Zuma “shocked and embarrassed”

Not by allegations that he showers to protect himself from HIV, nor by his pending corruption charges, but by white poverty in South Africa.

The head of South Africa’s governing African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, has said he is shocked and embarrassed about white poverty in the country.
Mr Zuma was speaking after visiting the Bethlehem township near the capital, Pretoria, where white families live without running water or electricity.
He said the high level of black poverty did not mean whites did not suffer too.

Yes, in this country famed for its haves and have-nots, traditionally divided among racial lines, there has been a blurring, with an estimated 131,000 white individuals classed as homeless. Of course, this number is tiny compared to the number of black people in the same situation, but that still doesn’t make it right or any easier for those who are struggling. In raising this “awkward” issue, JZ is once again making all the right noises and appealing to potential white voters with the election coming up next year.
Does he really care? Who can say?

I, for one, refuse to believe the ZumaRuma™ merchants who can see no good in the ANC President. While I sometimes feel that he is playing a clever political game – he’s talking a lot about issues that matter to South Africans, but actually promising very little – I don’t think that he is an evil, white-hating racist as some would have us believe. I think he is more grounded and in touch with the population than Thabo Mbeki is or ever has been – and that’s a good sign in someone who, it seems, will be the President of the Republic from next year.

He does have some baggage though, obviously. Primarily his corruption trial* which, despite a myriad of delays and stalling, will raise its ugly head again over the next few months (next thrilling installment August 4th).
However, rapidly moving up to become Zuma’s second biggest suitcase is ANCYL President Julius Malema. Just as soon as JZ pacifies the whities, his sycophantic lapdog Malema alienates them again by saying something daft or inflammatory. After his somewhat ill-advised “kill for Zuma” comments last month, he moved on in spectacularly idiotic style yesterday, suggesting that JZ could rule the country from prison

We can’t imagine the courts finding (Zuma) guilty because, if you arrest him, he will lead us from prison. We are not afraid to be led by a president in orange clothes.
If you want to save yourselves the embarrassment you must drop the charges, because arresting him will not stop him from being the president.
There is no other candidate.

Am I alone in thinking that Julius was surprised to get a laugh when he said that? What’s the betting that he was stone-cold serious? One wonders if, behind the scenes, he’s been working out how to get world leaders to come to Pollsmoor Prison to conduct their business and setting up a video link to the UN, “just in case”.

However, the tide is growing for the charges against Zuma to be dropped. Not just because Julius loves him and doesn’t think he did anything wrong, because they’re rubbish reasons, but for the more serious reason that it would almost certainly be catastrophic for the country and the economy if he were to be found guilty and then take office as President. Or take office as President and then be found guilty.

So perhaps Zuma should not run for President? Or is it a case of better the devil you know?
Because Malema the Suitcase actually got one thing spot on: There is no other candidate.

So where do we go from here?
I don’t mind admitting that I’m a bit stuck on that one right now.

* Actually, to be precise, it’s a corruption, racketeering, money laundering and fraud trial.

What a day!

To be honest, when I went to bed yesterday evening, I wasn’t expecting to sleep through. It did appear that the wife was going to pop – possibly even in an extraterrestrial Sigourney Weaver style – and so I was mentally prepared for a midnight trip through to the hospital, perhaps repeating or even bettering my 145kph Hospital Bend run last time around.

But nothing happened and thus my plans for the day changed from playing OK and Huis Genoot off against each other for the exclusive alien birth pictures, to going to a 2nd birthday party and repairing the storm damage in the garden from last week.

The birthday party in question was Max & Scarlett’s (flickr set here) and was held at PoP at Canal Walk, which comes highly recommended by Alex. They also do great coffee and have an amazing jungle gym which *ahem* is er… quite fun for adults too. And that’s before we’ve even ventured outside onto the bike track, where some little boys were having a great time on the trikes.  

One pair is never enough   Too cool
The Ad Wizard* & Jonny Harvard

As ever, when taking Alex along to a kid’s birthday party, I didn’t get much time to socialise. The boy doesn’t sit still for a moment and I spent most of the time chasing him and (almost) keeping him out of mischief. But hey, it was a lot of fun and it’s all in a day’s work for a dad.

                    

After an early afternoon nap for the boy, we ventured out into the back garden to assess the large chunk of tree that had come down during the dreadful weather last week. Only a few minutes into the mission, I opted to put a log saw through my thumbnail and in an almost simultaneous, yet seemingly unconnected incident, Alex put a large clay flower pot through his chin.

Despite our respective agonies, we both turned to look at the waddling pregnant one, expecting that if there was going to be a moment, this would be it.
There was no moment.

Honestly – if there had been a moment, do you think I’d be here writing this?
I’ll keep you informed.  

* sporting how many pairs of shades?

Not like this…

Sorry for the lack of action on 6000 miles… recently. I’ve had a very sick child, a very pregnant wife and a very lot of rain falling through our kitchen to deal with. You’ve got to love this “life” thing.
Talking of the weather, I’m getting a little fed up of people coming up to me and saying, “You must be used to this rain, coming from the UK!”.

Er… no. I have never seen rain like this. Never so much, so prolonged, so heavy, so sustained. So damn WET!
It’s unbelievable. And it’s cold too. That damp cold that cuts through you like a damp, cold knife.

Wet  Wet  Wet
Wet Wet Wet (but without Marty Pellow)

Apparently they’re forecasting something called “sunshine” for the weekend. I’ll believe it when I see it. (And when I have looked in a dictionary to see what it means).

More soon. Promise.

ANCWL comments trouble the nation

Following  the outspoken comments of Julius Malema, the President of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) two weeks ago that he and his followers would “take up arms and kill for Jacob Zuma”, the President of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has now landed herself in hot water with comments made at the organisations annual gathering in Bloemfontein:

My friends, my fellow women, my comrades. We must make it clear to the nation that we are fully behind Jacob Zuma. We support Zuma. We will iron for Zuma.

While her remarks gained widespread support from the delegates at the conference, opposition parties were less impressed. Leader of the opposition, Helen Zille, described the comment as “inflammatory”.

It’s another step in the wrong direction from some factions of the ANC. Making such inflammatory statements as being willing to iron for Zuma is irresponsible. It sends out the wrong message – it’s a small step from there to inciting widespread hoovering.

Mrs Zille refused to make any further comment, saying that she had pressing matters to attend to “but not Jacob Zuma’s trousers”.

Welcome back!

What with one thing and another, I haven’t been able to turn out for my football team – at least not in a playing capacity – for over three months. So, it was with some trepidation and a level of fitness one might expect of an average American teenager that I made my return in for the black and white wizzzzaaaaaaards in the shadow of the World Cup stadium in Green Point last night.

It was a beautiful evening; as I headed towards the hallowed turf I snapped a quick shot of the sun sinking into the South Atlantic – all was well with the world.

Sunset
Hellish scenes on the way to footy

Then I shook hands with the captain of the opposing team (made up of staff from a local Investment Management company) shared a joke with him and the ref and got on with the game.

It quickly became apparent that the current volatility in the world’s stock markets was causing the opposition no end of irritation. Since grievous bodily harm is generally frowned upon in the offices of such organisations, it was perhaps no surprise that they decided to take out their combined frustrations on the 7-a-side team of punchbags which had been set out in front of them. Within 90 seconds of the kick off, the same team captain who had been laughing and joking a moment earlier had mutated into the evil bastard son of Vinnie Jones and Beelzebub himself. As I fended him off at a corner, I found his studs high on my inner thigh, where they left an interesting and somewhat painful runic marking*.

Owch.
Studs up

I looked to the referee for some sign of action. To be honest, I’d expect to see more sympathy in the eyes of a suicide bomber. Fortunately, being from Yorkshire, I’m not one to fling myself Porra-style to the floor each time someone comes near me, which was just as well as I soon realised that the “Ass.” in “Investec Ass. Management” probably stood for “Assault”.

Meh – I survived. But I was hoping for a more gentle re-introduction to the beautiful game.
Next week, we face a team of lawyers. I can hardly wait.

* 24 hours on, these markings are outlined with a spectacular array of purple and deep blue. Beautiful. Magnificent. Bloody sore.