Defend Truth


Lost: One set of marbles. If found, please return to the Republic of South Africa.


Stephen Grootes is the host of the Sunrise show on SAfm. He's been part of the political hack pack since before the Polokwane tsunami, and covers politics in a slightly obsessive manner. Those who love him have recommended help for his politics addiction. He quotes Amy Winehouse.

Has the world gone completely mad? We have the ANC Youth League celebrating the “agricultural prowess” of Gideon Gono, Malema expelling a BBC journalist from a press conference, people treating the AWB as if they’re a bunch of sane people who just like dressing up in khaki and everyone’s looking to Jacob Zuma for salvation.

Difficult to dream this up. All the while we should be worrying about the World Bank loan to Eskom, probing Malema’s business dealings and concentrating on the Fifa Soccer World Cup.

Have we lost the plot?

Seriously, has everyone forgotten what the AWB is and who Eugene Terre’Blanche really was? The AWB wears a crippled swastika. Their members beat up black people because they think they’re not human. They think the English are just to be tolerated, but it’s a pity Hitler didn’t win and enslave the whole lot. And don’t get them started on the Jews. They stand against everything this country stands for. They even ignore the very symbol of it. And they’re being treated as if they’re just another political party.

When their secretary-general Andries Visagie walked out, all white rage and pious anger, from etv on Wednesday night, it was a rejection of the rules of the game, of the country and the playing field to which the rest of us have agreed.

And for that reason, we need to call them what they are – a group of people whose beliefs are beyond the pale. And when Cosatu and the alliance claim the media are celebrating racists, they might have a valid point. There’s been tons of coverage of the AWB, treating them as just another group. And they’re anything but. And while we all agree that we should strive to represent all points of view, and that extremists should be kept within the national conversation rather than out of it, their actual views should still be represented far clearer than they have been. We haven’t seen enough questions about whether they believe that all men are equal.

And if you need more convincing, consider this: Terre’Blanche’s funeral is to be held in a church that doesn’t allow black people inside, but has made a special dispensation for black journalists. (Are they going to be considered honorary whites, similar to Japanese people during apartheid? – Ed) Seriously, think how cuckoo that is.

And while that freak show is ongoing, the other freak show has just stumbled into bigger pastures. Malema is now in real danger of being just a clown, a buffoon, rather than any kind of serious player. Thursday’s press conference made him come across as a small child, anxious for attention. We know it might sound far-fetched, but it is becoming clear that his trip to Zimbabwe looks too much part of Mugabe’s Machiavellian plot. Malema’s visit came just as Zuma had taken a harder line on Mugabe. Mugabe’s response: Invite Malema, treat him like a rock star, a visiting head of state, fill his head with nonsense and send him back. Essentially, Mugabe gave the middle-finger to Zuma. And it’s working wonderfully, for him. Malema used to say he was anti-Mugabe, but pro-Zanu PF. Well, well, well, now he’s pro-Mugabe.

We’ve been saying for ages that Zuma and Mantashe need to reel Malema in. Now it’s really beginning to look as if Zuma is too scared to decide anything. So Malema is running out of control. If Zuma is keen to stop any singing of the “Kill the Boer” song, Malema’s stuck his tongue out as far as he dare, very much like any stupid teenager would. Okay, we understand that Zuma’s probably waiting for the next NEC meeting to use as an opportunity to censure Malema, without the blood and guts of being blamed for it. But by then it may be too late.

Kicking a journalist out of a press conference just because he spoke the truth to you is crossing yet another line. It says: “I don’t care about you, the organisation or the ideal you represent.” And it’s not as  if the BBC has any pull. Already the National Press Club is gearing up to get more involved in this. What started as a small complaint by a small section of the country’s journalists (conflict alert – this writer is one of them) is now threatening to snowball into an international problem.

I understand this has been a crazy week in SA. Some have been talking up a race war and most are deeply worried. Malema is still dominating the news agenda, with no let-up in sight. This madness is going to continue until he’s deposed. It’s as simple as that.

You know, I never thought I’d say this, but here it is:

I can’t wait for Fifa to take over.

By Stephen Grootes

(Grootes is an Eyewitness News reporter)


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted