SOB ... Prepare for vasovagal syncope when the new Chief Justice is appointed
Consider, if you will, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to a story in yesterday's Star (the newspaper that is apparently keeping the wolf from media mogul Tony O'Reilly's door), Sarkozy is "facing pressure from friends and doctors to tone down his trademark hyperactive style after a health scare while jogging".
What happened was that Sarkozy collapsed or fainted. I don't know why the reporter couldn't just say so in the intro.
Anyway, what caught my eye, for reasons I shall explain, was that - according to Wikipedia this time, not The Star - Sarkozy fainted because of an incident of "vasovagal syncope".
This is - again, courtesy of Wikipedia - "a malaise mediated by the vagus nerve [which is in the head, in the good ol' medulla oblongata]. When [the malaise] leads to fainting, it is called a vasovagal syncope, which is the most common type of fainting".
The newspaper story went on to tell us that Sarkozy follows a rigorous exercise regime, running or cycling several times a week and working out - as the Americans call it - with a personal trainer.The story also quoted someone saying that our Nicolas, who is 54, is on diet.
A friend said that Sarkozy "needs to try a bit less hard and eat a little bit more. He's on diet because he's always a little bit too heavy ... let's say he doesn't want to be overweight."
Now, if you can bear it, consider me. I am 56. I do not follow a rigorous exercise regime; in fact I don't follow any regime at all. In addition, I certainly do not diet. Au contraire; I look on dieting with same feelings as my forefathers and mothers looked on pork.
Of course we know why Sarkozy diets; he doesn't want Carla's eye to stray. I am married to a woman more gorgeous than Bruni. But luckily for me she seems more interested in work than men, or so she says.
And yet 15 years ago, when I lived in the US and fainted two or three times, I was told by doctors that the cause was vasovagal syncope.
This turned out to be arrant nonsense. The problem was that I had stopped smoking for about six months. However, once I ended my self-imposed prohibition on nicotine, I was fine. (I might have suffered subsequently from frequent attacks of vaginal syncope, but this has to do with pure male stupidity not vasovagal syncope or even tobacco.)
The point I am trying to make - rather long-windedly, I concede - is that there is just no justice.
Sarkozy has done all the right things to remain fit and svelte - maar kyk hoe lyk hy nou - while I, a fat, unregimented, and lazy slob, am fine and have a better-looking wife to boot.
Besides there being no justice, it is also fruitless, it seems to me, to search for rationality.
In fact I was reading just the other day (in a Saul Bellow novel, of all places - Humboldt's Gift) that one of Sigmund Freud's buddies - it was Sandor Ferenczi, I believe - argued that nothing could be further from instinct than rationality and that therefore rationality was clearly the height of madness. As proof, consider how crazy Newton became.
I am telling you all this, dear readers, by way of softening you up and also to soften the blow of what I have to say.
Well, I might as well get on with it:
Given that justice and rationality have gone on vacation in Thailand, I have a feeling in my pockets - that's better than in my water - that the country's next Chief Justice is going to be one John Mandlakayise Hlophe, Judge President of the Cape Provincial Division of the High Court of South Africa, whom I call "Hlophkela" (pronounced "Shlopkela") in the hope that the Russian dimunitive suffix will somehow gentle the reality of the person.
Yes, I know, I might be named after a lugubrious prophet, but I am not one. I agree. And there's no denying that I have also been wrong before. (I remember that in 1956, for example, I was clearly wrong about something or other.)
Still, I have this feeling. And remember that, although the president of the beloved republic does not choose the justices of the Constitutional Court, the position of chief justice is a presidential appointment."
Zuma wouldn't choose Hlophe as chief justice, would he? No, no, there is no upside for Zuma," said a woman, who was close to hysteria, at luncheon this week.
"It would cause too much trouble," she continued. "And look at Zuma's other appointments, such as Gill Marcus. Very sensible. No, no, I can't believe he'd do it."
She was close to hysteria, I suspect, because she suddenly realised that Hlophkela as CJ was a distinct possibility. After all, someone appointed Peter de Villiers as the Springbok coach - and the world has not ended (yet).
Aha, I hear you cry, what about Hlophkela's adolescent behaviour in 2004 in the matter of the pharmaceutical industry versus Manto Tshabalala-Msimang? Or what about his bizarre report - also in 2004 - accusing all and sundry of racism?
Or what about Hlophkela having allocated a case to a senior judge of his own court "because I knew he would fuck up the trial and then it could be set right on appeal".
Or how about the time he told an attorney, Joshua Greeff, that he was a "piece of white shit who is not fit to walk in the corridors of the High Court". He also suggested that Greeff should go back to Holland, the only problem being that Greeff is not Dutch.
Or how about the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) being asked to investigate the little bursary that Hlophkela's disadvantaged son received from a firm of attorneys one of whose members was often appointed an acting judge by the JP?
Ach, I'm getting tired already. And I haven't even got to the Oasis matter/s, Hlophkela's Porsche Cayenne (which Iinter alios paid for), his kind eviction of 20 000 shack dwellers in 2008, and his ability to talk to the dead (the late minister of Justice, Dullah Omar).
And then of course there was the judge president's piece de resistance. He tried to explain the facts of real life to a couple of Concourt judges with regard to some Zuma matters - i.e., don't find against the next prez, you dodos.
What about all of these matters? I hear you (as I said) cry.
Don't worry about these mere trifles. They will all go away when the newly-formed sub-committee of the JSC, set up to consider the Concourt complaint against Hlophkela, has done its job and cleared his name (secretly).
The thing is, you see, Hlophkela is chairman of the Persecution Association. He is also captain of the Race Card team. He has had some serious competition for the captaincy, but he is the undisputed champion. And there are many, many people in this country who love him for that.
And Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe know that everyone loves a man who has told any number of whiteys where to stick it.
Of course I might be wrong. Maybe rationality and justice will come back home just in time and Zuma and Radebe will not do the wrong thing. I'm holding thumbs but certainly not my breath. I might faint and then be accused of suffering from "vasovagal syncope".