Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

Thabo Bester is quite a character. The convicted murderer, rapist and con-man not only ran a successful business from his jail cell but he even had weekends off when he left the high security privately run prison and lived the life of Riley in fancy hotels under false names. This jailbird has chutzpah like you can’t believe. The stories just keep coming and everything from his phoney birthday party (on-line because he said he was in the USA) to his stays in fancy hotels have made front page news all week. He not only walked out of jail, but he almost got away with one of the most daring escapes ever orchestrated anywhere in the world. The way he staged his own death by fire in his cell with the help of his girlfriend is something for the movies.  If it wasn’t for retired Judge Cameron leaking the Bester escape story to GroundUp, the investigative journalist group, we may never have become aware of any of this at all. I must however add a word of warning; Not all the stories are identical and it does seem as if poetic license has been employed with some of what we read.

What makes the story worse, however, is that the police did know that he had escaped and stayed shtum. The prison authorities knew, the police minister knew. 

Bester and his girlfriend were both returned from Tanzania on murder and other charges and are in different jails. The local Tanzanian police had no problem in apprehending them in their fancy Mercedes Benz, wearing branded clothing and with several false IDs and phoney passports  on them and sending them back to SA.

The question the press is asking of the Doctor: Was she the one who killed the person who was then burnt to a cinder and smuggled into Bester’s cell? She certainly had a lot to do with it.

Another question that must be asked is now that all of this is in the open why are the Police minister and the Justice minister still in office? In any respectable country they would have been summarily fired if they had not yet fallen on their own swords. 

Too many radio and TV announcers are presenting these two as clever and resourceful but they are wicked and dangerous.

This is Zapiro’s brilliant take on the affair from the weekend Daily Maverick:

(G4S is the company that runs private high security prisons)

During the past fortnight Cyril has come in for some serious sideswipes. First Thabo Mbeki wrote that 17 pager to the new Deputy President which effected a meeting of the top 7, well it was the top 6 since Ramaphosa did not attend. What we know about the meeting is that Mbeki got stuck in and his gripe comes after many years of unhappiness with the person Mandela preferred to him. He also questioned why Ramsphosa was not there, didn’t he want to hear the truth?

Then on Easter Sunday the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba got stuck into Cyril just as his predecessor, Desmond Tutu had done and scolded the ANC.

And what have we heard from Cyril in response…….not a word. He is still probably considering all of this, so we may have to wait a very long time. But does he have a long time?

South Africa has not been invited to the G7 (Economic & politics) meeting to be held in Japan in May. This is the first time in very long that we have been excluded. Could it have something to do with the war in the Ukraine?

SAA has a new interim board. Why replace the current interim board?  Is the government trying to hide the massive financial shortfall at our National airline? 

Ramaphosa sat for months and months not appointing a board and now that he has some Trade Unions are unhappy that the old board is getting away with the loot.

News at Stellenbosch University has been bubbling for some weeks now. First it was the fellow who in a drunken state urinated on a fellow student’s desk in the middle of the night and ruined his computer. A main problem here is that the culprit is white and his fellow student and house-mate is black and the whole thing blew up into a racial incident. Well the youngster has been expelled and is now appealing the university’s decision. 

But for the past few weeks the Rector of the University, Prof Wim de Villiers has been front page newspaper fodder for his said nepotism and his said changing of the university from an Afrikaans to a multi-lingual (English) institution . It all has to do with Afrikaans being downgraded as the language of tuition (unless specifically asked for that one lecture) and the Convocation don’t like that one little bit. But then the Rector who is also the Vice-Chancellor is in even more trouble because he elevated two young connected family members into race-restricted courses (medicine, de Villiers is also a medic) which they would not have earned on their marks at this university because of racial grading. He is accused of nepotism and the Convocation want him gone.                      

The student body have taken an opposite view.

Now, on this, tack a story about the coach’s granddaughter:

The coach’s extremely bright granddaughter wants to be a Dr like her dad. She did very well at Rhenish and even though her matric marks were all A’s she was refused entry into Medicine at Stellenbosch. Reluctantly she re-applied and was accepted for a BSc.

A week before varsity began she was called and told she could re-apply to do medicine because of a drop-out. At the end of last  year she was the top first year medical student. Yes, she is white and should have walked into whatever course she wanted to study.

Our power outages are a pain in the…….

Every day for hours at a time we have no lights or anything else that works with electricity. The experts warn us that this is likely to get worse before it gets better and the reality is that we are not far from a total shutdown.

Two high profile rogues got to court this week. Well, actually Markus Jooste was not in court in on Tuesday in Germany where he is being charged with fraud in the Steinhoff matter, but he was supposed to be. He claims to have lost his passport or something……tell me a better one, please!  Anyway the Germans have now applied to issue a warrant for his arrest. For 5 years since his debacle broke causing the biggest stock-exchange loss in our history the NPA did nothing to arrest him although even though all the stories of his fraud and extravagant living were publicised almost daily. Pathetic!

Then Accused No 1 was back in court on Tuesday and is trying yet again to have Billy Downer removed as his prosecutor in the scheduled fraud and corruption trial due to begin in August. He has tried every trick in the book and it has gained him 24 years out of jail but the justice system is getting very tired of him, as are we all. This cartoon by Rico from last year is even more pertinent now.

I have had some lovely catch-ups this week. I met with my old Stellenbosch buddy, Johan at a favourite coffee shop, Vide é on Tuesday and that’s always nice.

But a notable catch-up this week, worth mentioning was not for coffee but a lovely lunch at the Waterstone Village right next to where we live. David, a lawyer from Brighton and his wife Hilary from Cape Town popped in to look at our new abode and to chat.  Oh the world champion was happy to show them around. We then walked a short distance to spent a lovely couple of hours with them comparing notes over wonderful pastas at Giovanni’s.

More than 29,000 runners got up very early on Saturday morning to partake in the most scenic race in the world, the Two Oceans Marathon. It was another very successful run and the woman winner, Gerda Steyn broke a record in having won for the fourth time in a row.

But if you think she made headlines what about Grandma Wilhelmien Smuts who at 82 completed her 8th Two Oceans (56kilos) in regulation time.

Last Saturday was difficult. The 3Ms returned to London after spending two fun-filled and very busy weeks with us. They love our new home and especially its location and they lapped up every minute of our time on Safari. We all did. The game drives were professionally done and the food and accommodation is world class. Here SA really has something to be very proud of. I’ve been fortunate to have been on several Safaris and although Aquila isn’t as big as one would prefer, it makes up for its size in service and presentation (and food!).

So after saying goodbye to the kids we rushed home to watch Spurs lose dismally to a bottom team and then the Stormers lost, at home nogal, to Munster through unbelievably poor kicking for goal. 

I found it difficult to get to sleep after all that and you already know that it’s hard to be a Spurs fan.

As always,


2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. This is journalism. Let us pray for officials to put just laws in place, and that the needed persons are employed to help protect life and property.

  2. Power outages set to get worse. Wind turbines which dont work and PV solar farms which cant supply the grid are both connected to the grid and spinning reserve is shut down. I guess more than spinning reserve is shut down and the shortage is being shared in the form of distributed outages. Check with a suitably qualified electricity generation engineer.

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