Friday, September 04, 2009

The drunken judge, Blade's BMW and the white refugee

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Jeremy Gordin sets about answering the week's pressing questions


SOB... Was the judge drunk? Does the coach needs a sex test? Should we fire soldiers?

I wonder if magistrate Desmond Nair is related to all the other Nairs. I suppose the Nairs are, mutatis mutandis, like the Smiths, Van der Merwes, Cohens and Bin Ladens - all related in one way or another.

Still Desmond Nair seems a braver man than most, including some of his relations, such as the one at Legal Aid SA, who seems not to be as willing to upset the apple cart.

I mean - check it out, my chinas - Magistrate Desmond found Judge Nkola "hakuna matata" Motata guilty of being drunk.

Jeez, I don't know about you, but I could never have figured that out for myself. In my view, it was a knife-edge issue. Look at the pictures snapped at the crash site in the dead of night. That fellow was sober as a judge (used to be, especially when in the public eye).

It was so complicated a case that The Star newspaper - the daily fish wrap, as Andrew "humour & hip replacement" Donaldson would say - ran on page one the 11 brilliant questions put to the court by that giant among legal men, the prosecutor in this case, Zaais van Zyl.

Oy, "A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! /O wise young prosecutor, how I do honour thee!" as Shakespeare's Shylock remarked. Send this prosecutor directly to the vacant office of the national director of public prosecutions.

But, brave though Magistrate Desmond might be, I'm not certain that his judgment was a career-enhancing one. For one thing, he certainly didn't follow procedure. What he ought to have done was to have engineered a way in which the case could have been moved to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). "Hakuna" is a judge after all, and a formerly disadvantaged person.

At the JSC, Hakuna could have relied on former President Thabo Mbeki's second cousin - Marumo Moerane SC - to have it given to a sub-committee, which could have ruled that Hakuna, even if he had been drunk, had had no intention of being drunk. Besides, fire-water (or "hot stuff", as they call it in my favourite shebeen - Big Mamma's in Naledi) has throughout the ages been a weapon used by the white colonisers to demean and tame the local people. Yebo babkele!

Alternatively, magistrate Nair should have ordered a sex test for Hakuna. If it were found that the good judge had not taken steroids, well then, clearly there was nothing to get excited about.

What? Oh, you say that he was drunk. So what? Isn't everyone? How else does one get through a day in the South African government, the justice system, the health system, the sports system?

Which reminds me: someone should give Peter de Villiers a sex test. There's something distinctly feminine, I find, about his incoherent ramblings and mentions of recipes for fruit salad.

Now, our Desmond mentioned, as proof of the judge's inebriation, that his speech had been slurred and incoherent; that he had repeated "f*** you" at least 10 times; that he had misspelt his own name; was unable to stand on his own; and that he fell over.

So what's so unusual about that? I don't know about you, but I am often incoherent and, moreover, I can name three leading editors and at least two major book reviewers who are deeply incoherent - and this in writing, not just in speech - and who have no idea how to spell their own names, let alone any one else's.

I also often repeat "f*** you" - usually when metro cops ask why my vehicle has been unlicensed for five years - and, if my wife and/or children are not close by, I often fall over. (The last, the occasional toppling over, is a function of age - you raucous gigglers out there; you'll find out "in due course", as my history teacher, Mrs Van der Schyff - known by us witty students as Mrs Van der Zol - used to say.)

Actually, I'm lying (which is apparently something that, as a South African judge, you can do - and yet still hold your job). I never swear at metro cops: I might be coarse but I'm not altogether a fool.

But I did say "fuck" (enough already with these pesky asterisks) when I read that Blade Nzimande had bought one of those mammoth-sized, hugely expensive, BMWs.

Jesus, Blade - or should I say "Karl [as in Marx], Blade" - get on to the cutting edge of life, man. Catch a wake up, man.

You know that everyone is touchy about the country's economy; you know that there are hungry, hungry people out there; you know that that grumpy, arrogant pain-in-the-tuchis, the minister of communications Siphiwe Nyanda, put his foot in his mouth - or his budget in his posterior - within two minutes of being appointed, by buying one of those capitalist, baby-eating, imperialist, Zionist, kraut, white man's machines; and you go and do the same stupid thing.

Blade, you know better than that. (Well, obviously you don't.) And you're the GS of the commie party. And, to add insult to injury, you then have one of the bozos in the party popping up with some mealy-mouthed codswallop about you needing the thing for security reasons.

No one wants to knock you off. It's Lindiwe Sisulu, the minister of defence and military veterans, who the members of our defence force and our military veterans want to knock off. (And, Blade, when Julius "little Julie" Malema starts talking out on your behalf, then you know you're really in the dwang.)

What do you, dear readers, think, by the way, of this whole debacle and debate about the rioting troepies and whether they should be fired? I have found the whole thing painfully pretentious and irritating, I have to say.

First of all, there have been a bunch of people saying, "Well, you know, we can't put those guys on the street - they're a lean, mean fighting machine and what happens if they turn to crime?"

Oh rubbish. With the possible exception of the parabats and such Special Forces companies as remain (are there any?), the present SANDF couldn't organise an argument in a war room. The troepies have all sorts of problems: low morale, poor training, bad pay, HIV-Aids, and being ignored by those who are supposed to be taking care of them.

The second phenomenon (for want of a better word) that emerged from the okes going a bit bossies at the Union Buildings was that every bloody Tommy, Dick, Harry (and Jeremy) - nearly all fat, white, middle-aged men - emerged from the proverbial woodwork to tell us his opinion. And what these opinions have in the main been - in rather righteous and injured tones - is that this sort of thing would never have happened in their day and all the bloody troops should be keel-hauled and/or shot at dawn.

But what it's really been all about has been the desire of all these has-beens to bleat about their pasts - so that we should all be sure to know that they did their time in nutria and whacked Swapo here or the Cubans there, etc, etc. It's been a truly pathetic wank-display.

Truly pathetic too is Ms Sisulu playing the iron lady. Grow up everybody, would you? The so-called defence force is an unnecessary body for us to have and maintain; we ain't at war with anyone; all we need it for is to send it on peace-keeping missions in Africa where our soldiers harass the local ladies. But at least it keeps a bunch of people employed - which is first prize these days.

Now the troepies have a union - the Concourt said they should - but they have been ignored by everyone, so they got a little out of hand in Pretoria. But let it go now, Ms Sisulu. Stop posturing and behaving as if you're dealing with a mutiny of the elite troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Just sort out their pay and conditions and let's move on.

But the high point of the week - without a doubt - was the judgment in Canada in terms of which this chappie, Brandon Huntley, was granted asylum in Canada because of the persecution he faces in Seffrica for being a honky.

Eish! Has it got the ANC's knickers in a twist! I love it.

The reason of course that everyone from Sue Van der Merwe, the deputy minister for international relations and potjiekos, to Ronnie "Mampara" Mamoepa, the spokesman for that department, is so upset is that it is of course true - the government is both unwilling and incapable of protecting most its citizens. This is not a secret, after all.

One of the editors whom I think is pretty good is Ray Hartley, the head honcho of the daily Times. It's not his fault, for example, that he has to employ such people as Tymon "of Athens" Smith, the country's malnourished plagiarism spotter and king of banality. Editors have all sorts of people foisted on them; it's a bit like being a general in the SANDF.

But Hartley's editorial on the Canadian matter - and we assume he wrote it since he's the editor, but of course he might have asked Tymon of Athens to do it - his editorial of Tuesday was pretty weird.

He began by saying that the news about Canada granting refugee status was "shocking and saddening". Saddening maybe, but not really shocking, surely?

He then goes on to say that the overwhelming majority of crime victims in this country are black - which is true enough - and [he continues] "many of the perpetrators are white". What crap.

It then turns out, however, that what Hartley (or AN Other) had in mind were the shootings committed by that poor, benighted creature at Skierlik. These shootings are, for the editorial writer, the acme of a racial killing.

"But racially motivated crimes of this nature are in the minority [he continues]. Most crimes are for immediate material gain or as part of larger organised-crime networks. The racial identity of a victim or a perpetrator is not the most important fact when armed robberies, murders or hijackings are reported."

Maybe. But the writer is willfully missing the point - which is that in countless crimes (robberies mainly) there are often committed - mainly by young, black males - some seriously violent and cruel acts, which might be incidental to "material gain" but are not incidental to the victims.

I am talking about ironing your helpless victim's skin with an iron, scalding him or her with boiling water, raping old women and little girls for sport, lacerating people's faces with various weapons, and so on.

You don't know need a PhD in psychology - you don't even need to be an editor - to know that these "incidentals" are indeed about race.

They're about anger at what the people with white skins have; they're about anger about the attitudes of white people; they're, in some cases, about anger about the past; they're about power - about suddenly having and realizing what you can do to other people if you have it; and on and on.

Besides, to prove racism in his home country, Huntley didn't need to list the times he or members of his family had been attacked. All he had to do was put together the collected utterances of John Hlophe, judge president of the Western Cape, Julius "little Julie" Malema, chief of the ANC youth brigades, and Judge Hakuna Matata.

I rest my case.

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