Bheki Mashile's Letter from Umjindi

Men in the mirror. ANC's time for reflection

Yes indeed my Nosey ones, we are experiencing exciting times in this here Mzansi and there are many issues on which I want to express my “so-highly-regarded” opinion – but without the “French” of course, as per a kind request from one of you noseys.

OK, people from the RSA have shown we are not your typical African country. We voted peacefully and there is no-one saying the votes were rigged or sending out little militants to cause havoc.

But, oh my my, poor Juju and his EFF – hate the little boy anyway – did not get a single municipality. Let’s put it this way, we are damn lucky that the EFF did not do as well as they envisioned. For crying out loud, do we need a reincarnation of Idi Amin Dada? No.

Idi Amin Dada: Chennelled by the EFF?

Remember my friend in Parliament representing the EFF, one Dr Younus Cassim Vawda? I warned him, I said, you don’t know the black mentality. Our people will talk a lot of crap, support you, da da da, but when it comes down to it they will vote with their stomachs for their bread and butter, Boeti, and there is only one party that can guarantee that, the ANC.

Mind you, I made that comment to the good doctor after the announcement of the early results. I was over the moon at Juju’s “failure” and of course at what I thought was again an insightful observation, prediction. Boy was I wrong. And if anyone had an egg on their face it wasn’t me; instead I had a carton not even thrown but viciously smeared on me. You see we had to wait a few more days for the complete results to be announced. And when they were, I was surprisingly enlightened by the fact that not only were the people not swayed by bread and butter issues, they did not fall for the ANC’s last-minute campaign TV slots focused on the organisation’s past glory and desperate attempt at reminding us of the bad “white man” and his now black-fronted party.

Well, I have written on several occasions how I support this party of comrades. Some nose readers have called me a hypocrite, however, I stuck to my guns and hit back explaining why I support them. But this time, while I did not render my vote for another party, I also held it back from the ANC as my personal protest. I would never try to persuade others not to vote, but clearly I did not need to, because the final results indicated there were millions of Mzansi people who felt as I did.    

So, if the comrades want to know why I and clearly a million others turned our backs on the party that no longer resembles anything the likes of Mandela founded, all they have to do is ask the first person they see in the mirror. But just in case that person tells them it’s not my fault, then maybe they need to listen to what some political analysts have said: “The ANC took the voters for granted”. If that does not convince them to do some serious soul-searching, allow me to help them with a few specifics.

Let’s see… the selling of our country to the Guptas; the pathetic denials on Nkandla (who the heck does not know what is being done on their property?); the even-more pathetic Nkandla apology that was offered as a result of being nailed by the court. Let’s not forget about the killings of ANC councillors in KwaZulu-Natal and other provinces because the comrades are fighting for the financially lucrative councillor positions; and of course the inexcusable violence in Tshwane following the mayoral candidate announcement. The list goes on and on.

Yes, I have egg on my face because despite my personal decision to withhold my vote, I truly believed the masses would still support the ANC; double egg on me for arrogantly thinking the masses would continue to be bought for a measly loaf of bread and a slab of butter.   

Losing Nelson Mandela Bay – and the capital of  Tshwane of all places  – and barely holding on to our economic hub of Jozi (surely that should wake you up?) but knowing your modus operandi, I’m afraid you will need more than a strong cup of coffee to smell before you wake up.

And, by the way, the President’s singing and dancing is no longer entertaining. But at least he has never butchered the national anthem, like that horrible singer at the EFF’s campaign-ending rally in Limpopo.

Now that I have been man enough to admit my faux pas, allow me redeem myself, brag, boast, toot my own horn and basically tell myself I am the man who still has a keen sense of observation. Not too long ago I wrote that the government cannot, or should not, expropriate land until they deal with outstanding claims. Now the court says, hey boys, you cannot open the Land Claims window while you still have outstanding claims. Hello, it does not take a genius to figure that out. Thank you, yes I am the man. And I should be appointed Minister of common sense.

And I cannot ignore the SABC matter. We don’t want censorship. However – and I know I’ll get a lot of flak for this – I fully support Hlaudi’s decision of not covering violent protests. Hey, it’s not news anymore. Talk to the men and women on the ground about a so-called service delivery protest and they’ll just shrug and say, sesijwayelo loko (we are used to that nonsense).

Moreover, for a scribe on the ground like me, these protests are now putting my life and those of other journalists at risk. They have become very violent. This is not the late ’80s or early ’90s where there was something for journalists to risk their lives for, such as exposing the so-called black-on-black violence that threatened to plunge this country into civil war.

Sorry, but being caught in the crossfire of warring ANC factions or tribal disputes – as seems to be the case in the Vuwani, Limpopo matter – is not worth being threatened by protestors or taking a rubber bullet from our public order police, who always react when the situation is already out of control. So much for the police’s intelligence. Its operatives must be the dumbest in the intelligence game. Twenty-four schools burnt in Vuwani? They couldn’t figure something out after the third, fourth or fifth?

No, I will never ever again cover another protest. Unfortunately Hlaudi’s arrogance clouded a good decision.

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