We are powerless as the power-hungry politicians vie for the upcoming elections

We are a week on and still no further in coming up with a plan for Eskom. The country is getting softened up to the idea of permanent level 2 load shedding, while the best that Cyril the Meek can come up with is that we should all use less power. Ironically, it’s the one thing we can do, or at least Eskom does for us, through load shedding.

In the meantime, those who should know better but sadly have access to smartphones have been spewing their opinions into the Twitterverse, like Emfuleni’s untreated effluent into the Vaal. Gaslighting is where people make other people question their own reality. It’s particularly beloved of narcissists and psychopaths – many of whom work in politics and/or SOEs.

The very people who ran Eskom into the ground, opening the sluice gates to the gravy train for the kleptocrats, are now desperate to tell us it was better under their watch. People are starting to believe them, but then again there are plenty who actually believe that life was better under apartheid because things worked, even if you couldn’t get a ticket to the top table, ride in buses or even overnight in town because you were the wrong colour. They forget that the services the people got in the townships were a lot different and a lot less than the services that the minority in the suburbs got.

In other news, Accused Number 1 has announced he’s prepared to stand for election as ANC chair, with his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma taking another stab at the hustings as ANC president when the party gathers in December for its five-yearly bunfight and payola bonanza. It’s a kick in the teeth for Zweli Mkhize, the new poster boy for the discontented. Spare a thought, though, for MKMVA Barbie, the multi-ministered Lindiwe Sisulu who fancied her chances – again.

We don’t have power; they don’t have power. There’s no guarantee that if they get power, the rest of us will, because uBaba oversaw the whole flywheel effect that landed us where we are now. Not that the current generation with its inbuilt aversion to history – and facts that differ from their own opinions – would care to remember.

The candidacy is cynical, to be sure; Jacob Zuma needs to stay out of jail at any cost – but it’s no more cynical than Ramaphosa’s presidency is rapidly becoming; from cash in the cushions to pandering to party hacks to keep the ANC together, rather than look after the country. In the meantime, we sit and seethe powerlessly in the dark or in traffic jams – sometimes both.

And we watch the brazen lawlessness spread; this time motorists increasingly ignoring all the rules of the road. At least Joburg taxi drivers have some sort of system – blue-rinsed grannies with road rage jumping robots because they can now, are another thing altogether. We learnt that two years ago, as they went out en masse to buy their illicit cigarettes and booze from dealers on petrol station forecourts.

Cry the beloved country.

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 1 October 2022.