WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Trump ‘didn’t collude’ with Russians
After two years of investigation the report by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible Russian interference in the US’s 2016 election is out. Well, sort of out. US Attorney General William Barr provided a four-page summary of the report to Congress in which he said that Mueller uncovered no evidence that President Donald Trump or his aides had colluded with Russia. Barr said Mueller was unable ‘one way or another’ to decide whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation. Trump and his Republican supporters have heralded the report as a complete vindication, while the opposition Democrats are refusing to take Barr’s word for it and want to see the whole thing – not just the summary.
May may not make it
British Prime Minister Theresa May gambled on a high-stakes meeting yesterday evening with hardline pro-Brexiteers in her party in a bid to get her latest plan through parliament, but UK newspapers are saying today that the meeting ended without any agreement. This leaves May with no obvious way forward on Brexit and an increasingly tenuous grip on office. There were also reports of an imminent Conservative Party coup to have her removed as prime minister.
KZN mayors probed for killings
An intensive investigation by the task team probing the spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal has seen two of the province’s ANC mayors arrested for their alleged role in the murders of ANC members. Newcastle Mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba is facing charges in connection with the assassination of the youth league’s regional chair Wandile Ngubeni in 2016. Charges against Harry Gwala District Municipality Mayor Mluleki Ndobe, who was arrested last week in connection with the murder of ANC Youth League (ANCYL) secretary general Sindiso Magaqa in 2017, were provisionally withdrawn this morning after prosecutors said further investigation was needed. Also this morning, the personal assistant of the Ethekwini mayor became the latest person reported to have been questioned in connection with political killings in the province. The mayor’s political advisor and her spokesperson were also reportedly questioned recently, but none of these three has been charged with wrongdoing. Assassinations have become part of the province’s political landscape. EWN reported that the ANC in the province was not worried that the arrests of its two mayors would negatively affect the party at the polls in May. Perhaps the elections are the least of the party’s problems right now.
The death toll from Cyclone Idai has topped 750 and this might more than double. According to latest official figures, 446 people have died in Mozambique, 259 in Zimbabwe and 56 in Malawi. The number in Mozambique alone is expected to top 1,000. Some 110,000 Mozambicans are now in camps built to accommodate displaced people and aid workers say they fear outbreaks of cholera and malaria. Some cases of cholera have already been reported in Beira.
Fight and flight
A South African pilot who had had a fight with his wife flew his plane into the clubhouse at Matsieng aerodrome in Botswana on Saturday evening, killing himself and injuring several others. The direct hit came after the plane had made several flypasts. His wife had earlier been inside the clubhouse attending a party but she had been evacuated along with other guests who were spooked by the low passes. The airport’s air traffic control tower and the Matsieng Flying Club clubhouse were destroyed along with about a dozen cars.
THE DAILY MENACE
Natural born menace
Is there anything Andile Mngxitama wouldn’t do for publicity? We doubt it. The attention-seeking, grubby rabble-rouser who leads a mighty Black First Land First army (all three of them and their fax machine) has blamed Tropical Cyclone Idai on whites and wants the African Union to demand reparations and relief from the West for the disaster. The Bell Pottinger protégé and Malema mini-me said the cyclone was not a natural disaster but ‘a direct consequence of the white, Western system of ecological assault for profits’. Oh boy. Menacegxitama, you are a natural disaster.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
A week reprieve
South Africa should be able to enjoy a week without load-shedding after Eskom announced five power units were brought back on line between Friday morning and Sunday. Water and diesel reserves have improved, allowing the gas turbines to work, and we’re getting 850MW in from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa facility after one of the ruptured supply lines was repaired. A second line, severely damaged by Cyclone Idai will take months to fix.
Business is worried
Yesterday the Small Business Institute called on government to sort out the Eskom crisis urgently, saying small business owners were reporting significant losses due to the power cuts, particularly those reliant on refrigeration. The SA Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement yesterday warning that job losses were likely as a result of the blackouts.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
Bafana off to Afcon
A Percy Tau brace sent Bafana Bafana through to the Afcon finals in Egypt. Tau’s two goals gave South Africa their 2-1 victory over Libya at a hostile Stade Taïeb Mhiri in neutral Sfax, Tunisia last night. Bafana needed a draw to join 23 other teams taking part in the African championships but overcame their opponents and the crowd to book their place. The African Cup of Nations tournament will be held in Egypt from June 21-July 19.
Schurter, Langvad guide newbies home
Former winners Nino Schurter and Annika Langvad yesterday finished the Absa Cape Epic guiding two newbies to victories in the gruelling eight-day race around the Western Cape. Multiple World Champion Schurter and his Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing partner, European Champion Lars Forster, wrapped up a tense week of racing in which they had to fight back from a day of mechanical dramas to beat Manuel Fumic and Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Racing) by seven-and-a-half minutes overall. In the women’s race, Langvad shepherded World Road Champion Anna van der Breggen to seven stage victories, including the win on yesterday’s Grand Finale from Stellenbosch University to Val de Vie Estate. In the final stage for the men’s category, South Africans Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes (PYGA Euro Steel) were inched out of their second stage win when, according to a photo finish, Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez beat Buys across the line.
Proteas clinch clean sweep
Rain shortened the Sri Lankan tour by a few overs in the final T20 against South Africa yesterday, but it probably just reduced the margin of defeat. Dwaine Pretorius (77 not out), Reeza Hendricks (66 off 52 balls ) and JP Duminy (34 not out) chipped in as the Proteas scored 198 for two. Then Andile Phehlukwayo took four wickets as the Sri lankans were bowled out for 137, 45 runs short of their revised target. The win gives South Africa a clean-sweep of both the ODIs and T20s, making up for their dismal loss in the Test series.
Sun sets on Wolves experiment
As expected, Sanzaar booted the Sunwolves participation into touch on Friday when they announced a return to Super 14. While the new old structure allows a return to the round-robin format which was popular at the time, it remains to be seen if the unwieldy conference system has damaged Super Rugby beyond rescue.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ?
Noah more Trevor?
Trevor Noah could find himself out of a job shortly if AT&T-DIRECTV go ahead with plans to drop 22 Viacom television channels, including Comedy Central, which hosts his show. Well, that might be stretching things. It seems unlikely that Noah himself would not find a new job. But the show may be cut. Noah has taken to Twitter to ask fans to help ensure it does not go off air.
Stephen Mckears wanted to know who the hell was cleaning his garden shed? Mckears, a retired electrician from South Gloucestershire, noticed plastic clips appearing in an old ice cream tub and large screws, plastic leads, nuts and bolts neatly filed away The UK’s Metro reported that Mckears and his neighbour set up a trail camera to uncover the mystery guest and were astonished to find the culprit was a mouse. ‘I’ve been calling him Metal Mickey but some people have been saying he’s just mouse proud. I was quite amazed to see it – it is an amazing mouse.’ The pair filmed the mouse tidying away the metal objects from around midnight to 2.30am – an activity it has been doing every night for around a month. And, yes, there is footage of Metal Mickey.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Today’s champ is M@thew (@TweetPotato314) for this:
Me: sorry I missed your party yesterday
Friend: it’s today actually
Me: Read this again tomorrow then
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue is a special request for Shtoobs and Shirley who got married 55 years ago today: Mere lad? Could be an important anniversary today! (7)
The solution to Friday’s clue, I dangled dosh, sadly still powerless (4,7) is LOAD SHEDDING, an anagram of ‘I dangled dosh’ (‘sadly’ is the anagram indicator).
THE BIG READ
While growing up in Nigeria, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani’s parents never spoke their native Igbo language to her because they believed English would give her an advantage, as the international language of business and diplomacy, of science and technology. Later, her father admitted that he had an even stronger motivation for preferring English: ‘We spoke it to set ourselves apart,’ he told her. ‘Those of us who were educated wanted to distinguish ourselves from those who had money but didn’t go to school.’ The Guardian publishes Adaobi’s compelling essay about how she rediscovered her mother tongue.
WHAT WE SAY
The Mozambique/Zimbabwe/Malawi cyclone disaster has highlighted the failings of the South African media. Coverage locally was limited and poor and the best place to catch up on what was going on to our north was via Britain’s The Guardian newspaper website. Local news services did make a belated attempt to catch up but the weekend coverage of this massive disaster on our doorstep was poor. This time, though, the blame should not lie with the journalists themselves, but with managers that have stripped newsrooms of resources in their short-sighted pursuit of profit. They have not only robbed readers, viewers and listeners of news, but the shrinking media footprint has undermined democracy: you cannot shine a light into dark corners when you can’t reach them anyway.
WHAT YOU SAY
I thoroughly enjoy the concise, easy-to-read, high-level, well-selected news summary. Given the general glut of news, it’s hard to know what to pick, who to believe and where to source the best.
You do this for us readers – thank you!
Keep it short, keep it relevant, keep it accessible!
Dr Birgit Schreiber
In Friday’s story on the new words included in the Oxford English Dictionary we misspelled ‘gramadoelas’ as ‘gamadoelas’. Thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed readers for pointing it out.