Guptas sue Survé, Matjila | Tobacco boss shot | Carrol Boyes dies | PP’s woes pile up | Rassie rings the changes


Guptas sue Survé, Matjila 

The Guptas have sued Iqbal Survé and Dan Matjila for R1-billion in a case that is bound to have South Africans scratching their heads over who they want to win (the Daily Maverick, which broke the story today, headlined it: ‘Alien vs Predator …’). The Gupta’s Oakbay Investments claim in papers that two Survé companies colluded with former Public Investment Corporation (PIC) leader Dan Matjila to deprive them of a 50% stake they had been promised in Independent Newspapers – which includes such titles as the Cape Times, The Star and the Mercury. The media company was sold to Survé’s Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Sekunjalo Independent Media in 2013. According to the Daily Maverick, the court papers claim that Survé and his companies colluded ‘on more than one occasion’ with Matjila to ‘manufacture’ a situation in which the PIC would block the Guptas acquiring a stake in the media company. The Guptas have long argued that they had been given a ‘call-option agreement’ for 50% of Independent. ‘Oakbay demands not only the staggering amount in damages, but also seeks payback of R20-million that the Gupta company says it had coughed up in fees for the deal,’ said the Daily Maverick.

Tobacco boss shot

A leading figure in the tobacco industry was seriously injured when several shots were fired at him in an apparent assassination attempt in Johannesburg yesterday. Simon Rudland, co-owner of the Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation, was shot at several times when he arrived for a meeting at the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association (FITA) offices in Norwood. News24 quoted a source today saying that two assailants in a white car had been waiting for Rudland at the FITA offices. One bullet struck Rudland in the neck and he is being treated in intensive care at a Johannesburg hospital.

Carrol Boyes dies

Well-known South African artist Carrol Boyes, 65, died yesterday after what has been described as a ‘brief illness’. She was the founder and CEO of the highly successful Carrol Boyes retail chain in which her top-end and often quirky range of cutlery and other home decor items were sold. 

PP in trouble … again

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her office have been ordered to pay costs in yet another case. This time the Gauteng High Court found that the Public Protector’s office must pay 85% of the costs incurred by the DA and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) in the case they brought against Mkhwebane for her findings on the Vrede dairy farm issue. The court ordered that she should also personally pay 7.5% of both parties costs. Judge Ronel Tolmay said Mkhwebane had failed the people of the country and turned a ‘blind eye’ to the issues raised by one complainant – the DA’s Roy Jankielsohn, who had called for the role of former Free State premier and now ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule to be probed. The dairy farm has been at the centre of a huge graft scandal after it was gifted to the Gupta family’s Estina in 2013 under a free 99-year lease. It is alleged that R30-million paid to the Guptas via the farm and meant to uplift the local community ended up funding the family’s lavish and controversial Sun City wedding. In May this year Tolmay found that Mkhwebane’s report was ‘unconstitutional’ and invalid. 

  • This morning Mkhwebane lost another battle when the High Court in Pretoria ordered that the banking records of donors to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency be sealed. Ramaphosa had argued that Mkhwebane obtained documents with financial information in them illegally. The public protector used the information to back up her finding that the president misled parliament over a R500,000 campaign donation from Bosasa CEO Gavin Watson. Ramaphosa has requested a judicial review of the finding.


The lying King

Stephen King will scare you with his fiction, Steve King will scare you because he’s not fiction. King, the Republican congress-menace, has even got some of his own party calling for him to step down after he defended abortion bans by saying that humankind might not exist but for rape or incest. Defending anti-abortion legislation, King said he does not make exceptions for rape or incest. ‘What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?’ King told the Des Moines Register yesterday. His remarks sparked calls from Democrats and Republicans for him to resign – although US President Donald Trump has, unsurprisingly, remained silent. King  has a history of making racist,  white supremacist and xenophobic comments. The horror-thriller author Stephen King was quick to distance himself from today’s menace. ‘Let’s get 1 thing straight,’ he tweeted. ‘I’m not THAT Steve King.’


Ayo fights for its life

AmaBhungane reports that Ayo Technology Solutions has filed papers answering the Public Investment Corporation’s court bid to retrieve the R4.3-billion investment it made in the company. In its plea Ayo argues that if the PIC gets its money back, it would mean ‘the inevitable and imminent demise of Ayo’. The PIC wants its R4.3-billion plus interest at the rate of 10.25% per annum, starting from 22 December 2017. The PIC is arguing that because procedure was flouted in awarding the money, the investment was should never have been made – and that Ayo knew it was an irregular arrangement. The PIC is also arguing that Ayo misrepresented its affairs. Ayo denies both claims. The court papers can be read here.

Markets wobble

Global markets are reacting after Wall Street had its worst day of the year yesterday with the Dow Jones dropping 3% in a day. The S&P lost 2.93% and the Nasdaq lost 3.02% as recession fears in the US grew and the US/China trade standoff simmered. Market analysts said investors were also spooked by news that Germany’s economy shrank in the second quarter, and China posted its worst growth in industrial production in 17 years. Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.7% today and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 2.7%.  


Rassie rings the changes

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has rung the changes big time in the team to play a World Cup warm-up against Argentina in Pretoria this weekend. The experimental line-up includes none of the starting players from the team that drew with New Zealand and then beat Argentina over the past two weekends. It seems that Saturday’s match will be the last chance for many of the selected players to earn a place in the World Cup squad. Interestingly Bok skipper Siya Kolisi returns from injury but is not expected to play more than 40 minutes. The team will therefore be captained by veteran hooker Schalk Brits. The team is: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit. Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn.

A triumph for Liverpool … and the referee

Liverpool won the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on penalties in Istanbul, Turkey, last night but the biggest talking point might have been the first female referee to take charge of a major Union of European Football Associations men’s event. By all accounts Stephanie Frappart did an excellent job. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said afterwards: ‘I spoke to the ref team after the game that if we would have played like they whistled, then we would have won 6-0.’ The French referee was supported by female assistants Manuela Nicolosi, also from France, and Michelle O’Neill of the Republic of Ireland.

No joy for Roy

No play was possible on the opening day of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, London, yesterday but the skies cleared overnight and the game got under way today. England were soon in trouble, losing Jason Roy with the scoreboard on 0, but by lunch they had recovered to 76-2. Australia won the first test. 


A$AP must cough up a few $$$

We told you about Donald Trump’s efforts to get US rapper A$AP Rocky freed from his Swedish jail while he was facing assault charges. The singer’s case has now concluded – his claim that he was acting in self defence was dismissed and he was found guilty of assault, given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay damages to the victim. 

All about Melania

Trevor Noah used his Daily Show last night to set out a spoof conspiracy theory that US president Donald Trump’s entire campaign against immigrants is actually aimed at having his wife Melania deported from America. Huffington Post reports that it set off a trending hashtag with thousands of viewers joining in the fun, tweeting out #DontDeportMelania. Here’s the link to Noah’s Daily Show skit. 


A jump to the left

This is several years old but in this wonderful 3-minute clip from a neuroscience conference, US singer Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale.


Tacobout bad luck

Dana Hutchings had not eaten the whole day because he was determined to win the amateur taco championship between innings at a minor league game in California.  The 41-year-old taco-and-baseball fan from Fresno tucked into his tacos with gusto at the Fresno Grizzlies game against the Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday – and he was in the lead, but he shoved one too many tacos into his mouth. Hutchings collapsed in the middle of the contest. Paramedics initiated the Heimlich maneuver and CPR but it was too late. He died. The Grizzlies canceled the professional World Taco Eating Championship that was scheduled for Saturday. 


Karl Marx failed to consider (@marxconxiders) is today’s champ for this:
Karl Marx failed to consider that “bourgeoisie” is a really difficult word to spell


Today’s clue is: Policemen in Japan captured an assassin (5)  

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Female is not weak (5), is FAINT – a word sum of F (female) + AINT (‘is not’) gives a synonym for ‘weak’. 


There is a lot of confusion about the government’s proposed National Health Insurance Bill – how it’s going to be implemented and where the necessary funds will be found (spoiler alert: you; the government has no money). The Financial Mail’s Tamar Khan, one of the country’s top science and health writers, provides an insightful overview of the vague, the questionable, and the murky – but also of what’s clear.   


The ANC – and the DA, for that matter – have been warned for years that election donations should be made public. Both parties have been reluctant to embrace this obviously healthy principle, no doubt fearing that donors might dry up if their names are put out there. Now the names of donors to Cyril Ramaphosa’s party presidential campaign have been leaked to journalists from the Sunday Independent (whose own motives in the case need to be interrogated, as do those of the leaker). An inevitable consequence is that the Twitter Taliban – the EFF and its fascist following – is now accusing Ramaphosa of being ‘captured’ by wealthy individuals. It could all have been avoided. The Political Party Funding Act will address some of the transparency concerns, but it does not cover donations to individuals. The election of the ANC president – in current circumstances the person who will become the country’s president – is of great importance to the country and should also be subject to transparency about donors.

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