As the election results began streaming in, the political gaslighting ramped up

There was a story this week, written by the peerless court reporter Zelda Venter, which went largely unnoticed in the wake of South Africa’s local government elections on Monday. She was writing about a court case involving two golfers; J Jordaan and AE Ketcher. 

They were at the 19th hole at a Sun City golf courses in 2018, when Ketcher, glass in hand, obscured Jordaan’s view of Proteas’ cricketer AB de Villiers on the TV. An angry Jordaan pushed him and Ketcher went arse over kettle, hitting his head against the wall and breaking his shoulder as he fell to the floor. It must have been some push. 

Ketcher couldn’t remember the finer details of the incident, for obvious reasons, but did concede he might have obscured the TV by either standing in front of it or walking past several times. Jordaan argued Ketcher had made it worse as his sole instinct had been to ensure he didn’t spill his whisky. The bottom line is that Jordaan now has to pay for whatever damages Ketcher sustained in the fall.

In other news, the ink had hardly dried on the ballot papers than Eskom rewarded us with some Stage 2 load shedding, which apparently had always been the plan before the poll – except it wasn’t allowed to tell us – for obvious reasons in retrospect.

As the counting began, the political gaslighting ramped up. There was the jack of all trades formerly known as Jimmy, Mzwanele Manyi blaming the ANC’s appalling results on the country “jailing’ Jacob Zuma, conveniently glossing over the fact that the municipality of Nkandla went to the IFP yet again. Then he doubled down, explaining how his own political party, the delightfully named ATM, had lost nothing, because it never had anything to start with. A statement to which Justine Limpitlaw coyly asked on Twitter: “reputation, integrity or credibility”.

Jimmy was trumped perhaps by John Steenhuisen who managed to blame former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who the party fired after the last general election in 2019, for “walking off the job” and taking voters with him. But the winner though had to be, in absentia, President Cyril Ramaphosa. It was only last week that he warned voters in Ekurhuleni that if they didn’t vote ANC, they wouldn’t get electricity. Well they did and now they don’t. 

As for the EFF, yet again, if elections were like the Sims, only on Twitter, we’d have red berets in every municipality, in sharp contrast to Herman Mashaba’s lot which by Wednesday had actually won a ward in its first outing, something the EFF has yet to achieve.

Maybe Ketcher v Jordaan is an allegory for all of us. 

The question is, are we moering the oke in front of the TV – and paying for it – or the person willing to risk life and limb to not spill a drop of their dop? Or are we, as the petrol price leapt convulsively ever upwards this week, wanting to be like AB de Villiers, who said fuck it in the first place and went overseas to play cricket?

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 6 November 2021.