Arrests as election count begins

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And other essential news of the day

Photo of people standing queue to vote
Voters queue in Strand, Cape Town on Wednesday. Photo: Velani Ludidi
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The countdown begins

According to the Electoral Commission (IEC), the election went well enough to be fair and credible. It admitted there were ‘setbacks’ – there were some logistical issues and allegations of double voting – but the general sentiment seems to have been that it went off pretty smoothly. Now it’s that awkward time between voting and final results – with interim results being analysed to death. You can monitor the ongoing count on the IEC’s dashboard and read some analysis on Media24’s special election page. Factors to take into account are that the turnout seems to have been low and rural votes will generally be the last to come in – probably boosting the ANC in most provinces but the IFP in KZN. Here, meanwhile, are the main election headlines so far:

  • The ANC took an early lead nationally and in all the provinces other than the Western Cape;
  • Early indications were that the DA could retain its outright majority in the Western Cape, but at a reduced percentage;
  • The EFF looks poised to become the official opposition in Limpopo and North West, with Mpumalanga a close-run race for the number-two spot. The IFP was coming second in KZN;
  • The IEC is investigating allegations that the ink used to mark voters’ thumbs faded quickly, raising concerns that it might have enabled double voting;
  • The IEC has announced the arrests of four people for double voting in KZN, but reporters in the province said local officials put the number at 19. The IEC said it will be conducting a sample audit of results to check for any other fraud.
  • Wind caused 16 temporary voting stations in Mangaung to blow over;
  • Cable-theft affected voting in three or four voting stations around the country after dark;
  • Voting was severely disrupted by protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. Police and protesters clashed throughout the day as residents demanded the area be returned to the Makhado municipality;
  • The Guardian newspaper in the UK reported that it had seen documents which suggested Russians close to President Vladimir Putin had planned a social media campaign to boost the ANC and discredit the ‘pro-Western’ DA. ‘It is unclear whether the plan was executed,’ said the newspaper.

And then there’s the relegation zone ….

While the people were mostly sticking their crosses next to the ANC, DA and EFF there were a few parties that were, to use sporting parlance, stuck deep in the relegation zone. At 9am the race for obscurity looked to be headed by the NPA – not the National Prosecuting Authority but the National Peoples Ambassadors – which had scooped up a handsome 250 votes. That was just enough for the IEC to generously round its percentage up to 0.01% of the vote – only four votes ahead of the People’s Revolutionary Movement with its 254 votes. The aptly named Minority Front (obviously missing the flying hairpiece of its former leader Amichand Rajbansi) had the dubious distinction of recording the lowest return in provincial polls with just one vote from Limpopo. Agang was struggling to get, well, a gang together with 2,342 votes, but they were doing better than the the BLF which had just 1,873. At 9am only seven of the 49 parties had recorded more than 0,5% of the vote – the ANC, DA, EFF, FF+, IFP, ACDP and GOOD.

Stormy times for the Trumpster

It’s been a stormy old time for US President Donald Trump. In the past few days House Democrats have voted to subpoena his Attorney-General William Barr to give evidence on the Mueller Report and the New York Times reported that he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years until the mid-1990s because his companies were performing so badly (he wrote Art of the Deal at the time, whose author now says should be classified as fiction). To add insult to injury porn star Stormy Daniels – who claims to have had sex with Trump when he was married – has gone on a speaking tour. Read about the ‘worst 90 seconds of my life’ courtesy of The Guardian.


THE DAILY MENACE

‘Your money’s no good here’

When you give politicians a bad name then you must know that your tattered reputation is beyond repair. Just before the elections Independent Media’s Iqbal Survé made a big song and dance about giving the ANC a R1-million donation, saying his only condition for it was that it was unconditional. Yeah right! The ANC said they would return his money (well, pensioners’ money really) in light of revelations made against Surve and his companies at the commission of inquiry into ‘allegations of impropriety’ – ie looting – at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Survé then mounted an attack, blaming the deputy minister of finance and PIC chair Mondli Gungubele. ‘It is clear Gungubele has done this as both a personal and political vendetta… Mr Gungubele’s conduct is utterly disgraceful,’ said Survé. Disgraceful? Perhaps the menace for life can use the million to start paying back his loan. Just another couple of billion to go.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Jooste gave himself R34m bonus

Steinhoff’s financial results for the 12 months to end September 2017 have been released at last. They reveal an astonishing R65bn net loss for the year. The company’s annual report for the 2017 year also revealed that former CEO Markus Jooste awarded himself roughly R34m in bonuses without required approvals in the months before the retailer almost collapsed. In December 2017 Deloitte refused to sign off the company’s books, leading to Jooste’s resignation and a audit by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) which found massive accounting irregularities. Steinhoff shares have lost 96% of their value since then.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

All-England final 1

Nobody can say football is boring. 24 hours after Liverpool’s astonishing heroics, Lucas Moura and Tottenham produced a stunning second-half fightback to set up an all-English Champions League final. Starting 1-0 down after the opening leg of their semi-final, Spurs conceded two more before halftime. Two goals in five minutes from Moura soon after the break and Spurs were back within a goal of qualification, but Ajax held on as time ran out and the match went deep into added time. In the 96th minute Moura completed his second-half hat-trick, turned the young Ajax sides’ dreams into nightmares and set up a mouth-watering final. The 3-2 score made it 3-3 on aggregate and gave Spurs the win by virtue of away-goals. On Tuesday Liverpool produced one of the great comebacks in Champions League history when they stunned the Lionel Messi-led Barcelona 4-0 to scrape through 4-3 on aggregate.

All-England final 2?

Tonight Chelsea are at home to Frankfurt and Arsenal travel to Valencia in their Europa League semi-final second legs with the two London clubs looking to complete an all-England lock out the European finals. Valencia have been impressive at home in the Europa League this season and they could pull off a Liverpool and overturn the 3-1 deficit – although Arsenal have the added incentive of knowing that winning the competition is almost certainly their only chance to secure a Champions League spot next season. Although locked at 1-1, Chelsea have the advantage of an away goal when they kick off their semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

PSL appeals its own decision

The Premier League has bizarrely launched an appeal against the decision of its own Disciplinary Committee. The Irvin Khoza-led PSL has appealed the ruling after Mamelodi Sundowns was only fined for fielding Wayne Arendse in a match against Wits last year. Sundowns, the team fighting with Khoza’s Orlando Pirates for the league title, could have a point deducted if the appeal is successful. If Sundowns and Pirates end with the same results on Saturday, Sundowns will win the league ahead of Pirates. The appeal does open up the possibility of Wits (who stand to gain two points if the appeal is successful) ending top of the log. Sundowns were advised by the match commissioner, appointed by the PSL, that Arendse was allowed to play. Arendse, who had not been included on the team sheet for the match, took to the field after an injury to another player during the warm up. Sundowns has indicated they will fight the appeal.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Lekker in LA

South African fans of the Netflix show Lucifer have been delighted to discover that one of the stars uses Afrikaans when she speaks in her ‘demon mother-tongue’. In the series, South African actress Lesley-Ann Brandt plays the character Maze, a demon sidekick to the devil, Lucifer Morningstar, who has escaped hell to live in Los Angeles. In Episode 1 of the new season, broadcast last night, Maze speaks in her demon tongue ‘Lilim’ which had local ears burning – and set social media alight.


SEE WHAT?

Parking lot madness

The driver of a bakkie caught on CCTV driving over a parking lot attendant in Stellenbosch has handed himself over to police and will appear in court tomorrow. A video of last week’s incident has gone viral and now two local lawyers have stepped forward to represent the guard for free. He can be seen in the clip trying to direct the motorist to go the right way out of a one-way section when the driver simply rides over him. The footage is shocking, but one of the lawyers has told journalists that the guard survived and has been discharged from hospital.


SAY WHAT?

Secret agent’s saucy handle

Perhaps Jennifer Hernandez lost a bet or maybe she watched one too many episodes of The Simpsons, but the 58-year-old woman now faces jail time after trying to sneak into the CIA headquarters in Virginia on four separate occasions and asking to speak to an agent with a risqué codename. According to court papers, Hernandez went to the agency’s HQ, asking to speak to her recruiter – Agent Penis. On the fourth occasion, on 3 May, she was arrested and now faces charges of criminal trespassing. She is being held in an Alexandria jail cell and if convicted faces up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. The CIA has not revealed the true identity of Agent Penis. The Secret Service has a slew of codenames for those they protect. For instance, according to online reports, former first lady Jackie Kennedy was Lace, John F Kennedy Jr. was Lark. Barbara and Jenna Bush were Turquoise and Twinkle. Sasha and Malia Obama were Rosebud and Radiance.


TWEET OF THE DAY


There are many, many South Africans who will sympathise deeply with Johann Maree, Helen Zille’s husband, about the incident recounted on Twitter by the outgoing Western Cape premier (@helenzille) yesterday. And it gains her the prestigious Tweet of the Day award:

The funniest thing happened. I was sitting next to my husband, having a much needed coffee break in my Knysna constituency ydy, when my husband’s phone rang. It was me, urging him to go and vote. He had already. So he pressed ‘1’ to opt out!!


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue compiled by Charles Machanik is: She meets any races wildly (6,7)

The solution to Tuesday’s clue The Queen invested two years in Rocky Balboa for her latest instalment? (5,4) is ROYAL BABY, an anagram of Balboa (‘Rocky’ is the anagram indicator’ + R (in crosswordese ‘queen’ is ‘r’ – Regina) and yy (years).


THE BIG READ

The Johannesburg Review of Books (JRB) publishes an interview with one of South Africa’s most accomplished and best-loved novelists Ivan Vladislavić about memory, nostalgia and his latest novel, The Distance. The JRB also has an excerpt from The Distance.


WHAT WE SAY

Amid all the speculation in this period between voting and results we can be pretty sure of one thing: the ANC will be returned to power. Whether this is with a reduced majority, as expected, or not, it will put President Cyril Ramaphosa in a position to send a significant message to the country. Traditionally after an election a president reshuffles his cabinet, and this is where Ramaphosa can act decisively. He can simultaneously reduce the number of ministers – the cabinet became ridiculously bloated in the Jacob Zuma years – and in doing so get rid of several under-performers and those with apparent venal tendencies. That would signal a commitment to efficiency in governance and an intolerance towards corruption – exactly what this country needs as it heads towards an uncertain future.

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TOPICS:  Elections 2019

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