26 October 2018


Malema’s cousin got R6m, says M&G

In another blow to the EFF, a cousin of party leader Julius Malema has been named as having links to irregular payments from VBS Bank. The Mail & Guardian reports today that almost R6-million was paid in a series of nine instalments from a company owned by Brian Shivambu, Sgameka Projects, to Mahuna Investments, which is owned by Malema’s cousin, Matsobane Phaleng. Shivambu is the brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu. Malema told the M&G he had no knowledge of the transactions and was ‘not close’ to all his cousins.

Khashoggi son in Washington

As the eldest son of murdered dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi made his way to Washington after the travel ban on him was lifted yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor was quoted in Turkish media as saying the killing was premeditated – a sharp change from earlier official narratives that claimed the death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul happened during a fight. They have not offered any further insight into who was responsible or why. Earlier this week official Saudi media outlets released footage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offering his condolences to Salah Khashoggi in a gesture that was widely seen as a publicity stunt. Salah holds dual Saudi-US citizenship.

Duduzane in court

The culpable homicide case against Duduzane Zuma has been postponed again at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court. He was accompanied to court today by his father Jacob, where they heard that the case would be postponed to next year. The 34-year-old businessman is facing charges of culpable homicide in connection with a 2014 accident on the M1 north of Johannesburg. Two people died and two were injured in the crash.

De Lille in deep

Yesterday evening the Cape Town council adopted a law firm’s report that recommended outgoing mayor Patricia de Lille and other officials be the subjects of criminal investigations. Bowmans’ report into alleged corruption and maladministration was debated in a closed session of the council. DA Cape Town metro leader Grant Twigg told Radio 702 afterwards that the meeting had adopted the report’s recommendations, including that criminal investigations should be considered. News24 said the report implicated De Lille in the halting of heritage protection in Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and two irregular tender procedures for electric buses. De Lille is scheduled to step down as mayor next week in terms of a deal with the DA leadership, but has defiantly dismissed the latest allegations against her as racist bullying.


Ramaphosa’s billion-dollar fund telethon

President Cyril Ramaphosa has gone all out to woo investment and with company’s pledges flashing on massive screens, his investment conference today resembled an epic investment telethon. His target: $100-billion of new domestic and international investment over the next five years. So far China, the UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia have pledged more than $30-billion and several companies also vowed to plough money into the country’s ailing economy. Among these companies are Sappi (R7,7-billion), Mondi SA (R8-billion), Rain (R1-billion), Mara (R1,5-billion), mining company Vedanta (R21,4-billion), Ivanplats (R4.5-billion), AngloAmerican (R71.5-billion), Bushveld Minerals (R2.5-billion), Naspers (R6-billion) and Mercedes Benz SA (R10-billion). Ramaphosa said a massive surge in productive investment in the country was needed to spur job creation and economic growth. His message in a nutshell: Cut red tape, fast track investment projects, clean governance, land, and inclusive growth.

Matjila fights back

Public Investment Corporation (PIC) CEO Dan Matjila has hit back at his critics, claiming they are making ‘malicious and spurious’ allegations about him. Business Day reports that Matjila welcomed the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to launch a commission of inquiry into the affairs of the PIC, which manages R2-trillion of assets – mostly government workers investment funds. ‘Managing the expectations of politicians and people of influence is a fine line that I continually have to negotiate – a tightrope, if you will. Therefore, it is inevitable and logical that some individuals who have received a negative response to their suggestion would harbour disgruntlement and even enmity towards me,’ he said.


South African beer drinkers who complain about the ever-rising price of their favourite beverage can be grateful they do not live in Dubai or Oslo where, according to the 2018 Deutsche Bank Mapping the World Prices report, a beer costs more than anywhere else in the world, at $12 and $10.30 respectively. The annual report compares prices of a raft of commodities in cities across the world. Cape Town and Johannesburg both made it into the top five cheapest beer cities in the world – Johannesburg at No.3 ($2.20) and the Mother City at No.5 ($2.60). But Manila beat them all, at $1.50.


Sharks smell blood

A week ago it would have been hard to find anybody brave enough to predict a Sharks win in tomorrow’s Currie Cup final. However, after the Bulls came within a missed conversion of beating Western Province in the semi at Newlands, the Western Province’s aura of invincibility has been destroyed. It would still take a brave person to write off the Cape side, but the Sharks will go into the final with a belief that their opponents may be unbeaten but they are not unbeatable. Expect a final befitting the world’s oldest rugby competition.

El Clasico and the Soweto Derby feast

South African soccer fans love to claim the Soweto Derby is the local version of El Clasico, the hyped-up clash between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, so it’s fitting both matches will take place this weekend. There is no doubt the support for Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium in Soweto will be just as enthusiastic, even if the standard of soccer is not quite as slick. The clash between the two Soweto giants is so fraught with a fear of losing that draws have become the norm, so, expect lots of action in the stands, but less on the pitch.

Tiger v Phil

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson may not be the regular winners on the golf greens they were 10 years ago, but they still have major drawing power. With 19 majors between them, and an intense rivalry that dates back to numerous head-to-head battles in the 1990s and 2000s, their $9-million winner-take-all match on November 23 is a major drawcard. The made-for-TV two-player event at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas is not open to the public but comes with a hefty $19.99 (R300) pay-per-view price tag.

Aces in (golf) clubs

Australian club golfer Jim Grant has beaten odds of more than 60-million-to-one to shoot two holes-in-one in a single round at the Green Acres Golf Club in Melbourne. His first ace was at the 11th where he hit an eight-iron and turned to the fellas to say, ‘I think this is going to go close’. Six holes later his five-iron missed the bunker in front of the green and dropped in the hole.


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

Gerald Frieslaar, 41, Seaview

I’m your normal peace-loving person. I wasn’t always. I used to drink and do bad things and I made people unhappy, but nine years ago I changed – and I changed because I got married. So now I’m making up for the bad that I did and every day I try to make someone happy – in a small way. And that makes me happy. I want to make people feel that they are important – because they are.


Spider bites

Raging fires have caused a lot of distress recently but here’s one accidental arsonist aiming to win a Darwin Award this week. The man, from Fresno, California, was house-sitting for his parents when he saw spiders. He took a blowtorch to deal with them and promptly set his parents’ home on fire. ABC reports that the 29-strong fire crew managed to put the fire out quickly but not before the home’s second-storey and the attic were damaged. Although the exact cause has not been determined, firefighters believe the blowtorch is to blame. ABC said the man was not injured in the fire but didn’t say anything about the fate of the spiders. It’s doubtful the arsonist’s parents will allow him to house-sit for them again.


Today’s honour goes to Melissa Attree (@MelAttree) for this tweet.
I just spent R950 on a limousine and discovered that the fee doesn’t include a driver… Can’t believe I’ve spent all that money and I have nothing to chauffeur it.

And the video format of a very funny tweet by Paul Bronks (@BoringEnormous) won’t show up here, but it’s worth a quick visit via this link.


Today’s clue, sent in by Charles Mechanik, is: They’re learned so Charles, revising, can drop English (8)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Misguided sceptics deny Actimel? (7,6), is CLIMATE CHANGE – a cunning clue because the anagram indicator – CHANGE – is part of the solution. CLIMATE is an anagram of Actimel  – in other words actimel is ‘climate’ that has been changed.


The Toronto Life magazine gives you a glimpse into the mind of voyeur Pete Forde, a virtual reality guru and ‘elite hacker’, who planted cameras all over his home so he could spy on his tenants and used bots called web crawlers to automatically save photos that specific women would upload. It’s a fascinating and disturbing story about the sinister world of spying for sport.


The week that was

What made us sad (1):
The devastating fires in different corners of the Western Cape: in George, Tulbagh, Vermaaklikheid, and in Cape Town’s informal areas of Kosovo, Vrygrond and Khayelitsha. Hundreds of homes were razed in the township areas and thousands of residents were displaced.

What made us sad (2):
The death of 38-year-old rap star Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), who suffered from depression.

What made us say, reality TV? Not necessary – we’ve got South African politics: 
The DA-De Lille saga.

What made us say, No dude, you’re not funny:
AfriForum’s Ernst Roets tweeting that he had spoken to Jan van Riebeeck who told him he would ‘do bad things to South Africa if expropriation without compensation happens’. Next time he should try speaking to Steve Biko about the bad things that happened under apartheid.

What made us gulp:
The sobering reality of Tito Mboweni’s mini budget. We’re in for a tough time.

What gave us schadenfloyd: 
MPs shouting ‘pay back the money’ at EFF chief whip and journalist-beater Floyd Shivambu, whose brother Brian is one of more than 50 people named in the VBS bank heist report for having received R16-million. Shivambu has been accused of having received money from his brother..

What gave us survefreude:
The upper cut delivered to Indy boss DOCTOR Iqbal ‘I’ve got three degrees’ Survé by journalist Chris Roper, who called him ‘the apparent love-child of a strutting peacock and a cheap piñata’ and then the KO delivered by Tiso Blackstar’s rebuttal to DOCTOR Survé’s front-page rant against it.

Which brings us to the menace of the week:
There were a lot of contenders, but when you boast about what a brilliant and successful international businessman you are and at the same time your morally-bankrupt company prepares to embark on yet another wave of retrenchments then it’s clear that you, DOCTOR Survé, are a serial menace.

Now, here’s a doctor we can be proud of:
Dr Musa Saurombe, who obtained her PhD in industrial psychology at just 23 from North West University, was named Youth Leader of the Year in her field.

And speaking of being proud, what made us proudly South African (1):
The South African western Five Fingers For Marseilles, which cleaned up at the 14th Africa Movie Academy Awards, winning best film and best director for Michael Matthews.

Who made us proudly South African (2):
Tumi Sole, a local Twitter luminary known for co-ordinating relief efforts for victims of the Khayelitsha fires – and all the people who responded so positively to calls for help.

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