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Third Umpire

Cyclist Louis Meintjes, for finishing in the top 10 of the Tour de France at the weekend, the first South African to have achieved this feat, and just seven minutes behind the SA-educated winner, Chris Froome.

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ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman, whose attempt to exonerate and reinstate himself while still facing harassment charges and a disciplinary hearing has only highlighted the factional divisions in the party.

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Texas senator Ted Cruz, for resisting pressure to endorse Donald Trump’s nomination as Republican presidential candidate. Apart from the moral issue, association with the Trump brand is destined to be a political millstone.

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If Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini was hoping the expulsion of Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi would be the end of it, he is set to be disappointed now that most Fawu provincial structures have also opted to leave.

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It’s not as if we haven’t heard it all before, but IMF deputy MD David Lipton’s blunt call for reform of “anticompetitive behaviours” by business, labour and government regulators in SA can’t be repeated too often.

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He can’t be accused of giving up easily, but Mark Caruso, executive chairman of Australian mineral sands miner MRC, has had to throw in the towel over the Xolobeni project in Pondoland after fierce community resistance.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is using the weekend’s failed military coup as an excuse to further restrict freedom and purge legitimate political rivals who had nothing to do with the attempt to overthrow him.

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Here we go again. “According to our belief,” says ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, the party was “anointed by God to lead the country” to freedom. And, presumably, to govern forever, however badly.

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Mosebenzi Zwane was appointed mining minister in September 2015. Every month since then, mining production has declined, including the 4.4% in May that Statistics SA announced on Thursday. Coincidence?

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For Steinhoff International CEO Markus Jooste it may be third time lucky. After failing to land two other potential acquisitions, his £597m bid for UK discount chain Poundland seems to be in the bag.

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It’s sad when someone takes a big bet on Africa and fails, but former CEO Bob Diamond is definitively out after his key investment vehicle Atlas Mara fell to a record low over concerns about the health of Nigeria’s banking industry.

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Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire, credited with the viral internet campaign #ThisFlag, was arrested on Tuesday for inciting public violence. Technically, he is out, but in our books, he is most definitely in.

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Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, said problems in Italy’s banking sector did not amount to an 'acute crisis', That’s what they always say until it is a crisis.

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Any time you win a big soccer tournament without spending the whole game on the field is a good day in the office. On that basis, Portugal’s soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is a winner following his country’s victory at Euro 2016.

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US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The FBI has recommended that no criminal charges be pursued over her “extremely careless” use of an unsecured private e-mail server when she was secretary of state.

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It’s a little rich for SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande to warn of ‘forces’ trying to capture the tripartite alliance, given the undue influence his unelected party continues to exert over the alliance and government.

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Tshwane mayor Kgosientso ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa. The more protesters focus attention on his running of the city, the more the apparent public outrage at him being sidelined by the ANC appears sorely misdirected.

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PPC CEO Darryll Castle has pulled out all the stops since taking charge to try to keep the cement maker afloat, but Deloitte’s disclaimer on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern comes as a cruel blow.

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Oh, irony of ironies. Parliament’s “ethics commissioner”, Fezela Mahomed, resigned after a court found she violated the very code she was meant to enforce by maliciously prosecuting three DA MPs.

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So President Jacob Zuma will finally “Pay back the money”. Not nearly as much as some would have preferred, but it’s the principle that matters. Pity he had to bring the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis first.

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SABC acting CEO Jimi Matthews may have been naïve to have thought he could reform a thoroughly politicised and “captured” institution from the inside, but ultimately he has acted on principle by resigning.

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ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa, for crossing the line between political rhetoric and racist insult. Referring to DA leader Mmusi Maimane as a mere "garden boy" to his white predecessor is not OK. A public apology is in order.

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Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Downstream steel users are haemorrhaging jobs at an increasing rate, indicating the committee formed to probe the effects of import tariffs is too little, too late.

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Poor Cyril Ramaphosa. It’s no secret he’s not Jacob Zuma’s preferred successor, and having to chair the Presidential Labour Working Group when more job losses loom is just another example of him being given the dog jobs.

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KwaZulu-Natal local government spokesman Lennox Mabaso asks whether a sane party would deliberately cut the water supply to Pietermaritzburg residents to benefit politically. Really good question.

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence on keeping the naira pegged to the dollar despite the oil price rout was always risky; now the central bank has been forced to bring in a dual currency system.

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Eskom CE Brian Molefe insisted there was “nothing to hide” regarding its coal-supply contracts with the Gupta-owned Tegeta. Now, it emerges it prepaid R580m on the contract to rescue Tegeta from bankruptcy.

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Acting Brazilian President Michel Temer, whose administration is on the brink of collapse after the country’s prosecutor-general requested the arrest of several senior party leaders over an alleged corruption cover-up.

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Even if the US did go off half-cocked with its SA terror attack warning, the way the dispute has been handled by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reveals she and diplomacy are strangers.

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South African Council of Churches acting general secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana. The council’s “Unburdening Panel” for people who have information on state capture sends a strong message to the ANC.

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Former US first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, whose victory in the Puerto Rico primaries means she has all but wrapped up the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Time for The Bern to bow out.

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New KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu. Reshuffling the provincial cabinet is his prerogative, but the manner in which he has done it is sure to worsen factional divisions in the party and increase pre-election tension.

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In addition to facing an inquiry into her fitness to hold office in the wake of the Marikana killings, suspended police commissioner Riah Phiyega has been panned by a ministerial reference group for firing officers unfairly.

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Oudtshoorn administrator Kamalasen Chetty has by all accounts done a great job cleaning up the mess left by the previous council. The revival of the Cango Caves as a source of tourism revenue is just one outcome.

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According to the auditor-general’s local government report, eThekwini was one of only two SA metros to incur no wasteful spending in 2014-15 — for the second year in a row. Take a bow mayor James Nxumalo.

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The courts have ruled that her failure to consult broadcasters about the nonencryption of the set-top boxes required for digital television was irrational. This is becoming a pattern.

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Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Khama Billiat, who has capped an extraordinary season by cleaning up at the Premier Soccer League awards, winning the footballer, players’ player and midfielder of the season gongs.

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Newly listed Bidcorp’s CEO Bernard Berson. Seldom has the term “unlocking value” had as much meaning in the real world as the R18bn gain in total market cap following the unbundling of the former Bidvest Group.

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UCT vice-chancellor Max Price. Having drawn a line in the sand after the arson and vandalism incidents that occurred on campus in February, the university has now taken a firm line against those who have crossed it.

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who appears to have fallen out with the “war veterans” who have helped keep him in power, often through violence and intimidation. When you have a tiger by the tail….

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Social networking service Twitter, which has finally cracked down on abusive behaviour by banning a user who led a campaign vilifying actress Leslie Jones. There is a difference between free speech and vitriol.

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Sharks hooker Monde Hadebe, who has been banned from participating in all forms of rugby for four years after testing positive for steroids. What a senseless waste of a potentially stellar career.

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The situation at the SABC has become untenable, and when it explodes — as it will, sooner or later — we hope Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is one of the first casualties. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

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Justice Minister Michael Masutha. It is clear from the Public Service Commission’s report that the state attorney’s office has many shortcomings, but most glaring is that it fights unwinnable cases for party political reasons.

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Wannabe US first lady Melania Trump, who made a great speech in support of her husband’s presidential nomination. Pity she "borrowed" large chunks of it from an old address by Michelle Obama, of all people.

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose foundation has arguably done more to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and malaria than any African government. The rate of new infections remains scandalously high in southern Africa.

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Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima is most decidedly “in” following the amazing success of Pokémon Go, which apart from sending the world crazy, has resulted in a 70% rise in the company’s share price in the past week.

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Some say new governments should have 100 days’ grace. Not the umpire. UK Prime Minister Theresa May is out for appointing flamboyant leader of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson as foreign minister. Please. Not that.

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It never seems to end. Apart from all the other problems, SAA board chairwoman Duduzile Myeni must take the rap for the fact that SAA has slumped seven places in the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

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Who says ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe never gets a green by the third umpire? He is “in” today for castigating ANC members who spoke out in favour of the SABC’s decision to ban footage of violent protests.

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Bank of England governor Mark Carney drew strong criticism from advocates of a British exit from the EU. But guess what? His warnings about the potential risks facing the economy are being borne out.

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It is the return of bad hair and tough-love economics. UK Home Secretary Theresa May is poised to become Britain’s prime minister after rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the Conservative Party’s leadership race on Monday.

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Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, whose call for member unions to balance wage demands with the need to preserve jobs is a welcome, if belated, bit of common sense from the federation.

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Tennis veteran Roger Federer, who tied Martina Navratilova’s Grand Slam record of 306 match wins on Monday in reaching his 14th Wimbledon quarterfinal. Could there be another title in the old dog?

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National Freedom Party secretary-general Nhlanhla Khubisa has taken the fall for the party’s disqualification from contesting next month’s elections, but it is clear he is not the only one whose competence is debatable.

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Disgraced former Fifa head Sepp Blatter, who now claims to have personal experience of the draws for European football competitions being fixed. So he knew about this and didn’t kick up a fuss? And he insists he is clean!

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Now that wasn’t so painful, was it? Collapsing the Pick n Pay pyramid control structure won’t change the Ackerman family’s control of the group, but has already unlocked billions of rand in value for Pikwik shareholders.

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Cape Town businessman Johan van Staden, who spent his first night behind bars after being convicted on fraud and other charges arising from fictitious VAT claims totalling R280m over a period of three years.

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s intentions in pushing for National Health Insurance are probably good, but it is now clear the state cannot run it and SA can’t afford it. Ideologues will be the downfall of this country.

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UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who should be following David Cameron’s example and resign, especially since he hobbled the Remain campaign by refusing to share a platform with the prime minister.

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VW chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, who bore the brunt of shareholder ire at this week’s annual general meeting over VW’s handling of the emissions-cheating scandal, but survived a bid to unseat him and will lead a probe.

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Billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe, whose African Rainbow Capital has made its first foray into property, buying into a luxury residential estate. When the economy turns, that is where you want to be.

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SACP general secretary and Cabinet minister Blade Nzimande. Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s public attack on him for criticising her actions may be “out of order” but indicates he has lost political clout.

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MTN group executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, for negotiating a massive reduction of the $5.2bn fine imposed on the group by Nigeria in December. Little wonder the share experienced a relief rally on Monday.

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Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe’s announcement that crime statistics will in future be released quarterly rather than only once a year has been universally welcomed. Great news, but why did it require a 20-year battle?

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SAA chairwoman Dudu Myeni. In its eagerness to tarnish the reputation of outgoing Mango CE Nico Bezuidenhout, the “national carrier” appears to have opened itself up to investigation by the competition authorities. Oops.

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SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who, after canning The Editors on SAfm, is now reported to have banned presenters from reading out newspaper headlines on air because they are not positive enough.

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Former ANC treasurer-general and past Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa, for reminding his party that its handling of the Nkandla issue has been scandalous and it is high time it took responsibility for what happened.

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Business Unity SA chairman Jabu Mabuza, who, in partnership with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, has managed to stave off the downgrade to junk threatened by all three major rating agencies. For now, at least.

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Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko. The telecoms utility’s focus on expanding its optic fibre network countrywide marks a welcome return to its core function as the backbone of SA’s communications infrastructure.

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SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, for parting ways with the ANC on the issue of state capture by the Gupta family, saying the decision to shelve its investigation was misguided. What was that about a sinking ship?

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World men’s tennis number one Novak Djokovic, whose victory in the French Open on Sunday makes him only the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. And it must augur well for Wimbledon.

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Lewis minority shareholder David Woollam. Given that the company has breached the National Credit Act, forcing the board to investigate whether the executive has been delinquent in other areas seems entirely reasonable.

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Evan Mawarire's nonparty-political “Enough is enough” slogan has struck enough of a chord among ordinary people to prompt the government to dismiss him as an agent of imperialism.

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Gwede Mantashe has revealed that only one of the eight party members who complained about the Guptas’ inappropriate political influence has agreed to put it in writing. Intimidation much?

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The AU, for doing more than simply criticising the ICC. Former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre’s conviction for crimes against humanity, in an AU-backed court, is a giant step forward for the continent.

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Comrades 2016 men’s race winner David Gatebe, for setting a new down record and, along with women’s winner Charné Bosman, for keeping the South African flag flying in an event often dominated by foreigners.

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The Third Umpire

Deputy Public Works Minister and SACP stalwart Jeremy Cronin, who has been left with egg on his face after insisting that the Expropriation Bill is constitutional, only to have President Jacob Zuma send it back to Parliament.

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ANC elections head Nomvula Mokonyane is in trouble with her party for revealing that it has spent more than R1bn campaigning for the August 3 elections. Perhaps she could also reveal where all that money has come from?

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SABC operations chief Hlaudi Motsoeneng has added a fresh black mark to his name — the dismissal of journalists who resisted his decrees has been found to be unfair in court. But this is Teflon Man, so don’t hold your breath.

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