Gerald Potash,

Hello again

Three or four really big stories dominated the headlines in our press this week.

Marcus Jooste (63) killed himself. Jooste headed up the Steinhoff Group of companies and caused hundreds of thousands to lose their money, some even took their own lives, in the biggest stock exchange crash ever experienced in this country. He committed the most colossal fraud ever seen in SA and his companies crashed spectacularly on the stock exchange, wiping off billions of Rands held by financial institutions and individual investors. Not only in the SA listing but also in his Steinhoff stock-listings in Germany and Holland the dramatic drop was experienced with shock and horror. As the ‘papers pointed out he wasn’t a nice man but he was a shrewd operator and he siphoned billions of Rands out of our country illegally. He was the world’s second-biggest racehorse owner only after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai. He flouted his mistresses and he flouted the law. Now at long last after 7 years of investigations the law was finally closing in on him–he was due to present himself to the court and then jail the next day—so he shot himself on the Hermanus rocks near his luxurious home last Thursday afternoon.

The courts have attached all of his assets and also the R25 million of his mistress’s assets in Val de Vie, the luxury gated estate just outside Paarl.

The story of our Speaker of Parliament has been in the headlines for more than a week and what it shows is how pathetically weak Ramaphosa is. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has a litany of scandals from incompetence, years ago as a Minister of Defence, using State airplanes for privately transporting her cronies and she is now about to be arrested for accepting bribes of money and meat while Minister. All of this has been exposed by our brave investigative journalists but neither Cyril, the spineless nor the investigative authorities did anything.  It was Mapisa-Nqakula who gave permission for the infamous illegal landing, at our military air strip Waterkloof, of the guests from India who arrived for the Gupta wedding without the necessary visas. Mapisa-Nqakula has now appealed to the High Court to stay her arrest on corruption charges (yet more stalingrading). She has a week to think up a very good defence otherwise she is going to jail (bail is likely)…

All that Cyril has ever done is move her from one position in government to another.

This story will certainly run so watch this space

Zapiro’s clever cartoon, with Mbalula the ANC Secretary-General reporting   to his Boss, from Tuesday’s Daily Maverick follows: 
(See who the Speaker is!)

Then our politics, with the general election just two months away, are centre stage and the polls are being analysed by pollsters almost ad nauseam. It seems that not only in KZN is there likely to be a very close call with the governing party likely to lose its control. Here in the Western Cape it similarly looks as if the DA might not make it over 50%. The Western Cape is by far the best-run province in the country and if they do lose their leadership here we can all pack up and leave.

Cyril really also must go but who will replace him? The trouble is that there isn’t one member of the ANC whom I can see that is even half capable of running this country cleanly and properly. Even in a coalition I’m not sure about a leader. And if push comes to shove will Cyril step down?

With our general election looming a further question being asked is; Can we be sure the elections will be free and fair and not subject to tampering? The DA got serious flack for asking the Americans to come as observers to our elections. When one sees what is happening in so many African countries and at every election in neighbouring Zimbabwe it seems that inviting independent observers is not a bad idea at all.

Water supplied by about half of all our municipalities is unfit to drink. The water problem is throughout the country but mostly in Johanesburg, Pretoria and the Eastern Cape and that has also been in the news every day this week. The mayor of our largest city is a denialist. He is also a puppet. He is a member of the small Al Jama-ah Party and runs the largest municipality in our country at the bidding of the ANC and the EFF.  He is probably the only person in Joburg who doesn’t see a water problem. He says everything is under control but he does suggest that people use their water sparingly. The outages he believes are temporary and just caused by the continuing work being done by the municipality to repair the system. In a month or two he may wake up to reality.

I enjoyed this cartoon from Carlos in News24.

The cause of the water shortage last week in Tshwane (Pretoria to you) was the sabotaging of two key valves and these are now replaced. And a body was found floating in a municipal water source that had been there for two weeks. This is South Africa!

A pretty little 6-year old girl from Saldanha Bay, Joslin Smith,  disappeared a month ago. Her mother, the boyfriend and two others are in jail awaiting a trial on charges of murder and/or human trafficking. Apparently she was sold and murdered for ‘muti’ to pay for the drugs the mother (pregnant) and her boyfriend owed. This really has been on our front pages for weeks because it is such a sad, but typically SA story. The girl’s remains have not yet been found.

I still can’t get over the fact that 84 people get murdered in our country every day!

I don’t think I have ever been to Ladysmith, but I had better get there quickly because from next month the town in KZN is going to be known as uMnambithi.  I am going to have to practise quite seriously to know exactly how to pronounce it.

247 companies closed down or went into liquidation in the first two months of this year. That’s bad news. And just as bad are the unemployment figures which are up again after the dismal start of the year.

A good news story that took up front page space at the beginning  of the week was about the six fishermen who had been missing at sea since the weekend have been found and been brought back safe and sound. Their boat had run out of fuel miles from Cape Point and a NSRI (national sea rescue) crew found them and returned them safely to their loved ones. 

On Tuesday the usual suspects at the behest of Dennis, that character of note got us together to listen to John Steenhuisen, leader of the opposition and DA Party leader at the CT Press Club. It was lovely to have Robin back with us and Paul, Henry & Kenny filled the quorum.

The leader of the opposition impressed me. He named Mapisa-Nqakula as robbing SA blind and Cyril as doing nothing while all the time sprouting his promised ‘new dawn.’ JS went on to name Deputy President Paul Mashatile and long-time (Education) cabinet Minister, Blade Nzimande as being equally guilty of taking bribes.  What particularly impressed were his answers to the questions put to him after his talk. One can see that he has been around the block.

A nice turn at the Press Club was bumping into Percy whom I don’t think I have seen since our days as articled clerks, a mighty long time ago. And then also meeting Andre for the first time. The CTPC is always social amongst us usual suspects before it gets serious and I like that. That’s why we usually get there a little earlier to chat over a nice cup of coffee. On the couch on Saturday evening, next to the coach, were the world champion, Corrie & Elise, Oom Dawid and me. And behind us watching the Stormers playing Edinburgh sat Hendrik, that knowledgeable rugby guru. It was a lovely open game and what made it even better was that the Stormers won easily. There was no Premiership football this past weekend because of the Internationals. As always,                                                                                             Gerald
Email:     Phone: +27 82 557 5775
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