I wanted to write about the meticulous destruction of Nelson Mandela Bay by those supposed to be looking after the city. Having lived in Port Elizabeth for a decade, I still have strong affinity with the place even though its decay is so visible you can touch and smell it.
Various ANC factions have ensured the city has had no properly functioning government for years, during which taxpayers’ money has vanished. This past Monday, the local Herald newspaper revealed shocking new details of some of this theft.
These are contained in a forensic report the city’s executive mayor, the octogenarian Ben Fihla, has been sitting on for months. Fihla was sent in to “clean things up”. I’m beginning to think he’s there to clean away all the evidence.
While I was thinking about that, the chair of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), advocate Pansy Tlakula, invaded my thoughts with the elegance of a rhino in a hurry. She is very upset with the public protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela, for making an adverse finding against her in an investigation into a building lease deal. She believes Madonsela doesn’t quite know the meaning of “conflict of interest”.
Madonsela found that Tlakula became personally involved in the leasing of a building for the IEC in Centurion. Party to the transaction was a business associate of Tlakula’s, who is also rumoured to be more than just a business associate.
But Tlakula thinks this is a storm in a teacup and has virtually suggested that the public protector wasted time and money on this investigation. I think she also wants us to believe that the concept of conflict of interest is a myth found only in fairy tales.
The associate involved in this deal is the honourable Thaba Mufamadi, MP, chairman of the finance portfolio committee in our august national assembly. His job is to run the committee that oversees national treasury. Treasury, in turn, is supposed to prevent the kind of things Tlakula has been found guilty of.
I then became confused for two reasons. First, I didn’t know which of the two matters to write about. Second, Tlakula was so upset that I began to think it was Madonsela who’d had an adverse finding made against her.
So I have decided to write about alcohol, instead. Apparently South Africans love their drink so much that it makes them abusive, violent and generally dangerous to themselves. Ever the would-be parent to adults, our energetic minister of health, Aaron Motsoaledi, has decided to intervene to stop us from harming ourselves. A bill he is sponsoring is now before cabinet for its approval. If passed onto the statute book, Motsoaledi’s law will ban alcohol advertising.
Here I must confess to being conflicted. On the one hand, this bill could mean I will no longer have to endure improbable beer adverts which show Bafana Bafana winning football matches and driving fans delirious with joy. These ads make me feel like I’m hallucinating, especially after another lacklustre performance by our national team. Just the other day, I nearly swallowed my television set when such an ad followed Bernard Parker’s spectacular own goal which took Ethiopia to the top of our World Cup qualifying group.
On the other hand, Motsoaledi’s theory of advertising causality worries me. I am struggling to see how banning the advertising of booze will make much difference because alcohol abuse is hardly caused by advertising. You might as well say motor vehicle advertising should be banned because so many people are killed in car accidents on our unsafe roads. Come to think of it, why not ban knives, too? The evidence doesn’t lie: people drink and drive and knife one another. Ask the SA Police Service.
Article source: http://www.fm.co.za/fm/Columns/2013/08/29/writer-s-dilemma