Mondli Makhanya: Patriotism and power

2016-09-04 00:26
Mondli Makhanya

Mondli Makhanya

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In her speech at the Nation Brand Forum the other week, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi urged citizens to play their part in building South Africa’s image, as we have “a good story to tell”.

She told her audience that “an enhanced image will create more favourable conditions to attract both domestic and foreign direct investment, tourism and trade, and foster greater political relations with other countries”.

The vision of the country brand, she said, would need to be communicated to all citizens “so that we take collective ownership and participate meaningfully in matters of national importance”.

“A strong nation brand can only be achieved if there is a strong and socially cohesive nation,” 
she said.

As she said this, different arms of government were already at work doing their bit for the South African brand.

Most notably, the Hawks’ elite investigative unit was proving to the world that South Africa lived by the maxim that all are equal before the law.

The unit’s top investigators went out to prove this by circling Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the man who had for the previous eight months been working to restore the country brand in the eyes of jittery investors who had been spooked by the president’s catastrophic decisions.

Driven by the desire to show investors what a law-abiding society South Africa is, they basically indicated that he was a criminal suspect.

Aiding them in this endeavour was the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte, whose every utterance has the effect of a baby screaming on an aeroplane on whoever is listening.

Duarte, who has yet to say anything about the fact that her leader has spent the past decade using the courts to avoid facing trial for his 783 fraud and corruption charges, wants Gordhan to subject himself to the Hawks.

Marinating Gordhan by describing him as “an upstanding, upright and honest man”, Duarte then threw Gordhan on to the fire.

“To date, Pravin Gordhan has never projected himself as above the law, except in this case. Many of us are asking: ‘Why can’t Minister Gordhan simply answer the questions?’ If he’s innocent, that will be the outcome of that,” she told the TV channel owned by the family of model citizens.

This timely act of patriotism by a member of the ANC’s top six officials did wonders to restore our international reputation, as it indicated that the rule of law had the full support of the governing party.

This was further cemented by David van Rooyen, whose appointment as finance minister cost the country R500 billion and from which we are still recovering.

Van Rooyen is very mindful of this and so added his voice to the calls for institutions of state to be respected.

Gordhan should therefore subject himself to the Hawks, said the Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) Military Veterans’ Association’s treasurer, with his head and hands peering out from an ill-fitting camouflage uniform that he seemed to have bought from a second-hand charity shop that morning.

His chairperson, Kebby Maphatsoe – he who has passionately hated the Scorpions and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, but dearly loved the Guptas – also chimed in. The man whose claim to fame was cooking forgettable meals in MK camps also took a swipe at the errant finance minister.

He, too, was wearing a charity-shop uniform, meaning the two gallant fighters had gone on a shopping spree together that morning.

But South Africa’s leaders were not done complying with Muthambi’s clarion call to work for the country brand. It emerged that Minerals Minister Mosebenzi Zwane had proposed that the SA Reserve Bank be stripped of its regulatory powers over banks.

This, presumably, because the banks had closed down the accounts of the patriotic family that owns the president.

The plight of this family, whom Zwane holds in very high esteem, is obviously more important than the sanctity of the banking system, whose regulator is among the highest ranked on the planet.

But you just have to give it to Zwane. He really does go beyond the call of duty for his country.

It was he who famously flew to Zurich to ensure that Glencore sold its assets to the patriotic family, thereby, in his words, saving South African jobs.

Now, he is doing his bit to protect our financial system from an unpatriotic banking regulator that doesn’t value businesspeople who love and look after our president.

To crown the efforts of promoting the brand and building confidence in the country, Cabinet approved the setting up of a judicial inquiry into the banks.

Not because they exploited the consumer with high charges or because they were found by the competition authorities to have colluded on some or other big project.

Not at all. Their crime was to have acted against the patriotic, state-capturing family.

How about that!

South Africa’s leaders repeatedly call on citizens not to talk the country down and to promote it at all times.

Most of the time this is what citizens do.

They bitch and moan about the things that are wrong, as citizens of all countries do.

But when it is time to rave about their country, they go overboard.

But then, the leaders go and do the things they do.

Read more on:    hawks  |  pravin gordhan  |  faith muthambi  |  des van rooyen

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