Look on the sunny side (up) during SA’s avian flu crisis: one State Capture chicken has come home to roost

Look on the sunny side (up) during SA’s avian flu crisis: one State Capture chicken has come home to roost
Amid all the chicken-egg memes, South Africans had another more solid reason to smile after delinquent-for-life Dudu Myeni was told to cough up R6-million in unpaid cost orders. (Illustrative image: Supplied and X@MarianneThamm)

If more State Capture chickens came home to roost and be held accountable for the mess they put us in, we would not mind making do without eggs for breakfast.

Dear DM168 reader,

The one thing that, without a doubt, makes me feel proudly South African is the quick sense of humour that pops up whenever we have a crisis. And, hey, the jokes are in abundance; not a week goes by without a crisis, which is the other thing that makes me feel truly South African.

One crisis that is affecting all of us is the avian flu, which has led to the culling of an estimated 2.5 million chickens to contain the outbreak in South Africa. It’s not that funny when there are no eggs on the shelf and the prices have rocketed, and definitely no joke for the poultry-producing industry, which estimates the losses to be R550-million. 

But the memes and TikTok posts are flying fast and furious. Rebecca Davis is our supplier of chicken humour on our Daily Maverick staff WhatsApp group. I cracked up (no pun intended) when I saw the TikTok meme titled “If I ever won the lottery I wouldn’t tell anyone but there would be signs” – and the signs are a single egg on a dashboard, an omelette and a finger lovingly stroking an egg. 

The memes on my WhatsApp group with my hiking friends are equally hilarious. There’s the one titled “Forget the flowers, times have changed”, with an image of a gift-wrapped live chicken. Then there’s the meme of a chicken wearing sunglasses and high heels, and carrying a pink bag, titled “The chicken since the price of eggs went up”. 

We might need to continue with the chicken-and-egg humour as we sit this crisis out while all involved in the poultry business, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition work on vaccines and importing chickens and eggs, as you will read in our business lead story by Georgina Crouth. 

But in our front-page story in this week’s paper, by Scorpio investigative journalist Jessica Bezuidenhout, we have some pretty good news about one chicken that has come home to roost. 

I know many of you, like me, must feel exasperated by the creeping sense that State Capture culprits have walked into the sunset in their designer shoes, having looted billions of rands of taxpayers’ money that could have fixed Eskom, Transnet, the potholes, our schools, our hospitals and clinics, and, and, and…

Jessica’s story lifts us out of the doom and gloom, as it’s about Jacob Zuma’s sidekick, the former chair of SAA and delinquent-for-life Dudu Myeni, who’s about to face sequestration over non-payment of just more than R6-million in cost orders. On Friday, 13 October, the Sheriff of Lower Umfolozi is also scheduled to conduct a sale in execution at Myeni’s Richards Bay home. Basically, Myeni’s furniture will be sold to pay off another R201,000 cost order that she did not pay.

No more running away, hiding any riches and pretending to be broke for Dudu when a sequestration order scrutinises everything she owns and earns. This is all thanks to civil society organisation Outa, which did not let up in making sure Myeni is held accountable. 

I am sure many former SAA staff, who have had to rebuild their lives from scratch after their jobs were smashed by Dudu’s wrecking ball, will start believing in justice with a sprinkling of karma. 

Now, if more State Capture chickens came home to roost and be held accountable for the mess they put us in, we would not mind making do with no eggs for breakfast.

I’ve told you about our two big leads this week, but here’s a sneak peek of three other stories we have in store for you:

  1. Our satirist Mr Styles is in top form again as he writes about what would happen if we woke up to Carl Niehaus or Ace Magashule as the next president … that is, if the dice of coalition politics rolls in their favour after the 2024 general elections.
  2. Sticking to the election theme, journalist Lerato Mutsila writes about an innovative new platform created by two young entrepreneurs. It is similar to the dating app Tinder, in that young people are matched to the political party most suited to them in a fun and no-fuss way.
  3. And, finally, don’t miss an uplifting story by Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood about the immense social value of the Parkrun movement, which boasts 8 million members worldwide.

Fluit-fluit, my storie is uit. Tell me what’s on your mind this week by writing to [email protected].

Yours in defence of truth,


This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

Front page P1 07 October 2023


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