Polony flavoured cheese and Zondo Commission testimony part of an incredulous week in SA

Pliny the Elder once wrote there’s always something new out of Africa. He could well have been referring to the Zondo Commission on State Capture where SAA Board member Yakhe Kwinana held an entire country transfixed by her answers on Monday and Tuesday.

If Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo enjoys the odd tipple, he definitely deserves a bottle of Bells after patiently wrangling the CA whose conduct went some way to explaining how major accounting firms played such a massive role in State Capture.

After two days of patient cross examination by evidence leader Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, Kwinana was more shattered accountant than chartered, her greatest legacy being fat cake (vetkoek) which could be the South African word of the year for tenderpreneurs.

Her woeful performance should have been difficult to trump. The SAA delinquent-in-chief Dudu Miyeni who appeared virtually the following day dressed for the COVID 19 apocalypse with sunglasses and face mask from the comfort of her lounge, did her very best. She was never in any danger of tying herself in knots. Once her ruse of having no laptop charger – or bandwidth – for the video enquiry fell through, she simply refused to admit to anything.

There was only one person who could trump this – with the same disdain for due process, consequence and, actually, facts – Agent Orange himself. Donald Trump called a press conference on Wednesday morning (South African time) to declare himself winner of the US presidential elections and warn that a great fraud was being perpetrated on the American public.

He wasn’t referring to himself, but about the counting of mail-in votes, which a TV commentator then had to explain to a US audience weren’t distinct from female votes. Joe Biden’s camp denounced Trump’s press conference as “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect”. South Africa could have used the same phraseology for Kwinana and Miyeni’s behaviour.

The only silver lining in all this, as Miyeni conceded to Hofmeyr, is that anything – even her CV – can be used against her in a court of law. South Africans suffering from state capture PTSD can only hope so. Miyeni should be behind bars, while Kwinana – whose accounting firm apparently enjoyed a number of other lucrative government and parastatal gigs on top of her ludicrous appointment to SAA – shouldn’t even be allowed to sign off on a tuck shop audit at a primary school.

2020 isn’t over yet though, not by a long shot. A food manufacturer released polony flavoured processed cheese this week. As the inimitable Jack Parow tweeted: “Net een happie en jy kots op die trappies” (just one bite and you’ll puke on the stairs) … as if polony’s body count wasn’t high enough already! He said, referring to the listeriosis crisis.

He wasn’t the only one horrified by the gastronomic Frankenstein, but will the angst make a difference to the manufacturers? Hardly. If we believed Twitter, Biden would have beaten Trump hands down and Trump would have fled to a Russian exile.

And the EFF would be our official opposition and government-in waiting. But it isn’t, is it?

Originally published on the 7 November 2020 in the Saturday Star