Gigaba’s Uber-hard times ahead


The sun isn’t up yet, so there’s time for a bit of a ponder before the day gets serious. The day is going to be tight, as Wednesdays are, but there’s still time to marshal my thoughts before starting work.

At least I won’t have to factor in sitting around waiting for President Cyril Ramaphosa to fire Malusi Gigaba, given that Dickgrabber had fired himself as home affairs minister the afternoon before, saving the larney the trouble and for the first time in his political career doing something that at least resembles the honourable thing.

The fiendish easterly that’s been howling since Monday morning like Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen during presidential question time in the National Assembly isn’t showing any sign of letting up, so a dip in the ocean before work is out.

The ocean will be there tomorrow — this is, after all, Durban, so there’s no need to spend the morning dousing myself in methylated spirits — or my own urine if the lifesavers aren’t on duty yet — to kill the bluebottle stings that are guaranteed if I hit the water before the wind changes.

I got a swim in on Sunday afternoon, so that will have to keep me going until the wind drops.

I check my mobile. The Uber app is open from the night before. One thing leads to another and in seconds I’m checking what it would have cost Gigaba for an Uber from the Union Buildings to Nyoni, north of Stanger, from whence the self-flagellating one hails.

It takes a while, first asking whether the former minister wants UberX, UberXL or UberVan. I opt for UberVan. The other options will be too cramped — there’s that inflated ego and all those cases of designer suits, Norma’s weaves and the matching his-and-hers velvet tracksuits to fit in, along with those lovely table mementos from the Gupta wedding at Sun City and the pilot’s outfit to fit in.

I switch to cash payment mode, just in case I screw up and end up booking a van from Pretoria to the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast for real.

A second later I get a quote: R4 890. Pricey, if you’re a pay-your-own-way kind of a cat. Not bad, if you’re using the ministerial credit card, or if you have an offshore bank account.

A bit of a step down, given our man’s tastes for the good life, but a lot better than a minibus taxi from Park Station, or a railways bus. Do those still exist, or did they also disappear during Gigaba’s tenure as public enterprises minister?

I almost feel sorry for Comrade Handjob. Almost.

Think about it. A year ago, Nyoni’s finest was on a roll. Suits were free, paid for by the fiscus. Jacob Zuma was still president, Atul Gupta was still making Cabinet appointments and Gigaba was minister of finance. The Zuma machine was on the march to Nasrec, and a third, if somewhat indirect, bite at the ANC presidency for Nxamalala lay ahead.

The future was looking rosy. The Zuma camp believed it controlled the branches. The delegates had been bought and paid for. Ramaphosa supporters in the Zuma-backing provinces had been purged from the membership lists. The kingmaker, then ANC Mpumalanga chairperson David Mabuza, was still onside with the Zuma project and hadn’t jigga’d on the Jiggaman. Yet.

Gigaba, in his own words, was being groomed for the presidency — at least by Zuma and the Guptas if not by the former liberation movement. New York and Dubai were only a taxpayer-paid-for business class flight away and the revolving door to the Saxonwold Shebeen hadn’t been padlocked by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Like I say, it must be tough. Not as tough as it may still get, what with potential perjury charges looming, and the dirt that is yet to be dished out at the Zondo commission into state capture.

I wonder what Gigaba will do for a living now that he has resigned as an MP, the next logical step after his exit from Cabinet. If he stays out of jail.

I suspect Gigaba may have to flog his expensive wardrobe for lawyers’ fees if he doesn’t want an orange jumpsuit.

There are other options, I suppose. Gigaba may have no sense of reality or decency, he may be a little on the dodge side, but he does have some marketable skills. We know Gigaba’s not shy when it comes to the camera, or it when comes to hand jobs, so he should be alright.

I cancel the Uber booking and put the kettle on.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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