5 October 2018


Nene sorry he met Guptas

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene today took the unusual step of apologising for meetings with the Guptas at their Saxonwold residence before 2014. ‘I was wrong in meeting the Guptas at their residence. I say this being mindful of the fact that it is quite common practice, not only in South Africa but globally, for public office bearers to attend gatherings at residences of business people, fellow politicians, and other stakeholders. But context matters. As soon as I became aware of the controversy swirling around the family’s business dealings, I should, subject to there being a legitimate reason for doing so, have met the Guptas at my office.’ His apology – you can read the full text here – follows evidence to the Zondo Commission in which he denied any wrongdoing in meetings with the Guptas. He also revealed how he had been fired after resisting some of Jacob Zuma’s pet state capture projects. This morning  the investigative journalism unit amaBunghane reported that a business associate of Nene’s son had scored a hefty loan from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) when Nene was deputy finance minister – a portfolio which includes chairmanship of the PIC. The EFF is making a lot of noise about Nene too and has promised to expose his ‘darkest secrets’ if he doesn’t resign. Some observers have suggested that Julius Malema’s antipathy towards Nene might have something to do with the EFF leader’s tax affairs.

Protests spread

Protests flared up in Ennerdale, Johannesburg, today just as they died down in Westbury. Police said tyres were being burned and roads blocked in solidarity with Westbury residents who had been protesting against gangsterism. Today, however, some community leaders in Ennerdale suggested the protests stemmed from Coloured people feeling they were being neglected by the government. Police Minister Bheki Cele met residents of Westbury yesterday after meeting with Cape Town Total Shutdown movement leaders in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Senate close to Kavanaugh vote

It is still early in the United States when the.news.letter is put together, but all indications from America at breakfast time were that the Senate would today vote on whether to put an end to debate on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct and move to a final confirmation on Saturday. Republicans seemed confident last night that Kavanaugh would get the job, but it will be a very close run thing. Yesterday thousands of anti-Kavanaugh protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court and others entered a Senate office building. Hundreds were arrested, including actress Amy Schumer. If nothing else, Donald Trump’s presidency has made American politics the most interesting reality show around.

Nobel fighters for women’s right

Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Iraqi Yazidi human rights campaigner Nadia Murad won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize today for their work in fighting sexual violence as a weapon of war around the world. Mukwege has devoted his life to treating thousands of women and girls who have suffered rape and sexual violence and has campaigned fiercely for their dignity, while Yazidi became a champion for the rights of women in conflict zones after she was herself captured and held as a sex slave by ISIS in 2014. She is the second youngest recipient of the prize after Malala Yousafzai. Donald Trump was one of 331 nominees in the running for the global accolade. He was nominated for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but was never a serious contender.

Footage of abusive ‘caregiver’ surfaces

Footage of a ‘caregiver’ kicking a disabled child in the head and hitting her in the face with a bag at a creche north of Johannesburg has surfaced. In the video, obtained by TimesLive, the ‘caregiver’ accuses the child of ‘just acting stupid!’. The doctor who owns the creche has expressed horror at the incident. TimesLive reported that a nurse employed by the creche took the footage because she had had enough of sitting back and watching the children being abused by the woman. In the video, the woman yells, ‘you’re stupid’, at the child whose nappy is leaking.


Government promises no retrenchments

The financial sector has committed R100bn over the next five years to support black businesses, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the jobs summit being held between labour, business and government yesterday. At the two-day event, the president said the money would be made available through the financial sector’s transformation code and it would target black-owned industry. An 80-page document sets out an ambitious agreement between the parties which aims to create 275,000 jobs a year. In it the government also agreed there would be no retrenchments in the public sector. The Employment Tax Incentive Scheme, which provides employers with tax breaks for hiring first-time, low-paid youth, would be extended for another 10 years.


Boks to the wall

The Boks face a mammoth task to satisfy the unrealistically high expectations of their fans when they take on the All Blacks at Loftus tomorrow. After the shock 36-34 win in New Zealand three weeks ago Bok fans have been feverishly looking forward to the return fixture, but the smart money must be on the visiting side – bent on revenge and determined to justify their number-one ranking. The match will also mark fullback Willie le Roux’s 50th appearance in the green-and-gold.

Battered batters better be better

Tomorrow’s final cricket ODI between the Proteas and Zimbabwe offers a last chance for the South African batting lineup to stake claims for the World Cup. The fact South Africa is 2-0 up in the series going into the Paarl match has less to do with the batsmen and a lot to do with their bowling counterparts (who have led the way with both bat and ball). In their defence, the pitches have been woeful so far.

Premier League title fight

Every few weeks the English Premier League throws up a must-watch clash of the giants and Sunday’s meeting between Manchester City and Liverpool is one of those. There is plenty to play for with the winner, if there is one, moving three points clear of the loser. Below them Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal will all be expecting full points from Southampton, Cardiff and Fulham respectively. The other talking point is sure to be the misfiring Manchester United, who simply have to get a positive result over Newcastle.

Chad takes another gold

South African Chad le Clos picked up his fourth World Cup swimming gold medal of the season when he won the 100m butterfly in Budapest yesterday. Le Clos beat Frenchman Mehdy Metella into second, with Nic Santos third.


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

Gaura Moodley, 21, Gardens

Fashion. Some people like banking, some people like soccer, I like fashion … fashion is art and bodies are canvases. I don’t dress trying to make a statement but anyone who doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes is making a statement. When people see me they don’t realise that I’m actually a politics major, but fashion is political – especially when you are gender fluid. What else makes me happy: Cheesecake, Donna Summer, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Versace, Cher, disco … all the clichés, but really whatever gets my endorphins racing and releases my creativity – especially cheesecake.


Pee soup starter, crap suzette, chicken shitzel and pootato salad washed down by crappacino with a kaksister

A Taiwan restaurant is drawing in customers with its poop-themed menu items. The Modern Toilet restaurant in Taipei serves noodles in toilet-shaped bowls and seats customers on re-purposed toilets with padded cushions.The eatery’s scatological menu items include ‘poop meatballs’ and ‘stuffed brown sugar poop pancakes’. Modern Toilet also serves up desserts that resemble poop emojis and features signs inviting customers to ‘try our crap’. The restaurant’s owners said it has become a popular spot with tourists.


Not one, not two, but three tweets of the day today. First up is Toddd in 3-D (@OH_GAWD_OF_FUNK):
If you love something, let it go. But if you love two things, space them out. For example, let a koala go at least three days before a lion.

And then there’s Stanley Behrman (@stanleybehrman):
Most accidents happen within a 2 block radius of your home. That is why I park my car 3 blocks away and walk. Can never be too safe.

And Kelly (@kelllicopter):
i am not one 22-year-old, i am actually two 11-year-olds stacked on top of each other wearing a trench coat


‘Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well,’ writes Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic. Set aside some time this weekend to read it – a fascinating portrait of Poland’s slide into authoritarianism with lessons for the rest of the world.


The week that was

What made us go, that’s it, we’re taking the train:  
The sharp rise in petrol on Wednesday – 93 Octane increased by 99 cents a litre while 95 Octane went up by R1.

What made us go, on second thoughts, we’re walking:  
MetroRail announcing that it lost three more trains to arson after a trio of attacks at the weekend. The rail service’s Western Cape fleet is now down to 42 train sets and it requires at least 88 to properly service Cape Town and surrounds. The City of Cape Town has called for a State of Emergency to be declared.

What made us go, OMG:
The battering of Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia, which was struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, then hit by a tsunami that left more than 1,400 dead, and then a volcano erupted from the island’s Mount Soputan, spewing a massive column of ash into the sky.

What made us go, Derr`mo,  eto bylo blizko (Russian for ‘shit, that was close’): 
Nhlanhla Nene testifying at the Zondo Commission about Jacob Zuma’s nuclear folly. Nene said he was fired because he refused to sign-off on the deal, which led to Zuma handing the keys to the Treasury to Des ‘Weekend Special’ van Rooyen, which sent the economy into a nosedive.

What made us go, but we thought you couldn’t get any more petty: 
US President Donald Trump mocking the two women who came forward to reveal that his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh was a sexual predator.

What made us go, that was an expensive tweet: 
Pretoria-born tech tycoon Elon Musk stepping down as chair of Tesla after the American Securities Exchange slapped him with a $40-million fine for tweeting that he had secured funding to take his company private. Musk’s tweet sent the share price of Tesla rocketing up, before he put out a second tweet saying the change would not happen, dropping the share value once more.

Who we think deserves the menace of the week award: 
Once again there were many contenders, but DJ Sasha Martinincompoop calling Julius Malema a ‘monkey’ takes the gong. He then tried to apologise with a very sorry ‘I’m sorry if I offended anyone but I’m not sorry’. To not understand the racial overtone of referring to a black person as a monkey, well, that’s menace territory right there.

What made us proudly South African: 
Another world transplant first. Johannesburg doctors performed ground-breaking surgery giving a liver from an HIV-positive mother to her HIV-negative child. Given the demands for organs, the implications of this procedure will be extensive.


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