Chronicle of a shameful day foretold

2014-11-24 07:26

It is a windy Monday afternoon at Nkandla. A gale of indignation blows across the palace yard, the tension in the air swoops over the chicken coop, up the retaining wall and, skimming menacingly across the fire pool, deposits a few insolent grains of dust on Jacob’s bottle of single malt. The kingpin sits on the edge of the fire pool, his feet dangling in the water. A big inflatable ducky – its left leg punctured and shrivelled after some over-excited play – floats by.  He looks up at the placid sky and smiles, a smile unique to himself. The sky is numb and indifferent. That’s the way he likes it.

He is oblivious to the volcanic dissatisfaction that brews beyond his walls.

A phone rings…

“Jacob here…”

“Good afternoon Mr President.”

The voice is of a determined young lady.

“Speak.” He commands.

“Well Mr President I wanted to know if you were going to come to work this week?”

There is an awkward silence.

“Who’s asking?”

“Me Mr President, your secretary.”

“O.K. um…is there a sitting in Parliament?”

“Yes Mr President.”

“What is it about?” Jacob enquires.

“It is about Nkandla, Mr President, and the Public Protector’s report.”

The awkward silence ensues.

“In that case no. I’m busy. Just get Baleka to phone me. I’ll brief her on what to do.”

“Yes Mr President.”

There is a pause.

“Mr President?”

“Yes secretary?”

“Something else. Maimane has been calling a lot. He’s left a bunch of messages.”

“Tell him I’m solving world hunger.”

“I tried that, he didn’t buy it.”

“Tell him I’m busy with…” he hesitates, searching for the right word, “important stuff.”

“I tried that too.”

“What excuse did we use on Juju last time?”

There is a pause as the secretary thinks.

“I think we told him you’re rehearsing with Bono on the Ebola aid video.”

“Ah yes, O.K. tell Maimane the same thing.”

“Will do. Goodbye, Mr President.”

The Jacob hangs up without extending the courtesy of a goodbye. He kicks his legs in the fire pool and takes another sip of his whiskey. He smiles.

The phone rings again.

“Jacob here…”

“Jacob it’s me, Baleka.”

“Oh hi. Listen I read in the paper you’re taking some flak for me not pitching up in parly?”

“Mr President, I am.”

“What are we going to do? I don’t feel like coming in. This fire pool is on fire.”

Another’ awkward silence ensues.

“Well, I had a meeting with Gwede and he says if things get tense we’ll just cut the live TV feed and we’ll call in the riot police.”

“Awesome idea. Now leave me be.”

“So you’re not worried about disregarding the constitution and all that?”

“It is a little late for that now don’t you think?”

Jacob puts the phone down. The ducky comes floating by again. Shame about its leg. At least it still floats. But for five hundred rand at the pool supply shop in Jozi? Ah well, nothing lasts forever these days.

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AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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