Gerald Potash

Hello again,

Our top story of the week is all about the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkize. He is/was in line to take over from Ramaphosa to lead the Party and the country. He is a long-winded, underperforming extrovert who loves being on TV. Could anyone else have made more of a mess of our vaccination roll-out? Would anyone else have paid for extended TV slots to explain the vaccine roll-out when it was ‘the’ sought-after news item as the pandemic reached us? 

Well, he is in serious trouble and his troubles are just so typical of how endemic and gratuitous corruption is in the ANC.

His close working colleagues, like his former spokesperson and his personal assistant landed, a R150 million contract to distribute the anti-Covid vaccines. What was wrong with the Government doing that and without paying a penny extra. Isn’t that what the Health Dept does?

The Co that benefited from the Health Dept.’s generosity is called ‘Digital Vibes’ and is owned by these two ladies with close connections to Mkize. These two have absolutely no experience in distribution and apparently did nothing other than find homes for their new-found wealth; like financial payments to Mkize’s son’s company and they also bought him a second hand Land Rover pick-up truck. They also funded a wall for Mkize at his then plush family-pad in Johannesburg. But, the good Dr says, he is not in any way connected to this co. and did not in any way benefit from this deal with these people who are not his friends but just cadres. The fact that they are close; that they share photos on each others’  Facebook pages means nothing to the Dr just so long as they are loyal cadres of the Party. He feels that there is no criminality of any kind.  Is this not the very face of ANC cronyism?

To claim innocence is apparently not to deny that your children benefited. (Refer here to Ace Magashule and his wealthy sons or Matshela Koko’s daughter who is even wealthier and Accused No’s son, Duduzane, who is a billionaire.) 

At the very least this scandalous exposé demands an immediate step-aside instruction from the ANC. Have you heard one? I haven’t.

Actually Mkize should be fired from the cabinet. But that is not Ramaphosa’s style. Firstly because Mkize is a Ramaphosa supporter in the factional battle now on-going in the ANC and secondly for firing a colleague you need a backbone.

Cyril did say in Parliament yesterday, after this news dominated that the headlines on all our channels, all week, that he is waiting for the results of an enquiry before he takes any steps. Typical. Delay, delay…

Yesterday the DA announced that they are going to lay charges against the Minister at the Central Police Station today.

Let’s see what happens.

With our police investigating too often nothing happens.

Credit for this exposé again goes to investigative journalist, Pieter-Louis Myburgh for his unbelievable digging in following the money. This is Brandan’s view from Business Day of friends of the head of the country’s Health Dept. being given a R150.million vaccination.

Accused No 1 has had a bad week; a terribly bad week.

He lost his case appealing the R10 million it has cost us for his challenge of Thuli Madonsela’s StateCapture report. You will remember that he wanted us to pay for that, but now after this judgement he has to pay those costs himself.

The Constitutional Court dismissed the case after the State’s 

presentation and struck it form the roll as nonsense.

Then we learnt that his R3 million a year pension is in jeopardy and could be attached because the State wants its R31 million back that he has spent on legal costs. That colossal amount is what he wasted with his Stalingrading tactics. The State’s summons is for immediate settlement. They want their money back.

But that’s not all. The media houses, ama-Bhungani and Financial Mail want to see JZ’s tax records. They are at the Pretoria high Court arguing that certain clauses in the law are unconstitutional and that it is in the public interest that there should be limited exception to the law which makes all tax information sacrosanct.

Can things go worse for him? Certainly, he could very easily be sent to jail and not only after this Corruption trial, which is running but will probably still take a long time yet, but for walking out of the Zondo Commission. In this matter a judgement from the Con Court is now imminent.

Cyril was on TV again on Sunday night with another of his  family chats. Oh, he bores me. He rambles on in a monotone and he never takes questions. 

We are back to level 2 restrictions as half the country has already slipped into a third wave of Covid-infections. The hardest hit will be the restaurants again, which will have to close by 10 pm and our gym now again counts entries; they must remain at under 100 members present at one time.

Did Cyril mention Digital Vibes or Zweli Mkize, even once in his chat?

Don’t be silly. 

Hilary Joffe is a contributing editor to the Sunday Times. This week she writes about Ramaphosa’s desire at localisation to stimulate our economic growth, which currently is virtually non-existent. Her response, which I quote here, is sadly on the spot. 

Shiny new “interventions” won’t do it. In the end there is no easy ways to confronting the devils that long plagued SA’s economy and crushed its potential: unreliable and expensive electricity, costly inefficient ports, a poor education system; corrupt or incompetent officials; and a host of regulatory obstacles. 

Ouch!

Next week, no doubt, Hilary will be writing about our growing unemployment. The official figures were released on Tuesday and they are slightly worse than last year at 32.8%. That figure though is only for those still looking for work. But what StatsSA didn’t mention is that unemployment amongst our young people, aged between 15 and 24 now stands at 63.3%. Two out of three young people just cannot find jobs.

SA urgently needs serious structural reforms and our parliamentarians sit and argue, as they have all week, about changing the Constitution so that expropriation without compensation (EWC) can take place.

I ask you, who is going to invest in SA?

Having said that, very little illustrates the inefficiency of the ANC Government better than learning about the waste of money that our overseas “assets” have cost us. We own decaying properties; SA owns 127 properties and hires more than 1000 in foreign countries, some of which have not been used for 20 years. These, of course, are funded by tax-payers money and it is big money. SA is now getting rid of some of this junk that it owns; like a dirty swimming pool in Angola, a small broken washing machine in Cuba and a parking space in Paris.

Some of the stories about these properties are truly cringeworthy; like our Angolan Ambassador staying in a rented apartment while the State owns a home for him in the diplomatic suburb that has been standing empty for 15 years.

Ek sê maar niks.

Loadshedding has returned. It is no longer a surprise, merely an irritation. Of all the failures of this Government nothing compares to the criminality that has brought Eskom to its knees. Has even one person gone to jail for the billions plundered?

Don’t be silly.                                                                                    I have a lot of trouble trying to comprehend what a billion Rand is.   A billion seconds ago was a little more than 31 and a half years ago. Soweto residents and municipalities owe Eskom more than R40 billion in arrear payments.

No wonder our lights go out.

If you think electricity blackouts are bad what do you say to water cuts?  Water tankers in the streets of Johannesburg are now regular features and this past weekend two hospitals in the Golden City had to move their patients due to a lack of water.

Infrastructure is collapsing and the municipality does not have the necessary billions, yes billions, to fix the problem.

In spite of all the gloom the Rand has reached a 3-year high. The strengthening of our currency is interesting in so much that the price of petrol, food & beverages and machinery & computing equipment all increased sharply last month. Go figure.

UCT is in a fight with Prof Athol Williams —I wrote a fortnight ago I that I had been to hear him talk at the CT Press Club with Dennis, that character of note. Williams is famous, locally, for blowing the whistle at the Zondo Commission and he told us all about that at his talk but he also told us what is going on at UCT. Well, UCT are denying that their ombudsman promised him money not to spill their beans. A court case is brewing. 

Watch this space.

The SIU, our investigation unit, has done sterling work and yesterday arrested a top businessman and three government officials for the looting of the Estina Dairy Project in the Free State.

The businessman nabbed is Iqbal Sharma, the high-profile close colleague and key aid of the Guptas. He will appear in the High Court later today to face multiple charges of corruption and money laundering together with the three officials.

At last we are getting somewhere. This is Zapiro’s cartoon from yesterday’s Daily Maverick. If Sharma can get nabbed, how much closer are the Hawks & the NPA to these lovely characters?

This has also been a bad week for Iqbal Survé.  Britain’s BT Group has dumped Sekunjalo Holdings as their BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) partner in SA. The reason given is “the misrepresentation of facts to parliament’s standing committee on finance made by representatives of the Sekunjalo Group”.

In their terse statement they make it clear they want nothing more to to with Survé or any of his companies.

Then to make the week even worse for Survé his newspaper group, Independent Media, lost a defamation case against Maria Ramos. The fact that the Cape Times and his other newspapers write false and defamatory statements can no longer be denied. Not only has IM lost their case with costs for deliberately printing false and defamatory statements, they also have to apologise in their papers and on social media.

They have also been ordered to remove all those defamatory articles from their publications.

We are all looking very forward to the upcoming rugby tour later this month when the British and Irish Lions visit SA for a full series. The tour will be rather different to usual tours in so much as the games will be limited to just two venues because of the Covid pandemic. The good news is that those Springboks playing all over Europe will be called back to strengthen our team and they having been staring all over England, Ireland and especially in France. I can’t wait for the tour, which was so nearly called off, to get underway.

The Proteas (SA cricket team) left for the West Indies this week. The first T20 gets underway on the 10th. That’s good news, too.

No football results, really, unless you consider a Cup Final without Spurs important. Chelsea won, a surprise really because Man City won nearly everything else.

There is a possibility that Mauricio Potchettino maybe returning to Tottenham. I’m holding my thumbs.

As always, love to all,

Gerald

2 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. The amazing thing is that all this has been happening in front of our eyes. The government is as aware as the rest of the population, but with a parliament full of incompetent retreads and no way of changing the system because of proportional representation they will carry on unabated. What a waste of a wonderful country !

  2. How depressing to read this.! They make the Mafia look like amateurs.! It is a wonder that there is any money left.. I suppose the saying that this Africa is apt. I do not hold out any hope ,any country from the Cape to Cairo, will ever recover as the new thieves only take over from the old ones. Very sad.

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