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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Tips for Trevor Meltdown, I mean Manuel

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Sound familiar? Of course it doesn’t. Doctors don’t talk like that. Nor do marriage counsellors. Or mechanics.

We wouldn’t go to them if we knew they were going to say such things. We want to be lied to. But there are those who seem to care not a jot for our feelings. Those like Barack Obama and Trevor Manuel. Look, I’m not saying that coloureds are genetically predisposed to playing fast and loose with the truth as we would like to hear it. God forbid. Some of my best friends are hybrids of the most kaleidoscopic ilk.

But this does seem to be a mantra popular among those who have enough money not to know worse from a hole in the ground even if it reared up and bit them on their well-fed bottoms.

As we speak, Trevor Manuel is in Davos, Switzerland, rubbing up against the likes of Gordon Brown, Vladimir Putin and Maria Ramos, nudge nudge, wink wink.

“Drdfl bsnis ths glbl mltdwn,” says Gordon through a mouthful of pink prawns freshly harvested by disabled Mozambican child soldiers.

And he is right. It is a dreadful business. Particularly when one discovers that the Russians have pocketed all the toothpicks.

Clever Trevor, who has a brain the size of a medicine ball, said a few days ago that while things will get worse before they get better, he was “pretty confident” that South Africa could avoid a recession. Indeed. In much the same way that one could have avoided the tsunami if one happened to be parked on the Phuket beach front in a fast car with the engine idling when one noticed the sea sucking back on itself.

Well, Trevor has a fast car. So does everyone else in Davos, apart from those getting beaten, teargassed and arrested, because the last thing these profits of doom want is to ruin their 5000 platypus-skin shoes by stepping in the blood of those who have. .. whoops, let’s not get carried away.

Before comrade finance minister flew out to go snowboarding with the always elegantly wasted Nicolas Sarkozy, he asked the public — that’s you — to give him tips on how best to spend the billions of moneys in next month’s national budget. The treasury issued a statement saying that Trev takes this input by the public very seriously and that he reads all the tips personally. .. oh, look, a flying pig . .. and that he has even used some of these tips while drawing up the budget. In that case, let’s hope the moron who keeps suggesting higher taxes on liquor has emigrated.

Well, Clev, here are some of my tips.

# Check whether Pravin Gordhan’s tax returns are up to date;

# Sell Eskom to Seedat’s Scrap Metal in Randburg and convert the Cape Flats into a wind farm. Harness the untapped energy of unemployed methamphetamine addicts to crank the turbines on still days;

# Discourage longevity by setting the pensionable age for men at 85. Women to be eligible for a state pension from the age of 95;

# Set up a R5-billion corruption slush fund which civil servants can access without dipping into money allocated to really important things;

# Set aside R500 for the creation of the Julius Malema Woodwork Academy to supply the nation with backscratchers and knobkerries ;

# R10-billion for education, to be spent on fire-retardant classrooms, mathematically retarded pupils, pocket money for pregnant schoolgirls, admission of guilt fines for principals and Ritalin for attention-deficit teachers;

# R40-billion for healthcare, to be spent on buying Scandinavian doctors and implementing a cash-for-euthanasia programme;

# R15-million for Zimbabwe. Negotiate a discount if Robert Mugabe insists on selling as is;

 

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