SUNDAY TIMES - Protests, insults and politics: 9 things you might have missed this week
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Sunday Times News By Staff Reporter, 2016-02-19

Protests, insults and politics: 9 things you might have missed this week

EFF leader Julius Malema during the debate on the State of the Nation Address on February 17, 2015 in Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Foto24 / Liza van Deventer Gallo Images

Need to catch up on what happened this week before that big dinner party? From the State of the Nation debat, student protests and a mystery body on plane, we round up some of the big stories - local and international - that made the news...

1) First there was the SONA debate...

President Jacob Zuma was savaged in parliament this week during the debate on his State of the Nation address.  First on the attack was Maimane, who invoked the imaginary "Planet Zuma" to highlight his point that the president was living in a different world from the majority of South Africans. Malema started his speech by stating he would not take part in a debate with an "illegitimate" president before covering the issues facing the poor - saying poor people lived and died "like pigs" - before the EFF walked out.

Day two of the debate degenerated into chaos with "rubbish", "voetsek", "juvenile delinquent", "cheap wine" and "political dwarf" just some of the button-pushing words that dominated the parliamentary debate.

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2) ... and then there was the president's response

Barbed wire was rolled out outside parliament as the president prepared to respond to the debate. A subdued Zuma appealed to all parties to work for the good of South Africa. Unlike last year, when Zuma came out swinging in a fiery reply, this year the president went back to basics, focusing heavily on the economy and on education. A motion of no confidence in Zuma will be debated in parliament next month, while there is a threat to call for his impeachment after his turnabout regarding the public protector's report on the Nkandla upgrades.

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3) Student protests and burning paintings

Violence marred student protests at the country's universities this week. On Monday, University of Cape Town students protested against accommodation shortages in residences, which they said did not affect white students. A Jammie shuttle bus was torched and vice-chancellor Max Price's office was petrol-bombed. In addition, artwork was burnt, including that of anti-apartheid activists.

At Wits university a bus was set alight, while the University of Pretoria (UP) suspended academic programmes at Groenkloof and Hatfield campuses on Thursday after scuffles broke out over its language policy.

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4) Lily Mine

Rescue operations may take up to three weeks to resume again at the Lily Mine in Barberton, Mpumalanga where three employees are still trapped underground. After days of trying to reach them, a large concrete structure at the entrance of the mine tunnel and soil from a hill next to the sinkhole broke off and fell into the same hole in which the container is buried, halting rescue efforts. Rock engineering experts have suggested that a mine rescue drill similar to one that had been used to rescue Chilean miners in 2010 is needed.

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5) Mystery of the body on the plane

Zimbabwean authorities have requested help from Interpol as they probe the mystery of a body, found on board a plane transporting millions of rands to Durban, which were apparently printed in Germany.

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6) Pope vs Donald Trump

Pope Francis this week said Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump's views on immigration were "not Christian" yesterday, prompting Trump to reprimand the religious leader as "disgraceful" for questioning his faith.

 

 

7) Zika virus plans

The  Department of Health this week said that South Africa has developed an action plan to prevent the importation and spread of Zika virus into the country, even as the World Health Organisation launched a funding appeal for its own the $56 million operation.

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8) Google Play Movies comes to South Africa

Hot on the heels of Netflix announcing its arrival on our shores, Google has  announced that Google Play Movies is now available in South Africa. Users will be able to stream movies to watch instantly on your tablet, phone and laptop (via a browser) or download the movie to watch offline.

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9) ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

Before you let rage get the better of you on the road, you might want to watch this video that went viral this week: