Tito Mboweni handling Munusamy outcry with same nonchalance as criticism of his cooking

The marquis of Magoebaskloof scalded himself on his own social media pot on Wednesday for deigning to appoint a former journalist to his ministerial team.

In typical Tito Mboweni style the issue was done and dusted by Wednesday night – openly and unequivocally. Ranjeni Munusamy, explained his spokesman, had been appointed under the minister’s prerogative as stipulated in the ministerial handbook. So there.

It’s the same kind of minimalist approach Mboweni takes to his cooking. His pilchards and samp won’t win any Michelin stars this side of the second coming, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to enjoy eating them any less – or perpetually tweet the process.

Much of what he cooks might be unpalatable to everyone else, but he doesn’t care. Much like appointing Munusamy as his community outreach officer.

Social media was agog and aghast at the seeming double standards: The same people who uttered nary a peep when Munusamy emerged from media exile after being fired from the Sunday Times for leaking an off the record briefing by Bulelani Ngcuka to the City Press.

The same people who cheered when she re-emerged, after having worked for Jacob Zuma, setting up his Friends of JZ website after Thabo Mbeki had fired him. They did so because: (a) she was now back on side and (b) because her experiences gave her unparalleled insight into her former boss who was now president.

Fast forward to today and she’s in purdah again because the police informer’s fund was used during her first media exile to fix her car and pay off the HP contract. She’s not a journalist at the moment either, so why shouldn’t Mboweni hire her?

There’s a selective morality here.

If Munusamy was beyond the pale after Ngcuka-gate, why was she allowed back into journalism and indeed feted? The only conclusion is that what she did wasn’t as beyond the pale as many thought at the time. If so, she can’t be crucified for things that happened when she was in the media wilderness hustling as a “media consultant”.

It’s a nuance typically lost on the cosplaying EFF Teletubbies who issued a sturm und drang press release calling on the minister to be rid of her in seven days – or else. They didn’t have much to say however about the (top) billing of Duduzane Zuma on SABC the day before as   an “accomplished businessman”.

The EFF used to refer to Msholozi as Baba ka Duduzane (Duduzane’s dad), such was Duduzane’s triumph as the Guptas’ bagman. The family ultimately rushed us for about the greater part of R500-billion over 10 years of state capture.

It’s certainly an accomplishment, albeit not one that anyone else should be aspiring to. It’s certainly no reason for the state broadcaster, to whom we are obliged to pay our TV licences, to give him a free run on national TV to tell us what a great – and wholly victimised guy, his dad (the thief-in-chief) is.

Munusamy gets burnt at the twitter stake though and everyone else rushes to take selfies with Duduzane. If you’re suffering from indigestion, don’t blame Magoebaskloof’s masterchef.

Originally published on 24 October 2020 in the Saturday Star