Monday, January 28 2019



SPECIAL REPORT: SA’s bitter water wars brew

Desperate neighbours in Klein Karoo battle it out as small farmers claim larger farms are stealing their water

Graeme Hosken
6 min read

Colossal crisis: Farmers wrung dry by drought

A report reveals the dire situation that is causing widespread depression among SA farmers

2 min read



We raped and broke many legs, admits Zim soldier

Government troops say they were ordered to 'punish' opposition activists in night raids on poor suburbs

By Peta Thornycroft
3 min read

Why all the extra stuff car dealers bring in tow?

Dealerships charge extra for service fees, but some of these add-on charges can be challenged

Wendy Knowler
Consumer journalist
4 min read

Health dept says nothing wrong with its ‘sick’ HQ

But union fights on, saying air in the Pretoria building is to blame for the collapse, even death, of workers 

Alex Patrick
4 min read

Time those broken phones and computers got the (re)boot

A new UN joint report shows that the world is discarding an alarming amount of electronic and electrical waste

Nivashni Nair
2 min read

That niggling injury you keep getting could be in your genes

A genetic component to injury was thought impossible, but a study done on a shoestring budget at UCT has found a link

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
1 min read

Labours of love: Invisible work is wearing down women

Constant juggling and multitasking at home negatively affects mental health, say experts

Claire Keeton
3 min read



Trump went balls to the wall and failed – but he won’t give up the fight

Even his own party lashed him when the government shutdown didn't get him the money to build his wall

4 min read

‘He was a paedophile’: the damning verdict on Jacko is in …

The King of Pop's 'victims' paint a horrifying picture of child abuse in a shocking new documentary

By Jane Mulkerrins
3 min read

… and if it’s true, the monster and his music will vanish forever

Art can survive its creators' crimes, but not pop - it is a music of youth, making paedophilia an ultimate transgression

By Neil McCormick
2 min read

Wake up and smell the cookies: being fat is not just about bad genes

Leave some room for free will - for if we don’t rebel now, gene-based excuses for fatness will be just the beginning

By Harry de Quetteville
4 min read


Six things about SA you need to know

Hanekom family wants second autopsy

The family of maritime businessman André Hanekom, who was arrested on terrorism charges in Mozambique and died under suspicious circumstances, wants a second autopsy done by a forensic team from SA. "We need a second opinion from our side and would like to ask a private independent forensic pathologist to be part of the team," widow Francis Hanekom wrote on Facebook on Sunday. "A quick autopsy was done, without informing me, obtaining my consent or having me present at the procedure. How would we know if the results will be honest or the body [is] not being deliberately contaminated?" Francis claimed that the Mozambican government wanted to change the cause of death on André's death certificate from encephalopathy and hypoxia to meningoencephalitis "of viral or bacterial origin". Francis is a former ICU nurse. She saw André the day before he died. "He did not present like a patient with meningoencephalitis on the brink of death. I know what it looks like, and have seen it before."

Minors ‘raped’ at initiation school by older boys

Two or more minor boys, including a five-year-old grade R pupil, were allegedly raped at an initiation school in Alice in the Eastern Cape by two older boys who delivered food for initiates, while five other minors were made to watch. The incident, which is being investigated by the Alice police's Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit, allegedly took place on December 12. The matter is also receiving close attention from social development MEC Phumza Dyantyi. The case was reported to the police by the mother of the five-year-old. She said the boy's brother had witnessed the ordeal. The mother said that when one of the suspects, aged 14, was confronted about the incident, he said his uncle had done the same to him and that the uncle had told him that he had been raped by the victim's grandfather. The alleged crime took place at Kwa Khwali Village in Alice’s Sheshegu locality. Provincial police would not discuss the details of the case.

Doccie claims mercenaries tried to spread HIV

An SA-based mercenary group has been accused by a former member of trying to intentionally spread HIV/Aids in southern Africa in the 1980s and 1990s. Alexander Jones made these claims in the documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld which premiered this weekend at the Sundance film festival in the US, The Guardian reported on Sunday. Jones said he was an intelligence officer with the SA Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR) which masterminded coups and violence in Africa. The Guardian writes that Jones claims that SAIMR leader Keith Maxwell had a “racist, apocalyptic obsession with HIV/Aids”. Maxwell reportedly claimed to be a doctor while running clinics in poor, mostly black areas around Johannesburg, allowing him to carry out sinister experiments.

No funds for new frail care patients

The Eastern Cape department of social development is struggling to afford to take in new frail care patients, said social development MEC Dr Pumza Dyantyi. While she denied that the department was depriving older, frail patients admission, she said “severely frail patients” were being referred to the department of health. The department of social development confirmed that no patients had been admitted to frail care centres over the past year. In a written answer to a question asked by the DA’s Kobus Botha, Dyantyi said: “The department is unable to afford the exorbitant fees charged for private services in these facilities.” Currently the department is paying about R18,000 per patient per month. The only two state frail care facilities in the province are run under the banner of Life Esidimeni by Eastern Cape Frail Care.

Farmers seek R3bn in drought emergency

Organised agriculture will ask the government for R3bn in emergency relief after a multi-year drought left five of SA's nine provinces critically parched and two others extremely vulnerable. As many as 31,000 jobs have been lost in the affected areas since January last year, AgriSA said on Friday in a comprehensive survey of the sector. Seven out of every 10 farmers were struggling financially and half indicated that they could be forced to retrench workers because of the drought, AgriSA said. Agriculture accounts for only about 2% of the economy, but punches above its weight in terms of jobs and its role in food security. A widespread drought that started in 2016 has hit maize producers, fruit growers and cattle farmers. "We want financial relief for the agricultural sector in the form of bridging finance for some farmers, especially those in animal production, horticulture and crop production" said AgriSA executive director Omri van Zyl.

500 Netcare staff face the chop

Hospital group Netcare plans to retrench over 500 employees as it seeks to cut costs following a failed offshore expansion and amid a tough economic environment in SA. Group employment relations manager Ramasela Mokonyama confirmed that section 189 notices had been issued to inform staff that the company would begin consultations on the "proposed structural review within its hospital division". No nurses working in patient care are included in the retrenchment process, which the company said was restricted to staff employed in other divisions. Mokonyama said: "516 Netcare employees received a letter informing them of the company's intention to review their conditions of employment, [but] the vast majority of employees will be consulted regarding proposed amendments to their current hours of work or current roles. The number of posts to be potentially made redundant will not exceed 0.7% of the 20,000 Netcare staff.”
Former Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt at the Sun Met at Kenilworth racecourse in Cape Town on Saturday.
He saw red Former Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt at the Sun Met at Kenilworth racecourse in Cape Town on Saturday.
Image: Esa Alexander




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



Holocaust survivor: ‘Going back to Auschwitz was cathartic’

Britain's last remaining Holocaust survivors tell their stories for a deeply moving new documentary

By Elizabeth Grice
8 min read

She’s is on a mission to topple Trump - and she’s doing it her own way

Hoping to become first woman of colour to be president, she begins campaign in highly unusual way

By Ben Riley-Smith
2 min read

Welcome aboard Flipflopi, the plastic boat making us think anew about waste

Made of 10 tons of shredded plastic waste, and covered in 30,000 flip-flops, it set sail with a serious message

3 min read

Prince charming: Philip apologises to woman he hit in car crash

Emma Fairweather says she is quite 'chuffed' with the personal nature of the duke's letter, which is quoted in full here

By The Daily Telegraph
2 min read


6 things you need to know about the world

Temple food is anything but holy

Two women have died and nine others including two children are undergoing treatment after eating contaminated food at a Hindu temple in southern India. It is the second such case in two months in the southern state of Karnataka. The incident happened on Saturday after devotees fell ill after consuming the temple food offered by two women. Police are looking for them. - AFP

No, pop stars, Nazi shirts are not okay

A member of Thailand's most popular all-girl band has apologised for wearing a shirt with a Nazi flag featuring a swastika, after her TV appearance drew ‘shock and dismay’ from the Israeli embassy on Saturday. Images of Hitler, swastikas and other Nazi regalia are fairly commonplace on T-shirts and memorabilia in Thailand, a phenomenon blamed on a lack of awareness about world history. The latest faux pas was committed by Pichayapa ‘Namsai’ Natha, one of the singers of BNK48, when she wore the red-and-black top complete with swastika during the group's televised rehearsal on Friday. - AFP

Executed cult members in cyanide scare

Nine Japanese companies, including drugmakers and a newspaper, have received blackmail letters containing white powder suspected to be cyanide. The letters were sent under the names of executed members of the Aum Shinrikyo - the Japanese doomsday cult behind the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo - and demanded 35 million won ($31,000) in bitcoins, police said. – AFP

Earth’s oldest rock found … on the moon

Scientists have identified what they believe is the Earth’s oldest known rock - but revealed that it came from out of this world. Nearly 48 years after Apollo 14 returned from the moon with a cargo of rocks, geologists have established that at least one of them originated 20 km below the Earth’s surface. They believe the two-gram fragment was hurled into space during a massive asteroid strike around four billion years ago, subsequently striking the. The rock is composed of quartz, feldspar, and zircon, all commonly found on Earth and highly unusual on the moon. – The Daily Telegraph

New proof Neanderthals weren’t knuckleheads

Neanderthals had the intelligence to build and use hunting weapons that kept them at a safe distance from their prey, archaeologists have found. The discovery was made after scientists at University College London made replicas of 300,000-year-old spears and trained javelin athletes to throw them. They established that the weapons could hit a target at a range of 20m with easily enough force to kill a large animal. – The Daily Telegraph

Israel doesn’t bar racist Roseanne

Roseanne Barr, whose TV show was cancelled last year after she made a racist tweet, visited Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday as part of a tour of Israel. Barr arrived in Israel last week with celebrity U.S. rabbi Shmuley Boteach. ‘There are no proper words for me to express the connection I feel, first of all to God, to Torah, to my people,’ Barr, who is Jewish, said. In May, Barr posted a tweet comparing a black former Obama administration official to an ape, prompting Walt Disney Co's ABC network to cancel her U.S. television comedy ‘Roseanne’. Barr subsequently said that what she did was ‘unforgiveable’. - Reuters
Belgian students protest for urgent measures to combat climate change in central Brussels.
SUFFOCATED WITH WORRY Belgian students protest for urgent measures to combat climate change in central Brussels.
Image: Reuters/Yves Herman



Punishing the rich will retard SA’s urgent economic revival

Gunning for the small number of super-wealthy taxpayers is not the silver bullet it might seem

By Michael Morris
3 min read

Cry for Alp: corporations step into political leadership void

As politicians stay away from Davos and confidence in state institutions evaporates, executives are ready to step up

By Ben Marlow and Ben Wright
9 min read

Cry bloody Maduro: Venezuela’s economy shrinks by half

Once one of the richest countries in the region, it has plummeted into an economic and humanitarian nightmare

By Anna Isaac
2 min read



Lifestyle: Don’t wrench the wheel when a twitch will do

Forget radical transformation – you’ll get a better, longer-lasting buzz from micro-changing

By Joel Snape
4 min read

Tech yourself in hand in 2019

Eight of the most terrific technological trends 

By Sylvia McKeown
5 min read

Amazon rolls out foolproof delivery, Scout’s honour

Already up and running, the autonomous machines are programmed to find their way to customers’ addresses

By Margi Murphy
1 min read



SPORTS DAY: Pakistan were the ones in the pink

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

2 min read

Why all Saffers understand Dale’s punch in the tunnel

When the bowler unleashed his anger, frustration and fear on a Plexiglass wall, he was doing what South Africans do

Telford Vice
4 min read

I won’t say a bad word about sledging, I swear

Common decency is fast eroding, and as for sportsmanship, well ... it’s infected the lower leagues too

Liam Del Carme
3 min read

Blasts from the past: Heavy rumbles in the ’30s by our Don

Today in SA sports history: January 28

David Isaacson
1 min read