WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Yes, we did pay journos – Agrizzi
The Zondo commission of inquiry into State Capture took a break today – it resumes on Monday – and it’s been a bit like missing an instalment of your favourite soapie. But Angelo Agrizzi still managed to provide some intrigue when he took to Twitter to ‘confirm’ that journalists were indeed paid in cash and in kind by Bosasa. He declined to name names, saying ‘I am currently under oath and cannot divulge their names in this platform’. Yesterday the former Bosasa COO tweeted that a list of alleged Bosasa beneficiaries being circulated on social media was false and urged that it be ignored.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has again told Robert McBride that his contract as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) will not be renewed when it lapses at the end of February. The blunt communication follows a demand from McBride to Cele for written reasons for the Minister’s earlier decision not to extend the contract. ‘… It must … be placed on record that I do not intend to remove you from office. Your term of office expires on 28 February 2019 and the intention of my letter was to make that visible to yourself … based on governing labour law principles you cannot claim any right or legitimate expectation to the renewal of your contract,’ Cele wrote. McBride has threatened legal action if the contract is not renewed.
Tito in moeilikheid
Tito Mboweni has landed himself in a new Twitter spat after he weighed in on the University of Pretoria’s announcement that it plans to phase out Afrikaans as a teaching medium. In a tweet posted from Davos where he is attending the WEF meeting, Mboweni said: I publicly, and in my personal capacity, DISAGREE, with the phasing out of Afrikaans as one of the mediums of teaching at the University of Pretoria. As a country, you are shooting yourselves down. You will regret it in 30 years’ time. Julius Malema, among many who responded, commented: But you are becoming too much now, is no longer a joke. Arg.
Trump’s pal arrested
One of Donald Trump’s close allies and campaign advisers, Roger Stone, was today arrested by the FBI at his home in Florida in the United States, and faces seven charges relating to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Stone faces one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness-tampering.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
Soweto’s R17bn lights debt
Eskom’s chief financial officer Caleb Casim has told the Nersa hearings into Eskom’s bid for a huge tariff hike that the state-owned utility is struggling to get the money owed to it by municipalities across the country, revealing that Soweto alone owes Eskom R17 billion – almost half the total of R34 billion owed to Eskom by municipalities.
Reserve Bank flip-flop
Another week, another confusing submission on the Reserve Bank issue. Deputy President David Mabuza today said the ANC did plan to nationalise the bank and would be placing ‘public interest and development’ at the centre of its mandate. The ANC resolved last year to work towards nationalising the bank and doing away with its private shareholder structure. President Cyril Ramaphosa and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni have been coy about the issue, but others in the party not so.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
The Blitzbokke get back in action in Hamilton in New Zealand this weekend when the 2018 series champions look to overturn their relatively poor early season form. Despite finishing sixth and fourth in Dubai and Cape Town the Springbok Sevens side is still not too far behind surprise series leaders the United States. This weekend South Africa have drawn Scotland, France and Kenya in their pool and will need to get past them before contemplating the final. The Hamilton tournament starts just before midnight tonight SA time.
Novak matches Rafa
Novak Djokovic dispatched his Aussie Open semi-final opponent Lucas Pouille in just 83 minutes this morning. The 6-0 6-2 6-2 scoreline was even more one-sided than Rafael Nadal’s rush past Stefanos Tsitsipas in yesterday’s first semi-final. The final on Sunday between two experienced campaigners on top of their game should be a cracker. Tomorrow the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova and Japan’s Naomi Osaka will meet in the women’s final, with the winner taking over as the world number one from Simona Halep.
Any joy England may have had after claiming the final six West Indies first innings wickets for just 49 runs was quickly wiped out when they lost their first seven for 49 yesterday. Then the Windies went and lost five wickets for just nine runs at one point during their second innings. At the end of an extraordinary day of Test cricket in Bridgetown yesterday 18 wickets had fallen, with the English skittled all out for just 77. At stumps the Windies were on 127 for six in their second innings – 339 runs ahead with four wickets standing.
Ref banned for life
Football referee Ibrahim Chaibou of Niger – who famously dished out numerous dubious penalties in a friendly match between South Africa and Guatemala in 2010 – has been banned for life for taking bribes. FIFA, the world ruling body, said yesterday Chaibu had been fined $226,000 and barred from all soccer-related activity for life.
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.
Thandiwe ‘Thandi’ Shanya, 28, barista
When I wake up in the morning, because I know that not everyone is lucky to wake up in the morning. I was eight years old when my mother died. I lived with my father for a year and then my grandparents and then various aunts and relatives as I grew up. I wasn’t confident in myself and didn’t think I was worth much. I found faith and learnt to love myself. I have a two-year-old daughter, who makes me happy. She will live with me until the day I die so that’s why I’m so happy when I wake up – because I know I get another day with my daughter and she gets another day with me.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ?
Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt is a vocal and frequent critic of President Donald Trump. He is also renowned for his biting responses to Trump fans, who frequently have a go at him on Twitter. But he looked into the background of one of them this week and what he found led to a very different and surprising response. You can read about it here courtesy of the Huffington Post.
You get kids who are not so wild about their parents, and then you get this guy: a French student phoned EasyJet airline and said there was a bomb on board one of its flights. The plane happened to be carrying his adoring parents across France to Rennes, where the 23-year-old is studying. A prosecutor in the city said the young man had acknowledged ‘the facts presented to him’. Now he faces five years in prison and a fine the equivalent of R1.2 million over the charges, which may or may not be better than a visit from the folks.
TWEET OF THE DAY
And the winner is (insert drumroll here) Jon (@ArfMeasures) for:
[After my death]
Wife: Please give me a sign it’s my husband
*the ouija board does nothing of any significance*
Wife: omg it’s him!
And seeing it’s Friday, here’s a bonus from Moose Allain (@MooseAllain):
‘Why are you eating a cheese, tomato, ham and pineapple bun?’
‘That’s Hawaii roll’
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue, compiled by Spchennai, is: Cigarette end seen in genuine denial (8)
The solution to yesterday’s dad joke clue, Cheese made backwards? (4), is EDAM – which is the word ‘made’ in reverse and a type of semi-hard cheese.
THE BIG READ
French woman Jeanne Calment died at the age of 122 – 20 years ago. Her remarkably long life has been the stuff of global renown for years. She was the subject of glowing media portrayals … and then came a Russian conspiracy theory.
WHAT WE SAY
The week that was
What broke our hearts
The death of Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, whose music was a celebration of the human spirit.
What is making us sick:
The ongoing human rights abuses by Zimbabwe’s security forces – reports of killing, rape and detention as the army cracks down on the wave of protests that were sparked by a sudden hike in fuel prices.
What made us go, irony much?
The former leader of an apartheid government complaining that the current government was failing to promote non-racialism. Yes, we know FW de Klerk played a role in ending apartheid but before that he was a central player in maintaining it.
Speaking of irony…
As soon as the Labour Court ruled that the suspension of Elana Barkhuizen, the Schweizer-Reneke teacher who took the photograph depicting a class with black and white pupils at different tables, was illegal and she must go back to school, she asked for a few days leave.
What smacked our gob and gasted our flabber:
A week of exploding revelations as former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi tossed grenade after grenade in his testimony into state capture. There are a lot of people having sleepless nights.
… including some journos:
Agrizzi said the company had a budget to pay reporters to write positive stories about the company.We’re waiting for the names of the journalists who were on Bosasa’s payroll to be revealed.
What is making us impatient:
Waiting for the NPA to get with the programme and send the Hawks after all the corrupt state capture folk who have been looting, stealing, bribing, defrauding and pushing South Africa closer and closer to the precipice …. Go get ‘em, Advocate Batohi!
Speaking of people who are in desperate need of some comeuppance, who did we award menace of the week to?:
White-genocide conspiracy peddler Willem Petzer, who has been targeting the Citizen’s digital editor and singing comedian Daniel ‘Deep Fried Man’ Friedman. Petzer deliberately misinterpreted a satirical song of Friedman’s and set an army of alt-right trolls on the comedian. They keyboard warriors responded with death threats, violence and Nazi-esque anti-Semitic messages.
What made us proudly South African:
The Zondo Commission – it’s not so much a can of worms as a shipping container of slugs, snakes and other sinister creepy crawlies that have come spilling out as we learn about the extent of corruption in the country during the Zuma years. But the fact that there is an inquiry shows that there is, at least, a real attempt to root out the corruption.