Defend Truth


Not the 9 O’Clock News: The year that was(n’t) through a haze of denial


Dr Brij Maharaj is an academic and civil society activist.

As the silly season descends upon us, and the curtains fall on 2019 and the second decade of the 21st century, a satirical review of the year is imperative, speaking truth to power, holding those who handle the levers accountable, and to take the mickey out of them.

A common theme across the political, ideological, social, economic, ethnic, tribal, cultural, religious, gender and racial spectrum during 2019 was denial, deceit and dishonesty.

Tweeting from his secret hideout in the ICU of a Cuban hospital, former president Jacob Zuma denies that he is engaging in legal obfuscations. In fact, he is relishing his day in court with his high-powered (sorry, that should read watered-down) legal team to show that he is the most honest president who has ever led South Africa. For example, unlike his successor, his tax and party funding records are available for public scrutiny. Zuma denies that he is going to be a father again before the end of 2019, but does not obviate that possibility in 2020. He also challenges his successor to graduate beyond cupcakes, and to equal or better his phallic prowess and reproductive record. Zuma salutes ministers Gwede Mantashe and Tito Mboweni who are beginning to score through the same net (albeit own goals).

Mmusi Maimane denies that he was an affirmative action leader of the DA who was forced to leave because he refused to do his white mistress’s bidding with a whip.

Helen Zille denies that colonialism was bad. She refers to the current outstanding leadership of the Anglo-Saxon world (ie, Trump and Boris) who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual capacity, honesty, integrity, probity and celibacy, which even Narendra Damodardas Modi cannot match.

Cyril Ramaphosa denies that he is a lame-duck president who is continually watching his back to check if ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule (who seems to hold all the Aces) and the rest of the chess master’s cohort on the NEC are trying to outsmart him and manipulate the levers of power.

Magashule denies that: 1) he is a proxy for Zuma or the Guptas; 2) that he is implicated in the Estina Dairy farm scandal; 3) that he is being investigated by the NPA; and 4) that he is likely to be arrested before Christmas. He also denies saying that an Indian African cannot investigate a black African.

The public protector denies that she is a front for the Guptas or any other Indians, and takes instructions from Dubai. In order to prove this, she claims that she is prioritising all investigations pertaining to alleged impropriety against that (untouchable) “Indian nationalist”, PG Jamnadas.

Dudu Myeni denies that she is culpable for the mess at SAA. She was merely following the instructions from Ubaba, whom no woman can resist.

Eskom denies that there is any sinister agenda behind load shedding in December. It is merely being spiritual by supporting carols by candlelight.

The shadowy “Friends of India” group, led by NRI (non-resident Indian) Amit More, deny that they are planning a coup d’état to ordain the Gupta brothers as the legitimate head of government in South Africa, and to offer President Ramaphosa exile in any one of the Andaman or Nicobar islands, where he would have an opportunity to be reincarnated as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Rather, the Amit More group is committed to promoting peace, harmony, and social cohesion among Muslims, Christians and Hindus on Earth and in heaven.

Shan Bolton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, denies the allegations from the Friends of India that he has abandoned his faith and has secretly converted to Islam. He angrily retorts that he can demonstrate physiological proof of his faith if forced to do so.

Professor Adam Habib denies that he is the highest-paid vice-chancellor in the global North or South. In an amazing gesture of reconciliation to his detractors, Habib announces that he will donate his performance bonus to Friends of Jacob Zuma’s Trust legal fund. The royalties from the sales of his book, Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall, will be donated to Julius Malema’s legal aid.

Student leaders deny threatening professors to pass all students or be prepared to meet their Maker. However, they conceded that they believed that no students should fail. EFF student leaders also deny calling for the scrapping of all degrees. However, in keeping with its commitment to equality, the EFF demands that all citizens must be conferred with a PhD based on recognition of prior learning (RPL).

Sadtu denies that it is calling for high schools to be upgraded to confer degrees, although some of its members have demonstrated that they are able to produce the BA(by). This apparently is the outcomes-based result of the practical component of the new sex education curriculum introduced by minister Angie Motshekga.

Advocate Shamila Batohi denies that she is afraid of the EFF or any political party, or that she is one of the greatest disappointments of the year, but privately concedes that she inherited a poisoned chalice. Notwithstanding the great expectations associated with her appointment there is no evidence of any action and foul felons walk free. Batohi denies rumours that she is taking instructions from Dubai to drag her feet over State Capture prosecutions.

Logie Naidoo, retired politician, who has been reduced to being a prop for standup comedians (and scribes), denies that he, as a pious Hindu of proud Dravidian stock, has contaminated sacred rituals and prayers by promoting the consumption of alcohol, meat, and heaven forbid, beef. Fortified and brimming with confidence from the social media success of KFC mobile videos, Logie believes he is the natural successor to Shahruk Khan and heads to Bollywood where he fails the screen test. Stunned by the rejection, and with his dreams of romancing Padukoni, Priyanka and Vidya gone with the wind, he selects the natural South African default defence mode – the mogul-contaminated Hindi Bollywood world is racist.

Subscribing to a course of Mrs Reddy’s controversial concoction, Logie heads to Chennai where he is offered the villain’s role in the movie version of the Hindu scripture, the Ramayan. Feeling “insulted by his own Tamil people”, he responds to an online advert and is selected for the hero’s role. He finds that he has been tricked to enter the world of adult videos, but is compromised where it matters most.

Government denies that it wants to dictate to religious leaders. However, priests appear to be the only group that require no academic and professional qualifications, and operate with impunity, without any regulation and control, often fleecing the poor and vulnerable. Ashwin Trikamjee denies that the South African Hindu Maha Sabha is a front for Indian nationalism.

The Tamil Warriors deny that they are a violent group, and emphasise that they are committed to social justice and equality, and committed to the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, in the mode of radical economic transformation. It was committed to transparency and its annual audited financial statements would be available for public scrutiny, and this will reveal that all its surplus is devoted to teaching and promoting the Tamil language in South Africa.

The year ends with the breaking news from Justice Raymond Zondo that the Guptas are not paying the rent for the premises hosting the State Capture inquiry. [He privately instructs evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius to investigate if there are any shenanigans in the justice bureaucracy intent on bringing the commission into disrepute]. Justice Zondo also announces that the commission will provide medical services with advanced life support systems to accommodate Zuma’s next appearance (which would be in the form of a subpoena or forced invitation).

Branko Brkic, Editor of Daily Maverick denies that all those mentioned in this column are gathering evidence to prove that Ashwin Desai is Brij Maharaj’s ghost writer, and had collectively offered him (Brkic) a million rand to can it! DM


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