Cheer up, there’s a silver lining in the corruption cloud

Ideas

Cheer up, there’s a silver lining in the corruption cloud

There’s a host of little critters kept alive by the hyenas and vultures tugging at the dying body of SA

Columnist

According to an explosive report by investigative journalists XXXXX, a Gupta-linked company known as XXXX siphoned off over RXXX-(million/billion) from XXXX between 20XX and 20XX. The claims have been slammed by XXXX’s lawyers, who this morning said, “Bloop bloop bloopety bloop”.
By now the details don’t really seem to matter, do they? Whether it’s R250m stolen by a president or R600m stolen by Transnet consultants or R100bn stolen by the Zuptas, the numbers, and the frequency with which they’re revealed, have all started blurring together into one endless news report about our collective despair.
I’m not suggesting that we ignore each new scandal. We are, after all, still governed by a mafia family whose only skills are the extraction of money and the evaporation of potential, and the first rule of avoiding predators is to know where they are and what they’re doing.
Now and then, however, every South African needs a break from the relentlessness of the sleaze. Which is why, just for today, I’m going to remind you about the silver lining of the corruption cloud. I’m going to ask you to think not of the hyenas and vultures tugging at the dying body of SA, but instead of the tiny savannah creatures – the hardworking ants, the determined beetles, the unloved earthworms – that are kept alive by the orgy of eating going on above them.For example, next time you hear about millions stolen by some ANC-affiliated warlord or quasi-corporate sociopath, think of all the honest builders who will be employed to erect his new mansion in Durban. Think of all the interior designers, each sourcing porcelain whippets and circular red vibrating beds from local suppliers.
Think of the obscure artist, commissioned to paint a double-storey portrait of the new kingpin licking champagne off the bonnet of his Range Rover. Think of the humble pool builder, painstakingly laying out a mosaic on the floor showing Jacob Zuma as a merman throwing a trident at White Monopoly Capital. Think of the local satellite dish installer, trying to create an antenna large enough to pick up Mzwanele Manyi’s Afro Worldview.
Think of the retired maths teachers bolstering their meagre pensions by offering extra classes to his entitled kiddies: “If your daddy has been given R50m by Uncle Sanjay, but he needs to pay R25m to Uncle Snakes to make sure the skeletons stay smallanyana, how much money does your daddy have?”
Think of the herders, singing softly in the twilight as they guide goats and chickens past the firepool and through the empty amphitheatre. Think of the cooks stirring a large cauldron of soup in which bob potatoes, meat, and shredded e-mails. Think of the bodyguards doing one last perimeter sweep to make sure there are no assassins or AmaBhungane hiding in the shrubbery.
Yes, next time you read about wholesale theft, like tomorrow, think of the little people like you and me. If it cheers you up then my work is done. And if it doesn’t, well, at least it beats thinking about the other lot.

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