This is the first of a series of letters I am writing to Cabinet ministers. Issues of the security of our sovereignty have compelled me to dispatch the first salvo to the Deputy Minister of State Security — the “not so honourable” Zizi Kodwa.
The world of literature has, since the beginning of time, given us words that, despite our ignorance and failure to comprehend them and to change our behaviour, have stood firm and never changed in their caution to us. I am writing to you Minister Zizi Kodwa as I have been reflecting on the state of our country and in my reflection yanked — from my love of literature — the saying, “those whom God wishes to destroy, he first deprives of reason.”
This phrase, dear minister, has been used in English and Latin literature since the 17th century CE. Of course, being fallible beings, humans have not always taken heed of the caution of words of old. This also includes listening to the words of our forefathers. I am thinking of the words of the stalwart of the movement to which you belong. The movement that has deployed you to the portfolio you hold. This is Oliver Reginald Tambo.
In his words of caution, Tambo once remarked “we who are free to eat and sleep at will, to write, to speak, to travel as we please; we who are free to make or break a revolution, let us use our comparative freedom, not to perpetuate the misery of those who suffer, nor to give indirect aid to the enemy they fight by withholding our own contributions.”
How fitting are the words of OR? Minister Kodwa, in this day where we consider ourselves free — you and I know that freedom has different connotations between you who has the luxury of the blue-light brigade and bodyguards, and me who has to resort to scraping together a few hundred rands for a security company. Worse for my cousin in Soweto who has to rely on so-called street patrollers — all in the name of safety.
You must wonder where am I going with this jeremiad? Well, Minister Kodwa, I often wonder whether you and your comrades (most of whom will be getting their own personalised letters such as this one), ever feel guilty that in the words of OR you have given the enemy indirect aid by “withholding your own contribution”? In other words, you have gotten so comfortable in this “freedom” in that you have consistently — without fail — “perpetuated the misery of those who are suffering”?
We entrusted you and your predecessors with the national security of this country and yet events that are taking place under your watch (and that of your predecessors) shows that we are vulnerable to attacks. Yes, I said it, we are vulnerable to attacks.
On Monday morning we woke up to news of the Waterkloof Air Force Base on fire. This, barely a month after the Houses of Parliament went up in smoke. Barely a year after the country experienced that which we still do not know what to label. Was it insurrection, public disturbance, opportunistic looting, a coup? Our state security has been found wanting, you have got to admit that and reflect on the words of OR Tambo about your contribution to the failing state.
We are a state that is in chaos and state security is not stepping up to prevent these sporadic incidents. I doubt that there has been even one credible intelligence report provided on the state of vulnerability of the Republic. One thing I am sure of though is that there are reports of a biblical nature of who is meeting with whom within the ANC. Our state security has been reduced to an ANC counter-insurgency unit, leaving the Republic to its own means.
Where is the intelligence report on the siphoning of the Transnet petrol pipeline? Where is the intelligence report on the constant cable theft that keeps South Africa in the dark? Who is controlling the market that trades in these national assets? Where is the intelligence report on the fires that ravaged the Eskom coal line in 2019 and again in 2021? While on the subject of fire, in 2012 we had the office of the National Intelligence Agency (a predecessor of your current SSA portfolio) going up in smoke. A tale worthy of a Hollywood script. What about the Mooi River truck violence that took place in June 2019, way before we experienced the July 2021 unrest? Who is stripping railway tracks — a national asset? Also, the case of the Thulsie twins accused of planning to join the terror group ISIS has been hanging since 2017.
There are many incidents I can bring to your attention in this letter, but my sixth sense tells me you have no idea of what is going on in the zoo that is our Republic. I can tell you right now, Minister, that we are under attack, be it ANC factionalism or a leftist group operating unbeknown to your department — as can be expected — or an international terror group. The reality is that you are sleeping on the job — well that is expected from someone who receives e-wallets of large sums of money in what appears to be a settlement of a tab at a watering hole in the wee hours of the morning.
Against Tambo’s caution, you have used your role, which we had entrusted unto you with our vote, to “perpetuate the misery of those (South Africans) who suffer, (and given) indirect aid to the enemy (we) fight by withholding (your) own contributions”. You need to ask yourself as South Africa continues to burn as to what your contribution was in fanning the fires.
As for us, the ones who are not free to eat due to increasing poverty, we who are not free to sleep at will as we are being held hostage by criminal elements, we who are not free to travel as we please due to ravaged infrastructure. We cannot help but think that God has resolved to destroy us as we have been deprived of reason. It’s only a matter of time before we go mad and cannibalise each other while you drive by in your luxurious “gift” of a car, air-conditioned and sipping on whatever, that would have been paid for via a “cash transfer from a friend”.
Hang your head in shame; you and your predecessors (and allies) have failed the Republic. And please do pass my regards to “look at me… look at me, claim easy victories” who happens to be the minister of transport. Kindly inform him his letter is next. DM