1 April, also known in some parts of the world as All Fools’ Day, is traditionally celebrated by playing practical jokes on fellow fools.
While the origins of the practice are lost in the mists of time and fake news, one thing is for sure: South Africans live with a permanent parallel reality, one Big Fat Practical Joke – April Fool’s Day every day.
Take Thabo Bester, murderer and rapist, serving a life sentence, who managed to run a media empire from behind the walls of a WMC privately run maximum security prison with politically connected ruling-party smelly cheeses as directors.
Until he escaped in a practical-jokey kind of way, incinerating some hapless corpse in his cell, before being reunited with his “celebrity doctor” girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana. Authorities were told at the time, but must have thought it was just a silly old prison trick.
The two bunked down in various upmarket mansions but were flushed out when the good doctor and her love were out shopping and were recognised by a fan who snapped them for the Gram. Now we all know.
Jezebels and red dragons
Then there is retired Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who has oft been quoted during suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s Section 194 impeachment inquiry, where the ties to reality, truth and fact have virtually been severed.
Upon his bowing out at the end of his term of office in 2021, Mogoeng delivered a three-hour parting message to South Africans from the Vosloorus Kingdom Covenant Life Assembly.
As a country, he warned us, we were “bewitched”.
Oozing New Testament clarity, particularly Revelations (Rev 12:1-5) and a story about a red dragon with seven heads who was ready to devour a baby being birthed, Mogoeng issued grave warnings.
“Who has bewitched us?” he asked, not really expecting anyone to have the foggiest clue.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Red and buried – the day fear with a capital EFF met a gatvol South Africa
BTW, we do not recommend this as a localised question for 30 Seconds.
This red dragon, said Mogoeng, could be spotted all over the provinces – “you can see for yourself”.
“This country, this continent and other nations of the Earth are being manipulated, deceived, taken advantage of by a great red dragon,” he thundered.
“Before you know it, resources are gone, taken by the one who is just waiting for the baby to be born. It is part of trying to devour the baby before it even comes out.”
Now, with Pravin Gordhan’s imminent stick-wielding trip to China about some locomotive parts and tax we are owed, we would hate to make any assumptions about the godless “red dragon”.
While Mogoeng got himself into trouble for supporting Israel, fellow biblical traveller Mkhwebane (who has equated herself with Esther) turned to Jew-hating, Hitler-loving, Holocaust-denying Stephen Goodson for tips on how to fiddle with the Reserve Bank.
Mkhwebane in fact cannot bring herself to say “Jew”, preferring “those people who you may not criticise”. This all at the impeachment inquiry.
Muti in the courtroom
While advocate Malesela Teffo has since been sensibly struck from the legal roll, back in July 2022 he accused Gauteng High Court Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela of meeting “his sangoma” in chambers and performing “bewitching” rituals.
“I started to have the nightmares after Judge Maumela brought his sangoma to court, and his ill-treatment against me increased more than ever before,” Teffo complained at the time.
Maumela, who is attempting to hear the farcical Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, had tried to “destabilise” his defence, Teffo claimed.
“I was reliably informed that the involvement of the sangoma in this matter was to cause me to collapse inside the court. This is the witchcraft aimed at destabilising the defence for accused one to four, and myself being the main target in this regard.”
It was a legal strategy that, while it dragged on a bit, ultimately failed.
Busi and Dali’s magical realism
Mkhwebane and Dali Mpofu, on the other hand, have had the staying power of an Energizer Bunny on tik.
There have been many occasions during Mkhwebane’s impeachment inquiry when one has had to shake one’s head vigorously from side to side, as if to dislodge what is clearly a pile of crapola.
A world so far from reality and fact has been conjured so consistently and relentlessly by Mpofu and Mkhwebane that hardly any attention has been paid to the damning evidence that has been provided by more than 20 witnesses. So far…
They were all lying bastards with axes to grind about labour issues, Mpofu has proclaimed.
Mkhwebane, in her world, is a victim for going after the “Deep State”. She was a David, an anti-corruption crusader for truth and accountability, anointed by the Constitution (which she illegally tried to alter).
A Deep State is precisely what former president Jacob Zuma ran. These are the findings of the whopping four-volume Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. But not in Mkhwebane’s world.
Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Out to get me’ – Busisiwe Mkhwebane blames media, judiciary and ‘the untouchables’ for her woes
Deep State has come to mean (in the real world) “a type of governance made up of potentially secret and unauthorised networks of power operating independently of a state’s political leadership in pursuit of their own agenda and goals”.
That’s what State Security Agency head Arthur Fraser, a friend of Mkhwebane (and Zuma), ran on behalf of the former president: a parallel, off-the-books, private “deep state”. So says the High-Level Panel Review as well as the State Capture Report.
Donald Trump, during his wild presidency and slap bang in the middle of Covid, grew suspicious of what he viewed as the “deep state”, which essentially meant people in government with expertise and long experience who knew what they were doing.
New Yorker writer David Rohde, author of In Deep: The FBI, the CIA, and the Truth about America’s “Deep State”, argued that the term itself had become a way for Trump and his supporters to deflect criticism.
Rohde, interviewed by Vox’s Sean Illing, explained that the “deep state” had “evolved into a sprawling conspiracy theory”.
What’s that old Lincoln saying?
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
Happy April Fool’s Day. DM168
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.