This has been a bad, bad week for us and next week threatens to be worse. This week a four year old child at a play-school fell into a pit toilet and died in the faeces…..not the first and probably not the last school death because too many schools still have pit toilets in spite of repeated promises by the government to eliminate them.
Then the strike by the National education, hospital, and allied workers Union (Nehawu) has seen the death of four patients directly attributed to their strike. In the first reported case striking workers blocked the entrance to a hospital and a desperately sick child on a stretcher brought in by ambulance was left to die because they couldn’t get passed the strikers at the entrance of the hospital. And there are plenty more sad and unacceptable stories from the chaos and vandalism caused by the strikers. Many of the strikers are in red (Communist Party) and the EFF in their berets were indeed very visible too in the disruptions. Doctors who came to work were manhandled and nurses threatened.
The Nehawu workers want a 10% wage increase plus perks and government has offered 4.7%. And so it all begins, “just like last year, James”.
The government obtained an urgent interdict to call the strike illegal and for a day or so it went quieter.
Now strap yourself in; next week is going to be worse.
The EFF have called for a complete closedown of the whole country as a protest against power outages next Monday (20th). Hospitals will be blocked, schools & universities will be made to close. The EFF have banned taxis from operating (already trains don’t run), and trucks are not going to be carrying goods in or out of the major harbours.
David Bullard, in Politicsweb likens the EFF threat to close down white businesses that dare to remain open to Kristalnacht in Germany in 1938. The EFF threaten that unless businesses remain closed they will be destroyed.
I have written before that Malema is so reminiscent of Hitler that it is scary.
The whole country is preparing for shut down, except the Western Cape.
Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape, and our Cape Town mayor both believe that the strike will not affect us to the same degree as the rest of the country. They have warned the EFF not to try to do anything silly…….they are prepared. I’m not so sure.
Where are the police?….. Oh, some of them are striking.
Why has nobody been charged with the murder of those sick patients who lost their lives because of the blatant disregard of basic decency and the law?
And what has Ramaphosa said about the situation of the EFF threat?
He remains schtum.
This week has seen substantially more criticism of Ramaphosa in the press than I can remember ever reading before and with it all, I concur. He is indecisive, ineffective, insipid and tone-deaf. Is this what we want in a leader? The problem is with whom do you replace him even if the choice was yours?
A major cause for this week’s criticism of the President has been Cyril’s shuffle of his cabinet.
Cyril, chooses his pal and close supporter Dr ‘Sputla’ (township slang for alcoholic spirit) Ramokgopa to be Minister of Energy. Ramokgopa has come under much scrutiny for when he was mayor of Tswana (Pretoria, to you) and left office under a dark cloud. Actually more than one dark cloud. Awarding contracts unconstitutionally & illegally is only one of the scandals that caused his downfall. When the press reported critically on the shameful awarding of a smart-electricity metre contract worth more than RI billon he blasted them. Ultimately after a court case and an appeal the illegal deal was set aside. (I wonder if the cadres got to keep their “kick-backs”?). Ramokgopa left office after six years in the chair leaving his city in a far worse state than when he assumed office. Today Tswane struggles with water shortages, pot holes and generally the decline of services that is becoming so noticeable all over the country— with exception of the Western Cape. This is how the DavidToons cartoon in Daily Friend from early in the week saw the cabinet shuffle:
International investorst have had enough of South Africa and are taking large sums of their money out of our embattled country. City Press on Sunday reported that over R100 billion in South African shares and bonds have been sold by international investors since the start of 2023. With our downgrading and the recent grey-listing it really does look as if SA is hurtling towards recession.
A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to imagine the ANC losing a National Election, but it is now looking more and more likely. A big problem is that coalitions are not working in the large Metros where they have become the norm and the Election next year could cause serious problems if the ANC is forced into coalition with the EFF.
RW Johnson believes that there will be a (forced) marriage between the ANC and the EFF after the election but that it will likely be a short-lived affair. It was during an erudite chat Alec Hogg did with Johnson early in the week of BizNews but unfortunately I unable to add that link to this newsletter.
Natasha Marrian, however, in the Financial Mail writes that a marriage between the ANC and the EFF is unlikely and remains only a remote possibility. Marrian believes that the ANC would rather work with the Patriotic Alliance, which has been making strong strides in municipal wards in the Western Cape and Gauteng.
Prof P Labuscagne, emeritus professor of Political Science at UNISA writing in last week’s Burger believes that the ANC could retain their position as the majority Party in next year’s General Election and could win as much as 52% of the vote. In his article he analyses where the opinion polls show poor support for the governing party and points out that by far most of those surveys are taken in the Metros and towns and not from the country areas. It is not in the cities any more but in country areas where the ANC is strongest. The ‘platteland’ is where the loyalty to the ‘Liberation Party’ is strongest and this is not taken into account in these public opinion polls. Interesting!
The lights go out every single day when we have power outages and more often than not up to three times a day. Driving then becomes a seriously hazardous exercise dodging other cars while trying to negotiate without traffic lights and yes, there are plenty of accidents as a result. But this problem is only a tiny part of what load-shedding is doing to our country.
The country is dark and heading for winter it is getting darker. This cartoon from Rico really says it all:
My coffee catch-up this week was unusual. I bumped into Pieter at the gym. He is an ex-Stellenboscher like me and we have known each other for years. At coffee we spoke about AI and I am fascinated by the new artificial intelligence that is turning the world on its head. I learnt more about ChatGPT and that you can talk to your computer and get intelligent answers. Did you know there are over 4000 Gods? Each one is invisible and each one is man-made. Mind you these do include the ancient Roman & Greek gods and the like. Oh, you can also ask ChatGPT to compose a poem on any subject at all and almost instantly get a suitable response.
But I cannot imagine talking to my computer and having it organise and send out these newsletters without me having to touch the key-board. That was a suggestion made by Pieter.
The annual Cape Town Cycle Tour, which is the world’s largest timed race was held on Sunday. The weather was perfect, there was a huge crowd not only riding (28,000 riders took part) but also watching and another highly successful venture brought visitors from all over the world to our beautiful city. One feature that I only realised yesterday was that young riders and females were allowed to participate in a shorter ride to encourage the sport.
The Proteas had an easy win against The West Indies and won the series 2-0. Now the One Day stuff begins.
Then the coach was on the couch with me to watch the sport all Saturday afternoon. The WP rugby team went to Johannesburg and beat the Lions quite easily in the first game in the new Currie Cup competition. That’s what we like, no stress. Then Spurs played at home and won! Their position in the important top 4 on the log is looking much better after collecting these points. So
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