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Mantashe makes SA the butt of all jokes Down Under

Vera Columnist
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe during his visit to the Phalabora Mining Company mine in Limpopo last year.
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe during his visit to the Phalabora Mining Company mine in Limpopo last year.

Gwede sells investors a pipe dream

We live in the age of fake news, in which it is becoming increasingly hard to tell between fiction and a genuine news story. But even in these crazy times, you'd expect a government minister to be able to tell facts from fiction.

One of Vera's favourite ministers, Gwede Mantashe, was in Perth, Australia, this week trying to entice investors into pouring their money in Mzansi's troubled mining industry.

To woo them to our beautiful republic, Mqwathi told delegates attending the Africa Down Under mining conference that Mandela's homeland has discovered a new battery mineral called Hazenile.

According to Business Day, Uncle Gwede went on to say the mineral was "discovered in abundance in the area between crypte and throne room caves in the Congo Caves in the Western Cape" and that it will be "crucial in the manufacturing of battery storage technologies".

It all sounded so good, especially for a country in which the mining sector is in decline and, as a result, thousands of jobs are being shed each year.

Well, as it turns out, it was too good to be true. The mineral does not exist.

Whoever lifted the story from the Smart Energy International website and inserted it into the minister's speech seems to have not read the article in full because had they done so they would have noticed the part where it says: "This was an April Fool's joke. We hope you had a laugh along with us."

Mqwathi's Wakandaland is next

The minister's office yesterday told Business Day that it was "unfortunate" that the "focus is being shifted to what has now been confirmed as fake news" instead of other things he said at the conference.

What Vera thinks is unfortunate is that Mqwathi has not announced that he is hiring a new speech writer.

If Uncle Gwede is not careful, his speech writer would soon have him telling the world that the Vibranium, the fictional mineral featured in the super-hero movie Black Panther, exists and that Wakanda is actually his home town of Cala, in the Eastern Cape.

Let's keep Bafana in our prayers

As you probably know, Vera is not big on soccer, especially the national soccer team. So, she is not about to pass judgement on the SA Football Association's decision to appoint Molefi Ntseki as Bafana Bafana coach.

On the few occasions she watched Bafana and saw Ntseki next to then-Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, Vera often mistook him for one of the team's physiotherapists.

Vera is prepared to give Ntseki the benefit of the doubt though. Vera must, however, confess to have had serious misgivings when the new coach told reporters that he was happy Bafana would be playing Madagascar in a friendly match as this could prepare Bafana for a likely official match against Mauritius.

Football similarities between Madagascar and Mauritius? Well, said the coach, they both speak French.

That's like saying you can prepare well for a game against England by playing the US because they both speak English.

Pray for Bafana, Vera says.

UBaba is like uMama in KwaZulu

So, after threatening to take the whole of the Banana City down with her if her eThekwini mayoral chain is taken away from her, Zandile Gumede finally resigned from the post.

Umama, as she is affectionately known, was all smiles yesterday as she congratulated the new mayor and promised to work with him.

All her threats were just hot air, it seems. Just like those of another resident of that province who is affectionately known as Baba. Like Baba, like Mama the saying should go.