/ 18 September 2020

Dancing on the grave of Covid?

Anc Members Have Deployed In Force To The Marikana Township
Fair trade: There are so many Zuma T-shirts in circulation, our columnist wonders if they can be used as currency. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)


Day 175 of the national lockdown. After spending so many months under house arrest, it’s hard to believe it’s time to start preparing to live again.  

Sort of.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Wednesday night announcement of a move to level one was welcome, a relief after seemingly forever, but it doesn’t mean the virus is gone; that we can just crack on like before; that it’s safe to go out and play. 

There’s a deadly virus out there still, killing people. It is time to get back to something resembling normal life, but cautiously, if we’re to avoid a second wave of infections and a step backwards into lockdown. 

That would be awful: a return to the world of no buying roast chickens; of flip-flops and short pants. No walking the dog; no gwais and booze. 

More funerals.

There were no big surprises at #Ratherstaypozi’s family meeting. 

It would have been too much to expect him to make some kind of a mention of the governing party’s latest slap in the face for the nation in the form of the highly illegal, lockdown regulation-violating trip to Zimbabwe by ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and a delegation of top brass from Luthuli House.

That, unfortunately, is not our man’s style.

Instead of a lashing for Ace and Lindiwe Zulu for illegally using a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plane to go visit Zanu-PF, the lahnee mumbled a bit about the Special Investigating Unit; gave us an instruction to do the Jerusalema dance on Heritage Day.

Nice, but I’ll pass for now. I’ll do my dancing when members of the ruling elite finally account for their actions, like the rest of us. When the orange onesies come out. 

Like the rest of the nation, I’m wondering how the ANC hopes to pay the SANDF back for the flight its leaders took to Harare, given that the party is broke and can’t pay its workers.

The comrades apparently left Harare without a result. Zanu-PF couldn’t afford to offer them a finger lunch, let alone taxi fare for the ride home. 

It’s probably the first time Ace left anywhere empty-handed, with his two arms the one length, as it were.

Things are bad.

Perhaps the ANC will go into barter mode, and hand Luthuli House over to the military in return for its owings. They could always use it to house the troops, have them close on hand to the CBD in case cigarettes and booze get banned again.

Perhaps it could be used for urban warfare training, for giving the soldiers a taste of room-to-room, floor- to-floor combat, right in the Jo’burg CBD, rather than on the streets of Alexandra.


Perhaps Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be satisfied with the seven-million T-shirts with former president Jacob Zuma’s face on them that have been stashed on the sixth floor at Luthuli, gathering dust, since uBaba was recalled in February 2018, instead of money. 

Word has it that Ace couldn’t bring himself to throw the Zuma T-shirts away at the end of Nxamalala’s second term, so he stashed them in one of the boardrooms, hoping Ramaphosa wouldn’t find them before Duduzane Zuma’s return from Dubai — the criminal justice system permitting — to make a run for the ANC presidency. 

Five years, comrades.

Perhaps the health department will pay the bill and take the building. Zweli Mkhize can turn Luthuli House into a quarantine centre, lock it down, for exclusive use of members of the governing party who get caught violating lockdown regulations on return from illegal trips abroad. There’s still time before the airports open next month for a couple more needless foreign junkets, a few more public displays of arrogance, just to rub it in, so the facility won’t go to waste.

Perhaps the ANC will leave it up to the comrades themselves, in their individual capacity, as it were, to cough up for the airfare. 

After all, they could have had a Zoom meeting, or waited until October 1, and taken a commercial flight, without breaking lockdown regulations.

Most of them draw state salaries, so unlike the rest of us they haven’t had salary cuts and should have cash on hand to pay for their airfare. If Magashule hasn’t been paid like the rest of the comrades at Luthuli, at least he can always ask his sons, Tshepiso and Thato, from the R2.7‑million they got in personal protective equipment contracts from the Free State government at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.  

That should cover it.

Magashule and company should be charged for breaking lockdown violations — and for leaving the country illegally — when they finish their quarantine. If they are actually undergoing quarantine and aren’t lying to the rest of the nation.