Max du Preez

Did we have a lucky week?

2015-09-29 08:48

Max du Preez

Last week was the luckiest week of the year, according to astrologists, with Jupiter, the sun and earth all aligned and a supermoon at the end of the week to top it all.

So what did Week 39 of 2015 look like in South Africa? Did we have a lucky week?

Let’s start with a cabinet reshuffle.

The appointment of Mosebenzi Zwane as minister of mineral resources probably constitutes the most blatant middle finger President Jacob Zuma had ever shown the South African public.

Zwane has no experience of mining. He has a dubious record as a provincial MEC. This was, I can’t help but believe, what made him qualify for the key job: he is close to the Gupta family, benefactors of the Zuma clan. It is worth noting that the Guptas have recently branched into the mining business.

It was Zwane who launched the controversial R570m dairy project near Vrede, his home town, when he was MEC for agriculture. He did this soon after his return from a visit to India.

The project is managed by a company called Estina that had been given a 90-year rent-free lease by the province. The Mail & Guardian published investigations in 2013 and 2014 showing the links between Estina and the Guptas.

Zwane was also the man who invited minister Shivpal Singh Yadav of the Guptas’ home state, Uttar Pradesh, on an agricultural visit to the Free State after the minister had attended the controversial Gupta wedding at Sun City in 2013.

The outgoing minister in charge of mining, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, was just beginning to gain the respect of the industry and trade unions when he was moved. It's no secret that he had a fight with mining magnate Bridgette Radebe, wife of the Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, and sister of the wife of the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa. Could this have played a role? No?

Mind you, SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s middle finger last week to the citizens was stiff competition for Zuma’s. He got another increase and now earns R3.7m per year, more than the president and the chief justice. And that while the SABC was reporting a loss of R401m.

Motsoeneng was criticised by the Public Protector for his previous big increase and the fact that he lied about his academic qualifications. He is pure politician nowadays, making statements about future state control of the media and has noisy supporters supporting him in court.

With the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority firmly in the clutches of the Zuma inner circle, South Africans’ last hope for the fight against corruption is the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela.

Madonsela said last week that the politicians were not giving her the budget to do her job properly after some of her recent reports.

On Friday the Daily Dispatch revealed a tape recording of the registrar of the University of Fort Hare, Professor Mike Somniso, in which he discussed his plans to disrupt the Democratic Alliance’s Students Organisation on campus after they had won the student representative council elections.

These plans include bussing in ANC supporters from Alice to physically attack the DA leadership at the university and enlisting Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans to help them. The DA should not be allowed to operate at Fort Hare, Somniso is heard saying.

As I write this, the Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, had not reacted to Somniso’s plans. He and his Western Cape ANC colleague, Marius Fransman, only spoke in threatening tones about the lack of transformation at Stellenbosch University last week.

The ANC-aligned student movement Sasco issued a warning last week that they were going to make Stellenbosch “ungovernable”.

Stellenbosch is rated the fourth best university in South Africa with Fort Hare in the fifteenth position.

No, I don’t think Jupiter and the moon did anything for South Africa last week.

Perhaps only the planet Uranus was aligned in our favour.

- Follow Max on Twitter.

News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

* Only comments that contribute to a constructive debate will be approved by moderators.


SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.