Max du Preez

'Mr Zuma, please explain...'

2009-04-28 08:55

Max du Preez

Just in case our president-to-be phones me to ask what I would like him to do while he's in office, I've prepared a list.

Mr Z, we're quite desperate to believe that you're innocent of all the criminal charges once brought against you - it would mean that our president isn't a crook.

So please, before you really get stuck into your job as president, explain to us the status of the R4 072 499,85 that your mate Schabir Shaik gave you between October 25 1995 and July 1 2005.

Explain to us why you didn't declare that income to the Receiver of Revenue and thus didn't pay tax on it.

Explain to us why you had not declared Shaik's "gifts" or "loans" to you in your Schedule of Member's Interests as you were legally obliged to do as a Member of Parliament.

And while you're at it, Mr Z, please help us cut out the cancer of the arms deal scandal in our body politic and tell us all you know about how your old comrade Joe Modise (the former minister of defence) landed up getting paid so many million dollars from arms manufacturers?

A dark cloud

Please explain to us your understanding of why your other Shaik friend, Schabir's brother Chippy, was never charged or even properly investigated for his role in the arms deal.

(Chippy was the Chief of Acquisitions of the Department of Defence, who failed to recuse himself from meetings at which Schabir's company was selected as a contractor. At least two books published recently mention suspicions that Chippy received $3m US from an arms company who got an arms deal tender.)

Please tell us, Mr Z, what you know about a cheque for $22m apparently given to Thabo Mbeki by Greek tycoon and arms deal middle man Tony Georgiades. We hear Mbeki gave most of it to the ANC, and some even suggest he may have given some of it to you?

Yes, Mr Z, the arms deal scandal will hang over your presidency like a dark cloud until you tell us all you know or appoint a proper judicial enquiry.

But your term will not only be defined by arms deal revelations (or the lack of them). It will also be defined in how successful you can undo the mess left by Thabo Mbeki.

Like the way Mbeki rubbished our good name in the international community by siding with odious regimes like Burma and Zimbabwe. Like the embarrassing recent episode with the Dalai Lama's visa.

Serve the people better

You will also, Mr Z, have to undo the impact of Mbeki's campaign to enrich a small number of cronies while leaving the poor and the working class to rot.

You will have to undo Mbeki's project to get rid of as many skilled people in the public sector as possible just because their faces were too pale, with the resultant collapse of many services and administrations. You will have to bring some of those old bean counters and desk jockeys back to train bureaucrats to serve the people better.

You will also have to restore the independence and impartiality of state institutions so compromised by Mbeki: the SA Police Service, the National Intelligence Service, the National Prosecuting Authority. Oh, I forgot, you have already abused the services of the NPA yourself, haven't you?

Thank you for asking, Mr Z, and yes, there are a few people I would really like you to fire immediately. Top of the list is Butana Komphela and his sidekick at the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport, Cedric Frolick. In fact, fire their boss, Makhenkesi Stofile, first and abolish the ministry of sport.

Thank you for reassuring us after the election, Mr Z, that you would never tamper with our constitution. But please explain then why you, only a few days before that, launched an attack on the Constitutional Court.

Dancing lessons

Surely you must know that this court is at the very heart of our constitution and that if you don't accept that it is the final arbiter, then you don't actually accept the constitution?

Now that you're going to be president, Mr Z, you don't need to constantly request others to pass you your machine gun. How about learning the words to Helen Zille's version of a war song, Koekie Loekie, and singing that during your public rallies?

My last request is the most urgent one. We know you are the best dancer in world politics. Will you please teach Marthinus van Schalkwyk how to dance?

Send your comments to Max.

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