Do we really have to keep wandering in the wilderness for the next 40 years?

As we prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday tomorrow, many of us might feel we’re actually reliving Passover. For those of you who weren’t sleeping in Sunday School, that’s the story of Moses getting the flock out of Egypt pursued by an angry Pharaoh.

Pharaoh was the ruler of Egypt, where the Israelites had been enslaved. He wasn’t too keen on letting them go, but 10 biblical phenomena changed his mind. Being a typical politician, he reneged and pursued the Israelites, but then drowned when the Red Sea closed in on him.

We might not all have been erupting in boils, but we’ve had two years of lockdown and 15 years of load shedding. As for pestilence, locusts are literally laying waste to vast tracts of the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape. Then there’s destruction; the good folk of KZN narrowly missed everything literally going up in flames last July, now they’re in danger of being swept away as the major rivers in the province burst their banks.

Famine? Maybe not widespread, but a third of the country are dependent on government grants just to subsist. Food prices are going through the roof. There’s no guarantee that we will dodge it. Chuck in xenophobia and the roads are literally running in blood, even if the taps aren’t.

We’re not just powerless to change it, it doesn’t look like we want to. On Sunday night, the ANC voted back disgraced former Durban mayor Zandile Gumede as KZN regional chair. She wasn’t there because she’s had to step aside as she’s out on bail facing 2793 charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering. Now, thanks to her chums, she’s stepped inside.

As surely as day follows night, uBaba bailed from his corruption trial on Monday. His doctors said he wasn’t well enough to be in the dock, as his lawyers feverishly filed new papers to higher courts. As @tzwide tweeted: “The year is 2040, the 98-year-old Mr JG Zuma is appearing before a specially created tribunal to deal with the question of whether or not he can appear in court for the criminal trial he has been itching to attend for close to 40 years”.

His lawyers, using the legal equivalent of throwing a fistful of darts at a dartboard, slipped in a warning to the presiding judge that there’d be repeat of last July if the trial went ahead, while taking a leaf out of Afriforum’s book by instituting a private prosecution of the tireless Billy Downer – because he’s too good at his job.

But before we throw our hands up in despair, we need to remember that for every pharaoh; every pus-filled boil; every locust, human and otherwise; and, every frog croaking about our heels, we’ve got our own Moses too. As the first footage of the devastation started streaming from Durban and surrounds, the truck engines were already turning over at the Gift of the Givers’ depot in Johannesburg. Dr Imtiaz Sooliman always shows up to deliver us from the clutches of despair.  

But do we really have to keep wandering in the wilderness for the next 40 years?

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 16 April 2022.