30 October 2018

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Lawyer ‘executed’ in school shooting

Pete Mihalik, the Cape Town advocate who represented a number of underworld figures, has been shot dead – execution style according to witnesses – outside Reddam School on the city’s Atlantic Seaboard. He was dropping off his children – his 8-year-old son was injured and taken to hospital. Mihalik represented several gangsters and high profile criminals. According to News24, he had acted as a ‘facilitator’ between business and gangsters. Crime scene investigators were combing the area for clues and checking CCTV footage from a nearby guesthouse. Mihalik’s wife committed suicide three years ago.

Dogged Daubermann

Not long after the rape trial of Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso got under way this morning, it was postponed yet again. Defence advocate Peter Daubermann had asked Judge Makaula to recuse himself, claiming that he was biased against Omotoso. When the judge refused, he asked for leave to appeal against the decision. Judge Makaula also rejected this request. Daubermann has now asked the court to postpone the trial so he can petition the Supreme Court of Appeal. The trial resumes on 10 December.

Fists First?

Members of Black First Land First (BLF) charged at Nicky Oppenheimer and his son Jonathan and roughed them up in a parliamentary meeting today. About 45 minutes into the meeting BLF leader Andile Mngxitama shouted, ‘Shutdown Fireblade’, which was not a call to axe Minister of Transport Blade Ndzimande. The Oppenheimers were discussing their company Fireblade Aviation, which is operating a private terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. The BLF supporters were bundled out of the room and the meeting continued. Fireblade Aviation was granted permission to offer a customs and immigration service at the airport in 2016, but Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba tried to back out of the agreement. When the matter went to court, Gigaba was found to have lied under oath.

George fires claim 8 lives

Eight people have died in the flames sweeping through the George area. The fires have also destroyed a number of structures, including the Old Tollhouse in the Montagu Pass and 12 houses in Farley near Karatara, as well as the Geelhoutvlei-Sawmill. This morning the Montagu pass remained closed but the Outeniqua pass had been reopened with authorities instructing motorists to proceed with utmost caution and not to stop to take photos. At midday the N2 was closed between the Tsitsikamma Toll Gate and the Storms River Bridge due to veld fires in the area. Residents of a number of communities in the area have been evacuated.

Hlongwa hangs up his whip

The ANC chief whip in Gauteng, Brian Hlongwa, has resigned ahead of the release of a report by the party’s integrity committee that recommended his dismissal. A report by the Special Investigating Unit implicated the former MEC for health in alleged corruption of over R1-billion in the Gauteng department during his tenure. Hlongwa allegedly received kickbacks for deals between 2006 and 2009. The integrity committee also recommended the suspension of another former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu, but the party’s provincial executive has refused to implement this.

DA to charge De Lille

The DA has announced it will press charges against Patricia de Lille under the Municipal Systems Act, and is likely to also press charges against suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead and mayoral council member for transport Brett Herron. The alleged criminal acts relate to the BYD tender for buses for the city, and the irregular payment of R50-million in the procurement of Volvo chassis. The DA’s Natasha Mazzone said the Bowman’s report which De Lille is challenging had recommended that she be charged for interfering in city tenders, and in the legal duties and obligations of the former city manager.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

2000 jobs under threat at SABC

Coinciding with the release of South Africa’s latest unemployment figures, the SABC has issued retrenchment notices to 981 permanent staff and 1,200 part-time staff in a bid to cut back on its massive wages bill. The latest figures released by Stats SA show that official unemployment for the third quarter of 2018 is up 0.3%, close to a 16-year high, at 27,5%. Under the expanded definition, unemployment sits at a shocking 37,3%. The only silver lining is that in five provinces there was a slight improvement in employment. But in four, the rate worsened, with Free State and North West increasing jobless numbers by 1.9% each.


THE DAILY MENACE

Pharrell not happy

Singer Pharrell has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Donald Trump to stop him from using the song ‘Happy’ after the US president played it without permission at his rally after the Pittsburgh shooting. In fact Pharrell has banned Trump from using any of his songs. At the same rally Trump joked about having a bad-hair day because reporters had delayed him in the rain asking him so many questions about the shooting. For his insensitivity, Trump is our menace today.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Lawes injured in bed

England lock Courtney Lawes has probably been ruled out of Saturday’s rugby Test against South Africa due to a back problem – caused by a bed that was too small. Lawes left the England training camp last week to receive specialist treatment after sleeping in a hotel bed that was too small for his 2-metre frame. He is due to return to squad training this week but is now unlikely to be in the team due to be announced on Thursday.

Du Preez for Sale

The Sharks’ Currie Cup winning flyhalf Robert du Preez has moved to the Sale Sharks on a three-month loan deal. The winning flyhalf in the past two Currie Cup finals – for WP in 2017 and the KZN Sharks in 2018 – and the eldest of the three Du Preez brothers is an ‘injury replacement’. The concern for Durban rugby fans must be if he enjoys playing in England (and the buying power of the pound) and the loan deal becomes permanent. As far as the KZN coaching staff is concerned, there is a worry he will return to KZN for the Super Rugby season fatigued after a non-stop year of rugby.

Making Real sexy again

Julen Lopetegui lasted just 139 days as coach of Spanish giants Real Madrid. During that time the club slumped to ninth in the league, but possibly his biggest crime was losing 5-1 to arch-rivals Barcelona at the weekend. Yesterday he was sacked and Santiago Solari, the club’s B team coach, has been temporarily put in charge. Solari’s first assignment is to lead the club to victory against minnows Melilla in a Copa del Rey match tomorrow. Solari has coached the B team for two years but perhaps his biggest claim to fame was being named the sexiest player of the year by Spanish TV channel Canal+ in 2002 when playing for Real.

Gibbs six sixes bat auctioned

The bat Herschelle Gibbs’ used to smash six sixes in an over against Netherlands at the 2007 Cricket World Cup has been auctioned for nearly R280,000. Gibbs was the first batsman to achieve six sixes in an over in international cricket. The bat was sold with the shirt Gibbs was wearing that day and the shirt bowler Daan van Bunge was wearing. At the same auction, a bat Sir Donald Bradman used to collect signatures of players he played with and against was sold for R1,15-million.


SEE WHAT?

Offensive

This CCTV video shows a man brazenly making off with a little bit of the public property of the City of Johannesburg. It was retweeted by Jozi Mayor Herman Mashaba, with a call for the culprit to be traced.


SAY WHAT?

Well trained

This was reported in the Guardian last year but it’s worth reading for the ‘Say Wow’ factor. A Japanese rail company apologised after one of its trains left 20 seconds early. Metro Rail, are you listening? The operator said it was ‘deeply’ sorry for inconvenience to passengers after the 9.44.40am Tsukuba Express pulled away at 9.44.20am The train’s operator believed the foul-up was serious enough to warrant an apology. ‘We deeply apologise for the severe inconvenience imposed upon our customers,’ the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company said in a statement. The train’s conductor had not properly checked the train’s timetable, it said, adding that the crew had been instructed to strictly follow procedure to prevent a recurrence. Passengers who might have missed the train suffered little inconvenience: the next one arrived just four minutes later.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Here are two divine tweets from @TheTweetOfGod:

I just tried banging on the side of the planet a few times but it didn’t fix anything.

The problem with government of the people, by the people and for the people is the people.


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by @7upislemonade, is: Swedes lie about Swiss flower (9)

The solution to Yesterday’s clue, Incorporate dodgy breeding? (11) is PROCREATION – an anagram of ‘incorporate’ (dodgy is the anagram indicator).


THE BIG READ

Jair Bolsonaro is Brazil’s next president but, according to this feature in The Atlantic, many people who voted for this far-right former military  officer don’t want him to actually fulfill his hyper-aggressive campaign promises. What is going to happen once he takes office?


WHAT WE SAY

The horrifying killing of advocate Pete Mihalik outside his child’s school is a grim reminder that state capture is not the only blight on this country. Crime rates have reportedly been declining, but are still among the worst in the world. The extreme violence involved in many criminal acts is also deeply disturbing. A recent survey found this country to be the second most dangerous for its citizens in the world – behind Brazil – which is an accolade that nobody wants. Perhaps President Cyril Ramaphosa can add the fight against crime to his apparent determination to combat state capture and the energetic drive to encourage investment.


WHAT YOU SAY

You’ve more than made up for your previous gender-insensitivity! Well done on taking the Australian apology for its ‘win-at-all-costs’ tactics to its logical conclusion. Competitive sport is so closely aligned with war and power that it fuels our toxic ‘might is right’ culture.

So … the next challenge: when do you plan to devote space to the arts in your newsletter?
Fiona Wallace 

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I have really been enjoying your daily newsletter. It is brilliant. And everyone we have told about it agrees with us.

I would love to see a global/international version as well – any plans for one?
Thanks
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