Jacob Zuma stared at the page in front of him. His brow creased with concentration as a single bead of sweat meandered down his temple. He touched the tip of the pen to the page, then snapped it back. As if his hand got burnt. He bit nervously on the end of it. Mac Maharaj, seeing the tension in the Presidents’ face, decided to see what question in the exam was puzzling him so. Leaning over his shoulder, the Presidential Spokesman saw the cause of the confusion, so he decided to help.
“I will spell it for you sir.” He said. “Z – U – M – A”
The President grinned broadly as he wrote Zuma in the box reserved for his surname. Thereafter, he flew through the rest of the test. And with pride, he slammed his pen down on the desk.
“Done, ahe, ahe.” He reported.
“Good,” responded Mac. “Now let’s go over your answers.” He looked down at the master sheet in front of him. “Question one. True or False. For the amount of money spent on your Nkandla upgrades, 19 primary schools could have been built.” He looked at Zuma expectantly.
The President confidentially leaned back in his chair. “That is easy. The answer is D.”
Silence. Mac Maharaj scrapped his forehead. “I beg your pardon sir.”
“I said, the answer is D.”
“….but Sir. It is a true or false question.”
Zuma laughed. “Oh, I see. My mistake Mac. The answer…is A.”
Mac sighed. “No sir. The answer is true. For the money spent on Nkandla, 19 primary schools at R13 million each could have been built. But let’s move on sir.” He looked down at the master sheet again. “Question 2 is multiple choice. The number of jobs that could have been created for the same amount as the funds spent on Nkandla are a) 1229 Nursing Jobs, b) 1614 Teaching Jobs, c) 2058 Policing Jobs or D) All of the above.”
“Yes Mac, that is my answer. 33%.”
“But…how…there are no… why…” Mac sighed, giving up trying to understand. “No sir, the answer is, all of the above.” Again, he glanced down at sheet in front of him “Next question, for the money spent on Nkandla, 2905 RDP houses could have been built.” He looked at President Zuma. “This is a true or false question sir. And the answer you should have in front of you, should be true.” He smiled. “You know what, Sir. I am going to look away for a minute. Enough time for you to change whatever you wrote down there, to True. Because the answer is true. Anything else is wrong. So write true. Write true.”
With that Mac looked away, but from the corner of his eye, he could see the President frantically scratching out what he wrote and writing down a new answer. When he was done, Mac turned to him and asked. “Okay sir. What is your answer, to the question where true is the correct answer.”
“Ahe, Ahe, Ahe, don’t spool feed me Mac. This one is easy. The answer to whether 2905 RDP houses could have been built with the funds used to build Nkandla is…the square of the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle, which is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.”
“Wha…” Mac could not find the energy to complete his question. His shoulders slouched forward, a man surrendering to defeat.
But at that moment, there was a knock on the door.
“Who’s there?” Zuma called.
Zuma turned to Mac. “…I don’t get it.”
“Come in.” Mac called out, exasperated.
The Minister of Higher Education walked into the room in a huff. “Mr. President.” He said. “Have you seen this?” He showed the President the screen of his Ipad, which was on the News24, MyOpinions Page. “It’s called The Real Housewives of Nkandla. It sounds like this man has a recording bug in our offices Sir.”
“Then just say it is the white people’s lies again. That is our go to response, remember.”
“I know sir, but this one, he is not a white man.”
“Eish,” Zuma said, scratching his head. “Wait. I know.” he smiled. “Get Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Tell him to offer this guy a job at the SABC to write this.”
Blade looked confused. “How will that help?”
“But Blade, you are the minister of Hire Education. The SABC must hire him.”
“No sir. Not that kind of hire. I am…”
“Blade,” Mac interrupted. “That is okay. I will explain it to him. But in the mean time, contact the CEO of the SABC.”