Cyril the Bullet Dodger


What feels like the eleventy-seventh day of January is finally upon us. 

The debit order notifications are blowing up the mobile as money departs — way faster than it arrived — a depressing one-day concerto that will end, abruptly, with a negative bank balance by the time the sun sets.

The orchestra will hang up its instruments until the same time next month, when the entire sad exercise will repeat itself, as it does.

Whatever money does come in isn’t really mine but just appears there on its journey between the employer and the creditors — a kind of money laundering, if one thinks about it.

That said, it’s a relief to be hearing the money disappear, after the longest six months of the year.

Like many of my fellow South Africans, I’m wondering why the powers-that-be failed to arrest some random homeless man to stitch up for the fire at the Waterkloof Air Force Base earlier in the week.

Perhaps it was easier to accept the “accidental” outcome produced by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) investigation that was completed within hours of the fuel tank at the airbase exploding — before the fire was even properly extinguished — and communicated to the public.

Perhaps everybody living rough around the base did a runner when they saw it go up in flames — knowing what would be heading their way as soon as the lahnees started to look for somebody to blame, instead of admitting that some drunken general tossed a burning cigar stompie into a puddle of aviation fuel during their Sunday evening braai.

Granted, the South African Police Service may have their hands full, investigating their boss, national commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, for allegedly stonewalling the murder probe into the asassination of Cape Town detective Charl Kinnear, right at this point in time.

Perhaps the brethren in blue will get around to finding some poor patsy to blame for the Waterkloof fire once they’ve finished tanking the investigation into Sitole, which shouldn’t take them long.

I wonder if it was the cops who made and leaked the recording of President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the ANC national executive committee (NEC), or did one of his comrades do the deed?

There is, after all, a fair amount of surveillance equipment that has been missing since before the last ANC national conference in 2017 and is still not accounted for, that could have been used by either — or both.

Whoever it was, the head of state now has to appear before parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) — and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane — to explain his comments that he and the rest of the NEC knew that money had been stolen from government entities — including the State Security Agency — to use for campaigning ahead of the 2017 Nasrec conference.

On the recording, Ramaphosa told the meeting that he would rather take one for the team over his campaign, which he said was not funded with stolen state money, than have the public find out that the “other campaigns” were funded with cash looted from the public purse.

One of Ramaphosa’s comrades, ANC MP Mervyn Dirks, asked Scopa and Mkhwebane to investigate the president’s comments, saying that they were an admission of criminality on the part of the head of state in that he knew his opponents had been funded with stolen state money but kept quiet.

Dirks is also planning to write to Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chaired the state capture commission, to let him know that the president knew about corruption in the campaigns, but didn’t tell him.

Fair enough.

Ramaphosa has been Cyril the Bullet Dodger over the funding of his 2017 presidential campaign since the CR17 bank records were first leaked, so it’s about time he explained to us exactly which of his supporters paid for what on the road to Nasrec.

The president will also have to come clean before Scopa about what he knows regarding looted lucre being used for the “other campaigns”’ in 2017, those of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zweli Mkhize and Lindiwe Sisulu.

Live and direct.

I’m in.

It’s not just the idea of seeing democracy in action, of witnessing the president, ministers and senior civil servants being held accountable, publicly, while the nation watches.

I’m too broke to go anywhere, so I’ll willingly take a couple of days of free entertainment watching a billionaire head of state and a bunch of millionaire bureaucrats explaining how my tax money was stolen to fulfil their political ambitions.

With a smile.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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