And so it begins, the ANC’s long night of pretending it cares about us
There are only two reasons for any senior ANC politician to be awake at 6.47am on a weekday
According to Tony Yengeni, Monday night’s meeting of the ANC’s national working committee was “the longest … ever!”.
Some might doubt the word of a convicted fraudster. Others might argue “the longest ever!” is simply the traditional greeting of Zuma-era loyalists, usually delivered in a prone position while touching the hem of uBaba’s robe. But I believe him.
For starters, Yengeni made the claim in a tweet posted at 6.47am on Tuesday morning.
Now, there are only two reasons for any senior ANC politician to be awake at 6.47am on a weekday.
The first is that his butler has rushed into the bedroom, switched off the revolving, vibrating bed, and yelled at him that the Special Investigating Unit is on its way and they have 25 minutes to stuff 25 Louis Vuitton bags with 25 years of liberated loot.
The second is that he has been awake all night.
So yes, I can absolutely believe Yengeni was staggering home on Tuesday morning from a marathon session in the Joe Modise Thyssen-Krupp Memorial Jacuzzi in Luthuli House.
And why did the meeting go on for so long? I suspect the answer lies in the news that broke soon after Yengeni’s tweet: that the ANC has instructed spokespeople Zizi Kodwa and Pule Mabe – respectively accused of rape and sexual harassment – to step down.
In any other meeting convened by any other organisation, this would have been a two-line, 30-second event.
But this is the ANC, which means that when it was announced, a slack-jawed hush would have settled over the room, disturbed only by the adenoidal snoring of Bathabile Dlamini in the corner.
Eventually, however, someone would have raised their hand and asked what everyone was thinking: why would allegations of any kind require anyone to step down?
And that’s where the whole thing would have bogged down, because that’s when Ramaphosa’s team would have had to start explaining some entirely new concepts to entrenched cadres …
“Guys, voters are demanding consequences for–”
“Comrade, what are these ‘consequences’ of which you speak?”
“Well, er, they are results that stem from previous actions and–”
“Comrade, who are these ‘voters’ you mentioned?”
“Oh, sorry, comrade, right, I should have used traditional ANC parlance. They are what we used to call ‘free houses and cars’, ‘sheltered employment for life’ and ‘gullible suckers’. We’re calling them ‘voters’ now because we want them to believe that we respect them.”
“Comrade, what is ‘respect’?”
“Gosh, well, I suppose it’s when you hold someone in high regard and treat them in a way that shows you admire them.”
“Like when we used to chant ‘The Longest Ever!’ at uBaba’s feet?”
“No, that’s called ‘fear’.”
And so on, and so on, for hours and hours and hours.
In related news, I would like to congratulate Dakota Legoete for emerging from Monday night as the ANC’s last spokespuppet standing.
Under Zuma, this was a relatively easy job. Once your lips had been grafted to one of his buttocks and your hands had been sewn together to form a fart-catching cup, all you had to do was make the odd grunt about things being taken out of context.
No longer. The next few months will be extremely taxing for Legoete, who will have to spin the ANC’s election results, explain why nobody has gone to jail, and downplay the next Gupta Leak or Bosasa revelation or Eskom implosion.
Our thoughts and prayers go with him.