ENTERTAINMENT: Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, was crowned Miss World in London yesterday. President Jacob Zuma said in a statement: “We are very proud that our very own has earned this prestigious title after months of hard work and dedication. Ms Strauss has demonstrated the capability of South Africans to shine on the world stage. We are confident that she will fly the South African flag even higher as she performs her new responsibilities. On behalf of all South Africans, we extend our hearty congratulations [and] wish her the very best in this new role.” The University of Free State medical student beat out First Princess, Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar and Second Princess, Miss USA, Elizabeth Safrit to bring the title home. The last time a South African won the title was in 1974 when Anneline Kriel was crowned Miss World. Lead SA said the 22-year-old made the nation proud. “We are ending this year on a high note as we bring the crown home after 40 years. Rolene is only the third South African to walk away as Miss World,” said Lead SA. University of Free State rector and Vice-Chancellor Jonathan Jansen tweeted: STOP CRYING! SO BLOODY PROUD OF MY STUDENT. THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE CELEBRATES TONIGHT! WELL DONE ROLENE. YOU LIFT US UP”.
POLITICS: The Economic Freedom Fighters top six were elected on Sunday, with Julius Malema retaining his position as party president. Floyd Shivambu was elected deputy president, while Dali Mpofu is national chairperson, Godrich Gardee is secretary general, Hlengiwe Hlophe is deputy secretary general and Magdelene Monomsamy is treasurer. The more than 2 600 delegates cheered and ululated, as the top six were nominated unopposed. There was however, some tension when national co-ordinator Mpho Ramakatsa challenged Gardee. Gardee was nominated and received enough votes to meet the threshold, while Ramakatsa could not meet the threshold and dropped out of contention, leaving Gardee to secure the title. Emotions ran high towards the end of the nomination period when delegates wanted to leave the hall before a decision regarding the treasurer was reached. Security had to close the doors and prevent delegates from walking out. Malema intervened and urged that the results be announced so that delegates could leave. Once the names were called, Shivambu immediately released the delegates for the night. The conference continues today, with more members to be elected for the remaining positions. The elective congress is expected to end on Tuesday.
BUSINESS: Divisions at the South African Revenue Service (Sars) seem to have deepened. Jerome Frey, head of modernisation and strategy, resigned along with the two official who had had disciplinary charges laid against them late last week, reports BDLive. Over a week ago Sars suspended Deputy Commissioner Ivan Pillay and Strategic Planning and Risk Executive Pete Richer following an investigation a covert unit. Prior to this Sars Chief Operations Officer Barry Hore resigned, which raised questions about the stability of the organisation, especially after the new SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, dissolved his executive structure, made up of eight members, when he took on the role in September. Pillay and Richer will apparently challenge their suspensions this week in the Labour Court.
FINANCIAL MARKETS: Another fall in oil prices has shaken financial markets after the International Energy Agency said global demand will grow less than previously forecast. The news drove crude oil prices down for the fourth day in five. Oil prices have now fallen 47% since reaching a peak of $107 (R1 238,13) in June this year. On Monday, benchmark US crude was down 68 cents at $57.12 (R661,06) a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Lower oil prices should be positive for many countries, but there are also worries that the recent plunge is a sign of a sickly global economy.
INTERNATIONAL: A hostage situation is unfolding inside a cafe in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, with the nation’s prime minister Tony Abbott saying it may be “politically motivated”. Television footage of the cafe showed several people inside with their arms in the air and hands pressed against its windows, and two people holding up what appeared to be a black flag with white Arabic writing on it. The cafe is located in Martin Place, a plaza in the heart of Sydney’s financial and shopping district. It is home to the state premier’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the headquarters of two of the nation’s largest banks.
Sources: Sapa, BDLive