Gerald Potash

Hello again

Can you believe it? The Master of Stalingrad-tactics has done it again!

On Monday, at the start of the l-o-n-g delayed corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering trial where Accused No 1 stands charged with the French Arms Dealer, Thales—as Accused No. 2–, his lawyers brought an application for a three week stay so that he could be present in court rather than attend virtually from his prison cell. Much to my chagrin the judge consented to this request, which actually is probably desirable in that an accused on those charges should be present in court. But we have been waiting for a mighty long time for this trial to get started. Now the trial, which is more than 15 years in coming, will begin on August 10.

When it comes to delaying tactics JZ is really in a class of his own.

To add to JZ news; his younger brother died last week and he has made an application to attend the funeral at Nkandla. COPE, the political party, has opposed this application siting the security risk.

Last week’s chaos and lawlessness has left egg on the face of Cyril Ramaphosa. Not one editorial in any of our newspapers this week, not one, was complimentary towards Cyril after the pandemonium of last week. His reactions to the crisis most agree was poor. He made excuses, he talked in generalities and some of those excuses are absolutely ridiculous. Is this what we want (or need) in a President at a time like this?  He did say he (the Government) was taken by surprise by this act of an attempted insurrection (why? —what do the very well-paid Intelligence Services do?) and is that an excuse for standing by and doing nothing while the country exploded? Does that mean that the police, because they are surprised, can stand outside a shopping centre and watch as this monumental looting took place before their very eyes and do nothing, as they did?

Ramaphosa has come under strong criticism for his lack leadership and even Peter Bruce, one of his quite regular supporters, in the Sunday Times, has called him out. 

We not only need Cyril to stand up strongly but we also urgently need a new and effective cabinet: there is just too much inactive rotten dead wood there. We need a President with backbone and we desperately need to see Ramaphosa fighting for his country. Here is another of Zapiro’s classic summations of the sad but real state of the four Ministers in our Government, so directly in the spotlight now, who are muppets.  This cartoon from the Daily Maverick says it all:

This week has seen several cabinet legotlas, various meetings and many informal engagements as to the cause of the rioting and looting that took place last week. Again we see there is no unity in government and the Min of State Security (Ayanda Dlodlo, a muppet) contradicted her President by calling the fracas not an insurrection or an attempted coup but merely acts of  criminality. 

Min Cele, the biggest muppet of all, in fact a real clown, has contradicted himself and his cabinet colleague too and this bickering highlights the factions tearing the ANC apart. Dlodlo obviously wants to retain her job and the perks that come with it because she has now changed her mind after being severely criticised. 

There is a BIG difference to what the President believes was the direct action to overthrow the government, where four local Community Radio Stations were totally cleared out and schools decimated, as opposed to poor, hungry people stealing food.

Yes, there were some positives to be seen while 200 Malls and shopping centres were plundered, but I don’t want to talk of the “ordinary” brave people who stood up to defend the magnificent Maponya Mall in Soweto from being looted, or the neighbourhood-watch groups who are keeping our suburbs safe. Why are they necessary?  Where is the State to defend its citizens?


We are speedily becoming a failed State and almost every political journalist agrees. The looting has cost the economy R20 billion and 150,000 jobs have been lost according to the Presidency. Brandan in Business Day on Monday saw the the Min of Police and the Chief of Police thus:

You will not be surprised to learn that Moodys moved 5 of our largest cities into junk status on Friday. Moodys said that the action was a result of increased financial stresses on revenue collection due to the Covid-19 pandemic and low growth. The rioting will not help and the cost of borrowing now goes up, as a result of this downgrade.

The reality and effect of the rioting last week was brought home incontrovertibly by Toyota International. Toyota have written to the mayor of eThekwini (Durban metro, to you) saying that they are seriously considering whether they will be further investing in their plant there. In a hard-hitting letter they wonder whether it is an option, after the unrest last week, to invest anywhere in our country. They have plenty of other plants in other countries and guess where their next investment is going? Not here.

You can now rack up even more job losses.

I have never been much of a fan of Ronnie Kasrils, struggle hero and ex-cabinet Minister, mainly for political reasons. Well, this week I changed my mind. He has come out strongly against Accused No 1 and has suggested that his party, the ANC, break all ties with Jacob Zuma immediately. Kasrils went so far as to say on a TV interview that Zuma is a criminal and the party should have nothing to do with him. Both he and Zuma had served as head of the ANC intelligence while the party was banned.

The factional splits in the ANC are just so clear to recognise when you recall that just last week Jessie Duarte, acting Sec Gen, said that even though Zuma is in jail they still love him. 

Who is they?

Floyd Shivambu is Julius Malema’s 2IC in the EFF. He is as tainted as his No 1 and has come out with the threat that they will forcefully expropriate land without compensation. What does this mean? Take anything. Take everything, à la the riots of last week?

The DA will submit an official complaint to the Parliamentary Ethics Committee asking that Shivambu gets sanctioned for placing the lives of SAns at risk and for causing incitement.

The EFF lost yet another court application this week. They had brought an application to overturn a judgement which declared that the sponsors of the funds for Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign, in 2017, at the ANC conference, where he was elected party leader, should become public. The courts had already ruled that the Public Protector’s sniffing into the CR 17 funds was illegal and the EFF were quick to jump on the band wagon and try to make political capital thereof. 

While KZN and Gauteng have been in the news for all the wrong reasons Cape Town has escaped the National headlines for a while. Now, however, a war that has been smouldering in the local Taxi industry has hit our front pages and even the Minister of Transport has got involved. What is apparent is that there are competing gangs in the “coloured & black” suburbs and it is likely that it is these gangs who have totally decimated the rail system to benefit the taxi industry. No trains have run on our line to Somerset West and The Strand from the city since March, 2020.  

Now that the Taxi bosses have become very powerful with their growing wealth they are at each other’s throats. In the past two weeks more than a dozen “taxi” murders have been recorded and nearly 90 taxi-related murders have occurred this year.

The trouble with the shootings and the killing of taxi drivers, that often occurs in moving vehicles, is that innocent passengers are at risk and are too often victims in this battle for turf. 

For a long while the taxi war has been spilling over into the bus services too and several buses were brazenly shot at while carrying passengers this week. Golden Arrow, our major bus company, withdrew all buses from service on certain routes in our city when one of their drivers was shot dead in his bus. You cannot begin to imagine the commuter chaos in Cape Town with all this going on. 

Where are the police? !!!

In the pockets of the taxi bosses?

The dropout rate for school pupils has tripled to more than 500,000 because of the pandemic. Already we have the worst school system in the world and our standards are repeatedly at the very bottom of the International independent ratings. 

Everything, from a fear by parents of the pandemic to the lack of food security and the rotational attendance system and add the lack of safe reliable transport are contributing factors to the swelling of these numbers of non-returning pupils.

The effect of this drop-out is disastrous and what does it do for job creation?

Never since I have been writing this newsletter have so many readers asked for an article that I recommended than for those who wanted to read what Helen Zille had to say about Jacob Zuma and happily I have passed on that article to all who requested it.

Then on Sunday, reading City Press, I received a rude awakening as to my own prejudices and racism. Am I a racist? Me? Never!

I read Mondli Makanya’s editorial and I wondered whether in fact I am. For those of you who read the Zille piece here is the link to the editorial from the Editor-in-Chief of City Press:

Some good news:  Pfizer and BioNTech have struck a deal with Biovac Institute, in which the Government has interest, to manufacture  Covid-19 vaccines for the African continent in Cape Town. They will not actually manufacture but will fill and distribute 100 million doses a year into Africa.

On site development and equipment installation activities will begin immediately.

Kevin Anderson won his 7th ATP title this weekend, his first competition win in 2 years. Louis “Shrek” Oosthuizen led for the first three rounds of the British Open but then on Sunday had a moderate round and finished 3rd. It was exciting to watch and we will get to know the name of the (American, not Jap!) 24 year old youngster, who won. This is his second major title and he won both titles as a debutant! His name is Collin Morikawa. 

The rugby build-up on the weekend to the first test against the British & Irish Lions exposed some weaknesses in our game. The Lions beat WP Stormers vey easily, but more concerning was the manner in which the Bulls beat SA “A”. 

Everything to look forward to this weekend.

The Proteas, after a surprise loss in the first T20 against Ireland then wrapped up the series 2-1 quite easily.

Spurs played their first warm-up game of the season last night winning 3-0.

As always, love to all,


4 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. Excellent reporting. I now live in Texas but was born in Malawi of South African heritage. Visited Rhodesia many a time as well as SA. I love to hear the news from back home. Thanks for the excellent coverage!!!

  2. I must take issue with your comment, “We are speedily becoming a failed state”.
    No sir, we are already a failed state and have been one for a over 20 years. There is no road back unless a white government takes control, but as we all know there is no prospect of that so the downward spiral becomes faster and faster to the very bottom…. SA is in the grip of a black-hole… in more ways than one.. As the saying goes, South Africa is digging a hole and does not know how to stop digging.

  3. Another well written and informed article Gerald.

    I’m going to pick out the Ronnie Kasrals / Jessie Duarte take on JZ.

    I’m backing Kasrils on this and your readers can make their own minds up as to why. It’s about accountability.

    In 1977, Andrew Young, in his capacity as the US Ambassador to the UN, infuriated Helen Suzman (MP Houghton) by referring her as having an element of ‘paternal liberalism’. I cannot think why a ‘statesman of such stature’ could say that? He picked on the wrong woman.

    Young tried to backtrack and did apologise to which Suzman resented further by saying that she couldn’t exactly be accused of paternalism’: ‘I have always been just as nasty to blacks as I am to whites, and that can be very nasty indeed!’ I loved that bit.

    She implied that she could be as awkward to black representatives of the ANC on accountability for their actions/rhetoric as she had for the National Party political establishment.

    Helen Suzman was a true parliamentarian and a brave woman who fought for freedom against the odds to the best of her ability.

    It is increasingly becoming more and more apparent that the ANC need to get a grip of themselves very quickly and call a spade a spade.

    Regards, Tug.

  4. I am sorry the Sunday Times article is only open to subscribers of the ST which I am not!
    Can you provide a ‘free’ copy?

Comments are closed.