Bullets fly as the politicos hunker down


Bullets are flying.

Fortunately, the bullets are of a political and legal persuasion, rather than a 7.62 mm round from a Kalashnikov, or a 9mm from a Z88 — or the deadly 5.56 calibre projectiles that are spewed from the muzzle of a stolen state issue R5 — that so often settle leadership and other disputes, particularly in this part of our fair republic, with such fatal results.

First to take a bullet is the former head of state, Jacob Zuma, whose application for leave to appeal against the ruling that Billy Downer was fit to prosecute his corruption case was shot down by Judge Piet Koen, who is presiding in the matter.

Koen dismissed Zuma’s appeal and ruled that the case stemming from the payments he made to his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik should proceed on 11 April, the day before the former president’s 80th birthday.

Not the result uBaba had hoped for, but I still don’t see the case proceeding on the set date — and not just because of the decision by his legal team to take the matter to the supreme court of appeal, Koen or no Koen.

If that fails, an application for Koen’s recusal on some grounds — perhaps his surname, perhaps the brand of cologne he wears — is likely, followed by one for the clerk of the court to be fired over the tone of the wall panelling; or for the trial to be moved to the Garden Court, rather than the high court.

The options remain endless.

In the equality court, Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema is catching bullets, rather than taking — or dodging — them.

Malema is explaining to AfriForum’s lawyers that the bullets in the song Dubul’iBhunu are figurative, rather than literal, a reminder that white people arrived in South Africa in 1652, as visitors seeking refreshment, uninvited, as opposed to a direct threat of putting two rounds into Ernst Roets’s chest and one in his head.

A song, not a death threat.

In parliament, president Cyril Ramaphosa is dodging bullets — again.

Ramaphosa’s comrades on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) have closed ranks around him.

They’ve gunned down — brutally and with a level of ruthless unity unseen in the party of late — the plan by opposition parties to get Ramaphosa to explain a recording of his comments at a national executive committee leaked to the media in December.

A 6-4 vote means Ramaphosa’s letter saying he doesn’t know anything and directing the committee to the Zondo commission’s reports and that of his high-level panel into the intelligence community is enough for parliament.

Not only has the volley fired at Ramaphosa by ANC MP Mervyn Dirks been deflected by the black, gold and green kevlar, but the bullets have ricocheted.

Now they’re directed at Dirks’ comrades from the radical economic transformation (RET) faction who ran the security services when the funds were allegedly diverted to pay for their candidates’ campaigns in 2017.

Ramaphosa is off the hook with Scopa, but former state security ministers Ayanda Dlodlo, David Mahlobo, Siyabonga Cwele and Bongani Bongo all have dates with the committee coming in the not so distant future to explain who signed off — and who covered up — what for whom and why.

Unintended consequences, and all that.

I should be focused on the efforts of the ANC in conducting its stonewalling masterclass in parliament.

I’m not.

Instead, my mind is seized with whether or not Stellenbosch FC will have to change its name to RET United, or some similarly anti-white monopoly capital moniker, should tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu become ANC president at the end of the year.

After all, the would-be RET presidential candidate has been sniping at all things Stellenbosch — or judicial for that matter — and is likely, if crowned as ANC and the country’s president, to frown upon the team’s continued use of the name.

Likewise the dorpie, and the winemakers, who also use the dreaded S word to describe themselves. 

They may be in for a radical transformation, economic and otherwise, of their own, if Sisulu gets the nod from the ANC branches — and the faction — when the elective conference sits in December.

Perhaps Zumabosch — or Sisuluville — will be the new name legislated for Stellenbosch next January, should Ramaphosa fail to secure a second term.

Whichever name is decreed, it’s gonna be lit when Helen Zille gets her first municipal bill with Zuma’s grinning head — or Sisulu’s — on it.


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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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