Sunday Times STLive By Hogarth , 2012-03-18

Hogarth 17 March

DO THE SUMS: Jacob Zuma

Hogarth does not suffer fools lightly and is compulsive reading for the millions of South Africans who share this intolerance.

Somebody break the bad news about the election to the boss

IN yet another unfortunate effort to explain his attitude to the constitution, President Jacob Zuma gave this assurance: "We are not intending sitting every day to change the constitution. Not at all. We could have done so if we wanted to. We have got enough majority to do so."

Really? When Hogarth last checked, a two-thirds majority was required to amend the constitution, with some clauses raising the bar to 75%.

Has no one told Zuma that his party's share of the vote dropped below the two-thirds threshold in the last election?

Or does Zuma have some allies in the house from other parties who are disguising their loyalty with virulent public criticism?

Perhaps it's time for someone to tell the boss to keep quiet on this matter unless he knows what he's talking about.

Shotgun solution

LAST week, this newspaper reported how the acting police commissioner, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, wanted to fire the entire police audit department because he believed one of them had leaked to us a report on how 27000 cops had failed the firearms proficiency test.

Hogarth was amused by the response of comedian Nik Rabinowitz, who remarked that Mkhwanazi initially wanted them shot by firing squad, but was worried the shooting would be too inaccurate.

Mutton mutiny

THE DA added to its coffers by raffling a sheep to delegates at its Gauteng congress last week.

But, Hogarth hears, some delegates were not impressed.

One, a certain Mr Mouton, wrote to the organisers to complain about the fact that an actual live sheep, which was tethered to a tree outside the hall while its fate was decided by carnivorous delegates, was being raffled.

In a letter of complaint, he remarked: "When I saw the sheep was tied to a tree, bleating there the whole day while on display for all and sundry and with a DA 'shirt' to add insult to injury, I was shocked to my core."

And so he should have been. Mouton is, after all, the French word for sheep.

Let them eat ...

THERE'S never a dull moment in parliament. At public hearings into the secrecy bill by an ad-hoc committee of the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday, an ANC MP was irked that the free food and drinks provided by parliament had been finished by guests attending the hearings.

"These people that are here, the guests, have eaten our food. Thina silambile (we are hungry), we can't contribute any more in the meeting. There's no water, there's no food, there's no tea, there's no coffee. They must take out money and buy the food," said Zukiswa Rantho, an NCOP delegate from the Eastern Cape.

Surely with the fat salary she rakes in as an MP, Ms Rantho can afford to buy her own food? Ad-hoc committee chairman Papi Tau looked like he wanted to hide under the table with embarrassment.

Oops. A revealing remark

THE youth league was throwing its toys out of the cot on Friday, riled by a comment attributed to President Jacob Zuma about the appeal process involving youth league leader Julius Malema.

Speaking at a breakfast, Zuma told interviewer Peter Ndoro that once the appeal process was complete, the youth league would have to find itself a new president.

Does the boss know something about the outcome of the appeal that Malema doesn't?

The devil is in the detail

HOGARTH was a little surprised to see the disgraced kindergarten boss, wee Julius, at the launch of a book by the Rev Frank Chikane this week. Especially since much of the criticism in the book is of him and the erstwhile comrades, the Pirates of Polokwane, who toppled the pipe-smoking former president Thabo Mbeki.

As the old saying goes, when days are dark, friends are few.

  • Write to hogarth@sundaytimes.co.za