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ANC in Tshwane wants clarification on Aucamp’s appointment
18 May 2018, 11:21 AM

The African National Congress (ANC) in Tshwane has called on the Democratic Alliance (DA) to clarify the appointment of Marietha Aucamp to the office of Mayor Solly Msimanga.

Aucamp was Msimanga’s Chief of Staff and has been embroiled in a qualifications scandal after it emerged that she allegedly lied about having a B-Tech degree.

She has since admitted to not having a tertiary qualification but denies the allegations that she concealed that fact during the appointment process.

The ANC says the DA knew she was not qualified and flouted labour laws by appointing her.

Lesego Makhubela is spokesperson for the ANC caucus in the region.

“By the time she went for the interview she was already an incumbent she was already acting. You can’t employ a person firstly to act in a position when she was not already in the employ of the city. She was not in the employ of the city; there was a woman who was retired who was told that no she must go out.”

 

Cash-in-transit heists up by more than 100%
18 May 2018, 9:33 AM

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) says cash in transit heists have increased by more than 100%.

This is from the period January to date. In the latest incident, two cash vans were bombed in a daring broad-daylight cash heist robbery in Boksburg east of Johannesburg.

A group of more than 10 suspects bombed the cash vans before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Five suspects have so far been arrested after a high speed chase that ended up at the George Gogh hostel south of Johannesburg.

SABRIC’s Kevin Twiname says, “When comparing the period January to date this year to the same period last year incidents of this nature have increased by more than 100%. SABRIC and the cash in transit companies are working closely with the SAPS in efforts to root out this scourge.”

“Currently, there are several prevention initiatives and interventions that have been launched to combat this crime. The cash in transit industry would also like to thank the SAPS for their response which has led to the arrests of some of these criminals.”

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Nadal eases past Shapovalov, Djokovic back challenging in Rome
18 May 2018, 8:58 AM

Rafael Nadal brushed aside Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 6-1 victory at the Italian Open as Novak Djokovic showed he is on the comeback trail by reaching his first quarter-final of 2018 on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Nadal will face Italian Fabio Fognini in the last eight as he looks to retake the world number one ranking from Roger Federer by winning an eighth Rome title this week.

Nadal has already won his 11th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona during the current clay-court season, but has lost in the quarter-finals in each of the last three years in Italy.

He was far too strong for Shapovalov, taking the opening set with a break in the seventh game before racing through the second to gain a measure of revenge for his shock defeat by the 19-year-old in Montreal last year.

“I think Rafa played incredible today,” said Shapovalov. “He’s been playing at a really high level for this whole clay season. So, you know, it’s credit to him. He was just simply too good today.”

Top seed Nadal recorded his 20th clay-court win of the year while Shapovalov will at least have the consolation of becoming the Canadian number one on Monday.

“It was a solid match for me,” said Nadal. “I started with some mistakes on the return. But with my serve, I didn’t lose many points.

“At the beginning, I really think that he was serving big. I got the break in the 3-all. And then the match changed. He probably stopped to serve that big a little bit, and I was a little bit more relaxed.”

The Spaniard will next take on Fognini, a player he holds a 10-3 record against including five straight wins in their most recent matches.

Fognini got past Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.

Meanwhile, Djokovic moved into his first quarter-final since Wimbledon last July when he defeated Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 7-5.

The four-time Rome champion is making his way back this year after a six-month injury absence before the Australian Open, which was followed by elbow surgery.

“It felt good,” said the 12-time Grand Slam winner. “I’ve historically always played well in Rome, and I feel like each match is getting better.”

The 30-year-old set up a clash with Japan’s Kei Nishikori for a semi-final berth.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who beat Djokovic in last year’s final, kept his title defence on track but needed eight match points to see off Briton Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-6 (13/11).

For Zverev it was an 11th consecutive win after back-to-back title runs at Munich and Madrid.

The 21-year-old will play Belgian David Goffin who advanced when Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro retired while trailing 6-2, 4-5 with a groin injury.

– Halep, Sharapova advance –

In the women’s tournament, Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain the world number one ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarter-finals after American Madison Keys withdrew injured with a painful rib.

The Romanian, a finalist in Rome last year, is on her way to holding on to top spot as she next plays France’s Caroline Garcia who dumped out US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-1, 7-6 (9/7).

Halep needed to reach at least the last eight and go further than world number two Caroline Wozniacki to retain the top ranking going into the French Open.

Dane Wozniacki was given a scare by Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova before closing out the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

She next plays Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit who defeated Venus Williams for the second time in a week.

Kontaveit, 22, won through 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) against the 37-year-old American who was seeded eighth in a tournament she won nearly two decades ago in 1999.

Three-time winner Maria Sharapova ousted Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-4 and will play fifth seed and French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko who saw off Britain’s Johanna Konta 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine fought back from a first set wipeout against Daria Kasatkina to win 0-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Atletico Madrid charged by UEFA over ‘racist’ banner
17 May 2018, 3:45 PM

European football’s governing body UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against Atletico Madrid over an allegedly “racist” banner shown by their fans at Wednesday’s Europa League final against Marseille.

The French side were also charged after some of their fans set off smoke bombs that delayed the start of the match, won 3-0 by Atletico.

The Spaniards were charged over “racist behaviour” after some fans held up a banner that allegedly appeared to show a Nazi war ensign, as well as the setting off of fireworks.

Marseille are in the dock for “crowd disturbances, acts of damages, setting off fireworks and throwing objects and late kick-off” to the game in Lyon.

The cases will be dealt with by UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body on May 31.

Five talking points for the Super Rugby weekend
17 May 2018, 9:19 AM

An inaugural match in steamy Hong Kong, the return of a Reds stalwart and a porous Lions defence are among our talking points as Super Rugby enters week 14:

– Sunwolves turn up the heat –

Japan’s Sunwolves are hoping the heat and humidity of Hong Kong will work in their favour as they aim for their first ever back-to-back wins.

The Sunwolves face South Africa’s Western Stormers still riding high from their shock 63-28 demolition of the Queensland Reds.

“I can’t wait,” said Sunwolves coach Jamie Joseph, after his team ended a nine-match losing streak last week with only their fourth Super Rugby win in three seasons.

“It was hot today and will be hotter in Hong Kong and the big men from South Africa will struggle in the heat.”

With the mercury forecast to soar to at least 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) for Saturday’s 1:15pm kick-off (0515 GMT), the heat could be a huge factor in the first Super Rugby match to be played in Hong Kong.

– Higginbotham bolsters sorry Reds –

The Queensland Reds are keen to move on from their embarrassing 63-28 thrashing by the Sunwolves and are banking on skipper Scott Higginbotham providing some leadership on his return from injury.

“It was an incredibly disappointing result on the weekend but we need to move on from that poor performance,” coach Brad Thorn said ahead of their Friday clash with the rampaging Hurricanes in Wellington.

“We’re up against one of the better teams in the competition. It will be a challenge.”

Higginbotham is relieved to be back after missing seven games this year, including the last four with a calf injury.

Thorn said he would add “a lot of experience and leadership to the side”, while admitting some “tough lessons” had been learned in Japan.

“We need to learn quickly and this Friday presents an opportunity to act on the disappointment,” he said.

– Leaky Lions concern de Bruin  –

Golden Lions coach Swys de Bruin says they must plug a porous defence to get their campaign back on track after three straight losses when the struggling ACT Brumbies visit Johannesburg.

The 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby runners-up have conceded 45 tries in 12 matches, an average of nearly four per game. Only Western Stormers and bottom team Sunwolves have let in more.

“We conceded some really soft tries in the last match of our tour against the Otago Highlanders and I’m incredibly disappointed,” admitted De Bruin.

Defeat in Dunedin completed a disastrous Australasia tour for the Lions, who began with an impressive win over NSW Waratahs, then fell to Queensland Reds and Wellington Hurricanes.

– NZ nerves as streak heads for 40  –

Australia’s trans-Tasman losing streak could hit 40 matches on Friday when Wellington Hurricanes play Queensland Reds in the New Zealand capital.

The run of defeats to New Zealand opposition stretching back to 2016 has become a monkey on the back of Australian rugby but Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said it also created a strange kind of pressure on the New Zealanders.

“I suspect it’s in the back of both Australian and New Zealand teams’ minds,” he told reporters.

“They’ll be pretty keen to be the team that breaks it and no New Zealand team wants to be the team that finally falls.

“So any of those streaks always carry a bit of psychological stuff in the background, but we haven’t focused on it at all.”

– Crusaders aim to cut short Umaga joy  –

All Black legend Tana Umaga’s happiness at receiving a one-year contract extension at the Auckland Blues may be short lived if Saturday’s match against Canterbury Crusaders follows recent form.

The reigning champions have won their last six matches against Umaga’s team, with the Blues last victory coming in February 2014.

A loss would leave the Blues winless in their past 17 matches against New Zealand opposition, just the sort of statistic Umaga needs to improve if he is to stay around at Eden Park beyond 2019.

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