Bruce’s List: A daily guide to informed reads.
Nothing surprises me anymore. Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has said she will formally issue a Request for Proposals by this Friday for the purchase of a new fleet of nuclear reactors with which to generate electricity. Yesterday another minister, this time of science & technology, Naledi Pandor, said that that was not going to happen because Joemat-Pettersson had left out a crucial thing. And that thing is a plan for how we will generate electricity in this country “going forward”. In other words, Joemat-Pettersson was going to ask for proposals to build nuclear reactors here without knowing how many she needs. Well, why the hell not? Everyone else is doing whatever they want. Over at the SABC, the board has basically said “F#&k you” to the courts and re-appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng to some slightly differently named position so that he can continue to plunder the place. He gets away with it for one reason. President Jacob Zuma, through his communications minister, protects him. Just like Zuma protects Dudu Myeni, the chair at SAA, despite breathtaking losses and clear evidence that she is incapable of running a piss-up in a brewery.
And, all the while, just to bring home the sheer incapacity of government to do anything now but steal, tens of thousands of South African university students are hurtling towards the point at which they will not be able to write their exams and become productive citizens.
The only comfort that comes out of this is that the longer Zuma remains in office, the greater the certainty that the ANC will lose its majority in the National Assembly in the 2019 elections. Instead of the party knuckling down after doing so poorly in the local elections in August, things are even more out of control. Zuma is now so out of it he cannot see the tide going out before an entirely new tsunami comes his way. Not only will he not be able to secure his own succession and thereby avoid the fraud counts against him being reinstated, but he will actually one day be imprisoned. It is what happens when you think your fellow citizens are stupid.
So, here’s the latest in the nuclear comedy: Nuclear proposal delay expected and a good editorial in Business Day reminding us what little respect the Zuma administration has for the public and for public opinion. It reminded me of the sham “public consultations” held before the Scorpions were axed and the Toothless Wonders (otherwise known as the Hawks) were created to not investigate the president’s friends: EDITORIAL: Sham public consultation.
I still feel for the students who want to study and write their exams. A little less for the many genuine and desperate cries for more assistance. And nothing for the thugs whose only intent is destruction: Student protests: Only the start of greater pain. And while I really enjoyed this piece from Business Day columnist Xhanti Payi I think he missed a trick. Yes, you can’t simply fund free tertiary education by stopping corruption. But if treasury had been able to provide a R5bn guarantee to universities and allowed them to use that to help finance poorer students themselves, rather than give it to Dudu Myeni — who will go through it like a hot knife through butter — we would all be feeling a lot better about ourselves today: Myths pervade case for free tertiary education.
Then there’s the Zupta clown, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, laughing at us all, along with Zuma. Laughing at the students, laughing at business, laughing at the opposition, laughing at the ANC rank and file, laughing at Pravin Gordhan, laughing at the world while they make merry and make money for themselves: Out, Hlaudi & Proud: ‘I perform miracles wherever I am.
The same applies to SAA, if you needed any reminding. They’re in stitches up in the executive suite there. Here’s Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha on the world’s least profitable flag carrier: Between the Chains: A state-owned nosedive.
Fortunately, Donald Trump is a real diversion from our own problems as the election nears. Trump was a disaster in the first debate with Hillary Clinton on Monday night and as this Washington Post commentator suggests, he is simply not capable of making sense: Out of his depth, Donald Trump clings to deception.