Thursday, February 28 2019

THE BIG ISSUES

LEADING THE AGENDA

WATCH: Rohde’s icy reaction as he is sentenced

Yours is a 'story of malignant love', judge tells former property empire CEO, who merely blinked as she sentenced him

2 min read

Dad and wife murders: Banker says case not proved

Accused former Bank of Athens boss Vincenzo Pietropaolo moves to have some charges dropped

Shain Germaner
Journalist
3 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

Landmark ruling: Don’t play race card at work

Judges urge against 'false accusations of racism' following ugly spat between two Legal Aid staffers

By Tania Broughton
3 min read

Sorry, Sassa doesn’t know what Down syndrome is

Officials temper this startling admission by vowing to teach their staff about this and other disabilities

Alex Patrick
Journalist
3 min read

Family of cop in stormwater drain baby case takes mom in

The woman charged with attempted murder is out on bail 

2 min read

I was set up: Private eye cries ‘witch-hunt’ in row with DA bigwig

Accused of taking cash from Dianne Kohler-Barnard without delivering, he has a very different version of events

Jeff Wicks
Journalist
2 min read

Dorothy Masuka left a ‘lasting impression’ on humble home soil

Zim township residents remember hours of rehearsal with the singer, her return from exile and her departure for SA

By James Thompson
3 min read

No chicken or beef for little birds flying on big bird

Air Seychelles had some unusual passengers during a recent conservation flight that involved a short island hop

2 min read

IDEAS

FEEDING YOUR MIND

Don’t outlaw the charlatans – revive the miracle of doubt

Laws cannot change the mindsets and behaviours of ordinary citizens. Good education can

4 min read

Forget it: those quick-fix apps won’t help you remember

Nothing will halt natural dulling of faculties, but there's a lot to be said for diet, exercise, and not worrying

By Luke Mintz
7 min read

Stuck in the middle age: if it’s not the kids, it’s your parents

But sometimes, as in my case, you have neither children nor parents. It can be a lonely place

By Clair Woodward
4 min read

SNAPSHOT

Six things about SA you need to know

Toll fees to rise again in March

Toll fees across SA will increase again on March 1, adding yet more financial pain to embattled consumers. The Automobile Association (AA) says these increases will co-incide with a likely increase in fuel prices in March, which, given the current data, look set to be significant. These increases will apply countrywide to all tolled roads. “With the increase to fuel levies which comes into effect in April, the addition of a Carbon Tax on fuel (effective in June), the likely increase to fuel prices in March, and, now, the increase to toll fees across the country, consumers will see their money diminish even more,” the AA noted. While the tolls for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project were rising in line with inflation, this would be of little solace to consumers who had either not received wage or salary increases, or whose increases had either been in line with or lower than that.

Loan shark slapped with R18,000 fine

A 54-year-old loan shark from Welkom in the Free State will have to cough up R18,000 after he was convicted of contravening the National Credit Act. If he fails to do so, he could spend close to three years in prison. Free State police spokesperson Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn.said Elijah Zacharia Ngcola was convicted in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Monday after pleading guilty to 10 counts of contravening the act. He was arrested in December 2018 following a search-and-seizure operation at his home in Masilonyana near Welkom. It was alleged, and later confirmed, that he was “running an illegal cash loan business” and was confiscating clients’ back cards and identity documents to secure loan repayments.

Man bust with almost R14m in forex

A suspected currency smuggler has been found in possession of $997,750 (about R13.8m) by customs officials at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport. The SA Revenue Service (Sars) said its officers stopped the passenger on Monday evening, and his backpack was searched. He admitted to having one bag, which had been checked in for the flight and which the officers then retrieved. "During the interview he admitted to be in possession of foreign currency, but attempted to downplay the amount. It was, however, discovered that most of the foreign currency had been concealed at the bottom of two bags," said Sars. He was arrested after he "failed to provide a credible explanation for the currency".

Esidimeni: 17 patients still missing

Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has confirmed that 17 mental health patients who were discharged after the provincial health department cancelled its contract with hospital group Life Esidimeni have still not been found. More than 140 patients died after 1,711 patients were moved from Life Esidimeni homes into ill-equipped and unlicensed NGOs around Gauteng in 2016. Ramokgopa gave an update on the search for missing patients in an oral reply to questions by DA MPL Jack Bloom in the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday. She said four missing patients had been traced with help from the department of home affairs, reducing the number of unaccounted-for patients from 21 to 17. She added that the health department was doing all it could to track down the remaining patients.

Man gets 12 years for stealing creche’s R7.5m

A Pietermaritzburg businessman has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars by the Durban Commercial Crime Court after pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering of R7.5m meant for the building of a creche. Businessman Mex Dladla, 48, from Bishopstowe in Pietermaritzburg, masterminded the theft of money from the KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance and traditional affairs department (Cogta) with his girlfriend, who was a departmental official. His girlfriend, Nokwazi Patricia Mkhize (Chule), transferred the money from Cogta meant for the creche into his account after bypassing the department's biometrics procedure for settling government invoices. KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said on Wednesday Dladla was in a relationship with Mkhize (Chule) when the fraud was committed four years ago. The theft was picked up when the municipality complained that it had not yet received the money.

Woman bust with gun waistbelt

The police officers who stopped a woman walking down the road because of her bulky stomach must be brave indeed. Johannesburg metro police department chief David Tembe revealed on Wednesday that officers attached to the crime prevention unit had nabbed a woman for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and live ammunition. The police arrest record states: "The officers noticed the suspect walking along Valda Street in Rosettenville with something in her waist band and an unlicensed firearm was recovered." Other successes by the city's cops in the past couple of days include the seizure of drugs valued at R120,000 in Windsor, and the arrest of three suspects. Officers also arrested a suspect after a man was robbed of his watch and ring on Bram Fischer Drive, Randburg, on Tuesday evening. JMPD operations officers in Booysens arrested five people the day before for possession of suspected stolen copper cables.
Supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari celebrate in Yola, Nigeria.
REVVED UP Supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari celebrate in Yola, Nigeria.
Image: Reuters/Nyancho NwaNri

THE VISUAL SIDE

A Mercedes Benz C-class coupé driver, allegedly known for his tricks on the road, ran out of luck at the weekend when a stunt went wrong, leading to him to crash into a police van in Witbank.


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

WORLD

THE NEWS YOU DON'T NORMALLY GET TO HEAR

They moderate your Facebook posts and then let loose with sex and drugs

Facebook moderators are turning to harmful behaviour to cope with endless exposure to disturbing content

By James Cook
2 min read

‘Selfies’ and a willy: look what Hadrian’s Wall archaeologists have found

In a major first, inscriptions with the busts may reveal the names of two quarrymen who helped build the Roman wall

By Patrick Sawer
3 min read

Augmented reality check: is this the future of work?

Microsoft's mixed reality headset may well prove a game changer, but it isn't going to change the world overnight

By James Cook and Matthew Field
5 min read

Emma Thompson rips Hollywood serial groper in MeToo missive

Actress hailed as a hero for quitting film over appointment of dodgy exec John Lasseter

By Anita Singh
2 min read

SNAPSHOT

6 things you need to know about the world

This kid started out life as a handful

A baby boy weighing just 268g at birth was sent home after months in a Tokyo hospital, the smallest surviving male baby in the world, Keio University hospital said. The boy was born through Caesarean-section last August after he failed to gain weight during the pregnancy and doctors feared his life was in danger. The boy was in intensive care until his weight reached 3.2kg and he was discharged on February 20, said Dr Takeshi Arimitsu of the university’s School of Medicine, Department of Paediatrics. The previous record was held by a boy born in Germany in 2009 weighing 274g. The smallest girl was born weighing 252g in Germany in 2015. — Reuters

Next they’ll ban sweating and farting

Japanese sumo officials have introduced a crackdown on beards, calling them ‘indecent’ and telling wrestlers they must look spick and span during competitions under strict new rules on personal grooming. The ban is part of fresh regulations also barring tattoos and long nails. Superstitious sumo wrestlers often decline to shave their beards during tournaments as they believe it brings them luck, but the sumo association have decided they will no longer tolerate such slovenliness and said ‘wrestlers must preserve their personal hygiene’. — AFP

Pay up or be gondola with you!

Venice council has voted to impose an entrance fee for visitors to help pay for the upkeep of the World Heritage Site in a first for an Italian city. About 25 million tourists pour into the lagoon city each year, of whom around 14 million spend just one day there. Many take picnics with them, bringing no income to local businesses. Councillors said day-trippers would now have to pay €3 each this year to enter Venice. The sum will rise to between €6-10 from the start of 2020, depending on whether tourists come in high or low season. Residents complain bitterly that their city is being overrun by tourists while they have to pick up the bill for cleaning and security. — Reuters

Full Marx for avoiding mumbo jumbo

China’s ruling Communist Party warned party members on Wednesday to stick to Marx and Lenin and not believe in ‘ghosts and spirits’, in the latest effort to root out superstitious practices. Party members are meant to be atheists and are especially banned from visiting soothsayers. Chinese leaders have a long tradition of putting their faith in soothsaying and geomancy, looking for answers in times of doubt, need and chaos. The practice has grown more risky amid a sweeping crackdown on deep-seated corruption launched by Xi upon assuming power in late 2012, in which dozens of senior officials have been imprisoned. — Reuters

Sorry Barbie, Lego just won’t let go

At a time when it isn’t all fun and games for makers of traditional toys due to digital diversions for children, Lego said on Wednesday it had managed to assemble growing sales and profits in 2018 thanks to its diversification away from its iconic coloured plastic bricks. The world-renowned brand has in recent years moved strongly into areas such as video games, movies, cartoons and Legoland amusement parks. Net profit at the group rose by 3.5% last year to more than $1.3bn. Sales rose across the world and Lego aims to consolidate its position in the Chinese market by opening 80 shops in 18 cities. Lego fared better than its US rival Mattel, maker of the Barbie doll, which suffered a loss of $531m last year. — AFP

A Russian spy in Sweden? Surely not!

A technology worker suspected of spying for Russia has been arrested in Stockholm. The person was believed to have been ‘recruited as an agent by a Russian intelligence officer posing as a diplomat in Sweden’, said the head of counter intelligence at Sweden’s security service, Daniel Stenling. The suspect works in ‘high-tech’ and has access to ‘information likely to be of interest to foreign intelligence agencies’. The authorities have warned of the ‘high threat posed by foreign spies. Russia poses the biggest intelligence threat to Sweden’. Stockholm is particularly worried about attempts to influence elections and public debate, for example through disinformation on social media. — AFP
A fire burns on Saddleworth Moor near the town of Diggle, Britain.
ON THE TRAIL OF FIRE A fire burns on Saddleworth Moor near the town of Diggle, Britain.
Image: Reuters/Jon Super

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cyril, why don’t you give the new NPA boss some teeth?

Ramaphosa has nothing to lose and everything to gain by letting loose the dogs of war on the scoundrels 

By Peter Bruce
4 min read

Vodacom can’t simply reverse the charges on its bad call

Plans to charge customers for its data bundle rollover service shocked the public and fed social media hysteria

By Nick Hedley
1 min read

Investors could soon get Wiese’s claws out of Shoprite

Through deferred shares valued at 1c each, the tycoon controls 32% of the voting rights in Shoprite

By Larry Claasen
1 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

This Greek look is everything it’s cracked up to be

The new Mythos restaurant in Rosebank, Joburg, nails the authentic style with beautiful palladiana floors

By Mila Crewe-Brown
2 min read

Understatement of the year: Why minimalism works

Five role models for making more out of less 

By Kenilwe Eleanor Pule
2 min read

‘Call me Cinder-fella’: How to rip up the red carpet rulebook

Billy Porter’s Christian Siriano tuxedo dress goes viral

By Caroline Leaper
2 min read

Fear and clothing: Before and after the smoke and mirrors

A weekly reverie on the vagaries and charms of fashion

3 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Bulls not cowed by Jaguares loss, says Pollard

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
Journalist
4 min read

Super Rugby is Seconds away from another reffing blaps

Those who manage referees and match officials really ought to troubleshoot before they make appointments 

Liam Del Carme
Journalist
3 min read

Blasts from the past: Die Bek starts stalking Ali’s crown

Today in SA sports history: February 28

David Isaacson
Journalist
1 min read