Big re­veal a such too much for Ramaphosa

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

THE MA­HOGANY Ridge reg­u­lars sel­dom agree with any­body from North­ern Cape, much less the ANC. But when Deshi Ngxanga, its pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary up there, sug­gests Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa think twice about plans to tell all about his per­sonal life, we must con­cur.

The reach-out to Ramaphosa came af­ter the lat­ter told Par­lia­ment last week a full dis­clo­sure about his trouser busi­ness would be forth­com­ing in a mat­ter of days. This came af­ter re­ports on leaked e-mails which al­legedly linked him to eight ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs.

As Ngxanga put it: “We be­lieve the deputy pres­i­dent has al­ready sur­ren­dered a lot of his per­sonal life to the public in the course of do­ing his job. There is a line that should not be crossed.”

True, the buf­falo bil­lion­aire has ad­mit­ted to one adul­ter­ous af­fair, a lit­tle dis­trac­tion that ended some eight years ago.

But this hardly counts in the tor­rid de­part­ment and is not the sort of fire­works we were ex­pect­ing from the deputy pres­i­dent. Where were the sor­did self­ies in the ho­tel room? The Vik­ing non­sense with the ice-bucket hel­met? The room-ser­vice or­ders at 3am for oys­ters and whipped cream? Per­haps we will never know.

This is a well-known po­lit­i­cal strat­egy, old as the hills. Give them an inch and they’ll for­get about the yard. There may or may not even be some­thing about it in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: “When the el­ders ac­cuse your men of sack­ing the vil­lage, rap­ing the women and steal­ing the horses, your re­sponse should be: ‘No, they were ac­tu­ally ponies.’ ”

So it was with Public Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi. Ques­tioned about re­ports she had im­prop­erly hired 27 peo­ple, in­clud­ing close fam­ily and friends, to her sup­port staff, this Zu­ma­naut told Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day: “Out of the peo­ple I’ve ap­pointed, nine of them are my fam­ily and South Africans who de­served to be hired.”

See? Not so bad. Only a third of the nepo­tism you imag­ined.

We di­gress. Ngxanga is cor­rect that there is a line be­ing crossed here. They may think oth­er­wise but our politi­cians are not show­biz celebri­ties and they should stop be­hav­ing like fod­der for gos­sip mag­a­zines, air­ing their dirty laun­dry in public.

Take, for ex­am­ple, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba’s af­fair with Buhle Mkhize, the pro­fes­sional so­cialite now based in New York. Per­haps none of us would have ever been the wiser about Gi­gaba’s bit on the side had his wife, Norma, not de­cided to tell a TV show all about it some months back.

There may, she of­fered, even have been some­thing of a karmic blow­back re­gard­ing the af­fair. She, af­ter all, had been Gi­gaba’s mis­tress when he was mar­ried to his first wife.

With that, the flood­gates opened. Now it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to scan the in­ter­net with­out see­ing a venge­ful Ms Mkhize, the woman scorned, in some form of un­dress in the click­bait that pol­lutes the bot­tom feed on our favourite news sites.

Pouty, bul­bous and pre­pos­ter­ously orbed, she does rather re­sem­ble a bag of egg­plants about to fall into the hot tub. Look­ing at her, one can eas­ily un­der­stand Gi­gaba’s pen­chant for dress­ing up as an air­line pi­lot. All those stupid jokes about the cock­pit…

They don’t tol­er­ate this sort of non­sense in Zim­babwe. There, at least, they know a woman’s place is in her undies. Robert Mu­gabe just about said as much at a rally in Bin­dura, Mashona­land, last week­end.

He was com­ment­ing on the de­ci­sion to ban dancer Zodwa Wa­bantu from the Harare In­ter­na­tional Car­ni­val be­cause of her “leg­endary” per­for­mances with­out knick­ers. Apol­o­gis­ing to many “dis­ap­pointed” men, Mu­gabe re­port­edly said of Wa­bantu: “You just come with­out cov­er­ing your de­cency. What do you want? Men to see you? We don’t want such.”

No to such? Speak for your­self, old man, we hear the Zimbo lions roar. As it is, spec­u­la­tion is rife, north of the Lim­popo, that it has been many, many years since old Bob has been any­where as such, least of all his wife’s.

This may or may not of­fer an ex­pla­na­tion for her vi­o­lent be­hav­iour in that Sand­ton ho­tel room re­cently – the dis­play with the ex­ten­sion cord was noth­ing other than a deep, frus­trated cry for help from Zim­babwe’s next pres­i­dent and that she’s just a sen­si­tive soul in some sort of men­tal an­guish.

There may even be a racy mem­oir in here some­where. We could call it Fifty Shades of Grace or maybe A Such Too Much. With clever mar­ket­ing, it could sell hand over fist.

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