So now we know.
There are “loyal and disciplined cadres” in the African National Congress who faithfully obey the politburo’s “deployment” instructions – and then there is the petulant Baleka Mbete, former Speaker and, more recently, Deputy President for about five minutes.
Mbete, who first caught our attention when she irregularly obtained a driver’s licence, told the ANC’s hierarchy to shove it where the sun don’t shine when they failed to allow her to retain her position as second in command of the nation.
When she stunned her party colleagues by declining to take the oath and be sworn in as an MP while sitting next to President Jacob Zuma in Parliament, a senior ANC leader was reported by The Star to have described her behaviour as being “that of a schoolgirl”.
Another, who pointed out that Mbete’s action made it impossible for her to cast her vote for Zuma, said she “behaved like a little princess who thinks that the world revolves around her”.
The lady wasn’t prepared to accept a lesser position as a mere Cabinet member for the very simple reason that her brief tenure as Kgalema Motlanthe’s deputy meant that if she retired from the position and did not return to Parliament and the Cabinet then she would immediately become the recipient of a package worth, when capitalised, in the region of R40-million to R50 million.
This going away gift includes a pension of R1,8 million a year indexed to inflation, together with several immediate (and probably tax-free) millions of rands in terms of a golden handshake and free and fancy medical aid cover which will see her, like her old colleague Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, receiving the best treatment from the best doctors and to hell with affirmative action.
Then there are bodyguards, drivers, cars, secretaries and an office for life all funded by the taxpayers.
No doubt free passage on our flourishing national carrier will be thrown in. Naturally, such a distinguished, loyal and disciplined cadre of such a “glorious” movement cannot be permitted to pick up her own air fares and those of her bodyguards.
No, that is a burden which we taxpayers must cheerfully shoulder given the sacrifices Mbete has made in her amazing career.
For example, this sweet-natured woman insisted on upholding the dignity of the African continent in 2006 when, taking the moral high ground, she courageously refused to detour through Europe to attend the inauguration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Africa’s first lady President.
Quite right, too. Why should the Speaker and an influential and powerful member of our glorious liberation movement be forced to change planes in Europe? Thus the taxpayers hired a luxurious private jet to whisk the lady and her entourage off to Liberia without having to suffer the indignity of flying first class by commercial carrier and, nogal, having to change planes in such godforsaken places as Paris or Brussels.
Interesting, is it not, how attached our ANC grandees are to the good things in life such as private jets, large and opulent motor vehicles, wildly expensive outfits, the best schools for their kids, splendid homes and holiday places on the Riviera.
Now Mbete can enjoy all this thanks to the taxpayers and to the ANC of which she will be chairman and no doubt paid handsomely from all that loot the Arabs and the Chinese have funnelled into the party coffers.
To paraphrase dear old Winston Churchill, who made his money through his pen, seldom in the long and glorious history of revolutionary movements can so few have lived so well at the expense of so many.
Another View by Stephen Mulholland