Danger: mind-broadening ahead
23 February 2017 13:45 (South Africa)
Opinionista Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

Dear Bathabile Skeletonyana Dlamini, 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.

Madam current and future President, I have truly resisted writing to you since your Travelgate Scandal Days, but as the Bible says, there is a time for everything, and the time for us to talk frankly has now arrived.

Dear President Bathabile Dlamini,

Let’s talk frankly.

Having learnt how to crook the system and get away with criminal things such as defrauding Parliament out of a few flight tickets for your friends and family, I suppose you have what it takes to be President of the Republic and therefore follow in the footsteps of our own Msholozi. I mean, the guy managed to become President with 700-odd charges hanging over his head – what on earth is a Smallernyana Skeleton of stealing a travel voucher from Parliament?

Many people who had just woken up to politics during your glorious green blouse days as President of the Woman’s league may not understand why a member of the Cabinet would proudly state that her colleagues in the highest decision-making body of the ANC have criminal things they are all hiding and that if they dare point out the same regarding the President, “all hell will break loose”. You said this with such aplomb and pride that I am still baffled that you are still in your positions both in the Women’s League and in the Cabinet. But maybe I shouldn’t be baffled at all. You clearly are in good company. I don’t have a record of even one of your colleagues expressing outrage at your suggestions that they all have smallernyana skeletons in their cupboards. Instead, this has made you a hero of sorts who has told it like it is.

We are clearly in a race to the bottom, President Bathabile Dlamini.

You sound just like Vavi after being caught with his pants down daring the Cosatu leadership – that they can’t possibly fire him for sexual immorality as that would mean they have to fire themselves… go figure. But unlike Vavi, you have not yet seen the folly of your ways to suggest that we should all give up on insisting that the President should do the right thing as we are all doing the wrong thing somewhat... But I digress.

Your Cabinet and NEC colleague Derek Hanekom has clearly thrown down the gauntlet your way and so we await your revelation about what skeletons may be in his cupboard – oh, apparently he holds dual citizenship or something and so many have now remembered the colour of his skin…

I wonder what skeletons Naledi Pandor has or even Aaron Motsoaledi?

I understand that some in the Women’s League believe that you – Bathabile Skeletonyana Dlamini – should be the first woman President of our beloved movement and country. These bright sparks believe that out of all the coherent, talented and even affable women of our country you are the best foot forward for our country to progress us to the next level. They believe that the work you have done for the women of this country – such as protecting Kwezi who was hounded out of the country after daring to expose uBaba’s nocturnals – makes you one of the best leading ladies of our country to a point where they can entrust you with governing this sophisticated economy.

They have seen the work you have done, among others organising a march to the Union Buildings to defend uBaba, especially after he was irritated by the #FeesMustFall marches and almost plunged the economy into an abyss following his 'excellent' choice of Finance Minister in Des van Rooyen. They think you can do even better than uBaba who built a R240-million palace with taxpayers’ money and denigrated a woman leader in the form of the former Public Protector.

They are aware that you have never said one word in defence of the former Public Protector – one of the best woman leaders our country has ever seen. But these bright sparks believe that you can do better than uBaba. After all, you defended him for over two years in Parliament when he refused to pay back the money and was clearly irritated when he eventually agreed to “pay” even if such payment was through borrowing from the very same taxpayer who has been fleeced an amount that he won’t be able to pay back until he turns 100.

Recently you have made it clear that anyone who thinks the President should step down is dreaming. After all, this is the guy who told us that the ANC will rule till Jesus comes back and now Heaven has descended on our Metros…making him one of the most visionary leaders we have had in recent times. I see why you would think anyone wanting him to go must be in dreamland.

Often we ignore great people in our midst. You must be an example of such a phenomenon.

But Madam, let’s talk frankly. You are presiding over probably one of the biggest cesspools of corruption in our body politic where dead people receive grants and officials steal from the old and the crippled. I am sure there must have been someone very bright who advised the President that despite your criminal record following the parliamentary Travelgate scandal you would be the best person to stem the thieving of public resources in a department popular for downright theft. There must be method in that madness. I mean, the Speaker of our own Parliament is also in line to become President. When I complained that she also is well known for having stolen a driver’s licence in the Nineties I was quickly reminded that she would never have to be behind the wheel ever again given the life-long perks of being President. So I suppose she will manage without the trouble of swotting for the K57 driving licence book and test that is just reserved for us, ordinary folk. And of course, like Mbeki she is known to like her sundowners very much, something you need to keep you sane if you are a head of state. So all boxes ticked.

And so that is how the Woman Presidential cookie crumbles – we are spoilt for choice between Zuma’s ex-wife to carry on the legacy of uBaba, a Travelgate fraudster to ensure the accessibility of the national Treasury, and a driver’s licence saleswoman who won’t ever need to drive again. Quite frankly, it is truly a race to the bottom.

But of course, the best of this lot should be you, Madam. I mean, you share a surname with the President of the most revolutionary union and unlike Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma you didn’t decorate your surname with a double barrel. You also have under your belt the fact that you have been able to tell Gwede Mantashe to shove it where the sun does not shine at the NGC, when he tried to silence you on the question of your pronouncements about the preference for a woman president. Obviously, at the time of the fob-off you had no idea that you may end up being a beneficiary of that campaign as Commander-in-Thief of the armed forces of our country.

We stand by to see who will be in your Cabinet should you take over, but I am sure you have seen how the likes of Ginger and Mokonyane have been according themselves very well in gathering their own little skeletons – a criterion for winning your favour for the top job – after all your own skeletons helped you leave the back benches of Parliament and be in line to scale the top of the Union Building Tree.

May you have a merry Christmas as we count down to your glorious nomination to the highest office in the land.

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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