Being more like the Chinese, just to please

David Bullard on his new approach to column writing in the light of our new hate speech law


Things don’t seem to be going at all well for the ANC at the moment, something that should come as no surprise to anybody. Last week the Gauteng Sheriff pitched up at Luthuli House as a result of a judgement in favour of Ezulwini Investments who are trying to get the ANC to pay for banners and posters they produced for the last general election back in 2019.

The amount owing is in the vicinity of R105 million which strikes me as a hell of a lot of posters and banners but there it is. The ensuing standoff was well covered by my colleague William Saunderson-Meyer in his column last Saturday.

Needless to say the ANC’s Bumble Bee impersonator, Fikile Mbalula, still insists that there was no contract because the deal was signed by junior staffers who had no sanction to do so. This despite the fact that two separate courts have dismissed that delaying tactic as “far fetched and implausible” which is legalese for “a lot of utter bollocks”.

Now the ANC want to take the matter to the Constitutional Court which, as Mark Barnes commented last week on Twitter (or X), is not really the appropriate place for a simple settlement of outstanding debt. This is clearly just another delaying tactic on the part of the ANC who are claiming that the liquidation proceedings by Ezulwini are causing the party “reputational damage” as it becomes increasingly obvious that the ANC is, in WSM’s words, both morally and financially bankrupt; something most of us have known for years.

The great mystery is why the super wealthy Pres Frogboiler hasn’t helped out. He is supposedly worth R8.5 billion so if he settled the debt he would still be worth R8.4 billion which isn’t too shabby since most of the fortune wasn’t earned by the sweat of his brow in the first place. The only reason I can think of is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and the ANC’s financial woes are far greater than any of us could possibly imagine. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

If Frogboiler did a quick EFT of R105 million now it would set a precedent and it wouldn’t be too long before his entire fortune would be wiped out paying off ANC debt. It was interesting to read that the contents of Luthuli House were collectively worth only R200 000 which leaves a shortfall of around R104 million that Ezulwini would still need to recover. Where are all those R30 000 Louis Vuitton bags hiding and the bottles of Johnnie Blue?

Add to this depressing start to the week the resignation from the party after six decades of Mavuso Msimang (82) and it’s no wonder the ANC are jittery about next year’s election. Msimang was no mere rank and file member of the party but a highflyer who was once private secretary to former ANC president Oliver Tambo.

He described his decision to part ways with the ANC as “painful” and one of “profound sadness’ but he could no longer associate with an organisation that tolerated corruption. It’s encouraging to learn that there are still members of the ANC with a moral compass and hopefully others will take a look at the rotting carcass the ANC has become under both Zuma and Ramaphosa and also decide to jump ship.

As Msimang said:

“I can spend my energies doing something else. I’m very interested in good governance in South Africa. I don’t have to join a party, but my voice will now not [only] be directed at pointing out the weaknesses of the ANC. I’m out of the ANC [and] it’s not my core anymore, but it’s within my ambit,”

I suspect that the ANC head honchos knew this was coming which may explain Frogboiler’s speech towards the end of November in Durban urging us to be “more like the Chinese” and spread the message of achievement by the government instead of badmouthing the country.

In other words, completely disregard the failed and bankrupt state owned enterprises, the collapsing municipalities, the appalling health service in many parts of the country, the dismal education system which produces some of the most illiterate kids in the world (but ideal future voting fodder) and the criminally high unemployment levels.

Concentrate on the many achievements of the ANC and tell the sunshine story which is…. er …. which is….that if you are a connected cadre in the ANC you never need to worry about money ever again. Oh yes, and that water tap that Frogboiler turned on in the middle of a field the other week.

Sadly, the reality is that there is absolutely nothing to brag about when it comes to the ANC but, as Samuel Johnson remarked back in 1775, “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” and we are not short of scoundrels in this country.

Frogboiler’s urge to be more like the Chinese though has very menacing undertones. China isn’t noted for being the sort of place where freedom of expression is a cherished human right. In fact, it’s very much the opposite.

If you publicly speak out against the government or question the wisdom of the Chinese Communist Party then you’re quite likely to get a boot through your front door at four in the morning and be dragged from your bed by masked state operatives to begin your period of re-education.

Even big business leaders such as Jack Ma, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba Group, have to mind their words. Ma ‘disappeared’ for a few months in late 2020 after giving a speech in which he criticised Chinese financial regulators and banks.

Obviously Ma was too high profile to be disposed of in the usual way but various measures were taken to curb any business expansion he had planned and remind him to stay in line. Jack Ma has maintained a low profile ever since and the Chinese news networks report very little of his business activities.

Does Frogboiler have ambitions to silence dissent by moving in the same direction as China? It would certainly make life a lot easier for the ANC if all those pesky journos and business commentators who report so negatively could be removed once and for all. Maybe insisting that anybody wanting to practice as a journalist or columnist would have to be licensed by the government would be a good first step. However, that’s not always so easy with online publications and some critics of the government could fly below the radar.

So the obvious solution is to pass an act banning free speech and simply call it ‘The Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Act’ because what sort of retarded scumbag would wish to promote hate speech let alone live in a society which tolerates it? The bill has already been passed and just awaits the Presidential signature before it becomes law.

The problem with drinking and driving is that you never know how much it is safe to drink so the best rule is to consume no alcohol just in case you get stopped in a roadblock; better safe than sorry. Much the same applies to the Hate Speech Bill. You won’t know it’s hate speech until it has been declared to be so, which is why this piece of legislation is so sinister.

It’s quite possible that an article critical of our beloved leaders will be judged as being ‘hateful’ because it encourages readers to dislike certain politicians or detest what they stand for. It’s almost certain that a racial slant will be put on many cases since our government regularly falls back on the ‘legacy of apartheid’ as an all purpose excuse for their many failings.

So, for example, an article critical of the ludicrous National Health Insurance proposals could well fall foul of the law because it would be assumed that the writer wished to deny the black majority access to health care. A smart government employed lawyer would

interpret that as a disregard for black lives and therefore hate speech.

A flippant comment on a social media page about the ANC’s Bumble Bee impersonator could easily be construed as being intended to mock the poor fellow and encourage further mockery which could then be construed as being intended to be harmful or to incite harm and is therefore hate speech. The defence that the subject is already widely loathed therefore no fresh crime has been committed will not stand up in court I am advised.

At the moment you could be in for a five year prison sentence and/or a stiff fine if you offend but the chances are that we will follow the Chinese model that Frogboiler so admires and offenders will be taken away to re-education camps or never seen again.

And on that note may I just agree with Paul Mashatile and say what a stunning job the ANC have done over the past twenty nine years.

No, really.


Last week it was revealed in Parliament to the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus that over 88 000 schoolgirls became pregnant last year, some of them as young as 10-14 years old.

Though this be madness, yet there is method in it. The child care grant is R510 per month for up to six children. Here’s the deal. The impregnator persuades the schoolgirl who has little hope of ever getting a job that she can make easy money by getting pregnant but he also wants a cut. So an arrangement is made that the two will split the child support grant.

If all those 88 000 give birth to just one child that is R510 x 88 000 x 12 = R538 560 000. So that’s over half a billion a year suddenly added to welfare payouts with a dwindling tax base. Is it any wonder SA is bankrupt?