Gerald Potash

Hello again,

When it comes to Stalingrading Accused No 1 is in a class of his own. At last, yesterday he was in court to plead after almost 20 years of delaying his corruption trial where he faces 784 charges. For years he has declared that he wanted his day in court and guess what? He got his day but he delayed again. This time his unusual action is to endeavor to have the senior prosecutor removed from the case. But this was no ordinary application, it ran into over 1000 pages (cleverly unannotated), so that the Judge asked for more time to go through all his points, most of which frankly have been rehashed over the years where he has been saying repeatedly that this is not a crime but a political agenda to get at him.

There was a very strong showing of support for Accused No 1 outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

All the usual suspects were present to support the ex-President. Magashule, Yengeni, Niehaus and people like ex-Minsters like Gigaba and Des van Rooyen and plenty of cadres were present to show support.

You would have thought that the leader of he ANC was no one other than Accused No 1. Ramaphosa’s name was totally absent in all the addresses yesterday.  Brandan’s view, from Business Day, is that at last we have come to trial when Accused No 1 and Accused No 2, Thales, pleaded. The postponement granted yesterday, though, is until mid July, when the trial will really get underway.

There was much fun & games at the Zondo Commission this week. 

First we heard that that almost R50 billion (R40,084,201,927.00) of State funds was illegally siphoned off to the Guptas from Transnet “contracts”.  

The forensic expert who gave evidence said the sum was actually more, but that is the amount he tracked through the bank accounts that he was given access to. This all happened while Brian Molefe was in charge of our railways.

When the State is so denuded of its funds it is the poor who suffer most.

Then, Dudu Myeni, the one who is so very close to Accused No1 and has his back (and front?) did not pitch-up to give evidence on Tuesday morning. Judge Zondo did not think that was even a little funny (she had pulled that stunt before as had Accused No 1) and he immediately had a summons issued for the criminal offence. So for the second time the judge has laid criminal charges against her for her arrogance and lack of accountability. At last someone has stood up to her nonsense. Zondo gave her two hours to present herself, and make no mistake, she was there to answer questions.

News24 has now for weeks been running stories on the corruption at ESKOM that is just so very embarrassing and anger-inducing.

What is clear is how very corrupt almost every branch of government was; is.

Remember, not one person in all the years that this has been going on, has even been faced corruption charges. Hopefully now the NPA, that was so hollowed out by JZ in “the wasted years” to quote amongst others, Cyril Ramaphosa, will act and some will sit in jail for a mighty long time…… 200 years!   

Malusi Gigaba occupied several cabinet posts under Accused No1. He once was even the Finance Minister and he clearly enjoys the limelight. He was (is) a very, very smart dresser and famously arrived at one Opening of Parliament in a tight-fitting pilot’s uniform. A photo of him in that outfit featured on the front page of every newspaper in this country. The picture of him showing his private parts only made it onto social media, fortunately. Last week, in front of Judge Zondo, Gigaba’s estranged wife told the Commission that he owned 200 suits, all paid for in cash notes, cash that apparently was given to him by the Guptas in bags that he carried with him when he visited their Saxonwold compound for meals.

His estranged wife testified to all this and even where he stored the cash at home.

Hopefully the NPA are making notes. Other kind of notes.

But why only Gigaba? This week again the Minister of Health has been embroiled in allegedly awarding hugely inflated contracts to his nearest and dearest working associates . Then a top ANC spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, is fingered in grossly wasting money for personal luxuries to a degree that is almost hard to believe. His unbelievably expensive “luxury holiday trysts” in Clifton were paid for by EOH the Gupta controlled Co. So what did he give them to get so rewarded? And so it goes and goes….and goes, in the ANC. 

Cape Town harbour is the best performing container port in SA. Internationally it ranks 347 out of the 351 ports listed. With the theft of all the resources what did you expect? Aging infrastructure and poor management are to blame and I understand that; but lack of labour as a reason for poor performance? That I don’t understand in a country where unemployment is running at almost 44%.

In spite of all the bad and negative news coming at the ANC from all fronts, Wayne Sussman, the political analyst writing in Business Day this week, predicts that the governing Party will do well in the up-coming municipal elections, which are to be held in October. A lot of his theory is based on the fact that voters are scrambling out of supporting the DA because of what is going on in our main opposition party. 

Last week was tough for the DA. They lost ground in the recently held municipal by-elections and they took another blow when the high-profile Phumzile van Damme resigned as an MP. This is a bad knock where she blamed on a “clique” in the Party for her exit.

Sussman points out that not only young blacks are leaving the party but also many Afrikaans speaking voters have found a new political home. This he writes is because the DA could not accommodate them satisfactorily. Even Indian voters are leaving the DA according to Sussman. 

Helen are you listening? This is how Zapiro sees the DA situation:

Commentators believe that Ace will lose his fight with the ANC and in spite of his declaring that he will die in the ANC, it is thought that his faction will form a new party. Some key ANC cadres, mostly Magashule supporters, are to be “ disciplined” by the ANC after a hearing. This all arises after Accused No 1 appeared in court last Monday when Magashule, Yengeni and Niehaus addressed the crowd in contravention of their having been silenced by the ANC while suspended for not stepping aside. Then the EFF doesn’t want them because Malema has made it clear that he is not interested in “losers”.  I have written before that it does look as if the ANC will split and for SA that will be good news. Magashule is strong in the Free State, where his patronage is the felt the strongest and one wonders whether, like the Western Cape is trying to get off the ground, if the Free State too will try to secede from the rest of country. Unlikely, I know, but not impossible.

The Famous Tour was in action for the first time in more than a year (because of Covid) this week. The days I spent with Brent & Lori and their friends David & Martha were wonderful. I’m not sure who enjoyed the touring more, them or me. We did all the stops that makes Cape Town and surrounds the most desirable touring destination in the world, according to the London Telegraph and my visitors (and they have travelled!!) and I, of course, agree. I got to tell all my stories again and as you might have guessed I even spoke a little politics. On this tour there was one difference to any one I had done before in so much that I had to help to organise PCR—Covid-19 clearance—tests at least 24 hours before their departure.

This tour was also different for another reason. There are simply no tourists in Cape Town. On a bright, sunny and perfectly windless Sunday there was not one tourist bus at Cape Point, not one. On the wine route the following day, there were only two other couples doing a cheese and wine tasting. Going up Table Mountain we waited in the cable car for 15 minutes to see whether one or two people would not perhaps arrive before ascending. Social distancing in the vehicular was not a problem. These venues are usually so crowded that even parking is seriously difficult; this week we simply arrived and I chose where I wanted to stop. The lack of tourists, good for me from a convenience point of view, is unbelievably sad from an industry point of view which has  shrunk by over 90%. That is now just so sadly apparent.

A small aside: At the Penguin Colony, an absolute highlight for my very bright and well educated visitors, I heard one penguin, nudging his pal, saying that it was good to see Gerald back working again.

Jesse Duarte, the acting Gen Sec of the ANC and a long-time member of the ANC’s Top 6, is a Moslem and is calling for the SA Embassy in Israel to be closed down. She has spent the whole week ranting and organising motley bands of cadres to congregate with her on TV, and without exception, all wearing the identifying scarfs and carrying the Palestinian flags, to protest against ‘Apartheid-Israel’. Then suddenly yesterday she toned down a little declaring that she is not anti-Semitic. Was she hauled over the coals? I hope so because her bigoted ranting is nothing but vile anti-Semitism. 

It is a sad reality how very anti-Semitic SA’s ruling Party and the rest of the Western world has become. Ramaphosa’s recent letter calling for a two State solution in Israel is biased and ignores the realities on the ground. The local press continue, day after day, to print one-sided tropes exalting the murderers and conflating the facts. Our TV stations keep quoting ANC heavy-weights decrying the plight of the oppressed Palestinians suffering under apartheid. It is depressing. 

There is no apartheid in Israel. Everyone can vote (and they do) can live where they chose and have full rights. A large opposition political party in the Knesset is mostly Arab. 

Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has only one goal, to kill all the Jews and after all the Jews all the Christians and they won’t stop there until only Muslims remain. They say so openly. They are not interested in a two State solution, or in any solution other than the death of all Israelis so that they can take over Israel and call it Palestine. That is their declared policy.

The local (Muslim?) community has joined the Western World in their open protesting against Israel and their support for a terrorist group and on Sunday they disrupted Sea Point with a chanting and loud-speaker barrage that brought 100’s of cars to the Beach Road. I believe Camps Bay was also affected.

More disruptive behaviour is expected on Saturday when the Palestinian supporters have been invited to a “picnic” on the lawns in Sea Point. They have been told not to forget to bring their flags. 

You can read more about the Middle East conflict by clicking on this link and reading the excellent analysis from today’s Politicsweb.

If it doesn’t open fully let me know and I will forward this  article on to you. It is worth a read.

The rugby on the weekend was totally enthralling. The coach with me on the couch and I were thoroughly engrossed in the game that got off to a cracker and we eventually sneaked a win against the Sharks. Our best performance this season by far.  

In the other “big” game the Lions surprised the unbeaten Bulls by one point. The Bulls are not unbeaten anymore.

To add to our joy, and without me watching because of my tours, Spurs pulled of a big and decisive win in the very last game of the season to sneak into qualifying for European competition again next season. Who ever said:  It’s hard to be a Spurs fan?

As always, love to all,