Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

This week has been a news-frenzy time with day after day delivering huge political stories.

On Friday and Saturday Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki spoke at the Annual Kgalema Motlante         Foundation’s Inclusive Growth Forum in the Drakensberg. On Saturday Jacob Zuma gave a 2 hour 40 minute spiel to the press and on Sunday Cyril delivered another of his “Hello fellow S Africans” on the report back of the Zondo Commission into State Capture. 

So each one of our living Presidents had a chance to tell us what is wrong with SA.  You will not be surprised to learn that all three of our previous Presidents were critical of Cyril and pointed to the divisions in a Party not functioning as a unit. Motlante suggested that the political and administrative arms of local government should be separated. This he argues would get rid of cadre deployment and inhibit corruption. Good idea.

Mbeki bemoaned the fact that the ANC has no leaders and Zuma went so far as to call Ramaphosa corrupt and then went on to accuse him of treason. Have you ever heard a more telling story than this one where the pot calls the kettle black?

But Zuma also had a lot to say about Judge Zondo –whom HE appointed not once but twice. He was appointed by JZ himself to head up the Commission into State Capture—and now Zuma’s attacks on Zondo and the judiciary just never end. “They” have it in for me he declared and it’s so unfair, what did I ever do for the Guptas? he wanted to know. 

If only Zuma would read. There are books written about what he did for the Guptas and how much he has cost this country. As to be expected Zuma misread parts of his speech and was not able to answer many of the questions from the press after his talk. 

Cyril’s talk on Sunday evening was the usual droning, rambling style that is guaranteed to put you to sleep. He was reporting on The Zondo Commission report and we were expecting fireworks. What we got was a damp squid.

And Cyril shrewdly (rudely?) does not take questions after his family chats.

We were all expecting so much more from Cyril. His major concession that the ID—Independent Directorate– of the NPA–will become a permanent corruption-busting entity is not what Accountability Now and so many others have been asking for. What SA needs is an entirely independent multifunctional properly resourced  investigative body with prosecution clout. Paul Hoffman SC, a director of the NGO Accountability Now, was interviewed on TV as Ramaphosa finished his ramble and he told the whole of SA  that he was “underwhelmed” by what he had just heard from the President. I’m pretty sure he speaks for almost all of us.

Cyril waffled and did not once mention how directly implicated the government and its ANC cadres are in corruption. He skirted around all the important issues raised by Judge Zondo and we are not much further than we were. I wonder if Cyril reads the Maverick articles. This is how Rico from Business Maverick sees it after Cyril’s speech:

Cyril is in very serious trouble over the money stolen from his Phala Phala farm. There is now a Parliamentary inquiry into the whole saga and if indeed there is a negative outcome for Cyril he could be suspended from the ANC. If that happens the ANC step-aside rule will apply and we will have a new Party leader and a new President. The Parliamentary committee has been given 10 days to complete its work and then another 10 days to compile its report-back. And time is running.

This whole thing is getting quite exciting.

Can you believe that Zuma wants the job as Party boss again and he said so. I kid you not!

You also won’t be surprised to learn that JZ was again Mampara of the week for his performance on Saturday.

But Zuma is not the only ANC member who wants Ramaphosa to go. One of his own cabinet, a Deputy Minister has said Cyril should leave.

Why does Cyril not kick out those who are so clearly anti-him as well as those useless individuals in the cabinet. Many ask what the likes of Cele, Sisulu, Mbalula and so many other hangers-on are doing in these top posts.

The Economist last week opines how organised crime is blighting S Africa’s economy. It points out how law-enforcement agencies were hollowed out and stuffed with cronies during the Zuma time as President. Crime and illicit markets span a broad spectrum of criminal activity says Mark Shaw, a director of a think-tank agency based in Geneva. Everything from heroin smuggling to cable theft, from mining (zama zamas) to rhino and elephant poaching, from succulent plant smuggling to illegal trafficing in rock-lobsters. They go on and on and they often lead on to worse crimes like kidnapping and murder. Making matters worse there are more than 2milllion unregistered firearms in the country. In SA there are more than 70 people murdered EACH DAY, a world record not to be proud of.

Two articles in the Sunday Times this week stood out for me. Barney Mthobothi bemoans the fact that there is a spectacular lack of talent in the ANC and Peter Bruce writes that the only way to save SA is to get rid of the ANC. Then the editorial of that most read newspaper in the country opines that at long last the law has caught up with Markus Jooste. The former CEO of Steinhoff was the world’s second biggest race-horse owner and Zapiro is at his brilliant best with this cartoon from the Daily Maverick on Monday:

On Tuesday a court judgement handed down confirmed that the ANC’s recent snatch of the Johannesburg council was illegal and the DA have got their Mayor back in office. But for how long? 

Despite what I have said above there is some good news in that the NPA has recently shown some teeth and a few very BIG shots are sweating. People like Brian Molefe, Ace Magashule & Siyabonga Gama, to name just a few, have been brought to court and have been charged. At last the prosecuting authority is getting working.

Julius Malema is dangerous. Hopefully he will again see the inside of a court and this time get sentenced to jail time. He has been aggressively (that is his style) exhorting his followers, mostly youngsters in red T-shirts at arranged political rallies, to start a revolution and he tells them that revolution means that you must kill. 

At least the DA has laid charges for inciting violence.

Corrupt cadres at our municipalities have impoverished virtually the whole country.  For example 80% of Durban’s effluent is going into the sea because of incompetence, mismanagement and blatant theft. Johannesburg has water restrictions with the Vaal dam currently over 90% full. Both of these well-reported cases in our large Metros show just how dysfunctional the State is. Both these Metro’s are now no-go areas. Those municipal officers who allowed these situations to occur should be identified, caught and hung (or worse).

But has anyone gone to jail?

Don’t be silly.

Now are you surprised to learn that the Dept of Higher Education can not account what happened to R2.5 billion Rand? In one year this simply disappeared without a trace.

Yesterday our Finance Minister delivered his mid term budget review and also told us all what we know.  He announced that “SA has several long-standing impediments, that continue to hamper South Africa’s economic growth, these include unreliable electricity supply, crime and corruption, inefficient ports and rail network, weak state capacity and high levels of market concentration as well as barriers to entry that suppress the emergence and growth of small businesses”.

And a large portion of the Eskom debt has had to be absorbed by the government.

Whilst not totally gloomy there is not much to be happy about in this budget review. The summation from Business Day this morning is that the Minister got lucky with the R83.5 revenue windfall and he did not blow it on our pathetic hollowed out SOE’s. Mostly he used it reduce debt. 

The Stormers lost for the first time this year in the UCR competition on Friday night. John Dobson, the coach has taken it well and said he is satisfied with the way the played. We remain one of the favourites to retain the Cup. 

Have I previously mentioned how hard it is to be a Spurs fan? The coach was on the couch with me on Sunday evening through a hard day of no electricity (in our area almost a full 12 hours—the City was repairing a substation and Eskom forgot or were too busy or too lazy to turn the power back on on time) and we were expecting our team to continue their winning ways after 10 successive home wins. Well, Newcastle had other ideas and the 1-2 result was a fair reflection of the game.

As always,                                                                                                  



On Wednesday evening the American Embassy received a red-alert warning that there is due to be a terrorist attack in the Sandton area of Johannesburg on Saturday. Staff at the Embassy have been warned to keep away from crowded areas on Saturday where the attack is planned.

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One thought on “The Week That Was”
  1. I wonder if Cyril reads the Maverick articles. Questions is can he read?????

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