Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

One of the reasons that cholera is spreading in this country is the horrific condition of the water in so many towns. The Auditor General delivered her (far too polite) annual assessment of our municipalities and it is shocking and depressing. It is a grim picture of service delivery, or rather the lack thereof.

Corruption and fraud is on-going, if not worsening and accordingly finances weaken and many municipalities are unable to operate. No wonder water pipes don’t get replaced and potholes don’t get repaired.

Less than 46% of the country’s water supply is compliant with the No Drop Water Report on Tuesday that tests the quality of our water. This is Brandan’s view of what’s going on here from Business Day

Only 2 of our Metros, Cape Town and Ekurhureni (Benoni, Brakpan, Springs, Nigel, Germiston) had clean audits and most of the Western Cape towns again had the most clean audits in the country. As the DA keep reminding voters, they are administered by the DA.

—Here everything works that’s why it is such a good idea to visit just the Western Cape and of course the game parks—

Eskom, power outages, de Ruyter’s book, the water problems and criminality remain top news items daily. This weekend City Press reported that a top executive has been involved with the planning of sabotage at Eskom. All of a sudden those De Ruyter nay-sayers are quiet. The forensic investigator Calvin Rafadi said that not only managers but also staff have been involved in sabotaging the power stations for years.

We want to know that top executive’s name and his position.

I heard a story yesterday of what happens in a certain municipality. A water pipe bursts and the municipality gets called to fix it. The fellow in charge at the municipality is a cadre who has been an ANC member since he got his free T-shirt at a political rally.

He gets phoned and refers the pipe fixing to his wife’s brother-in-law’s friend who is a plumber. The fellow consults our municipal man and tells him the job will cost about R100,000. Our fellow tells him to quote R1 million and so they split the R900,000 balance equally. And the job gets poorly done because our plumber is not very good at his job. This could indeed be a very common practice, but at Eskom it is just so much worse. There the plumber wouldn’t buy a new pipe to install, he would simply “fix” the old one and the R1 million rand quote would cost us a billion.

This week, like no doubt next week too, our newspapers have been full of Putin’s coming to the BRICS meeting scheduled for here in  August. SA is hosting the heads of State of the five nations and as a signatory to the ICC’s charter SA is compelled to arrest Putin as soon as he puts foot on our soil. It won’t happen. Russia is too important to the ANC and there is even a story doing the rounds that Russia is funding the Party.

In the meantime an order of execution has been served on the ANC for not honouring a debt of R102.4 million. The ANC owes that money to a branding company for election posters and marketing. The ANC needs every ruble it can get.

One of the most disturbing articles I read this week was written by Anton Harber, the journalism professor at Wits University in Business Day on Friday. He tells of some of the murders of investigative journalists and the fear that the “mafia gangs” are installing into the hearts and minds of whistle-blowers. He ends by warning that these investigators will cease their investigations because of personal fear and then one of the last bastions of anti-corruption will have fallen. 

As if to illustrate Harber’s article a lady employee of a government department was shot dead in her car in broad daylight early this week in Johannesburg on a busy suburban street. The CCTV cameras have the bullets being shot into the car but it is difficult to identify the shooter. She was due to give evidence next week in a corruption matter.

No one has been arrested yet.

The government has announced a “major” grant in a breakthrough for our electricity generation. It will come from China and we will be able to secure a constant supply of electricity to hospitals & schools. I, unlike the government minister who made the announcement am worried by this. More than just once I have heard Leonard Suransky, the emeritus Prof of political science talking on the influence of China and not only in Africa but world wide. The Chinese footprint is massive in Africa but you will also find their influence in countries from the USA to Israel. The Prof illustrates this Chinese influence in his talks. Here in SA that footprint is growing exponentially. There are Chinese ‘R5.00 shops’ on every main road of every ‘dorp’ in the country. There is a Chinatown centre here in Someset West where we live, owned and staffed by Chinese.

At a recent U3A meeting I attended locally I asked the professor a question: what can we do about the growing Chinese influence?

His answer: learn Mandarin.

The government is keen to keep the report of the committee looking into the ‘Lady R’ episode secret.

You will recall that the Russian ship docked secretly in Simonstown and was accused by the American Ambassador to SA of smuggling arms to the Russians who are at war.

Why keep the report secret?

Surely public interest is more important than secrecy?

Whereas Fikile Mbalula. the ANC Sec-Gen told the Nation that “Fokol” was loaded on the Lady R 

John Steenhiusen of the DA gave very different answers to that……..  so let’s see what happens. This is Rico’s take, from Business Maverick on the affair:

Stellenbosch University is still in the news for all the wrong reasons. The University is working hard to be ‘inclusive’ rather than an just an Afrikaans place of learning. Early this week the Stellenbosch University Convocation President, Adv Jan Heunis has been voted out of office during a motion of no confidence.

In the news yesterday was a report that the UK is paying SA teachers R200,000 to relocate.

The most beautiful vineyard in the world, as rated by the international firm CV Villas, is Stellenbosch’s Boschendal. In my touring days I often took tourists there, but I would have chosen slightly differently, having seen the other SA vineyards also on their list. Tokara was also in the top 20 of the 100 named vineyards. We really can be very proud of not only the beauty of the vineyards but also the quality of our wines.

Some good news from News24 yesterday that despite record levels of load shedding, all energy-intensive sectors in the economy–including mining, manufacturing and construction–grew in the first quarter of this year. 

More good news is that Zuma yesterday got another ‘klap’ in court where his attempt to have Billy Downer removed as the prosecutor failed miserably. The judges ruled that Zuma is interdicted and restrained from reinstituting, proceeding with”, or from taking any further steps pursuant to, the private prosecution,” against Downer and journalist Karen Maughan and Zuma was also ordered to pay all costs in the matter. Good!

Some bad news is that the F1 organisers let it be known that they have abandoned plans for a return to Kyalami, due to SA’s relationship with Russia. This made the front page news of Die Burger, yesterday.

On Sunday the hardest race in the world takes place. The Comrade’s Marathon starts on Sunday morning at 5.30 and most runners require almost a full day to run the almost 90 kls. Can you guess which foreign country has the most entrants for the race? India with more than 400. To that question, I guessed England but there are ‘only’ 224 runners entered from the UK.

It’s great to watch.

On the couch to watch the FA Cup final from Wembley on Saturday with the coach and me were Richard and Ben. We get to see our son, Richard reasonably regularly but we haven’t seen Ben (a 19-year-old student) for years other than on the computer through FaceTime. The real thing is just so much better.  The visit from the two from Sydney has been a tonic for the world champion and me.

The kids spent the whole weekend with us and they got to see most of our close pals (who also have kids and grandkids overseas) and they got to see and stay in our new home in the Retirement Village. And they do approve of our move.

As always,



2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. “Let them eat cake” is the most famous quote attributed to Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France during the French Revolution.
    Maybe Cyril Ramafailure can be reminded of this?

  2. One of my earliest Cape ancestors was Cornelia Helm (8X gt grandmother) born in CT in 1673 owned a wine farm in Stellenbosch called Cauliblom fontein now called Fairview I believe. I would like to visit one day.
    Cornelia married my 8X gt grandfather, Jacob Coetzer (Kutzer) who originated in Bohemia (Czek Republic) and came to the Cape in 1708 as soldier with the VOC on the ship Noordbeek. He was Cornelia’s farm manager. She was married 3 times and had about 16 children. I have a copy of her will written in high Dutch and am awaiting a translation. She died in 1721.

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