A Rain of No Confidence

2016-11-11 09:28

Many years ago I attended an AWB rally. I was young and stupid (as apposed to being middle aged and stupid) and I needed to hear for myself what Eugene Terreblanche had to say for himself. He was of course the leader of the right wing Nazi inspired movement and was evidently drawn not only to their Aryan agenda, but also to the marketing material - Swastika look-alike and all. This was way before Eugene fell of his horse (both literally and figuratively) and before he exposed his green underpants to the world. It was in fact in 1986. The State of Emergency had been declared and South Africans were afraid.

I have no idea why I went. And why I didn’t remove my “Kippah,” which is a traditional head covering worn by observant Jewish males. I should have simply pocketed it and walked into the hall along with all the others. It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want Terreblanche to be the reason that I removed it. But it was probably because I was 18. And I was immortal. What could possibly go wrong?

I recall so clearly the goons, dressed in black, standing at the doors when I entered. Arms folded and threatening. I recall the looks of hatred and disgust that I received from the other attendees and I recall wondering why I had placed myself in this position. The doors were now closed making a hasty exit impossible. So I found a seat somewhere in the middle, sat as low in my chair as possible, and waited for the man to arrive.

It didn’t take long.

The auditorium fell silent. Terreblanche walked on to the stage and looked at the crowd. He scanned the room from left to right, his sharp blue eyes focussed on the crowd in front of him. And then after a minute (or what felt like it), he spoke.” Gister het die reen gekom!” (yesterday the rains came) he boomed. The place erupted with cheers, clapping and chanting and with an intensity that was dangerous and intimidating. Especially for the short Jewish kid somewhere in the middle of all of this. I have never felt quite so alone.

The rains might have come, but I knew then that they alone would not save the country. It was 1986 and the journey that South Africa would still have to travel was no where near completion.

Well this week the rains came. After a stressful and very worrying drought, the rains soaked South Africa in a deluge that was both destructive and cleansing. “Gister het to die reen gekom!” but like in 1986 South Africa still has a long road ahead.

Along with the rains, this week also saw South Africa living through its 3rd vote of no confidence in its President. This is a man who has chosen to hold on to power no matter what the cost to the country and to the people he was elected to serve. Eventhough many in his party have urged him to leave, to step down, to go away and to do anything that will remove him from office and from the party, his death grip has tightened and his desperation more acute. He will very clearly stop at nothing to retain the position.

The corruption of the ANC and its cohorts is now well documented. State Capture is no longer speciation and rumour, but of fact. The Guptas, along with their representatives have taken control of the President and many State bodies and together they have weaved a web so complex and appalling that it will take years and years to unravel.

What became clear during the parliamentary session on Thursday was that the ANC, even given all its so called introspection, has done nothing of the sort. The claim that they will deal internally through their structures with corruption might sound good, but is lip service. They, along with the NEC, have chosen to defend the indefensible and to bring further shame on to a party that had the potential to gift so much to the country, to the continent and to the world. Along with the vote to support their chief is the acceptance that they no longer believe in the magnificent values of the Freedom Charter and of the Constitution. And when you choose power and corruption over morality, no amount of rain will wash away the stench.

The rains might have come this week. But the rotten odor of the ruling party and of the President still lingers in the air.

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