South Africa's worst job

David Bullard writes on the extraordinary patience and fortitude of Judge Ray Zondo


Back in 1976 the celebrated comedy duo of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore released an LP called “Derek and Clive Live”. Both Cook and Moore had enjoyed early show business success in the early 1960’’s after coming down from university with the satirical revue ‘Beyond the Fringe’ (performed with Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennet) which transferred to London’s West End after being well received at the Edinburgh Festival.

The show later transferred to Broadway where it almost certainly astounded American audiences with its level of verbal wit and political satire as opposed to the more slapstick comedy that Americans were more used to.

A BBC TV series followed for Peter Cook and Dudley Moore called ‘Not Only…But Also’ which ran from the mid sixties for twenty four episodes. It contained some of the finest surreal comedy that has ever existed and certainly made a lasting impression on me, probably because it was refreshingly politically incorrect.

Sadly the BBC wiped all the tapes of the programme when they were going through a period of austerity and needed to recycle video tape so there are only a few poor quality, bootlegged versions of the programme available.

The ‘Derek and Clive’ record was something else entirely though. It was filth and foul language all the way through and, as such, was hugely popular with rebellious youth at the time. The cover carried a stark warning about the content and it was not something you would have wanted to play to your parents, even if they had been fans of ‘Not Only…But Also’.

The album had been recorded in 1973 as a drunken joke but was released commercially when a bootleg version started appearing and Peter Cook realized that there was some money to be made from it. The two imaginary foul mouthed stars, Derek and Clive, were toilet attendants at the British Trade Centre.

The opening sketch was called ‘The worst job I ever had’ and involved Peter Cook’s character describing how it was his job to remove large crustaceans from the rectal area of a well known Hollywood sex symbol. It’s an inspiringly disgusting comedy sketch (available on YouTube) and a reminder that, once upon a time, the world hadn’t lost its collective sense of humour. It will almost certainly be banned before too long.

The sketch came to mind last week in an idle moment as I wondered how enthusiastic Judge Raymond Zondo feels about his job every morning when he wakes from his slumbers. I was once asked in an interview what it was that motivated me and got me out of bed in the morning and I answered, with brutal honesty – “my bladder”. I’m not sure Judge Zondo’s bladder plays an active part in getting him out of bed because he’s a relative spring chicken at the tender age of 60.

However, as he shaves in the morning and spoons down the All Bran at the breakfast table I’m sure he can’t be looking forward to the day ahead. Frankly, retrieving lobsters from Jayne Mansfield’s arse would be an attractive alternative to what he has to face every day.

The Zondo commission is now over two years old and shows absolutely no sign of finishing its work any time soon. This is thanks in large part to the ANC’s apparently inexhaustible stock of utterly corrupt and contemptible lying sleazeballs who the poor man has to listen to every day.

Last week we all had the dubious pleasure of listening to both Yakhe Kwinana and Dudu Myeni taking the piss out of the commission by refusing to co-operate. At least we can turn the radio off or stop watching eNCA but poor Judge Zondo has to sit there and listen to these lowlifes pile lie upon lie.

Last week the appalling Myeni even told the judge with a straight face that if she were white and known as Madam Venter she would be presumed innocent. So, this is all a witch hunt to try and stifle black wealth creation and Judge Zondo is the paid puppet of white monopoly capital?

I imagine that the first thing Zondo does when he gets home of an evening is to have a long shower followed by a liberal spraying of extra strength body sanitizer. Possible contamination from ANC bullshit is much more injurious to the health than anything COVID can throw at us.

Listening to people who have not only betrayed the country but betrayed their own people every day must eventually take its toll on even the strongest of individuals. But when they swan into the commission and insult Judge Zondo’s and our intelligence by telling what are so obviously bare faced lies as so many have done then surely we can’t afford to wait for the commission to complete its task?

Maybe now would be a good time to take a break and swiftly bring those we know to be guilty as hell to justice. To wait for the commission to complete it’s task, then wait for it to produce thousands of pages of report which will never be read by anyone and which may or may not lead to eventual criminal proceedings is no solution to the problem. While the likes of Kwinana and Myeni mockingly flip a middle finger to Zondo and the rest of South Africa the message goes out clearly that corruption is tolerated in South African politics.

All right, you may have to endure an uncomfortable day or two in front of a battle weary judge, but at least you’ll be able to hang on to your freedom and most of the money. And if the country’s infrastructure falls apart as you order your next luxury vehicle what the hell? You didn’t join the struggle to be poor did you? 


Karyn Maughan, a hard working and highly credible journalist for whom I have the greatest respect tweeted this last week, directing readers to a piece she had written for the Financial Mail.

“NPA’s failure to prosecute anyone over Steinhoff is a huge blind spot because, comparatively speaking, the alleged fraud uncovered in VBS investigation is a tiny fraction of what was lost as a result of the Steinhoff scandal”. So why is one case being pursued and the other not?”

Not surprisingly the tweet attracted plenty of attention, particularly from what is now known collectively as ‘black Twitter’. Many of the replies made the comment that when black people steal, as in VBS, it’s called theft but when white people steal it’s called accounting irregularities.

Others suggested that since the R2 billion filched from VBS is but a fraction of what was allegedly stolen from Steinhoff shareholders then the NPA should laugh off the VBS investigation and get cracking on Steinhoff.

Would it were that simple. My very informed sources tell me that the reports on the Steinhoff collapse thus far reveal a fiendishly complex web of deceit spanning several jurisdictions. To successfully prosecute a case such as this would require the NPA to assemble an enormous amount of evidence which it is ill equipped to do as far as NPA funding is concerned.

Even if that evidence was assembled it would then require a thorough understanding of what had taken place on the part of the state prosecutor. With the greatest respect to those legal minds, if top rated accountants are having trouble working out what the hell was going on then I doubt whether even the sharpest legal mind would be ready to prosecute such a case within three years.

Then you would have to find a judge who was equally up to the task of understanding the immense complexities of the fraud.

To allow the VBS fraud to go unpunished because it involved black South Africans and was a “tiny fraction” of what was lost in the Steinhoff scandal which involved white South Africans would set an interesting legal precedent.

Presumably, we would then see the courts measuring the relative financial damage in future fraud cases and awarding BEE points to deserving cases before dismissing them as unprosecutable. Yet another green light for corruption then.

Apart from the consideration of the amount involved and identifying the probable victims of the crime there isn’t much comparison between the VBS case and Steinhoff. For example, I doubt whether municipalities were ‘persuaded’ to buy Steinhoff shares and I very much doubt whether any Steinhoff kickbacks found their way into the bank accounts of well connected EFF politicians.

All the VBS and Steinhoff comparison proves is that, when it comes to financial shenanigans, some people are much better at it than others.