A long time ago, Woody Allen made a film called Bananas. I remember little, but there was a subplot involving a revolutionary from some unnamed South American republic (a prop-bearded Woody Allen) who uses inflammable oratory and sweated invective to whip up the proletariat against the oppressive dictatorship, stages a coup, and becomes El Presidente. When pushed by his co-revolutionaries to hold elections, he demurs. The people in this country are peasants, uneducated, they do not need democracy, he announces. I remember laughing, somewhat edgily.
Except that it is not really funny, is it?
Hlaudi’s rap sheet is long enough to ensure that in any rational political or commercial system he would never be allowed into any management position ever again. He has lost multiple court cases, lied on his CV, tossed irrational raises at friends and self, initiated content policies that treat his customers like children and his advertising revenue like kindling, fired journalists for being journalists, muzzled staff, stifled debate, floated Monty-Pythonesque ideas like staff uniforms, and generally thumbed his nose (and worse) at august institutions like the Public Protector and the judicial system.
Why is he still there? Why is he protected? And who is doing the protecting? I hope that these questions echo like the rhetoric they are.
The phrase state capture has rung loud in our ears of late. It seems to me that I would far rather have a number of superkleptocrats and grease-palmed ANC apparatchiks than the transparent North Korean-style crushing of free speech that is currently under way, shortly to be replaced by pastel-coloured and saccharine reports of ribbon cuttings, praise singers and smiling citizens.
Every literary and film cliché springs to mind here – from The Trial to Nineteen Eighty-Four to Fahrenheit 451. Surely this dark and perverse grandeur cannot be happening before our very eyes?
Fulminations of reasonable citizens against Zuma, or wilful ANC blindness, or tender corruption, or any other number of sad failures of governance do not do justice to the hyperbolic shame that is our public broadcaster.
This malodorous spectacle is made more pungent by the short memories of those in charge – Hlaudi, his management team, his board, and his political handlers. Hear this loud and clear – do you not remember the mad scientists of apartheid and their control of media, and how you lived in simmering resentment of every TV and radio news broadcast for decades?
Surely you can see that you have become THEM? DM
Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!
No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.
Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.
It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.
But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.
So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.
A lightning bolt is 5 times hotter than the sun's surface.