Many eminent people have written open letters to the president urging him to be more presidential. He’s probably too busy to respond but, if he did, it would look something like this….
Dear Gareth, Andrew, Tracey, Ben and anyone else who has written me an open letter in the past couple of weeks. I was shocked (and surprised) to receive them.
Now, you all seem to have a problem with the way I’m managing this lockdown and some of you got quite emotional about the whole thing, so let me just put you all in the picture and, hopefully, clear up a few misunderstandings.
Incidentally, in addition to the open letters, I’ve also had a couple of advocates send me a letter asking me what the hell I think I’m playing at and droning on about constitutionality. As an aside to that one, I had a phone call at three in the morning a few days ago from King Goodwill asking who the hell this person was wearing leopard skins and whether the SAHRC could arrest her on a charge of ‘cultural appropriation’. Fortunately I managed to calm him down and persuaded him to toddle off and make a nice cup of tea for himself.
So, before I go any further, let me just point out that all orders covering the banning or unbanning of underwear and things like that come from the National Coronavirus Command Council. The clue is in the name….duh!
We call the shots
If we’d wanted your input we would have called it the National Coronavirus Chit-Chat Council or the National Coronavirus Conciliatory Conversation Council, but we don’t and we didn’t. It’s called the Command Council because we call the shots and you lot have no choice but to obey. So, for example, if we give out the order that jigsaw puzzles are not to be sold because they help spread the virus, then that’s how it’s going to be. Every so often we like to tease you all just to keep you on your toes and we may relax a regulation or arbitrarily introduce another one. The rule on exercising between 6 and 9 in the morning was one of our classics. Of course we knew that it would be dark for at least the first hour, and of course we knew that if we let you all out of your cages during the same narrow time frame there would be crowding and we’d be able to arrest more people. Clearly you lot can’t take a joke.
Last week we spent many hours in a meeting with our advisers from the clothing industry, coming up with a plan as to what we would like to see you all wearing this winter. I should point out that the advisers from the clothing industry are just that – advisers – and the ultimate decision rests, after many hours of deliberation, with the Command Council. So we have banned open-toed shoes because they look uncouth, besides which, many people have athlete’s foot, which is known to transmit the COVID-19 virus. You may now buy a T-shirt but only if you pretend it isn’t a T-shirt but an undergarment. Remember, we are doing all this for your own good.
Cat out of the bag
There’s been much moaning in your open letters about our bans on booze and ciggies and some disgusting suggestions that we have ulterior motives for such bans. I was disappointed that Edward Kieswetter let the cat out of the bag by announcing that SARS is losing R1.7 billion in duty per month, but that’s water under the bridge now and, besides, it’s only money. The important thing is that some people are making a lot more money out of the illicit cigarette and booze business and that’s good because that money finds its way back into the economy via luxury car dealerships, and creates jobs. Probably.
To suggest that Mama Zuma is a beneficiary simply because she has been photographed with illicit ciggie trade kingpins is a vile slur on her otherwise unblemished character. You may as well suggest that Queen Elizabeth II was part of State Capture because she once hosted Jacob Zuma for a state dinner at Buck House and had a couple of snaps taken with him. Although I suppose you could define being head of the Commonwealth as a form of State Capture, so maybe the accusation isn’t so far fetched.
As far as the booze ban is concerned, I did give you three days warning of the lockdown, so if you didn’t load up your supermarket trolleys with hooch in preparation then you have only yourselves to blame. Admittedly it was only going to be a three-week lockdown, but we were having such fun coming up with all sorts of silly rules that we decided to extend it indefinitely. We have now added various levels for you to aspire to and, if we think you’ve been obedient enough, we may let you buy jigsaw puzzles some day.
My brother Nicolas
But the curfew will remain and, as many of you will know, I had a great chat to my brother Nicolas Maduro towards the end of April and he gave me some useful tips. You’ll recall that Nic is the big cheese in Venezuela, a country that ranks high on the international happiness indicator with a thriving economy that we would be lucky to emulate.
With regard to the curfew and the general behaviour of the riff-raff during lockdown, Nic advised me to take no shit from you lot. ‘If you’ve got to beat up a few people to get the message across,’ he said, ‘then so be it. It’s John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism, innit?’
I also had a wonderful conversation with Hassan Rouhani of Iran, although I fear much of his wisdom was lost in translation. Iran, like SA, is a liberal democracy and a great respecter of human rights. Unless you happen to be gay, of course. He also had a few tips for me and when I’ve had them translated I’ll be happy to share them with you. Or not, as the case may be.
You’ll appreciate that in my lonely battle against this invisible enemy, which has so far decimated .0004% of our population, I don’t have the brightest bulbs in the chandelier to work with. Little Ebrahim is very keen to get his hands dirty, but I’m still worried that he thought e-commerce involved the selling of e-cigarettes and didn’t want to upset Mama Zuma (who does?). Then there’s Lindiwe Zulu, who is rather giving our future plans away by dressing in military camouflage and wearing a beret with the Cuban flag on it. But, as one charitable soul put it on Twitter, she might have been on her way to a paint-ball game after her press conference.
Communication with the riff-raff
We have made mistakes and I admitted that last week in my address to the nation. What I think we are also missing is clear communication with the riff-raff. The Brits have a slogan ‘Stay alert – control the virus – save lives’. Even if the Poms don’t know what it means at least it shows that the government cares.
We also need a slogan, and I think it should be ‘Shut up – check your privilege – do as we tell you’. This neatly encapsulates the sort of uncertain future we are planning for you.
And finally let me reassure you all…within a few weeks, a liquor and cigarette ban will be the very least of your worries.
I thank you.
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR