WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The ANC fracas that wasn’t
Here’s a salutary tale about social media. For about 24 hours a video of some people throwing bottles and chairs during an evening function has been tweeted and retweeted all over Twitter. According to the tweeters (many of whom accompanied their posts with overtly racist comments), it shows guests at an ANC dinner in East London this week protesting against the poor food that was served. Only it wasn’t. A bit of fact-checking by journalists has established that the video was taken two months ago in east London, England, and shows fans angrily protesting after the act they had paid for would not be performing.
A ministerial inquiry into the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has painted a devastating picture of a dysfunctional organisation, rampant maladministration and procurement shortcuts. The report was compiled by a government-appointed committee headed by retired Judge Ralph Zulman. Sascoc is in charge of sending teams to the major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and awarding national colours, but the inquiry found that it spent a tiny amount of time on sport and was more concerned with infighting. It also found widespread inefficiencies, wastages and gross mismanagement and recommended sweeping changes to the composition of the board, the appointment of officials and a tightening of controls about travel. Critics have called for more action to be taken, including legal steps against the officials involved.
Yellow-vests set to rock Paris
France is bracing for a weekend of protests. The government is planning to deploy 89,000 troops across France in case the demonstrations turn violent again. Many of the capital’s famed sites – including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower – will close over the weekend in advance of the anti-government protests, organised by the ‘gilets jaunes’ or ‘yellow vests’ movement. They started protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise taxes on diesel fuel and dropped the tax on Wednesday after Paris endured some of the most violent riots since 1968. But protestors are now demanding more. On Thursday, the gilets jaunes continued to block roads while calling for broader tax cuts and more government assistance.
Khashoggi: Warrants for Saudi prince’s aides
Turkish prosecutors have applied for warrants of arrest for two senior Saudi officials linked to the Jamal Khashoggi killing. Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani are close associates of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Qahtani, the prince’s closest aide at the time of the killing (he has since been fired), is said to have run the operation in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul via Skype. Assiri, also sacked in the wake of the killing, also served as a close advisor.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
What comes Necsa?
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced today that he had dissolved the board of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa), after ‘continued ineptitude and deliberate acts of defiance’ including its signing of the ‘so-called’ memorandum of understanding with a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom nuclear corporation after they were expressly instructed not to do so. Radebe dropped board chairman Dr Kelvin Kemm and CEO Phumzile Tshelane, appointing Rob Adam as chairman and Don Robertson as interim CEO.
Bloomberg is reporting that SA’s financial authorities are conducting an investigation into seven financial trading accounts that sold shares in Steinhoff in the weeks before the company’s share price collapsed on news of irregular accounting practices. The regulator is reportedly receiving assistance from foreign regulators, has interviewed various individuals and obtained ‘extensive’ documentation.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
Blitzbokke looking for perfection
The same Springbok Sevens rugby squad which failed to click in Dubai will be looking for redemption at the Cape Town leg of the HSBC Series this weekend. The Blitzbokke ended a disappointing sixth in the series-opening tournament, which was won by the All Blacks. The South Africans are in a tough group with the All Blacks, Samoa and Zimbabwe. The tournament starts at 10.15am tomorrow with the Blitzbokke matches at 12.27pm (against Samoa), 3.48pm (Zimbabwe) and 7.56pm (New Zealand).
One draw Banyana doesn’t mind
Banyana’s recent qualification for the 2019 Women’s World Cup means tomorrow’s draw suddenly has significance for South African sports fans. The draw takes place in Paris for the month-long tournament which starts on June 7. The 24 teams will be drawn into six groups of four. South Africa is ranked 48th. The only team to qualify that is ranked lower was Jamaica (ranked 53rd).
Arsenal stars in ‘hippy crack’ storm
A video has emerged of a host of Arsenal stars, including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Matteo Guendouzi, inhaling nitrous oxide. The so called ‘hippy crack’ craze produces a legal high but it can cause potentially dangerous side-effects. The video is from a party in London a few days before the start of the season and was released by The Sun newspaper. On CCTV footage, Ozil can be seen falling in what looks to be a semi-conscious state after inhaling from a balloon, while Guendouzi appears to lose consciousness altogether.
Proteas spinner Tabraiz Shamsi will no longer be allowed to pull a scarf over his face when celebrating a wicket. The ICC has ruled that his entertaining celebration, where he covers his face with a scarf with a face mask printed on it, is not to be allowed. According to Netwerk24, Shamsi said he was just ‘having fun with my celebrations and it is definitely not because I want to be disrespectful to the batsman’.
Full TV times listing here
In an effort to counter some of the world’s negativity we ask people what makes them happy. the.news.letter will feature a Happy Snap every Friday
Jeff Mudhikwa, 56, taxi driver
I’d be happier if I wasn’t driving a taxi and doing the job that I was trained for, which is a boilermaker and welder. I haven’t been able to find one so I’ve been a taxi driver since 2007. It doesn’t make me happy when a drunk person gets into the taxi and does kak things, but I do get to meet all sorts of interesting people from all over the world and hear their interesting stories. Some people make me laugh and then I forget that I’m not happy – and when I forget I’m not happy, I’m happy.
Chemicals used to make non-stick pans have been linked to men having smaller penises. According to HuffPost, a study found men with higher levels of exposure to polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) had penises that were 12.5% shorter and 6.3% thinner than other men. The chemicals have previously been linked to reducing testosterone levels and the researchers, from the University of Padua in Italy, said this could interfere with the development of male organs. Almost 400 men agreed to let researchers measure their penises. PFCs aren’t just used in non-stick pans, they’re used in a whole host of household products, including takeaway containers and waterproof clothing.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The tremendous tweeter of the day is Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) for introducing us to a German word that ranks right up there with schadenfreude:
Word of the day: BACKPFEIFENGESICHT (German) – a face in need of a sleep.
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue, compiled by Parthasarathy is: Throw in a hot pie for an African (9)
The solution to yesterday’s clue, Protect men’s bollocks from falling out! (11), is CONTRETEMPS – an anagram of ‘protect men’s’ (‘bollocks’ is the anagram indicator) and ‘falling out’ is the definition.
THE BIG READ
Reader Leif Petersen (happy birthday, Leif) alerted us to this incredible multimedia feature in The Age about Pat and Peter Shaw – Australian scientists who had made a pact to ‘enter the big sleep’ at the time of their own choosing. That time was in October. But their very private decision soon become a very public event. The couple’s daughters reflect on the lives and deaths of their parents.
WHAT WE SAY
The week that was
What we thought could be better:
Patricia de Lille’s name for her new political party. The political pundits predict GOOD won’t be good enough to be an election contender.
Well, as the saying goes, All good things …
Yes, good things like electricity. This week loadshedding came back with a vengeance.
Speaking of light … is there some at the end of the tunnel?
Only for those with solar panels. Actually news that we’ve emerged from a recession and the sharp drop in the petrol price this week was a welcome boost.
What we need is some light relief:
Which is what the public broadcaster is giving us with its new soap opera, Survivor SABC. New Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is at war with the SABC board, four board members resigned this week, and there’s an investigation into an ‘irregular’ tender.
What delighted us … and made us burst out laughing:
Tom Eaton, writing for TimesSelect, saying this about a certain Cape Town newspaper: ‘.. the tragic skidmark formally known as The Cape Times’.
What left us seething:
The rampant acts of thuggery across the country – Global Citizen Concert festival goers in Johannesburg were left traumatised after they were robbed, stabbed, and sexually harassed and shops were looted in the Cape Town CBD after the switching on of the lights.
Who gave us hope:
Advocate Shamila Batohi, who was chosen by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head up the National Prosecuting Authority and start the process of rehabilitating the country’s criminal justice system.
Gazillionaire Johann Rupert – he was insensitive, obtuse and offensive in the Chairman’s Conversation with Power FM boss Given Mkhari. Rupert demonstrated that there is something larger than his bank account – his ego.
Who deserves the menace of the week:
The EFF. Its members decided to vandalise Vodacom stores because in a speech at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards Corruption Watch chairperson Mavuso Msimang showed an image depicting EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu as abusers of democracy. The irony, of course, escapes them.
What made us proudly South African:
The musicians who came together to pay tribute to Johnny Clegg – le Zoulou Blanc has made us proudly South African since he started strumming his guitar. If you weren’t moved by the song then you don’t have a heart or you’re Steve Hofmeyr.