The Unbearable Elusiveness of Orange Overall Nirvana


“One of my Facebook friends, a well-known Johannesburg Northern Suburbs matron and quintessential DA supporter exulted: “Ramaphosa has won – I am weeping with joy”

Tony Leon Sunday Times 31/12/2017

 “It is seldom that corporate crime is as simple and stupid as this. Khalid Abdulla, CEO of AEEI, just changed Ayo Technology’s profit number in a spreadsheet. Then released it to the market. That’s it. I am offering to sponsor an orange jumpsuit.”

Magda Wierzycka Twitter 18/4/2019

As a hustings-weary nation exhales, it looks forward to the next chapter of the Cyril Ramaphosa reformist policy which, as we now know, includes returning to parliament those pillars of ethical probity, the feckless Faith Muthambi, the extraordinarily compromised Nomvula Mokonyane, Bathabile (Hic) Dlamini, the unspeakable Mosebenzi Zwane  and the onanistic popinjay, Malusi Gigaba.

While we listen to the gut-wrenching testimony before the Zondo, Nugent and Mpati commissions of inquiry, as we exult in the finding of retired Constitutional Court judge, Yvonne Mokgoro, let us acknowledge that we are a sobering distance from the cathartic conclusion that Magda Wierzycka wants and a corruption-weary nation yearns for.

Former President Jacob Zuma and his former lawyers have shown that, with the help of your income tax and mine, the Stalingrad defense is very effective in delaying the clang of the cell door.

Those days are hopefully over but don’t forget it took a decade to put the palpably corrupt John Block behind bars.

In a previous article I detailed how the unspeakable Dina Pule did everything in her power to keep the manifestly-criminal Rubben Mohlaloga out of jail and on the government payroll.

Mohlaloga has been sentenced to two decades behind bars but will remain a free man for at least two years as he appeals this sentence.

The same goes for Pankie Sizani who successfully delayed her trial for almost a decade.

And when they finally go to jail, what then?

Will they, like a certain adulterous cleric, have their crimes expunged from the record with a presidential pardon?

Will they, like ‘Tornado Tony’ – who drives up a storm in his Maserati after a few tinctures – serve only a fraction of their sentences?

There is, moreover, another factor which negates the hope of instant karma for the snouters and unending waves of schadenfreude for the rest of us.  As Peter Bruce pointed out in a recent column, the will might be there but, at the NPA, the expertise left the building a long time ago – ask Glynnis Breytenbach and Gerrie Nel, they’ll tell you.

Redemption, as the ANC’s Whited Sepulchre struggles to once again become a Broad Church, will be a long time in coming.

Let us, nevertheless, pay justifiable tribute to the role played by our Fourth Estate during the decade when the State Capture protagonists refined the techniques that have taken us to junk status and close to an IMF bailout.

As Brendan Seery, yet another Sekunjalo Independent Media refugee, so aptly put it:

“Were it not for people like Sam Sole, this country would not know a thing about state capture.

One day, Sam and those others will be recognised as professionals, if not heroes.”

For too long we have suffered, with increasing garrulousness, the Tsunami of Sleaze maelstrom. For nine long years we have watched with increasing bitterness as fresh chapters were added – almost hourly – to the Domesday  Book of Snouting.

Now, as the Mpati commission indicates, even our pension funds are under siege.

All we now long for is a sign – that the prosecutions have started. We want to see them coming up from the well of the court. We want to see them arraigned in the dock.

In the meantime we wait and then we wait some more with only occasional  signs that the light in the tunnel is not an oncoming train.

For how long will Orange Overall Nirvana remain a chimera?

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Ed Herbst started his news career as a photographer with the Natal Witness in 1968 but quickly switched to reporting while retaining an interest in photography. He joined the SABC in its Pretoria news office as a camera reporter in 1977, one year after television was introduced in South Africa. In 1978 he was seconded to the SABC’s Windhoek office for six months to cover the run-up to the country’s UN-monitored election and was then posted to the SABC’s Sea Point news office. He asked for early retirement in 2005 because of pervasive SABC corruption, news censorship and unaddressed abusive treatment of staff. From 2007 to 2009 he was employed as a consultant in the media department of the Cape Town municipality but became a pensioner when personal circumstances forced him to retire. He now writes without remuneration for local websites about the interface between media and politics. He is writing a book on media capture after 1994.