Lucky the Boers destroyed the bombs

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

There have been three times since 1994 when I have been truly embarrassed to be South African.

The first time was two years ago when we agreed through the UN Security Council to set up a no-fly zone over Libya.

Nato promptly began to bomb the bejesus out of Muammar Gaddafi. We protested that that was not what we signed up for. The Security Council said, "Well, actually, you did." And we said, "But we didn't read the fine print!"

I'm paraphrasing. What our foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said was “Our intention was never regime change nor was it the targeting of individuals as it seems to be the case with Colonel Gaddafi”.

What was that saying about good intentions? Gaddafi certainly found himself on the road to hell.


The second time was last week when the SABC and the ANC descended upon the home of our most beloved leader, Nelson Mandela.

They stuffed him into an armchair, propped his head up with a pillow, and put his legs on a footrest covered by a blanket. They put President Jacob Zuma in the chair next to him, and turned on the state TV cameras.

"We saw him, he's looking very good, he's in good shape," Zuma told the SABC. "We had some conversation with him, shook hands, he smiled, as you can see him, that he's really up and about and stabilised. We're really very happy. We think that he's fine."

Columnist William Saunderson-Meyer commented:

"…what had started as merely distasteful political opportunism deteriorated into tragic-comedy.

“Despite Zuma’s effusive volubility, Mandela did not respond as welcoming host, as scripted.

“There was to be no conventional exchange of civilities, certainly no tacit anointing of Zuma as carrier of the ANC’s flame.

"Instead Mandela sat grimly unresponsive, staring vacantly straight ahead, as wordless as a cardboard cutout. Around him Zuma and a brace of ANC dignitaries – now desperate and sweating under the glare of the television lights – cackled and prattled, gesticulated and grimaced, with Zuma proprietorially fondling Mandela’s limp hand in a fruitless attempt to elicit engagement."

The South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's daily paper, reported "A dazed-looking Mandela belies Zuma's words of cheer – Successor Zuma said revered former president in 'good shape, good spirits'; film says otherwise."

I'm quoting the South China Morning Post for the simple reason that while our rulers might accuse William of lying or being a racist, they do not have the guts to accuse the Chinese of the same.

The paper makes it clear that our president says one thing and the pictures say something else.


The third time was barely a day after the Mandela visit debacle. A chartered jet carrying a foreign wedding party flies into our country without a valid international operating permit.

Had it been anywhere else from Australia to Zimbabwe, the plane would have been shot down within minutes of crossing the nation's borders.

Instead, it lands at our capital's Air Force Base where it is received with pomp and splendour.

Nobody checks passports. Nobody searches bags. Nobody looks for drugs or contraband or human trafficking. Instead, the invaders receive a blue light brigade armed escort to a casino resort.

And nobody in government knows what the f… is going on.

National security? National key point? Thank goodness the Boers destroyed our nuclear weapons before we took power in 1994 otherwise those might well have left the country with wedding gifts.


There is a positive side to this chain of embarrassment. For the first time, there is an overwhelming body of people, both within the ranks of ANC supporters and outside, who are extremely irritated at our president and his cronies.

It's the closest we've come to a national consensus since the Mandela era.

That's a good thing, surely?