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 All charges were subsequently withdrawn.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’.
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
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.
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.
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.
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