An open letter to Mmusi Maimane


Howzit Mmusi

Greetings boet.

You don’t know me; I’m a two-bit hack in a grubby newspaper office in eThekwini, one of a few cities in South Africa where your party didn’t give the ANC a snotklap in the elections.

Pity, Durban could do with a new bunch of clowns at the helm. That said, I’m not so sure your crowd would do any better. The city I call home is lovely. My Cape Town cousins call it Dirtbin, but I’m absolutely stoked to live here.

I’d sooner emigrate than live anywhere else. (I might visit my old china, Obed Mlaba, in London). There’s a lot we could do to improve Durban, but Mmusi, I’m not writing to bend your ear.

I want congratulate you on your election wins.

Seriously: respect. Obviously, a lot of your success is down to Umshini Wami.

It made sense to build your campaign on his bumbling ineptitude and the excesses and graft associated with his regime. Ignoring him would have been to look a gift horse in the mouth. The highlight of my election, media wise was a delightful cartoon by Zapiro, showing Zuma in Port Elizabeth. He looks across the bay and is terrified to see Jesus walking across the water towards him and Danny Jordaan.

Zwelinzima Vavi tweeted: “Jesus was seen walking in the streets of Nelson Mandela Metro last night – he is back!”.

Oh, the joy of pulling the piss out of a man who boasted that the ANC would rule until Jesus returned. Mmusi, the cool thing about your lot getting in is that we can finally get to see what you can do once in charge (outside of the Mother City).

It will be interesting to see what difference Athol Trollip can make as mayor of PE. It’s one thing to chirp from the sidelines, it’s another running the joint.

Some people, of course, have a different idea of what it means to be in charge.

JZ’s approach … defies description.

He was spotted this week sharing a stage with Cyril Ramaphosa and the two were snapped guffawing, as though there was anything to laugh about. JZ’s ex, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had the podium and slated the ANC’s piss-poor election performance, saying weak ANC leadership was to blame for the shoddy poll results.

Our Prez, bless him, looked decidedly undeterred. One of my new favourite columnists, Business Day editor Tim Cohen wrote a great piece reflecting on the results. He pointed out that while the ANC was still the juggernaut of SA politics, having won more than double your party’s support, Mmusi, “only the willfully blind would not concede the party is in grave disarray”.

He warned the ANC to guard against delusion. “Delusion is a strange beast because it feeds on your instincts and tends todeliver notional solutions of the kind that got you into the problem in the first place. The result is that you tend to not only repeat the problems that got you into the mess, but to intensify them. We are all susceptible to them, and often our own instincts are our worst possible guides to escaping the delusion,” Cohen wrote.

Cohen and others were astonished at Zuma’s reaction to the results. JZ said he heard the rumours that he had become a liability. “How can a member of the ANC be a referred to as a liability,” our dear president asked?

That says it all, Mmusi: Jacob Zuma is a political gift to the opposition and one that apparently just keeps on giving. But he’s not going to be around forever. Umshini Wami will eventually get stiffed by a more cunning comrade or take one wife too many or maybe even take up a

job with the Guptas in India so he can pay off his Nkandla debt. Mmusi, I’d encourage your peeps to work hard and do the obvious: keep your snouts out of the trough and define your priorities over the next five years. To avoid joining the gravy train each elected councillor should determine what the 10 service-delivery priorities are in their ward and then publicly list these and the top five priorities in their city or town.

Then they should invite their constituents to help work out a plan to address the priorities. That way they can genuinely say they have grassroots support and are doing what is in the interests of the people, unlike what most politicians do, which is to shamelessly serve themselves.