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Under the cover of darkness


They say it’s only skelms who meet in the dead of night. I suppose it’s because they hope their dastardly deeds will go unnoticed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture Ian Landsberg

THEY say it’s only skelms who meet in the dead of night. I suppose it’s because they hope their dastardly deeds will go unnoticed.

I can just imagine how criminals thrived in the days when there was no electricity.

Meeting in graveyards, dressed all in black, and then duking it out if the other one did not produce the goods. And, hey, if the duelling began and left one dead, they were in the perfect place to dispose of the body.

It’s the same as thinking that committing a crime behind closed doors will go unnoticed. You might get away with it for a time, but believe me your sins will find you out eventually.

Moving into the more modern era, clandestine meetings are still taking place.

One just needs to cast back your memory to a certain area in Johannesburg, infamously known as Saxon World.

Meetings were taking place behind closed doors and, more than likely, also in the dead of night.

When those people were meeting behind the doors, they were probably thinking that nobody would ever find out what was happening. In the words of Nelson Muntz, “Ha ha!”

However, this seems to be a growing trend.

Just cast your mind back to last year when in the dead of night former President Jacob Zuma announced two cabinet reshuffles.

Most notably South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande was axed as minister of higher education and replaced with Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize who was minister of home affairs.

Nzimande’s deputy Mduduzi Manana was replaced by Buti Manamela former deputy minister for planning and monitoring in the Presidency.

Manana resigned earlier this year, and the other ministers were all simply shuffled to various portfolios.

Mkhize was replaced at home affairs by Ayanda Dlodlo whose position as minister of communications was taken over by Mmamoloko Kubayi. Kubayi was the minister of energy and was replaced by former minister of state security David Mahlobo.

Mahlobo made way for the only new addition to the cabinet Bongani Bongo.

In March last year Zuma fired five ministers, including then finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas. They were replaced by former home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba and Sifiso Buthelezi, respectively, while Fikile Mbalula was given the position of police minister.

Zuma obviously thought his cloak and dagger operation would work and, I have to give the old man his due, it hasn’t exactly backfired – yet.

He just dumped his generals onto the newly-elected president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.

I have to envy Ramaphosa how he mastered his juggling act this week when he himself announced his “new” cabinet, also under the cover of darkness.

He has been forced to work “with the leftovers of the Zuma-regime”, but all his wheeling and dealing behind closed doors also enabled him to purge some of the generals.

Gigaba has been lucky to still hold on to a position and has been moved back to home affairs.

The former “Mr Fearfokkol” minister of police has also been lucky and has been moved to Luthuli House to head up the ANC’s election campaign.

Ramaphosa in his first “dead of the night” meeting was unfortunately not able to get rid of all the deadwood, but hopefully when the review is complete, he can finish what he started.

It might be a good idea to also hold his next big meeting under the cover of darkness, in the graveyard to finally bury the former regime