Tuesday, October 16 2018



It’s good that journalism is cleaning out its dark corridors

If it doesn't, there will be nowhere for good journalists to go, and bad men will stride on with renewed vigour

Tom Eaton
4 min read

The other trailblazing HIV miracle that went undetected

This unsung SA surgeon has, through her persistence and courage, saved the lives of countless HIV transplant patients

By Jonathan Ancer
6 min read

Moyane's 'devastating' legacy: SARS e-filing at risk of collapse

Modernisation project was dealt a crushing blow when Tom Moyane appointed a global consultancy, says a staffer

Amil Umraw
3 min read

It's all about the DNA - and the bomb suspects who refuse to provide it

An AWOL Swahili interpreter stalls case against Durban terror accused, but prosecutor vows it's far from over

Jeff Wicks
3 min read



How clever cop work unmasked murky 'kidnap plot'

A businessman's alleged plan to grab a wealthy child for ransom is laid out before Maritzburg court

4 min read

Three decades on, she's got the dad she never knew

After a 'rollercoaster' ride a Limpopo woman will finally meet her biological father

Leonie Wagner
4 min read

Disgraced MP's family wrest home from state's clutches

ANC MP died before she could be convicted, so it's unfair to forfeit her family's home, says judge

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
2 min read

The tooth will out: It's time to bring the dentures to the people

Getting new teeth is too pricey for most South Africans, but this this may soon change

3 min read

Who needs a smoothie when you can earn food discounts?

Vitality members now earn points towards cut-price groceries and medicine instead of free health drinks

4 min read

Fishing firm hauled up for making crew pay for gear

It says it will now pay for the pants and boots, but insists that falling foul of safety rules was doing nothing unusual

Bobby Jordan
2 min read



Today's cryptic crossword

It's time to put your brain to work

1 min read

Today's quick crossword

How fast can you get it done?

1 min read


Hot air balloons on a square during the 2018 Outdoor Sports Conference in Xingyi, China.
ANCHORED Hot air balloons on a square during the 2018 Outdoor Sports Conference in Xingyi, China.
Image: STR/AFP

Six things about SA you need to know

Ramaphosa offers best wishes to matriculants

President Cyril Ramaphosa offered his best wishes to matriculants ahead of their final exams‚ which started on Monday. “Your success in obtaining the National Senior Certificate will unlock new possibilities in your own life and for our country‚" he said. “Your best defence against the stresses that naturally accompany examinations is to give yourself the best chance possible through adequate preparation. Discipline today means success tomorrow.” Ramaphosa called for pupils to be given support. A total of 37‚340 candidates were expected to sit for the first exam‚ the Computer Examinations Technology (CAT) practical paper. Nearly 800‚000 candidates countrywide will write the exams‚ the last of which will be on November 28.

VhaVenda king vows to pay back the money

VhaVenda king Toni Mphephu Ramabulana has offered to repay “any amount which will be shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities” in the ongoing VBS Mutual Bank saga. In the Reserve Bank-commissioned “The Great Bank Heist” report published last weekit is claimed that Mphephu Ramabulana received a “gratuitous payment” of more than R17m from VBS. The king said on Monday that he had read the report. “To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17m was paid to me‚ gratuitous or otherwise. Most significantly‚ the report does not find that I was part of any criminal enterprise”. The king said he would never have knowingly accepted proceeds of wrongdoing. “Any such amounts as may be shown to have been payments flowing from the fraudulent and/or criminal sources involving VBS‚ I would have received without knowledge of the criminal wrongdoing which the report identifies‚” he said.

Trio arrested for failed hijack outside school

Police have arrested three men following an attempted hijacking outside Sandown High School in Sandton‚ north of Johannesburg‚ on Monday. "The owner of the car stopped at an intersection and they [alleged hijackers] tried to hijack him‚" said police Captain Granville Meyer. He denied reports that a suspect was shot and had fled into the school premises. "There was no shooting at the school and no one was wounded." The men‚ aged between 28 and 38‚ are expected to appear in court soon. In a notice to parents, Grayston Preparatory School‚ which is a few metres from Sandown High‚ said all its pupils were safe and accounted for.

Where Blue Flags will fly on SA’s beaches

Ten years after Durban’s ill-fated decision to pull out of the international Blue Flag beach-quality system because of rising sea-sewage pollution‚ the city has only managed to regain a handful of the flags it once flew. More than 60 Blue Flags were awarded to beaches‚ marinas and tour boats along the SA coastline on Friday. Nearly half of them went to the Western Cape‚ with eThekwini municipality only managing to claim two full flags and two pilot-status flags‚ compared with the 10 flags it once had. Durban was the first SA city to implement the international programme. The city pulled out of Blue Flag in 2008, but re-entered under a new administration in 2013. Speaking at the flag presentation ceremony in Mossel Bay‚ Blue Flag administrators said 66 full flags had been awarded to 46 beaches‚ eight marinas and 12 sustainable tourism boats for the next year.

Defence tears into state witness at Omotoso trial

Gruelling cross-examination of the state’s first witness in the trial of charismatic Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused saw the defence tearing in to Cheryl Zondi’s evidence during the fourth day of court proceedings. During Monday’s cross-examination of Zondi‚ Port Elizabeth High Court Judge Mandela Makaula reprimanded Omotoso’s legal counsel Peter Daubermann on several occasions because of the nature of questions he put to Zondi. Omotoso and two other accused‚ Lusanda Sulani‚ 36‚ and Zukiswa Sitho‚ 28‚ face a litany of charges amongst them ranging from human trafficking to sexual assault and rape. The 97 charges are for crimes allegedly committed between 2009 and 2017 before Omotoso’s dramatic arrest at the Port Elizabeth airport in April 2017. At one stage Makaula stopped Daubermann from questioning Zondi about how far Omotoso had penetrated her when he raped her when she was only 14. Last week Zondi‚ 22‚ of Gauteng told in graphic detail how she was groomed by Omotoso to perform lewd sexual acts on him after she started attending his Jesus Dominion International (JDI) church. The trial continues.

Search for bodies after Tshwane flash floods

The search for two people who might have been swept away in the flooded Apies River in Tshwane at the weekend continued on Monday. Tshwane's Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said they had not received official reports of people missing in the area‚ but were responding to a resident who reported seeing two bodies in the Apies River‚ close to the low-water bridge in Capital Park. The search‚ which would involve 10 divers‚ could prove difficult. "Bodies could get caught up in trees and rocks. It could take some time for the bodies to pitch to the surface‚ but we have some well-trained officials. The water is also subsiding and rescue workers will start their searches at the places where the bodies are most likely to be‚" he said. By Monday afternoon no bodies had been recovered.


Staff at a bank in the south Chinese city of Nanning got the fright of their lives on Friday when a 1.5m python suddenly crashed through the ceiling to interrupt their morning meeting.


The news you don't normally get to hear

Well, oil be darned: Why Shell is doing better than ever

Don't dare mention the runny black stuff to the mega-company's boss. It's all about renewables now

By Jillian Ambrose
9 min read

Private relations disaster: Even Macron’s wife ‘can’t stand his arrogance’

The French first lady is also in hot pursuit of the source of the rumour that her husband has a gay lover

By David Chazan
1 min read

Shackled for life: the nation where slavery still thrives

An estimated 18% of the Mauritanian population is locked into serving their masters for life

By Joe Wallen
5 min read

Farewell, Oxford's riotous toffs - and good riddance

The raucous Oxford club is thankfully on its way out, but it will live on in art as a satire about entitlement

By Jenny McCartney
4 min read


A devotee of the Loem Hu Thai Su shrine parades with coloured yarn through large piercings in his face a festival in Phuket.
GUSHING A devotee of the Loem Hu Thai Su shrine parades with coloured yarn through large piercings in his face a festival in Phuket.
Image: Jewel Samad/AFP


Humming blogger quickly changes her tune

Chinese authorities detained a blogger for five days for “being disrespectful to the national anthem“, police in Shanghai said. Last year, China introduced a law mandating up to 15 days in police detention for those who mock the “March of the Volunteers” national anthem. In a video circulating online, blogger Yang Kaili, 20, was shown humming marching music before she started to recite the first line of the national anthem while waving her hands as if conducting an orchestra. She then greeted her audience with: “Hello, good evening, comrades.” Shanghai police said Yang “was disrespectful to the dignity of the national anthem and invited disgust among netizens”. “Live streaming sites are not outside the law,” police said at the weekend. Yang apologised in a Weibo post, vowing to stop live streaming, to conduct “self-rectification” and “seriously watch patriotic publicity films”. - Reuters

No power, please, just a horse

The desert of northern Mexico seemed perfect when the Mennonites moved there 26 years ago: a place free from electricity, television or cars. But then the government installed the first powerlines. Now, this deeply traditional, tight-knit community is divided between those who want to stay in Sabinal, their far-flung, dusty village, and those who soon will load their wagons, hitch up their horses and move to a new, even more remote home. “When the powerlines arrived, they decided to go,” says Sabinal resident Enrique Friesen, 37, who for his part plans to stay, with his wife and eight children. “They don’t want electricity, just horses. They say electricity is a sin.” The Mennonites of Mexico are the descendants of strictly conservative Protestants whose denominations emerged out of the 16th century Reformation in Europe. Their ancestors fled persecution in Germany and the Netherlands for Russia, then Canada and finally Mexico. – AFP

Google puts boda bodas on the map

Google, said on Monday it would offer Motorbike Mode on Google Maps in Kenya, offering the voice navigation service for bike riders in Africa for the first time. Kenyan roads are full of motorcycles taxis, known as boda bodas, which are much cheaper than car taxis. Google already provides the service in Asian nations such as India. “For over a million Kenyans, boda bodas are a convenient and affordable way to move and transport goods from one place to another,” Google said. “With Google Maps’ new Motorbike Mode, users across Kenya will now be able to get directions and turn-by-turn navigation, to suggest routes that are more efficient.” Streets in Kenyan cities and towns are often poorly signposted and frequently congested, making it hard for boda boda drivers to pick up customers when they hail them by phone. – Reuters

Sorry, boss, I blew up your £15m jet

A Belgian mechanic destroyed a multimillion-pound fighter jet after he accidentally fired a Vulcan cannon while carrying out repairs at an air force base. The £15m plane quickly caught fire and exploded, according to Belgian broadcaster RTL. The mechanic was working with a colleague on two F-16s in a hangar near the control tower. It is understood that the third jet, which they inadvertently destroyed after firing the cannon, was just out of their line of sight. Both mechanics were injured during the incident, which occurred on Thursday at the Florennes air base, 60km south of Brussels. – © The Daily Telegraph

Coke’s Maori misstep a grave mistake, mate

In its eagerness to cash in on the recent revival of te reo Maori, Coca-Cola has committed an embarrassing faux pas. Combining the language of the indigenous people of New Zealand with English, the company inadvertently wrote “Hello, Death” on a Kiwi vending machine, reports The Guardian. The words “Kia ora, Mate”, translate into te reo as “Hello, Death”. On their own, “kia ora” mean “hello”, while “mate” means to be dead. Big business has taken note of the te reo Māori revival: Google has launched a Māori version of its website, Google Maps is recording more accurate Māori pronunciations, and Disney has released a Māori version of the hit Polynesian film Moana. The report quoted Ngahiwi Apanui, chief executive of the Māori Language Commission, as saying: “There’s an increasing sense that te reo is good for identifying your business as committed to New Zealand.” – Staff reporter

Homeless are now streetless in Hungary

A tough new law that bans homeless people from sleeping on Hungary’s streets came into force on Monday, prompting criticism from human rights groups who say it is inhumane. The law, which follows a constitutional amendment approved in June that brands rough sleeping a crime, empowers police to order homeless people to move into shelters. If they disobey three times within a 90-day period, the police can detain them and destroy their personal belongings. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government has said the new law aims to provide proper living conditions for the homeless and has set aside money to help them. But Gabor Ivanyi, who leads the group Oltalom (Shelter) which operates homeless shelters with 600 beds in Budapest, said the government failed to conduct a proper dialogue with charity organisations before it passed the legislation. - Reuters



The gig economy: Don’t fool yourself that it’s working

It’s just what both parties want, for now, right now, for an hour. Everybody’s happy? I don’t think so

By Mark Barnes
4 min read

We haven’t seen the back end of this commodities bull yet

Commodity producers have resisted an urge to spend, and for now investors are enjoying generous returns

By Lisa Steyn
1 min read

Market seems to really fancy this Sibanye-Lonmin deal

Share prices of both companies rocket on Monday

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read



Just for the record: Prince, Primal Scream and The Who

A bi-weekly vinyl review

By Andrew Donaldson
8 min read

William Kentridge: Echoes of ‘Woyzeck on the Highveld’

Artist’s new exhibition in Johannesburg has many interlacing threads of references and preoccupations 

By Tymon Smith
2 min read

After auction, satisfaction, for making art more inclusive

Michaelis School of Fine Art is actively trying to open up the art world to those who cannot afford it

By Pearl Boshomane Tsotetsi
1 min read

What went down with Mick Jagger and Princess Margaret?

‘Fat, ugly dwarflike, lecherous and revoltingly tastelessly behaved' ... or merely a misunderstood royal?

By Michele Magwood
2 min read



SPORTS DAY: Not even a Tau goal was good enough for fans

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
5 min read

Steve, stick your 51 players where the sun don’t shine

All Blacks coach takes a giant squad on tour, but that’s nothing compared to his daft opinions about SA rugby 

Telford Vice
5 min read

Fight rages on over flogging of a horse that is now dead

Owner has already nailed one man, but vows to go after all those party to a racehorse 'scam'

David Isaacson
3 min read

Blasts from the past: Kiwis spank SA despite Biff’s knock

Today in SA sports history: October 16

David Isaacson
1 min read