Friday, March 29 2019



To Begaja and back - stories from Mozambique’s lost village

Sunday Times journalist Jeff Wicks and photographer Alaister Russell see loss and hope in a village destroyed by Idai

Jeff Wicks
4 min read

Hofmeyr the relic and Malema the pickpocket are not the majority

Their hate-filled, divisive rhetoric and historical revisionism do not represent us, the rest of SA

Tom Eaton
2 min read

Cape Town keeps rates hike below inflation ... then along comes Eskom

My rates bill was a rare and pleasant surprise, until the power factor switched off my optimism

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
2 min read



Raped doing her job - but it won’t stop her

Health worker and colleagues were on their way to check on patients when they were attacked by panga-wielding thugs

By Belinda Pheto and Katharine Child
2 min read

Gone with the wind farm: why Bosasa ‘kept Mokonyane close’

Agrizzi says the company kept greasing minister's palm because of a ‘multibillion-rand’ Eastern Cape development

Amil Umraw
4 min read

Nel’s burning desire is to get former Ford CEO back in SA

Gerrie Nel says Jeff Nemeth must come back from US to answer claims he interfered with state witnesses

Aron Hyman
4 min read

UKZN professor tackles hair loss at its roots

Ncoza Dlova has identified a new gene, in African women, that causes Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia

2 min read

We’re fighting the TB battle in the wrong way with the wrong weapons

SA lags behind WHO guidelines, causing a huge gap in treatment which sends infection spiralling out of control

3 min read



Ghosts and cherry blossoms remind us of our own flowering and fading

In Japan, the full spring blooming, or sakura, brings joy but also a sharp sadness, a reminder of life’s transience

5 min read

A holy obsession: when Van Gogh lost himself in Dickens and Shakespeare

A new exhibition about the artist's life in London reveals that he revelled in English novels

By Lucy Davies
7 min read

Jack up March madness with hairbrained trend-bucking

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Sue de Groot
3 min read


German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to a participant of a Girls' Day career event at the Chancellery in Berlin to attract female pupils to careers in IT, technological and natural science sectors of the German industry.
I'd prefer some sausage, thanks German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to a participant of a Girls' Day career event at the Chancellery in Berlin to attract female pupils to careers in IT, technological and natural science sectors of the German industry.
Image: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Six things about SA you need to know

Ex-KPMG Gupta auditor struck from register

The former KPMG partner who audited the Guptas’ accounts has been struck from the register of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba). Jacques Wessels faced an Irba disciplinary committee in December when he admitted to being negligent during the audit of Linkway Trading, passing off costs for the family’s lavish Sun City wedding event as a business expense. Wessels denied he had been dishonest or had helped the family evade taxes. The committee found him guilty in 2018 of all six charges levelled against him. KPMG found itself embroiled in allegations of state capture after a tranche of Gupta e-mails were leaked to the media. Several senior executives resigned from KPMG in the wake of the scandal. Irba chief executive Bernard Agulhas said the regulator ordered that Wessels’s affiliation as a registered auditor be cancelled.

Protector green light for Dlamini-Zuma blue lights

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has poured cold water on allegations by the DA that former police minister Fikile Mbalula acted improperly in giving VIP protection services to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma after her period as African Union chairperson had ended. "Dr Dlamini-Zuma’s protection by Presidential Protections Services (PPS) as African Union chairperson was in accordance with the practice prescribed by the department of international relations and co-operation, of according executive protection to dignitaries of her calibre," Mkhwebane’s report read. The report was delivered by her deputy, Kevin Malunga, on Thursday. The DA’s Zakhele Mbhele had accused Mbalula of maladministration and improper conduct, saying Dlamini-Zuma was a "private person who held no high office" and had no reason for SAPS VIP protection. But Mkhwebane found the VIP protection of Dlamini-Zuma was substantiated by threats identified by the State Security Agency and Crime Intelligence.

Manyi's party polls 30% in by-election

Mzwanele Manyi's African Transformation Movement (ATM) winning 30% in a municipal by-election in the Eastern Cape has the would-be MP grinning and others pondering. The ATM won 30% of the votes in Nyandeni ward 21 on Wednesday. The ward largely covers Ngqeleni and surrounding towns about 30km east of Mthatha. Elections analyst Dawie Scholtz called the result "very, very, very interesting" and an "incredible number" for the ATM. The ANC got 65% of the vote, the EFF 3% and the UDM 2%. But North-West University politics expert Theo Venter warned against reading possible national trends into by-elections.

Strike shuts taxman branches

SA Revenue Service (Sars) employees went on a national strike on Thursday over wages, which resulted in branch offices in towns across the country close. Workers affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants' Association (PSA) demanded an 11.4% increase in a one-year deal. Sars was offering the workers 7% in the first of a three-year deal. Workers in almost all nine provinces went on strike, the PSA said. The union said Sars offices in smaller towns such as Kimberley and Nelspruit were closed. Sars did not immediately comment.

Weapon-wielding mob torches trucks on N3

A group of men armed with sticks, sjamboks and iron rods blockaded the N3 near Mooi River to force truck drivers out of their vehicles in the early hours of Thursday. KZN Natal police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said they allegedly torched seven trucks - five in the Johannesburg-bound lane, and two heading towards Durban. It was suspected that the torching could be related to the hiring of foreign drivers by local trucking companies, instead of SA drivers. Police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property. The N3 near Mooi River was closed in both directions to allow for the recovery of the burnt vehicles, and was reopened later in the day.

65 pupils squashed into 26-seater taxi

A Gauteng taxi driver took cramming in passengers to another level when 65 pupils were found squashed together in his vehicle on Thursday. The taxi was certified to carry 26 passengers. The taxi was stopped at a roadblock forming part of Operation #OkaeMolao, aimed at cleaning up the province’s roads. To the driver's surprise, however, there were not only traffic officers at the roadblock. Gauteng premier David Makhura had also joined the inspection. Taking to the province’s official Twitter page, Makhura's office said the minibus taxi belonged to the school where the pupils were registered. Traffic officers escorted the taxi to the school. Makhura's office said the driver and the school's principal would be charged with overloading.




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



From Macmillan to May: how Europe brings down Tory PMs

With echoes of Heath and Thatcher et al, here is the series of events that brought Theresa May to the end of the road

By Philip Johnston
6 min read

O dear: Winfrey factor can’t hide whiff of desperation about Apple

In the absence of a novel product, when it comes to innovation Tim Cook seems to be tossing in the towel

By Robin Pagnamenta
4 min read

Has the mystery of the ‘dog suicide’ bridge been solved at last?

As pets continue to take baffling death plunges, pastor says he can prove it's not a ghost luring them to their doom

By Gabriella Swerling
2 min read

Sweetie darlings, lay off the wine if you want to live longer

For women, drinking a bottle of wine has a similar effect to 10 cigarettes a week, raising cancer risks

By Laura Donnelly
1 min read


A supporter at a campaign rally of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in Bandung.
Eyesore A supporter at a campaign rally of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in Bandung.
Image: Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

6 things you need to know about the world

Is that our leader? Just more holo promises

Indonesia's president has started beaming a hologram of himself to reach voters in key battleground provinces as he shuttles around the Southeast Asian archipelago ahead of national polls. Joko Widodo, running for re-election in the world's third-biggest democracy, has a tight schedule so he and his vice-presidential running mate are projecting three-dimensional images of themselves at some campaign rallies, his team said. The high-tech campaign launched this week and is targeting the heavily populated provinces of West, Central and East Java - seen as key sources of support. Like the candidate himself, Widodo's life-sized hologram will keep moving across the nation in the coming weeks. The 57-year-old is believed to be the first Indonesian politician to rely on a hologram, but others including Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, India's Narendra Modi and a far-left French politician have used them. – AFP

Perhaps Eskom needs holy water, too

Sri Lanka's state energy provider sought divine intervention Thursday to break a crippling power shortage, dispatching envoys to the country's north to offer holy water to a tree sacred to Buddhists.The island nation has endured widespread energy shortages all week as a severe drought bites into hydro-electricity production, resulting in unpredictable blackouts and emergency measures to slash use. Some businesses were hoarding fuel for generators, fearing the situation would not improve, as hours-long rolling outages forced Sri Lankans to sleep outdoors to escape the heat.In the hope of provoking much-needed rain, the Ceylon Electricity Board said it would offer alms to the Sri Maha Bodi, a tree in Anuradhapura revered by the island's Buddhists. – AFP

Racism comes out in the washing

A German advert showing an Asian woman getting aroused after smelling dirty laundry worn by white men has fuelled anger in Seoul, with many women calling it racist and demanding an apology. The ad, produced by German DIY store chain Hornbach, shows white men working in a garden before removing their sweaty clothing and dumping it in a box. The ad then cuts to a grey, industrial city that resembles Tokyo, where an Asian woman buys a bag of dirty clothes, previously worn by the men, opens it and moans with pleasure, as the commercial ends with the slogan: "That’s how the spring smells." An online petition asking for a public apology from the German firm and the removal of the ad had secured almost 1,000 signatures by Thursday. - AFP

Chinese get into a Grindr bind

The Chinese parent company of Grindr is scrambling to sell it off after a US government panel branded its ownership as a national security risk. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US has reportedly told Kunlun, a Chinese gaming company, that it must unwind its 2018 acquisition of the popular gay dating app. Kunlun was previously preparing to float Grindr on public markets, but is now searching for a buyer to get rid of it as quickly as possible, Reuters said. The exact nature of the committee's concerns is unclear, but over the past two years it has begun to heavily scrutinise the handling of users’ personal data to Chinese firms. – © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

Lord of the ring: pope kisses off critics

The mystery of why Pope Francis repeatedly withdrew his right hand as a long line of people bowed and tried to kiss it this week has been resolved - he did not want to spread germs. “It was a simple question of hygiene,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on Thursday after he asked the pope directly. Gisotti said there were many people in line and the pope did want to spread germs as one person after another repeatedly kissed his hand at short intervals. The pope’s refusal quickly entered what are known as the Catholic cultural wars between conservatives and progressives. One conservative Catholic website that often criticises the pope called the episode “disturbing” and another said the pope should resign if he did not like rituals. Some Vatican watchers noted that even former popes Benedict and John Paul did not like having their hands kissed, at least not by long lines of people, for the sake of expediency. – Reuters

Flaky spuds get under her skin

It is acceptable to sell French fries that are not made in France, but a new lawsuit says it is not acceptable to sell potato skin snack chips that are not made from potato skins. A New York City woman on Wednesday sued TGI Fridays, in a proposed class action claiming that the company, known for its restaurants, misleads consumers by selling “Potato Skins” snacks that contain potato flakes and potato starch, but no skins. The lawsuit by Solange Troncoso said the Idaho Potato Commission and others inside and outside the industry have associated potato skins with healthy eating since they started appearing on restaurant menus a half-century ago. It said TGI Fridays’ misleading packaging for its snacks defrauded Troncoso and other consumers into buying an “inferior product”, either by mistake or at a “full” price. - Reuters



Naspers split: Will it hurt or help your JSE investments?

A new company will hold all of Naspers’s international assets, including Tencent, to be listed in Amsterdam

By Ann Crotty
4 min read

Brait: Giving the chairman stick over some sticky issues

Plenty of ire for its decision to wind up an executive incentive scheme at a massive cost to the company

By Giulietta Talevi
4 min read

British American Tobacco: Just so wrong, it’s right

BAT’s annual report shows market share, revenue and profit from operations all increasing, despite regulations

By Jamie Carr
1 min read



‘Us’: Doppelgangers banging down doors in the dead hours

‘Get Out’ director Jordan Peele’s latest movie is a clever horror cocktail of social commentary and terrific scares

By Yolisa Mkele
2 min read

Biopic: ‘Rocketman’ burning out his fuse up here alone

A first look at the upcoming Elton John musical fantasy suggests it could be bigger than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

By Neil McCormick
2 min read

Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

By Critics’ choice
2 min read

Between load-shedding and downloading, you’re sorted

Five shows to download off the work wifi to help you get through these dark times

By Yolisa Mkele
3 min read



SPORTS DAY: ‘Va-va-Bvuma needs to dial down the revs’

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
3 min read

Never thought I’d say this, but full kudos and kisses to Safa

Proof of positive change at the SA Football Association can be seen in the results of the national teams

By Nick Said
4 min read

The chump and the cheat

Run-out had nothing to do with cricket’s rules, spirit or traditions. Just failures of intelligence and integrity

Telford Vice
3 min read