Gerald Potash

Hello again,

Last evening, the breaking news on our TV was that Athur Fraser, the former spy boss had laid criminal charges against President Cyril Ramaphosa. The charges emanate from the theft of millions of US dollars, (in excess of $4-million) concealed within the premises of the president’s Phala Phala farm in Waterberg, Limpopo, by criminals who were colluding with his domestic worker.” Fraser said the president concealed the crime from the SA Police Service and/or SA Revenue Service (Sars) and thereafter paid the culprits for their silence. He says he has evidence of Ramaphosa’s conivence in the matter.                                                                                                  

I would normally say Watch this space

But I will be away for a few weeks. I am going to Sydney to visit my family there. So there won’t be any newsletters for the next few weeks. 

On Friday the Appeal Court threw out Accused No1’s attempt to have Billy Downer removed as a prosecutor in the long-awaited ‘Arms deal’ case which goes back all the way to 2005. The Zuma-stalingrading has been on-going and is probably unique in its attempt to delay justice. There is still one final throw of the dice that Zuma and his lawyers can have a crack at and that is an appeal to the Constitutional Court. But they had better act quickly if that is what they want to do. The trial date has been set for early August and Zuma has been warned to be present.

How wonderful it will be to see Zuma in the dock. Will he answer any questions though?  Of course everyone knows about the stack of evidence against him. Shabbir Shaik received a 15 year jail sentence for bribing Zuma and that’s not all; Thales, the French Arms Co charged in this case with Zuma as Accused No 2, also bribed the accused and that has been common knowledge for a long time. 

Shaik’s appeal didn’t help him either since he was sentenced to 15 years in jail. But Accused No 1 and Arthur Fraser did help their pal spend just a short while in prison before granting him a medical parole.  This long awaited trial, however, should be an open and shut case. Billy Downer is well prepared.

The biggest news item of the week also goes back to Friday when several Gupta lieutenants were arrested and they include the man who Zuma insisted should head-up our railway systems at Transnet. At last, some of the big high-profile fish we have been hooked….and booked. And although they are out on (very substantial) bail the heat has very definitely been turned up for them to be cooked.

Former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama and Trillian’s boss Eric Wood appeared in the specialised commercial crimes court in Palm Ridge on Friday with three other executives. They are facing a R93-million double payment charge flowing from the parastatal’s deal for locomotives.

The arrest of these characters on charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering is another stick to hit the Guptas with. These people were appointed to help the Guptas to loot. When Zuma denied this at the Commission into State Capture Judge Zondo said he was talking nonsense. It’s all there in Judge Zondo’s report so why did the NPA take so long to act? 

But there is more much more. Now that arrests have been made people like Malusi Gigaba, another Gupta puppet, who suddenly found himself elevated into the cabinet by Zuma must also surely be close to arrest. He was  responsible for the much of the looting and the siphoning of State money to the Guptas and there must be (severe) consequences if (when!) he is found guilty.

One of the reasons that these arrests have taken so long is that the NPA was hollowed out during Accused No 1’s tenure as President when he filled the NPA with feeble cadres. As if to prove this point, this past weekend a long-standing member of the NPA was caught during a sting operation taking a R30,000-00 bribe. 

Chaos reigns at ANC provincial election rallies and this past weekend Ekurhuleni (Benoni, Boksburg & Springs, too you) was like a war zone. Police and the riot squad had to be called in to calm everyone down. If this is what is happening in local provincial elections what is the ANC in for at the year-end leadership rally when tensions runs even higher…so high for example that on Tuesday an Ethekwini (Durban, to you) councillor was arrested on murder charges. It is alleged that he ordered hit men to take out his colleague because he wanted his position on the council….. which he got!

It does look as if Cyril will be a shoe-in for another term as leader of the Party, even-though his term has not been what he promised or what we had hoped for. Cyril reads the press and he must surely be aware how negatively his term has been reviewed. This weekend, the editor of the Sunday Times pulled no punches in criticising a weak leader too scared of his own shadow. We have seen none of the bravado we were promised when he so narrowly won at Nasrec and until, as Moeletsi Mbeki said a week or so ago, has simply been a cheer leader for the Party.

Load shedding is now just a common, daily occurrence, with even Eskom effectively throwing in the towel and giving you a timetable to work from. We in the Cape Town region are spared quite a bit of these outages which so badly effect everyone in the rest of the country. In Johannesburg and elsewhere it is freezing and there has been lots of rain and there is no power to even try to stay warm. One region of the country where rain has been conspicuously absent is the Eastern Cape where in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth, to you) they have only about 2 to 3 weeks of water left in their dams. That is really very worrying. A great deal of Eskom’s troubles is blatant criminality. On Sunday it was discovered at Eskom’s Matla power station had been cut. and this was discovered on Sunday. According to Eskom officials there was no attempt to disguise the damage. This is the fourth incident of suspected sabotage in the past two weeks. It is as simple as snapping wires and Rico’s cartoon in Business Maverick shows exactly what happens:

It’s an experience to spend even a little time in a State hospital.  If you are sick, don’t forget to bring your own sheets because it’s almost guaranteed that the hospital’s laundry has been stolen. One of the biggest hospitals in Africa, the Baragwanath Hospital, now called the Chris Hani, has cancelled operations due to the lack of usable laundry. William Saunderson-Meyer’s article in the Citizen on the weekend—- then re-posted in Politicsweb—- talks about the number of medical doctors leaving this country. He opines that the middle class are coping with it, but wonders for how long…..

But there is some good news here, too. The Rand is strengthening and our stock exchange is performing well. Busi Mavuso, CEO of Business Leadership SA has just returned from a mentorship program in the United States. She advises that South Africa is still seen as the strongest economy in Africa and that we are the most natural investment destination for investments. One of the most important reasons she gave for her view was that SA’s financial system is trusted to look after.  foreign investor exposures. 

Then for the first time since I can’t remember when, our employment figures went up and not down. Every time I read about Iqbal Survé I am not surprise at what I learn. This week two cabinet ministers, no less, called his newspapers “fake news factories” that turns out  “stories” that undermine at every turn. As the circulation of his newspapers drops dramatically they lay off more and more staff and the ‘papers are hardly even a shadow of their former selves. Who even wants to look at the front page of the Cape Times or Argus anymore? Read this Zapiro cartoon carefully from the Daily Maverick early this week to understand the situation:

My noteworthy coffee catch-up this week was actually a lunch with Johann my “Stellenbosch pal” who lives just near us in Somerset West. He has known Pamela Jooste for a very long time and thought I would enjoy meeting this world-renowned writer who won prizes with her very first book ‘Dance with a Poor Man’s daughter’. What an interesting person and her friend, Marina was also at our table. We spoke about all sorts of things and I cannot tell you how quickly the few hours we spent in Centuary City flashed by. 

Our Protea cricket team have left for India for a five match T20 clash. I hope to be watching in Sydney, but without the coach. He was with his kids three weeks ago but is now back home. 

The coach was on the couch with me last Sunday evening to watch the final IPL cricket match of the season and the tennis from Roland Gaross. 

It was good but we can’t wait for the next  football season to start!

As always,          


There will be no newsletters for the time I am in Sydney.

Email:     Phone: +27 82 557 5775
One thought on “The Week That Was”

Comments are closed.