The Dark Side Of The Moon

2017-03-15 10:03

Stella Kübler was a German-Jewish woman who in the 1940s betrayed fellow Jews to the Nazis by conspiring with the Gestapo to have hundreds of Jews abducted and killed in return for her family being spared. The Nazis were really appreciative of her efforts and as a token of appreciation, they killed her family anyway.

The African National Congress (ANC) decided in 2007 that their National Executive Committee members should be trained at a political school. When the school was officially launched in 2012, the student body definition had been expanded to include ordinary members, with over 600 members making up the first graduating class. The long-term goal was that the school be housed in a state of the art building to be funded by the Communist Party of China and to be built in the North-West province (with an international version in Tanzania). As with many projects of this kind, the design of the building appears to have been left in the hands of a prominent, white-owned architectural firm who are partnering with a BEE company of questionable credentials that seems to only exist for the purpose of executing this project.

This sounds eerily similar to the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) setup where the Department of Social Development was found by the Constitutional Court to have failed to verify the BEE credentials of the BEE partners of CPS. The allegation is that the whole setup was a fronting exercise designed to shoehorn the deal through the process without actually addressing the BEE requirement in the tender. But we digress.

We are told that the modules at the school covers things like organising skills, the history of SA and of the ANC, ANC strategy and structures, and analysis. One wonders if the analysis portion covers what happens to people who have compromised themselves and their principles in order to please or appease their political principals.

One would imagine that a “Khumbulekhaya” (return to you roots) search exercise would be conducted in the branches to answer a few pertinent questions. What happened to the voice of Thulas Nxesi? Why is chief parliamentary Nkandla defender Cedric Frolick so quiet these days? Has anything come of the cinematographic career of Nkosinathi Nhleko who tried to fool an unbelieving public with his short-film on the “Firepool”? Why do political marriages of convenience end so abruptly? Why did the faction-fighting Polokwane Lynch-mob disintegrate into many other factions of its own? Where is Dina Pule?  Stone Sizani? Mathole Motshekga?

Wherever you are in the world, when you look up to the night-sky, you are always presented with the same side of the moon. The side you see reflects light from the sun and can shine really bight. In politics, ascendance to high office is always presented as  saying a few words before a judge so you can access a  dizzying array of  blue-light convoys, long-term stays at 5-Star hotels while your official residence is being prepared, receiving expensive earrings from new friends whose names you can’t spell, unexplained trips to Dubai, free helicopter rides to your comrades funeral and many other official and not-so-official perks as you occupy the commanding heights of the political economy.

Sadly, no one tells you about the other side of the moon. No one warns you that there are no good devils, that your pet snakes will not always reserve their venom for your enemies. No one tells you that even though you are not a mechanic, you will spend a lot of time wiping leaking oil from your face, staring at broken exhaust pipes, patching loose wires, holding on to dusty axles and knocking your head against the underside of a bus.

Already, in the CPS- SASSA saga, as the parties prepare to face the music at the Concourt, the cracks are beginning to appear. The accusations and counter-accusations are flying. The supposedly sick are now healthy and fighting back, the “Siamese twins” appear to be surgically removing themselves from each other. An unholy alliance is about to be broken as each party seeks to do what is best for themselves. The “transformation agenda” defence is being used and the crisis-denial textbook has been whipped out by the minister. This will be a bruising battle where some pawns will be sacrificed by the Kings and Queens (or is that Ministers and Masters?). All of us, more especially the 10,6 million beneficiaries of the 17,2million grants will be watching this battle with trepidation. In April last year, an angry crowd is reported to have reduced Minister Dlamini to tears by heckling her with taunts that she was “drunk with expensive whisky” while she was on the campaign trail. The Minister swears that she does not drink any alcohol. At all! She also said that there is no grant crisis (shortly after accusing opposition parties and the media of deepening the crisis).

We continue to wonder how the grants will be paid on the 1st of April and, after the dust has settled; who will be shown the dark side of the moon?

For the minister and her companions we have a smallernyana piece of advice: Beware the ides of March…


*Akani Writes in his personal capacity.

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