WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
End of the Rohde
Johannesburg property moghul Jason Rohde was today found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of murdering his wife at Stellenbosch’s Spier wine farm hotel in 2016. Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe rejected Rohde’s defence that she had committed suicide by hanging herself from a hook in their hotel room. She said Rohde ‘staged the suicide and had the direct intention to kill’ his wife in a physical altercation. The court heard that on the night of the killing the couple got into a row over Rohde’s affair with a colleague.
Gordhan places Zuma at heart of state capture
Pravin Gordhan has submitted a 68-page statement to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry which places former president Jacob Zuma at the heart of efforts to capture the state. News24 has done a good job of summing up his submission.
Mihalik murder puzzle: taxi boss held
A taxi boss joined the two alleged hitmen in the dock in Cape Town today in connection with the Mafia-style hit on advocate Pete Mihalik, who defended a number of underworld figures. Police had been looking for Vuyile Maliti, a taxi boss in Khayelitsha, who handed himself to police today. Maliti, Sizwe Sinzokohle Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo have been charged with murder. The arrest brings detectives a step closer to finding out who ordered the hit and why.
Trump fires Sessions
Within hours of the US midterm election results being made public President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump has repeatedly criticised Sessions for recusing himself from involvement in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. The president’s critics believe he moved with haste after losing the House of Representatives to the Democrats in the midterms because he has a two-month window before the opposition party can start flexing its new-found muscle. Trump has appointed Matthew Whittaker, a loyal supporter of the president and outspoken critic of Mueller’s probe, as acting attorney general, giving rise to renewed speculation that he plans to fire Mueller.
House of clowns
Parliament really is becoming a circus. Last night EFF leader Julius Malema and DA MP John Steenhuisen were chucked out of the House after resuming their barbs from a day earlier and refusing to withdraw them. Steenhuisen described the EFF as ‘the VBS looters’ and Malema responded by calling the DA MP a ‘racist young white man who was accused of rape’. When pressed by House chairperson Thoko Didiza on the ‘heinous’ rape allegation, Malema explained rather curiously that ‘he is sitting among many rapists’. If there was anything positive to come out of the saga it was Didiza’s measured performance – most unlike Baleka Mbete’s feeble attempts at chairing the same chamber.
Mass shooting in US student pub
Another day another mass shooting in the US. Last night (in the early hours here) a gunman killed 12 people in a country and western bar in Thousand Oaks, California. The gunman was found dead at the scene. Most of the victims were students from nearby universities.
THE DAILY MENACE
Menace 1: Under PRESSure
It’s a double menace day – and the menaces are the heavy-handedness of two governments restricting press freedom. Firstly, in Africa where just before 10pm last night a former South African editor Angela Quintal sent out an SOS on Facebook alerting friends that she and her colleague Muthoki Mumo were being taken away for interrogation by authorities in Tanzania, which has plunged into a press freedom crisis amid newspaper bans and increasingly restrictive laws. Both women work for the Committee to Protect Journalists and were reportedly in the country to investigate the whereabouts of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since November 2017. They were released five hours later.
Menace 2: PRESSumed guilty
Now to the United States of America, where President Donald Trump called CNN reporter Jim Acosta a ‘rude, terrible person’ during a press conference and tried to cut off his questions about Russian interference. A White House intern attempted to take the microphone from Acosta three times, but he held onto it and during the exchange his hand brushed her arm. Acosta was stripped of his press credentials and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was accused of sharing a doctored video to defend the administration’s decision. She also tweeted: ‘We will never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman …’ Perhaps this is something she should tell her boss.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
Cyril urges policy certainty
President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the inaugural Africa Investment Forum (AIF) meeting today as a ‘marketplace to do deals and conclude transactions’ and an opportunity to ‘resolve the problems that keep investors away from our continent, by addressing governance challenges, such as policy uncertainty, inconsistency, financial mismanagement and corruption’. The AIF meeting in Sandton was organised by the African Development Bank.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
United beat Ronaldo
Manchester United battled back last night with two very late goals for an unlikely victory after Cristiano Ronaldo had scored his first Champions League goal for Juventus. Ronaldo looked to have sunk the club which turned him into a global superstar when he volleyed home in the 65th minute. In the 86th-minute United’s Juan Mata scored and three minutes later an own goal from Alex Sandro put United 2-1 up. In other matches Manchester City were 6-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayern Munich beat AEK Athens 2-0 and Real Madrid downed Viktoria Plze? 5-0. The two Manchester results provides a perfect precursor to the Manchester derby this weekend.
Faf, Willie and Franco back
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus produced no surprises when he made just three changes to the Bok run-on team to face France on Saturday night. The return of European club players means Faf de Klerk comes in at scrumhalf in place of Ivan van Zyl and Willie le Roux replaces Damian Willemse. In the forwards, Eben Etzebeth’s injury means he drops out of the squad and is replaced by Franco Mostert at lock. On the bench, three more returnees, Vincent Koch, Francois Louw and Cheslin Kolbe will be hoping for some game time. Meanwhile French coach Jacques Brunel has completely revamped his squad with 13 changes from the team which lost heavily to the All Blacks in June. Bok Team: 15 Willie le Roux 14 Sbu Nkosi 13 Jesse Kriel 12 Damian de Allende 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 10 Handré Pollard 9 Faf de Klerk 8 Warren Whiteley 7 Duane Vermeulen 6 Siya Kolisi (captain) 5 Franco Mostert 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Malcolm Marx 1 Steven Kitshoff. Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi 17 Thomas du Toit 18 Vincent Koch 19 RG Snyman 20 Francois Louw 21 Embrose Papier 22 Elton Jantjies 23 Cheslin Kolbe.
Catchphrases win matches?
Battered by off-field issues involving an ever-decreasing admin staff, and bruised from a run of on-field disappointments, it is difficult to see the Australian cricket team getting themselves into the right mindset to beat the Proteas in tomorrow’s ODI in Adelaide. However, maybe some of the coaching catchphrases stuck up on the change room walls may inspire the Australians – although “Elite honesty” is more likely to win friends than matches, and any team that needs to be reminded ‘We are Australia’s cricket team’ is not likely to ‘Make Australians proud’.
A Dutch pensioner has started a legal battle to change his age to boost his dating prospects. Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to shift his birthday from 1949 to 1969. ‘You can change your name, your gender so why not your age?’ he told Dutch paper De Telegraaf after launching an application in a court in Arnhem, outside Amsterdam. There is scepticism he will succeed but Ratelband said he feels discriminated against because of his age, and it was affecting his success rate on Tinder. ‘When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.’ He said his doctors told him he has the body of a 45 year old, and he described himself as a ‘young god’.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Our top tweeter today is Susan Calman (@SusanCalman), for this:
A few years ago, when I lived in a flat, the delivery person left my parcel ‘in a safe place’. I don’t know if you can spot the package in this photo because they did such a great job of making sure no one would steal it.
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue compiled by @7upislemondade is, Dieting is no cure for this? (11)
The solution to yesterday’s clue, Finally – more to benefit by arrangement? (3,6,4) is NOT BEFORE TIME – (an anagram of ‘more to benefit’ (‘by arrangement’ is the anagram indicator) and means finally.
THE BIG READ
You may never eat another piece of sushi again. Carl Safina is an ecologist and writer, has written an extraordinary essay on whether we are wrong to assume fish can’t feel pain. ‘We like to think fish have no feelings. And yet the idea that they have both memory and a capacity for suffering is gaining ground among scientists,’ he writes.
WHAT WE SAY
Those of you who read these things through to the bottom may have noticed that yesterday’s What We Say ended abruptly in the middle of a sentence. A gremlin chopped off the ending, so here it is again:
Republicans in the US are calling the midterm election results a ‘split decision’ after they held the Senate with a slightly increased majority and the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. They are wrong: just 35 Senate seats were contested and Democrats had little hope of turning over the Republican majority anyway. The House election was held across the country for all 435 seats and the Democratic win is a setback for Donald Trump and his Republicans. Besides a rejection of Trump’s divisive rhetoric, it will make life exceedingly difficult for a president who likes to get his way. Instead, Democrats in the House now have the power to block legislation they don’t like and – by exercising the House’s right of oversight – to hold Trump himself to account. This will, for example, mean that the president could be forced to make his tax returns public. There are other issues that the Democrats have indicated they might want to probe, including Russia’s supposed interference in the 2016 election and the loss of thousands of lives in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. It also raises the spectre of impeachment, particularly if special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings – expected within days – are damning of Trump. Interestingly, Trump said on the eve of the election that he regretted not being able to adopt a ‘softer tone’ as president. The electorate’s message to Trump and the need to co-operate with Democrats in future might just force him into reassessing his messaging and general approach, but that seems a faint hope.