Oh Jacob, what you won’t Dudu for love

Ideas

Oh Jacob, what you won’t Dudu for love

To ruin a country's economy takes a very special man, a very lucky woman, and a very unique relationship

Columnist


Twenty-five years ago a group of ethnic nationalists wearing camouflage tried to disrupt a gathering of national importance. Yesterday it happened again. Granted, the EFF weren’t driving a bakkie through a window like the AWB did at Kempton Park, and relied on noise and libel rather than violence, but the parallels were curious.
This, however, isn’t about anger and division. This isn’t about a 6% party’s quest to stay relevant as the spotlight moves off it six months before an election. This isn’t about noise and posturing.
This is about love. Sweet, pure love.
Those who were able to ignore the vuvuzelas and the singing, and who managed to hear Pravin Gordhan’s testimony before the Zondo commission, heard many things on Tuesday.
Most notably, they heard a chilling account of Jacob Zuma trying to intimidate Gordhan out of his job and away from the front door of the treasury.
It might have been quite depressing. Except for one moment of transcendent love.
That moment, it seems, took place in December 2015.
That was the month, Gordhan recalled, in which he broke the news to SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni that she would not in fact be buying 10 new Airbus planes through a middleman but rather leasing five.
It was also the month Gordhan received a certain phone call from Zuma, “inquiring” whether Gordhan could, in fact, give Myeni her way.
At the time, some pundits speculated that Zuma and Myeni’s relationship was more than professional. The Mail & Guardian alleged that it was “intimate”. I can’t say. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors in Zuma’s house. At least, not his bedroom door. I’m pretty sure that behind his other doors you’ll find the usual stuff: All-night paper-shredding; a tired secretary highlighting pertinent paragraphs in Arabic For Dummies and Extradition Laws of the United Arab Emirates; a stack of unopened fan mail from Andile Mngxitama ...
So let me be clear and say we can’t know if Zuma tried to intercede on Myeni’s behalf out of romantic love.
But what he did do, it turns out, was to try to pressure Gordhan into following through on a deal that would have cost R600m and pushed SA straight into defaulting on its debt.
That takes a very special man, a very lucky woman, and a very unique relationship.
So ask yourself: If you are in a romantic relationship, is your love so strong that your lover would willingly destroy SA for you? If your strongest relationship is platonic, are you sure that your best friend would ruin an economy if you asked them to?
In the end, all I can hope is that you find someone who looks at you the way Dudu Myeni looked at those 10 Airbuses. And the way Jacob Zuma tried to give her what she wanted. Because that, my friends, is love.

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