Dirt, Water & Foxes

Last Thursday South Africa swore in Cyril Ramaphosa as our new President and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) occurred on Friday. I have added in a clip of some of the high points as the full speech is rather long. This clip highlights the difference in how our new President Ramaphosa expresses himself in comparison to the way that Zuma stumbled along unintelligibly in his resignation shown in the clip from my last blog.

Our new President has stated that he intends to put SA back on track and to rid the government of corruption and release the country from state capture.

For one, Ramaphosa has vowed to focus on resolution of the issues we are currently having with the management and corruption of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This hopefully means good bye to both Lynne Brown, Minister of Public Enterprises and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane both of whom are also allegedly on the payroll of the Gupta family and instrumental in state capture. Ramaphosa has said he will implement governance to stop board members from being  involved in any processes related to procurement to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest.

Our electricity parastatal Eskom has been the focus of many investigations into corruption and state capture.  The CFO, Anoj Singh recently resigned and the investigations seem to be heating up. The former CEO Brian Molefe has been ordered to pay back the 11 million Rand he was illegitimately paid from the state owned company as part of his supposed ‘pension’ pay out when in fact he resigned due to the allegations of state capture from the public prosecutor’s report, he did not retire. He also has to pay almost 2 Million in legal costs. He tried to blag that he retired but it was proven that he did not, he ran from the risk of imprisonment due to his hand in the corruption and collusion with the Guptas.

The new president has also promised to clear out of the cabinet of the corrupt members who were allied with Zuma and captured by the Guptas.

In my opinion, one of the first to get the boot should be Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini who has proven her incompetence over and over. If she is not incompetent then that means she really is evil as her mismanagement of the processes to distribute funds intended for the vulnerable children and families in SA is shocking. You can never convince me that she did not get payouts from Cash Paymasters Services (CPS) for continually delaying the roll out of the child services financial processes to being managed by the SA Post Office.

We all got to witness Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba playing Candy Crush on his iPad while our new president spoke. I suspect he was not that interested in the future due to his past and he knows his days are numbered. He was given his current position in order to further capture SA, this time the treasury was in the pocket of the Guptas. The Budget speech was today and full of drama from the EFF abstaining to the DA grand standing. The DA have raised a complaint to the Public Prosecutor about Gigaba’s previously proven lack of ethical behaviour and hopefully he will be removed from post ASAP.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is also shrouded in controversy and is certainly not doing enough to protect us residents from the high levels of crime in SA. He was previously the Minister of Sport, I hazard a guess that he has zero clue about how to implement a strategy to resolve the corruption in the police services.

A recent audit of the South African Police identified high levels of illiteracy among the staff which helps to explain why they are often so reticent to make a report of a crime when it occurs. Paperwork is never much fun but if you cannot read or write it is a complete non-starter.

The audit also identified that there are more than 1,000 convicted felons employed by the police. This helps to explain the high number of case dockets and other info which goes missing resulting in cases being dropped.

There is also a huge issue with internal corruption and missing weapons or mis-allocated funds. Often times this is done with a helping hand from the top cops. A ‘top’ cop was recently arrested for selling police issue guns and ammo to criminals. Another for corruption over fraud and other charges.

There is even a member of Zuma’s family who is highly implicated in the State Capture report and that is his son Duduzane Zuma. He has absconded and there is a price on his head for his capture. Hopefully without his father to protect him he will be found and justice will be served.

The new president has promised free higher education available to those who qualify. SA has many challenges around schooling and access to education. In the Western Cape there are over 11,000 learners who have not been placed in a school as yet for 2018. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it’s on track to accommodate these children by installing mobile classrooms in the rapidly growing communities. Once again the current government proves it has no clue when it comes to forward planning. I hope that there is a major shake up in this department too.

Our new first lady Tshepo Motsepe has quite a long list of kudos of her own, independent of her husband. She is a medical doctor and she is a graduate of Harvard where she obtained a Master of Public Health [MPH] in Maternal Child Health and Aging at the Harvard School of Public Health. Mrs Ramaphosa has successful family connections as she is the older sister of South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. Also her sister Bridgette Radebe is married to a Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe. Hopefully there is no bitterness between Radebe and Ramaphosa as Radebe fancied himself as a contender for the presidency himself.

The new first lady is active in several NPOs (Non-profit Organisations) mostly around children and education.

They both sound as if they will be a great asset to SA, but Zuma and his wives did not set the bar very high. I will withhold any judgement for a bit and see where this new president takes the country. I do have such hope for transformation.

The latest projection for Day Zero is that it has now been pushed back to the 7th of July. As we have had minimal rain this can only be due to other factors. However I will not question this push back, I will be grateful for the delay.

Personally, I had a lovely weekend. On Saturday Norm and I woke very early to the sound of alarms on our street. We realised that this was due to the electricity being off yet again. We found out that it was the same transformer as had blown the two previous times that we were without power for many hours.

I made us both a coffee by boiling water on our gas cooker and then I just tied up my hair and threw on some clothes and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor.

It was an early appointment and after I got home we still had no power so Norm and I set out to find some breakfast. A new German restaurant has opened in Hout Bay called Zur Holzbucht and we had seen on social media that they were doing breakfast so we decided to give them a try.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and we went to sit outside but Norm spotted that they were setting up for a child’s birthday party so we skulked back inside to the shaded inside for optimal peace and quiet. We both ordered the farmer’s breakfast, an omelette with pan fried potatoes, bacon and onion.

This was a really nice omelette, I like my omelette’s properly cooked with no runny bits and this was just the way I like it. The addition of pickles was a bit odd but I liked the sliced tomato and red onion. I liked some of the other items on their menu and we will definitely be back to try more things.

Afterwards we went and did a shop for that evening as we were not sure if we would have electricity restored before dinner time. We just relaxed and I played offline games on my ipad while Norm napped. The electricity came back on around 5pm.

Later that evening Norm braaied dinner for us.

He cooked corn on the cob, halloumi and chicken sausages on the braai and I made coleslaw and sliced up some figs to go with it. Simple, yet delicious.

We are now addicted to Designated Survivor a series we started watching this weekend and we really love it!!! We spent the evening enjoying the intrigue (and rejoicing in having electricity – small pleasures).

On Sunday I had plans to meet my friends Lila and Nicola for lunch at Foxcroft.

Norm snapped a pic on our way out, I do love my view so much.

These ladies were some of the first friends I made when I moved to South Africa over 25 years ago.

Lila is also an American expat and she and her husband Nigel spend half the year in St Francis Bay on the east coast of SA and half the year in Florida. One of the other women who had booked bailed on us at the last minute so we let Nigel come along and fill the extra seat.

Nicola is a South African who spends part of the year here in SA and part of the year in England at her other home in Bath. It is rare that we are all 3 in the same city (or even country!) at the same time so we made the most of it.

The food was amazing as always and we had such a laugh. Lila and I are both your typical loud Americans and we had managed to involve the couple sitting at the table next to us in one of our convos with the waiter which got the couple laughing and they ended up chatting to us so much we almost offered them a seat with us. Our new friend took this pic of the group for us, while chirping to us the whole time, hence the laughter.

The set menu was for 2 tapas dishes, 1 main dish and 1 dessert for R435 per person.

I started with the Seared Tuna Tataki: Chipotle, avocado, cucumber, rice puff.

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Tuna tataki

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The second tapas I chose was the Honey-glazed Quail: Confit leg, rhubarb, pecan, liver jus.

For my main I chose the same Pork dish as I had on New Year’s Eve when we ate there. There are 2 different bits of free-range Pork accompanied by Gemsquash, charred cabbage, fermented plum.

This is some of the best pork belly I have ever eaten. Oh so divine.

For my dessert I had the Compressed Strawberry: Lemon curd, geranium, sour cream, matcha. I adore this dessert. Light and oh so delicious.

We all had such fun, we laughed so much and gossiped about whomever I could remember from those days. I have blocked out a lot of memories from that time as it was very traumatic for me around the time of my divorce. Lila and Nigel let me and the kids live with them when I first left my ex-husband. Nicola had helped me out financially by using me as an assistant for various painting jobs she had when she was doing interior design.

These ladies will be my friends for life, wherever we may all end up on the planet I will always have a special place in my heart for them.

On Monday as I left work the security guard waved at me and pointed to my car tire. I put down the window and he said that I needed to get to a garage to check it. I was in a queue of traffic so I could not get out to check but I could hear it making a noise as I drove. The traffic in that area is horrific so I could not pull over safely and being stranded in South Africa is a huge risk for a woman so I kept going, praying continuously to my guardian angels and my ancestors to protect me. I finally made it to the garage and we saw that there was a nail in my tire. By this time it was completely flat.

The petrol attendants were ever so sweet and asked me to pull over to a parking spot and they very quickly replaced the damaged tire with my spare.

The following day I had to drag Norm out of bed to run me into work. He then went back home to let in Cordelia and Mzudumo and then went to sort out my tire. He came back to collect me that evening. Bless him he spent most of the day driving or sitting in traffic.

Cape Town traffic is getting so congested. Part of this is due to the dysfunctional train service. So many of the trains have been put off line due to vandalism. This puts extra pressure on the buses and the roads. The least that could be done would be to increase the allocation of buses in the areas where the train services are suspended but they do not even do that.

This morning it took me an hour and a half to get into work. There were no visible accidents, this was just the sheer volume of cars on the roads.

I guess even without water, a lot of people want to live in this fabulous city so that is the price we have to pay.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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