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Hello Again,

Can you imagine the largest and busiest city in your country being without power for three successive days?  You probably did not even read about it in your newspapers but Johannesburg, or at least a vast part of it, was plunged into darkness last week for three whole days. Anywhere in the world that would have made very big news indeed, I guess, but here, unfortunately, we tend to take such “commercial sabotage” as part of the game.

There was a strike for higher wages by the electricity workers; that didn’t happen, so they pulled the plug quite maliciously to show City Power what they could do.

The prolonged outage cost the economy more than R100 million a day. What a waste of money! Will there be any sort of criminal responsibility for this deliberate act of vandalism?  Don’t hold your breath.

 

The Walter Sisulu University re-opened this week after government intervention.  The strike & protests-prone, bankrupt institution is up and limping again.

Where was the Min of Higher Education; that well-known long-time serving Gen. Sec. of the Communist Party, Blade Nzimande, while all the negotiations to try to keep it open, were frantically on-going?  From his total silence during this entire time one can surely deduce that there are some serious schisms in the ANC.

What has happened to those Spy-tapes?  I don’t know.

Zuma’s appeal to the lower succeeded and the matter has been referred to the Supreme Court of Appeal for a hearing next year. We don’t know the date yet but it will be well after the elections, of that you can be sure.

 

Ranjeni Munusamy, a journalist at The Daily Maverick, wrote a piece this week on our public protector, pointing out that she was a bigger threat to the ANC before the elections than either the DA or EFF. I agree.

The ANC must be extremely concerned about her continuing probe into the cost of Nkandla and what her report could do to them in the up-coming elections.

There were reports in several weekend newspapers that some big-wigs in the ANC have recently made overtures to her to drop those investigations. They were immediately denied by a senior cabinet minister. This Minister does protest too much, methinks.

Another guru, Rhoda Kadalie had a seriously full go, in Die Burger this week, at the way in which this government wastes money. She holds nothing back and it is really quite sickening to actually note how they dish out cash for political (impractical) gain. How many more tanks, men and cash are they going to send to the DRC, one of the world’s potentially richest countries, simply because those mugs cannot govern themselves and are in a civil war. And whose side should we be on anyway?

And why are continually bank-rolling dictatorships like Swaziland & Zimbabwe and we keep sending money to the PLO in Palestine? Aren’t there enough Arab states and Western countries helping fund their corruption?

Don’t we have anything better to do with our tax-payers’ funds?

 

If you are getting excited about an imminent break-up of the governing party I’m afraid you may be disappointed. Too many owe allegiance to the party for the most basic reason of all, their work.

Our government employs more people than the private sector. And we have more people on the state payroll than the USA has on theirs with more than 6 times our population.  Stephen Mulholland, this week in the Business Times, quotes figures that I really was not aware of. Are you now surprised to hear that our public service costs are the highest in the world? But when just about one in 4 people with jobs work for the government who do you think they will vote for in the coming elections?

Then most of those who receive grants believe it is the ANC who are giving it to them, rather than us tax-payers.

Strike season is still with us. Even the librarians are striking! This whole week we have also had a motor serviceman strike. That means petrol attendants are on strike. We don’t have the sophisticated system that I have seen overseas where one actually fills up and checks your vehicle yourself. Here everyone would come to fill up and then simply drive off without paying. The pumps here therefore are secured with codes to protect theft and so you actually have to wait to get served. It is quite a simple but secure system.  I wonder if these chaps who are striking realise that they may just be striking themselves out of a job permanently. How far can we be to the overseas way of doing things?  In the meantime I am thinking of joining the informal fellows roped in to help on the forecourts to help fill vehicles. It seems as if the tips are quite attractive and touring isn’t keeping me too busy right now, although I do have a very full week coming up next week.


JP Landman, a local economist and political futurist, has made a lot of press this week with his new book about SA 20 years from now. He believes a lot of the reported problems that I seem to tell you about week in week out, are common to many countries and things in SA are actually getting better. He paints such a rosy picture that I wonder if he is not part of the new SABC and Gupta’s TV of sunshine news promises. May he just be right!

What I did not realise was that social service pay-outs are exactly the same % of GDP than they were in 1994, notwithstanding the enormous swelling in numbers of people receiving grants.

He points out that the country is growing and he expects things to be even better in 20 years’ time.

Zuma spoke to journalist students (nearly all, if not all, black, as far as I could see on the clip) at Johannesburg University this week and told them not to keep painting dark & gloomy pictures of SA. During his discourse I wondered if he was referring to me. Then after all the giggles and bonhomie (and I have often mentioned how totally charming Zuma can be—he even made a hit with Putin at the G20 last week), at question time a student had the guts to ask him what they must do when all the news is indeed bad; mustn’t they report it?

Jon says that Zuma keeps changing his tack every time he speaks on any subject more than once, as he did this week about the press. Maybe his speech writers don’t synchronise.

The G20 meeting in Russia came to an end about a week ago, but Zapiro’s cartoon comment in the Sunday Times is still worth sharing with you don’t you think? Jon actually sent me the cartoon in case I missed it on the weekend. We discussed it as serious political commentary at Arno’s in Stellenbosch, over coffee, of course.

My website needs a bit of tweaking. The video clip was too noisey and the bridge touring was left out (my error) and there are lots more photos; perhaps you will recognise yourself on The Famous Tour. If you find one do let me know, you know that I enjoy the contact.

Henry says it should be ready for viewing in about a week.

Now how’s this for a bit of nostalgia:

Spotty was a landmark of note to us and I bet to many of you too.

It stood on our route into Muizenberg and was a favourite stop for ice-creams.

In 1977 a truck knocked it over. Nothing at all is safe on our roads.

The weekend Argus is running a series on old photos and I just couldn’t resist sharing this one with you.

There is a lot happening with our cricket right now. Its administration and its the Indians and tour itineraries and its complicated. When I make head or tail of it I will drop you a comment.

The weekend has been very good on the sporting front.

Bafana Bafana had a very good win against Botswana and Dean Furman not only scorerd but he also starred. The press are raving about him. The problem is that Botswana aren’t really known for their soccer prowess (what are they known for?) But our soccer side will not be in Brazil for the World Cup. This win just wasn’t enough.

On Tuesday night Bafana fielded a young side that went down to Zambia.

The Springboks had a great win in Brisbane against the Wallabies and now every sports scribe that ever there was suggests that this team can take the All Blacks next week in New Zealand. I am not so sure. My Mom won at her bridge club (cards, not fly-overs, Vernon) here in Somerset West this week and Bruce and I also had a winning round for a change at Pinelands on Monday evening.

As always, love to all,

Gerald

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