31 August 2018


‘Sheep’ heads for the hills

News24 reports that former NPA boss Shaun Abrahams has retired from the organisation. It said today that sources in the NPA have confirmed Abrahams’ departure has been ‘processed as a retirement, which holds benefits for him’. It is not yet known what those benefits are. The Constitutional Court had recently ruled that the appointment of Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions by former president Jacob Zuma was unconstitutional. The man known as ‘Shaun the sheep’ described the ruling as a ‘grave disappointment’.

Not so Supra

In another indication that Jacob Zuma’s erstwhile allies are being moved aside, the ANC national executive committee this morning took the highly unusual step of dissolving its North West provincial executive. This effectively pulled the rug from under Supra Mahumapelo, who had clung on to his job as ANC provincial chairman in spite of resigning as North West premier in June following violent protests against his rule. Mahumapelo was one of the so-called Premier League of regional leaders loyal to Zuma. Now his fate lies in the hands of a provincial task team headed by Job Mokgoro, who last month was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to replace Mahumapelo.

Did Manyi interfere with a witness?

It’s been a bad few weeks for former Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi, and today it got worse. After recently closing his The New Age newspaper and Afro Worldview television station (formerly ANN7), both of which he adopted from the Guptas as they fled the country, Manyi’s name has popped up in an unfavourable light at the Zondo inquiry into state capture. This morning Phumla Williams‚ the acting director-general of GCIS‚ was giving evidence. She told commission chair Judge Raymond Zondo that during a tea break Manyi had sent her an SMS in which he told her to tell the commission he was not to blame him for the controversial The New Age breakfasts that were broadcast on the SABC – and which GCIS reportedly sponsored. Zondo has demanded an investigation into whether Manyi was interfering with a witness, which he described as a ‘very serious’ offence. You can get more details from News24’s live feed here.

Rhino shocker

It was supposed to be a move that would keep 11 critically endangered black rhinos safe. Instead they all died in their new sanctuary at Tasvo East, Kenya, after drinking water with toxic levels of salt. Now the recriminations are flying: AFP reports that the Kenya Wildlife Service had been warned repeatedly about the unsuitability of the site. The World Wildlife Fund donated a million dollars to the project and conservationists have accused it of  ‘pushing hard’ for the relocation of the rhinos.


Banks warn on land moves

The Banking Association of SA has stepped into the land debate. A statement issued yesterday warned that while land ownership in SA was skewed and unsustainable, amending Section 25 of the Constitution could cause a drop in property values. ‘(B)anks – and the economy – will not be able to absorb a shock of such magnitude’. Around R1.6 trillion of customer savings, salaries and investments has been lent out as property loans that rely on the value of the properties as security.

Driving a deal?

The chief economist at the London-based Centre for European Reform, Sam Lowe, has some interesting views on Theresa May’s visit to South Africa. He argues one reason the British PM popped in for a visit this week was to secure ongoing sales of Britain’s Ford cars into the EU. According to Lowe, an engine is made in Dagenham (in the UK), shipped to South Africa, put in a vehicle, and then sold back into the EU. The engine enters SA tariff-free under the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, and can be sold into the EU also tariff-free because of local content rules in the same agreement. Lowe says the UK needs to secure new agreements to keep the route open post Brexit.


Net effect

The US Open lurches from one controversy to another. Yesterday umpire Mohamed Lahyani climbed off his chair to give a pep talk to an apparently sulking Nick Krygios – who was losing 3-6 and 0-3 to Pierre-Hugues Herbert. He reportedly told the player that he was ‘better than this’.  The brattish Australian perked up and ended up winning in four sets. Umpires are meant to be scrupulously impartial and Lahyani’s actions have been criticised by many, including Roger Federer, who will be Kyrgios’s opponent in the next round.

Saffers on fire

Caster Semenya was once again dominant on the opening day of the Diamond League finals in Zurich yesterday. Semenya cruised to an emphatic win in the 800m after leading from the start. Her time of 1:55.27 was two seconds clear of second-placed Ajee Wilson of the United States. There was also celebration in the long jump when Luvo Manyonga led Rushwahl Samaai home for a South African one-two with jumps of 8.36 and 8.32 respectively.

Kolbe back

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus surprised just about everybody by adding former Western Province back Cheslin Kolbe to the Springbok squad for the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship. The diminutive Kolbe, now playing in France, is an interesting selection for a team that has long been accused of an obsession with brute force. South Africa face the Wallabies in Brisbane on September 8 and the All Blacks in Wellington a week later.


Climate change leads to climax change

A heatwave Colombia’s Santa Marta has seen temperatures rise to a scorching 40ºC, prompting the city’s health secretary Julio Salas to ask residents to please abstain from sex in the extreme heat. Sky News reported that his novel advice was met with laughter and disbelief.  His other tips were to wear loose clothing and drink plenty of water.


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.

Happy Snap 09: Deborah Erasmus, 57, Tokai

Deborah Erasmus, 57, Tokai

Being in nature – because it’s the pulse of life. Seven years ago I found myself in Mexico – I remember the day, it was 11/11/11 – and an angel touched me. I had gone to Mexico because I had reached a point in my life where I realised that material things could no longer feed me – I had gone to find myself; to search for enlightenment. In Mexico I found total contentment and inner peace and what it means to live in your heart. That’s when you don’t live in fear; you live in love. That’s happiness.


It’s Friday so we’ve got two tweets, one from gentle twitter and the other from, er, rough twitter. Venerable and veteran journalist Max du Preez (@MaxduPreez) posted this:

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I’ll draw a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?
– Spike Milligan

Then there was Andrew (@AndrewChamings):

wife [watching the news]: some idiot tried to fight a squid at the aquarium
me [covered in ink]: maybe the squid was being a dick


Today’s clue published in The Nation’s crossword this week, is: Runaway brides love to get naked (7)

The solution to yesterday’s clue Rubbish Spurs team’s accepted as adequate (4,6) is ‘pass muster’ (an anagram of spurs team’s (rubbish is the anagram indicator) and means ‘accepted as adequate’.


Here, courtesy of Wired, is the fascinating ‘Untold Story’ of Notpetya, the most devastating cyberattack in history. The article, an excerpt from Andy Greenberg’s forthcoming book, begins thus: ‘It was a perfect sunny summer afternoon in Copenhagen when the world’s largest shipping conglomerate began to lose its mind.’ Be warned though. You only get four free Wired items a month.


Who made us say, flip-flop much?

Julius Malema, who voted with the ANC to remove Athol Trollip as mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro this week .. last year he insisted that the EFF would ‘never’ vote with the ANC! ‘We are in this mess because of the ANC! How will we explain ourselves?’ he said. ‘Never’ is a short time in politics.

Who made us shake our heads:

Bad dads. News from StatsSA that almost two-thirds of births last year were registered without the details of the father – there could be many reasons for this but what is undeniable is that South Africa has a high rate of fathers who don’t take responsibility for their children.

Who we gave the Houdini of the Week award to:

Former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini, who escaped a costs order when the Constitutional Court said she was not grossly negligent for applying for an extension to an invalid cash grant payments contract. But Dlamini still faces a costs order over the 2017 debacle in which the SA Social Security Agency had to approach the court to extend the Cash Paymaster Services contract for a year.

What made us very disappointed:

The end of Afro Worldview (formerly ANN7). Where do we go now to watch blapses, blunders and bloopers?

Who we gave the Menace of the Week award to:

Donald Trump raised his hand for this award when he showed there is no end to his smallness when he ordered the flag that had been flying at half staff in honour of US senator John McCain, a Trump critic, to be raised to its normal position. But the person who gets this dubious honour is the elephant in the Zondo Inquiry into state capture – Jacob Zuma. We’ve had a week of startling revelations at how the president betrayed our country.

What made us unproudly South African:

The xenophobic attacks in White City that left three people dead. The violence erupted during protest by some Soweto residents against allegedly expired food and counterfeit brands in the shops (that the protesters then looted).

What made us proudly South African:

Reading the report in the Times about the Soweto residents who risked their own lives and rallied around foreign shop-owners pleading for their safety.

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.