14 November 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Two pupils at Herzlia Middle School in Cape Town are facing disciplinary action for ‘taking a knee’ in protest during the playing of Hatikvah, the Israeli anthem, during a graduation ceremony for Grade 9 pupils last week, GroundUp reported. After the ceremony, the school’s director of education, Geoff Cohen, sent a letter to parents saying that the kneeling was inappropriate and ‘demonstrated deliberate and flagrant disregard for the ethos of the school’. He said the school does not take issue with ‘an individual pupil’s right to question or hold an opinion which differs from the mainstream ideologies of the school’, but rather ‘the time, place and manner in which such views were displayed’. Former Herzlia pupil Daniel Linde said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ at the public admonishing of the pupils by the school.
Hogan’s damning evidence
More dots were joined at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture today as former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan finished her evidence. She recalled how she was surprised to hear SAA was planning to cancel its ‘least loss-making’ route from Johannesburg to Mumbai, soon after the Gupta-linked Jet Airways of India had lobbied to take over the route. In earlier evidence Vytjie Mentor had testified how she had been offered Hogan’s cabinet position if she terminated SAA’s selfsame Johannesburg-Mumbai route. Hogan has testified that she believed she was fired as a minister by Jacob Zuma because she defied his directives on issues relating to State Owned Enterprises, of which SAA is one.
Malusi Gigaba last night bowed to the inevitable and quit as Minister of Home Affairs. It followed two court findings and one by the Public Protector that he had lied about the rights to run a VVIP terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. And then there was that sex tape. He continues to insist he has done nothing wrong and it seems that he will stay on as an ANC member. Transport Minister Blade Nzimande will temporarily cover the home affairs portfolio. See ‘What We Say’ below.
Number-two in more poo
EFF number-two Floyd Shivambu – fresh from allegations of skullduggery in connection with the VBS Bank fraud – appeared before parliament’s ethics committee today to answer questions about his much-publicised assault on a journalist. The meeting was held behind closed doors and no details had emerged by this afternoon. One of the committee members is EFF leader Julius Malema.
Silas of the sheeps
The shortlist of 12 for the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) was reduced to 11 before interviews began today when DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said she would not be available. First up was acting NDPP Silas Ramaite, who had a tough time explaining what he had done to prevent the meltdown at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in recent years when he had been serving under the likes of Shaun ‘The Sheep’ Abrahams. Next up and still giving evidence at the time of writing was advocate Matodzi Rachel Makhari, who claimed that she is a toughie known as the ‘Dragon Lady’. The new appointment will be announced before December 19.
May, or maybe not
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is today trying to convince her cabinet colleagues to back a last-minute Brexit deal she struck with the European Union. The details haven’t been made public but some Conservative Party colleagues have got wind of bits of it and are threatening a revolt – all being encouraged by wannabe prime minister Boris Johnson. See the Big Read below for an excellent New Statesman profile on Johnson and here for The Guardian’s running coverage.
THE DAILY MENACE
The trouble started on Monday when Johannesburg Mayor went on a walkabout through the streets of Jozi and spotted a man wheeling a trolley filled with ‘skopo’ – cow heads. The city’s first citizen made his first citizen’s arrest, which he boasted about on Twitter. He also said the trader was an illegal immigrant. Some people accused him of killing small businesses and Mashaba hit back tweeting: ‘We are [not] going to sit back and allow people like you to bring us Ebolas in the name of small business. Health of our people first…’ Equating being foreign with ebola smacks of xenophobia. He has apologised for his comments but for almost out-trumping Trump, Mashaba earns today’s menace stripes.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
Moyane fights for his job – again
In another twist in the Sars saga, former commissioner Tom Moyane has applied to the Pretoria High Court to urgently review and set aside President Cyril Ramaphosa’s confirmation of his sacking this week. An earlier Constitutional Court application is also still to be decided, in which Moyane has applied to have the whole commission into Sars led by retired judge Robert Nugent declared unlawful. This, of course, would mean that Ramaphosa would be forced to ignore the recommendation already made by Nugent – that Moyane be dismissed.
Eskom warns the lights may go out
Eskom has less than 10 days of coal left at five of its power stations, and less than 20 days at ten others. Confirmation of the dire state of the supply has come with a warning that we are highly likely to be headed for load shedding once again. Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Fin24 that the situation has deteriorated dramatically since the last assessment of stocks earlier this year, when reserves stood at an average of 28 days across all stations. Eskom’s rescue plan is three-pronged: bring in more coal, sign up new suppliers, and use diesel to plug the gaps.
SABC asks for R3bn guarantee
SABC executives told parliament this morning that the broadcaster needs R3bn to stave off collapse by March next year and was looking for a state guarantee to be able to borrow the cash. Board member Mathatha Tsedu told the portfolio committee on finance that the SABC’s ability to pay full salaries would be in doubt as early as February.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
Boks to box clever?
Rassie Erasmus won’t ban the box kick, but expect to see a lot less of the tedious tactic on Saturday when South Africa plays Scotland in Edinburgh. ‘We weren’t good with the decision-making (against France) – the balance between when to run, when we are going to do the box-kick,’ said Erasmus. With Faf de Klerk returning to Sale Sarks, Ivan van Zyl or Embrose Papier will play scrumhalf this weekend and will have the responsibility of deciding when to use the box kick.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn is heading back to South African and will not be part of the one-off T20 match against Australia. The veteran was back to his best in the recent ODI Series but has been released from the Proteas squad to play in the Mzanzi Super League. Meanwhile the Proteas easily won their T20 warm-up match against an Australian XI in Brisbane this morning.
Kevin Anderson literally towers over Kei Nishikori, and yesterday at the ATP Tour Finals the 6-foot 8-inch South African was head-and-shoulders above his Japanese opponent on the court as well. Anderson raced to a 6-0 6-1 win over the world number-nine in just 64 minutes. In the later singles match, Roger Federer kept his semifinal hopes alive with a 6-2 6-3 win over Dominic Thiem.
Small change in proceedings
Referee David McNamara forgot to bring a coin onto the field for the traditional pre-match coin toss in a recent English Women’s Super League soccer match. With kick-off time looming he got Steph Houghton, the captain of Manchester City, and Reading skipper Kirsty Pearce, to play rock, paper, scissors. The FA took a dim view and McNamara was suspended from refereeing for 21 days.
A total of 48 people have already died in the California wildfire sweeping the state. Here the Guardian documents the trail of destruction in pictures.
The penis paper that didn’t stand up
Two professors decided to shake up the academic community and have a go at the social sciences. They wrote a ridiculous paper titled The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct, arguing that penises shouldn’t be thought of as male genital organs but as damaging social constructions. They even argued that climate change is ‘conceptually caused by penises’. They used algorithmically-generated nonsense quotations. ‘We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal.’ And that’s exactly what happened when Cogent Social Sciences accepted their paper. You can read what the authors had to say in the Skeptic. The hoax has echoes of HuffPost SA’s Shelley Garland scandal, which represented a shameful moment in South African journalism.
TWEET OF THE DAY
And today’s winner is … Clinton van der Berg (@ClintonV) for:
A man entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in 10 different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately no pun in 10 did.
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue, compiled by @7upislemonade, is: Men survive real trouble in Stan Lee’s world (6,8)
The solution to yesterday’s clue, Rampantly sexy, without a kiss? Absolutely! (3) is YES – an anagram of sexy (‘rampantly’ is the anagram indicator) without x (kiss) is a synonym for absolutely.
THE BIG READ
The New Statesman publishes a profile on ‘the charlatan’ who has his eye on becoming Britain’s next prime minister – Boris Johnson, a Trump-lite who is ‘perilously close to winning power’. Writer Martin Fletchers recounts the Boris Bridge debacle, which offers a glimpse of how Johnson, who has divided Britain more deeply and bitterly than anyone can remember, has managed to come this far.
WHAT WE SAY
Malusi Gigaba’s resignation as minister of home affairs follows that of then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene just five weeks ago. Both were revealed to have been untruthful, but the allegations against Gigaba were considerably more egregious and President Cyril Ramaphosa obviously warned him during their Friday meeting that the end was nigh. These are heartening developments for the country. They mean that Ramaphosa has set a behavioural standard for public representatives and is sticking to it. He is also methodically addressing the problem people and issues that he inherited from Jacob Zuma’s disastrous presidency. It might be moving too slowly for many, but it is happening.