WHEN he was prime minister of South Africa, Jan Smuts – the confidant of giants such as Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Lord Keynes and Albert Einstein, chancellor of Cambridge University and a founder of the United Nations – used to buy stamps for his personal mail, lick them and stick them on the envelopes.
Whatever his faults, he knew the distinction between his personal expenditure and that of the state. They were separate creatures: he didn't confuse his persona with that of the country.
Today that distinction hasn't been blurred, it's been obliterated. As soon as an ANC cadre is deployed to a state position he or she immediately sets about obtaining from the state all the luxurious perks he or she believes is due at the expense of the taxpayer.
They requisition state-owned jets to take them on shopping holidays to the Middle East. They surround themselves with bodyguards to protect them from what nobody knows, unless it's their own people of whom they are frightened.
They roar down highways surrounded by armed guards in vehicles flashing blue lights with sirens wailing. God help law-abiding citizens and taxpayers who mistakenly believe they have a right to drive at the speed limit on roads for which they've paid. Vide Winnie Mandela.
Smuts lived simply and frugally and died in what his family called "the tin shanty" – a modest home near Irene. Compare that with the R65m Inkandla complex that awaits that libidinous cretin, our President Jacob Zuma
, on his retirement.
Quite an achievement when it's not that long ago he was flat broke and reliant on his financial adviser Shabir Schaik, later a convicted felon, for handouts. But the ANC does look after its own, and Shaik is now free at home on the basis of ill-health, which seems spurious given his active social life.
When Smuts died King George V1 wrote to his widow and lifelong companion – "Isie" – that "the force of his intellect has enriched the wisdom of the whole human race".
Today we have the likes of Jimmy Manyi
, the subject of a complaint by the Norwegian Ambassador to SA that, as director general of the labour department, he improperly attempted to pursue personal business matters at an official meeting.
Manyi responded that all he'd done was to offer to hold a "workshop for the Norwegians on black empowerment". Odd, isn't it, that someone as strait-laced as a Norwegian ambassador should be upset by such an offer? Unless... 'Friendly request' for funds
Manyi's behaviour has been rewarded with his appointment as DG of government communications after having been suspended from his former post by former labour minister Membathisi Mdladlana
. Quite a merry-go-round, this cadre deployment business, is it not? Manyi, by the way, remains head of the Black Management Forum, thus taxpayers will be footing part of the bill for its leadership.
But taxpayers are there to be milked, as is evident in another, more minor, case involving one Christopher Taute, mayor of the Hesssequa municipality in the Cape, where he's supposedly in office to serve all the ratepayers and not any political party.
But this loyal cadre uses his mayoral time, municipal stationery, a municipal typist and, no doubt, municipal mailing costs to circulate to the local business community a blatant and implicitly threatening plea for money for the ANC from those who had done business with "this ANC-run council".
"As you currently have contracts with our municipality – which were made possible by this ANC-run council – I would like to make a friendly request that you contribute a donation to the ANC for the election campaign in order to continue building on your good relations with this ANC-run council."Gwede Mantashe
, secretary general of the ANC, has conceded Taute's behaviour was improper; while others have defended him. Perhaps Taute's days as mayor are numbered, but such a loyal cadre will never be cast aside. There's always a plum job waiting. Perhaps ambassador to Norway would do.
That sanctimonious, somnambulant tub of lard – Amos Masondo
, the mayor of Johannesburg – is yet another example of how the ANC's policy of cadre deployment has landed people in jobs for which they have no qualifications, leading to chaos and collapse.
* This article first appeared in Finweek.
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