A word in your ear.
Dear loyal readers and subscribers. As you will have gathered, life is not yet back to normal at Noseweek. We are going to have to rely on your generous support and patience for a while longer. The majority of our readers want a printed magazine; so they tell us every day. I too enjoy print more. But delivering print has become not only unreliable because of the ongoing collapse of the Post Office, but also unaffordable because of the high cost of distribution.
For every Noseweek you buy at the supermarket, nearly 60% of the cover price goes to distribution cost (which includes the retailer’s margin).
Noseweek journalists’ pay, office admin costs, production and printing must make do on the remaining 40% - which has made us rely on the generosity of donors: a precarious existence.
So be patient while we try to devise more viable ways of doing things. Meanwhile, print issues might not be as regular as we’d all wish and you might have to resign yourself to at least some of the time reading our content on your smartphone or computer.
We will keep you updated as our plans develop! With your continued support, I am confident we can continue to make an important contribution to the pursuit of civil liberty and public fair dealing in our country.
- For some time it was widely believed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni had different views about rescuing South African Airways: that Tito was in favour of closing down SAA, while Pravin was – unexpectedly – towing the party line to save the endlessly loss-making airline, to “save jobs” and national pride. Then suddenly, last month Tito changed his tune and came out in support of yet another R10 billion-plus bailout for SAA, ostensibly for all those costly, ANC vote-catching reasons.
Noseweek readers should not be fooled. SAA is a goner, and both ministers know it. The airline’s 49-aeroplane fleet was down to just nine planes – the rest are gone abroad, reclaimed by the owners who had leased them to the failed airline. As have the jobs of all those people who would have manned and serviced them. How serviceable the remaining few planes are, is questionable.
All SAA’s other creditors can expect just six cents for every rand they’re owed. This includes SAA’s fuel suppliers. Owed tens of millions (SASOL R60m, TotalSA R7.7m, Engen R6m), they are hardly likely to supply fuel on credit to any relaunched SAA.
You are not likely to be served drinks on the airline either: Coca Cola are owed R1.7m, Six Cape wineries are owed R4.6m.
So you can accept the R13-billion additional bailout was not to save jobs – not SAA jobs anyway. It was to pay the South African banks all the billions plus interest they lent SAA. They had been guaranteed repayment by the SA Government. Nedbank alone was owed R3.43 billion. It is unlikely to have survived non-repayment. ABSA is in for R3bn, Standard for R1.6bn, Investec for R1.6 bn, and FNB for R1bn – a total of R10.6 billion, interest still to be added. (Add to that the banks’ concurrent exposure to tottering Comair.)
Non-payment right now would have shaken the entire banking system, and panicked lenders to all the other SOEs. That was Tito and Pravin’s shared concern. But for SAA the party is undoubtedly over.
- Cape Town has never reckoned with its shit: not historically, not now, not for the future. “The ‘best-run city’ of South Africa suffers a failure of reason and rationality when the sewage in its sea water and rivers comes into focus. Hidden toxicities don’t make a tourist paradise. There is no pipe that goes nowhere: our shit never leaves the planet.” So UCT Professor Lesley Green prefaces her study of just how devious the City of Cape Town (CoCT) appears, by all accounts, to have been in order to hide its mismanagement of the two most basic municipal services: provision of an adequate supply of clean drinking water, and the safe disposal of sewage.
The drought and the City’s then hurriedly constructed desalination plants closed the loop between the two, and caught out City officials who had long hidden sea water pollution figures to keep the tourist market rolling.
Within no time some very well-briefed, propaganda-adept trolls took to various popular Facebook sites in aggressive defence of the city’ water and sanitation department.
It is vehemently denied, but there is good reason and a deal of circumstantial evidence to support the view that CoCT’s backroom boys and girls were years ahead of Donald Trump when it came to the devious use of social media to get them out of trouble with their disenchanted voters, as Prof Green demonstrates in her remarkable research on page 9.
She goes on to point out that the use of fake social media profiles (“trolls” or “avatars”) to channel political discussion away from the reality of unmanaged shit is surreal in a city that claims to be led by the best available science – and makes it that much harder for everyone to properly address these very basic issues.
The big question: Will CoCT come clean and hold those who trolled on their behalf to account? Sadly, it seems not. Let’s hear your views! – The Editor
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