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Sunday Times STLive By Hogarth , 2012-04-08

Hogarth 08 April

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

Zille admits first ever mistake - and it's not an April Fool

WITH all the name-calling and playground shenanigans that have characterised political discourse in the post-Polokwane period, Hogarth has been wondering, who will raise the level of debate? Blade's just too blunt.

Jacob just chuckles. Juju's got nothing but jibes. Grizzled Gwede behaves like a tjatjarag Swazi king with a toothache.

Auntie Helen looked like she was joining the race to the bottom by calling Eastern Cape migrants "refugees". She stubbornly defended herself. Until April 1 when, admitting she'd been a fool, she tweeted: "I was a chop. Using language too loosely. Opened myself to this without thinking."

Hogarth was relieved, mostly because someone finally managed to win an argument with Zille.

Infantile pursuits

BUT still, the question remains. Who will raise the level of debate? Don't look to Cosatu. If ever there was an indicator of how sub-par our political discourse is, this statement from the federation's Tony Ehrenreich is it: "Cosatu challenges premier Helen Zille to arrange an Easter egg hunt for working-class kids at Leeuwenhof, over the Easter weekend. This is not just the home of the premier but should be used to give all Capetonians a sense of belonging in Cape Town.

"If the rugby teams and other sections of the elite are constantly invited to Leeuwenhof, why can't the kids of the working class also be invited? Or is it because they are considered refugees in Cape Town central, as they are condemned to the Cape Flats?"

'Nuff said.

Miracles can happen

IT seems that when times are tough, even young lions seek divine intervention.

On Good Friday, Floyd Shivambu, the prophet of the ANC Youth League and its chief spin doctor, posted on Facebook that he was listening to gospel ensemble Joyous Celebration, more specifically a song titled Ziyosulwa inyembezi (their tears will be wiped away).

Hogarth thought that was an interesting choice of song. Will the tears be wiped away at Mangaung?

Heaven knows.

Scrambled and fried

TALKING about the youth league, its buck-toothed secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa is rapidly grasping the "shoot-from-the-hip" mantle from his suspended/expelled/suspended-pending-appeal boss Julius Malema.

Taking aim at the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association - which had called for the ANC to expel Malema from its ranks - Magaqa said: "They just want to show their girlfriends that today they will be live on TV."

He wasn't finished. His next line was like a double-tap to the collective cranium of the geriatrics: "They have a bad history ... not everyone was a soldier, some were cooks."

Hogarth collapsed.

Six pack fizzles out

OURS is an interesting country. On Tuesday, curious citizens were glued to their TV screens to hear what the big bosses at the "Revolutionary House" wanted to tell us.

Given that Hogarth's greying head could not recall a time since the ANC's unbanning in 1990 where the party's top six called such a news conference, it was a moment not to be missed. But alas, as it turned out, all they wanted to tell us was that they are united.

Really?

Celebrated in song

DESPITE his sharp tongue, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe's dry sense of humour did offer some comic relief.

In criticising the printing of T-shirts bearing the faces of certain leaders, he complained that no one had bothered to print a T-shirt with his trademark goatee.

Poor Gwede should not worry. The ANC kindergarten in Limpopo has already composed a song about how the "goatee" (Mantashe) is giving them a hard time. Next time it will be a T-shirt, or even a poster. One step at a time, Gwede.

Write to hogarth@sundaytimes.co.za