Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

SONA, the State of the Nation address by Cyril last Thursday night pushed Tottenham Hotspur and the proposed tourism deal right off the front pages of our newspapers this week.

The address was typical Cyril with plenty of (shallow) promises but no fight and with no changes to the cabinet announced— but he did declare a State of Disaster (SoD).  What the public will remember of this SONA, however, was not what the President said but the disruptive EFF MPs all being physically chucked out of the chamber before the President had said even one word.  Is there anyone other than Zapiro who can better sum up a situation in one cartoon? This from the Daily Maverick the morning after SONA:

Peter Bruce, writing in the Sunday Times points out that there is absolutely no justification for this declaration of a State of Disaster and it will achieve nothing. It is the ANC who are the disaster in this country and it is their cadre-deployment policy that has inflicted this electricity blight upon us and Cyril didn’t try to hide it. True to his style, Cyril has added yet another Minister —just to handle electricity. This Minister will not be in Cabinet but in the President’s office. I guess we must now be nearing the largest group of Ministers in the world……..and we can’t afford it but hey, it’s good to be a cadre and have the Party look after you with plenty of perks and a guaranteed beefy pension for life.

The DA and Solidarity are taking the whole matter of the SoD to court. They believe it is unconstitutional and they fully expect the courts to overturn this irrational announcement.

Cyril Ramaphosa must be a very worried man. Two of the three Presidents before him did not complete their term in office. The factions in the ANC are all too visible and he is aware of the dissatisfaction of the majority of the people of this country. Ramaphosa shows no leadership and for every crisis he calls up a committee to handle matters. The real problem is that there is just no obvious leader to take over from him in the Party. 

What is worse than the State of Disaster is who is heading it up. None other than the Ramaphosa critic and the one who voted against instructions in Parliament to have Cyril impeached for the Phala Phala affair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She made a total shambles of our COVID crisis when she headed up that SoD.   And not only that but under her watch as Minister of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs we have seen the total collapse of so many municipalities. She must be chucked out of the cabinet for the good of us all. Everybody knows that but Cyril is scared of his own shadow and well…..….let’s wait and see what happens when eventually the President makes his promised cabinet reshuffle—now supposedly on Feb 22nd.

The ANC is in serious trouble though from its own Alliance partner.  Cosatu, the trade union movement is demanding a substantial wage increase for its members and is unhappy with the government’s 3% offer. That is less than half of the annual inflation rate and if Cosatu pull out of the Alliance the ANC can expect to fall to under 44% of the vote in the general election next year. And they know that.

In SA a very small group of high earnerning taxpayers support the massive group of citizens who are receivers of welfare benefits. The annual budget is due to be delivered next week and there is concern about a possible wealth tax, which may have the effect of chasing away even more high earners. According to a survey last year by the Social Research Foundation a little more than half of our high earners and university graduates had considered emigrating.

The Revenue Dept is concerned that yet another wave of emigration by skilled, qualified and high-income earners will very seriously decrease our tax revenue.

ABSA, one of our largest financial institutions is predicting that SA will fall into recession next year.  And Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt says South Africa is in a real economic crisis which can lead to public violence. The problem is the lack of electricity and load-shedding, which hampers economic growth and job creation. Annabel Bishop, chief economist at  Investec shares a glum view and cites  ANC policy, depressed business sentiment and the national energy crisis.

Are you surprised that the Rand fell to under 18 to the US dollar this week?

A front page story in all our newspapers this weekend has been the asassination of a local pop star and his friend/agent. Kiernan Forbes, internationally known as AKA, had a huge following and had won all sorts of awards. They were shot dead in front of a restaurant on a busy street in downtown Durban on Friday night. It  was clearly a “hit”…….Gangs.

Can you believe that 30 people a day die from from being shot by guns in this country?  A problem as large as the lack of electricity is the lack of proper policing.

Cape Town is building a suburb of housing for the destitute and homeless at a cost of R1 billion but mafia-like gangs are vandalising the site and demanding extortion money from the contractors. Twice last week builders were shot at on site in Delft where the suburb is being built. Criminality rages all over the city, especially in the “coloured” areas and loud gun shots were heard by our cleaning lady last night at her home in Elsie’s River.

For her this is especially traumatic. A few of years ago her grandson in his 20’s, who lived in the house and was very close to her, was shot dead in the street in front of their home. Gangsters again. Has anyone been arrested and brought to justice?

Don’t be silly. This is 2lani’s sad cartoon in Maverick Citizen on Valentine’s day:

Seven of our nine provinces have had monstrous rains this week. Bridges have been swept away and the flood damage is heartbreaking. A national state of disaster has been declared to enable an intensive, coordinated response to the impact in the affected areas. Police and the SANDF have been called in to assist flood victims. Is it not ironic that most of these provinces are suffering from critical water shortages; but that has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with disgustingly poor municipal management.

UCT just can’t stay out of the news. Again it’s bad news. The SRC (EFF led) called a general strike (illegal) on Monday, the first day of the academic year, disrupting the whole teaching programme. It has to do with fee blocking where certain students who still owed for the previous year/s had been blocked from registering. Council has pointed out that there had been previous meetings where arrear fee thresholds were raised with the assent of the SRC so this strike was illegal and done without consent. Chaos was the result and even the entrances to the university were blocked.

The reality is that debt owed to higher learning institutions is ballooning. What to do about it? Set up another committee to look into the problem, Cyril? …….there have already been many.

A Russian warship, Admiral Gorshkov has docked in Cape Town earlier this week. Our mayor tweeted “#VoetsekRussianwarship”. That sentiment is shared by far by most SAns……but not by the ANC. It is one of the vessels sent to do combined manoeuvres with not one, but three of our ships and the Chinese will be taking part in it, too. This is the cartoon from yesterday’s Burger newspaper by Dr. Jack….surely it doesn’t need a translation.

My memorable coffee catch-up this week was yesterday at Newport Deli with Graham from Pinna. I hadn’t seen Graham for ages and we took off from where we ended last time in his home. What a stimulating chat!

We actually have connections that I had forgotten; we both married champions from Windhoek.

Richard was here from Sydney for a few days to visit his folks and suss out their new habitat. Pleasantly he gave us a thumbs up; he liked it as much as we do. Every time the lights went out  thoughb he just shook his head in disbelief. We have already almost gotten used to it.

Richard Quest, of CNN was also in Cape Town  this week and he reckons for any country with First World aspirations, the electricity blackouts which are becoming endemic and are simply “unimaginable” and not a difficult problem to fix. Other countries have done just that. So why a State of Disaster?

After Spurs heavy defeat on the weekend I’m not so sure that our Tourism Dept will want to spend all that money on the Spurs shirts. The deal actually seems to be off.

On the couch was not only the coach but also Richard, a fan like his Dad and we all three watched in dismay as our team got a drubbing.

Then on Tuesday night, in Milan Spurs lost 1-0 in a UEFA championship encounter.

Oh, dear. As always,                                                                                  


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