Gerald Potash

Hello again

This week our news was totally dominated by some devastating fires.

Mountain fires are a huge hazard at this time of the year in our region but some fires are very necessary, particularly when they are controlled, because the fynbos, the unique plant-life exclusive to the Western Cape only, propagates not with the help of birds and bees, but the seeds of the fynbos pop out from the heat generated by fires and then germinate. That is the only way they endure. The enormous blaze on Table Mountain that started (by some vagrants?) on Sunday morning was horrid and the destruction devastating. Rhodes Memorial, Mostert’s Mill—the oldest working Mill in the country——the libraries at UCT, suffered badly and the fire caused terrible loss to some priceless and irrecoverable Africana documents. 

Cape Town was held hostage. Several suburbs were evacuated as were all the students at UCT who were in residence on the campus. 4000 of them. Deer Park Drive, above Vredehoek, was at risk and the Herzlia High School was closed on Monday for obvious safety reasons.

The local volunteers were magnificent and the NGO, Gift of the Givers, really do star when the chips are down. Their logistics to move,  house and feed those at risk was again top drawer!   If only our Government was as capable as this organisation run by Dr Imtiaz Suliman.

The public donated everything from food to eye-drops at designated drop-off points and six hotels opened their doors to help house the students from UCT who had to abandon their residences on campus.

Many of the big businesses came to the assistance too, with support of every kind. Cape Town really stood together in their time of crisis.

One group though, wanted the flames to burn even brighter and wanted to see the very end of Rhodes Memorial where the lovely tea room is totally gutted. This fellow called the flames a cleansing process not a fire. He called for supporters to throw petrol on the flames to eliminate all references to colonialism in SA. This group is lead by a twitterati-activist who calls himself Zanokuhlu. 

The other weekend fire that caused much stress was on the 3rd floor of the Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, now known as Charlotte Maxeke (In 1912 she the only female in the formation of what became the ANC)  Hospital. The hospital is now closed for the week because of the damage caused. It was this venue that was to be used for vaccinations against Covid, but anyway we are not there yet, and it may well be rebuilt by the time we can get vaccinated.

I actually think that the vaccine rollout is starting up again. Is anybody really sure? I have registered twice for the vaccine, once several weeks ago, and this time when again asked (by the same weblink) to do so. Let’s see how long I have to wait before I get my shot. Less than 300,000 have been vaccinated in SA. That is pathetic.

A headline in one of the Sunday newspapers screamed that Ace Magashule is going nowhere when his 30 days to step aside expires, in a weeks’ time. That’s not good news and it could mean a long protracted process for the ANC to get rid of him, but what is noticeable —since a leaked recording of the last ANC NEC meeting— is that the tide, in high office, is turning very definitely against Ace. Both Zuma and Magashule are facing imminent court trials where they are charged with very serious corruption and if Magashule indeed refuses to step aside the ANC may have to split.

I wouldn’t mind that at all.

Then on Tuesday the Zuma family made it clear that JZ is not going to jail. His son, Edward, said so after a family ritual took place in a kraal at Nkandla, over the weekend.  Edward clearly knows something none of us know. But I dare say Edward has been wrong before. I still believe that the Con Court will sentence him to a jail term.

Zapiro summed it all up very well with this clever cartoon from Daily Maverick that shows how the legal system is at last catching up with the tainted bad eggs in the ANC and notice there are other cadres hanging in that Radical Economic Transformation tree:

With less than a month to go before the long awaited trial of Accused No 1 in his corruption, money laundering, fraud and theft trial his lawyers have withdrawn! Is it because he hadn’t paid them yet for all their work in delaying the trial for so very long? Or is this yet another clever Stalingrad tactic? Remember that he was last week told to pay his own legal fees. For that he owes R25 million. Up till now he believed the tax-payers would go on paying his legal costs ad infinitum.

Over the weekend there was a break-in at the offices of the Zondo Commission. Two laptops and a monitor were stolen. Is this more sinister than the Police are letting on? Also a bullet, that had been shot through the window was recovered. Judge Zondo said that he refuses to be intimidated and it hasn’t stopped the hearings, where they are now sitting longer hours to try to get as much done as possible before it has to close its business by the end of June. This Commission has already cost us more than R800 million, and not one person has yet been sent to prison or even charged!

What is so frustrating is the damning evidence that we all hear almost daily but there are just no follow-ups. Why aren’t the NPA taking matters further? So much of the evidence has been written up, not only by the press but even in books. The President’s Keepers alone should have had consequences for Accused No 1 but ……..nothing. 

This week at the Commission we heard how Arthur Fraser misused his position as head of State Security. It was well known. Not only did he misappropriate millions on fancy motor cars and holidays, but every member of his family got a top government job that the tax-payer pays for. Everybody knew about his nepotism and the wasteful unauthorised expenditure. So what did Ramaphosa do when he came into office? He moved Fraser out of State Security, not into jail, but made him Chief of Prisons.  

Here is another Zapiro cartoon, from Tuesday, which so succinctly summarises the most important issues of the week. Do look at it carefully.

The selection process that has just taken place to appoint two new judges to serve in the Apex Court has come in for severe criticism. Werner Horn of the DA said that the behaviour of the selection committee was a disgrace and deserves the criticism that it is receiving. Tony Leon in Business Day writes that a birth defect (being born white) now places the most important hinderance of progressing to the top Judicial positions in the country.

What I have told you before is that SA today is as racist as it ever was; but the brunt now is on the whites.

One of the webinars we tuned into this week was Paul Hoffman, SC,  talking on the Free Market Foundations’ platform on how to combat corruption in our country. He paid due respect to the roll that civil society plays and how important that roll is, and he is talking from experience as he heads up the NGO, Accountability Now. Hoffman pointed out that there are several initiatives in process but the easiest one, in my opinion, is to change the government at the next election. Everyone knows that corruption is endemic in the ANC and that party must be replaced. I know, easier said than done.

Another webinar, a day later, was Sol Kramer’s hosting of Thuli Madonsela, our erstwhile Public Protector and now a law professor at Stellenbosch University. She, to a large extent, followed the same theme as Hoffman stressing social justice and the work that it does and can do and what her university is doing along those lines.

Two major banks, FNB and ABSA, have now closed out on Iqbal Survé’s Ayo Technologies.

The Cape Times runs front page articles and wordy editorials about their fight with the banks but that it is not news to anyone else. That is another reason why I no longer subscribe to the CT and only glance at their headlines when passing a news-stand in a supermarket. 

More local good news is that Amazon Africa is building a huge headquarters in Cape Town to service their Africa business. It is envisaged that more than 5000 jobs will be created in the building phase alone and that once completed the business will employ more than 19,000 people. This project is going to take a few years to complete, but the initial plans have been passed and work is due to start soon.

Cape Town has a brand new very modern hotel with robots for staff. It is in the one of the tallest buildings in our city and is situated centrally in the  foreshore. This will attract visitors for sure! Tourism is picking up again and even I have had two approaches for tours. It has been more than a year since that  last happened.

Cricket SA is in a real mess. The government has had to step in to dissolve a board that is so egotistical that the members do not act in the best interests of the game, but only for themselves.  SA now faces international suspension because the Board refused to accept the changes necessary to improve its failing governance. Previous Protea captains have come out critical of the Board. 

Is it poor administration that has caused the standard of our cricket to have slumped to what most sports’ scribes describe as pathetic. Probably. Last week we lost to that mighty cricketing nation, Pakistan, at home, nogal. We only played against the mighty Pakistanis because the Australians ignored their long-standing commitment plan to tour here and the Paki side was only too delighted, at short notice, to come. Our top players are not in the National side. It is just not in their interests to waste their time with our pathetic set-up. Where are our top players, you may ask? They are in India making big money in the IPL.

The main news of the day on Monday, surpassing even anything political, was the sacking of José Mourinho as manager of Spurs. That’s good news. Spurs have appointed the youngest manager ever in the Premiership, the 29 year-old Ryan Mason who will lead the team on Sunday for the final of the Carabao Cup at Wembley against top dogs, Manchester City. Last night Spurs played Southampton with their new interim coach having taken Mourinho’s place. Spurs won, but it wasn’t pretty. The win was very really necessary, though.

Last weekend we were lucky, lucky to draw with Everton. Spurs are walking on water…….can they keep it up or even make into back the top four, which is necessary to play in the top European competition?

As always, love to all,                                                                    


2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. South Africa is not the only country that has singled out whites as oppressors ….the BLM movement has gone global spreading hatred against whites like a pandemic that will be here to stay for a long time. We are entering the 1930’s in Germany again when the finger was pointed at the Jews. I am very afraid for all of us. The BLM clearly wants us wiped off the face of the earth.

  2. Boiled down or, as the chefs say, “reduced”, the current South Africa is a simmering mixture of incompetence, corruption and blatant racism.

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