“South Africa knows we have overcome very important things through dialogue – when the talks stop that’s when the war begins.” – Moloto Mothapo
“In our chamber there is still a lot of bullets.” – Zwelinzima Vavi
ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, in an unusually sombre tone, opened the meeting with the choice words, “We must pay the ransom. We must pay it fast.” In the front row sat Public Protector Thuli Madonsela quietly and Zwelinzima Vavi, who responded, “We will put everybody on the highways of Johannesburg.”
Quiet descended on the crowd as Motshekga continued, “We accede; the Information Bill opposes democracy by threatening freedom to information.” To which Vavi shouted: “We will march to the Union Buildings!”
“The ANC has decided to scrap the Bill and restore order to the tripartite alliance,” said Motshekga.
“We will march to the Union Buildings!” shouted Vavi. Madonsela slumped in her seat. Unsure of whether to conclude the matter resolved, Motshekga continued.
“Labour brokers who source work for labourers in return for a commission …”
“We will put everybody on the highways of Johannesburg!” shouted Vavi.
“… for a commission,” continued Motshekga, “cuts into what is already a minimum wage salary of labourers, we’ll give you that. So we’ve abolished labour brokers!”
“Everybody on the highways!” shouted Vavi.
The crowd cheered, “Juju, Juju, Juju!”
Motshekga not knowing whether or not to continue, received a shrug from ANC Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. “And the matter of e-tolling,” he said.
“We will put everybody on the highways!” screamed Vavi wide-eyed into the microphone.
“The matter of e-tolling has been discussed. And we have concluded …”
“Everybody!” shouted Vavi, and the crowd roared, “Juju, Juju, Juju!”
“We have concluded,” said Motshekga above the crowds, “e-tolling will make a shoddy public transport system expensive for South Africa’s workforce so we have torn down the e-toll gates.”
“Everybody on the highways!” shouted Vavi, while Madonsela slid lower.
Motshekga looked to the panel, where President Jacob Zuma sat inertly. After a nudge from Motlanthe, he mouthed. “Schools. Tell them the schools thing.”
“And the private schools!” shouted Motshekga.
“We will march!” screamed Vavi.
“Juju, Juju, Juju!” chanted the crowds.
“Private schools: gone!’ shouted Motshekga.
“March! Highways! Everybody on the Union Buildings!” shouted Vavi.
The crowd cheered, “Jujujujujuju!”
Taking the reigns, Motshekga said, “And corruption …”
“We will march everybody on the highways to the Union Buildings!” shouted Vavi.
“Parliament will set up a corruption commission so dirty politicians do not take money that could be used to create jobs!”
“We will march on everybody to the highways in the Union Buildings!” replied Vavi.
The crowd roared, “Jujujujujujuju!”
At a loss, Motshekga turned to Zuma and Motlanthe, teary eyed and hopeful to reach “an understanding”. “And the mines?” he said to the president and his deputy. “Should we give them the mines?” They looked at Vavi, the crowd still chanting, “Juju,Juju, Juju!”
“We will march,” they said in agreement.