The State of Turmoil

There is so much chaos going on in South Africa that I am not quite sure where to start!

Let’s start with an update on the drought. The day after our Dance to Heal the Earth we read that Day Zero was pushed back to mid May!! I thank the Universe for the sign that our prayers were received and acted upon.

The farmers have gifted Cape Town with some of the water from one of their own dams. Between 7.5 and 10 million cubic meters of water is being released from the Eikenhof Dam in Grabouw by farmers who are donating the water to Cape Town. The water will flow via several smaller dams and end up in the Steenbras Dam, from where it will be pumped to City residents.

It is an impressive sight to see this much water flowing. Such a blessing of abundance.

The Day Zero date changed prior to the gift from the farmers however. Could the citizens have reduced their consumption so severely to make such a difference already or was it the dance? I know what I choose to believe and I give thanks.

I hope that the additional month delay before the expected implementation of Day Zero does not give people a false sense of comfort which results in the consumption increasing again. Globally water is at risk and this precious resource needs to be treated as such. I know that I will never again take it for granted.

One of the other areas of chaos is around Zuma, our incompetent fool of a president. The way that elections work in SA is very different to the US. In SA we vote for a political party and the party then chooses who will be our President. Zuma has been in hot water almost since he was put into power. He is corrupt and has been instrumental in the state capture by the Gupta family. Financial mismanagement, deception, corruption and nepotism are pretty much the extent of his skill set. We won’t even mention his previous charge of rape. Oops, I think I just did.

In December last year the ANC elected a new leader of their party, Cyril Ramaphosa who is currently South Africa’s Vice President. This puts Mr Ramaphosa, a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and one of South Africa’s wealthiest citizens, in position to become the next president of the country, as the ANC still holds a voting majority. However this transition has not gone smoothly as Zuma has refused to step down.

At this point there are 5 options available for Zuma.

One option is that he is recalled as the president of the country by the ANC. The ANC’s top six met with Zuma over the weekend in an unsuccessful bid to persuade him to resign, after which the top six met with the party’s national working committee (NWC) on Monday evening. The NWC then convened an urgent meeting of the national executive committee (NEC) for Wednesday evening in Cape Town which was subsequently cancelled. The NEC is the body that can recall the state president.

If Zuma continues to refuse to resign, Parliament can remove him with a motion of no confidence. Such a motion has already been tabled at the request of the opposition for February 22. Discussions are underway to have this brought forward to as early as next week.

The ANC could also lodge their own vote of no confidence in Zuma.

If a motion of no confidence fails, he could be removed with an impeachment. For this a two-thirds majority support is needed in the National Assembly. Parliament’s Rules Committee is yet to adopt final regulations regarding the impeachment of a president.

Finally, Zuma could resign voluntarily, however he is panicking about his fate should he no longer be president and has tried to ensure his supporters are kept in power to protect him. His position as head of state was all that stood between the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) reinstating the 783 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering which had been set aside in 2009. The Supreme Court of Appeal set aside the 2009 decision by then prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe to withdraw the criminal case against Zuma. The effect of the judgment is that charges are automatically reinstated.

Mr Zuma’s term as head of state will be up in 2019 when national elections are scheduled to be held however the party want him out sooner than that due to his impact on the overall party.

The other impact of this leadership turmoil is the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The fact that they had to postpone SONA gives us an idea of the state of the nation – it is bloody chaos and confusion!

This party has gone downhill rapidly since the wonderful leader Mandela left office.

The resulting delay of the SONA will cost the citizens as all of the politicians and their entourages had already made arrangements and bookings to be in Cape Town and we will all bear that cost. The timing of the new date for SONA will have to consider the Budget speech, which will be delivered on February 21. The SONA is supposed to position the budget speech.

Meanwhile, life goes on for those of us struggling to survive financially while trying to conserve water and function as law abiding adults.

On Monday night our electricity went off again. Norm had a business meeting via Skype that evening and so he had grilled our dinner early so that he could take his call. He did roast veggies, sweet corn, organic chicken sausages and pork chops.

After Norm’s meeting he was busy eating his dinner when the power went off. We knew it was the whole street as we could hear all of the burglar alarms being triggered when the power cut. Ours has a back up battery so it behaved itself. This time it was a transformer which blew knocking out the power on our side of the valley. It may have been due to power surges from every household putting on their air conditioners and fans in the hot weather. It was HOT!

The electricity was still off when we went to bed and only came on at 11am on Tuesday, 14 hours or so later. Puddles of melting ice were forming under the freezer so it came on just in time before everything had to be chucked out (or eaten).

I was so exhausted on Tuesday at work. It was so hot the previous night and it was hard to sleep. With no electricity obviously my fan was not on so I could hear every little pant, grunt and groan from the dogs. I woke before daylight but had to wait for a bit of light to see to get dressed. I was at work before 7am.

That day Josh had driven down to Mossel Bay and Norm had gone to a late meeting so I was on my own that evening. I was not that hungry so I just had some tempura prawns and other bits from the freezer. It was nice to have the house all to myself for a change. The only problem was that I forgot I had to feed the dogs at 6pm. When I finally got a bit peckish myself at about 6:30pm I went into the kitchen to see what I could find. I had a poke about in the fridge, shut the door and then turned to see all three of them sitting in a row with their adorable furry faces staring at me, heads cocked in confusion. I could hear their questions: A) Where is our Dad? and B) Who is going to feed us? I then twigged that they were asking me what the hell is going on and I hurriedly gave them their dinner. Luckily dogs have a short memory and give up their resentments immediately.

I could learn from dogs.

On Wednesday I had nothing to take to work for lunch so I used OrderIn to order from Obz Cafe. It was still hot out so I chose the Prawn and Avocado salad for R106.00.

This was yummy and I will order this again. It was swimming in the dressing though so I will ask for that to be served on the side next time.

Wednesday evening Norm and I were invited to Caitlin’s for dinner as a thank you to Norm for all of the help he gave her with her flat renovations. However midday Norm rang to say he had an invitation to the British High Commissioner’s for a function and so we quickly rescheduled Caitlin’s dinner to Thursday evening instead.

Every year the British High Commissioner holds a huge event at their official residence to mark the Eve of Parliament. However, as SONA has been delayed while the ANC take out their trash and get their house in order, this means that the opening of Parliament is also delayed indefinitely.

Norm and I are always invited to this event because of Norm’s MBE. This year Norm’s invite did not arrive so he contacted his friend at the embassy to ask was it cancelled because of the delay of Parliament opening. His friend told him that the invite had gone to his old email address which was from his previous job. Once Norm found out it was still being held despite Parliament not opening, we rescheduled with Caitlin and decided to pop in.

It is such a stunning old Cape Dutch thatched home with terraced gardens going down from the back of the house. The area where the house is has many hills and there are large crowds attending so sometimes you have to walk for quite a distance, however Norm kindly dropped me at the front gate where I waited for him to walk back up. I had been so silly as to wear not only new shoes but new shoes with a bit of a heel as I was wearing a cocktail length dress. I never, ever wear heels as my knees can’t take it. But a girl has gotta look cute.

Even an old one with dodgy knees.

We were greeted by an African choir at the front of the house and we joined the reception line to meet the new British High Commissioner HE Mr Nigel Casey and his wife Clare who seemed nice and friendly. (‘HE’ is the honourary title given to an ambassador in case you think my caps lock got stuck or I was emphasizing his gender or something random.)

We were greeted by rows of staff bearing trays laden with cold sparkly champagne but I waited to get a drink until after we were inside and had gone through the reception line. I know what it is like trying to balance a drink and a handbag while trying to shake hands. I am too clumsy for that challenge.

Open bars were set up on each end of the upper garden serving mixed drinks, cocktails, wine or champagne and there was a stand from Ocean Basket serving complimentary sushi. At the bar there was a very cute, suntanned and tattooed bartender with long blonde surfer hair in a manbun who served me. Ignoring the man bun, his cuteness was somewhat dampened when he could not understand my accent when I asked for ‘water’. Water is one of those words which I always struggle to get people to understand. My southern accent seems to throw them. Too many syllables in those vowels Scarlett!! Never mind, another bartender caught the exchange and just before I was given a straight up large vodka on the rocks he intervened and told the guy ‘dude she asked for water. NOT Vodka.’ Oops. Can you imagine me taking a giant glug and then spitting it out all over the fancy pants people around me?

Somehow I can. And that lovely scene would probably be promptly followed by me rolling down the terraced garden with my dress over my head.

The cocktail of the day was a whisky sour and so I took one just because it looked pretty and I love cocktails, however I seemed to forget that I detest whisky. It was a yummy cocktail however it was rather heavy on the whisky. It was kind of like a margarita with a shot of whisky in it.

Ay caramba.

I amused myself watching the women who were rookies at this event for the first time as many had on stilettos which impaled them into the grass. I struggled to walk steadily over the rough grass in my wedges, I would have broken an ankle in stilettos. The attire of the attendees ranged from a old dude who like a right tramp in mismatched wrinkled clothes and flip flops, to women who looked ready for the Oscars. My fave is always the people who wear ‘traditional clothing’ whether that be kilts or African designs. I love the bright and energetic colours.

We had a wander around the garden, trying to see who we could recognise. However I am half blind and Norm has a memory like a sieve so the only person we noticed was Patricia De Lille skulking about in the corner of the garden surrounded by body guards or protectors.

Norm was worried she might recognise me from my twitter profile and quickly scuppered me off to the other end of the garden before I was accosted by one of her thugs as a social media vigilante.

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At the British High Commissioner’s event

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The new High Commissioner gave his welcome speech to the crowd.

Afterwards everyone continued to mingle, munch canapes and guzzle the free booze. In his speech, Nigel had told us that the cocktail of the day was a Whisky Sour in honour of it being ‘International Whisky Day’ however he appears to have told us a wee porky as I checked and it is only in March. Maybe he said National, but then I wondered whose nation, his home country or his current assignment? After a bit of research I see that it was International Scotch Whisky Day on the day of the event so I will let him off.

The choir from the front of the house then moved around to the back of the garden and performed from there.

They had amazing voices and a lovely harmony. I really enjoyed them.

We wandered about until about 8pm and then we headed off to get some dinner. As we were in Bishopscourt it seemed easiest to pop over to Constantia Village so we went to Primi. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri to cool me off as it was still very warm. Neither of us were terribly hungry so Norm ordered a salad and I ordered tapas.

Norm had the Caesar Salad: Cos lettuce tossed in PRIMI Caesar dressing with boiled egg, pecorino shavings and garlic croutons. You can choose to add either Anchovies for an additional R20, Grilled Chicken for R25 or Crispy Bacon for R20.

I had 2 items off the tapas menu. I chose Sylvia’s Crispy Chicken Livers which was described as ‘Crispy chicken livers sautéed with onion, garlic, fresh chilli and lemon.’ This was R55. They were incredibly salty and slightly burnt but I still nibbled a bit of them.

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Crispy Chicken Livers

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For my other dish I chose Zucchini Fries, described as ‘Tempura battered zucchini with garlic aioli’ for R40. I loved these, they were both crispy and tasty if not completely low carb due to the tempura batter.

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Zucchini fries

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We arrived home relatively early but my feet were killing me from balancing on heels in nobby grass clumps. The drought has meant the previously lush grass is now dry and clumpy.

Thursday after work we headed over to Caitlin’s for dinner. She and Wes cooked together while Norm and I played with the kittens.

They have grown so much since I first met them. The kittens, not Wes and Cait. they are pretty much fully grown.

Scout kept jumping on me and bumping his face against mine.

As a result he had a lipstick smudge over his eye which we at first mistook for an eye infection.

Caitlin and Wes spent ages carefully rolling the pumpkin into gnocchi but it was so worth it. The sauce was baby tomatoes, sage, cream and bacon. It really was divine.

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Pumpkin Gnocchi with bacon and sage sauce

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For dessert Caitlin surprised Norm with a chocolate brownie cheesecake from Martin’s bakery which is owned by Wes’ uncle and aunt.

We both felt very spoiled. Wes even brought a bottle of wine for Norm and a very funky looking bottle of a creamy liqueur I have not yet tried as a thank you for treating him on Lily’s birthday. I will be cracking this baby open this weekend. He is such a polite young man.

I hope you all have had a great week and that you have a lovely relaxing weekend free from chaos. Mine is expected to be busy!

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

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