Politics Notebook | Msholozi, isn’t it past your jailtime?


Politics Notebook | Msholozi, isn’t it past your jailtime?

MAX DU PREEZ writes about #TheRealSONA, the SS Stalingrad chugging ahead and Naledi Pandor like a cat on a hot tin roof in America.

ON the eve of the general election in 68 days, one could sum up the real state of the nation this week as follows:

  • The parliament building is still a burnt ruin after it was set ablaze 810 days ago. Reconstruction has not yet begun.
  • The speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, had her house searched by the Investigating Directorate of the prosecuting authority, and the Hawks are investigating allegations that she received about R2.5 million in bribes when she was the Minister of Defence.
  • The Hawks have commenced an investigation into various transactions allegedly involving the deputy president and head of government business in parliament, Paul Mashatile. This includes an investigation into the source of the R28.9 million his son-in-law paid last year for a house in Constantia which is being used by Mashatile.
  • Large parts of various metros and many towns are still struggling with water supply, and in some places there has been no water in the taps for weeks. Load-shedding continues.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

Chokey time, Uncle Jacob

Jacob Zuma lost another court case this week, this time another application that Billy Downer should not be the prosecutor in his corruption case.

But Zuma has again applied for leave to appeal, so the SS Stalingrad continues to steam ahead.

Let's remember that the case stems from the arms scandal 25 years ago and that Zuma's partner-in-crime, Schabir Shaik, was sent to prison in 2005 because of his role. (He is, of course, like Zuma, still on “medical parole".)

The possibility that Zuma will never be tried on the charges is now growing stronger. He is 81 years old.

American comedian Jimmy Kimmel asked Donald Trump at the recent Oscars: “Isn’t it past your jailtime?" This has now become a meme appearing on T-shirts, coffee mugs, backpacks and billboards all over America.

Shall we start such a campaign here? “Msholozi, isn’t it past your jailtime?"

Naledi and the Yank bullies

The Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, was under pressure in Washington this week when South Africa's relations with the US were discussed by the House of Representatives.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee discussed a bill calling for a reconsideration of America's relationship with South Africa due to its ties with Russia, China and Iran and its attitude towards Israel's war on Gaza.

However, an amendment to cut more than R5 billion in support to South Africa was defeated.

The congressman proposing the legislation, John James, a Republican from Michigan, declared in typical arrogant American fashion: “Maybe rehearsing drills to kill American soldiers and sailors is not necessarily a position of non-alignment but a position of provocative aggression."

This refers to navy manoeuvres between South Africa, Russia and China but does not mention that the SA fleet also conducts similar exercises with Nato countries.

Addressing Pandor, James said: “Madam Minister, you cannot expect to be my partner, cheat on me, and be upset when we consider stop paying your rent."

That's childish bullying behaviour, quite out of line with the US's relationship with certain Arab countries.

But Pandor did her country no favours at a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace when she questioned the characterisation of Iran as a dictatorship.

Iran is nowadays America's Great Satan and, yes, a clear and dangerous theocratic dictatorship by any definition.

“Who makes these judgements?" Pandor asked. “Because I don’t know, this assessment that you’re making." When further questioned by the moderator, she said: “I don’t know whether they are an authoritarian regime."

She said she was concerned about Iran's treatment of women and had raised it previously with the Tehran regime. “If we stopped talking to everybody because we define them in a particular way, I think the models we have adopted would not have any meaning. I do think that there is a strength in being able to speak to everyone because if you close off, I’m not sure that you achieve anything."

Talk to everyone, minister, except Israel?

When Western diplomats and leaders talk to Pandor, especially about Iran, Israel and Hamas, the elephant in the room is almost always that Pandor is a Muslim. This certainly does not disqualify her, but it means she must be extra careful about what she says.

People who know a lot about South Africa's relations with the US tell me there is no real danger of a change in Washington's approach during the Biden presidency. There will be pressure on Pretoria, but it is not considered in America's interest to alienate South Africa.

But what will it look like if Donald Trump is elected president in November?

♦ VWB ♦

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