Police resources ruled discriminatory | No one gets Clos to Chad | Happy Snap | Two great big reads | Eben heads north


Bathabile has ‘raised the bar’ – Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a two-hour interview to Radio 702/Cape Talk chat show host Xolani Gwala last night and said variously: corrupt South Africans would not get away with it but ‘due process’ had to be followed; there was growing anger among black youths at ‘lackadaisical’ whites with economic power; radical economic transformation is basically the same thing as inclusive growth and must happen; voters will come back to the ANC because it is their ‘natural home’; and, the one that attracted the headlines and got Twitter going – that Bathabile Dlamini was doing an excellent job and had ‘raised the bar’ for women. No, not that bar.

Police numbers ‘discriminatory’

The Cape High Court has ruled that the allocation of police resources in the Western Cape discriminates on the basis of race and poverty, reports GroundUp. The case was brought by the Khayelitsha-based Social Justice Coalition, Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum, and the remedy – to be decided by the court at a later date – should have highly significant implications for the deployment of police in the country.

Strasbourg gunman killed

French police have shot and killed the gunman they believe was behind the killing of three people and wounding of 13 others at Strasbourg’s Christmas market. The suspect, 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, was killed after opening fire on police elsewhere in Strasbourg. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed that Chekatt had acted on their behalf.

Trump’s Pecker problem 

The tabloid National Enquirer newspaper has acknowledged paying hush money to a woman who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump. The admission came as federal prosecutors announced that they would not prosecute the parent company, American Media Inc (AMI), for its role in a scheme to tilt the presidential race in favour of Trump. AMI admitted it paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal before the 2016 election.According to the Washington Post, the deal signaled the unraveling of the ‘deep relationship’ between Trump and AMI head David Pecker. It’s clear that Pecker, whose tabloid strongly supported Trump’s candidacy, has turned on the president.


Kingon clings on

While Tom Moyane suffered yet another humiliating court defeat this week, the person sitting in the former South African Revenue Service commissioner’s seat, Mark Kingon, will keep it warm for a bit longer. Kingon’s 90-day acting stint ended yesterday, but BusinessLive said it’s likely to be extended while President Cyril Ramaphosa finalises a permanent commissioner to turn the tax agency around. The High Court dismissed Moyane’s application to block Ramaphosa from appointing a successor and to stop the Nugent commission of inquiry into the Sars shambles from submitting its final report. Unsurprisingly, Moyane indicated he will appeal against the judgement.

Media mayhem

It’s carnage out there in the media world. Now Khanyi Dhlomo’s Ndalo Media – which published Destiny, Destiny Men and Elle magazines – will close its doors at the end of January. Various reports suggest staff have not received salaries for two months and that a R13-million printing bill remains unpaid. Dhlomo reportedly told the staff this week about the plan to close down the company.


Eben heads north

Highly-rated Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will be leaving Western Province and the Stormers at the end of 2019 – after the World Cup – to join Toulon in France. The French club yesterday announced the double signing of Etzebeth and All Black outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder. Etzebeth, who has 75 Test caps for the Springboks, will join fellow South Africans Marcel van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger, Jacques Potgieter and JP Pietersen at the club. Various sources claim the giant lock will be earning about R17-million a year.

No one gets Clos to Chad 

Chad le Clos picked up South Africa’s second gold medal at the FINA World Swimming Championships yesterday when he won the men’s 100m butterfly, his fourth consecutive world title in the event. The victory, in a time of 48:50, took South Africa up to third on the medals table after Le Clos won silver in the 200m fly and Cameron van der Burgh claimed gold in the 100m breaststroke. In today’s finals the SA team will be looking for a medal in the 4x50m freestyle relay and Brad Tandy swims in the 50m freestyle sprint.

Now Egypt keen to host Afcon

Egypt yesterday officially joined the race to take over from Cameroon as host of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Egypt only expressed its interest in hosting the tournament after Morocco surprisingly announced it would not be bidding for the tournament, which is due to start in June. South Africa is favourite to take over the hosting from Cameroon, which was stripped of the tournament because it was too far behind in its preparations. 

And then there were three

Three teams are left to challenge for the inaugural Mzansi Super League honours, with Jozi Stars and Paarl Rocks meeting at Wanderers this evening for a place in the final. The winner will take on the Cape Town Blitz in the tournament decider on Sunday at Newlands. The Jozi Stars finished second on the log, have home-ground advantage and have won five of their last six matches, which makes them heavy favourites to reach the final.  



In an effort to counter some of the world’s negativity we ask people what makes them happy. the.news.letter features a Happy Snap every Friday

Gcinikhaya Mgcolo, 34, security guard 

My baby daughter makes me happy. I saved up to buy her a remote control for Christmas. She loves toys and I think she’s going to love this. She was born on the 24 October last year We named her Imivuyo, which means ‘happy’, because when she was born I was very, very, very happy.


Choc a block

A street in the western German town Westönnen was coated in chocolate after a ton of the sweet stuff flowed out of a factory and solidified. The newspaper Soester Anzeiger reported that a ‘small technical defect’ involving a storage tank caused the chocolate to spill out from the DreiMeister chocolate factory. After hitting the chilly street, the chocolate quickly hardened. About 25 firefighters worked to pry the chocolate off with shovels. Now that’s what you call a Quality Street!


As we mentioned, we’re going on a bit of a break at the.news.letter. So here’s a seasonal tweet from our fave tweeter, Brian Bilston (aka The Poet Laureate of Twitter):

a poem
 in the shape
of a Christmas
tree but then forgot
to water it and only a few






                        the                                       carpet


Today’s exceptional clue compiled by anagram master Kieron Callaghan is, As Dorothy once said, alcohol kept her enemies drunk! (6,2,5,4,4)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Def con one in Conservative leadership battle? (2,10), is NO CONFIDENCE – an anagram of ‘Def con one in + C (Conservative leadership) – battle is the anagram indicator and Conservative leadership battle is the definition)


Wired has published Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell, a compelling piece about the South African-born tech-tycoon who swings from genius to jerk, flying into rages and demanding the impossible.

And because the.news.letter is taking a break until next Friday, here’s a second big read about why Time magazine chose The Guardians as the 2018’s Person of the Year. The Guardians are the journalists who have been targeted for their work: Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in the Saudi embassy in Turkey, staff from Capital Gazette, the US newspaper where five people were killed, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and the wives of Myanmar’s Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Time explains its decision. 


The week that was

What made us go yowzer:
Australian great-grandmother Irene O’ Shea becoming the oldest skydiver. She’s 102. 

Who we honoured:
Alex Boraine. At the memorial service for the deputy chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on South Africans to remember and applaud a man who dedicated his life to justice.

What made us sad:
Philip le Roux, the inspiring curator of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, who died on Wednesday after a cycling crash on Suikerbossie, the road going into Hout Bay.

What made us go, yep, that’s pretty darn accurate:
Japan choosing the symbol meaning ‘disaster’ to define 2018.

What made us go, Ale be back:
The awarding of a liquor licence to a Pick n Pay outlet in Fish Hoek, making the town lose its 200-year-old ‘dry status’. ‘Ale be back’ is not strictly accurate because ale was never there in the first place. 

What made us go, AMANDLA!
Raymond Suttner receiving his Master’s degree in law 49 years after he withdrew it because he refused to delete references to communist Jack Simons.

What made us go it’s about time…
The court ruling that Jacob Zuma must pay for his own legal fees in his corruption trial. He owes between R16-million and, listen carefully, R32-million, four-hundred and eleventy thousand.

What made us say, but how the hell are we going to fit THAT into a headline:
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who takes over from Angela Merkel as Germany’s CDU leader.

What made us go, but can it get any weirder?
No, we’ve stopped talking about Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. We’re talking about implosions and explosions. The Theresa May Brexit implosion in Britain and the violent yellow vest protests that exploded in France.

Speaking of exploding implosions, what’s happening in the US?
Each day brings fresh developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election and each day Donald Trump seems to becoming a little more unhinged. (Impeachment, anyone?)

Who deserves the menace of the week:
BLF’s Andile Mngxitama’s ‘kill the whites’ comments has managed to outmenace Malema this week. Spewing hateful speech is, well, hateful. Grow up.   

What made us proudly South African:
The.news.letter’s ‘Person of the Year’ – our very own Guardians – investigative journalists like Pauli van Wyk at the Daily Maverick’s Scorpio and the tireless prodders at AmaBhungane, who, despite the trolls and bots, keep digging and expose corruption. The country owes you a debt of gratitude.

Dear Reader,

The silly season for news has arrived – it’s getting very quiet out there – and we need a break, so we are going to have one. From next week, and for three weeks after that, we are going to reduce our efforts to one offering a week – on Fridays. We will return to five newsletters a week from January 14. 

We wish you all a great holiday.

Chris, Jonathan and Martine

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Doctors probed over footballer’s death | Zuma must pay … and pay back the money | Trump ‘fixer’ goes to jail | Cannibals locked up for life


Zuma must pay … and pay back the money

Jacob Zuma will no longer be funded by the state in his corruption trial – and he’s got to pay back the money already spent on the trial. Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba today ruled in the North Gauteng High Court that the state is ‘not liable for the legal costs incurred by (Zuma) in his personal capacity in criminal prosecutions against him, (and) in any civil litigation … (and) any other associated legal costs’, reports Business Day. He also ordered that the state attorney ‘take all necessary steps, including the institution of civil proceedings’ to recover state money already spent on the trial. Zuma faces fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering charges relating to the arms deal. Estimates on how much the state has spent on his defence so far range between R12-million and R32-million.

Naka Drotské in ICU

Former Springbok hooker and Free State coach Naka Drotské has been re-admitted to intensive care after being shot several times in a home invasion in the Free State. The 47-year-old was wounded in the arm and chest but after two operations he returned home from the Bloemfontein Mediclinic. On Tuesday he was checked back in to the hospital with ‘massive intestinal bleeding … and a lung infection,’ said the hospital. Drotské’s cousin Steven yesterday wrote on Facebook: ‘Please pray for Naka Drotské, he is fighting for his life, in critical condition in ICU.’

May poll 

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived last night’s no-confidence vote with 200 Conservative Party MPs backing her and 117 wanting her to go. She needed 159 votes to defeat the motion. She did, however, agree to step down as party leader before the 2022 elections and many analysts seem to feel she has been rendered a lame duck in the process. And she has to somehow breathe life back into the whole Brexit shambles. If you’re also battling to get your head around the whole thing, see the Big Read below.

Trump ‘fixer’ goes to jail

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and ‘fixer’, was last night sentenced to three years in jail for a range of crimes. These included lying to congress and facilitating ‘hush money’ payments during the 2016 presidential election campaign to two  women who alleged they had affairs with Trump – violations of campaign finance regulations which Cohen says were done at Trump’s behest. An emotional Cohen told the court he had committed the crimes out of ‘blind loyalty’ to Trump. The president has said Cohen is lying.

Cannibals locked up for life

A man who walked into the Estcourt police station last year with a bag containing a human hand and a leg, and told the disbelieving duty cops he was tired of eating human flesh, has been sentenced to life in prison, alongside his fellow cannibal. In a case the judge called ‘the stuff of nightmares’, traditional healer Nino Mbatha, 33, and Lungisani Magubane, 32, were sentenced for the murder of Zanele Hlatshwayo whom they had initially killed for body parts.


Comic’s sad night out

Entertainer Casper de Vries was found naked, bloodied, bruised and scratched in a street in Johannesburg. He had taken some sleeping pills and washed them down with vodka and then everything went black. He can’t remember much but thinks he may have set out to take his dog Kent for a walk. He took to social media to make light of his experience, saying, ‘Feel sorry please. And then you may laugh.’ Nobody knows what happened except maybe Kent, but he’s not saying, but whoever (or whatever) was responsible for leaving Casper the friendly comedian looking like he endured three rounds with Mike Tyson is today’s menace. Casper has been making us laugh for years. 


Drinking like a fish (hoek)

Dry Fish Hoek supporters were set to celebrate the town’s 200th year as an alcohol-free zone – until Judge Deon van Zyl set the rocks among the whisky. News24 reports that he ruled that the Liquor Licencing Tribunal was mistaken in refusing an application made by Pick n Pay Fish Hoek for a bottle store licence. Judge Van Zyl said there was a very real need for a liquor store in Fish Hoek­. Pro-booze advocates Wet Fish Hoek say this is good news for business and great news for tourism. However, Dry Fish Hoek says there is nothing to be happy about, and called the decision a disaster for the town, saying the inevitable consequence is that there will be further applications for bottle stores.

Rotten Transnet contract link to judge’s husband

Paul O’Sullivan has told Alec Hogg of BizNews how a tip to the Forensics for Justice hotline led to the suspension of a rotten R4bn Transnet contract for the new Durban port, and how it came to light that the contract personally benefited the husband of Constitutional Court Judge Leona Theron, Charles Sarjoo. O’Sullivan praised the new leadership at Transnet who acted immediately on information he presented to them by suspending the port contract. Transnet has reported the matter to Treasury and the Hawks. The interview is worth a read. 


Doctors probed over footballer’s death

Two Italian doctors are being investigated for culpable homicide following the sudden death of Fiorentina football club captain Davide Astori. According to Italian news agency ANSA, the doctors are thought to have given the 31-year-old a medical certificate declaring him fit to play for the Italian Serie A club despite evidence he was suffering from a heart condition. In March the Italian international defender was found dead in a hotel in Udine where his side were preparing for a clash against Udinese. An initial post-mortem cited bradyarrhythmia – where the heart slows down so much it stops – as the cause of death.

Cameron’s golden goodbye

There was good news and bad news from Cameron van der Burgh at the 14th FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in China yesterday. The breaststroker won gold and then announced his retirement. The 100m breaststroke title he won was his fifth world title. He also won gold at the London Olympics in 2012. Watch his career highlights.

Cameroon’s sorry goodbye

Morocco has opted out of attempting to stage the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, leaving South Africa as the overwhelming favourites to take over from designated hosts Cameroon. Cameroon was due to host the tournament in June but the Confederation of African Football opted to re-open bidding due to delays in preparation. Congo Brazzaville are reported to also be candidates.


F-bomb Santa lets rip  

Yesterday we brought you the story of Jewish Santa, today we bring you the story of F-bomb Santa. According to the Cambridgeshire Live website, a ‘vile Santa’ ruined the magic of Christmas for dozens of children in the English county when he ripped off his hat and beard and started swearing at them. The descent into chaos began when smoke machines from a separate ‘blow your whistle’ rave event downstairs triggered a fire alarm, prompting Santa to rip off his costume and let rip with a few choice words. A mom said steam was ‘literally coming from his ears’. One little boy was left particularly upset when Santa told him ‘to get the f*** out’. ‘We told our children he wasn’t the real Santa and will be going on the naughty list,’ the mom said.


Today’s winner is from Paul (@bingowings):
Dr: Check his vital signs.
Nurse: He’s got 4G coverage & his battery’s at 60%.

Or the pan-midwesterner (@panmidwest) for this:
FRIEND: did you hear about the Salvation Army volunteer who is on strike?
ME: doesn’t ring a bell.



Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, follows yesterday’s topical clue and is a phrase that some South African politicians know well (but wish they didn’t): Def con one in Conservative leadership battle? (2,10)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Is her seat rickety? (7), is THERESA (an anagram of ‘her seat’ (‘rickety’ is the anagram indicator).


After UK Prime Minister Theresa May presented her Brexit deal last month, a flurry of Tory MPs submitted letters of no confidence. On the eve of the no confidence vote, and with Brexit still stubbornly unresolved, Jen Kirby from the Vox wrote about the rebellion within the Conservative Party and explainedhow Britain got to this point.


The court decision that former president Jacob Zuma is going to be personally liable for legal costs in his corruption trial is to be welcomed – even if the many millions he is likely to have to pay will be dwarfed by the billions that he and his state capture allies apparently bled from the country’s economy. What the North Gauteng High Court ruling will do is give pause to the next person in a powerful position who might be tempted to line their pockets illegally. In other words, it is a start – and one that comes on the back of other indications that the fight against corruption is now being taken seriously. Long may they continue.


Reader John Hinch penned the witty ode below in response to yesterday’s Tweet of the Day in which the 12 funniest words in the English language, according to the University of Warwick, were revealed.  

The UniverTinkle of WaddleTwits
Spawns Eggheads, Twerps and Nitwits.
Can’t tell their Boobys from their Asses,
While their Hooters give off gasses.
And their Booty Bebop gets on my Tits.

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Happy Snap 24: Gcinikhaya Mgcolo, 34, security guard

Happy Snap 24: Gcinikhaya Mgcolo, 34, security guard

My baby daughter makes me happy. I saved up to buy her a remote control for Christmas. She loves toys and I think she’s going to love this. She was born on the 24 October last year We named her Imivuyo, which means ‘happy’, because when she was born I was very, very, very happy.

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