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Finished at 23, eSports players peer nervously into retirement

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As the first generation of professional gamers enters retirement, eSports is forced to confront a vexed question: after years spent killing rivals in a virtual world, what next?

It is a quandary that comes far earlier than in most sports — in the most frenzied eSports games, players can be finished by 23 because reactions supposedly slow after that.

Milliseconds can be fatal in the online battlegrounds of eSports, a fast-emerging world where the financial rewards are rocketing.

There is a record prize pot of $33.7-million — and still growing — this week in Shanghai at The International, a world championship where players compete in Dota 2.

In Dota 2, a multiplayer game featuring a “Phantom Lancer” and a “Chaos Knight”, players often talk about a comparatively late cut-off point of age 30.

“People think that at that age you’re slow, you’re not good enough, but I think it’s a mythical number,” Jingjun “Sneyking” Wu, 24, of the Newbee team, told AFP.

Michael “Ninjaboogie” Ross, of Dota 2 rivals Mineski, hopes to defy the age barrier.

He has spent more than half his life gaming, but at 27, retirement is already looming.

“Hmm, now that’s the one thing I’ve never really thought about,” he said, when asked what he plans to do next.

Burnout

According to those with knowledge of the scene, the “What next?” question is a hot topic among pro gamers.

Coaching an eSports team or becoming a commentator or analyst are prime among the options after hanging up their keyboards.

But a few say that after spending up to 12 hours a day practising, and in some cases with their eyes and wrists suffering, they are looking forward to escaping the sport.

Duncan “Thorin” Shields, a self-styled eSports historian, said that burnout is a major reason why gamers tend to retire so early.

But he also told his YouTube channel on a segment about retirement that teams have been too quick to dispose of older players and experience has been undervalued.

The good news for the likes of Wu and Ross is that this seems to be changing and retirement ages are creeping up.

“Most people’s peak probably was when they were 21 or 22,” said Shields.

“But from an objective sense, it’s absolutely not true.

“The idea that in your late 20s you’re just completely done… it doesn’t seem to fit with sport.”

Social skills

Kurtis “Aui_2000” Ling said that growing riches in eSports — the best players are multi-millionaires — are keeping gamers playing longer than ever.

The 26-year-old has earned close to $2 million, according to esportsearnings.com, and is now coach of Newbee having retired as a player after injury.

“Five or 10 years ago you retired because you wanted to settle down and you couldn’t support yourself in eSports,” said the Canadian.

“Now we’ve clearly reached the point where you can begin to do that [support yourself].

“Sports players can play into their 40s so I don’t see why you can’t in eSports.”

As the scene matures and money tumbles in, there will be growing opportunities for retired gamers in the business, management and media of eSports, said Roman Dvoryankin, general manager of Virtus.pro.

Dvoryankin wants to employ a sporting director but there simply is not a candidate out there because many of the first generation of gamers are still playing.

He dismissed accusations that many eSports players lack the social skills to thrive after they stop pro gaming.

“They are totally fine at communicating with other people, just not face to face,” he said.

“But it’s not a unique eSports thing, it’s a generational thing.

“People think they are just sitting at their computers, but the fact is they are talking a lot—but they are just chatting [online].”

Agence France-Presse

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South Africa

Police probe Cape Town suspects found in possession of stolen lion cub

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Police officials from the organised crime investigative unit have been applauded from saving a lion cub that was allegedly held in captivity by a trio of suspects in Cape Town.

How the lion cub made it to Cape Town

According to police spokesperson, Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana, detectives from the organised crime unit were tipped about a lion cub that had been smuggled into the Western Cape.

It was discovered that the lion cub had been transported from Thabazimbi, a mining town in Limpopo, to Athlone, a low-to-medium income suburb situated on the east side of Cape Town.

Rwexana revealed that, on Wednesday, coordinated effort from the police yielded positive results. A team of operatives were deployed to Athlone, where houses situated in a targeted radius were searched.

Finally, in one of the houses that were searched, police came across the lion cub.

How many suspects have been arrested?

It is believed that three suspects, aged between 28 and 30, have been taken in for questioning by detectives. At this point in time, Rxewana confirmed that:

“A case docket of possession of endangered species was registered by Stock Theft Unit and the lion cub was taken to a place of safety… Three people aged between 28 and 30 were taken in for questioning. The investigation is on-going.”

Based on the police spokesperson’s wording in the statement, we can speculate that no one has been placed under arrest in the case.

What will happen to the lion cub?

The matter rests with the police now, who are chasing up leads to find out how the lion cub made the 1 556km trip to Cape Town. According to Rwexana, the lion cub has been “taken to a place of safety.”

While the sale of lion cubs is not very popular in South Africa, Rwexana estimated that the street value of the young cat is estimated at R50 000.

Lions are considered an endangered species and the private ownership of one is subject to a stringent process that is overseen by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Nemba)., which stipulates that:

“Selling or otherwise trading in, buying, receiving, giving, donating or accepting as a gift, or in any way acquiring or disposing of any specimen of a listed threatened or protected species; or any other prescribed activity which involves a specimen of a listed threatened or protected species [is prohibited].”

Without an appropriate permit and living quarters, those found in possession of endangered species can face as many as five years in prison.

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Pupils at KwaZulu-Natal high school demand daily smoke breaks

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In a quite bizarre story coming out of Umzinto in KwaZulu-Natal, classes at Roseville Secondary School have been suspended due to protesting students who are demanding, among other things, to be allowed a smoke break.

Protesting students include smoke breaks in their demands

The primary reason for the student protest is grievances with the school administration.

The Mail claims to have an annonymous source who told them learners were upset by rumours the principal was about to be replaced by a “non-African”.

The studends have also demanded that more Zulu-speaking teachers be hired by the school.

However, the move to include a daily smoke break between 08:00 and 09:00 in their demands means they are unlikely to find many sympathic ears to listen to their plight.

“We are not going to be held at ransom by kids. They are supposed to be in class learning, and we will not negotiate with them,” KwaZulu-Natal provincial education spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said, according to Times Live.

“They cannot tell us how to run a department. We are not going to allow this kind of behaviour to flourish at schools. We do not promote such behaviour from our learners and we stand firm against anyone who does this.”

Kwazi Mthethwa

Video of student smoking in staff room

According to The Post, the learners even made two videos of their demands and one of them included footage of a student walking through the teacher’s lounge smoking a cigarrette.

“Smoking under the age of 18 is illegal. This is a criminal offence. Pupils seem to have a sense of entitlement and believe they have the right to make these types of demands,” Vee Gani from the KwaZulu-Natal Parents’ Association told the Post.

“This needs to stop. Education in our country is struggling. Pupils need to respect teaching and learning at school.”

Vee Gani

Student’s demands are unlikely to be met

The conversation has already moved way beyond the students demands and is already on what the consequences of their actions will be.

So it appears highly unlikely the protesting students will be placated in this matter.

However, as they are younger than 18, which is the legal smoking age in South Africa, they really do not have a leg to stand on in this case and it boggles the mind trying to figure out how they thought they might get away with it.

“I want to assure concerned parents and guardians that the safety of learners and educators are of paramount importance to the school governing body,” said chairperson Niven Pillay.

“We will work very closely with the department and the manange team of the school to ensure that corrective and preventive action is taken as soon as possible.”

Niven Pillay

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Magashule sues for defamation over ATM claims

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ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has said in court papers that allegations that he was involved in the formation of a rival political party are “completely false” and had led to him being seen as a “sell-out” and “dishonest and treacherous”.

In his court papers, Magashule confirmed that he is currently being investigated by the ANC for possible involvement in the establishment of smaller rival parties before the elections. The investigation followed allegations that he had been consulted about the formation of the African Transformation Movement (ATM); and was even involved in naming the party.

The party was widely reported to have been established as an alternative to a Cyril Ramaphosa-led ANC, with claims of connections to former president Jacob Zuma and Magashule.

The claim that Magashule was involved with the change of name from African Transformation Congress to ATM was made on oath to the Electoral Court by Buyisile Ngqulwana, the former general secretary of the South African Council of Messianic Churches, which was behind the formation of the ATM.

“The allegation is without any factual basis.
It is completely false. In fact, I have never met the first respondent [Ngqulwana] nor have I ever spoken to him,” said Magashule, in an affidavit filed in the Free State division of the high court.

Magashule is suing Ngqulwana for defamation. He wants the court to declare that the allegations are false and to order Ngqulwana to retract them. He wants the court to interdict him from repeating them. Magashule has also claimed R500 000 in damages.

In his affidavit, Magashule said that the first time he had ever heard about Ngqulwana was in the media when it reported the allegations of his involvement in the political party. He said even the ATM party itself — in an affidavit deposed by ATM president Vuyolwethu Zungula — had said that the name ATM was adopted at the party’s council.

“There is absolutely no evidence, not a shred, that proves the veracity of Ngqulwana’s claim. It is plainly false; a fib; and invention of Ngqulwana,” Magashule said, adding that the allegations were malicious. He said when he wrote to Ngqulwana demanding a retraction, Ngqulwana responded by insisting that he stood by what he said.

Magashule said the effects of the allegations are “severe”. They have made people question whether he is a traitor and created an impression that he had betrayed the organisation he has served for over 40 years. As secretary-general he had been placed in an “office of trust” in the ANC.

“Trustworthiness and fidelity to the cause of the ANC are indispensable in my ability to lead the organisation. The strength of my office lies in the moral authority i[t] commands of the ANC – if I am accused of being a traitor from within, I am unable to discharge my duties.”

“I have been perceived as a sell-out to the cause of the ANC. Due to Ngqulwana’s defamatory statement, I have been painted as dishonest and treacherous,” he said.

At the time of publication, Ngqulana said he would be opposing the case. He did not want to comment further saying he was still working on his response with his lawyers.

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Rhinos at risk as nature conservationist battles to raise funds

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Mauricedale Nature Estate, 15 kilometres south of the world famous Kruger National Park in South Africa, will go under the hammer on September 25, in a final and desperate attempt to save 1,732 white rhinos and secure the future of this near-endangered species for generations to come.

The unabated, unbridled poaching of white rhino to sell their horns on the black market to feed the demand for this product in mostly far eastern countries, has put enormous pressure on the once-thriving southern white rhino population in Southern Africa.

Rhinos at risk

Both private rhino owners and national parks and reserves have fallen victim to ruthless poachers and syndicates that run a lucrative illegal trafficking operation between South Africa and countries where the demand for rhino horn remains very high.

John Hume is trying to raise funds to save his Rhino Project on Buffalo Dream Ranch on the estate, with the estimated value of the Mauricedale property between R490 and R523 million in 2008.

Rhino
John Hume Rhino Project. PHOTO: John Hume

“The estate is an investor’s dream with established accommodation and quality infrastructure located in one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa, covering a highly varied topography including mountains, rivers, plains and low-veld canopy,” said Hume in a press statement.

“The property has first-world telecommunication infrastructure to meet the demands of the approved zoning for future residential development,” Hume explained.

In addition to its vast potential for expansion as a national and international tourism destination, the buyer of Mauricedale Nature Estate will play a key role in securing the future of the iconic white rhino. Hume runs a rhino breeding and rhino horn stockpiling project on a separate property in the North West province.  

Rhino horn traffickers brought to book

The private sector’s involvement and commitment to support rhino breeding programmes can go a long way to rewild or re-introduce rhinos in areas where rhino numbers have declined. It also assists in introducing new bloodlines in existing population groups to ensure healthy rhino off-spring from a diverse gene pool the statement added.

Poaching numbers

*At 769 recorded poaching incidents in South Africa in 2018, poaching numbers are still high and rhino at risk. However, what does this decline mean for rhinos’ future?

In February 2019 the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, released the 2018 poaching numbers. Thankfully, the numbers show a decrease of 259 compared to the previous year (1,028 rhino were poached in 2017).

But this positive sign does not mean they are now thriving, rhinos are at risk. It shows at least two rhinos were killed each day in 2018. Furthermore, the cumulative impact of the poaching crisis is taking its toll, as well as the prolonged drought affecting food and water resources.

Although the recent statistics are encouraging, 2019 has continued to bring news of rhino poaching incidents in South Africa: if the 2018 trend were to continue for 2019, then 88 rhinos could have already been poached this year. In August 2019, the Department of Environmental Affairs announced that 318 rhinos had been poached in the first six months of the year.

The decline in the number of poached rhinos may demonstrate that the anti-poaching work taking place is having an effect, or it may also demonstrate that with significantly fewer rhinos surviving in the wild, it is getting harder for poachers to locate their prey. More action is needed to stop the illegal trade and ensure rhinos have a positive future. This means supporting anti-poaching work, but also good overall management of rhino populations by ensuring high-quality biological management.

*Poaching stats sourced from Save The Rhino.

Additional reporting from ANA – African News Agency edited by Lindiz van Zilla

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Watch: Trevor Noah talks to fellow South African, Nelson Makamo [video]

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South African artist Nelson Makamo recently sat down with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show to talk about his booming career.

Makamo comes from a small town in South Africa where he started making toys when he was a child.

“My foundation with art started from there. I started making toys from clay,” said the artist who is from Modimolle in Limpopo.

He says that during apartheid the choice of what a person could become as a professional was quite limited.

“But, I was fortunate enough to have a mother who truly believed in my talent.”

Makamo’s artwork went on to make it onto the cover of the weekly US magazine Time. He has also held exhibitions in Paris, Edinburgh, and the Netherlands. Makamo’s artwork also made it into the collection of the likes of fashion icon Georgio Armani, singer Annie Lennox and film director Ava Duvenay.

Trevor says that Makamo has become a world-renowned artist over the last couple of years.

“From Alicia Keys and Oprah Winfrey…I mean I remember Oprah telling the story of how she came to your building in South Africa [even though there was no elevator],” jokes Trevor.

Makamo goes on to explain how he made it his mission to portray Africa in a more optimistic light.

“I had to go back and reintroduce how we are as Africans. To say that we are more or less the same as any other person in the world.

“My thing and my view is that …I draw inspiration from the world. The advantage of traveling has made me look at my environment as a source of inspiration as well.

“As a young South African who’s been given the opportunity to rewrite history and reintroduce our image to the world, I had to go back and look at myself and say, ‘If I were to sort of represent ourselves globally, what language would I use?’ I had to actually use a universal language.”

Watch Trevor’s interview with Makamo to find out more about his work and artistic process:

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Rocklands Community Hall receives lauded heritage site status

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The Rocklands Community Hall is officially recognised as a historic Heritage site. Heritage Western Cape unveiled this site on Tuesday, which marks 36 years since the United Democratic Front (UDF) was formed in this area.

Rocklands Community Hall’s heritage status – 36 years in the making

The UDF continued to play a pivotal role in the road to democracy, by uniting over 400 anti-apartheid organisations throughout the country. It called for a united, non-racial, non-sexist South African democracy.

“Today, 20 August, as we mark 36 years since the UDF was launched, this site is now a Provincial Heritage site. A Provincial Heritage site is a site of high significance in the memory of the people. Heritage Western Cape, a provincial entity under the leadership of our minister, declared the Rocklands Community Hall as such to recognise the role the UDF played in not only abolishing apartheid, but also in affirming that strength of the people lies in its collectiveness.”

Head of Heritage Western Cape, Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka

Anti-apartheid activists and former UDF members in attendance

The unveiling of this heritage site was attended by various anti-apartheid activists, including the ANC’s Veronica Simmers, former national Minister, Valli Moosa, former UDF members, and former United Nations ambassador, Dr Allan Boesak, who also delivered speeches upon the unveiling.

“The value of the Rocklands Community Complex lies in its political and social nature, and it is of outstanding significance for the memorialisation and acknowledgement of civil organisations, and their role and contribution to our democratic society as experienced today.”

Minister Anroux Marais

A library and healthcare centre to be built on site

Dr Dlamuka also announced that Heritage Western Cape is currently working with the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), to have resources such as a library, a memorial square, and a community healthcare centre built directly on this newfound heritage site.

The Provincial Heritage site status means that the heritage of the community will be preserved. The Western Cape government will amplify the site’s socio-political importance, and ensure the full protection of this heritage site.

“I thank all who had a hand in the approval of the Provincial Heritage site status bestowed upon the Rocklands Community Complex. We are indeed grateful to each stakeholder as you have contributed to a community’s sense of place, belonging and purpose. You have unleashed its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape.”

Minister Anroux Marais

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DA says SAPS budget cuts could lead to further loss of 23,000 police

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Following Wednesday’s announcement by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to the Portfolio Committee of Police that National Treasury had instructed the SAPS to cut their budget through a 5%, 6% and 7% baseline reduction over the next three years, the official opposition has raised concerns over the possible loss of loss of 23,000 personnel as a result of these cuts.

“This shocking announcement comes at a time when the majority of South Africans feel increasingly unsafe in their communities, due to escalating levels of violence and crime, ” said MP Andrew Whitfield in a statement.

According to Whitfield, the DA has proposed “an alternative, yet constructive, budget proposal, which considers cutting VIP protection costs instead of other police programmes”.

The party estimates the current VIP protection budget allocation at about R10 million per individual, per year, with an approximate cabinet cost to taxpayers amounting to R631 million yearly.

“It is unconscionable that National Treasury would request SAPS budget cuts, when our police service is already severely under-capacitated and under-resourced. Further budget cuts will only continue to hinder SAPS’s ability to provide visible policing and will condemn citizens to living in even greater fear than they do now,” added Whitfield.

The party further commented on how this would hinder the president’s promise to halve violent crime.

“The instruction from National Treasury requests that SAPS must cut its budget by R5 billion in 2020/2021, R6.5 billion 2021/22 and in R7.8 billion in 2022/2023. This will lead to 23,617 posts being lost, through an approximate R20 billion cut, over the next three financial years,” said Whitfield.

“SAPS is currently 64,000 police officers short of meeting the United Nations (UN) policing ratio of 1:220. In South Africa, the police to citizen ratio is 1:380,” added Whitfield, before stating “a loss of an additional 23,000 personnel is not the answer”.

READ NEXT: Court forces end to potential gun control chaos at SAPS

(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho)

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Malema files ConCourt papers in bid to reverse Mkhwebane interdicts

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has filed papers at the Constitutional Court, calling on it to set aside the High Court in Pretoria’s recent decisions to grant Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan an interdict suspending the remedial action called for by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane in her report on the so-called Sars rogue unit.

Malema wants the apex court to give “urgent guidance” about this and other recent interim interdicts granted against the office of the public protector, seeking clarity on the extent of the chapter 9 institution’s powers.

In an affidavit filed on Tuesday, Malema says “interim interdicts against the public protector—at the behest of senior members of the executive — are a relative novelty”.

“In less than a month, the Gauteng division has granted two urgent interim interdicts against the public protector … more will probably follow. This court’s guidance is urgently needed,” Malema said.

On August 12, the High Court in Pretoria granted President Cyril Ramaphosa an urgent interim interdict on the implementation of remedial action stipulated by Mkhwebane in her report, which found he had misled parliament over Bosasa donations to his CR17 election campaign. The interdict application was unopposed by Mkhwebane.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa interdicts remedial action on Mkhwebane’s Bosasa report

The week before this, the same court ruled in Ramaphosa’s favour over a separate report from the office of the public protector, which found Gordhan had irregularly approved former Sars deputy commissioner Ivan Pillay’s early retirement.

Judge Lettie Molopa-Sethosa found Ramaphosa had behaved in a “rational and reasonable” way when he wrote to Mkhwebane saying he would not implement remedial action against Gordhan until the outcome of Gordhan’s review process against the report had been concluded.

This followed Gordhan on July 29 successfully interdicting Mkhwebane from enforcing the remedial action stipulated in yet another report, which found he had violated the constitution through his involvement in the “rogue unit” at Sars.

Judge Sulet Potterill found Gordhan’s legal team was correct in arguing that the harm to him would be irreparable if the interdict was not granted.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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Oudtshoorn mayor put on special leave, pending DA probe into his conduct

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DA federal council deputy chairperson Natasha Mazzone said the DA federal executive issued an instruction that Sylvester be put on special leave.

Asked for details of the allegations against him, Mazzone said “to ensure fairness, I cannot comment on the reasons for the investigation as this would prejudice both Mayor Sylvester and the investigation”.

IOL reported Sylvester as saying: “The party has yet to provide me with terms of reference, so I am unclear as to what the allegations are against me.”

He found it ironic that the leadership would take such strong action against him when no action was taken against other representatives, including the council speaker and municipal manager.

“Neither has any action been taken against the municipal manager, Allen Paulse, to whom I have brought evidence of financial irregularities to the office of the MEC for Local Government. It seems the party protects certain members and selectively takes strict action against those members they deem are deserving,” IOL quoted him as saying.

Service delivery

Further attempts to obtain comment from Sylvester were unsuccessful.

But Mazzone responded: “There is certainly not selective persecution of certain party members. It’s exactly for that reason that I spoke to the entire caucus, with the mayor present, to explain the situation and how long the investigation would take. The caucus meeting is, of‌ ‌course, confidential, but it was very amicable.”

She added that no service delivery would be affected and no one would replace Sylvester for the six-week period.

“The DA’s federal legal commission operates according to very strict rules that ensure fairness for all parties.”

Sylvester is not the first councillor in Oudtshoorn to face a disciplinary or investigative process.

Earlier this year, Sylvester told News24 that the Oudtshoorn municipal council had served the Paulse with a letter of intent to suspend.

This followed the council’s in-committee sitting on Friday, June 28, where it was resolved to put Paulse on precautionary suspension as provided for in section 6 of the disciplinary code.

In a statement at the time, the ANC said the mayor “has resorted to unjust and unfair labour practices to get rid of their own municipal manager”.

The ANC argued that the decision to put Paulse on precautionary suspension was not procedural.

The statement continued: “The ANC chief whip requested that the mayor amends his recommendation to first allow the municipal manager an opportunity to make written representations in response to the allegations, before placing him on precautionary suspension.”

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PIC: Lion cub found in Cape Town suburb

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Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said on Thursday that organised crime detectives got wind of the cub that was transported from Thabazimbi, north west of Pretoria, to the Western Cape.

“Various addresses were searched in the Athlone area and the lion cub was found in Athlone,” she said.

The stock theft unit registered a possession of endangered species docket and the cub was taken to a place of safety.

Police said the cub was valued at R50,000.

Three people, aged 28 to 30, were taken in for questioning and the investigation is ongoing.

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Eskom white paper to come before Cabinet ‘soon’ – Mthembu

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Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu told journalists on Thursday that the Eskom white paper would come before Cabinet “soon”, hopefully in its next cycle, in about two weeks.

Mthembu was briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Moneyweb reported that Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan recently announced that the Eskom white paper would provide details on the utility’s restructuring and be completed and made public between the end of August and mid-September, adding that intensive discussions would take place with all stakeholders, especially labour, to ensure there was “sufficient consensus”.

Eskom’s restructuring entails it unbundling its operations into three different entities of generation, distribution, and transmission.

Mthembu told journalists the Eskom white paper “will come in the context of looking at the South African economy”, looking at its performance.

The minister added that the paper “will be presented under the leadership of the minister of finance”, Tito Mboweni.

He said the paper would touch on the economy and the country’s public finances but said he did not know its specific content.

Responding to questions, Mthembu clarified that there was an Eskom white paper, saying that when it comes before Cabinet, relevant stakeholders will present it.

Furthermore, the paper “will not be presented on its own”, Mthembu said. It will not only deal with challenges at Eskom and how to address them but it will also deal with the impact these challenges have on the country’s finances.

This would be done because “you can’t have an artificial separation” between that paper and matters dealing with public finances and the country’s economy, Mthembu said, adding that this would be done so Cabinet can “have an integrated discussion” on these matters.

“So all these papers will come before Cabinet, then we will have an integrated cabinet discussion on all these matters,” Mthembu said.

He said hopefully these papers on Eskom, public finances, the economy and other state-owned entities (SOEs) would be discussed in the next cabinet meeting.

South African Airways and the South African Broadcasting Corporation are two SOEs Mthembu said have been “guzzlers of our financial purse”, which would also be part of the said cabinet discussions.

ALSO READ: Cabinet ‘cooking’ ‘broad plan’ to deal with economic challenges, including Eskom – Mthembu

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Being a mensch first, Edwin-style

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I think Edwin fancies his gaydar as being pretty accurate. He is also a master at not openly displaying any private assumptions he might be holding about someone he doesn’t know well.
So why on earth he decided, on this particular occasion, to make a judgment call about my sexuality, is beyond me.
But, it is a hilarious little anecdote we have both enjoyed retelling over the years.

He was a visiting fellow at All Souls College in 2003. Even by the generally grandiose and anxiety-inducing standards of Oxford University, this particular college — founded in the 15th century — is an intimidating structure filled with only the weirdest and brightest of the bright. It is little wonder he was a visiting fellow. (No, you are not weird, Edwin, but you are one of the brightest of the bright). His incredible intellect fitted naturally among the residents of All Souls College and I was lucky enough to be invited to lunch there with him.

Being more tjatjarag and more precocious than many of the scholars in my cohort, who often addressed him formally, I soon engaged him. I addressed him as a mentor and called him Edwin very quickly.

At some point over lunch, he asked me how I was enjoying my time abroad thus far and whether I was missing family, or a girlfriend, back home.

I have always struggled with euphemisms, so fired back very quickly: “I don’t have a girlfriend back home. I am gay, Edwin.”

I can still see him laughing at his “faux pas”. Maybe he thought he was the only butch gay in the village?

For someone who is usually one of the most emotionally intelligent human beings in any room, he learned a fantastic lesson to truly never make assumptions.

The lines between mentoring and friendship, from that point on, started to blur.

I still consider him both, even if, being the consummate professional he is, he has taken great care to err on the side of prudence by ensuring that our free-flowing conversations during my student years gave way to necessary distance between his independence as a jurist and my work as a broadcaster and writer, once my work within the media gained a bit of momentum.

I respected that principled commitment to eliminate susceptibility to criticism of undue bias and now, on a selfish level, I look forward, yet again, to less guardedness on his part as he enters a new phase of his fruitful life.

Justice Edwin Cameron has, over the past week, appropriately been lauded for his brilliant jurisprudence and demonstrable commitment to social justice activism in our country.

He retires after 25 years on the Bench with a record that will see him recalled in judicial history as one of the finest and most gifted legal minds of our time.

There is a lot I could, and still want to, write about Cameron’s judicial record. But those of us who have been privileged enough, even for short periods of time, to get to know him beyond the title of “Justice Cameron” know that he has qualities that make him an exceptional South African and human being, quite apart from his reputation as a lawyer.

It is these qualities, I think, that should be lifted to the surface and admired, even before we get to his work on HIV and Aids, queer rights, social justice, activism and the law.

I have only ever met a handful of people in my life who combine calm, rationality, pragmatism and also deep empathy as effortlessly as Justice Edwin Cameron does.

Edwin doesn’t wait to speak; he listens. And he listens deeply, patiently and completely. It is that capacity that he activates when he finally does speak, write or offer advice — if advice is sought from him.

I didn’t cite him in my first book, A Bantu In My Bathroom, because he doesn’t like being applauded for just being himself, but I feel it is appropriate to do so now, and ask for forgiveness after publication.

I wrote about my exposure to HIV in a chapter titled “There’s something I have to tell you”. I tell the story of my panic when an American filmmaker I had had unprotected sex with in London told me, while I was visiting him in New York, that he was HIV positive. The first person I called, while I was freaking out, was Edwin. He told me he would call back after getting off the road and promptly did so.

He was beautifully calm, in that Edwin-manner so many of us around him know too well. He had, again Edwin-style, the uncanny ability to simultaneously show incredible rationality in the content of his advice and in the questions he posed to me, and to respond non-judgmentally to the risk I had put myself under. He went the extra mile and, all the way from South Africa, helped me to access resources in New York so that I could get myself tested.

Now, consider the fact that I am but one of countless people in his life who have benefited from the deeply personal interest and care that he displays. Edwin’s friends, family, comrades, mentees, colleagues, godchildren, people who work for him, and even countless strangers, could add book-length stories to mine.

And, because of his humility, I am actually holding back here on a full description of what Edwin has done for me and others, on too many occasions.

Even when I was already back in Johannesburg and carving out the beginnings of my career, I could (and still can) call Edwin. He always makes time, because he genuinely cares about people. I know all too well the taste of that quiche Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was chuckling about Edwin serving him for lunch in his chambers.

He is, first and foremost, a mensch, and that is the basis of his jurisprudence.

He is also a skilled communicator whose ability to persuade, without shouting or humiliating an interlocutor, is instructive in a time of horrifically unkind public discourse here and around the world.

To take one example, I remember shifting my position on strategic activism when Edwin explained to me the importance of selecting the right kinds of argument when engaging certain leaders.

At the time, I was adamant that condoms should be allowed in prisons, most importantly because men have sex with men, but also because homosexuality is morally acceptable.

He of course agreed, but gently persuaded me that one might want to set aside the moral premise when dealing with a homophobic leader who holds the keys to the country’s prisons and appeal to their nonmoral interests instead. Convincing them on the grounds of stopping a public health crisis, the devastating economic consequences of sexually transmitted infections, or the possible spread of HIV would probably be better arguments to use.

That was his political insight as an activist taming my theoretical reasoning as a moral philosophy student.

I will spare him here, for now, a wonderful bit of revenge I got, as a youngster, critiquing some of his work on the Bench. Suffice it to say that Edwin’s other praiseworthy attribute, and one that we can all emulate in our public discourse, is intellectual humility.

He is moved by a commitment to truth and cogency, and doesn’t hold on to a view just because it is a view he had already committed to paper.

Every South African should read his books, Witness to Aids and Justice, two of the most important works of non-fiction over the past 15 years and an insight into his mind.

In the first, Cameron shows us the power of visibility. When he writes about how democratic Aids is in who it affects in society — spoiler alert: everyone including a powerful, white, middle-class and educated judge — he fights the stigma that causes anxiety in persons living with HIV. It is anxiety that, in turn, weakens the immune system, needlessly rapidly.

Stigma loves falsehoods. Witness to Aids dismantles major falsehoods about HIV and Aids. It also shatters falsehoods about the queer community.

Edwin’s life is a testament to the power of visibility. Living openly as a gay man infected with HIV, when he is not the stereotypical picture of either, is a form of performative activism for which we owe him a huge debt.

In Justice, he writes about his early life, which was very tough. This book teaches us that you cannot know about the full life of a person just by knowing their skin colour. He experienced incredible childhood trauma and familial rupture, all of which shows us how he came to be so profoundly committed to using the law to transform society — even while recognising that the law must be supplemented by social activism and servant leadership within the political arena.

Law students theorise about “value-laden approaches to legal interpretation”. In Edwin’ s life, the connection between deprivation and using the Bench to help change the structures of an unjust society, become real.

The best retirement gift we can give Justice Cameron is to commit ourselves to closing the gap between the optimistic vision in the constitution and the rapacious behaviour of too many people in positions of power that threaten the foundations of our democracy. 

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Is SA ready for BoJo’s no-deal Brexit?

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The possibility of Britain crashing out of the European Union (EU) without divorce papers on October 31 is becoming more of a possibility as the day draws nearer, but what would this mean for South Africa?

“The results of the referendum must be respected. We will leave the EU on October 31.
#Leave31Oct,” wrote UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

The UK went from being South Africa’s eighth largest export market in 2017 to the fourth largest in 2018. Last year the country exported just under R64-billion worth of goods to the UK mainly precious metals, motor vehicles and agricultural products while South Africa imported R43.5-billion worth of goods from the UK.

The trade between the two countries represents 18% of South African exports to its largest trading partner, the EU and 10% of EU imports from South Africa. Exports to the UK are topped by minerals and motor vehicles with both products accounting for 25,1% and 11,9% of total exports respectively.

Earlier this week Downing Street sought to downplay a leaked document called “Operation Yellowhammer” which predicted that the UK faced massive food, medicine and petrol shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister’s office said that the document is “old” and a “worst case scenario.”

Bloomberg this week reported that France has predicted a no-deal as the most likely scenario, meaning the immediate imposition of border controls between the EU and the UK.

With Brexit looming, South Africa and its trade partners in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which includes members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)  and Mozambique have been working towards maintaining normal trade relations post-Brexit as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU.

The agreement was provisionally entered into in October 2016, six months before the UK invoked article 50 of the EU treaty, indicating its intention to withdraw from the bloc. Under the agreement over 90% of South African goods including wines, platinum and motor vehicles are able to enter into the UK completely duty free or partially duty free.

Under the deal however South Africa’s car exports, would still be subject to 10% tariffs – a situation which former trade and industry minister Rob Davies described as one that would “write off” the country’s automotive industry.

In July SACU members met in Johannesburg to finalise some outstanding issues in the EPA but have not indicated whether or not the deal is close to conclusion. “The deal will be much easier to conclude until we get certainty around what the EU and the UK have decided on their withdrawal agreement,” Independent agricultural economist and trade policy analyst, Tinashe Kapuya said.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) reported higher global vehicle exports in 2018 , with Europe on the whole dominating as a region with 233 772 vehicles exports. This represented a 22,7% increase from the previous year.

“Traders shouldn’t be worried too much. There are discussions underway about the trade of goods to make sure that a trading arrangement will be in place that doesn’t disrupt the current flow of goods between South Africa and the UK,” says director at the Tutwa Consulting group, Catherine Grant. But she says that a no-deal Brexit could have a negative impact on the auto industry.

“The automotive industry is probably the most concerned as the UK will likely impose tariffs on motor vehicles as well as some parts. If there is no deal between the UK and the EU then there will definitely be a disruption to the global supply chain in the automotives production,” says Grant.

Kapuya says Brexit delays could benefit SACU members who are yet to sign a trade deal with the UK before October 31. “Delay of Brexit buys us time to negotiate the outstanding issues so we will have a coherent regional agenda in which we will try to finalise some of the issues,” he said, adding that “the rollover agreement is still being negotiated under very uncertain circumstances we [SACU] have done what we can so far to ensure a smooth transition.”

Thando Maeko is an Adamela Trust Business reporter at the Mail & Guardian

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Festival of Motoring gives peak into SA’s future

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South Africa has never been far behind global trends when it comes to motoring. Sure, on occasion we might stumble to catch up but eventually we get there.

The 4th annual Festival of Motoring, held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit between Thursday and Sunday, is a window into what our vehicle landscape may look like in the near future if it were up to the manufacturers.

On Wednesday, the media were invited to take the first peak.

And there’s undoubtedly plenty to see.
Most major car brands have brought a few of their 2020 models along as well as a concept car here or there.
Some even offer a driving experience with a professional driver at the helm. Other booths are filled with VR and simulation games to give you a sense of those models. Plenty to see, touch and hear.

All the other trappings you might expect from a motoring festival are of course there as well. There’s classic cars to ogle at and the revs of rambunctious drag cars to soak up. A skid pad should provide plenty of fun while the 4×4 zone will display the latest capabilities of that market.

But it’s electric cars where many of the manufacturers are looking to make their biggest plea.

Much of the developed world is increasingly looking to move away from diesel and petrol as best it can and new models are arriving in the market every year. What the manufacturers want is the South African government to cut import tariffs so the country can join what they view as a global revolution in progress. There will be plenty of discussions and presentations at the festival around the topic should the debate interest you. Volkswagen even brought along its sleek ID.R racing car to brag about the capability of electric.

China is another that’s looking at penetrating deeper into the local market. Baic and Haval are showcasing their new models that you can climb into and scrutinise the quality for yourself. With more and more SUVs selling globally, to the detriment of the sedan, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see cheaper ones such as the Haval appear more often on our roads.

Another new addition to the local scene, and a welcome one at that, is the Supra GR. Toyota has redesigned its classic speedster with a little bit of help from BMW and the sexy new design is the highlight of the gallery at Kyalami’s lower pits. Be sure to hop in for a ride and take in the growl for yourself as a professional driver takes you around the track.

The showcase doesn’t stop there and the festival is sure to prove a delight for all types of enthusiasts, families or just about anyone who enjoys a closer engagement with cool stuff. 

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The Rand remains on a rollercoaster of volatility

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This Rand report is brought to you by Sable International

Last week’s poor global data is indicative of a worldwide economic rough patch.

Talk of another massive financial bailout for Eskom has put South Africa on thin ice with Moody’s. The country is said to be fighting a losing battle to keep its last remaining investment grade credit rating.

Foreigners have already begun dumping R2
billion worth of government bonds. This comes before what looks like an
imminent downgrade to junk status, which is placing a huge amount of pressure
on the local currency.

The subdued economic data is placing pressure on major central banks to take on a dovish stance. Analysts have said that the markets have already partially priced in three potential interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve before the end of the year.

On Wednesday, Jerome Powell and the Federal
Reserve will be releasing the meeting minutes after the Fed decided on a 25
basis-point rate cut in July. Thursday sees the start of the Jackson Hole Economic
Symposium. The symposium is used as a platform to foster open discussions about
important policy matters. Market participants will be keeping a close eye on this
exclusive conference.

On the local front, South Africa will be
releasing its year-on-year inflation rate for July. Market analysts have tipped
it to drop by 0.1% to 4.4%.

Market event calendar

Tuesday 20 August

  • Reserve Bank of Australia’s
    meeting minutes

Wednesday 21 August

  • South Africa’s inflation rate
  • Federal Reserve’s meeting
    minutes

Thursday 22 August

  • Japan’s inflation rate
  • Jackson Hole Economic Symposium

Friday 23 August

  • Jackson Hole Economic Symposium

Dean Reich

Sable International Forex

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This is South Africa’s best-run municipality, financially speaking

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National Treasury has announced that the Drakenstein municipality, based in the town of Paarl in the Western Cape, has been named ‘financially the best run municipality’ in the country for the most recent municipal financial year.

The Western Cape has yet again been named the top province for municipal financial management, with the Cape Town metro and – perhaps somewhat surprisingly – the municipality of George, which has recently had terrible publicity about alleged corruption and mismanagement, singled

Politics of the Drakenstein

Drakenstein has been governed by the DA for many years and remained a rock solid DA stronghold in this year’s general election.

It is the municipality with the second largest population in the Western Cape (Cape Town obviously being the largest by a country mile). In addition to Paarl, Drakenstein also serves the town of Wellington, the hamlets of Saron, Hermon and Gouda, as well as the many surrounding farms.

It is the second year in a row Drakenstein has come out tops as what the national government terms the most financially healthy municipality in South Africa.

The municipality finds itself in a great neighbourhood for South African municipal excellence – it is bordered by the municipalities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Swartland (centred on Malmesbury) and Breede Valley (centred on Worcester).

Each of these municipalities is excellently managed and between them often scoops just about every municipal award the country offers. In this they are strengthened by generally very well qualified professional staff, comparatively low staff turnover, a near absence of notable corruption scandals and finally enviable political stability – each of the four councils features a very comfortable DA majority, and can rightly be referred to as DA heartland.

Criteria used to measure the financial health of municipalities

According to the National Treasury, the criteria used to measure the financial health of a municipality includes eight key measures namely:

  • Cash as a percentage of operating expenditure;
  • Persistence of negative cash balances;
  • Overspending of original operating budgets;
  • Underspending of original capital budgets;
  • Debtors as a percentage of own revenue;
  • Year-on-year growth in debtors;
  • Creditors as a percentage of cash and
    investments; and
  • Reliance on national and provincial government
    transfers.

According to DA Western Cape provincial leader Bonginkosi
Madikizela, Drakenstein manages its finances so well despite not being cash
flush and not being immune to challenges such as funding and revenue. An aspect
the municipality is proud of is its strong record in paying creditors within
thirty days of receipt of invoices.

“Through implementing cost containment measures, ensuring good record-keeping and with sound audit systems being in place, the municipality is able to ensure that their budgets remain credible and focussed on service delivery to the community,” said Madikizela.

Drakenstein is wine farming country, which, together with
strong other farming activities, help ensure enviable social stability,
relatively high employment figures compared to the rest of the country and ever
increasing wealth levels from which municipal governance can only benefit.

The towns of Paarl and Wellington also boast many light industries and Paarl is a culinary centre of some repute. Tourism is an important wealth and employment creator and of late the area has experienced an influx of extremely wealthy people who have relocated to the Paarl area’s growing number of top notch luxury housing estates.

Paarl is the cradle of Afrikaans as a formalised language, was the birthplace of Afrikaans journalism (the first Afrikaans newspaper ever was published in Paarl in 1876) and the town is home to the Afrikaans Language Monument.

It’s beautiful mountains, fast-flowing, clean rivers, Cape Dutch architecture and aesthetically pleasing bountiful farmland contribute to Drakenstein also being one of South Africa’s most scenic municipalities, in addition to being named financially the best managed.

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‘What is it that I was helped with?’ Abuse survivors share stories of neglect at shelters

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Rebecca* spent 10 years with a husband who liked to control every bit of her life – where she worked, who she visited, and where she went. She was emotionally bullied and sometimes physically abused by her husband in those 10 years, until she decided enough was enough.

“It was a very toxic relationship that I felt I needed to be out, however, I didn’t have a place to go because I didn’t have a home,” Rebecca told News24.

When she decided to leave, she had no idea what to do or where to start but was eventually referred to Amcare – a shelter for survivors of violence in Alberton, Johannesburg.

Rebecca, however, said her stay at the shelter turned into a nightmare. She recounted her experiences of bullying by untrained staff members and having no access to proper skills development and counselling sessions.

Rebecca’s story is like many other survivors of violence uncovered in an investigation by the commission for gender equality into the state of shelters in South Africa and the treatment of survivors.

In a statement by the commission, acting chairperson Tamara Mathebula said the investigation aimed to curb gender-based violence.

“This particular state obligation has now become important in light of the current state of [gender-based violence] GBV in South Africa. In other words, it has become essential to assess the conditions of shelters amidst the high levels of GBV,” Mathebula said.

The investigation uncovered a host of issues including a lack of funding for shelters and infrastructure issues, a lack of transitional housing/second-stage housing, survivors struggle to adapt to normal living conditions, lack of compliance with policies and standardised practice regarding skills development and counselling, maximum and minimum periods of stay, no standardised approach to accommodate and assist survivors of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual and other diverse sexual orientations and gender identities (LGBTIQA+) community.

As a result, the commission called for a public investigative hearing which will hear from the heads of the department of social development (DSD) in all provinces as well as the director generals of the DSD and the department of human settlements.

These are also some of the conditions Rebecca found at Amcare upon her arrival.

“The thing I most needed was the shelter and the legal [assistance] just to make sure the kids get maintained and that continues regardless of what I have,” Rebecca said.

“Now I don’t have to go back to the perpetrator’s house… I had a space where I could sleep… If I have a place to live, food that is provided then I can fight him in that space because I have the support system.”

“But I haven’t done anything,” she added.

Rebecca said the core of their problems stemmed from the staff of the shelter who did not have adequate training to help survivors.

The clients in the shelter, Rebecca said, normally have one session with the social worker when they arrive, but very little after that.

“You don’t see the social worker. To the new clients who come in she said, ‘You guys are giving me stress’,” Rebecca said.

Busi* was at Amcare with Rebecca after she left her partner who almost beat her to death.

She said that she was in a fragile state when she came to the shelter but got no help from the staff.

“The therapy you get there, it’s among ourselves as clients, by sharing each other’s experiences. That’s the only therapy – by ourselves,” she explained.

Busi said the staff mostly ignored the concerns of the clients, making snide remarks and calling them names when they complained about their treatment.

“People in that company, I don’t know why they become the meanest when people in their surroundings need help. We’re not sure that the Amcare manager is aware of what’s happening,” she said.

While they are confined to the shelter due to a pass system which, the women say, hardly ever lets them leave, Rebecca said, there are no adequate developmental programmes that aid personal growth.

“By the time three months passes, you haven’t done anything that has to do with you personally, that’s growing you personally,” she said.

Amcare manager, Marihet Infantino conducted her own investigation based on these claims. Infantino denied that all staff members were bullying clients, however, her investigation found one housemother who was not respectful in her interactions.

Infantino said disciplinary action would be taken against this housemother.

She said that the social worker holds counselling sessions with clients, but this must be scheduled. Often the social worker cannot cope with the number of clients in the shelter and sessions would take longer to schedule, according to Infantino.

“The ladies did receive counselling, I have checked the records,” Infantino said.

She added that the DSD did not fund skills development: “If you sit with 15 ladies in the shelter and they do nothing the whole day, what do you think happens? A bunch of women, different cultures, different races – they kill each other in the end.”

The skills development, Infantino said, was an attempt to keep the women busy with something that could be a simple profit-making business later.

Rebecca, however, said she eventually had to leave the shelter and was now staying with her father. She struggles to find work and get back on her feet.

“I’m out now, but what is that I was helped with except the fact that I didn’t have accommodation at the time?” she said.

“The time [delay]. For me staying there, unable to move forward, look for work… I could have been somewhere if I was in a freer space where… the shelter is helping you and at the same time they are allowing you to go out,” she reflected.

Busi had the same sentiment and said she only stayed at Amcare for two months before she had to leave – her life was not moving forward, “In my mind, when I came to Amcare I thought this was the place to be. I thought in three months I could save up something until I move out, and then I’ll be able to start something while I’m there. But I couldn’t do all that.”

(*Not real names)

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Voodoo Lily a perfect pet-friendly corner cafe for the busy Joburger

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My dog is a rescue animal and a bit of a nervous wreck. She has never known the pleasure of going to a dog-friendly restaurant. Probably because pet-friendly establishments are rather lacking in busy Johannesburg. So, when an opportunity arose to visit such an establishment, we were both beyond excited.

Our visit to the Voodoo Lily Cafe in Birdhaven was nothing short of a treat. Located in a quiet, leafy street with ample parking, the cafe is a welcome relief from the daily hustle. Sitting in the dog section of the restaurant while taking in the atmospheric 1980s playlist felt like Jasmin and I were in a snow globe, blissfully unaware of traffic and deadlines. The passion the staff have is palpable, making the experience that much more enjoyable.

Jasmin was greeted with a smile, a table with a hook for her leash and a scrumptious bowl of cold water, while we sat down and pondered the menu. Voodoo Lily offers a menu for dogs as well – organic livers and chicken breast, or scrumptious doggy biscuits.

The menu even has a disclosure statement warning clientele that xylitol, which is present in some menu items, is very poisonous for dogs, and explains how only biostraws are served.

Voodoo Lily Cafe. Picture: Paula Schreuder

All takeaway containers are biodegradable. Small details like this are rare and make one feel as though a lot of care and love has been poured into the cafe. This was reinforced when I perused the vegetarian-inspired side of the menu. I chose to eat a variety of vegetarian dishes because of how rare they are on any menu, and I wanted to try as much of the delicious-sounding yummies as possible. I was not disappointed.

The flatbread, recommended by head chef Josh, was happiness crammed into a doughy dish. But the dessert was the proverbial cherry on top – poached pears soaked in a red wine sauce with mascarpone on candied lemon rind that snuck diverse flavours into the mix. Perfect. This chic corner cafe even boasts a free library, a global initiative that involves swapping out a book you’d like to read with one you’ve already read.

Warm lighting and comfortable chairs make this an ideal work environment, as well as a place to relax and take things a bit slower than usual. I got the feeling the cafe is invested in everyone’s general wellbeing, animals and kids included – not just because of banting-friendly menu options, but because of the host of health shakes, power smoothies and health shots available.

Anything from super chai chocolate shakes to superfood additions tailored to energy levels and state of mind is available. Voodoo Lily takes pick-me-up to the next level.

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Die Antwoord dropped from festivals after ‘homophobic hate crime’

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South African rap/rave group Die Antwoord has been dropped from two festival line-ups following a video that has emerged, which appears to show rapper Ninja assaulting Andy Butler of the band Hercules and Love Affair, vocalist Yolandi calling him a “f*ggot”, and the pair falsely accusing him of sexual assault.

The video, which can be seen on SA blog Watkykjy, was filmed by the band’s former videographer Ben Crossman, who has since fallen out with the group. It was taken backstage at the 2012 Future Music festival in Adelaide, Australia.

In it, Ninja – real name Watkin Tudor Jones – can be seen running towards Butler and apparently attacking him while Yolandi – real name Anri du Toit – shouts the homophobic slur. Later in the video, Ninja can be heard instructing Yolandi to tell people that Butler, who incidentally is gay, sexually assaulted her in a portable toilet. Yolandi can then be seen feigning tears as she tells various people this story, in what Ninja can be heard describing as an “Oscar-winning performance” at one point.

As a result, the group has reportedly been dropped by two upcoming US music festivals, the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville and the Life Is Beautiful Music and Art Festival in Las Vegas.

In a response on Facebook, Ninja said the video had been “cleverly edited” to look like a hate crime by Crossman, who he says “has been on a rampage to make us look bad in the media because we fired him years ago for being mentally unstable and malicious towards our family”.

Crossman told The Citizen that this was a lie: “I’m not actually that shocked but Ninja would rather lie and try and paint me as a crazy person than own up to his wrongdoing.”

According to Ninja’s statement, which can be read in full here: “This was just a fight with someone who f*cked with us. Not a hate crime.”

WATCH: Die Antwoord in storm over k-word, n-bombs, calling Whitney Houston ‘crack whore bitch’

In Ninja’s version of events, Butler had harassed him and Yolandi for days leading up to the incident. In the post, he describes this alleged harassment in detail. He also denies any homophobia was involved.

“This fight had nothing to with the fact that this guy was gay. We don’t care about people’s sexual preference. Our DJ and best friend DJ HITEK is gay, and a lot of people in our crew are gay.

“But if a person (no matter what their sexual preference is) keeps harassing us over and over, then physically harasses ¥o-landi, there will obviously be repercussions.”

The rapper accuses Crossman of having “beat up the guy from Hercules himself while filming this same video clip,” a claim Crossman also dismisses as a lie.

“Ninja absolutely flabbergasts me with his consistent lying. He says the clip is edited and doctored, it’s an unedited three-and-a-half-minute-long clip. It’s unedited, fact,” said Crossman on Whatsapp.

Crossman also said he did not hit Andy Butler, adding that Butler himself would corroborate this. He also said that a festival manager had told him that he was willing to go on record that Yolandi lied to him about Andy Butler having sexually assaulted her and would be interviewed in an upcoming YouTube video on Edwin’s Generation, on which US vlogger Edwin Costa has published several videos critical of Die Antwoord.

The group has faced a string of damning allegations recently, the most serious of which is that Ninja allegedly sexually abused Australian rapper Zheani and also distributed “revenge porn” photographs of her performing oral sex on him to members of the cast and crew of the movie Chappie. These claims first emerged in a diss track released by Zheani.

A recent clip also shows Ninja and Yolandi using the racial slur “n****r” multiple times, calling late R&B singer Whitney Houston a “crack whore bitch” on the night of her death, and calling a member of the audience a “swart naai” (“black f**k”) while onstage.

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Delft policing community calls for CCTV cameras after bloody weekend

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Days after the Delft community has sobered up from the bloody weekend that was seen in the township, the people have called on the local government to talk less and do more.

How many murders were recorded in Delft this weekend?

In a statement released by the Western Cape’s Ministry of Community Safety on the weekend crime statistics, Delft peaked as the community that registered the most murders.

Despite a notable reduction in murders this past weekend with 34 deaths in the province, the Delft Community Policing Forum (Delft CPF) has called for more stringent action from the provincial government after five people were murdered in the township between Friday, 16 August, and Sunday, 18 August.

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, indicated that the provincial Cabinet would be meeting this week, with crime prevention high on the agenda.

“This week, the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet will be meeting, and safety is once again high on the agenda. We will receive a report from the South African Police Services on crime and safety operations and the use of the SANDF. We want to understand what the police, working with the army, are doing to prevent crime and curb violence.

“Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has to date offered nothing but cold comfort to our communities. Due to the poor management of SAPS, they have lost control of [the] fight against crime,” Winde said

Delft community calls for CCTV cameras

The deployment of the SANDF has had little impact on the amount of crime that occurs on weekends. This, for the Delft community, means that there are other alternatives that need to be explored.

“The SANDF [was] deployed to conduct cordon and search, observation, foot and vehicle patrols as well as to provide air support for troops, with the aim of reducing crime in ten specified hot spots. With a large number of the deaths this weekend taking place in these hot spots, we have to question whether the promises made to the residents of the Western Cape by the police at the time of the deployment are being kept,” Winde explained.

The CPF has since called on the provincial government to equip the township infrastructure with CCTV cameras as a tool that law enforcement can use to restore order in the community.

“We have over 120 000 households that really want it. There’s no appetite from the government to do this. There are a lot of excuses and red tape. We have schools where these cameras can be installed,” Delft CPF’s Charles George told EWN.

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