Former Bok shot | Less power to the people | PO KO’s the backlog | The week that was

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Sick Zuma back in court

Jacob Zuma made a brief appearance in the in the Pietermaritzburg High Court today for the postponement to May of his trial on charges of racketeering, corruption, money-laundering and fraud. The former president was reportedly ill – low blood pressure, said his advocate – and would not have been buoyed much by the array of political misfits who arrived to support him. Fired former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo was leading the charge with former finance minister Des van Rooyen, BLF leader Andile Mngxitama and Carl Niehaus in his wake. With friends like that …

Former Bok shot

Former Springbok hooker and Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske was shot three times in a home invasion at the house of his brother Thinus, in Kameeldrift near Pretoria last night. Drotske was with fellow former Springbok Os du Randt and Thinus when four armed men entered the house. Drotske was shot in the arm and chest and was rushed to hospital and into ICU. His conditions is stable. News24 reports Drotske lost ‘almost a third of his blood’ before he reached hospital. Police announced this afternoon that two men have been ‘taken in for questioning’ in connection with the attack.

Less power to the people

Eskom’s troubles seem to be rapidly getting worse, and early today the utility raised the load-shedding programme from Level One (implemented just yesterday) to Level Two – due to what it said was ‘a loss of additional units overnight’. It is not clear if this means that more power stations have had to be closed because they have not been able to get enough coal. The company is asking users to turn off geysers during the day and any other appliances that are not in use. The cuts will take place across the country between 9am and 10pm tonight, but those in the Western Cape should be safe – for now. We are told we will see more planned outages ‘for the remainder of the year’.

AfriForum fails to stop land report

AfriForum’s court bid to stop Parliament from adopting the Constitutional Review Committee Report on expropriation of land without compensation was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court today. The court said the case was not urgent and sent the lobby group packing. AfriForum says the committee report failed to take into account thousands of written submissions. This means a debate on the report will go ahead in Parliament on Tuesday. After that it will in all likelihood be put up for adoption, moving the possibility of a constitutional amendment forward significantly.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Ramaphosa at tense G20

President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Argentina to lead the South African delegation to the G20 Summit. The president, who has Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in tow, is hoping to use the opportunity to attract more investment to South Africa. While Ramaphosa’s first G20 meeting will be important for him (he has a number of bilaterals planned with heads of state and he will be chairing the final meeting of BRICS Leaders under SA’s chairmanship) commentators are expecting all kinds of geopolitical tensions to play out. Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman is expected to get a frosty reception in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at his country’s embassy. And some are saying that the future of global trade will be dictated by the outcome of a high-stakes dinner between Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping tomorrow. Also, the large inflatable Trump baby blimp that upset the US president in London earlier this year has followed him to Buenos Aires. More than 22,000 police are on standby to manage protests.

PO KO’s the backlog

The SA Post Office appears to have worked a miracle. Just under eight million items that were sitting in a backlog of undelivered mail about three weeks ago have apparently been delivered to their destinations and domestic delivery is now ‘normalised’. That means, we’re told, that you can expect local mail to be delivered in three to five days. If post has indeed been posted, this will be something to celebrate – when the PO strike ended in July, there were reportedly 48-million items in limbo.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Banyana chase title …

Banyana Banyana want to end the 2018 African Women’s Cup of Nations the way it started – with a win against Nigeria. The team have a chance to repeat the heroics of the 1996 men’s team when they face Nigeria in the final in Ghana tomorrow. The key player for Banyana so far has been Thembi Kgatlana, who is the tournament’s leading goalscorer with five goals from the four matches played so far. Cameroon will play Mali for third place and the final African place at next year’s Women’s World Cup.

… and glory

Banyana featured strongly when the nominees for the Caf Awards for 2018 were announced yesterday. The whole Banyana team are in line for an award in Team of the Year category, while 22-year-old Thembi Kgatlana and her Houston Dash teammate, South African captain Janine van Wyk, are among the finalists for the Player of the Year. Desiree Ellis has been nominated for Coach of the Year for guiding the team to the final and qualifying for the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Eight Boks for BaaBaas

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has included eight Springboks in his Barbarians starting lineup to face Argentina at Twickenham tomorrow. A further four Boks are on the bench for the traditional post-season celebration of running rugby. Handre Pollard will start at flyhalf with Damian de Allende and Aphiwe Dyantyi outside him. In the back row, influential Bok flanks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi will team up with Juan Manuel Leguizamon who faces his countrymen from the back of the scrum. Lood de Jager is at lock while Trevor Nyakane and Schalk Brits start in the front row.

Aussies put Jake on hold

An apparent attempt by former Springbok coach Jake White to get the Australian coach’s job has been put on hold. According to AFP, White contacted Rugby Australia and was due to have a telephone conversation regarding replacing Michael Cheika as the Wallaby coach. However, after the news of his approach was leaked, Rugby Australia cancelled the scheduled call.

For all your TV times, visit the.sports.letter.


HAPPY SNAPS

In an effort to counter some of the world’s negativity we ask people what makes them happy. the.news.letter features a Happy Snap every Friday.

Ming Wu, 21, student

At the moment, it’s coffee that makes me happy. I’ve been up all night trying to finalise my research protocol – so this coffee is a blessing. I’m doing my honours in dietetics at UCT and each day I get closer to getting my degree makes me a little happier … when I finally graduate I will be ecstatic.


SEE WHAT?

#standbybeckham

Instagram and Twitter have gone nuts over comments by Piers Morgan that football legend David Beckham was ‘creepy’ for kissing his 7-year-old daughter Harper on the lips. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Morgan called Beckham’s Instagram share from an ice rink ‘weird’ – which promptly set off a flood of posts by celebrities and ordinary parents showing love to their children under the hashtag #standbybeckham. Beckham posts lots of pics of himself being a dad. Here’s the pic that caused all the fuss. And a few posted in support.


SAY WHAT?

Name shame

A mother has complained to Southwest Airlines after a staff member laughed at her 5-year-old daughter’s name as they boarded a flight from Orange County to Texas. The news agency AP reported that Traci Redford was outraged when the airline’s staff member laughed and posted a photo of her daughter’s boarding pass on social media. The girl’s name is ‘Abcde’, apparently pronounced AHB-sih-dee. Redford says she had to ask the agent to stop laughing. Southwest issued a statement apologizing to the family, and has followed up with the employee. The two most astonishing parts of the story are that It took five years before someone laughed at Abcde’s name, and that AP spelt the girl’s name incorrectly in its original story, publishing this note: ‘This version corrects that the girl’s name is Abcde, not Abdce.’


TWEET OF THE DAY

AND the winner is … Skoog (@Skoogeth) for:

[dolphin reciting the alphabet]
dolphin: a…b…c…d…
me: [giddy with excitement] aww shit here it comes

Or should it be Oops! … I Dad It Again (@NewDadNotes)?

Rooster: please don’t make me say anything ridiculous.
God: like what?
Rooster: I don’t know, something like cock-a-doodle-don’t.
God: [nods to himself] that is pretty ridiculous.


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, which comes from the Guardian, is: Animal’s sexually ambivalent offspring (5)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Kicking canine’s arse could lead to revival! (11) is RENAISSANCE, an anagram of ‘canine’s arse’ (‘kicking’ is the anagram indicator)


THE BIG READ

The tale of John Chau, the 26-year-old American missionary who was killed when he travelled to a remote island in search of an isolated tribe in India to convert them to Christianity has raised a lot of questions – some of which are: was Chau a martyr, a fool or afflicted by a messiah complex? The Washington Post provides some insight into Chau.

(PS: The article mentions that Chau volunteered for soccer programmes in South Africa – and there’s a photo of him with Casey Prince, founder of Ubuntu Football Academy in Cape Town.)


WHAT WE SAY

The week that was

Who was found to be gross…
Malusi …

Stop interrupting, that was a while ago. Let me finish the sentence … who was found to be grossly negligent?
That would be Malusi Gigaba and Lynne Brown. Parliament’s inquiry into Eskom said they were ‘grossly negligent’ as ministers of public enterprises. Gigaba also come in for a bruising at the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture when former SAA board chair Cheryl Carolus spoke about how he seemed to be in the Gupta family’s pocket.

What was highly charged:
Nearly everyone … we saw all sorts of people traipsing to the police station to lay charges. Pravin Gordhan charged the EFF, the EFF charged him back – and, of course, Gigaba and Brown could face charges in connection with their sins at Eskom.

Nearly everyone?
Actually some people are in the process of being uncharged – Gupta family members and their business associates who were implicated in the Estina dairy project fraud scandal. The NPA said it has not received information from India and the United Arab Emirates and the investigation could not be finalised.

What melted our hearts:
Knickers ‘the big cow’ in Australia, whose humungous sized saved him from becoming a Big Mac burger. He is the reason we made it through the week.

What melted our Twitter:
The reaction to the news (is it really news?) that the DA’s chief whip John Steenhuisen doesn’t have a degree.

Who got the third degree: 
Well, it wasn’t Steenhuisen. It was the EFF’s scurrilous charges against Pravin Gordhan, which were fact checked by News24 and found to be fibs.

Good for truth-seeking journos …
Well, not all journalists were looking for truth … some were looking for love and found it in all the wrong places – like the dock at the South Gauteng High Court. A Huisgenoot journalist covering a bizarre satanic multiple murder case reportedly fell in love with one of the accused and is having a relationship with him.

What boggled our minds and gasted our flabber:
The InSight spacecraft travelling almost 500 million kilometres and landing on the Red Planet, beaming us images from Mars! FROM MARS, PEOPLE! MARS!!

Who deserves the menace of the week:
He was the menace just about every day this week so there’s no surprise that Juju Malema gets the dishonourable award – for being embroiled in a never-ending succession of scandals, for threatening journalists, banning media, and uttering a Trump-load of porkies.

What made us proudly South African 1:
Parliament. Yes, really. For voting, in the Home Affairs committee, to amend the law to make it illegal to refuse to solemnise the union of same-sex couples. Did you know that until now, over half of the Home Affairs marriage officers across the country have refused to marry gay couples? When this is signed into law, they will no longer have the option.

What made us proudly South African 2:
Banyana Banyana, for playing with grit and heart and, as the young people say, mad skillz. They have done the nation proud. It’s the Africa Women’s Cup of Nationals final tomorrow and then it’s a hop, skip and dribble to the World Cup in France next year.


Dear Reader,

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

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