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 265 – The last bit of real life?

For a while, at least? Maybe.

Holidays start today in SA. Not officially, and not for everyone, but The Day of Reconciliation (that was today) does generally mark some sort of beginning to the summer holiday season.

The festive period is always a bit weird: it’s hot and sunny, which it clearly shouldn’t be at Christmas time and all our routines are swept away for a few weeks: Kids at home. Me at home. Dog at home. Wife at work. Playdates, restaurants, shopping, general socialising.

Fun.

This year: nope. It’s everybody at home (even though the wife is still at work). We’ve got a couple of (outdoor, socially-distanced) things that still have to be done and then and we’re all holing up as the second wave hits Cape Town. Early days, but it does already appear to be much more severe than our initial problems in May, June and July.

President Ramaphosa swung into action once again with targeted measures aimed mainly at reducing superspreader events. And I get it – to a certain extent – but once again, there does seem to be a degree of irrationality when 100 people are still allowed to gather indoors, but all the beaches in KZN, the Eastern Cape (definitely outdoors – I’ve been there) and the Garden Route are closed.

Better policing and enforcement of the regulations would be a much better way of going about things, but our police force is understaffed, overwhelmed, dysfunctional and aggressive. And while I can understand why you can’t just close some of the beaches in a given area (because then everyone would just go to the ones that were open), this is a lazy catch-all which has understandably angered many people – and merely driven everyone to other venues in the tourist areas: at least some of which will be indoors.

In KZN, the beaches are only closed on those days on which the majority of poorer people traditionally go there. And yes, the beaches on those days are horrifically overcrowded and would likely be very unsafe from a Covid point of view, those people are now going to stay in their horrifically overcrowded residential areas which are very unsafe from a Covid point of view. This doesn’t help much at all.

We’re in the Western Cape, where our beaches are still open – bizarrely only between 9am and 6pm – concentrating the crowds as much as possible. But it’s unlikely that we’ll be spending much time there.

It’s going to be a surreal summer: no extended family, limited travel, no socialising.

It’s a pain. It’s sad. It’s irritating. But it is just one year.

Day 252 – Here it comes…

I’ve been predicting this for a while.
It’s not like I needed a crystal ball and some fake psychic powers. I just had to look around me.

Jury’s out as to whether this is our final, (final, final) warning or whether we’re about to head into some sort of new, stricter lockdown, but since no-one actually heeds any of the warnings anyway, we might as well just admit defeat now.

As pointed out by a 6000 miles… reader, even the Plett Rage event is going ahead. Literally thousands of 18 year olds thrown together for several (or more) days of high energy, high alcohol, high other stuff partying in one of the small town major Covid hotspots in the Southern Cape.
And it’s not just going ahead – it’s sold out:

What – as the question goes – could go wrong?

I’ve got no more answers for you. At this point, we’re just doomed.

Happy Holidays!

Day 231 – On Cyril’s Address

You can probably reach him at the Tuynhuys, Cape Town, 8001. But email might be quicker.

Obviously, I’m not talking about that sort of address though. President Ramaphosa addressed the nation last night at 8pm (he was on time again) on “developments in the response to Covid-19”.

He’d clearly had a good look at my post from a couple of days ago and essentially based his entire 45 minute monologue around it. The good news of the vaccine, the concern about the figures in Nelson Mandela Bay (which will surely spread from there), the apparent blasé attitude of those suffering from what he kindly described as “Covid fatigue” and not “pure stupidity”, and the massively incorrect Business Insider story about going back to Level 2.

Strange that.

For me, the address demonstrated the difficult balancing act between controlling the spread of the virus (which pretty much every decent economist worldwide agrees is key to re-establishing economic growth* and whatever passes for normality wherever you are) and attempting to keep the battered economy from crashing completely.

We’ve seen this elsewhere before:

So on the one hand, we have Cyril telling us to behave responsibly, wear masks, wash our hands and not attend big parties, and on the other, he’s opened the national borders and removed the restrictions on sales of alcohol. It seems contradictory – it is contradictory – but there are reasonable grounds for both approaches. I’m just painfully aware that while the government is certainly not the best at making sensible decisions regarding Covid (or anything else), putting the responsibility into the public’s hands is not likely to be much of an improvement.

Basically, it’s not going to go well either way, and it never was.

We still have the anti-mask brigade shouting about pore sizes and oxygen deficiency, with data that they gathered from some Facebook page based in the Republican heartlands of the Southern US. Never mind that it’s easily proven incorrect: that’s just the New World Order brainwashing you so that they can install Sharia Law and mandatory vaccination with Bill Gates’ 5G chips through the back door**.

And while the international borders are open, it remains to be seen if anyone will come down here for summer. I can actually see it happening to a certain degree: a nice cheap trip down to the sunshine after a shitty year. But a lot of the locals will be staying here anyway: there’s already a lot of chatter about the Garden Route and Southern Cape being booked up for the entirety of the summer break.
Masks and social distancing don’t happen in the small towns, which wasn’t so much of an issue while they were not invaded by hundreds of thousands of city folk and their virus. So what could go wrong with crowded beaches, pubs, towns and restaurants in small towns to the east?

Yes. Lots.

And so our next peak – should it not all go off in the next few weeks from PE – will likely be in January. Because people are not going to behave themselves sensibly over the holiday period.

What happens then, with the economy already shafted and schools, universities and businesses just about to go back for the new year?

Who knows?

Happy Days!

 

 

* we didn’t have any of that BTV anyway. 
** I’d much prefer an intramuscular injection, but I suppose suppository form is just another way in. 

Day 230, part 2 – How the turntables…

Here’s a headline:

31st August this year. You can see that.

Here’s another headline from today. I make that 72 days after the one above:

Yep. Ace has (finally) been charged with fraud and corruption over a R255 million asbestos audit tender in the Free State.

Great chance for the ANC to live up to their word and put him on leave: missed.

Maybe because Cyril is scared of this?