K-word Catzavelos going to court

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And other essential news of the day

Photo of gavel
Adam Catzavelos will appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on a charge of crimen injuria. Photo: Brian Turner via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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During May, we’re publishing and promoting the.news.letter, a digest of essential daily news produced by veteran journalists Chris Whitfield, Jonathan Ancer and Martine Barker. Click here to subscribe to the.news.letter. Enjoy!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

K-word Catzavelos going to court

Adam Catzavelos became notorious across the nation last year when a video emerged of him using the k-word on a beach in Greece. Next week Tuesday he will appear in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on a charge of crimen injuria, the National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed. In the video Catzavelos crudely celebrated the absence of black people on the beach. He later apologised, said he would spend his life atoning for his mistake and would not return to South Africa. He has presumably changed his mind in the latter.

Who’ll be Cyril’s deputy?

Cyril Ramaphosa was duly elected President in Parliament yesterday and now all attention turns to the composition of his cabinet, which is expected to be much reduced from the bloated one he inherited from Jacob Zuma. David Mabuza’s decision to delay his swearing in as an MP has widely been interpreted as an indication that he will not be retained as the deputy president in the new cabinet. Favourites for the post are Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Naledi Pandor. Ramaphosa’s inauguration takes place on Saturday, so the Cabinet announcement should be imminent. After his election yesterday Ramaphosa vowed that ‘we are all going to work together to fix what has been broken before…’. Here’s the Daily Maverick’s analysis of a dramatic day in Parliament.

Zuma ‘responsible for delays’

The state today began responding to Jacob Zuma’s bid to have fraud and corruption charges against him dropped, with Advocate Wim Trengove saying there was not a ‘shred of evidence’ to support the former president’s view that there was a political conspiracy against him. Trengove told the Pietermaritzburg High Court that delays in the case – which Zuma says should render it unenforceable – were largely a consequence of Zuma’s ‘Stalingrad defence’. He began his response by pointing out: ‘There is a high risk that if Mr Zuma escapes prosecution, that he will be seen to have received special treatment because he is an important and a powerful man.’ Zuma has spent between R16m and R32m on his defence over the years. For updates, News24 is covering the proceedings live.

Trump tantrum

US President Donald Trump had an almighty temper tantrum in a meeting with opposition Democratic Party leaders yesterday and walked out after three minutes. The meeting with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had been scheduled to discuss legislation to upgrade infrastructure. Instead Trump demanded that the Democrats stop a swathe of investigations they have launched into his activities – mainly about his links to Russia. He expressed anger over Pelosi’s characterisation of his resistance to these probes as a ‘cover up’, walked out and held an impromptu press conference in the White House Rose Garden. He said he could not deal with the Democrats on policy until the ‘phony investigations’ were stopped. The Democrats are meanwhile pondering whether they should begin steps to impeach Trump.

Zille in Twitter trouble again

Oh dear. Perhaps somebody should take Helen Zille’s phone away from her for a few days. The former DA leader and Western Cape premier has landed herself in fresh controversy by suggesting that the bizarre assault of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Johannesburg at the weekend hardly received any media coverage ‘because he is white’. She added: ‘NOW IMAGINE if a black American celebrity, simply being kind and helpful, had been attacked like that by a white SAfrica. It would rightly have caused a furore worldwide. Double Standards.’ On Saturday a man kicked Schwarzenegger in the back at a function at the Sandton Convention Centre. The incident was covered by all major local media and several international outlets.


THE DAILY MENACE

Niehaus of Cards

Carl Niehaus, Jacob Zuma’s thundering imbongi, has made a career accompanying his corruption-accused comrade from court appearance to court appearance. He addressed a crowd outside court earlier this week to lodge his unhappiness with the press. It was triggered by the Sunday Times’s Hogarth, who called Niehaus a toy soldier and said he had been spotted loitering around the King Shaka International Airport looking like a fraudster in search of his next victim. Enough was enough, insisted Niehaus, and warned that he and the MK Veterans were coming for ‘the creeps’ – journalists who disrespected them. After a chorus of ‘shame on you’ and ‘how dare you’, Niehaus spat out the names of the offending journalists that the MK vets have in their crosshairs. ‘These so-called journalists must be under no illusion that we will come for them. How dare you call this uniform we are proud of as soldiers who fought and died for this liberation a Pep store outfit?’ he fumed. You have to feel sorry for Niehaus, though. After all, he had to bury his mother three times – and that was just last year.


WHAT’S THE BUSINESS?

Prasa acts against execs

The Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) has taken action against three more executives in ongoing fallout following investigations into ‘improper, irregular, corrupt, fruitless and wasteful expenditure by various employees of Prasa at all levels of the organisation’, according to a statement. The three are chief strategy officer Dr Sipho Sithole, who has been suspended; and head of legal, risk and compliance Martha Ngoye and executive Tiro Holele have been placed on special leave. Fin24 reports that this follows action against four other senior staff.

Transnet laptops disappeared

Former Transnet engineer Francis Callard has told the State Capture inquiry how his efforts to trace a file that would explain how costs for new locomotives were inflated from R38bn to R54bn came to nothing. He said he prepared a report on his concerns about the matter and asked CEO Siyabonga Gama to trace a laptop and freeze a file that contained a costs evaluation spreadsheet. Nothing was done. Subsequently the laptop of a supply chain official went missing and then a further six laptops that had the same information went missing.


IN THE SPORTS CORNER

Pollard back in SA

The Bulls suffered a major blow yesterday when flyhalf Handre Pollard flew back to South Africa and will not participate in the final three matches on their Antipodean tour. They take on the Brumbies this weekend and then the Blues and Highlanders before returning home for their final match against the Lions. Pollard, who has a calf strain, has been vital to the Bulls success this Super Rugby season and the fact they are top of the South African conference is largely due to his tactical leadership and his pinpoint kicking. Manie Libbok will take over a flyhalf tomorrow.

Rasta, Marius red carded

Rasta Rasivhenge and Marius Jonker look to have been punished for their controversial Super Rugby refereeing last weekend. TimesLive is reporting that referee Rasivhenge and TMO Jonker were both scheduled to officiate at Newlands on Saturday when the Stormers host the Highlanders, but ‘both have disappeared off the list of match official appointments’. Rasivhenge heavily penalised the Highlanders while Jonker reversed a match-winning try for the Crusaders due to a forward pass.

Boxing body barred from Olympics

The International Olympic Committee yesterday recommended the amateur boxing’s governing body be excluded from Tokyo 2020 but allowed the sport to still feature at the Games. The recommendation from the IOC’s executive board, which will surely be rubber-stamped by the full IOC, is the result of serious mismanagement at the crisis-riddled International Boxing Association (AIBA). The long-running saga is due to ‘extremely serious issues’ within AIBA, with an independent audit raising issues that included problems with finances, governance, ethics, anti-doping, refereeing and judging.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Kanarie goes to the US

The award-winning South African Afrikaans-language film Kanarie, directed by Christiaan Olwagen and starring Schalk Bezuidenhout, has been snapped up for release in US cinemas. Cape Town based producer Marche Media said it had closed a deal with independent distributors Breaking Glass Pictures for a June release of the film that traces the story of a gay young man’s journey of self-discovery in the SA Defence Force in the 1980s. The film had rave reviews when it was released in SA and it was one of two African films named in Indiewire’s 14 Best Queer International Films of 2018. The other was Kenyan film Rafiki.


SEE WHAT?

Blooming crazy

The Washington Post has taken a somewhat dry view of the Chelsea Flower show, the annual British gardening bonanza. The show that costs millions to put together, also inspires great blooming flower hats and decorative street displays (these images are from Twitter and Instagram). Here in South Africa, some of us are quite fond of it and our stand, presented every year by the SA National Botanical Institute, generally draws praise. Yesterday, for instance, we received our 37th Gold Medal. Not shabby. We’ve had a display there 43 times. But the Post was more interested in the British offerings. Particularly one garden in which Kate Middleton had a hand, which was featured in plenty of UK press coverage. ‘This last doozy was co-designed by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wife to a most likely future king, Prince William, and mother to three heirs and spares,’ said the Post. You can read the full report here.


SAY WHAT?

Mayor’s hard sell to keep school alive

The mayor of Montereau, a village in France, wants to dish out free Viagra to start a baby boom and reverse the decline of his village’s population. Mayor Jean Debouzy hopes the proposed policy will produce enough children to keep the community’s school open, reports the UK’s Independent. The 650-person village has suffered from a dwindling population of children, threatening the viability of its school, which educates around 30 children. ‘A village without children is a village that dies,’ Debouzy said, adding that the pills will be distributed to residents and anyone who decided to move to the village. The drug is only available on prescription in France – so the mayor’s proposal may prove to be a bit of a let down.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Okay, we love a pun over here at the.news.letter, even when they might not be in the, er, best taste. So we could not help smiling at this reflection on Jamie Oliver’s restaurant difficulties by Milton Jones (@themiltonjones):
Jamie Oliver’s restaurants go into adminestrone

To which Tim Gardener (@timbo8101) replied:
Everyone’s making a bit of a meal of this story

And Dan Barker (@DanBarkr89):
Another business … dead and berried

Or Dylan Sentance (@DylanSentance):
They were always a recipe for disaster.

And Mark Farragher (@MarkFarragher):
Restaurants up and down the country are, well, desserted.

To which Liam Donnelly (@liamdonnelly) felt moved to respond:
Are your sauces reliable?

Idwal Fisher (@idwalfisher) thought the jokes were inappropriate, and commented gruffly:
Can you do a funny on about British Steel’s 4,500 workers facing redundancy as well, Muppet.

Within seconds, kris driscoll (@krisdriscoll1) had responded:
Yeah go on, strike while the iron is hot

And so forth.


CRYPTIC CLUE OF THE DAY

Today’s clue, compiled by Bash Ashok, is There’s no love lost between a dog and a mole! (3)

The solution to yesterday’s clue, Advice to England’s leader: Move carefully! (6), is TIPTOE – a word sum of TIP (‘advice’) + TO + E (‘England’s leader’) which gives the definition to ‘move carefully’, which she should.


THE BIG READ

On Tuesday night Shane Morris tweeted, ‘Y’all wanna hear a story about the time I accidentally transported a brick of heroin from Los Angeles to Seattle? I bet. Alright, let’s do this… (a thread).’ About a 100 tweets later he had weaved a compelling account of his crazy adventure, which had been retweeted more than 50,000 times. Last night he was contacted by a film director who wants to make a movie. The tension on ‘the most epic road trip’ will keep you on the edge of your seat. You don’t need to be on Twitter to read it – just click here.


WHAT WE SAY

It is telling that the rand strengthened on the news that Nomvula Mokonyane, Malusi Gigaba, Baleka Mbete and possibly David Mabuza would not be returning to Parliament. It might also serve as a reminder that the quality of our public representatives has an impact on the country at large. Now to see whether these are early indications of a Cyril Ramaphosa purge, or not. The signs are promising: Mokonyane was a poor minister and has been implicated in corruption, as has notorious state capture-facilitator Gigaba. Deputy president Mabuza has an awful reputation for being a thug and Mbete was useless as the House speaker. If these are indeed early signs of Ramaphosa’s new dawn – and his cabinet will be the next indication – then they would be genuine cause for optimism.

We welcome your insights, observations and compliments (especially your compliments) so please send them to thenewsletter.daily@gmail.com.

the.news.letter is produced by Chris Whitfield, Jonathan Ancer and Martine Barker. Click here for all the gory details about us.

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