It turns out South Africa has a navy!

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By Howard Feldman

This morning I woke up in alternative universe. On first blush, many of the elements remained the same. My daughter was still writing her final matric exams, Penny the Poodle still needed to go outside before it was too late. And Eskom had instituted stage 2 loadshedding. On the face of it, it seemed to be pretty much business as usual.

And then I read the news: “Choose carefully. Zuma’s Warning to delegates at ANC Elective conference.” Over the weekend former president Jacob Zuma issued a warning to the African National Congress regarding their choice for leadership. For a man recently released from prison on medical parole because of a “terminal illness”, he presented his thoughts with an impressive amount of gusto. One of the many ironies about his attack on President Ramaphosa was that he seemed to forget the role that he and his cronies played not only in the demise of the ANC, but of the whole country.

Zuma demanding accountability and transparency is like Putin claiming he is being cyber bullied.

Whereas there is a real need for the president to explain the Phala Phala farm funds, for Zuma of all rogues to demand accountability, borders on the absurd. After all, this is a man who has repeatedly insisted that he has his day in court to clear his name, but was then jailed for refusing to do exactly that.

This was not the only headline that I encountered on my journey into the twilight zone. Two headlines on the News24 were equally absurd. “World Bank Boss gives SA Energy transition plan a thumbs up.” Apparently, the head of the World Bank, David Malpass, said he was confident that South Africa would meet its energy transition targets. On the basis of that finding he agreed to a R9-billion loan to make the Komati coal power station the first to be converted into a renewable one.

Apparently, Ministers Enoch Godongwana and Pravin Gordhan met with Malpass over the weekend to finalise the funding.

While South African optimists will celebrate the success of this outcome, the pessimists will wonder why they haven’t learned their lesson. And the realists will buy shares in Louis Vuitton.

If that didn’t convince me that the stars were out of alignment and that Uranus hadn’t entered orbit with Mars and wasn’t’ doing strange things with Pluto, I came across an article that settled it. South Africa, it appears, is conducting a joint naval exercise with Russia. True story. Turns out we have a navy! 

Steven Gruzd of the South African Institute of International Affairs Governance Programme said that South Africa’s moves were becoming noticeable overseas.

“These exercises, the fact that the defence minister went to a conference in Moscow run by the interstate ministry, the debacle over the yachts that are meant to be landing in Cape Town, the fact that President Ramaphosa spoke to President Putin weeks and weeks before he spoke to President Zelenskyy … so if you were doing a tally, you would say we seem to be taking up on the Russian side despite claiming neutrality.”

So indeed, while the West is heaping billions on us to alleviate our energy crises, South Africa continues to play water polo with the sharks of the world.

This is happening in South Africa. The rest of the world is doing no better on Topsy Turvy day. The left are screaming at Elon Musk for threatening to allow free speech; Kanye West as one of the most powerful people in the world with more followers than there are Jews in the world continues to accuse Jews of having too much power; and the British lambaste their new Prime Minister for being too financially successful.

2022 needs to end. We need to switch it off. Leave it to cool for a few minutes. And then start again. When my daughter has finished matric, but when Penny the Poodle still needs to go outside. Before it’s too late.