Mahlobo may stop at noth­ing to shut us up

CityPress - - Voices - Paddy Harper voices@city­press.co.za Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Pad­dyHarper1

Fri­day morn­ing. I’m ly­ing face­down on a ta­ble with about a dozen nee­dles in my back, wait­ing for my tor­turer, who’s silently and omi­nously mov­ing around the room some­where beyond the edge of my pe­riph­eral vi­sion, to hook them up to a wall socket and hit me with a jolt of elec­tric­ity.

The sweat is pour­ing off my head, down my face and off my chin, cour­tesy of a late au­tumn Dur­ban heat wave and the stab­bing pain about three-quar­ters of the way up my spine.

My mind starts to wan­der, head­ing for the beach rather than the pain. It works for a cou­ple of sec­onds and my body is up on a wave and the wet­ness on my face is ocean spray, not my own liq­uids. The first burst hits and I’m back on the bench, spinal mus­cles clench­ing. For a sec­ond, I lose my bear­ings and I’m no longer in the hands of the chi­ro­prac­tor, who is try­ing to sort out yet an­other spinal in­jury.

My pain-fu­elled imag­i­na­tion – and wellde­vel­oped sense of para­noia – take over and I’m a pris­oner of one of State Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter David Mahlobo’s tor­tur­ers.

My mind runs riot and I’m deep in a dun­geon be­neath the Univer­sity of Zu­l­u­land’s On­goye cam­pus, where the real dis­ser­ta­tions are kept, get­ting worked over, as Mis­ter T – as his var­sity bras used to call him – re­leases his grip on the two Thai “masseuses”, who dou­ble up as his body­guards, for long enough to or­der my tor­turer to in­crease the volt­age.

I scream in agony as Mahlobo’s min­ion nods assent and spins the dial clock­wise with the en­thu­si­asm of a DJ at Eya­dini on No Re­grets Mon­day. I nar­rowly avoid soil­ing my­self as the min­is­ter and the Ling Ling twins gig­gle at my suf­fer­ing. Mahlobo shuf­fles closer. I can smell his rank breath, but I can’t see his face as he asks me again about the source of the Face­book pic­tures of him grop­ing a se­ries of hook­ers in a brothel owned by one of his al­leged mates and rhino horn smug­gler/pimp/drug run­ner.

I steel my­self, an­tic­i­pat­ing an in­ter­ro­ga­tion in terms of Dirty Dave’s Cy­ber­crimes Act. I know Sig­nal Jam­mer will stop at noth­ing to find out who ex­posed his gropey ten­den­cies on­line and brought his happy end­ings to an end, as it were. Davey’s mal enough about it to pass his own law, so I’m ex­pect­ing the worst.

A buzzer rings. The nee­dles in my back stop puls­ing. I come back to earth. Mahlobo’s evil hench­man trans­mo­gri­fies into Dr An­gela Pastel­lides. I suck in air and re­lax. For now.

He asks me again about the source of the Face­book pic­tures of him grop­ing a se­ries of hook­ers

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