the case might be) for Seffrica ....

This is all lacklustre, pusillanimous electioneering by the Star's editor, Makhudu Sefara - and most of the other editors in the land are equally guilty. If you have a cogent case to make against Zuma - and, by golly, it's not too difficult - then do it properly or get someone else to do it properly. Don't bang on about his wives or girlfriends.

But never mind all of the above; what do you make of Helen Zille's day in the country? Her attempt to visit Nkandla? More to the point, what do you make of the ANC's reaction?

Instead of prancing up and down like an impi on steroids, why in heaven's name did they not invite Ms Zille and her handlangers into Nkandla so that Helen could take some tea with Zuma wife number one, Ma Khumalo, and talk things over?

On "Mampoer", an internet site dedicated to "long-form" Seffrican journalism (this, freely translated, means "really long stories"), and organised by Anton Harber and various other luminaries such as Antony Altbeker and Irwin Manoim, there is going to be, I noticed, an excerpt from a book by über-journalist Doug Foster (who is, incidentally, a very fine journalist indeed).

The book is unfortunately titled After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-apartheid South Africa. This is unfortunate because there is already another (very fine) After Mandela book, by Alec Russell of the FT. But, you know, the Americans ... they just don't get it, do they? Anyway, the "advert" for the excerpt reads: "Foster became the only journalist to interview Jacob Zuma's long-suffering, publicity-shy senior wife Ma Khumalo".

This suggests - if Foster took the trouble - that the old biddy has something to say. And maybe she has a lot to say because Doug's taken almost as long to complete his book as young Mark Gevisser did. Anyway, why can't Zille (who is, come to think of it, about my age, so she's no spring chicken either), why couldn't she have tea and crumpets with Ma Khumalo and have a jolly good chat?

This would have taken the proverbial wind out of Zille's sails and we could have perhaps nudged the national agenda a little bit further forward than the renovations at Nkandla or JZ's sexual predilections.

But I'm sounding grumpy. Let's end on a happier note. The following press release came through today:

"Good day, Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale will officially open the 12th World Toilet Summit which will take place at the ICC in
Durban from 4 to 6 December 2012. Please let me know if you would be interested in the story and if you require anything further. Kind regards, XX, Senior Consultant, Meropa Communications."

I rest my case. Or drop my trousers. Or whatever.

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