South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Thursday 19 November

It’s been an eventful week so far, and still a way to go. Let’s browse the latest news and headlines today Thursday 19 November to see what’s in store. So much happened yesterday that it’s difficult to keep up. Fear not, we’ve got you covered. We’ll tell you only what you absolutely have to know.

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It’s still tense in Brackenfell, and the Bushiris are still at large. President Cyril Ramaphosa is not impressed with the Bushiri fiasco. He says this entire scenario should not have played out at all. Too late she cried.

Then there is the dreadful story about a Zimbabwean woman in Musina, Limpopo who narrowly escaped death when she was doused in spirits and set alight. She was accused of stealing food worth R25. It’s a cruel world.

It’s uncertain whether billionaire tech kings Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are making the world a better or more dangerous place, but South Africa-born Musk must be the happier of the two. Musk, it was announced, is now richer than Zuckerberg. Musk’s fortune has grown by more than $82 billion this year. Not bad for a Pretoria lad.


Zuma drops new statement to ‘delay recusal verdict’

If nothing else, you have to appreciate the gamesmanship on show here. The legal counsel for Jacob Zuma earlier submitted a fresh affidavit to the State Capture Inquiry, delaying the scheduled recusal verdict compiled by DCJ Raymond Zondo. South Africans will now have to wait another day to find out if the Commission’s leader will step aside.

On Tuesday, Zuma managed to buy himself a 48-hour reprieve as the facts of their application were reviewed. It was made clear by Msholozi that he could not attend the panel on Wednesday, due to an impromptu funeral he was asked to attend.

Zondo pushed his final decision on recusal back to Wednesday afternoon, but his plans were scuppered by a follow-up submission made by Zuma’s lawyers. Only scheduled to appear at the State Capture Inquiry from 16 – 20 November, uBaba’s representatives have kept him out of the dock for three successive days so far.

Zimbabwean woman set alight in Spar after stealing food worth R25

A 40-year-old Zimbabwean woman has been treated for burn wounds in a hospital in Musina in Limpopo after she was doused with methylated spirits by employees at a SuperSpar for stealing food worth R25.

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Three people were arrested following the incident and are due back in court in January 2021. The Spar Group said the store is independently owned. The company has, however, apologised.

Mavis* spoke to GroundUp on condition that her identity be withheld. She said she sustained burn wounds on her waist, arm, leg and vagina.

She said she arrived in Musina on 2 November 2020 in search of work. The mother of five said that her husband died in 2012 and she was battling to put food on the table for her young children, two of whom still go to school.

“I was accommodated at a relative’s place but the relative was visiting her husband working in Pretoria.”

She said she had gone days without anything to eat and did not want to burden the landlord who was already caring for her relative’s three young children while she was away.

Elon Musk is now richer than Mark Zuckerberg as Tesla shares soars

South African-born Elon Musk recently leapt past Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to become the world’s third-richest person after Tesla snagged a spot in the stock market index S&P 500, turbocharging the electric-car maker’s stock.

According to the New York Post, Tesla shares on Tuesday 17 November jumped more than 8% on news that the benchmark index is finally adding Tesla. The change will require big investment firms that duplicate the index to buy the company’s shares – and could make the S&P more volatile in the future, experts say.

The jump added more than $7.8 billion to Musk’s wealth, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, leaving Musk’s net worth on Tuesday at nearly $110 billion. That still lags Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Microsoft magnate Bill Gates, who are worth $185 billion and $127 billion, respectively.

Nevertheless, it’s comfortably ahead of Zuckerberg, whose net worth slipped to $104 billion as Facebook shares slid 1.4% to $275.

Watch: Bus ‘hijacked’ during chaotic taxi strike

Things have taken a turn for the worse on Wednesday, after an anarchic taxi strike blocked major highways and prevented a number of students from arriving at their matric exams. However, the situation spiralled out of control completely when one person – allegedly involved in the protests – hijacked a commuter bus belonging to the City of Tshwane.

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The Tshwane Bus Service issued a statement on the matter earlier this morning, confirming that a female driver was targeted near Orchards – in the north of Pretoria. The vehicle has since been located, and the employee was not harmed:

“At our meeting with the taxi industry yesterday they indicated that the protest would start at 10:00 and that it would be peaceful, hence we allowed our buses to operate early this morning and we were going to withdraw them just before the protest got underway. One of our buses has since been hijacked”

“Our drivers have been warned to not operate in the Orchards area. We have also received reports of some blockages in various parts of the city, including along Solomon Mahlangu Road, in the east of the City. With this, we have to recall all our buses to the depot.” 

Tshwane Bus Service

Brackenfell: SAPS ‘may face legal action’ over response to protesters

The SA Police Service (SAPS) has been threatened with legal action on Wednesday, after their officers dispersed a gathering outside of Brackenfell High School. The protests, led by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), served as a precursor to a much larger demonstration set to take place here on Friday – and the cops look ready for a battle.

Earlier in the day, officers fired stun-grenades and allegedly discharged rubber bullets, as dozens of civilians fled the scene. Protests have been going on in Brackenfell for the past two weeks after a row over an apparent ‘all-white matric dance’ saw the Western Cape town become the latest flashpoint for racial tensions in South Africa.

Mzwanele Nyhontso is the PAC president and the party’s sole MP. He confirmed that they will consider court action against SAPS, arguing that the organisation ‘failed to uphold the commitments of the Constitution’.

Matric latest: Adults, posing as kids, caught trying to write exams

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, on Wednesday 18 November 2020, held a media briefing on the progress of the matric exams. While the minister commented on how many candidates wrote and the leakage of the Maths Paper 2, the Chief Director of National Assessment and Public Examinations Rufus Poliah had much more to say. 

Poliah listed some of the challenges which the department faced in the last 11 days of the matric exams. One challenge, in particular, was that of imposters or “ghost candidates”. 

Although Poliah said the leakage of the Maths Paper 2 does not spell doom and gloom for examination credibility, he did make mention of other challenges. 

Poliah said there were power outages in the writing of CAT and IT but given their relationship with Eskom, they were able to manage the issue and minimise the disruption. 

What Brad Binder needs to do to become MotoGP’s Rookie of the Year

South African Red Bull KTM Rider Brad Binder heads into the final Premier Class Grand Prix of 2020 on the brink of sealing MotoGP Rookie of the Year status.

Binder’s fifth-place finish at the Valencian Grand Prix moved him up to 87 World Championship points and he is the only rookie in the field to have claimed a win this season. He holds a 20 point advantage over Honda’s Alex Marquez while the third rookie in the field Iker Lecuona has been ruled out of the race following his positive test for the coronavirus, and is out of the running for the honour.

Survivor Series 2020: WWE to pay tribute to the Undertaker

WWE are set to honour one of their greatest stars at the upcoming Survivor Series which is also the 30th anniversary of the debut of the Undertaker.

The Undertaker has captivated South African audiences since WWE programming first hit our TV screens.

The Deadman made his debut in WWE at the 1990 Survivor Series when he beat Hulk Hogan and earned his first title in the company. This year, the much-anticipated Survivor Series event is set to commemorate 30 years of The Undertaker.

WWE have declared that Survivor Series will be the final appearance of the Undertaker, but similar messaging has been conveyed in the past only for the Deadman to rise again.


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