Will Our Esteemed President Resign?

Rev Canon B Pityana

Revd Canon B Pityana

A shocked silence greets Gertruida’s question. Resign? Our President? After all that he’s gotten away with?

“Why, Gertruida? He’s due for another term – it’s basically a question of rubber stamping a decision the ANC already took. They won’t let him.”

“Look, Vetfaan, you may think what you want, but the top structure of the ANC isn’t stupid. They’re highly intelligent men and women – the women especially –  and they’ve had a lot to think about lately.” Gertruida – who not only knows everything, but also still maintains good contact with her old Intelligence buddies – waits for Boggel to serve another beer.

“The Fake Interpreter Scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. I Googled ‘Court Cases Against Zuma’, and twenty million references. Twenty Million!. Now, maybe those hits only refer to the alleged 700-odd cases he was and is involved in, but it does say something. Add to that the obvious hostility displayed at the Mandela Memorial, and you’ve got some very worried comrades out there.”

“But you can’t blame the interpreter for the president’s problems. That’s not fair.”

“True, but he heads the government. The buck stops with him. Think about it: they’re now blaming mental illness as the cause for the interpreter’s actions. I think it’s blatantly unfair.  That poor man was contracted to do a job. And that’s the point where the analysis should begin. Who interviewed him? The person who suggested his services should have made a thorough check of his background. Simple things like: can he perform in front of a global audience? Does he have the security clearance to stand next to some of the most influential and powerful men on the planet? Does he own any dangerous weapons? Does he have a grudge against somebody? Is he on medication? Does he have a medical condition?

“So, let’s say he passes that scrutiny. Now that screening committee must make a collective decision and suggest his services to the organising body. He gets appointed to share more television time than any of the other dignitaries appearing on that stage on the day. He is to be the face of South Africa to millions of hearing and deaf people viewing the broadcast.”

Vetfaan nods. “So he’s a very important part of the ceremony?”

“Exactly. It turns out to be a slight miscalculation, and the world picks up on it. This time there’s no Constitutional Court to hide behind. So…what does the Powers-That-Be do? They shift the blame to this hapless man. No, they’re saying, it wasn’t us. He must take the fall.

“Spin. That’s all it is. Spin. And let me tell you: I feel sorry for him. Whether he’s a con-man or even if he has a serious medical condition, it’s not really his fault alone. He should never have been appointed.”

Kleinpiet nods. “But even so, Gertruida, you can’t expect the president to resign as a result of that?”

“I agree, but you should read the letter from Dr Barney Pityana, Kleinpiet. It is a damning message if ever I saw one. Most of all, Pityana isn’t happy about the way crime, corruption and the decay of morals in the country are experienced by the majority of the people. He blames the president for that, and he might be right.

“After all, when you compare the hope we had under Mandela with the despair we live in now, you can understand his argument. And did you not hear the reception the crowd gave the president the other day?

“No, my friends, there’s something terribly rotten in our system. If the ANC doesn’t clear up this mess, they’re going to get a terrible hiding at the polls next year.”

Boggel slumps on the counter, clearly upset.

“This whole thing makes me sad. So terribly sad. What has happened to Madiba’s dream? A country ruled in fairness to all it’s peoples? A just government, portraying the hopes and aspirations of a wonderful nation?

“Let us hope that clear minds and cool heads consider the questions raised. The interpreter is just a symptom, you guys. We need to address the disease, not blame that poor man for the real problem.”

Then, cynic that he is, he toasts the interpreter’s health. “Maybe he actually did us all a favour. He conveyed the right message, after all. He told us in no uncertain terms who we shouldn’t vote for next year.”


8 thoughts on “Will Our Esteemed President Resign?

  1. Bridge Builder

    I am sure when you are an adult and you have been diagnosed with something, out of pure respect for the task you will proudly decline the offer than take the risk of embarrassing your nation? This is a matter of national security, and the excuse of mental illness was produced way too quickly by powers that tick with a different clock. This morning in a radio show the interpreter was in fact quite happy with his own performance, calling himself the champion of sign language.


  2. newsferret

    Terwille van ons buitenlanders segge ek in Engils. It was nice to see the disgust shown to Zuma by mostly black South Africans. However, Zuma living in the past power hungry Africa unlike Madiba who lived the dream of a liberated democratic Africa, would have missed the message. Only problem I have is that identifying the rainbow nation as a rain boo nation marred the respect for a great man, a great South African as that occasion was not a political meeting. Sela.

  3. William A Andrews

    I love how you use storytelling to handle political topics, simply brilliant! You’re politics are just as interesting and as twisted as ours are in the states. As soon as something blows up on them the finger-pointing starts. It seems like the mentally ill have become popular victims of this the world over. Look at the “gun control” debate in the US for example. Thanks, great post!

    1. Amos van der Merwe Post author

      Yes, I suppose politicians all over the world share common traits! We have a choice: either see the humour and (force a) smile, or ask the impossible question: why, oh why, are the masses so keen to keep these men (and women) in positions of power? And then one remembers the social grants, the child grants, the HIV grants, the unemployed payments, the nepotism and corruption… Then, sadly, the answer is all too clear.


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