Opinionista Brij Maharaj 9 December 2018

A sardonic sneak preview of 2019

As the old year ends, and the new beckons, prognostic diagnosis about the future is inevitable as well as candid reflections about the past, and smart-alec columnists venture where angels and devils fear to tread. Before scoffing, please note that in December 2013, this columnist predicted: ‘Rumours persist that the Guptas are selling parts of South Africa to international investors. An irate Atul Gupta responds that they were merely assisting in their leisure time to sell South Africa abroad, as requested by SA Tourism, and the natives should be grateful’. So here goes…

January

The new year starts with a bang as Hindus condemn the deafening silence from the animal rights brigade about the fireworks during midnight revelries. In the traditional 8 January 2019 message, ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa concedes that the organisation is on trial at the Zondo Commission. The Zupta camp expresses outrage that this will compromise the ANC’s electoral prospects.

In his address as a guest of Narendra Modi’s government at India’s Republic Day celebrations, President Cyril Ramaphosa promises to recognise the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as the official voice of Hindus in South Africa.

February

Advocate Shamila Batohi officially takes office as head of the NPA, resplendent in a Kanchipuram-Benaras sari. The EFF condemns her traditional attire as a reflection of her racist tendencies, and therefore the party will not abide by any of her decisions and mobilise for her deportation to India. The pleasing news is that the Go(o)d party arrives and Aunty Pat promises to deliver South Africans from corruption.

March

The inevitable happens and the Zuma-Gupta faction splits from the ANC and merges with the EFF. Zuma is elected as the new leader, with Malema as his deputy, and Hlaudi (“I am going to shock South Africa because I am going to run and lead South Africa as president”) Motsoeneng as secretary-general. Hamba khaya! Hamba uye eBombay! (Go home! Go to Bombay!) is adopted as an important policy of the new, realigned EFF (which resonates with the apartheid repatriation policy of the National Party in 1948). Home Affairs is flooded with passport applications and renewals from South Africans of Indian descent. The Guptas announce that they will be funding the party from Dubai.

April

Public polls indicate a hung parliament after the May 2019 elections. Pravin Gordhan and Thuli Madonsela emerge as popular people’s choice for president across the race-class-gender divide. The EFF announces that when it is in power, universities will not be allowed to fail students. In addition to land occupations, home invasions will also be legalised. In an act of desperation, ANC announces Sassa grants for fathers who have created single mothers.

May

Rumours persist that general elections may be postponed indefinitely because Eskom cannot guarantee continuity of power supply at voting and counting stations. EFF brags that counting votes in the dark would enhance its electoral prospects exponentially. In an extraordinary gesture of neighbourly solidarity and selfless sacrifice, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique transfer their electricity to the South African grid so that elections may proceed. Predictably, general elections produce a hung parliament.

In an astonishing turn of events, the Guptas emerge as kingmakers and the leaders of all political parties are summoned to Dubai for coalition talks. Predictably, an ANC-EFF coalition forms the new government, with Zuma once again at the helm, who assures the nation that for political and economic stability there will be a return to the pre-Ramaphosa status quo. The Zondo Commission is cancelled, and the judge placed under house arrest. Guptas return to their Saxonworld compound and reinforce their historical hold on SoEs and Parliament. The SABC is renamed ANN7 and Jimi Manyi is appointed head. Tom Moyane returns to SARS, and Pravin Gordhan is forced into exile in Dubai. Shri Modiji offers Rama(phosa) exile in India for 14 years (like the Lord with whom he shares a common handle) on condition that he only retains the first four letters of his surname.

June

The Zuma family announces that Jacob has been at it again. Sorry, that should read: The Nxamalala clan has pleasure in announcing that Msholozi (a.k.a. Jacob) is going to be a father again, and the lucky lass is an 18-year-old randomly selected at the annual reed dance, where all participants had an equal opportunity of being hand-picked. In keeping with Zulu culture and tradition, Lobolo negotiations have commenced.

July

Notwithstanding his dark hue, Kiru Naidoo, well known Durban socialite and political counsellor, fails to qualify for the benefits of radical economic transformation and is barred from bidding for auctions hosted by the eThekwini Municipality. Disgusted at the reverse discrimination, Kiru finally comes out of the closet and publicly declares that he is a Dravidian in body, heart and soul. To articulate his new identity, Kiru gets confused about whether he is wearing a dhoti or lungi (attire for virile north and south Indian males, respectively), because of a lack of practice, and the resulting public spectacle from the unravelling suggests that he belongs to the minority front.

August

To attract support from minority communities, the government responds positively to requests for Eid and Diwali to be declared official holidays in South Africa. In order to promote social cohesion, nation-building and non-racialism, and given the unnecessary confusion and controversy about the dates for Eid and Diwali, respectively, the government announces that these festivals will henceforth be celebrated on 25 December annually. ISIS and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threaten to invade South Africa. President of the SA Hindu Maha Sabha seeks refuge in Dubai.

September

University students who were awarded NFSAS funding go on the rampage demanding that the allocation be increased to include the purchase of German sedans. EFF supports the rights of students who have failed for three consecutive years to be guaranteed NFSAS funding.

October

Government announces measures to improve the quality and standard of medical training. Students of Indian descent will now have to score a matric aggregate of 103.2% to be considered for entry into medical school.

November

The EFF announces that 16 November 2019 will have new contemporary significance as all South Africans of Indian descent will be expelled from the country on this date.

December

eThekwini Municipality seeks an urgent apartheid-style interdict to stop the publication and distribution of the award-winning book, Durban – City of Rascals by internationally renowned professors, Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai and Brij Maharaj. In court papers, the municipality contended that Durban is the world’s best governed, as well as the most caring, pollution and corruption-free city in the universe, where there are no white elephants such as empty stadiums, underutilised airports and pie-in-the-sky projects like dug-out ports. The case is adjourned sine die (indefinitely). DM

Satire refers to the “use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues”.

Brij Maharaj is a geography professor at UKZN. He writes in his personal capacity.

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