De Lille, Trollip the DA’s biggest 2018 headaches
Reflecting on 2018, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it has had many challenges for the DA, but the party is looking forward to next year’s national elections. Speaking to the party’s Gauteng staff on Wednesday, Maimane cited the removal of Athol Trollip as Nelson Mandela Bay mayor and Patricia de Lille leaving the party in Cape Town as among the difficulties the DA had encountered. He said “tsotsis became united” in Nelson Mandela Bay to remove Trollip. “What also took place in Cape Town, while necessary, was also difficult. We knew for a long time something was happening there. We didn’t have a choice, we had to act … While this year has been tough in many ways, I am glad we went through it. We’ve landed on our feet and now we are moving ahead. If the DA does not succeed, South Africa will not succeed.”
Heavy cost of Garden Route fires
Replanting timber plantations destroyed in the recent Garden Route fires will cost about R80m, according to industry estimates. A total of 76km² of private plantations, mainly pine, were totally or partly destroyed in the fires that raged between October 25 and November 16, according to Sawmilling SA and Forestry SA on Wednesday. The plantations ranged from one to 25 years old, with two-thirds older than 16 years. "This will have a major negative influence on the future ability of the forestry industry in the region to produce the timber needed to supply the processing plants that rely on this resource," they said. "Many jobs in the timber-growing sector will be permanently lost. Forestry infrastructure was also destroyed." A sawmill in Geelhoutvlei valued at more than R100m was burnt down in the fires – which claimed 10 lives - leaving 400 people unemployed.
R12m to lure tourists back to Cape
Cape Town is ploughing R12m into a global campaign aimed at bringing back tourists scared away by "Day Zero" doom-mongering. The "Nowhere Better" campaign will focus on the key tourism markets of the US, UK and Germany, according to a report that will be presented at Thursday's meeting of the Cape Town city council. "This industry is vulnerable to key shocks such as the water crisis and the accompanying negative imagery that was propagated by international media," says the report. This imagery "definitely had an impact in making Cape Town a less desirable international tourist destination". The council is contributing R3m to the campaign, with the rest coming from tourism and trade promotion agency Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, and the Tourism Business Council of SA. Tourism directly employs 206,000 people in the Western Cape and pumps R39bn a year into the provincial economy.
Still no sign of escaped ‘serial killer’
Gauteng police say there is still no trace of the two murder accused who escaped from the South Gauteng High Court a week ago. Captain Mavela Masondo said police were following up on leads to arrest them. Mongezi Mcunukelwa, 31, and Sbonelo Thwala, 21, escaped from court last Wednesday. It was believed that Mcunukelwa, who is alleged to be a serial killer from Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, abandoned his bail application in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court a day before. Mcunukelwa is allegedly linked to 10 murder and attempted murder cases. He was reportedly arrested on June 21 2017 after a shootout with police. Masondo said police could not disclose how the two men had escaped.
Get a load of what SA Googled this year
SA turned to Google this year to find how to fall pregnant, where to find jobs and more about former president Jacob Zuma. The search engine giant announced the results of its 2018 Year in Search on Wednesday to reveal the year's major moments and top trends based on what South Africans were searching for. Google processes more than 40,000 search queries every second, translating to more than a billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion searches a year worldwide. Google SA said this year's searches showed South Africans had a keen interest in local celebrities, as well as news and events, while the most-asked questions list revealed an awareness of, and curiosity about, what was happening in the world. Top-trending SA searches included “load shedding”, “Zuma” and “listeriosis”, while personalities like Sbahle Mpisane, Kevin Anderson and Malusi Gigaba also featured prominently. Top questions included “what is listeriosis?”, “How much are Global Citizen tickets?” and “How to get pregnant?”
JMPD probes Global Citizen concert ‘bungling’
The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) has launched an internal investigation following allegations that the traffic management plan at the recent Global Citizen Festival was not adhered to. "Our internal investigation has commenced as we need to establish what went wrong and learn valuable lessons. The city welcomes any substantiated reports that could assist with this investigation," said mayoral committee member for public safety Michael Sun. The investigation comes after the Sunday Times reported that the JMPD's failure to properly implement the traffic management plan – by, among other things, arriving nearly seven hours late to close roads around FNB Stadium – was the catalyst for the chaos after the event. "We want to express our deepest regrets to those affected and call on the victims to come forward so that investigations can commence. It is the safety of those we serve that is the most important,” said Sun.