Police resources ruled discriminatory | No one gets Clos to Chad | Happy Snap | Two great big reads | Eben heads north


Bathabile has ‘raised the bar’ – Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a two-hour interview to Radio 702/Cape Talk chat show host Xolani Gwala last night and said variously: corrupt South Africans would not get away with it but ‘due process’ had to be followed; there was growing anger among black youths at ‘lackadaisical’ whites with economic power; radical economic transformation is basically the same thing as inclusive growth and must happen; voters will come back to the ANC because it is their ‘natural home’; and, the one that attracted the headlines and got Twitter going – that Bathabile Dlamini was doing an excellent job and had ‘raised the bar’ for women. No, not that bar.

Police numbers ‘discriminatory’

The Cape High Court has ruled that the allocation of police resources in the Western Cape discriminates on the basis of race and poverty, reports GroundUp. The case was brought by the Khayelitsha-based Social Justice Coalition, Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum, and the remedy – to be decided by the court at a later date – should have highly significant implications for the deployment of police in the country.

Strasbourg gunman killed

French police have shot and killed the gunman they believe was behind the killing of three people and wounding of 13 others at Strasbourg’s Christmas market. The suspect, 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt, was killed after opening fire on police elsewhere in Strasbourg. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed that Chekatt had acted on their behalf.

Trump’s Pecker problem 

The tabloid National Enquirer newspaper has acknowledged paying hush money to a woman who claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump. The admission came as federal prosecutors announced that they would not prosecute the parent company, American Media Inc (AMI), for its role in a scheme to tilt the presidential race in favour of Trump. AMI admitted it paid $150,000 to Karen McDougal before the 2016 election.According to the Washington Post, the deal signaled the unraveling of the ‘deep relationship’ between Trump and AMI head David Pecker. It’s clear that Pecker, whose tabloid strongly supported Trump’s candidacy, has turned on the president.


Kingon clings on

While Tom Moyane suffered yet another humiliating court defeat this week, the person sitting in the former South African Revenue Service commissioner’s seat, Mark Kingon, will keep it warm for a bit longer. Kingon’s 90-day acting stint ended yesterday, but BusinessLive said it’s likely to be extended while President Cyril Ramaphosa finalises a permanent commissioner to turn the tax agency around. The High Court dismissed Moyane’s application to block Ramaphosa from appointing a successor and to stop the Nugent commission of inquiry into the Sars shambles from submitting its final report. Unsurprisingly, Moyane indicated he will appeal against the judgement.

Media mayhem

It’s carnage out there in the media world. Now Khanyi Dhlomo’s Ndalo Media – which published Destiny, Destiny Men and Elle magazines – will close its doors at the end of January. Various reports suggest staff have not received salaries for two months and that a R13-million printing bill remains unpaid. Dhlomo reportedly told the staff this week about the plan to close down the company.


Eben heads north

Highly-rated Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will be leaving Western Province and the Stormers at the end of 2019 – after the World Cup – to join Toulon in France. The French club yesterday announced the double signing of Etzebeth and All Black outside back Nehe Milner-Skudder. Etzebeth, who has 75 Test caps for the Springboks, will join fellow South Africans Marcel van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger, Jacques Potgieter and JP Pietersen at the club. Various sources claim the giant lock will be earning about R17-million a year.

No one gets Clos to Chad 

Chad le Clos picked up South Africa’s second gold medal at the FINA World Swimming Championships yesterday when he won the men’s 100m butterfly, his fourth consecutive world title in the event. The victory, in a time of 48:50, took South Africa up to third on the medals table after Le Clos won silver in the 200m fly and Cameron van der Burgh claimed gold in the 100m breaststroke. In today’s finals the SA team will be looking for a medal in the 4x50m freestyle relay and Brad Tandy swims in the 50m freestyle sprint.

Now Egypt keen to host Afcon

Egypt yesterday officially joined the race to take over from Cameroon as host of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Egypt only expressed its interest in hosting the tournament after Morocco surprisingly announced it would not be bidding for the tournament, which is due to start in June. South Africa is favourite to take over the hosting from Cameroon, which was stripped of the tournament because it was too far behind in its preparations. 

And then there were three

Three teams are left to challenge for the inaugural Mzansi Super League honours, with Jozi Stars and Paarl Rocks meeting at Wanderers this evening for a place in the final. The winner will take on the Cape Town Blitz in the tournament decider on Sunday at Newlands. The Jozi Stars finished second on the log, have home-ground advantage and have won five of their last six matches, which makes them heavy favourites to reach the final.  



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

Gcinikhaya Mgcolo, 34, security guard 

My baby daughter makes me happy. I saved up to buy her a remote control for Christmas. She loves toys and I think she’s going to love this. She was born on the 24 October last year We named her Imivuyo, which means ‘happy’, because when she was born I was very, very, very happy.


Choc a block

A street in the western German town Westönnen was coated in chocolate after a ton of the sweet stuff flowed out of a factory and solidified. The newspaper Soester Anzeiger reported that a ‘small technical defect’ involving a storage tank caused the chocolate to spill out from the DreiMeister chocolate factory. After hitting the chilly street, the chocolate quickly hardened. About 25 firefighters worked to pry the chocolate off with shovels. Now that’s what you call a Quality Street!


As we mentioned, we’re going on a bit of a break at the.news.letter. So here’s a seasonal tweet from our fave tweeter, Brian Bilston (aka The Poet Laureate of Twitter):

a poem
 in the shape
of a Christmas
tree but then forgot
to water it and only a few






                        the                                       carpet


Today’s exceptional clue compiled by anagram master Kieron Callaghan is, As Dorothy once said, alcohol kept her enemies drunk! (6,2,5,4,4)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Def con one in Conservative leadership battle? (2,10), is NO CONFIDENCE – an anagram of ‘Def con one in + C (Conservative leadership) – battle is the anagram indicator and Conservative leadership battle is the definition)


Wired has published Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell, a compelling piece about the South African-born tech-tycoon who swings from genius to jerk, flying into rages and demanding the impossible.

And because the.news.letter is taking a break until next Friday, here’s a second big read about why Time magazine chose The Guardians as the 2018’s Person of the Year. The Guardians are the journalists who have been targeted for their work: Jamal Khashoggi who was killed in the Saudi embassy in Turkey, staff from Capital Gazette, the US newspaper where five people were killed, Maria Ressa of the Philippines and the wives of Myanmar’s Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Time explains its decision. 


The week that was

What made us go yowzer:
Australian great-grandmother Irene O’ Shea becoming the oldest skydiver. She’s 102. 

Who we honoured:
Alex Boraine. At the memorial service for the deputy chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on South Africans to remember and applaud a man who dedicated his life to justice.

What made us sad:
Philip le Roux, the inspiring curator of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, who died on Wednesday after a cycling crash on Suikerbossie, the road going into Hout Bay.

What made us go, yep, that’s pretty darn accurate:
Japan choosing the symbol meaning ‘disaster’ to define 2018.

What made us go, Ale be back:
The awarding of a liquor licence to a Pick n Pay outlet in Fish Hoek, making the town lose its 200-year-old ‘dry status’. ‘Ale be back’ is not strictly accurate because ale was never there in the first place. 

What made us go, AMANDLA!
Raymond Suttner receiving his Master’s degree in law 49 years after he withdrew it because he refused to delete references to communist Jack Simons.

What made us go it’s about time…
The court ruling that Jacob Zuma must pay for his own legal fees in his corruption trial. He owes between R16-million and, listen carefully, R32-million, four-hundred and eleventy thousand.

What made us say, but how the hell are we going to fit THAT into a headline:
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who takes over from Angela Merkel as Germany’s CDU leader.

What made us go, but can it get any weirder?
No, we’ve stopped talking about Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. We’re talking about implosions and explosions. The Theresa May Brexit implosion in Britain and the violent yellow vest protests that exploded in France.

Speaking of exploding implosions, what’s happening in the US?
Each day brings fresh developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russia’s attack on the 2016 election and each day Donald Trump seems to becoming a little more unhinged. (Impeachment, anyone?)

Who deserves the menace of the week:
BLF’s Andile Mngxitama’s ‘kill the whites’ comments has managed to outmenace Malema this week. Spewing hateful speech is, well, hateful. Grow up.   

What made us proudly South African:
The.news.letter’s ‘Person of the Year’ – our very own Guardians – investigative journalists like Pauli van Wyk at the Daily Maverick’s Scorpio and the tireless prodders at AmaBhungane, who, despite the trolls and bots, keep digging and expose corruption. The country owes you a debt of gratitude.

Dear Reader,

The silly season for news has arrived – it’s getting very quiet out there – and we need a break, so we are going to have one. From next week, and for three weeks after that, we are going to reduce our efforts to one offering a week – on Fridays. We will return to five newsletters a week from January 14. 

We wish you all a great holiday.

Chris, Jonathan and Martine

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