The Golden Chop Awards

2008-01-16 00:00

With the growing number of civil servants on what President Thabo Mbeki euphemistically calls “extended leave”, we should stage some sort of event to recognise those who have excelled in the fields of fraud, corruption, racketeering and so on. Nominations for the first annual Golden Chop Awards are pouring in. Right now, Selebi is a hot favourite.

Few among us will ever forget the sight of Selebi playing Commissioner Selebi, hand squarely on his heart, proudly reciting the SAPS Code of Conduct.

I would like to share with you, if I may, my favourite line from that memorable performance: “I undertake to work actively towards preventing any form of corruption and to bring the perpetrators thereof to justice.”

Industry insiders report that Selebi is slated to appear later this year in the legal drama Gun with the Wind. Co-starring Glenn Agliotti as The Dealer, Clint Nassif as The Canary and Brett Kebble as The Dead Guy, this complex production is likely to take months to wrap up.

Meanwhile, opening at the Pietermartizburg High Court in August is a production bound to capture the imagination of all South Africans. Billed as a musical thriller, The French Connection stars Zuma as The Defendant and Pierre Moynot as The Representative. Zuma plays a simple Zulu man, Zuma, who rises to high political office only to be led astray by The Indian, an unscrupulous businessman played by seasoned method actor Schabir Shaik.

The French Connection will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you wish you lived somewhere else.

Selebi and Zuma are two of the country’s most popular entertainers. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of their colourful careers.

Before being hired to play the commissioner of police, Selebi was employed by the department of Foreign Affairs. It was as South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva that he learnt the subtle art of diplomacy. That he moved in such refined circles and engaged with some of the world’s sharpest minds was evident during a conversation he had with Sergeant Jeanette Mothiba hours before taking up his new post.

The official Independent Complaints Directorate records reflect: “It is alleged that the suspect [Selebi], during the course of a conversation at the Brooklyn Police Station charge office on December 30, 1999, called the complainant a ‘bladdie vokken chimpanzee’ and told her to ‘shut up her mouth’.”

After investigating Mothiba’s complaint, the ICD decided that the insult was not sufficiently serious to warrant prosecution. ICD executive director Neville Melville put his finger on it: “Unlike ‘baboon’, chimpanzee is not commonly used as an insult”.

Then, a month later, Selebi was charged with intimidation after threatening to fire a sergeant who was involved in some kind of agricultural dispute with his uncle. In an interview at the time, Selebi said: “These allegations are too difficult to counter with the truth …” With such a watertight defence, it was little wonder that the case fell apart.

Selebi’s best lines: “These hands are clean.”

“I will never be arrested.”

“As President of Interpol, I am ready to serve all members of the international police community in every area of crime-fighting.”

Unlike Selebi, Zuma is … on second thoughts, I really can’t be bothered. Let’s cut straight to his best lines:

“I don’t feel comfortable if I’m not honest.”

“I start from basic Christian principles.”

“Same sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God.”

“I am not in a race to become president of the country.”

“It [a shower] ... would minimise the risk of contracting the disease [HIV/Aids].”

“Bring me my machine gun.”

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