Tragedy strikes Khumalo’s Everest team | Marawa axed | Grumpy Cat is dead | Double double trouble for Tiger

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tragedy strikes Khumalo’s Everest team

An Irish professor climbing in the eight-member party with South African Saray Khumalo has gone missing after falling on their descent today. Seamus Lawless, 39, reached the summit with Khumalo – the first black African woman to achieve the feat – yesterday.  Lawless went missing after he reportedly fell at an altitude of 8,300m while descending to Camp Four from the summit. A search party is attempting to find him. Khumalo reached Camp Four safely.

Folau sacked for gay slurs

Wallabies rugby star Israel Folau has been sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) for making homophobic slurs. The devout Christian had posted on social media that ‘hell awaits’ gay people and other sinners. This followed a similar outburst last year, when he was given a warning by the country’s ruling rugby body. This morning Folau was found guilty by a three-person tribunal of a ‘high level’ breach of RA’s code of conduct. It decided that the gravity of the breach warranted the termination of his four-year contract with RA that is reportedly worth 4m Australian dollars (nearly R40m). The case has been highly controversial in Australia with other Christians saying their religious rights are being restricted.

Marawa axed

Popular veteran sports presenter Robert Marawa has apparently been fired by Supersport. He was scheduled to present his Thursday Night Live with Marawa show at 8.30pm last night but about two hours earlier he tweeted that he had been axed via an SMS from Supersport. Earlier in the day Marawa had posted this: ‘Imagine paying for a service where people who are guilty of sexual harassment are employed and encouraged to work’ – an apparent reference to goings on at Supersport. After his announcement that he was fired Marawa responded to messages from disappointed fans by saying: ‘One day u will ALL know. It will cost me my life but you will know … The Mafia! Incorporated with lackeys. An amazing story.’ His regular Thursday Night Live co-host Thato Moeng presented the programme last night and described it as the ‘last show’.

Makhanda: we didn’t say NGO would be paid

The astonishing rip-off in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), in which local companies were paid R10m for work done by Gift of the Givers to alleviate thetown’s water crisis, has sparked outrage across the country. But will it have consequences? The Makhanda Municipality, which Gift of the Givers says approved its original R23m budget, now says it had no financial agreement with the NGO. And the Eastern Cape Department of Water and Sanitation – which was supposed to cover Gift of the Givers’ costs but instead paid local businesses who had done nothing – says the whole thing has been misrepresented. Meanwhile, Gift of the Givers has withdrawn from the area where it had drilled 15 boreholes and delivered water by trucks to local residents. It says it was asked to help alleviate the crisis by the municipality.

It’s men who speak too much

A city councillor in Montreal, Canada, knits during council meetings, saying it helps her focus. Recently Sue Montgomery decided to knit a shawl in green and red – green when any of the 31 women councillors were speaking and red when one of the 34 men were addressing the chamber. The result: a shawl with great swathes of red and the occasional line of green. Men, it seems, speak too much. ‘Some of the older men tend to go on and on,’ explained Montgomery, who posted photos of her work on Instagram. ‘Some of them can’t be bothered to gather and organise their thoughts before speaking.’ And the women? ‘They do speak, they’re just more efficient – they use up their allotted time to make a point.’


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Flight check

Boeing says it has fixed a glitch in its 737 MAX’s software that is thought to have caused two deadly crashes, The entire fleet of MAXs around the world was grounded after the incidents. The revised flight handling system now needs to gain approval from US and international regulators before the planes can return to service. And then they somehow have to convince people to get back on them …


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Live TV Sport

Double double trouble for Tiger

Tiger Woods fans came to Bethpage Black to watch their hero take control of the US PGA and they saw a great display of championship golf – but it was from his playing partner and defending champion Brooks Koepka. The three-time major winner and 2018 champion was almost faultless as he fired seven birdies in a round of seven-under-par 63. Koepka holds a lead of one shot over surprise package Danny Lee from New Zealand. Woods had a disastrous double bogey opening hole and then a second double drop on his eighth hole. In an erratic round that also included an eagle, the 15-time major winner finished on two over and nine shots behind his playing partner.

Bulls back on top

The Bulls moved to the top of the tight South Afiican Super Rugby conference with an emphatic 32-17 win over the Rebels in Melbourne this morning. Handre Pollard kicked 12 points and scored a try as well as effectively running thegame from flyhalf. It was a perfect start to the Bulls’ tour and takes them up to second on the overall log. Earlier, the Jaguares briefly moved into top spot on the South African log with a 28-20 shock win over the Hurricanes. The Lions, without the influential Warren Whiteley, face the Highlanders at Ellis Park tomorrow just before the Stormers welcome back a slew of players against theCrusaders at Newlands. 

City target the treble

Manchester City will target a domestic cleansweep when they take on Watford in the FA Cup final tomorrow. After 14 straight wins took City to the league title last weekend, they are overwhelming favourites to lift the famous trophy at Wembley. Watford are 13-1 underdogs and come into the final on the back of three straight defeats and a disappointing slide down the league table at theend of the season. If City can claim their third domestic title of the season they will be the first team to ever win the League Cup, Premier League and FA Cup in one season.

Kyrgios has a tantrum – and leaves

Controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios had a temper tantrum and then walked off the court and forfeited his second-round match against Norwegian Casper Ruud at the Italian Open tennis tournament yesterday. The volatile Aussie was serving at 1-1 in the third set when the referee awarded Ruud a game for unsportsmanlike conduct after Kyrgios swore at spectators who moved when he served. The Australian threw his racquet, kicked a water bottle and then threw a chair into the centre of the court before packing his bags and storming off court. Ruud was awarded a 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 2-1 win. 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

‘Grumpy Cat’ is dead.

The famous feline with a permanent frown became an internet celebrity over the years and was photographed with several big-name stars, including Jennifer Lopez. Her owners issued a statement early today saying ‘we are unimaginably heartbroken to announce the loss of our beloved Grumpy Cat’. They explained: ‘Despite care from top professionals, as well as from her very loving family, Grumpy encountered complications from a recent urinary tract infection that unfortunately became too tough for her to overcome. Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world – even when times were tough.’ Grumpy Cat, who reached the age of 7, has 8.5 million fans on Facebook, 2.5 million followers on Instagram and 1.5 million on Twitter, according to TimesLive.
 


SEE WHAT?

Don’t mention the word

BBC viewers in the UK found themselves witnessing a meltdown of epic proportions when veteran royal watcher Nicholas Witchell completely lost his train of thought on camera, just after the announcement of the birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor last Thursday evening. Comedian Martin Mor(@MartinMorComedy) put this wonderful text overlay on the excruciating clip. 


SAY WHAT?

Wee argument 

American writer Tony Posnanski was, well, pissed off with a Vita Coco promotion in which he was offered samples of the coconut water. ‘I would rather drink your social media person’s piss than coconut water,’ responded a cantankerous Posnanski on Twitter. Vita Coco quickly responded by posting a picture of a young woman in a bathroom holding up a jug of yellow liquid – presumably urine – and simply asking: ‘Address?’. Posnanski took it all in good spirits – he said he had been ‘owned’ by Vita Coco – and gave the company theaddress for the White House.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Friday’s prestigious tweet of the day goes to Sir Michael (@Michael 1979):

GREAT day volunteering at the library! Noticed a local youth reading a book called Moby D*ck so I confiscated it before I could corrupt his innocent mind. Then I found a fun book about laughing out loud called LOLita and gave him that instead. I LOVE keeping young minds pure!
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue is: One hundred arms and legs going uphill (6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Epic battered sausage? Useless! (4), is SAGA – an anagram of Sausage (battered is the anagram indicator) without the letters ‘USE’ (‘use-less’) – so an anagram of SAAG, gives the definition for ‘epic’.


THE BIG READ

Old news

As humans head for longer life, how do they ensure that they’ll continue to feel young enough to manage the world. The New Yorker (note: just four reads a month for non-subscribers) has taken a fascinating look at the ageing industry and the challenges of creating products for people who don’t want to be reminded that they are ageing. Ever.   


WHAT WE SAY

Who told the biggest porkies?
Well, that’s hard to say, actually, but there were a lot of them around. Alleged fibs from Independent Media boss Iqbal Survé seem to be stacking up at thePIC inquiry, while Trevor Manuel has gone to court to prove that the EFF has been at it with its claims about his relationship with Edward Kieswetter. And then there were all those politicians trying to fool the electorate, or perhaps themselves, with claims they would get enough votes to get into parliament/would build a million homes/would be the government.

Who said sorry?
Singapore Sports had to issue an apology this week after the wrong reporter was named Sports Journalist of the Year at a swanky ceremony at the Orchard Hotel on Tuesday. Her picture and name were widely published in the press and on social media. An ‘administrative error’ had matched the wrong writer to the winning articles, said the embarrassed organisers, who issued an apology to both journalists. 

Who said not sorry?
Anna Sorokin, the high-flying fake New York heiress who scammed the city’s elite posing as someone called Anna Delvey, was jailed this week for four years for the deception and for taking $200,000 that did not belong to her. In her first prison interview, the 28-year-old laughed and told the reporter she’d do it all again. So not sorry then.   

Which Menaces made us mad?
The Eastern Cape Department of Waste and Sanitation (DWS) in Makhanda, which has driven away the desperately needed assistance that the Gift of theGivers was providing to the drought-stricken Eastern Cape Town. It emerged this week that the department has declined to reimburse the charity for thework it has done sinking boreholes and putting in infrastructure, paying R10m to local companies instead – for work the Gift of the Givers has already done. Their cynical roguery makes the Eastern Cape DWS he Menaces of the week by some distance.

What made us shake our heads?
Reports that the ANC list of people headed to parliament that was submitted to the IEC this week included all the people that the party’s own integrity committee proposed leaving out. 

What made us shake our heads again?
That a fifteenth local authority in the North West has been placed under administration – the JB Marks municipality, formerly Potchefstroom – meaning that just six municipalities in the province are running their own affairs. TheNorth West is also the only province for which the ANC has not yet named a premier candidate. 

Who made us proudly African?
Mountaineer Saray Khumalo is a South African by naturalisation, having been born in Zambia of Rwandan parents, but her landmark summit of Mount Everest as the first black African woman to do so, had us cheering for theSouth African in her and the African in all of us. 
 


WHAT YOU SAY (1)

Whilst climbing Mt Everest is no mean feat & is to be congratulated, the real heroes of Everest are the Sherpas who yearly put their lives on the line putting up the ladders over the Kumbu Icefall & ropes higher up & to the top.
   Then we get the real unsung heroes, the high altitude Sherpas who get paid handsomely to drag the rich climbers to the top & down again.  Many of these Sherpas have summited Everest many times & frequently more than once in a climbing season. They are the real unsung heroes !!!!!!
  Then we have another real hero Sibusiso Vilane, the first black SA man who has summited Everest two times, done all 7 summits & went  straight from Kili to Everest. How’s that !!!!! He’s a real boykie as far as I’m concerned !!!!!!!
Tjeerd

  • Editor’s note: Sibusiso Vilane is currently attempting his third summit of Mount Everest. You can follow his Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/sibueverest
     

WHAT YOU SAY (2)

The obvious solution is for Pieter Louis Myburgh to publish his book as an e-book.
Harry Friedland


GroundUp and us

the.news.letter is partnering with GroundUp for the month of May, so those of you who subscribe to both outlets will find us there as well. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favour and head over to GroundUp for some excellent journalism on under-reported issues in our country. To see some of their groundbreaking work, have a look at this link.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Tragedy strikes Khumalo’s Everest team | Marawa axed | Grumpy Cat is dead | Double double trouble for Tiger

Gift of the Givers ripped off | SA woman’s landmark Everest summit | Harry Potter escapes from Pretoria | US moves against Huawei

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Gift of the Takers

Gift of the Givers has stopped its efforts to resolve the water crisis in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) after what appears to be a grotesque, government-sponsored rip-off. In a statement today the organisation’s Dr Imtiaz Sooliman explained how it had stepped in on February 12 to address the town’s water supply crisis – a consequence in large part of poor infrastructure maintenance. It did so after the municipality had requested its assistance and told Gift of the Givers that its estimated R23m costs would be paid back by the government from emergency funding. Over 13 weeks it drilled 15 boreholes, built infrastructure, tested water quality and delivered it to communities in bottles or trucks. The Department of Water and Sanitation entered the fray on April 27 to tell Gift of the Givers to to remove its trucks from the area because ‘there was [supposedly] no water crisis in Makhanda’, said Sooliman. It then said only companies from Grahamstown would be paid for drought interventions. A private consultancy firm would receive R1.2m for borehole-related work, another company in the town R7m for boreholes drilled and a third company R1.9m for electrical work. According to Sooliman, all of this work had already been done by Gift of the Givers. ‘This is R10m of taxpayers’ money handed out freely by the government to people as remuneration for work that Gift of the Givers did,’ he alleged. Today Sooliman announced that the organisation would be withdrawing from the area as a ‘matter of principle’.

SA woman’s landmark Everest summit

South Africa’s Saray Khumalo has become the first black African woman to summit Mount Everest. She reportedly reached the summit at 8,848m above sea level in the early hours of this morning. It was her fourth attempt to conquer the world’s highest mountain – on the previous three times she had to turn around because of an earthquake, an avalanche and an injury.

Ace Magashule book launch cancelled

The Bloemfontein launch of Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture has been cancelled indefinitely by the University of Free State, which was scheduled to host it next week. Author Pieter Louis-Myburgh told News24: ‘I understand that the UFS security department was threatened by a faction of the ANC, or people who claim to be part of the ANC, that they would disrupt the event with violence.’ He said he had learnt of the news ‘with shock’. Previous launches of the book in Johannesburg and Cape Town were disrupted by protesters. Magashule, now the ANC secretary-general, is a former premier of the Free State.

War fears in Iran

The USA has taken a series of steps which have triggered fears that it might be preparing for an armed conflict with Iran. Yesterday it ordered all its non-emergency staff to leave neighbouring Iraq after deploying warships and bombers to the Persian Gulf. The New York Times reported that acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan had prepared plans to send 120,000 US troops to the region. US President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for the sabotage of four oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates – an American ally. Iran has accused America of staging the sabotage as a pretext to taking action against the country.

Poo closes Golden Mile beaches

Beaches on Durban’s famous Golden Mile have re-opened after being closed for nearly a week because of  a sewage spill. Pumps that cleared the sewage out to sea reportedly tripped last Thursday and the waste was discharged into the harbour area. The city expects the pumps to be back online today but has been using temporary pumps to aerate the water at points along the beaches. There have been concerns that the spill will kill marine life in the area and angling has been suspended. Locals report that a mighty stench remains in the area.


THE DAILY MENACE

More than just nuisances …

Vandals have stolen the bronze collar and sailor’s cap off the statue of Just Nuisance in Simon’s Town’s Jubilee Square. Just Nuisance is the only dog to have been enlisted in the Royal Navy and he died in 1944. The statue was erected in 1970 and has become a tourist attraction. The Simon’s Town Historical Society is offering a R5 000 reward for the recovery, arrest or conviction of those responsible for the theft. Those responsible for this vandalism aren’t just nuisances, they’re Menaces too.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Radebe nod to small power producers 

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe has written to the National Energy Regulator telling it to approve applications from industrial, agricultural, mining and other enterprises who want to generate their own electricity without waiting for finalisation of the new Integrated Resource Plan. The plan is still under discussion at Nedlac and will not be finalised for some months. The licences for private generation would apply to projects between 1MW and 10MW which could be fed into the national grid. According to BusinessLive, permits for 500MW of so-called small-scale embedded generation projects could now be allocated. 

US blacklists Huawei

The USA administration yesterday raised the temperature in his trade dispute with China by imposing severe sanctions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and 70 affiliate companies, including banning them from using any US components or technology in their products without American government approval. Earlier in the day Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned US companies from using telecoms equipment made by firms deemed to pose a national security risk. The administration has already been lobbying US companies to avoid Huawei equipment in the rollout of next-generation 5G networks. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Ackermann nominated for coach of the year

Former Lions head coach Johan Ackermann is a finalist for the English Premiership’s Director of Rugby award. The Gloucester coach will be up against previous winners, Mark McCall of Saracens and Exeter’s Rob Baxter, as well as Northampton’s Chris Boyd and Bristol’s Pat Lam. South African scrumhalves Faf de Klerk and Rohan Janse van Rensburg are among five players nominated for the Player of the Year award. Both awards will be handed out at the annual Premiership Awards evening next week.

Germany reject new Champions League format

The German Football League is the latest organisation to reject proposed changes to the UEFA Champions League. The growing opposition looks likely to scupper the plans for the three-tier European League which includes promotion and relegation. The top tier would include 32 teams, with the top 24 keeping their places for the next year. The current system allows teams to qualify via their domestic leagues. Reports indicate that only a handful of big clubs, mainly from Italy and Spain, are in favour of the new system.


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Harry Potter escapes from Pretoria

Coming to a screen near you: Harry Potter as an anti-apartheid activist. Well, not quite, but Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe has just finished making a movie titled Escape from Pretoria in which he plays the part of Tim Jenkins, who really did escape from Pretoria Maximum Security Prison with Stephen Lee in 1979. Parts of the movie are to be shown at Cannes when the annual film festival opens next week. 

TV show canned after death

A British TV show which a judge once called equivalent to human bear-baiting has been cancelled, after a guest on the show committed suicide after his appearance. The Jeremy Kyle Show’s format, in which guests are pitted against one another, saw Steve Dymond fail a lie detector test which he had taken in an effort to prove to his girlfriend he had not cheated on her. The moment caused them to split up, and he took his life. The show has been ITV’s most popular day-time offering.


SEE WHAT?

We know balls

The German women’s national football team has teamed up with a local bank, Commerzbank, to make a wonderfully feisty video about the team ahead of the Women’s World Cup that kicks off on June 7. Worth a watch


SAY WHAT?

Coining it for God

An American evangelist-businessman is offering US Christians a direct line to God – if they buy his $45 gold-plated coin and hold it in their hands when they pray. Lance Wallnau promises that holding this coin – featuring the twin visages of Trump and the biblical King Cyrus, who was supposedly anointed by God to save his people – will provide a direct ‘point of contact’ that will help them implore God to protect Donald Trump and ensure his re-election in 2020. This is not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but not a deliberate one.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Today’s tremendous tweeter is Glenny Rodge (@Glenny Rodge) for this: 
Accidentally just knocked over a lady in Dominos Pizza. Well, I say one …

And this:
Given someone had to tell him to put his helmet on, it’s really little wonder Major Tom didn’t make it.
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Victor Rupert Williamson, is: Epic battered sausage? Useless! (4)

The solution to yesterday’s clue Tidying shows self respect (7) is: DIGNITY – an anagram of tidying (‘shows’ is the anagram indicator) and a synonym for ‘self respect’.


THE BIG READ

There has long been speculation that South Africans had a hand in the 1986 assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, but the killer has never been found. The Guardian’s Imogen West-Knights asks: could the discovery of new evidence finally close the case?
 


WHAT WE SAY

The cancellation of the Free State launch of Pieter Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture is just the latest confirmation of a disturbing intolerance towards freedom of expression in this country. But  it also serves to remind us of the damning revelations in the book. And that Magashule remains firmly in place as ANC secretary-general, where he is busily and obviously trying to undermine President Cyril Ramaphosa. It seems that dealing with Magashule will represent a prime case of Ramaphosa’s ability to both neutralise opposition inside the party and act against corrupt colleagues. The country is watching.
 


GroundUp and us

the.news.letter is partnering with GroundUp for the month of May, so those of you who subscribe to both outlets will find us there as well. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favour and head over to GroundUp for some excellent journalism on under-reported issues in our country. To see some of their groundbreaking work, have a look at this link.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Gift of the Givers ripped off | SA woman’s landmark Everest summit | Harry Potter escapes from Pretoria | US moves against Huawei

SABC evacuation after diesel spill | Transnet flouted rules | Uber IPO in trouble – Beyoncé not | SA rugby exodus continues

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Not so amazing Grace

In news that will surprise absolutely nobody, Grace Mugabe is facing a fresh charge of assault. VOA Zimbabwe reports that that housekeeper Shupikai Chiroodza says the former Zimbabwean first lady beat her in 2017. Her sin? Allegedly ‘milking’ then president Robert Mugabe by accepting a wedding gift from him. Zimbabwean newspaper NewsDay quotes Chiroodza as saying: ‘She started beating me with clenched fists shouting “you are milking my husband behind my back”. I did not utter a word as I was terrified. She removed her shoes and continued assaulting me with it and blood started gushing out of my forehead, mouth and nose.’ Chiroodza says she was dismissed soon after the incident and has now laid charges. Grace Mugabe is also facing charges in South Africa for the alleged assault on local model Gabriella Engels in 2017.

Shrinking cabinet?

Interest in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s new cabinet is mounting with reports suggesting it will be trimmed back considerably. It will also be his first opportunity to break with the Zuma-tainted past and set a new course for the country. This morning he told a Goldman Sachs conference that:  ‘We’re now going to reconfigure our cabinet as part of the reform package our country needs for the economy to move forward and address the needs of our people’.  He added: ‘The key risk for us is low economic growth and creating jobs. The structure of government will speak to that.’ News24’s political team has done some digging and come to the conclusion that Ramaphosa’s new cabinet could contain nine fewer ministers and 15 fewer deputies. You can read about it here.

Huge diesel spill at SABC

A massive diesel leak – some 2,000 litres of the stuff according to Netcare 911 – led to the evacuation of the SABC’s Radio Park building at Auckland Park today. Three people were taken to hospital for chemical inhalation. News reports said an aging generator on the building’s 15th floor had spilled the diesel, filling several floors with fumes. No fires were reported. SABC switched all affected radio stations to non-stop music.

Transnet flouted rules

Transnet’s Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Mahomedy has told the Zondo Commission that a number of large Transnet contracts were awarded without following the necessary procurement procedures. A group of key executives, managers and external companies had worked against Transnet’s interests, he said, and decisions were taken to the board for approval without having been presented to managers who should have been assessing them. Mahomedy, who was previously the parastatal’s CFO, said that among the questionable contracts was a deal with South China Rail to supply over 1000 locomotives, and contracts with the Gupta-linked companies Trillian and Regiments Capital.
 


THE DAILY MENACE

It’s Iqbal … again!  

Oh dear. We’re sorry to inflict him on you again, but he just won’t go away: today’s Menace is, once again, that fabulous ‘media magnate’ Iqbal Survé. This time for allegedly telling porkies to the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) about the valuation of his Ayo Investment Technologies. Board member Malick Salie told the commission yesterday that Survé had personally been involved in steps taken to vastly inflate Ayo’s valuation – in fact he directed the whole process that saw the valuation go from R2.3bn to a whopping R14.8bn. It was apparently on the basis of this valuation that the PIC invested R4.3bn into the Survé-controlled company. Survé had previously told the inquiry that he was not involved in the company’s valuation. All of which follows hard on the heels of the ANC’s rejection of a R1m election donation from Survé – perhaps the first time in its history that the party has taken such a step. Ouch!
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Uber IPO in trouble – Beyoncé not

Uber’s continued slide in value yesterday had analysts asking if the company’s listing was the worst IPO flop in history. The share price dropped on Friday and slid by 8% on Monday, taking it 15% below its opening price last week. The company, which was once valued by private investors at as much as $120bn, is currently worth about half that. According to Vanity Fair’s Hive, IPO investors lost $655m on Friday alone, while the company’s investors from 2016 to 2018 saw a combined $2.27bn go up in flames. But not everyone is doing badly out of Uber. Beyoncé reportedly turned down a $6m appearance fee from Uber in 2015 in exchange for shares. She is now set to cash in $300m.  

WhatsApp security scare

A vulnerability in WhatsApp, the messaging app used by 1.5bn people around the world, has allowed attackers to inject iPhones and Androids with spyware. WhatsApp has said the breach appears to have come from a government using surveillance technology developed by a private company, and it may have been used to target human rights groups. All users of the app have been urged to update the software and the US Justice Department has been asked to help investigate. The Financial Times reports that the spyware can be delivered to users’ phones just by making a call to the phone. The call did not need to be answered for the malware to be installed. Malicious calls would disappear from the call log. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Tigermania rages

The US PGA golf tournament tees off tomorrow at the tough Bethpage Black course with media and fans talking about only one person. After his stunning US Masters win last month, Tiger Woods is back as the top drawcard even if he is not back on top of the world rankings. The US PGA moved its tournament to May in the hope of reviving interest in ‘the fourth major’. And then Tiger rolled back the years and now there are not enough tickets to go around. Will Tiger pick up his second major of the year and the 16th of his career? 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel pulled out of the tournament this week, citing an ongoing wrist injury. His withdrawal leaves eight South Africans in the field: Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Justin Harding, Dylan Frittelli, Shaun Norris, Erik van Rooyen, Richard Sterne and Brandon Stone.

The exodus continues

It was confirmed today that another three high-profile rugby players are heading overseas and a fourth is likely. In a bad week for South African rugby, it was confirmed that centres Damian de Allende from the Stormers and Jesse Kriel from the Bulls, as well as Stormers utility back SP Marais will all be leaving for Japan. It has not been confirmed but there are reports that Bulls lock Jason Jenkins will also be making to move to Japan. Kriel and Marais will be joining up with former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee at the Canon Eagles. De Allende is going to the Panasonic Wild Knights. Earlier this week Handre Pollard (Montpellier), RG Snyman (Honda Heat) and Coenie Oosthuizen (Sale Sharks) confirmed they are all leaving their South African franchises.
 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

A 007 slip-up

Daniel Craig has injured himself on the Jamaica set of the latest Bond movie – this time slipping while running during an action sequence and twisting his ankle. It is the fourth time the actor has hurt himself on a 007 set – in 2006 he lost two teeth while filming a fight scene for Casino Royale; in Quantum of Solace in 2008 he lost a fingertip; and while filming Spectre in 2015 he hurt his knee. The latest injury has stopped filming while Craig has been flown to the US for treatment. Filming that was scheduled to take place in London next month has been postponed. The movie is still due for release in April 2020. 
 


SEE WHAT?

Mayor culpa?

This is probably not what the mayor of eThekwini wants on the streets of Durban right now. Advertising a toll-free number for citizens to report corruption in jobs and tender allocations, the bus also carries the image of mayor Zandile Gumede – who appeared in court yesterday, charged with, yes, fraud and corruption in connection with the allocation of a tender. 


SAY WHAT?

Mbalula, Niehaus go to twar

What could be more edifying than a twar (for those peeps out there who aren’t woke, that’s a twitter war) between the ANC’s Carl Niehaus and Fikile Mbalula? It all started when former spokesperson Niehaus leapt to the defence of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, who has been doing everything in his power to play down Cyril Ramaphosa’s role in the ANC’s election win (Magashule is, of course, a close ally of Jacob Zuma). Mbalula, who led the ANC’s election campaign and has since lauded Ramaphosa, turned to Twitter to bluntly described Niehaus as a ‘crook’, asked ‘what you are doing at Luthuli House?’ (the ANC’s headquarters) and said ‘we must deal with you’. He then blocked Niehaus, who responded by tweeting: ‘He seems to fear much, especially engagement about his blatant opportunism, careerism & lack of respect for his seniors, such as the SG of the ANC, comrade @Magashule_Ace. Talk about real cowardice!’ Then Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom entered the picture: ‘Carl, let’s rather talk about the money you took from people with your story about having bone marrow cancer. A Deputy Minister even went to the funeral of your mother, only to discover that she was still alive.’ All is good and well inside the ANC then.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Today’s top tweeter is Dr Heather Price (@huprice), a climate scientist who has posted a sobering record of her life in increments of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere. The tweet was in response to the first daily baseline measurement higher than 415 parts of CO₂ per million, which was measured on May 11. 

I will soon see an ice age scale >100ppm CO₂ increase within my life. 

My life in CO₂ 

Birthday: 326 ppm
High school graduation: 356 ppm
College grad: 365 ppm
Marriage: 366 ppm
PhD: 375 ppm
1st child: 376 ppm
Postdoc: 380 ppm
2nd child: 381 ppm
Tenured: 397 ppm
Today: 415 ppm


Replying to her, marine scientist David N Thomas noted that in his lifetime, of less than 57 years, he had already seen an increase of 100ppm. 
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Stanhill Claret, is: Tidying shows self respect (7)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, The gadget that makes a mother dance after a wild night (11), is THINGAMAJIG – a word sum that’s made up of THING (an anagram of ‘night’ – ‘wild’ is the anagram indicator) + A MA (a mother) + JIG (dance). 


THE BIG READ

A number of people are adding their two cents to the Caster Semenya debate, but some have more gravitas than others. In this clear and well-argued piece published in The Conversation, Oxford bio-medical ethics professor Julian Savulescu presents 10 reasons why the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that allows the IAAF to force Semenya to lower her natural testosterone levels is ethically and scientifically flawed.
 


WHAT WE SAY

Both the EFF and Freedom Front Plus – the two biggest improvers in last week’s election – made mileage out of the land issue. In essence, the EFF got some purchase by calling for aggressive land expropriation without compensation and the FF+ by fighting against it. All of which suggests that it is a burning issue out there and President Cyril Ramaphosa might be wise to prioritise it. Attempts by the government to redistribute land in the past 25 years have come to little, partly because of a lack of capacity and, perhaps, will. This cannot be allowed to continue and Ramaphosa needs to appoint somebody energetic and sensible to drive it forward. Which would, of course, have the handy side effect of outflanking the extremists.
 


GroundUp and us

the.news.letter is partnering with GroundUp for the month of May, so those of you who subscribe to both outlets will find us there as well. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favour and head over to GroundUp for some excellent journalism on under-reported issues in our country. To see some of their groundbreaking work, have a look at this link.

Posted in News | Comments Off on SABC evacuation after diesel spill | Transnet flouted rules | Uber IPO in trouble – Beyoncé not | SA rugby exodus continues

Minister okays legal fight for Caster | Assange case reopened | Rolling blackouts for Zimbabwe | Trevor takes aim at Malema

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The poll: it’s a wrap 

Here are the main takeaways from the elections results:

  • The ANC’s 57.5% of the vote was down from the 62% in the corresponding election in 2014, but up from the total 53.9% it amassed in the 2016 municipal elections;
  • It was a victory for President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose personal appeal played a significant role in hauling the ANC over the line. More than 640,000 voters chose the ANC at national government level but other parties in the provinces;
  • The DA dropped from 22.2% in 2014 to 20.7%. Some critics believe this is a consequence of poor policy and strategy by the party, but others argue that the DA has now rid itself of the conservative fringe which had been lured into its fold by Tony Leon’s ‘fight back’ campaign in 1999. The latter also believe that the party’s losses were partly offset by black gains – a good sign for the future;
  • The EFF grew from 6.3% to 10.8%. This is substantial growth but its overall result is far below what it was expecting. It also suggests that the party is some distance from being the ‘government-in-waiting’ that it likes to call itself;
  • The Freedom Front Plus grew from 0.9% to 2.38%, almost certainly picking up a chunk of disaffected DA voters;
  • Two interesting newcomers to Parliament, with two MPs each, will be Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party and Gupta pal Mzwanele ‘Jimmy’ Manyi’s ATM. The ATM got 0.44% of the electorate (76,830) to back it and GOOD scooped up 0.4% (70,408), presumably also disaffected DA supporters;
  • The ANC just squeaked over the line and avoided having to go into a coalition in Gauteng with 50.19% of the vote. It will control provincial governments in all but the Western Cape;
  • Talking of which, the DA defied expectations with a 55.45% majority in the Western Cape. That was down from the 59.4% in 2014 and it might be telling that GOOD – led by a vengeful former DA member and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille – snapped up 3%; 
  • In spite of a massive pro-ANC campaign in the Western Cape by the Cape Times and Cape Argus newspapers the party dropped back even further this year – to 28.6% (from 32.9% in 2014);
  • The IFP made a stirring comeback in KZN, where it is once again the official opposition after getting 16.3% of the vote, up from 2014s 10.8% (but it is worth bearing in mind that it once took more than 40% of the votes in the province);
  • The EFF deposed the DA as the second biggest party in Mpumalanga. The red berets are now the official opposition in three provinces – Limpopo and North West being the other two;
  • The DA is now the official opposition in just four provinces, down from six before the election.

If you want more details, including a breakdown of exactly how many MPs each party will have – the ANC will have 230, the DA 84 and the EFF 44 (who will make more noise than all the rest combined) – then go to the IEC’s excellent website.

Assange rape case reopened 

Sweden has announced that investigations into rape allegations against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are being reopened, which will allow the country to apply for his extradition from the UK so he can be interviewed. Assange spent seven years in Ecuador’s London embassy where he was hoping to prevent his extradition on the rape charges, but the country withdrew his asylum last month, leading to his prompt arrest. Assange is now serving a 50-week jail sentence for breaching his bail conditions in the case. 

Minister gives go-ahead to fight Caster ruling 

SA Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa has come out in support of Caster Semenya, instructing Athletics South Africa to appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling that would force the athlete to undergo hormone treatment. The CAS decision meant that the IAAF could require so-called DSD (differences of sex development) athletes with XY chromosomes to lower their testosterone. This would only apply to athletes in some events – including all the events that Semenya competes in. Among other things, the appeal will argue that scientific and legal questions were not properly addressed.  


THE DAILY MENACE

‘Noise’ annoys a menace 

Some 50 years ago District Six was declared whites-only and bulldozers moved in, destroying homes and forcibly removing more than 60,000 coloured and black residents. Mosques – and other places of worship – were spared. Residents are stilling waiting to return but the land restitution process keeps stalling. Meanwhile, a District Six mosque has been sounding a call to prayer every day since its doors opened more than a 100 years ago. However, one member of the public thinks it’s too loud and has lodged a complaint with the police, saying it violates the city of Cape Town’s noise pollution by-laws. Congregants of the mosque described the complaint as ridiculous and attributed it to the gentrification of the inner city, which residents of nearby Bo Kaap have been resisting. Development and gentrification is bringing in rich owners and squeezing out locals. The mosque has been there for years so why people who move in should be surprised at something that adds to the colour, character and atmosphere of a community is a mystery – unless they are just entitled menaces used to getting their own way.
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Rolling blackouts hit Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe began power load-shedding of up to eight hours at a time today as low water levels at the drought-affected Kariba Dam power plant forced cuts in power generation, hurting mines and industry. The dam is only 34% full. The country is also facing production problems at Hwange Power Station, and is getting limited imports from Eskom in South Africa and from Mozambique.

Liquidators struggle to find Zuma nephew 

Lawyers acting for the liquidators of the Pamodzi mining group are struggling to find Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma, who owes more than R1.4bn to creditors – personally. In January a provisional liquidation order was granted against him in the Durban high court. In March, when it should have been finalised, lawyers asked the judge to postpone matters, but by last week said they had still not managed to find Zuma to get his response. The lawyers must now show what efforts they have made to find Zuma before returning to court in June. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Lions win with Seconds, Sharks third

The Lions were the only team to claim a Super Rugby win over the weekend and the Australians are crying foul after the Johannesburg side scraped to a narrow 29-28 win over the Waratahs at Ellis Park. After a 11-2 penalty count against the Waratahs, referee Egon Seconds (who you may recall was castigated by Lions supporters after the Lions loss to the Stormers earlier this season) was probably offered a few free drinks in Johannesburg last night. For the third week in a row the Sharks were competitive against their antipodean rivals, but this time they could not hold on and the Chiefs claimed the 29-23 win with back-to-back tries in the 68th and 70th minute. The bonus-point loss was enough to take the Durban franchise back to the top of the SA conference and third overall. The Bulls felt the full force of the Crusaders revenge when the Pretoria side was made to look very ordinary as the New Zealand defending champions cruised to 45-13 win in their Super Rugby clash in Pretoria on Friday.

City wrap it up

Manchester City gave their fans a fright yesterday before racing to a convincing 4-1 win over Brighton to secure the English Premier League title. City’s 32nd win of the season took them to 98 points – enough to edge Liverpool by just a single point. City manager Pep Guardiola described this as the toughest title of his career which has included eight domestic titles in 10 seasons with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City. Incredibly, Liverpool (who beat Wolves 2-0 yesterday) lost just one match in the 2018/19 season and collected a stunning 97 league points, but were still not able to claim the title. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp summed things up when he graciously accepted defeat and issued a warning to his own side, as well as the rest of the Premier League: “As long as Manchester City are around with their financial power, no team will pass them easily,” he said. “We need to be very close to perfection to win the Premier League as long as this is the case.” (Final league standings and full season stats).

USA too strong for Banyana

Banyana Banyana were given another indication of just how tough things are going to be at the World Cup next month when the USA dominated a friendly last night and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Samantha Mewis scored in each half and then Carli Lloyd added a third goal in injury time. South Africa has another warm-up match on June 2 against Norway, in France, before their opening match of the World Cup on June 8 against Spain. China and Germany are in the same World Cup group as Banyana and Spain.


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Eve beats Bodyguard

Killing Eve took the lion’s share of the honours at the 2019 British Academy Television Awards, winning best drama series, best leading actress for Jodie Comer, and best supporting actress for Fiona Shaw, beating out competition from The Bodyguard and Patrick Melrose. The Bodyguard had been nominated for a raft of awards but took only one – for best ‘must-see moment’ – an award voted by the public. Dominic Cumberbatch won best leading actor for his role in Patrick Melrose. The Guardian has a good wrap of the gongs for British-produced TV. 
 


SEE WHAT?

Trevor takes aim at Malema   

Trevor Noah has been trending on Twitter all weekend after the Daily Show host aired a segment on Friday in which he compared Julius Malema to Donald Trump for his attitude to the press, and took a swipe at the EFF leader for his comments in 2016 on killing white people (he wasn’t calling for this, Malema told an interviewer – at least, he added, ‘not for now’). The clip has been removed from the Daily Show’s website but it is still being shared on Twitter. Some South Africans think it’s very funny, some think it is dangerous for suggesting that white genocide is actually a thing in the country. You can decide for yourself.


SAY WHAT?

Putin it in the net 

Russian president Vladimir Putin scored eight (or maybe 9, possibly even 10) goals in an ice hockey game with former National Hockey League players. State-owned media reported that the 66-year-old leader scored 10 goals, the Kremlin’s own account says nine, while the Associated Press says eight in his team’s 14-7 victory. According to the Guardian, Putin, whose approval ratings have slipped as Russia battles economic woes, periodically plays hockey with government officials, businessmen and former NHL stars in matches that are broadcast with pomp on Russian TV. Playing on Friday at centre forward, Putin was provided with plenty of scoring opportunities by his teammates and – unsurprisingly – was met with little resistance by the opposing team’s defence. He then took a face-first spill during his victory lap – and all those who witnessed his humiliation have been ordered to report to Siberia. 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Tweet of the day on this fine Monday morning goes to old friend David Moseley (@david_moseley) for this observation on the decline of a once fine institution:

I axe erdentally red a Cape Times this morning, and now I’m 96 pissant more stupiderer.
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Charles Machanik, is: Archie is a part of these dynasties! (10)

The solution to Friday’s clue, Recipe mania for a song and a film (8,3), is AMERICAN PIE – an anagram of ‘recipe mania’ (cunningly, ‘mania’ is also the anagram indicator) and gives an answer that’s a terrible film and a song that remains cloaked in mystery.


THE BIG READ

Evidence on the ground suggests that up to three-quarters of the Uyghur Muslims in China’s vast concentration camps are men. So what happened to the women? This powerful and beautifully presented multimedia story from Coda Story is a chilling account of China’s surveillance of and clampdown on its Uyghur population.
 


WHAT WE SAY

President Cyril Ramaphosa has emerged from last week’s elections in a much stronger position than he was before. Two sets of numbers suggest his personal appeal was fundamental to the ANC’s success. The first are those that show a scarcely believable 643,194 people voted for the ANC at national level, but chose to vote for other parties in the provinces – a phenomenon that has been dubbed the ‘Cyril effect’. He will also be bolstered by the fact that the ANC’s final tally of 57.5% of the vote, although down from the 62% of 2014’s national election, is an increase over the 53.9% the party amassed during the 2016 municipal elections – when Jacob Zuma was still leading the party. These results suggest Ramaphosa has a golden opportunity to act decisively. He can do so immediately by substantially trimming the bloated cabinet created by Zuma and getting rid of its underperforming or venal members. This should be done in such a way as to address the governance failures of Zuma’s ‘lost years’ and to begin putting the economy back on a sound footing. Then he can set about ridding the state of the corrupt individuals who have cost it billions in the last decade. Many have been identified by investigative journalists or the various commissions of inquiry on the go: the sooner they are wearing orange overalls the better. And he can do himself a political favour by moving against his Zuma-aligned enemies in the ANC who have been intent on undermining him (most also happen to be corrupt, so it will be a ‘killing two birds with one stone’ thing). It is absolutely critical that Ramaphosa does not ignore this opportunity, which will probably last for about one year: if he fails the price will be paid by more than just him as an individual or his party – the country at large will almost certainly continue its downwards trajectory.
 


WHAT THEY SAY

And here’s Business Day’s editorial today on Ramaphosa’s role in the ANC win and his challenges.
 


GroundUp and us

the.news.letter is partnering with GroundUp for the month of May, so those of you who subscribe to both outlets will find us there as well. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favour and head over to GroundUp for some excellent journalism on under-reported issues in our country. To see some of their groundbreaking work, have a look at this link.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Minister okays legal fight for Caster | Assange case reopened | Rolling blackouts for Zimbabwe | Trevor takes aim at Malema

ANC ahead, but struggling in Gauteng | Bail for motorist who ran over guard | Liverpool look for another miracle | The week that was

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

ANC ahead, but struggling in Gauteng

The vote counting has crept past the 75% mark – the plan was to have it completed tomorrow, but that might have been a bit ambitious – and trends are becoming pretty evident. The major ones are:

  • The ANC will win the national election but with a reduced majority. Its numbers were around 57% today, down from 2014’s 62%. The result should be enough to give President Cyril Ramaphosa a mandate to act decisively;
  • Ramaphosa’s personal popularity has given the ANC a boost, with the numbers suggesting that voters split their national and provincial choices to support him in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. This should also embolden him to act against his detractors within the party;
  • The FF+’s adoption of former DA leader’s Tony Leon’s ‘Fight Back’ strategy has had exactly the same effect as it did back then: attracting the white right in some numbers. The FF+ is set to grow from less than 1% of the vote to more than 2.5%;
  • As was predicted when Leon opened the DA’s doors to the far right, he was setting the party up for a bruising when it finally got itself a black leader. That said, Mmusi Maimane should be pleased with the indication that the party’s losses – they should not be much more than 1% down – indicate black voters have stepped in to replace the exiting conservatives;
  • The EFF has grown and topped the 10% mark overnight – up from 6% in 2014 – but that is well short of its own predictions … and ambitions;
  • The ANC’s attempt to keep an outright majority in Gauteng is on a knife-edge. It was just below 50% from mid-morning;
  • The EFF should become the official opposition in a third province – it is set to add Mpumalanga (where the DA has dropped back) to Limpopo and North West;
  • The IFP is staging a comeback and may edge out the DA to become the official opposition again in KZN;
  • Against some predictions, the DA is set to retain an outright majority in the Western Cape but will drop from 59% support to around 55%. Auntie Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party is hovering around the 3% mark in the province;
  • The ANC is set to govern in all the provinces bar the Western Cape and, possibly, Gauteng. It is getting a bit of a bloody nose in KZN though, with its majority set to decline from 64.5% to 53%. Its majority has also been eroded in most provinces.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has rejected suggestions that there was widespread double voting in spite of 20 people arrested in KZN for doing so.

Bail for motorist who ran over guard

The motorist who ran over a security guard in a Stellenbosch shopping centre parking lot has appeared in court and says he will plead not guilty to attempted murder. A CCTV camera video of 38-year-old Johan Steyn from Kraaifontein driving over the guard who had been attempting to prevent him driving against a one-way system has gone viral. The guard was treated in hospital and discharged. Steyn was given R2,000 bail at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court. News24 reported that he owns a ‘general building repairs and maintenance business’.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Losing its lustre

AngloGold Ashanti plans to sell its South African assets, including the world’s deepest goldmine, Mponeng. The miner has already sold off several mines to Harmony Gold and Mponeng is the last underground mine in its SA portfolio. It has two other surface operations. BusinessLive notes that SA has become increasingly unattractive as a deep-level mining investment, with electricity prices rising by more than 530% in a decade and set to increase by another 30% over the next three years. The trade union Solidarity has asked management to secure jobs as a condition of sale.

All at sea

About 5000 South African seafarers face losing their jobs in international shipping because the global body that certifies them says that SA training is not up to the minimum qualification standards introduced in 2010. They are not alone, though. Sailors from 86 other countries are in the, er, same boat. Samsa, the SA Maritime Authority, says additional training is in place but that its reports on it have so far been rejected. It is hoping to fast-track a new report.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Final flourish  

Arsenal and Chelsea wrapped up a piece of history last night when they secured their places in the Europa League final. Following on from Liverpool’s and Spurs’ heroics earlier this week, the two London clubs have ensured all four finalists in Europe’s top two club competitions have come from one nation for the first time – Spain had three teams in 2015-16. There have only been two all-English finals in European competitions before: Tottenham beat Wolves in the 1971-72 Uefa Cup and Manchester United beat Chelsea in the 2007-08 Champions League. Last night Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick for Arsenal as The Gunners booked their place in the final by beating Valencia 4-2 for a 7-3 win on aggregate. Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt drew 1-1 for the second time before Chelsea won a penalty shootout 4-3. Chelsea and Arsenal are just 12km apart in London, but both teams and their fans will have to travel about 4,500km to Baku in Azerbaijan for the final on May 29. Liverpool and Spurs meet in Madrid on June 1.

Bulls hoping to upset the Crusaders

The Bulls will be looking to improve on what the Sharks did last week when they tackle the Crusaders at Loftus this evening. The Bulls moved to the top of the South African Super Rugby conference last week after the Sharks drew with the rampant New Zealand side and the Pretoria squad will be looking to consolidate their lead with a win this week. With a few rested players back the Crusaders could be back at their best. The Sharks have picked up six points on their travels but would like to add another four when they take on a struggling Chiefs in Hamilton. The Lions will be confident of seeing off the Waratahs to start their final push toward the playoffs. The Lions may be bottom of the South African conference but they have a clean run to the playoffs, with four out of six home games and three derbies against South African opposition. A win tomorrow could start a move back to the top of the South African conference. This morning the Hurricanes beat the Blues 22-12.

Liverpool look for another miracle

After their heroics against Barcelona on Tuesday, Liverpool will be looking for more fairytales on Sunday. This time, however, they need more than just a win and need the Wicked Witch to sprinkle some bad magic dust on Manchester City at Brighton. If City win on Sunday they will be crowned champions; a draw and Liverpool need to win against Wolves to secure the title. Two Liverpool miracles in a week? As we discovered this week, nothing is impossible. In the battle for the remaining two Champions League places, Chelsea are 100% confirmed and Spurs are so far ahead of Arsenal on goal difference it would take a miracle for the Gunners to claim the final place. Manchester United are out of contention. Chelsea travel to Leicester, Spurs host Everton, Arsenal are away to Burnley and United welcome Cardiff. 

Weekend sport on TV 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Farewell to Chewbacca

The death last week of Peter Mayhew, the towering actor who played the part of Chewbacca in the StarWars franchise has drawn tributes to him from across the world, including an Instagram post from the International Space Station where astronaut Nick Hague (@AstroHague) posted a photo (above) with Mayhew’s photo framed by the ISS window with Earth visible behind. The Telegraph has published an obituary that shines a light on how this remarkable man brought his own stamp to the beloved character. 
 


SAY WHAT?

Beady eye spots missing ‘i’

The.news.letter knows all about typos – whenever we make one someone lets us know all about it. And when we do, we take responsibilty. But we have never made a R23-billion typo – well, not yet. A beady-eyed Australian found a typo on the country’s new $50 note – 46-million of them were rolled out in October, at a value of 2,3-billion Australian dollars. In microscopic text on the note the word ‘responsibility’ is missing the third ‘i’ (‘responsibilty’). The text comes from a speech made by Edith Cowan, the first Australian woman to serve as an MP, and reads: ‘It is a great responsibility to be the only woman here, and I want to emphasise the necessity which exists for other women being here.’ The.news.letter wonders who took responsibility for ‘responsibilty’.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Friday’s top tweet is this witty riposte from Amanda Rinquest to a comment from Khanya Ashley
@Khanya_Ashley (@Khanya_Ashley)
Also you guys are being weird about the EFF.  The EFF is doing well for a party in its infancy.

Amanda Rinquest  (@AmandaRinquest)
Can’t be considered an infant when it’s getting cigarette money 🤷🏻‍♀️
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue compiled by Stanhill Claret is, Recipe mania for a song and a film (8,3)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, She meets any races wildly (6,7), is CASTER SEMENYA – an anagram of ‘meets any races’ (‘wildly’ is the anagram indicator).


THE BIG READ

Disciplined and computer-savvy, Stephen Allwine was in theory the perfect criminal for a dark-web crime. Allwine, who went by the name dogdaygod, wanted his wife dead. Wired magazine tells the astonishing tale of the murder of Amy Allwine
 


WHAT WE SAY

Who blamed the media for their dismal performance?
That would be the Black First Land First’s Andile Andile Mngxitama. He had set his sights on 10 seats in Parliament, but the party barely got 10 votes to rub together. ‘Land or Death’ … well, for BLF’s political ambitions, it’s death. Definitely death.

What was the biggest surprise of the election?
The plus-size support for the FF+.

What didn’t surprise us much?
That Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s prediction that he would be South Africa’s next president didn’t come true. His African Content Movement  got less than 3,000 votes, which is just enough votes to make him president of his own sandpit.

What kept us guessing?
Whether Jacob Zuma and Ace Magashule voted for the ATM.

What was the biggest election controversy?
The disappearing thumb stains caused a massive ink stink.

Who got nailed?
Mantwa Matlala-Malema. Juju Malema frothed at the mouth at an IEC official who wanted to cut his wife’s false nail off so that her real thumbnail could be marked.  

Now that the elections are over what can we be grateful for?
That we won’t have to see any more thumb selfies on social media and that we will no longer be interrupted by headmistress Helen Zille, admonishing us to do ‘the right thing’.

Who were the election menaces?
The EFF supporters who were filmed dragging an elderly woman in ANC colours off a chair and beating her.

What made us proudly South African?
Despite logistical issues and allegations of double crosses, voting was peaceful (except for the menaces above) and the election was free, fair and credible. Now, it’s our job to make sure the politicians do theirs.
 


GroundUp and us

The.news.letter is partnering with GroundUp for the month of May, so those of you who subscribe to both outlets will find us there as well. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favour and head over to GroundUp for some excellent journalism on under-reported issues in our country. To see some of their groundbreaking work, have a look at this link.

Posted in News | Comments Off on ANC ahead, but struggling in Gauteng | Bail for motorist who ran over guard | Liverpool look for another miracle | The week that was

Arrests as election count begins | Jooste gave himself R34m bonus | ‘Lekker’ in Hollywood | PSL appeals own decision

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The countdown begins

According to the Electoral Commission (IEC), the election went well enough to be fair and credible. It admitted there were ‘setbacks’ – there were some logistical issues and allegations of double voting –  but the general sentiment seems to have been that it went off pretty smoothly. Now it’s that awkward time between voting and final results – with interim results being analysed to death. You can monitor the ongoing count on the IEC’s dashboard and read some analysis on Media24’s special election page. Factors to take into account are that the turnout seems to have been low and rural votes will generally be the last to come in – probably boosting the ANC in most provinces but the IFP in KZN. Here, meanwhile, are the main election headlines so far:

  • The ANC took an early lead nationally and in all the provinces other than the Western Cape;
  • Early indications were that the DA could retain its outright majority in the Western Cape, but at a reduced percentage;
  • The EFF looks poised to become the official opposition in Limpopo and North West, with Mpumalanga a close-run race for the number-two spot. The IFP was coming second in KZN;
  • The IEC is investigating allegations that the ink used to mark voters’ thumbs faded quickly, raising concerns that it might have enabled double voting;
  • The IEC has announced the arrests of four people for double voting in KZN, but reporters in the province said local officials put the number at 19. The IEC said it will be conducting a sample audit of results to check for any other fraud.
  • Wind caused 16 temporary voting stations in Mangaung to blow over;
  • Cable-theft affected voting in three or four voting stations around the country after dark;
  • Voting was severely disrupted by protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. Police and protesters clashed throughout the day as residents demanded the area be returned to the Makhado municipality;
  • The Guardian newspaper in the UK reported that it had seen documents which suggested Russians close to President Vladimir Putin had planned a social media campaign to boost the ANC and discredit the ‘pro-Western’ DA. ‘It is unclear whether the plan was executed,’ said the newspaper.

And then there’s the relegation zone ….

While the people were mostly sticking their crosses next to the ANC, DA and EFF there were a few parties that were, to use sporting parlance, stuck deep in the relegation zone. At 9am the race for obscurity looked to be headed by the NPA – not the National Prosecuting Authority but the National Peoples Ambassadors – which had scooped up a handsome 250 votes. That was just enough for the IEC to generously round its percentage up to 0.01% of the vote – only four votes ahead of the People’s Revolutionary Movement with its 254 votes. The aptly named Minority Front (obviously missing the flying hairpiece of its former leader Amichand Rajbansi) had the dubious distinction of recording the lowest return in provincial polls with just one vote from Limpopo. Agang was struggling to get, well, a gang together with 2,342 votes, but they were doing better than the the BLF which had just 1,873. At 9am only seven of the 49 parties had recorded more than 0,5% of the vote – the ANC, DA, EFF, FF+, IFP, ACDP and GOOD. 

Stormy times for the Trumpster

It’s been a stormy old time for US President Donald Trump. In the past few days House Democrats have voted to subpoena his Attorney-General William Barr to give evidence on the Mueller Report and the New York Times reported that he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years until the mid-1990s because his companies were performing so badly (he wrote Art of the Deal at the time, whose author now says should be classified as fiction). To add insult to injury porn star Stormy Daniels – who claims to have had sex with Trump when he was married – has gone on a speaking tour. Read about the ‘worst 90 seconds of my life’ courtesy of The Guardian.


THE DAILY MENACE

‘Your money’s no good here’

When you give politicians a bad name then you must know that your tattered reputation is beyond repair. Just before the elections Independent Media’s Iqbal Survé made a big song and dance about giving the ANC a R1-million donation, saying his only condition for it was that it was unconditional. Yeah right! The ANC said they would return his money (well, pensioners’ money really) in light of revelations made against Surve and his companies at the commission of inquiry into ‘allegations of impropriety’ – ie looting – at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Survé then mounted an attack, blaming the deputy minister of finance and PIC chair Mondli Gungubele. ‘It is clear Gungubele has done this as both a personal and political vendetta… Mr Gungubele’s conduct is utterly disgraceful,’ said Survé. Disgraceful? Perhaps the menace for life can use the million to start paying back his loan. Just another couple of billion to go.  
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Jooste gave himself R34m bonus 

Steinhoff’s financial results for the 12 months to end September 2017 have been released at last. They reveal an astonishing R65bn net loss for the year. The company’s annual report for the 2017 year also revealed that former CEO Markus Jooste awarded himself roughly R34m in bonuses without required approvals in the months before the retailer almost collapsed. In December 2017 Deloitte refused to sign off the company’s books, leading to Jooste’s resignation and a audit by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) which found massive accounting irregularities. Steinhoff shares have lost 96% of their value since then.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

All-England final 1

Nobody can say football is boring. 24 hours after Liverpool’s astonishing heroics, Lucas Moura and Tottenham produced a stunning second-half fightback to set up an all-English Champions League final. Starting 1-0 down after the opening leg of their semi-final, Spurs conceded two more before halftime. Two goals in five minutes from Moura soon after the break and Spurs were back within a goal of qualification, but Ajax held on as time ran out and the match went deep into added time. In the 96th minute Moura completed his second-half hat-trick, turned the young Ajax sides’ dreams into nightmares and set up a mouth-watering final. The 3-2 score made it 3-3 on aggregate and gave Spurs the win by virtue of away-goals. On Tuesday Liverpool produced one of the great comebacks in Champions League history when they stunned the Lionel Messi-led Barcelona 4-0 to scrape through 4-3 on aggregate. 

All-England final 2?

Tonight Chelsea are at home to Frankfurt and Arsenal travel to Valencia in their Europa League semi-final second legs with the two London clubs looking to complete an all-England lock out the European finals. Valencia have been impressive at home in the Europa League this season and they could pull off a Liverpool and overturn the 3-1 deficit – although Arsenal have the added incentive of knowing that winning the competition is almost certainly their only chance to secure a Champions League spot next season. Although locked at 1-1, Chelsea have the advantage of an away goal when they kick off their semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.  

PSL appeals its own decision

The Premier League has bizarrely launched an appeal against the decision of its own Disciplinary Committee. The Irvin Khoza-led PSL has appealed the ruling after Mamelodi Sundowns was only fined for fielding Wayne Arendse in a match against Wits last year. Sundowns, the team fighting with Khoza’s Orlando Pirates for the league title, could have a point deducted if the appeal is successful. If Sundowns and Pirates end with the same results on Saturday, Sundowns will win the league ahead of Pirates. The appeal does open up the possibility of Wits (who stand to gain two points if the appeal is successful) ending top of the log. Sundowns were advised by the match commissioner, appointed by the PSL, that Arendse was allowed to play. Arendse, who had not been included on the team sheet for the match, took to the field after an injury to another player during the warm up. Sundowns has indicated they will fight the appeal.


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Lekker in LA

South African fans of the Netflix show Lucifer have been delighted to discover that one of the stars uses Afrikaans when she speaks in her ‘demon mother-tongue’. In the series, South African actress Lesley-Ann Brandt plays the character Maze, a demon sidekick to the devil, Lucifer Morningstar, who has escaped hell to live in Los Angeles. In Episode 1 of the new season, broadcast last night, Maze speaks in her demon tongue ‘Lilim’ which had local ears burning – and set social media alight. 
 


SEE WHAT?

Parking lot madness

The driver of a bakkie caught on CCTV driving over a parking lot attendant in Stellenbosch has handed himself over to police and will appear in court tomorrow. A video of last week’s incident has gone viral and now two local lawyers have stepped forward to represent the guard for free. He can be seen in the clip trying to direct the motorist to go the right way out of a one-way section when the driver simply rides over him. The footage is shocking, but one of the lawyers has told journalists that the guard survived and has been discharged from hospital. 


SAY WHAT?

Secret agent’s saucy handle  

Perhaps Jennifer Hernandez lost a bet or maybe she watched one too many episodes of The Simpsons, but the 58-year-old woman now faces jail time after trying to sneak into the CIA headquarters in Virginia on four separate occasions and asking to speak to an agent with a risqué codename. According to court papers, Hernandez went to the agency’s HQ, asking to speak to her recruiter – Agent Penis. On the fourth occasion, on 3 May, she was arrested and now faces charges of criminal trespassing. She is being held  in an  Alexandria jail cell and if convicted faces up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. The CIA has not revealed the true identity of Agent Penis. The Secret Service has a slew of codenames for those they protect. For instance, according to online reports, former first lady Jackie Kennedy was Lace, John F Kennedy Jr. was Lark. Barbara and Jenna Bush were Turquoise and Twinkle. Sasha and Malia Obama were Rosebud and Radiance.  


TWEET OF THE DAY


There are many, many South Africans who will sympathise deeply with Johann Maree, Helen Zille’s husband, about the incident recounted on Twitter by the outgoing Western Cape premier  (@helenzille) yesterday. And it gains her the prestigious Tweet of the Day award: 

The funniest thing happened.  I was sitting next to my husband, having a much needed coffee break in my Knysna constituency ydy, when my husband’s phone rang.  It was me, urging him to go and vote.  He had already.  So he pressed ‘1’ to opt out!!
 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue compiled by Charles Machanik is: She meets any races wildly (6,7)

The solution to Tuesday’s clue The Queen invested two years in Rocky Balboa for her latest instalment? (5,4) is ROYAL BABY, an anagram of Balboa (‘Rocky’ is the anagram indicator’ + R (in crosswordese ‘queen’ is ‘r’  – Regina) and yy (years). 


THE BIG READ

The Johannesburg Review of Books (JRB) publishes an interview with one of South Africa’s most accomplished and best-loved novelists Ivan Vladislavić about memory, nostalgia and his latest novel, The Distance. The JRB also has an excerpt from The Distance.
 


WHAT WE SAY

Amid all the speculation in this period between voting and results we can be pretty sure of one thing: the ANC will be returned to power. Whether this is with a reduced majority, as expected, or not, it will put President Cyril Ramaphosa in a position to send a significant message to the country. Traditionally after an election a president reshuffles his cabinet, and this is where Ramaphosa can act decisively. He can simultaneously reduce the number of ministers – the cabinet became ridiculously bloated in the Jacob Zuma years – and in doing so get rid of several under-performers and those with apparent venal tendencies. That would signal a commitment to efficiency in governance and an intolerance towards corruption – exactly what this country needs as it heads towards an uncertain future.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Arrests as election count begins | Jooste gave himself R34m bonus | ‘Lekker’ in Hollywood | PSL appeals own decision

Inside the Cato Manor ‘death squad’ saga | Ayo ‘adjusted results’ – ex-CFO | ET comes home | Amla cracks the nod

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Inside the Cato Manor ‘death squad’ saga 

Former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen today cast a light on a low point in South African journalism: the Sunday Times’s Cato Manor ‘death squad’ saga. He believed the story was planted to remove him from a high-profile investigation involving politically connected businessman Thoshen Panday and several police officers. Yesterday Booysen had explained how Panday’s associate Colonel Navin Madhoe offered the Hawks boss a R1-million bribe but was caught in a sting. His team had then intercepted a call from Panday in which he suggested Booysen needed to be ‘clipped’ a bit. ‘… We’ll decide how we’re going to take care of this guy,’ he allegedly said. Soon afterwards journalists from the paper approached Booysen with the death squad allegations and then published a story. He was later arrested. All charges were subsequently withdrawn.

ET comes home

What does it take to get the ANC to react with breakneck speed? A national crisis such as Eskom? Service delivery protests? A corrupt former president? No, a billboard with a spelling mistake. The now notorious ANC billboard in Port Elizabeth which urged citizens to ‘Let’s grow South Africa togher’ – instead of together – has been fixed after it became a social media sensation. It even made waves in Ireland, where a suburb of the city of Cork is called Togher. Last night Dr D – a ‘communications strategist’ – posted on Twitter: ‘The much talked about billboard is now fixed. ANC delivers!’ Which immediately drew the response: ‘If only it fixed its other mistakes as quickly’.

Exclusive’s excuses 

Grattan Kirk, CEO of Exclusive Books, has apologised to South Africans and Gangster State author Pieter-Louis Myburgh, for cancelling last week’s book launch at the V&A Waterfront branch of Exclusive’s. Kirk was addressing a crowd who had come to the rescheduled launch last night. He said protests at the launch in Sandton as well as the stretched capacity of the police, who were dealing with service delivery protests in the Cape at the time, had left the Waterfront and Exclusive’s ‘hamstrung’. 

Ayo ‘adjusted results’ – ex-CFO

The former Chief Financial Officer of Ayo Technology Solutions, Naahied Gamieldien, has told the Public Investment Corporation inquiry how Iqbal Survé’s company allegedly cooked the books. She explained that she was asked to ‘adjust’ the 2018 after-tax profit figure, which she did, inflating it from R32-million to R50-million. The figure she provided was finalised by executives of African Equity Empowerment Investments (formerly Sekunjalo) while she was on leave, and when the results were published, the profit had increased to R65.9-million. Earlier evidence to the inquiry suggesting results had been manipulated prompted the JSE to request a review of Ayo’s numbers. The PIC invested R4.3-billion in Ayo. Gamieldien, who is still employed at Ayo, also told the commission that a day after Ayo listed on the JSE, she was instructed to move R70 million of the PIC money into two companies linked to Survé. She said board approval to move the funds was only received after the money was moved. 


THE DAILY MENACE

Springblobs 

News of the existence of a pro-apartheid club for South African and Zimbabwean expats in the UK has emerged after the club invited a leading UK Independence Party (UKIP) Member  of the European Parliament to address it. The Guardian reported that Stuart Agnew, who represents the hard Eurosceptic, right-wing UKIP political party, gave a speech to the Springbok Club earlier this month. The Springbok Club has a major obsession with Nelson Mandela – and not in a good way. They think he was an evil terrorist, who should have been hanged. It displays the apartheid flag, refers to Zimbabwe as Rhodesia and has a penchant for conspiracy theories, particularly relating to the alt-right concept of ‘white genocide’. David Lawrence, a researcher at Hope Not Hate, which monitors far-right groups, described it as ‘a vile organisation’. These Mandela-hating menaces may be expats but they are current prats.  
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Eskom: the prince of darkness

The Reserve Bank has warned that if Eskom cannot bring its crisis under control, South Africa is at risk of losing up to 125,000 jobs, and contracting its growth by 1.1%. In its latest Monetary Policy Review report the bank also warned that the impact of state capture on the SA economy is worse than previously understood. The document outlines growth prospects for SA. Fin24 reports that the Reserve Bank says the economy has less electricity than it had a decade ago, despite massive Eskom investments in new generating capacity. 

Amcu settles

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has ended a five-month strike at Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine, with the union accepting a 5.5% raise this year, and 5.5% for each of the next two years, or the inflation rate – whichever is the higher. The deal is essentially the same as that achieved by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) five months ago – although the Amcu miners, who have not had a wage in this time, will also get a once-off payment of R4000. Nine people have died in the strike. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Amla cracks the nod

The South African cricket selectors opted for pedigree over form when they included Hashim Amla in the Proteas squad to go to the World Cup next month. Amla, who has been struggling with his form while his father is seriously ill, was included ahead of Reeza Hendricks in the only potentially contentious selection for the 15-man squad. Three players who have possible injury concerns, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje and JP Duminy were all included. There are two all-rounders, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius, and two spinners, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi, but no wicket-keeper backup, with David Miller likely to take the gloves if Quinton de Kock is injured. The full squad is: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, and Rassie van der Dussen.

Whistle to whistle action

On a night where 12 Champions League goals were scored in two matches, there was plenty of drama from kick-off until VAR sent Spurs to the semi-finals in injury time. It was pure theatre in Manchester as City won 4-3 but were ousted on the away-goals rule after the teams ended 4-4 on aggregate. A frenetic opening 11 minutes saw four goals before Raheem Sterling scored his second to put City 3-2 up in the match, but equal at 3-3 over the two-legged tie. Spurs were however ‘ahead’ by virtue of scoring more away goals. The Sky Blues dominated the second half and Sergio Aguero looked to have sealed it in the 59th minute, only for Fernando Llorente to swing the pendulum back in Spurs favour with 17 minutes left. Deep into injury time Sterling completed his hat-trick, but as City fans, players and management celebrated the late winner, VAR picked up that Aguero was fractionally offside earlier in the move. Joy turned to misery for those in light blue, while Spurs fans started a wild night of celebration. At the same time in Portugal, Liverpool overwhelmed Porto 4-1 to reach the semis with a clear 6-1 aggregate win. Liverpool will play Barcelona and Spurs take on Ajax in the semi-finals in the first two weeks of May.

Caster on Time’s list of 100 Most Influential

Time’s annual list of 100 Most Influential People includes two South Africans, President Cyril Ramaphosa and 800m World Champion Caster Semenya. The great 400m athlete Ed Moses writes the tribute to Semenya for Time magazine and said: ‘A world and Olympic track-and-field champion several times over, Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications’. Among the six cover stars is Liverpool striker Mo Salah. Included in the rest of the 100 are 21-year-old US Open and Australian Open tennis champion Naomi Osaka, basketball star LeBron James, golfing superstar Tiger Woods, US women’s footballer Alex Morgan and former cricketer turned politician and now Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
 


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Trainspotting actor killed

Trainspotting 2 actor Bradley Welsh has been shot dead in the street in downtown Edinburgh near the boxing gym he owned. The death of the 42-year-old is being treated as suspicious. Welsh, who had no previous acting experience before being cast in Trainspotting 2, told the Scottish Sun that he almost flunked the interview for the role for being too aggressive with his lines. Known as a reformed football hooligan turned charity worker, he was also a former British ABA Lightweight boxing champion. His charity work included helping young people stay away from crime through his Holyrood Boxing Gym.
 


SEE WHAT?

Too close for comfort

This short video taken by a tourist in Kruger should serve as a warning to amateur wildlife photographers to obey the rules and keep their distance. Herea couple drive up to a browsing elephant to get a close-up shot, and get much closer than they expect when the bull turns on them. 


SAY WHAT?

Over the bun limit

Be careful you don’t get caught driving under the influence of hot cross buns. A video has gone viral of a traffic officer eating some Checkers hot cross buns and then taking a breathalyser test, which then registers as 0.21mg, just below the ordinary legal limit of 0.24mg. The video prompted some people to shake their heads in amazement and many others to rush to Checkers to stockpile on hot cross bun six-packs. Checkers quickly issued a statement saying their buns were alcohol-free and the false-positive was most probably due to the yeast and fruit in them which may cause inaccurate readings. Johannesburg Metro Police Department’s  spokesperson Wayne Minnaar told motorists not to be alarmed, because law enforcement authorities repeat any tests that have a positive reading after 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Business Insider sent their intrepid reporter out to find the country’s best hot cross bun (don’t worry, the reporter took an Uber home). 


TWEET OF THE DAY

Our Easter Tweeter is Jason (@NickMotown) for this bit of nonsense:

‘Excuse me doctor – my husband was rushed in with violent spasms in his buttocks. Where is he please?’
‘ICU baby, shaking that ass.’

 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue compiled by Charles Machanik is: Colour performed and edited (8) 

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Metaphor in middle of story largely misconstrued (8), is ALLEGORY – an anagram of 0 (‘o’ is in the middle of the word ‘story’) + ‘largely’ –(misconstrued is the anagram indicator). 


THE BIG READ

Mother City blues

Andrew Donaldson wields a sharp pen and after reading an academic’s woke take on Cape Town provides a lesson on how to write about the Mother City. 

It was a dark and starry night …

And because it’s a long weekend here is a second not-so-big Big Read: It was a heist straight out of the movies – in the dark of a cold December night two art thieves armed with a sledgehammer stole a ladder and climbed onto the roof of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. They smashed a window and grabbed the two smallest, closest, paintings by the master that they could before a guard spotted them. In their hasty retreat one of them dropped his cap – with some handy DNA in the shape of strands of hair that police would use to eventually convict them. The Guardian tells the amazing story of the heist and the recovery.
 


WHAT WE SAY

South Africa has an embarrassing history of putting its relationship with powerful African figures ahead of human rights considerations. Perhaps the most notorious incident of this sort was the shameful decision to look the other way as former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited the country in spite of an International Criminal Court warrant of arrest being in place for his war crimes. Al-Bashir was recently toppled by his own people amid widespread protests against his human rights abuses. South Africa was similarly complicit in Robert Mugabe’s abuses, choosing to laud him until the Zimbabwean people also took things into their own hands. Let’s hope that the bid to extradite his wife Grace from Zimbabwe to South Africa to face assault charges is treated differently by the current leadership – she did, after all, beat up a South African. But don’t hold your breath.


the.news.letter is taking short break. We’ll be back after the long weekend, on Tuesday, 23 April 2019

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