Over-boiled frog

David Bullard on the fantastic disappointment the Ramaphosa presidency has been


When the Frogboiler first ascended to the lofty heights of President of the once proud Republic of South Africa back in 2018 (the ANC having finally ousted the disastrously criminally inclined Jacob Zuma) he went for a little jog along the promenade at Sea Point.

There he was embraced by white lefties, tears streaming down their grateful little faces as he was hailed as the saviour of South Africa, the new dawn of a fresh age of enlightenment and the man who would finally sort out the corruption and criminal shenanigans of the bunch of gangsters who like to call themselves ‘the ruling party’.

The numbers on the Sea Point promenade grew as word went out that the new Messiah was walking among his people. Some just wanted to touch the folds of his clothing, others humbly asked if a selfie would be at all possible (something to later print out, frame and put up on the wall as a constant reminder of the turning point in South Africa’s fortunes).

In November of 2018 before I returned, after a short break, as a regular contributor to Politicsweb I wrote this piece on the emergent Frogboiler wondering whether it may all turn out to be a cruel joke.

I ended by generously giving him the benefit of the doubt assuming that he would aim for peace, prosperity and a favourable mention in the history books. But I did add a cautionary “I might be wrong” which should at least do something to polish my credentials as a political forecaster.___STEADY_PAYWALL___

You may have noticed that Pres Frogboiler hasn’t been jogging along the Sea Point promenade for quite some time now. Or, if he has, it has been in the dead of night when the lefties are all tucked up snugly in their luxury apartment blocks. There’s probably a good reason for that and it is quite simply that Frogboiler’s popularity rating has dropped from an A+ to an F- in just five years.

Even some of his former media praise singers have finally realised that Frogboiler has turned out to be a massive disappointment despite all his hollow promises about making SA an attractive investment destination and rooting out corruption within the ANC.

He continues to be quite happy, against good advice, to surround himself with cabinet colleagues who are, in most cases, terminally inept and would be lucky to find jobs flipping burgers in the real world.

He doesn’t seem unduly perturbed that the National Prosecuting Authority he put in place has yet to secure a successful significant prosecution and he has yet to come up with a convincing story explaining how a large sum of foreign currency was found in his soft furnishings and whether or not he might be guilty of money laundering.

He jokingly reassured South Africans last week that if the entire electricity grid collapsed “we would be the first to know”. That gag probably didn’t go down terribly well with the majority of SA citizens who are suffering at least ten hours of power outages each day, but it certainly would have raised a knowing chortle from his fellow cabinet colleagues who enjoy 24 hour backup generators at our expense in their free luxury accommodation. Such is the communist way of life.

As I have commented in earlier columns, Frogboiler is not so much the ‘new dawn’ as the ‘new Don’ and, as the head of any self-respecting criminal enterprise knows only too well, there is a strict code of ‘Omerta’ meaning you never talk about the family business to those outside the family; which in this case is practically the entire nation.

One of the many criticisms levelled at Pres Frogboiler is that he is decision averse and rather slow to react to events such as last week’s suggestion by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety that the sanctioned Russian vessel Lady R was loading weapons for Russia when it docked last December at Simonstown.

The ANC’s default response would normally be to accuse the USA of being racist but this wouldn’t have worked since Ambassador Brigety is what is now known in politically correct circles as a POC (person of colour).

President Frogboiler eventually swung into action but only after the Rand had tested new lows against the dollar, pound and the euro. Lows, incidentally, that will lead to even higher fuel prices shortly and are bound to affect food inflation.

None of which is of any concern if the taxpayer foots all your bills. Frogboiler’s brilliant plan to kick the can down the road yet again was to appoint a retired judge to have a look at the veracity of the US ambassador’s claims. This could take a few years though judging by how the Zondo commission went and might turn out to be a bit costly.

There are also cynics out there (myself included) who have a nasty feeling that judicial commissions on politically sensitive subjects work like this. The party in power comes up with the desirable finding (e.g. nobody is to blame) and hands the finding in a sealed envelope to the carefully selected judge with the instruction to appoint seven of his or her mates to ‘fully investigate’ this scandalous accusation at their leisure and come to the recommended finding. And don’t forget to claim for expenses over and above the generous monthly remuneration.

The problem with the ANC is that, after almost thirty years in power, we all know what to expect. The party, whose motto in Latin should surely be ‘Mendacium et Negant’ (lie and deny), are well known for being epic fibbers. So, the fact that the US ambassador has sort of apologised for his premature ejaculation shouldn’t provide any source of comfort at all.

We all know that the Lady R docked rather suddenly in Simonstown last December. It was well reported that clandestine activity took place during the hours of darkness with lots of heavy transport vehicles coming and going and a huge security presence, probably the SANDF but possibly augmented by private security.

We know that stuff was offloaded and stuff was uploaded to the vessel because people who live in Simonstown were watching what was going on in their normally sleepy backwater through their binoculars.

We know that the media couldn’t get any intelligent comment on why the Lady R was in a naval docking and not in Cape Town and what cargo she was carrying. Five months later South Africans are none the wiser because the gormless Minister of Defence Thandi (has anybody remembered to feed the pigs?) Modise either genuinely doesn’t know or refuses to say.

The SA Navy (or what’s left of it) also hasn’t a clue what was happening in its own backyard.

Irrespective of whether Ambassador Brigety was wholly or only partly right we do know that state sponsored skulduggery was taking place in Simonstown in early December 2022.

What is pretty certain is that the Lady R wasn't being loaded with boerewors, crayfish tails and Mrs Ball’s Original chutney to assuage the pangs of homesickness felt by South Africans trapped in Russia.

As this country tumbles towards failed nation status (it’s already there according to billionaire Sygnia co-founder Magda Wierzycka) it might be worth bearing in mind the potential fallout if it is indeed found that the Lady R was carrying anything more innocuous than Mrs Ball’s chutney.

The ANC have frequently declared their love for Russia and they still call one another comrade and fondly speak of the coming revolution with their buddies the EFF. They can afford to do this at the moment because of the financial support of the US and the EU countries and the trade we enjoy with those countries which is significantly higher than anything we transact with Russia.

Senior members of the ANC enjoy pulling the US tiger’s tail and accusing the country of imperialism and all sorts of similar, ill-considered nonsense. Social media is full of ANC and EFF supporters who are convinced that this country can only be truly free once the US and EU (too much whiteness apparently) are removed entirely from the equation. That is one of the many consequences of a failed education system with a 30% matric pass rate.

Once the US pulls out then there will be additional pressure on the EU countries to also either pull out or reduce their trade with SA. Those German car manufacturers, for example, will just shut up shop and move production to a less hostile country. The same could well apply to Japanese owned brands.

The knock-on effects of just the motor industry would be huge with massive unemployment resulting but this would be of no consequence to cosseted ANC politicians. They will argue that some personal sacrifices (such as hunger, no health care, sewage running in the streets) are necessary for the long term aims of the revolution.

But even if Magda is wrong and none of this comes to pass the exchange rate tells you all you need to know. The exchange rate is essentially the share price of a country and ours has been falling ever since 1994. At over R24 to the £ and over R19 to the $ we can expect more interest rate rises, a far higher fuel price, higher food inflation, less interest in SA as an investment destination (unless the investor believes that the Rand is undervalued) and the real possibility of a sovereign debt default. And that’s just the good news.