Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Was Loyiso Gola the Zuma assassin?

Over the weekend South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed that, while he was still the deputy president, there had been a plot to have him assassinated, which was only thwarted because his loyal bodyguards refused to become involved.

Along the lines of Valkyrie without the knobkerrie.

Yet by mid-morning Monday only News24 and iAfrica have shown any interest in the story which, during the course of the day, will be picked up by the rest of the local media and the odd international website.

The apathy and lack of urgency in highlighting what would have been a major story in most countries is easy to explain.

South Africans are becoming conditioned to expect political matters to be dragged out indefinitely until eventually — through the effluxion of time rather than any decisions being made — the issue resolves itself.

If regard is had to the Julius Malema disciplinary hearing, the Dalai Lama visa, the issues relating to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka, the Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and the police commissioner, Bheki Cele, then it is easy to see why nobody is holding their breath awaiting some or other courageous decision by government.

Okay Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe did break ranks and say that they hadn’t refused a visa to the Dalai Lama, he withdrew his application.

The response was an avalanche of demands for his office to sort out the visa, which left him wishing that he had never opened his mouth. It left him more exposed than Brad Friedel after Shola Ameobi lost his marker and fired home a late equaliser for Newcastle against Spurs.

Of course the dilatory approach to decision-making that has marked this presidency has fired up a new breed of black, and other, comedians who are, in my humble opinion, simply brilliant.

e.tv and Deborah Patta in particular should be given enormous credit for Late Night News with Loyiso Gola (I have no tie whatsoever to the show).

Gola along with Riaad Moosa, Conrad Koch, David Kibuuka and Kagiso Lediga are fearless and put Zuma, his cabinet, the opposition parties and the rest under the spotlight.

Not for them the innuendo or subtlety of an Evita Bezuidenhout, it’s in your face and grinding the jackboot into an open wound or an exposed nerve.

Last night, a repeat from Wednesday, they lashed into the president, deputy president, Malema and a certain priest who had been half-inching the school money.

It really is worth watching because it tackles the current issues which are of concern to South Africans without tiptoeing around the hotspots. It doesn’t ask whether the Dalai Lama’s visa was held up because of relations with China, it says it straight out and, in response to the explanations from government, asks “do I look stupid?”

To my mind it is vital that these comedians are not white because the delivery could be deflected by playing the race card.

Here are black comedians asking real questions which, while the show is very funny and translates beautifully across colour lines, deals with topical and important subject matter that is only humorous because it ties back to the claims of incompetence and/or dishonesty.

Not even the media or opposition parties dare to tread where Gola and his comedians are going.

Both the SABC and DStv need to examine whether comedy is not a powerful tool which they too can employ to highlight corruption, ineptitude and cronyism at the top.

A method of bringing home the most compelling issues without falling foul of secrecy bills and media appeals tribunals.

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