Apathy and procrastination at work

2015-03-31 08:21

The lights are off. Well, that’s no surprise, the lights are always off. Zuma walks into the meeting room. It is dark. Obviously it’s dark … it’s always dark, and he has a candle in his hand. The leather couches are stacked around the long teak table reminiscent of a meeting at King Joffrey’s palace in King’s Landing.  He smiles. He laughs for no reason, and then takes a seat at the head.

Everybody around the table sits in silence. They say nothing, waiting to be addressed. He looks down at their agenda, spilling a little of the wax onto the cover page. He looks up and then reads off the day’s agenda.

Point one my cabinet: Eskom and the topics to be discussed:

Loadshedding

Eskom and economic growth

Eskom and the possibility of introducing renewable energy

Eskom and the nuclear deal with Russia

Eskom and corruption

Eskom and Lynne Brown

Point number 2: Mining. Topics to be discussed:

Acid mine drainage and agriculture

Mining and the environmental impact of groundwater

Mining and the health impact of neighbouring communities

Undisclosed interests of members of parliament and mining boards and contracts

Point number 3: Roads. Topics to be discussed:

Maintenance, upgrading and new contracts

eTolls

Urban development

Street names

Traffic police salaries

Oversight and competency

Point number 4: Crime and Safety. Topics to be discussed:

Corruption in the police service

Maintenance of police stations and vehicles

Police force salaries

The national department and competency

Zuma giggles as he reads the last point. He clears his throat and reaches for water. He almost bumps it over and then takes a gulp. “Who made this list?” he laughs. “It looks familiar.” He laughs again. A voice in the dark mumbles, “you have seen it before sir, it’s from the Mbeki regime.” Zuma stops laughing and lifts the candle toward the cabinet. Everybody looks down even though he can’t see much through the vague light of the candle. He clears his throat to suggest irritation and then continues.

Point number 5: Concerning the above. Topic to be discussed:

The blue light convoy that disappeared into the sinkhole near the radioactive mine-dump near Postmasburg, while doing 200km/h on a pitch dark night when all the lights were out. How do we spin this…?

Zuma, looks up from the page, panting, drops of sweat appear on his forehead and he hides his shame as he moves the candle away from his face. The room is as silent as it is dark. He turns the agenda sideways and examines the 30-odd pages. To him it seems thicker than a Bryce Courtenay novel.

“How many pages and how many points in this thing anyway?” Number one questions into the dark air.

A short little secretary, couldn’t be older than 21, though she seems like she’s far more mature than they’d expect. Her face has seen terror. Her eyes are sad. Her presence resembles everything they’re not, but ought to be. Her name is uKhohliwe. She walks into the light of his candle. “There are 36 pages sir, and 71 points, and I’d probably guess about 280 topics. They’re very important to us. We need you to fix them.” She steps back out of the light, forgotten by the board already.

The shock glides across his face like the smog across Jo’burg in the morning. Zuma thumbs swiftly to the last page. He clears his throat. Point 71– Proteas early exit from the World Cup. Everybody at the table breathes a sigh of relief. “Um, okay ladies and gentleman. It is obvious we should deal with the final point of this agenda and then I think that is it for today. We’ll leave the rest for the next dispensation.”

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