KZN mayors held for killings | May may not make it | Noah more Trevor? | Sun sets on Wolves experiment

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Trump ‘didn’t collude’ with Russians

After two years of investigation the report by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible Russian interference in the US’s 2016 election is out. Well, sort of out. US Attorney General William Barr provided a four-page summary of the report to Congress in which he said that Mueller uncovered no evidence that President Donald Trump or his aides had colluded with Russia. Barr said Mueller was unable ‘one way or another’ to decide whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation. Trump and his Republican supporters have heralded the report as a complete vindication, while the opposition Democrats are refusing to take Barr’s word for it and want to see the whole thing – not just the summary.

May may not make it

British Prime Minister Theresa May gambled on a high-stakes meeting yesterday evening with hardline pro-Brexiteers in her party in a bid to get her latest plan through parliament, but UK newspapers are saying today that the meeting ended without any agreement. This leaves May with no obvious way forward on Brexit and an increasingly tenuous grip on office. There were also reports of an imminent Conservative Party coup to have her removed as prime minister.

KZN mayors probed for killings

An intensive investigation by the task team probing the spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal has seen two of the province’s ANC mayors arrested for their alleged role in the murders of ANC members. Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba is facing charges in connection with the assassination of the youth league’s regional chair Wandile Ngubeni in 2016. Charges against Harry Gwala District Municipality Mayor Mluleki Ndobe, who was arrested last week in connection with the murder of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary general Sindiso Magaqa in 2017, were provisionally withdrawn this morning after prosecutors said further investigation was needed. Also this morning, the personal assistant of the Ethekwini mayor became the latest person reported to have been questioned in connection with political killings in the province. The mayor’s political advisor and her spokesperson were also reportedly questioned recently, but none of these three has been charged with wrongdoing. Assassinations have become part of the province’s political landscape. EWN reported that the ANC in the province was not worried that the arrests of its two mayors would negatively affect the party at the polls in May. Perhaps the elections are the least of the party’s problems right now.

Mozambique misery

The death toll from Cyclone Idai has topped 750 and this might more than double. According to latest official figures, 446 people have died in Mozambique, 259 in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi. The number in Mozambique alone is expected to top 1,000. Some 110,000 Mozambicans are now in camps built to accommodate displaced people and aid workers say they fear outbreaks of cholera and malaria. Some cases of cholera have already been reported in Beira. 

Fight and flight

A South African pilot who had had a fight with his wife flew his plane into the clubhouse at Matsieng aerodrome in Botswana on Saturday evening, killing himself and injuring several others. The direct hit came after the plane had made several flypasts. His wife had earlier been inside the clubhouse attending a party but she had been evacuated along with other guests who were spooked by the low passes. The airport’s air traffic control tower and the Matsieng Flying Club clubhouse were destroyed along with about a dozen cars.


THE DAILY MENACE

Natural born menace

Is there anything Andile Mngxitama wouldn’t do for publicity? We doubt it. The attention-seeking, grubby rabble-rouser who leads a mighty Black First Land First army (all three of them and their fax machine) has blamed Tropical Cyclone Idai on whites and wants the African Union to demand reparations and relief from the West for the disaster. The Bell Pottinger protégé and Malema mini-me said the cyclone was not a natural disaster but ‘a direct consequence of the white, Western system of ecological assault for profits’. Oh boy. Menacegxitama, you are a natural disaster.  
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

A week reprieve

South Africa should be able to enjoy a week without load-shedding after Eskom announced five power units were brought back on line between Friday morning and Sunday. Water and diesel reserves have improved, allowing the gas turbines to work, and we’re getting 850MW in from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa facility after one of the ruptured supply lines was repaired. A second line, severely damaged by Cyclone Idai will take months to fix. 

Business is worried

Yesterday the Small Business Institute called on government to sort out the Eskom crisis urgently, saying small business owners were reporting significant losses due to the power cuts, particularly those reliant on refrigeration. The SA Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement yesterday warning that job losses were likely as a result of the blackouts.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Bafana off to Afcon

A Percy Tau brace sent Bafana Bafana through to the Afcon finals in Egypt. Tau’s two goals gave South Africa their 2-1 victory over Libya at a hostile Stade Taïeb Mhiri in neutral Sfax, Tunisia last night. Bafana needed a draw to join 23 other teams taking part in the African championships but overcame their opponents and the crowd to book their place. The African Cup of Nations tournament will be held in Egypt from June 21-July 19.

Schurter, Langvad guide newbies home

Former winners Nino Schurter and Annika Langvad yesterday finished the Absa Cape Epic guiding two newbies to victories in the gruelling eight-day race around the Western Cape. Multiple World Champion Schurter and his Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing partner, European Champion Lars Forster, wrapped up a tense week of racing in which they had to fight back from a day of mechanical dramas to beat Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) by seven-and-a-half minutes overall. In the women’s race, Langvad shepherded World Road Champion Anna van der Breggen to seven stage victories, including the win on yesterday’s Grand Finale from Stellenbosch University to Val de Vie Estate. In the final stage for the men’s category, South Africans Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) were inched out of their second stage win when, according to a photo finish, Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez beat Buys across the line. 

Proteas clinch clean sweep

Rain shortened the Sri Lankan tour by a few overs in the final T20 against South Africa yesterday, but it probably just reduced the margin of defeat. Dwaine Pretorius (77 not out), Reeza Hendricks (66 off 52 balls ) and JP Duminy (34 not out) chipped in as the Proteas scored 198 for two. Then Andile Phehlukwayo took four wickets as the Sri lankans were bowled out for 137, 45 runs short of their revised target. The win gives South Africa a clean-sweep of both the ODIs and T20s, making up for their dismal loss in the Test series.

Sun sets on Wolves experiment

As expected, Sanzaar booted the Sunwolves participation into touch on Friday when they announced a return to Super 14. While the new old structure allows a return to the round-robin format which was popular at the time, it remains to be seen if the unwieldy conference system has damaged Super Rugby beyond rescue.
 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Noah more Trevor?

Trevor Noah could find himself out of a job shortly if AT&T-DIRECTV go ahead with plans to drop 22 Viacom television channels, including Comedy Central, which hosts his show. Well, that might be stretching things. It seems unlikely that Noah himself would not find a new job. But the show may be cut. Noah has taken to Twitter to ask fans to help ensure it does not go off air. 
 


SAY WHAT?

Mousetery solved

Stephen Mckears wanted to know who the hell was cleaning his garden shed? Mckears, a retired electrician from South Gloucestershire, noticed plastic clips appearing in an old ice cream tub and large screws, plastic leads, nuts and bolts neatly filed away The UK’s Metro reported that Mckears and his neighbour set up a trail camera to uncover the mystery guest and were astonished to find the culprit was a mouse. ‘I’ve been calling him Metal Mickey but some people have been saying he’s just mouse proud. I was quite amazed to see it – it is an amazing mouse.’ The pair filmed the mouse tidying away the metal objects from around midnight to 2.30am – an activity it has been doing every night for around a month. And, yes, there is footage of Metal Mickey.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Today’s champ is M@thew (@TweetPotato314) for this:

Me: sorry I missed your party yesterday
Friend: it’s today actually
Me: Read this again tomorrow then

 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue is a special request for Shtoobs and Shirley who got married 55 years ago today: Mere lad? Could be an important anniversary today! (7)

The solution to Friday’s clue, I dangled dosh, sadly still powerless (4,7) is LOAD SHEDDING, an anagram of ‘I dangled dosh’ (‘sadly’ is the anagram indicator). 


THE BIG READ

While growing up in Nigeria, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s parents never spoke their native Igbo language to her because they believed English would give her an advantage, as the international language of business and diplomacy, of science and technology. Later, her father admitted that he had an even stronger motivation for preferring English: ‘We spoke it to set ourselves apart,’ he told her. ‘Those of us who were educated wanted to distinguish ourselves from those who had money but didn’t go to school.’ The Guardian publishes Adaobi’s compelling essay about how she rediscovered her mother tongue. 
 


WHAT WE SAY

The Mozambique/Zimbabwe/Malawi cyclone disaster has highlighted the failings of the South African media. Coverage locally was limited and poor and the best place to catch up on what was going on to our north was via Britain’s The Guardian newspaper website. Local news services did make a belated attempt to catch up but the weekend coverage of this massive disaster on our doorstep was poor. This time, though, the blame should not lie with the journalists themselves, but with managers that have stripped newsrooms of resources in their short-sighted pursuit of profit. They have not only robbed readers, viewers and listeners of news, but the shrinking media footprint has undermined democracy: you cannot shine a light into dark corners when you can’t reach them anyway.
 


WHAT YOU SAY

I thoroughly enjoy the concise, easy-to-read, high-level, well-selected news summary. Given the general glut of news, it’s hard to know what to pick, who to believe and where to source the best.
    You do this for us readers – thank you!
    Keep it short, keep it relevant, keep it accessible!
    Thank you!
    Dr Birgit Schreiber 



Spell check

In Friday’s story on the new words included in the Oxford English Dictionary we misspelled ‘gramadoelas’ as ‘gamadoelas’. Thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed readers for pointing it out. 

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Zondo quizzes Mbalula | Not so kak then | Here come the Kiwis | The Week that Was

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A brutal fight for survival

The United Nations has called it the biggest natural disaster ever to hit southern Africa. UN agencies in Mozambique helping address the aftermath of Cyclone Idai estimate that 600,000 people need assistance and many of them are in life-threatening circumstances. They are working with Mozambican authorities to build two reception areas to accommodate 400,000 people. Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi estimates that the death toll  – which now stands at 350 – will top 1,000. Whole villages have been swept away by massive flooding after the Cyclone hit earlier this week. The rains that lashed the country have left an inland lake of more than 2,000 square kilometres in an area where hundreds of thousands of people lived. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. Parts of neighbouring Zimbabwe have also been devastated. In spite of the scale of the disaster, the South African media has continued to cover it from a distance. Britain’s Guardian newspaper has a reporter on the ground: you can read his account of the people’s ‘fight for survival’ here.

Zondo quizzes Mbalula 

Fikile Mbalula was today asked to explain apparent discrepancies between his evidence to former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and his evidence to the Zondo Commission about contact between himself and Ajay Gupta. He confirmed today that Ajay Gupta had called him to congratulate him on his pending appointment as a cabinet minister, and specifically congratulated him on getting the portfolio of Sports and Recreation, but he previously told Madonsela that he first heard of his appointment from Jacob Zuma. But Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said the differences in the testimony were concerning.

Golf club land grabbed

About 250 activists from Cape Town’s Reclaim the City organisation ‘occupied’ the Rondebosch Golf Course yesterday, calling for the property to be turned over for affordable housing. Spokesperson Zacharia Mashele told GroundUp that the golf course was as big as 45 soccer fields and could accommodate thousands of families. He claimed the property was leased to the club for R1,000-a-year. Club membership costs R15,750 a year. None of the media outlets that covered the protest recorded the reaction of the golfers.

Not so kak then

Jislaaik, but things are kak, hey? Ja, bru, but check this out – the Oxford English Dictionary has borrowed another two words from South African English. The latest version of the dictionary has just been released and includes ‘dof’ and ‘gamadoelas’ among its new words. It describes dof as being sourced from Afrikaans and meaning ‘stupid, ill-informed or clueless’, and gamadoelas as ‘an etymologically mysterious word for a remote rural region, especially one regarded as unsophisticated or uncultured’. It also has a bunch of new words from elsewhere. So if you want to find out what ‘chuddies’, ‘jibbons’ and ‘fantoosh’ are, head across to The Guardian here.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Stage 2 blackouts

It’s come to this – we celebrate when load-shedding is shifted down to Stage 2. And that is the happy case today after Eskom this morning announced a reprieve from the days of Stage 4 blackouts. The power utility announced the change would take place from 9am and said continued load-shedding was ‘due to a shortage of capacity’. It added that ‘load-shedding is a highly controlled process, implemented to protect the system and to prevent a total collapse of the system or a national blackout’. Thanks Eskom, but we would have preferred a highly-controlled process of infrastructure development and maintenance that made sure we have power all the time.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Weekend Live TV Sport listings

Great Scott! Nino and Lars back in front

Nino Schurter and Lars Foster of the Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing grabbed back the yellow leaders’ jersey and won over the local crowds by allowing a South African victory at the 100km Stage 5 of the Absa Cape Epic from Oak Valley to Stellenbosch on Friday. Schurter and Foster rewarded the PYGA Euro-Steel pair of Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes for their assistance throughout the stage by backing off on the final sprint and gifting the South Africans the stage victory. These two teams broke away early and built a six-minute lead over overnight leaders, Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing), who ended fourth on the stage just behind Damiano Ferraro and Samuele Porro (Trek Selle San Marco). Schurter and Forster now take a 5:13 lead over the Cannondale team into the final two days of racing. In the women’s race, the winners of the first five day’s of racing, Annika Langvad and Anna van der Breggen (Investec-songo-Specialized), suffered their first defeat when they were beaten into second by Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath (Summit Fin). The win for Lill and Morath, set up after Van der Breggen fell early in the stage and struggled to recover all day, closes the gap to 21 minutes which should still be plenty to ensure a Investec-songo-Specialized win. The race ends at Val de Vie in Paarl on Sunday.

Bafana cannot lose

The calculations are simple for Bafana Bafana when they take on Libya in a key Afcon qualifier in Tunisia (a neutral venue due to security concerns in Libya) on Sunday. A draw or a win for Bafana will mean South Africa go to Afcon 2019 in Egypt later this year. A win for Libya means they join Nigeria as the qualifiers from Group E. Bafana and Libya drew their previous match last year in South Africa so the result could go either way.

Proteas bloom. Or blooming Proteas? 

After the excitement of the opening T20 between South Africa and Sri Lanka it is hard to see today’s second and Sunday’s third matches in the series living up to expectations. The Proteas will be pleased they managed to close out the opening match in the Super Over earlier this week, but there will be concerns at the manner in which they allowed themselves to collapse into a situation where they needed the extra overs to stumble to victory. 

Here come the Kiwis

As the Super Rugby table stands, all four South African franchises are in the playoff places. It is a great situation for South African rugby, but things are about to get real with the first matches against New Zealand teams. The Stormers have the dubious honour of taking on the Hurricanes in Wellington tomorrow morning and that should provide the first real indication of the relative strengths of SA v NZ this year. The Lions face a journey to Tokyo but should be too strong for the Sunwolves. The Bulls will be hoping the Chiefs have not left their struggles behind in New Zealand when they meet in Pretoria and the Sharks will need to be wary of the resurgent Rebels when they meet in Durban.


HAPPY SNAP

In an effort to counter some of the world’s negativity we ask people what makes them happy. the.news.letter features a Happy Snap every Friday

Mzwandile Qogi, 35, Masiphumelele

I work as a petrol pump attendant but am an electrician. I do some truck driving. But mostly I’d like to work as an electrician, build a home back in the Eastern Cape for my family, for my four girls, and start a business. I’d like to start a business and be a businessman. God makes me happy, but also money makes me happy. I have dreams.


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Doccie screening

After a SAFTA scandal that saw the Best Documentary Short category withdrawn just hours before the ceremony started earlier this month, one of the nominated films in the category is being screened (for free) as part of docLOVE events. docLOVE is an initiative by the Documentary Filmmakers Association of South Africa. Director Enver Samuel’s Someone to Blame: The Ahmed Timol Inquest tells a compelling story about the re-opening of the inquiry into the death in police custody of activist Ahmed Timol in 1972. Samuel constructs an intimate overview of an event that sets the scene for the families and friends of other South Africans who died in detention to discover what happened to their loved ones. Visit the association’s Facebook page for more details
 


SAY WHAT?

Just fruity

A Chinese woman injected a fruit smoothie into her veins in the hope it would make her healthier. Instead, she almost killed herself, reports YOU magazine. The woman, whom Chinese authorities identified only as Zeng (51), from Chenzhou China, blended a mixture of 20 different fruits and put it in an intravenous drip on 22 February. ‘I had thought fresh fruits were very nutritious and it would not do me harm by injecting them into my body,’ Zeng said. ‘I had no idea it would get me into such trouble.’ Zeng was rushed to the hospital and admitted to intensive care.
 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Comedian Consider John Frazzled (@FrazzleMyGimp) is the Friday champ for:
ME: Can I buy you a drink?
HER: I have a boyfriend?
ME: {counting coins on the table} He can only get something small then.

And another one:
Wife: I’m leaving you
Me: Why?
Wife: Because you always make up lies to make me intrigued
Me: Well then I guess you’ll never find the buried treasure


And you might want to check out his account for the long, and sometimes very funny, thread after he invited people to ‘comment a set up for a joke and I’ll make a punchline’.
An example: 
Gracie (@graciee_beardd) sent this:
[doctor takes glasses off] i think i’ve seen enough.

Consider John Frazzled replies:
Me: *slapping my right butt cheek* you can’t tell me it sounds the same as lefty
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue compiled by Charles Machanik is, I dangled dosh, sadly still powerless (4,7) 

The solution to Wednesday’s clue, Comprehensive description of what the farmer’s wife did to the three blind mice? (8) is DETAILED (as in ‘de-tailed’)

We gave the solution to Tuesday’s clue Man + Man = Woman? (5) as MADAM – M (man) + ADAM (man) but Paull Lawrence came up with a different solution – HELEN – He + Len. 
 


THE BIG READ

The New York Times has this charming story of how an 8-year-old homeless refugee who learnt to play chess less than a year ago is now a champion – and has his sights on grandmaster status.
 


WHAT WE SAY

The week that was

What made us gloomy:
The devastating cyclone that has swept through southern Africa. March has been a cruel month with the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board, and the heart-breaking terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch ….

What shocked us:
That President Cyril Ramaphosa is shocked about the state of the trains and the state of Eskom. 

Speaking of load shedding…      
Do we have to?

No, we just want to know what comes after Stage 6…
Well, Stage 7 is when the last person left in the country switches off the lights … oh, wait!  

Who did we award the menace of the week to:
The EFF supporters who were caught on camera trashing ANC election posters. Juju Malema was quick to apologise, but when you keep putting both feet in your mouth you tend to have a lot of practise. He apologised to Naledi Pandor for mocking her about her fake accent. He also apologised to the country for supporting Jacob Zuma and then said his ‘youth’ gave him the license to make mistakes. He also apologised to BBC journalist Jonah Fisher after he called him a ‘bloody agent’ in a press conference. Malema is one sorry guy.

What made us proudly South African:
The Fairy Godmother  (FG) and her army of anonymous helpers. News24 reports that a lecturer at the University of the Western Cape is moonlighting as a Fairy Godmother, funding needy students’ travelling expenses, graduation attire and monthly groceries. More than 1,400 students have reached out to the anonymous FG in the last two years, with their needs. The FG publishes the students’ request anonymously and waits for donors to come forward.

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