By Alec Hogg
A friend who reads a lot and reflects deeply on topical matters has a theory about the South African Government. He reckons the current one thinks and behaves just like the one that earned polecat status in the 1970s and 1980s.
His point was supported at the Joburg Mining Indaba this week when a deputy cabinet minister wagged his figurative finger at the industry’s assembled heavyweights, warning them to stop criticising the political mighty. We have been patient and restrained, he warned, but even our patience has limits. Classic National Party circa 1980s.
The man who followed him to the podium, AngloGold chairperson Sipho Pityana, cared less. In “The Speech” he described President Jacob Zuma as SA corruption’s “sponsor in chief”. The audience stood to applaud like it was the opening night of a Lloyd Webber smash hit.
Zuma’s reaction to the address was classic PW Botha: Please use the right channels; and besides, a government/business/labour delegation is in New York showcasing the country to investors.
Seems, just like the Nats, Zuma’s lot expect if slogans like “SA is open for business” are repeated often enough, people swallow them. But given Joburg’s reaction to Pityana, who do you think those New Yorkers believe?