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.

State Of The Nation Dress

lie-often-enough

While many politicians were today attending the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament, I’d venture that a whole lot more astute South Africans decided to give it a total miss.

Why anyone other than journalists unlucky enough to get this pissy assignment, politicians and economist types would want to watch this drivel, is beyond me. I do know that quite a few people I’m acquainted with would have watched if only Zuma would have used the occasion to say, “You were all right. I’m a poor excuse for a leader. I quit.” But we all knew that was never going to happen.

From the newspaper reports, SONA did live up to expectations: another drab, meaningless affair crammed full of rhetoric and promises drifting on a stream of hot air spewing from the President’s untrustworthy mouth. He could have rehashed any previous SONA, and only the most discerning would have detected any difference.

However what interested me the most was the outfits these politicians chose to wear to Parliament. It smacked of pretentiousness.

While many chose traditional African outfits, one even came barefoot. Another MP’s wife arrived clad in a blue, red, yellow, and black Ndebele blanket, claiming that it was her culture. Perhaps her culture is only manifest at Parliamentary shindigs, because I’m willing to bet that you will find her dressed in European haute couture, the rest of the year. One female MP bought her traditional dress in Ghana because it symbolized freedom. Seemingly there are no South African equivalents.

Julius Malema of the infamous Economic Freedom Fighters attended in a red workman’s overalls, which has become his party’s dress of choice for Parliament because it symbolizes their (supposed) affiliation to the working class. The idiom “a jackass wolf in sheep’s clothing” has never been more relevant. But that was not all: an observant journalist noticed that Malema was wearing a normal suite under these red overalls. You can be sure that those red digs will be ripped off like a stripper does, just before the SONA after-party, safely out of sight of his doting, but gullible constituents.

Then off course there were the others, whose fashion sense were about as deficient as their honest political intentions.

And so concludes my report on another hollow State of the Nation Address.

Today in Politics: Roasting #04

The State of the Nation’s Politicians

The State of the Nation [SONA] speech yesterday by President Jacob Zuma was another insipid affair. We all guessed it would be, but it seems we’re suckers for punishment, by hoping desperately for something different. The major newspapers thought his delivery was much better than last year, but they also surmised that the more important bit about delivering on promises would be as abysmal as it was after last years’ pledges.

So yet again the talk is cheap, but the taxpayers’ liability leapfrog’s exponentially to support  the grandiose and hair-brained schemes of the politicians in charge, not to mention keeping them in the lap of luxury.

Bastards! All of them.

The State of the Nation Undress

A national radio station DJ Gareth Cliff, challenged listeners to amuse themselves while listening to the SON address, by playing a game of abandoning one item of clothing every time Zuma indulged them with some of the quirks he is noted for, such as nudging his spectacles back up every time it slipped down his nose using a gesture that resembles flipping the bird. Or every time he used some stupid phrase such as “absolutely,” that he is infamous for.

The idea was to see how quickly one could get completely starkers, and I guess many did just that. However I would have played the game a little differently had I been bothered to actually spend good time watching this thieving politician mouth off more drivel.

I would have started out completely starkers, showing him my ass as he started his speech, and then putting on an item of clothing every time he said something that was honest and worth looking forward to. I’m guessing that even the most die-hard optimist would have got to maybe putting their socks back on.