Zumbie: Return of the living undead

Andrew Donaldson also writes on the passing of Kebby M., and a possible battle for the WCape devolutionaries


IT is not altogether surprising that Jacob Zuma is refusing to be examined by a court-appointed doctor and that he has accused the National Prosecuting Authority of “second-guessing” the status of his health. He is, believe it or not, an expert when it comes to his own well-being and something of a fundamentalist in matters of personal hygiene.

Showering after sex to avoid HIV infection is a case in point. Questioned about this practice following his 2006 acquittal on rape charges, he told one journalist: “My dear, peeling onions, you wash your hands, not so? What’s funny about washing your hands after doing something. Of washing yourself? What’s the problem?”

Speaking for myself, I cannot recall ever tending to onions before, after or even during “doing something”. But I know from experience that it is best for all concerned that peeling chillis be avoided altogether before getting carried away. 

Lately, though, I wonder if we who scoff at the traditional ways may be missing something about vegetables. Remember Dr Frankenmanto Shabalala-Msimang and her fabled garlic and beetroot preparations? She was widely mocked, but didn’t care. As she pointed out, “As I move around, I find that many people support what I am doing. These are ordinary people, not the type of people who read Business Day.” 

Perhaps the ordinary people were on to something. And, who knows, but maybe this deranged health minister’s strange soups would have worked for her, had she not chosen to drink herself to death.

All that, however, is by the by, and we must now consider whether the greengrocer fare will save uBaba from his Pietermaritzburg High Court fraud and corruption trial. 

This is a very confusing business. Readers will recall the pathos that night when the high-powered motorcade swept out of the family compound to deposit the Great Blesser at the Estcourt correctional facility. 

How we all felt for poor Edward, dejected and alone, his little warrior war club hanging limply by his side, as the blue lights disappeared into the gloom. It was Nkandladämmerung…

Then came word from half-sister Duduzile Ivanka-Zuma: Pop is okay! His spirit is up! He is fighting fit, ready to take on white monopoly capital, filled with revolutionary mojo, and maybe boiled spinach and African potato…

But, one failed insurrection later, and it seems that Pop is not okay at all. 

It is now widely expected that he will follow the example of his former financial adviser Shabby Shaik and wander soulless into the realm of the undead. One strong indication of a possible zombie apocalypse in the offing is the re-emergence of former government spokesman Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi as mouthpiece for the Jacob G Zuma Foundation.

As turd-polishers go, our Jimmy is among the best. He said so himself when he got the job in June. The former president, he told News24, needed someone who understood, not only South African politics, but the arms deal procurement issues. He was this very person, he added, as he was “a combination of rare skills”. (Not rare enough, I hear you say. But no matter.)

“Also,” Jimmy said, “if I look at my own career in the corporate space, I've been at the executive level in terms of communications. I've been a group executive, corporate affairs, Tiger Brands executive, IBM, Barclays Bank ... so this is my space actually … I also ran [the Government Communication and Communication System] and all that.”

Said expertise is now being brought to bear for all to see as the “sick note” farce deepens. On Tuesday, TimesLive quoted Jimmy as saying, somewhat clumsily, that his client’s complaints of poor health are — get this — not all that credible. “President Zuma is in a situation where he is not trusted when he says he is not well ... It’s an overreach.”

It’s nothing of the sort. What prosecutors want is an independent assessment of the accused’s health. This is a routine procedure in criminal matters whenever an accused complains of being unwell.

Zuma’s objections to such an examination do strike observers as suspicious. He argues that the court should just accept the opinion of the military doctors who examined him. Jimmy believes getting a second opinion is unthinkable.

“Why would NPA want to second-guess the military hospital? Why would they want to insult the ethics and the professionalism of those doctors? Why are they, by implication, saying this report is dishonest? The whole thing started with the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where judge [Dhaya] Pillay was so unbelieving of a sick note that was given there ... that she ordered a warrant of arrest for the next court appearance.” 

This was a reference to a February 2020 incident, in which the judge questioned the sick note from military doctors provided by Accused Number One’s lawyers, who argued that their client’s health was an issue of “national security”. Judge Pillay said the note was inadmissible.

Thing is, that was all of 18 months ago — and the old guy is still unwell? 

I have no doubt that our military doctors are a highly qualified, professional bunch and are perhaps among the best military doctors in the world, Cuban ones included. But it strikes me that it’s in uBaba’s best interests if he sees someone else. And that he takes his vegetables as prescribed. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Kebby Maphatsoe, RIP

It is possibly too early to comment on the sudden passing of the head of the now-disbanded Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association. 

Unlike many others, who have conveyed messages of condolence and paid tribute to Kebby Maphatsoe, I don’t have much to say about this former bush camp cook and ardent supporter of Accused Number One. Part of me regrets ever calling him a one-armed bandit in a newspaper column some years back. But another part says, stuff that, he was a bandit and he had one arm.

At the time of writing, details of his death remain sketchy. As suspended ANC member Carl Niehaus, who fibbed on behalf of the MKMVA, told News 24 on Tuesday: “I can confirm that he passed earlier today. We cannot say anything on the cause of death, as we are still talking to the family.”  

One hopes however that Maphatsoe’s death was not Covid-related, and that he did not follow Carl’s example and refuse to be vaccinated. Last week, our Sham Guevara went a bit bonzo in reaction to a news report that the sale of alcohol could be barred to those who had refused a jab. 

“This is nonsense now,” he tweeted. “President @CyrilRamaphosa told us that COVID-19 vaccination will be voluntary, not compulsory, and no-one will be forced. Government must stick to its undertakings, or loose all credibility. Imagine if South Africans now say, without jobs no vaccination…” (sic)

Carl then explained his position to one of his followers: “No, I did not take the vaccine. After very careful consideration I have decided not to get vaccinated. That is my right, and freedom of choice, and I will NOT tolerate any pressure or negative sanction for having made that choice. I fill fight any such to the hilt!” (sic)

Such a fierce independent character, our little warrior. 

That reminds me: I came across a term recently which aptly describes sad, middle-aged guys who like to wear camouflage but are too flabby for active military duty: “gravy seals”. 

The virus is unfortunately not scared of such people.

A line in the sand

The ANC has quietly introduced a new clause to the controversial Section 25 Amendment Bill, which pushes back the proposed cut-off date for land restitution from 1913 to January 1800. According to Annelie Lotriet, who chairs the DA parliamentary caucus, this devious sleight of hand was “essentially smuggled into the draft bill” without the knowledge of other parties represented in the committee. 

This fudge is seen as a sop to the EFF in the hope that Julius Malema and his fascists will support the ruling party and give them the two-thirds majority needed to ram this thievery into law. It is a manoeuvre best described as licking the arse of the tail that wags the dog, although perhaps not in polite company and certainly not wherever foreign investment is courted.

But here’s a thing. Secessionists believe that, should it come to pass, the revised cut-off date will be of little or no consequence to the Western Cape. Not much was snatched up here by settlers after 1800. Most of the land had been taken by then. Not only will the holders of title deeds be spared grubbing land grabs, but the new clause effectively excludes from expropriation great chunks of territory that is surplus to Spesbona’s requirements.

Consider John Barrow’s General Chart of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope (1805). Based on his expeditions in 1797 and 1798, Barrow’s work is regarded as the first scientific map of South Africa. The area he charted is vast, with the Great Fish River forming the colony’s eastern border, thus including the Eastern Cape, now a failed province happily ceded to whoever wants it — and, frankly, the sooner, the better. 

Similarly, parts of the colony’s northern border lay in the far off Free State, frontier territory deemed to be “much infested with Locusts”. That too can be dumped. 

Interestingly, Barrow noted different population groups in his chart. They were all here, and those seeking to use the map to support claims about who was where first, and accordingly more entitled to whatever, will therefore be greatly disappointed, so we needn’t open up that particular can of stupid.

However, and speaking of which, the thought occurs, here at the Slaughtered Lamb (“Finest Ales & Pies”), that the ANC may have selected 1800 as a cut-off date when, in fact, they had the early 18th century in mind. It is a common error among primary school pupils but not after the fourth grade. 

That politicians should make such a mistake beggars belief, but then this is the ANC and their failings are legion. If this is indeed the case, that by 1800 they mean 1700, then Spesbona may, alas, be much smaller than anticipated. We devolutionaries will have a fight on our hands.