As we all know, that is usually a day for pranks and I was wondering what fake news the ANC would spread under the guise of an April Fool’s Joke. Would Jacob Zuma be crowned as Emperor of Nkandla? Would President Trump arrive in Pretoria unannounced to have that demanded meeting with Nelson Mandela?
It was only after I had prepared the Bloody Mary for Gwede and mixed the Eno’s Fruit Salts for Tony Yengeni that I read the message. I didn’t really understand it then. I still have it here with me. Somehow today, after the Nasrec Congress, it goes far beyond a joke.
Confidential: For the eyes of Comrade Ramaphosa only.
Dear Comrade Cyril,
You are now Number One in the African National Congress. Soon you will be President of South Africa and President of the ANC, not always in that order. Congratulations on your win from your supporters and a stony-faced Amandla from the others.
The party urgently needs a new chapter of leadership and so repeat the following words:
“I am now the President of the ANC by the will of the comrades who voted for me and by the grace of other comrades who didn’t. This is my first executive order which is not to offer Comrade Jacob Zuma a one-way ticket to Dubai. That will be my second executive order.
“To all the politicians in the ANC and beyond who are corrupt, let me state this most categorically and I’ll repeat that with conviction. Your unsubtle criminality has allowed your actions to become part of the public discourse under the heading: state capture. It also shows arrogance in believing that you are entitled to the spoils of your corruption. You are not.
“I know who you are. I know where you live. I have your bank account numbers here, overseas and in the tax havens of white monopoly capital. I hereby give you 24 hours in which you have the democratic freedom to resign from your official positions voluntarily. There will be no extension.
“If you do not resign publicly, you will be arrested in full view of the people of South Africa; in other words, on prime time television and in the glare of social media. You will forfeit the accepted human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of movement. You will be suspended from your job without any payment of salary until you come to trial. You will be given a fair trial within the dictates of the Constitution.
“If you are found not guilty of your crimes against the people, you will be free to accept our apology with grace. If you are guilty, you will be imprisoned for 30 years before any parole can be applied for.
“Your properties will be confiscated.
“Your investments in the name of your spouses, your offspring and your deceased parents will be impounded.
“Your party membership will be permanently terminated, declared null and void.
“Your 24 hours starts now.”
How we laughed when I read this out in the kitchen during the tea break on that April 1.
Even the young man who arrived from Saxonwold to collect a tray of koeksisters for his employer found it funny.
This morning I read it again. I know it’s just a silly little April Fool’s Joke. And yet, deep down inside, I just keep thinking: wouldn’t it be wonderful if it wasn’t?
* Evita Bezuidenhout, the alter ego of comedian Pieter Dirk Uys, is a member of the ANC, but writes here in a personal capacity. Follow her on Twitter: @TannieEvita