We’ll know you by your fans

CityPress - - Voices - Mondli Makhanya voices@city­press.co.za

Last week, for­mer African Union (AU) Com­mis­sion chair­per­son Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma re­turned home af­ter a four-year ab­sence, dur­ing which she held a job she did not re­ally want and clearly did not en­joy. She wasted no time plung­ing into cam­paign­ing for the job she re­ally wants: the presidency of the Re­pub­lic of South Africa.

Some of Dlamini-Zuma’s boxes and suit­cases were prob­a­bly still in tran­sit when she showed up at a “prayer meet­ing” in Khut­song on Gaut­eng’s West Rand. The event may have been in a church and there may have been some hal­lelu­jahs and amens bel­lowed, but this was no prayer gath­er­ing. Wor­ship was a cover for some­thing much more im­me­di­ate than the af­ter­life.

This was the launch of Dlamini-Zuma’s bid for the presidency of the ANC and the re­pub­lic.

The at­tire of the con­gre­ga­tion and the preach­ing on that par­tic­u­lar Sun­day be­trayed the true na­ture of the ser­vice.

The ap­parel of the wom­en­folk was not very churchy. Those fa­mil­iar with the hideous uni­form of the ANC Women’s League would have recog­nised the gaudy look of th­ese women, who have gained great pop­u­lar­ity for their en­ter­tain­ing per­for­mances out­side court­rooms. Se­ri­ously, do make an ef­fort to go and watch th­ese shows if one ever comes to a court­house near you.

The speeches con­tained only a pass­ing ac­knowl­edg­ment of the God whose house this was. It was all about NDZ.

To be fair, the Dlamini-Zuma cam­paign’s chief spon­sor, women’s league pres­i­dent Batha­bile Dlamini, did re­mem­ber that she was in a church and there­fore needed to make ref­er­ence to the owner of the house.

She told the con­gre­ga­tion that Dlamini-Zuma was like Je­sus be­cause she was “both a lion and a lamb”. Quite what that means I have no clue, but I am sure the power of the Holy Spirit en­abled those who were in the House of the Lord to de­ci­pher the para­ble.

And I am sure the Holy Spirit also helped them un­der­stand this next gem: “She is fear­less and sim­ple. Truth never runs away from her tongue. She is a leader with two ears.” Huh?

Dlamini-Zuma her­self did not leave much to in­ter­pre­ta­tion when she told the con­gre­ga­tion that Africa needed more fe­male lead­ers and it was time for South Africa to fol­low the lead of Liberia, which leapfrogged over many es­tab­lished democ­ra­cies when it elected Ellen John­son Sir­leaf as pres­i­dent 11 years ago.

A democ­racy that did not give due place to the ma­jor­ity – women – was not a true democ­racy, she said, adding: “We must be there in the rul­ing of the coun­try.” Preach, sis­ter, preach!

It is a good thing that Dlamini-Zuma and her fol­low­ers are de­fy­ing Luthuli House di­rec­tives by openly cam­paign­ing. An above-board cam­paign such as the one launched by NDZ last week en­ables the pub­lic to scru­ti­nise her and the peo­ple around her. It helps us to un­der­stand who may rise with her and wield in­flu­ence in her ad­min­is­tra­tion, thereby de­ter­min­ing the cul­ture of her ten­ure.

In that Khut­song church on Sun­day there were faces that should raise con­cerns about a fu­ture Dlamini-Zuma regime. Singing along to the hymns was one Des van Rooyen, a na­tive of Khut­song who went on to big­ger things. Big­ger things that the peo­ple of Khut­song are not all proud of.

A known acolyte of the Gup­tas, he is most fa­mous for be­ing one of the main pawns in the fam­ily’s brazen state cap­ture ef­forts. He was party to one of the worst calami­ties to be­fall South Africa’s econ­omy in re­cent times. In fact, he is just a calamity him­self.

Also feel­ing the Holy Spirit was Kebby Maphat­soe, the guy who wears ill-fit­ting fa­tigues and pre­tends he was once a real sol­dier. An­other proud as­set of the Gup­tas, the chair of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Mil­i­tary Veter­ans’ As­so­ci­a­tion is at the fore­front of the war against cor­rup­tion.

Maphat­soe’s glue to the Gup­tas is as strong as the sub­stance that keeps the mop on US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s head firmly af­fixed. He is cur­rently em­broiled in an ugly dis­pute with for­mer MK mem­bers about the where­abouts of their mon­eys and the as­so­ci­a­tion’s in­vest­ments. Not a sweet, saintly soul, this one.

Also sway­ing to the hymns was a man who re­ally needs prayer: Humphrey Mmemezi. Once re­garded as one of Gaut­eng’s filth­i­est and dimmest politi­cians, Mmemezi was forced to re­sign from his pro­vin­cial Cabi­net post over a litany of se­ri­ous breaches of ethics. He was re­ally, re­ally bad and clumsy with his crooked­ness.

One of his smartest moves was buy­ing a paint­ing from McDon­ald’s us­ing a state credit card. He then tried to hide the R10 000 pur­chase by dis­guis­ing it as burg­ers to that value. Re­ally smart.

Word on the street is that the so-called Premier League – the in­for­mal ANC lobby group led by the pre­miers of Mpumalanga, Free State and North West – has fallen out of love with Dlamini-Zuma.

But the fact that they were in her cor­ner in the first place begs the ques­tion as to why they saw her as some­one they could travel with. Know­ing what we know about them, and the fact that at least two are Gup­tarites, raises fur­ther ques­tions.

Dlamini-Zuma may well be the best per­son to lead this coun­try – if she wins in De­cem­ber and if the ANC wins in 2019. She may sur­prise us by not pro­tect­ing the per­son whom ev­ery­one thinks she will pro­tect. But what of the com­pany she is keep­ing?

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