This ain’t no banana republic

Everything leading up to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by Scoundrel No.1 the President a few weeks ago and subsequently has given force to the idea that South Africa is a banana republic.

Social media was abuzz with claims that the beginning of the end had started that horrid day. Those video clips of the bust-up in Parliament was merrily doing the rounds, much to the delight of all those who have over a period of time come to despise this ANC administration (as admittedly, I do too).

But are we really a banana republic?

No. And far from it. However, the daily antics of our politicians, especially those in the ruling governing party will not ease the cries of the nay-sayers. But do we have a democracy then?

No. I’m not convinced that what I’m living every day is actually a functioning democracy. At least not in the traditional sense like those in countries such as Norway and Switzerland say (two random European countries. Extracted from Global Democracy Ranking), based on (1) politics, gender (socio-economic and educational gender equality); (2) economy (economic system); (3) knowledge (knowledge-based information society, research and education); (4) health (health status and health system); (5) environment (environmental sustainability).

As you can see, South Africa is not doing too well; way off the mark actually and declining. But we’re the new kids on the block, so a little leeway should be allowed, right?

No. Instead of making headway to improve our fledgling democracy, the politicians seem to be heading the other way. My experience is that the politicians are too busy looking after numero uno (well Scoundrel No.1 The President first, then themselves obviously because the system of patronage must be protected) and they have absolutely no compunction in trying to hide it, nor do they show any remorse when caught.

The levels of corruption are so bad, that when the nay-sayers do label this country as a kleptocracy, I have no hesitation in agreeing. It seems so apparent that our politicians are hell-bent on making South Africa the leading kleptocracy in Africa, maybe even the world.

Footnote: Choosing Banana Republic by The Boomtown Rats would have been an obvious choice for my mostly usual Monday music post, but I decided to go with the other one as this post developed into a rant. I Don’t Like Mondays has nothing to do with going back to work on a Monday, or whatever people usually think, but has to do with the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, USA on 29 January 1979, who like our politicians showed no remorse for her actions.

Is your President as contemptible as ours?

I felt rather vomitus today after digesting yet more revelations about our scandalous President in the media.

I think we’ve become immune to the daily exposés about President Jacob Zuma’s depraved life, because they usually come in small doses. I think South Africans are beyond being shocked and disgusted by his loathsome behaviour. We’re just exhausted learning about every nasty bit of larcenous, incompetent and immoral deed he’s done since taking office.


Off course it all started before he took office. And today’s revelations touch on some of these, and so much more. So much more…

Auditors KPMG have compiled a 500-page report on the alleged acts of corruption that Zuma has been involved in dating back to 2006. Follow all the links provided on this news article posted in the online version of the Mail & Guardian.

What many South Africans are disgusted with though, is the apparent impotence of the various arms of the law and justice system to do anything about it. Even more galling is the prospect of living another 5 years under the (mis)rule of this miscreant. By all accounts he’s clearly manipulated his way (with acts of violence in some reported cases) into securing the vote to remain head of the ANC, which in effect guarantees him the Presidency at the next elections. Unless off course the masses who vote for the ANC with crass predictability, have a sudden rush of comprehension (by whatever miracle), and vote for Opposition Parties.

In light of the above, the rather candid admission by a senior ANC official that ordinary ANC members are mere “voting cattle” whose main purpose seems to be to keep the elite in power, is even more infuriating. However, this is perhaps the most honest thing we’ve heard from the ANC in many years, but is very disturbing all the same.

Looks like troubled times ahead for South Africa. Is there a Banana Republic on the horison?

Blue Lights Flashing on the Highway of Doom and Gloom

They come tearing up behind you on the highway, at 160 km/h or more (usually more, some have said), blue lights flashing; sirens sometimes wailing. These are the “official” cars that convey political VIPs, usually MEC’s of South Africa’s nine Provincial Legislatures. The drivers are from the police’s VIP Protection Services, and have become more commonly known as “blue light policemen” or the “blue light brigade,” since the recent spate of incidences on our highways, involving them forcing (with guns blazing in some instances) innocent motorists out of their way.

No way, you say; that sounds just like something out of a Hollywood movie. Yes, it does indeed sound like something that would be dished up in cliched movies, featuring butt-ugly, power-hungry, maniacal third-world dictators. You always see these cretins on film, being driven through the streets in convoy, usually displacing people, animals and assorted objects from their path. But here in South Africa ordinary people and the media are saying that Hollywood is being acted out, in gratuitous detail and they say that South Africa has become another ‘banana republic”. In the most recent incident, VIP Protection officer, Hlanganani Nxumalo not only forced other drivers out of the path of his speeding, blue-light-flashing vehicle, on a national highway, but shot at another motorist who it seems was a bit tardy in giving way, which caused the unfortunate driver to lose control, crash into another vehicle, and result in eight injuries. And he was not even transporting a Provincial MEC at the time, but was on his way to pick him up for official business.

To make matters worse, that degenerate Provincial MEC, none other than KwaZulu-Natal social welfare MEC, Meshack Radebe, tried disingenuously to excuse the behaviour of the “blue light driver” by saying “Our drivers are trained to protect us. We are heading to elections and they need to ensure our safety. If a driver behaves like that, how do they know we are not being ambushed? Their reaction is to just push aside and shoot.” What arrogant logic from a public official. Ah yes, Meshack, let’s treat everyone as potential ambushers; let’s push aside and shoot them all, just to be safe.

Fortunately, South Africa is not replete with ignorant political cretins such as Meshack Radebe. The South African political structure has been re-built on sound foundations since the demise of Apartheid, and a few detractors such as Meshack notwithstanding, boasts a proud record of sustained democratic political stability. South Africa has achieved a great deal, both politically and economically since 1994. So, it is a bit harsh when the public start to label the country as a banana republic run by despots, when a small minority of politicians behave inappropriately.

And thus we come to a possible real cause of the incidents involving these “blue light drivers.” The behaviour of these drivers are a manifestation of the illusions of grandeur being experienced by the MEC’s being transported. These MEC’s somehow feel the need to publicly flaunt their perceived powers. Their inadequacies and incompetence’s within the areas of their public office, seem to manifest into a need to display arrogance and a show of bravado instead. The drivers assigned as VIP protection to these MEC’s, get caught up in the delusional world of those they are assigned to protect. Call me biased if you want, but you rarely hear of “blue light brigade” incidences where National politicians were involved. The incidences always seem to involve lesser politicians from Provincial Legislatures. Now what does that tell you?