Spare a thought for poor old beach-slapped Zuma
Before you accuse No 1 of plotting a comeback, consider more pathetic reasons he was meeting with die-hard allies on Durban's beachfront
The Sunday Times report alleging that Jacob Zuma and his henchpuppets are plotting to unseat Cyril Ramaphosa was upsetting. But let’s try and be compassionate: if you were unemployable, probably in debt to Russian poisoning experts, and had no concept of how to make money other than being handed it, what would you do?
According to the weekend paper, Zuma attended meetings with die-hard allies at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks and the Maharani Hotel on Durban’s beachfront, prompting fears that he is trying to stage a comeback.
This sounds plausible, but given what we know about Zuma and his ilk, I think we need to consider other, more pathetic, possibilities.
For example, what if Zuma and Ace Magashule were simply roaming from one hotel to the next looking for food? What if being served for a decade by kowtowing toadies has caused them to forget how to feed themselves? Perhaps they are literally unable to raise silver spoons to their mouths any more, and require trained hospitality staff to shovel nutrients into them.
Another possibility is that they were merely keeping to their natural ANC habitat, namely, expensive hotels sporting the sort of decor you find in the walk-in shoe closets of Mafia wives. Because let’s be honest: Nkandla isn’t exactly a pleasure palace, is it?
Imagine being Zuma, brooding in his crumbling homestead, disconsolately looking out of the dirty window at goats munching on the weeds that have sprung up between the cracks in the Vladimir Putin Memorial Helipad. You’d do anything to get back to the undiluted glamour of the Durban beachfront.
“Hello, Ace? It’s Big Daddy. No, nothing much, I was just wondering if you wanted to get a burger at the Beverly Hills. Oh, you’d love to? You haven’t eaten a proper meal since you were fired as Free State premier? Jesus, I feel you, guy. The best I can do is rest my head on the table, kind of on one cheek, and sort of nudge the food in with my tongue. Either that or I just roll my face over a plate of feta cheese and hope some of it goes in the right hole. Anyway, so then I was thinking maybe we could just sit in the lounge and let the neon lights and the faux marble and the plastic ferns silence the screaming in the void where our souls used to be? Cool. Wednesday it is.”
Yes, we need to have compassion for our former president. He is suffering, cast out of paradise where taxpayers are your ATM card, the Hawks are your butler, and when you have a bad dream you can just climb into bed with Atul and Tony and they’ll sing you back to sleep.
So next time you read about him and his gang plotting to get back to the trough – and you’re bound to – take a moment to think of how hard it is to be poor, mistreated, penniless, unappreciated Jacob Zuma.
Thoughts and prayers, Number One. Thoughts and prayers.