A Weak in the News: Class act and other fishy goings-on

PUNISHING TIMES: Back to school is proving quite the trial. But keeping the young ‘uns at home comes with its own complications.

Back to school reloaded

Tearful children. Even more tearful parents. Shiny eyed-kids in ill-fitting uniforms. It’s the start of a momentous adventure for the young ones! The papers will be there to take their pictures. Yes – it’s the old back-to-school story, a perennial media favourite, but with a macabre new twist. 

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has given the go-ahead for Grades 7 and 12 to return to school on Monday.

“We can now say with confidence that about 95% of our schools have been ably provided with the Covid-19 related imperatives,” Motshekga said.

Sticklers for accuracy, IOL initially put the figure at more than 95% ready. Then, remembering the nation’s new-found enthusiasm for statistics, did some long division and in the same report sharpened its pencil to arrive at 97.6%.  

The curriculum was being tweaked, it said. Sport might be put on hold while the kids play catch. All sorts of important people would be monitoring things. 

Lots had been done to get the schools ready, but the minister had noted challenges including “related to comorbidities among educators”. 

Not sure what that means, but it does sound bad.

Never fear, though, “procedures will be circulated” to “manage identified infections among educators, learners, educators and support staff”.

Send the little sh**s back, like, yesterday

But for all the concern about the health of our children and the teachers who look after them, many parents are simply gatvol. Either the brats return and risk getting the virus or stay at home and risk getting murdered. News24 has accurately read the public mood and is running an online poll which asks the question: “Is your job on the line because daycare centres are still closed?”  You may click only one of four options:  

  1. Yes, there is no one to care for my children otherwise,
  2. Yes, my kids are too distracting to work from home.
  3. No, my children’s other parent takes care of them.
  4. No, I am managing to juggle both.

Coup blimey, it’s the big-hitters

Breathless news of a “coup” in the Western Cape comes our way from the Sunday Times

The Slimes reports that “lockdown big-hitters Police Minister Bheki Cele and Trade, Industry & Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel” have been deployed to the province to bolster the fight against the pandemic. 

“It seems there is a coup d’état from national, to administratively start taking over certain aspects of the Western Cape, by neutralising the provincial government,” an unnamed Western Cape official tells the Slimes’ crack hacks.

It all sounds terribly exciting until you learn that the power-grab involves sending Cele to that beating heart of politics in the province – the Central Karoo region.

Patel is perhaps a little closer to the action. He is being deployed to the Tygerberg region, which includes areas such as Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Still, it’s hard to imagine the doe-eyed Patel gingering up a power-grab.

A number of other national ministers are also being deployed to the Western Cape, which now accounts for 66% of the country’s Covid cases. 

These include Public Enterprises Department Pravin Gordhan, energised perhaps by his efforts to transform SAA from a dead duck into a turnkey, who will be sent to the West Coast region.   

And the Comrade Minister in Charge of Minibuses and Soundbites, Fikile Mbalula is heading to that other hotbed of political forment, the Garden Route.  

“¡Hasta la victoria siempre!” as they say in Oudtshoorn.

It’s in-seine, I tell ya

And in more Covid-19 news…. Millions have been flouting the regulations and migrating between the provinces. Yes, it’s the annual sardine run. No injuries were reported, says IOL, after the rescue of a shark caught in a net full of sardines in Ramsgate. The report includes some lively footage of folks wrestling to free the animal, with scores of onlookers close by, seemingly unfazed by the danger. 

Perhaps it’s all that endless Netflix watching and Zoom conferencing. People are finally realising the value of live entertainment.

Meanwhile editors at major KwaZulu-Natal newspapers, it has been reliably learnt, have warned sub-editors that using the phrase “greatest shoal on earth” in any headline is a Class 1 disciplinary offence.

Gunning for business

If it isn’t coronavirus, it’s the George Floyd protests preventing honest, law-abiding businesses in the US from doing, well, business. Fox News is carrying a report that gun shop owners in West Palm Beach, Florida, say the city’s state of local emergency is forcing them to turn away customers.

“Basically this is saying, ‘Don’t bring a gun to a peaceful protest,’” countered West Palm Beach Chief Assistant State Attorney Adrienne Ellis on Friday, in a report carried by the Palm Beach Post

Seems a reasonable point, but Adam Golden, a managing partner of the colourfully named Baba Boom Guns, is unhappy, the same newspaper reports.

Give no quarter

NEW ORLEANS—In response to controversy over his previous statement that downplayed police brutality, and focused on standing for the national anthem, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees admitted on Thursday that he hasn’t trusted black people ever since a Falcons linebacker stole a football straight out of his hands. 

Apologies, this last entry somehow slipped into this roundup straight from the pages of The Onion.*

  • This is important: The Onion is a satirical news publication…. (Ed)

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