Do you remember the phrase “goetjoe?”
It’s similar to the word “schadenfreude”, which is defined as taking pleasure in someone else’s troubles or misfortune.
Initially it had some guilt attached as it was seen as unbecoming gloating, but it has since come to imply that those troubles are deserving and long overdue.
I have been experiencing mild feelings of guilt-free schadenfreude on a regular basis recently.
The latest is thanks to Facebook, which has decided to uphold Donald Trump’s suspension for at least another two years.
The social media giant is also no longer going to allow world leaders to stoke violence by posting inflammatory things in the interest of newsworthiness.
Closer to home, Jacob Zuma continues to fight against his own comeuppance with one legal tap dance after another.
But he is merely delaying the inevitable, as he will eventually face the music, just like others who raided the national purse during his presidency, are having to.
I suspect the entire country will join in on my schadenfreude, once the Gupta clan finally becomes awaiting-trial prisoners in South Africa.
They are now officially international fugitives, after our prosecution bosses asked Interpol to help arrest and escort them into their very own shackles.
Many of their suspected minions, who allegedly did their state capture bidding are either already behind bars, or are currently on trial.
There are so many allegations against the Guptas, that the Zondo Commission might as well be renamed the Gupta Commission.
But it’s nothing compared to what I imagine will come out at a trial where they are the main accused.
We may even get to hear about many more politicians whose palms were greased and who have managed to escape suspicion, or even accusations.
This sweet era of reckoning feels almost unreal as new corruption revelations make us gasp with both disappointment and delight.
Delight because there appears to be a real commitment to expose the culprits and see them brought to book.
After all, the Special Investigations Unit is still looking into well over 1 000 Covid-related contracts awarded to close to 3 000 service providers and worth close to R8 billion.
Who knows what’s going to come out of that.
While the rest of us were distracted by the pandemic crisis, focused on saving our jobs and the lives of our loved ones, they sadly saw it as an opportunity to stick their long fingers into the public coffers.
Disappointment because sometimes the fingers point towards very unlikely individuals; like Health Minister Zweli Mhkize, who now also seems to be implicated.
And for a little while, it looked like he was doing so well – heading up our vaccine roll-out and even contracting Covid, while travelling the country talking about the pandemic.
But now it seems that much of those PR journeys and media conferences were organised by a company that was grossly overcharging his department, and by extension, all of us.
Of course the minister is pleading innocence; that he had nothing to do with the awarding of the tender and that he is not friendly with the people who own the company – despite both having worked for him at some point.
I was actually starting to root for the guy, but alas, the evidence seems a little more than just circumstantial at the moment.
While it bothers me that lives could probably have been saved if this did not happen, I am over being sad about wasteful expenditures like this.
I am just happy that we get to know about it and that the consequences send strong messages to others who harbour the same crooked thoughts.
And if you still go ahead in the current climate, like kids who just won’t listen, well then when you get caught I will still not feel guilty for thinking “goetjoe.”