PP gets court lashing | Batchelor’s phone ‘swiped and wiped’ | PIC lost $330m in energy company investment | World Cup umpire: I got it wrong


PP gets court lashing

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s credibility took a fresh battering today when the Constitutional Court upheld a costs order against her for bias. The majority judgment accused her of ‘unintelligible’ reasoning and ‘falsehoods’ during her Absa/Bankorp investigation and ruling. In 2017 Mkhwebane had ordered Absa to repay R1.125-billion to the SA Reserve Bank over an ‘illegal gift’ in the 1980s to Bankorp (which was later subsumed into Absa). The Reserve Bank took the finding on review and it was set aside by the North Gauteng High Court. The court ordered that because of a ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’ Mkhwebane must personally pay 15% of the Reserve Bank’s costs. She ultimately appealed this to the Constitutional Court, but this morning it found that she had not been honest during the probe and reaffirmed the costs order. It said her ‘entire model of investigation was flawed and that she was not honest about her engagements during the investigation’ and ‘she failed to engage with the parties directly affected my her new remedial action before she published her final report’. The court said that Mkhwebane had been guilty of ‘a number of falsehoods in the course of litigation’. Mkhwebane said she was disappointed in the ruling and it would have a chilling effect on other investigations.
    * President Cyril Ramaphosa last night announced he would be taking Friday’s Public Protector finding against him over a Bosasa donation to his presidential campaign on review because it was ‘fundamentally’ and ‘irretrievably’ flawed. You can read more about it courtesy of the Daily Maverick here.

Hong Kong protesters beaten

Protests that have been rocking Hong Kong for weeks took a nasty turn yesterday evening when a group of suspected gangsters savagely attacked protesters, wounding 45 people and leaving one in a critical condition. The men, dressed in white and carrying sticks, baseball bats and metal poles, attacked protesters returning from a huge march earlier in the day. Some of the men – thought to be the notorious Triad gangsters – were later filmed getting into cars with number plates from the Chinese mainland. The protests have been going on for two months and initially focused on an extradition bill in terms of which people could be extradited to mainland China for trial. The protests have since been widened to include concerns about Chinese restrictions on the freedoms allowed to Hong Kong in terms of the 1997 handover by Britain.

Batchelor’s phone ‘swiped and wiped’

There’s been a quite sensational turn in the investigation into the gunning down of former football player Marc Batchelor in Johannesburg last week: News24 reports that a private investigator with business connections to Batchelor has been arrested for allegedly taking the ex-footballer’s phone from the murder scene. The news site says it is believed that Batchelor’s contacts and messages were wiped from the phone. The investigator – reportedly well-known in Johannesburg but who cannot be named until he is charged – was taken into custody and questioned over the weekend.

Only in South Africa

Police in Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape stopped a taxi and found 30 stolen sheep inside it. Five people were arrested. News24 today quotes police spokesperson Captain Ursula Roelofse, saying that police followed up on information that the sheep were being transported in the taxi early on Friday morning. The five arrested men were scheduled to appear in court today. 


Rupert the Bear & Floyd the Hippo(crit)

The skeletons keep tumbling out of EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu’s closet. This time the dirt about Shivambu’s hypocrisy isn’t in the trash but in a new book by News24 journalist Pieter du Toit. Du Toit writes that Shivambu was one of Johann Rupert’s ‘go-to men’ who sometimes explained the inner workings of the ANCs processes and procedures – and gave Rupert a heads up before major political developments. Rupert is, of course, the EFF’s sworn nemesis, the evil face of White Monopoly Capital; the WMC bogeyman. According to the book, The Stellenbosch Mafia: Inside the Billionaire’s Club, Shivambu and Rupert spent an afternoon at an exclusive wine estate discussing potential business plans. Du Toit claims Shivambu asked Rupert, one of the country’s wealthiest citizens, to help with his projects, including building a hospital in Limpopo and even gave Rupert PR advice, persuading him to do the PowerFM interview with Given Mkhari in an effort to change the public’s perception of him. In a very unconvincing denial, Shivambu denied he had ever been Rupert’s bestie and unleashed the EFF trolls, who were quick to denounce the accusations as the work of stratcom. 


Matjila: $330-m lost in Erin investment

Former Public Investment Corporation CEO Dan Matjila was back on the stand at the PIC inquiry today where he revealed that the fund manager lost some $330-million through its 30% investment in the Erin Energy oil company. It was a transaction that should have never happened, he admitted, adding that while the company had been in trouble before the PIC investment, it collapsed afterwards. He conceded that better risk management measures should have been put in place.


World Cup umpire: I got it wrong

Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena has admitted that he made an error in the last over of the Cricket World Cup when he awarded England six runs for a freak overthrow. The ball thrown by a New Zealand fielder hit the bat of Ben Stokes as he dived to make his ground and skittered off to the boundary. Dharmasena signalled six – the two run by the batsmen and the boundary deflection for four. But it turns out that the batsmen had not crossed when the ball was thrown by the Kiwi and, according to the rules, it should only have been five runs. Three balls later the match ended tied, as it did after each team had batted a ‘super over’, at which point the match went to England because they had hit the most boundaries. ‘I agree that there was an error of judgement when I see it on TV replays now,’ Dharmasena said. ‘But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I do not regret the decision I made.’

The weekend that was:

‘Twas a busy sporting weekend, the highlights being:

  • The Springboks beating Australia 35-17 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, and an outstanding debut for Herschel Jantjies at scrumhalf. A star for the future, for sure. The cherry on the top was Aussie coach Michael Cheika whining long and loud about the referee afterwards. The Boks now take on the All Blacks in New Zealand on Saturday.
  • Not really a highlight, but the netball Proteas finished fourth in the World Cup after being beaten 58-42 by England in the third place play-off. The final between New Zealand and Australia in Liverpool, England, was won 52-51 by the Kiwis. South Africa had the consolation, however, of having Karla Pretorius being named the player of the tournament for her remarkable 20 interceptions, 23 deflections and 32 gains in the tournament.
  • Sprinter Akani Simbine and long-jumper Luvo Manyonga won their events at the Anniversary Games meeting in London on Saturday. Simbine won the 100m final in 9.93 seconds and Manyonga leapt an impressive 8.37m.
  • Irishman Shane Lowry won the Open Championship in Northern Ireland by a huge six strokes yesterday after shooting an incredible 63 on Saturday.
  • 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao beat 30-year-old undefeated welterweight world champion Keith Thurman on points over 12 rounds in what, by all accounts, was a thrilling fight.


Fresh start

Fans of DJ Fresh are celebrating the news that the popular show host is back on air with an afternoon show on radio 947, a Johannesburg-based station. DJ Fresh was suspended and then fired from SABC’s MetroFM for using foul language on air. His new slot will give him a four-hour show on weekdays.


Point taken

In a survey of British men one in eight believed they could take a point off Serena Williams on the tennis court. Andy Murray’s mom Judy tweeted ‘Good luck with that’. Anyone who thinks they have what it takes may want to watch this delightful 2016 video made by The DudePerfect, as the five cast members try to take a point off Serena. They also got her to do some trick shots and to aim for some targets that will astonish you. Perhaps the best thing about it is how infectiously exuberant she is in the challenge. If you’re a little scared of Serena, watch this: you’ll be a fan. The full video is 7 minutes. But there is also a 2-minute version of highlights. 


Waxing cynical 

A Canadian born male who identifies as a woman, and whose male genitalia is still intact, is suing female-only waxers who refuse to wax her testicles (yes, you read that correctly, ‘her testicles’). Jessica (born Jonathan) Yaniv, has filed complaints against 16 female waxers with the Human Rights Council in British Columbia. Yaniv says that self-identifying as a woman is sufficient to be treated as a woman. According to the Daily Wire, Marcia Da Silva was forced to close up her small business after refusing to give Yaniv a Brazilian (or should it be a Manzilian?)  In a tweet, Yaniv said the shuttering of Da Silva’s business was a win for human rights. ‘This is not about waxing. This is about businesses and individuals using their religion and culture to refuse service to protected groups because — they — don’t agree with it or the person and use that to illegally discriminate.’


Today we have Moose Allain (@MooseAllain):
I always assumed Billy Idol was a TV contest to find the best goat.

To which Paul Kearney (@kearneypaul) replied :
Britain’s Goat Talent?


Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Song ran ’til REM played, ‘Man on the Moon’ (4,9)

The solution to Friday’s clue, Sailors in the drink (8) is ABSINTHE – a word sum of Sailors (which is ABs – sailor in cryptic clues is often shorthand for able-body seamen or AB)  + IN + THE = a drink.


Khayelitsha  was the kind of area that was supposed to benefit from having the Soccer World Cup on its doorstep. Thousands of young people play soccer in the township, but the game is an escape; not a route to a career.  The BBC’s James Cronin takes takes a look inside the soccer-mad township that’s ‘too dangerous’ for scouts to visit


The Constitutional Court’s finding against  Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane (see above) could hardly be more damning. Most alarming is the finding of dishonesty – ‘she was not honest about her engagements during the investigation’ and had resorted to ‘falsehoods’ during litigation. At the very least the Public Protector should be honest: if not the office loses its credibility, as has been the case during Mkhwebane’s tenure. It really is time for her to go. It is unlikely that Mkhwebane will fall on her sword – which she should do – so the spotlight turns to parliament, where a joint committee is required to authorise the president to remove her on the grounds of ‘misbehaviour, incapacity or incompetence’. All three of those requirements appear to have been met, but does the ANC majority have the collective will to do the right thing?


In response to the letter by Dr Fubar published on Friday:

Our son is currently in 4th year medicine at UCT and says the assertion made in today’s newsletter (that the 4th-year class at UCT medical school in 2019 has 260 students and 20 of them are males) is not factually correct as there are a far greater number of males in his class.

Rina Cronwright


Congrats on producing an invaluable addition to the plethora of news content available in the digital era. 
    I value your daily dose of cogent, pertinent, quirky and at times risqué versions of the local and global ‘happenings’ and enjoy your refreshing perspectives on the extremely broad range of issues covered by the Newsletter.
    In these days of multiple and diverse opinions, fake news, spin doctoring and propaganda, it’s deeply satisfying to find a news source that not only eloquently mirrors, but also informs my convictions on the duplicity of politics, be it in the venal corruption that has seen the ANC harm rather than help their own voters in South Africa, the global threat to common sense posed by the ongoing insanity in the White House, the unfathomable chaos that is Brexit in the UK and many, many more aspects worldwide.
    I sincerely hope that whatever business model you are employing enables you to keep the good stuff coming!
Paul Botha
P.S. In the interests of accuracy, please note that the Rand amount mentioned in the Moonstruck piece in Friday’s newsletter has been somewhat overstated – (in today’s money £161,688 or R30-million) – should in fact read R3-million.

Posted in News | Comments Off on PP gets court lashing | Batchelor’s phone ‘swiped and wiped’ | PIC lost $330m in energy company investment | World Cup umpire: I got it wrong

PP’s Ramaphosa bombshell | Zuma quits Zondo – and then comes back | Ngema dropped from new Sarafina show | Zim booted out of international cricket


PP’s damning finding against Ramaphosa

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has found that President Cyril Ramaphosa ‘deliberately’ misled parliament about a R500,000 donation he received from corruption accused Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson. The finding is a serious one for the president and would normally plunge a leader into crisis – but Mkhwebane’s record is such that it is likely to be challenged in court and possibly overturned. Ramaphosa had initially told parliament the donation was made to his son for work he did for Bosasa. He later withdrew this and said he had discovered it was a donation to his ANC presidential campaign. It had been reported recently that Mkhwebane would find that Ramaphosa had inadvertently misled parliament, but she said this morning that she found his actions ‘inconsistent with his office as a member of cabinet and therefore a violation of … the constitution’. She also found that there might have been money-laundering in the way the money was moved between various accounts and directed that this be investigated by the appropriate authorities. And she said Ramaphosa had breached the executive ethics code by not declaring the ‘financial benefit’ he had received. The complaints against Ramaphosa were tabled by DA leader Mmusi Maimane and EFF deputy Floyd Shivambu. Mkhwebane has been accused of being part of Jacob Zuma’s ‘fight back’ alliance against Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption campaign and an ally of the EFF.

Zuma U-turn on Zondo 

Jacob Zuma pulled out of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture this morning … but hours later changed his mind. The commission chair, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, announced this afternoon: ‘The decision that the former president would no longer participate in the proceedings is withdrawn’. No reasons were given but Zondo said Zuma would come back to give evidence at a later date. Earlier, Zuma’s lawyer, Advocate Muzi Sikhakhane, said the former president had been brought to the commission under false pretences and again objected to him being ‘cross-examined’. Zondo adjourned proceedings this morning after some to-and-fro between lawyers and said he would be attempting to resolve the impasse himself in meetings with the legal teams. Earlier in the week Zuma, after an initial statement in which he claimed a 30-year conspiracy against himself, became increasingly uncomfortable with questions from commission evidence leader Paul Pretorius. He denied any of the wrongdoing alleged by previous witnesses to the commission.

‘Drunk’ uncle detained 

A 34-year-old man, allegedly five times over the legal alcohol limit, was arrested while dropping off his niece at school in Modderfontein yesterday. According to the Gauteng traffic police, the breathalyser showed the man testing 1.39mg, while the legal alcohol limit is 0.24mg per 1,000ml. Gauteng Department of Community Safety director of communications Ofentse Morwane confirmed to News24 the man was arrested for alleged drunk driving and was detained at Sandringham police station.

Rwanda genocide fugitive in SA

A key suspect in the 1994 Rwanda genocide is somewhere in South Africa – and the country has been accused of failing to help bring him to justice. Serge Brammertz, the chief prosecutor of a UN criminal tribunal, said that since August his office has been seeking urgent cooperation from South Africa. ‘We have continually renewed our requests, and have repeatedly sought to engage directly with South African authorities,’ he told the UN Security Council. Since 2010, the tribunal has handled outstanding and ongoing cases from the former International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that tried suspects in the 1994 genocide that killed around 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis.

US ‘downed Iranian drone’

Tensions between the United States and Iran have been ratcheted up again after President Donald Trump claimed an American warship had downed one of the Middle East nation’s drones in the Strait of Hormuz. Trump said the USS Boxer took defensive action when the unmanned aircraft came within 1,000m of the warship. ‘This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,’ said Trump. But Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, cheekily responded: ‘We have not lost any drones in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [unmanned aerial system] by mistake!’


SA’s state debt grows

The South African government’s debt-to-GDP ratio has deteriorated most among its neighbours in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past year, reaching close to 60% at the end of the first quarter of the year. This is according to research by the International Institute of Finance. The risk in this scenario, according to economists quoted by Businesstech, is that greater debt may increase the likelihood of an investment ratings change, with Moody’s at present the only agency that still has SA ranked at investment grade. The Moody’s rating is based on an anticipated growth rate of 1% – higher than the 0.6% predicted by the Reserve Bank yesterday.

Tokyo workers in Olympic trials

Tokyo companies have been asked to let 600,000 employees work from home for two weeks in a test run for next year’s Olympics. Officials are hoping to alleviate the crush on the public transport system. Some companies have indicated they will simply close for two weeks.


Zim booted out of international cricket

Zimbabwe has been suspended from all international cricket by the sport’s governing body for political interference. The International Cricket Council announced today that the country’s team would not be allowed to participate in any of its events. This follows the suspension of the Zimbabwe Cricket Board by the government last month and its replacement with an interim committee. ‘The ICC has directed that the elected Zimbabwe Cricket Board be reinstated to office within three months, and progress in this respect will be considered again at the October board meeting,’ the ICC said.

A harsh reminder …

AB de Villiers reminded us – and the rest of the world – what South Africa missed at the recent Cricket World Cup when he smashed 88 runs not out off 43 balls for Middlesex against Essex in a T20 match at Lord’s, London, last night. He blasted six sixes and five fours in the innings, helping Middlesex to a comfortable seven-wicket win with three overs to spare.

Boks, Bafana … and the netball Proteas

The highlight of this weekend’s sport viewing is surely the opening match of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship tomorrow, with South Africa taking on Australia at Ellis Park at 5pm, three hours before Argentina try to upset the All Blacks in Buenos Aires (both SS1). Tonight football supporters can see the final of the Africa Cup of Nations between Senegal and Algeria (9pm, SS4) and golf fans can watch the final two rounds of the British Open over the weekend (SS2). The South African netball team were convincingly beaten by England in the final pool match last night but can still get into Sunday’s final if they win tomorrow’s semi-final against Australia (12 noon, SS10). Cycling fanatics can watch two massive mountain stages over the weekend which will decide who wears the yellow jersey into the final week of the Tour de France (SS5).

TV highlights


Ngema dropped from new Sarafina show

As a revival of the musical Sarafina prepares to open in Johannesburg tonight, it has been revealed that co-director Mbongeni Ngema has been asked to step down. Assistant stage manager Sam Madikane has also been asked to step aside while complaints of sexual harassment against the men are being investigated. Daily Maverick reports that the Market Theatre made the move following allegations by a young female actress. 

Lion King roars at the box office

The Lion King opens in US and SA this weekend – and by yesterday it was already approaching the $100-million mark from international ticket sales in the handful of countries where it has already been released. According to Variety the movie has made $72.6-million in China since it opened there a week ago. It launches in most international markets this weekend, followed by Japan, Italy and Hong Kong.  The movie is expected to rake in between $150-million and $180-million in the US alone in its first weekend. 


This little piggie went flying

A video of an airline passenger using his toes to operate the controls of his inflight entertainment console has gone viral on Twitter – being viewed more than 9-million times and eliciting outrage. CNN looks at some of the other inflight misbehaviours that irk fellow travellers. As a bonus in this link, the channel has an interview with the man who created the flyboard featured at the Paris Bastille Day celebrations – featuring some great visuals.


Jet lag

A Swiss aerobatic squadron was due to fly over Langenbruck to honour the centenary of a Swiss flying pioneer but instead performed their sky tricks over the wrong festival, startling a bunch of yodelers. According to the BBC, the jets were due to perform for the 100th anniversary of the death of Oskar Bider, who was the first person to fly over the Alps in both directions, a feat he accomplished in 1913 when he was 22. But the squadron leader saw the tent set up for the 31st Northwest Yodelling Festival in the town of Mümliswil 6km away, and misdirected the jets. A spokesperson for the Swiss military explained that the 40-year-old F-5E Tiger II aircraft were not equipped with GPS devices and navigated using ‘map, felt pen and sight’. After the startled yodelers recovered they enjoyed the unexpected show.


Two topical tweets today. The first from old favourite Brian Bilston (@brian_bilston), the ‘poet laureate of Twitter’ about Donald Trump’s recent racist comments about black congresswomen:


He’s redecorating the White House
In washed-out tones of white
Pale Shimmer, Frosted Dawn,
Sour Milk and Clouded Light

Bleached lichen in the kitchen.
Upstairs, White Mist is the plan.
Pure White in the Oval Office,
Painted by the Du Lux Klan.

And then there’s South African journalism veteran Max du Preez (@MaxduPreez) responding to a debate on Twitter about whether or not Julius Malema was leading a cult:

I also heard he was a cult. But it was in a pub with a lot of noise, so I may have misheard.


Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Sailors in the drink (8)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Cooks are saving time – because of this? (13) is VEGETARIANISM – an anagram of ‘are saving time’ (‘cooks’ is the anagram indicator) – and cooks save time when they don’t have to prepare meat.


Tomorrow it will be 50 years since Neil Armstrong put his left foot on the lunar surface and famously declared: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ National Geographic has a fascinating package of moon landing stories and graphics that look back at where we have come from and where we are headed in our exploration of our neighbour. Here’s the story of the speech US President Richard Nixon prepared in case the astronauts never made it back to earth.


The Week That Was

What left us moonstruck?
Financial Times journalist John Burn-Murdoch’s lesser known moon landing story: In 1964, a British betting man, 26-year-old David Threlfall, wrote to betting company William Hill to ask if he could bet £10 that a man will set foot on the moon before 1 January 1970. William Hill offered him 1000-1 odds. On 21 July 1969, he collected £10,000 (in today’s money £161,688 or R30-million). One of the first things he bought was an E-Type Jaguar sports car. He died after crashing it the following year. The 1969 moon landing caused one fatality. It just took 14 months.

What made us sad?
Just as we started to recover from the shock about the death of rugby hero James Small we had a fresh shock when we heard that former soccer star Marc Batchelor was gunned down in Johannesburg.

What broke our hearts?
The news that Johnny Clegg had died. The humble musician was a huge part of South Africa’s journey from apartheid to democracy. There’s been an outpouring of love for the muso which transcends race and politics. Johnny Clegg represents the hope of what South Africa could be – united, joyful and at peace; not the South Africa that has been compromised by greed, ego and division.

What got the world in a tizz?
The FaceApp fiasco, which has sparked worldwide fears of the rooi gevaar.  Almost 100-million people have signed up to the app, which uses filters to transform faces – making grumpy people smile, young people old, and even change gender but it also gives the app access to users’ personal photos and data. Fears have emerged that FaceApp is a Russian-government funded operation to harvest data and take over the world – one face at a time.

Who inspired us? 
The other Proteas – the SA Netball Team who face Australia in the World Cup semi-finals tomorrow -– and cyclist Daryl Impey, who won the Bastille Day stage of the Tour de France. Impey is only the second South African to win a stage of this incredible race. His brilliant achievement was overshadowed by two momentous sports events that took place on the same day.

Who did we give the menace of the week award to?
Our former president. Although most South Africans had a lump in our throats over the sad news of Johnny Clegg’s death, Zuma appeared to have a frog in his as he spluttered his way through his Zondo testimony. Before he had his big sulk he played the victim, espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories and then pulled the Manuel Defence (not Trevor but Manuel from Fawlty Towers) – ‘I know nothing’.

Who made us proudly South African?
Our former former former president Nelson Mandela – on the 101st anniversary of his birthday. And every day. 


To give some further detail to an article that appeared several days previously about the brain drain, let me give you some facts that may startle you. Please note that these are simple facts and not opinions:

  • The 4th-year class at UCT medical school in 2019 has 260 students and 20 of them are males
  • Not one male is going to have a baby, but the most common thing that the females are going to do is get married and have children and not be able to run a full-time job for the foreseeable next few years.
  • The average age of male GPs between Newlands and Muizenberg is 68 years old.
  • It is thought that 17,000 additional doctors will be required for national health insurance (NHI)
  • At present, we have solved the problem of a shrinking doctor population over the past five years… by ceasing to publish the statistics. It is my estimate that primary care physicians/general practitioners have decreased by 5,000 since 2012
  • The average fee per hour paid to the emergency room doctor for an emergency unit for an after hour shift ( e.g 10pm to 11pm on a Saturday) is R425 gross. This is for a highly skilled professional with at least nine years of training … and entrusted with the saving of a life.
  • The United Kingdom authorities have dropped the visa cap for South African doctors and I have it on good authority that they have doubled the seating capacity for the first part of the exam, which is written in Johannesburg. They are looking to source 2,000 doctors by 2020 and that is before the Brexit factor is taken into account
  • The starting salary as of 17 July 2019 in the UK as published in the GP online site is 20,000 pounds per month, with a six-week paid vacation and an iPad (I assume because of electronic health records). We are losing our young bright doctors in chunks, not so much because of the high salary offered, but because of the difficult working conditions that they are forced to work in, in both state and private sectors,
  • It is now impossible to run a practice in a suburban environment with a gross income per doctor per hour of R1,536 (medical aid rates). This is assuming that every appointment for the day, is filled by a paying customer. Overheads are a minimum of 55% of the above hourly cost.

The solution for the doctor is:

  1. Push more patients in per hour with a shorter consultation time
  2. Bulk the consultation cost upwards by doing unnecessary and profitable tests or medicine dispensing.
  3. Work longer hours with less personal or family time
  4. Emigrate.

Our only saving grace is that this problem is not unique to this country.

Dr Fubar( F@#ked Up Beyond All Repair)

Posted in News | Comments Off on PP’s Ramaphosa bombshell | Zuma quits Zondo – and then comes back | Ngema dropped from new Sarafina show | Zim booted out of international cricket

Interest rate cut | Zuma suspends testimony | SA’s got talent | Netball Proteas big payday?


Interest rate cut

The SA Reserve Bank had some good news for consumers today, deciding to cut the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6.5%. The repo rate is the rate at which the bank lends money to commercial banks. While the move will provide some relief to consumers (and add ever so slightly to the burden of pensioners), Business Day says it is not expected to have a significant effect on long-term sentiment as the country grapples with structural economic problems. In the year since the last interest rate cut consumers have faced challenges such as increased fuel prices and tax hikes. However, Fin24 said today that economists forecast basis point cuts could total as much as 75 over the next six months. ‘That would support a fragile recovery in sales and consumer confidence by loosening the cost of debt,’ it said. 

Zuma testimony suspended

Jacob Zuma appeared to be on the point of tripping himself up when he forced an end to proceedings at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture yesterday. He complained that he was being cross-examined about issues that he could not possibly be expected to remember. The truth, however, might be closer to the fact that he was getting cornered about questions of interference in appointments at state-owned enterprises and his non-answers were suggesting he was either guilty or massively incompetent. The commission is today pondering the complaints raised by Zuma and his lawyers and will reconvene tomorrow if a compromise is reached. You can read about aspects of the saga in The Menace, the Big Read and What We Say.

‘Death squad’ charges dropped

Murder, robbery and racketeering charges against the so-called ‘Cato Manor death squad’ were dropped in the Durban High Court yesterday. The 27 policemen from the Cato Manor and Port Shepstone organised crime units have argued that the charges were politically motivated and designed to protect corrupt politicians. ‘During the seven years since the arrests, the members were subjected to suspensions, humiliation and disciplinary proceedings,’ the officers said in a joint statement today. They added that the prosecutions were authorised first by acting NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba in 2012 and then by NPA head Shaun Abrahams in 2016 because police and prosecutors aimed ‘to protect their political puppet masters from prosecutions themselves’. The charges related to 45 alleged exra-judicial killings in KwaZulu-Natal. 


There’s two of them

When it comes to menace ‘honours’ not much separates Jacob Zuma and Donald Trump. Last night the US president continued his attack on the four Democratic congresswomen – specifically aiming his blows at Ilhan Omar, an American citizen who has been in the United States for almost 30 years. Trump told his MAGA supporters she was an anti-Semite and that she looked down at hardworking Americans, to which the MAGA brigade started chanting ‘Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!’ The fascist-like rally has been described as one of the most chilling and horrifying things ever seen in US politics. In the meantime, Zuma is trying to do to the Zondo Commission what he did to the country when he was president – destroy it. He has so far denied everything, or can’t recall anything and accused people of being apartheid spies. Now he is claiming he was brought there under false pretences and wants to head off into the sunset to avoid tough questions about how he used his position as number-one to make a quick buck. Since the Zondo Commission started Zuma has been the elephant in the room. With each witness who takes the stand, we discover that Zuma’s presidency was a white elephant: useless, troublesome, expensive to maintain and difficult to dispose of.


Independent Media sales overstated

Circulation figures for newspaper sales in Sekunjalo’s Independent Media stable have been recalculated after an external audit found that most of its titles had overstated their numbers in the course of a year. The Star has revised its figures by between 12.58% (Q4-2017) and 14.37% (Q1-2017). The Pretoria News revision is between 18.11% and 20.24% for the same periods. The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa (ABC) allows titles to claim a sale for any paper sold at over 50% of its cover price. Media companies commonly include copies that are distributed to schools at no cost to the school as part of education initiatives – but they are paid for by a sponsor. In some cases Independent titles were found to have no sponsors and in others the sponsor was a sister company. Linked company sponsorships don’t count under ABC rules. Circulation numbers affect the amount that can be charged for adverts.

Ford workforce grows 

It’s a drop in the ocean, relatively speaking, but good news nonetheless is that Ford South Africa has announced it will be employing 1,200 more people from August to meet international demand for its locally produced models, the New Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest. The knock-on impact in supplier industries is estimated at 10,000 new jobs. The manufacturer expects to increase annual output from 124,000 vehicles per year to 168,000.


Big payday for Netball Proteas?

The Proteas netball team duly dispatched Uganda 67-40 in their World Cup match in Liverpool, and qualified for the tournament semi-finals – and a potentially huge payday. Sponsor Telkom has offered to give every member of the 12-player squad R1-million if they win the tournament. If they make it to the final but lose they will each get R500,000. Title sponsor Spar has also committed to giving the squad R1-million to share if they win gold. The team, which has now won five games on the trot at the tournament, plays their final pool match against England tonight before taking on either New Zealand or Australia in the semi-finals.

The Open opens

The Open Championship got under way in Northern Ireland today. If you don’t have access to a television set you can catch up with the latest scores and how the South Africans are doing courtesy of News24.

Rassie experiments

It’s going to be a curious old Rugby Championship this year with only one round of fixtures and coaches doing some last-minute experiments with an eye on the World Cup starting on 20 September in Japan. Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has dispatched 15 players to New Zealand to prepare for their match against the All Blacks next weekend and chosen a distinctly experimental line-up for Saturday’s game against Australia in Johannesburg. Lock Eben Etzebeth will captain the team in the absence of the injured Siya Kolisi while flank Rynhardt Elstadt and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies will make their Test debuts. The pack will, however, boast a significant total of 394 caps. The team is: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds


SA’s got talent

The South African Youth Choir as the Americans are calling it – more formally the Ndlovu Youth Choir – who did so well in their audition for America’s Got Talent last month have smashed it again, this time with a performance on Tuesday which earned them a place in the semi-finals. They now progress to the live-show rounds which are held in Hollywood. You can watch their wonderful performance of Waka Waka here (and see the judges high praise).


Dope dopes

That may look like a kid’s drawing of an excavator. Look again – it’s an X-ray image of a machine that someone in South Africa shipped to Australia, crammed with cocaine that they welded into its hollow parts. Australian border police released the image after they removed the R1.4bn haul (reportedly Australia’s biggest border drug bust to date), stuffed it with a dummy payload, welded it back together and sent it on its way. The recipient has been arrested. 

And this? Believe it or not, the man with the weird toupée thought no-one would ask. He is a Colombian who was arrested in Barcelona last month after he stepped off a plane with a 500g parcel of cocaine stuck to his pate. The wig gave it away, said Spanish police who released the image yesterday – it was of ‘disproportionate size’, they said in a statement.


Baby Shark attacks the homeless

Cape Town officials have resorted to fining homeless people to keep them off the street, but Florida officials in West Palm Beach believe a continuous loop of the irritating ear-worm songs Baby Shark and Raining Tacos will keep the homeless at bay.  AP reports that authorities hope the children’s songs played throughout the night will keep homeless people from sleeping on the patio of a city-owned rental banquet facility. West Palm Beach parks and recreation director Leah Rockwell told the Palm Beach Post they’re trying to discourage people from sleeping outside the glass-walled Waterfront Lake Pavilion. One homeless person said it was wrong to chase homeless people away with music and vowed that he would still sleep there. 


Today we turn to God (@TheTweetOfGod) for a wry reflection:

I have lost control of the situation.


Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Cooks are saving time – because of this? (13) 

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Go bananas I’m sad we have not seen him! (11) is Asimbonanga – an anagram of ‘go bananas I’m’ (‘sad’ is the anagram indicator), and the isiZulu for ‘we have not seen him’ . Asimbonanga is, of course, one of Johnny Clegg’s iconic hits. 


Jacob Zuma made some startling claims at  the Zondo Commission that some of his comrades weren’t comrades but apartheid spies. The problem with spy allegations is that they are usually impossible to prove one way or another. In a News24 column Jeremy Cronin, a member of the SA Communist Party and a former member of the ANC’s national executive committee, reflects on Zuma’s testimony and says paranoia, with its attendant conspiracy theories and witch-hunts, is the oxygen on which security apparatuses world-wide thrive.


It is Mandela Day today – marking what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 101st birthday – and an occasion when the country likes to reflect on his massive contribution. Instead, many of us are frustrated and angry and the man responsible for much of that – Jacob Zuma – continues to play games designed to avoid accountability. The country lost nine years during which Zuma was president – nine years in which state institutions were hollowed out and robbed blind. The consequences have been a shocking failure to deliver services to the people Zuma was elected to serve and a wobbling economy. All of which makes Zuma’s pathetic tactics at the Zondo Commision of Inquiry into state capture doubly infuriating. In essence, he has invented a massive conspiracy theory going back 30 years, made grotesquely damaging allegations against some of his enemies inside the ANC and then, when questioned, fallen back on being unable to remember anything that happened during his presidency. It has been a performance as shameful as his leadership of the country.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Interest rate cut | Zuma suspends testimony | SA’s got talent | Netball Proteas big payday?

Farewell Johnny Clegg | Zuma still can’t recall anything | Mount Nelson robbed | These Proteas are on fire


The ‘great unifier’ dies

Legendary South African musician Johnny Clegg died yesterday at the age of 66 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Warm and heartfelt tributes for the man dubbed ‘the great unifier’ have been coming in from around the world. You can read more about them and him below in the Big Read, What’s the Buzz?, the Tweet of the Day, and the What We Say.

Zuma stonewalling again

Former president Jacob Zuma continues to deny any wrongdoing as he testifies to the Zondo Commision of Inquiry into state capture for a third day. The commission this morning turned to the evidence it heard previously from former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan, who claimed that Zuma overruled the Transnet board’s recommendation for a CEO. Instead he wanted Siyabonga Gama to get the job in spite of the reservations of Hogan and the Transnet board, she claimed. Zuma flatly denied this, and that she had warned him Gama was under investigation at Transnet Freightrail. In his evidence so far Zuma has denied or said he could not remember the claims raised in evidence by Hogan, former government communication and information service CEO Themba Maseko and former MP Vytjie Mentor. His testimony is continuing and you can read more of his denials courtesy of News24

MK veterans blast Zuma

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) national council has accused Jacob Zuma of lying at the state capture commission to ‘save his own skin’. It blasted his suggestions that its national chairperson, Siphiwe Nyanda and ex-combatant, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, had ties to apartheid intelligence organisations. ‘We view [comrade] Zuma’s allegations as irresponsible outbursts from a person who is obfuscating and ducking in attempts to avoid speaking the truth to assist the work of the commission,’ it said.

The Nellie robbed

TimesLive reports that 15 masked and armed men were involved in the robbery of guests at Cape Town’s famous Mount Nelson Hotel late on Tuesday. The newspaper quoted police sources as saying that the balaclava-clad attackers stormed into the hotel – known locally as the ‘Pink Lady’ – and used a sledgehammer to smash jewellery display cabinets in the foyer. They then headed into the hotel bar and robbed customers of cellphones before fleeing in two cars. No shots were fired and nobody was injured.


Kiss of death

Canadian couple Darren and Carolyn Carter came to South Africa, trophy hunted at least two lions and then photographed themselves kissing next to the dead body of one of the lions. ‘There is nothing like hunting the king of the jungle,’ they wrote under the photo and then to make it sound like they had bravely squared off against the beast in the wild: ‘Hard work in the hot Kalahari sun.’ The couple’s post-kill snog has enraged animal lovers. According to Eduardo Goncalves, founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, the lion was a tame animal killed in an enclosure, and ‘bred for the sole purpose of being the subject of a smug selfie’. Killing an animal in cold-blood is horrific – and then kissing over its corps is just sick. These menaces should be ashamed of themselves.


Matjila says execs kept PIC in dark

Former public investment corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila today said that executives from the fund manager who were deployed to represent its interests in VBS bank failed to report back when Vele Investments became the majority shareholder of the bank. The process had been kept secret, he said. The PIC’s vision for VBS then ‘went up in smoke’. He again denied allegations that he had received a R5m kickback for securing funding for VBS, saying the claim damaged his reputation. He suggested that one of the PIC’s executives who served on the VBS board, Paul Magula, had been behind the slur and behind other leaks from within the corporation. Magula had been facing a disciplinary inquiry at the time, he said.
    *Business Maverick reports that former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene has refuted claims by Matjila yesterday that Nene had introduced him to his son and had asked that he mentor the youngster.

EOH to close dodgy unit

Technology company EOH has revealed that it will be shutting down its business unit linked to the R1.2bn in suspicious payments that were uncovered in a forensic probe by law firm ENSAfrica. Business Day reports that contracts that are in place will be honoured but the unit, EOH Mthombo, will close when these have run their course.


These Proteas are on fire

There’s been a bit of a vacuum in live sport over the past few days – as if in reaction to the incredible drama dished up at the Cricket World Cup – but tomorrow the Open Championship kicks off in Northern Ireland and tonight the South African team take on Uganda in the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England. The Proteas netball team have been on fine form, winning four matches on the trot and are all but assured of a place in the semi-finals. Their wins included a rare one against Jamaica. If the Proteas beat Uganda at 7pm tonight they guarantee a spot in the semis. Their last game of the preliminary stages against England takes place at 8pm tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can have a look at the 11 South African contenders taking part in the Open courtesy of News24. 


The tribute

It is a fitting moment to revisit the tribute version of Johnny Clegg’s The Crossing that more than 50 SA musicians combined to record last year. The purpose – to celebrate Clegg’s life and achievements – was turned by Clegg into a pay-it-forward opportunity and he requested that proceeds from the song and the event where it was released go to The Click Foundation, to fund a literacy drive in South Africa. Every YouTube viewing helps the effort. 


Shapeshifter of the deep

Here’s something a little different. It’s a 45-second insight into the extraordinary disguise that an octopus can adopt. 


Lost in  translation 

Is sending a 🔪in a text message considered a death threat? Is it sexual harassment if a manager sends a ❤️? Emojis are showing up in court cases and judges are struggling to handle the nuances, reports CNN. ‘Judges aren’t prepared for the influx, especially ones who are older and may not be familiar with newer vernacular,’ attorney Jason Levine, who has worked on cases with emojis as evidence, told CNN. Emojis are most prevalent in sexual harassment and criminal cases, and increasingly showing up in workplace lawsuits. There is a lot that could get lost in the translation and emojis can be easily misinterpreted. That’s especially true when you consider how symbols vary by culture. Thumbs-up is considered offensive in the Middle East, while a smiley face is taken as sarcasm in China. One of the biggest points of contention for emojis in court cases is that they render differently on varying platforms and devices – a study had participants interpret a grinning face with smiling eyes as ‘blissfully happy’ on Android, but ‘ready to fight’ on iOS. 👀


Today we give this space to a moving message from a son to his father. This is the tweet from Jesse Clegg (@Jesse_Clegg) earlier today:

Hamba kahle dad. Love you always.



Today’s clue is: Go bananas I’m sad we have not seen him! (11)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Obey God, spread cheers (7) is GOODBYE– an anagram of ‘Obey God’ (spread is the anagram indicator) and ‘cheers’ the definition. 


The country is remembering Johnny Clegg today. There are many tributes but one of the best is this wonderful piece by The Daily Maverick’s Tony Jackman – The dance ends for Johnny Clegg, SA’s beloved musical storyteller. It’s interspersed with music videos of Le Zoulou Blanc, that will leave a lump in your throat. There are links to other Daily Maverick stories about Clegg. Now put on your favourite Juluka song and have a look at News24’s photographic tribute to the remarkable and much-loved musician. 


Johnny Clegg crossed South African divides like very few others have done. His generous and big-hearted personality embraced all South Africans and the music that flowed from him represented the best of the country’s people. As a young man he studied the music and dance of migrant workers in Johannesburg and combined them into a blend of South African culture that found purchase in both the suburbs and townships. By doing so he defied apartheid’s divisions and served as a unifier during dark times. Latterly he has represented what we could have become as a nation – but have not. But the flame that he lit will hopefully burn strong and long and help us see one another through his vision. 

Posted in News | Comments Off on Farewell Johnny Clegg | Zuma still can’t recall anything | Mount Nelson robbed | These Proteas are on fire

Gordhan: It’s come to this | ‘Inept’ Trump lashes out at May | Batohi drops Booysen charges | DJ Fresh decision | Coco’s dream ends


‘Inept’ Trump lashes out at May

Donald Trump has gone ballistic over a leaked confidential report by the British Ambassador to Washington, who said the US president was ‘inept’, ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘radiating insecurity’. Trump said the ambassador, Sir Kim Durrock, was ‘not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him’. He then turned his guns on outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May after she said she still had faith in Durrock. Trump said May had made a ‘mess’ of Brexit and should have taken his advice on departing the European Union. Assessments of foreign governments by diplomats are traditionally extremely candid and kept highly confidential. The Brits are probing how the leak happened.

It’s come to this

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree after a Twitter campaign suggesting he had no such qualification. A variety of accounts – several with apparent EFF sympathies – have been suggesting Gordhan does not have the qualification which he claimed. UKZN yesterday confirmed that ‘Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan studied and successfully completed the requirements for the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1973’. He also received an honorary doctorate in 2003 and the Convocation Award from the university in 2013. 

Batohi drops Booysen charges

One of the most controversial National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) decisions from the Zuma years appears to have been put to bed. New NPA boss Shamila Batohi yesterday announced that it would be withdrawing longstanding racketeering charges against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen. He was initially charged by then acting head of the NPA Nomgcobo Jiba. Her decision was widely held to have been politically motivated and Booysen has said it was because he blocked some questionable business interests of Jacob Zuma’s son Edward. It was reviewed and set aside in court but another Zuma ally Shaun Abrahams charged him again when he was appointed NPA boss in 2016. Batophi appointed a panel to review the case and today withdrew the charges on its recommendation.

Was it Number One?

Former head of state protocol Bruce Koloane made a dramatic about-turn in his testimony to the Zondo state capture inquiry today. This followed the playing of tape recordings that showed he had a direct role in facilitating the controversial 2013 landing of a private jet carrying Gupta family wedding guests at Waterkloof Air Force base. Yesterday he told the commission he did not have anything to do with the approval process. Today, however, he admitted after the recordings were played that he had abused his position and used former President Jacob Zuma’s name to pressure Department of Defence officials to authorise the landing. He said he had not spoken to Zuma about the matter. In one of the recordings played today Waterkloof’s then officer commanding movement control, Lt-Col Christine Anderson, is heard telling Major Thabo Ntshisi, who worked at Waterkloof and was querying the landing permission, that the matter was ‘political’, ‘our number one knows about this’. 

Did Matjila get VBS Bank loan?

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has confirmed that a forensic report found its former CEO, Dan Matjila, unduly benefited from a R2.45m loan from scandal-hit VBS Bank, which collapsed last year. But Matjila’s lawyer today told the PIC inquiry that Matjila had never received a loan from VBS. Matjila is giving testimony to the inquiry this week where he is expected to explain his role in a number of controversial investments of public funds. The forensic report was compiled by Nexus Forensic Services, based in Pretoria.


No place for racist cops

They should be upholding the law – not breaking it. TimesSelect has reported that five senior Western Cape detectives sent racist jokes and circulated photographs of gorillas and monkeys, with two of their colleagues’ names attached on a WhatsApp group. The detectives based at the Khayelitsha police station have been charged with crimen injuria and defamation of character. Comparing back people to monkeys is highly offensive and one wonders where these menaces were hiding when Penny Sparrow sparked a furor with her infamous New Year’s comments? This latest incident shows how deeply entrenched racism is in our society. The officers’ racist behaviour erodes public trust and confidence in the police – and, if found guilty, they should be fired.


Hedging their bets

Financial services company Sable International is reporting a 70% increase in South Africans inquiring about investing abroad and acquiring second citizenships or foreign residency. In a trend interpreted as indicating that locals are hedging their bets, Sable said it had seen an increase of 45% in clients in the past year. Fin24 reports that Andrew Rissik, group commercial director, said high-net worth individuals are ‘internationalising’ themselves, their wealth, and often their businesses as fast as they can.

Bullies in trouble

A court case over corporate bullying in France is coming to a close with expectations that its outcome could set a global precedent for holding company managers personally criminally responsible for strategic harassment of staff aimed at forcing them to resign. The case centres on the actions of executives of France Telecom, now called Orange, as they sought to restructure the company and cut 22,000 jobs. Between 2008 and 2009, 35 workers committed suicide, most leaving notes to say the company had made their lives unbearable. The case is due to wrap up this week and it will be several weeks before judges give their verdict. 


Riske and reward

The Wimbledon fairytale ended yesterday with Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff finding Simona Halep a step too far as the former world number-one raced to a 6-3 6-3 victory. In an action-packed start to the second week of the tournament there were plenty of talking points, but the exit of the teen sensation overshadowed them all – even the defeats to top seed Ashleigh Barty (beaten 3-6 6-2 6-3 by unseeded Alison Riske), third seed Karolina Pliskova (beaten 4-6 7-5 13-11 by Karolina Muchova) and sixth seed Petra Kvitova (beaten 4-6 6-2 6-4 by Johanna Konta). After Halep lost her opening service game and served three consecutive double faults in her second it did not seem likely she could win in straight sets, but Gauff never looked settled and gave away 29 unforced errors as Halep took control. In other women’s matches, Serena Williams raced past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-2 in just 64 minutes to set up a meeting with Riske. For the men, the Big Three of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all raced into the quarter finals in straight sets. South Africa’s lone hope for Wimbledon glory, Raven Klaasen and his New Zealand doubles partner Michael Venus, eased into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 win over Robin Haase and Frederik Nielsen.

India confident of final spot

Eleven years ago Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson were opposing captains in the semifinal of the 2008 Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia. Today Kohli will be hoping for a similar three-wicket win for India while Williamson will be looking for a long-awaited revenge for New Zealand. India go into the rematch as the overwhelming favourites with batsmen and bowlers high on confidence after a near-perfect run through the pool stages of this tournament. Their only blemish was a loss to England when chasing 338. In contrast New Zealand come into the semifinal on the back of three losses in a row with a batting unit struggling to put partnerships together.

Tunisia finally beat Ghana

Ivory Coast and Tunisia completed the quarterfinal lineup at the Africa Cup of Nations last night. Ivory Coast eased past Mali 1-0 while Tunisia ousted Ghana with a 5-4 penalty shootout after the teams ended extra time with a goal apiece. Tunisia looked to have the match sewn up before substitute Rami Bedoui scored an own goal with his first touch of the ball in the 89th minute. The winning draw for Tunisia means they have reached the quarterfinals without winning a match after three draws in the group phase and now a fourth in the Round of 16. The shootout was their first victory over Ghana in 54 years at the Afcon tournament. Tunisia will play Madagascar in the quarters on Thursday while Ivory Coast take on Algeria. The other two quarter finals tomorrow see South Africa take on Nigeria and Senegal clash with Benin.


DJ Fresh gets the boot

After weeks of hints on social media and efforts behind the scenes to mend fences between DJ Fresh (more formally Thato Sikwane) and his employers at Metro FM, the SABC today announced that the popular DJ has had his contract terminated – with immediate effect. DJ Fresh was suspended for ‘foul language’ – a complaint had been lodged with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA alleging that Sikwane used an adaption of the Zulu swear word ‘msunery’ (a derogatory term for female genitalia) in response to a listener on air. The DJ appeared as a guest on Newzroom Afrika this morning, sparking speculation about whether he will find a new home there. 


Wedded to the lens 

Ian Weldon is not a wedding photographer – the title of his upcoming book says so. But his wonderful collection of candid moments at weddings puts the spotlight firmly on the underside of celebrations. CNN has an interview with Weldon and reproduces some of the  great moments he has captured.  


Curry on regardless

A mysterious bright orange bird was spotted at the side of a major highway in the UK and taken to the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. The veterinary team discovered that this wasn’t an exotic bird but a herring gull covered in curry. ‘He had somehow gotten himself covered in curry or turmeric! It was all over his feathers, preventing him from flying properly,’ said the animal hospital, which is a naan profit organisation. ‘We have no idea how he got into this predicament but thankfully, apart from the vibrant color and pungent smell, he was healthy.’ They named the gull Vinny after Vindaloo curry, and although he didn’t rice to the occasion they released him into the wild. According to Mashable, a gull named Gullfrazie fell into a vat of chicken tikka masala in 2016. It was also bathed, but The Guardian reported that Gullfrazie still smelled like curry afterwards. Yep, never a dhal moment! 


Today’s winner is (insert drum roll here) Saddington 2 (@hayley_hud) for this truly ridiculous offering:

A Sonic Boom is when Sonic reaches the speed of sound and his ass cheeks clap together


Today’s clue, compiled by Fa Ten, is: Street cop in disguise, hush-hush (3,6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Trump is abnormal, the first president needing to be kicked out. That’s so obvious (6), is TRUISM  – an anagram of TRUMP IS (abnormal is the anagram indicator) without ‘p’ (first president is the first letter of president needing to be kicked out)


The Women’s World Cup top player Megan Rapinoe has a complicated relationship with the person who introduced her to soccer – her brother Brian. When he was 15, Brian brought meth to school and has been in and out of jail ever since. At 15, Megan played with the youth US national team. Brian was inked with swastika tattoos – an allegiance to white supremacy he now disavows; Megan was the first prominent white athlete to kneel to protest racial inequality. This feature by ESPN explains why Brian is Megan’s greatest heartbreak… and hope.


Julius Malema is a bit like a stuck clock: every now and then he gets it right. For example, between encouraging partygoers at the July Handicap to have sex and attacking Pravin Gordhan, he said Twitter is ‘divorced from reality’. ‘I know for a fact that the EFF won nearly every “poll” conducted on Twitter in the run-up to the elections,’ he pointed out, adding that the party only came third in the voting. His motive was, unfortunately, not terribly noble: he was trying to persuade a court that remarks made by him on the social media platform should not be taken too seriously and did not amount to hate speech. That said, he is right about the distorted picture that social media paints. On most days it feels like the entire country consists of either mini-Malemas or wannabe Steve Hofmeyrs. This has the potential to polarise this society and it is worth remembering that the sort of people that might support such extremism polled below 20% in the election.


the.news.letter yesterday cited a Moneyweb story about the resignation of the head of Necsa, Rob Adam. Moneyweb has published a correction note on its story today: The original article said Rob Adam was jailed for sabotage of the Koeberg nuclear plant. Dr Adam points out this was incorrect. He spent 10 years in jail for anti-apartheid activities. We apologise for the error.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Gordhan: It’s come to this | ‘Inept’ Trump lashes out at May | Batohi drops Booysen charges | DJ Fresh decision | Coco’s dream ends