Just be patient, SA. We'll be rid of Bathabile soon enough
Right now she's got power over Cyril, but after May that will change and the happy day will at last arrive
Okay. Let’s skip past the outrage and ask the obvious question: what does Bathabile Dlamini have?
Is it nudes?
Is it a hard-drive with JACOBS PRIVAT STUFFS HANDS OF! scrawled across it in crayon?
Has she somehow managed to insert some sort of electronic suppository into the presidential rear, linked to a small remote called The Punisher that she keeps in her handbag?
Nomvula Mokonyane we can understand. All she did was oversee the collapse of SA’s water system. That’s the kind of old-school ANC ineptitude that makes one feel all nostalgic for the early 2000s. It made sense that she would stay in the cabinet, and that she would be rewarded with the department of environmental affairs. After all, it is written that the meek shall inherit the earth, and Mokonyane has proved herself to be as meek as a snoozing dormouse tucked away in a desiccated burrow deep in the warming, cracking earth.
But Dlamini? What is this diabolical force field that keeps her and her aggressive incompetence safe from Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Dawn?
The answer, of course, is the ANC Women’s League.
Not the actual ANCWL, of course. I’m not referring to the organisation that was founded in 1931 to champion the rights of women in this country. No, I’m talking about the ANCWL of the 2000s; that mindless, groaning golem animated by patriarchy and patronage, that goes lurching after anyone who opposes the Big Man it serves.
And right now the person who can deliver that golem to Ramaphosa – who can send it lurching and groaning to the polls come next May – is Bathabile Dlamini.
Yes, it seems mad to keep her in the cabinet. But given his position, he’d be crazy not to.
What happens after May, however, is another story. On Thursday Ramaphosa hinted at more dramatic changes once his presidency officially begins. For some time now pundits have been suggesting – if prayer can be a suggestion – that he will do away with the ministry of women and children, or, as you and I know it, Sheltered Employment for Unemployable Bathabile.
If that happens, Dlamini will have to adapt to life as an amateur: Instead of being paid more than R1m a year to do absolutely nothing, she’ll have to start doing it for free.