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.

Potholes: Another handy place to sink your taxes into

I’m pretty sure that not even the ANC knew how useful the potholes they hadn’t attended to all these years, were going to become so soon after President Zuma announced that 2011 was to be the year of Job Creation…and the Chinese announced the Year of the Rabbit.

With images in my mind of ANC politicians making a routine habit of feeding at the trough, it’s perhaps lucky for us that this is not the Year of the Pig; although you’re going to be hopping mad by the time you have finished reading the rest of what troubles me.

In January the ANC-led government announced that they were going to spend around R150-million rands to fix potholes. Today they announced that the Transport Ministry was setting aside R6.4-billion in this fiscal year for an “innovative nationwide programme focusing on the maintenance of secondary road infrastructure using labour-intensive methods of construction and maintenance.” So what happened to swell the budget that much?

Did our ANC-government’s tenders-for-pals allocation scheme come in 42 times over-subscribed? Or are we expected to believe that it has now become the job of government to provide jobs?

Consider that just prior to the vacuous State of the Nation address by the President, it was also revealed, not surprisingly, that R58-billion would be required to fix poorly built houses that no doubt were constructed through the awarding of dubious tenders, and you get the sinking feeling that more of our tax money is heading for a black hole. Only this time it’s going to be many, many smaller holes that will hungrily gobble up your taxes, disappear for a while, and then reappear again begging for more.

Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Speech: 10 February 2011

Following a week in which the ANC did some serious damage to its credibility, the State of the Nation address by President Zuma was eagerly anticipated, mostly by those who rightly condemned his abominable behaviour while campaigning for the elections over the past weekend.

Expecting more of the rhetoric, promises and dubious claims of achievements that Zuma has become famous for during his term of office, most people were not too disappointed…with the usual hollow offering. It was a case of the same old crap…nice to hear as it rolls of the tongue; bitter to swallow as it slowly evaporates into nothing, until the next round of speeches.

In effect, about 5180 words that say so little. What an utter waste of time…

I suppose not everyone is unhappy; his entourage of cronies will be licking their lips at the thought of a sizeable chunk of the money being set aside for that hair-brained job creation scheme, coming their way.

Say, what? #1

I’m starting a new series on this blog which will basically interpret what certain people said, what they actually meant, what they should have said or what they are probably secretly thinking. Naturally, most of the subjects who will be analysed will be politicians and the clergy, not because they are the source of the most lies told, but because they do say some of the dumbest things you’re ever likely to hear.

For my first subject, I chose Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa. I will analyse the speech [full text here] he gave in Parliament today, in response to the well-deserved lambasting he received from almost everyone, over his State of the Nation Address he delivered last week.

Well, here we go:

We requested that this year’s State of the Nation Address coincide with the 20th anniversary of Madiba’s release.

We did this both to celebrate that historic moment and to pay tribute to his legacy as a leader, a revolutionary, and the founding President of our democratic state.

What he was secretly thinking was We did this to cash in on the limelight of a truly great leader (Mandela), one I (Zuma) don’t think I can ever emulate. Why must I always bask in the shadow of him?

Last year, when the State of the Nation Address was delivered at 11am, SABC 2 viewership was 1, 5 million and E TV viewership was 487 000.

This year the SABC2 viewership at 7pm, shot up to more than 2, 5 million and ETV rose to slightly more than 1, 3 million.

What he didn’t say was Thank you a-holes for wasting your evening listening to my boring drivel. I hope you will tune in again next year for the next installment of Promises and Lies. What he was secretly thinking was I hope those cameras don’t catch my ANC buddies dozing off here in Parliament while I drone on.

We have achieved a lot since 1994

What he was secretly thinking was You palookas should see our bank accounts? We’ve been cashing in since 1994.

Millions of our people have access to many basic services including water, housing, electricity, social security and others that they never had before.

What he forgot to add was Millions more don’t have basic services, but you know there is only so much you can do in 15 years… and we did have all those struggle comrades who had needs too…

However, we still have a lot of work to do, and we never hide this fact

What he was secretly thinking was Shit, I wish we had finished by now. I still need to enjoy the benefits of being a struggle hero, and all those wives…eish.

The debate on the State of the Nation Address has demonstrated the richness and diversity of political engagement in our society.

What he was actually saying was The State of the Nation Address has demonstrated that these people are cotttoning onto my pathetic lies and poor leadership qualities

We welcome the statement by Honourable Patricia De Lille, that the Independent Democrats are ready to roll up their sleeves and dirty their hands to work hard to build our country.

What he was secretly thinking was Because, we struggle heros in ANC are sure as hell not going to dirty our own well-manicured hands

Honourable Mike Ellis, there is no need for anyone to defend the President.

What he omitted to say was Because I have appointed my good buddies’ brother Mo Shaik as head of the Secret Service. He will ensure that I have Mo than enough protection. In fact, his acquaintances are already doing a good job beating up pedestrians who have the audacity to flip the bird at my speeding motorcade. Freedom of expression and state security do not mix. So sorry.

I knew exactly what I wanted to say in the State of the Nation Address, and I said it.

Actually what he meant was I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but that asshole spin-doctor who wrote my speech, got it all wrong. As soon as things calm down, I’m going to fire his ass.

The State of the Nation Address covered the new era we are entering as government.

This is an era of doing things differently, an era of ensuring that our work is determined by clear outcomes, and of increasing the pace and form of service delivery.

That is our new way of doing things.

What he actually meant was, We’re going to make more promises, and do even less, but we hope you won’t notice.

That is because we have not changed our priorities

Meaning We, the politicians will serve ourselves first, as always.

Drone, drone, drone, drone, yadddah, yaddah, yaddah, blah, blah, blah…and much later…

We said in the State of the Nation Address that we want South Africans to be safe and to feel safe.

We fully understand the feelings and views of South Africans about crime and corruption.

What he meant was We haven’t got the slightest clue how to ensure your safety, but we think understanding your feelings is the first step…

As Honourable Mbalula and Jeffery pointed out, we have a number of interventions in place to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system.

Such as appointing ANC-friendly people in key judiciary positions who will be sympathetic to our cadre’s indiscretions, while ensuring that the police will always serve the ruling party first, just like they did during Apartheid.

We are working on several initiatives to address corruption in government procurement.

What he didn’t say was But we hope they never get implemented because then our deployed cadres will have to find other sources of extra income.

The demand for water will only increase, and our sewage management infrastructure will come under strain as time goes on.

What he omitted to say was Because more and more shit is going to come out of Parliament.

At this point I’m not going to bother with the rest of his speech, as my head hurts from reading all the deceit…

Zuma’s Rape of the Nation Address

Since the extent of his philandering was revealed in the last week or so, South Africans have waited expectantly for Zuma’s second state of the nation address today, or as I prefer to call it Zuma’s rape of the nation address.

There was much talk in the press and practically everywhere else, about what it would entail. Would he apologize again for his sexual misconduct? Would he reveal exactly how many children he has fathered, apart from the 23 odd, already dug up by the press? Would he apologize for running such a shoddy, morally bankrupt, self-serving government? Would he use this as an opportunity to publicly fire the miscreants who have already been named and shamed for looting the Treasury? Would he pardon not-s0-shabby-Shaik? And on a related note, would he recommend Shaik for an award for Best Male Performance in a non-original Live Public Drama? Would he actually reveal a stupendous new plan for service delivery and good governance?

The answer is no, no, no, no, no, no and no again. Instead he vomited the same old platitudes we have heard over and over again. Let’s examine some of these:

a new way of doing things in government

What has suddenly changed that you need a new way of doing things? Why have you and your woodwork disciples been defending the way you were doing things for so long, when every thinking person has told you the opposite? Why were you so derisive of criticism of the old way of doing things?

Government must work faster, harder and smarter

and

The work of departments will be measured by outcomes developed through our performance monitoring and evaluation systems

Why wasn’t government working faster, harder and smarter before? Was the gravy train moving so fast that you lot were preoccupied with just hanging on? Why wasn’t the work of departments measured before? What makes you think your piss-poor performance monitoring and evaluation systems are going to suddenly work now? If your performance systems are anything like the education, transport and health systems, then we’re in serious trouble.

We require excellence and hard work. We need public servants who are dedicated, capable and who care for the needs of citizens

Are you kidding? Where are you going to find this bunch? The ANC Youth League? And are you going to fire the incumbents, who are presumably not hard-working, dedicated and capable, let alone caring? Dream on!!!

the government would allocate 6000 hectares of “well-located public land” for low-income housing

and promised

to give 500 000 families ownership of serviced land by 2014

Does well-located mean “not in sight of a squatter settlement” or “near Sandton City?” And are these the same 500 000 people you promised to give jobs to, the last time around? That number must be really special to you. Any reason why?

Anyone who doesn’t see that they’re being asked to bend over yet again, and take it without too much fuss, is either not living in South Africa, not driving on pot-hole infested roads, on the take already, hopelessly gullible, or in the ANC Youth League.