ANC wields the axe in KZN | Hanekom sues Zuma | China sends army to Hong Kong border | Cricket at the Olympics?


ANC axes KZN mayors, excos

The ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) in KwaZulu-Natal has taken the axe to its leadership in the province’s biggest cities, Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It announced this afternoon that eThekwini (Durban) Mayor Zandile Gumede and her Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) counterpart Themba Njilo had been asked to step down. All mayoral executive committee members in both cities were also relieved of their duties and will be ‘redeployed’. Gumede, an ally of former president Jacob Zuma and a highly divisive figure in the province, had already been suspended after being charged with corruption. She is out on bail. Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the steps were taken in a bid to improve service delivery in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. He said residents had raised concerns about ‘water provisions, water infrastructure, refuse removal and allegations pertaining to matters of fraud and corruption’. (See What We Say)

Hanekom sues Zuma

Business Day got the scoop of the morning with the news that former cabinet minister Derek Hanekom is suing Jacob Zuma for R500,000 for defamation. The former president called long-standing and prominent ANC member Hanekom a ‘known enemy agent’ in a tweet on July 25. Zuma’s comment came after EFF leader Julius Malema alleged that Hanekom plotted with his party during a no-confidence vote in parliament against the then president. Besides the R500,000, Hanekom is demanding that the tweet be deleted and that Zuma withdraws the claim and apologises. The case is set down to be heard on August 21. 

Dam good news

Dams supplying Cape Town are more than 80% full after being on 56% at this time last year, when it was feared that the city faced Day Zero – when the taps would run dry. The city announced yesterday that the dam levels were on 80.6% and water consumption was at 608 megalitres a day – a slight increase over recent numbers, but well below the allocation of 650 megalitres. The city has had the sort of winter rains that were once the norm this year, but other parts of the Western Cape have not been so lucky – the average level in the whole province is 64.5%, with the Karoo and surrounding areas having to deal with eight years of lower than normal rainfall. 

Chinese army lines up on Hong Kong border

Hong Kong has suspended all flights for a second day, as thousands of protesters continue to occupy the airport. And in a dramatic escalation of tension, a video showing a large Chinese military buildup just 30km from the border of Hong Kong has surfaced. It was posted to Twitter by Portugal’s EU political adviser Alexandre Krauss, who warned that ‘something extraordinarily bad is about to happen’. The protests began 10 weeks ago against a proposed new extradition law (which has been suspended) but they have broadened into a movement against general Chinese interference in the territory. Earlier in the day Chief Executive Carrie Lam, whose resignation has been demanded by protesters, warned the territory had been pushed ‘to the brink of no return’ by ‘riots’. The UN has urged police to use restraint, saying that their of force against protesters poses a major risk of death or serious injury.   


15 minutes of shame

Hong Kong has been rocked by protests since early June which have grown into a broader movement calling for basic human rights and democracy. Many of the demonstrations have ended in blood as police have cracked down on the protesters. A South African has found herself at the centre of the storm. The unnamed woman was interviewed by a news agency. With tears streaming, she told the reporter that protests and riots are the reason she moved from South Africa to Hong Kong. When asked about what she thinks about the actions of police, she says: ‘There is a good and a bad to both protesters and police and I wish they would both just stop.’ The video ends with the woman saying if ‘this’ is what she is going to be living with she would rather go back to South Africa. The social media response to the woman was swift and furious: entitled, ignorant, privileged and embarrassing. People accused her of making the Hong Kong protest about her. Perhaps Helen Zille’s four-letter response to the heartbroken expat menace summed it up best. ‘Shem,’ she tweeted.  


Rand drops, peso crashes 

Markets across the world fell for the third day in a row today as the Hong Kong protests continued to gather momentum and the US/China trade war simmered. The rand hit R15.45 to the dollar late yesterday but was back at R15.35 this morning, while the Argentina peso has crashed spectacularly since the weekend – losing 45% of its value since the country’s president lost a primaries vote on Sunday, suggesting he will lose the presidential vote in October. 

‘SA was cybercrime target’

Business Insider reports that South Africa was among a small group of countries that were targeted for cybercrime in a North Korean campaign to raise funds for nuclear weapons testing. A confidential report prepared for the UN said the campaign, which allegedly netted around $2-billion, saw criminals making fake interbank transfers by hijacking bank computers and infrastructure, and stealing cryptocurrency tokens through direct attacks on users as well as crypto exchanges. The report does not make it clear whether the South African element of the attack was successful.


Scott free …  to play in World Cup

All Blacks lock Scott Barrett has been banned for three weeks after being sent off for a shoulder charge in the test against Australia at the weekend. Barrett was facing six weeks on the sidelines for the red-card but the SANZAAR judicial committee reduced the punishment because of his remorse and excellent record. And because he is an All Black (oh okay, we just made that last bit up). It means Barrett will be available for the upcoming World Cup but will miss this weekend’s return match against Australia, where the All Blacks will be looking to avenge a 47-26 defeat.

Cricket at the Olympics?

Cricket could be back at the Olympics after an absence of more than 100 years. The International Cricket Council has long sought an Olympic return after the game was last played at the event in 1900, but it has been blocked by India. It now seems that India might consider a limited-overs version of the game being played at the Games. The earliest opportunity for this to happen would be 2024.


Hlaudi with a chance of screwballs

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s egregious role in the destruction of the broadcaster’s news operation was underscored by last week’s release of the report into newsroom interference at the SABC. Now news from left field is that DSTV channel Moja Love is bidding to create a reality show starring the man who famously described himself as ‘this wonderful person called Hlaudi’. The celebrity format will reportedly let viewers follow Motsoeneng in his personal and public life. You may not be tuning in to Moja Love, but as Hlaudi himself said: ‘In my view Hlaudi Motsoeneng is Hlaudi Motsoeneng and there is one Hlaudi Motsoeneng in South Africa, is this one called Hlaudi Motsoeneng.’ 


Cracking up   

This two-minute video from National Geographic shows the steady advance of a crack in the ice-shelf in Antarctica that will soon set free a chunk about 950 square kilometres in extent and more than 150 metres thick. 


Gif inventor 100% wrong  

There are two types of people in the world: Marmite lovers and Marmite haters; T20 fans and Test cricket purists; morning people and those who want to shoot morning people; and people who pronounce GIF ‘gif’ and those simpletons who pronounce it ‘jif’. It turns out that the GIF creator Steve Wilhite is, in fact, a simpleton. He caused outrage on Twitter after announcing that Gif must be pronounced ‘jif’. According to the Telegraph, Wilhite made the controversial declaration in the run up to the Webby Awards, where he will accept a lifetime achievement award. He invented the GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, in 1987 and this short animated picture has quickly become its own language. Wilhite said he was proud of his creation but was annoyed that most people failed to get its name right. ‘The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations,’ he said. ‘They are wrong. It is a soft “G”, pronounced “jif”. End of story.’ Twitter users reacted with horror.


The tweet of the day requires a click through to the video. It’s very short. And wonderful. 

From alabaster papi (@Luge_Knight): 
There hasn’t been a more important video to cross my TL in quite some time


Today’s clue , compiled by Kieron Callaghan, is: Talk about scenario on TV? (12)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Old king’s rule for salad (8) is COLESLAW– a word sum of ‘Cole’s’ (the merry old soul) + ‘law’ (rule), which was solved in quick time by Sterna and Gaura.


If you want a crash course in dark humour go to a Glasgow funeral. Alongside death and physical suffering, Glasgow males also like to joke about religion, sex and conflict resolution. It’s a psychological reflex, writes columnist Kevin McKenna in The Guardian. However, there are some things he can’t laugh about. 


The KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) has shown commendable resolve in removing Durban Mayor Zandile Gumede and a host of other leaders in that city and Pietermaritzburg. Gumede is an ally of former president Jacob Zuma and in spite of facing corruption charges she enjoys considerable support – as has been indicated by supporters turning up in numbers for her court appearances. The shambolic administrations in Durban and Pietermaritzburg in particular have long been metaphors for ANC misrule in KZN, but a blind eye was turned during the Zuma years. Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, announcing the PEC decisions this afternoon, made much of the fact that the party in the province was loyal to and supportive of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s drive to fight corruption and improve service delivery. This is obviously a considerable step in the right direction, but they can expect pushback. Although the ANC in the province is more divided than it is generally perceived to be, there are many who have a special fondness for Zuma and see him as the victim of a conspiracy. As they say: watch this space.


What am I missing regarding the NHI? Come on, you don’t for one moment believe that this will work, do you, yet no comment from the public, from the press, even from you guys!? The government structures cannot in a million years manage this system, and health care providers including doctors will probably never get paid for the services they do manage to get an order to deliver, unless of course they have friends in high places or cross palms with silver in which cases they won’t even have to deliver any services to collect. 

Let’s scrutinise what they have said so far – if you want to see a doctor, (i) you contact the government (good luck with that one), and then (ii) they will make you an appointment, (iii) with a healthcare provider that is registered with the NHI and (iv) with whom you have registered, provided (v) they think it necessary, (vi) that it is an ailment that they included on their list, and (vii) provided they don’t think that the prognosis is not good in your case. If they do finally agree to make an appointment, you can go and see the doctor for free – which is the sum total of the good news. 

Now firstly, based on how they have handled everything else so far including the state pensions, provincial hospitals, allocation of housing, etc, it is pretty likely that you will recover or die as the case may be before receiving treatment, so it may turn out to be a clever strategy.   

Secondly, the government already uses taxes to pay for the Provincial Health Care facilities and staff, and are therefore already providing the NHI service as we speak, but without the administrative intervention.  So the tax payer is already paying for NHI services at the existing provincial hospitals, with the exception that those that can afford to do so, pay for medical aid and private medical treatment and are therefore not a burden on the State. 

Top-up insurance is not mentioned, but would they in any case pay if you had decided not to make use of the prescribed government health care services and procedures but to go to the surgeon of your choice?  Would you let just anyone do your prostate or brain tumour op? 

Maybe the truth is that the money which is currently paid to the medical aid societies is just too lucrative for the looters to ignore.

This, gentlemen, is going to be the second biggest disaster to hit this country since 1994, outshining Eskom, SAA, the handling of housing and infrastructure projects, planning for water, and managing the state pensions. It will tie with Zumagate and the impact on race relations resulting from Bell Pottinger’s scandalous interventions, and be second only in its impact on all South Africans to the complete and catastrophic collapse of SAPS and the criminal justice system.

What am I missing regarding the NHI? Come on, you don’t for one moment believe that this will work, do you, yet no comment from the public, from the press, even from you guys!? The government structures cannot in a million years manage this system, and health care providers including doctors will probably never get paid for the services they do manage to get an order to deliver, unless of course they have friends in high places or cross palms with silver in which cases they won’t even have to deliver any services to collect.
Neil Fourie


Well batted Amla. A hard act to follow, may your legacy live long in young cricketers. What a consistent gentle man in and off the field.
David Muller


Thank you for the great summary!!

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