Thursday, November 22 2018

THE BIG ISSUES

LEADING THE AGENDA

Brutal farm attack rocks family, but they won’t let robbers have final say

They endured a gruelling ordeal of abuse and gunfire that left dad near death, but kids are still writing exams

Graeme Hosken
Journalist
4 min read

What Momentum - and SA - sorely need is some big-picture thinking

Small-picture reasoning only leads to unwanted publicity, reputational damage and loss of revenue

Jonathan Jansen
Columnist
4 min read

Gordhan: ‘Come straight to me, not my family’

Zondo vows that state capture probe won't be cowed by the many attacks directed at it and its witnesses

Ranjeni Munusamy
Associate editor: analysis
4 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

School vs dad: Did 'bullied' kids start the fight?

Parents of allegedly taunted boy want school to take action, but school says the parents’ kids were the instigators

Bongani Fuzile
Journalist
3 min read

‘Mr Crispa’ in dock again. This time, elderly neighbour says he beat him up

Juan Lerena's defence has a very different version of what happened between him and the 73-year-old

Belinda Pheto
Journalist
4 min read

Black Friday: Get ready for a good deal ... of mayhem

But, having learnt from 2017, retailers say they're better prepared - so much so you may as well call it Black November

Leonie Wagner
Journalist
2 min read

Retail apocalypse? SA shoppers still prefer getting physical

Research shows US malls are dying as online shopping becomes the order of the day. The SA situation is rather different

Suthentira Govender
Journalist
2 min read

Hey, minister, leave those kids alone

Equal Education wants an apology from KZN education MEC and police for halting protest about plight of rural children

Bongani Mthethwa
Journalist
5 min read

CROSSWORDS

GIVE YOUR BRAIN SOME EXERCISE

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

SNAPSHOT

Six things about SA you need to know

AG to flex new muscles over irregular spending

The auditor-general now has powers to hold heads of government departments and board members of state-owned companies (SOEs) personally liable for irregular expenditure that cannot be justified. These are some of the sweeping powers given to auditor-general Thembekile Kimi Makwetu after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law amendments to the Public Audit Act following years in which Makwetu’s recommendations were simply ignored by those spending public money outside legal and procurement prescripts. Presenting the audit outcomes for the 2017/18 financial year in parliament, which showed that the government’s irregular expenditure continued to rise and had reached R51bn, Makwetu said "gone are the days" where such spending would simply be dismissed "as a matter of procedure". This year's irregular expenditure shoots up to R79.4bn if that incurred by SOEs such as Eskom and Transnet, which are not audited by the office of the auditor-general, were factored in.

Cyril k-word ranter rages over ‘kangaroo court’

Convicted fraudster and race-rant accused Kessie Nair was dealt another legal blow when his application to have magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela recuse herself from his new bid for bail was dismissed on Wednesday. Nair faces multiple charges of crimen injuria and incitement to commit violence after calling President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word in a Facebook video in September. Nair was remanded in custody after Gcolotela denied his application for bail in October, prompting the 60-year-old to launch an application to have her step down. In her ruling she said his argument to have her recuse herself was unsubstantiated. Nair muttered “kangaroo court” as he was led back to the cells. His new bail bid will be heard on November 26.

Rohde sentencing moved so kids can write matric

Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe postponed the sentencing proceedings of wife-killer Jason Rohde on Wednesday. Defence advocate Graham van der Spuy told the Cape Town High Court that Rohde's twin daughters, who were writing matric exams, would be available to testify in mitigation of his sentence only on Monday November 26. He also said a close friend of Rohde had made himself available as a character witness. Van der Spuy said a psychologist who has been providing therapy to Rohde’s daughters had also made himself available. Salie-Hlophe granted a postponement until December 19. The former Lew Geffen/Sotheby's International Realty CEO has been in prison since his conviction on November 8 for the murder of his wife, Susan. He was also convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by staging the murder as a suicide.

‘Load-shedding’ halts Vlakfontein murder bail bid

The bail application of two men accused of the gruesome murders of members of the Khoza family has been transferred to the Protea Magistrate’s Court after another power outage. The state had told the court on Tuesday - when 61-year-old Fita Khupe and his 27-year-old co-accused were expected to apply for bail - that the outage was caused by burnt wires. The matter was then postponed to Wednesday. On Wednesday, however, the court was told there was load-shedding. "To avoid further delays I am transferring the matter to Protea so they can allocate a date for a bail hearing," said magistrate Maggie van der Merwe. The pair are accused of murdering the seven relatives at their Vlakfontein home. Residents have signed a petition demanding they be denied bail.

Court shoots down attempt to shut KZN mine

Environmental justice activists have failed in a bid to close down an anthracite mine next to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Rishi Seegobin ruled this week that Tendele Coal Mining was acting lawfully and that the applicants had failed to make any case for an interdict to shut down the mine. Tendele had argued that the mine was unique since other anthracite producers could not produce the qualities and quantities consistently required by ferrochrome producers. The mine employed more than 1,000 people, most of whom are from the impoverished surrounding areas. But resident Sabelo Dladla argued that the quality of life had changed completely. The applicants alleged that the company had no environmental authorisation in terms of a plethora of relevant laws. But Judge Seegobin knocked all of these arguments on the head, and dismissed the application with costs.

Michelangelo smoked out by eatery fire

Smoke soared into the sky above the luxury Michelangelo hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Wednesday as a fire broke out in the kitchen of a nearby eatery. It was quickly contained, said Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson Nana Radebe. "It took us five minutes to extinguish the fire." Radebe said parts of a kitchen caught alight. Michelangelo staff said the fire was adjacent to its premises, and that guests were evacuated as a precaution and no one was injured or hotel property damaged.
A Suidlander movement spokesperson shows a cache of supplies near Van der Kloof.
CACHE THE POOR POOCH A Suidlander movement spokesperson shows a cache of supplies near Van der Kloof.
Image: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

VISUAL SIDE

Protesters who gathered outside the Lenasia Magistrate's Court on Tuesday took protest songs to another level when they incorporated popular dance trends such as the Thuso Phala, Vosho and IdIbala. The protesters were attending the bail application of two men accused of killing seven family members in Vlakfontein last month. The case was postponed due to a power outage.


THE WORLD

The news you don't normally get to hear

Too weak to cry: Starving Yemeni kids bear brunt of war

For every child killed by bombs and bullets, thousands are dying from malnutrition

By AFP
3 min read

MooToo movement: 'My cows told me they want to keep their horns'

Eccentric farmer's campaign against dehorning first puzzled, then gripped the Swiss. They're now going to vote on it

By AFP
3 min read

A ballet star is born, and his success story is better than any fairytale

New Royal Ballet principal dancer Matthew Ball talks about his big break, and life beyond the glamour and stardust

By Neil Armstrong
7 min read

Another blow to brats: Tidy and quiet teens live longest

Study links these virtues, as well as calmness and empathy, to a reduced risk of early death

By Henry Bodkin
1 min read

SNAPSHOT

SIX THINGS ABOUT THE WORLD YOU NEED TO KNOW

You can preen but you can’t pimp, says Spain

Spain’s National Court has ruled against the creation of the first sex workers union that left the feminist Socialist government red in the face on discovering its own administration had approved it. The court cancelled the statutes of the Organisation of Sex Workers, which was registered by the labour ministry and published in the official gazette on August 4. It ruled that a union cannot defend members who carry out ‘activities that by nature don’t come with a valid work contract’. It added that giving the green light to such a union would equate to ‘admitting that pimping... is a legal activity’. The OTRAS union had argued it doesn’t only represent prostitutes but also pornographic film actors or phone sex operators. — AFP

Why did Greece need 200,000 land mines anyway?

The Bulgarian government said on Wednesday it has finally shipped back to Greece nearly 200,000 land mines that have been waiting to be destroyed since a deadly explosion ripped through the plant where they were stored four years ago. Greece had contracted a private Bulgarian firm to destroy a total of 1.5 million landmines at the plant, but an explosion ripped through the factory on October 1 2014, killing 15 people. The privately-owned plant was then stripped of its licence to decommission the remaining landmines. With worried local residents long pressing for the removal of the mines, Sofia and Athens have been negotiating their safe transfer back to Greece. — AFP

Russian fox blocked from guarding henhouse

Interpol named South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang as its new president on Wednesday, in a blow to Russia which denounced ‘unprecedented pressure’ against its own candidate to lead the global policing body. There had been growing calls for Interpol to reject Alexander Prokopchuk over fears Moscow could abuse the role to target political opponents. Kim was picked at a meeting of delegates from member nations in Dubai to replace Meng Hongwei, who went missing in his native China in September. Critics have raised concerns over Russia’s previous applications for Interpol ‘Red Notices’, or international arrest warrants, to target those who have fallen foul of the Kremlin. In an open letter this week, a bipartisan group of US senators said choosing Prokopchuk would be like ‘putting a fox in charge of a henhouse’. — AFP

Smiling poop no joke for sensitive Chinese

Dolce & Gabbana cancelled a long-planned fashion show in Shanghai on Wednesday after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts. The controversy arose after Dolce & Gabbana posted short clips on Instagram earlier this week showing a woman eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive. It erupted into a firestorm after screenshots circulated of an Instagram user’s chat with the famously volatile Stefano Gabbana in which he used five smiling poop emojis to talk about China and launched insults at the country and its people. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz apologised for ‘hurting the feelings’ of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing. — AFP

Anyone for a spoonful of pangolin scales?

A crowd gathers at a Shanghai hospital, queuing for remedies made with plant mixtures and animal parts including scorpions and freeze-dried millipedes — medicines that China hopes will find an audience overseas. Traditional medicine makes up one quarter of the country’s pharmaceuticals market. Conservationists say growing demand for products like rhino horn and pangolin scales — which are used by some practitioners even though they have no proven medical properties — have decimated vulnerable species. China partially lifted a ban on trading tiger bones and rhino horns last month despite warnings from conservationists, though state media later quoted an official saying the change had been postponed. — AFP

Why is anyone even arguing about this?

Experts appointed by President Emmanuel Macron will advise him on Friday to allow the return of thousands of African artworks held in French museums, a radical shift in policy which could put pressure on other former colonial powers. French law strictly forbids the government from ceding state property, even in well-documented cases of pillaging. Britain too has faced numerous calls to return artefacts to the countries they originate from, including the Elgin Marbles to Greece and the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. On Tuesday, the governor of Easter Island in the Pacific tearfully begged the British Museum to return one of its famous statues. The London museum has held the Hoa Hakananai’a, one of the most spiritually important of the Chilean island’s stone monoliths, for 150 years. — AFP
People climb a tree to watch the body of Hafeezullah Mir, a Kashmiri separatist leader, who was reportedly killed by unidentified gunmen before his funeral in south Kashmir.
OFFSHOOTS OF REBELLION People climb a tree to watch the body of Hafeezullah Mir, a Kashmiri separatist leader, who was reportedly killed by unidentified gunmen before his funeral in south Kashmir.
Image: Reuters/Danish Ismail

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Huff and puff all you like, you won’t blow BAT down

Peer through the investment smoke surrounding British American Tobacco and you'll see it’s a screaming buy

By Tim Cohen
5 min read

Sibanye: Saviour of jobs or money-grabbing predator?

Merger with Lonmin hinges on securing vulnerable employees, but union doesn’t see it that way

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read

Quantum leap for taxi body as it finally gears up for business

No government support required as SA National Taxi Council acquires a stake in minibus financier SA Taxi

By Londiwe Buthelezi
1 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

Fear and clothing: Horrible lessons from Dolce & Gabbana

A weekly reverie on the foibles and charms of fashion

Aspasia Karras
Columnist
3 min read

Hot tips: How to be cool in the office without taking heat

Wear less to work while avoiding being sent home

By Keneilwe Eleanor Pule
1 min read

What next for the mini-me trend? Matching babygros?

Is it stylish to dress your children up to match yourself, or, for pity’s sake, dress yourself to match them? 

By Carolyn Asome
5 min read

Banele Khoza easels into the pastels with Trenery Guild

The Woolworths brand picked the young artist for a perfect collaboration

By Aneesa Adams
1 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Willie le Roux reckons Boks are rocking

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
Journalist
5 min read

Why there’s only one man for the Bulls job: Deon Davids

He will give shape to a Springbok succession plan which has to have a black candidate high on its list of priorities

Liam Del Carme
Journalist
4 min read

Blast from the past: Low blows and cuts scupper Skosana

Today in SA sports history: November 22

David Isaacson
Journalist
1 min read