Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

Over the weekend the press reported that several Ministers are bickering with each other over methods to address our electricity crisis. The Min of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, the Min of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan and the new Min of Electricity ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa are squabbling. It seems nobody has really defined what the new minister should be doing, not even he.   He has no allocated budget, no plan and no power to fix— and as you would expect, Cyril denied that there was any dissent.  But what did you expect him to say? What is vital and obvious is that the new Minister must be left to run the show as best he can—but with well defined responsibilities. Winter is upon us and experts are warning that power outages will ramp up to 12 hours a day  (from as soon as the weekend after this, a public holiday) unless the new Minister gets going right away. 

On Monday Gordhan and Ramokgopa were scheduled to deliver key-note speeches at a Management Indaba at Muldesdrift. Neither of them pitched up.

But that doesn’t surprise you does it? They did have excuses though in that they were both involved in the ANC NEC meeting which met to discuss……guess…..the electricity crisis.

How many more meetings is the ANC going to have to discuss what should have been done years ago?

A lot of rather too polite reporting during the weekend was about the pathetic prosecution of the first Gupta-connected case, the Nulane trial by the NPA. Paul Hoffman, however, of Accountability Now called it for what it was, a shameful attempt by poorly trained and understaffed State investigators (SIU) and prosecutors (NPA) to fulfil their duty. It all goes back to Jacob Zuma hollowing out the prosecutorial arm of the State to keep himself out of prison. What Zuma did –in disbanding the Scorpians, an independent, secure investigative unit — was illegal and the courts have directed that Parliament correct it. But has Ramaphosa or anyone in government done anything about it notwithstanding the repeated calls from Accountabilty Now?  Don’t be silly.

The Judge sitting on the Nulane case, as the prosecution closed its case agreed with the lawyers of the accused that the State hadn’t proved any misdoing and so the accused were discharged without even having to defend themselves. That’s a disgrace.

The question now is; have they, the Nulane accused, a case against the State for the attachment of their R47 million of assets which have been in “storage” for years?

The DA, like Hoffman did not keep quiet after the judgement on Friday and warned that the state’s inability to successfully prosecute those responsible for State Capture is becoming increasingly clear. 

This was Brandan’s view of the matter from Business Day on Tuesday:

On Tuesday news broke that we are resigning from the ICC. According to government the reason is that the International Court had been unfair. This all has to do with the warrant issued by that court for Putin’s arrest. You will recall that the BRICS countries are meeting here in August and that there was enormous pressure on SA to have Putin arrested as soon as he put foot on SA soil. As an ICC member SA would have been obliged to arrest him for war crimes and for abducting Ukrainian children.

Then can you believe it, there was an announcement from the President’s office that the report of our withdrawal is incorrect! We are still a member and intend to stay. Why? 

Probably because no one told the President that a full year’s notice of withdrawal is required to exit ICC. 

During the week Business Day in their Third Umpire column called Cyril Ramaphosa a wuss (my term, not theirs) for not pursuing the identities of the two cabinet members whom Andre de Ruyter had referred to as heavily involved in corruption at Eskom. Ramaphosa’s answer to questions from Glynnis Breytenbach, of the DA, when tackled on this matter was that he doesn’t know who they are and it is not for him but for the police to investigate. As the newspaper reported: There are none so blind as those who will not see.

After that Niel van Vuuren added this cartoon in Beeld which was copied in Die Burger and the translation follows:

I also want to be the President of SA when I grow up. My Dad says that what the President does very well, is nothing.

This matter has a tail. On Wednesday morning Andre de Ruyter appeared virtually at a Parliamentary hearing and frustrated the MPs by not divulging the names of the two cabinet ministers to whom he referred as singularly corrupt in that interview on eNCA. 

Glynnis is Breytenbach also got seriously stuck into Beki Cele our Min of Police on the Thabo Bester matter at a Parliamentary session this week. He had no answers to her grilling and the Minister of Police was totally overwhelmed by someone who knows the business inside out. It was lekker to watch him squirm. His large stetson didn’t help him at all.

Making lots of news this week, because of its extragance, as much as anything else was the arrival in the Eastern Cape of the ruler of Saudi Arabia landing here with 7 of his airplanes and helicopters. His plane is so big that his own private airfield had to be used and not the  runway at Quebergha International (PE to you) Airport. He bought a large piece of land in the Eastern Cape two years ago and it is now a fully-fledged game farm.

This story has lots more in it but that’s for another day.

SA has become a failed state or is rapidly becoming one. Many political commentators have made that deduction and both Justice Malala and Sikonathi Mantshantsha have columns to this effect this week.  And Claire Bisseker in Business Day on Monday pointed out that the government has let the country’s growth potential disintegrate. 

So many state entities do not work that it is becoming more and more difficult to argue that the State has not failed. From the police to the rail systems, from education to public health…..then the SOE’s…especially Eskom, nothing that the state runs is working properly. More than 70 municipalities are dysfunctional and require State funding. The biggest disaster right now is the Post Office. It is teetering with more than R9 billion of debt when almost 20 million welfare recipients rely on it to pay their monthly stipend. If the PO closes down, as is possible, there is serious likelihood that we could be in for rioting.

Yesterday the Rand fell to its lowest level against the £. It is now trading at 


What is working is private enterprise where the public performs what is vitally necessary. Whether fixing potholes in roads or keeping people safe with the private security companies, quickly the citizens are taking over from the government because they simply have to. Can any thinking person vote for the ANC in the next election? It really doesn’t seem so and the talk here is all about coalitions. On that tack, the scariest scenario is a ANC-EFF coalition with Julius Malema as Deputy President. This week the ANC voted to work with the EFF in municipalities where it has lost its majority.

If only the NPA had done it’s duty and pursued charges against Malema when they had the opportunity.

The usual suspects came together for the first time in ages over lunch at a lovely restaurant, The Rose Garden in Wynberg Park. Dennis, the character of note had assembled all the suspects on a Monday because Paul was off to Accra to teach some law to law students and accountability to a bunch of officials on Tuesday. Kenny was at the lunch and so was Henry and eventually even Robin arrived having thought our get-together was scheduled for Tuesday. To quote Dennis, we had a jft (jolly fine time)–as we always do when we get together–and as you can imagine the chatter was lively.

On Sunday evening I watched football. I would rather not report on the drubbing Spurs took at the hands of Newcastle on Sunday. 1-6. I will however add that the Spurs captain called their performance embarrassing.

Our new Min of Tourism, Patricia de Lille fired the Tourism board for their folly of trying to sponsor Tottenham Hotspur to the tune of R1 billion. The way Spurs are playing right now it’s probably a good thing.

Then I watched (yes the coach is still in Oz) a far, far better game of high quality football where Man U to got through luckily against Brighton after extra time and by posting a 7- 6 win in goal kicks at the end of a thrilling game. Man U now play Man City in the final of the FA Cup on June 3.

As always,


2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. You know what is wrong with the electricity. Switch on the closed power stations and shut down the damned wind farms.

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