Comment by John Robbie

Comment by John Robbie on Protecting The President

“Here’s a tough question: ‘What was the most ridiculous event in the old South Africa?’

Having given it a lot of thought, I think it was when the government banned the SABC from mentioning that some protesters threw a tomato at the then President PW Botha. They decided in their wisdom that the news couldn’t mention the word ‘tomato’; instead they had to report that the demonstrator – presumably a 'communist' – threw ‘vegetable matter’ at the President.

In years to come, we look back at Gwede Mantashe in the same way that the President ‘has to be protected in Parliament’: Parliament has to protect the President and Cyril Ramaphosa from humiliation and embarrassment and he hasn’t explained just how Parliament is expected to do this. It’s all about the robust debates surrounding Marikana and Nkandla, we also had the No Confidence debate about the Speaker - but it’s really an issue about respect.

I said ages ago that Nkandla and the way the ANC is protecting President Zuma is trying to defend the indefensible; treating us all as idiots and this is really the issue: it is a joke! And when people treat a joke as something serious, it gets even funnier – just like a tomato having to be called ‘vegetable matter’. One day, we’ll look back at this and laugh.” - John Robbie.

Listen to The Comment in full here.


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