What will happen in 2017

Andrew Donaldson rolls out his predictions for the year


NEVER mind 2016, it’s the coming year that’s going to be the killer. So say the experts. Scientists, for example, believe the world will reach a tipping point in antibiotic resistance in 2017, which means more deaths from common infections like strep throat and pneumonia.

This is truly frightening. Just think, politicians will now be able to kill people merely by sneezing on them.

And that’s just for starters. Who knows what the Donald Trump presidency will bring? That is, besides the wholesale rape of the planet to exploit natural resources, accelerated climate change, and an idiotic trade war with China — followed, possibly by a real war?

Europe’s in for a hiding. Elections in France, Germany and maybe Italy could well deliver a deathblow to the eurozone. Sanctions against Russia will crumble and Vladimir Putin will be leading the Cossacks and Tartar hordes everywhere — but mainly with an eye on the Middle East, which will wind up a bigger mess than ever before.

Add to this the even less than hinged elements out there — like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, said to be developing a “dirty bomb” drone, and the jihadists, who’re most definitely interested in same — and you could be forgiven for thinking that, in the words of the adventurer Rick Blaine (who once ran a decent nightclub in what was then French Morocco), our own problems don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Fortunately, we don’t take that position here at the Mahogany Ridge. We have peered into the future through a glass darkly — it’s the one that gets emptier each time we raise it to our lips — and we have a mess of predictions for South Africa in 2017. You saw them here first.

Following a tough leadership struggle, Cyril Ramaphosa will be president of the ANC by this time next year. Many South Africans will argue this is a “good thing”, the logic being that, as a billionaire businessman, Ramaphosa at least understands the economy. Which is a bit like saying Khulubuse Zuma knows nutrition as he weighs four-and-a-half tons.

This, of course, clears the way for President Jacob Zuma’s early recall from office. The defeat of his proxy, ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the race to lead the bitterly-divided party will leave him vulnerable, to say the least, and his nights will be haunted by nightmares about the reinstatement of fraud, racketeering and corruption charges.

Before then, however, the pro-Zuma lobby will run a traditional leadership campaign, and counter charges that such embarrassments as the State of Capture report and the woeful performance in the local elections had severely eroded support for the ANC by deftly ignoring them altogether.

It will instead pin its hopes on the rural poor, the strategy here being that, as the economy stagnates further, this traditional Zuma support base will expand. This will backfire as more and more urban elite join the ranks of the poverty-stricken.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng will not be among them. He will join the ANC’s national executive committee after being thrown out the SABC. But, along with many other fellow travellers and gravy boaters in the NEC, he will consider a change in career once Ramaphosa takes over the party and possibly start his own religion.

The SABC will drastically downsize in 2017. Its Auckland Park headquarters will be leased to the University of Johannesburg for use as student accommodation and then razed to the ground following an #EverythingMustFall demonstration.

National director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams will call a press conference to announce that he will be presenting himself to the NPA for an interview pending charges that his eyebrows are a public safety violation. Days later, he will announce that he will be withdrawing these charges. He will continue to insist that he is a loyal and patriotic citizen, merely doing his duty.

As will many other South Africans. The usual suspects, you will know them by their internet activity, their tweets and Facebook postings. 

Not for them a quiet contemplation and detached reserve when faced with the issues of the day. Their inchoate anger will continue to fuel the general moronic inferno that social media has become. 

How pleasant it would be if we chose to ignore the politically-correct witch hunts and refused to join the gangs of pious trolls and obnoxious virtue-sharers in their crusades to rid the world of all that annoys them.

By all means take issue with what you regard as unjust. But, please, whatever you do, don’t hog the umbrage. Such extravagence in taking offence only means less for others.

Happy new year.

This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.