God, the Gunners and Gordhan


I’m feeling a tad blessed.

For a start, Durban’s ward 33 has pulled off the municipal treble — that’s running water, actual electricity and having the rubbish collected, all in a single day — for the second week running, no small feat these days.

Ward 33 gets its water from the Wiggins Reservoir and not Durban Heights, so we’re not facing any more rationing for a while — unlike a whole swathe of the city that will have water restrictions for the rest of the year.

Our fine city has been exempted from level six, level four and level two load-shedding because of its reduced electricity consumption, mainly because much of the infrastructure that was destroyed in the April floods — including many of Durban’s sewage works — has still not been repaired or replaced.

That’s not much fun for would-be beachgoers heading here for the school holidays. There’s also an ongoing debate about the safety of sardines netted in our far from pristine waters during this year’s sardine run.

There’s more reason to feel blessed than functional municipal services.

Arsenal already have Jesus, Mohamed and three Gabriels in the squad and the transfer window remains wide open. Mikel Arteta’s holy host is ready to do God’s work in the season ahead.

Perhaps President Cyril Ramaphosa will be looking at doing God’s will and getting rid of some of his cabinet deadwood — freshening up the squad as it were — now that he’s back from the G7 meeting, where he went to power up the presidential iPad.

After all, most of Ramaphosa’s cabinet is far too old to play politics — let alone at a premiership level — or are way more suitable for deployment to the lower leagues — or jail — than for getting top dollar to make decisions that affect everyone’s lives in the rest of the country.

That was a nice touch by Ramaphosa: turn out the lights and visit Boris and Sleepy Joe for a bit, leaving us to stew in the dark and forget about the dollars under his duvet.

Likewise moving us to stage six: all of a sudden the hate is shifted to Eskom boss André de Donker and minister of public catastrophes Pravin Gordhan instead of having it focused on the lahnee himself and his side hustles.

Nobody’s mentioned Phala Phala since the lights went out — let alone money beneath the mattress — so Ramaphosa’s strategy seems to be working, at least until the radical economic transformation comrades charge their phones.

I wonder what happens when we move to stage eight of load-shedding, or stage 10.

Does that mean Gordhan comes around and blows out all the candles in the house, confiscates the paraffin stove and carts away the braai stand?

Or does Eskom send in a specialised snatch squad to take away all the gas cylinders, rip out the solar panels and seize the inverters?

Stage six or not, my money is on more talk and less action from the president when it comes to cleaning out his cabinet, be it for incompetence or corruption — or arrogance for that matter — despite the findings of the Zondo commission of inquiry’s final report on state capture.

Ramaphosa has thus far failed to get rid of most of the liabilities he inherited from his predecessor — a bunch of political Shkrodan Mustafis, if one is to be honest — despite their inability to do their job — or even pretend to do it.

The head of state has also ignored the flurry of yellow and red cards being handed out right and left by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, so it’s not likely that he will act, at least not until after the ANC’s national conference in December.

Ramaphosa claims to be a process man, like Arteta, but lacks Magic Mike’s ruthlessness when it comes to doing the business and getting rid of the liabilities, troublemakers and red-card specialists.

Which, along with the president’s shortage of allies in the governing party and the dwindling talent pool at his disposal, means Gordhan is pretty safe in his job, despite his latest attempt to blame the move to stage six on an unprotected strike by members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the National Union of Mineworkers rather than on decades of abuse, theft and deployment of incompetents to the electricity utility by the party he represents.

That was a cheap shot — vile actually — even by Gordhan’s standards, but the president is a man with very few friends so our uncle in the load-shedding business is going nowhere any time soon.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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