Chairman of the MK Military Veterans Association, Kebby Maphatsoe.  Picture: SOWETAN
Kebby Maphatsoe. Picture: SOWETAN

NEXT week, my lawyers are petitioning a court in Sudan to interdict two British citizens, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.

Threatened with torture — if not hanging — Curtis and Elton will immediately accept the demand that no filming or production of any future Blackadder series or film be permitted until Kebby Maphatsoe, SA’s deputy minister of defence and military veterans and chairman of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military (MK) Veterans Association, is guaranteed an audition.

Although it is mere speculation, the theory is that Maphatsoe’s acting genius was born when he decided to desert an African National Congress (ANC) military camp in Uganda.

He wasn’t a soldier, he was a cook. One night, he allegedly took the pot he was using for peeling potatoes, placed it over his head and ran towards the darkness, or rather straight into a group of local forces, who shot him.

That night, sadly, he lost his arm — but we gained our own Groucho Marx.

In September 2014, Maphatsoe produced a barnstormer when he accused the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, of being a spy on the US Central Intelligence Agency’s payroll. This, he announced at a funeral in Soweto.

Now, it is known that the ANC mischievously uses death for publicity at funerals, but on this occasion the angry reaction to Maphatsoe’s accusations was unwarranted; he was merely following instructions, while showcasing his talents.

Likewise, at another memorial in November last year, Maphatsoe declared that "terrorists were planning to attack the Gautrain".

But it wasn’t the Islamic State, he said, these terrorists were "homegrown". He admitted that President Jacob Zuma had told him that if these homegrown terrorists were to get their way, "he’d be going straight back to Robben Island".

The only weakness in his performance that day — the reason the ANC chose to distance itself from these comments — was his mention of the Marikana massacre (in which he stated that the police "were merely defending themselves").

Forgive him.

When his career flourishes, he’ll learn that you don’t make silly jokes about September 11 or the Marikana massacre. It’s just not good comedy.

Apart from Zuma, who finds unemployment and crime (among others) hysterical, there’s a chronic absence of comedy in South African politics at a time when the country desperately needs it.

Since Marthinus van Schalkwyk stopped wearing those delightful trousers, all we appear to have are politicians who post pictures of dogs urinating on posters of the president and elected public servants who fight among themselves in Parliament (and then get water-cannoned).

We also have, curiously, elected youth movements that can’t spell "African" properly and think Isis is a country.

Maphatsoe’s permanent scowl indicates a man whose destiny is lost among his dull or angry or sick acquaintances — a man who is forced to use his considerable aptitude in the broad objective of maintaining support for his president.

He’s not the only individual in the government subjected to this boring, thankless task, but nobody does it as well.

In the largely rural provinces of Mpumalanga, Free State and North West, this effort requires food parcels or building contracts — Maphatsoe clearly comes up with his own material — something he isn’t credited enough for.

Maphatsoe’s ascent into show business will provide opportunities for other flat-earthers and adjective-cursed sycophants to assume this position.

But despite my intentions, there is another small, unresolved matter that involves Maphatsoe — one that may prompt an (unsolicited) career change.

In 2012, it was alleged that the top brass of the MK Military Veterans’ Association had plundered its investment holdings of R5.4m. An audit pointed to Maphatsoe as one of the recipients of this largesse, which is very naughty as the funds were intended to support impoverished former soldiers, not cooks.

Of course, he’s safe for now, but he would be wise to plan for the day when he stops being funny.

After all, it’s much harder for the authorities to arrest someone sitting on a yacht off the French Riviera surrounded by Russian ladies of ill repute than it is to arrest someone stuck in a rural dust bowl forced to drink tepid homemade beer from an old Dulux paint tin as they negotiate more votes for Number One.

• Reader works for an energy investment and political advisory firm