Mugabe in hospital | Trade war hurts rand | SAA Cox-up | Fallout over fake Disney day


EFF v Editors

The SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has taken the EFF to the Equality Court over statements made by the political party which it says encourage violence against journalists. Central to the case are EFF ‘commander-in-chief’ Julius Malema’s comments about journalists to supporters recently, when he said  they must ‘cut off the head of the enemy’. He added: ‘Let’s attack, fighters. Where we meet the enemy, we must crush the enemy. We must protect the revolution at all costs.’ He also named several journalists as being part of a conspiracy against the EFF. Sanef argues that this has created a ‘toxic and hostile’ environment for journalists. The EFF has responded by saying the journalists are biased against it and favour President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. The case has significant implications for the media (see What We Say below). You can catch up with more detail courtesy of News24’s live feed.

A lack of Trust

A potentially explosive situation is brewing in KwaZulu-Natal over the Ingonyama Trust land. In essence the trust administers 2.8-million hectares of land in the province which is rented to some 5-million residents. According to City Press, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) believes this ‘infringes customary law and the statutory system of permission to occupy land’ and is taking the case to the High Court. ‘The core of the dispute is about the decision to convert the permission to occupy into formal rental agreements. This weakens the rights of the occupants of the land,’ said Casac’s Lawson Naidoo. Last week the presidential advisory panel on land reform and agriculture recommended that the Ingonyama Trust Act should be reviewed or scrapped. But Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini is not taking it all lying down: ‘I want you to know that this land belongs to the current reigning King of AmaZulu, previous Kings and Queens and will not be taken from us,’ he said. The trust’s board is chaired by the King and is charged with administering the land for the benefit of the Zulu people. Critics say there is little evidence to show that the money it gets from the rental system – R107-million in 2016/17 – is used for this purpose.

Kashmir tensions 

South Africa is not the only place where land issues are causing problems. India has tossed oil on the fiery waters of its relationship with Pakistan by repealing an article of its constitution which gives the disputed northern region of Kashmir – the only part of India that has a Muslim majority – considerable autonomy, including its own constitution and flag. India and Pakistan have fought several wars over control of the territory in the past and this step is highly likely to inflame tensions that already exist between the two countries. A majority of residents of Kashmir would reportedly prefer autonomy from India or to be integrated into Pakistan.

Mugabe in hospital

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has been in hospital in Singapore for four months. His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday that the 95-year-old had been kept in hospital for observation after being treated for an unspecified ailment. It was reported in November last year that Mugabe was no longer able to walk because of ill-health. 


SAA Cox-up

South African Airways (SAA) is floundering. The national carrier, which has debt running into the billions, lurches from crisis to crisis and is barely able to keep afloat. We’re told the airline is working on a ‘turnaround strategy’, but it didn’t do its reputation any favours this week when it gave R&B sensation Deborah Cox a flight to forget. The Grammy-nominated musician from Canada slammed SAA for being of ‘no help’ after a three-hour flight delay from Johannesburg following a trip to Ghana for a music festival. Cox accused SAA of not taking the safety of passengers into account when it flew a damaged plane that had to turn back – hopefully that’s not what SAA means by a turnaround strategy. According to the Sowetan, a video she posted had the words: ‘Fire in Cockpit, God Help Us,’ as cabin crew members shout: ‘Brace! Brace! Get your heads down.’  SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali denied there was a fire but confirmed there was ‘a technical problem’. Cox said her attempts to get assistance from the airline were unsuccessful. ‘They have been no help. No answers. No follow up … I’m still shaken up,’ she tweeted. ‘Passengers disgruntled. Kids vomiting. Scared. Shook. Terrible way they handled the situation.’ SAA has enough baggage to deal with, an error-plane and angering passengers is only going to add to its woes. 


US-China war hurts rand

The escalating trade tensions between China and the US are hammering the rand which yesterday reached almost R15 to the dollar. Last week the US added more tariffs to Chinese goods and yesterday China devalued its currency, leading US president Donald Trump to accuse the country of currency manipulation. The move by the Chinese Treasury to devalue the yuan to 7 to the dollar (its lowest since 2008) set off havoc in markets across the world. The US treasury said in a statement it would approach the IMF to ‘eliminate the unfair competitive advantage’ resulting from China’s move.


Dale Steyn quits

Dale Steyn, who some suggest might have been the greatest fast bowler ever, has retired from test cricket. His 439 wickets in 93 tests placed him eighth on the all-time international list and the highest in South Africa. But it was his average of 22.95 runs and strike rate of 42.3 balls per wicket that really set him apart – they are the best of any fast bowler who has taken more than 200 wickets. He took five wickets in an innings 26 times and 10 in a match on five occasions. Steyn will be remembered for his fiery commitment on the pitch, his athletic and flowing bowling action and a surprisingly relaxed and amiable off-field demeanour. And, of course, his extraordinary skill as a bowler. He will remain available to the national side in shorter-format matches.

Gibson, CSA and the bungled World Cup

Like just about everybody else, you might have been scratching your head about the Proteas’ strangely listless performances at the recent World Cup. Here Sport24 casts a light on what was going on: how key players were not rested properly before the event and how coach Ottis Gibson’s relationship with Cricket South Africa had deteriorated before he was told to pack his bags at the weekend.

Super Smith

Australia thumped England by 251 runs after bundling them out for 146 in the second innings at Edgbaston, Birmingham, yesterday, but the big talking point was Steve Smith’s return to test cricket after his ‘Sandpapergate’ ban. The former Aussie captain scored 144 and 142 in his two innings, reigniting debate on whether he is the best test batsman ever. He was booed repeatedly during the match and walked to the wicket to chants of ‘we saw you crying on the telly’. Also back in the team after Sandpapergate bans were David Warner and Clayton Bancroft, neither of whom did nearly as well as Smith.


Dismal Disney fake

Disney Africa has distanced itself from the ‘Winter in Disneyland’ fiasco that had attendees fuming in Polokwane at the weekend, saying it was not authorised and is being investigated. Event organisers have been scrambling to contact ticket buyers for the sellout event which was cancelled after protests on the day and have promised to refund everyone. It was billed as a day of Disney entertainment with faux snow, a tug of war, an egg-and-spoon race, quad bikes, and live performances including characters like Mickey Mouse and Elsa, Anna and Olaf from Frozen. But the reality was a couple of people in costume suits dancing on stage to Amapiano hits, with no scenes or props, and three small jumping castles – one of which was malfunctioning. A bar was reportedly doing a good trade, much to the dismay of some parents. 



This video began circulating a few days ago but for anyone who has ever wondered whether being in car puts enough of a barrier between you and a lion in a game park, it’s worth a watch. A group of tourists at the Safari Park in Hartebeespoort got closer than they bargained for. 


Pregnant ball player banned

American basketball player DJ Cooper received gobsmacking news; he is pregnant. Wait? What? Cooper was hoping to join the Bosnian national team as a naturalised player, and needed to take a drug test as part of the formalities. He decided to use his girlfriend’s urine to avoid drugs being detected in his body. Officials found that the sample he provided contained human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy. The couple was unaware she was pregnant. Instead of maternity leave, the international basketball federation (FIBA) suspended Cooper for fraud and he’s not eligible to return to the game until June 2020.


We mentioned Dale Steyn’s retirement from test cricket above. Here’s his dad Schalk Steyn (@SteynSchalk) reacting to the reaction: 

It’s early Tuesday morning and I’m going through the Twitter msgs and I have to admit that as a man, a dad and a friend to my son Dale I have tears running down my face and emotions that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced from reading the wonderful comments about my ‘Kid’

And on a lighter note, here’s Skoog (@Skoog):

Cop: do you know why i pulled you over?
Me: because of the-
Car driving by: HONK
Me: because of the-
2nd car driving by: HONK
Me: because of the-
3rd car driving by: HOOONK
Me: because of the ‘honk if you think cops have micropenises’ bumper sticker?



Today’s clue, compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Racist Trump? He saw cities demolished! (5,11)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Observe jerk using more words than necessary (7), compiled and set by cruciverbalist and crossword clue compiler Martin Hardy (and solved by Kim), is: VERBOSE – an anagram of ‘observe’ (‘jerk’ is the anagram indicator) and the definition of ‘using more words than necessary’.


The insane horror of the American mass-shooting phenomenon has dominated the news since the killing rampage at a Walmart in El Paso at the weekend. In this HuffPost story What Bullets Do To Bodies published two years ago, Jason Fagone spends time with trauma surgeon Amy Goldberg and says the gun debate would change in an instant if Americans witnessed the horrors that trauma surgeons confront every day.


There is much at stake in the Equality Court case brought by the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) against the EFF (see above). The journalists were responding to comments made by Julius Malema and other party members that were drawn from the fascists’ handbook and designed to intimidate reporters and shut down debate. The language used by Malema could also encourage violence against journalists. As has been pointed out elsewhere, this case will test how political leaders can be held accountable for behaviour they have encouraged by their followers. It will also hopefully draw a line under the tendency to make shocking and unverified allegations against people perceived to be opponents: Malema and others – including a certain media group – have suggested without a shred of evidence that named  journalists belonged to Stratcom, the apartheid-era disinfomation unit. This is reckless and inflammatory and those issuing such slurs should be made to pay.

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