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First published by Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd in 2014 10 Orange Street Sunnyside Auckland Park 2092 South Africa +2711 628 3200 Š Conrad Koch, 2014 All rights reserved. ISBN 978-1-4314-1069-9 Also available as an e-book: 978-1-4314-2054-4 d-PDF 978-1-4314-2055-1 ePUB 978-1-4314-2056-8 mobi file Cover by Ghia Human Set in Stempel Garamond 10.5/15pt Job no. 002192 See a complete list of Jacana titles at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chester Missing is South Africa’s hottest new political analyst. He’s also a puppet, but it’s better not to mention it. Famous for performances on live shows such as Blacks Only, The Kings and Queens of Comedy, and the Vodacom Funny Festival, he is a frequent guest on politically minded radio platforms like Kaya FM and Talk Radio 702 and is a regular on ETV and eNCA’s International EMMY and SAFTA nominated satirical news show, Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. He was the only puppet officially allowed media access to the ANC’s 2012 conference in Mangaung and the 2014 State of the Nation Address, where he was invited by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe to visit the President’s fire-pool at Nkandla. Chester has political players from all sides of the fence running for cover and has interviewed the likes of Zwelinzima Vavi, Blade Nzimande, Baleka Mbete, Gwede Mantashe, Helen Zille, Mmusi Maimane, Bantu Holomisa, Malusi Gigaba, Patricia de Lille, Terror Lekota, CNN’s Richard Quest and Trevor Manuel.



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He is a social media junkie (follow him on Twitter @chestermissing), and regularly writes for the likes of City Press and We should probably also mention the author’s sidekick, Conrad Koch, who is South Africa’s top comedy ventriloquist and supports Chester Missing’s career as best he can. Mr Missing believes he is riding on it. Accompanied by a cast of puppets, Conrad performs around South Africa, overseas and at many of South Africa’s biggest comedy events. He has a master’s degree in social anthropology, and attempts to combine anthropology and political satire to get audiences to laugh and think at the same time.

Acknowledgements Thank you to all the politicians who were open minded enough to let a puppet interview them on TV, to the fans for all the love, to City Press for listening to a puppet, to T.O. Molefe, Marianne Thamm and Camillo Salojee for the read-throughs, to Zapiro, for supporting other artists, and to eNCA and the LNN team whose hard work make all this possible, and most of all to the fiancée of the puppet guy, Ghia, for her awesome and unwavering support.



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CONTENTS Introduction

Politics in South Africa Why would you want to vote?


xviii 1

History in a very small, slightly smelly nutshell

Before democracy South Africa after apartheid


How the South African democracy works or doesn’t

Parliament and MPs


The President The Constitution The Judiciary Cabinet Premiers and stuff

Parties and politicians


23 25





Why the ANC does the stuff it does


What’s the problem with the ANC?


How they are structured




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The current top 6


1. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma: (The Guptas / Nkandla / President Zuma, the good stuff) 2. Cyril Ramaphosa 3. Gwede Mantashe 4. Zweli Mkhize 5. Baleka Mbete 6. Jesse Duarte The ANC Women’s League ANC Youth League ANC, SACP, COSATU: The tripartite alliance The SACP COSATU What is the ANC promising us actually, really

59 60 62

63 65 67


Liberalism How the DA works Their leaders: Helen Zille

73 75




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The Western Cape 1. Patricia de Lille 2. Lindiwe Mazibuko 3. Mmusi Maimane


Race and the DA smurfs: My race is blue


The DA’s economic vibes COPE Lekota Mamphela Ramphele





IFP Buthelezi


NFP 99

UDM Holomisa


FF+ 103

EFF Julius Malema The last bit of the book

105 109



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Thank you for buying my book. I know puppets don’t usually write books, but puppets also don’t usually interview heads of political parties, cabinet ministers and the public protector on national television, or write for newspapers, or get involved in debates with actual political professors on radio shows. The most satisfying part of being a puppet is that no matter what you say you never have to take responsibility for saying it, so ix


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really being a puppet is just like being a politician. Some of you will think I am shamelessly riding on the election hype to get my own little latex-headed opinion out there, yet again. You are right. The facts in this book will not be checked. I will sometimes make up lies, just because I can. And I will use sex references because they are easy, and I am guaranteed to be slanderous. Basically this book is like the Sunday Times. Just a joke. No really. Hopefully this will be the most entertaining explanation of who to vote for and why to vote for them that you are likely to find. If you think I am making some bold promises, wait until you hear what the bastards in parliament have been saying. This year I deliberately made New Year’s resolutions and then broke them the next day, just to get into the political mind set. I asked SA’s top cartoonist, Zapiro, to help with some cartoons, because I know if a politician reads this they will need pictures to help them concentrate, and because Zapiro is my favourite satirical apartheid beneficiary. I don’t always agree with him, but in the world of cartoonists he’s the Jackie Chan. I know some people think he should take the shower head off the president’s head, because in South Africa water supply always involves a protest. A whole lot of you will be asking obvious practical questions, like how, as a puppet, am I able to type, and who my ventriloquist is. The first part is my little secret, the second is screw him, look on the back if you really must know, bloody freeloader that he is. x


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Politics in South Africa Politics in South Africa is a big deal. The US voter turnout for Barak Obama was 64%. The last UK elections had 65.1%. South Africa last had 77.3%, in spite of the fact that we always know who will win. Our elections are like a Bafana Bafana game. Our president scores more than our soccer team. For one it’s easy to guilt trip South Africans into voting, especially the older ones. It’s like when you eat your peas because you are told there are starving kids in Ethiopia (that there are starving kids down the road never seemed as compelling for parents), except with voting the people who risked their lives for everyone’s right to do so are still in our faces. Ethiopians are far away, in Hillbrow. It’s tough going: ‘Thanks for the efforts, Madiba, RIP, but we would rather watch CSI than go choose who will run our country’. On the other hand younger middle-class South Africans have worked out that the struggle happened so that they could choose to drink flavoured beer all day instead of voting. Amandla to that, china. The person in charge of the elections and the IEC (sounds like a fridge, but actually it’s the Independent Electoral Commission), Pansy Tlakula wanted to add two million new voters to the voters’ roll for this year’s elections. Take Zimbabwe for example. They are so open minded about this type of thing that even dead people can vote. Now that’s democracy. In South Africa we love politics like Tiger Woods xi


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loves vaginas. One reason is because so many people were deprived of access to power for so long. As any bulimic will tell you, depriving yourself of cookies for too long means you binge when you get some cookies. Also, many people suspect that if the opposition wins they will bring back apartheid, so the cookies are still very much in danger. Some people vote for the same reason they use their Voyager miles, they might get cancelled if you don’t use them. Yes, you guessed it: I am being paid per metaphor. We also have innate fears that come from our past. I know, who would have thought? For example a poll in 2013 found that many black youths are scared that if the Democratic Alliance wins Helen Zille will bring back apartheid. Zille is more likely to bring back shoulder pads than apartheid. She’s a bit of an auntie (not in a diminished way, Comrade Feminists). Of course ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa knows this, the apartheid thing not the shoulder pad thing, so he warned that not voting will bring back the boere. Cyril owns farms, so I think he was talking about himself. Besides, if Oom Cyril is a boer he might bring back two-tone hunting shirts. On the other hand there are many white South Africans who believe that if they don’t vote DA we will fall into a dark abyss of tenders, shiny suits and failed education: i.e. that South Africa will turn into Limpopo. Both of these groups are wrong, but don’t tell them that – it’ll ruin all the fun. We spend a lot of time convincing ourselves that the only reason anyone would support the party we don’t xii


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support is because they are morons, bigots, and maybe sex offenders. That last bit was not a Zuma joke, BTW. In this book I want to explain why we should learn to understand voters’ motivations on their own terms. I am crazy like that. We need to realise it’s not only white people who vote DA, and that black people who vote ANC are not cultural zombies who have been injected with mind-control drugs to do as Gwede Mantashe tells them. Another thing about this book is that if you don’t know who Gwede Mantashe is, don’t worry. That’s what I am here for. If you look for the hairiest comrade in the room, the one who sounds like a diesel engine, and is kind of beach-ball shaped, that comrade is probably ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Give him a hug. It makes him growl. The problem with writing about South African politics is that it’s inherently bigoted, because we have spent 350 years practicing racism and 20 years pretending to be non-racial. If race is a drug then we are Charlie Sheen. Like with drugs, the biggest addicts are the most in denial about it. The people who see colour most are usually the ones who swear that they ‘don’t see colour’. Unless you’re a Labrador, Cheesepuff, you do see colour and pretending you don’t is a political act. Of course, Comrade Reader, I am not talking about you, just people you know. The problem in politics is that there is no neutral ground. No matter what I write someone somewhere will see me as a puppet, or as they call puppets at The xiii


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New Age newspaper, ‘journalists’. Because they are so much bigger than everyone else, the ANC gets a lot of flak, and have more chances to screw up than any other party, except that group of people called COPE. COPE is the only party on earth to sue itself to death, but I’ll get to that in a while. The point is that the ANC will get more focus in this book than any other party, because they run 8/9 provinces and hold 66% of the seats in parliament. They are bigger than everyone else, so they get more heat. It’s not special love or special hate. That costs extra. People assume that you have to be biased against someone if you throw poo at them, even if you regularly throw poo at everyone. How can I be biased towards the ANC and the DA and the EFF at the same time? It’s like being heckled by schizophrenics. The problem with the Democratic Alliance, for example, is that they believe their poo doesn’t stink, which is why it’s so ironic when their stinky poo gets dumped on their doorstep. They provided porta-potties for people to poo in their houses. It’s like high-tech apartheid. As I have pointed out before, how do you make someone kak in a bucket and call it ‘service delivery’? We should throw our Number 2’s at the Number 1’s. But then again, the ANC also has bucket toilets. Voting is a strategic game, and it’s based on what you believe in, where you live and who you are. Maybe you should vote for Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters? Maybe you support grannies and want to vote AGANG? Dr Mamphela Ramphele should make their campaign slogan ‘One gogo, one xiv


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vote’ (although the ANC senior leadership is also a bit of an old age home, as opposed to the crèche that is the DA shadow cabinet). Maybe you want to vote for right-wing Afrikaners, the Freedom Front, because if anyone knows how to expropriate a farm without compensation it’s them. How do you think they got the land in the first place? The problem is that politically we often fall into simplistic fault lines that run to the core of why South Africans often don’t understand each other. It’s exactly like being married, without the sex and shared credit cards. It’s impossible to explain our politics without dealing with the fact that your race and class massively affect how you understand it. For example, people continuously ask me whether I have ever gotten into trouble for the things I say. Thanks for the concern, but puppets don’t get into trouble, they just get promoted to the board of the SABC. When people ask if I get into trouble, what they usually mean is ‘does the ANC get upset?’, because there is a misnomer that the DA is more accepting than the ANC. Outside of the lunatics advising the president, they aren’t. You may have heard of this painting, The Spear, by a guy called Brett Murray? He painted the president with his penis hanging out. The ANC were hard on him for this (yes, I went there). Were they wrong? Should we take for granted that artistic licence makes it socially acceptable for a white guy, in a white-owned gallery, in a previously white area xv


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to paint a picture of a black leader, ex-Robben Islander and apartheid hero with his penis hanging out? The ANC’s reaction was hysterical, but should we forget that the reason there are so many jokes about black men’s dicks is because of a history of comparing them with animals? (BTW, this is officially the most serious paragraph in this entire book. Thanks for taking your time to read it.) If you are going to be balanced about politics you need to think about this, and the fact that the ANC and friends marched against a painting of a presidential penis, but not against mud schools, HIV/AIDS and rape, so two stars for hypocrisy guys. R200 million on home security and you still think the President needs your help defending his ‘mshini wami’. Yes, our President is a bit of a slut, and yes, he will shout racism at the drop of a kanga, and yes, suing cartoonists is more backwards than Julius Malema’s tax returns, but ignoring the racial (and class and gender) biases in how we talk about politics is just plain stupid. At the opening of Parliament there was an MP, Thandile Sunduza, who was pregnant, round and in a yellow dress. She looked like Maya the BBBEE. She received an all-out onslaught of ridicule. She seemed like an approachable, friendly person: i.e. the sort of person you want representing people (if that matters in this). Statistics SA’s Statistician-General, Pali Lehohla, is also quite round and also dresses like a walking carton of Ultra Mel, but no ridicule. Sexism for dayyyyysss. The same goes for Juju (Julius Malema’s nickname, that makes him sound like a type of revolutionary xvi


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sweetie). He called Helen Zille ‘the madam’ (I have sympathy for this one, albeit it could be sexist, but then if he had called her ‘baas’ it might be even more sexist), and anyone but the most extreme bigot would be OK with his calling Lindiwe Mazibuko a ‘tea girl’. Bigotry is so normal for us we should include it in the GDP. OK. It got serious now. I will make up for it with shower jokes.



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Chester Missing flipping preview  

Political wonk, sharp social commentator, relentless interviewer of people who try to get away from him, Chester Missing explains all of his...

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