EFF says sorry! | Khloe’s KAK bags | Morocco blocks Caster | The week that was


US, Iran tensions ratchet up

Fears of a military confrontation between the United States and Iran have increased after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The American military last night released video footage of what it said was an Iranian military patrol boat removing an unexploded limpet mine attached to the side of one of the stricken tankers – implying that Iran was trying to remove evidence of its involvement in the attacks. A Norwegian and a Japanese tanker were set alight in the explosions yesterday, sending dark plumes of smoke into the air. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that intelligence indicated Iran was behind the attacks, but Tehran has vehemently denied this. The nearby Strait of Hormuz is a key passage for tankers ferrying oil and gas. The price of oil increased by about 4% globally immediately after the attacks.

Huck off

Donald Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckerbee Sanders has quit after two years in the job but says ‘I love the president’. Sanders, who became notorious for doubling down on some of Trump’s more extravagant fibs, said she wanted to spend more time with her family. She will probably be best remembered for killing off the regular White House press briefings: they used to take place every week but today marks a record 94th day without one. Trump wished her well and said she was a ‘magnificent person’.

Here comes Boris

Brace yourselves: Boris Johnson looks set to become the British prime minister. The controversial and divisive figure yesterday won a vote among Conservative Party MPs to replace outgoing PM Theresa May by a landslide 114 votes to nearest challenger Jeremy Hunt’s 43. He’s not quite there yet, though: the party’s process for replacing a new prime minister involves several rounds of voting, with various candidates being eliminated along the way. Johnson, the former mayor of London, is fiercely pro-Brexit and popular among Conservatives, but opponents accuse him of being a populist and having little integrity.

Shock: EFF says sorry

Sit down before you read this: the EFF has apologised! This follows the scuffle at a parliamentary induction meeting where several of its MPs were filmed shoving ANC members. ‘As the EFF we are sending our apology, it was not our intention to react in the way we reacted,’ it said in a statement. The implication, of course, was that its MPs were reacting to some dastardly slur, but the fact remains that such an apology from the Fighters is unprecedented. Meanwhile, Speaker Thandi Modise’s office announced that no punitive steps would be taken. According to Eyewitness News it was felt that the stern reprimand dished out by Modise after the incident was punishment enough.


High flying irregularities

Former SAA treasurer Cynthia Stimpel yesterday told the Zondo Commission of inquiry into state capture how executives at the state owned entity approved an allegedly inflated fee of R300-million for the services of BNP Capital for its work in securing a loan for SAA – and how her efforts to prevent the deal were thwarted. The R15-billion loan could have been sourced directly from banks for very much less, she said. Stimpel detailed a number of irregularities in the board’s processes and said she believed some members had deliberately stalled them in order to create a crisis that would allow them to make the BNP Capital appointment on an emergency basis. The board was chaired at the time by Dudu Myeni. The CEO was Musa Zwane. The Daily Maverick’s Jessica Bezuidenhout was at the hearing. 


NZ put the pressure on the Lions

The Highlanders and Chiefs ramped up the pressure on the South African quarter-final hopefuls with big victories in their Super Rugby matches this morning. The Highlanders scored an emphatic bonus-point 49-12 win over the Waratahs and the Chiefs destroyed the Rebel hopes with a 59-8 win. The result of the New Zealand dominance is that the Lions are now in danger of missing the quarter-finals. The Crusaders, Jaguares, Brumbies and Hurricanes are already certain of hosting quarter-finals next weekend, while the two South African derbies will finalise the visiting teams for the four quarter-finals. The Bulls, who are sure of going through, host the Lions and the Sharks visit the Stormers, and after today’s results the scenarios are relatively simple. The Lions need a bonus-point loss or a win to get into the playoffs along with the Bulls, Chiefs and the winner of the Stormers v Sharks match. If the Lions do not get a bonus point or more, the Highlanders will stay above them on the standings and the Johannesburg side will end ninth on the table. The loser of the Stormers v Sharks match cannot reach the quarter finals unless the Stormers lose with two bonus points.

Banyana go down again

The South African women’s football team suffered their second loss at the Fifa Women’s World Cup last night when they went down 1-0 to China. It was a brave fight from Banyana, but the South Africans were never able to do enough to put their opponents under pressure. In front of a crowd of 20 000, Banyana had just one shot on target all evening and had to fend off 17 attempts at goal from the Chinese. The match was decided five minutes before halftime when Li Ying scored. Banyana’s hopes of a possible place in the Round of 16 rely on beating Germany on Monday in their final group match. They need to win by a big enough margin to be one of the third-placed teams to go through on goal difference. Germany, with two wins, are already assured of going through to the next round while China and Spain will battle for the second guaranteed place in the playoffs from their group.

Caster wins, but is excluded

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court on Wednesday handed Caster Semenya another small win in her battle, but there was more disappointment for the World 800m Champion. The Swiss court yesterday confirmed their earlier decision to suspend the IAAF’s controversial testosterone rule pending the decision on an appeal by Semenya. This allows the double Olympic champion, and other female athletes with male chromosomes, to run in all events without being forced to medically alter their testosterone levels. However, it was not all good news. The Moroccan Athletics Federation this week denied Semenya’s entry into the 800m in the Rabat leg of the Diamond League on June 16. The IAAF does not organise the Diamond League events and the Moroccan organisers have not given any reason for declining the entry. Semenya is attempting to find out why she is not being allowed to compete.

Surely SA can beat Afghanistan?

South African will be desperate for the weather to play ball in Wales when they take on Afghanistan tomorrow. Little has gone right for the Proteas since the World Cup started with embarrassing losses, selection controversies, injuries and then bad weather all hampering South African hopes. It has meant that the ICC’s third-ranked ODI team is wallowing near the foot of the World Cup standings trying to keep pace with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tomorrow’s match is one that should be a guaranteed two log points … if the Proteas get onto the field. Four matches, the most at any World Cup, have been abandoned due to bad weather. 

Rose a late bloomer at US Open

Three birdies over the final three holes by Justin Rose took a share of the lead away from South African Louis Oosthuizen after the first round of the US Open at Pebble Beach. Rose ended on six under par after his putter set up a 65 at the tricky coastal course. Rose’s run of three birdies up to the 18th meant Oosthuizen was a shot behind on five under with Americans Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Aaron Wise. Defending champion Brooks Koepka shot two under and is in a tie for 16th, while Tiger Woods ended on one under in a tie for 28th. Joining Woods on that score is South African amateur Jovan Rebula, the nephew of Ernie Els, who is a shot behind the leading amateur, Norwegian Viktor Hovland.

Full list of weekend live TV here


Director offers $150,000 to accuser

The.news.letter previously reported that the director of Oscar-winner Bohemian Rhapsody was dropped from the production after four young men came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against him. Now director Bryan Singer has offered to pay $150,000 to one of them to settle a rape accusation – although he says this is not an admission of guilt and is a ‘business’ decision. 


Kak and cool

Here’s a story of contrasts. The.news.letter is not a great fan of the Kardashians but they do sometimes provide moments of entertainment. This week South Africans had fun when Khloe (middle name Alexandra) posted photos of her sister Kim’s personalised gift to her – monogrammed bags of undoubtedly great expense saying: KAK. Well yes, our sentiments exactly. On the other end of the spectrum is British actress Daisy May Cooper who turned up at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards recently wearing a dress made entirely of trash bags, with a trash can lid fashioned into a hat. Her entire outfit, featured on a short NowThis clip, cost R120, and she gave away the money she would have spent on a red-carpet dress to a food bank. 


Weirdest toe-nation 

A former British commando has made a grim donation to a remote Canadian hotel – his severed toe. The BBC reports that 47-year-old Nick Griffiths posted his big toe to the Downtown Hotel in Yukon after he lost it to frostbite competing in an extreme winter marathon there last year. The ex-Royal Marine promised to donate it in the hope of returning to Yukon to drink the Sourtoe Cocktail with his very own toe. The cocktail’s famed ingredient is a human toe. The locals say: ‘You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.’ Sourtoe Cocktails have been served since 1973, when Yukon riverboat captain Dick Stevenson discovered a preserved toe in an abandoned cabin.’We couldn’t be happier to receive a new toe,’ said Downtown Hotel general manager Adam Gerle. ‘They are very hard to come by these days.’ 


The fabulous Friday tweeter this week is Souvik Kr. Maj (@SouvikKumarMaj3) with this comment on the cricket: 

Expected result of ICC Cricket WC 2K19 …


Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Use of fossil fuels provide a clue to Actimel! (7,6) 

The solution to yesterday’s clue, He wants weird capital (7) is TSHWANE, an anagram of ‘he wants’ (‘weird’ is the anagram indicator).


Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Writing in the New York Books Howard W French looks at some remarkable new books about the continent that he says ‘admirably complicate our understanding of Africa’s past and present’. It’s a fascinating and instructive read.  


What made us gulp?
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane channeling Donald Trump and going on a bizarre Tweet binge saying she’d been appointed by God. Jacob Zuma, who appointed her, is nodding his head.

And after we gulped we gasped…
Trying to work out what the PP meant in a preliminary report finding President Cyril Ramaphosa guilty of ‘inadvertently and deliberately’ misleading Parliament about the R500,000 Bosasa donation. Accidentally on purpose?

Speaking of doing something accidentally on purpose…
From ‘covfefe’ to ‘finding lasting peach’ to ‘an unpresidented act’, Donald Trump tweeted another whopper this week when he insisted that meeting the ‘Prince of Whales’ shows he can discuss everything with foreign powers. We guess he just wanted to show us that he is a president with a porpoise. Let’s hope he doesn’t grab anyone by the octopussy!

What got us popping popcorn?
The EFF-ANC scuffle during the induction session for MPs. There are more red overalls in parliament so expect more fireworks (and less finding solutions to unemployment, poverty, crime etc).

What made us take a deep breath?
The shooting of six members of the police’s anti-gang unit during an operation in Cape Town.

What made us sigh deeply?
The rain that saw the Proteas-West Indies match abandoned, making it virtually impossible for South Africa to advance to the next round of the World Cup. On the other hand, it means that we have been saved the embarrassment of losing every single match of the tournament. 

What made us roll up our sleeves?
Blood Donor Day, which is today. If you can spare 20 minutes – and you can – go and donate at a Blood Donor centre and save a life or three. 

Who did we award the Menace of the Week to?
The unlikable Vicki Momberg, who was convicted of crimen injuria last year for using the k-word 48 times against police officers and 10111 operators who were trying to help her after a smash-and-grab incident. She is appealing against her conviction and two-year jail sentence and blaming everyone for her woes. In a television interview, she blamed programmes, ‘like the Trevor Noah show’ for promoting the k-word. Her fellow k-bombing menace Adam Catzevelos, who was also in court this week, said he was racist in a ‘moment of madness’. In the TV interview Momberg claimed she was suffering from ‘temporary insanity’. She’s half right.

What made us proudly South African?
Banyana Banyana! While the Proteas have been punching below their weight at their World Cup in England, across the channel in France Banyana Banyana have been punching above theirs. They haven’t had the investment they deserve but the team that is ranked 50th in the world is playing with guts and gusto at their debut World Cup. Last night they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by a team ranked 33 places above them.

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EFF, ANC MPs in ‘shoving match’ | Bathabile gets 48 hours to report corruption | Zim eyes ivory cache for cash | Caster wins again


EFF, ANC MPs in ‘shoving match’

In what is probably a sign of things to come, EFF and ANC MPs got into a shoving match in Parliament’s Old Assembly during an induction session today. News24 says at least one MP claims punches were thrown, but this is not evident on a video of the fracas posted by the news service. DA MP Annelie Lotriet said the confrontation began when new EFF MP Makoti Khawula crossed over to the ANC benches and taunted ruling party members about having criminals in their ranks. A group of seven or so EFF MPs can be seen pushing and shoving other MPs in the video. Speaker Thandi Modise reportedly responded angrily and gave the MPs a thorough dressing down. And this during a session designed to introduce MPs to the mechanics of parliamentary processes. The EFF repeatedly disrupted parliamentary proceedings when Jacob Zuma was president, sometimes leading to incidents of violence.

Six anti-gang cops shot 

Six members of the police’s anti-gang unit were shot in Cape Town’s Nyanga township early this morning. The unit was ‘conducting an operation’ in the Samora Machel informal settlement in Nyanga when they came under fire in an ambush, according to police. Eyewitness News reports that the unit had arrested a man in connection with a mruder and were searching for a second suspect. The injured police officers were all hospitalised and details of their individual conditions have not been released.  

Bathabile gets 48 hours to report corruption

It seems Bathabile Dlamini’s life as a private citizen is not going to be free of the controversy that has plagued her career as a minister. Yesterday Dlamini lashed out in all directions as she announced her decision not to take up a seat as an MP after President Cyril Ramaphosa axed her from his cabinet. In her long and rambling resignation letter Dlamini said she knew of wives of ANC members who were involved in unsavoury relationships with social grant distributor and contractor Cash Paymaster Services. This may have been an attempt to divert attention from her own role in the disastrous social grants distribution saga, but the DA quickly pointed out that the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act requires that anyone bearing knowledge of a corrupt act has to report it to the police. The party has given Dlamini 48 hours to make such a report before it takes up the matter with law enforcement agencies itself.    **Meanwhile, courtesy of News24, here is a list of the eight former cabinet ministers who have announced they will be quitting parliament.

Trump likeness takes a beating

A lifesize, bobble-head model of US President Donald Trump that you can bash with a hammer is turning out to be a, er, big hit at a high-tech electronics fair in Shanghai, China. Trump is not beloved of the Chinese for his trade war belligerence, and customers at the Consumer Electronics Show Asia are taking the opportunity to take figurative revenge. The Trump model is found in a kiosk in the centre of the showgrounds and is attracting long queues. The wannabe Trump-bashers then deliver a few telling blows to the imitation presidential noggin.


Momberg blames everyone

Potty-mouthed racist Vicki Momberg blames the media, the courts, her lawyers – and everyone else for her legal woes. She was back in court yesterday, three years after she used the k-word 48 times against people trying to help her (police officers and 10111 operators) in a bid to overturn her crimen injuria convictions and two-year jail term. She had to represent herself because she fired her sixth lawyer. Momberg said the media’s biased reporting had an impact on her livelihood, family and income – and endangered her life. She told Judge Thifhelimbilu Mudau he would not understand what she had been through over the past three years at the hands of prosecutors and magistrates at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. In what must be a close contender for the chutzpah of the year award, Momberg informed the court that the trial had impaired her dignity. The attention-seeking menace dropped the k-bomb 48 times but it’s her dignity that’s damaged? Yoh! 


Zim eyes ivory cache for cash

Zimbabwe is eyeing the sale of its stockpile of ivory to bring in a potential $300m which it says it needs for conservation. The move might see the country withdraw from Cites, the global body that oversees the international convention on endangered species. Ivory sales have been banned under Cites rules since 1990 but a once-off controlled sale of excess stock was permitted in 2009. The head of Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Fulton Mangwanya, told parliament this week that quitting Cites would have the support of neighbours Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, who all have large elephant populations.  

Extra carbon use ‘like 400 million more cars’

As the UK pledged yesterday to have net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050 and France announced on Monday that it would ban fossil fuel cars by 2040, a new report on global energy use has shown that extreme temperatures around the world last year caused a leap in carbon emissions. The annual BP report says the increase in hotter and colder extreme days meant people used more energy.  Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, said the 2% emissions increase recorded for the year was the carbon equivalent of driving an extra 400 million combustion engine cars onto the world’s roads.


Footballers top richest list

Lionel Messi tops a logjam of footballers heading the list of richest sportsmen with a mere $127m earned from June 2018 to June 2019. Messi takes over from retired boxer Floyd Mayweather at the top of Forbes’ list of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes, with fellow footballers Cristiano Ronaldo ($109m) and Neymar ($105m) filling the second and third spots. Boxer Canelo Alvarez ($94m) and tennis player Roger Federer ($93.4m) complete the top five. Messi’s earnings are made up by a salary of $92m and $35m in endorsements. US basketball players fill 35 of the top 100. The youngest sportsman on the list is French World Cup winning footballer Kylian Mbappe, who earned $30.6m over the last year and sits in 55th position. The oldest two on the list are golfers Phil Mickelson ($48.4m) and former top earner Tiger Woods ($63.9m) at 19th and 11th respectively. The top woman is tennis player Serena Williams, who is 63rd with earnings of ($29.2m). Full Forbes list of the top 100 here.

Caster wins again

South African Caster Semenya was back on the top step of the podium yesterday when she won a 2 000m race in Montreuil, France. The double 800m Olympic Champion was racing for the first time since a controversial new testosterone rule was introduced, upheld on appeal and then suspended by a Swiss court, although the 2 000m distance was not covered by the new ruling which only applies to distances from 400m to a mile. Semenya finished in 5min 38.19sec, ahead of Ethiopians Hawi Feysa and Adanech Anbesa.

Baby Boks in key clash with All Blacks

In surely the biggest clash so far of the U20 Rugby World Championship, the Baby Boks will take on the All Blacks youngsters today in a match that could end the tournament for one of the teams. Both teams were ruthless in destroying Scotland and Georgia in previous pool matches, and today’s game will put one side in the semi-final while the other will have to get their calculators out to see if they have qualified. The three-pool system at this tournament means the pool winners automatically progress to the semi-final, where they will be joined by the best of the second-placed teams. The SA v NZ match will decide who tops Pool C. 


Samoa bans Rocketman

Samoa has banned screenings of the Elton John biopic Rocketman – for having too many scenes that are ‘not good for public viewing’. The gay sex scenes have upset the country’s censors, and chief censor Leiataua Niuapu told the Samoa Observer the film ‘violates laws against same-sex marriage and doesn’t go well with cultural and Christian beliefs here’. Homosexuality is punishable with seven years in jail in the country.


In the driving seat

The small Japanese city of Hanyu hosted the tenth edition of the office chair grand prix on Sunday. Inspired by Formula One and Le Mans endurance racing, teams of three battle it out on office chairs across two grueling hours to see who can complete the most laps of a 200-metre circuit. The race, which started in Kyoto in 2009, is the brainchild of Tsuyoshi Tahara and will feature at 10 different grand prix events across Japan this year. ‘The origin of this race came to my head when I saw a tricycle endurance race,’ Tahara told Reuters. It has proved hugely popular, with 55 teams entering the Hanyu Grand Prix. The reward for the winning team, Kitsugawa Unyu, was 90 kilograms of rice. The Guardian has a one-minute video of the action.


Today’s top tweeter is journalist Chris Roper (@ChrisRoper) for his observation on a slice of South African life:

Amusing watching tourists reading the eNCA headlines on the tv above their festive lunch table at Doppio Zero. ‘Rapist Set Alight.’ ‘Schoolteacher Shot Dead.’ 
Would you like fries with that?



Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Dicky Cole gave him cocaine! (7,4)

Speaking of cocaine… The solution to yesterday’s cryptic clue, Michael Gove admitted oceanic trip (7), is COCAINE. Gove, the wannabe British prime minister, admitted taking cocaine – an anagram of ‘oceanic’ – in his youth, hence the ‘trip’, which is also the anagram indicator.  


A new ‘deep fake’ manipulated video of Mark Zuckerberg boasting of his power over stolen data has been released on Instagram in a deliberate and direct challenge to Facebook to test its policies on content moderation following the social media platform’s refusal to remove a manipulated video of US politician Nancy Pelosi. To understand the power of so-called deep fakes, it is worth revisiting The Guardian’s look at how careful we need to be in trusting what we see. The headline gives you some idea: You thought fake news was bad? Deep fakes are where truth goes to die.


We reported on this last week but even we, who set the loftiest standards, feared that it might ultimately prove to be fake news. But no, new Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul has indeed made good on his promise to not buy new cars for his provincial executive and instead spend the money on new ambulances – 27 at last count but he promises the number will reach 63, and who are we to disbelieve him? And he is about to forsake the mahogany-panelled linings of the premier’s office for humbler accommodation at a hospital (he is a medical doctor, and this is apparently his thing). He seems like a decent soul (see his Twitter feed on @zsaul1 and judge for yourself) and is a breath of fresh air in the political realm. More strength to him, and anybody else inclined to follow his example.

Posted in News | Comments Off on EFF, ANC MPs in ‘shoving match’ | Bathabile gets 48 hours to report corruption | Zim eyes ivory cache for cash | Caster wins again

ANC to probe Ace’s role in ATM | Botswana scraps gay sex law | Taliep’s son makes some Aladdin magic | Faf: AB’s still my friend


ANC to probe Ace’s role in ATM

News24 reports today that the ANC is going to investigate secretary-general Ace Magashule’s alleged role in the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM). Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma have previously been accused of being behind the formation of the party, which was led in the elections by Mzwanele Manyi. The supposed rationale was to undermine Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC. News24 says today it has three sources ‘who have direct knowledge of events’ confirming that the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) had been told by the party leadership to launch the investigation. A panel headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and including former speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala will investigate the issue.

Faf: AB’s still my friend

It’s that kind of news day: there’s not much more interesting out there than the fact that Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has decided to address what some excitable media types have taken to calling ‘AB-gate’ – the decision to leave genius batsman AB de Villiers at home during the World Cup in spite of his last-minute about-turn on retirement from national duty. Du Plessis said he had only heard from De Villiers the day before the World Cup squad announcement, had conveyed his change-of-heart to the selectors but they had said it was ‘way, way too late’. Du Plessis said reports on his having fallen out with De Villiers were untrue: ‘AB and I are still friends. This incident has not changed that. This is a small thing for a friendship that goes so way back.’

Botswana scraps gay sex law

Botswana’s high court has outlawed a 1965 law that made same-sex relationships a criminal offence and punishable with with up to seven years in prison. Delivering  the unanimous decision today, Judge Michael Elburu said ‘the question of private morality should not be the concerns of the law … the state cannot be sheriff in people’s bedrooms’. A number of other African countries have upheld laws that discriminate against gay relationships. Most recently a Kenyan court upheld the law. In Sudan, as well as parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by death. 

Cape rains ‘not enough’

In spite of some good winter rains, the Western Cape’s water shortage is not over. The provincial government has called on citizens to use water sparingly and confirmed that restrictions will stay in place. Dam levels in the province are currently at 34.9%, but there are concerns about parts of the central Karoo and other farming areas. Provincial spokesperson James Styan said: ‘In Beaufort West the dam level currently stands at 45%; that dam was empty for the past two years. However, the agriculture sector remains under severe pressure, as there has been a lot of rain falling in the mountainous areas, but not necessarily more widespread.’


Going … Going … GONE!

Finally, the human wrecking ball that is Bathabile Dlamini has done something we approve of – she’s resigned from Parliament. The tag ‘controversial’ has long been pinned to the name of this serial menace, who has been involved in some of the country’s worst scandals. If you need reminding, News24 lists five infamous ones. The most concerning was the social grant crisis when she was minister of social development and found to be incompetent. The Constitutional Court issued damning findings against her and asked the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate charging her with perjury. The court also ruled she should dig into her own pocket and pay 20% of the legal costs. Dlamini, a Jacob Zuma ally, was shuffled into the ministry of women in the presidency when President Cyril Ramaphosa  took over. It was clear she was living on borrowed political time. Ramaphosa made his move when he excluded her from his new cabinet last month. She has left in a huff, submitting an eight-page resignation letter in which she refuses to take responsibility for the social grant debacle, saying it was all a conspiracy and she’s been made a scapegoat. Maybe she will now reveal the ‘smallanyana’ skeletons she claimed most ANC leaders had in their closets – perhaps she should start with her own!


Bring back SAA boss, say picketers

Trade Union members from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association were picketing at airports today to protest ‘a myriad of issues at SAA and SAA Technical’ and to demand the reinstatement of Vuyani Jarana, who recently resigned as SAA GCEO. Among other issues were ‘corruption, problems in the maintenance department, allegations of nepotism, tribalism and corruption of the HR manager at SAA Technical’. The action was scheduled to last for two-and-a-half hours. 

Millions went to letterbox company

A letterbox company linked to the Gupta family, Homix, was apparently used to process millions of rands from kickbacks in Transnet deals, the Zondo commission of inquiry heard yesterday. The Reserve Bank’s Elijah Mazibuko told the inquiry that the bank probed more than R500 million of transactions that moved through the company in 2014 and 2015, with no real indication of what work or services it provided. He said some of the companies paid by Homix existed only on paper. Today Chetan Vaghela, an auditor from Deloitte, told the inquiry the auditing firm also came to the conclusion that money paid to Homix by Transnet was for work that was not done. 


Caster in SA team

Athletics South Africa yesterday named Caster Semenya for the 800m in the preliminary squad to go to the World Championships in Doha in September. Semenya, who is permitted to run the 800m pending her appeal against the IAAF testosterone ban, was named among the 30 athletes in the preliminary squad. There is however an asterisk beside her name with the note that her selection is dependent on the outcome of the appeal.

Afcon travel travails for Bafana

Bafana Bafana have not enjoyed the best start to their African Cup of Nations journey with a minor hiccup over their travel plans. Bafana were due to leave for a training camp in Dubai yesterday morning but when they arrived at the airport it was discovered the group was split on to two flights leaving at different times last night. Coach Stuart Baxter was not happy about that and the flights were changed for everybody to fly as a group this morning. Bafana will take on Ghana in a friendly warm-up match on Saturday‚ and then meet Angola in a second practice match on Wednesday next week in Egypt. South Africa open their tournament against Ivory Coast in Cairo on June 24.

Big win for SA hockey

The South African men’s hockey team kept alive their Olympic qualification hopes with a strong 6-0 win over Mexico in their final pool match of the FIH Series Finals tournament in Bhubaneswar, India yesterday. After losing 2-0 to both USA and Japan in earlier matches, yesterday’s win means South Africa are third in their group and play in the cross-pool playoff against Russia tomorrow. The winner of that match will take on the USA in the semi-finals, with the two finalists then earning a place in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.  


Yesterday in our story on the Baby Boks we stated that the best ‘third-placed team’ from the three groups at the U20 Rugby World Championships earns a place in the semi-finals. As an eagle-eyed reader pointed out, that should have read best ‘second-placed team’.  


Taliep’s son makes some Aladdin magic

Disney’s remake of Aladdin which was released just three weeks ago has already outgrossed the 1992 animated original, passing the $600 million mark at the weekend. The 1992 version was the highest-grossing movie of that year and was only outstripped as the biggest-earning animated film by The Lion King in 1994. But for a local twist on the story, a cover of the duet A Whole New World sung by the son of murdered South African musician Taliep Petersen, Ashur Petersen, and his mother, Madeegha Anders, has gone viral across South Africa, with more than 5 million views so far. You can watch the video, which Ashur posted on YouTube last week, here. And yes, the film is currently on screen in South Africa.



This 53-second video is not new but it is worth a watch if you have not seen it before – the perfect execution of a bricklaying line, using the domino principle. Quite extraordinary. 


Hell’s bells 

Love thy neighbour, but not if he parks across your driveway. A mass brawl broke out in a ‘peaceful’ village church on Saturday when a man in his 60s stormed St Peter’s Church in  Devon, England, while its annual bell-ringing festival was taking place. The man, who lives next door to the church, attempted to get to the church tower and attack the bell ringer whom he accused of parking across his drive. ‘It was a shocking sight. He was shouting and swearing, grown men were thumping each other, children were crying. Then he sat on the floor, refusing to move, complaining about the bell-ringing,’ said a witness. Barrie Furzland, captain of the tower, said the man was ‘seriously angry’. ‘Our group secretary tried to stop him and he was grabbed around the throat,’ said Furzland, adding that the man had ‘had a go’ at the church warden once during a funeral. ‘I don’t think he is a religious man … Clearly he didn’t like the bells, but what do you expect buying a house right by a church?’ However, other residents have also complained about the bell-ringing event, with one threatening to take hedge trimmers to the bell ropes.   


Today’s tweet award goes to Sowellnomics (@Sowellnomics) for his observation on recent developments in South Africa:

Three things that are certain in life
Socialists printing money to pay off debt caused by offering free people stuff in return for votes



Today’s cryptic clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Michael Gove admitted oceanic trip (7)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, She came first, wasted. Dat’s energy!  (5, 5), is GERDA STEYN – an anagram of ‘Dat’s energy’ (‘wasted’ is the anagram indicator) gives the name of the record-smashing Comrades winner. 


Charlie Paton is the founder of Seawater Greenhouse, a company that transforms two abundant resources – sunshine and seawater – into freshwater for growing crops in arid, coastal regions such as Africa’s horn. Paton believes the world isn’t short of water, it’s just in the wrong place, and too salty. This fascinating feature published last year in Wired magazine looks at Paton’s quest to end drought.  


What on earth more to say about the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane than: please, whoever has the power to do so, get rid of her now. Perhaps that she’s pathetically bad at her job? Or that she’s obviously involved in party political in-fighting? Or that she’s being led by the nose by the EFF and Jacob Zuma’s gangsters? That she thinks she was appointed by God (highly alarming, because Zuma appointed her)? Or that her resort to social media at the weekend made Helen Zille look measured? But no, rather just this: please, whoever has the power to do so, get rid of her now.

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Another PP report challenged in court | Durban mayor put on ‘special leave’ | Huawei signs deal with AU | It’s raining on the Protea parade


Another court challenge for PP 

The Public Protector is facing a court challenge from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA – formerly the Financial Services Board), which has filed papers to review and set aside a report in which she found the body guilty of impropriety and maladministration. The FSCA contends that Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report, relating to the appointment of curators for pension funds, was conducted in bad faith. It also charged that the findings could be the result of ‘gross incompetence and negligence’. The complaint was brought by EFF leader Julius Malema. 

Attack on SABC man was ‘hit’ 

According to City Press, the attempted shooting of an SABC audit executive last week was a hit – possibly organised by somebody about to be implicated in the years-long financial shenanigans at the corporation. Thami Zikode managed to escape the attempted assassination outside his Johannesburg South home by firing at the assailant first. The alleged hitman told Zikode that ‘we are not after your car’. He was subsequently arrested and reportedly told police he had been ‘sent by one lady’.

Durban mayor placed on ‘special leave’

Some heartening news in the fight against corruption. The ANC in Durban has placed Durban mayor Zandile Gumede on special leave after she was charged with corruption in connection with a tender to remove waste in the city. Gumede is a powerful figure in the party in the province, which has itself become the most corrupt in the country. Gumede, apparently reading from the Jacob Zuma playbook, said nothing had been proven against her and she would be back.

‘Cyril misled parliament’

The Sunday Independent reported at the weekend that it had been leaked a copy of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into whether President Cyril Ramaphosa misled parliament over a R500,000 donation from Bosasa to his ANC election campaign. According to the newspaper – which has itself not been averse to meddling in ANC factional politics against Ramaphosa – the report found that he had ‘inadvertently’ misled parliament and may even have been involved in money laundering. Mkhwebane today issued a statement hitting out at the leaking of the report, but did not confirm or deny its contents.


Hlaudi, is that you?

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has turned to social media to announce the status of her probes, claim she has been poisoned and complain about journalists who have been nasty about her. Last week she posted two YouTube videos to defend her increasingly dubious record. However, her critics are in deep, deep trouble. As it turns out Mkhwebane has an extremely powerful protector – and we don’t mean the EFF. This weekend she issued a long thread of tweets where she revealed that she had been appointed to the position of PP by none other than … God, and could only be removed by God. This came as a massive surprise to those of us who have been labouring under the impression that we live in a constitutional democracy. As one wit remarked on Twitter, it seemed like Hlaudi Motsoeneng had hijacked her account.  


AU teams up with Huawei

The African Union is bucking the US-driven trend of being wary about Huawei and has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese tech giant. It is designed to strengthen the AU/Huawei alliance in a range of technologies, from broadband and ‘cloud’ computing to 5G and artificial intelligence. Huawei has faced global fallout from accusations that its 5G networks pose a threat to international security. The MoU comes after the AU and Huawei denied media reports last year that cited allegations that the company had facilitated a massive five-year spying programme at the AU headquarters on behalf of the Chinese government. AU insiders had spilled the beans to the well-respected publications the Financial Times and Le Monde, but the claims have not been substantiated.


Proteas hopes take a dive

The Proteas got off to a terrible start in their crucial must-win Cricket World Cup match against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Southampton today – and then the rain made things worse. After losing two quick wickets, the rain stopped play and it is doubtful whether the two teams will get back onto the field long enough to complete the 20 overs each team needs to bat to constitute a match. If they do get back on the field, the Windies’ advantage increases the longer the teams are off the field. The Proteas’ chances of reaching the semi-finals are already remote and a fourth loss will probably wipe them out completely. Even a draw and the shared points will further dent their already battered hopes. 

    ** Meanwhile another Australian ball tampering row is brewing. Spinner Adam Zampa is under fire after he was caught putting his hands in his pockets before rubbing the ball in the match against India yesterday. Australian captain Aaron Finch said Zampa was just fighting off the cold with hand warmers. Zampa’s teammates David Warner and Steve Smith have just returned to the national team after a year-long ban for ball tampering in South Africa in 2018.

Quarter-final conundrums

The venues for the four quarter-finals of the Super Rugby were confirmed at the weekend, but the four visiting quarter-finalists could be any teams from the Bulls in fifth down to the Waratahs in 12th. In a strange coincidence of the fixtures, the Crusaders have a bye and the other three confirmed quarter-finalists are all playing the teams that are out of contention for the quarter-finals. That means the four remaining matches next weekend are between the eight teams fighting for the four away quarter-final places – effectively four playoffs for the quarter-final places. The Stormers hauled themselves back into contention over the weekend with a 31-18 win over the Sunwolves on Saturday. With the Sharks going down 34-7 to the Jaguares, the Sharks and Stormers will be playing off for one of those quarter-final spots when they meet at Newlands on Saturday. The Lions 37-17 loss to the Hurricanes and the Bulls dramatic 24-24 draw against the Highlanders means the Bulls are virtually guaranteed a quarter-final spot, while the Lions need a win against the Bulls to be 100% sure. The Rebels will take on the Chiefs and one of them is going to miss out, while the Waratahs and Highlanders also clash and a bonus point winner there might just squeeze into the top eight (latest standings, weekend results and next weekend’s fixtures).

Baby Boks set up pool decider against NZ

The Baby Boks have done just about all they can in their opening two matches of the U20 Rugby World Championships in Argentina – now they must just beat New Zealand. On Saturday the South Africans followed up their opening win over Scotland with a second bonus-point victory. The Baby Boks beat Georgia 48-20 by matching the physicality of their big Eastern Europeans opponents and adding some sublime moments of individual brilliance. The South Africans have moved top of the standings in their group, just ahead of New Zealand on points difference. On Wednesday South Africa face New Zealand in a crucial pool decider. If they lose to the All Black U20 side the Boks need to make sure they get at least one bonus point, but preferably two, to try to claim the final quarter-final place as the best third-placed team from the three pools. New Zealand beat Scotland 52-33 on Saturday while Australia ensured they qualified for the semi-final with a 45-17 win over Ireland.

Rafa best ever

Rafael Nadal confirmed he is the greatest clay court tennis player of all time as he swept to a historic 12th Roland Garros title yesterday. The 33-year-old Spaniard collected his 18th Grand Slam crown with a 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 victory over Austria’s Dominic Thiem. The French Open win means Nadal is the first player, man or woman, to win the same Grand Slam tournament 12 times. Nadal is now just two Major titles behind Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 and three ahead of Novak Djokovic. The world number two took his Roland Garros record to 93 wins with just two losses. On Saturday Australian Ashleigh Barty claimed the women’s title when she beat Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.


Tonys honour for Ali Stroker 

If you’re a fan of Broadway musicals, you have probably been waiting for the Tony Awards which celebrate the best of the live shows in the US annually. There will be no broadcast of the show for SA audiences but you can see some of it on YouTube. This year the show’s host was The Late Late Show’s James Cordon, whose opening song-and-dance tribute to Broadway included dozens of cast members from Ain’t Too Proud, Tootsie, Oklahoma!, Beetlejuice, The Prom, Hadestown, and Kiss Me, Kate. Broadway fans were tweeting it up a storm. Cordon has posted a link to the opener that you can watch here (be warned that it is quite long – 10 minutes). Actress Ali Stroker became the first wheelchair user to win an award, taking home the prize for best leading actress a musical in Oklahoma! The Guardian has a good wrap of the awards.


High exposure

It’s being billed as the world’s first 360-degree infinity pool – a clear box floating 200 metres above the city. But it has potential swimmers worried. The 600,000-litre pool is a concept design by Compass Pools for the roof of a 55-storey London hotel and everyone is asking how you would get into it. And out again? The answer is a fancy submarine portal to let you get into an airspace with a staircase. And a fancy system would drop the water level in high winds so pedestrians down below wouldn’t get water blown onto them. 


Gym’s no blow rule

A red-faced Stellenbosch gym member was caught red handed last month but South Africa is not the only country where gym etiquette is being violated. An Icelandic gym has asked its patrons to please stop using the public blow dryer to dry their privates. Staff at the Reykjavik club put up posters instructing swimmers that the communal hairdryers aren’t to be used on their scrotum. The posters show a man blow drying his dangly bits with a large red X over his naked torso. In case the poster wasn’t explicit enough the club also circulated its rule: ‘Don‘t dry your ball sack or your butt with the communal hairdryer in the swimming pool or the gym. Bald, older gentlemen with hairy torsos must either bring their own blow dryers or just buy a more absorbent towel.’


Monday’s marvellous tweeter is Katharine Child (@katjanechild) for her reflections on some local news:

South Africa is a lot.
–A leopard kills a toddler in Kruger.
–14 lions on the loose in Phalaborwa near mine.
–An elephant at same mine tramples a security guard to death.
–A lion in transit near Wolmaranstad escapes yesterday and is later recaptured.
Don’t tell the Americans.



Today’s cryptic clue, compiled by Charles Machanik, is: She came first, wasted. Dat’s energy!  (5, 5)

The solution to Friday’s clue, Trump, say a villain hugging Republican legend (6,7), is: DONALD BRADMAN (Trump = DONALD), + bad man (a villain) with an ‘r’ inside (‘hugging Republican’ – r) gives  the name of a cricketing legend. 


Writing in The Atlantic, George Packer reflects on the lasting greatness of George Orwell’s 1984, which he describes as a profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. Orwell’s novel has become a key to understanding the post-truth era and Packer looks at what 1984 means in 2019. 


A week barely passes without new and damning evidence that ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule is a thug and should not wield the power he has been given by the ANC. There is already a whole book called ‘Gangster State’ on it. Last week his expedient resort to populist economics trashed the rand and yesterday City Press reported that charges have been laid against him in connection with a R150m housing project in the Free State. Much has been made of the state capture project which previous president Jacob Zuma oversaw – reportedly with Magashule’s help – and the need to now move beyond that. Magashule’s presence in a key ANC job stands in the way of that and as such he represents a major challenge to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘new dawn’. Can the country afford to carry on with him calling the shots in the ruling party?

Posted in News | Comments Off on Another PP report challenged in court | Durban mayor put on ‘special leave’ | Huawei signs deal with AU | It’s raining on the Protea parade