Jacob Zuma and the invisibility cloak

The presidency released a statement that Zuma has in fact been in Parliament. The reason you can’t see him? Magic, writes Haji Mohamed Dawjee.

The presidency released a statement that Zuma has in fact been in Parliament. The reason you can’t see him? Magic, writes Haji Mohamed Dawjee.

“Death’s got an Invisibility Cloak?” Harry interrupted again.

“So he can sneak up on people,” said Ron. “Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking…”

“Opposition parties! A curse on both your houses.” 

Yesterday the presidency (And when I say presidency I mean chief washer of dirty laundry and chairperson of the Jacob Zuma window-dressing society – Mac Maharaj) released a statement to clarify a few things about the president’s parliamentary attendance.

I say attendance and not lack thereof – because the statement was very adamant that the South African public get this fact correct.

That’s right, the president, has actually appeared in Parliament and fulfilled all parliamentary responsibilities – according to the statement.

The statement also mentioned “the continuing statements by political parties that President Jacob Zuma has avoided going to Parliament are incorrect and are creating a wrong impression”.

So just to drive this point home, one more time, in case it’s not clear … We as the South African public, as well as other political parties, are all under the impression that Jacob Zuma has not been in Parliament, but actually (according to the statement) he has.

What the statement did not make clear – perhaps because us common folk possess no sense of imagination and are just used to using our eyes to observe who is in Parliament, is that Zuma is obviously wearing an invisibility cloak in all of his appearances. Thereby appearing to not appear? (What?)

For those of you who aren’t Harry Potter fans and are not acquainted with objects that enjoy magical powers, an invisibility cloak is a garment that is worn to make the wearer seem invisible. 

In the J.K Rowling fantasy books, the cloak is gifted to Harry – anonymously – by Albus Dumbledore.
In Harry’s world, the cloaks are rarities and weaved from elements of superior wizardry, such as charms and hexes as well as – in Harry’s case, magical herbivores.

I doubt that Jacob Zuma’s cloak is made of mystical non-meat eaters, although – who knows what the ANC leadership can achieve? (They’ve proven time and time again that they will do anything to maintain the upkeep of the ever-waning honour of their president).

But it is definitely weaved from – if not a web of lies – then at the very least a complex tapestry of spun stories that are becoming increasingly desperate … like this latest statement.

The statement noted that the president is “not a member of Parliament” and therefore not required to attend sittings, unless of course he is invited.

Perhaps other members of Parliament were too busy trying to catch up on Snape’s potion class to bother inviting the president to Parliament? (Jokes. They probably weren’t. Their invites probably just didn’t reach him because of the Post Office strike, obvs.)

And then in one drastic effort to halt – or in Harry Potter terms “stupefy” the “Zuma has not been in Parliament” brigade, the statement goes on to list the times the president has actually been in Parliament. For example: The State of the Nation address, the debate on the Budget Vote of the Presidency. Etc.

And then, there’s this and I quote… “It should also be noted that the President continues to answer questions sent to him for written replies. The last batch was sent to the National Assembly yesterday on 24 November 2014 and more will still be sent until Parliament rises.”

While things are being “noted”… It should also be noted that since the magical president himself is sending these responses, the Owl Post is probably delivering them. A special post office where your mail – usually smelling of dung, is delivered by a colour coded owl. 

In Zuma’s case the Owl Post Office can be found in the chicken coop on the Nkandla compound. Which is ever so slightly more expensive than Hogwarts itself – and the mail is obviously delivered by chickens. Good luck receiving those responses. 

The truth is stranger than fiction though. And in Zuma’s fantasy – where evasion, and “pull the wool over our eyes” tactics have become the norm – albeit unsuccessfully because we’re kind of smart, Dumbledore’s words ring true … “There are more ways to become invisible than by a cloak”. 

If the ANC dared to swap the word “invisible” with “insignificant” they would be dealing with a very harsh, and very factual reality.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee became Africa’s first social media editor in a newsroom at the Mail & Guardian, where she went on to work as deputy digital editor and a disruptor of the peace through a weekly column. A stint as the program manager for Impact Africa – a grant-disbursing fund for African digital journalists – followed. She now pursues her own writing full time by enraging readers of EWN and Women 24 with weekly and bi-monthly columns respectively. She also contributes to the Sunday Times and a range of other publications. Mohamed Dawjee's inaugural book of essays: Sorry, not sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa, is due for release by Penguin Random House in April 2018.Follow her on Twitter: @sage_of_absurd Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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