The Cat trades one life for 2024

Wednesday.

It’s a splendid Durban autumn morning. Despite the great conditions, there’s no chance of an early swim. The city claims to have fixed the broken pump at the Mahatma Gandhi treatment plant that had been pouring thousands of litres of crap an hour into the harbour but, given the current state of its administration, I don’t trust their word enough to go anywhere near the ocean.

I had to head further down the coast at the weekend to get into the water.

I’m still not taking any chances on Durban’s beaches; it’s gonna be a while before I do.

I’m feeling rather pleased with myself, though. A day off from former president Jacob Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution for corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud means I’m at home behind the keyboard, waiting to watch on TV the new members of the National Assembly being sworn in, rather than seated in Court A in Pietermaritzburg listening to a story I’ve heard many times over while Black Label First (BLF) lahnee Andile Mngxitama and his bras mumble insults in the background.


I’ve been here before, as it were. Many times, during Zuma’s earlier appearances in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, and his financial adviser Schabir Shaik’s corruption trial in the Durban high court back in the day, so it’s all a little tired.

Boring, even.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane comes on the screen. He’s trying to explain the steps the party is taking to discipline its former leader and Western Cape premier, Helen Zille for the latest of her racist outbursts on Twitter.

Zille’s been at it again, hammering out the right-wing drivel on social media, leaving Maimane to clean up her mess.

Again.

Poor bastard.

Zille may have grown the party, but these days she’s a threat to it — a resentful, vindictive albatross around the DA’s neck.

Maimane’s going to be cleaning up Zille’s mess until the DA boots her — or him — out of the party. It’s clear. Zille may be out of power in both the party and government, but the rant of the last week is merely a sample of what is to come.

What is it with former party leaders and their inability to stay off social media?

I’d have thought that after all those days of being caught up in the media spotlight, they would be wanting a break, keen to lie low and get out of the glare.

Seemingly not.

Perhaps it’s a refusal to accept that they’re out of the game, a spent force, yesterday’s man or woman, consigned to spend the rest of their days herding grandchildren and gardening, forever out of the limelight?

Perhaps.

It must be tough, though, after all those years of being the lahnee, sitting at home, just another pensioner, watching the power being wielded by somebody else, while you get further and further from the centre of things, becoming less and less significant, daily, until you’re forgotten.

Perhaps.

Zuma’s been a bit of an online pain in the ass to his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, since he opened his Facebook and Twitter accounts, what with all that backhanded

campaigning for the BLF before the elections and similar sterling contributions to the ANC’s May 8 campaign.

The day before his application for a permanent stay of prosecution started, uBaba was back online, tweeting his support for Durban mayor Zandile Gumede, who was arrested by the Hawks last week over a R208-million tender for rubbish that was never collected and claiming that her prosecution, like his, was politically motivated.

Nice.

The mobile goes.

ANC deputy president David Mabuza has asked not to be sworn in as an MP until the allegations of criminality against him are addressed by the party’s integrity commission.

I’m floored. This is massive.

“The Cat”, as Mabuza is known, turned things upside down at the ANC’s conference, dumping the Zuma camp at the last minute and delivering the “unity” slate that elected Ramaphosa as president.

The Cat has done it again: turning the game on its head and opening the way for Ramaphosa to appoint a female deputy president while at the same time putting pressure on those who are implicated in state capture and other acts of corruption to follow his example, remove themselves from the party’s parliamentary list and subject themselves to a process of scrutiny.

It a mad, genius move by The Cat.

Mabuza will face the integrity commission and walk away unscathed, cleared to go back to Parliament in 2024 in the capacity of his choice.

In the meantime he’s freed up from government work, with a deputy president’s pension and benefits, to concentrate on consolidating himself in the ANC presidency at Luthuli House, ahead of the party’s next elective conference in 2022.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper
Storyteller.

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