At last Cyril, after keeping us waiting for almost two months announced his cabinet changes on Monday evening with fully half of the country in darkness because of load shedding. The opportunity to stand up and do something really dramatic and necessary– apart from at last getting rid of Lindiwe Sisulu — all that he really did was shuffle and fill spaces with ANC comrades where ministers had left. Bheki Cele remains in Police, Pravin Gordon & Gwede Mantashe remain at Energy (in different departments) and the only thing I can think of is that Cyril is bowing to his voters by keeping those three where they haven’t performed decently for years. And is that not why Dlamini-Zuma at the age of 74 has been demoted to Minister of Youth. In spite of her open criticism of Cyril she is still in the Cabinet.
Then you must remember that the pool of ANC aspiring candidates from which he had to choose replacements is not very deep or inspiring is it?
But we do now have a Minister of Electricity and a new Deputy President amongst those changes. The opportunity to shrink his cabinet which is so grossly overstaffed and bloated- and is so unnecessary -passed him by completely and he not only filled vacant cabinet positions but Ramaphosa also added two more Ministers into the Presidency and replaced the Deputy Ministers- at great cost. Carol Paton, journalist at Business Day, called his cabinet changes underwhelming. That’s almost a compliment. It is a total understatement. Cyril remains a wuss.
This is Brandan’s cartoon on Tuesday from that newspaper:
Apart from the criticism of his new cabinet the Phala Phala farm cash robbery has caused Cyril to have a bad week. The courts have hit him with a serious whammy and the Phala Phala farm money theft is causing him stress. Cyril had asked the Constitutional Court to invalidate the Sect.89 inquiry requested by the DA – but last week the court found that he did indeed have a case to answer and that could lead him to an impeachment hearing. The Sect 89 clause of our Constitution is all about impeaching a President.
I don’t think Ramaphosa has too much to worry about on that score right now because you might have noticed that our police are not too fast off the mark and the NPA is no better. But then yesterday SARS announced that Cyril was indeed tax-compliant after they had done a rigorous check on his affairs and the tax on the R400 million has been declared and paid. But the DA still want to know why he kept all those dollars (illegal) at Phala Phala, so he is not out of the woods yet.
The fallout from Andre de Ruyter’s interview with Annika Larsen on eNCA is massive. Even Ramaphosa eventually commented.
It is hard to comprehend the exact criminality working (flourishing) at Eskom. The four cartels that de Ruyter spoke of to Larson had in fact been reported by de Ruyter and not only to cabinet members but also to our top cop who himself is not too kosher- but why are you not surprised that nothing happened?
Our cops are less than ineffective and they will get around to this investigation some time or other. This is Zapiro’s take on our current (pun intended) situation from The Daily Maverick early this week:
Some commentators are asking whether SA under Ramaphosa is more corrupt than it was under Zuma with the Guptas. The reality is that life now is harder than it was under Accused No 1. There is higher unemployment, more poverty, more crime, more power outages and the higher inflation has meant that the cost of living has increased. The stats do not lie and Ramaphosa has very little to be proud of for his time in office.
Will he survive his full term?
With this as background the thought of the ANC loosing their majority in next year’s election will probably lead to an ANC coalition with the EFF and more than one commentator has postulated that SA with Julius Malema as Deputy President will plunge us into a reality far worse than we have to here today. Shudder the thought.
An important RET (Radical Economic Transformation) trial has come to court this week.
Zandile Gumede, an ANC big-shot and former Mayor of Durban, always very smartly togged out was first charged with fraud & corruption in 2019. This week she was, at last, in court to face the music. Apparently the State has over 2000 charges against her and her co-accused and there are plenty of co-accused with her in the dock and of course they are all cadres. She is the king-pin (queen-pin?) in the State’s case. The State says it has a line-up over 120 witnesses to call to give evidence and can prove that she accepted more than R2,8 million in illegal kick-backs between Jan 2017 and July 2019. I presume they checked her bank statements.
How silly to bank all that money into her own account!
The suspension of the Public Protector is still very much in our news. Thuli Madonsela, giving evidence in the enquiry of her successor, Busi Mkwebane’s fitness to hold office, in Parliament, this week accused her Counsel, Dali Mpofu of bullying and told him directly to stop wasting tax-payers’ money on repeated irrelevant questions. She also accused him of being verbose. Yay! Thuli really let him have it and he didn’t like it one bit.
UCT has come off the radar in the news this week but Wits has taken its place. The rioting and vandalism at the university in Johannesburg has lead to the head of the Wits SRC being suspended. The university has actually sued the SRC. The rumpus at Wits too has to do with free education and free accommodation and the re-registering of students who are in arrears with their payments.
One of our largest banking institutions, First Rand, warned this week of the severe risks to our financial system over SA’s friendly ties with Russia and China. They believe that the friendship is foolhardy and could have profound risk for the local banking sector, especially in the light of the war in Ukraine.
As if we don’t have enough problems with load shedding the recent grey-listing is dragging SA into recession. Will you invest in Syria or Nigeria? Neither will the big international investors. Those are two countries, amongst others valued that are also grey-listed.
Not withstanding Ramaphosa’s call for investments, the being grey-listed by FAFT isn’t helping our economy.
In fact in figures released earlier this week we learn that the economy shrunk by a further 1.3% —3 times more than expected— for the last quarter of last year. And that was before the grey-listing announcement.
Happily our press is free and our Judicial system equally so and in some countries, like Russia and China, our country’s good chjommies (a word I have learnt from Dennis, that character of note) this Madam & Eve cartoon by Stephen Francis and Rico would not be allowed. But it does give you a wonderful summary of SA today.
Some of you may require a point of clarification with this cartoon. I haven’t often referred to David Mabuza in these newsletters because he so often was in Russia for months at a time, without explanation and when he was here he didn’t seem to do anything at all.
Until last week he was our Deputy President.
It’s hard being a Spurs fan. Losing a Premiership game on Saturday evening spoilt an otherwise lovely time watching sport almost all day long. At least the Stormers beat the Sharks (narrowly) so that gave the coach and me something to smile about. The real rugby surprise was that the Lions beat the Bulls in a tight game.
Then last night last night Spurs played Milan AC in their return fixture after going down to them last week by that single goal. Well Spurs played at home and there were great expectations. The game ended 0-0 and so our favourite team is knocked out of the premier European competition.
But then you know it’s hard being a Spurs fan.
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