Tom Eaton’s Short Report: ANC rivals looking almost as flustered as the ruling party

BY expropriating land without compensation‚ Cyril Ramaphosa told a crowd on Sunday‚ “we can make this country the garden of Eden”.

It was in interesting metaphor‚ given that Eden was a beautiful wilderness‚ untilled‚ undeveloped‚ and‚ barring two delinquent nudists‚ entirely devoid of human life. Perhaps he was referring to the snake‚ which‚ despite some bad press in recent centuries‚ was the only one in the place offering free education.

Still‚ I don’t want to be too hard on Ramaphosa just at the moment. It must be hellishly difficult to come up with good metaphors right now‚ what with the wave of poisonings currently sweeping the country.

If you believe senior ANC officials‚ perhaps because you are five-years-old‚ a diabolical poisoner is laying waste to the Zuma camp.

Of course‚ this is not news. We know that senior cadres have been eyeing their revolutionary chocolate éclairs with extra suspicion since 2015‚ when rumours began circulating that estranged wife‚ Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma‚ had been planning to slip Msholozi a little something extra with his sleepytime milk.

We also know that David Mabuza narrowly avoided death – or so he claims – after being fed something lethal at a children’s party in 2015‚ although‚ to be fair‚ most of us have narrowly avoided death after being fed something lethal at a children’s party in 2015.

Last year the President himself insisted that he‚ too‚ had survived poisoning‚ reassuring us that‚ even if the poisoners were successful‚ he would go nowhere. Which is kind of the point of poisoning someone‚ but I digress.

This week‚ however‚ everything changed as Ace Magashule claimed that a Free State comrade of his had been killed by poison.

It was a truly shocking claim‚ because‚ if true‚ it suggests that the alleged ANC poisoner‚ until now a master of making non-lethal alleged poison‚ has figured out how to make alleged poison that allegedly kills alleged people.

I must admit that I had my doubts about the whole poisoning angle. Given how well all the victims looked after being poisoned‚ I had started wondering whether they were simply suffering the effects of having accidentally drunk Famous Grouse whiskey instead of Johnnie Blue. After all‚ when you’re used to dining like an emperor on the taxpayer’s dime‚ middle-class joy-juice can taste like a mouthful of arsenic.

But now that Magashule has made these claims‚ I have to re-evaluate my position. I have to admit the possibility that this is not fake news generated by a failing party desperate to draw attention away from its fundamental corruption and inability to govern‚ but is instead fake news generated by a failing party desperate to draw attention away from its inability to figure out what to do with Jacob Zuma.

Fortunately for the ANC‚ its rivals have started 2018 looking almost as flustered as the ruling party.

The poor EFF‚ seeing its tentpole policies of land expropriation and free education hijacked from under its nose‚ has resigned itself to yelling at universities for not allowing walk-in registrations. On Monday‚ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi took to Twitter to point out that “ZCC and many other churches handle walk-in of millions of people very well‚” wondering why universities can’t handle a similar influx. A very fair question‚ I feel‚ given that churches and universities operate in exactly the same way‚ offering exactly the same services‚ for the same number of days per week. (Which reminds me: good luck to all the priests in South Africa currently preparing to start marking first-year congregants’ essays.)

The Democratic Alliance‚ meanwhile‚ remains a riddle‚ wrapped in an @Home fleece‚ inside a Hyundai people-carrier. Despite the ongoing drought‚ things remain pretty stable in its flagship province‚ Western Australia. In Cape Town‚ though‚ things are less rosy‚ not least because‚ with Patricia de Lille suspended‚ the city is currently being run by a corgi named Binky.

We do‚ however‚ know two things for sure about the De Lille situation.

The first is that she is about to be fired as Mayor because of decisions taken by the federal executive regarding allegations about alleged irregularities involving governance‚ although not involving wrongdoing‚ or perhaps involving it‚ depending on the final outcome of a meeting of the federal executive to discuss alleged irregularities in governance.

The second thing we know is that the DA’s spin department has no equal in South African politics. A flagship city is about to have its Mayor removed‚ either because she is corrupt or because she is the victim of a sinister plot. And either way‚ journalists are simply parroting “irregularities”. I don’t know whether to be impressed or terrified.

Either way‚ 2018 is off and running‚ poison plots‚ propaganda and all. I hope it is kind to us‚ and that our doses of poison are small and quickly recovered from. But will we find ourselves in Eden? I hope not. Because in Eden‚ there’s only room for two‚ and only for a while.


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