Dear Masters Gupta,
Allow me to turn to you as fellow South African citizens in concerned, engaged and full standing – despite your double nationality facilitating the double-dealing. After all, you are not just some run of the bush amakwere-kwere (foreigners): you are credited with having captured the country’s live forces in no time to feather your nest as needy in-comers. (These damaged goods may have been overripe for the picking, but so be it.) You own the president (giving him ample time to perfect his fine art of giggling) and his clan, his ministers and their minions, and the senior civil servants.
In so doing, you honour a time-tested custom by which no liberation president in this country can hold his head high if he doesn’t have his own tame Indians to be intimate with – politically, financially or otherwise. As to who owns whom …
We assume the slightly needling matter of the state still paying salaries to these gents and ladies in public office will in due time be sorted out since it makes no business sense. In fact, we thank you for having them on your payroll, each according to his or her greed. The state will be much relieved not to have to pay double salaries, thus making more funds available to the poor. I salute your patriotic instincts in advance.
As you know, we, your fellow citizens, are a gambling lot, placing bets on sports, statistics, the economy, the size of our ladies and their hats, how many police will be caught with their hands in the cookie jar, the chances of a boer farmer making it alive to Xmas, the political longevity of the country’s top officials, and on who among the bottom feeding vice-chancellors of our internationally ranked and transforming universities will come up with the best bromides and most pliable intellectual dishonesty.
I know you cannot be bothered by these silly concerns – but there’s money to be made .
I wish to humbly approach you with a proposal that will kill two stones with one bird, as the proverb goes: giving us ordinary mortals a greater stake in the affairs of our country while generating money that could be used, for instance, to empower student activists.
What we need is a stock market that would make it possible for John and Beauty Everyman to place bets on the value of our representatives, or to buy and sell shares in those who govern or administer us. Of course, you are not the only oligarchy keeping and feeding a stable of political operatives and appointees. A stock market, limpid and regulated (and showcased by your media) should allow you to take over a competitor’s “assets” if these interest you, or dump those among your own whom you consider to be asses. Trade will no doubt be brisk. The “assets” could be colour coded to facilitate matters – black/yellow/green, blue or red, depending. Why, even outside interests such as our benevolent Chinese brothers will be keen to share in the killings to be made.
Each protagonist (or parasite) from the president down to the most lowly Hawk or Spook or Sparrow, prosecutor or deployed cadre, comrade or commissar … could be credited with a given number of shares according to market evaluation, allowing us, the people, to track their worth from week to week and to lay bets on their sustainability.
What could be more revolutionary than we people exercising our constitutional right and civic sophistication by speculating on the wiliness, integrity, abjection, sexual prowess, aptitude for inventing academic qualifications, the fancy footwork, and so on, of those entrusted with the well-being of our society? Allowance could be made for a stokvel approach where co-operatives of BEE beneficiaries can pool their shares to offer these “portfolios” in exchange for safer bets.
One could even envisage a situation whereby “bundles” of shop-soiled but still serviceable ward representatives, for instance, are donated to church bazaars to be won in tombolas by pious congregation members, or that a particular specimen sought after for her or his braying and lack of integrity be offered as part of a dowry or lobolo.
Not only will the economy grow, but since all of us will be enabled to try our luck, the stigma and categorisation of living in a criminal society will no longer be a consideration permitted to encumber progress. Was it not Gandhi who said: “What is crime but a clumsy citizen cry for inclusion in the economy so as to share in the spoils?”
A cellphone app could be designed to track the vicissitudes of our bets and facilitate the rapid buying and selling of shares.
I believe, sirs and honourable sri’s, that this will appeal to your innately democratic and proven patriotic instincts. It will only be normal, naturally, that you as market regulators and proprietors of most of these assets, be granted a fair margin of the profits generated by the trade.
With my respect,