6 November 2018


My son is not corrupt, says Cyril

President Cyril Ramaphosa, answering questions in Parliament today, said his son Andile had received payments from the controversial facilities management company Bosasa, which has been linked to state capture. However, Ramaphosa said he had questioned his son about the R500,000 deal and was convinced it was above board. He said if there was any ‘irregularity or corruption’ he would take his son to the police station himself. The president also said those who benefited from corrupt activities at VBS Bank should be held accountable but the idea which gave rise to the bank – to serve the poor – should not be abandoned. Media24 is covering his comments live here.

Trump on the stump

The US’s mid-term elections are underway and they’ve effectively become a referendum on Donald Trump who has been campaigning furiously after polls suggested the Democrats could overturn the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Much of Trump’s campaigning has centred on the threat of immigrants and yesterday several TV networks – including the normally pro-Trump Fox News – pulled a Trump ad on the issue which was criticised for being racist, misleading and inflammatory. Pollsters and pundits are hedging their bets about the result but Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had already warned of voter fraud before voting began … perhaps the surest sign that Republicans are nervous. A clear picture of how the voting has gone should emerge about mid-morning SA time tomorrow.

It’s Mayor Plato again

The DA’s Dan Plato was duly voted into the mayor’s job in Cape Town today, replacing Patricia de Lille. Of the 208 councillors present, 146 voted for Plato, 53 for the ANC’s Xolani Sotashe and three for the ACDP’s Grant Haskin. There were six abstentions. De Lille left the post after a protracted scrap with the DA leadership – a fight that seems destined to continue in the courts. Plato was previously the mayor of Cape Town from 2009 to 2011.

Khashoggi sons ask for dad’s body

The killing of Washington Post columnist and dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month continues to reverberate. His sons have told CNN they have asked the Saudi authorities to return their father’s body to them so that they can bury him and grieve properly. And, from Turkey, comes a new allegation, reportedly from ‘a senior Turkish official’, that the Saudi team that was sent to Istanbul to assist with the probe into the murder was in fact an expert team sent to assist with hiding the evidence before they let Turkish investigators onto the premises.


Transnet gets a new boss

With former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama’s seat barely cold, the board of the state-owned enterprise has announced the appointment of an interim CEO, Tau Morwe, who will serve as acting group chief executive until the end of April next year. Gama was fired last month after being linked to allegations of corruption relating to the purchase of 1,064 new locomotives.

Gordhan smoothes ruffled SAA feathers

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan visited anxious staff at SAA yesterday and reassured them there were no plans afoot to shut down the airline. The visit followed comments from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to the effect that the loss-making entity should be closed. Gordhan’s message was not entirely comforting: I’ll support you, he told the SAA employees, but the turnaround plan for the airline has to come from better management, not from endless government funds.


Bottom of the class

A row has erupted at Cape Town’s Rustenburg Junior School as reports surfaced that Nozipho Mthembu, the school’s first black teacher (aside from the isiXhosa teacher), left. She says she was coerced into leaving; the school and some of the parents say she was incompetent. The details of what led to her departure have sparked endless calls into talk radio, but it’s clear that tension at the girls’ school has been brewing for some time with three parents resigning from the school governing body last year because they were alarmed at the slow pace of transformation. In more than two decades after the dawn of democracy the school has managed to employ just one black teacher. Clearly, something is not right. For not promoting a culture of diversity at such a crucial phase in children’s lives, Rustenburg Junior School is today’s menace.


‘No comment’ on Rassie tackle video

World Rugby refused to comment on the trending video which shows Rassie Erasmus ‘coaching’ Andre Esterhuizen on the finer points of the ‘Owen Farrell tackle’. The video shows Erasmus ‘teaching’ Esterhuizen to tackle high and without any arms, an obvious reference to Farrell’s contentious and unpenalised tackle which felled the Springbok centre on Saturday. According to Sport24, World Rugby refused to comment on the video or the tackle. Meanwhile Erasmus yesterday welcomed the overseas club-based Springboks back into the squad. Included in the players who were excluded from the Test against England were Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Franco Mostert, Francois Louw and Vincent Koch.

Gardning leave?

It may just be coincidence, but Australian referee Angus Gardner has been sent off the grid after his decision not to award the Springboks a potentially match-winning penalty on Saturday. With international rugby in full swing, the only match Gardner will blow this month is between rugby minnows Kenya and Germany on November 23. He will be an assistant referee in Ireland’s clash with Argentina this weekend and the match between Wales and Tonga next weekend. The Kenya v Germany clash is part of the World Cup qualifying tournament.

Rafa’s out, Novak makes history

Rafael Nadal withdrew from the season-ending ATP Tour final in London next week and thus ensured his rival Novak Djokovic made history. Nadal cited an abdominal injury and announced he was also having surgery on his ankle. That means Djokovic is guaranteed to end the year as the world number-one for the fifth time. He will also become the first person to finish a season at the top spot after being outside the top 20 during that season.


A fishy tale

It wasn’t a zebra crossing, but surprised motorists on Highway 101 in Washington state had to wait for wildlife to cross the road at the weekend. These creatures were fish – large salmon, in fact. Scores of them. This under-a-minute video clip was posted by CNN.


A ‘bloody lucky’ catch

Gus Hutt was preparing for an early morning fish when he saw a doll bobbing past him in a rip current at Matata Beach in the North Island’s Bay of Plenty.  He reached out and grabbed the doll by the arm and then the doll let out a little squeak. ‘Oh God this is a baby and it’s alive,’ Hutt told the New Zealand Herald. The ‘doll’ was 18-month-old Malachi Reeve, who had opened the zip of his sleeping parents’ tent, then made his way out of a beachside campsite and into the water, where a current caught him. ‘He was bloody lucky,’ said Hutt. Paramedics gave the toddler the all clear and his mother said he was unaffected by his ordeal.


Twitter has a new hero in Harriet (@harrietucyel), who was caught on camera doing a spectacular eye-roll at comments by Ukip’s arch-conservative and pro-Brexit leader, the creepy Nigel Farage. She responded to all the love by commenting: ‘Thanks for all the kind words, this is indeed me!’ See also the comments responding to her.

And for those Farage fans out there, we present this tweet from Quite Interesting (@qikipedia):

‘Smaken a som baken, delad’ is a Swedish Expression that translates as ‘Taste is like your bum, divided’.


Today’s clue compiled by @7upislemondade is, They are often stoned when love is involved! (6)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Plotting chap few ask for change tonight? (3,6) is GUY (chap) FAWKES (anagram of few ask – ‘for change’ is the anagram indicator).

Thanks to Andrew and Dave for sending us the link to the story about how writing an ‘o; instead of an ‘a’ in the solution to a clue saw Mark Goodliffe being dethroned as the Times National Crossword Champion after 10 years and 99 crosswords. Crossword addicts, 1 Down: crossword king toppled at lastis just for you.


When a video by Abby ‘the Spoon Lady’ Roach and Chris Rodrigues went viral The Washington Post went to investigate. Journalist David Rowell found there was a deeper story lurking in the shadows of the video – a story about the pain music can erase, and also the pain it can’t. Treat yourself to this remarkable story and, as an extra bonus, watch Abby’s spoon solo.


The ANC and its media allies have worked hard at portraying the DA as being a conservative organisation that belongs in the country’s bad old days. Why then would the DA choose Dan Plato, a former National Party member, as its new mayor of Cape Town? Plato previously occupied the mayoral seat from 2009 to 2011, so he might be seen as a safe pair of hands. Perhaps the party’s powers-that-be felt they needed someone who would not alienate coloured voters as a replacement for Patricia de Lille. Whatever the case, Plato is not overburdened with charisma and is unlikely to set the hustings alight come campaign time. Instead the opposition will make much of his past dalliance with the party of apartheid. It seems a strange decision, one that the DA may come to regret.

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