Jacob Zuma and the invisibility cloak

“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.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread
Advertising

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday