29 October 2018


De Lille: what next?

Patricia de Lille has just two more working days to get her next move in her mayoral battle wrapped up. The fiery politician today told the Cape Town Press Club she is planning to approach the Western Cape High Court before Wednesday, when she is due to step down as mayor. She will be seeking a review of the two Bowman Gilfillan reports, one of which recommends criminal action against her, and will be challenging them on grounds of procedural errors. She refused to say ‘until Wednesday’ whether she will hang up her mayoral chain, and took the opportunity to sling a barb at DA leader Mmusi Maimane, saying he was the mere shadow leader to the real power, Natasha Mazzone.

Maimane backs down

In a second drama linked to the Bowman report, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has backed down from his suggestion in his weekly Bokamoso newsletter on Friday that five DA councillors who resigned in support of Patricia de Lille were ‘allegedly implicated’ in tender irregularities. Today he re-released the newsletter, with an amendment and a disclaimer saying: ‘Friday’s Bokamoso contained a factual inaccuracy regarding the role of the five former DA councillors in Cape Town, an error for which we apologise.’ The new version says the five had been shown to be ‘ardent defenders of maladministration’. The five, including former City of Cape Town chief whip Shaun August, demanded a retraction and public apology by 6pm today, failing which they say they will sue him for defamation. After the new version was released, August tweeted: ‘We reject his limp-wristed response. It is not a retraction. Our demands remain.’

Brazil gets a right-wing president

Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right populist, was elected president of Brazil by a comfortable margin last night, taking 55.2% of votes against 44.8% for opponent Fernando Haddad. Critics are concerned that the former army captain who made homophobic, racist and misogynistic remarks during his campaign will steer the country into an era of reduced minority rights. Among other campaign trail views, he expressed support for torturers and called for political opponents to be shot. Describing him as a ‘tropical Trump’, The Guardian has put together a summary of some of his views here.

Tragedy for Leicester

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the man who helped Leicester City ‘to dream the impossible’, died in a helicopter crash outside the club’s stadium on Saturday. Vichai, 60, who  bought the club for £39-million in 2010, was one of five people killed when the helicopter crashed an hour after the team’s draw at home to West Ham United. The club won the Premier League in 2016 for the first time in its history, defying the odds of 5,000-1.

Plane plummets

In a second devastating air crash 188 people died when a Lion Air passenger plane crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. Flight JT 610 was on a scheduled flight to Pangkal Pinang, the main town in the Bangka Belitung Islands. It lost contact with ground control a few minutes after take-off, and is believed to have ended up underwater. It is unclear if there are survivors. Rescuers have released footage of plane debris and personal items floating in the water at the crash site.

PE mayor back in spotlight

The Herald newspaper in Port Elizabeth reports that a police officer’s affidavit names the city‘s controversial mayor Mongameli Bobani as having received more than R600,000 from a company suspected of siphoning off funds meant for the city’s bus system. The UDM’s Bobani, who took the mayorship from the DA’s Athol Trollip in a controversial vote of no confidence two months ago, is not guilty and is co-operating with the authorities, says his lawyer. Predictably, the DA is planning a motion of no confidence in the mayor.

George fire: residents evacuate

Residents were leaving their homes in the Blanco Golden Valley and Stepaside areas of George today, and the Outeniqua pass between George and Oudtshoorn was closed, as a fire that has been burning for five days blanketed the region with smoke and ash, preventing aerial firefighting. A backburn was conducted last night to try to protect the town. Working on Fire has 210 firefighters and supporting vehicles, a spotter plane, two Huey helicopters and 2 fixed-wing air tractor bombers in the area. More firefighters are being brought to the area today. Below is a a picture posted from George on Twitter by @HenkJoubertSA.


Namibia scraps part-black-ownership rule for mining

Namibia has scrapped a requirement for companies seeking mining exploration licences to be partly owned and managed by black Namibians, overturning regulations that were introduced in 2015 in a bid to increase participation of historically disadvantaged citizens. Mining minister Tom Alweendo last week told the country’s chamber of mines that companies were no longer required to have 20% black Namibian representation in their management structure, nor to be 5% black-Namibian owned. It is hoping the change will attract more investors.

Multiplying billionaires

China’s billionaire club is growing at an astonishing rate with a new member joining every three days, an annual survey of the world’s super-wealthy shows. Across the globe 332 people became billionaires last year alone. If you had to decide where to try to join the club, China would be your choice – in 2006, there were just 16 Chinese billionaires, but in 2017 the tally hit 373 – a fifth of the global total. Most of them (97%) were self-made. The survey, by UBS and PwC, shows that the US still leads the pack, with 585.


A privates matter

Malusi Gigaba is a frequent recipient of the Daily Menace award. He’s been at the centre of numerous scandals – he’s been found to have lied to court, and has dubious links to the Guptas. He’s also causing tourism chaos, bought flowers for his wife with taxpayers’ money, and takes media personalities to court for defamation. Once more he’s at the centre of a scandal, but this time he’s not the menace. Yesterday, South Africans woke up to a Gigaba apology for a sex tape that had found its way into social media. He said he had been threatened with extortion. Gigaba became the punchline to a lot of jokes – with a Gigaba Twitter challenge and Nando’s turning his embarassing ordeal into an advert – but there was a lot of public support for the minister. Today’s menace are the extortionists, who will hopefully find their way into a prison cell.


Ball tampering: Cricket Australia responsible

An independent review of Cricket Australia (CA) has slammed the organisation as ‘arrogant’ and ‘controlling’ and maintains it was at least partially responsible for the ball-tampering incident in South Africa earlier this year. The 147-page report by the Ethics Centre found there was ‘strong systemic and organisational input’ into the decision to cheat during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. CA adopted bullying behaviour, ostracised people and created a ‘win-at-all-costs’ mentality that pushed players to ‘play the mongrel’.

Uncapped Province trio make Bok squad

The uncapped Western Province trio of Sergeal Petersen (wing), Ruhan Nel (centre) and JD Schickerling (lock) can take some solace after their Currie Cup final defeat as they joined up with the Boks in England this morning. Joining the three are Japan-based Gio Aplon (outside back) and Sharks captain and influential scrumhalf Louis Schreuder. The Boks start the tour with a match against England on Saturday and follow that up with a match against France a week later.

Anderson qualifies for Finals tourney

Kevin Anderson became the first singles player from South Africa in 23 years to secure a berth at the ATP Finals when he beat Kei Nishikori 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna yesterday. Anderson will also move up to sixth in the ATP World Rankings, moving above Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem. Anderson joins Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev at the elite eight-man 2018 season-ending tournament to be held in London from November 11-18.


At the height of the heatwave last week visitors to the Cecilia Forest got a special display from a pair of apparently violently hot and bothered puffadders – seemingly locked in mortal combat, but, according to the experts, actually engaged in a fearsome mating dance. This video was shared by ParkscapeSA.


Police hunt Friends star’s dopperganger

British police posted a photo on Facebook of a thief leaving a restaurant carrying a crate of beer. The suspect looked remarkably like David Schwimmer – the goofy actor who played Ross Geller in the US TV sitcom Friends. The Guardian reports that the police were inundated with comments from social media users, including one from Schwimmer who said he was in New York and posted video evidence. The comments didn’t stop, though, with one fan picking up on the show’s theme tune, writing: ‘So no one told him life was gonna be this way. His job’s a joke, he’s broke. Love life D.O.A. It’s like he’s always stuck in second gear. And when it hasn’t been his day, his week, his month or even his year, well, HE WILL STEAL FROM YOOOOUUUUUU.”


It was World Pasta Day on Friday, apparently, and Twitter’s ‘poet laureate’ Brian Bilston served up a dish called ‘Remembrance of Things Pasta’:

She blew her fusilli,
my pretty penne,
when she found me watching
Daytime tagliatelle.

Je ne spaghetti rien,
I responded in song,
but she did not linguine
for long,

just walked out
without further retort:
a hard lesson to be tortellini
orzo I thought.

And so here I am,
on my macaroni,
and now my days feel


Today’s clue, compiled by @7upislemonade, is: Incorporate dodgy breeding? (11)

The solution to Friday’s clue, They’re learned so Charles, revising, can drop English (8) is SCHOLARS – an anagram of ‘so Charles’ (‘revising’ is the anagram indicator) without (‘drop’) e (‘English’).


The Washington Post publishes a thought-provoking opinion piece by Jeff Blattner, who had his bar mitzvah 51 years ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where gunman Robert Bowers killed 11 Jews on Saturday. Blattner says when we see someone in our communities who doesn’t look like us or think like us or pray like us, we still need to think, ‘us’.


Hopefully Cricket Australia’s frank assessment of its own failings in connection with the ball-tampering controversy will give others pause for thought. In essence the cricketing body found that a culture of arrogance had given rise to a ‘win-at-all-costs’ mentality. That approach is far from being exclusive to Australians or sport itself. The locker room culture of many sports – mostly male-dominated team ones – is often toxic and encourages disrespect towards opponents and those less gifted at hitting or kicking a ball. A similar attitude is sometimes prevalent in boardrooms. It is inappropriate at a time when men in particular need to relook their behaviour and sets a terrible example to youngsters, who tend to emulate their heroes.

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