Bob’s Weekend News Wrap – 13 February 2017
What a weekend this was; most newspapers covered the State of the Nation ‘Undress’ and the fallout that resulted from that fiasco. The DA will, of course, take the usual legal route, and perhaps the EFF might do the same. As for the ANC – I suppose, for the ruling party; a few damage control manoeuvres have to be conjured up because it obviously can’t be business as usual. In Mpumalanga, it seems the ANC is standing quite strong. Former enemies are now huddled up in a strong friendship embrace in Premier David Mabuza and Ronald Lamola, and they are holding hands and singing, “all you need is love”.
The biggest story was the Department of Water & Sanitation and its reported bankruptcy. If the story in the papers is anything to go by, it seems Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s department needs to go under administration because of mismanagement and embezzlement. Suppliers are reported to be impatient for their unpaid invoices which run into tens of millions, and some crucial projects might need to be held back. There was apparently an acrimonious meeting between treasury and the department, and we will probably learn the outcome of that meeting sometime this week. The headline in The City Press seems to indicate that the bottleneck lies with Pravin Gordhan who is allegedly unwilling to release funds for this crucial department to function. My takeout from this is either the department’s finances are in serious disarray or as the heads of department are claiming; they are being hamstrung by a truant treasury. Any of these two outcomes is undesirable for obvious reasons – water in our drought-stricken country cannot be compromised. The tone of the article also suggests that the battle for South Africa’s purse will emanate from this impasse. This story might just be the undoing of Pravin Gordhan.
The other story is the Public Protector office mud slinging. If you remember correctly my dear Afropolitan friends; former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s son used her state vehicle without permission, while she was in office and unfortunately crashed it. The question of liability arose and somehow Thuli Madonsela believed that the Auditor General had absolved her of any liability. The current Public Protector, Busisiswe Mkhwebane, then duly deducted an amount of around half a million for vehicle repairs and Thuli took umbrage and raised this issue as a personal attack. In a turnaround move, the AG made it clear that Ms. Madonsela was indeed liable and she had to pay back the money. The trusted former public protector then complied and also wrote a letter of apology. The EFF has publicly accepted her apology but most, if not all of President Zuma supporters reacted in pretty much a predictable way – some want her charged for lying and others just simply won’t accept her apology. Thuli Madonsela’s detractors feel that Thuli’s “holier than thou” attitude needs to be checked and she needs to be tarred and feathered. They want her blood and see an opportunity for revenge, as it were.
Two other sad incidents happened; shameful incidents of hooliganism at Loftus Stadium in the league match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns; and the passing of Jazz Legend Al Jarreau. If you are both a Pirates supporter and an Al Jarreau fan, this is going to be a very sad, bleak and dark week. If you are a Chiefs or Sundowns fan, you are one of the happiest people in Mzansi.