Subtitled “A Personal and Political Journey inside the ANC” Andrew Feinstein served as an ANC member of parliament, and comes across as probably the only honest politician in South Africa, although he has resigned from Parliament some time ago already. The revelations of political corruption and the cover-ups within the South African ANC-led government, specifically the arms deal scandal leaves one in no doubt that the South African public has been scandalously defrauded and treated with utter disrespect by this government.
Although Feinstein mentions one or two shining lights within the ANC-led government, the overall picture is one of doom and gloom, revealing generally only corrupt, incompetent, nepotistic, self-serving politicians. The book becomes all the more relevant with the unfolding of recent events, most notably the early release from prison (more accurately, hospital) of convicted fraudster, Schabir Shaik with a cloud of suspicion surrounding the circumstances for release. Add the disgraceful antics of Jacob Zuma trying to squirm his way out of appearing in court to face corruption charges, most of which stem from the arms deal, and the relevance of this book still stands, even though it was released in 2007.
Feinstein left the country soon after his resignation from parliament, and it surely must be a major loss to the country, especially when one considers the utter trash polluting the current political scene.
I particularly enjoyed Steve Tshwete, the larger-than-life Minister for Sport, whose glasses always tinted darkly when he entered the Chamber, giving a sense of Isaac-Hayes-cool as he ambled slowly towards his seat, accompanied by a deep, elongated rumble of ‘Steeeeve’ from the ANC benches; the Speaker, Frene Ginwala, an imposing, sari-clad dominatrix, and, a few seats in front of me, Winnie Mandela, who occasionally graced Parliament with her aloof presence.