WE were wondering, here at the Mahogany Ridge, about this term, “red alert”. Apparently it’s not a warning, as some of the regulars believe, that the sartorially-challenged trade and industry minister, Rob Davies, is once again attempting to dress himself, but rather an announcement to prepare for battle.
It dates back to World War Two, and was used to designate the highest level, after yellow and orange, of combat readiness. Once a red alert was sounded, all off-duty military personnel were compelled to return to base, troops were sent to man the barricades, and it was all very action stations with officers shouting “Pip, pip!” and “Tally ho!” as they urged their men into the melee.
Thus, when the small and shouty police minister, Fikile Mbalula, tells the nation that SAPS have issued a “red alert” in response to the Grace Mugabe fiasco, we should be alarmed.
Are we going to war with Zimbabwe over the assault of the model Gabriella Engels, who was allegedly attacked by Mugabe, the She-Wolf of Zanu-PF, and who, worryingly, remains very much at large? Many South Africans think we should.
But the authorities appear undecided. For his part, Mbalula did initially appear keen that the interests of justice were served in this matter.
As he put it, “We, in terms of South African police, [have] already put tabs on the borders in relation to her leaving the country, so there is no question about that. So, tabs have been put, a red alert has been put, so she is not somebody who has been running away.”
This is perhaps the sort of thing a minister of police would say after police officers had failed to take Mugabe into custody as they would any suspect in a serious assault case.
It does seem an embarrassing dereliction of duty, particularly as it came just a week or so after the very same minister was full of jingo-fizz and mustard about coming down hard on the perpetrators of violence against women.
It then emerged that Mugabe was claiming diplomatic immunity. At the time of writing, it was not known whether she’d been granted that status by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
But many believe that she cannot invoke diplomatic immunity, as she wasn’t in the country in an official capacity.
According to reports, she was in Johannesburg for medical treatment after injuring her leg in a “freak accident” last month while riding in her husband’s motorcade and not, as initially supposed, after mistiming a kick at a troublesome puppy.
Although Mugabe has yet to publicly comment on the affair, there has been a great deal of suggestion that the Harare harridan was merely protecting her two sons, Bellarmine Chatunga, 25, and Robert Jr, 21, against this vicious photographic model.
The Zanu-PF twitter account carried a picture of Engels on Monday (since deleted) with the caption, “We can confirm if this is one of the perpetrators who attacked comrade Grace Mugabe. Be careful comrades.”
A follow-up tweet noted, “There will be no other comment on the attack on Comrade Grace Mugabe. Other than she is safe and fine. Good day.”
Elsewhere, Zanu-PF member Sean Benjamin Hono posted on Facebook that Mugabe was attacked by a “White Girl” as she was trying to rescue her sons who “were drugged and being abused” in a Johannesburg hotel.
“The western countries know that their sanctions on Zimbabwe have failed … As Zanu-PF we fully stand behind Dr Amai Grace Mugabe in defending our country and for the rescue of our First Boys,” Hono said.
Dr Mugabe the party-pooper, more like, swooping down like a furious harpy to spoil the fun for everyone.
But this idea that she was just protecting her little brood is one that the lunatic Black First Land First bunch have also taken on board.
“We are black,” the BLF said in a statement, “therefore we understand how black mothers act to protect and defend their families. We were raised by black mothers who protect us against harm and often our mothers have to use punishment as a means to protect our wrongdoings.” (sic)
To be fair, though, the fear of being poisoned does loom large in the minds of our neighbours to the north.
Last weekend, the Zimbabwean vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa after he’d reportedly been poisoned at a Zanu-PF rally.
According to reports, Mnangagwa began vomiting violently some 45 minutes into an address by Robert Mugabe and had to be rushed to hospital.
That, arguably, is an understandable response when listening to Little Bob and Bellarmine’s father.
This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.