Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

This week’s Sunday papers paint a deeply depressing picture of SA today. Hospitals like Baragwanath, the largest hospital in Africa are not functioning properly because they don’t have enough food to feed patients. The reason is obvious; suppliers haven’t been paid. Add to that nearly 1000 babies have died at that hospital in less than 3 years and you can judge for yourself how dire the medical situation is…….and that is not the only State hospital in distress. 

Then the newspaper reports tell of thousands of young school kids in KZN going hungry because the school feeding scheme hasn’t been paid; there the feeding scheme is owned by a cadre who happens to be the owner of a popular football team. What does he know about feeding schemes for primary schools?  He has no experience in feeding schemes at all. But, no doubt he is a cadre and so he got the contract.                                                                                (1 out of 10 S Africans go hungry every day)

All over the country crime is sky-rocketing, policing is poor or non-existent. This week we read about the popular tourist town of Graskop in Mpumalanga, near the Kruger Park where the police chief was chased out of his office by long-suffering locals and the doors of the police station were chained closed.

In the Western Cape we have Metro Police who assist our police. 

Gauteng woke up to that idea but gave their new Metro troops a mere three weeks of training. But what do they look like! There were photos in the newspapers on the weekend of this bunch of recruited “police assistants” and they look more like tele-tubbies than police. Round and fat. How much good will they be without proper training?

But worst news of all is the very likelihood of a total grid collapse. Already having all these daily outages is debilitating and disruptive—-and appalling for businesses. We have been warned to prepare for more frequent outages in winter and winter is almost upon us.

At the moment just half of our potential power supply is working. 

As winter approaches Eskom has had to shut down more units and so our outages have increased. We have been out of electricity for 8 hours most days this week and that may in fact escalate to 12 hours a day shortly.                                                                                            In the meantime the criticism mounts and Gareth Ackerman, Chairman of Pick-n-Pay was scathing about government performance when announcing lower profit results. He pointed out that his firm had spent over a half a billion Rand just on diesel fuel to keep their branches operational.

Ackerman cautioned that the entire food industry is under existential threat and social unrest is an extremely likely eventuality because of it.      

A total grid collapse according to some experts is possible and what that will do to the Rand is likely to be disastrous. In Lebanon when their grid collapsed last year their currency slumped by 90% and that, according to the experts could well happen here.  This Rico cartoon from a little while ago shows how Ramaphosa is helping the new Min of Electricity

More to add to our depression is that in the annual survey from the authoritative Fraser Institute SA is ranked in the bottom 10 countries in which to invest for mining. The same rating as last year. What does Minister Gwede Mantashe do exactly?

The ANC is in a shambles. The various factions are at loggerheads and Ministers openly disagree with each other. Cyril Ramaphosa is only too aware that his two previous predecessors, Thabo Mbeki & Jacob Zuma were both torpedoed out of office by unhappy ANC members before their terms of office had expired. The Ramaphosa leadership is woefully weak and not strong enough to hold the sides together. Various commentators are expecting the ANC to split. Tim du Plessis in this Sunday’s Rapport newspaper wonders if Ramaphosa won’t be gone by year-end handing over the keys to Paul Mashatile the new Deputy President. 

Justice Malala in a scathing attack on Ramaphosa and his ability to lead, in this week’s Financial Mail asks the question; If Ramaphosa was at a restaurant and had to choose one of two dishes which would he choose? Why he would appoint a committee to decide for him.

Richard Calland makes the cold sober point that there really is no-one in the ANC up to the Presidential job.

But one of the big mistakes made by ANC opponents is that it is a foregone conclusion that the ANC will be defeated in next year’s election. That of course is dangerous and in an editorial in the Sunday Times the posit is even made that the ANC will remain in office after the election next year.

Mike Berger in a wonderfully detailed article points out that the DA is in the doldrums. Berger writes that SA pessimists have a lot to be pessimistic about. Do you think the Prof was thinking of me?

The NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) had their first State Capture case where almost R25 million was taken by ANC big-shots (the Nulane trial) and was supposed to show us all how State Capture was going to be dealt with. The case embarrassingly fell apart before the accused were even asked to respond. The NPA’s preparation was so poor that the judge threw the case out and intimated that the NPA were useless. She called their preparation a comedy. It can’t get worse than that. The State has announced that it is going to appeal this judgement. To be heard in 2025?

Also to be appealed is the judgement from the North Gauteng High Court which ordered the government implement generators for hospitals, clinics and schools since these are seen as basic rights as specified in the Constitution. The government has no money for such a mammoth roll-out and effectively has to appeal the order. Another for 2025?

Paul Hoffman of ‘Accountability Now’ makes the point in a detailed article this week that the loot lost in state capture has been squirrelled away by those in or near to the ANC. Even Ramaphosa referred to the ANC at the Zondo Commission as accused number one. There are people and organisations capable of tracking and getting that loot back from anywhere in the world, but they are not our institutions and our government is doing absolutely nothing to facilitate such action.

SA is also taking flak on several fronts for its support of Russia and Putin. The West can only take so much. 

A huge Russian cargo plane landed at Waterkloof army base just at the same time as SA’s special envoy to the USA was landing in America to assure the Yanks that their trade with SA is very important to us.

The FF Plus political party is asking all sorts of questions about this Russian plane and we are all waiting for answers. But will we get those answers?……. Don’t be silly.

Does Ramaphosa, by breaking sanctions and ignoring the ICC, really believe that the Americans are so stupid as not to see what is going on here?

It is patently clear that SA supports Russia in their war with the Ukraine and our President is prepared to risk sanctions. He wants his bread buttered on both sides, that’s all.

Also as Sam Mkokeli, the political researcher points out Berlin and London have become used to our insulting their countries by sending geriatrics as ambassadors to their countries.

A big press story this week has been the “ election” of Johannesburg’s new mayor. The ANC and the EFF have come together with the tiny Al-Jamah religious Party (just 3 seats in the Council) to put their nominee into the hot seat. Johannesburg has had six mayors since Herman Mashaba’s resignation in 2019 … And the latest mayor from the tiny Al-Jamah religious Party is accused of fraud in a Ponzi scheme. His predecessor in the position (also from the same small party supported by the ANC and the EFF)  lasted less than 2 months in the position and was so completely out of his depth that he was torpedoed. 

Zapiro was onto it on Monday with this cartoon in Daily Maverick:

My pal Stan was in Johannesburg last week and by mistake he was taken into the downtown area. You can’t believe what it looks like he told me. The buildings have broken windows, some of the buildings are fenced closed and junk is mounting up on the pavements too disgustingly. The monumental Carlton Centre which was once the vibrant focal point of Johannesburg has closed down and soon it will probably be occupied by illegal immigrants.  Stan says the foreigners are everywhere and are easily recognised.

Can you imagine downtown London, New York or Sydney being allowed to degenerate like that?

The usual suspects got together for lunch at the magnificent Constantia Glen Estate at the behest of Robin. We sat outside on the veranda and it’s hard to imagine a more spectacular location anywhere in the world. All the suspects were present and as Dennis, that character of note is wont to say, we all had a JFT.

Some very good news is that the little town in the Karoo, De Rust with a little olive estate, De Rustica won the top prize at the global Evooleum Awards. It is the first time the winner did not come from either Spain or Italy and the blind tasting had more than 1000 oils from all over the world.

You don’t get better than that!

Some more good news:

The coach is back and was on the couch to watch the Stormers play arch-enemy the Bulls on Saturday at the Cape Town Stadium. I’m pleased to be able to report that it was an easy victory that brought smiles to our faces. Then we watched Spurs in action at home against Crystal Palace. There was only one goal in it which Harry Kane scored so it was a very good afternoon indeed.

As always,


Email:     Phone: +27 82 557 5775
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3 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. Sad and frightening article. However having said that, we have just returned from a road trip through South Africa. Taking in the Karoo, Route 62 in Western Cape, through the Lowveld to Kamatipoort. South Africa truly is a beautiful country but we were shocked at how few people/businesses/tourist attractions are not going solar. In Zimbabwe (which is in the depths of despair) most of us live off the grid.
    The demise of South Africa will have a shocking effect on neighbouring countries. Very sad but typical of too many African countries.

  2. How depressing ,it just seems to get worse. I am glad I never went there when I left Rhodesia. Maybe big fire works coming, and a collapsed economy.

  3. The contradictions stand out.

    At times, people are not in the know.

    Or, the msm gives ambiguous information, and wrong choices are made.

    By the way, my book “Win in Washington” arrived, Thursday, 11 May 2023 A D.

    You all, Rhodesian citizens, RAR, RLI, BSAP, SADF, Rh Air Force, Riverine/river boats crews, mechanics, Helicopter crews, others who came to defend, were and are “Men among Men”.

    Pugnamus amo Leo.

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