/ 20 January 2017

The weekly pop sack: Cars crashing, legends leaving and officials swearing

He will be missed: Koffi Olomide and members of the Quartier Latin group.
He will be missed: Koffi Olomide and members of the Quartier Latin group.


The new year is certainly off to a wonky start and there’s not much late Happy New Year greetings can do to help. If you’re one of the 48 people whose Ford Kuga vehicles burst into flames in the middle of the highway, then you know the feeling.

Ford Kuga moemish

The panic spread on Monday morning, with every traffic report citing a staggering number of Kugas that had gone up in smoke across the country. One had already claimed the life of Reshall Jimmy while he was visiting George in the Western Cape in December 2015.

On Monday Jeff Nemeth, Ford’s chief executive for sub-Saharan Africa, announced a recall of all Kuga 1.6 vehicles manufactured between December 2012 and February 2014.

But it is Ford’s lax approach to damage control that begs the question: Did more than 40 cars in one country have to burn ­— and a man die — for the company to recall the vehicles?

Nemeth said it took so long to make this decision because they had to investigate the cause of the fires.

The Jimmys and other families are initiating a class action law suit against Ford.

Lumka Oliphant talks dirty

Department of social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant took it upon herself to engage South Africans in a Facebook post that, with the help of expletives, basically said: hands off my boss.

Oliphant was fed up with media reports suggesting that her boss, Bathabile Dlamini, who is also president of the ANC Women’s League, addressed a crowd at an event in Ekurhuleni in a less than sober, less than desirable state on Friday last week.

Oliphant’s emotional reaction was a response to media and social media, which popularised the idea that Dlamini drinks a lot.

Of course, Oliphant hastened to apologise on Monday morning after her graceless rant made headlines. Sitting across from 702 radio talk show host Eusebius McKaizer, she admitted that her words were irresponsible.

Thuli for president

Still on our ruling party, the name of the former public protector and a woman whose face is the picture of calm, calmer and calmest has come up as Jacob Zuma’s successor.

But Thuli Madonsela sent our hopes crashing when she said that she was neither qualified nor interested in the job. But she would like to see a woman lead us — one who would be more than just a politically correct choice. Surely we are worthy? Lead us Thuli: we are your fatigued electorate.

Black, bold and beautiful

Transformation in South African sports has always been a bone of contention. So much so that the lack of it has almost become cliché. For the enthusiasts, supporters and the general public, it still boils down to a question of inclusion. Are players of colour good enough?

The Proteas achieved a forceful victory against Sri Lanka in Cape Town last week and it was black players who took names and all 20 wickets.

Cricket South Africa followed black-excellence suit earlier last week and named nine players of colour in a 13-player T20 team against Sri Lanka.

In American news

Barack Obama has left the building but the world continues to hope that Donald Trump is still just a cocky celebrity businessman and not the actual president of the United States or Potus. However, even though Trump is determined to reverse some of the gains made by Obama in policies including healthcare, the outgoing Potus has advised against underestimating the new guy.

In other US news, controversial clergyman Bishop Eddie Long has died. The paradoxical preacher who led a march against same-sex marriage is said to have died from a cancer-related illness but many detractors aren’t buying it. The same man is reported to have settled out of court a lawsuit against him by four young men. They had charged him with forcing them into sexual relationships.

RIP Thandi and Koffi

Music continues to bleed as more gems are lost. South Africa’s songbird Thandi Klaasen, 86, and Congolese Koffi Olomide, 60, died on Sunday morning.

Tributes from fellow musicians and fans poured in for Klaasen, with many describing her as a fountain of know-ledge who wore her heart and soul on her sleeve.

The Congolese singer, composer and producer was known internationally for his Tcha-tcho sound and his group Quartier Latin.