GERALD POTASH

Hello again,

This past weekend the National Executive Committee (NEC) —the highest decision making body between conferences—of the ANC sat to discus matters and what was the top of (their) agenda was whether Ace Magashule would be made to step aside. He has on numerous occasions said that he would not. And on numerous occasions the ANC, including their Integrity Committee, has told him that he must step aside because of the corruption and other charges that he faces. But he still is in office. What this shows is how weak the Ramaphosa faction is in the ruling Party.

On Friday night, we heard nothing from the lekgotla. The same was true of Saturday evening, and many were glued to their radios on Sunday, on the hour, waiting to listen to the news broadcasts to hear whether Ace would finally be given the boot……but nothing. 

Ramaphosa was due to report back to the Nation live on TV on Sunday evening, but that didn’t happen either and the tension mounted. 

One of the newspapers reported that the meeting on Sunday, when the step-aside issue —where a party official who is formally charged with corruption or theft or fraud —was discussed, got extremely heated. Voices were raised and insults flew.  Ace refused to go. Senior ANC members, Tony Yengeni and Enoch Gondwana were thrown out of the meeting for breaching conduct rules, (the meeting had now become a screaming match—Ramaphosa later referred to it as robust debate)) and Ace stayed exactly where he was as Secretary-General of the ANC holding on to the 2nd most important position in the party.

Then on Monday evening at 5.00pm the NEC meeting, most unusually, resumed and by the time I switched off my lights still nothing.

On Tuesday we heard that the motion to remove Ace had succeeded. He has 30 days to step aside or be expelled from the Party.

But Ace is still in office, so whereas Ramaphosa may well have won this battle, the war is not yet over. This is how Brandan a the situation in Business Day, yesterday:

Ramaphosa was calm and measured when he delivered his message of the outcome to the weekends’ deliberations.  Apart from the step aside issue he also called on all ANC branches to respect our Constitutional Democracy which was so hard to come by. Then he took a direct & deliberate swipe at Jacob Zuma when he called all party members to respect the Judiciary.

He stressed that unity in the party is paramount and then he had a “go” at Carl Niehaus and the ret-faction (Radical Economic Transformation) calling them political outlaws saying that anyone joining that group (which is, frankly, mainly active for the support of JZ) would be expelled from the ANC. He stressed that unity in the party is imperative and there is no place for factions particularly so close to the (municipal) elections.

It has taken a mighty long time but at last Ramaphosa shown some backbone and he has declared war on Zuma & Magashule. He made it quite clear in his report-back on what the NEC had decided and he he stressed that no cadre should even think of defying the Party. 

The ANC, as it stands right now, is in reality two parties. The ret-faction is shielded together for power/ financial reasons inside the main party but the split is so wide that I doubt it can stay joined for very much longer. In fact Ramaphosa warned Niehaus and Co not to use ANC facilities and/or funds for their nefarious Party-splitting “counter-revolutionary” activities.

Also interesting is that those cadres who have already been formally charged amd are out on bail, and are still so active in politics, like the erstwhile mayor of Durban, Zandile Gumede & Bongani Bongo, to mention just 2 high profile characters, had better start to clean their desks.

Magashule received another snotklap this week when the Supreme Court of Appeal declared that the ANC Free State provincial conference in 2018 as unlawful and unconstitutional. In a judgement they nullified the the Leadership of the Free State province, by Ace’s close ally, Sam Mashinini. The disgruntled ANC group who brought this action believe that they have triumphed over the corrupt element in the Party.

The heat is building as Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to present himself at the Zondo Commission for questioning . Again, on Monday he was fingered by a witness before Judge Zondo. I grant you that those fingering him are not exactly squeaky clean, but these characters are waiting to cross examine the President for, if nothing else, sitting on the fence and allowing the State Capture to take place while he occupied high office. Was he therefore complicit in State Capture? Ramaphosa is due to spend four days answering questions at the Commission later this month.

Adv. Dali Mpofu is a big shot in the EFF. He is also a Senior Counsel who gets lots and lots and lots of publicity. The EFF likes that. 

This week the publicity hasn’t exactly been flattering, but since when has that worried the EFF? What is apparent is that Mpofu is a bully. A bully of the worst kind. During a Zondo Commission hearing last Thursday, knowing full-well that all the cameras were on him and that a large audience was watching, he angrily screamed at Counsel for Minister Pravin Gordhan (a white lady) to “Shut up” and then repeated his rough angry Shut up towards Minister Gordhan himself.

Mpofu was acting for Tom Moyane who, appointed by Accused No 1, as Commissioner so decimated SARS. He was such a disastrous Commissioner that Ramaphosa fired him.

The Sunday Times had no hesitation in making Mpofu their ‘Mampara of the Week’ and they went further than his rant by pointing out that his follow-up tweets, trying to justify his action, reeked of racism. The definition the newspaper used was that of a school-boy bully terrorising the playground. 

Clearly he is not a nice person.

Mpofu’s outburst was so egregious that a shaken Judge Zondo made a special announcement the following morning, stating that never in his career has he witnessed anything like that where an advocate has acted so disrespectfully. Some years ago Zapiro drew this cartoon that showed Mpofu and Moyane quite brilliantly, when Moyane was found so totally wanting and incompetent by Judge Nugent:

Cyril addressed the Nation again on Tuesday evening. That had to do with restrictions being levied by the Command Council for the Easter Weekend. Not too much has changed.  A few minor adjustments, that’s all.

What did he say about the burning question of why our vaccinations are going so slowly? Very little. Our endeavours on this score are pathetic.

The Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, has been slapped down AGAIN.   Mkhwebane’s report that found that Des van Rooyen had lied to Parliament over meeting the controversial  Gupta family, was overturned.  On  Monday the appeal court Judge declared that Van Rooyen did not deliberately mislead Parliament when he replied to the DA’s parliamentary question in 2016. The PP returns to office today, after long-leave, but she must go!

Do you know how many State Owned Enterprises we have?      720. 

Making good news this week was the report that 1500 Senior members of the Civil Service have been arrested for doing business with the State. In 2004 a telephone no was supplied to report on believed corruption activity in State Departments. More than 23,000 have been reported to date.

A senior Hawks official was charged in court yesterday with bribery and corruption for trying to “buy” a prosecutor with R5000.00 and a bottle of whiskey. You can see how big our corruption problem is.

Also making news this week was Judge Dennis Davis, head of the DTC, (Davis Tax Committee), who, it was reported in Rapport on Sunday,  was invited to a swanky affair at a swanky local hotel. Outside the venue, rather conspicuously, were parked no less than 26 fancy Ferraris / Lamborghinis. One of the co-invitees serves on the Judge’s tax committee and he took photos of the registration plates of all those cars. Guess what he found?

Only one of those owners admitted to earning more than R400,000-00 p/a and pays tax. Now you know another important reason why the SA fiskus has no money. Too many of the wealthy are not declaring their proper full incomes and are just not paying tax.

The Judge is also a regular contributor to the Lockdown University, which presents one or two on-line lectures daily, actually in the evenings. The world champion and I have been participating almost since day 1, a year ago. On Tuesday Davis, unusually, did two lectures. The second one with Judge Albie Sacks, the struggle hero, was really just up my ally. All the lectures, presented by the Kirsh Foundation are top class but seeing Albie Sacks answering questions from Dennis Davis about himself was simply engrossing. 

I quite often refer to the highlight of my week. Usually it is because I meet that character of note, Dennis for coffee and he mostly asks some of his very interesting pals to join us. Yesterday we met at the Steenberg golf course for lunch and Dennis had invited not only Paul, that exceptionally bright legal mind, but also Robin and Hannes to help us solve all the problems facing us. We were five around the table and as you can imagine the chatter was stimulating. Paul had just come from a virtual conference with the “A-Team”, who are from various organisations trying to set up a Chapter 9 institution to combat corruption. If only they could get that right wouldn’t it be good for us all?  Paul said though, that as a first step, that the process has to go through the set-up of a Section 17 Integrity Committee and that he was prepared to be part of that if only to advise it. Good.

Rapport carried a piece from RW Johnson on the very serious financial situation of this country. It is disturbing and if you want to be disturbed you can read the English translation here as it was carried by Politicsweb:

https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/an-almost-indescribable-mess

Not only are towns and cities having their names changed, but the ANC is going full steam ahead to change the names of streets as well. Here in Cape Town you know of names like De Waal Drive having been changed to Philip Khosana Drive and the like. Now Johannesburg has put their hand up with their most famous drive, William Nickel Drive, which will soon be called Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Drive.

The current rugby season is ending, or rather it is about to start properly. Covid has totally disrupted the seasons as well as lots of other things. 

WP or Stormers(?) played their best game of the season trouncing the Lions in Johannesburg on the weekend. They, however have very serious financial problems.

The British and Irish Lions are coming to tour here in July……..but will all the games be played in just one stadium? They are also scheduled to play the four major provinces; will those games also all be played at the same venue? The coach, with whom I walk early every morning for exercise believes so.

The Proteas are going to be playing a three match T20 series against Pakistan starting tomorrow. I am reluctant to call that cricket but it is popular so……..

Our National football team, Bafana Bafana, is an embarrassment. They needed a mere draw to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and for the second time in a row they haven’t. They went down to 0-2 to that giant in the Soccer World, Sudan, 2-0. 

There is no Premiership news from England from this weekend because of the Internationals. A good break for most of us,

Mind you we haven’t had too much joy from watching Spurs this season, have we? But then you know it’s hard to be a Tottenham fan. As always, love to all,                                                                    

Gerald

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