No one's to blame anymore

Jeremy Gordin on the ANC's latest responsibility evading shtick

1. Chalom chalamti

On Tuesday night I dreamt a dream. Chalom chalamti, as Pharaoh says to Joseph.

I was sitting, reclining rather, in one of those sunken living rooms with a group of people. We were having an orgy or were about to convene one. There were Havanas and single malt around. I think my buddy Roykela was there, and Tony Bloom and David Bullard. The women were naked.  I looked good, like Matthew McConaughey in the movie Lincoln Lawyer. (It was probably that movie that sparked the dream.)

But when I woke on Wednesday, the day of Mandela's 94th birthday, strands of reality flooded into my consciousness like early morning sunlight into the bedroom. It was sad. The chick cavorting on my lap, for example, was an actual friend of mine, one from the world of reality and consciousness.

She's a sexy woman, no question. But she's in her mid-fifties, so her face is lined, her bottom has gone south to Ballito for a vacation, and her hair is not as lustrous and thick as it once was. And ... I won't spoil your breakfast by even trying to describe what deterioration has been visited on my mortal frame during the last few decades.

2. Madiba's birthday and getting the hell out of Dodge

Now, I think that maybe other Seffricans also woke up on Madiba's birthday with their previous night's sweet dreams much too flecked with reality.

It could be that they woke up thinking about a bunch of people who might do well to devote their 67 minutes (and it won't even take that long) to getting the hell out of Dodge.

In fact Pretoria, Johannesburg or Polokwane would do even better as places for certain folk to get the hell out of.

I'm thinking of Humphrey "Hump the chump" Mmemezi, erstwhile and alleged MEC for housing in the great province of Gauteng. Then there's Nomvula Mokonyane, the premier of Gauteng; Angie Motshekga, the minister of alleged (and very) basic edjamacation; and Dickhead Masemola, the alleged MEC for edjamacation in Limpopo.

(And this is just for starters. Wait until I clear my head of all the good dreams and start focusing properly.)

3. Humpty

You all know about Hump the chump, right? His staff bought him a painting from McDonald's with his official credit card, he spent money that wasn't his to spend in certain hotels and on other things, and the provincial legislature's "privileges and ethics standing committee" (nogal) found him guilty of irregular and negligent use of his official vehicle.

But has Humpty been thrown out of provincial government?

Nah, perish the thought.

The ANC told him to tender his resignation from the MEC's job, to put a sock in it for the minute, and to hang out in the Gautenglegislature where his salary will be sufficient, thank you very much, for him to frequent McDonald's thrice daily if necessary.

Let me confide in you that I suspect that Humpty's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. I don't think he spends his sabbaticals teaching at the Sorbonne or MIT. And I suspect that he was merely doing what he figured MECs and ANC politicians, who've made good, should do. I have a hunch he was genuinely taken aback to discover he'd done "wrong".

But that's the point. Humpty is the classic deployed ANC cadré, the kind of person that we have been warned about for some while: none too bright, quasi-literate, mildly venal, loyal, and what's known in Israel as a rosh katan" ("a little head"): someone who does exactly what s/he's told to do.

4. Mokonyane

It's his last two "qualities" that make him so valuable to the party - and it's why the politically- and hair-challenged Mokonyane stamped her little foot petulantly on the John Robbie show the other morning and said she did not have the power to fire Mmemezi. She is head of the provincial executive, not of the legislature, she pointed out ungracefully.

5. Shtick number one

Ah, mazeltov, we have a new ANC shtick, friends - a sophistical wiggle, a clever wiggle, that cannot help but deeply please the sophists among us.

It's this: the sudden disappearance of political power - hey! where'd it go? - among the very people who have political power.

Geddit? I think it's called a paradox. Or something. It is the new Seffrican phenomenon. Sort of like a black hole (in space).

6. Motshekga

It was recently introduced by Motshekga. I don't know if she came up with it herself or whether she and her brains trust put it together or perhaps she imbibed it from the piece, defending her, written by my friend, the learned David Silman (The Star 6 July, p. 13), who works in the national department on improving maths and science performances.

Silman pointed out that Motshekga couldn't do anything, legally or any other way, about the Edusolutions balls-up because her hands were constitutionally tied until Limpopo basic education came under national control.

Fair enough, I said to Silman, but my concern is why she didn't do somethinganything (after all, pupils were without books!), even if she couldn't do anything legally? I.e. I think she knew diddly-squat. Ja, well, he said, you need to know that people don't always tell the exact truth to the minister and they self-censor and so on ...

So there you have it: although Motshekga is the minister and doubtless enjoys all the appurtenances appertaining to that post, she had no power whatsoever to do anything about the fact that certain pupils (ahbigyaws - I mean "learners") in Limpopo were missing certain books for six months. But then Motshekga went even further: I saw it and heard it myself: "I'm actually doing really well at my job, all things considered," she said on national TV; blame it on someone else; I ain't gonna quit.

You can bet your bippies she ain't going to quit. What's more, no one is even going to suggest she quit: she's president of the women's league and JG Zuma needs all the votes he can get at Mangaung.

I don't care if Motshekga is personally the greatest champion of probity and rectitude since Martin Luther King jnr and Reuel Khoza. This stuff happened on her watch - and she must go.

Pace Politicsweb fascists, one of the worst things, if not the worst, ever done to the pupils and people of this land was Bantu Education and everything that went with it - and now the same kind of contempt that was shown by its founders and perpetrators is being shown all over again, albeit in a different sort of way, to the children of this country.

What really gets my goat is that all these creatures, who are so insufferably bloody righteous about their national democratic revolution, can behave so despicably towards the people (or the children of the people) who voted them into power and follow them blindly as they blunder, mystified, through the undergrowth of schools, prisons, hospitals, courts ...

7. Shtick number two: no blame, please

But of course you can't blame anything on anyone. The second new shtick is that "there is no culprit". The situation is too "complex" for there to exist a guilty party, as you might have heard Mary Metcalfe opining about the Limpopo textbook debacle. By the way, Prof Metcalfe is a sweetheart but like so many liberal sweethearts, many alas of my acquaintance, she is also one of the reigning national princesses of political correctness.

In short, Limpopo school children in certain grades did not receive certain textbooks and work books for six months. They were not ordered. I.e. someone who was supposed to order them, didn't. Or the folks who received the orders lost them, or got them wrong. Or, if they were ordered, they were not dispatched. Or, if they were dispatched, they were dropped in a river or at some warehouse.

But no one is to blame. Is julle by, troepe?

8. SA Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU)

The other night I heard Talk Radio 702's wily David O'Sullivan ask the Limpopo secretary of SADTU (whose name escapes me) what precisely the union had been doing about the missing textbooks these last six months.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, said the man. If it weren't for us, Section 27 would have had something to go on. We've been at the forefront of this struggle.

Yup - and I'm Matthew McConaughey.

9. Dickhead Masemola  

... is the Limpopo MEC for education. The earnest and closely-shaven Mark Heywood of NGO Section 27 said at a press conference on Tuesday: "It is very clear from this and other reports that the Limpopo education [department] is rotten, riven with corruption, and incapable of meeting its constitutional obligation to learners." Heywood also called for Masemola to be fired. The call was echoed by the Democratic Alliance [who dat? - ed.] and Cosatu.

What an appalling and disappointing thing for Heywood to have said, opined Masemola's appalling spokesman. "Nowhere in this report is any determination or insinuation made on the ability of MEC for education Dickson Masemola, to lead this department," said Pat Kgomo in a statement.

Now who was it standing next to JG Zuma when he delivered the Nelson Mandela lecture in Thohoyandou this week? And who's the deputy chairman of the ANC in Limpopo? Why, none other than Masemola. Oy-va-voy-lanu, another deployed cadré. Do you think he's related to Humpty?

10. Shtick number 3

There was a time when the media, mainly the newspapers, used to investigate stuff and stick their pudgy and nicotine-stained fingers into the underbelly of the government and corruption. Sam Sole and Stefaans Brummer were out there, swinging their cutlasses in the swamp, and people often used to pay attention.

But what's happened now, it seems to me, is that the media has been neutralized. Besides which, the ANC - the tripartite alliance, whatever - simply don't seem to give a damn any more. And when a newspaper editor puts his/her tail between his/her legs, as did St Ferial of the Phallus recently regarding the Spear of the Nation painting, well, the media becomes, or seems to be, even more pusillanimous than ever.

So the serious players, such as Section 27, have realised that if you want to get the government's attention, you must go to court. This is where the game is now. This is the new shtick.

Young man, young woman, future young Hunter S Thompson, don't worry about grammar, don't join a newspaper - study law! That's where the future is.

Until the ANC knee-caps the courts as well as it's hobbled the media. (The party's working on it.)

11. Summary (a)

a. Don't bother office bearers, such as ministers or provincial premiers; they don't have any power anyway. Motshekga, Mokonyane and Masemola said so. Who does have power? Geez, I dunno. My wife, maybe. Anyway, I'll get back to you.

b. No one's a culprit, so don't bugger around with that antediluvian concept.

c. The courts are the new watchdogs of society. The newspapers? - Good for carrying poor cartoons and stories about thrush, and so on.

12. Summary (b) 

Basic education looks as though it's going - well, no, it's actually gone - to the dogs, along with justice, police, health and prisons, to name but a few. In my remaining years, I need to focus on my dreams and on orgies. Good night.

[STOP PRESS: Dickhead Masemola said on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning that he was confused by calls for his resignation because he had been stripped of any real power when the province was placed under administration in December. He said he had merely been a "ceremonial head". I think Masemola is confused by many things and that he is, moreover, more of a ceremonial nipple (rather than a head). As such, he should quit his job and join my dreams instead.]

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