31 October 2018


De Lille goes out fighting

After a long, drawn-out battle with the leadership of her own political party, Patricia de Lille finally announced her resignation from her position as mayor of the City of Cape Town, as a city councillor – and as a member of the Democratic Alliance. At lunchtime today she dramatically signed her resignation letter on the steps of  the Western Cape High Court in the presence of the media and announced she would vacate her office at 7pm. She was at court to deliver papers in a bid to challenge the Bowman Gilfillan report which speaker of the city Dirk Smit used as the basis for laying criminal charges against her last night. Smit has also laid charges against the head of the city’s Transport Authority, Brett Herron, on the basis of the Bowmans report. Timeslive has published De Lille’s statement on her departure in full.

Gigaba’s week just got worse

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has handed President Cyril Ramaphosa a report that directs him to take disciplinary action against Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba for lying under oath in court about the Fireblade VIP airport terminal at OR Tambo International Airport, owned and operated by the Oppenheimer family. Mkhwebane said today she had offered Gigaba an opportunity to comment on her provisional findings that he had violated the Executive Ethics Code but he had failed to respond. The Gauteng High Court found last year that Gigaba had lied under oath during a court case brought against him by Fireblade for reneging on a deal to allow them to start operating the facility. Ramaphosa has 20 days to act.

Two quizzed over Mihalik execution

Two men have been taken in for questioning in connection with the hit on Cape Town lawyer Pete Mihalik yesterday. Netwerk24 reported that one of the men in custody may be a senior figure in the taxi industry running a route between Delft on the Cape Flats to Cape Town.  Mihalik was shot dead outside Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard school in Green Point as he drove up to the school yesterday morning. His 8-year-old son was injured in the shooting and taken to hospital. News24 reported that the boy was out of danger. Mihalik had been representing underworld figures  in an extortion case before the Cape Town Regional Court.

Supra challenges ANC; hires Mpofu

Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo has hired EFF chairperson, advocate Dali Mpofu, to help him take the ANC national executive committee to court over its August decision to disband the party leadership in the province and set up a new provincial structure under Premier Job Mokgoro. Mahumapelo, who wants the top job back, was initially included in the new structure but turned down the role he was given. Four other senior provincial ANC politicians are taking on the party, also represented by Mpofu.

Blasphemy death sentence overturned

Pakistan’s supreme court has struck down the death sentence for blasphemy handed down to Christian woman Asia Bibi. The long-delayed, landmark decision that has seen the judiciary praised for its bravery in the face of threats of violence and protest from the country’s Islamist groups. The court released the verdict this morning in Islamabad. The delay followed threats by blasphemy campaigners to kill the judges if they did not uphold the death sentence. The Christian farm labourer, a 47-year-old mother of four, was sentenced to hang for blasphemy in 2010. She had angered fellow Muslim farm workers who had demanded she convert to Islam. She refused, prompting a mob to allege she had insulted the prophet Mohammed.


Moyane gives Ramaphosa a deadline

Suspended SARS commissioner Tom Moyane has given President Cyril Ramaphosa until next week Friday to inform him that he plans to ignore Judge Robert Nugent’s recommendation that he should be fired now – before the final report of a commission of inquiry into the tax service is completed. A letter to the president from Moyane’s lawyer‚ Eric Mabuza‚ argued that Nugent had gone beyond the commission’s terms of reference, which did not allow him to concern himself with the employment or dismissal of Moyane.

Rocky day for the rand

Ouch. The rand briefly went down to R14.80 to the dollar this afternoon, hurt by worse-than-expected Trade Balance figures for September – a deficit of R2.95bn instead of the expected positive of R4.2-billion. The August figure was an R8.77-billion surplus. The SA Revenue Service said imports increased by 8%, and exports dropped by 2.6%. The currency later improved to R14.78.


Maid us angry

A Pick n Pay store in Cape Town was selling mugs labelled ‘The Maid’ and ‘The Gardener’. We don’t have to explain why, with South Africa’s horrible racial past, this is so inappropriate – we just want to know who thought this was a good idea, and how did it actually go from an idea all the way to the supermarket shelf without anybody in that long chain noticing? Pick n Pay has taken the mugs off the shelves, but allowing them to get on in the first place makes them today’s menace.


Proteas roughed up in Aus

The Proteas started their first tour to Australia since the dramatic sandpaper-gate series by being roughed up by the Prime Minister’s XI this morning. The South Africans started badly, losing two wickets for just three runs. Only Aiden Markram (47 runs) and David Miller (45) were able to get beyond the 20s as the Proteas were bowled out for 173. The Prime Minister’s XI then rattled off the required runs to win by four wickets with 13 overs remaining.

Fifa doubles Women’s World Cup prize money

Fifa will double the prize money handed out at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. $30-million will be shared between the 24 participating teams who reach the finals in France, a significant increase from the $15 million handed out in 2015. However, there is still an unhealthy gender gap between the men’s and women’s tournaments. The men’s tournament will share $400 million between 32 teams in Qatar in 2022.

Chelsea coach fined

The Chelsea assistant coach who nearly sparked a brawl in the match against Manchester United has been fined £6,000 (R110,000) by the Football Association. Marco Ianni’s wild celebrations in front of Jose Mourinho after Chelsea’s late equaliser at Stamford Bridge recently led to the United manager having to be restrained from attacking him. The FA also reminded Mourinho, Chelsea and United of their responsibilities.

Jali lays counter-charge against wife

Sundowns football star Andile Jali and his wife Nonhle Ndala have laid charges of assault against each other after an alleged domestic violence incident on Monday night. Jali was arrested and released on bail after charges of domestic abuse and malicious damage to property. The football star has since laid a counter-charge of assault against his wife.


In honour of Halloween we publish a couple of conventions that were apparently current in 1896 America. Most of the rituals described in Current Superstitions seem to be about finding a husband. Fortunately, in 2018 there are dating apps like Tinder so people looking for partners don’t have to haul cabbages around:

On Halloween, a girl is to go through a graveyard, steal a cabbage and place it above the house door. The one on whom the cabbage falls as the door is opened is to be the girl’s husband.

On Halloween put an egg to roast before the fire and leave the doors and windows open. When it begins to sweat a cat will come in and turn it. After the cat will come the man you are to marry, and he will turn it. If you are to die unmarried, the shadow of a coffin will appear.
Chestertown, Md.

On Halloween go down the cellar stairs backward, carrying a mirror in which you look. A face will be seen over your shoulder which will be that of your future husband.
General in the United States


The gong for today’s most entertaining tweet goes to the amusing (amoosing) M?se Allain? (@MooseAllain) for:

My wife’s written “iron school uniform” on a note. She’s full of bright ideas, but to me this sounds heavy and impractical.


With three clues today solvers are in for a treat (and perhaps a trick):
Book accommodation with credit, and transport for Halloween (10)
Pint-sized monsters scare us in one hall we destroyed (9)
Lone whale swims tonight (9) 

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Swedes lie about Swiss flower (9), is EDELWEISS – an anagram of ‘Swedes lie’ (‘about’ is the anagram indicator) and the name of the white flower that grows in the Alps.


A Philadelphia neighborhood is the largest open-air narcotics market for heroin on the East Coast. Addicts come from all over, and many never leave. The New York Times has published Trapped by the ‘Walmart of Heroin’, a powerful and painful feature on addiction.


As we report above, former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and suspended SA Revenue Service boss Tom Moyane have taken steps which are, in effect, designed to keep them from facing the consequences of their roles in state capture. The fact that they feel emboldened to hit back against, respectively, the ANC national executive and President Cyril Ramaphosa is an indication that the ‘good guys’ are going to have a fight on their hands. It is a vital battle, though, and it is heartening to see that Ramaphosa at least seems committed to it: the future trajectory of the country depends on the outcome. Meanwhile, it seems a bit rich of EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu to represent Mahumapelo against the ANC. We know that lawyers are meant to be above all of that and everybody deserves the best representation they can get, but Mpofu the politician just loves to embarrass the ANC. Might there not be a conflict of interest in there somewhere?

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