Day 406 – More SA politics fun

SA politics is rarely dull. Some people might say that this is a good thing, and represents a young, vibrant democracy, constantly evaluating and questioning itself. And yes, that would be a good thing, but it does seem to be mainly widespread corruption and intra-party mud slinging which is taking the centre stage, while actually serving the country (which really, really needs serving), falls by the wayside.

The most recent infighting is within the governing party, the ANC, who are happily fiddling while Rome has no decent housing, a disastrous education system, zero unemployment prospects, an upcoming third wave of Covid-19 (now closer than ever) and plenty of crumbling infrastructure.
Still, while we’re concentrating on their petty squabbles, we’re not talking about all that other stuff, are we?

And I don’t use the term “petty squabbles” lightly, because while the consequences of their collective actions might be very serious indeed, it’s hard not to crack a faint grin at their playground posturing.

The latest episode (coming a whole day after the previous episode) concerns ANC Secretary General Elias “Ace” Magashule. He’s likely bent as a 12 Rand note, having been charged with fraud, corruption and money-laundering. Taking decisive (cough) action, (some of) the rest of the ANC leadership gave him 30 days to step aside from his post for the duration of his trial. That 30 days has just expired and Ace is still there. And so the President suspended him.

And Ace then suspended the President. “Lol”.

Cyril is having none of it. And rightly so, it seems, because while Ace says that Cyril has no right to suspend him, Cyril does have (the majority of) the NEC on his side. Ace has… well… himself. And constitutionally (that’s the ANC Constitution, not the National one), he doesn’t even have himself, because he’s been suspended.
Ace has as much power to suspend the President as my beagle has.

Lots of enthusiasm, lots of noise, zero understanding of how the actual political system works.

Loves free treats.

And so the ANC fragmentation merry-go-round continues, with some heavyweights and branches coming out in support of Magashule, more of them defending Ramaphosa, and local political commentators wasting no time at all in invoking Godwin’s Law.

All of this chaos must be like manna from heaven for the opposition, right?

Well, sure, if they were able to utilise it to strengthen their position. Sadly (I say sadly because a decent, strong opposition is hugely important to any country, and not because of any personal political affiliation), they are so incompetent that they’re actually going down in the polls despite the complete and utter fuckshow happening up top.
And why? Because of crap leadership and… gosh… political infighting within the party.

It all comes down to the cult of personality over actual ability to do the job they are elected and mandated to do. In a recent small scale study, an orange TV host was elected President of a powerful North American country, despite having no demonstrable political ability at all. The world watched on.

It did not end well.

I’m not saying that we’re quite at that level of disaster yet, but until we get leaders who are more concerned with leading the country than their own parties and personal position and wealth, we’re going nowhere except backwards.

It’s very frustrating, hugely costly and thoroughly depressing.

Day 404, part 2 – Ugh, ANC Government

Because I was obviously just joking about part 1.

Comedian Dara O’Briain tweeted about the gradual relaxation of lockdown rules today. And it’s worth remembering that while the UK lockdown has been much stricter than our local version of late, there have still been some benefits to everyone not being out and about.

Indeed. But while the UK is slowly emerging (sacrifices made, communities strengthened, disease beaten back etc etc), the signs here are still not very positive. No pun intended, cos it’s all just dire.
It’s still another 2 weeks before the scheduled start of “Phase 2” of our vaccine rollout.
I say “Phase 2” in those sarcastic quotes, because “Phase 1” was for (some of) the healthcare workers here and so we have now vaccinated 0.5% of our population. With one dose. It’s really not great.

And while things should start to pick up in a fortnight or so, we’re still staring at these sort of ridiculous stats at the moment:

Ouch.

17 days short of a quarter of a century. 25 (twenty-five) years. Utterly depressing and wholly representative of the absolute state of the government here. Meanwhile, we’re still happily accepting flights from India with no restrictions (despite stuff like this and this). Compare our stance with other cricketing nations (which is obviously the goto metric for this sort of thing):

It’s almost like they’re trying to sabotage the country. Why aren’t we taking any precautions at all while India is recording a million new cases every three days (and we all know that that figure is massively under-represented)? We’re in a weird limbo period in South Africa at the moment, with experts puzzled and delighted in equal measure at the non-appearance of the much-forecast third wave. But while we should rightly be making hay while the sun shines, it seems pretty foolish to fling ourselves into the flailing blades of the combine harvester.

Much like the understated benefits of the lockdown (see Dara’s tweet above), the downside of the lack of Covid in SA (although there are currently over 21,00 active cases) is that people are getting really lackadaisical about the safety measures they need to take. Masks are being worn around chins and wrists more and more frequently (this approach doesn’t stop the spread of a respiratory virus) and you can walk into shops, pubs or restaurants without a hint of a temperature check, a spray of sanitiser or a record of your name and number.

It’s not good, but there are no repercussions because there is very little Covid around. However, when there is Covid around, this behaviour will really help to amplify it before we’ve even realised it’s returned.

*sigh*

That’s all for today. Day 405 tomorrow, which brings back memories of that horrid 1980s Peugeot car…

The Peugeot 405 is a large family car released by the French automaker Peugeot in July 1987, and which continues to be manufactured under licence outside France, having been discontinued in Europe in 1997. It was voted European Car of the Year for 1988 by the largest number of votes in the history of the contest.

Wow. Now we know.