Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-26 Reporter: Ben Trovato

On the Run: Poor People Created by Medical Practitioners, Lawyers, Banks and Cellphone Operators



Cape Times

Date 2004-10-26


Ben Trovato

Web Link


I have a neighbour whose sneeze is identical to the bark of a territorial baboon. Although I no longer spill my drink when he goes off, Clive still screams and runs inside. Brenda shows no reaction whatsoever. Typical.

I have no contact with the neighbours. I don't even know if they are human.

To be honest, I don't care. Estate agents in Cape Town are such rapacious dogs that they are quite capable of letting a house to a troop of maverick monkeys, as long as they are paid the dollar equivalent in bananas.

Speaking of filthy lucre, there is a lot of talk these days about who paid what to whom and why.

And quite frankly, I am appalled to discover there are enemies of the state who would have it that Jacob Zuma is somehow handicapped when it comes to dealing with matters of a financial nature.

This is a heinous fib.

South Africa is not one of those countries where you get to be made deputy president simply because you are in possession of enough damaging information to bring the government to its knees with a single press conference. No, this is not Switzerland.

Commander Jay-Zee, as he is affectionately known in the micro-lending industry, obviously deals with the same bank that I do.

This is one of the reasons neither of us ever has any money.

I received a credit card statement the other day that reflected something called an I Card Charge backed up by an entire regiment of finance charges running into hundreds, possibly even thousands of rands.

My current account statement is the same, only this time the mugging takes place under the guise of service fees, all of which make about as much sense as the chief of the defence force pinning a bravery medal onto the chest of a white soldier for his actions in Angola in 1987. I am not making this up.

This actually happened in Pretoria on Saturday. I would have thought he would be up on charges, but instead it's me. I am up on bank charges. What the hell are these charges?

I never even go into a bank for fear that I will have to stand in a queue behind a woolly reject in an anorak who only stops telling me about his mother's hip operation once I sink my teeth into the fleshy part of his neck.

Instead, I poke my piece of plastic into a slot and get my money. If I'm lucky, I get a scrap of paper telling me how much I have just drawn out, like I am sort of moron who can't remember how much I asked for.

This is after standing in a dark street, in the rain and wind, risking getting raped, to make a withdrawal from the fourth machine after the first three said Temporarily Out of Order. And they call that service and still charge me for it. Bastards.

There are other things that I suspect caused Jay-Zee to suffer fiscal distress. Visiting his dentist, for one.

I have no doubt that some politicians are quite comfortable opening their mouths to accept oral favours, but the Deputy President is not among them.

I have come across men of power and status whose mouths are in an advanced state of rot after a lifetime of lying through their teeth but, again, Jay-Zee is not such a man.

However, decay is an inevitable consequence of life and even though we taxpayers heave a collective shudder at the thought of strange men rooting around in the maws of our leaders, we have to accept that they, too, are human.

Like the deputy president, I am reluctant to open my mouth these days.

Not for fear of incriminating myself but because I fear that someone will point out that a visit to the dentist is long overdue. Brenda did this on Saturday.

I wasn't even trying to kiss her at the time. My mouth was simply hanging open, as it does over weekends, and she told me to shut it because I was stinking the whole place up. I thought that was rather rude.

To be honest, I had been in agony for a while, but I took it as referred pain from my miserable marriage.

Apparently not, because when I went to the dentist yesterday he took one look and whistled through his perfect teeth.

It was one of those whistles that said: "Oh boy. This will cover my entire Christmas in Reunion. And that's just the infection control."

The anaesthetic pays for the special early bird Creole massage while the Bond 3s Patched d Cusp takes care of the paragliding.

It is neither apartheid, crack nor Klipdrift that are responsible for the massive poverty that exists in this country today.

Poor people are created by medical practitioners, divorce lawyers, banks and cellphone operators.

None of us are immune. Even respected businessmen such as Schabir Shaik, known in judicial circles as Jacob's Ladder, go to the dentist. However, having your truth pulled is a far more painful procedure and often a lot more expensive in the long run.

The democrats would have us believe that corruption of an organ of state is only curable by voting. This is absolutely not true.

Organs in Africa are transplanted all the time.

The Lord's Resistance Army knows this better than most. They just lack the ice to keep them fresh.

With acknowledgements to Ben Trovato and the Cape Times.