From The Basement with The Gimp


What is your name Madam?


Helen who?

Helen Premier



Leader of what Madam Helen?

Leader of Democratic Alliance, the ruler of Western Cape

I am lost, Madam Premier, leader or ruler?

I am the leader, but my party is the ruler of the Western Cape

I am afraid that I am still lost madam premier?

DON’T MISQUOTE ME! My party is not the ruler, but the ruling party of the Western Cape.

So does that make you the leader or ruler of the province?? .. [or am I perhaps being obtuse Madam?]

Come on Gimpy, remain in your basement.

No further questions.


I withdraw back to my now slightly warmer basement feeling somewhat dejected.  

The same state of confusion however continues to engulf me as I discover that the conversation above was but a dream, a wild figment of my imagination, perhaps even a symptom of cabin fever... But to clear my mind, I decide to hastily check what was happening in the outer world through the only means available to me and before I heard the warning steps of my master’s approach as he resentfully presents me with my single meal of the day – it was all over twitter. “Mazibuko is nothing without me…” followed by a rejoinder from your good self madam and of course some supporters whom were possibly “misquoted”.

Were you misquoted Madam Premier? You well know that The Gimp doesn’t trust utterances from politicians and for fear of misquoting you, I went trawling through the piles of old newspapers that my master stores in the basement [which prove to be most useful to me as the nights become chilly and I am in dire need of bedcovers]. I needed to establish how easy it has been for the journalists to misquote you Madam Premier.

Madam Premier I am forced to add that the tedious process of excavating through the chaos of these old newspapers wasn’t easy, although mid-way through this exhaustive, but worthwhile endeavor, I finally was able to get my limited grey matter around some of the attributes that could have been accurate? Uncertain of what to believe, I turned to the desktop assessment of your various statements of the recent past in order to attempt to establish some plausible conclusions – either that of The Sunday Times or of yours? [I was rather tempted to call upon the impressive Advocate Gerrie Nel to assist in this examination only to discover that the cellphone the Master has given to me is only able to receive calls – and is barred from anything outgoing] 

To be fair to you my dear Madam Premier, I couldn’t delve very far due to the limited time available to me. However you may recall your press briefing of January 28 when your proposed courtship (or was it marriage) to AgangSA leader (owner), Dr. Mamphela Ramphele was announced? Whilst urging the nation and the electorates to “support this marriage”, you also informed the entire world that it was “a game-changer”.

Your exact words; “Interactions like this that are real game-changers in politics take time, look at different formats, go through different options, scenarios and you will work it out.

"As context change, most sensible people change their positions. We've come to this point, we have an agreement politically, but we have just the technical details to be worked out on the coming together of the DA and Agang structures and volunteers. For the rest we believe this is the best way to take South Africa forward into this critical election."

These quotes you have never denied and for that much needed support you assured everyone who cared (I must confess that The Gimp didn’t care a jot) that you had known Dr. Ramphele “for decades” (four to be exact).

Then the inevitable happened Madam Premier. The marriage was called off before it was consummated. And like a scorned spouse, you dove straight into the offensive against the runaway bride/groom. You called Dr. Ramphele, your “friend of decades”, all sorts of names.

Other than calling her “untrustworthy”, what struck me were the words that you uttered to TalkRadio 702’s John Robbie… “I didn’t want a friend’s career to end in ignominy and with Agang it was going to end up in complete failure and I just wanted to rescue her from that.”

Mamphela has massive debts and she had clearly realized that being in politics was not as easy as she thought it would be, which is why she needed a lifeline.”

Madam Premier, several questions linger in my mind when I discovered those words buried in some not-so-old sound clips. 

  • If Dr. Mamphele had personally been known to you for all those decades, how could you have failed to realize how ‘untrustworthy’ she was previous to this proposed marriage? What does that tell us of your qualities as a leader? You surely must have known of her “skittish” personality and her untrustworthiness previous to the courting period of this proposed marriage? Why on earth would you entrust such a person with the enormous responsibility of becoming our possible president?
  • In your own words Madam Premier, you were “trying to save your friend who was facing political oblivion” [at the cost of the public?]… ‘jobs for pals!’ just one word Madam Premier, ‘Corruption’. You admitted to the entire nation that you attempted to use your position within the DA to rescue your friend.
  • Were you then admitting that there was nobody suitably qualified enough within ‘your’ party ranks worthy of becoming ‘your’ presidential candidate? Why were you then shocked to learn that Ms. Mazibuko had finally heard enough of the affair!

Madam Premier, having brought those wonders of The Basement to your kind attention, please allow The Gimp to briefly revisit the “she-said-I-didn’t say” of the Lindiwe Mazibuko saga. Yes, you could have been misquoted as we journalists clearly often do this and especially to you? Madam, like when you called certain people from another province ‘educational refugees’... can you not see that you have brought this upon yourself? If it is true that you “made” Ms. Mazibuko, would you now question her admission to Harvard or you would claim credit for that too?

‘Dr. Ramphele untrustworthy’, ‘Mazibuko made and saved repeatedly’ by your good self. I must then wonder what you would say of our good Cape Town mayor, Patty when she decides that she is better off being ‘single’. The Gimp thinks that you might say something like, “I made her the Mayor of the Mother city.” [And perhaps you did.]

Unsurprisingly Madam Premier, when you were cornered, you evoked the so-called secrecy and confidentiality that your party’s federal executive members should abide by. Oh but Madam, you didn’t stop there did you? You continued to blame some “nameless people” within ‘your’ party – [the political party you have helped grow]- who would love to see you toppled. Or has M&G misquoted you as well!

Madam Premier, due to your past reactions to the long line of your broken relationships, The Gimp is inclined to go with the Sunday Times’ version of what you “allegedly” said.

I, Gimpy, put it to you that the only thing left for you to do Madam is surely to stop being a despotic ruler and be a true leader instead! Let me borrow from the words of an American author, Arnold H. Glasow; “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”

Goodnight and best wishes from The Basement with The Gimp.