Gerald Potash,

Hello again,

Politics played itself out on the front pages of our newspapers this week and I imagine as we get nearer to our general election this will become standard fare.

The first story to make headlines was all about the long-time activist and ANC big-shot, the deputy head of the Veterans League, Dr Mavuso Msimang. He resigned from the ANC because of the ‘out-of-control corruption’ in the Party and he said so.  It was Dr Msimang who, two years ago while speaking on a radio program after the Phala Phala affair broke, called for Ramaphosa to resign. Last week Msimang called the Sec Gen of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula an embarrassment.  Who can argue with that? 

97 members of the Party have been fingered by the Zondo Commission report on state capture yet not one has faced trial or even been asked to step aside from the Party more than two years later. The question being asked now, after this high-profile resignation; are there leaders in the Party who will leave before the upcoming elections?

This cartoon from City Press shows Msimang abandoning the sinking ANC ship: 

The next big story to make headlines is of Roger Jardine, the 58-year-old Chairman of the big banking group, First Rand, leaving the bank to go back into politics. Speculation is that he will join the grouping of opposition parties to become our next President. Seven of the country’s opposition parties are making up an opposition conglomerate. These parties include the DA and the IFP but deliberately exclude the EFF, in their attempt to replace the ANC. This conglomerate is known as the MPC, Multi Party Charter, and they are considering parachuting Jardine into the hot seat to lead the country. Jardine grew up in a poor ‘coloured’ Johannesburg township where he learnt his activism. He is quoted on the front page of the Sunday Times saying “We just cant carry on like this”. This from a man who was seriously involved with the government as a Director of Arts, Culture & Science before going across to head up First Rand.

Then on Sunday Jardine announced he was forming a new political party, ‘Change starts here’. The Mail & Guardian believes that the ‘financial powers-that-be’ have given up on Ramaphosa and so their ‘election money’ could easily be funneled to Jardine, since he is closely connected to very many of them. This story is running. 

Over the weekend City Press highlighted Songizi Zibi, the former editor of Business Day, who formed the political think-tank known as Rivonia Circle which has now morphed into a political party, Rise Mzansi. He, too, is likely to cause the ANC grief in the election. He has no delusions of becoming President next year but is focusing on 2029 when the next general election is due to take place. In the meantime he and his followers are going door to door from village to village to spread the word about his philosophy. He believes he can fix SA. 

PRASA (the rail agency), like Eskom gets severely criticized for their horrible service. So with fanfare they reintroduced a train service between Johannesburg and Cape Town (which has not been operational for a few years) and another between Joburg and Durban. The train is now called the Shoshaloza Meyl train. The tickets are cheap and you can bring your own booze. On Friday the first trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town got as far as Worcester to find that the copper wire along the line had been stolen and so the trip ended with passengers being squashed into buses and brought to our city. PRASA called it an ‘infrastucture challenge’. The press called it ineptitude & incompetence.

You are aware that Cyril has refused to divulge the ratings of his cabinet. Well on Monday Die Burger posted their ratings, collected from political experts questioned by their journalist, Gert van der Westhuizen. He posted a full page in the newspaper on Monday and their headline says it all: Weak, weaker, weakest. Not one member of Cyril’s bloated cabinet rates higher than 6 out of 10 and only three or four ministers rated that high; Electricity, (surprisingly!) Justice & Health. Some ministers rated zero and plenty rated 2/10 or 3/10. What are they doing in the cabinet? Cyril rated 4/10 and I think that rating flatters him. 

We have had load shedding on 335 days so far this year. This is David’s take on the reasons for our outages taken from The Daily Friend:

The National Health Insurance bill has just been passed by the NCOP (National Council of Provinces) after having been sent upstairs by the lower house of parliament. All this has to do with the throttling of our efficient privately run Medical Aids and I am surprised not more has been made of this deliberate socialist maneuver. Mind you the editorial in the Sunday Times calls it a cynical vote-catching ploy. 

Business Day calls it a ‘death knell for medical aids”.

David Tabisher goes further and calls it fiscal suicide.

Paul pointed out to me, when the Usual Suspects got together– with wives, (sans Henry & Barbara and we also missed Paul’s Elise) for lunch in Somerset West on Tuesday that he expects there to be plenty lining up to appeal this unconstitutional piece of legislation. It only becomes law when Cyril assigns it. Then the appeals to the Constitutional Court can take place. Cyril could even send it back to Parliament for changes. But Cyril is not know for speedy decisions so we wait to see what Cyril will do.

SA has selected Gasprombank Africa of Russia to assist in restarting our oil & gas project in Mossel Bay. 20 bidders tried to partner with PetroSA and the Russians ‘won’.  This is an extremely risky deal as Gasprom is under American sanctions. 

As you can imagine there has been lots of speculation as to the wisdom of this deal. Time will tell.

Some good news is that SA is likely to attract a R105 billion investment linked to the green hydrogen and ammonia project just outside Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth to you). This will be the biggest investment of this kind in the world and will create 20,000 jobs by 2028. Japan, Korea and Europe need green hydrogen to store hydrogen. A spin off from this project will be that SA will be manufacturing its own solar panels. 

More good news is that we are getting 10,000 new policemen. They have just completed their training and will be placed all over the country where they are most needed.

 

I had two very special catch-ups this week. My fist was with Cassie and Doug in Stellenbosch and being with them is always stimulating. Then the usual suspects, with wives came out to our neck of the woods to join the world champion and me for lunch. We were at the historic wine farm Vergelegen, which is a beautiful venue and was once owned by Willen Adriaan van der Stel. The lunch was great but the service was terrible. Lunch took a little more than 4 hours and although we enjoyed just chatting and telling grappies and having a JFT, it took too long. 

The coach was on the couch to watch the Spurs game on Sunday evening. After the ‘sloppy’ (Times of London) performance on Thursday night when they chucked the game away neither of us were too optimistic. But how lovely to watch our team playing like we know they can, winning 4-1. Sunday was vintage Spurs and not only did we go to bed smiling, but I proudly wore my Spurs T-shirt to gym on Monday.

As always,                                                                                        

Gerald 


PS
This will most likely be my last news update of the year. The 3Ms arrive on Sunday and we are looking forward to entertaining them here. They have booked different hotels and experiences for their stay and we are even going with them on one or two “getaways”
I wish you compliments of the season and may you have a very happy New Year

Email: gpotash1@gmail.com     Phone: +27 82 557 5775
 
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One thought on “The Week That Was”
  1. Gerald, may you and yours enjoy a festive and safe Xmas period. Many thanks for the postings and look forward to next year’s!! Cheers!

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