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‘Purge’ brings DA into disrepute

Hi there and welcome to The Wrap simple news updates for busy people, from Verashni Pillay and the explain.co.za team 💁🏽‍♀, and brought to you this week by Sun Ship Technologies – super easy solar for your home.

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▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ 1.OUR TAKE: DON’T LET TRUMP OF THE HOOK FOR RACISM 🙅🏽

Over the weekend, it emerged that US president Donald Trump went off about black leaders in private meetings. He made some pretty awful comments about Nelson Mandela, too.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the claims in a new book titled, Disloyal, A Memoir, according to the Washington Post. According to Cohen, Trump said that Mandela “f—ed up the whole country” and that South Africa was a “s–hole” because of him. 🤨

“He’s no leader”, Trump apparently said of Mandela. (Projecting, much?) 🥱

Predictably, Trump’s representatives are denying the claims, but this isn’t the first time Trump has insulted Mandela. In December 2013, Trump tweeted: “I really like Nelson Mandela but South Africa is a crime-ridden mess that is just waiting to explode – not a good situation for the people.”

According to Cohen, Trump also made disparaging remarks about black leaders in general, and reportedly said: “Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a sh–hole.”

We are as appalled as any by the sweeping racism of such a remark, but Mandela’s legacy speaks for itself, and Trump’s racism is not going to sully it. Which is perhaps why there’s been radio silence from politicians and civil society in South Africa over Trump’s remarks?

But this deeply entrenched hatred of black people that goes far beyond Mandela is what is really worrying.

While yet another outrageous utterance from Trump should surprise no one, this is no time to get complacent when it comes to racism. No world leader should be able to get away with that kind of outright hate speech without suffering some kind of consequence on the geopolitical stage.

Can you imagine what would happen if our own President Cyril Ramaphosa were to call Trump a raging lunatic with the moral compass of a fridge magnet who shouldn’t be trusted with looking after a garden cactus, let alone the nuclear codes? 🤐

Once the universal thunderous applause died down, we’re sure Ramaphosa would get more than a few side-eyes at the next meeting of the United Nations.

Nevertheless, the global community should hold Trump to account for his racism.

▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ 2. THE BIG STORY: “PURGE” BRINGS DA INTO DISREPUTE 👀

There’s no getting around it: the DA is a hot mess right now. Not only is its leadership contest getting ugly, but its policy conference just ended on a controversial note this weekend past.

After the resignation from the party of Gauteng leader John Moodey last week, weekend newspaper reports suggested there is a purge of senior party leaders on the go. According to the Sunday Times, seven prominent leaders are under investigation for alleged breaches of… something? We’re not really sure. That’s because many of those who have been charged didn’t even know about it until this weekend. For example, DA MP Phumzile van Damme only found out that she had been charged by reading reports in the media. 🤦🏽

Van Damme’s response was a masterclass in wry sarcasm. “We are led,” she tweeted. 😒

Her alleged crime was having a confrontation with a family at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town last year, when she was reportedly the victim of a racist incident. This reportedly led to her punching the man who insulted her.

Apparently this incident “brought the DA into disrepute”.

But Van Damme’s Kickboxer moment and its impact on the DA’s reputation is nothing compared to what the party’s new policy positions will do to it. The DA has decided to take race out of its policies on redress. This means it does not believe in any kind of affirmative action, or that race is a proxy for disadvantage. In a country like SA where black people were deliberately deprived of economic opportunity for centuries, literally on the basis of their race, this approach was never going to fly with black voters.

Of course, media leaks like those around the alleged purge of leaders are to be expected in the lead-up to an election, and we can only hope that things are not as bad as the reports would have us believe.

Nevertheless, there are concerns that it will not help the party attract the black voters it needs in order to grow. As we’ve written before, a strong opposition is good for keeping the ANC on its toes. We really hope that the DA gets its act together soon. Love them or hate them, we need the DA to function well for the sake of our democracy.

▁ ▂ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ █ 3. NEWS BRIEFS

▪️ New laws to curb gender-based violence

Remember how the country took to the streets to demand action against gender-based violence, after the horrific deaths of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, Jesse Hess and others last year? At the time it seemed like nothing was going to change. But now it turns out President Cyril Ramaphosa was listening, and has introduced new legislation, currently before Parliament, that could make a real difference.

In a nutshell, the new laws would make sure that people accused of sexual offences cannot get bail unless there are exceptional circumstances that allow for it, and they give extra protection to abused children and the elderly.
Prosecutors would also have to work much harder to prove their case if they want to withdraw charges against someone accused of a sexual offence. And, if passed, the laws will also let people apply for protection orders online.

▪️ Malema’s EFF goes to war with Clicks

Ugh, talk about a dry and damaged marketing strategy. Clicks, the beauty and health retailer, is in trouble for publishing a racist advert which depicts black natural hair as “dry, damaged and frizzy” against an image of white natural hair as “normal” 😓 . Clicks Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder has since apologised for the advert and has suspended two employees for negligence.The supplier of the advert (TRESemme) has also issued an apology. But the EFF is having none of this and has staged protests outside Clicks stores across the country, forcing some to shut down. The red berets say the only way the company will learn is if it loses revenue. But this isn’t the first time that corporate marketing departments have gotten it horribly wrong. Remember the H&M advert which displayed a black child with a hoodie saying “coolest monkey in the jungle”, or the Dove advert that showed a black woman turning white to promote their body lotion? We hope marketing executives everywhere are finally paying attention and that the Clicks debacle will be the last of its kind.

▪️ ANC Eastern Cape on a (deep) cleaning spree

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s anti-corruption drive in the ANC is showing promising signs. Twenty ANC leaders in the Eastern Cape could be removed from their positions, TimesLive reports, as they are facing criminal charges or being investigated for crimes. This follows a resolution at a recent ANC national executive (NEC) meeting, that ANC members accused of crimes including corruption must step down from their positions. Each province was instructed to report back to the NEC on possible corruption in their ranks. The Eastern Cape appears to be the most on-the-ball about this, and some of the crimes their leaders are accused of include rape, fraud and corruption. Other provinces have yet to hand their lists to the NEC, but it was reported that several leaders from the Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape were also on the lists. Could this be the beginning of the end for corrupt provincial leaders? We hope so.

If you’re still confused about ANC NEC matters, watch our explainer here with political analyst Ongama Mtimka for your understanding.

▪️ Eskom suspends two managers over load-shedding

Where has this Eskom been? Two managers – at the Tutuka and Kendal power stations have been suspended by Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter following the onset of level four load-shedding last week. In a statement, the Eskom board said it was true that load-shedding was caused by legacy issues like ageing power stations that had not been properly maintained. But it was also because of the “serious apathetic behaviours of some management staff”. More investigations are going on at the Kriel and Duvha power stations. We’re finally seeing some accountability for the country’s ongoing blackouts, and we couldn’t be happier about it! 😁

▪️ Government launches Covid-19 tracing app

South Africa has joined the ranks of several other countries who have developed a Covid-19 contact-tracing app to contain the spread of the virus. Called “COVID Alert SA”, the app uses your phone’s Bluetooth function andlocation to track other app users you have been in contact with in the past two weeks. If you have been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, you will be alerted by the app and will have to isolate. If you happen to test positive, you must inform the app and people you were in contact with will get a notification. Smart right? As long as our privacy. The government promises it isn’t stalking you, and won’t sell the information off to scammers or corporate vendors, who looooove that kind of data. It swears the information collected is being kept anonymous, with independent judicial oversight to make sure it stays that way. We’re cautiously optimistic for now, here at Explain HQ, and will be downloading the app from the Apple or Google Play app stores. How about you? P.S. It will only be effective if enough of us download it. 🤳🏽

▪️ Is your mask REALLY protecting you?

We all know about how important it is to wear a face mask, but are all face masks created equal? Not so much, reports suggest. The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that, after the whole PPE corruption nightmare, the South African Bureau of Standards conducted an inspection of medical-grade masks. It found that at least 60% of them did not meet quality standards. Which isn’t just corrupt, it’s incredibly dangerous! There’s no question that in order to protect ourselves and others from Covid-19, it’s vitally important to wear the right kind of mask. So what is the right kind of mask, exactly? Here’s what is NOT the right kind of mask: bandanas, ski-masks, balaclavas and scarves. Medical experts say they don’t really stop the virus from spreading. Stick to respirator-type masks, disposable surgical masks and reusable pleated cotton masks. But beware of fake products floating around the marketplace, experts warn. Rather go for a reputable brand or one that’s been accredited or approved.

INTERNATIONAL

▪️ Playing dead: Indonesia’s penalty for masklessness

A new punishment for people in Indonesia caught without a mask on gives a whole new meaning to “playing dead”. Authorities in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta have ruled that citizens who are found in public without a mask must lie down inside an open coffin and count to 100, while passers-by snap their picture. Authorities say they are enforcing these rules so that violators can “contemplate their decisions” – and because there is an increased risk of finding themselves inside a real casket because of Covid-19. And we thought getting bounced from Pick n Pay was bad! 😐

▪️ Novak Djocovic booted from US Open

If you’re a fan of The Djock, we’re sorry to tell you that he’s been disqualified from the US Open after he smacked a ball that then hit a lineswoman in the throat. It wasn’t deliberate, but it happened in a moment of anger and frustration. The world’s number one tennis player apologised profusely for his behaviour, saying he would turn this all into a lesson for his growth and evolution as a tennis player and as a human being.

If you’re not a fan, we’re pleased to inform you that you’re not alone. It’s not the first time his courtside behaviour has landed him in trouble. The Djock got the Rona in June, after organising a tennis tournament that drew huge crowds… with barely any social distancing. We can only hope that was a moment for “growth and evolution”, too.

INSPIRATION 💫

Some good news! Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says the Covid-19 “storm” has passed – with fewer and fewer cases being reported in the country. In its September 6 update, the department of health confirmed that only 1 633 new cases were identified that day. This is a HUGE drop from the 14 000 cases that were being identified per day during the peak in July, on average, and from about 7 200 new cases reported just a month ago. And if you think this is good news, then wait till you hear this: South Africa’s Covid-19 recovery rate has reached 88%! There have been a total of 563 891 recoveries to date with a total of 3 800 000 tests conducted. Hurrah! 😁

Week ahead

🔹 Watch out for South Africa’s Q2 GDP numbers tomorrow. Experts interviewed by Bloomberg are expecting to show that it shrunk by 42% in the second quarter of the year. But there is optimism that the third quarter will show a good recovery.

🔹 On the political front, expect more fire from the EFF and Clicks debacle, as the party says it plans to continue shutting down stores for the entire week. The DA will report back on its policy conference, and a bunch of important issues will be discussed at the National Assembly – from government assistance to municipalities, and more.

🔹 Plus, Jacob Zuma’s arms-deal related corruption trial is expected to take place virtually this week. Seasons have changed and tides have turned – but will this turn out any differently to his previous days in court? We’ll keep you posted.

That’s it from us at The Wrap, a product of https://www.explain.co.za/ – simple news summaries for busy people. 💁🏾‍♀

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Till next time, goodbye from Verashni, Sarah, Aarti and Matthew ✌🏽