NDZ, you ain’t no pop­ulist

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

Some­body, any­body – a sis­ter, a brother, a friend, a daugh­ter, a nephew, a niece, a cousin or even an ex-hus­band – please tell Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that this pop­ulism thing is not for her. She is very, very poor at it. Em­bar­rass­ingly so. Those who know the old Dlamini-Zuma are feel­ing deep pity for her as they watch her criss­cross­ing the coun­try and be­ing ren­dered a fool by her new friends and hang­ers on.

The pre-Ad­dis Ababa Dlamini-Zuma was dull and bor­ing, but hell, she was in­tel­lec­tual and sen­si­ble.

Ever grim and re­luc­tant to flash a smile, she fo­cused on her job and on serv­ing her coun­try and po­lit­i­cal party. There was some­thing slightly scary about her, some­thing that re­minded you of some­one in your child­hood: the strict rel­a­tive, the board­ing school nun, the neigh­bour who made it her duty to po­lice all the chil­dren in the ’hood.

This Dlamini-Zuma – or NDZ, as her cool new dawgs call her – is some­thing dif­fer­ent. It is as if she left her brain be­hind in that blingy Chi­ne­se­built African Union Com­mis­sion head of­fice for her suc­ces­sor to use as in­sti­tu­tional mem­ory.

In its place she ap­pears to have had a new ar­ti­fi­cial brain im­planted by the lot who want her to be­come pres­i­dent of the ANC and the repub­lic, so that they can con­tinue the loot­ing they en­joyed un­der the pres­i­dency of the man she once loved (or may still love, if some are to be be­lieved).

This new brain trans­mits to the mouth the gospel ac­cord­ing to Bell Pot­tinger, that Bri­tish spin-doc­tor­ing out­fit that con­structs truths for some of the world’s de­spi­ca­ble regimes and despots.

In South Africa one of this out­fit’s main clients was Oak­bay En­ter­prises, the Gupta-owned par­a­sitic com­pany that has been suck­ing the South African pub­lic down to the mar­row.

It is this com­pany that is be­lieved to have crafted, on be­half of the Gup­tas, the nar­ra­tive of the South African cri­sis be­ing a clash be­tween the de­fend­ers of white monopoly cap­i­tal and the pro­po­nents of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

In this gospel the cor­rupt el­e­ments are the good guys, while the true rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies who want eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion for the down­trod­den. Never mind the fact that they are do­ing all the steal­ing from the down­trod­den. It is they who are sup­posed to radically trans­form our econ­omy. Into what, you ask. Their feed­ing trough, is the an­swer. Those who stand op­posed to state cap­ture and cor­rup­tion – real ANC ac­tivists, the com­mu­nists, the reli­gious lead­er­ship, civil so­ci­ety, busi­ness lead­er­ship and or­di­nary South Africans – are the en­e­mies of rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

Even though there is no lin­ear good ver­sus evil tale here, what is clear is that there is an agenda to cor­rupt South Africa un­der the guise of trans­form­ing it. And, in a sick and twisted way, they seek to de­lude and use the masses, who are des­per­ate for eco­nomic in­clu­sion. Onto the stage steps Dlamini-Zuma. Des­per­ate for the hon­our of be­ing South Africa’s first fe­male pres­i­dent – de­spite the fact that she has made a much greater historical mark on the con­ti­nent – she has dis­carded her moral com­pass and thrown her lot in with the cor­rup­tors of our repub­lic.

Dlamini-Zuma has joined her ex-hus­band as the joint cham­pion of this flawed eco­nomic eman­ci­pa­tion cam­paign. She be­lieves that if she par­rots the Gupta-spon­sored line, she will emerge as a cham­pion of the peo­ple.

Hence the pop­ulist pos­ture, in which she is totally use­less and un­con­vinc­ing.

“We have done a lot. Where we have not done well is the econ­omy. We want rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion!” Viva NDZ. “If we do not con­trol the finance min­istry, we do not con­trol the econ­omy!” How in­spi­ra­tional. “We must as­sist the main­stream econ­omy to ab­sorb black peo­ple in gen­eral and Africans in par­tic­u­lar. The peo­ple who suf­fer most are black peo­ple if they want fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.” To the bar­ri­cades we go! “We are not go­ing to have pres­i­dents who are elected through the streets when we have a Con­sti­tu­tion that says how we should elect, how democ­racy says it should be done!”

You tell them, NDZ! How dare they ex­er­cise their rights to protest in a demo­cratic coun­try.

“If pro­fes­sors are white and your am­bi­tion is to have a PhD in chem­istry‚ as an African woman try­ing to study‚ you be­gin to think per­haps you are in a wrong class.” Preach, sis­ter, preach! “They are ac­tu­ally taught against the ANC ... It is not surprising that kids will think ANC is cor­rupt‚ ANC is use­less ... be­cause this is what they are fed at school and I think that must also be trans­formed.” Okay, it is time to bring out the sick bag now. Dlamini-Zuma is clearly en­joy­ing the ap­plause, the songs in her name and the new-found celebrity sta­tus. She seems happy to sac­ri­fice her record in the ser­vice of the coun­try and the con­ti­nent on the al­tar of the cor­rupt, just so she has a chance to be called com­man­der in chief.

For this she is pre­pared to play the pop­ulist she is not.

Well, we have news for you, NDZ: You are very bad at it. And it just makes you look fool­ish.

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