South Africa’s esteemed president, Jacob Zuma, is having his exams today. Once a term, he is obligated by the Constitution to appear in Parliament to answer prepared questions from MP’s.
It should be a fun afternoon. Maybe not for the MP’s or the rest of us who genuinely want to know the answers to not only these but a billion other questions. No, the fun is usually had by the President himself, who has made a habit over the last few of these occasions of giggling and smirking while his Inquisitors turn purple with apoplexy in vain efforts to get him to take his job seriously.
According to an article on News24, Jacob will read from pre-prepared answers to the following six questions from 14h00 this afternoon:
- Veteran ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe will ask if Jacob plans to ensure matters relating to a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture will be expedited.
[Likely answer: “Of course; this is a democracy, isn’t it?” Interpretation: “Hahaha….next…”]
2. ANC MP Phumuzile Ngwenya-Mabila will ask what programmes are involved to deliver radical socio-economic achievements in rural areas.
[Likely answer: “Many, many programmes; everything we do is geared toward the poor.”
Interpretation: “what are these ‘rural areas’ you speak of?”]
3. DA leader Mmusi Maimane will ask if Jacob’s government is still intent on pursuing a new nuclear build programme in light of the Western Cape High Court ruling that the previous procurement process is unlawful.
[Likely answer: “We will proceed according to the letter of the law and act appropriately.”
Interpretation: “Members of the Western Cape High Court have been personally ordered to weekend physical labour at each nuclear power station site… judges have been mixing cement and laying bricks for months.”]
4. ANC MP Fezeka Loliwe will ask what factors are at play in the rise of unemployment in the country.
[Likely answer: “Many, many, many factors, sissie…”
Interpretation: “I’m employed, Duduzane is employed, what’s the problem?”]
5. AIC leader Galo will want to know if Jacob intends to step down ahead of a Constitutional Court bid to have him impeached.
[Likely answer: “Hahahahahaha….”
6. ANC MP Hope Malgas has likely been ordered to ask how government’s National Social Security Fund will operate.
[Likely answer: “My ministers have planned a fully operational, highly sophisticated Fund in which I have the highest confidence.”
Interpretation: “Ask Atul, Ajay and Rajesh…”
As I write, Speaker Baleka Mbete (the one who just says “Order… order… order… order… will the Honourable Member please… order…” a lot) is considering allowing a seventh question, an urgent addition from DA leader Mmusi Maimane to get Jacob to account for South Africa’s recent slide into recession.
According to Parliamentary procedure, “the President answers a prepared statement to each of the six written questions. The original questioner then gets to ask a follow up on the subject. Thereafter, three unprepared questions on the subject are allowed from any member of the House.”
That is, of course, if the President even bothers to show up.
The EFF long ago started boycotting his appearances, stating that since they no longer recognize Jacob as President, his official Question Time is a non-event.
Pity; a modern democratic government’s job is to provide bread and circuses, and the once-esteemed South African Parliament has become nothing if not a circus.
As for the bread, well, why don’t we ask the President?