Gerald Potash

Hello again,

Cyril Ramaphosa, as leader of the governing Party, did what Cyril Ramaphosa does best when he appeared before Judge Zondo late last week at the Commission into State Capture. He charmed, he waffled, he made excuses, he said that things will get better but he took no responsibility for all that has gone so seriously wrong because of the corruption that is at the very core of the ANC……. Not for the disastrous policy of cadre deployment, not for the bankrupt SOEs, not for the state of our municipalities where incompetence and theft has brought so very many of our towns to looking like slums, not for the lack of action sitting at Zuma’s side while he, Accused No 1, blatantly allowed the country to be robbed blind with the help of the Gupta’s. Cadre deployment, with a bureaucracy that disastrously ballooned, sucked the country dry and the cadres got rich while helping the Gupta’s plunder the State coffers until there was just no more to take. 

But what he didn’t say was that the party is a broad church and everyone is welcome and cadres can see that the party is the way to enrich themselves and to have a comfortable life. After 27 years in Government Cyril still calls the ANC a liberation movement. I thought the struggle was over! Now we can all clearly see, as  one-time ANC spokesperson, now Ambassador, Smuts Ngonyama so famously put it, “he didn’t join the liberation movement to  remain poor”.

Ramaphosa comes back later this month, as President of SA, to testify before Judge Zondo. Again he will, no doubt, say that things have gone wrong but they, the Government, are aware of it and are putting in structures to correct the situation, as if there is a quick-fix.  

The ANC were informed as early as 2011 of the corruption of the Gupta brothers and their influence over JZ and then there were multiple and regular reports that were delivered for discussion to the Party as to how things were going wrong but  the ANC did…….what the ANC does best…….nothing!  I’m not sure what SA was expecting from Cyril’s testimony at the Commission because we know what Ramaphosa is. He is a procrastinator, a negotiator, a charmer, but gutless; my term is that he is a wus. 

No one sums up the ANC and Ramaphosa’s weak attempt to justify their actions better than local Capetonian, Charlotte, an accomplished writer and this poem of hers, published in Politicsweb as a response to William Saunderson-Meyer’s criticism of Cyril’s performance at the Commission is my very, very best:

Incompetency and non-accountability
     Nepotism, larceny, thievery, dishonesty
     Condoning violence and inciting hostility
     Racism, state capture, looting, criminality
     Yet the ANC insists it commits to democracy
     Although all we can see is a rANCid demockery
     A cANCerous country – a Zuma-babwe affrontery
     An ANC acronym now meaning: A National Calamity

This Zapiro cartoon from the weekend in the Daily Maverick newspaper is another gem and in it you can see where CR’s backbone is:

The most gut-wrenching article on the reality of what has happened to SA under the ANC leadership was published in Politicsweb on Monday. It is by RW Johnson and titled “Our growing urban crisis”. Barabara, who copied me in on it suggests you pour yourself a whiskey, not a glass of wine, and then sit down to read the piece Bill Johnson wrote by clicking on this link:

So I was wrong. Ace did not step aside from his position in the ANC and in fact said he was going nowhere. Then yesterday we got the dramatic news that Ace has been suspended. The National Working Committee of the ANC met over the weekend and they unanimously decided to implement all the resolutions taken to suspend charged cadres. Magashule and Yengeni opposed the motion pointing out that even Cyril and Gwede Mantashe had had charges levelled at them, (they didn’t mention DD Mabuza, our seriously tainted Vice President who is under a R30 million dark cloud for accepting money from GE for his Foundation) but the motion was passed notwithstanding their objections.  30 Mamparas will now be forced out of office, including MP Bongani Bongo who has threatened court action if he is suspended. Ace will almost certainly appeal and do whatever he can to regain his strong influence in the party.

Will the RET-faction(the Zuma-Magashule faction) fight back? We will have to wait and see. They have threatened.

What is important to take cognisance of, from these events, is that Cyril has noticeably consolidated his leadership of the ANC and his position in the Party is much strengthened. Now if only he could find a back bone!

Then very early this morning I heard that Ace has dismissed his suspension as illegal and has suspended Cyril Ramaphosa in terms of powers he has as Secretary General of the ANC.  

This is exploding news and I am going to be glued to to my news broadcasts later today. But the Sec-Gen is not a dictator and it is unlikely that much will come of this. 

Where do you have more excitement than with SA politics?

SA has the most Indians outside of India in the world. The Min of Health is very alert to that and has advised that we are watching the “Indian strain” of Covid-19 very carefully and how it has exploded in India. In the meantime there is a case of a Covid patient, recently returned from India, in a local KZN hospital.

This week a cargo ship arrived in Durban from India with 14 crew members infected with Covid-19…..

Have we been vaccinated yet? …….Don’t be silly.

We have filled out the Government’s forms, as asked. We have also filled out our Medical Aid’s forms with essentially the same information. The first batch of bulk vaccines has arrived. The J & J vaccines have been delayed. The world champion and I are on the list(s). But when?    I am not holding my breath. In our country so far still only 300,000 health workers and the President and the Health Minister have been vaccinated. Pathetic!

A very big story in Cape Town this week was the arrest of underworld king-pin, Nafeez Modak. Organised crime, like extortion, is a growing problem with gangs getting stronger in, especially, the City centre and the poorer suburbs. It is difficult to bring these gang bosses to book because of the fear of repercussions from the gangs. Often, very often, the police are bribed too, so this arrest is a vital step in stemming this dangerous and growing plight. 

But not only has Modak been arrested. This week the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) made a dramatic re-entry into the news by attaching R1.4 billion worth of assets from a few ex-Eskom employees.Then the “Eskom Files” were leaked and even more blatant corruption at our power utility was exposed. Luxury cars, overseas holidays, firms being favoured for personal advantage, holiday homes being bought are all now in the open for all to read. R178,000,000,000 in wasted money spent. Our money!

Even sugar and tea at this SOE were grossly over-priced so that certain cadres could get fat.

The problem is that we have read this story over and over in the last 20-odd years and still no one is in jail.

Iqbal Survé made news again this week when his case to appeal FNB’s closing of his bank accounts (Ayo Technologies; Sekunjalo) was thrown out of court. He has now been closed out by ABSA and FNB and has had to scramble to find a third-party operator to allow him to use their facilities. 

I would like to know what the PIC (our Government’s Public Investment Corporation) is doing about getting their billions of Rands back from him. That case seems to have gone very quiet. 

Survé’s newspapers are not doing well. The Pretoria newspaper hardly has any readers at all and you know my views on his two Cape newspapers (Cape Times & Argus).  Monday was Press Freedom Day and this is another cartoon from Zapiro.

Talking of newspapers, Helen Zille, yesterday at the Cape Town Press Club luncheon confirmed what I have been saying for ages;  the only newspapers worth reading here are both Afrikaans, Die Burger and Rapport. Her views on Survé’s’ papers are the same as mine. And she can talk having been an accomplished journalist.

The highlight of my week came yesterday when Dennis, that character of note, invited me with some of his pals to join him at the Press Club luncheon to hear Ms Zille talk. And she can talk!

Dennis had a whole gang at the table, Paul, Robin, Herman, Michael, Brian, Henry and me. The company was as good as Helen’s speech and that was brilliant. She had philosopher Prof David Benetar leading questions and her answers were magnificent. One point that she made was about Jacob Zuma and his attitude to the Judiciary. She explained that a Chief in Zulu culture is not subject to any overarching reviews. What the Chief says and does goes and Zuma is a Chief.

Another point, in the very many she made, was how important social media has become especially in our time of wokeness.

The subject of her talk was the title of her new book, #STAY WOKE, Go Broke.

Explaining woke and it’s derivation was not easy but she explained it so well and then pointed out how very wrong so many of us and especially the newspapers are.

But that was not the only book I came home with yesterday. Paul Hoffman has written ‘Countering the Corrupt’ ; The what, who, where, why and how to counter corruption. Paul writes easily and is a frequent and popular contributor to sites like Politicsweb. I am also, like him, an early riser and write early most mornings. The difference is that Paul turns out his serious pieces the day he starts writing and my missives need much more time than that. Here is Paul’s article from Politicsweb yesterday: You will even get a photo of Paul when you click on the link

In a rugby game that ends 33-30 there is lots to report on. The WP Stormers lost to the Sharks in the opening game of the season at their new home base for WP Rugby, Cape Town Stadium. The coach was on the couch with me to watch the game and we started well. Soon the Stormers were 13-0 ahead, but two red cards and a terrible injury to our young 19 year-old star fly-half were the sad features of the game. Ultimately we lost in an exciting open game where I learnt that in this new Rainbow Rugby competition players can be replaced after 20 min having been given marching orders with a red card. Still, for too long, we were understaffed due to poor disciple.

For a change, Spurs won and won well. Sure they played against a bottom side but no game is easy in the Premiership. Tottenham fired one of the most revered coaches in football last week and the youngest manager ever in top-line football was given his job until the end of the season. He is younger than five of the players in the Spurs squad. Ryan Mason, the new manager, played Gareth Bale, who for more than 80% of the season has been sitting on the bench waiting to prove he is still a high quality player. And Bale scored an opening hat-trick on Sunday evening in the 4-0 outing that keeps Spurs’ hopes of ending in the top four still alive (if only just). 

As always, love to all,                                                                    


One thought on “The Week That Was”
  1. How glad I am that I left SA in 1993, it was a foregone conclusion that the moment the whites relinquished power the rot would start.

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