Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a 76-year-old Argentine, was elected as the 266th pope which has occasioned an outpouring of unfettered joy from the world’s Catholic community and, let’s face it, no-little pride among South Americans who are happily basking in his glory this morning.
What has this got to do with South Africa?
That’s it — our leaders, clearly exhausted by the wenners that factional elective conferences produce every five years, have decided to employ a system that has been tried and tested for several millennia — conclaves.
SA AIR FORCE
This week the defence minister conceded that almost half of the air force’s state-of-the-art Gripen jet fighters had been placed in long-term storage. As part of the arms deal we acquired 26 aircraft for R10 billion but it appears that due to financial considerations we may end up grounding the lot.
A performance report submitted to parliament’s defence portfolio committee last year claimed the fighter jets clocked only 173 flying hours between July 1 and September 30 2012 — an average of only two hours a month for each plane while pilots needed to fly at least 10 hours a week.
Now thanks to the new SAAF conclave, and the fuel price, the problem has been solved.
Henceforth instead of trying to send up half the fighters the conclave selects one pilot who can fly his Gripen as much as he wants to or at least until the fuel runs out.
In the spirit of conclaves there will also be the use of white and black smoke to assist the public in ascertaining whether the SAAF has a pilot in the air at any one time.
The public are advised to look out for white smoke trailing from the jet fighter as a sign that he is still flying. Black smoke will pour out of the Gripen when the genius has run out of fuel and crashed the plane. This on account of there being only one pilot allowed to fly at any one time and there being no mechanism to train his successor on niceties such as landing the plane.
WARNING: Telephone call from your neighbour to report black smoke pouring out of your roof should not occasion concern over the lack of an air force but rather the cost of moving your family to new premises. For the rest of us there should be concern over the lack of an air force.
Undoubtedly this will drop the price of housing in those areas situated anywhere between take-off and the outer limits of a Gripen’s fuel capacity.
Of course this new “method of landing” may go a long way towards explaining why only one of the three new submarines, which cost R5.35 billion, is still operational. When the pilots were flying the Gripens in the Western Cape the outer limits of their fuel tanks must have corresponded to the base where the submarines were housed.
The third submarine we believe is currently assisting in South Sudan even though there are no waters within a thousand miles in all directions. Of course there are also no Gripens within a thousand miles in all directions.
In addition and like the papacy our pilot will select another name — Cardinal Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis I. Our pilot will be styled Air Marshall Rydaar I (Rydaar has been selected on account of several pilots surviving the crash and being forced to “drive there” in future.)
Next week: Conclave elects new minister of communications InternetCableSnapped I