Ne Ne Ne Nene

2015-12-10 07:41

I recall so clearly sitting in a Constitutional Law class at Wits Law School in 1991. It was before we were a democracy and before the Constitution had been written. And we were free to dream. We could see the dawn in the distance and along with the sun that would rise over our beloved South Africa, we were buoyed by the knowledge that we were the generation that would assist in ushering an age of magnificence.

Our Professor, an older man cautioned us against our naivety. “The test of a good constitution is simple,” he explained, “Imagine your biggest nightmare as President of the country” and then utilise the constitution to limit his powers. Because, as we know, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We didn’t take him that seriously at the time, but somehow the words must have resonated because I vividly recall them 24 years later when we indeed have a nightmare in the position.

Our President’s laugh has become a playground taunt. There were times that might have laughed with him, when we were impressed by his dance moves and by his charismatic personality. We admired his strength and even contemplated adding an extra wife ourselves to our straining households (my wife said it wasn’t an option so we kinda dropped that discussion). But the mirth has faded and his dance moves are tired and his strength is not strength at all but rather that of a school bully. It’s not potency at all, but insecurity. And then even one of his wives tried to poison him (so we were told) and we realised that there was no domestic bed of roses.

And yet we cut him some slack. Because South Africans do that. We were raised in the spirit of Madiba who taught us (way before Disney did) to “Let it go.” To move forward and to be understanding. And so when the healthcare system crumbled and when we are rated near the bottom of a horrible list of the most corrupt nations and when Eskom and SAA and the Post Office bleed us and when the power goes out and we are worried about water and when they introduced stupid visa regulations, we forgave them. And we taught them that they can get away with anything. And now we are paying the price.

The latest move, which is the firing of the Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene primarily as a result of fiscal prudence, has come as a body blow that we didn’t think that playground bully was capable of. He has left that school-yard and is running amok through the streets of country. Causing devastation to an already compromised country. The fact that Nene objected to the SAA deal as well nuclear one set him up for dismissal. Because if you don’t tow the party line then you are no longer welcome. And as the President himself has made clear, it’s the ANC and not the South Africa that comes first in his list of priorities.

He has been replaced with David Van Rooyen. Not with Nene’s deputy who has been trained and guided and who actually understands the system. But with an external political appointment who was quite literally chased out of town and then had his house burned down to make double sure that he would never come back - that being the highlight of his political achievement thus far. And whereas the position is not one that demands a congeniality award winner, one would hope that some kind of track record, other than being the President’s friend would be demanded.

It was last week that I pondered aloud on News24 if the ANC would manage one last scandal before 2015 spluttered to a horrible end. I wondered what they could still do in the dying days of a year to really finish the year off majestically. A year that has seen the government behave so appallingly that even they must be shocked that they still have jobs (and that we still have a country). Well they surpassed my greatest expectations, and have outdone themselves with this move that might well be a checkmate for South Africa.

And as our President and the ANC Government get ready to go on their “much deserved” vacations, they do so leaving South Africans tattered and beaten and gasping for air. And still they manage to laugh their laugh, dance their dance and taunt their taunt… “Ne Ne Ne Nene!”

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AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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