Can you imagine if Fikile Mbalula had actually gone to Ukraine?

Our irrepressible minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula was in Ukraine at the weekend. That’s if you believe not just Twitter, but what our pint-sized parody of Tannie Evita actually posts on the site. It was probably just another onanistic bid for 15 seconds of fame, but can you imagine if he had gone?

As much as the Ukraine is asking for foreign volunteers to fight off the Russians, Durban comedian Karou Charou has done a wonderful skit that’s gone viral on WhatsApp wondering if Mbalula could not have been the ANC’s contribution to the Russian Federation’s destabilisation of eastern Ukraine without the Russians having to fire a shot.

When you think about it, KC has a point; Minister Fear Fokol/ Do Fokol has made short work of the railway infrastructure, including the Blue Train. Before that he was minister of police, but in truth Bheki Cele and Nathi Mthetwa were far worse. Together the trifecta cut chunks out of the thin blue line. Then there’s Dudu Miyeni, the delinquent director, who single handedly grounded our national airline. 

Nomvula Mokonyane did a phenomenal job rendering much of our water undrinkable by mixing in the raw effluent – the water that is that actually makes it to the pipes and doesn’t just run down the roads, instead. Then there’s Eskom, but as KC notes, destroying national power grids isn’t a uniquely South African speciality.

Meanwhile, the ANC has edged off the fence squarely into the Russian camp, slavishly (pun intended) backing the invasion of Ukraine – which in true Orwellian fashion isn’t officially one at all, but a special military operation to deNazify the region and free the oppressed. The ANC, it seems, is all in favour of fighting for peace.

It’s another exercise in semantics which, if you buy that, will force you to accept that the almost universal and immediate sanctions imposed by Europe and the US were a special financial operation designed to save the Russian economy. Then again, one of our SOEs has actually imposed sanctions of a sort. Last week, the Post Office announced it was suspending its service to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Now South Africans are asking when it will consider unsuspending its service here, since we haven’t been able to send a parcel, never mind a letter, to Boksburg for ages.  

In this world of double speak, asking both sides to stop shooting; sit down and just chat, is a little like asking someone to put the kettle on when they wake up at night to find people have broken in and are carrying the TV out. It’s the same bunch who would argue that signing up with a private security company is deliberately provocative, inviting your home to be invaded and burgled, rather than a deterrent.

Apparently Minister Fokop never did go to Ukraine – which was one less cross for that country to bear. Instead on Monday he was busy addressing the media on the driver licence backlog. He’s still got to do something about the potholes – but perhaps we’ve had it all wrong all the time. Maybe they’re deliberate; tank traps in case the Ukrainians invade us?

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 12 March 2022.