ANC to probe Ace’s role in ATM | Botswana scraps gay sex law | Taliep’s son makes some Aladdin magic | Faf: AB’s still my friend

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

ANC to probe Ace’s role in ATM

News24 reports today that the ANC is going to investigate secretary-general Ace Magashule’s alleged role in the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM). Magashule and former president Jacob Zuma have previously been accused of being behind the formation of the party, which was led in the elections by Mzwanele Manyi. The supposed rationale was to undermine Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC. News24 says today it has three sources ‘who have direct knowledge of events’ confirming that the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) had been told by the party leadership to launch the investigation. A panel headed by former president Kgalema Motlanthe and including former speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala will investigate the issue.

Faf: AB’s still my friend

It’s that kind of news day: there’s not much more interesting out there than the fact that Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has decided to address what some excitable media types have taken to calling ‘AB-gate’ – the decision to leave genius batsman AB de Villiers at home during the World Cup in spite of his last-minute about-turn on retirement from national duty. Du Plessis said he had only heard from De Villiers the day before the World Cup squad announcement, had conveyed his change-of-heart to the selectors but they had said it was ‘way, way too late’. Du Plessis said reports on his having fallen out with De Villiers were untrue: ‘AB and I are still friends. This incident has not changed that. This is a small thing for a friendship that goes so way back.’

Botswana scraps gay sex law

Botswana’s high court has outlawed a 1965 law that made same-sex relationships a criminal offence and punishable with with up to seven years in prison. Delivering  the unanimous decision today, Judge Michael Elburu said ‘the question of private morality should not be the concerns of the law … the state cannot be sheriff in people’s bedrooms’. A number of other African countries have upheld laws that discriminate against gay relationships. Most recently a Kenyan court upheld the law. In Sudan, as well as parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexuality is punishable by death. 

Cape rains ‘not enough’

In spite of some good winter rains, the Western Cape’s water shortage is not over. The provincial government has called on citizens to use water sparingly and confirmed that restrictions will stay in place. Dam levels in the province are currently at 34.9%, but there are concerns about parts of the central Karoo and other farming areas. Provincial spokesperson James Styan said: ‘In Beaufort West the dam level currently stands at 45%; that dam was empty for the past two years. However, the agriculture sector remains under severe pressure, as there has been a lot of rain falling in the mountainous areas, but not necessarily more widespread.’


THE DAILY MENACE

Going … Going … GONE!

Finally, the human wrecking ball that is Bathabile Dlamini has done something we approve of – she’s resigned from Parliament. The tag ‘controversial’ has long been pinned to the name of this serial menace, who has been involved in some of the country’s worst scandals. If you need reminding, News24 lists five infamous ones. The most concerning was the social grant crisis when she was minister of social development and found to be incompetent. The Constitutional Court issued damning findings against her and asked the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate charging her with perjury. The court also ruled she should dig into her own pocket and pay 20% of the legal costs. Dlamini, a Jacob Zuma ally, was shuffled into the ministry of women in the presidency when President Cyril Ramaphosa  took over. It was clear she was living on borrowed political time. Ramaphosa made his move when he excluded her from his new cabinet last month. She has left in a huff, submitting an eight-page resignation letter in which she refuses to take responsibility for the social grant debacle, saying it was all a conspiracy and she’s been made a scapegoat. Maybe she will now reveal the ‘smallanyana’ skeletons she claimed most ANC leaders had in their closets – perhaps she should start with her own!
 


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Bring back SAA boss, say picketers

Trade Union members from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the South African Cabin Crew Association were picketing at airports today to protest ‘a myriad of issues at SAA and SAA Technical’ and to demand the reinstatement of Vuyani Jarana, who recently resigned as SAA GCEO. Among other issues were ‘corruption, problems in the maintenance department, allegations of nepotism, tribalism and corruption of the HR manager at SAA Technical’. The action was scheduled to last for two-and-a-half hours. 

Millions went to letterbox company

A letterbox company linked to the Gupta family, Homix, was apparently used to process millions of rands from kickbacks in Transnet deals, the Zondo commission of inquiry heard yesterday. The Reserve Bank’s Elijah Mazibuko told the inquiry that the bank probed more than R500 million of transactions that moved through the company in 2014 and 2015, with no real indication of what work or services it provided. He said some of the companies paid by Homix existed only on paper. Today Chetan Vaghela, an auditor from Deloitte, told the inquiry the auditing firm also came to the conclusion that money paid to Homix by Transnet was for work that was not done. 


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Caster in SA team

Athletics South Africa yesterday named Caster Semenya for the 800m in the preliminary squad to go to the World Championships in Doha in September. Semenya, who is permitted to run the 800m pending her appeal against the IAAF testosterone ban, was named among the 30 athletes in the preliminary squad. There is however an asterisk beside her name with the note that her selection is dependent on the outcome of the appeal.

Afcon travel travails for Bafana

Bafana Bafana have not enjoyed the best start to their African Cup of Nations journey with a minor hiccup over their travel plans. Bafana were due to leave for a training camp in Dubai yesterday morning but when they arrived at the airport it was discovered the group was split on to two flights leaving at different times last night. Coach Stuart Baxter was not happy about that and the flights were changed for everybody to fly as a group this morning. Bafana will take on Ghana in a friendly warm-up match on Saturday‚ and then meet Angola in a second practice match on Wednesday next week in Egypt. South Africa open their tournament against Ivory Coast in Cairo on June 24.

Big win for SA hockey

The South African men’s hockey team kept alive their Olympic qualification hopes with a strong 6-0 win over Mexico in their final pool match of the FIH Series Finals tournament in Bhubaneswar, India yesterday. After losing 2-0 to both USA and Japan in earlier matches, yesterday’s win means South Africa are third in their group and play in the cross-pool playoff against Russia tomorrow. The winner of that match will take on the USA in the semi-finals, with the two finalists then earning a place in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.  

Correction

Yesterday in our story on the Baby Boks we stated that the best ‘third-placed team’ from the three groups at the U20 Rugby World Championships earns a place in the semi-finals. As an eagle-eyed reader pointed out, that should have read best ‘second-placed team’.  


WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Taliep’s son makes some Aladdin magic

Disney’s remake of Aladdin which was released just three weeks ago has already outgrossed the 1992 animated original, passing the $600 million mark at the weekend. The 1992 version was the highest-grossing movie of that year and was only outstripped as the biggest-earning animated film by The Lion King in 1994. But for a local twist on the story, a cover of the duet A Whole New World sung by the son of murdered South African musician Taliep Petersen, Ashur Petersen, and his mother, Madeegha Anders, has gone viral across South Africa, with more than 5 million views so far. You can watch the video, which Ashur posted on YouTube last week, here. And yes, the film is currently on screen in South Africa.
 


SEE WHAT?

Flatlining

This 53-second video is not new but it is worth a watch if you have not seen it before – the perfect execution of a bricklaying line, using the domino principle. Quite extraordinary. 


SAY WHAT?

Hell’s bells 

Love thy neighbour, but not if he parks across your driveway. A mass brawl broke out in a ‘peaceful’ village church on Saturday when a man in his 60s stormed St Peter’s Church in  Devon, England, while its annual bell-ringing festival was taking place. The man, who lives next door to the church, attempted to get to the church tower and attack the bell ringer whom he accused of parking across his drive. ‘It was a shocking sight. He was shouting and swearing, grown men were thumping each other, children were crying. Then he sat on the floor, refusing to move, complaining about the bell-ringing,’ said a witness. Barrie Furzland, captain of the tower, said the man was ‘seriously angry’. ‘Our group secretary tried to stop him and he was grabbed around the throat,’ said Furzland, adding that the man had ‘had a go’ at the church warden once during a funeral. ‘I don’t think he is a religious man … Clearly he didn’t like the bells, but what do you expect buying a house right by a church?’ However, other residents have also complained about the bell-ringing event, with one threatening to take hedge trimmers to the bell ropes.   


TWEET OF THE DAY

Today’s tweet award goes to Sowellnomics (@Sowellnomics) for his observation on recent developments in South Africa:

Three things that are certain in life
Death
Taxes
Socialists printing money to pay off debt caused by offering free people stuff in return for votes

 


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s cryptic clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Michael Gove admitted oceanic trip (7)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, She came first, wasted. Dat’s energy!  (5, 5), is GERDA STEYN – an anagram of ‘Dat’s energy’ (‘wasted’ is the anagram indicator) gives the name of the record-smashing Comrades winner. 


THE BIG READ

Charlie Paton is the founder of Seawater Greenhouse, a company that transforms two abundant resources – sunshine and seawater – into freshwater for growing crops in arid, coastal regions such as Africa’s horn. Paton believes the world isn’t short of water, it’s just in the wrong place, and too salty. This fascinating feature published last year in Wired magazine looks at Paton’s quest to end drought.  
 


WHAT WE SAY

What on earth more to say about the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane than: please, whoever has the power to do so, get rid of her now. Perhaps that she’s pathetically bad at her job? Or that she’s obviously involved in party political in-fighting? Or that she’s being led by the nose by the EFF and Jacob Zuma’s gangsters? That she thinks she was appointed by God (highly alarming, because Zuma appointed her)? Or that her resort to social media at the weekend made Helen Zille look measured? But no, rather just this: please, whoever has the power to do so, get rid of her now.

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