Thieves steal but MPs expropriate without compensation

Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 6, 2020


I understand that former state president Jacob Zuma is deeply hurt by the way his old ANC colleagues have abandoned him.

According to a Sunday newspaper report, Mr Zuma says people have been saying most disrespectful things about him and none of his former political allies have so much as lifted a finger to support him. His brother is quoted as saying some people have even stooped so low as to call him a thief. Now, this is naughty. Politicians should know better than to call each other thieves.

There's a strict verbal protocol among politicians. Politicians, for example, never tell lies. They may be “economical with the truth”, but they never lie. If the things they say turn out to be untrue it is because they have been “misinformed”, not because they lied. Good gracious! Of course not. It's not for nothing they refer to each other as “Honourable members.”

In the same way it is politically unacceptable to accuse an Honourable member of being a thief. Thieves steal. Honourable members would never steal. But if an Honourable member were to take something that belonged to somebody else without paying for it there's a politically accepted expression to describe that. It’s called “expropriation without compensation”.

Over the years I have suffered several burglaries here in my peaceful neck of the Peninsula. Thieves have made off with workshop tools, a couple of cellphones and a pair of garden chairs, among other items.

As far as I know, none of these thefts were committed by Honourable politicians, so I feel comfortable referring to them simply as thefts, committed by thieves.

I received no compensation for the property that the thieves expropriated, but I realise they were just common or garden non-political thefts. We do have to be careful about the language we use in this ultra-sensitive country of ours.

I know from experience that the jokes I use in this column have had to undergo a rigorous sanitising process before publication. We use a system of filters to remove any taint of racism, sexism, ageism or any other stray isms that may have sneaked in.

If you do detect any -isms you may report them in writing to the National Joke Complaints Authority.

I think I can claim that my jokes have been laundered even more thoroughly than the Gupta millions. Read them with a clear conscience.

Incidentally, have you noticed there are no original jokes? Nobody ever says: “I made up a good joke yesterday.” Jokes all come from somewhere else. They usually begin: “Did you hear the one about the...”

In other words, all jokes are stolen from someone else. Or as we say in political circles: expropriated without compensation.

Last Laugh:

A politician visited a remote little rural village and asked the inhabitants what the government could do for them.

“We have two big needs,” said the village headman. “First, we have a hospital but no doctor.”

The politician whipped out his cellphone, spoke for a while and then said: “I have sorted it out. A doctor will arrive here tomorrow. What is your other need?”

“We have no cellphone reception at all in our village.”

* "Tavern of the Seas" is a daily column written in the Cape Argus by David Biggs. Biggs can be contacted at [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Cape Argus

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