Hogan’s damning evidence | Silas of the sheeps | Eskom warns the lights may go out | The penis paper that didn’t stand up

14 November 2018


Knee-jerk response

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.

Goodbye Gigaba

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.


Arrested development

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.


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.


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.

Steyn removed

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.

Towering performance

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.


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.


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 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.


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.

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13 November 2018


Blue-lights for red beret boss

EFF leader Julius Malema is receiving VIP protection after ‘nefarious and evil’ threats, police have confirmed to the Sowetan but declined to give details. Malema’s car was escorted by a white BMW with blue lights in and around Parliament last week. The EFF’s list of possible suspects is long: from a group of ‘politically insecure and insane individuals’ in the North West, to drug dealers and assassins in different provinces, particularly the Western Cape, to ‘right-wing forces’ unhappy with the party’s position on land expropriation without compensation.

Hogan: Zuma took away my authority

Another day, another revelation about how Jacob Zuma drove the state capture project. Former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, giving her second day’s evidence to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture, said she had resigned in 2010 after disagreements over appointments at state-owned enterprises (SOEs). She said her situation became intolerable because her ‘executive authority’ had been taken away by the president. Hogan recounted how she and Zuma butted heads over his insistence that controversial Siyabonga Gama be appointed CEO of Transnet and that Eskom boss Jacob Maroga must keep his job in spite of a board decision to axe him. When the Eskom board announced its decision ‘I got a telephone call from the president and he was really furious and he was shouting at me,’ recalled Hogan. ‘(Zuma) said, “Maroga, you’ve got to stop it.” He said tell them (the Eskom board) that they have got to stop now … and short of just defying him, it was a very confusing situation.’  For live coverage of the ongoing inquiry see News24 here.

Cornelius killers get life plus

To cheers from the gallery, the three men found guilty of kidnapping, robbing, raping, and murdering Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius were given two life sentences each yesterday evening. Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons and Eben van Niekerk were last week found guilty in the Cape High Court of the horrific murder of Cornelius and attempted murder of Cheslin Marsh. Their sentences each exceeded 100 years. A fourth suspect, Nashville Julius, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for robbery and kidnapping.

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of award

Amnesty International has withdrawn its ambassador of conscience award from Aung San Suu Kyi for a ‘shameful betrayal’ of the values for which it once lauded her. She received the award in 2009 while under house arrest in Myanmar. She is now the country’s civilian leader but Amnesty said her ‘apparent indifference’ to the atrocities committed against the Rohigya people in that country meant she was no longer a symbol of hope.

Amore gets less

Singer Amore Vittone’s attempt to overturn former husband Joost van der Westhuizen’s will has been scathingly dismissed in the North Gauteng High Court. Judge Hans Fabricius variously described Vittone’s grounds for bringing the case as ‘scandalous’ and her conduct towards her then estranged husband as ‘lacking respect and compassion’. The former Springbok rugby legend died of motor neuron disease last year. In terms of the 2015 will, Vittone will only inherit a television set while the bulk of his estate will be left in a trust for his children, now 13 and 11.


Rusky business

Deputy President David Mabuza’s recent Russian trip and his strange illness is certainly very puzzling, but probably not as puzzling as the misspeaking of his spokesperson. When it emerged that Mabuza had flown to Russia for medical treatment following an alleged poisoning three years ago the Sunday Times asked his spokesperson Thami Ngwenya for details about Mabuza’s illness, Today’s menace responded that he had never described Mabuza as sick, but rather said he was on sick leave. If our doctors are as feeble as our spin doctors it’s no wonder that our deputy president has to go all the way to Russia for medical treatment. Meanwhile, no one seems to know where Mabuza actually is.


VBS Bank liquidated

VBS Mutual Bank – from which at least R1.9-billion was looted – was liquidated in the North Gauteng High Court this morning. The application by the Reserve Bank for the entity to be wound up was unopposed. A Reserve Bank report into the looting earlier named 52 individuals and companies that had benefited from the irregular movement of funds, including several who appeared to have received kickbacks for illegally depositing municipal funds with the bank. Most of those who benefited were politically well-connected.

Chain of debt leaves Eskom R17bn short

South African municipalities owe R17-billion to Eskom, Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize told MPs today. The figure has risen by almost R3-billion since the last audit. And that’s not all they owe – Mkhize told members of the standing committee on public accounts that our municipalities’ water bills have gone up by a similar amount, taking the total owed for water to R7,6-billion. The minister said the problem started with those who defaulted on payments to municipalities for services. At December 2017 this debt stood at R139-billion – leaving town and city councils unable to meet their debts.


Faf out, Whiteley doubtful, Eben back

SA Rugby has announced that Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has been released back to the Sale Sharks and will not be available for the Springboks for the Test against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday. A calf injury also means Whiteley is doubtful for Saturday’s clash. There was, however, good news for the Springboks yesterday with Eben Etsebeth returning to training after recovering from an ankle injury.

Perfect start by SA women

South Africa got their Women’s World T20 campaign off to a perfect start against Sri Lanka his morning when they chased down a target of 100 with nine balls to spare. There were some nerves when the South Africans lost their opening two wickets with just six runs on the board, but Marizanne Kapp (38 runs) and Dane van Niekerk (33 not out) controlled the chase and the South Africans got home with seven wickets in hand. Shabnim Ismail (three for 10 from four overs) was the pick of the SA bowlers and took the Player of the Match award.

English football wants fewer foreign players

The English Football Association is planning to reduce the number of overseas players in Premier League squads to 12. The proposal will be put to the clubs this week. Currently 13 Premier League clubs have more than 12 overseas players in their first team squads.

Sturridge charged over betting breaches

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been charged with breaching UK Football Association’s strict betting rules. The charges relate to rules which prohibit passing on information about team selection, managers, players or disciplinary issues not publicly available. A Liverpool official, quoted by the BBC, said: ‘Daniel has given his full and unequivocal co-operation … and has stated categorically that he has never gambled on football.’


Crookodile tears

This goes in the ‘what was he thinking’ file. A Florida man broke into an animal farm, and jumped into a pool with crocodiles. Crocodiles being crocodiles bit him on his leg. He somehow managed to escape. At dawn a nearby resident spotted the bleeding man crawling in his boxer shorts across her lawn, and called 911. Police were taking him to hospital when another 911 call came in, reporting a break-in at the animal farm. The authorities realised the two incidents were connected and promptly arrested the culprit-turned victim – 23-year-old Brandon Hatfield. ABC News said surveillance video captured Hatfield jumping into the crocodile enclosure. He allegedly caused more than $5,000-worth of damage to the farm. Hatfield faces charges of burglary, criminal mischief and violation of probation. But he still has his life.


The most sought after award in twitter goes to andrew (@AndrewChamings) today for this:

Sometimes the people that hurt us most are people with nunchucks


Today’s clue is, Rampantly sexy, without a kiss? Absolutely! (3)

You’ll find the answer to this clue as well as some other clues in a blog post by Kathryn Friedlander on whether cryptic crosswords are really better than sex – spoiler alert: doh!

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Naughty Mr. Bean used my crane today! (11,6) – is REMEMBRANCE DAY (an anagram of ‘Mr Bean used my crane’ – ‘naughty’ is the anagram indicator and was compiled on Sunday, 11/11, to recall the end of World War I.


‘Much-loved’ Larry Nasser, the USA gymnast coach, placed himself in a position of authority in a space full of children and became the worst paedophile in sports history – with hundreds of victims, including Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles. Nassar was sentenced to more than 360 years in prison. In this excellent piece of journalism, The Cut asks how he managed to deceive so many for so long. It’s a painful, powerful and important read.


International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu today defended Tanzania’s recent detention and interrogation of journalists Angel Quintal and Muthoki Mumo on the grounds that they had visiting or tourist visas to be in that country and not a work visa. South African Quintal and her Kenyan colleague Mumo were in Tanzania for the Committee to Protect Journalists and, according to the organisation, were on a ‘fact-finding and networking trip’ and had the relevant visas. It described the Tanzanian government’s claims as ‘falsehoods’. Sisulu is the daughter of ANC leaders Walter and Albertina Sisulu and should know as well as anybody that governments that arrest and interrogate press freedom activists in the dead of night are up to mischief. Her acceptance of Tanzania’s wishy-washy explanation smacks of an attempt to mollify its thuggish regime and are an embarrassment to this country.

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12 November 2018


Hogan: How Zuma interfered

Former president Jacob Zuma was once again implicated in state capture at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry today. The hearing was told how Zuma had directed a ‘shocked’ Barbara Hogan to appoint controversial Siyabonga Gama as Transnet CEO in 2009. Hogan was then the public enterprises minister. Hogan, giving evidence, said Zuma rejected her suggestions and ‘would not hear of any candidate but Siyabonga Gama’ – who was facing serious allegations of misconduct at the time. She said Zuma also ‘stopped things from going to cabinet, instructed me to withdraw things …’. Zuma went on to fire Hogan. Gama was recently fired by Transnet amid allegations that he conspired with the Guptas in the purchase of 1,064 locomotives for R54-billion. For live coverage of Hogan’s evidence see News24 here.

Moyane still axed

President Cyril Ramaphosa has bluntly told former SA Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Tom Moyane that he will not be reinstating him after he fired the tax agency boss on November 1. Ramaphosa fired Moyane – who had been suspended on full pay for seven months – on the basis of interim report of the Nugent Commission of Inquiry into Sars. Moyane demanded he be reinstated by last Friday, but the state attorney responded by saying it was not going to happen.

Gunning for Gordhan

It’s a busy week for Pravin Gordhan – on Thursday the public enterprises minister will take centre stage at the Zondo Commission into state capture. But first he must deal with the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who has subpoenaed him to see her on Wednesday. Mkhwebane is investigating a complaint that when Gordhan was Sars commissioner he unfairly approved the then deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement package in 2010. Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters have also sent their army of Twitter bots after Gordhan, claiming he lied about meeting with the Guptas. Perhaps the EFF is trying to deflect some attention away from its own VBS scandal?

Eggstreme reaction

TimesLive’s Wendy Knowler reports that the salmonella bacteria outbreak in Durban and surrounds has put at least 30 people into hospital. It is thought that the bacteria might have come from contaminated eggs and people have fallen ill after eating at various restaurants. According to TimesLive, ‘many pharmacies in the greater Durban area have reported a sudden spike in the demand for diarrhoea medication’.

Final straw for ‘berry needle terrorist’

Talking about dangerous food, AFP reports that police investigating an Australian case in which needles were inserted into strawberries have identified a former farm supervisor as their main suspect. The discoveries of pins and needles in the fruit caused a nationwide panic in September and supermarkets pulled the product from their shelves. On Sunday 50-year-old My Ut Trinh was arrested by Queensland police and charged with seven counts of contaminating goods. According to AFP, she was apparently motivated by ‘spite and revenge’.


Snakes on a plane. Not

There are a whole lot of people who qualify as menaces today – the usual suspects like Jacob Zuma, Donald Trump, Malusi Gigaba, the red overall brigade, Busiswe Mkhwebane and so forth – but the security staff at OR Tambo International Airport have outdone them all. Freedom Under Law executive director Nicole Fritz was boarding a plane to Cape Town on Saturday with her 5-year-old son when officials objected to a toy snake draped around the boy’s neck. The snake was a plushy, a soft toy made out of fabric. It had been given to him by his granny for his birthday. The officials said replica snakes were not allowed on board and no amount of pleading from Fritz could get them to change their mind. Eventually Fritz had to board with a distraught child and without the toy. She said the officials has indulged in a ‘petty, mean-spirited, cruel exercise of discretion … (and what they did) was to create heartache for a little boy’.


SABC/Multichoice ‘deal was a merger’

The Competition Commission has found that a 2013 deal between SABC and MultiChoice fell foul of the Competition Act and should have been registered as a merger.  The commission said the deal allowed MultiChoice to ‘influence the strategic direction’ of the SABC. MultiChoice has said it will challenge the ruling. Soon after the five-year deal was signed, SABC dropped its bid to introduce set-top boxes that would have included technology that, it has been argued, would reduce MultiChoice’s commercial advantage.

SAA: R3-bn rescue flown already

SAA has already spent around R3-billion of the R5-billion bailout announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his Medium Term Budget Statement – before the funding has been approved by parliament. In a candid interview with SA Flyer Magazine, CEO Vuyani Jarana revealed that while the rationale for the bailout was that this would prevent a call on the airline’s outstanding debt of R16.4 billion next March, R3-billion has already gone into paying arrears. Losses for 2018 have already exceeded R5-billion.


CaSTAR Semenya wins big

Middle distance star Caster Semenya is the Sports Star of the Year. She received the accolade at the SA Sports Awards last night also winning the Sportswoman of the Year and the People’s Choice award. The other major winner was swimmer Chad Le Clos, who was named the Sportsman of the Year. Banyana Banyana was crowned the Team of the Year.

Hellova Storey: Girlfriend bags a win with Lee

Lee Westwood fired off a near perfect final round of eight-under-par 64 to secure the Nedbank Challenge title at Sun City yesterday but the social media chatter was all about his caddy. The 45-year-old Englishman gave his regular bagman a week off and his girlfriend Helen Storey caddied for him. Westwood won R17,8-million for his victory.

Anderson overpowers Thiem

South African Kevin Anderson battled to a straight sets win over Dominic Thiem in the opening match of the ATP Tour Finals after an extended second set tiebreaker. Anderson had to work hard to close out the match 6-3 7-6 (12-10). Seventh seed Kei Nishikori also defeated six-time former champion Roger Federer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 last night. In the opening doubles match, South African Raven Klaasen and partner Michael Venus went down 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 10-5 to Jamies Murray and Bruno Soares.


Dead pimp representing

Dennis Hof described himself as ‘America’s pimp’ based on his notoriety as an outspoken brothel owner in Nevada. In death, Hof earned a new title: Nevada state assemblyman. In one of the more unusual developments of last week’s midterm elections, Nevada voters resoundingly elected Hof, a Republican, to represent the state’s 36th Assembly District – nevermind that he had been found dead in one of his brothels a few weeks earlier. His election means that county commissioners from his district will pick a replacement, who must be a Republican and live there.


Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) amused us today with this offering:
The first person to name tropical cyclones named them after politicians he didn’t like. He reportedly took great pleasure in announcing that they were ‘causing great distress’ or ‘wandering aimlessly around the Pacific’.

And then there was Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) with some pithy political commentary:
EFF when Public Protector wants to investigate Gordhan: ‘Relax. It’s only fair that everyone gets examined.’


Today’s timely clue, compiled by @7upislemond yesterday (and ‘yesterday’ is a clue to the clue) is: Naughty Mr. Bean used my crane today! (11,6)

The solution to Friday’s clue, Author secretly wore tights to dance (5-5), is GHOST-WRITER – an anagram of ‘wore tights’ (‘to dance’ is the anagram indicator), and means to author secretly.


Music, even when you are barely aware of it, can be surprisingly powerful. It can affect how much time we think has passed while waiting in a queue, how co-operative shoppers are with sales staff, and even how sweet or bitter food tastes.  The Guardian takes readers on a rollicking journey inside the booming business of background music.


If you think state capture is on the way out, well think again. There’s a mighty battle going on and attempts to undermine State Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan are the most obvious indications of it. Gordhan knows a lot of what was going on from his previous job as finance minister and his current job is to unravel much of what took place. In other words, he presents a danger to a lot of compromised people. Now Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane – appointed by Jacob Zuma to do the bidding of Jacob Zuma – has resurrected thoroughly discredited allegations against Gordhan in yet another apparent effort to weaken him. He is to be ‘interviewed’ by her on Wednesday – the day before he is scheduled to give what is billed to be explosive evidence to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture. Given Mkhwebane’s shocking track record, nobody should take this seriously, but there is a worrying aspect to it all – is somebody pulling her strings? There are still a lot of people in government and the ANC – and elsewhere – who played a role in the state capture project, and they remain a danger to democracy and this country’s hopes of recovery. Jaycob Megna Authentic Jersey

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9 November 2018


Zuma must pay back the money

Former president Jacob Zuma must pay in his personal capacity for his court challenge to former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s ruling that ordered him to set up a probe into state capture. A full bench of the North Gauteng High Court this afternoon upheld an earlier judgment that held him liable for the costs. Zuma was refused leave to appeal. It has been speculated that the costs run into millions.

Not so Supra

Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo’s bid to get back the party leadership in the province hit another hurdle today. Yesterday he filed papers in the South Gauteng High Court in an effort to have the ANC NEC’s decision to disband the provincial leadership overturned. He argued that the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party president last year would be invalid if the branches that took part in the electoral conference were dysfunctional – as the NEC now claims. But the former ‘Premier League’ heavy hitter and Zuma ally would have picked up the Mail&Guardian today with a heavy heart: the newspaper claimed he was a facilitator in the VBS Mutual Bank fraud. Quoting from a forensic report and other sources, the newspaper said Mahumapelo had ‘vigorously’ encouraged municipalities in his province to invest R314-million with the bank.

War on Terror’s huge toll

The US’s ‘War on Terror’ has killed 500,000 people. A study by the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs said between 480 000 and 507 000 people had died in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the conflicts launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre. ‘Though the War on Terror is often overlooked by the American public, press and lawmakers, the increased body count signals that, far from diminishing, this war remains intense,’ said the report.

Counting the Acosta

Twitter is ablaze with calls for the resignation of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders after experts said a video she released to justify the barring of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta was manipulated to make the journalist look more aggressive than he was during an exchange with a White House intern. The Associated Press reports that a frame-by-frame comparison with an AP video of the incident shows that the one tweeted by Sanders appears to have been altered to speed up Acosta’s arm movement as he touches the intern’s arm. The Sanders clip first appeared on a far-right conspiracy site, Infowars. Separately a former FBI special agent has argued that Sanders’ release of the video met the standard of proof for libel – publishing a false statement to damage a person’s reputation – and urged CNN and Acosta to sue. So far Sanders is holding her ground, tweeting that the White House would stand by its decision.

A father’s heartbreak

Hannah Cornelius’s father Willem took the stand yesterday to testify in the sentencing proceedings of the killers who took his daughter’s life away in May last year. He told the Western Cape High Court that his family died with Hannah, and was buried when his wife ‘walked into the ocean a short time later and didn’t come back’. ‘Me and my son are not a family – we are the survivors who live in the ruins of what once was,’ he said. His heartbreaking testimony highlights the personal cost of murder. Cornelius spoke about how proud he was of Hannah, describing her as a remarkable child on the cusp of growing into a remarkable young woman. News24 covered Cornelius’s courageous testimony. Proceedings continue.


Eskom execs to get the chop

It’s usually the minions who get slapped with Section 189 notices – those letters that warn you, you will be losing your job due to ‘restructuring’ at your company. The board of state-owned Eskom, with a tough job to steer the company through its cash-flow troubles, has approved a plan to retrench executives. The company is not saying how many of its 25 executives will be released.


Rassie backs Faf, Willie and Franco

Rassie Erasmus will have one eye on Japan next year and the other on last weekend’s controversial loss to England when the Springboks face France at Stade de France tomorrow night (10.05pm SA time). The World Cup in Japan next year is the long-term goal, but three wins from the remaining three matches of this European tour will significantly boost the preparation for that. The inclusion of Willie le Roux at fullback and Faf de Klerk at scrumhalf for this weekend will provide stability in the Boks backline and should instil some accuracy to the finishing.The forwards also need to up their game and the lineouts will be watched closely after the disasters against England.

Proteas gift for the Aussies

South Africa’s batsmen capitulated meekly today to make life easy for the beleaguered Australian cricket team in their second one-day international of the tour Down Under. The South Africans restricted Australian to 231 all out, and it should have been a relatively easy run chase. An undefeated 10th-wicket partnership from Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir got the Proteas within seven runs of the tie, but in the end Australia will be relieved to have ended their record seven-match losing streak.

Women’s T20 begins

The first standalone ICC Women’s World Twenty20 tournament gets underway today in the West Indies, but South Africa will only play their first match on Tuesday (Wednesday morning SA time). After five tournaments run in conjunction with the men’s ‘world championship’ the tournament starts today with New Zealand taking on India, Australia clashing with Pakistan and the hosts and defending champions playing Bangladesh, all in Guyana. South Africa are in a tough group with the West Indies, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Group B contains Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Ireland.


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

Tafadzwa Ndarimani, 32, Wynberg

I’m happiest when I’m with my son, Blessing. He’s four. I’d had a few miscarriages and didn’t think I’d ever have a child and then I had Blessing – it was a real blessing. I’m happiest when I’m with him, looking after him. He’s amazing. He can be naughty, destroying toys I’ve just bought for him. I get cross but then he comes to kiss me and says, ‘Mommy, are you fine?’ … and my heart melts. I will miss him so much when he goes to school. I’ll be lonely for him. My wish is for him to grow up to be a someone; to be a good man. But for now he’s still my little boy.


Here’s something to make you feel good at the end of a hard week. A toddler who was told to say goodbye as he left a crowded public park handed out love to strangers.


Dick pics from the cockpit

Two pilots involved in a sky penis drawing over California skies last month have been grounded pending an investigation, the Washington Examiner reported.The flight path, which resembled the outline of a penis, was picked up on radar and posted to Twitter.  It’s not clear whether these are the same pilots who used a US Navy warplane to draw a penis in the sky above the town of Okanogan in Washington last year. They were exposed when witnesses took photos and shared them on social media platforms. One local wrote on Twitter: ‘The most monumental thing to happen …. A penis in the sky.’


This tweet from M?se Allain? (@MooseAllain) will help you ease into the weekend with a grin.

Q: Which footballer can hold an enormous amount of fish in his mouth?
A: Pele can


Today’s clue from the Independent in London is, Author secretly wore tights to dance (5-5)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Dieting is no cure for this? (11), is INDIGESTION – an anagram of ‘dieting is no’, which dieting doesn’t cure.


People all around Rosecrans Baldwin were trumpeting new self-improvement projects with cultish devotion: at boutique juice bars, at hallucinogenic ceremonies, at mysterious wellness retreats. So, in an effort to get in on the woo-woo, he tried everything he could for one month. At one particularly emotional session he was sobbing, to a point he felt like he was about to throw up and in a moment of lucidity, he thought, This really isn’t how this article was supposed to go. GQ publishes his story, My Life Cleanse: One Month Inside LA’s Cult of Betterness


The week that was

What made us sigh deeply:
The school woes from all corners of the country. Accusations of racism at Rustenburg Girls Junior School in Cape Town, a pupil at Treverton College in KwaZulu-Natal sending an anti-Semitic voice message to a Jewish matriculant and a Kimberley Boys’ High School pupil throwing water in a teacher’s face.

If only they were following the dignified role models in parliament:
… said no one ever.  Our shameful members of parliament spent their time in the House trading insults and getting into fisticuffs.

What made us say, Come on, haven’t you had enough embarrassment?   
Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba who, after being mocked by the EFF, raised his pinky in some kind of dick-measuring contest.

What made us laugh:
The Daily Sun’s cheeky headline after Gigaba said sorry for his pinky transgressions (‘I’m under so much pressure’). The tabloid blasted this across its front page: ‘Keep your pipi apology’.

And we laughed even harder when …
We watched the tongue-in-cheek video of Rassie Erasmus teaching centre Andre Esterhuizen the ‘Farrell tackle’. It’s perfectly armless.

Who we think deserves the menace of the week:
Once again there were many contenders but the UCT student who signed off the acknowledgement on his honours paper with the violence-inciting slogan ‘One Settler One Bullet’. The student went on to Twitter to bask in his 15 minutes of social media infamy.

Who made us proudly South African:
South Africa’s silent majority – the people who don’t hide behind their keyboards spewing toxic anti-black and anti-white filth. People who just get on with the art of being decent people.

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8 November 2018


End of the Rohde

Johannesburg property moghul Jason Rohde was today found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of murdering his wife at Stellenbosch’s Spier wine farm hotel in 2016. Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe rejected Rohde’s defence that she had committed suicide by hanging herself from a hook in their hotel room. She said Rohde ‘staged the suicide and had the direct intention to kill’ his wife in a physical altercation. The court heard that on the night of the killing the couple got into a row over Rohde’s affair with a colleague.

Gordhan places Zuma at heart of state capture

Pravin Gordhan has submitted a 68-page statement to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry which places former president Jacob Zuma at the heart of efforts to capture the state. News24 has done a good job of summing up his submission.

Mihalik murder puzzle: taxi boss held

A taxi boss joined the two alleged hitmen in the dock in Cape Town today in connection with the Mafia-style hit on advocate Pete Mihalik, who defended a number of underworld figures.  Police had been looking for Vuyile Maliti, a taxi boss in Khayelitsha, who handed himself to police today. Maliti, Sizwe Sinzokohle Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo have been charged with murder. The arrest brings detectives a step closer to finding out who ordered the hit and why.

Trump fires Sessions

Within hours of the US midterm election results being made public President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump has repeatedly criticised Sessions for recusing himself from involvement in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. The president’s critics believe he moved with haste after losing the House of Representatives to the Democrats in the midterms because he has a two-month window before the opposition party can start flexing its new-found muscle. Trump has appointed Matthew Whittaker, a loyal supporter of the president and outspoken critic of Mueller’s probe, as acting attorney general, giving rise to renewed speculation that he plans to fire Mueller.

House of clowns

Parliament really is becoming a circus. Last night EFF leader Julius Malema and DA MP John Steenhuisen were chucked out of the House after resuming their barbs from a day earlier and refusing to withdraw them. Steenhuisen described the EFF as ‘the VBS looters’ and Malema responded by calling the DA MP a ‘racist young white man who was accused of rape’. When pressed by House chairperson Thoko Didiza on the ‘heinous’ rape allegation, Malema explained rather curiously that ‘he is sitting among many rapists’. If there was anything positive to come out of the saga it was Didiza’s measured performance – most unlike Baleka Mbete’s feeble attempts at chairing the same chamber.

Mass shooting in US student pub

Another day another mass shooting in the US. Last night (in the early hours here) a gunman killed 12 people in a country and western bar in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman was found dead at the scene. Most of the victims were students from nearby universities.


Menace 1: Under PRESSure

It’s a double menace day – and the menaces are the heavy-handedness of two governments restricting press freedom. Firstly, in Africa where just before 10pm last night a former South African editor Angela Quintal sent out an SOS on Facebook alerting friends that she and her colleague Muthoki Mumo were being taken away for interrogation by authorities in Tanzania, which has plunged into a press freedom crisis amid newspaper bans and increasingly restrictive laws. Both women work for the Committee to Protect Journalists and were reportedly in the country to investigate the whereabouts of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since November 2017. They were released five hours later.

Menace 2: PRESSumed guilty

Now to the United States of America, where President Donald Trump called CNN reporter Jim Acosta a ‘rude, terrible person’ during a press conference and tried to cut off his questions about Russian interference. A White House intern attempted to take the microphone from Acosta three times, but he held onto it and during the exchange his hand brushed her arm. Acosta was stripped of his press credentials and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was accused of sharing a doctored video to defend the administration’s decision. She also tweeted: ‘We will never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman …’ Perhaps this is something she should tell her boss.


Cyril urges policy certainty

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the inaugural Africa Investment Forum (AIF) meeting today as a ‘marketplace to do deals and conclude transactions’ and an opportunity to ‘resolve the problems that keep investors away from our continent, by addressing governance challenges, such as policy uncertainty, inconsistency, financial mismanagement and corruption’. The AIF meeting in Sandton was organised by the African Development Bank.


United beat Ronaldo

Manchester United battled back last night with two very late goals for an unlikely victory after Cristiano Ronaldo had scored his first Champions League goal for Juventus. Ronaldo looked to have sunk the club which turned him into a global superstar when he volleyed home in the 65th minute. In the 86th-minute United’s Juan Mata scored and three minutes later an own goal from Alex Sandro put United 2-1 up. In other matches Manchester City were 6-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich beat AEK Athens 2-0 and Real Madrid downed Viktoria Plze? 5-0. The two Manchester results provides a perfect precursor to the Manchester derby this weekend.

Faf, Willie and Franco back

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus produced no surprises when he made just three changes to the Bok run-on team to face France on Saturday night. The return of European club players means Faf de Klerk comes in at scrumhalf in place of Ivan van Zyl and Willie le Roux replaces Damian Willemse. In the forwards, Eben Etzebeth’s injury means he drops out of the squad and is replaced by Franco Mostert at lock. On the bench, three more returnees, Vincent Koch, Francois Louw and Cheslin Kolbe will be hoping for some game time. Meanwhile French coach Jacques Brunel has completely revamped his squad with 13 changes from the team which lost heavily to the All Blacks in June. Bok Team: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Jesse Kriel 12 Damian de Allende 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handré Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Warren Whiteley 7 Duane Vermeulen 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Steven Kitshoff. Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Thomas du Toit 18 Vincent Koch 19 RG Snyman 20 Francois Louw 21 Embrose Papier 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Cheslin Kolbe.

Catchphrases win matches?

Battered by off-field issues involving an ever-decreasing admin staff, and bruised from a run of on-field disappointments, it is difficult to see the Australian cricket team getting themselves into the right mindset to beat the Proteas in tomorrow’s ODI in Adelaide. However, maybe some of the coaching catchphrases stuck up on the change room walls may inspire the Australians – although “Elite honesty” is more likely to win friends than matches, and any team that needs to be reminded ‘We are Australia’s cricket team’ is not likely to ‘Make Australians proud’.


Dutch courAGE

A Dutch pensioner has started a legal battle to change his age to boost his dating prospects. Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to shift his birthday from 1949 to 1969. ‘You can change your name, your gender so why not your age?’ he told Dutch paper De Telegraaf after launching an application in a court in Arnhem, outside Amsterdam. There is scepticism he will succeed but Ratelband said he feels discriminated against because of his age, and it was affecting his success rate on Tinder. ‘When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.’ He said his doctors told him he has the body of a 45 year old, and he described himself as a ‘young god’.


Our top tweeter today is Susan Calman (@SusanCalman), for this:

A few years ago, when I lived in a flat, the delivery person left my parcel ‘in a safe place’. I don’t know if you can spot the package in this photo because they did such a great job of making sure no one would steal it.


Today’s clue compiled by @7upislemondade is, Dieting is no cure for this? (11)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Finally – more to benefit by arrangement? (3,6,4) is NOT BEFORE TIME – (an anagram of ‘more to benefit’ (‘by arrangement’ is the anagram indicator) and means finally.


You may never eat another piece of sushi again. Carl Safina is an ecologist and writer, has written an extraordinary essay on whether we are wrong to assume fish can’t feel pain. ‘We like to think fish have no feelings. And yet the idea that they have both memory and a capacity for suffering is gaining ground among scientists,’ he writes.


Those of you who read these things through to the bottom may have noticed that yesterday’s What We Say ended abruptly in the middle of a sentence. A gremlin chopped off the ending, so here it is again:

Republicans in the US are calling the midterm election results a ‘split decision’ after they held the Senate with a slightly increased majority and the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. They are wrong: just 35 Senate seats were contested and Democrats had little hope of turning over the Republican majority anyway. The House election was held across the country for all 435 seats and the Democratic win is a setback for Donald Trump and his Republicans. Besides a rejection of Trump’s divisive rhetoric, it will make life exceedingly difficult for a president who likes to get his way. Instead, Democrats in the House now have the power to block legislation they don’t like and – by exercising the House’s right of oversight – to hold Trump himself to account. This will, for example, mean that the president could be forced to make his tax returns public. There are other issues that the Democrats have indicated they might want to probe, including Russia’s supposed interference in the 2016 election and the loss of thousands of lives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. It also raises the spectre of impeachment, particularly if special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – expected within days – are damning of Trump. Interestingly, Trump said on the eve of the election that he regretted not being able to adopt a ‘softer tone’ as president. The electorate’s message to Trump and the need to co-operate with Democrats in future might just force him into reassessing his messaging and general approach, but that seems a faint hope. Patrick Willis Authentic Jersey Chad Henne Womens Jersey

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Gus Silber on Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody

By Gus Silber

A few years ago, out of a sense of neighbourly obligation and morbid curiosity, I attended an amateur talent evening at a local church hall.

There was a piano recital, played with an air of studious grace; there was a standup comedian, with some wry and cutting observations on race and suburbia; there was a dancer doing a Jazz routine, with a smile on her face and her feet all over the place.

Then it was the turn of a rock band, a three-piece in the classic format of drums, bass, and guitar. They looked shy and earnest – it must have been their first gig – and as the guitarist leaned back and strummed the opening power chord, there was a squeal and a fritz as the amp cut out, leaving just a shiver of steel strings scratching at the air.

The band convened to analyse the problem, fiddling with the dials and trouble-checking the connections, and the MC rushed on stage and said, this won’t take a minute, and she was right.

She stood there for a while, looking on and smiling as the minutes ticked by, and then, out of nowhere, as if thinking aloud, she opened her mouth and sang: “Is this the real life…”
On the other end of the stage, another member of the church’s youth group answered the call, singing: “Is this just fantasy?”

And someone in the audience, without any prompting, sang, “Caught in a landslide”, and someone else sang “No escape from reality”.

And on and on, the thread of the a cappella rising in surge and volume, until we were all singing, all of us, the kids and the teens and the adults, all the way through the Scaramouch and the Fandango and the Galileo and the Mama Mia to the wistful ache of the fadeout – “Any way the wind blows” – and the rapturous burst of self-applause that followed.

It was further proof, if any were needed, that everyone knows Bohemian Rhapsody, which was recorded by Queen in 1975, and which has since, thanks to its ubiquitous use in movies and ads and football stadium singalongs, become a bridge between the generations, a shared gene implanted in our collective cultural memory.

We all know the words of the song by heart, and yet their meaning remains mysterious, elusive, open to interpretation. But that is part of the beauty of art. Once the artist sets it free, it belongs to us all, and we can weigh it up and peel away its secrets in any way we choose.

So the way I hear it, and I’m hearing it a lot these days, in the hype-up to the release of the biopic of the same name, Bohemian Rhapsody is about, well, six minutes long, during the course of which Freddie Mercury contemplates the most cosmic question of them all, on the mercurial nature of existence itself, the state of being or not being in the everyday world.

It’s about the ancient, perpetual battle between the fates and the furies, between the tempests that rage all around us, and our innate drive to rise up and rage back against them.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the song can be heard as a modern riff on the most famous meditation on mortality in the English language: the fourth soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

When the Prince of Denmark ponders whether to be or not to be, he is foreshadowing the anguish of Mercury’s schizophrenic couplet, “I don’t wanna die”, followed immediately by “I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all”.

And when Mercury moans “Too late, my time has come, sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time”, he brings to mind Hamlet’s meanderings on the “heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to”.

Hamlet, troubled out of his mind by his mom and dad, the latter who is a ghost, the former who married his murderer with unseemly haste, is a tragic figure, bent on revenge and wallowing in self-pity, just as Freddie does when he cries: “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me”.

Over the centuries, Hamlet’s mental state has provided rich pickings for professional and amateur analysts alike: at the very least, he is a melancholic, delusional and paranoid, with moments of crystal clarity and insight: “When the wind is southerly,” he insists, “I know a hawk from a handsaw.”

But it is worth remembering that Hamlet, too, must admit to his Mama at one point that he killed a man, albeit the wrong man, and albeit with a sword thrust through a curtain, rather than a gun against the head.

Alas, poor Polonius, and alas all the others of royal ilk who – spoiler alert – are led to their untimely demise by the time the curtain falls.

Bohemian Rhapsody may have less drama to its plotting, but it has no less melodrama, and Freddie too veers from existential despair – “nothing really matters anymore” – to the mania of the middle section, where he sees a little silhouetto of a man and gets very very frightened by the thunder and lightning.

Then he rages: “So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye, so you think you can love me and leave me to die”, perhaps against a treacherous lover, perhaps against the universe, it’s hard to tell and it’s better that we don’t know for sure.

It’s enough that this song, this radical, audacious, format-defying work of pop genius, delves so deeply into a sea of troubles, and then takes arms against them with slings and arrows and drums and guitars, until the music itself becomes reason enough for being.
The lesson that lingers, as the final harmony fades into the ether, is this: in the battle between the fates and the furies, choose the furies.

Choose art, choose beauty, choose truth, choose life, choose to sing along to the words you know by heart, any way the wind blows.

*This first appeared on Gus Silber’s Facebook page.

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Happy Snap 18: Tafadzwa Ndarimani

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

Tafadzwa Ndarimani, 32, Wynberg

I’m happiest when I’m with my son, Blessing. He’s four. I’d had a few miscarriages and didn’t think I’d ever have a child and then I had Blessing – it was a real blessing. I’m happiest when I’m with him, looking after him. He’s amazing. He can be naughty, destroying toys I’ve just bought for him. I get cross but then he comes to kiss me and says, ‘Mommy, are you fine?’ … and my heart melts. I will miss him so much when he goes to school. I’ll be lonely for him. My wish is for him to grow up to be a someone; to be a good man. But for now he’s still my little boy. Keanu Neal Authentic Jersey Nic Dowd Womens Jersey

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7 November 2018


Democrats take House

The Democrats took hold of the US’s House of Representatives for the first time in eight years after gaining 219 seats in yesterday’s Midterm elections. However, the Republicans gained 51 seats in the Senate – where 35 were contested – to cement its hold there. The swing towards Democrats in the House elections, for 435 seats across the country, was fuelled by woman voters, Latinos and the young. See The Guardian here for digestible coverage of the whole thing. Also see ‘What We Say’ about, well, what we say will be the implications of the results.

Scuffle in kindergarten, er, parliament

It was all pretty confusing – not to mention childish – but parliament had to be suspended for five minutes because of scuffles between opposition politicians yesterday evening. It started with a war of words between the DA and EFF, with the former chanting ‘pay back the money’ in reference to the VBS Bank saga and the latter replying with ‘racists’. Then Agang MP Andries Tlouamma objected to something the EFF had said and told them to ‘fokof’, only to have a bottle thrown at him. Tlouamma and the EFF’s Nazier Paulsen got into a scuffle with a whole bunch of others either joining in or trying to separate them. Tlouamma and Paulsen were thrown out of the house.

VC what you did

UCT student Mlandu Masixole tweeted photos of a few pages of his honours paper, including the acknowledgements section, which he’d signed off with ‘One Settler One Bullet’. He was congratulated by all sorts of people, including UCT’s emoji-loving vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, aka @FabAcademic. She told the student she was more proud of him than he could imagine and tweeted three hands clapping, three hugs and three hearts, plus a fireworks gif and in case he hadn’t got the message a ‘Yass!’ and a ‘You Got This’ meme. She backtracked a bit eight hours later to say she wasn’t proud of the bullets, but of him completing the paper. The acknowledgements section was so full of spelling errors that we think Masixole probably didn’t mean One Settler One Bullet but One Sister One Ballad.

Who is pretending to be Cyril?

There is some confusion in the Presidency after someone – no-one seems sure who – filed a notice in the High Court in Pretoria to oppose a DA application for the President to drop ministers Bathabile Dlamini and Malusi Gigaba from his cabinet. The Presidency, which has publicly distanced itself from the notice filed on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, is investigating.


Steinhoff probe widens

Bloomberg is reporting that Steinhoff International has provided the South African police with the names of three more Steinhoff executives to investigate in addition to former CEO Markus Jooste in their probe into the collapse of the company. They are, according to unnamed insiders, Dirk Schreiber, a German national who was head of finance in Europe, former chief financial officer Ben la Grange and ex-Company Secretary Stehan Grobler. The new information apparently arises from an ongoing PriceWaterhouseCoopers investigation. Steinhoff has officially said no names have been handed over.

Woolies workers reinstated – 16 years later

Dozens of workers dismissed by Woolworths in 2002 have been reinstated by the Constitutional Court after a challenge by the SA Commercial and Catering Workers Union to a labour appeal court ruling that only awarded them remuneration compensation for being unfairly dismissed. Woolies argued that their jobs no longer existed but the court said this was not so – they were cashiers, and there was no suggestion that the number of cashiers had decreased.


SABC sex pest shocker

The SABC’s management has been associated with gross incompetence over the years. Now it seems that they included in their number a bunch of sex pests. Yesterday the Commission on Gender Equality recommended that some cases of sexual harassment it uncovered at the SABC should be reported to the police. Releasing its report on its inquiry, chair Barbara Watson said the HR department failed the complainants – in all the cases they dealt with not one perpetrator was suspended or dismissed. Some of the alleged perpetrators were people in positions of leadership, but she could not say if they were executives. Well, we can confidently tell her they were all menaces.


Real, Man U for Super League?

German news magazine Der Spiegel claims seven of Europe’s top clubs have met with a view to establishing a European Super League. The magazine says leaked documents show that a new breakaway league featuring 16 teams has been proposed. The 11 founding clubs in the new format are said to be Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain. The five ‘guest clubs’ for the first season would be Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Roma and Marseille.

Zim’s first away win in 17 years

Zimbabwe rattled through the Bangladesh batting line-up to claim their first Test win away from home in 17 years – their last win on tour came in 2001, also in Bangladesh. It was Zimbabwe’s first Test win in five years since they beat Pakistan in Harare. Yesterday Bangladesh resumed on 26 and lost their first wicket with the score on 56. Just 41 overs and 113 runs later Zimbabwe had bowled them out for 169 to give them a 151-run win.

Better than six of the best

36 is the holy grail of runs off a single over, right? Wrong. Joe Carter and Brett Hampton, helped by two no-balls, managed to smash 43 off a six-ball over bowled by South African-born 21-year-old Willem Ludick. It was a Ford Trophy match in Hamilton, New Zealand, and the pair were batting for Northern Districts. The sequence of runs was 4, 6nb, 6nb, 6, 1, 6, 6, 6 as Carter and Hamilton put on a 178-run partnership. That over proved the difference between the teams as Northern Districts won by 25 runs. The previous highest score in on over was 39 by former Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura off Alauddin Babu in a Bangladesh Premier League match in 2013.

Nigel Owens to ref Boks

Welshman Nigel Owens will referee Saturday’s rugby Test between France and South Africa at Stade de France in Paris. After a crucial mistake by referee Angus Gardner on Saturday, which cost South Africa a chance of kicking for the win against England at the weekend, there is huge interest in the officials for the match against France. Englishmen Matthew Carley and Tom Foley will run the line and their compatriot Rowan Kitt will be the television match official.


Students go with the flow

While some UCT students are pissing people off (see ‘VC what you did’ above) others are taking the piss – literally. Students have created the bio-brick – the world’s first brick made from human urine. The students collected urine from specially designed male urinals at the university’s engineering building and mixed it with sand and bacteria. Bio-bricks are made in moulds at room temperature, removing the need for high temperature kilns. ‘You take something that is considered a waste and make multiple products from it. It’s about rethinking things,’ Dr Dyllon Randall, the lecturer who supervised the project, told The Guardian. Randall described urine as liquid gold.


McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) has achieved some viral fame for this tweet after visiting the polls in the US yesterday.
My wife and I got back from voting and found our 5yo in tears that she didn’t get to come. So I took her to the polling place and gave her a little patriotic talk about America and democracy. 

On the way back she told me she thought mom had said we went ‘boating’.

A number of people responded with their own stories and some pictures, including Willie Geist (@WillieGeist), who tweeted this:


Today’s clue compiled by @7upislemondade is, Finally – more to benefit by arrangement? (3,6,4) 

The solution to yesterday’s outstanding clue, They are often stoned when love is involved! (6), is OLIVES – an anagram of ‘love is’ (‘involved’ is the anagram indicator) and with their pits olives, of course, are often stoned.


According to the New Yorker, a simple fact emerged last night: the period of serious investigation of Donald Trump is about to begin. The publication predicts a list of investigations Trump is likely to face now the Democrats have taken control of the House.  Meanwhile, over at the Spectator, the publication says, sure the Democrats have retaken the House, but the Republicans had a great night when it came to Senate races.

** Special note: The New York Times has lifted its paywall for a two-day bonanza of reading. Get to the site to read its best material from the past year. 


Republicans in the US are calling the midterm election results a ‘split decision’ after they held the Senate with a slightly increased majority and the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. They are wrong: just 35 Senate seats were contested and Democrats had little hope of turning over the Republican majority anyway. The House election was held across the country for all 435 seats and the Democratic win is a setback for Donald Trump and his Republicans. Besides a rejection of Trump’s divisive rhetoric, it will make life exceedingly difficult for a president who likes to get his way. Instead, Democrats in the House now have the power to block legislation they don’t like and – by exercising the House’s right of oversight – to hold Trump himself to account. This will, for example, mean that the president could be forced to make his tax returns public. There are other issues that the Democrats have indicated they might want to probe, including Russia’s supposed interference in the 2016 election and the loss of thousands of lives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. It also raises the spectre of impeachment, particularly if special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – expected within days – are damning of Trump. Interestingly, Trump said on the eve of the election that he regretted not being able to adopt a ‘softer tone’ as president. The electorate’s message to Trump and the need to co-operate with Democrats in future might just force him into reassessing his messaging and general approach, but that seems a faint hope. Cody Kessler Womens Jersey Johnny Gaudreau Authentic Jersey

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6 November 2018


My son is not corrupt, says Cyril

President Cyril Ramaphosa, answering questions in Parliament today, said his son Andile had received payments from the controversial facilities management company Bosasa, which has been linked to state capture. However, Ramaphosa said he had questioned his son about the R500,000 deal and was convinced it was above board. He said if there was any ‘irregularity or corruption’ he would take his son to the police station himself. The president also said those who benefited from corrupt activities at VBS Bank should be held accountable but the idea which gave rise to the bank – to serve the poor – should not be abandoned. Media24 is covering his comments live here.

Trump on the stump

The US’s mid-term elections are underway and they’ve effectively become a referendum on Donald Trump who has been campaigning furiously after polls suggested the Democrats could overturn the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Much of Trump’s campaigning has centred on the threat of immigrants and yesterday several TV networks – including the normally pro-Trump Fox News – pulled a Trump ad on the issue which was criticised for being racist, misleading and inflammatory. Pollsters and pundits are hedging their bets about the result but Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already warned of voter fraud before voting began … perhaps the surest sign that Republicans are nervous. A clear picture of how the voting has gone should emerge about mid-morning SA time tomorrow.

It’s Mayor Plato again

The DA’s Dan Plato was duly voted into the mayor’s job in Cape Town today, replacing Patricia de Lille. Of the 208 councillors present, 146 voted for Plato, 53 for the ANC’s Xolani Sotashe and three for the ACDP’s Grant Haskin. There were six abstentions. De Lille left the post after a protracted scrap with the DA leadership – a fight that seems destined to continue in the courts. Plato was previously the mayor of Cape Town from 2009 to 2011.

Khashoggi sons ask for dad’s body

The killing of Washington Post columnist and dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month continues to reverberate. His sons have told CNN they have asked the Saudi authorities to return their father’s body to them so that they can bury him and grieve properly. And, from Turkey, comes a new allegation, reportedly from ‘a senior Turkish official’, that the Saudi team that was sent to Istanbul to assist with the probe into the murder was in fact an expert team sent to assist with hiding the evidence before they let Turkish investigators onto the premises.


Transnet gets a new boss

With former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama’s seat barely cold, the board of the state-owned enterprise has announced the appointment of an interim CEO, Tau Morwe, who will serve as acting group chief executive until the end of April next year. Gama was fired last month after being linked to allegations of corruption relating to the purchase of 1,064 new locomotives.

Gordhan smoothes ruffled SAA feathers

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan visited anxious staff at SAA yesterday and reassured them there were no plans afoot to shut down the airline. The visit followed comments from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to the effect that the loss-making entity should be closed. Gordhan’s message was not entirely comforting: I’ll support you, he told the SAA employees, but the turnaround plan for the airline has to come from better management, not from endless government funds.


Bottom of the class

A row has erupted at Cape Town’s Rustenburg Junior School as reports surfaced that Nozipho Mthembu, the school’s first black teacher (aside from the isiXhosa teacher), left. She says she was coerced into leaving; the school and some of the parents say she was incompetent. The details of what led to her departure have sparked endless calls into talk radio, but it’s clear that tension at the girls’ school has been brewing for some time with three parents resigning from the school governing body last year because they were alarmed at the slow pace of transformation. In more than two decades after the dawn of democracy the school has managed to employ just one black teacher. Clearly, something is not right. For not promoting a culture of diversity at such a crucial phase in children’s lives, Rustenburg Junior School is today’s menace.


‘No comment’ on Rassie tackle video

World Rugby refused to comment on the trending video which shows Rassie Erasmus ‘coaching’ Andre Esterhuizen on the finer points of the ‘Owen Farrell tackle’. The video shows Erasmus ‘teaching’ Esterhuizen to tackle high and without any arms, an obvious reference to Farrell’s contentious and unpenalised tackle which felled the Springbok centre on Saturday. According to Sport24, World Rugby refused to comment on the video or the tackle. Meanwhile Erasmus yesterday welcomed the overseas club-based Springboks back into the squad. Included in the players who were excluded from the Test against England were Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw and Vincent Koch.

Gardning leave?

It may just be coincidence, but Australian referee Angus Gardner has been sent off the grid after his decision not to award the Springboks a potentially match-winning penalty on Saturday. With international rugby in full swing, the only match Gardner will blow this month is between rugby minnows Kenya and Germany on November 23. He will be an assistant referee in Ireland’s clash with Argentina this weekend and the match between Wales and Tonga next weekend. The Kenya v Germany clash is part of the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Rafa’s out, Novak makes history

Rafael Nadal withdrew from the season-ending ATP Tour final in London next week and thus ensured his rival Novak Djokovic made history. Nadal cited an abdominal injury and announced he was also having surgery on his ankle. That means Djokovic is guaranteed to end the year as the world number-one for the fifth time. He will also become the first person to finish a season at the top spot after being outside the top 20 during that season.


A fishy tale

It wasn’t a zebra crossing, but surprised motorists on Highway 101 in Washington state had to wait for wildlife to cross the road at the weekend. These creatures were fish – large salmon, in fact. Scores of them. This under-a-minute video clip was posted by CNN.


A ‘bloody lucky’ catch

Gus Hutt was preparing for an early morning fish when he saw a doll bobbing past him in a rip current at Matata Beach in the North Island’s Bay of Plenty.  He reached out and grabbed the doll by the arm and then the doll let out a little squeak. ‘Oh God this is a baby and it’s alive,’ Hutt told the New Zealand Herald. The ‘doll’ was 18-month-old Malachi Reeve, who had opened the zip of his sleeping parents’ tent, then made his way out of a beachside campsite and into the water, where a current caught him. ‘He was bloody lucky,’ said Hutt. Paramedics gave the toddler the all clear and his mother said he was unaffected by his ordeal.


Twitter has a new hero in Harriet (@harrietucyel), who was caught on camera doing a spectacular eye-roll at comments by Ukip’s arch-conservative and pro-Brexit leader, the creepy Nigel Farage. She responded to all the love by commenting: ‘Thanks for all the kind words, this is indeed me!’ See also the comments responding to her.

And for those Farage fans out there, we present this tweet from Quite Interesting (@qikipedia):

‘Smaken a som baken, delad’ is a Swedish Expression that translates as ‘Taste is like your bum, divided’.


Today’s clue compiled by @7upislemondade is, They are often stoned when love is involved! (6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Plotting chap few ask for change tonight? (3,6) is GUY (chap) FAWKES (anagram of few ask – ‘for change’ is the anagram indicator).

Thanks to Andrew and Dave for sending us the link to the story about how writing an ‘o; instead of an ‘a’ in the solution to a clue saw Mark Goodliffe being dethroned as the Times National Crossword Champion after 10 years and 99 crosswords. Crossword addicts, 1 Down: crossword king toppled at lastis just for you.


When a video by Abby ‘the Spoon Lady’ Roach and Chris Rodrigues went viral The Washington Post went to investigate. Journalist David Rowell found there was a deeper story lurking in the shadows of the video – a story about the pain music can erase, and also the pain it can’t. Treat yourself to this remarkable story and, as an extra bonus, watch Abby’s spoon solo.


The ANC and its media allies have worked hard at portraying the DA as being a conservative organisation that belongs in the country’s bad old days. Why then would the DA choose Dan Plato, a former National Party member, as its new mayor of Cape Town? Plato previously occupied the mayoral seat from 2009 to 2011, so he might be seen as a safe pair of hands. Perhaps the party’s powers-that-be felt they needed someone who would not alienate coloured voters as a replacement for Patricia de Lille. Whatever the case, Plato is not overburdened with charisma and is unlikely to set the hustings alight come campaign time. Instead the opposition will make much of his past dalliance with the party of apartheid. It seems a strange decision, one that the DA may come to regret. Joe DiMaggio Womens Jersey New Orleans Pelicans Authentic Jersey

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5 November 2018


Gigaba nightmare continues …

Another day, another horror show for Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. After a week in which a sex tape featuring him – and him alone, we are told – surfaced and the public protector found he had lied under oath, he woke today to grim news in Business Day. The newspaper reported that Gigaba was among 44 people that a draft parliamentary report into the shenanigans at Eskom had recommended should be criminally investigated. Former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown was also among them, the newspaper said. The parliamentary probe, which will be made public on Wednesday, also recommended that 25 companies be investigated. At the weekend Gigaba blamed the treasury, public protector and the Oppenheimers for his troubles. He is scheduled to meet President Cyril Ramaphosa in the next few days. (See What We Say)

Malema’s assets to be seized

AfriForum has obtained a warrant to seize more than R300,000 of EFF leader Julius Malema’s moveable assets, according to several reports today. Eyewitness News said the North Gauteng High Court issued the warrant and AfriForum will hand it over to the sheriff to seize and auction the assets. This follows a case in which AfriForum took Malema to court for allegedly encouraging people to seize land. In March the court ruled in AfriForum’s favour and said that Malema should pay the organisation’s R337,000 legal costs. He has failed to do so and now presumably faces losing at least one of his cars. Or a watch. Or his prized collection of berets. Or some other bling.

Fires still going

The fires in the George area are still burning after 13 days, and authorities are reporting that over 90,000 hectares of vegetation has been razed. There are 323 firefighters and 39 vehicles still working in the area and a relief team was being sent in from the Free State to assist. A bit of rain and cooler weather is expected to help today but authorities are expecting the danger to return later in the week when high temperatures return.


Tito’s SAA comments don’t fly

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has stirred up a hornet’s nest with his comment that loss-making SAA should be closed down. The EFF said he had ‘chicken audacity’ – whatever that means – for making the remarks in New York and that he was ‘right wing’ and ‘reactionary’. The ANC national executive committee urged him to ‘stick to the resolutions of the African National Congress and make sure that through our patience and in our deeds we continue to affirm those policy positions of the movement’. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said SAA was a good airline but was being run badly as a business. Bloomberg reports that SAA CEO Vuyani Jarana said the airline has seen cancellations since Mboweni’s statement.

Petrol price unchanged

The good news is that petrol prices will not be going up this week. The bad news is that diesel will go up between 47 and 50 cents a litre and illuminating paraffin by 37 cents. The Department of Energy also announced that the wholesale price of paraffin would go up by 28 cents a litre on Wednesday but LP gas would cost 61 cents a kilogram less.

R1-million to break bread with Cyril

Business leaders who go to dinner tonight with President Cyril Ramaphosa will be forgiven for expecting something exceptional from the evening – they have been invited to cough up R1-million for a double ticket at the President’s table. A chit-chat with the deputy president, David Mabuza, will set them back a bit less, at R600,000 for a pair of seats. Organised by the ANC Progressive Business Forum, the invite reportedly offers 100 business leaders the chance to interact with party heads at a 2019 election fundraising event called the ‘ANC Stimulus View Dinner’. Ramaphosa will speak on the ANC’s stimulus plans for the economy – and the role of corporate SA in helping with a fix. It is not known how many people have taken up the offer.


Coming and going

Malusi Gigaba is hanging onto his post – as it were – by his fingernails. The good news, though, is that when President Cyril Ramaphosa gives him the boot he could have a new job in porn. The home affairs minister’s home sex video is one of the trending searches on PornHub, the world’s biggest porn site which has more members than South Africa has citizens. In news from the y-front, Business Insider reported that the dishonourable member’s member has made it on to five of the site’s top-10 searches – ‘Malusi gigaba sextape’ was the second-most searched term, followed by ‘melusi gigaba’ in fourth place, ‘malusi gibaba sex tape’ sixth, ‘gibaba sextape’ eight and ‘melisa gigaba’ tenth. The clip received a 40% negative rating by users so perhaps becoming a porn star is not for this menace after all. He needs a job that is more hands off.


Saffer off to Sarries

Stormers and WP rugby captain Chris van Zyl is in England for a stint at Saracens. The former Lions lock is providing cover for the English Premiership champions during the end-of-year internationals while Maro Itoje and George Kruis are with the England national team.

Serero forgiven, Baxter not so much

Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter this morning named his squad for the penultimate African Cup of Nations qualifier on November 17. Controversial midfielder Thulani Serero, who had refused to be part of the Bafana squad unless he was guaranteed game time, has been recalled. With a slew of injuries hampering Baxter’s preparations, Serero has been forgiven. If South Africa beat Nigeria they will qualify for Afcon, but a loss will probably mean a winner-takes all match against Libya in March. Sport 24 is reporting that Wits coach Gavin Hunt is being lined up to replace Baxter if South Africa fail to qualify.

Taylor steps down

Sandpapergate continues to rack up the victims with former Australian captain Mark Taylor opting to step down as a director of the Cricket Australia board. He said he was doing so to give Australian cricket a chance to restart with a clean slate. Taylor, who served 13 years on the board, is the third major figure to step down from the administration after chief executive James Sutherland and chairperson David Peever. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for trying to alter the ball with sandpaper in  South Africa in March, and the resultant independent review into the governing body has led to the resignations of the three administrators.

‘Verbal diarrhoea’ makes Warne puke

Shane Warne is no fan of coach Justin Langer’s attempt to ‘buzzword’ Australian cricket out of their slump. The former spinner criticised Langer’s use of buzzwords in the Australian changeroom, including the phrase ‘elite honesty’. Langer, appointed after the disastrous tour to South Africa exposed a win-at-all-costs culture in Australian cricket, had the phrases stuck up in the changeroom before the ODI match against South Africa on Sunday. The Aussies lost the match heavily and Warne said during his TV commentary stint: ‘Forget all the words, forget the verbal diarrhoea… that’s just rubbish… seriously, it makes you want to vomit.’


Here is a completely delightful line rider animation of Beethoven’s 5th that took creator @DoodleChaos over three months to create, drawing everything by hand. This is longer than our usual video links – at 4mins25 – but a real treat.


Coming or going?

President Donald Trump used a meme inspired by the Game of Thrones to herald the reintroduction of US sanctions on Iran today. The image features Trump and the words ‘Sanctions are coming – November 5’ in the same font used by HBO to promote their fantasy show. Apparently no one explained to him that in the series, ‘winter is coming’ is an expression that means something terrible is on the horizon. HBO, which was not so happy with the president, tweeted: ‘How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?’ Among a number of outraged responses was that from @kirbyjwilson, with ‘Indictments are coming – Spring 2019‘. And then there was Jon Cooper, of #Resist, who responded with this tweet: Mueller is coming.


We return to the so-called poet laureate of Twitter Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston) for today’s drollery, a poem written in honour of National Sandwich Day, which is apparently a thing:

Baguettes, I’ve had a few
but then again
too few to munch on

I bit what I had to chew
saw it thru’
it was my luncheon


Today’s rather timely clue is:  Plotting chap few ask for change tonight? (3,6)

The solution to Friday’s clue,  Part of SA gets sun and zero water — zero! (6) is SOWETO (‘a place in South Africa’), which is made up of S (‘sun’) + O (‘zero’) +  WET (‘water’) + O (‘zero’).


The Daily Maverick’s J Brooks Spector points out that the US’s mid-term elections – which take place tomorrow – ‘usually don’t ignite quite the kind of intense, takes-up-all-the-oxygen attention that this one has been getting from the media, politicians, and the population as a whole’. Read his excellent piece here to find out why and what the midterms are all about.


President Cyril Ramaphosa appears determined to be his own person and not to be swayed by popular sentiment. This is obviously commendable, but it can have a downside: some critics are suggesting he looks indecisive or weak. Malusi Gigaba’s nightmare week-and-a-bit presents Ramaphosa with an opportunity to address this perception, as does the home affairs minister’s defiance of court and public protector findings that he is a liar. Ramaphosa and the ANC hierarchy had reportedly been expecting Gigaba to fall on his sword as the controversies mounted, but his public utterances in the past few days suggest he has no such plans. Yesterday a national newspaper felt emboldened to call Gigaba a ‘wanker’ and today another one reported that a draft parliamentary report into Eskom had named him among 44 people who should be criminally investigated. He needs to go now and Ramaphosa should deliver the coup de grâce himself. Al Macinnis Authentic Jersey Jakub Zboril Womens Jersey

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2 November 2018


Moyane to challenge his axeing

Former SA Revenue Service (Sars) boss and alleged state capture capo Tom Moyane was duly axed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening. This followed days after the recommendation by Judge Robert Nugent, head of the commission of inquiry into Sars, that he be fired immediately. The Presidency subsequently explained that Moyane had been given his marching orders for his failure to ‘meaningfully participate’ in the Nugent Commission and his ‘reckless mismanagement’ of Sars. Ramaphosa said in a letter to Moyane that the commission’s interim report ‘paints a deeply concerning picture of the current state of Sars’. Moyane responded defiantly, saying he would continue his Constitutional Court application disputing the legality of the commission.

VBS did donate to ANC

ANC  Treasurer General Paul Mashatile has admitted to eNCA that the ANC received a R2-million donation from the majority shareholder of VBS bank – at the time of the 2016 elections. The money from Vele Investments was paid on behalf of the ANC to ‘a service provider’ and was never recorded in the ANC’s books. Mashatile said he had no idea what services it was paid for.

LGBTQ spy squad for Tanzania

The governor of Dar es Salaam has launched a campaign to track down same-sex couples on social media and arrest them. The anti-gay surveillance squad is the latest weapon in a crackdown on Tanzanian LGBTQ communities that includes jail terms of 30 years for homosexuality. ‘Give me their names,’ said governor Paul Makonda. ‘My ad-hoc team will begin to get their hands on them next Monday.’ The BBC reports that HIV clinics have been forced to close in the country after being accused of promoting homosexuality.

Grim turn in Khashoggi case

Just when it seemed we had confirmation of some of the details of the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi comes a new grisly claim from an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Washington Post. The unnamed source said that Khashoggi was strangled as he walked into the Saudi embassy in Istanbul on October 2, and that his body has not been found because it was dissolved in acid after being dismembered.


Shut down SAA, says Tito

Tito Mboweni is certainly proving to be his own man. The country’s new Finance Minister has now bluntly said that SAA should be shut down. ‘It’s loss-making, we are unlikely to sort out the situation, so my view would be close it down,’ Mboweni told an investor conference in New York. ‘Why I say close it down is because it’s unlikely that you are going to find any private sector equity partner who will come join this asset.’ He may, however, have been emboldened by the fact that the decision is not his – earlier this year President Cyril Ramaphosa had moved responsibility for the ailing airline from the finance ministry to public enterprises. In his budget speech last month Mboweni announced yet another bailout for SAA – R5bn this time.

Indy hasn’t paid PIC

The struggling Independent Media has not repaid a R253-million loan to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) as scheduled, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has revealed. Business Day reports that the loan matured in August and now stands at R408-million. Back in 2013 the PIC controversially invested directly in Independent Media and loaned it money – a total of R888-million. In a reply to a question tabled in parliament by DA MP David Maynier, Mboweni said: ‘Due to difficult trading conditions, the loan that INMSA had to settle during August 2018, has … not been settled. The PIC is in discussions with INMSA on the way forward to resolve this matter,’ said Mboweni.


Faf, Marx nominated

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and hooker Malcolm Marx are among five players nominated for the 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year award. The other three are All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane and Ireland’s Johnny Sexton. The winner will be announced in Monte Carlo on November 25. Previous Springboks to have won the title are Bryan Habana in 2007 and Schalk Burger in 2004.

Back row battle looms

Tomorrow the Springboks take a relatively inexperienced backline into battle behind a pack that is loaded with experience and power. In contrast, England have a set of forwards that is loaded with talent but lacks Test caps, and a backline that knows all about the pressures of international rugby. Both teams are missing key players, but with the World Cup now less than a year away the two wily coaches know they need be finding settled combinations while also securing confidence-building results. The Springboks should be favourites to grab their third win against England this year, but that will only happen if the youngsters step up.

Better batting please

The Proteas will be looking for a much better batting performance when they take on the Australians in the first ODI on Sunday. South Africa come off series wins against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, but these wins have largely been the result of some inspired bowling and weak opposition. The batting issue was highlighted earlier this week when the Prime Minister’s XI decimated the Proteas’ top order. The Australian side is sure to be looking for revenge after the controversial ‘Sandpaper-gate’ tour earlier this year.

EPL talking points

The three big talking points in English Premier League this weekend will be the crucial clash between Arsenal and Liverpool, the knee injury to influential Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, and Leicester’s emotional first match after the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash a week ago. The Arsenal v Liverpool clash tomorrow evening should be a thriller between two teams who are in top form and giving their fans something to celebrate of years of underachievement. For Manchester City, De Bruyne’s injury to his left knee is a bitter blow so soon after he returned from a problem with his right knee. De Bruyne was back to his best and played a major part in the 2-0 win over Fulham in a Carabao Cup match before limping off in the 86th minute.

Cheerleader takes a knee

Colin Kaepernick made kneeling during the US national anthem a peaceful protest against racial injustice and police brutality two years ago. It cost him his job as an American football player, but last night the protest was taken up by a cheerleader from the San Francisco 49ers who was pictured kneeling during the anthem. It is the first time a cheerleader has protested in this manner.


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

John van Rooyen (aka iJohn), Zena and Dante, Meadowridge

To be honest, I haven’t been too happy recently – just because of general life shit. But music makes me happy. It gives me salvation. I can escape. It’s the beat, the lyrics and the energy. Zena and Dante also make me happy. I suppose you want to know what makes them happy? Zena is happiest when going for walks and Dante is happiest when he’s asleep, which is most of the time.


An Italian man collapsed in an Edinburgh cathedral and then claimed to suffer from memory loss. Police realised 52-year-old Salvatore Mannino was faking his condition when they found he had visited websites giving information on how to feign memory loss. The Times of London reported that Mannino admitted fleeing to Scotland to escape from his domineering mother-in-law. ‘I felt powerless as a husband and a father,’ he told police. ‘My mother-in-law, who has been living with us since 2010, called all the shots and was constantly interfering.’  Mannino was sent back to Italy on 23 October and was recovering from stress in hospital.


Here is another hair-raising traffic video filmed two weeks ago but only posted today by News24. A woman’s slow amble up a very steep hill in Cape Town’s Bo Kaap area turns into a frantic scramble for safety as a bakkie with no brakes comes careening down the pavement towards her. The men inside were injured but have apparently all returned to work.


Today’s tweet champion is Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) for this:
I love Madonna. You never know what she’s going to be next.

Also in the running were Richard de Nooy (@RicharddeNooy) with this tweet:
I’m into narrative non-fiction. I talk about writing non-fiction a lot.

Which was in reply to Paul Bassett Davies @thewritertype
I’m into speculative fiction. Every day I speculate about writing fiction.


Today’s clue is from the Daily Telegraph, Part of SA gets sun and zero water — zero! (6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Cricketer has herb on rollicking live radio! (5,9), is BASIL D’OLIVEIRA – Basil (‘herb’) + D’Oliveira is an anagram of ‘live radio’ (‘rollicking’ is the anagram indicator), a cricketer who was born in Cape Town in 1931 but played for England because of South Africa’s racist policies.


Liam Hickey’s fear was that he’d end up as the answer to a trivia question. Who was the last guy in charge of Dulwich Hamlet? The Guardian tells a modern day David and Goliath tale of a tiny football club that lost its home to developers – and won it back. It’s an inspiring weekend read.


The week that was

Going …
Malusi Gigaba had a particularly stiff week and now faces the axe after the Public Protector told President Cyril Ramaphosa to take appropriate action for lying under oath.

… Going …
Germany’s Angela Merkel will step down as leader of her CDU party next month.

Patricia de Lille – after a lengthy, protracted, internecine battle with the DA. What is her next move? Re-joining the PAC? Resurrecting the ID? Finding a red beret? Or maybe she will launch a brand new political party – Popular Anarchist Tendencies (PAT).

And Gone!
SARS commissioner Tom Moyane, who was given the boot by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s a’boot time.

What made us sad:
A week of tragedies: the Lion Air plane crash in Jakarta that killed 189 people on board, the helicopter smash that killed five people, including Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City’s popular owner, deadly fires in the Southern Cape and Western Cape that killed at least eight people, floods in Venice that left 11 people dead, and an earthquake in New Zealand.

What made us think we’re living in a mob movie:
The execution of advocate Pete Mihalik, the Cape Town advocate who represented a number of underworld figures, outside his children’s school.

Who we think deserves the menace of the week:
Brazil – for electing the far-right, pro-torture, dictatorship-praising populist Jair Bolsonaro. He said he would prefer ‘my son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy’ and said a female colleague didn’t ‘deserve to be raped, because she’s very ugly’. He also described Afro-Brazilians as lazy and fat, and he has called refugees from Haiti, Africa, and the Middle East as the ‘scum of humanity’. In September he suggested his political opponents should be shot. The same week, Bolsonaro was stabbed along the campaign trail, an incident that saw his poll numbers rise.

Who made us proudly South African:
The president for firing Tom Moyane. It’s a sign that the fight against state capture is being taken seriously at last. Cam Talbot Authentic Jersey Andrew Benintendi Authentic Jersey

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