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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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 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.


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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