Nought as constant as change


Day 224 of the Covid-19 national lockdown.

Day two of former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni’s silent witness routine at the Zondo commission. 

Dudu’s not saying much. When she does, it’s to say she’s not going to say anything, on the grounds that saying anything would incriminate herself. 

Fair enough.

Myeni was always going to be a less than willing witness, given the nature of the testimony led before the commission about her role in the capture of the South African state by the Zuptas. Why make evidence leader Kate Hofmeyr’s job — and that of the commission — any easier? 

What else can Myeni do?  Confess? If Myeni does answer questions, she will most definitely be implicating herself in a number of crimes, so her options are, at best, limited. 

Perhaps Myeni might have been better advised to follow her leaders and head for Dubai. Do a Zooming with the Zumas sort of a thing with the commission, from the video conferencing facilities in Duduzani’s palace, safely beyond the reach of the criminal justice system.

Unless Myeni, having served her purpose, is no longer welcome at the Gupta compound, or at KwaDakwadununse in the desert, and is stuck in South Africa, left behind to face the music, as it were.

It’s also day four back at work after a week’s layoff, a glorious break from raking the muck that included the first swim in the ocean since the day before the lockdown kicked in on March 26 and four days of copious cannabis consumption, privately, as the constitution permits — if not encourages — while watching the rain bucketing down. 

A fair bit appears to have happened while I was away. 

Coronavirus infections are peaking again, here and around the planet, with new lockdowns kicking in around Europe and elsewhere. Police minister Bheki Cele has announced — finally — some arrests in the murder of former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa. The progress is welcome, even if the oh-so-convenient “discovery” of the alleged shooter(s) in Empangeni’s Qalakabusha Correctional Centre, where they were serving jail sentences, does create the impression that somebody who is already pulling time is being paid to take the rap for the real killer.

Perhaps the cynicism is unjustified and Meyiwa’s killers are finally going to be held to account.


John Steenhuisen, the DA’s stand-in leader, is no longer The Interim One, but rather the leader of the party, after defeating KwaZulu-Natal MPL Mbali Ntuli in the race for its top spot. 

John, it appears, is now The Permanent One. 

This will make John happy. 

John, like Chelsea coach Avram Grant, who took over when José Mourinho, the Special One, got the heave, really didn’t like the Interim One moniker. My people in the DA tell me John didn’t like Judas Steenhuisen — the name he earned when his predecessor, Mmusi Maimane got shafted — either.

So John is The Permanent One, or at least for now, until he falls foul of Helen Zille, who was also elected (again) as the DA’s federal chairperson. 

Zille was always gonna win the battle to be the DA’s Ace Magashule. In more ways than one.

One wonders what steps John and Helen will take to consolidate their gains. Rename the party the Dee Aa? 

Perhaps Vryheidsfront Minus would be more appropriate, given the shift in tack.


The Permanent One may, I fear, go the way of Maimane, if he ever stands up to Zille’s programme to turn back the clock in the party — all the way back to 1652 it appears — or when the party’s move to the right costs them even more voters than fielding Maimane ever did and the only scapegoats it has left are white males, such as himself.

Perhaps the Semi-Permanent One is a more appropriate title, given the seat that John is going to be occupying going into next year’s local government election. If the party’s “white is right” thing works, and draws the wit ous who moved to the Vryheidfront Plus in 2019 back to the DA in the next election, John is in the pound seat.

The Permanent One.

If it doesn’t, and the party continues to bleed votes, having alienated its black voters who made a tick next to Maimane’s head in 2019 by kicking him out, then John is gone, just like Mmusi. 

Zille and her backers in the party didn’t carry the can for their role in the fall-off of votes in 2019. Stitched Maimane up instead and sent him packing. 

They still own the DA’s review commission, whose report sealed Maimane’s fate, so it would be silly to expect them to do so if the wheels fall off the ossewa in 2021.

Or if Permanent John steps out of line.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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