Tuesday, February 19 2019




The great power robbery: on the trail of looted Eskom billions

Hawks and SIU follow river of cash that flowed out of SA - and it doesn't always lead to the Guptas

By Graeme Hosken and Katharine Child
3 min read

Bosasa’s end means riots loom at SA’s most hardcore prisons

Correctional services department launches war room and activates emergency plans as fears of prison riots mount

Graeme Hosken
4 min read
Sport FREE

Caster’s running with a lightning rod into the coming storm

Who can tell Semenya she’s not a woman? No one. Because straight answers on the subject, like good men, are hard to find

Telford Vice
8 min read



A mother’s love: Rohde’s mom pleads for him

Court hears glowing endorsements of Rohde's character in a bid to keep wife killer out of prison

3 min read

New Joburg traffic hell: Good luck getting to work

The mayor of Joburg has announced the closure of the M2 motorway

Alex Patrick
3 min read

This is how anti-vaxxers play their Trump card on social media

Stellenbosch University researcher sheds light on the way information that ignores science is spread

Tanya Farber
5 min read

She won gold for SA, but now disabled ex-Springbok faces losing her home

The first black Springbok athlete has been told she will be booted from the rondavel she has lived in for over 40 years

Bongani Fuzile
3 min read

SA has been seriously warned, maar gaan ons luisteria?

A Stellenbosch expert says the way we handle ready-to-eat food puts SA at massive risk of diseases

3 min read

Want to lose weight? HIIT it hard, say researchers

New study finds that shorter, more intense, training is better for weight loss – but there is no silver bullet

Claire Keeton
2 min read



Tito’s budget speech isn’t an economic event, it’s a domestic disgrace

For any ANC official to stand up in public and breathe even a word about our money is more than poor taste. It’s abuse

Tom Eaton
4 min read

The gran scheme of things: these are the most important members of a family

They might be ultimately unknowable to us, but our grandparents have a special place in our hearts

By Nick Duerden
5 min read

Forget the Fitbit fusspots and get on with living life

Let's stop this obsessive monitoring of our health before the Well Woman industry makes fussing ninnies out of us

By Julie Burchill
4 min read


Six things about SA you need to know

Right-to-die activist wants R2.8m for legal battle

Right-to-die activist Sean Davison is attempting to raise R2.8m in a fundraising campaign to pay for “the legal fight of my life”. Davison was charged with premeditated murder in late 2018. Prosecutors allege that he killed Justin Varian - who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease - by placing a bag over his head and administering helium in 2015. He was also charged in connection with the death of a 43-year-old doctor friend, Anrich Burger, in 2013. Burger was left quadriplegic following an accident. Davison is using the GoFundMe platform to raise money for his defence. “Those whom the state claim I 'murdered' were people known to me, suffering and desperate to end their unbearable and intractable suffering. Whilst I supported their right to choose to die, I am not guilty of premeditated murder.” The page has raised $507 (about R7,100) of its $200,000 (R2,8m) target.

Burning beds, arrests as Durban students protest

Fed up with the poor condition of their beds, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) students have resorted to setting them on fire. Students at a university residence on Hospital Road, near Durban’s South Beach, burnt the metal frames of their beds on Sunday night to show their dissatisfaction. On Monday morning burning mattresses were seen being flung out of windows at the residence, occupied by education students from UKZN's Edgewood campus. The protest resulted in lectures at the campus being cancelled. University management said it was aware of the protests. On the same day, police arrested at least seven Mangosuthu University of Technology students on public violence charges after they damaged property, stoned officers and blockaded the main road to the Umlazi-based institution. At the Durban University of Technology, students marched through the Durban CBD to demand “justice” for slain student Mlungisi Madonsela.

No load shedding this week, says Eskom

After a week of rolling blackouts, Eskom said on Monday that it anticipated no load shedding this week. The power utility's spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, said: "No load shedding is anticipated for the whole week." Some suburbs in Johannesburg, however, experienced power cuts on Monday due to issues such as cable faults. The announcement comes after the Sunday Times reported that police and intelligence officers would be deployed to Eskom power stations to protect them from possible sabotage as the government moved to implement a rescue plan to enable the power utility to keep the lights on. Eskom’s funding is likely to come up during this week’s budget speech.

Another DA billboard vandalised

A DA billboard was vandalised in Johannesburg on Monday, just hours after it was erected. The billboard said: “The ANC has killed the lights affecting 57 million South Africans!” DA chief whip John Steenhuisen unveiled the billboard on Sunday on the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in downtown Johannesburg following a week of load shedding by Eskom. But by Monday morning it had been largely destroyed. The new billboard was vandalised about a month after the same thing happened to another DA billboard in Johannesburg. That one listed the names of children who had died after falling into pit latrines and the victims of the Marikana and Life Esidimeni tragedies. Steenhuisen said on Monday the party would fix the billboard and lay a complaint against the saboteurs at the Parkview police station.

Dumped newborn saved from medical waste bin

Three days after a baby girl was rescued from a stormwater drain pipe in Durban, another newborn was found dumped in a hazardous medical waste bin at a state hospital. According to the KwaZulu-Natal health department, the six-day-old child was stuffed into a pillow case and thrown into a "potentially hazardous medical waste bin" at King Edward VIII Hospital last Thursday. A 20-year-old woman, understood to be the child’s mother, has been arrested. The health department said the baby, which was born at eight months, was being kept in an incubator. The woman had been breastfeeding the baby in the hospital when she reportedly placed the child in a bin. When a nurse asked her where her baby was, the mother pleaded ignorance. After an intensive search the child was found. Details of the incident only emerged at the weekend.

MEC ‘dumping staff in unsafe Joburg building’

Gauteng human settlements MEC Uhuru Moiloa is being accused of "dumping" his staff at an "unsafe" Johannesburg inner-city building while he occupies a cushy office in affluent Killarney. The department moved offices from the Bank of Lisbon building after it caught fire five months ago, claiming the lives of three firefighters. Moiloa worked from the same offices until that disaster. Moiloa's staff are now housed at 11 Diagonal Street in the CBD, in a building they claim is unsafe. Officials who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal said they felt the conditions “put our lives at risk”. They reported the problems to the department, they said. But department spokesperson Lebo Keswa claimed no safety concerns had been brought to Moiloa's attention. Keswa said the MEC was actively involved with the department of infrastructure and development to ensure all buildings occupied by human settlements officials met health and safety standards.
The masquerade parade during a carnival in Venice, Italy.
A SPINE THAT POPS The masquerade parade during a carnival in Venice, Italy.
Image: Reuters/Manuel Silvestri


A woman carrying a baby has been caught on camera stealing a smartphone at an office building in Bedfordview, Johannesburg.



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



The West guards its backdoor to keep the Huawei ‘wolves’ out

The Chinese telecoms giant has raised suspicion around the world with its so-called ‘wolf culture’

By Robin Pagnamenta
6 min read

Attack of the killer spuds: why your Sunday roast is killing you

It's better to boil everything, since indoor pollution from cooking the traditional meal is as bad as in city centres

By Henry Bodkin
2 min read

Some trans people regret their decision. Why are they being ignored?

A psychotherapist wants to study people who regret transitioning, but his university won’t let him

By Joe Shute
6 min read

Cutting it Fiennes: explorer shows us how he sawed off his own fingers

As part of a new doccie, he takes viewers into his garden shed for a demonstration

By Sarah Knapton
3 min read


6 things you need to know about the world

No rest for the wicked

Spain’s socialist government is racing against the clock to exhume General Franco’s remains before snap election set for April 28. The body of Francisco Franco, the dictator who ruled Spain for almost four decades, has laid at rest since his death in 1975 in a basilica under the world’s largest Christian cross he had built on a Madrid mountainside. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez vowed to remove the dictator's remains from the opulent Valley of the Fallen mausoleum after forcing his conservative predecessor from office in 2018. The socialists, with help from a delicate coalition built with Catalan nationalists, passed a law demanding a reburial in more austere settings. But a legal challenge by the dictator’s grandchildren and opposition from the Benedictine prior in charge of the mausoleum have raised questions about whether the body will be exhumed in time. - © The Daily Telegraph

It’s 1944 all over again in Paris

Eurostar trains to Paris were cancelled, a motorway closed and nearly 2,000 people evacuated from their homes on Sunday as police detonated a huge unexploded bomb believed to have been dropped by the RAF in 1944. The 453kg bomb, initially thought to be harmless, was discovered by workmen at a construction site at Porte de la Chapelle, near the Gare du Nord. It was then found to be still at risk of exploding despite having lain dormant for 75 years. The railway station was shut for several hours and people within a 3km radius were told to leave the area. Sections of the nearby A1 motorway and the Paris ring road were closed, and Métro and other train services were also halted. Hundreds of migrants sleeping rough were also moved before the police detonated the bomb in a 7m pit. – © The Daily Telegraph

I deserve a Nobel, Abe said so, says Trump

President Donald Trump has claimed that Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has written a “beautiful” letter nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening a dialogue with North Korea. Trump made the assertion during a press conference at the White House on Friday in response to a question about his expectations of a second summit with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in Vietnam in late February. Abe gave him “the most beautiful copy of a letter that he sent to the people who give out a thing called the Nobel Prize”, Trump said. “He said, ‘I have nominated you, respectfully, on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.” The Japanese government has not confirmed the president’s claim and the Prime Minister’s Office was not able to comment on Sunday. The Nobel committee has similarly not responded to the president’s comments. - © The Daily Telegraph

Luck-seekers give it stick in the nude

Luck comes in many unexpected forms, and for thousands of near-naked Japanese men, this ancient method is worth shaking a stick at. The 10,000- strong throng of loincloth-wearing luck-seekers scrambled to find two sacred sticks during a ceremony at the Kinryozan Saidaiji Buddhist temple in Okayama, reports the BBC. Having been purified in water first, they went after the lucky 20cm sticks, or “shingi”, which had been thrown into the crowd. Those who bagged them are believed to be the luckiest men of the year. The Saidaiji-eyo festival festival, which this year marked its 510th anniversary, dates to the Muromachi period, the report added. – Staff reporter

Not so fast for India’s fastest

It started well, but just a day after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s fastest train broke down on its first trip, reports CNN. The Vande Bharat Express, which can reach 160km/h, was forced to stop during its return journey to New Delhi from the northern city of Varanasi. The train, and the celebrations, ground to a halt at Chamrola Station, about 200km from the capital. India's Railway Ministry said there had been communication problems between the last four coaches and the rest of the train owing to an "external hit", the report said. After stopping, the "train was checked for faults and moved to Delhi". The train’s initial trip from New Delhi to Varanasi had gone off without a hitch. - Staff reporter

Brexit revs up Porsche prices

Porsche customers in the UK should brace for a price hike of up to 10% in case of a hard Brexit, the luxury German carmaker warned on Monday. The company said it had taken the "precautionary step" of informing customers whose cars are due to be delivered after March 29, the day Britain leaves the European Union, that they could become more expensive if new border tariffs are imposed. "As one potential outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there is a possibility that a duty of up to 10% may be applied to cars imported into the UK," Stuttgart-based Porsche said, adding that buyers could still make changes to their orders.
A serviceman of the Belarusian Interior Ministry's special forces unit performs during the event at a base in Minsk.
BRAIN FRIED A serviceman of the Belarusian Interior Ministry's special forces unit performs during the event at a base in Minsk.
Image: Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko



The magnificent rewards of buggering up the works

There should be reward systems for failure. Failure is proof that you tried, and early mistakes are valuable

By Mark Barnes
4 min read

Giant clanging ball dropped by mineral resources department

Dodgy manganese prospecting rights awarded by the department overturned by Constitutional Court

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read

GPI at last starting to douse the grease fire in its kitchen

Food division, which includes Burger King, has incurred staggering losses over the past three years

By Larry Claasen
1 min read



Bookmarks: A savage journey to the heart of HST’s gonzo

A fortnightly look at books, writers and reviews

By Andrew Donaldson
11 min read

Homer on the range: Why I sallied forth to redo ‘Odyssey’

The story of King Odysseus and Queen Penelope was worth fleshing out, says Johannesburg author

By Aleksander Bajić
3 min read

Who to call if a kid chucks cornflakes at your Basquiat

Sounds a bit rich, but there’s a special course to teach crew how to care for a superyacht's art collection

By Tymon Smith
2 min read



SPORTS DAY: Little bird says Kiwis will walk the World Cup

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
4 min read

The striker who earns R9.1m a week and can’t score a goal

Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says there are only so many pep talks he can give to Sanchez

By James Ducker
4 min read

Blasts from the past: Hansie tonks Warne for maiden ton

Today in SA sports history: February 19

David Isaacson
1 min read