Phillip Dexter
Phillip Dexter

Blade, the Setas and Mammon

The tragic saga of the Setas visited upon them by the Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande has been couched in language to do with “skills, training, accountability and democracy”. As with so many instances before this, things are not what they seem when it comes to the antics of the general-secretary of the SACP.

If there is one abiding theme that forms a continuous thread in the career of Nzimande, it is that of Mammon. The love of money led him to tax the SACP to pay him at the salary of a portfolio committee chair (over R650 000 per annum in 1999) when his colleagues were earning on average R10 000 per month. When it came to staff bonuses, Nzimande would always award himself the highest bonus of all, even though he earned more than his comrades. So much for equality!

During the sorry saga of the missing R500 000 (in the famous black plastic bag), the media focused on this money and the remaining missing funds — about R6-million — were never followed up on by the party. He even had the audacity to try to claim money that others had earned, despite them donating a large portion of their hard-earned money to the party. He has consistently positioned himself next to business people, especially his family and close friends, who are in business.

What does all this have to do with the Setas, you may well ask?

In my view, the press is looking at the wrong issues with respect to the Setas and the minister. What Nzimande is doing by stacking the Setas with his friends, comrades and lackeys is simple. He wants to control their procurement spend so that he can determine who gets the tenders. Once again, it’s about the money, stupid. This, despite the crying need for institutions that can actually produce skilled artisans, engineers, technicians and workers in general. He has flouted all the recommendations on what needs to be done to actually make the Setas perform better. Even his own staff in government disagree with him and are leaving the sinking ship in droves.

As the socialist programme sinks into oblivion under his “leadership”, as the SACP becomes an NGO that focusses on having seminars and only meets otherwise to decide who is a councillor and as the ANC government in which he plays a leading role flounders in the cesspool of inefficiency, incompetence, corruption, nepotism, state sponsored violence and downright stupidity, Blade can be relied upon to stay true to his petit-bourgeois roots and keep his eye on the prize-more money for himself! Let’s face it, he needs another home (he has five), another luxury vehicle (he got the last one two-years-ago — its old!) and more slush funds to finance his lifestyle next to the now rich and famous Zumas and Guptas.