Friday, May 3 2019




Besieged waste pickers live in fear

Caught between rival protection gangs, they are told to pay a ‘protection fee’ or die

Belinda Pheto
3 min read

She fights for a future amid the filth

Philiswa Vamanda dreamt of being a nurse, but now lives on a rubbish dump, risking her life to care for her family

Jackie Clausen
2 min read



Wits prof gets the boot for bullying women

The academic lost his appeal after being found guilty in December

Prega Govender
3 min read

We ripped off Makro for years. This is how

Inside the scheme that fleeced millions from the much-loved megastore

Shain Germaner
2 min read

KZN mayor questioned over murder of traffic chief

Ex-ANCYL chairperson Thami Ngubane has been linked to killing of Umvoti Municipality official, according to source

By Qaanitah Hunter and Zimasa Matiwane
1 min read

Zambia spreading lie that SA is xenophobic, says Cele

Minister hits back after Zambia's foreign minister voices fears election observers will be attacked

2 min read

Minister breaks new ground for Xolobeni and locals dig it

The area has been frequented by ANC leaders who are pro mining, but this time it was different

Bongani Fuzile
3 min read

Debt collectors circle Nkandla architect

Minenhle Makhanya faces a R155m lawsuit from the graft-busting SIU after his firm filed for voluntary liquidation

Jeff Wicks
3 min read



For a down-and-out oldie, becoming a living statue is retirement gold

I may have made no retirement plans, but worry not, I know what I can do with my old age

6 min read

Game of polls and The Prophecies We Were Promised

Here is a dragon to slay once and for all: comparing our current political scene to 'Game of Thrones'

Tom Eaton
3 min read
Ideas FREE

Journalists are dying for doing their jobs, but readers are the big losers

We mark World Press Freedom Day as the world is becoming ever more hostile to the media

By Dave Callaway
4 min read
Ideas FREE

Why the Semenya ruling is a blatantly, brutally personal attack on her

Basic human rights have now been rendered as secondary to athletic ambitions. In 2019, this is unacceptable

By Oliver Brown
4 min read


King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort, Queen Suthida, attend their wedding in Bangkok, Thailand.
AT YOUR FEET King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort, Queen Suthida, attend their wedding in Bangkok, Thailand.
Image: Thailand Royal Household via Reuters

Six things about SA you need to know

KZN, North West ‘highest-risk’ for poll violence

Police have identified KwaZulu-Natal and North West as the highest risks for violence during next week's general elections. But the state has vowed it will be on top of things, and is confident that safety and security measures have been put in place to create a safe environment for free and fair elections. Police minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday that through the security cluster's intelligence-driven operations, hot spots in the country had been identified and would be prioritised. As part of a deployment strategy teams would be maintained at national level to be deployed to any part of SA where urgent intervention was needed. “The highest-risk areas are the North West and KZN provinces,” said Cele. KZN was a particular risk because there were areas still experiencing political violence, and North West was such a concern that even the premier could not go to some places.

Killer KZN floods declared provincial disaster

The devastating floods that claimed 71 lives in KwaZulu-Natal have officially been declared a provincial disaster. In a letter addressed to departmental head of KZN department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Thando Tubane, acting deputy director general of the National Disaster Management Centre, Anè Bruwer, said that "after having assessed the magnitude and severity of the damage caused by the thunderstorms associated with heavy rainfall/flooding and strong winds" that pelted the eThekwini metro, iLembe, Ugu and King Cetshwayo district municipalities, and in addition to preliminary reports from the KZN disaster management centre, the department had classified the occurrence as a provincial disaster. Thousands of mourners gathered at Durban's Curries Fountain Stadium on Thursday - which was declared a day of mourning and prayer - to pay their respects to the 71 people who lost their lives in the floods.

Businessman who took on Kebbles dies

Former DRDGold chief executive Mark Wellesley-Wood - who took on the Kebbles - has died at the age of 67, the mining company confirmed on Thursday. The DRDGold board described his death as “sudden and untimely”. The cause of death has not been made public. Wellesley-Wood had a career spanning four decades in mining, most notably at DRDGold. Wellesley-Wood accused Roger Kebble of fraud relating to DRDGold's Australasia activities and ousted him from the DRDGold board. Brett Kebble, Roger's infamous son, thereafter referred to him as "a pin-striped bandit".

Durban tense as striking workers cause chaos

The situation was tense outside the Durban City Hall on Thursday, where thousands of protesting municipal workers gathered over an ongoing dispute over what they say are unfair promotions. Metro police and the SAPS were deployed in the vicinity of the city centre from 8am to block off certain routes to prevent municipal refuse trucks from entering the city. However, a string of vehicles that had been travelling in convoy from the northern parts of the city managed to get through, and then closed roads, causing a major traffic backlog. The protest comes in the wake of the alleged promotion of more that 50 uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans from the grade 4 pay scale to grade 10. eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza reportedly said the metro had decided to halt all promotions in an attempt to quell tensions.

‘Raids’ of politicians’ offices a scam: Cele

Cyril Ramaphosa's executives have been victims of a scam where thugs pretending to be Hawks officers ask for money in exchange for giving them false information about raids on their offices, according to police minister Bheki Cele. Cele revealed this while responding to a question following weekend reports that certain senior leaders in the ANC were targeted for raids and investigations, and would be excluded from Ramaphosa's new, trimmed national executive after the elections. Independent Newspapers quoted co-operative governance and traditional affairs deputy minister Obed Bapela as saying Hawks generals had tipped him off that his office would be raided this week as part of an "unspecified" investigation against him. Cele said Bapela wasn't the first minister to complain about this. He said the people behind the scam were not members of the Hawks, but "tsotsis". “It's a scam, it's not any political fight," Cele said.

Psychiatric observation for train fire suspect

The man who confessed to Cape Town train arson last week appeared again in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday. Having assessed Thobela Xoseni's mental state, the district surgeon suggested he be referred for 30 days' psychiatric observation. Xoseni said nothing during the proceedings, in stark contrast to his outbursts a week earlier when he declared: "I burnt the trains." He will be kept in the hospital wing at Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai until his next court appearance on June 3. The 30-year-old from Khayelitsha is accused of setting alight two trains at Cape Town station on Easter Sunday, causing R33m damage.


Johan Booysen's testimony before the state capture commission continued on Thursday. Booysen describes 'facetious' points in a memo published by Advocate Moipone Noko.



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



Welcome to the future: what it’s like in the UK’s first till-less store

No cards, no queues, no humans, no unexpected items in bagging areas ... and no more jobs for cashiers

By Guy Kelly
4 min read

Facebook is changing its colours amid website reboot blues

It tones down its looming presence amid 'pivot to privacy', but there is a sense that it is simply trying to hide

By Laurence Dodds
4 min read
World FREE

How to make people go nuts for goggas and sweet on veggies

If you want to encourage better eating habits,  emphasise flavour, not health benefits, researchers say

By Ellen Wulfhorst
4 min read

One last ‘bazinga’: ‘Big Bang Theory’ cast get ready for final farewell

As the show’s 12th and final season wraps, Jim Parsons and company reflect on 'an incredible ride'

2 min read


Sudanese protesters during a demonstration in front of the defence ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan.
SUSPENSEFUL Sudanese protesters during a demonstration in front of the defence ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan.
Image: Reuters/Umit Bektas

6 things you need to know about the world

World-weary Leonardo goes on show

A 500-year-old sketch of a bearded man was on Thursday revealed to be one of only two surviving portraits of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci made during his lifetime.The drawing, believed to have been made by an assistant, is part of the Royal Collection and will be displayed in an exhibition at Buckingham Palace marking 500 years since Leonardo's death. It was a quick sketch on a double-sided sheet of studies, most of them made by the Florentine master himself of a horse's leg, in anticipation of a monument that was never completed. The only other contemporary image of Leonardo is by his pupil, Francesco Melzi. Both were produced shortly before the artist's death in 1519. "In the sketch, he is aged about 65 and appears a little melancholy and world-weary," said Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Trust – AFP

Kids die as tornado tips bouncy castle

Two children were killed in China after a tornado flipped over an inflatable bouncy house in the northern province of Hebei on Thursday, state media reported, in the second such incident in two months. A tornado had struck a central plaza in Laiyuan county, overturning the bouncy castle in a freak accident that injured seven others, the Beijing Youth Daily said, citing local authorities. Pictures posted on social media by the newspaper showed a partially deflated bouncy castle toppled over several cars. Three people have been detained in connection with the incident and investigations are under way, the Beijing Youth Daily said. In April, a dust tornado sent an inflatable bounce house flying in central China, killing two children and injuring 18 others. – AFP

‘Mildred, did you order all this meth?’

An elderly couple in Australia were the surprise recipients of an illegal drug shipment after signing for a wrongly delivered parcel containing millions of dollars' worth of methamphetamine, police said on Thursday. The Melbourne couple immediately called police when they discovered bags containing the white powder in the parcel on Wednesday, a police spokesperson said. The package contained what police said were 20kg of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of AU$10m. Police subsequently searched a house in another part of Melbourne where they found another 20kg of the drug and arrested a 30-year-old man. – AFP

Army mocked for Yeti ‘footprint’ photos

Photos of “Yeti footprints” posted online by the Indian army have triggered a social media storm, with users ridiculing the military for propagating theories debunked by science. The army tweeted three images late on Monday showing a series of foot-shaped impressions, each almost 1m long in the snow in the Himalayas near the Nepal-China frontier. “For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’,” the apparently serious tweet on the army’s official account said. It added the “elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past”, referring to footprints reported by British explorer Eric Shipton in 1951 on the west side of Mount Everest. Legend has it the “Yeti” or “Abominable Snowman” lives in the Himalayas, but no proof of the large creature has been produced. – Reuters

Firewall burn and cauldron bubble

A family of Romanian witches chant via a video call to a client in India paying for a love spell. The session, in a decorated shed in a back yard 15km north of Bucharest, is one of many consultations the family holds online, alternating them with rituals livestreamed on Facebook to build up their digital following. “A truly powerful witch can solve problems from a distance,” explains 20-year-old witch Cassandra Buzea. “It’s not the phone or Facebook that are doing the magic. It’s the words we’re saying, the rituals we’re doing … ” The internet has allowed Romania’s busy witch community to gradually migrate their ancient practices onto the web. Witchcraft has long been seen as a folk custom in the eastern European country, with its estimated 4,000 witches. “Nothing’s changed, the craft is the same, but now it’s much easier for us to be in contact with clients from other countries,” said Mihaela Minca, who taught her daughter Buzea the family craft. – Reuters

Our old cuz holds mountain gene clue

The fossilised remains of an early human cousin found in the mountains of Tibet proves mankind adapted to live at high altitude far earlier than previously thought, scientists say. A jawbone dating from at least 160,000 years ago of a Denisovan – an extinct branch of humanity - is the first of its kind discovered outside of southern Siberia, and experts believe it holds the key to understanding how some modern-day humans have evolved to tolerate low-oxygen conditions. Contemporaries of the Neanderthals - and like them, possibly wiped out by anatomically modern man, Homo sapiens - the Denisovans first came to light a decade ago. Their existence was determined through a piece of finger bone and two molars unearthed at the Denisova Cave in southern Siberia’s Altai Mountains and dated to about 80,000 years ago. But the new remains - discovered nearly 30 years ago - has led researchers to conclude they were far more numerous, and far older. - AFP



Crypto: Smaller traders bot and sold down the river

Exchanges for bitcoin and the like have become infested by computer bots, siphoning off billions

By Gillian Tett
4 min read

Exec pay is easier to bear if your bum’s also in the butter

No surprise - given the rise in Anglo’s share price - that 92% of shareholders approved the remuneration policy

By Ann Crotty
1 min read

This is what the future of power in Africa looks like

SA miners are supplying raw materials for, and gearing up to manufacture, batteries with grid-scale uses

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read



It kills me to say it, but this Ted Bundy movie is deadening

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ adds nothing new or interesting to the serial killer’s story

By Tymon Smith
1 min read

Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

By Critics’ choice
3 min read

What a great streaming pile Showmax has put together

Five winning international series to stream in May

By Kevin Kriedemann
2 min read

Where’s the John? Little Elton on ‘Rocketman’ soundtrack

Elton John will provide vocals for only one of the tracks featured in the new biopic on his life

By Biba Kang
1 min read



SPORTS DAY: Another gong for ace goalscorer Musonda

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
3 min read

Can’t score tries, can’t kick for toffee: We’re doomed

Sounds harsh, but going by the form of SA Super Rugby teams, the Springboks will be no better than average

Craig Ray
3 min read