Winning over critics and influencing people.
21 January 2017 12:48 (South Africa)
Opinionista Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

Dear Comrade Jessie Duarte... Let’s talk frankly

  • Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
    OnkgeposteBW
    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, as well as a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of Oresego Holdings an International Advisory Company. His most recent roles were Head of Communications for COPE [2008], Political Advisor to the COPE parliamentary Leader as well as a Corporate Affairs Executive at the JSE listed Altron. He is a member of the University of the Western Cape Council, where he is an appointee of the Minister of Higher Education after serving two terms on the council of the Northwest University. He is an Associate of the prestigious international Institute of Independent Business (IIB). He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News. In 2011 he rejoined the ANC as an ordinary member. Tabane is a PHD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies at WITS University.

Once again the media has reported that you said some interesting things. This time you are reported to have said Nkandla does not matter to ANC voters. You are so right. Our people don't care about Nkandla. After all, comrade Blade Nzimande has also already characterised it as a “white man's problem” and the President himself has already dismissed it as “a concern for only clever people”. But more importantly, he says it is a luxury he did not ask for.

In this case our message has been clear from the get go. I think given the low importance of Nkandla to our voters, one can then expect the architects and the civil servants said to have inflated prices to also pretty much get away with it. I don’t see why they should be tortured and prosecuted over something that does not matter to our people. That will surely be seen as a witch hunt. Yes? No?

I therefore assume that Nkandla is only important to the clever blacks, I mean people. These people, or blacks, are those who assumedly can count and may well have an unnecessary appreciation that R260 million may be a tad too much to spend on one human being’s security. Unless the person feels a tad unsafe. He must indeed be facing many threats. I mean, if the report of the minister of police is anything to go by, more money has to be spent to further secure Nkandla. Put differently, the R260 million was not enough to secure him; we are told that some of the guard houses are a kilometre away from the gate. After all we need to understand that this is a homestead in the middle of nowhere. But at least those police can make the villagers feel a bit more secure.

Sweating heavily, police minister Nathi Nhleko tells us the President will not be safe in his retirement unless more money is spent. We have no reason to second-guess him. One must assume this is a president who has many enemies who will be coming after him once he is out of power. I mean you can imagine all the enemies and criminals that he has offended during his two terms of office and before when he was a spy boss abroad. So we cannot leave anything to chance. No nation should. Come to think of it, given the reality of increasing crime in our country and what has in fact already happened in that homestead, the nation has to care about Nkandla. But you are still right that they frankly don’t care about it anyway.

Comrade Jessie, you have reminded us the president has done nothing wrong, despite the noise and outrage in the chattering classless. He has done no wrong. After all if my bond is R900k there is nothing wrong in my parameter wall being 200 times the bond to protect this precious R900k property. Where we are born is nobody's fault. The President did not choose to be born in a place that is deeply rural and clearly unsafe. If people spend so much money in his name or the name of his safety it is nothing that should concern him. He should not be expected to know what is done to secure him. No head of state should. That is why he has a minister of police. This minister has since determined that the swimming pool will also be used as a fire pool just in case a paraffin lamp falls over during load-shredding and the thatched roof of Nkandla goes up in flames. We have to be ready for such an eventuality.

People have short memories and don’t remember that Mandela also had a fire pool of sorts in Qunu. This did not make headlines and nobody complained. But Comrade Jesse you must also remind them that an entire airport at George and a whole Wilderness game farm was created as PW Botha’s retirement village. When you put together the costs you may well have Nkandla as a drop in the Indian ocean. But people choose not to remember...

Comrade Jessie you are so right! People in KwaZulu-Natal did not respond to Nkandla; only those in Gauteng maybe did by giving us 10% less votes last election. This may explain why Comrade Paul Mashatile has already told us that the plans to spend more money in Nkandla is not an ANC position. It is certainly not an ANC Gauteng position. But I guess Gauteng is not in your view categorised as our voters. I mean if Joburg is handed over to the opposition it will be minus two problems for the ANC. Cape Town and Joburg will no longer be our problems. It will be constituencies we can add to the list of things, like Nkandla, that we do not have to worry about.

Maybe that explains Gauteng being slapped with the e-tolls the internal disagreement around which in your view has been greatly exaggerated. The alliance partners are in fact in warm agreement about fleecing the tax payers even more where this small change is concerned. I mean if we don’t think Nkandla’s millions are anything that our voters should worry about, what is R250 a month for motorists of a rich province like Gauteng?

Comrade Jessie, you are so right.

As deputy secretary general of the ANC you have truly educated us this weekend. You have a way of coming out to educate us about the most obvious of observations. The last time you came out of slumber to teach us a thing or two you informed us about how politically grandstanding the Public Protector is. I guess this is consistent with your latest missive as she is amongst the few people who are making a big deal about this Nkandla – you know, the matter our voters are not worried about.

For me this thing at least has taken us out of our misery about setting future precedents. We now know that we can budget R500 million to build a ‘Nkandla 2’ in Thohoyandou, that is if Cyril Ramaphosa escapes jail and becomes president, something highly likely given our reluctance in Africa to prosecute sitting heads of states. I am sure he will commission some Venda rondavels worth R500k and get a quick bond from the African Bank. He must choose the most rural Venda village to build these rondavels in. Our people will never mind spending so much money on their next king to secure his family dwellings.

After all, according to the minister of police even Mandela had a swimming pool. So why not Ramaphosa? Our people understand that even if children drown in a pit toilet in Limpopo spending almost half a billion on a perimetre wall to secure Ramaphosa in the same province will not be of major concern to them. Our voters are highly discerning and can separate these things.

So even if 18 million of South African children live under the bread line they will never make a link to R30 billion rand of wasteful expenditure by our municipalities, let alone a few millions being dedicated to their King.

After all, our people are only concerned about unemployment and poverty.

There is no link whatsoever between spending R260 million and the fact that there was no money to legally represent and transport the families of people killed in Marikana to attend the commission of inquiry into the deaths of their loved ones.

There is no money to compensate these families, or at least there is no rush by the government to propose that some money should go to these families whose loved ones were murdered by our police.

But our people, our voters, are not really worried about Nkandla. You are 100 percent right

You are as right as the President, telling us that the ANC will rule until Jesus returns.

Yours frankly,

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane DM

  • Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
    OnkgeposteBW
    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

    Onkgopotse JJ Tabane is one of South Africa’s leading media and communications specialists, as well as a community activist and a business executive. He is currently the Chief Executive of Oresego Holdings an International Advisory Company. His most recent roles were Head of Communications for COPE [2008], Political Advisor to the COPE parliamentary Leader as well as a Corporate Affairs Executive at the JSE listed Altron. He is a member of the University of the Western Cape Council, where he is an appointee of the Minister of Higher Education after serving two terms on the council of the Northwest University. He is an Associate of the prestigious international Institute of Independent Business (IIB). He is a regular columnist for The Sunday Independent and Pretoria News. In 2011 he rejoined the ANC as an ordinary member. Tabane is a PHD Candidate in Media and Journalism Studies at WITS University.

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