April fools: the best media pranks - TechCentral

April fools: the best media pranks


Several media outlets on Tuesday published prank stories and advertisements for April Fools’ Day, mocking government and recent controversial projects.

The Times, on its front page, reported it was possible to avoid paying e-tolls by travelling at precisely 113km/h under the toll gantries.

According to the report a whistleblower warned roads agency Sanral to remove the glitsch from the system, known as Prying on Every Person Holding Out Legally (Poephol).

The Times said documents seen by it confirmed that motorists travelling at this speed would not be captured by cameras.

It quoted Moegoe Dlamini, a Poephol system administrator, saying: “These documents are damning. Our system will collapse.”

An advertorial in The Star said a new sex tax would be introduced on 3 April because of the country’s overpopulation.

The website link provided for more details goes to a page for Lovers+condoms with the line: “Fool around this April Fools’ Day”.

The Daily Sun reported that Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema had accepted a nomination by the Democratic Alliance to run as its presidential candidate.

Asked what would happen to the Economic Freedom Fighters, Malema said: “Oh, EFF off with your silly questions tendency.”

The Daily Maverick reported that the SABC, Independent Newspapers, The New Age and ANN7 would merge into one entity to “tell the definitive truth about South Africa; day in, day out, on all media channels, until Jesus comes.”

Political parties and sports bodies also joined in the April Fools’ Day fun, by issuing prank press statements to media outlets.

Netball South Africa announced that Springbok winger Odwa Ndungane would be included in its team at the Commonwealth Games later this year.

“After considerable deliberation we decided on Odwa because of his athleticism and ability to cover ground. We have set ourselves a clear goal of winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games and with Odwa in our team we believe that we can indeed make the country proud,” Netball SA president Mimi Mthethwa said.

Olympic long jumper Khotso Mokoena, Proteas batsman AB de Villiers and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune would be on the reserve list should Ndungane get injured.

The Democratic Alliance “announced” that the Western Cape province would pay for a multimillion-rand upgrade to its leader Helen Zille’s home in Cape Town, in a stab at the controversy surrounding president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

“The initial upgrade is planned for about R20m, but according to Western Cape finance minister Alan Winde, ‘everyone knows that these things often run way over budget, so the Western Cape government has set aside R246m for inevitable cost overruns’,” the statement said.

Upgrades to Zille’s home would include a “decontamination Jacuzzi, a security surveillance theatre, an underground safety gym and an emergency helipad that will also serve as a tennis court”.

The Mail & Guardian reported that it had been taken on an exclusive tour of Nkandla, and found that the complex was living off the grid on a mix of “cow manure and hot air”.

Its reporters were informed that to counter negativity, several Nkandla structures would be moved “brick by brick” to key government prestige properties in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.

Zuma’s wife MaKhumalo’s tuck shop would be rebuilt outside the main gate of John Dube House, the official presidential residence in Durban where it was found that “the wealthy suburb of Morningside would be more lucrative for a small business and would provide Zuma and his family a nice nest-egg for retirement”.

The chicken run would go to Zille’s official residence “so that she too can benefit from the state’s largesse and save on the family’s grocery bill”.  — Sapa

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