Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MPs promoted because it takes a thief to catch a thief

PRETORIA. The government has defended its decision to promote four Members of Parliament implicated in the Travelgate corruption scandal to chair oversight committees, saying that "it takes a thief to catch a thief".

Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma has promised to set up a toll-free presidential hotline that will allow citizens to be ignored in an entirely new way. The decision to appoint four allegedly corrupt MPs to chair important watchdog committees has raised eyebrows among political commentators.

"It's not a big gesture," explained one, "but amongst those of us who are alert to subtle gestures involving eyebrows, it's a biggy." He said it was "very unlikely" that Jacob Zuma's administration would be swayed by raised eyebrows, but said he would keep raising his own eyebrows until South Africans had clean government or his pair was shaved off by an ANC Youth League Re-Education Brigade, whichever happened first.

However, the government has defended its decision, saying that it appointed the four tainted MPs because "it takes a thief to catch a thief". "Yes, Parliament does double as a semi-professional low-key money-laundering operation," explained spokesman Flipflops Kunene.

"But obviously we need to limit this because our young democracy is rooted on the unshakable principal that the Comrades at the very top must be infinitely richer than the Comrades in the middle, who in turn must be infinitely richer than the Comrades at the bottom.

" He explained that this system "gives the Comrades at the bottom something to be hopeful about whenever the election comes around, and keeps the Comrades at the top just paranoid enough to go to work every day to make sure they're not being undermined by undemocratic forces like auditors or tax collectors".

"It's a beautiful system, and it needs to be jealously guarded," he said. Meanwhile the Presidency says it is working hard to perfect a new toll-free presidential hotline that will allow South Africans to complain directly to a recording of Jacob Zuma.

According to Presidency spokesman Hallelujah Mpundu, it was time to let So
uth Africans feel that their voices were being heard, even if they weren't.

He said that the system would be able to record up to four messages a week, and that any complaints made by callers would be handed to "somebody who would file them".

Asked if they would be filed in a paper-shredder, Mpundu said, "It's possible." However, he said, there had been some early setbacks in the recording process.

He would not elaborate but a test call to the toll-free number reached a flustered-sounding Jacob Zuma saying, "You've reached the office of Jacob Zuma, please leave your…is this thing on? Julius, you're good with gadgets, please come here and…no, Jesus Christ, Julius, you're getting fish paste all over my machine, don't you wash your hands after you've eaten?"

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