Friday, November 16 2018



What poison is at the heart of Mabuza’s Russian riddle?

The basic facts about the Veep's Moscow 'sick-leave' connection are lost among denials and distractions

Tom Eaton
3 min read

NPA boss candidates grilled on high-profile cases

From Jackie Selebi to Edward Zuma's business partner, panelists zeroed in on candidates' questionable decisions

3 min read

No mere flight of fancy: Son of airport cleaner becomes a pilot

Visits to his father’s workplace at OR Tambo as a child nurtured a dream that would later come true

Belinda Pheto
4 min read



Debts forcing South Africans to dip into pensions

South Africans buckling under the cost of unforeseen events are resigning to get at their pensions

Nivashni Nair
1 min read

Farcical scenes as magistrate tears strip off cops

Police disrupt Booysen extortion hearing with an arrest warrant, which forced proceedings to be postponed

Aron Hyman
3 min read

Illicit booze gives the taxman a R6,4bn babbelas

SARS took a huge hit thanks to the illegal trade in 2017, and raising excise duties didn't help

Alex Patrick
4 min read

More South Africans are kicking smoking in the butt

There has been a significant drop among adult smokers, but we still lag behind other countries thanks to stress

Alex Patrick
3 min read

Like us, orangutans are handy with alarms and fishing

New study reinforces that it is unsurprising we share 97% DNA with our endangered friends

Tanya Farber
2 min read

Ain’t no mountain high enough in students’ quest for smiles

Wits group to take on Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money for the Smile Foundation

2 min read



Putin your best foot forward: The elusive swagger of a hot-Vladed male

The way men walk projects their manhood onto women, sure, but mostly onto other men

7 min read
Ideas FREE

It would take guts for irritable pedants to digest two dots

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Sue de Groot
3 min read
Ideas FREE

After 158 years here, the last thing SA's Indians needed were the Guptas

The family’s pervasive influence has fuelled the divide of distrust between Indians and Africans

Yasantha Naidoo
Durban bureau chief
3 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


Six things about SA you need to know

Expropriation law to change after poll: ANC

The ANC has conceded that it will be impossible to pass the constitutional amendment bill required to allow for expropriation of land without compensation before next year’s elections. The ANC in parliament made the concession just hours after the resolution was adopted by the Constitutional Review Committee, which gave the nod for the house to make changes to section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation without compensation. This follows months of public consultation on the matter, a process in which MPs serving on the committee travelled to all provinces to conduct public hearings and consider written submissions. ANC MP Vincent Smith said: “What’s very clear is that there will be no voting on the actual constitutional amendments before the elections.” Several opposition parties have threatened to challenge the matter in court, citing procedural flaws.

‘Significant’ petrol price drop on cards: AA

Motorists could benefit from a “significant” petrol price decrease ahead of the festive season, says the Automobile Association (AA). “After months of sustained pressure on the fuel price, fuel users will receive a substantial breather at the end November going into December if the current fuel price trends continue,” it said. Data suggested the price of petrol could drop by R1.54 a litre, the price of diesel by 92c and illuminating paraffin by 85c. A decline in international oil prices and “modest improvement in the rand/dollar exchange rate” were reasons for the projected drop. But the AA warned that the department of energy had recently reintroduced the use of the slate levy to manage price changes, which could affect the final figure. “While the current fuel-price picture is the rosiest it has been for several months, caution should remain the watchword.”

KZN taxi driver killed in ‘hit’

Police are investigating the hit-style killing of a taxi driver who was gunned down while waiting for passengers in Isipingo, south of Durban, on Thursday morning. It is understood that the 40-year-old, who has not yet been named, was shot in the head as he sat in the driver’s seat of his minibus. He was found slumped in his seat. Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said officers rushed to the scene and found the man had already died. He had been shot in the head and back at about 7am. "A case of murder was opened at Isipingo police station," said Zwane.

Cash-van strike foiled, gang caught

Eight men were arrested at a house in Kroondal near Rustenburg while allegedly planning a cash-in-transit heist. National police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said they were arrested on Wednesday in a tactical operation by crime intelligence, tracking teams, the police air wing and private company Magma Investigations in North West. Muridili said the men were traced to a safe house and after being confronted by police, fled in four cars. Police were hot on their heels and arrested eight of them, aged between 33 and 42. Muridili said it was still unclear how many others had escaped. Four cars, including two sedans, an SUV and a minibus were recovered. The Hawks have taken over the investigation.

KZN ‘bachelors tax’ untrue, says KZN govt

Bachelors in Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal are not being fined R50 a year. The provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said reports that a local chief, Inkosi Thathezakhe Ngobese, had imposed a so-called bachelors tax on unmarried men within the traditional community were fake news. Spokesman Lennox Mabaso said the rumour was "spreading like wildfire" but an investigation found there was “no truth to the story”. Ngobese told Cogta that the rumours were a smear campaign “by some elements who want to discredit him”. He said Ngobese confirmed an annual fee of R50 per household, known as a khonza fee, which covers administrative responsibilities of traditional council affairs. "In terms of Zulu custom there are certain levies that are linked to customary practices. However, these must be properly regulated and cannot be directed at or violate any demographic, such as unmarried males,” he said.

KZN prisoners sit for matric exams

Song of hope and faith echoed through the narrow passages at Durban’s Westville Prison on Thursday as 29 inmates prepared to write their matric examination. They sat at the Usethubeni Youth School at the prison. Among the eager prisoners was 21-year-old Sibusiso Kubheka, who said: “I am overjoyed by this opportunity that I have been given to study matric because with it I have been able to prove to the world that I am still human even after the mistakes I have made.” Shabangu is serving the second year of an eight-year sentence for rape. The pass rate at the department of correctional services improved from 70.5% in 2016 to 82% in 2017. “This is thanks to all the dedicated staff and teachers we have,” said spokesman Thulani Mdluli. The inmates wrote their IsiZulu paper one on Thursday and will finish their exams on November 26.
The dismantlement of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.
ERASING DIVISIONS The dismantlement of a South Korean guard post in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas.
Image: Jung Yeon-je/Pool via Reuters



The news you don't normally get to hear

‘F*** off, I'm a lawyer’: woman on plane unleashes racist rant

Irish-sounding passenger arrested for tirade after she was denied wine on an Air India flight

By Helena Horton
2 min read

Thank your lucky stars: stellar neighbour has a super-Earth

The planet orbits around one of the closest stars to the sun

By Sarah Knapton
2 min read

Pubic hair and killer abs pegged Michelangelo bronzes

Keen eye of an expert spots vital clues to identify the only known Michelangelo bronzes in existence

By Anita Singh
4 min read

We’re not taking the Pisin: There are 841 ways to say ‘jislaaik’ in Papua

And the astonishingly multilingual country's lingua franca borrows from languages as far away as Zulu

2 min read



Do man-eater’s young have taste for humans?

The orphaned cubs of a man-eating tiger killed in a state-sanctioned hunt have been spotted in a forest in western India and could be rescued and rehabilitated, officials said on Thursday. The mother was shot dead in early November after being accused of killing more than a dozen villagers, capping off one of India’s most high-profile tiger hunts and angering conservation activists. The months-long search deployed 200 hunters using paragliders, infrared cameras, sharpshooters on elephant back, and even Calvin Klein fragrance to lure the big cat. Maharashtra state’s forestry department’s AK Mishra said the cubs were “healthy and are surviving” and that specialists would assess whether they had acquired a taste for humans from their mother. “But we are hopeful of rescuing and rehabilitating them.” Activists said the tiger – called T1 by forestry officials but Avni by her advocates - said the mother was merely acting in defence of her cubs. - AFP

Shower is no excuse for not picking up

A rural Chinese government official who did not respond to phone calls from an anti-corruption inspection team while he was in the shower one evening has been reprimanded, state media said on Thursday. The inspection team in the eastern province of Anhui called the rural roads official on his cellphone four times between 7.31pm and 7.35pm to check on poverty alleviation efforts, state media said. But his failure to answer had hurt the county’s efforts to battle poverty. China, which aims to wipe out poverty by the end of the decade, wants to cut the number of its rural poor by more than 10 million this year, including 2.8 million who are to be shifted from “inhospitable areas”. The official, who has received a warning, told state media he was unable to respond because he was in the shower after a post-dinner walk, and there was no answer when he tried calling back. - Reuters

You’d probably do better at Hogwarts

British universities are falling behind in employability rankings as foreign institutions increasingly use English. The UK’s position in The Times Higher Education’s Global Employability Rankings has declined more than any other European country in recent years. Meanwhile, the rapid improvement of universities in the East has seen countries - including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore - rise in the rankings. There are now 10 British universities in the top 150, down from 15 in 2011. The US, which has also traditionally dominated the rankings, now has 34 institutions in the top 150, down from 55. The trend for universities around the world to teach courses in English has been a significant factor in Britain and American institutions losing their edge, analysts say. – © The Daily Telegraph

Yob-mobbed but saved by the bell

A town crier fought off teenage "yobs" using his ceremonial bell after they tried to snatch his hat and wig. Alan Myatt was dressed in full garb following an appearance in Gloucester town centre on Tuesday when he was attacked by three youngsters riding bicycles. Myatt, who has been a town crier for 30 years, said the hoodie-wearing "yobs" rode near him "like a gang of sharks" before they grabbed his headgear. The 61-year-old, who set a Guinness world record for being the loudest crier after he recorded a cry at 112.8 decibels, suffered minor injuries as he fended off his attackers, which included throwing his bell at one of them. – © The Daily Telegraph

Bread ban is a ‘load of quack’

Feeding the ducks bread, once a beloved tradition for many families, has in recent years become a guilty pleasure as campaigners warn it is not a healthy food for the birds. Now, the queen's swan guard has warned that campaign has caused swans to starve as people have stopped feeding them entirely. "Bin the Bread" was a highly successful campaign, officially launched by rescue charity Swan Lifeline, but the man charged with looking after the queen's swans has said it did more harm than good. The Queen's Swan Marker David Barber, Member of the Royal Victorian Order, said there is "no good reason" not to feed the swans bread and that many are underweight as a result of the ban. He added that they are put at further risk by wandering on to roads in search of food. "Swans have been fed bread for many hundreds of years without causing any ill effects.” – © The Daily Telegraph

Disney’s long-lost rabbit suddenly big in Japan

A short animated film that was created by Walt Disney in 1928 but feared lost has been discovered in Japan. The two-minute black-and-white film footage features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character Walt Disney created in 1927, a year before he came up Mickey Mouse. Titled Neck ‘n’ Neck when the film was released in the US, a handful of copies reached Japan, where one was bought by high school student Yasushi Watanabe from a toy wholesalers’ market in Osaka. Watanabe failed to realise the significance of his purchase, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported, until he read Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, published in 2017 by David Bossert, who had worked for many years on animated movies at Walt Disney Studios. According to Bossert, Disney created 26 short films that starred Oswald, but only 19 have survived. – © The Daily Telegraph
Kelsea Ballerini performs at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville.
MUSICAL CHAIRS Kelsea Ballerini performs at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville.
Image: Reuters/Harrison Mcclary



Always look on the bright side of the JSE, says chipper PSG

Don't be silly chumps, the market is offering the best value it has since 2008. See, not so bad once you’re up

By Londiwe Buthelezi
1 min read

Once KAP gets rid of the Steinhoff stigma, it’ll fly

Investors are watching closely as Steinhoff steadies itself to sell the remaining 26% stake it has in KAP 

By Ann Crotty
1 min read

Who’s going to make a cheeky bid for Dawn? Tod or Bidvest?

Gossip that former Dawn CEO Derek Tod might pitch an offer for the bombed-out building materials supplier

By Marc Hasenfuss
1 min read



Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

By Critics’ choice
2 min read

Diary of a plop star: Johnny goes off the Depp end

The 'Fantastic Beasts' villain looks to be on the skids

By Robbie Collin
6 min read

Rocky roads: Best and worst stars of the silver scream

Actors playing music: should be a lark, right?

By Martin Chilton
11 min read

Come to the Wavescape festival and have a swell time

Now in its 15th year, the festival mixes surf culture with the fight for a greener earth and bluer ocean

By Staff reporter
2 min read



SPORTS DAY: Are you ready for RG Snyman, Scotland?

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
5 min read

Come on Bafana, get with the spirit of our old heroes

Too few of us care much anymore about the team due to their inconsistent performances, but things can change

2 min read

Blasts from the past: Terrible augury as Scots trample Boks

Today in SA sports history: November 16

David Isaacson
1 min read