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A pity Christo Wiese didn’t stay in politics

Christo Wiese might have saved himself much financial anguish had he remained a politician.

Just as the country would have been saved much financial anguish if only some of its leading politicians had gone into business instead.

Too late for tears: He might have made a better politician. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The billionaire’s potential political prowess was raised at the launch of TJ Strydom’s book Christo Wiese: Risiko en Rykdom the other evening.

A journalist asked the author why Wiese hadn’t become a politician. Strydom agreed that he would have made a “fantastic” politician, but his politics were too liberal when he was younger and there was no political future for an Afrikaner like him when he became older.

Ag Christo, I know the feeling. You and I both tried, as Progressive Federal Party candidates, to unseat the sitting National Party MP and cabinet minister John Wiley in the Simon’s Town constituency. You first, then I, several years later, in 1987.

We both lost, but I by far fewer votes than you – only 268.

It was the last election anyone fought against Wiley because he shot himself two days before nomination day. I still managed to lose against his stand-in, couldn’t afford to remain in politics and eventually returned to full-time journalism.

You also gave up politics, and that’s where our paths parted. You became the richest man in South Africa. I would have, too, had I known how. I wouldn’t have minded losing a billion or two, so long as I still had a billion in the kitty, and at least one of my remaining executive jets.

Business has done nothing to deserve them, but government needs a break. In fact we all do.

But I would have tried not to be as miserable about it as you.

Just think, you could have avoided it all by remaining a politician. You would have been better at the job than a whole list of leading politicians today who see politics, rather than business, as the royal road to wealth.

If only the Wieses (with father-in-law Japie Basson as an example) had stuck to politics, and the Zumas had stayed out of it, the country would be in better shape.

All right, the former president can’t count up to much beyond eleventy fifty million, but someone could have given him a job assembling machine guns. He would never have had to call for one of his own again.

Other re-elected MPs have other talents that would be better employed in the commercial sector. Malusi Gigaba, now that he’s withdrawn himself, is already free to run a men’s outfitting store with himself as the chief model, Bathabile Dlamini could offer herself as an expert in rating five-star hotel facilities, and David Mahlobo, once the country’s chief spy and best-known frequenter of an escort agency, could head up a chain of such amenities for redeployed politicians.

Others who should immediately be let loose on the corporate world (God help it) are Nomvula Mokonyane, Faith Muthambi, Bongani Bongo, Mosebenzi Zwane, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Tina Joemat-Pettersson (yes, her again).

Business has done nothing to deserve them, but government needs a break. In fact we all do.

Even that aforementioned poor little rich man.

  • johnvscott@mweb.co.za
Meer oor:  Christo Wiese  |  John Scott  |  Politiek  |  Rubriek  |  Mening
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