Monday, Monday #1
So. it’s Monday. Time to reflect on what made news in the week just past and what we can expect in the days ahead.
It’s a fantastic morning here in Joburg, with highs in the upper 20’s and a crisp, clear pale blue tint in the sky. In fact, it looks a little like Spring Day came early.
The much anticipated public launch of the cities’ Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system got under way this morning. This after the failure at High Court level by taxi operators to stop it. Sadly though, even though the promised “protest actions” by taxi operators was called off by their union, reports this morning indicate that large numbers of taxi drivers have refused to operate their vehicles this morning, leaving many commuters stranded. And placing a strain on the BRT buses as they attempt to pick up the slack.
Reports of intimidation of commuters by taxi operators are starting to filter through already. In one specific case, “lots” of people who were walking from the deserted taxi rank to Naledi Station were threatened with assault by taxi drivers if they continued to attempt to take trains to work.
Other headlines this morning include the withdrawal of charges of gross misconduct against Judge John Hlope by the Judicial Services Council (JSC). The charges against Hlope stemmed from allegations that he had inappropriately tried to influence two Constitutional Court judges in matters relating to President Jacob Zuma. Ironically, it is only the ConCourt that can now possibly review the decision taken by the JSC. And in a doubly ironic twist, should the ConCourt decide not pursue the matter, Hlope becomes eligible (and likely) to take up a position on the Constitutional Court bench himself.
Naturally, Pres. Zuma’s office was quick to announce that the President had not made any effort at all to influence the JSC decision. Not that this message will be enough to stop opposition parties from expressing their indignation at the decision: Cope national spokesman Phillip Dexter said the JSC decision smacked of the same “fixing” that preceded the dropping of corruption charges against Zuma.
On the subject of the Pres.; he was adding to his charm offence on South Africa’s “privileged white minority” again this weekend. Just a few weeks after meeting with the Hellenic, Portuguese and Italian communities, Zuma spent Saturday evening lauding the small community of South African Jewry.
Zuma acknowledged the significant role the Jewish community continues to play in building the country. “We all know that many within the Jewish community have played a prominent role in the struggle for democracy and freedom in our country. Though part of a privileged white minority, many Jewish people dedicated their lives to the advancement of the rights of the oppressed majority.”
Mo Shaik has come out and denied that any “official invitation” has been made to him to become the nations’ new spy boss. Yesterday City Press reported that no lesser personage than President Zuma himself wanted Shaik to become the new director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Shaik is the brother of convicted “near death” fraudster Schabir Shaik, who is Zuma’s former financial adviser.
The so-called “Samurai Sword Killer”, Krugersdorp schoolboy Morne Harmse will be sentenced for killing a fellow pupil with a sword when he appears in the High Court in Johannesburg later today.
The South African Security Forces Union (Sasfu), supported by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), are calling for the arrest of Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on charges of contempt of court for failing to ensure that HIV positive soldiers receive proper treatment.
On the sports front, the Springboks showed the Australian press and supporters just how “boring” their rugby is by completely dominating proceedings at the Subiaco Oval on Saturday. The 32-25 win for the Boks demoralised the partisan press and public, and put the South Africans just one point away from securing the Tri-Nations trophy, with three games still to play. Brian Habana, with his brace of tries, was in sublime form, but may have picked up a groin strain in the process. Other injury worries for coach Pieter de Villiers to consider as the team head to
Brisbane include Bakkies Botha. It is already evident that both JP Pietersen and Andries Bekker will not play due to injury.
On the soccer pitch, Kaizer Chiefs eventually broke both their goal and win drought in the PSL so far this season, beating AmaZulu 3-2 in a messy game of football. Talking of messy games, over in the UK, talk of the Premiership matches on the weekend continues to be the 2-1 home win by Manchester United over Arsenal. All sorts of allegations of bad play, dives, bad refereeing and grumpy coaches. Arsenals’ coach Arsene Wenger was sent to the stands eventually, and later referred to the MU tactics and play as being “anti-football”.
Yesterday the amazing Spa-Franchochamp circuit in Belgium saw the culmination of a fantastic Formula 1 weekend for the still young Force India team, with Giancarlo Fisichella securing the teams’ first ever pole position for the race, and then claiming their first ever championship points by finishing the race on the second step of the podium. The Force India success and deserved celebrations almost overshadowed the fact that Fin Kimi Raikkonen scored his first win in 26 starts, and the first Grand Prix win of the season for Ferrari.
Finally, the final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, the US Open starts today at Flushing Meadow outside New York. Will we see a repeat of last years’ Federer – Murray final I wonder?
Here’s wishing everyone a great week. Thanks to BlaBla for giving me the space. JoBra is out.