Peter van der Merwe
Peter van der Merwe

F*** the poor, say SA’s porky politicians

Britain’s recently been shocked by the “news” that avaricious members of parliament have been fleecing the taxpayer royally. But their MPs are mere amateurs compared to those we’ve elected in South Africa who have their snouts so deep in the trough that they’ve forgotten why they are there in the first place.

The rot starts at the top. The government’s having Jacob Zuma’s official residence renovated for R50 million, ostensibly to remove all traces of Thabo’s pipe smoke, and having the walls of the ivory tower fortified against the masses who voted for him in their mindless hordes. Was the old one really so bad? Could we not have built 500 more houses or renovated some schools with that money instead?

But the bit that really says “fuck the poor” is the way South African-made sanitary ware is not good enough for the man who calls himself president. No, no. Why spend R450 000 on locally-made taps, basins and fittings when you can spend an extra half million of the taxpayers’ hard-earned cash importing it? I trust Bra Jake will bathe peacefully knowing that at least five families who pinned their hopes on him changing their lives are still living in tin shacks as a result of his hideous profligacy.

Then let’s talk about our esteemed minister of communications, Siphiwe Nyanda. The man clearly likes his bling — a habit formed in his days as an army general where gold braid and shiny bits on your collar are de rigueur. Makes one wonder why the fuss about gays in the armed forces — but we digress.

How much does Mr Nyanda like his bling? Oh, you have no idea. No sooner was the ink dry on his new employment contract than his mind turned to the biggest challenge he could find in his portfolio: how to pillage the electorate most effectively. His response was mundane only in its lack of imagination: he purchased not one, but TWO BMW 750i sedans for the trifling sum of R2.2 million. One for his office in Cape Town and one for his office in Pretoria.

Each car is valued at R1 135 000 and collectively come with R148 000 worth of extra features. The sun can be so tiresome on one’s face when you’re not allowed to have soldiers standing over you with palm leaves and leopard tails, you know.

Across South Africa the desperate poor are burning tyres on roads and throwing stones in a vain attempt to attract the government’s attention but some crazed refugees from reality in Minister Nyanda’s department believe that “the process of procuring the vehicles for minister Nyanda was done in accordance with prescribed guidelines, which are stipulated in the ministerial handbook”.

I could go on — the amounts we spend flying our ministers around in private jets, for example. The high-ranking officials who refuse to live in their mansions so rent others at our expense. Instead, let me remind you of the words with which Oliver Cromwell dissolved a rotten and corrupted parliament back on April 20 1653:

“ … It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defil’d this sacred place … by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d; are not yourselves become the greatest the grievance? Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse the Augean Stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings …

“I command ye, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. You have sat here too long for the good you do. Go and get out, make haste ye venal slaves, be gone … ”

Right now, we could do with an Oliver Cromwell. Or two.