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#MySouthAfrica. Distraction from Action

Date: 07.17.2024

Written By

Tonya Khoury

#MySouthAfrica we need to have a word. I’m sorry to say this, but I’m grumpy. I am one of the patriotic South Africans; I shake off the bad news like a dog out of a bath and then I look, always, to the beauty of this magnificent country and her people and then I am never scared about our future. We are a nation of great fortitude, and we do things differently. We always have. We survived apartheid, well, we did better than that, we worked together. Once upon a time, we were a nation with huge promise and a future as bright as the African sun. #MyCountry

Today, we are battered and abused. Our government has pushed us too far for too long. It’s time to #ScratchTheSurface of a horrendous week in the media. Trigger warning, you may not be amused reading this report. On the other hand, you might, but your sense of humour has to be dark, a bit like Eskom.

There is an anecdote that my friend shared with me about #JosephStalin. Stalin allegedly brought a live chicken to a bunch of his advisors, and then he plucked it while it was still alive. The chicken, bleeding and abused, ran away from Stalin. The doors were closed so it came back to him the minute he offered it chicken feed. His point? This is how easy it is to control a nation. He is known to add: “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic”. Dreadful story, some of it may not be true but the saddest part is that you can relate #MyCountry.

I know, I know, that’s a depressing beginning to the weekly report. I did say we needed a word because as disgusting as that story is, we are in that very situation. Let’s not talk about politics for a minute. It’s #MothersMonth. One third of our women suffer domestic abuse. Eight women are killed by their partners every single day. We have crime rates that are not only catastrophic but also mind boggling. The death of our children cannot be a statistic. The death of a sterling nation cannot be a statistic. #MyCountryIsNotAStatistic

That’s not even why I’m grumpy, because like Stalin’s chicken, I have become used to reading these horrific statistics and I carry on. I carry on as #Eskom toys with #Stage8 and urges us not to use the product we pay handsomely for in the midst of winter. There is no excuse, whatsoever, for Eskom’s tirade on the nation. None! For thirty years Eskom ran and powered a nation. I don’t care what is said about Soweto owing blah blah and how the maintenance has not been upheld. This stuff didn’t happen yesterday, and for years we had electricity. These, #MySouthAfrica, are just blatant lies or orchestrated outcomes from the handiwork of the greedy. WE own this coal; we are the miners and the truck drivers; we are the people who feed the electricity machine; we are the people who generate the invoices and collect the cash. And then, just as we bend our backs to the point of breaking, we allow our feathers be plucked. Can someone tell me why, exactly, #Eskom is suddenly a problem, thirty years later? Yes, we had #loadshedding and we whined, but for the most part the lights stayed on. We went from four stages to eight stages and now we are told there will be sixteen stages and yet we keep pecking. #MySouthAfrica

Next year we are encouraged to vote this problem away. Will that work? I doubt it, corruption is so deeply entrenched in every corner of government that there is no silver bullet that will end this in a few months. So, what are we doing? Are we going to watch as those coal trucks leave our port and let people die from the cold in the winter of our discontent? Are we going to watch as our maize gets exported for a higher price than we can afford and see our staple food leave the country en masse? Are we going to continue to watch this unabated greed swallow up our beautiful home?

#MySouthAfrica, this week, we were presented with diversions. Diversions that put a stop to our action. Diversions that made us chicken out.

#SenzoMeyiwaTrial was a shocker. #Teffo was back, dressed in robes, and the disbarred advocate was frog marched out of court as we watched #ZandiKhumalo try her best not to appear on a live stream. This such a crazy story. #Zandi said that she was a celebrity (not sure where she got that from) and that she was happy to have photos taken in the corridor of the court rooms, but didn’t want herself on camera in the court. For the record, no-one has had the camera on them in the courtroom. She went on to say that she did not want the audio broadcast live from the court, but this could be tweeted by the journalists. There was no point to #Zandi’s claim apart from a further delay and an infuriated South Africa. The judge ruled, after two days of legal jargon, that she would have her audio televised and the camera would remain off her exceptionally popular face. I listened to her story and it doesn’t match the other testimonies. At one point she “broke down” and shouted at the accused, and then she told us how brave she was … and that was that. We wait patiently for the cross examination, we wait for the excellence of #AdvocateMshololo to see how far Nandi’s tears get her. #DistractionFromAction. There will never be #JusticeForSenzo.

You couldn’t flip a news channel without landing on a court case or an inquiry that demanded attention. I made it through all of them so I’ll condense them for you so you don’t miss anything.

#ZumavsRamaphosa, what a joke. Dali was filibustering for the first team but the judge had his number and literally cut him short when he exceeded his time. She had had enough of the list of adjectives that only Dali can put together. He told us precious little about the case before us, and he told us a great deal about how exceptional his legal knowledge was. Such a clever guy, and he is, his bank account is full regardless of how many court cases he has not won or finished. He is the #Stalingrad of #SALaw. On display in the courtroom were a bunch of Zuma stooges and they clapped like well-trained seals in a dolphin show. All captured, all there just for food. #PluckedChickens. The judge said that this is not “a circus” and swiftly put an end to that cheering and clapping. #Zuma himself made it to court. A miracle dear friends. He can actually enter a courtroom without bursting into flames. He was looking well too, so that’s good – no sick note for this trial. #MyCountry

Then #ThaboBester turned up in a Burberry hoody that cost R19k as he made a “virtual appearance” in court. #YouTubeCourt asked the obvious questions: He is a convicted criminal, one that bears the burden of multiple rapes and a murder on his back, yet he is not in orange overalls. Why? And if that wasn’t pressing enough, his lawyer asked a ridiculous but fair question: Is this #ThaboBester we see on camera? Can we prove this is him? I don’t make this up, this is hard news. He doesn’t have an ID and the Thabo Bester who did is still declared dead. Crazy hey? #DrNandi was also on Zoom, no one knows why, but she looked beautiful with her make-up on point and a wall of library books behind her. She too was dressed for success. This while the other co-accused sat in a cold courtroom like plucked chickens, hen-pecked and subject to the judge’s scrutiny. #MySouthAfrica stop this #distractionfromaction. This case is ridiculous.

Switch channels and you’ll find #Pravin at #SCOPA; you’d swear that butter wouldn’t melt in #Gordhan’s mouth. He used very big words to explain how #DeRuyter was not the wonderful oke we are told he is. This man was writing books while we were degenerating. #DeRuyter #DeGenerator (some refer to him as #DeDonker, basically #TheNight, no not the one in shining armour) just wrote a book called #TruthToPower. I have a colleague who is reading it and she said it would be great to count the number of times he uses the personal pronoun “I” in the book. One thing he is not short of is ego. #SCOPA continues and I’m sure it will for years as long as they can keep the building’s lights on. #PlayingChicken

Flick the channel again and you’ll find the #194Enquiry where Madam #Busi Mkhwebane appeared on her own as uDali dropped her and now she is running around like a headless chicken, desperately seeking new legal counsel. The PP’s office has given her a further R4m rand to spend on wasting our time. #ChickenFeed

All this distraction from action left us no time to actually deal with the crime of the century. #Eskom.

Again, I have so many questions, but why has no wealthy corporate set up a huge wind or solar farm and sold the produce to the masses? Why is Eskom the only solution, even if you have solar. This is a monopoly and it’s stealing from the poor and the rich. There are laws against that. Yet we are watching #Thabo (if it is Thabo) and his Burberry. Come on, can’t you see the distraction from action? What would happen if we all stopped paying Eskom? What would happen if we stopped paying taxes? You can bet we’d have attention for a change. What if we stopped being plucked and actually pecked instead? Don’t misunderstand my words, I’m not talking about a coup d’état or leaving SA. In fact, quite the opposite, leave these crooks well alone, these monsters that keep plucking around us. Julius held a presser and told us that we have two weeks left until the grid collapses. I saw a presentation, that appeared to be from Eskom, filled with contingency plans for a lights out scenario. I’m not sure if it was fact or fiction, but this seventeen page document with all its shadiness also contained this line: “there will be no Microsoft Teams” coupled by an emoji. #MySouthAfrica

Kenny #Kunene and Gayton #MacKenzie will have you believe that they are the saviours of SA. Why? Because one did a clean-up in Hillbrow and the other tells us he is the king-maker for the elections. He’s right, they will all end up at the ANC in the end. That’s how coalition country works. We’ve seen it before, we will see it again.

When one is in an abusive relationship, there are two components, the bully and the beaten. Here’s a thing about bullies, once they realise you’re not a doormat, and you stand up, they will not enter the room. The thing about the beaten is they don’t realise they can stand tall. Their backs feel broken and so they allow the beating to continue. They don’t know the door is theirs to shut.

And then there was this … Our children came last in the international reading assessment across the world. Last. Our future leaders are at the bottom of the reading pile and we are okay with that. It is no wonder we made a massive spelling error on our new bank notes. Even our #ReserveBank doesn’t care enough to do a spell check. The original and correct spelling was on the old bank note, so there really is no excuse. #RandDeFaced

There was some fun this week, the US back-peddled fast on their South African ear bashing about Russia and #LadyRa. I wonder who called whom, but Putin was on the phone that bit is certain. The Yanks changed their narrative faster than you can say #EskomSePush. The damage to our Rand did not have the same regeneration speed. And one has to wonder, was that planned? You become cynical when you read so much nonsense every day.

Across the seas, Harry and Megan had a car chase with paparazzi in New York, that’s funny; it’s not possible to have a car chase in New York. Johnny #Depp received a warm welcome at the #Cannes, and he even had a little tear. Cute.

I’m going to try and find the funny under the water this weekend. This was depressing hey? It can’t all be giggles guys. It’s time to stop distraction and call for action. I’m Tonya Khoury, thank you for scratching the surface with me at Acumen Media


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