15 November 2018
As you know, this is a free newsletter (don’t stop reading – we are not about to ask you for money). The three of us started out putting it together as an experiment of sorts after being repeatedly asked by people where they can go for a sensible summary of the day’s news. We didn’t have a simple answer so thought we’d have a go at providing one ourselves. We now have many more subscribers than we anticipated and are beginning to think that, maybe, this could be a thing. Among your number are quite a few who have offered to pay for our offering, but we don’t want to go down that route. Instead we have a request for you – please share this with like-minded friends, family and associates and encourage them to subscribe. If we can grow our subscription base we just might be able to attract some advertising, which would give us some income and the freedom to dedicate more time and energy to the.news.letter. As things stand we are doing this between other commitments and largely as a labour of love. We would dearly like to be able to dedicate more time and energy to it.
Chris, Jonathan and Martine
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Land expropriation without compensation moved a step closer today when parliament’s joint constitutional review committee resolved to amend the section of the constitution which currently prevents it. There are, however, other steps – and, it seems, court battles – that have to be taken before it becomes a reality. The committee’s recommendation must now go before the National Assembly and then the National Council of Provinces for approval. A draft bill will then be put to the respective houses, which require a two-thirds majority to change the constitution – a majority that the ANC, EFF and UDM can muster together. The proposed change to Section 25 of the constitution would see it made explicit that expropriation without compensation can be used to address skewed land ownership patterns. The ANC, EFF and UDM used their majority in the committee to push through the resolution by 12 votes to 4 in spite of objections from the other opposition parties. Here’s a story from Business Day which details some of the objections.
Mayday, or Mayhem?
British Prime Minister Theresa May is hanging on to power by her fingernails after the Brexit deal she struck with the European Union led to two senior cabinet resignations and a simmering backbench revolt. Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey, both arch-Brexiteers, quit over what they regard as a capitulation to the EU by May. At the time of writing May was addressing parliament on the deal while some of her Conservative Party colleagues were contemplating a vote of no-confidence in her.
Gigaba quits as MP
Within days of quitting as minister of home affairs Malusi Gigaba also resigned as an MP. He said he was grateful to the ANC for the privilege of serving the people and the party paid tribute to him for acting in the interests of the country. His resignations were sparked by a court finding that he had lied under oath. The Public Protector also came up with a similar ruling.
Manyi rivers to cross
The Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture has taken a break until Monday for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s evidence, which promises to be sensational. Yesterday former media ‘mogul’ Mzwanele Manyi hit back at evidence given to the hearing by acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) boss Phumla Williams. She had said that during his time as GCIS boss Manyi dissolved the organisation’s bid adjudication committee, but yesterday he said she had been implicated in serious procurement irregularities at the time.
A Trumped up arrest?
News that Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti has been arrested by the LA cops on domestic violence charges has had Donald Trump supporters flooding social media with glee. Except it seems there may be more to it. For a start, Avenatti’s estranged wife, Lisa Storie-Avenatti, supposedly beaten by him on Tuesday, says she hasn’t seen him in months. The story was broken by TMZ, owned by Trump’s buddy Harvey Levin. If that isn’t enough for a conspiracy theory, the person who has claimed responsibility for breaking the story is Jacob Wohl, a Trump fan who tried to stage a sexual assault hoax against Russia Investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
THE DAILY MENACE
Get the fake out of here
We bring you two menaces today – both of whom peddle in fake news. A compelling News24 investigation has revealed that William Mahlatse Ramatseba, an office administrator at the University of South Africa’s (Unisa) is behind a fake news factory, spreading disinformation and lies, including that the Dros rapist was a black man, which created a racial media furore. And in other fake news, the High Court has given the EFF a week to provide evidence to back their claims that journalists Anton Harber and Thandeka Qubule worked for Stratcom. The ultimatum comes a day after two separate judges granted costs orders against Julius Malema and the EFF in favour of AfriForum. According to the Citizen, the EFF has already paid R126,000 to AfriForum in another costs order granted against it, and it still owes its Afrikaans brothers about R211,000.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
Some good news …
The Automobile Association says motorists can expect ‘massive drops’ in petrol prices soon. It said petrol could go down by R1.54 a litre and diesel by 92 cents. ‘After months of sustained pressure on the fuel price, fuel users will receive a substantial breather at the end of November going into December if the current fuel price trends continue,’ it said. Those trends include a reduction in international oil prices.
And some bad
More than R400-billion in foreign capital has left the South African bond and stock market since 2014, reports Brenthurst Wealth Management, in a sharp illustration of the loss of confidence the Zuma years wrought in the economy. Zuma’s replacement by Cyril Ramaphosa provided a small respite, for just a couple of months, and October saw the largest outflow of money since the mid-80’s when international sanctions were at their height – R8-billion left our shores. Acknowledging that external factors such as the stronger dollar played a part, Brenthurst’s bleak assessment was that the JSE will continue to struggle until outflows of foreign capital slow down or reverse.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
SA flavour to Scots team
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has made six changes to his team to face the Springboks on Saturday in Edinburgh. Retained from the team that beat Fiji 54-17 is SA-born prop WP Nel, while former Stormers centre Huw Jones returns at centre. There are two other SA-born players, Josh Strauss and Allan Dell, on the bench. The Springbok team is due to be announced later today.
Anderson on verge of semis
Kevin Anderson will be aiming for a spot in the semi-final of the ATP Tour Finals when he takes on Roger Federer in their final round-robin match tonight. Due to the complicated system to break the ties in the group standings, Anderson just needs to take two games off Federer to guarantee he goes through to the semi-finals.
Windies women thrash SA
The South African women’s cricket team were bundled out for just 76 as they tamely lost to West Indies in their second ICC Women’s World T20 match in Gros Islet this morning. The Proteas were able to restrict the Windies to 107 for seven but only Lizelle Lee (24 runs) and Marizanne Kapp (26) were able to get into double figures in the chase.
Another Serena ‘controversy’
Tennis star Serena Williams being on one of GQ’s Man of the Year covers should have been a reason for celebration – then social media got it all wrong and turned it into a massive misunderstanding. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champ was on the cover of the men’s magazine with the headline 2018 “Woman” of the Year. Fans took exception to the quotation marks around the word woman. GQ research manager Mick Rouse was forced to explain that the headline was handwritten by designer Virgil Abioh, whose trademark style is quotation marks.
Vancouver artist Tim Klein has discovered that puzzle publishers generally use the same cutting templates, and has put his realisation to wonderful use – creating fabulous and unlikely images.
For more of Klein’s work, visit boredpanda.com here.
Rabies is no laughing matter. The virus can infect the central nervous system, causing paralysis, hallucinations and then death. So when people in the city of Milton, West Virginia, saw raccoons behaving weirdly, they panicked. According to the Washington Post, when officers caught two of the masked bandits, they realised the raccoons weren’t rabid; they were drunk. The animals had been feasting on crab apples that had fermented on the tree, causing them to stagger around. They were held in custody and, after they sobered up, released into the wild. Readers of the.news.letter will recall a ‘Say What’ a couple of months back about under-the-influence birds in Gilbert, Minnesota, flying into windows, cars and acting confused. An early frost meant that berries had fermented before the birds flew south for the winter, and birds were eating them and getting drunk.
TWEET OF THE DAY
George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) is the tweetster of the day for:
Shout out to the top 5 boards in the world, surf, shuffle, stiff as a, Ouija and back to the drawing.
To which various people added: bill, chairman of the, all a’, draft, chalk, clap, dart, skate, boogie, ironing, key, cup, dash, card, cutting and above.
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue, an old cryptic classic, is Adam and I (3,5,6)
The solution to yesterday’s clue, Men survive real trouble in Stan Lee’s world (6,8) is MARVEL UNIVERSE, an anagram of ‘men survive real’ (‘trouble’ is the anagram indicator) is Stan Lee’s world.
THE BIG READ
This is not so much a long read as a slow and fabulous journey through dance in the movies, from the Washington Post, which has pulled together the 31 best dance scenes from the screen. Allow yourself a moment to be captivated.
WHAT WE SAY
We report above that more than R400-billion in foreign capital left the country’s bond and stock market after 2014, largely as a consequence of the loss of confidence induced by Jacob Zuma’s disastrous presidency. On Monday Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan will give evidence to the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and will suggest that the former president’s axing of then finance minister Nhlanhla Nene in 2015 cost the economy R500-billion. That’s a massive amount of money, and it doesn’t take into account the billions poured into mismanaged SOEs and lost to other state capture projects. A lot of that is money that could have been directed towards poverty alleviation, the ailing health and education sectors or fighting crime. And all indications are that some of it it was not just a result of idiotic bumbling, but a coldly-executed plan to plunder the state. In other words, there was criminal intent. It will be a travesty if Zuma is not forced to account for his actions and then to pay for them.