When things go awry

2012-10-15 10:49

I don’t have much sympathy for politicians. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time around them.

Maybe it’s because I pay so much tax. Maybe it’s because I was breast-fed politics.

On Thursday I felt really sorry for a highly unlikely political duo. IFP boss Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Logie Naidoo, the speaker of the eThekwini Municipality.

The Croc and I were at the KwaMashu hostel’s Rotary Stadium for the memorial of Themba Xulu.

Xulu was the IFP ward councillor for the hostel who was abducted and murdered last weekend. His killing kicked off a week of mayhem and murder.

For our sins – mine are multitudinous – the hostel became our home-from-home for a fair part of it.

We hit the stadium just after 3pm. The gig is running on IFP time so we’re not late. Shenge’s standing next to the marquee, all shades, suit and sympathy.

The Prince of KwaPhindangene is doing his man-of-peace thing for the SABC cameras: Violence is bad. We in the IFP don’t do that kind of thing and all that.

We carry Bibles and we won’t retaliate. Fair enough.

Things go very wrong. Shenge must be reading from a different script to the tooled up crew who have come to pay their respects to Xulu, himself something of a hard man who was out on bail for allegedly trying to torch the house of his comrade-turned-opponent Bhungu Gwala.

Gwala left the IFP for the NFP, Xulu won the ward and the trouble started.

Anyhow, the brothers start pumping rounds into the air while the boss is preaching on national TV. Shenge flinches and turns grey in the face.

His minders go ballistic, screaming at the shooters to chill the f**k out and put the irons away.

Shenge’s an old pro in this game. Instant damage control. The camera cuts. He heads for the top table for the rest of the memorial.

Durban mayor James Nxumalo is on the bill to represent the city. On Monday he had been to KwaMashu, describing its residents as child rapists and acting as if the squalid hole they live in isn’t his city’s responsibility.
 
Come Thursday, the mayor is busy with more important matters: the civic reception for Idols winner Khaya Mthethwa.

James pulls rank and Logie, the city’s Mr Function, who is way more at home in hotels than hostels, gets deployed. Talk about drawing the short straw.

The crowd start grumbling. The amabutho start rattling their weaponry as Logie is announced as representing the city which fails to provide them services and lets them live ankle-deep in filth.

All Miami Vice suit and Amitabh Bachchan hairstyle, Logie’s hovering around as the IFP leaders go into a huddle.

The punters in the crowd aren’t impressed. Needless to say, Mr Function keeps quiet. The programme goes on without him.

The local IFP leaders get to speak. Fuhluza Khumalo, a battle-scarred timer who got bail along with Xulu for allegedly attacking Gwala’s house, takes the mic.

Khumalo’s nickname means “destroy”. Fuhluza reels off the name of comrades who he’s buried. Mashobane lays it down: this place is sh*t, but it’s ours and we’re gonna keep it, no matter who says and does what.

Fuhluza’s a big hit with the crowd.

Logie does a Good Shepherd and gets the flock outa there. Lucky him.

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