I truly thought I was dreaming when I listened to Helen Zille explaining away her MEC’s sexual indiscretion as none of our business, using the same mouth used to condemn Jacob Zuma for having “unprotected sex with a mistress”. Equally, I had to pinch myself when Julius Malema using his motor mouth to attack Helen Zille for “sleeping around with his male cabinet”, saying he couldn’t discuss the sexual relations of elders when pressed for comment on the Sonono saga.
Both these characters are pieces of work for our body politic, often filling our airwaves with hot air. Malema has instructed his lawyers to deregister him in order to make sure he does not benefit from the R140-million tender that his companies earned from the state recently. The is the Malema who has an unexplained bond shortfall of R2-million and cannot really be expected to know the finer details of how Cipro and bonds works if his matric certificate is anything to go by. The certificate has been declared unimportant by she who ought to be the minister of basic education. That’s the way of our politics, isn’t it? That the same mouth that declared that if you can’t explain a balance in your bank account you are corrupt, today says it’s none of our business, this huge balance in his bond account.
But it is the way of our politics isn’t it? That Vavi — who is squeaky clean — is the champion of lifestyle audits, is almost a tragicomedy for someone who abused the union credit card not so long ago and had his entire wedding sponsored by all sorts of companies. Why did he not call for this audit before the general election, so that people are not duped into voting for corrupt people who truly are out to loot South Africa?
This credit-card thing can really get people into trouble, otherwise how do you explain that a minister responsible for monitoring and evaluating couldn’t keep his fingers from the plastic. But expediency is the way of our politics isn’t it? A man leads the moral regeneration campaign but when the lights go out there’s trouble and he prepares to do something for which he will apologise to the nation at least twice. A minister of health — who by now must have his tail firmly between his legs — made an Aids day song and dance about how South African now (and suddenly) has a president who will lead the fight against Aids from the front and stop all the denialism. Indeed, he has led from the front
And then the analysts enter the fray — has anyone been able to keep count of how many vitriolic pieces Professor Seepe wrote attacking Mbeki about his stance on HIV/Aids? Not possible. Lately, he publicly defended Zuma for leading from the front on HIV and Aids (a giggle here is appropriate) declaring that morals are not important in politics.
“You can be as promiscuous as you like as long as you deliver the goods”. The professor will have us believe that the outcry following the Sonono affair was by an hysterical few. I suppose that is why Zuma apologised? That is why he is calling for a national debate on morals? Let’s all turn a blind eye to the elephant in our room; let’s even erase from the State of the Nation address that young people must abstain, be faithful and condomise — we now have a president who is so compromised that he could not bring himself to utter this policy statement that is as simple as ABC. But this did not get a mention in the professor’s tirade against others who were accused of trying to be “holy” while they themselves have fathered children in the past — it does not matter — it was in the Fifties before they were married. It must be brought in to show that even Cope has people who can father babies.
Turn the tables, find a diversion, tell a half truth here and there to cover for embarrassments and even suggest that morals are not important — all in the name of ingratiating thyself to the powers that be. That is the way of our politics now isn’t it.?
All this twisted political machinations would be funny if they weren’t so tragic. Last year, when Eskom first mooted the mad electricity hikes, the ANC was first in line to bemoan how unacceptable these hikes are, only to find that behind your back and mine they have gone on to to become part of a company that will benefit directly from the hardship of the people. Chancellor House will cream millions for the ANC to run another expensive elections campaign that will win over the same people who the ANC would have fleeced over this immoral deal making. Let them hew wood! That is the way of our politics isn’t it? And have you heard Cosatu protesting this open scandal? No, that would be too much to expect of an alliance partner that saw nothing wrong with Zuma’s embarrassing State of the Nation address and had no reason to disbelief that he did his best delivering piece jobs and not decent jobs. Closing ranks at all costs — that is the way of our politics now isn’t it?
So when Nomaindia Mfeketo — that failed former mayor of Cape Town — huddles up to her chair, after being redeployed or demoted as a deputy speaker of Parliament and seeks to expel an opposition member of Parliament who correctly points out the lawless Sodom and Gomora situation of our politics — you sit and wonder what part of political engagement she does not understand?
Double standards — it is the way of our politics isn’t it? That the deputy minister of police can call opposition “dogs that bark at a moving car” with no censure from the speaker, but a twit from the opposition bench is met with Pharaoh’s arm.
The proposed moral debate by president Zuma must interrogate the rot that has set in from the very top. Our body politic has become so rotten that we have lost all sense of shame. Politicians of all kinds trade in lies and hypocrisy. Politicians from across the political spectrum have given politics a bad name by not keeping their word, by contradicting themselves and by not living byb what they preach.
This important debate on morals in our politics will tell us once and for all whether we as a nation have resigned ourselves to the lowest common denominator among us. Are we going to simply accept this descent into political criminality and the conspiracy of the mutually guilty or are we going to make an attempt to restore some faith into our politics? When all is said and done this anarchy … it’s the way of our politics, isn’t it? As the Americans say, “That’s how the cookie crumbles …”