What’s with GodZille?

Jeremy Gordin asks whether the WCape Premier really wants the army deployed in her backyard

 

There’s been some interesting stuff in the medi-aah during the last couple of weeks, hasn’t there?

Jonathan Shapiro made a putz of himself with that lame and crass so-called cartoon of President Jacob G Zuma as a putz. Zapiro seems to be vying with St Ferial of the Phallus for the sole proprietorship of the land’s moral indignation. What is it with people presently or previously connected to the Mail&Grauniad? Something in the water there?

Then we’ve had this wonderful character called Humphrey “Humpty” Mmemezi, the Gauteng Housing MEC. This man has talents that could easily eclipse those of Julius “Little Julie” Malema.

Inter alia his official credit card was used to buy a painting costing ten fat ones (R10 000) from a Pretoria McDonald’s. Then an additional R200-million, or some similar miniscule amount, allocated for pesky housing development, was allegedly used to install a closed-circuit television system at Humpty’s private home and work offices. A man’s gotta have security, right? It’s what was learned from the honkies.

We’ve also had, courtesy of Jacques Poo (aka Pauw), Dirk Coetzee “lift[ing] the lid” on EduSolutions and the great edjamacation fracas.

Talk about being short of a lead on a Saturday evening. Next thing, am going to have Eugene de Kock explaining who really runs SA; well, you never know, he might be more to the point than Holden and Plaut.

I see too that my friend Ranjeni Munusamy has emerged from purdah and, courtesy of the Daily Maverick website, is sniping gently at the old boy. Okay …

But the story that has really grabbed me in my heart’s deep core is this business of Western Cape premier Helen Zille wanting to call in the army to tame the nasty drug dealers there in the Kaap.

It reminds me of John Kennedy, or maybe it was Lyndon Johnson, I can’t remember exactly, calling in the National Guard to “protect” the Negroes (as they were then) marching in Selma, Alabama.

Or was the National Guard summoned to beat the bejasus out of my buddies in the SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee)? Remember H. Rap Brown? He became Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin and is supposedly serving a life sentence for the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County sheriff’s deputies, one of whom died. But I suspect he’s working for Open Shuhada Street in Cape Town.

Anyway, what’s with GodZille? Has she been smoking old socks out on the rocks near Three Anchor Bay with Zapiro? This is a constitutional democracy, lady. You can’t just go around calling in the army.

Geez, give JZ and some of his lieutenants half a chance to declare martial law in the Cape and you, Helen, are going to find the premier’s residence ringed with tanks. Whaddya think those submarines and Gripens en-wie-weet-wat-ook-al were really for?

Even more frightening, you allow the SANDF in Lavender Hill and Hanover Park – and you know what’s going to happen? They’re probably going to deploy some of the “reserves” who know the lay of the land.

In other words, you might possibly have Ronnie “Kasrilevke” Kasrils in his dad’s army helmet and camouflage gear. Do you need this in your life, Helen? I beg you to think clearly and carefully. Don’t forget that you’re actually going to have to talk to the boykie. Don’t you have enough troubles?

The other thing that worries me deeply is that I have been in the army, albeit as a humble korporaal, and my sense of such matters is that the last bloody thing you want to do – if your goals are orderliness and peace – is to call in the army.

I mean, I was one of those guys, and we were a bad lot, I tell you: young, foolish, heavily armed, just dying to kill people. The R1 rifle – and they’ve no doubt “improved” on that (R4? AK47?) – was a killing machine. You don’t want a 7.62mm calibre slug up the wazoo, trust me.

Ja, I know: the drug dealers are sommer just opening fire at all and sundry. The neighbourhood is rough. What did RK Belcher write?

Kaapstad se moffies
Eet tjoklits en toffies
Maar Woodstock se manne
Drink swaarweer uit kanne
.

Still, one has to remain calm. There are ethical issues. Do we want our lads to be policing their fellow citizens? It’s a messy business.

I heard sweet Redi Tlhabi of 702 gaaning aan this morning about the issue.

What have we come to, she asked rhetorically. Surely, she wailed, the police can sort things out? Those of us – i.e. me – who have had some form of relationship with the police, any form of relationship, could not help but suppress a grin.

Actually I like the way you put it, Helen: “The melt-down in the top hierarchy of the police has cascaded down the ranks like wax off a burning candle. And it is showing in low morale, high rates of absenteeism, and an inability to perform the single most crucial function that the SAPS alone is constitutionally empowered to undertake – investigations that produce evidence that lead to convictions in court.”

One can’t be angry with Tlhabi. She grew up in Soweto, relatively genteel surroundings compared to Lavender Hill and Hanover Park, where the fellows are neither harvesting lavender nor preparing to take entrance exams for the Diocesan College for Boys.

And what does one do about the cops? They’re lost … enfants perdus. First they get Jackie Selebi, then Bheki Cele, now Riah Phiyega. Eish.

Oh well, maybe you’re right. Maybe bring in the SANDF – and then let’s get on with it. We’ll shoot all the drug dealers (well, maybe just wound the guys who sell dagga only).

Then maybe the army could shoot all the politicians (well, not you of course, but all the others) and also all the trade union honchos. After that, what do you think? We get the army to occupy all the ministries and departments and we actually get the courts to run properly and the prisons and the hospitals. There’s a lot to do but I’m excited. What did Allen Ginsberg say in his poem, America?

I’d better get right down to the job. 
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

This is not to imply, by the way, that I’m coming out of the closet; merely that I want to help. Best, Jeremy.

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