Dear Reader

Yes, we are glad to be back with this bumper issue. Thank you for your patience – and your many concerned calls that told us we were missed.

I do apologise for our three-month absence. The extended Covid lockdown, coming at a time when we were already having to deal with a failing Post Office, confusion at retail outlets and the fact that I have been in court defending a factually complex R1m defamation action, precipitated a management and financial crisis which we have barely overcome. We are heavily reliant on your continued support. The fact that other news media have fared equally badly, if not worse, is no consolation. This country needs a variety of reliable, professionally researched and presented news media. Social media, quick and entertaining as it is, has its function – but it is dangerous if not counter-balanced by serious, researched news media.

• Speaking of social media: Noseweek’s social media editor Justin Brown reports that July 2020 was another record-breaking month for Noseweek on Facebook and for Bitly link clicks to Noseweek stories.

(1) Facebook 28-day reach climbed to 578,592 on July 24.

(2) There was a record for the reach of a single story on Noseweek Facebook. The Ramaphosa/Limpopo story achieved a reach of 297 000. Thank you Sam Sole of amaBungane for a great story.

(3) Bitly 30-day link clicks hit a record on July 28 of 27,410. That many Facebook followers clicked on a link to read a story on Noseweek’s website in July!

Also popular was a breaking news story posted mid-month on our website about President Ramaphosa’s new – and immediately controversial – interest in racing pigeons, an addition to his equally controversial high-end game farming. Which is how that story earned its place in this issue.

Noseweek’s reputation reaches to the smallest corners of the land. As we went to press, we were informed that the “Ring” (the regional authority) of the United Reform Church has instructed its Herold parish to sell the property on which the local school is built and use the proceeds to pay it’s retiring pastor a pension.

Herold is a rural hamlet in the mountains above George. It has fewer than twenty inhabited cottages, but 330 learners – most bussed in from nearby farms – attend the Franken school that was established in 1933 on a portion of farmland donated to the church by a local farmer. The original title deed specified that the land may only be used for school, church and residential purposes.

In this issue you will learn that the school has given the community a sense of dignity and pride because they literally built it themselves, brick by brick over time. Three years ago to their surprise their church pastor, Reverend David Elias, suddenly became obsessed with rulers and yardstick, finding fault with whatever the school was doing to improve its facilities and surroundings. Their electricity was cut off.

A property developer is hovering in the background as the pastor’s “advisor”.

Can anyone out there help these decent poor people buy the land on which their school, of which they are so proud, is built? Please call me.

• Nigel Fox’s argument for hydrogen as the most economically viable energy source for a greener future  – see Flogging a (battery-driven) dead horse in this issue – prompted us to take a closer look when Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly recently led with what Anglo CEO Mark Curifani had told a media conference held on July 30.

Cutifani spoke about how Anglo American is positioned to cater for environmental-led new materials demand in a world planning to invest heavily in hydrogen as an alternative energy source.

“We’ve seen the early evolution of electric vehicles and some of the challenges of energy storage. Now we’re seeing widespread plans for investment in hydrogen; in China and Japan in the automotive sector, in buses using hydrogen in Britain, and now in Europe, we’re seeing a much broader application,” Cutifani said.

“In platinum-group metals [Anglo is a major producer], we’re seeing a broadening of applications, particularly in support of hydrogen.

“You’ll be aware that we’re looking at introducing a solar array … to generate energy, but we’ll over-size those units and generate hydrogen so that we can start converting the major truck fleets to hydrogen as well.

“We’ve committed to making the business carbon neutral by 2040. It will be a combination of solar, wind and other renewable sources, connected to hydrogen …

“Further down the line, we’re looking at reducing our water consumption by 50%, so creating a model for the industry [for] a much greener future, for the planet,” Cutifani said.

Sounds good, except for those disturbing, giveaway qualifiers “by 2040”, “further down the line”, and “we’re looking at”.  Another 20 years plus, it’s going to take Anglo to “further down the line” look at going green, when we have just recorded the highest temperature on earth in the history of records? What about two to five years’ time, Mr Cutifani?

Or was that simply PR spin to tell us that platinum shares are a great investment right now?


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