Angelo Agrizzi is what I imagine the love child of Greed and Gluttony would look like if they wrapped it in human flesh and gave it free rein to indulge in all its grossest desires.
The desire to amass more money, more power, more flashy cars and, as his frame suggests, more time at the trough, both literally and figuratively, are the perfect embodiment of capitalist avarice. And as his inflammatory, racist recording and the confession of his racism have shown, the man has a character to match.
His testimony over the past two weeks, though disturbing and infuriating, was unfortunately not that shocking.
Maybe I have simply become jaded by the constant barrage of news about corruption and fraud coming across my news feeds and desk daily, or maybe I have simply made peace with the fact that this is the system we live in, but nothing he said really surprised me.
Although Agrizzi’s testimony locally kept us glued to our screens, much of the world had its eyes on the annual festival of autofellatio by the international moneyed elite in Davos, Switzerland, proving that South Africa is not unique in its worship of wealth.
We watched the world’s wealthiest men and women fly in, in their private jets, and discuss ways in which they can help the poor and their countries move ahead.
All, of course, as long as these measures don’t include them being held to the same standards as the rest of us plebs, or them paying their fair share in taxes and treating their workers fairly.
Davos is, as author Anand Giridharadas described it, simply “a family reunion for the people who broke the world”, and serves little purpose in the fight to eliminate poverty and close the inequality gap.
What do Davos and Agrizzi have to do with each other, I hear you asking.
Well, what both have shown us is that no matter the ideology of our elected leaders, the one thing they have in common is the preservation of the status quo. Both the elite who gathered in Davos and our local political puppets serve only to ensure the preservation of the current system.
A disgusting, broken system, in which those in power kowtow to those with wealth, allowing them to amass even more wealth.
In return, the political elite get lovely perks, such as home security systems, luxury cars and overpriced handbags stuffed with money, to supplement already massive government salaries.
With the upcoming election, we should all remember how willing our leaders were to not only fatten their own pockets at your expense, but to do so by aligning themselves with self-confessed racists.
I think it is time for a complete overhaul.
I suggest starting by working within our own communities to establish cooperatives and other bodies to take care of each other.
Community-based food banks, clothing banks and other similar bodies couldn’t possibly do worse than the state in taking care of communities’ needs, could they?
And maybe once the politicians have noticed that people no longer rely on them and their broken promises in order to solve their problems, they might actually start delivering.
But then, would we still need them?