Tyresome lower-case tornado


Tee hee. That’s basically what Tony Yengeni, convicted fraudster and ANC MP, had to say about an image of protesting Alexandra residents displaying tyres as a threat to Johannesburg’s mayor, who was avoiding meeting the protesters.

Now Mashaba, a Democratic Alliance mayor, may be a twat (official political term), but he may also be right in attributing the lack of development in Alex to the ANC, which was in power in Jo’burg for 22 years and essentially lost the R1.7-billion allocated to develop Alex.

READ MORE: The battle for restitution in Alex is never-ending

Yengeni’s tweet implied Mashaba should be necklaced. He has been widely criticised for this, and the DA has laid a charge. So, hopefully, that will all proceed according to the law.

By the way, Yengeni is also chair of the ANC’s working group on crime and corruption — what, they didn’t give the job to Ace Magashule? Surely he knows more about crime and corruption than even former president Jacob “Nine Wasted Years” Zuma.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said yes, Yengeni “was found guilty [of fraud] and he served his sentence and paid his dues. The members of the ANC voted him in[to] the NEC [national executive committee]. That’s why he’s … chairperson of the peace and stability committee.”

So now it’s peace and stability, note. Similar to crime and corruption. We need a peace and stability committee — there’s not much of either in South Africa today. Let’s hope Yengeni can do better with that than with the ANC political education unit he headed: all he did there was teach Julius Malema how to play the system.

And, certainly Yengeni has paid his dues: he served a full four months of his four-year fraud sentence (in mathspeak, that’s 8.3%). He was carried to jail on the shoulders of his ANC colleagues, remember — an early sign of the ANC’s support for fraud, corruption and lies, a tendency that blossomed beautifully under Zuma.

And, yes, Yengeni paid his struggle dues, way back when the ANC had a moral centre and was fighting injustice rather than generating it. He gave powerful testimony at the truth commission about how he was tortured, but that just raises questions about his present endorsement of necklacking. Diff’rent strokes?

What caught they eye in Yengeni’s tyre tweet, however, was the name he has chosen for himself on Twitter: “Tony tornado Yengeni”. We’d like to give that “Tornado” its capital letter, as befits a name, but if Yengeni wants to be lower-case I don’t suppose we can stop him.

Why a tornado, though? Tornados are destructive. The tornado that hit Alabama in the United States last month left 23 people dead, besides lifting houses from their foundations and flinging them in the air.

Maybe it’s to do with Yengeni being a swirl of activity, though there’s no sign he’s done much in Parliament. Could it be related to his drunk-driving charge of 2007, when his unlicenced Maserati was seen weaving erratically across the road? Oh, sorry —he was never convicted because his docket disappeared.

That’s a political education all by itself.

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Author Shaun de Waal
Shaun De Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week.


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