Bond: ‘We’re always in danger, boetie’
THE FIFTH COLUMN
It was a dark night in September and a heavyset man in a two-tone shirt approached me.
“The name is Bond, Broeder Bond,” he introduced himself, holding out an oversized hand that folded around mine like a tranquillised bear.
I looked at the Claerhout knock-offs on the wall, the family sitting on the couch.
Bond came closer, his stubble beard within centimetres of my shellshocked face. “We need you to take money to Penny,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“Surely you mean Moneypenny,” I responded recalling the sprightly secretary synonymous with Bond movies. “No, I mean secret agent Sparrow,” he said. “We need to send her money at once — she’s our only hope.”
“I didn’t know we were in danger,” I replied, to which the family looked up, baffled by my ignorance. “We’re always in danger, boetie,” said Bond. “Don’t you watch the news?”
I had to concede I hadn’t kept up with the news as much as I would have liked, but remembered talk of a white genocide I took to be a reference to rhino poaching. “I need you to go to Absa,” Bond went on. “And draw a gazillion rand.”
“I’m with Capitec,” I replied. Bond stood stunned and incredulous as to how anyone in their right mind could not bank with an institution that clearly had South Africa’s best interests at heart.
“Afrikaans Bank South Africa?” he asked. “You don’t bank with them?” “No,” I replied.
“Fok,” said Bond. “Fok, fok, fok. Plan B. We’ll get Hofmeyr to go to Sanlam himself and beg for money from the trust fund. Launder it through the church? Could work. Maybe KWV can help. What about the Rupert connection? Is there a Rupert connection? Jesus, this thing is getting out of hand.”
More than out of hand, it was getting awkward.
I turned my focus to the energy-saving light bulbs and inspected them with the intensity you’d expect from an electrician.
Bond looked down at the ground as if the funds to get Hofmeyr to the United States would magically appear through the floor. “M.” he said finally with a gravitas I took to indicate it was a last resort.
M: white South Africa’s last man on the inside. Many Afrikaners believe M to be Mandela. To others, M is Mbeki — a counterintelligence agent.
“M sounds like a great plan,” I said confidently, fully aware that the tide had turned in my favour. All the secrecy had caused Bond to lose track of M, to let her slip below the radar where the mechanics of a decades-long conspiracy to keep big business in white hands was as clear as day. “I’ll get to M right away,” I said slyly. “I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see me.”
Bond’s face turned white(er) as the information sunk in. “She?” he asked. “Who do you work for? Mkhwebane?!”
“Madonsela,” I retorted as I swept my long, black cape over my face and disappeared through the window and back into the dark night.