When Public Governance Skeletons Threaten to Come Out All At Once

 

A few months ago I wrote an argument that contrary to the vanilla view of journalism as the transmission of stories, it is political warfare over public opinion.  That came to mind as I read BDLive’s Steve Friedman complaints about how the “indiscriminate use of leaks” endangers truth.  “Political battles in this country are fought through leaks: politicians and officials use them to strengthen their position and weaken opponents.”

He was responding to rumours that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was facing “imminent arrest,” which would leave the way open for President Jacob Zuma to insert Eskom CEO Ryan Molefe as Minister and replace whistle-blowing Deputy Mcebisi Jonas with Sfiso Buthelezi.  These individuals have been rumoured to be Gupta puppets.

Friedman’s main problem with the leaks’ approach is that it can muddies the water.  But he underemphasises what’s achieved through pre-emptive journalism: although risky, the well-timed publication of a leak can send out the message to the Powers-That-Be that their plans have been prepared for.  Dropping an innocent question like, “Are plans afoot to move SAA from the Finance Ministry to Presidency?” into the public sphere is a gamble, but it can scare rogue politicians off their plans.

The Presidency wasn’t pleased with the Gordhan arrest leak, calling it “the work of dangerous information peddlers who wish to cause confusion and mayhem in the country.”  He never mentions names, but a subsequent analysis was written by “information peddler” Ranjeni Munusamy.  “Gupta hidden hand behind Gordhan ‘arrest’ and how Zuma could be co-accused on SARS ‘rogue unit’ case,” announced the mouthful headline.  Tellingly, the piece begins with an if statement that creates a Zuma-sized shield around Pravin Gordhan: “If Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and others, including former minister Trevor Manuel, are arrested, President Jacob Zuma might inadvertently be drawn into the case” (italic mine):

“Daily Maverick has established that Zuma, then deputy president, was at a training course for senior intelligence heads at the intelligence academy in Mahikeng in 2001 where the restructuring of the state intelligence services and co-operation between the agencies were discussed.”  Zuma could be an accomplice in the creation of the SARS “rogue spy unit.”

Echoing Julius Malema’s words that “Zuma must not know who is going to be arrested and who is not going to be arrested.  It is not his job.  So the day he says the rumours are wrong then he is confirming that he is interfering,” Munusamy says, “It appears that the politically connected Gupta family had special insight into the Hawks investigation and possible changes to the Cabinet as a result of the imminent arrests.”  These voices are hinting that much that is wrong with our country runs through Zuma to the Guptas.

I’ve said that the more damaging they’re likely to be, the more likely enquiries against the Guptas are to be suppressed – referring, as examples, to the dairy farm inquiry and the SAA fraud issue, both at the Public Protector’s Office with nary a peep on these reports’ progress.  I am not at liberty to say how I know because that’s another journalist’s story to break.  But I do know that, probably without Thuli Madonsela’s knowledge, the PP’s Office is playing shocking games with the fraud report on Lindi-Nkosi Thomas.  Previous speculation as to why it would do that (advocates looking out for one another?) may be wrong, but the core suspicion isn’t.

At any rate, its release would be a formality; the person implicated has confessed, without consequence to herself.

The report revolves around the dismissal of four SAA employees.  It’s been speculated that when she was on the SAA Board and had ulterior motives for getting them out of the way, Advocate Nkosi-Thomas rigged the outcome of a deliberation on the legality of their employment contracts by doctoring Acting Head of Legal’s opinion.  The original opinion was that the contracts could not be terminated.  Nkosi-Thomas said she altered the opinion with Head of Legal’s permission.  Head of Legal signed an affidavit indicating such permission was never given, stating she was concerned about her professional reputation because of the altered opinion.

“The Office of the Public Protector told News24 that SAA had asked it to halt its investigation into Nkosi-Thomas, pending a fraud case against her that was subject of a police investigation,” writes Amanda Khoza.  How could SAA ask an investigation against it to be halted?

“The public protector had been investigating complaints that [Advocate] Nkosi-Thomas allegedly doctored a legal opinion during her tenure at the SAA board.  However, neither the National Prosecuting Authority or the police could elaborate on the case.  NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku had no knowledge of the matter.”

How do so many things just disappear and go mum?

This is no impediment: where her sources appear uninformed, Khoza isn’t.  Telling Nkosi-Thomas’s story, she says “she proceeded to amend the opinion in line with [their] agreed legal position as supported by the draft letter to the chairperson.”

The draft letter supporting her allegation that there was an “agreed legal position” has not been seen.  Again, we only have Nkosi-Thomas’s word that her reasons for committing fraud were good.

“This [action] was to later become the basis of the fraud or forgery allegations reported to the SAPS, the Public Protector, the Johannesburg Bar Council and the General Council of the Bar,” explained Nkosi-Thomas.  “One of the consultants challenged the termination in the Labour Court of South Africa, unsuccessfully.  This was yet another vindication of my legal advice to the board of SAA.”

She’s wrong on two counts.  The first is it wasn’t one, but two, challengers.  The other is that the merits of the case were never argued in court.  Contrary to her insistence that her Nkosi-Thomas’s actions “saved SAA from fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” they have set SAA up for a hellacious legal and economic experience that will have adverse knock-on effects on the country.  She says, “‘As a member of the Bar of 22 years standing, I would do it all over again, given another chance” (bold mine).

But if you look at every reason those four contracts were terminated, even if they are true, they have nothing to do with wrongdoing on the employees’ part, and everything to do with technicalities on SAA’s side.  The question to ask is this: what did those SAA Boardmembers think they could hide by terminating the contracts unlawfully?  How big must that secret be for SAPS Commercial Crimes, the NPA, the labour court and the PP’s Office to play along?

If Joe Soap works at Local Factory and it’s found that the contract he was offered was null, the issue is that Local Factory is offering contracts it shouldn’t be offering.  It’s not that Joe Soap breached or nullified it himself.  As a result, a damages’ claim has been filed against SAA.

If and when this case goes to court, various witnesses could be issued subpoenas to testify under oath.  Electronic communication could get dug up.  SAA’s smallayana skeletons, relevant to that single fraudulent action, would all be trotted out for the public record.  We would find out just how far the corruption goes.  And once speculations are proven to be facts, they’re harder to spin, crisis-manage or damage-control.

And the media will most likely paint it as Dudu Myeni’s fault – a claim that may then be proven to be very true, given the associations those subpoenas prove.  Myeni’s friendship with the President would become even more of a liability for him, the ruling party and National Treasury.  Given various persons’ claims that the ultimate beneficiaries of all criminality were the Guptas, Treasury loses the work thus far done by Gordhan to anchor himself to the Finance Portfolio by winning big business’s trust.  They’d realize the government is a house more divided than previously thought.

Depending on when the case is heard, the ruling party also runs the risk that their President could be proven to be in relationships with Dudu Myeni and the Guptas that are detrimental for the country, in an election year.  Pravin Gordhan didn’t name any names when, after his appointment, he called some boards arrogant and accused individuals of using state-owned enterprises as their personal toys.  This would show who he was speaking of.

The South African legal profession, judiciary, SAPS, NPA and Public Protector would come under scrutiny.  Webs of corruption spanning the entire government would be pulled up into the light.  Nkosi-Thomas would again be proven a legal disaster.  As she threw the government under the bus in the Constitutional Court, her “shielding” SAA would have thrown SAA along with the country under the bus as well.  For her part in this, the parallels to Nkandla are staggering – and possibly bound to be replayed for all of us.

There will be then even more public outcries about “fraud,” “state capture” and “patronage network.”  Depending on how media handles the narrative, it might be the straw that tips us over into a credit rating downgrade.

As a non-executive director, Advocate Nkosi-Thomas did not “shield” SAA or have her opinion vindicated at the labour court: because it has yet to be heard, she stands to have it questioned at a court that may root out whose behalf she was acting on.  Because of her, the airline’s dirt and its corrupt influence over other arms of government could come to the fore.  Her “protection” will probably backfire.

The airline should learn from National Assembly’s repetitional losses.  Seeing that in this instance Nkosi-Thomas’s advice was someone else’s altered fraudulently, as she’s admitted, it could spell disaster for SAA.  And all of us.

If National Treasury is serious about cleaning up SAA’s image, it would investigate and take the necessary disciplinary steps stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act.

The rest of us never signed up to be “defended” through Nkosi-Thomas’s shifty and shady techniques.  Yet, it appears we are.

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Will SAA Be Moved from the Finance Ministry to Presidency?

We may be in for another markets’ earthquake.

Nicky Smith and Carol Paton report that President Zuma “has refused [Finance Minister] Mr Gordhan’s suggestions for a new chairman, insisting that Ms Myeni, his close friend, be retained.”  But would he pry SAA out from Gordhan’s grip, to keep it looting-friendly for Dudu Myeni?  Speculations are rife that he would.

SAA was with Public Enterprises when Malusi Gigaba was its Minister.  Gigaba was set to deal with Myeni (and Advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, among others) but the President changed him from that portfolio to Home Affairs in a post-election cabinet shuffle.  Gigaba would probably deny this narrative.  No matter: his replacement, Lynne Browne, inherited many of his issues with the SAA Board Chair.  The President moved SAA from Browne’s Public Enterprises Portfolio to National Treasury – “because most of its problems are financial,” as members of Cabinet explained – and this had the effect of shielding Myeni.

When Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, blocked Myeni’s Airbus deal and speculation arose that he was about to discharge her, the President dismissed him as Minister for a BRICS-Bank job (dololo, BRICS-Bank job) and replaced him with David “Weekend Special” van Rooyen and two Gupta-given sidekicks (who were rumoured to have been given full ministerial signing powers).  Being unknown, van Rooyen was replaced by Gordhan, who works today with many a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head – the Denel Board of Directors, SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane and MP Sfiso Buthelezi, who is believed by some to be waiting in line for Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas’s job, all Zuma’s thorns in Gordha’s flesh.  The relationship between Gordhan and Zuma is fascinating to watch: never have two people needed and unneeded each other this much at the same time.

If you’ve flown SAA recently, you may have had the mis/fortune of reading in-flight magazine Sawubona’s Letter from the Chairperson (which was meant to be the CEO’s soapbox, but Myeni is Zuma’s special friend) where she waxes lyrical about the need to “transform” SAA’s supplier base – in order words, to use unknown third-party suppliers for shady deals.  We shouldn’t be surprised by her outbursts last weekend.  SABC’s Tshepo Ikaneng’s reported that Myeni had “accused some senior executives of derailing her plans to transform the airline”:

“The issue of racism is very rife at SAA.  When you speak out you get victimized.  This company will continue to operate without government guarantees,” without which, SAA is no longer a going concern, and which have been withheld by Treasury pending the change of Board.

Myeni’s self-defence is summarized in one succinct explanation: “We are dealing with issues of racism.”

The damsel in distress cried “Racism!”, a word that understandably always gets a rise in South Africa.  Ever the “listening president”, Zuma will swoop in to the rescue; he’s so far said he’d get “closer” to SAA because (get this, Reader) National Treasury had not solved SAA’s problems.

Imagine that.  Conveniently blame an entire ministry for the choices made by the one person you refused to release, and then pull the loot-cow that is SAA to your own bosom.

Imagine what Zuma thinks that would mean for him, if he truly is considering it.  No more interfering ministers.  No more scouting parliamentarian ranks for loyal ANC MPs unburdened by conscience or shame.  No more EFF press briefings or Gupta bribe scandals.  No more anything with a name ending with -gate.

Goodbye to Vytjie Mentor’s timed-release killing-me-softly Facebook grenade statuses.  Zuma has already said goodbye to journalists snooping around the Gupta Saxonwold compound, trying to prove what everyone suspects.

It would be the end of drama in President Zuma’s life; a stunt so daring it would seem like divine intervention, like Jesus returning to rapture Luthuli House and its satellite tentacles in the State, off to the heavenly bliss of uninterrupted looting while the rest of us – “Left B”ehind in a perishing junk-status credit-rated economy – wonder what the hell hit us.  Unless he decides the fallout will be too great and ices that idea.

I already see the tweets out there.  “Thuli Madonsela must investigate!”  Interestingly, there was, in this maelstrom of corruption, a fraud case logged against SAA.  One of its boardmembers at the time, Advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas, doctored a document with Head of Legal’s opinion on it.  It was believed this fraudulent act was committed to protect a line of people leading up to Dudu Myeni and beyond her, President Zuma.  According to several versions of the story by journalist Amanda Khoza, SAA asked the Office of the Public Protector to put that investigation on hold.  The Office agreed, and to this day, has not released the report.

Now, everybody has seen from the Mabel Jansen story that it’s very difficult to bring a judge to justice.  Jansen’s off-colour comments, made both in public and private online platforms, were initially not enough to unseat her, though complaints had been made against her.  It was only when Gillian Scutte went public with the judge’s views on black people that disciplinary steps began in earnest with the JSC.

The same is also true for advocates like Lindi Nkosi-Thomas (who, incidentally, has also acted as a High Court Judge).  Nkosi-Thomas was made infamous by her excruciating defence of National Assembly’s failure to constitutionally hold the President accountable on the Public Protector’s Nkandla Report.  According to her LinkedIn profile, she has “acted in various litigious matters of national importance and has advised various SOC’s and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on numerous litigious matters and transactions of considerable scale.”  And she has the connections to show for it.

It’s easy to believe that Nkosi-Thomas was not investigated because the investigators are all her buddies – right through to probable moles in the Public Protector’s Office, the NPA that declined to prosecute, the SAPS Commercial Crimes unit that declined to investigate, and the Johannesburg Bar Council that declined to find wrong in her altering a document whose source was very much disturbed by the new meaning.  I’m not creating this theory: the SowetanLive commenters on Khoza’s article have insinuated as much.  One easy way to end this rampant speculation is to ask the Public Protector’s Office why the report on SAA hasn’t been released – as many journalists have asked in the last three years.

The battle over SAA and its attendant swapping of ministers has easily cost the country half a trillion rand.  That money can’t be paid back to the Fiscus the way the #Nkandla money can be because it was never in government’s pocket.  The citizens’ loss was direct.  By retaining Jacob Zuma, the ANC is making South Africans pay to be robbed, and we’re paying in rising food prices and many other costs in the aftermath of a drought.

Then there’s the Gupta family.  The EFF alleges they were waiting for this criminality to play out until state-owned enterprises like SAA were so ruined government would accept whatever the Guptas would offer for them.  Mentor was offered the Public Enterprises portfolio provided she drop SAA’s route to India and let Gupta-linked Jet Airways take it up.  It has been said that the best way to slow a PP Office’s report on State-related corruption is to have the Guptas as its ultimate beneficiaries; this is probably why we’re still waiting for feedback on Gupta-linked farm that milks Free State coffers.

Now, someone would argue that the Public Protector’s Office is swamped with requests to investigate a burgeoning number of maladministration cases (it is) or that Thuli Madonsela herself wouldn’t allow fear or favour to colour how she investigates (she very much strikes me as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person).  The truth is, we don’t have full knowledge of how the PP’s Office prioritizes cases.  But some are just obviously more urgent than others.

I’m not encouraging needless cynicism or anarchy; I’m simply restating what I’ve consistently said on this blog: as long as we give the impression of revolting and protesting against corruption, the government will give us the impression that there’s a light at the end of a tunnel we gave them control over.  The Public Protector’s Office has been described as “as the public complaints body of last resort.”  Again, this keeps alive the impression that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  That the system works now and then doesn’t take away from the possibility that it only works enough times to give the illusion of continuous functionality, but not enough times to fundamentally change the status quo.  Imali iya emalini.  To money, money goes; to power, power goes.

We must be careful, then, that we don’t let elections be another end of a 5-year-long tunnel.  We must do a better job of holding our government accountable by shaking them up in ways they don’t expect from us seemingly complacent tax-payers.

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Trigger Warning: Race

Two things were posted on Facebook in the last week that may push fence-sitting social-media savvy black voters over to the EFF (making their manifesto launch stadium crowd not a Spielberg special effect but real votes waiting to happen).

One event was Ntokozo Qwabe’s post about his and Wandile Dlamini’s refusal to tip waitress Ashleigh Schultz until she agrees to “return the land,” and the reactions subsequent to that.  The other was Matthew Theunissen’s Facebook response to Mbalula’s ban on international sporting events.

In the wake of copious evidence that rainbowism can be shaken at a press of the “post” button, many black voters are searching for a political discourse that centralises their race-related grievances as urgently as the waitress’s crowd-funders centralised hers.  I think the outpouring of sympathy (and cash) towards Shultz will convert to pure, hard votes for the red party not because those black voters are “racist towards white people” but because those voters’ understanding of racism isn’t a theory but ongoing history.

When he appears before the Human Rights Commission, Qwabe has to prove unfounded the charge that his note to Schultz violated her right to dignity.  One way he can do that is unpacking his action in steps.  What would have happened to Schultz’s dignity had he only refrained from tipping her?  Nothing for the HRC to deal with, even if he’d posted on Facebook that he refrained from tipping his waitress.  We frown on non-tippers; we cast them to hell.  But we don’t charge them with anything.  Until they disclose, as he did, that they’ve refused to tip for no reason other than the waitress’s skin colour.

The question, then, is whether Qwabe was right to single Schultz out in his crusade against white privilege.  She now appears to be in a position to become a landowner.  It has been argued by many voices online, from precedent, that had Qwabe and Schultz’s races been reversed she would not have had R150 000 crowd-funded on her behalf.  So the crowd-funders (whatever their combination of races) may have won Qwabe’s case for him.  It has been argued that Schultz was not in such a position when Dlamini and Qwabe initially picked on her.  But they picked on her precisely because they were assuming she would or could turn out to be the correct individual at whose feet to lay their historical complaint.  And now she is.

Three questions have been asked.

  • Was Qwabe’s action socially unacceptable?
  • Was his target politically sound?
  • Does the political effectiveness of an action’s critique of the status quo supersede social norms like decency and politeness?

In hindsight (which, Qwabe would argue, was his and Dlamini’s foresight) the answer to all three questions may arguably be “Yes.”  I do not like it either.

The HRC is left to disprove this narrative: in an overly-shrewd and callous political act (but not an impossibly shrewd political act), two young men correctly assumed that this socially unacceptable action of theirs would expose something previously unseen about the status quo: white social capital converts to financial capital far faster than any other kind; furthermore, black people can hope to access such private sector wealth only if they learn what Eusebius McKaiser has described as “the grammar of whiteness.”  Rebecca Davis’s White tears: The most valuable currency concludes with the words, “I know what the response to this will be: anyone can start a crowdfunding campaign.  That’s not true.  You have to move in a world where online crowdfunding drives are a thing.  You have to be able to appeal to people with a disposable income – ideally, a personal network.  Most likely, you have to frame your bid in fluent English.

“And it helps if you have a platform on which you can advertise your petition – such as the podcast on Cliff Central, which hosted the fundraising for Schultz. (That’s the same podcast, by the way, that claims feminism is cancer.)

“A minority of the country meets these criteria.  And if that minority chooses to exercise its kindness so selectively, what is it saying to the rest?  At the least, that some people deserve kindness a lot more than others.”

Unqualified aversion over Qwabe’s act may unmask our talk of socio-political progress as hollow lip service that, at moment of that political vision’s consummation, turns out to have been self-indulgent daydreaming.  #WhiteTip was not an abrogation of #RhodesMustFall; it was #RhodesMustFall crudely and jarringly realised.  No unearned privilege was ever exposed or dismantled neatly or nicely.

We are right to feel Schultz has been unfairly picked-on.  We can cast Qwabe’s guts to the pits of hell.  But we dare not refuse the lessons this situation has brought us.

Now, some will argue that #RhodesMustFall is an intersectional movement and its leaders have no place further mistreating women.

Contrary to popular belief, patriarchy has a few benefits for women.  It named them as wo-men in the first place because it saw men as the primary images of humanity, and women as secondary men who were distinguished by their possession of wombs, which are valued insofar as they are available to birth the next generation of men.  To the extent, emotional upsets on their part (caused especially by those who are of a different race) can summon all the powers and forces of that race to their defence.

Call it chivalry.  Call it common decency.  We experience these evolutionary impulse through sophisticated emotional layers that make them seem complex, civilised and noble.  But until we can uniformly be as concerned about the emotional well-being of all persons, men included, from all races, I will insist that the base protective impulse reflects more our animal natures than it does our better angels.

This sort of tribalism isn’t unique to any race.  It works this way the same reason a child’s tears work – the psychological distress of those over whom we are protective, real or perceived, instinctively brings about a protective or vindictive response in us – and is the reason women are infantilised or allowed a greater degree of emotional expression than men are.

Can you imagine how #WhiteTip would have unfolded if the waiter had been male, and had responded any way except to brush it off or fly into a rage?  Because those are the only two socially accepted emotional responses for men.  Would anyone had crowd-funded a him if he’d cried?

A man doesn’t have a womb or breasts to gestate or nurture infants, so he should not expect the kind of emotional and social protection a woman may; he has a penis, and with that, the expectation that he can impregnate, overpower or defend himself as the need arises.

All of this works as long as men and women implicitly agree to be ignorant as to, or keep ignoring, why the expectations work and for what tribalistic ends they work.  The moment a woman questions racial supremacy or patriarchy, she is on her own.

“I would like to thank everyone for all the support and kind words,” Schultz posted on her Facebook page.  “I’m astonished at the attention and coverage and I’m glad that so many people have stood up against racism.  Remember, an eye for an eye makes the world blind.  You cannot show hatred for somebody you are entirely clueless about because of something that happened in the past.  Everything has been super overwhelming and I’m going to have a hot bath now.”

Her status shows that even she knows the response to her situation to be extraordinary.  She’s glad that so many people have “stood up against racism” – but that would need for them to have consistently stood up for racism in a similar manner for similar situations up until now, not just her situation.  Could she believably argue against Qwabe, then, if he put it to the HRC that she was an appropriate target because she enjoys privileges she has never thought about?  Nobody denounces the vindictiveness of an eye for an eye unless on some level they think they or theirs have it coming.  How does your eye enter a fray it was never part of, unless you know, on some level, that it belongs in there?

“You cannot show hatred for somebody you are entirely clueless about because of something that happened in the past,” indeed, but if you’ve correctly guessed that someone has benefitted from something “that happened in the past,” and can leave it in the past because they have the benefit regarding history in throwaway aphorisms, are you “entirely clueless” about her, or have you sized her up to a tee?

I’m not disputing Ashleigh Schultz’s right to respond as she has to this event, which is the best she could do given what she knows.  That’s all any of us really do, I think.

But… well, let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

And then there’s Matthew Theunissen’s post.

Black voters have generally been trained not to hold the post-apartheid government accountable.  Transformation in sports did not fail to come about in a vacuum or because sporting bodies unilaterally failed to make it happen: the current government has compounded the previous government’s failure to make resources reach black people that need them.  As a result, the numbers of black academics, athletes, artists and scientists are not what they could be.

While there’s no denying the presence of institutionalised racism in sports associations, Mbalula’s acute treatment of this symptom allows him to conveniently point at everyone, except his party, as the ultimate explanation for the lack of transformation in sports.   Theunissen’s post could have analysed his disingenuousness for doing so.  Instead, he took it every person who shares Mbalula’s skin colour.

Under apartheid, white people were expected to see sports as more important than the human dignity of people of colour.  This fit with the apartheid ideology’s instilling dominance within its males so they could stomach compulsory military service and brutality against “the other.”  We saw the ghost of this mindset when black protesters walked onto the field at UFS and got beaten with the players’ girl[friends]s cheering them on (and, subsequently, with black policemen’s assumption of the white actors’ innocence).  As five white friends have told me: many of their friends and families really only rejected apartheid once other countries had banned South African sports teams from participating in international events.  So institutionalised racism didn’t end because black lives mattered; it ended because white entertainment did.

Theneussen’s rant showed this impulse that sees black people as an obstacle to the weekend sporting line-up – and here we thought sports could reconcile us.

The new South Africa was never meant to be about putting black people’s historical losses on the forefront but about renegotiating South Africa’s place on the world stage on white people’s behalf.  And where the fulfilment of the voting majority’s needs has only happened as a means to that end, that majority will start searching for a party that [they believe] puts those needs at the top of the agenda.  Ergo, EFF.  Ignore what I’m saying, and they’ll take the national elections sooner than you can pack for Perth.

Saying black people could have voted better (and they could have!) does not recede the question of white people’s overall priorities into sheer conjecture; what keeps happening is that the more discomfort and inconvenience white people are subjected to, as Theneussen and Sparrow were (inconvenience?!), the more hostile and racist an overwhelming number of their online posts become.  Online black readers weigh this “rainbow nation” against the EFF’s offering, and find that rainbow as real as the pot of gold at its back-side.

“Oh, but the EFF would destroy South Africa!”  Retribution would destroy the country, we’re told.  Look north.

But what if that argument simply creates a self-serving distinction between South Africa (the country) and many of the South Africans (the people comprising the country) who have been destroyed, repeatedly, by the unequal valuation of tears shed over racial slights?

Which South Africa needs to be saved from the EFF (as per the DA’s text), if not the South Africa comprised of South Africans who have not been crowd-funded R150 000 for blood, sweat and tears shed in unjust racial laws and actions?

We urgently need to go back to the drawing board regarding this “reconciliation” gig we’ve been at for 22 years, and work out what, precisely, is being reconciled.

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