That’s it. Our health minister is officially off his f*cking head.

One would have thought that it is impossible to achieve a more insane appointment than Manto Tshabalala-Msimang in the national health portfolio. Turns out, not.

What is Aaron Motsoaledi thinking? And WHERE does he find the time to produce draft regulations LEGISLATING THE AMOUNT OF CAFFEINE IN DECAFFEINATED COFFEE? Proposed legislation would, apparently, make it mandatory for ground decaf coffee to contain “not less than 0.12 percent caffeine”.


This question rang in my head, like a crazy bell, the moment I heard Jenny CW mention it on 702 at lunch time. And then I read the story in the Star when I stopped at Vida for a take-away between Atlas Studios and Interbrand Sampson. And then I googled it when I got home tonight. And nobody, NOBODY has provided an answer. Is this an international standard? Does Illy’s water-method decaf actually contain that much caffeine anyway? You would THINK that any journalist worth their salt (WE ARE SO DEVOID, IT WOULD SEEM) would ask WHY?

WHY? WHY? (It’s on the front page of the biggest daily broadsheet in the country. You would hope that the story would get more attention than a 5 minute edit by a junior sub.)

How can this possibly be important in a country where the doctors are either on strike or filling in work application forms for Canada, where the public hospitals are a disgrace, where no working strategy for dealing with HIV and Aids have been put in place and where the concept of primary health care is, well, like… prenatal.


What does Aaron DO in Pretoria? He has devised an unworkable, unaffordable national health plan that has everybody with private health insurance queuing at the Canadian embassy right behind the doctors. Not since then-minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula told people to stop “whingeing” about crime or leave the country did the government inspire such horror in me.

Well, maybe I exaggerate a tad, seeing that not much has been heard of the NHI in the last few weeks. But still.


The single article that has been doing the rounds today reports that consumers have until September to comment or object, or something. But not one word of WHERE this can be done. Where does one log on, write to, call? It is all very upsetting.

I am a big supporter of caffeine, don’t get me wrong. But the principle is so crazy. Why, Aaron, why? Time and resources… and just… sanity… dictate that you should spend your time… better.

I have to go to bed now. I will gather information. This is big. Bigger than Royal Canin and the cat sanctuary scandal. Maybe. And maybe tomorrow I will rework this piece and take out all the capital letters.


5 thoughts on “That’s it. Our health minister is officially off his f*cking head.

  1. Mike 7 July 2009 / 07:03

    I thought that by now most South Africans understood how useless our government is? We vote for them and then we whine about them… Hmmm…

    • Betty Noire 7 July 2009 / 09:56

      I think we vote for them SO that we can whine about them. I pay my taxes. I have a right to bitch when they are being pissed away.

  2. Hardspear 7 July 2009 / 21:06

    Hallo Betty

    Ek is regtig jammer ek het so lank laas ‘n aanmerking gelos op jou blog. Ek het vir een onbesonne oomblik gedink ek moet die gebloggery los, maar ek het in tussen weer tot my sinne gekom. Ek dink ek sal jou onder andere te veel mis.

    Ek het nou ‘n spul van jou inskrywings gelees (van waar jy jou Pa in Potch besoek het tot mees onlangs). Lekker gelag en meegeleef. Jy vergeet natuurlik dat die legacy vir grootste idiotiese minister van gesondheid reeds voor Manto begin het. Onhou voor haar was dit Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma gewees! Die het net soveel kak aangejaag!

    Ek is op die oomblik te veel aangeklam om in Engels te probeer skrywe. Praat later.

  3. filblanc 9 July 2009 / 01:54

    Hey Betty!
    I have taken too much coffee probably and I cannot sleep! So I went to your blog. I find part of your last post quite unfair. In my view, the all idea (see government draft notice 32307 at is to protect SA consumers from coffee manufacturer’s / distributor’s abuse. Actually the Department of Health by putting this draft notice shows its (responsible) will to regulate an industry (food industry) that has been for too long abusing the consumer in SA. On top of it, it shows its democratic approach by asking any citizen to comment the notice before implementing it into law. Whoaaaa! I believe that this kind of approach shows a real political maturity, probably found elsewhere only in (very old democratic) Switzerland. Furthermore the draft notice states where to send any comments related to the draft (Director – General of Health, Private Bag X828, Pretoria, 0001 (for the attention of the Director: Food Control).
    Now in general terms and as a foreigner living (happily) in this country, may I say that I often find South Africans very critical and unfair vis à vis their own country. This is a GREAT place to live Betty. You have reponsible people governing you (yes there is mismanagement and some corruption, but the fact that you know about it means that you have a free press and an independent judiciary that is doing something about it). YES things are not perfect, but look where this country is coming from! YES the public hospitals are not 100% but they exist! YES there was bad decisions taken for HIV/AIDS, but today any citizen can get a FREE therapy… Geee! I think I am going to sleep well now! x

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