SPORTS: Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has warned that the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games would be an uphill battle. South Africa was drawn alongside Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in Group M of the 13-group qualifiers. Gabon will be the host nation of the 2017 games. “Some may see this as a relatively easy group – on paper it is, but on the field it is a different story altogether. I have said before that there are no easy matches in international football anymore; football has changed and every country will give it a go. While we may knowmuch about Cameroon, not much is said about Gambia and Mauritania, and those could be our banana peels. We have to do what we did during the 2015 qualifiers – be brave, show no respect, and above all, prepare thoroughly and take nothing for granted,” Mashaba said of the draw. Bafana Bafana will play its first 2017 Afcon qualifier against Gambia on the second weekend of June 2015. Their second game will be against Mauritania in the first weekend of September this year.

NEWS: Following the claims former Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) CFO Wiekus Kotze made about the party’s leadership style being autocratic, he now faces fraud charges. Kotze was suspended from the EFF in November for alleged financial impropriety. Before joining the party he was a member of Agang SA, where he was also suspended. But Kotze is adamant that he was shown the door when he started questioning the way in which Julius Malema and the EFF’s top brass abused party funds. Kotze claimed the party had no financial processes in place and that he has opened a case of financial mismanagement against Malema and other party leaders, and stated that he knew EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu had opened offshore bank accounts. He also alleged that Malema does not pay tax, with the EFF doing so on his behalf. EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi yesterday said that Kotze had been formally charged for illegally transferring money from the party into his personal bank account on the pretext that he was paying for T-shirts. Ndlozi said Kotze had admitted his wrongdoing and even offered to resign on condition that he wouldn’t be reported to the police. “We are still awaiting the money that Mr Kotze has made a commitment to pay back to the organisation and have since opened a police case against him in Johannesburg Central,” Ndlozi said. As for the assertions Kotze made about Malema and his sidekicks being bullies, Ndlozi said they wouldn’t demoralised by the lies spread by detractors.

NEWS: The 646 students who survived last Thursday morning’s Garissa University College massacre have been relocated to Moi University, in Uasin Gishu County. Classes will resume on 20 May 2015. This follows the indefinite suspension of all programmes at the ill-fated Garissa campus where 142 students and 6 security guards died. “As Moi University, we are making arrangements for all the students, teaching and non-teaching staff who survived the heinous terror attack to come here on 20 May, 2015 so that they can carry on with their academic activities,” Vice Chancellor Richard Mibey told journalists in his office in Kesses. The students, who were left with just six weeks before completing their semester, would then be redistributed to satellite campuses of their choice around the country.

NEWS: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday thanked South Africa for “taking care” of Zimbabweans who live and work in the country and urged everyone to stand behind President Jacob Zuma. “You know that we owe you not just a gesture of thankfulness, which we must express, but we owe you that thankfulness for the tolerance there has been on the part of the government here, as our people have really offended your system by jumping the border and disturbing even the social system here. Where they have come as workers, well and good – we say thank you for providing them with that work,” he said at a media briefing with Zuma. The Zimbabwean statesman also took the opportunity to address the racial tensions between the black and white population in South Africa, saying in order for peace to reign, the whites must accept that what was stolen must be given back to the rightful owners. “The Afrikaaners say they came the moment (Jan) van Riebeeck set foot in the Cape and they forgot they had a home in Holland. But did they have apartheid? No. But then they want peace, and peace does not mean you must have the lion’s share and the others have the baboon’s share. No, you are all together, let’s be equal. We did not send away whites. We took away land inaccordance with what the British government and ourselves agreed upon,” the 91-year-old said and sarcastically thanked the media for painting him as a dictator. Mugabe reiterated that the two countries must work on strengthening their relations. This is Mugabe’s first state visit in 21 years.

FINANCE: Zimbabwe’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, on Wednesday criticised South African banks for wanting to charge more when its neighbour approaches them for loans. “Your financial institutions make it more expensive than when they lend to their own clients here,” he said after agreements were signed between the two countries at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. “What is the justification for money going across the border being more expensive than when [in] Limpopo?” he asked journalists after Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma had addressed the media on relations between the two countries. “Why is it more expensive just crossing a river?” Chinamasa asked. “It’s like taking advantage of our situation . . .” Asked whether he had come to South Africa to borrow money for the country, which has survived hyperinflation and had to stop using its own currency in favour of the US dollar, Chinamasa flatly denied it. He explained that Zimbabwe had laid very large foundations for economic recovery and had recently started inter-bank lending again.

SOURCES: Daily Nation, News24Wire, Kick Off, BBC