Never Mind About the Submarines, What About Our Condom Factory?
In East London they don't understand much about the Zuma affair, and they are not particularly interested in acquiring German submarines, but they are bitterly disappointed at not getting their promised condom factory.
Part of the arms deal was that condomi AG in Cologne, an associate of Ferrostaal, which acts on behalf of the German Submarine Consortium, would manufacture condoms in the Eastern Cape in a joint venture with South Africa. In a shock decision, condomi Africa is now being liquidated.
"What Zuma got out of all this we don't know," complained Max (not his real name, he's just an official who has the interests of his region at heart). "But at least we could have got our condoms."
"There must be other factories in South Africa making condoms," I said. "It must be easy enough, they're a bit like balloons."
"Not in East London," said Max. "The only reason we supported the arms deal here was so that we could make our own. The idea was that we would produce 100 million a year for a start - that's more than six for every sexually-active male in the country."
"It doesn't seem a lot, once each every two months," I said.
"Production would have increased," explained Max. "In due course the joint venture would have supplied large parts of the African market."
"Large parts were never in doubt," I joked, but Max refused to be sidetracked into lewdness. "I blame a lot of it on the French connection," he said. "Why else should Thales get involved, other than to stop the Germans helping us locally in what we used to call the French-letter business?"
"I never thought of that," I said.
"When Bulelani Ngcuka said he had prima facie evidence of corruption on the part of Zuma, did he realise he was also ending the nation's prima facie use of East London condoms?" asked Max. "Far too much attention is being paid to submarines and other frigging ships. Who are we going to fight with them?"
"Make love, not war," I agreed.
"Safe sex before submarines," he said. "Lucky for the deputy president they didn't ask me to give evidence. I would have told the Scorpions of the time when Zuma was guest speaker at Condom Awareness Week and they handed out defective condoms. They tried to warn people attending the rally not to use them but it was too late. Some saw they had no expiry date and had already put them on."
"Zuma probably didn't know at the time, he's got a lot of things on his mind," I said.
"It's not what he's got on his mind that worries me, it's what millions should have on other parts of them that they don't," said Max. "Unless we get a new venture partner, this will be another arms deal cock-up."
With acknowledgements to John Scott and the Cape Times.