IT has been another eventful week both locally and nationally, but our first port of call should be in welcoming the new mayor, Phindile Faxi, and wishing him a great term in office. However (and here’s the problem), when TotT asked random members of the public what they thought of the new mayor and council, as elected by them (see our vox pop question on page 5), no one seemed to know anything about them. This could be a fluke, and perhaps we asked the wrong people, but it could also indicate that councillors and the mayor must pay more attention to the needs of the people and get to know their constituents better – not just at the time of the elections but throughout their terms of office.
BREAKING news is that the Hawks (South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, or DPCI) is all set to arrest Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan, for his alleged involvement in a “rogue unit” when he was commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (SARS). This despite national director of public prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams’ assurance that there were no investigations regarding Gordhan. The reason why this is such an issue is that, in May, even the hint that Gordhan was under suspicion had the markets reeling, and the rand dropped around 15% against other international currencies. In a zerogrowth and zero jobs market the South African currency cannot take knocks like this. If Gordhan broke the law then he must be punished, but the misdirection of the Hawks seems a little suspicious and is a clear indication that not everything is right in our judicial system.
BIG news this week was the loss of major metropolitan councils by the ANC, and the repeated calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down. The ANC seemed oblivious to the fact that many people in the metropolitan areas are very unhappy that, after 22 years of democracy, very little has been done to improve the lives of the poorest of South African citizens. In fact, the majority of people seem to be very upset with the ruling party, and the proof of that was at the ballot boxes. At a time when the country needs to unite, factionalism and racism are definitely on the rise, and even those who are more comfortably off are complaining of nepotism and cronyism, and a general lack of direction from the government. In a statement on Tuesday, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe even stated that taking collective responsibility means that if one leader is expected to resign, then the entire leadership should follow suit.
THE ad-hoc parliamentary committee, tasked with finding a new public protector, has narrowed the list down to just five candidates due to be presented to parliament yesterday. The five candidates are Judge Sharise Weiner, Judge Sirajudien Desai, Prof Bongani Majola, Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Muvhango Lukhaimane. This job is arguably one of the most difficult yet important jobs in South Africa, as it is supposed to be independent in its fight to prevent illegal and unconstitutional actions by any South African citizen, government institution or business. The current public protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, is due to finish her term in October, and anyone selected to take over the position will have to prove themselves worthy, not by government but by the people he or she is duty-bound to protect.
CONGRATULATIONS and happy birthday greetings to everyone enjoying a special day in the week ahead, especially Minnie Jacobs, Alison Colville Reeves, Ettienne Marais, Jill Macregor, Hilda Hardy, John Potter-Sayman, Ross Elliott, Tina Hon, Burnette Pieterse, Zonke Williams, Jayden Wilson, Sheila Timothy, Marion Kelly, Jake Lacey, Mollie Seeney, Wendalyn Kelbrick, Reay Squires, Megan Hobson, Lionel Timm, Mandla Hendele, Luke Charter, Sheila Wilson, Harvey Pike, Bobby Cheetham, Elna Barnard, Charlene Oosthuizen, Errol Jacobs, Bronwyn Fick, Ros Oliver, Dennis Coghlan, Dawn Hains, Thulani Gqirana, Br. Mario Colussi.
ANNIVERSARY congratulations and continued success to all businesses or organisations celebrating an anniversary at this time of the year, especially to Falcon Crest Self Catering Cottage and B&B in Port Alfred on their 11th anniversary, with our heartiest congratulations and sincere good wishes for many many more, Damant Lodge (42) The Sandbar Restaurant, Quest, Standerwick Nursery, Green Fountain Farm, Root 72, The Kidd Co, Nemato Sunshine Spar, Sea Flight Fish and Chip Shop, The Grace and Truth Church, Kenton-on-Sea Primary School and Sunshine Coast Hospice.
WITH the possible arrest of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in abeyance, the rand took an overnight tumble on Tuesday. With last year’s figures in brackets for comparison, Gold was trading at $1 337.09 per ounce ($1 135.45), Platinum at $1 106.50 per ounce ($983.50) and Brent Crude Oil at $49.28 per barrel ($43.23). The Rand was trading at R14.08 to the Dollar (R13.13), R18.54 to the Pound (R20.51) and R15.91 to the Euro (R15.06). We will have to see just how far the rand-price falls over the next week, but this situation will seriously affect the economy of the country and the ability of our home industries to sell overseas, leading to more job losses.
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all those folk who are not well, who are having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte to Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, June Hart, Linda Hulley, Val Kilian, Ben Kember, Blake Squires, Llewellyn Wicks, Philly Dell, Myrna Keet, Barbara Tee, Bevan Edwards and Brenda Shelton.
OUR sincere condolences to the family of Elna du Toit, who passed away recently. THIS time of the year also seems to be another popular time for weddings. We wish and congratulate the following couples happiness on their anniversaries and many more: Brian and Sheila Penny, Neville and Rita Hope, Bob and Mary Hobbs, Wesley and Janine Sparg, Jim and Maureen Truscott, Rudi and Ava Beukes, Trevor and Winsome Collett.
WELL done to all our Olympic athletes who returned home from Rio this week. They have all received additional bonuses for winning medals, and well-deserved, having brought home 10 medals, including two gold medals, and meeting the conditions set down by the South African Olympic Committee. Especially well done to Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya for world and national record times, respectively in their events.
AND finally, it was touch and go last Saturday, when the Boks took on Argentina in the Rugby Championship in Nelspruit. Millions of South Africans clung to the edges of their seats hoping the national rugby side could pull a win out of the bag. The play was sloppy from the Boks, and the defence was practically non-existent. Let’s hope coach Allister Coetzee has learned a lot from the game and that we have a better match on Saturday in the second game of the series, to be played at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta, Argentina.
THOUGHT for the week: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome”.
BEST regards as