Dear Mrs. Bathabile Dlamini – Stay strong, you are…

Dearest Honorable Bathabile Olive Dlamini,

I’m really sorry for taking so long to write to you. Although you and I may not know each other personally, the spirit of ubuntu that burns in my heart and in all of our resilient South African hearts demands that we look out for each other. Even those of us who seem strong might need a shoulder to cry on, and maybe the occasional e-wallet.

I should have written to you earlier Madam. It’s been almost two weeks since Magistrate Betty Khumalo convicted you of perjury on March 9. All because of that time in 2017 when you lied under oath during a Constitutional Court inquiry into the social grant debacle that took place on your watch at the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) ; all of which has seen millions of South Africans unsure if they will receive their grants.

My heart broke into small pieces at your barrister’s heartfelt appeal to the magistrate for clemency on your behalf, reminding us that like so many South Africans, you are just a financially strapped single mother. money, getting by on a meager monthly salary of R110,000. – scrounging together the R40,000 monthly pension from Parliament as a former MP and the R70,000 you receive monthly from the ANC Women’s League as president and spiritual leader. Sending you #ThoughtsAndPrayers. This too should pass.

I can only imagine how hard getting back in front of a judge must have been for you. After all, it has only been 15 years and five months since October 2006 when, as an MP, you were found guilty of fraud, fined R120,000 and given a suspended five-year prison sentence. . In difficult times, I often turn to hip-hop poetry for comfort. Maybe you too can find comfort in this moving quote from one of my favorite rappers, the great late Tupac, who said, “I didn’t choose the ThugLife®the ThugLife® choose me.”

Yet when it comes to your lawyer’s concerns about your low income, some bitter Betty might go back to 2016, when, as Minister of Social Development, you implicit that welfare recipients should be able to live on R753 per month, less than 0.7% of your current income. Pay no attention to them ma’am. It’s not your fault that ThugLife® chose you and not the grant recipients. And honestly, the GrantLife® the crowd should be thankful they don’t have to bear the burden of the ThugLife®. It would probably be way too expensive for them anyway.

I know you may be feeling a bit stressed before your April Fool’s sentencing, but may I remind you that the last time the courts sentenced you in 2006, things weren’t so bad . Do you remember Madam? Just over a year later, after you yourself pleaded guilty and the courts found you were indeed a fraudulent thief living the high life of public funds, the ANC decided you were ready and qualified to be elected to its supreme governing body, the NEC, in that fateful December 2007 in Polokwane, where many others like you, who had been chosen by the ThugLife®acceded to power proper.

The rewards for you, a supposedly rehabilitated fraudster, didn’t end there. Although the cloud of a five-year suspended sentence for literal fraud still hung over you, you were appointed Minister of Social Development in 2010, giving you influence over a much larger amount of public funds. I can’t wait for your masterclass to fail up!!! Your professional journey has been so heartwarming. Even as you groped incompetently through this ministerial portfolio and wreaked havoc on the lives of poor South Africans, once again you were rewarded with a prominent position as President of the Women’s League of the ANC. When the ThugLife® chose you, obviously he chose you for life. I bow to you Mrs. Konvict Kween!!!

While some continue to criticize you, allow me to use your own words to remind them for the umpteenth time, Madam, that you did not choose this life. As you humbly told those pesky opposition MPs in 2017: “As members before me can tell, when you join the (ANC) party, you don’t join an organization to be a minister. Ministers are appointed by the President. When they kept harassing you, taking you for an expert on subsidies for the poor, you know, things that fell under your portfolio as Minister of Social Development, you tell them modestly“I’m not an expert on certain things and they’re not going to force me to say things that aren’t accurate and then they’ll come back later and call me a liar.” Yass, Mrs. Konvict Kween! Guide us!

While I appreciate your recent outburst of stoicism, I regret your usual…spirited…manner that you have displayed in the past when berating reporters and critics. Watching you in court recently, calm for most of the proceedings, a bit downhearted and seemingly surprised to be found guilty, I missed that indomitable spirit. I missed my beloved Bathabile the Impossible. All this nonchalant atmosphere does not suit you well; it gives early vibrations of rigor mortis. How are you miss ? If you are not, please come forward and get the medical attention you need. You won’t have to depend on our crumbling healthcare system like some GrantLifer. As you know, President Cyril keeps his ubuntu under control; it stays neutral and leaves the northern white tribes to fight, so the Russian health care plan favored by NEC members is still available to you and the gang, ma’am.

If indeed I am wrong and you are right as the rain, then I hope my words bring some sunshine to your day. You are not alone, as evidenced by the ThugLife® the entourage who witnessed your court decision, including Ace Magashule and Tony Yengeni. Take comfort in his inspiring journey. He, too, was convicted of fraud in the early 2000s, and he had to put on orange overalls and serve time in prison. We did not suspect at the time that a genuine ex-convict, a legitimate post-apartheid-era convict, would be appointed chairman of the ANC’s Crime and Corruption Committee, as Mr Yengeni was eventually nominated in 2018. The ANC really doesn’t give enough credit for its spirit of ubuntu.

So keep calm and play the long game, lady. As long as the ANC leads, it’s just a bump in the road. Great fortunes may still await you. South Africans are obviously totally cool with ex-convicts in Parliament, ministerial portfolios and the NEC. It might soon be your turn to pick up where the previous guy left off and take ThugLife® back to first place. At least you will have two authentic post-apartheid criminal convictions on your resume, and that’s more than all the other former occupants of the big office. And yet they say South Africa is not a meritocracy. Good speed. DM/ML

Please note that this article uses satire.


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Steven L. Nielsen