Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

SA conclave to elect leaders

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.



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

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    • bernpm

      You reckon that the African National Conclave has sufficient cardinal equivalents to select one leader from?
      Difference between the RC church is that they believe that Jesus was here some 2000 years ago. The ANC believes that they will reign untill Jesus comes and still waiting for that to happen. Not unlike the Jewish faith?

      Difference between the RC conclave and the AN conclave: in the RC one is not allowed to vote when over 80. In the AN conclave being over 80 is a sure winner.

      A minor difference is that the 80 in the RCC represents age while the ANC’s 80 refers to body weight.

    • Benedicus Benedicat

      Sadly the Gripens are already obsolete. Gripen C/D was just a proof of concept for the E/F – which SA didn’t order. Much too worried about the bribes and kickbacks and nobody on the team knew the first thing about the technology. New pope? New planes? New leaders? All would be great for SA.

    • Benedicus Benedicat

      ‘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 SA case, this is not for very long or very far. Most of the planes ordered are trainers with about enough range to defend the airfield perimeter. Not that anybody on the project team really understood that.

    • Momma Cyndi

      I really did think that you were going with the white smoke and black smoke in a different direction there …. as in who was in the fuel tank shoveling coal :)

      Well worth reading – as always

    • Honkie Tonk

      There was plenty of smoke and mirrors from the Conclaves of Polokwane and Mangaung.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com/ The Creator

      No, it wasn’t the SAAF which decided that there would not be enough money to keep itself operational, any more than it was the SAN which decided that there would not be enough money to keep itself operational. Those decisions were implemented by the Zuma administration, which resolved to pursue austerity policies which would keep economic growth low and limit revenue, while keeping taxes low. That’s why the defense budget has fallen so fast and why we no longer have an effective air force or navy.

      However, these decisions were not actually made by the Zuma administration; if there was a conclave of sorts, it certainly wasn’t in South Africa, and although it was probably involved in ensuring that Zuma got elected, it certainly didn’t do so by any process which anyone could monitor. Zuma and Gordhan and company simply do what they are told to do.

      In other words, the Catholic Church is enormously more democratic than South Africa is, and this situation will continue for the foreseeable future.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com/ The Creator

      Er, Benedicus, the combat range (i.e., range at full power) of the Gripen is about 800km, more than twice the combat range of the Gripen’s predecessor in South African service, the Mirage F1. Range with drop-tanks is more than twice that.

      They’re pretty good aircraft, better than any in service in any other African air force; shame the current administration has decided to abandon them (because without trained aircrew and skilled maintenance technicians it would be impossible to bring mothballed airframes back into service in a hurry).

      But then, Africa has always been a continent of peace . . .

    • rick baker

      Some interesting new collective nouns are evolving…..a ‘corruption of cadres’ maybe….or a ‘conclave of perverts’ ….or a ‘conclave of corruptors’….

    • Raisa

      SA is desperately in need of a ‘Gorbachev moment’ – a leader within the ANC alliance who will step forward and honestly say that the whole system is a rotten pack of cards, from top to bottom, that the values and principles of the ANC has resulted in a corrupt clique of criminals presiding over a slowly crumbling state, that socialism is a rubbish ideology that is the opposite of freedom. Until that happens, the inner cabal will continue to preside of an economically and politically declining state.