Gerald Potash,

Hello again

Last Friday Business Day featured an editorial “SA spiralling and into a gangster state”  The murders, rapes and robberies are simply too terrifying for words and lack of proper policing makes living here seriously challenging for most. A glance at the crime statistics exposes the ineptitude of the police with the figures rising year by year in all categories. We have become the murder capital of the world with 42 murders for every 100,000; that equates to 70 murders every day! Worse still the police’s ability to solve a murder has fallen by 55% since 2012. 

The assassination of the Murrays (father & son) last week on a busy highway in the middle of the day has highlighted the plight of whistle-blowers and honest investigators. Not one of the high profile assassinations since chief investigator Detective Insp. Kinnear was shot in front of his home has been solved.

Opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal are demanding answers from the provincial police leadership amid concerns that the escalation of shootings in the province is due to weak policing. This comes as five more people were killed in drive-by shootings in separate incidents on the north and south coasts last week.

In the Western Cape 81 of our 151 police stations have been burgled or burgled & vandalised in the last three years. If that wasn’t true it would be hard to believe.

Then the newspapers this weekend have been highlighting several stories of gangsters running the show. The first is the bizarre story of the multi-rapist and murderer Thabo Bester, who conned young women on Facebook and then raped and murdered them. He was in prison serving a life-sentence but he faked his own death, after causing a fire and then leaving a body burnt to cinders in his prison cell. He then “escaped” from prison and has been living the high life ever since under different names, even organising an international Media-conference where he appeared on-line. He ran a highly successful fake-media business from inside jail it was reported yesterday. Do you think he could have done all of this without the ‘assistance’ of the police and prison authorities? The prison has 24/7 all-around cameras and guards everywhere.   This is Mangena’s cartoon from Africa news agency in the Cape Times on Monday as this story was breaking: Remember Bester has been on the run for almost a full year and even now the police have no idea as to his whereabouts.

SA is evolving into a mafia state where gangs are in control.

On the weekend a Zimbabwean woman (37) was shot dead in her hair dressing salon in Phillipi, Cape Town for not paying “protection money”.  She was shot in front of onlookers, who know who the gangsters are but are too scared to talk for understandable reasons. Do you believe that the police arrested anyone yet for this murder?

Don’t be silly.

I must reiterate that I don’t make up these stories and I would far rather be writing that Eskom is working so much better because of the new Minister of Electricity but that too is a distortion. Some weeks ago Business Day predicted that this would happen as soon as De Ruyter left. But that improvement is temporary and the problems at the energy supplier are still enormous and mostly because of crime. Even the new Minister has now conceded that De Ruyter was right about the criminality around Eskom, after at first denying that things were really this bad. In fact, things at Eskom are going to get much worse than they are now according to several experts.

Oh, dear.

To add to our depression Justice Malala in his regular column this week refers to the lack of progress made by authorities over decades in fixing basic things like pit toilets at schools where children die. Building toilets is not rocket science but the authorities do nothing but except enjoy the perks and top salaries of their positions. To quote Justice’s headline in Timeslive “ We, the people continue to reward them for their casual cruelty, their corruption and their incompetence”.

It is desperately necessary that the ANC be voted out of office next year. 

But if they are, will they go?

All the depressing things stated above have absolutely nothing to do with the horror of living without regular electricity as we do. Economic growth has all but come to a standstill and the future does not look bright in any way.

Will Putin attend the BRICS meeting in SA in August? There have been several opinion pieces about the ICC (International Criminal Court) judgement labeling Putin a war criminal and demanding his immediate arrest. SA is a member of the ICC —Russia is not—and we would be expected to arrest him the minute he puts his foot on our soil. But it won’t happen— and not only because the Russian deputy, Medvedev has threatened a nuclear response to his No 1 being arrested but because SA’s foreign policy is so pro-Russia and anti-West.

Iqbal Survé made headlines again this week. The Independent Media staff woke up to the shocking news on Friday that they would only be paid 75% of their salaries, with the balance of 25% being “advised during the course of the coming week” Apparently the holding company of IOL, which controls newspapers The Argus, Star, Mercury, and Cape Times had to pay the Public Investment Corp back some of the money (R4.3 billion) which Survé got from them irregularly almost 5 years ago. The PIC accepted a paltry R600 million as a full settlement. Survé must be happy. He got away with a helluva lot of money by declaring absurdly huge dividends for his companies in the group that he controls. Iqbal gave away R2 billion in dividends in the few short years that he had the money. That money from the PIC was deducted from government employees’ salaries and is used to fund their pensions.  Guess who was the largest beneficiary of those massive dividends?. Surely anyone can see that this was theft! The PSA (Public Servants Association) are calling for an investigation into where those billions went to.   This is how Rico, in Business Maverick sees this story, I would have painted Survé into the picture:

Some good news is that the NPA has received R28.8 million in donations from private funders. Perhaps we will now get some of the hundreds of outstanding prosecutions.

More good news is that 6 police officers were arrested from the Maitland Flying Squad in Cape Town on corruption-related charges. Let us hope that this too is just the beginning of the clean-ups that are so desperately required. And a top ANC cadre was arrested yesterday for having his hands in the cookie jar at the one of the many hospitals suffering from ANC cadres being dishonest.

It seems that our new Min of Tourism, Patricia de Lille does not want the Dept to spend R1 billion on advertising on Spurs’ match jerseys. She believes it is illegal to spend money this way and now it really does look as if SA will not be advertising at Tottenham. Expect a formal announcement next week. Oh, it has nothing at all to do with Conte leaving the club, but there certainly has been a great deal of press about that.

There was quite a lot of sport this week in spite of the Premiership in England being on ‘hold’ because of internationals.The coach was with me to watch the exciting game between Leinster and the Stormers (1& 2 on the log) which ended in a draw. We should have won easily, being up 17-0 at one stage. We also watched some of the T20 cricket where the Windies had won the first game but SA won the next in a game with many world records broken. Then the third and deciding game, played on Tuesday evening was won by the Windies who thus took the series 1-2. That record game on Sunday has been described as the most exciting international T20 ever.                             

The coach has gone off to Australia for almost a month to be with his family in Sydney so the world champion is going to have to sit with me on the couch to watch most of the games over the weekends while he is gone. She actually doesn’t mind that at all.

As always,                                                                                              


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2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. You say, with reference to the Murrays’ assassinations that the event “highlighted the plight of whistle-blowers and honest investigators”.
    I would suggest that you do some research into the Murrays.
    Ask how their liquidating company which is mostly owned by a cabinet minister manages to land most, if not all of the business from government operations that go bang.
    I hear that their fees amount to R80 Million per year.

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