Hogarth: 02 October 2011

02 October 2011 - 02:57 By Hogarth

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

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. File photo.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. File photo.

It turns out that the spies can't balance their cheque books

The Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has received a lot of praise after her department received its first unqualified audit in 16 years.

Remember those 16 years of queues, out-to-lunch signs and niksbatho pele?

Home affairs worked hard to earn its reputation as the most inefficient and corrupt arm of government.

It became the political refuge for a number of awkward-to-deploy spy bosses who became the department's directors-general, sometimes to keep an eye on untrusted ministers such as Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Billy Masetlha and Barry Gilder are but some of the former spy bosses who ran the department.

Now that a civilian, Mkuseli Apleni, is director-general, the department gets a clean audit. There's a lesson there somewhere.

Where's Blackbeard?

THE trip to China must have taken its toll on Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, because he was obviously too busy to touch up on the emerging grey hair-line with his traditional black dye.

A rare similarity in colour between Motlanthe's usually out-of-sync head of hair and his white goatee made its appearance and can be seen in many of the close-up stills taken of him and Chinese officials.

Hogarth wonders if Motlanthe left the grey hair-line on purpose with the hope of being viewed as "the one with some sense of wisdom"?

Either way, it is almost certain that his first stop from China was straight to the barber shop to reinstate the status quo.

Ambition is good, but beware

SPORTS Minister Fikile Mbalula took time off from rugby this week to attend a YFM event where he delivered a keynote address.

Although he shied from talking about the ongoing ANC leadership battle, he did make a number of remarks that suggested the man who wants to take over from Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary-general has next year's national conference on his mind.

At one point he told the YFM crowd: "Don't shy away from ambition." But then he also said: "If you have an uncontrollable desire for power, you will make mistakes."

Who could he possibly be referring to?

Hey, this party feels familiar

HOGARTH had a chuckle when reading the online letter from IFP boss, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, about what is wrong with the ANC. The ruling party's woes, he wrote, "had to do with the culture of entitlement that has taken hold in the ruling party. It had to do with rivalries over securing salaries and positions. It had to do with money and greed for power. Ultimately, this is the root of the divisions within the ANC".

So what you're trying to say is that the ANC is no different to the IFP?

A year is a long time in politics

TALKING of the IFP, Hogarth notes that it is calling a national conference for October.

Strange, that. Hogarth's records clearly show that the last time the IFP held its "annual" conference was back in August 2008.

The one before that was held in April 2006 where Zanele Magwaza-Msibi was elected national chair to replace the "rebel" Ziba Jiyane. The April 2006 conference was the same meeting where Buthelezi "stepped down" for two minutes before he was "re-elected".

Maybe they should stop calling it an annual conference and rename it: The Whenever the Boss Thinks the Waters are Right Conference.

Thabo, Jacob? You listening?

YOU'VE got to hand it to Russia's Vladimir Putin. It turns out that he's going back to the job of president after a few years' break.

Making the announcement was none other than the current Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev.

"The government must be renewed," he said. That's right, "renewed".

"It will be a pivotal renewal of the government - a government consisting of new people," he said. A case of out with the old and in with the old?