Mondli Makhanya

In the company of MaThousand

2018-06-03 06:01
Mondli Makhanya

Mondli Makhanya

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For some reason or other, every township in South Africa has a gangster named MaThousand. Exactly what lies behind this phenomenon is something that anthropologists, criminologists and sociologists will one day answer.

What we do know is that a MaThousand will always be the most feared thug in a community, as he is most likely to cause bodily harm and have no qualms about parting the spirit from the flesh. Even when the law catches up with MaThousands and they end up behind bars, they continue to wield fear in those vicious environments.

It was with great surprise then to hear former president Jacob Zuma say he is not afraid of going to jail. He said this was because he had not committed any crime and because he had done more than 10 years in prison during the liberation struggle, so this would be easy peasy for him.

Well, he should be very afraid because he was the most corruptible public official in post-apartheid South Africa and because – if he is convicted – he will not be spending prison time with good comrades, but rather with the MaThousands of this world.

Zuma was in Nkandla this week to be welcomed back to the supposedly independent kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, from the foreign republic of South Africa where he has been living since 1999. The nonsensical tone of the speeches delivered at this event – including Zuma’s – closely matched the name of his homestead, which is known as Kwadakwadunuse (where they get drunk until they bare their bottoms).

The prayer meeting, organised by an unholy alliance of holy men, was essentially a defence of Zuma’s filth – a strange task for priests to undertake. The rally was in the spirit of that song Wenzen’uZuma (What has Zuma done?) which has become an anthem for his followers.

The man himself was in classic victim mode, blaming hidden hands for his woes and pleading ignorance of his bad deeds.

Taking advantage of the ignorance of his audience, as he has done over and over, he mangled the truth.

One of his favourite tactics is to claim that he was still an MEC in KwaZulu-Natal when the arms deal was signed and could therefore have played no part in it.

This while knowing full well that the main charge relates to the deal he made to use his political influence to protect French arms dealer Thales in 2000, when he was already deputy president.

That deal to sell the integrity of his country to the French company, facilitated by convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, was confirmed by an encrypted fax.

Zuma deliberately confused facts by manipulating the facts around the R246 million Nkandla security upgrade.

This week he repeated the fallacy about why there was an uproar about the gross overspend: “They never expected anyone to build such a house in Nkandla and they concluded that I stole the money, whereas I did not. They investigated but they never found the money that they accused me of stealing,” he was reported as saying.

Again, he knows that the controversy that gripped the country for years was about the exorbitant amounts spent on cattle culverts, firepools, chicken coops and tuck shops.

What Zuma is doing with his statements is effectively undermining the public “apology” he made in the wake of the 2016 Constitutional Court’s Nkandla judgment.

At the time he said it “underscored the values that underpin our hard- won freedom and democracy, such as the rule of law and the accountability of public office bearers, while also respecting the rights of public office bearers facing scrutiny”.

Urging “all parties to respect the judgment and abide by it”, Zuma expressed deep regret for dragging the matter out and apologised “on my behalf and on behalf of government”.

Now he is spitting on that statement, showing he was taking us all for a ride.

Zuma has taken to mocking the widespread concerns around the damage done by state capture, in which he and the Gupta family were the pillars.

“I’ve heard that there was a certain family which spoke to a few people, including ministers. You can’t just say that by speaking to those people the state has been captured,” said the man who gave the Guptas the custodianship of the state, showing just how he cares absolutely zero about the cancer that ravaged our society.

As he often did while in office, he continues to throw barbs at the judiciary, casting doubt on their decision-making capacity.

He said judges sometimes wrongly convict people and then have their rulings overturned. In itself there is nothing wrong with this assertion. It is true.

The thing is that Zuma is preparing for the possibility of a conviction, which will then be blamed on the quality of the judges hearing the case and form the basis for mass grievance.

Then he went on to his voodoo economics, claiming expropriation of land without compensation will be the magic wand that will put an end to poverty.

Ridiculously, he wants the land claims cut-off date pushed back from 1913, when the Natives Land Act was enacted, to the 1800s, when the colonialists arrived. How anybody who does not inhale Mamelodi’s finest export can dream up something like that is a mystery.

His post-presidency era is confirming and reconfirming two things: that he should never have been let anywhere near the levers of power and that he deserves to join MaThousand behind those tall, well-secured walls.


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