• Monday, August 31 2015
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Third Umpire

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has egg on his face after the Labour Court declared aspects of the Seta grant regulations invalid, reversing his edict that skills grants payable to employers be cut from 50% to 20%.

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Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu, for trying to withdraw the union’s complaints against Prasa after it became clear that the public protector’s findings would not favour then-CEO Lucky Montana.

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has been forced to call early elections after a rebellion by leftist MPs in his Syriza party. That’s what you get when you make promises that cannot be fulfilled, then break them.

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24%
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Mpumalanga Premier and ANC provincial chairman David Mabuza. The advisability of setting up a state-owned mining company is questionable even at a national level, but at provincial level, it is a sure recipe for corruption.

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Supermodel Heidi Klum, who somehow managed to respond to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s gratuitous sexist insult with grace and good humour — and without once mentioning his infamous comb-over.

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National police commissioner Riah Phiyega is turning out to be her own worst enemy; the belligerent text message sent from her phone to DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard may well turn out to be the final nail in her career coffin.

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The poor, beleaguered rand, which has taken a frightful bashing in recent months as investors abandon emerging-market currencies in droves. If only our traditional export destinations were in a state to consume more.

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Comedy is a male-dominated world, and that’s no joke, so Khanyisa Bunu becoming the first woman to win the audience award at the SA Savanna Comics’ Choice function Awards should turn a whole lot of frowns upside down.

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Public service and administration portfolio committee head Peace Mabe, whose determination to hold the executive to account has resulted in the launch of a unit to resolve late payments to state service providers.

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Police commissioner Riah Phiyega. The police portfolio committee’s angry reaction to her underlings’ statement of confidence in her ability in the wake of the Marikana report indicates she has precious few friends left.

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Shoprite and Pepkor chairman Christo Wiese, who is set to become the first African to be inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame, joining the founders of Harrods, Marks & Spencer, Walmart, Ikea and Alibaba, among others.

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… and then arriving unannounced on Tuesday armed with a thick document marked “Top Secret” that she insisted should take precedence over whatever else was meant to be on the committee’s agenda for the day …

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Prasa procurement head “Dr” Joseph Phungula, who has resigned after being exposed as being the latest senior executive at the troubled parastatal to have lied about his qualifications. Does nobody check these things?

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who has a mountain to climb to prepare for the World Cup later this year after the team’s first ever loss in history to Argentina at the weekend. SA has now fallen to fifth in the international rankings.

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Police committee chairman Francois Beukman, for rebuking the police leadership clique who issued a statement in support of national commissioner Riah Phiyega. It was, as he said, inappropriate and unprofessional.

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Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Appointing FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana to sort out the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is an inspired decision. SA dare not let this vital support structure collapse.

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68%
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Suspended PetroSA chief financial officer Lindiwe Mthimunye-Bakoro, who lost her court application to have the suspension overturned. She will have to sit on the sidelines and watch the implosion with the rest of us.

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Secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana, for maintaining the assembly’s record of receiving clean audit reports every year since 2006-07. SA needs all the good examples it can find to keep the government honest.

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91%
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Energy portfolio committee chairman Fikile Majola, for opting to hold public hearings on the government’s decision — without having the faintest idea of what it will all cost — to build 9,600MW of nuclear power reactors even though the cost is still up in the air.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is reportedly planning to run for a fourth term in 2017. The two-term limit advocated by US President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Africa surely applies to Europe too.

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Parliamentary standing committee on appropriations chairman Paul Mashatile, for demanding the Treasury put as much pressure on government departments to pay their municipal bills as on councils to pay Eskom.

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South African Local Government Association chair Thabo Manyoni, who moved swiftly to mediate between the Department of Human Settlements and Western Cape government to resolve a dispute over funding.

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Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib, for derecognising the EFF on campus, so its candidates are disqualified from contesting SRC elections. The party’s behaviour is unacceptable, but suppression is not the answer.

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66%
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US investment guru Warren Buffett. His personal fortune may have declined $3.6bn last week alone due to the ongoing equities plunge, but imagine being so wealthy that this represents just 5% of your investments!

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Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, for blocking attempts to cast light on SA’s $10m payment to Fifa in the Caribbean, ostensibly to "support the diaspora" but widely believed to have been a bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup.

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ANC parliamentary caucus chairman Seiso Mohai, the figurehead of the MPs who forced through a resolution adopting the whitewash report of the ad hoc committee on Nkandla, absolving the president of all responsibility.

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Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson. The supermarket giant managed to gain market share from its rivals while maintaining a decent margin in the year to end-June, despite being hit by rising electricity and security costs.

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So now it’s lecturers who are “poisoning the minds” of SA’s media, according to SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. As if he of all people would know what goes on at tertiary educational institutions.

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All the political power in the world will not enable Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to prevent the mass job losses that have resulted from his misgovernance and now threaten to overwhelm his corrupt regime.

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Swimmer Chad le Clos managed to put the disappointment of the recent world championships aside to make a clean sweep of the butterfly events in Paris on Sunday — and add gold in the 200m backstroke.

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, for bringing executives from Chinese parastatals to SA to pass on their skills. Goodness knows we need help, but is the Chinese model really the one we want to follow?

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Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, for failing to pitch as scheduled to address last week’s parliamentary committee meeting on the multibillion-dollar nuclear procurement deal, which is apparently “far advanced”.

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… and having to be prevented from divulging the supposedly classified contents of the folder during an open meeting. The minister either has no grasp of her job or lives in her own world.

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Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, for reversing his decision to suspend beleaguered Glencore subsidiary Optimum Coal’s operating licence, which was only making a bad employment situation worse.

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52%
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Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele, who has fiddled while the SA Post Office crashed and burnt. Time for a public-private partnership to restore basic postal delivery services.

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Rural development and land reform committee chairwoman Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila, for suggesting it be made more difficult for land claimants to take cash instead. That’s not addressing SA’s skewed ownership pattern.

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61%
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It is hard to dispute DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s contention that President Jacob Zuma violated his oath of office by preventing the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, but what’s the point of an impeachment attempt that is sure to fail?

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It is now unclear whether EFF leader Julius Malema will ever face trial on charges of tender fraud, but the court of public opinion will not look favourably on him making himself out to be a Christ-like figure set to “die for my sins”.

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International Association of Athletics Federations president Lamine Diack, for crying conspiracy in the wake of allegations of widespread doping in the sport, rather than explaining why he’s so convinced it’s not true.

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Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. Given the serious fraud allegations that have been leveled levelled against the Prasa board by fired CEO Lucky Montana, asking the auditor-general auditor-general to conduct a forensic investigation is a wise move.

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Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who has outdone himself in avoiding political accountability for the Nkandla scandal by blaming “neoliberal” outsourcing to private companies and “downsizing of the public service”.

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The Third Umpire

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, for his adept chairing of crisis talks between stakeholders in the mining industry, which have yielded an agreement (yet to be signed) that could give mining a new lease on life.

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New world champion 400m sprinter Wayde van Niekerk. He was clearly left a little worse for wear by his stunning victory, but then it’s no mean feat to trounce the reigning world and Olympic champions.

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Adcock Ingram CEO Kevin Wakeford. No matter how hard it has tried, the company has failed to meaningfully diversify outside of SA, where its biggest rival is making steady inroads.

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