Moyo vs Old Mutual: Round 2 | Billions in debt to be scrapped | Trump ‘wants to buy Greenland’ | The Week That Was

Dear reader

We’re taking a break. the.news.letter will be going offline for about a month from Monday 19 August because two of our mighty team of three will be travelling overseas. We also want to take the time to think about how we can make the.news.letter a sustainable operation (we’ve been putting together this daily digest for over a year, largely as a labour of love). If you have any ideas, please drop us a line. We’ll let you know what our plans are once we have all returned from various corners of the planet. 

Chris, Jonathan and Martine


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Zim protest chaos

Scores of demonstrators poured onto the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe, this morning to protest the country’s worsening economic situation, in spite of a court ban that was issued on Friday. They were met by riot police who fired teargas and reportedly beat demonstrators. The protest had been planned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as food prices soared and the electricity supply was cut to about five hours a day. MDC supporters were dispersed by teargas as they sang protest songs on Harare’s streets. And Reuters reports ‘police also cornered a group of protesters and beat them with batons, with one women carried into a Red Cross ambulance.’

Controversial debt-relief bill becomes law

President  Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the National Credit Amendment Bill, effectively wiping off some R13.2-billion to R20-billion of debt by poor people.The banking sector and opposition politicians have strongly opposed the legislation, saying the costs of the move have not been properly considered or quantified. The debt-relief legislation allows for various approaches to relief for certain heavily indebted consumers who earn less than R7,500 a month. Debt can either be suspended for a period of up to two years, or can be entirely extinguished. The bill only applies to unsecured debt of up to R50,000. The banks argue it is unconstitutional as it deprives lenders of their property. It is also feared that credit will become more expensive for low-income earners. 

Trump ‘wants to buy Greenland’

US President Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland from Denmark, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said the idea had been laughed off by White House aides but others said Trump was being serious. Greenland is the world’s biggest island – it’s land surface is 2,166-million square kilometres – and is an autonomous Danish territory. It is home to only 50,000 people. Greenland leaders laughed off the possibility of it being sold to the US. ‘We are open for business, but we’re not for sale,’ said foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger. Former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted: ‘It has to be an April Fool’s joke.’ And the foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Soren Espersen, said: ‘If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof that he has gone mad.’ the.news.letter thinks it might be a ruse by Trump: once he gets his hands on the country he will change the name of Nuuk, the capital, and say he has begun living up to his promise to make the world nuke-free. 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Moyo vs Old Mutual: Round 2

Former Old Mutual CEO Peter Moyo was back in court today to try to force the company to let him return to work while it appeals a court ruling that found his dismissal did not follow proper processes. Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing Moyo, told the court Old Mutual had been acting in contempt of the ruling by refusing Moyo access to his office and by telling journalists that the company was proceeding with looking for a new CEO. News24 is carrying details of the arguments in live updates from the Gauteng High Court.

Auntie Pat gets tough

Patricia de Lille is challenging the hiring of 12 senior managers in the Public Works Department and is asking the High Court to set aside their appointments. She says their hiring was irregular as due diligence was not carried out on their qualifications. The 12 are among 668 senior and middle managers who joined the department between April 2017 and March 2018 whose appointments were investigated by the Public Service Commission. More than a hundred people could lose their jobs. The investigation was initiated by De Lille’s predecessor, Thulas Nxesi.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Boks on the box

After the high of winning The Rugby Championship trophy for the first time since 2009, Rassie Erasmus and his enlarged Springbok squad take on Argentina this weekend with a new-look side loaded with World Cup possibles. The penultimate Springbok match before the World Cup, and the last before the squad for that tournament is announced, will be broadcast from 4.55pm on SS1. 

  • New Zealand and Australia meet in their Bledisloe Cup match tomorrow morning (SS1, 9.25am) with the All Blacks looking for redemption and the Wallabies desperate to show last week’s shock victory was not a freak result.
  • Football fans have a choice between Gameweek 2 of the English Premier League or the start of Spain’s LaLiga, making for an action-packed extended weekend of matches. The fun stats tonight with Barcelona visiting Athletic Bilbao (8.50pm, SS7) but the highlight is surely the “Big Six” clash between Man City and Spurs (Sat, 6.15pm on SS3). Arsenal open the Premier League weekend against Burnley (1.15pm, SS3) and Manchester United end it on Monday night against Wolves (9pm, SS3).
  • Cricket fans can settle down to watch the second Ashes Test with Australia enjoying honours after the first day of play. Despite losing the entire Day 1 to rain, the Aussies are in a good position to push for the win after England were bowled out for 258, although England will be pleased to have removed David Warner for just three runs late yesterday so there may be a fightback from the Poms. Australia resumed on 30 for one this morning (daily from 11.50am on SS2).
  • There is loads more rugby over the weekend, ranging from a bunch of northern hemisphere internationals tomorrow to Currie Cup matches (Griquas v WP at 6.55 tonight; Pumas v Cheetahs at 1.45pm tomorrow; and Lions v Sharks at 1.45pm on Sunday – yes, it is rugby on Sunday. All matches on SS1). Schoolboy rugby fans are in for a treat with the SA Schools and SA Schools A teams up against England and Argentina respectively (tomorrow 2.10pm and 11am on SS7) and two prime inter-schools matches, the Cape Town derby between Rondebosch and Bishops (12.10pm on SS10) and Paul Roos v Grey College (1.55pm on SS10).


Weekend TV highlights
 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Doing it for dads

Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has come out of Williams’ shadow to argue the case for men to have decent, paid time at home with their new children. Ohanian is not really someone who lives in the shadows, it should be said – he is the co-founder of Reddit – but Williams is arguably more of a household name. In an emotional piece for the New York Times’s beta site, Parenting, he notes that the paternity leave he took did nothing to quell his professional ambition, and talks about the life-threatening difficulties Williams faced after the birth of their daughter. He posted this photo of himself and little Olympia on Instagram this week: I took my full 16 weeks of #PaternityLeave and I’m still ambitious AF and (clearly) care about my career. Talk to your bosses and tell them I sent you. You can read his piece here.
 


SEE WHAT?

Spiderman for peace

A Frenchman known as the ‘spiderman’ has scaled a Hong Kong skyscraper and unfurled a massive ‘peace’ banner. Alain Robert, who is known for his daring unprotected ascents of iconic skyscrapers across the world – he has scaled Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers and Sydney’s Lumiere – was arrested after making his way to the top of the Cheung Kong Centre today. His banner, aimed at urging peace in the protest-ridden territory, depicts the two flags of China and Hong Kong and a handshake. You can watch this short AP video of his remarkable ascent.


SAY WHAT?

Winging it 

Romanian engineers have created a fully functional flying saucer – and say its extreme speed, efficiency and aerial agility will change the paradigm of flight. After more than two decades of engineering work, Razvan Sabie and Iosif Taposu created the All-Directional Flying Object (ADIFO). The flying saucer is a disc-shaped aircraft whose entire surface is a wing. The inspiration doesn’t come from UFO lore but is designed to mimic the back cross-section of a dolphin’s airfoil, radiating out in all directions from the centre. ‘The aerodynamics behind this aircraft is very well reasoned in hundreds of pages and confirmed by computer simulations and wind tunnel tests,’ Sabie told Vice magazine, who say the duo don’t appear to be a pair of rogue backyard engineers. ADIFO handles take-off, landing, slow speed manoeuvres and can rapidly push itself sideways in either direction. According to Sabie, the ADIFO has manoeuvringcapabilities unmatched by anything else in the air and can even fly upside down. 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Friday’s fab tweeter is Hayley Carruthers (@mileswithhayley) for this tomfoolery:

Can’t believe someone stole my trainers and high vis vest … you can run but you can’t hide.

And here’s a Friday bonus: This tweet is the start of a thread from Koshiek Karan (@iamkoshiek) who has documented his efforts to understand what information Facebook has about him. It is a chilling read:

I downloaded my Facebook data & here’s what I found: [Thread]
1. My entire contact list, their phone numbers & the number of times I contacted them.
2. Full list of advertisers who have my information on a contact list for targeted marketing
The segmenting gets better…. 

 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: She hates ludicrous sports trophy (3,5)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Policemen in Japan captured an assassin (5), is NINJA, which is hidden (‘captured’) in ‘policemeN IN JApan’.   


THE BIG READ

As an angry, internet-obsessed 19-year-old, Fredrick Brennan founded the notorious chat board 8chan. For years he defended the racism, misogyny, and rape porn that proliferated on the platform, saying the hatemongers had free speech rights like everyone else. However, after the recent Walmart mass shooting in El Paso, Brennan – now 25 – is calling for 8chan to be shut down. In the feature, The Weird Dark History of 8chan, Wired gives readers a glimpse of Brennan’s tortured journey through the worst of the web and his attempt at redemption.
 


WHAT WE SAY

What’s the magic number:
If you’re talking about defamation it’s R500,000. That’s what Derek Hanekom wants from Jacob Zuma in damages after the former president called him a ‘known enemy agent’. It’s also the amount that Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is claiming from Andile Lungisa, the ANC councillor who is notorious for smashing a water jug over the head of a DA opponent. Lungisa said Kganyago was a ‘lackey of racist people’ and called him the k-word.  Trevor Manuel set the R500,000 benchmark with his successful defamation suit against the EFF.  

Who has failed the people of the country
That would be one Busisiwe Mkhwebane – and this is according to Judge Ronel Tolmay, who ordered the public protector to pay more costs over the Estina Dairy Farm case. Another week, another court bollocking for Mkhwebane.

What gave us heart palpitations? 
News from the economic front: There doesn’t seem to be any respite. The rand hit its lowest level of 2019 and we can expect more misery as the petrol price is expected to go up next month. 

Who caused a flap for her support of the flip-flopping  EFF?
That would be Helen Zille – she’s supporting Juju’s red beret bandits in their fight against the country’s editors, who want to have the party’s leadership hauled over the coals for issuing journalists with death threats.

Who is flipping nuts?
The production company that approached former SABC boss turned failed politician Hlaudi ‘I am the Alpha and Omega’ Motsoeneng to be the star of his own reality TV show. Hasn’t Hlaudi, who terrorised SABC staff and ran the corporation into the ground, been inflicted on us enough already?

Who is flipping incredible?
American gymnast Simone Biles who did a double-double – listen carefully: that’s a double back somersault with a full twist in each somersault. It’s so hardcore that gymnastics might have to create a new difficulty level to properly recognise how difficult it is.

Who we gave the menace of the week award to? 
It was a tough call given how many menaces came out this week, but the award goes to repeat offender Iqbal ‘I’ve got three degrees’ Surve. When even the Guptas sue you for a R1-billion, then you must be an extra special menace.

What made us proudly South African?
Justice Edwin Cameron retires from the Constitutional Court on Tuesday. He has worked tirelessly as a human rights lawyer and has been described as the architect of the human rights response to HIV in South Africa, and the world. He’s been outspoken, courageous and a human being of massive integrity. We celebrate his contribution to making the world a better place.    

And, finally, what made the.news.letter team proud?
The appearance on bookshelves of team member Jonathan Ancer’s new bookBetrayal – the secret lives of apartheid spies. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with the Daily Maverick’s Marriane Thamm describing it as ‘… gripping, vivid and unputdownable …’.
 


WHAT THEY SAY

As South Africa marks the seventh anniversary of Marikana, Business Day has a thoughtful editorial.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Moyo vs Old Mutual: Round 2 | Billions in debt to be scrapped | Trump ‘wants to buy Greenland’ | The Week That Was

Guptas sue Survé, Matjila | Tobacco boss shot | Carrol Boyes dies | PP’s woes pile up | Rassie rings the changes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Guptas sue Survé, Matjila 

The Guptas have sued Iqbal Survé and Dan Matjila for R1-billion in a case that is bound to have South Africans scratching their heads over who they want to win (the Daily Maverick, which broke the story today, headlined it: ‘Alien vs Predator …’). The Gupta’s Oakbay Investments claim in papers that two Survé companies colluded with former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) leader Dan Matjila to deprive them of a 50% stake they had been promised in Independent Newspapers – which includes such titles as the Cape Times, The Star and the Mercury. The media company was sold to Survé’s Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Sekunjalo Independent Media in 2013. According to the Daily Maverick, the court papers claim that Survé and his companies colluded ‘on more than one occasion’ with Matjila to ‘manufacture’ a situation in which the PIC would block the Guptas acquiring a stake in the media company. The Guptas have long argued that they had been given a ‘call-option agreement’ for 50% of Independent. ‘Oakbay demands not only the staggering amount in damages, but also seeks payback of R20-million that the Gupta company says it had coughed up in fees for the deal,’ said the Daily Maverick.

Tobacco boss shot

A leading figure in the tobacco industry was seriously injured when several shots were fired at him in an apparent assassination attempt in Johannesburg yesterday. Simon Rudland, co-owner of the Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation, was shot at several times when he arrived for a meeting at the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) offices in Norwood. News24 quoted a source today saying that two assailants in a white car had been waiting for Rudland at the FITA offices. One bullet struck Rudland in the neck and he is being treated in intensive care at a Johannesburg hospital.

Carrol Boyes dies

Well-known South African artist Carrol Boyes, 65, died yesterday after what has been described as a ‘brief illness’. She was the founder and CEO of the highly successful Carrol Boyes retail chain in which her top-end and often quirky range of cutlery and other home decor items were sold. 

PP in trouble … again

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her office have been ordered to pay costs in yet another case. This time the Gauteng High Court found that the Public Protector’s office must pay 85% of the costs incurred by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) in the case they brought against Mkhwebane for her findings on the Vrede dairy farm issue. The court ordered that she should also personally pay 7.5% of both parties costs. Judge Ronel Tolmay said Mkhwebane had failed the people of the country and turned a ‘blind eye’ to the issues raised by one complainant – the DA’s Roy Jankielsohn, who had called for the role of former Free State premier and now ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to be probed. The dairy farm has been at the centre of a huge graft scandal after it was gifted to the Gupta family’s Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease. It is alleged that R30-million paid to the Guptas via the farm and meant to uplift the local community ended up funding the family’s lavish and controversial Sun City wedding. In May this year Tolmay found that Mkhwebane’s report was ‘unconstitutional’ and invalid. 

  • This morning Mkhwebane lost another battle when the High Court in Pretoria ordered that the banking records of donors to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency be sealed. Ramaphosa had argued that Mkhwebane obtained documents with financial information in them illegally. The public protector used the information to back up her finding that the president misled parliament over a R500,000 campaign donation from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson. Ramaphosa has requested a judicial review of the finding.

THE DAILY MENACE

The lying King

Stephen King will scare you with his fiction, Steve King will scare you because he’s not fiction. King, the Republican congress-menace, has even got some of his own party calling for him to step down after he defended abortion bans by saying that humankind might not exist but for rape or incest. Defending anti-abortion legislation, King said he does not make exceptions for rape or incest. ‘What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?’ King told the Des Moines Register yesterday. His remarks sparked calls from Democrats and Republicans for him to resign – although US President Donald Trump has, unsurprisingly, remained silent. King  has a history of making racist,  white supremacist and xenophobic comments. The horror-thriller author Stephen King was quick to distance himself from today’s menace. ‘Let’s get 1 thing straight,’ he tweeted. ‘I’m not THAT Steve King.’
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Ayo fights for its life

AmaBhungane reports that Ayo Technology Solutions has filed papers answering the Public Investment Corporation’s court bid to retrieve the R4.3-billion investment it made in the company. In its plea Ayo argues that if the PIC gets its money back, it would mean ‘the inevitable and imminent demise of Ayo’. The PIC wants its R4.3-billion plus interest at the rate of 10.25% per annum, starting from 22 December 2017. The PIC is arguing that because procedure was flouted in awarding the money, the investment was should never have been made – and that Ayo knew it was an irregular arrangement. The PIC is also arguing that Ayo misrepresented its affairs. Ayo denies both claims. The court papers can be read here.

Markets wobble

Global markets are reacting after Wall Street had its worst day of the year yesterday with the Dow Jones dropping 3% in a day. The S&P lost 2.93% and the Nasdaq lost 3.02% as recession fears in the US grew and the US/China trade standoff simmered. Market analysts said investors were also spooked by news that Germany’s economy shrank in the second quarter, and China posted its worst growth in industrial production in 17 years. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.7% today and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 2.7%.  


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Rassie rings the changes

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has rung the changes big time in the team to play a World Cup warm-up against Argentina in Pretoria this weekend. The experimental line-up includes none of the starting players from the team that drew with New Zealand and then beat Argentina over the past two weekends. It seems that Saturday’s match will be the last chance for many of the selected players to earn a place in the World Cup squad. Interestingly Bok skipper Siya Kolisi returns from injury but is not expected to play more than 40 minutes. The team will therefore be captained by veteran hooker Schalk Brits. The team is: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit. Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn.

A triumph for Liverpool … and the referee

Liverpool won the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on penalties in Istanbul, Turkey, last night but the biggest talking point might have been the first female referee to take charge of a major Union of European Football Associations men’s event. By all accounts Stephanie Frappart did an excellent job. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said afterwards: ‘I spoke to the ref team after the game that if we would have played like they whistled, then we would have won 6-0.’ The French referee was supported by female assistants Manuela Nicolosi, also from France, and Michelle O’Neill of the Republic of Ireland.

No joy for Roy

No play was possible on the opening day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, London, yesterday but the skies cleared overnight and the game got under way today. England were soon in trouble, losing Jason Roy with the scoreboard on 0, but by lunch they had recovered to 76-2. Australia won the first test. 
 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

A$AP must cough up a few $$$

We told you about Donald Trump’s efforts to get US rapper A$AP Rocky freed from his Swedish jail while he was facing assault charges. The singer’s case has now concluded – his claim that he was acting in self defence was dismissed and he was found guilty of assault, given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay damages to the victim. 

All about Melania

Trevor Noah used his Daily Show last night to set out a spoof conspiracy theory that US president Donald Trump’s entire campaign against immigrants is actually aimed at having his wife Melania deported from America. Huffington Post reports that it set off a trending hashtag with thousands of viewers joining in the fun, tweeting out #DontDeportMelania. Here’s the link to Noah’s Daily Show skit. 
 


SEE WHAT?

A jump to the left

This is several years old but in this wonderful 3-minute clip from a neuroscience conference, US singer Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale.


SAY WHAT?

Tacobout bad luck

Dana Hutchings had not eaten the whole day because he was determined to win the amateur taco championship between innings at a minor league game in California.  The 41-year-old taco-and-baseball fan from Fresno tucked into his tacos with gusto at the Fresno Grizzlies game against the Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday – and he was in the lead, but he shoved one too many tacos into his mouth. Hutchings collapsed in the middle of the contest. Paramedics initiated the Heimlich maneuver and CPR but it was too late. He died. The Grizzlies canceled the professional World Taco Eating Championship that was scheduled for Saturday. 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Karl Marx failed to consider (@marxconxiders) is today’s champ for this:
Karl Marx failed to consider that “bourgeoisie” is a really difficult word to spell
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue is: Policemen in Japan captured an assassin (5)  

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Female is not weak (5), is FAINT – a word sum of F (female) + AINT (‘is not’) gives a synonym for ‘weak’. 


THE BIG READ

There is a lot of confusion about the government’s proposed National Health Insurance Bill – how it’s going to be implemented and where the necessary funds will be found (spoiler alert: you; the government has no money). The Financial Mail’s Tamar Khan, one of the country’s top science and health writers, provides an insightful overview of the vague, the questionable, and the murky – but also of what’s clear.   
 


WHAT WE SAY

The ANC – and the DA, for that matter – have been warned for years that election donations should be made public. Both parties have been reluctant to embrace this obviously healthy principle, no doubt fearing that donors might dry up if their names are put out there. Now the names of donors to Cyril Ramaphosa’s party presidential campaign have been leaked to journalists from the Sunday Independent (whose own motives in the case need to be interrogated, as do those of the leaker). An inevitable consequence is that the Twitter Taliban – the EFF and its fascist following – is now accusing Ramaphosa of being ‘captured’ by wealthy individuals. It could all have been avoided. The Political Party Funding Act will address some of the transparency concerns, but it does not cover donations to individuals. The election of the ANC president – in current circumstances the person who will become the country’s president – is of great importance to the country and should also be subject to transparency about donors.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Guptas sue Survé, Matjila | Tobacco boss shot | Carrol Boyes dies | PP’s woes pile up | Rassie rings the changes

Gordhan: It’s come to this | ‘Inept’ Trump lashes out at May | Batohi drops Booysen charges | DJ Fresh decision | Coco’s dream ends

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

‘Inept’ Trump lashes out at May

Donald Trump has gone ballistic over a leaked confidential report by the British Ambassador to Washington, who said the US president was ‘inept’, ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘radiating insecurity’. Trump said the ambassador, Sir Kim Durrock, was ‘not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him’. He then turned his guns on outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May after she said she still had faith in Durrock. Trump said May had made a ‘mess’ of Brexit and should have taken his advice on departing the European Union. Assessments of foreign governments by diplomats are traditionally extremely candid and kept highly confidential. The Brits are probing how the leak happened.

It’s come to this

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree after a Twitter campaign suggesting he had no such qualification. A variety of accounts – several with apparent EFF sympathies – have been suggesting Gordhan does not have the qualification which he claimed. UKZN yesterday confirmed that ‘Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan studied and successfully completed the requirements for the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1973’. He also received an honorary doctorate in 2003 and the Convocation Award from the university in 2013. 

Batohi drops Booysen charges

One of the most controversial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decisions from the Zuma years appears to have been put to bed. New NPA boss Shamila Batohi yesterday announced that it would be withdrawing longstanding racketeering charges against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen. He was initially charged by then acting head of the NPA Nomgcobo Jiba. Her decision was widely held to have been politically motivated and Booysen has said it was because he blocked some questionable business interests of Jacob Zuma’s son Edward. It was reviewed and set aside in court but another Zuma ally Shaun Abrahams charged him again when he was appointed NPA boss in 2016. Batophi appointed a panel to review the case and today withdrew the charges on its recommendation.

Was it Number One?

Former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane made a dramatic about-turn in his testimony to the Zondo state capture inquiry today. This followed the playing of tape recordings that showed he had a direct role in facilitating the controversial 2013 landing of a private jet carrying Gupta family wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force base. Yesterday he told the commission he did not have anything to do with the approval process. Today, however, he admitted after the recordings were played that he had abused his position and used former President Jacob Zuma’s name to pressure Department of Defence officials to authorise the landing. He said he had not spoken to Zuma about the matter. In one of the recordings played today Waterkloof’s then officer commanding movement control, Lt-Col Christine Anderson, is heard telling Major Thabo Ntshisi, who worked at Waterkloof and was querying the landing permission, that the matter was ‘political’, ‘our number one knows about this’. 

Did Matjila get VBS Bank loan?

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has confirmed that a forensic report found its former CEO, Dan Matjila, unduly benefited from a R2.45m loan from scandal-hit VBS Bank, which collapsed last year. But Matjila’s lawyer today told the PIC inquiry that Matjila had never received a loan from VBS. Matjila is giving testimony to the inquiry this week where he is expected to explain his role in a number of controversial investments of public funds. The forensic report was compiled by Nexus Forensic Services, based in Pretoria.


THE DAILY MENACE

No place for racist cops

They should be upholding the law – not breaking it. TimesSelect has reported that five senior Western Cape detectives sent racist jokes and circulated photographs of gorillas and monkeys, with two of their colleagues’ names attached on a WhatsApp group. The detectives based at the Khayelitsha police station have been charged with crimen injuria and defamation of character. Comparing back people to monkeys is highly offensive and one wonders where these menaces were hiding when Penny Sparrow sparked a furor with her infamous New Year’s comments? This latest incident shows how deeply entrenched racism is in our society. The officers’ racist behaviour erodes public trust and confidence in the police – and, if found guilty, they should be fired.
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Hedging their bets

Financial services company Sable International is reporting a 70% increase in South Africans inquiring about investing abroad and acquiring second citizenships or foreign residency. In a trend interpreted as indicating that locals are hedging their bets, Sable said it had seen an increase of 45% in clients in the past year. Fin24 reports that Andrew Rissik, group commercial director, said high-net worth individuals are ‘internationalising’ themselves, their wealth, and often their businesses as fast as they can.

Bullies in trouble

A court case over corporate bullying in France is coming to a close with expectations that its outcome could set a global precedent for holding company managers personally criminally responsible for strategic harassment of staff aimed at forcing them to resign. The case centres on the actions of executives of France Telecom, now called Orange, as they sought to restructure the company and cut 22,000 jobs. Between 2008 and 2009, 35 workers committed suicide, most leaving notes to say the company had made their lives unbearable. The case is due to wrap up this week and it will be several weeks before judges give their verdict. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Riske and reward

The Wimbledon fairytale ended yesterday with Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff finding Simona Halep a step too far as the former world number-one raced to a 6-3 6-3 victory. In an action-packed start to the second week of the tournament there were plenty of talking points, but the exit of the teen sensation overshadowed them all – even the defeats to top seed Ashleigh Barty (beaten 3-6 6-2 6-3 by unseeded Alison Riske), third seed Karolina Pliskova (beaten 4-6 7-5 13-11 by Karolina Muchova) and sixth seed Petra Kvitova (beaten 4-6 6-2 6-4 by Johanna Konta). After Halep lost her opening service game and served three consecutive double faults in her second it did not seem likely she could win in straight sets, but Gauff never looked settled and gave away 29 unforced errors as Halep took control. In other women’s matches, Serena Williams raced past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-2 in just 64 minutes to set up a meeting with Riske. For the men, the Big Three of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all raced into the quarter finals in straight sets. South Africa’s lone hope for Wimbledon glory, Raven Klaasen and his New Zealand doubles partner Michael Venus, eased into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 win over Robin Haase and Frederik Nielsen.

India confident of final spot

Eleven years ago Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson were opposing captains in the semifinal of the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. Today Kohli will be hoping for a similar three-wicket win for India while Williamson will be looking for a long-awaited revenge for New Zealand. India go into the rematch as the overwhelming favourites with batsmen and bowlers high on confidence after a near-perfect run through the pool stages of this tournament. Their only blemish was a loss to England when chasing 338. In contrast New Zealand come into the semifinal on the back of three losses in a row with a batting unit struggling to put partnerships together.

Tunisia finally beat Ghana

Ivory Coast and Tunisia completed the quarterfinal lineup at the Africa Cup of Nations last night. Ivory Coast eased past Mali 1-0 while Tunisia ousted Ghana with a 5-4 penalty shootout after the teams ended extra time with a goal apiece. Tunisia looked to have the match sewn up before substitute Rami Bedoui scored an own goal with his first touch of the ball in the 89th minute. The winning draw for Tunisia means they have reached the quarterfinals without winning a match after three draws in the group phase and now a fourth in the Round of 16. The shootout was their first victory over Ghana in 54 years at the Afcon tournament. Tunisia will play Madagascar in the quarters on Thursday while Ivory Coast take on Algeria. The other two quarter finals tomorrow see South Africa take on Nigeria and Senegal clash with Benin.


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

DJ Fresh gets the boot

After weeks of hints on social media and efforts behind the scenes to mend fences between DJ Fresh (more formally Thato Sikwane) and his employers at Metro FM, the SABC today announced that the popular DJ has had his contract terminated – with immediate effect. DJ Fresh was suspended for ‘foul language’ – a complaint had been lodged with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA alleging that Sikwane used an adaption of the Zulu swear word ‘msunery’ (a derogatory term for female genitalia) in response to a listener on air. The DJ appeared as a guest on Newzroom Afrika this morning, sparking speculation about whether he will find a new home there. 


SEE WHAT?

Wedded to the lens 

Ian Weldon is not a wedding photographer – the title of his upcoming book says so. But his wonderful collection of candid moments at weddings puts the spotlight firmly on the underside of celebrations. CNN has an interview with Weldon and reproduces some of the  great moments he has captured.  


SAY WHAT?

Curry on regardless

A mysterious bright orange bird was spotted at the side of a major highway in the UK and taken to the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. The veterinary team discovered that this wasn’t an exotic bird but a herring gull covered in curry. ‘He had somehow gotten himself covered in curry or turmeric! It was all over his feathers, preventing him from flying properly,’ said the animal hospital, which is a naan profit organisation. ‘We have no idea how he got into this predicament but thankfully, apart from the vibrant color and pungent smell, he was healthy.’ They named the gull Vinny after Vindaloo curry, and although he didn’t rice to the occasion they released him into the wild. According to Mashable, a gull named Gullfrazie fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala in 2016. It was also bathed, but The Guardian reported that Gullfrazie still smelled like curry afterwards. Yep, never a dhal moment! 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Today’s winner is (insert drum roll here) Saddington 2 (@hayley_hud) for this truly ridiculous offering:

A Sonic Boom is when Sonic reaches the speed of sound and his ass cheeks clap together
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Fa Ten, is: Street cop in disguise, hush-hush (3,6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Trump is abnormal, the first president needing to be kicked out. That’s so obvious (6), is TRUISM  – an anagram of TRUMP IS (abnormal is the anagram indicator) without ‘p’ (first president is the first letter of president needing to be kicked out)


THE BIG READ

The Women’s World Cup top player Megan Rapinoe has a complicated relationship with the person who introduced her to soccer – her brother Brian. When he was 15, Brian brought meth to school and has been in and out of jail ever since. At 15, Megan played with the youth US national team. Brian was inked with swastika tattoos – an allegiance to white supremacy he now disavows; Megan was the first prominent white athlete to kneel to protest racial inequality. This feature by ESPN explains why Brian is Megan’s greatest heartbreak… and hope.
 


WHAT WE SAY

Julius Malema is a bit like a stuck clock: every now and then he gets it right. For example, between encouraging partygoers at the July Handicap to have sex and attacking Pravin Gordhan, he said Twitter is ‘divorced from reality’. ‘I know for a fact that the EFF won nearly every “poll” conducted on Twitter in the run-up to the elections,’ he pointed out, adding that the party only came third in the voting. His motive was, unfortunately, not terribly noble: he was trying to persuade a court that remarks made by him on the social media platform should not be taken too seriously and did not amount to hate speech. That said, he is right about the distorted picture that social media paints. On most days it feels like the entire country consists of either mini-Malemas or wannabe Steve Hofmeyrs. This has the potential to polarise this society and it is worth remembering that the sort of people that might support such extremism polled below 20% in the election.
 


CLARIFICATION

the.news.letter yesterday cited a Moneyweb story about the resignation of the head of Necsa, Rob Adam. Moneyweb has published a correction note on its story today: The original article said Rob Adam was jailed for sabotage of the Koeberg nuclear plant. Dr Adam points out this was incorrect. He spent 10 years in jail for anti-apartheid activities. We apologise for the error.

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