The house that Juju built 300m from R208 Millionaire’s Row

2014-01-13 14:50

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Saturday. The Croc and I are in Nxamalala. Again.

We’re not popping in to see the commander-in-chief. The CiC’s in Mbombela. Popping bottles and making promises.

We’re here courtesy of the other commander-in-chief. That one. The Artist Formerly Known as Kill For Zuma. Julius Malema. Juju, as his fans call him.

This CiC’s decided to build a house for one of the CiC’s poorest neighbours. About 300m from R208 Millionaire’s Row. In the name of the EFF. Handing it over on January 8. On the other CiC’s doorstep in the lee of his corruption museum. Juju’s term, not mine.

The house operation is a blatant act of provocation. It’s the commander-in-chief sticking his finger in the other commander-in-chief’s eye in his backyard. It’s also a totally legal political activity in an election year, or at any other time for that matter.

Politics in a democracy and all that. And somebody who lives in a mud house is going to get a brick one. If the rush job on the roof holds.

So, the Croc and I are hanging on the road outside S’thandiwe Hlongwane’s soon-to-be-handed-over-house. We’ve been here since about 7.30am. The gig is meant to start at 10am. No chance. At about 12pm, we’re sitting around watching paint dry.

There’s an army in red berets helping the builders get the house ready in time for the CiC’s arrival. There’s even this well-fed white cat with the Wimpy headgear slinging roof tiles – if a little slowly.

Everybody’s nervous of talking to us. Scared of upsetting the larney. Spoiling their revolutionary credentials. They’re just like the ANC. But less organised.

The Croc and I are bored. It’s boiling but it’s one of those schizophrenic Zululand days when you realise Al Gore isn’t talking shit. I’ve already swapped jeans for shorts and takkies for slops. Twice.

Hlongwane’s house is before the CiC’s on the road to Kranskop. We wander along the road towards the CiC’s spot. There’s an ANC rent-a-mob gathered around the corner. They’re being given ANC T-shirts. They’re marching up and down. They’re being wound up by the CiC’s son Edward, Mvuseni Mqayi, the speaker from Richards Bay, and some other local leaders.

They march past Hlongwane’s to a school down the road where they’re meant to be watching the CiC give his speech on the big screen. There’s no screen. They do their thing. The Babylon form a human wall at the entrance to Hlongwane’s house. The democrats move on. We go back to vegetating mode.

The house gets finished. Kinda. Word comes that the CiC is coming. At last. The ANC lot also get the word. They block the road. The CiC gets out of his car. Ignores advice to take another route.

The Intervention Unit Babylon with him forms a human wedge. They lock themselves to him and force their way through. Muppets in T-shirts see their asses. There’s bottles and sticks flying everywhere.

Stones and bottles were thrown at EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

The CiC’s eyes are bulging like dogs’ balls. His own must be made of titanium. He’s biting down on the fear as his minders rush him through the police cordon.

The CiC’s inside. He does his thing. He’s on fire. He rips into the other CiC. It’s ugly, brutal and totally effective. His critique is on point. Unlike the EFF’s house-building. The CiC’s on it. And, thanks to the mob on the street, most of what he says is true.

EFF leader Julius Malema laying tiles in a house built by the EFF next to President Jacob Zuma's house in Nkandla. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/City Press

The CiC’s exit is more of the same. Tear gas. Stones. Bottles. Muppets being herded into the back of those family-sized cops’ vans.

The CiC must be well pleased though. He got a big result from this away fixture. He’s taken a full three points off a Premiership team playing at home. Not bad.

The ANC’s done exactly what he’d hoped they would do. They acted like arrogant, ruling party thugs with no tolerance for anybody else. They’ve treated the EFF the way the IFP treated them in the 1990s. Nice.

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