Gerald Potash

Hello again,

Pieter Mulder writing in Die Burger over the weekend (and before the NEC meeting) quotes  “the President is in office but not in power”. 

The chaos of the looting and vandalism that took place in KZ-N and Gauteng now nearly a month ago still stays very much in our news, if mostly on the editorial pages. That 89 shopping centres were looted, completely emptied including the plundering of 1400 ATMs destroyed beyond repair, that 45 warehouses were equally ransacked and then burnt down is not understandable or acceptable even when one acknowledges the state of abject poverty of the hungry, caused by our unprecedented unemployment. The destruction of the buildings that took so many years to build is also totally unacceptable and then the desecration of 139 schools is simply unforgivable. 

Now, slowly business is returning but there is a l-o-n-g way to go.

Foschini, the clothing and jewellery chain, has still to reopen 168 branches that were completely emptied-out by the looters. The damage caused by the looting and vandalism is estimated at R50 billion.

Then to see, on our TV screens, several policemen made to sit on the ground by the ravaging mobs is what makes what Ramaphosa said, about this being an act of insurrection, believable. When roads are completely blocked off with the burning of huge trucks, when police can no longer protect citizens and property you have insurrection. What more proof than what we saw do you need?

Hopefully there will be prosecutions of those who organised this chaos. But don’t hold your breath. Two magistrates have this week ruled that the investigation into those thought to be ring-leaders in this matter, are shoddy and incomplete.

I was going to write: Our Deputy-President is back from his “medical leave” in Russia. Social media reported that he was back and even a news commentator mentioned it on TV. So what do Russian doctors know that our doctors don’t? David Mabuza has been absent for five weeks. But he really has been ‘absent’ since the day of his election and some commentators believe that is exactly why Ramaphosa chose Mabuza as his deputy.

Pretty soon he, too, will have to face charges for all the wrong reasons, just like so many of the cadres now being exposed. If only the NPA had more resources so that their bite could be quicker, sharper and deeper.

Oh, our Deputy President is not back yet. Is it because he was supposed to be in court on Monday? I’m not sure where he is but he is not here.

Is there going to be a major cabinet reshuffle at last? Speculation is running high, after the NEC meeting on Monday, that by the weekend we would at last see what is so very necessary. 

A great deal in the ‘papers has to do with the strong speculation that Cyril is going to make several cabinet changes. It is very necessary (a) because of the mess the security-cluster ministers made of the insurrection and (b) because the Health Minister is now deeply fingered —by the SIU as well as by Louis Myburgh, the outstanding investigative journalist for Daily Maverick. We now have direct proof of how Zwele Mhkize and his family benefited from Covid-relief money.

This is Rico’s take from Business Maverick of the vacillating President for whom we have been waiting for years to roll up his sleeves to do something.  ……….. Maybe this time?

The ANC has given up on trying to forge a deal with the EFF in an   attempt to change the Constitution to allow for Expropriation of land without Compensation. (EWC).Good!

There are far more important things for the ANC to worry about.

One of those things worth worrying about is the on-going affliction in so many of our municipalities of wasteful and irregular expenditure by the crooks, masquerading as municipal officials, appointed by the ANC who are plundering the fiscus without any consequence. Year after year the Auditor-General’s reports simply get ignored and the politicians just go on stealing. This year the A-G was not able to account for R26 billion (wasted, stolen?) by municipalities.

In many towns there is an almost total collapse of basic services and in some towns like Makandla (Grahamstown to you) water is rationed so you only receive water once every two or three days. And it is not pure. That you have to go out and buy.

When are we going to see politicians in jail?

It simply can’t go on like this.

The President is coming back to the Zondo Commission next week and next week will also see Ace Magashule, suspended General Secretary and former Premier of the Free State, come to trial for corruption, fraud and money laundering—-don’t those charges sound familiar? They should, they are exactly the same charges ‘Accused No 1’ is facing in his trial also scheduled to proceed next week. JZ will appear for his trial, too, this coming week, and the judge has ruled that he can come out of jail for 4 days so that the trial can proceed without interruption or delay. Expect large crowds and disruptions outside court.

Ace has not done his cause too much good by blisteringly attacking the judiciary and claiming that the judges who ruled against him are biased. He has now appealed to the Supreme Court because the High Court which gave that unanimous verdict against him in the matter where he opposed his suspension from the ANC, refused him the right to appeal.

He has learnt his Stalingrad-tactics well, from you know who, but I don’t believe he has much chance of winning this battle.

It was nice to share a luncheon meeting at the Olympics Club yesterday with Dennis, that character of note and the usual suspects. Oh we were all there to listen to JP Landman addressing the Cape Town Press Club. Landman is very well qualified, a frequent contributor to our newspapers on matters political and economic. The speaker told us how well Ramaphosa is doing and that rather surprised me. He sees lots of positives and his views are not mine. That’s OK, of course, but it is hard to argue with an apologist for the ANC. 

He believes that Cyril will be re-elected when the ANC meets next year for their big legotla and when you see who may oppose him as Party leader, I surely agreed with the speaker.

Landman pointed out how many important changes Ramaphosa has made, even if some did take many months from talking to doing.

The VBS Bank heist case where billions were syphoned off from mostly the poor who had saved in “their” bank and where EFF big shots, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu are so seriously tainted, has been postponed because some of the 14 accused have appointed new lawyers. Those lawyers want time to go through the 62,000 pages of evidence that the State will present at trial.

Some goods news is that we are experiencing a boon in commodity prices like never before. The result is massive profits for our mining companies and accordingly a whopping tax windfall quite unexpected which is saving cash-strapped SA. Long may it last.

More good news is that once-untouchable ANC big shots like Vincent Smith are being nailed at last. The R46 million restraining order on Smith’s assets has been confirmed and he will now have to face serious corruption charges linked to his Bosasa dealings.

The whole country is in a good mood. It has to do with sport and not only the Olympics, but mostly our national sport (religion?) rugby.  Tokyo has had a few wonderful highlights to help lift our shattered moods. Tatjana Schoenmaker’s gold and silver medals in the pool and the desperately close -to- medal of Akani Simbine  finishing .04 of a second behind at 4th in the 100m sprint. Like the golfer, Louis Oosthuizen, Akani is getting used to finishing just outside of the medals. All three sprinters ahead of him ran personal best times in that final. In Rome at the last Olympics he also achieved the same place in that final.

Our President phoned our “Golden Girl” to congratulate her and told her how she had lifted the mood of the whole country.

Not too many highlights for team SA though and we had some rather poor performances in Tokyo, none was quite so bad as our girls losing 23-1 in a waterpolo match. I really enjoyed this cartoon from Zapiro this weekend that appeared in the Weekend Maverick. Is there a better political commentator anywhere?

The build up to the 2nd rugby test was unusual in that Rassie Erasmus, our Director of Rugby made a video clip, just over an hour long, pointing out the bias by the match officials during the 1st test and suggesting strongly that the Springboks should have won that game. Now Rassie is in trouble with World Rugby and SA rugby is in the dog box for that clip too.

All that hullabaloo went to add to the pressure of having to win the 2nd test to keep the series alive. We, the coach and I, settled down on our couch early so as to catch the analysis of the experts before the game and then we watched the longest first half we had ever experienced. There were so many stops, explanations and referrals to the TMO (Television match official) that when half time arrived it felt like the game was over. The Springboks at that stage were 3 points behind and the intense contest was a continuation of last week’s first test which the visitors won. But then! There were changes made to the Bok team and the ‘bomb squad’ was brought on and in the second half the Boks were brilliant and eventually we ran out winners by 27-9. 

We now can’t wait for Saturday evening to watch the deciding third and final test. 

In their final warm-up game before the serious stuff starts Spurs went to Stamford Bridge last night and drew 2-2 with Chelsea.

As always, love to all,


(The week after next I may not be sending out my weekly newsletter for a very good reason, I am touring. This will be just my 2nd tour in 18 months and I really looking forward to it. So please forgive me for skipping or possibly sending a day or two late)

3 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
  1. Gerald is a dear friend to Hilary and myself and we greatly enjoy his weekly letters. It is our main source of information in regard to the state of the nation when we are overseas. Long May he continue to inform us and to,she’d light on the parlours stage of governance in SA

  2. My mother worked at Foschini dress shop on West Street, Durban in 1963-64 and she’s turning in her grave no doubt over the looting😪

  3. A re-shuffle of the SA cabinet will be no different from re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic….. and be just as effective at preventing the final death throes of the ship of state.

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