I also want to give away stuff paid for by others
I realise what I'm about to do is quite out of character, even heretical, and that by doing it I risk being reported to the Avusa public editor, the press ombudsman or the Spanish Inquisition or some similarly dread and draconian body, but I am about to say something nice about our head of state.
You can say what you like about President Jacob Zuma (and those of us with opinions and column centimetres at our disposal rarely hesitate to do so) but you can't say the man doesn't work hard.
Zuma rarely has a day off, and I can't quite put my finger on when last he took a week off to go fishing or his spokesman had to announce that the president was taking a duvet day. Lest we forget, this is a man who is now a septuagenarian.
We get to read plenty about the speeches he seems to deliver every day of the week in corners of the country we'd previously never heard of. But we rarely hear about what he gets up to after hours. Where does he find the time to do the monthly grocery shop? (Silly me, he has four wives.) Or to consult with his former financial adviser? (Of course, that bloke's under house arrest when he's not playing golf.)
Zuma spends a lot of time on aeroplanes (which we pay for) and has to officiate at a great many state functions with a great many boring but self-important people from all over the country, Africa and the world (banquets we also pay for). On top of being lord of all he chooses to survey, he is the president of the ANC.
Now I would very much like to be president of the country, but not for a moment would I wish the presidency of the ANC on my worst enemy. This is because Zwelinzima Vavi, Helen Zille, Redi Tlhabi and other meddlesome counter-revolutionaries keep asking awkward questions about the conduct of the ruling party's rather greedy leadership. I would, however, very much like to be president of the country because you get to give people stuff that other people have paid for. I would very much like to have been in Zuma's shoes last week when he handed over 200 RDP houses to residents of a place called Kanana Park near Lenasia.
According to a rather credulous reporter, Zuma "cut the ribbons on several houses before giving the elderly occupants a personal tour of their new homes", and "then helped plant a small tree in one of the yards and threw sand around the tree's roots with a gold spray-painted spade".
This, I have no doubt, is the stuff people go into politics for. For two bar a year I could happily bring happiness and comfort to the lives of indigent old people and throw sand around roots with a gold spray-painted shovel. When the voters of South Africa eventually realise what's good for them and elect me to the highest office in the land, my spokesman will be trotting out bulletins left, right and centre about President Delmar throwing sand around trees with his presidential gold spray-painted spade.
If only we could believe any of this. The 200 RDP houses Zuma just cut ribbons for will, given history, soon be falling down. The other day Mr Housing Tokyo Sexwale admitted his department had to spend R50-billion fixing up badly built RDP houses. That money could have put one million households in decent homes. Our post-1994 achievement on housing, while always full of setbacks, blunders and corruption, is one of our great achievements. In just under two decades we have built nearly three million homes in which ordinary poor people can keep out the winter chill and raise their families in respectable bricks-and-mortar accommodation which, if they find the means, they can enhance and expand at their own expense.
It's housing you and I (even you, Christo Wiese) paid for. It's an achievement for which the likes of Zuma and the other ribbon-cutters get all the glory, but in which all of us taxpayers can take pride.
It's usually my remit to sing the praises of small enterprise and entrepreneurs, but many in the housing bakkie brigade (those who have got themselves on tender lists) have let themselves and our country down by building crap houses. The miscreants should be put up against a wall (preferably before it falls down) that they have built themselves and shot.