It felt like the entire country was plunged into a state of shock and confusion exactly a month ago with the resignation of Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister.
This was unprecedented. What was happening? A South African politician actually falling on his sword and owning up to his mistakes? Did we wake up in the right universe?
Nene’s resignation, following so closely the dwindling wave of Ramaphoria, understandably put some under the false impression that we have entered an era of political accountability.
I found this optimism cute … but extremely stupid.
This optimism required a level of ignorance – wilful or otherwise – of the realities of the country in which we live, where President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cheerleaders are the very people who defended his predecessor’s worst transgressions in the name of ANC unity at the expense of the rest of the country.
Fast-forward a few weeks to the present and enter the “Minister of Phallic Affairs”, Malusi Gigaba.
A colleague once described him as being like “the slow kid in the back of the class, who only gets passed because his dad donates liberally”.
At the time, I thought she was being harsh but based on the past week’s evidence, I have to agree, he might not be playing with a full deck.
While his cinematic exploits have taken centre stage for most, they have, unfortunately, distracted us from just how unfit he truly is to serve on anything more important than a church bazaar clean-up committee.
It came shortly after the court ruled that he, like his social development counterpart Bathabile Dlamini, is a liar who has no qualms about dishonesty under oath.
Add this to his past transgressions and it paints a picture of a man who truly believes that the public purse and government positions are to be abused as he sees fit.
This is a man who used a government credit card to buy flowers for his wife. The same man who spent more than R500 000 of taxpayers’ money so his wife could accompany him on overseas jaunts. This was while he oversaw the irregular granting of citizenship to the notorious Gupta family before committing perjury in relation to the Fireblade Aviation case.
Did Gigaba resign? Has the ANC acted against their errant minister? Not a chance!
Instead we have seen him employ a tactic straight from the playbook of his former boss, the “Clown Prince of Nkandla”.
Far from falling on his sword, he is painting himself as the victim of a massive conspiracy, ostensibly aimed at preventing him from ascending to the office of president.
As a former kingmaker in the youth league, he obviously believes himself entitled to eventually become the king himself.
One could argue that the leaking of his “self-help video” played right into his hands, by making us forget about his more serious screw-ups.
However, one would hope South Africans have learned a lesson from the Jacob Zuma years and will ensure Gigaba ends up in the trash where he belongs.
If not, we might as well wrap up the remains of our economy and mail it off to the Guptas in Dubai – or to whoever his capturers of choice would turn out to be, if he remained in government.