WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Zuma plays hide and seek
Jacob Zuma has been going to great lengths to avoid being served papers in the R500,000 defamation case brought against him by former minister and ANC stalwart Derek Hanekom. Here The Daily Maverick documents the extraordinary runaround that Hanekom’s legal representative was given when she tried to get the documents into the former president’s hands. Meanwhile TimesLive reports that Zuma is appealing against the Gauteng High Court decision that he should be personally liable for around R16-million in legal fees he ran up in trying to avoid corruption charges. He says the judges were politically biased and forcing him to pay back the money is an unfair violation of his political rights.
Jug-smasher sued by bank governor
Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa of the ANC became notorious when he smashed a water jug over the head of a DA opponent during a debate in the council chambers. He was sentenced to two years in jail for that – and recently lost his appeal against the punishment – and might be about to face more legal woes. Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is suing Lungisa for defamation and demanding R500,000 after two derogatory tweets. In one of them Lungisa called Kganyago a ‘lackey of racist people’ and in the other he added: ‘He, like many of his ilk, imagines that proximity to the culturally fetid but economically Neo-settlers, coupled with a few lattes makes him an exceptional k****r’. Except he spelt out the k-word.
NHI bill: ‘calm down’
President Cyril Ramaphosa says that National Health Insurance (NHI) is ‘here to stay’ and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has called for calm as controversy grows over the parliamentary Bill designed to usher it into being. Ramaphosa made the remark off the cuff while addressing an ANC Women’s League function, but Mkhize was responding to widespread concerns about the NHI Bill. The South African Private Practitioners’ Forum, other industry bodies and opposition political parties have demanded more detail, saying the Bill suggests an unrealistic and highly expensive system that would damage the health sector. Mkhize responded: ‘The issue is not whether there is something wrong with the private sector. Both the public and private sector need to be realigned and that’s what we are doing. And it’s not like we are taking money from the one and giving it to the other. The reality is that the country needs a much more equitable redistribution of the resources inside the same system’. If you are looking for more detail on the proposal, The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism has looked at several aspects of it.
Hong Kong airport opens
Flights in and out of Hong Kong Airport have resumed after two days of protests by pro-democracy activists. Last night there were several violent incidents in the airport as protesters attacked people who they reportedly believed were plainclothes policemen in their midst. They also clashed with riot police. China has responded to the disruptions in ominous fashion, describing them as ‘near-terrorist acts’ and moving troops close to the Hong Kong border.
THE DAILY MENACE
The EFFusive Zille
If there is one thing in South African politics that is fairly predictable it’s that Helen Zille is completely unpredictable. The former premier of the Western Cape and the country’s Minister of Twitter, has come out to bat for the Economic Freedom Fighters in their battle against the country’s editors. The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) and five journalists are taking the EFF to the Equality Court for threatening them. Zille argues that if Sanef wins it will be a huge blow for freedom of speech. Sanef’s case is not about curbing freedom of speech, it’s about stopping fascist rhetoric from EFF leaders who believe they have a license to intimidate and attack journalists, which has resulted in very real death threats. Zille shrugged off these threats as just ‘an ordinary day at the office’. Perhaps it would be best if Zille just stuck to tweeting about colonialism.
WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?
New Facebook privacy questions
Bloomberg reports today that Facebook has been employing external contractors to transcribe audio files from users of its services. But, says Facebook, the practice was stopped ‘more than a week ago’. It said the files were those from Messenger voice users who chose the option of having their conversations transcribed. The contractors were simply checking whether the company’s artificial intelligence software was correctly interpreting conversations. Facebook, which recently paid $5-billion in fines for privacy violations, has previously denied that it collects audio files to inform ads or help determine what people see in their news feeds.
Eskom sticks to its guns
Eskom is sticking to the position it announced a few weeks ago and is refusing to repair damaged transformers unless illegal connections are removed, leaving residents in some areas in the dark. Eskom announced yesterday that it is ready to repair transformers in Ivory Park that exploded due to network overload – but requires the cooperation of the community. A meeting in the area with councillors, taxi representatives and City of Johannesburg officials last week failed to come up with an agreement.
That’s a wrap
The Mpati inquiry into the affairs of the PIC wrapped up today with testimony from Jayendra Naidoo, who detailed how R9.35-billion of PIC loan funding was secured for an investment in Steinhoff. Naidoo was chairman of a company called Lancaster 101 which was the entity through which the money was used to buy a 2.75% equity stake in Steinhoff. The money has not been paid back and, with the addition of interest, Lancaster owes the PIC over R12-billion.
IN THE SPORTS CORNER
AB gets life membership of MCC
AB de Villiers has been given Honorary Life Membership of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord’s cricket ground and acts as a guardian of the game’s laws. The 35-year-old South African, who has retired from international matches, was honoured for his ‘outstanding achievements in cricket’. ‘Lord’s is the best ground in the world. Everybody knows that to be a member is obviously a huge honour and a compliment for the way I’ve played cricket and conducted myself on and off the field,’ said the former Proteas star. De Villiers played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is for South Africa and was voted the world ODI cricketer of the year three times. His massive talent – denied to the Proteas at the recent World Cup due to his retirement – has been on display recently at the England county of Middlesex, where he is playing in the T20 Blast series. He scored 88 runs off 35 balls in his debut against Somerset.
Swys quits Boks
In a shock for the Springbok camp, Swys de Bruin has quit as attack consultant. Earlier this year De Bruyn took a medical time out from the Lions – where he is coach – while they were on tour in New Zealand and Australia and it was reported that he was suffering from stress. The Boks announced yesterday that he would be leaving for ‘personal and medical reasons’. Rassie Erasmus‚ SA Rugby’s director of rugby, added: ‘He brought a fresh perspective to … the game and he’ll be hard to replace.’
The start of the second Ashes test between England and Australia at Lord’s today has been delayed by rain. Australia won the first test in the five-match series in commanding fashion.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ?
Ads banned for stereotypes
New rules for advertising in the UK include a prohibition on gender stereotyping – and two adverts have immediately been banned. One, for Philadelphia cheese, featured two dads leaving a baby on a restaurant buffet conveyor belt as they got distracted by the food in front of them. The ad was found to have portrayed men as incompetent in the care of children, even though Philadelphia argued it was meant to be comical and light-hearted. The second, for Volkswagen, got the chop for featuring a scene with a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram while the scenes with men included two astronauts floating in space and a male para-athlete doing the long jump with a prosthetic leg. It did include a scene of a couple asleep in a tent on a sheer cliff-face but the UK advertising authority ruled that showing women in passive or care-giving roles amounted to stereotyping.
This little video will make your jaw drop. It was posted to Twitter by Daniel Holland (@DannyDutch) with this comment:
This is what you do if a White Shark jumps into a divers cage with a diver in it, you all take off your hats
Medical news that’s hard to swallow
It was a case that had doctors baffled, reports the Independent in London. A 72-year-old British patient coughed blood and complained he was struggling to breathe so medics ran tests for possible chest infections, pneumonia and even throat cancer. The doctors at James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth eventually sent him on his way with a prescription of antibiotics for a suspected infection. The man returned several days later now unable to either swallow or breathe properly. Doctors decided to take a closer look and inserted a tube through his nose, and – to everyone’s surprise – found that his false teeth were lodged in his larynx. He had breathed in his dentures eight days earlier while under anaesthetic during an unrelated operation to remove a benign lump from his abdomen. The false teeth were removed with a pair of forceps. There are six cases each year of dentures going astray as surgical patients are being put to sleep and now surgeons are being warned to take note of whether patients with false teeth still have them in their mouths after procedures.
TWEET OF THE DAY
It’s old favourite Moose Allain (@MooseAllain) again:
CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY
Today’s clue from FA Ten is: Female is not weak (5)
The solution to yesterday’s clue, Talk about scenario on TV? (12) is CONVERSATION – an anagram of ‘scenario on TV’ (‘about’ is the anagram indicator).
THE BIG READ
Rowan Jacobsen wrote his first article about plant-based meat (or ‘alt meat’ as he calls it) for Outside in 2014 when people’s reaction to non-meat burgers was, Ewwww! Five years later Jacobsen, who believes beef is the most wasteful food on the planet because cows are not optimised to make meat; they’re optimised to be cows, returns to write that we have reached the beginning of the end of the beef industry.
WHAT WE SAY
The recently-released report on interference in the running of the SABC newsroom should be compulsory reading for all media owners and managers. The operation under Hlaudi Motsoeneng represents a clear example of the sort of editorial interference that undermines the integrity of a product and ultimately its profitability. The same has happened throughout the once mighty Independent Newspaper group, which has been reduced to little more than a vehicle for one man’s business interests and political agendas. Those products out there that still pursue the truth and do not have agendas imposed on them remain precious for our democracy. They are, however, under assault from the likes of the EFF, other politicians and some reporters in the Independent stable. Hopefully the owners and managers at those products have the stomach for a fight – and to do the right thing.