The alarming letter from these powerful countries to Ramaphosa isn’t really that alarming

You may have caught wind of some worrying news doing the rounds: South Africa’s five biggest trading partners, the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, wrote an unprecedented memo to President Cyril Ramaphosa in which they called for state capture prosecutions, the Sunday Times reported.  But the Daily Maverick reported that the memo was actually from discussions in June 2018, and that the words state capture or corruption did not appear at all. Turns out the countries were mainly concerned about regulatory and policy certainty for investors. Oops.

The story captured on growing concern about the lack of action against senior officials who have been fingered in testimony at the State Capture Commission. But as analysts have pointed out, demanding Ramaphosa do something about it is unconstitutional. He has to allow the NPA the independence and freedom to take action; and with a new head in place, those processes are now in place.

Other headlines making the rounds today – and the bigger story behind them

  • Supporters of controversial self-proclaimed “prophet” Shepherd Bushiri say they will boycott the elections if he is not released, according to Eyewitness News (EWN). The pastor and his wife were arrested on Friday and charged with fraud and money laundering, the latest controversy to hit churches in South Africa, which brings to the fore renewed debates about regulation of religious bodies.
  • ANC branch secretary Thabang Setona was sentenced to a year in prison for assaulting a woman during a Black First Land First march at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters last year. Matona was found guilty after video footage caught him kicking 52-year-old Olivia Makete to the ground. Makete was at Luthuli House to complain about a lack of service delivery in her area, according to The Sowetan. The sentencing is a welcome move in a country where high profile leaders have gotten away with violence against women, and where gender based violence is frighteningly high.
  • The film that comedian Kagiso Lediga calls his “little experiment” is paying off, big time. According to TimesLive, Matwetwe, the film written by Lediga and produced by DJ Black Coffee, has raked in R2 million in just eight days at the box office. The film tells the story of two high school friends whose New Year’s Eve takes them on an unexpected adventure. South Africa’s film industry is slow and difficult to break into, but Lediga has been at it for years.