Independence you can trust
26 October 2014 06:59 (South Africa)
Opinionista Professor Balthazar

The Mzanzi week that was

  • Professor Balthazar
After much persuasion and a case of Tullamore Dew, the Daily Maverick is proud to welcome renowned academic and all-round intellectual good guy, Professor Balthazar, whose erudite insights will take us past headlines, deadlines and old pick-up lines.

Excuse me, but if I were a duck and happened to be lame, I’d really be offended being compared to Jacob Zuma. The dude can’t read anything out loud and have it make sense. And don’t give me that sad story about him not going to school. He is the President. He can pay someone to teach him to read articulately.

Secondly, he can’t answer any questions directly – including “How many children do you have?”. Seriously dude, if it’s a number under 50, it can’t be that hard. Thirdly, he can’t take a stand on anything. Even if you gave him a dartboard to help him make decisions, he’d take it to Luthuli House and get Gwede to throw the darts.

Nowhere was this more evident that in The New Age’s “exclusive interview” with the President – an obvious effort to help Ryland Whatshisface sip from the poisoned chalice that is the editorship of the Gupta’s daily Post-It note reminding us that they are Zuma’s good friends.

So apparently Mr New Editor and his team had a “wide-ranging interview at his Pretoria home to share his thoughts about the successes and failures of his administration”. There are several reasons why this meeting of the country’s cerebral personalities failed to register even a blip on the radar.

Firstly, one would assume that some time during this cosy tête-à-tête, the small matter of how Zuma managed to piss off his entire support base and closest allies would come up. Apart from the minister of foreign universities, Blade Nzimande, all of the people who carried Zuma to the Union Buildings are now baying for his blood and are desperate to despatch him back to Nkandla to, uhm, tend his flock.

You would think someone at The New Age’s ace (no pun intended, Ace Magashule – okay, it is) team would ask how come the people who proclaimed him “The People’s President” would now rather have a cactus in Tuynhuis.

They did ask, however, about relations with the ANC Youth League prodigy Julius Malema to which he answered: “I am not sure why we should have deteriorating relations, we are in the mother body and the youth are in the league… I do not think there is anything calling for the use of that kind of terminology such as ‘deterioration of relations’.”

Sorry dude, Julius is ready to dust off the guy he decapitated and booted out of the Union Buildings and declare him a martyr. That means he thinks you really suck by comparison. 

The only news angle The New Age was able to extract from this “wide-ranging” interview is that Zuma doesn’t know if he’s coming or going – so to speak. “I never said I would serve one term and I have never said that I now want two terms,” reads the first quote of the news story. 

Er. Right. 

Apparently Zuma had previously had a discussion with another political journalist after the Polokwane conference in which he allegedly said he wanted to go into retirement after serving one term. Let’s hope the journalist in question wasn’t the SABC’s inimitable Sophie Mokoena because an interview with her would make anyone want to leave.

Anyway instead of pinning him down to answer the question of whether he wants a second term, The New Age sleuths asked Zuma what he told this other journalist three-and-a-half years ago.

“I said that decision was taken by the ANC, it was not my choice. The ANC is the only one that can say ‘Now we want you to be president or not to be president’. The thing that I said to this journalist – it was just an aside comment – was that if this was my choice, I would serve one term.”

Sigh. And I thought Thabo Mbeki talked gibberish.

On the state of the ANC, Zuma had this to say: “There is it (sic) debate but what you can say is that debate is at times taken too far. People have different views and at times people misconceive that as a fight”. Well that’s as simple and straight-forward as a night in Dominique Strauss-Khan’s hotel room, isn’t it?

Then there’s this gem on Zimbabwe: “I know you guys use very rich language. I would not call it a collapse, but I think there have been difficulties in moving fast enough with regard to the implementation of the global agreement. That is why the facilitation. We have been making very steady progress but it has not been very quick.”

I now understand how Zuma got six women to marry him. With this kind of gobbledegook, he could very well have been asking them the time.

If the issue of finding the remains of photographer Anton Hammerl was not such a grave matter, Zuma’s comments about his various soirees to Libya could have been funny.

“With the question of Hammerl, we raised the matter with the government and have raised this with the family. The Libyans are cooperating. There is work going on there. I do not think that in respect of the family I should disclose anything.”

The day I get lost in some desert hell-hole, guess who I’m not calling? DM

  • Professor Balthazar
balthazar

After much persuasion and a case of Tullamore Dew, the Daily Maverick is proud to welcome renowned academic and all-round intellectual good guy, Professor Balthazar, whose erudite insights will take us past headlines, deadlines and old pick-up lines.


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