Thursday, February 14 2019




Shed hits the fan: Why Eskom won’t live past April

MPs given a grim picture of a poorly managed, debt-riddled power utility that has been brought to its knees

4 min read

New crisis as Eskom mess chases SA skills away

The huge skills gap can only be plugged by foreigners. That means overhauling our appalling immigration regime

By Peter Bruce
5 min read



Students beware! Security are getting body cams

Unisa has ordered 50 of the state-of-the-art cameras, and UJ says it is considering them

Prega Govender
4 min read

What rubbish are kids reading? The very best kind

A soldier and his friends are turning bins into libraries for children of military personnel

Nivashni Nair
2 min read

SA’s trans men in dire danger of losing their masculine features

A shortage of Depo-testosterone, taken by trans men to acquire male attributes, could force men to be more feminine

Alex Patrick
3 min read

Workers square up against transport department over canned contracts

They were told they would be working for another year, then suddenly found themselves terminated

Mpumzi Zuzile
3 min read

Forensic reports and death threats spotlight chaos at VUT

Staff in senior management have locked horns with the VC, who may be implicated in irregular expenditure

3 min read

Hopelessly devoted to good: it’s more than love that keeps us together

Study of altruism among newlyweds shows their bond goes beyond romance, and there's a good evolutionary reason for it

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
3 min read



Unisa is a giant mess and its well-paid suits need to sort it out now

It might be too big to fail, but its steady collapse is putting too many vulnerable people in jeopardy

4 min read

Partisan politics should buzz off, it isn’t going to save the world

Put aside the apocalyptic ecologists and ridiculously hopeful right wing - we need a new brand of green politics

By Tim Stanley
4 min read
Ideas FREE

It’s a snor-fest no more – ditch that beard, the tache is back

From handlebar to pencil, the moustache is finally starting to overshadow the beard

By Mark Cook
3 min read


Six things about SA you need to know

Makwetla wants to testify at capture probe

Deputy justice and correctional services minister Thabang Makwetla has requested to appear before the state capture inquiry. He said evidence before the commission that he unduly received security upgrades to his home from prison facilities company Bosasa was not new. Global Technology Systems (previously Sondolo IT) regional technical co-ordinator Richard le Roux told the commission in January he carried out upgrades to the homes of government officials on the instruction of Bosasa bosses Gavin Watson and Angelo Agrizzi. It had cost about R350,000 for Makwetla’s upgrades. In 2018, Makwetla rebuked allegations that he benefited from Bosasa, saying he'd had a relationship with the Watson brothers since the "struggle days". He said his home was burgled in January 2016 and he could not find a company to upgrade security over the festive season. When he told Watson about the burglary he sent a team to his home to install the upgrades and refused to invoice him.

‘Massive failure of Sars governance’ under Moyane

There was a "massive failure of integrity and governance" at Sars under the leadership of former commissioner Tom Moyane, parliament’s finance committee was told on Wednesday. MPs were briefed by retired judge Robert Nugent on the findings and recommendations of the commission of inquiry he headed into the state of affairs at the taxman. Nugent said the failure of governance was made possible by weaknesses in the governing legislation for the revenue authority, which did not entrench governance structures in the organisation. Nugent submitted his interim report to President Cyril Ramaphosa towards the end of September 2018. It recommended the urgent removal of Moyane as commissioner in order to restore revenue collection. This was done and Moyane subsequently failed in several court bids to challenge the president’s decision. His replacement is being sought.

Glebelands hostel killer gets life

The family of 30-year-old Musawenkosi Msomi, who was killed at the controversial Glebelands hostel in Umlazi in 2018, received closure when a man was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for his death. Sanele Nkunzebomvu Thusi, 28 was sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the January 14 2018 killing of Msomi. He was further sentenced to a total of 34 years for another murder, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The hostel, which is home to more than 20,000 people, has been plagued by hit-style murders and was described as a haven for criminals during the Moerane commission of inquiry into political violence. Thusi was arrested and linked to an attempted murder case that was reported in 2017 at Glebelands, as well as Msomi’s killing. He was also linked to a 2014 murder.

Over 100 firearms stolen in gun shop robbery

A sporting gun shop in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, came under attack by robbers on Wednesday morning. More than 100 firearms were stolen from Limpopo Arms and Ammunition. The five armed men fled in a Silver Mitsubishi Triton, which was recovered nearby. Police spokesperson Captain Pearl van Staad said an unknown man entered the shop and asked a manager about seeing some firearms. "While checking the counter (stock), the male pulled out a handgun, a Glock pistol, and pointed (the firearm at) the manager and the other two staff.” The types and value of the stolen firearms were not yet known. The bakkie was recovered on the corner of Pretoria Road and Tait Street in Witfield. According to a witness, the men loaded the weapons into a green Mazda before fleeing, Van Staad said. No shots were fired and no one was injured.

Varsity to resume lectures after student’s death

It will be business as usual at the embattled Durban University of Technology (DUT) when lectures resume on Monday February 18. The death of student Mlungisi Madonsela last week brought to a head issues over housing and funding. He was shot during clashes between students and private security on the Steve Biko campus and later died in hospital. It is alleged he was shot by a security guard. The institution said on Wednesday the executive committee of senate (Senex) "has considered a recommendation from the student representative council (SRC) to resume lectures on Monday", and that each faculty and department “will implement a catch-up programme, taking into account the time lost”.

No winner for R190m PowerBall jackpot

National lottery operator Ithuba has confirmed there was no winner for the PowerBall jackpot estimated at R190m on Tuesday night. The rollover has taken the jackpot to R210m for the next draw on February 15 2019. The lucky winner would exceed the astronomical R145m PowerBall jackpot claimed in August 2018 by a 34-year-old engineer in Secunda.
A couple poses for a wedding photo shoot at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing.
WHITEOUT A couple poses for a wedding photo shoot at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing.
Image: China Daily via Reuters


Successful entrepreneur George van der Riet's R3m Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera burst into flames on Saturday in Tyger Valley, Cape Town, as he was cruising through a shopping centre parking lot.



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



At least somebody loves him: El Chapo’s home town mourns his jailing

Impoverished community misses the good old days when the ruthless druglord was their main source of income

3 min read
World FREE

Well done, old friend: Nasa says farewell to plucky Mars rover

As scientists about to pull the plug on Opportunity, they reflect on its great achievements

3 min read

I wanna walk like you, talk like you … Chimp gestures mimic our speech

Their system of communication is underpinned by the same mathematical principles as humans, scientists have found

By Sarah Knapton
1 min read

Self life: was Rembrandt the first Instagrammer?

The Dutch painter died 350 years ago, but his work sowed the seeds for the spread of social media today

By Alastair Sooke
6 min read


6 things you need to know about the world

One less doggy din-din in S Korea

A rescue operation to save hundreds of dogs in South Korea from the slaughterhouse began on Wednesday, as pressure mounts on the country to end its custom of killing canines for meat. About a million dogs are eaten a year in South Korea, often as a summertime delicacy, with the greasy red meat — invariably boiled for tenderness — believed to increase energy. The two-week rescue operation by animal protection group Humane Society International will save about 200 canines at a dog farm in Hongseong county, 150km south of Seoul. The farm was the 14th complex shut down by the group since 2015. The organisation said it has rescued around 1,600 dogs during that time. — AFP

Dear old Botswana added to EU blacklist

The European Commission has added Botswana, Saudi Arabia and Panama to a blacklist of nations that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering. In total 23 jurisdictions are listed. They are Afghanistan, American Samoa, the Bahamas, Botswana, North Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, US Virgin Islands and Yemen. Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU. The bloc’s banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions. — Reuters

Red geezer longs for days of Ronnie Reagan

The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev issued a stinging criticism of Washington on Wednesday, accusing it of misleading the world over its exit from a key arms treaty and seeking to gain military superiority at the expense of international security. This month US President Donald Trump ripped up a key arms control agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, that Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan brokered in 1987. The 87-year-old claimed Washington misled the world when it said it needed to abandon the treaty: ‘Presumably to impose its will on the world — and why else?’ The last Soviet leader also rubbished Trump’s claim he wanted to ‘get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new treaty’. ‘What treaty? About an arms buildup?’ Gorbachev asked. — AFP

Clooney says Meghan hounding won’t end well

Meghan Markle is being ‘vilified and chased’ by the tabloid press in the same way the late princess Diana was, says Hollywood superstar George Clooney. Clooney, a close friend of Markle and Prince Harry, warned of ‘history repeating’ itself with the increasingly feverish media attention on the expectant royal couple. ‘She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it’s history repeating itself. We’ve seen how that ends.’ Diana died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi on motorcycles. — AFP

US ‘man caves’ won’t darken their doors

In US corporate boardrooms, diversity is making uneven progress: Women increasingly are pulling up a chair while racial and ethnic minorities still rarely get seats at the table — 27% of new directors at companies in the Russell 3000 Index were women during 2016-2018, up from 21% in the previous three-year period, according to ISS Analytics. In 2018 alone, the figure was 32%. Though women still are under-represented, their gains have been more substantial than those of African-Americans and Latinos. These groups comprised only 5% and 2%, respectively, of new directors in 2016-2018, little changed from the previous three-year period. African Americans account for 13% of the US population, and those who are ‘Hispanic or Latino’ account for 18%, according to recent US Census Bureau estimates. — Reuters

Holocaust ‘a mere speck of bird poo’

Anti-Semitic offences rose almost 10% in Germany last year, and violent attacks were up more than 60%. Police recorded 1,646 offences motivated by hatred against Jews. Among these were 62 violent offences that left 43 people injured, up from 37 physical attacks the previous year. A mass influx of refugees and migrants to Germany from 2015 drove the rise of the far-right and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, now the biggest opposition group in parliament. Leading AfD members, aside from railing against Islam, have also made comments that play down the Holocaust. Party co-leader Alexander Gauland described Nazi Germany’s industrial-scale murder of Jews and other minorities as a mere ‘speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history’. — AFP
A dog runs in a field in Athens, with the ancient Acropolis in the background.
CAREFREE A dog runs in a field in Athens, with the ancient Acropolis in the background.
Image: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP



What’s up with MTN’s R2.4bn Nigerian online retail deal?

SA mobile operator has a big stake in Jumia’s mooted $1bn New York listing, but has MTN now got cold feet?

By Tim Cohen
3 min read

SA’s miners could have fixed Eskom problems 10 years ago

But talks with the government about setting up independent power producers went nowhere

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read

MultiChoice better hope its price freeze slows the exodus

We already spend a third of our viewing time watching free videos on social networks, so DStv must watch out

By Londiwe Buthelezi
1 min read



Fear and clothing: Instagram and mounds of other grams

A weekly reverie on the vagaries and charms of fashion

2 min read

Ayanda Mabulu’s alternative state of the (alien)ation

What would you expect from the artist whose name is most often preceded by ‘controversial South African’?

By Tymon Smith
5 min read

Gucci’s ‘blackface’ implores fashion to strip down and get real

It’s time for fashion to face up to its cultural insensitivity problem

By Lisa Armstrong
6 min read



SPORTS DAY: Hendricks back after dodgy ticker fixed

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
3 min read

RIP: Banks of England, the original, inimitable Banksy

Gordon Banks was much more than the goalkeeping linchpin of England’s victorious 1966 World Cup side 

By The Daily Telegraph
8 min read