Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
LAST week's revelation that Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande had bought a R1,1million car has been an unmi-tigated public relations disaster for those who swear by Marx and Lenin's teachings.
My initial reaction was that Nzimande's behaviour had become the norm with those who were once champions of the great unwashed.
Examples are a dime a dozen. We had an ANC MEC proudly saying that he made 10 times more money from private business than he does from a government salary.
Julius Malema styles himself as being down with the people when he and his ANC Youth League friends drink expensive champagne and smoke cigars at high-end night spots.
Many of those who make a living by telling stories of a heroic working class are not working class themselves. Some of them have never been and know only about "the poorest of the poor" from studying them as if they were lab rats.
Bling is big in government and the ruling party. Hypocrisy is even bigger. That is why Cosatu is able to say "Rule or no rule, they can't just purchase expensive cars at taxpayers' expense, giving an impression that they do not care about the message this opulence gives to the poor," one day and before the ink has dried, say they understand why Nzimande deserves the car.
I fear that South Africa might have lost the only credible opposition the ANC has. South Africa needs a strong and principled Cosatu and Communist Party more than ever . Not because they have all the answers to our social ills, but because they are, at the very least, a conscious reminder that the anti-apartheid project was about bettering the conditions of the majority and not about writing a rule book on how much you can spend on a car.
It was they who spoke out against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and for people living with HIV and Aids who were denied anti-retroviral drugs by Thabo Mbeki's equivocation.
They took the ANC on, not because they loved it and Mbeki less, but because they loved the people of South Africa more. At least that is what I assumed.
I am under no illusion that the SACP is a fringe party that would never make a dent on the ANC support if it decided to go it alone in an election.
I am similarly not convinced that the working people who continue to vote for the ANC do so because Cosatu told them to. If the latter were the case, the Western Cape would be an ANC stronghold in the same way that Cosatu is. That said, no other party or formation has the ear of the ANC more than these two organisations, especially now that Mbeki is gone.
I hope that they will get over their schoolgirl crush on the ANC leadership and reclaim their role as representatives of the aspirations of the majority, who are, unfortunately, still working class.
They said it themselves that they were not giving the ANC a blank cheque. Or was that just another slogan, comrades?
In a state where one party enjoys hegemony as the ANC does, the counterweight Cosatu and the communists bring to the discourse may very well be the difference between a one-party democracy and state where we let a hundred flowers continue to bloom.