It’s Deputy President David Mabuza’s 61st birthday.
The Cat — as the second-in-charge of the Republic is known — is, we are told, back in the country, after another lengthy spell in Russia for medical treatment.
These days Mabuza — the man credited with engineering the 3-3 draw between the New Dawners and the Showerheads at the ANC’s 54th national conference in 2017 — is in Russia so often I’ve been wondering whether he’s deputy president of our Republic or Vladimir Putin’s.
Perhaps the Cat — who will, we are told, be taking questions in the National Council of Provinces later in the week — is actually Russia’s number two and is only moonlighting when he’s here.
Perhaps Mabuza is a full-time deputy to Putin, flying back to Ysterplaat to show face in Parliament only as often as is necessary to claim his salary as Cyril Ramaphosa’s deputy; justify the Persal payment every month, without raising too many eyebrows.
Like many of my fellow South Africans, I’m broke.
Being a wage slave and not owning the means of production will do that.
So will 15 months of trying to survive on two-thirds of a pre-Covid salary — of earning less than 20 years ago, back at the turn of the century — with no sign of the situation improving any time soon.
Granted, the comrades working for the governing party are even more broke.
The good people at Luthuli House and in the provinces and regions haven’t been paid since June.
They’re embarking on a wildcat strike to try to get their millionaire bosses to stop backstabbing each other long enough to sort them out.
Pay them what they’re owed, rather than insisting that they “soldier on”.
I can’t say I blame the comrades for downing tools.
What else can they do?
Perhaps the ANC staff should have a chat with the Jacob Zuma Foundation’s Mzwanele Manyi — who’s out there fundraising for El Patron’s legal fees, claiming that the former head of state is broke — about paying their salaries.
Ending their misery.
After all, team Zuma must have some cash to spare — despite Manyi’s claims that the former number one is suffering from post-presidential penury.
It’s not just what should be left of the takings from uBaba’s nine years in office as head of state; nearly a decade with the keys to the till and nobody to stop him looting it.
Nxamalala’s people took in R119-million from banks and ATMs alone during July’s smallanyana insurrection, together with R2-billion in stolen goods to turn into cash.
That’s a firepool of money.
Factor in the millions that will flow from the faithful in the coming days — Manyi, rather strategically, started posting the appeal for cash a couple of days ahead of payday — and the next appeal for money, set for 13 September, just in time to catch the People of the Fifteenth — and there should be just about enough left over from paying Dali Mpofu to cover Luthuli House salaries and fund Duduzane Zuma’s campaign for the ANC presidency next year.
I’m also way better off than the thousands of people who have lost their jobs because of Covid-19 — or those who lost their livelihoods because Nxamalala’s supporters believe he shouldn’t pull his 15 months in prison hospital for contempt — and those who had nothing, even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit us.
Despite dreading payday — and another month of dodging my creditors — I’m relatively happy.
It’s not just the fact that the second national shutdown planned for Monday failed to materialise and the only JZ who is going anywhere is a football photographer who has headed home to Germany after an unsuccessful spell masquerading as a coach.
I finally got my first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine last Friday.
The process was super smooth and not very time consuming: an hour and five minutes at most from the time I joined the queue to the time I headed out the gate at Durban’s Nazareth House.
To be honest, I spent longer queueing for bread in the aftermath of the Zumarites’ Black Friday last month than I did to get the potentially life-saving vaccine
The jab itself was painless; way less intrusive — or uncomfortable — than a Covid-19 test.
The spot where I was injected was a bit tender for a day or so, but that’s it.
No side effects.
No microchipped Bill Gates in my bloodstream.
No Beelzebubed, 666ed what what.
Just a better chance of staying alive.
Even if I am still broke.