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And so the day has finally come. This afternoon the Springboks will begin their campaign to defend the Rugby World Cup and become the first country to win four titles. Like the rest of the nation, we at the Sunday Times are fully behind the team. Our rugby correspondent Liam Del Carme is in France and will be giving you a blow-by-blow account of the campaign live.
This morning not only does he give us a preview of the opening game against Scotland but also speaks to some of the players about the music they listen to on the bus, and on their headphones, ahead of each match.
From Johannesburg, we bring you the rest of the buzz around the tournament, including the stories about match streaming services, a young team mascot, how much beer is being sold as well as how SAB helped the public broadcaster score a deal with Multichoice.
But as much as the entire nation’s focus is on Die Bokke, the running drama that is democratic South Africa’s growing pains continues to play itself out. The National Treasury, the Presidency as well as some other key government institutions gathered in Stellenbosch this week to discuss the country’s deteriorating financial position. It's not a pretty picture.
We report on some of the warnings and proposals made, including that the government may have to shelve some of its key delivery projects if it is to keep its R350 social relief of distress grant beyond March next year. There are also radical proposals on reducing the size of the civil service and collapsing some government departments into others.
Yesterday, South Africa woke up to the sad news of the passing of veteran politician and IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi. He was 95. Buthelezi, who also served as traditional prime minister to three Zulu monarchs, including the incumbent, has a rich and contentious history. His life story and political impact are likely to dominate debates for much of the coming week. Read Chris Barron’s obituary on this larger-than-life political figure.
Buthelezi’s passing made me remember another KwaZulu-Natal inkosi who some dubbed “the chief of peace”. Rest assured that there will be more reflections on Buthelezi and his politics on TimesLIVE and Sunday Times throughout the week.
The edition has astonishing stories including one about a man living rent-free in an Umhlanga penthouse which he admits he cannot afford to pay for. He also says the municipality will have to find him alternative accommodation if he is evicted.
Still in Durban, we have a story about a boutique hotel whose neighbours say they never gave permission for it to be built and that it is now an inconvenience in the area.
Business Times takes us inside the collapse of Transnet and how the exodus of senior executives apparently contributes to the current crisis at the SOE.
On a sad note, the Sunday Times would like to inform our readers that due to tough economic conditions, we have decided to discontinue the Express Edition of the newspaper. The newspaper will still be available in those areas that were covered by the Express Edition, but will be sold as the full edition.
Wishing you a day of gripping reading, and viewing of tonight’s match against Scotland. Go bokke!