Creepy clowns of our own

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke… and why not? Now he has won the No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture, it is en­tirely ap­pro­pri­ate we quote Bob Dy­lan at some length. Noth­ing is bet­ter, noth­ing is best.

Even so, and de­spite this ad­mit­tedly sur­pris­ing devel­op­ment in the world of let­ters, news of an al­to­gether dif­fer­ent na­ture has ar­rived here at the Ma­hogany Ridge: the creepy “killer clown” craze is spread­ing across the world and is likely get worse in the build up to Hal­loween.

The cir­cus was in town. Ru­mours of clowns at­tempt­ing to lure chil­dren into the woods first sur­faced in South Carolina in Au­gust. Within days scary clown sight­ings were re­ported all across the US, from Alabama to Wis­con­sin.

Then it spread to Bri­tain, where po­lice have re­sponded to var­i­ous clown-re­lated in­ci­dents this month. These in­clude a man be­ing chased by a stranger in a clown mask wield­ing a hockey stick, a woman threat­ened with a knife by an­other man in clown mask and, in Wales, an 18-year-old man has been fined for a “pub­lic or­der of­fence” for dress­ing up as a clown and scar­ing chil­dren out­side his for­mer school.

But who’s this ap­proach­ing, as the wind be­gins to howl? Not two rid­ers, but… Bat­man. Yes, the Tele­graph has re­ported that, in the north-west of Eng­land, a man dressed as the Caped Cru­sader is chas­ing away the scary clowns and ap­pears in videos on so­cial me­dia re­as­sur­ing school kids that he is on the case.

There is some opin­ion, here among the Ridge reg­u­lars, that when he’s done with the clowns up there, Bat­man may want to tackle a few of ours. He’s cer­tainly will be spoilt for choice – it’s pretty much Bozo City in these parts.

Both Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Co-op­er­a­tive Gover­nance Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen spring to mind for their at­tempts to stop the re­lease of Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s state cap­ture re­port.

Des­per­ate men, des­per­ate women di­vided, as the poet said.

The DA sort of agrees. “We’re of the strong view that this is a des­per­ate at­tempt by (Zuma) to de­lay the in­evitable,” party spokesman Mabine Se­abe has said. “This points to some­one who’s been pushed in a cor­ner and is now try­ing to get out.”

Shame, but maybe Msholozi re­ally does know what it feels like to be on his own, with no di­rec­tion home.

Van Rooyen is now a greatly weak­ened Week­end Spe­cial. Ac­cord­ing to the BBC, cell­phone records sug­gest he was at the Gupta’s Joburg home the night be­fore Zuma abruptly dis­missed Nh­lanhla Nene as fi­nance min­is­ter.

What’s more trou­bling is that Van Rooyen ap­pears to have bizarrely im­pli­cated him­self in im­proper con­duct – in his own court pa­pers. His doc­u­ments, ac­cord­ing to Eye­wit­ness News, in­clude a let­ter from Madon­sela which sug­gests that dur­ing his four days as fi­nance min­is­ter he had ir­reg­u­larly ap­pointed two “Gupta al­lies”, iden­ti­fied as Mo­hamed Bo­bat and Ian Whit­ley, to the Trea­sury.

In his af­fi­davit, Van Rooyen ar­gued that were he not af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to “deal with” pos­si­ble ad­verse find­ings, his rep­u­ta­tion would be gravely dam­aged and “will put me in peril of the sanc­tions ap­pro­pri­ate to those con­clu­sions and even to the pos­si­bil­ity of crim­i­nal charges”.

The mat­ter has greatly vexed the Gupta fam­ily. They’re not go­ing lightly from the ledge, babe. Their lawyers have warned Madon­sela that should she find the fam­ily was “in any way what­so­ever in­volved in in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct”, she would be do­ing so at her “own peril”.

Which brings us to NPA di­rec­tor Shaun Abra­hams, whose eye­brows, it must be said, do seem to have es­caped from a cir­cus wardrobe depart­ment.

Now, too much of noth­ing can make a make a man feel ill at ease and Abra­hams must be dis­tinctly un­easy at the mo­ment.

He’s about to go down in his­tory as the man who laid fraud charges against Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han for grant­ing em­ploy­ees early re­tire­ment.

Ear­lier this week, it was re­ported “there have been 3 000 iden­ti­cal cases this year alone” where pub­lic ser­vants were granted early re­tire­ment – and all in keep­ing with guide­lines of the Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees’ Pen­sion Fund.

If Abra­hams re­ally wants the NPA to have the same “re­spect” as the courts or the pub­lic pro­tec­tor’s of­fice, then he needs to get his act to­gether.

Gord­han must be re­ally tired of Abra­hams and his silly vendetta by now. The lines of one more Dy­lan song come to mind: Yes, I wish that for just one time You could stand in­side my shoes You’d know what a drag it is To see you.

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