Friday, July 12 2019




Retrenchment in SA is ‘one of the gravest situations in the world’

SA has more jobless people than Germany, Poland and the US combined - and it's getting worse

3 min read

Cabinet approves NHI bill despite warnings it could collapse health system

Minister will announce more details on Friday about mooted plan for free high quality health for all

3 min read

First Mugabe, now this: Zim’s treason accused expects the unexpected

The outspoken opposition leader is no stranger to the state’s forceful methods

Lenin Ndebele
4 min read



No vehicle tracking? No wonder you’re a dead loss

Mortuary van hijacking shows up E Cape transport department, which runs 2,300 vehicles without protection

Mpumzi Zuzile
2 min read

UKZN has a new boss. What plans is he cooking up?

Vice-chancellor Nana Poku also talks about private colleges, his ideal dinner party and the African economy

7 min read

Military veterans chalk up famous victory in water bill battle

Veterans rally to defend their water pipes, forcing council workers to evacuate after accounts mix-up

Bobby Jordan
2 min read

What rubbish! How to move an unwanted mountain

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, SA’s biggest tourist attraction, is waging a highly effective war on waste

3 min read

Robin Hood biker cycles for the rich to build for the poor

Bryn Roberts cycled 2,300km to raise much-needed funds to rebuild a creche in KZN

2 min read



Ideas FREE

Sometimes you have to go far away to get close to your feelings

When I was on Crete, a woman vanished. My reaction to the news was nothing like what it would have been in SA

4 min read

Never mind the gangs and murders, Cape Town decides to fine the homeless

What exactly was the city hoping to achieve with this entirely pointless, not to mention heartless exercise?

Tom Eaton
3 min read

Your use of ‘usage’ is almost certainly no use

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Sue de Groot
4 min read


A crocodile with a used motorcycle tyre around its neck rests at a river estuary in Palu, Indonesia.
THE SCALES OF POLLUTION A crocodile with a used motorcycle tyre around its neck rests at a river estuary in Palu, Indonesia.
Image: Antara Foto/Mohamad Hamzah/Reuters

Six things about SA you need to know

‘Heads must roll at undisciplined municipalities’

Minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said heads must roll following the AG’s dismal findings on the state of SA municipalities. Speaking after a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mthembu said the government wanted to see action taken against habitual offenders in municipalities. “We can’t just continue condemning and condemning, we should have an action plan,” he said. Last month, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said audit outcomes were deteriorating in municipalities. Of the 257 municipalities, he found only 18 received clean audits. Mthembu said municipal officials who had been implicated in wrongdoing would have to pay back the money, as the AG was now empowered in law to have teeth.

Mkhwebane disappointed by Gordhan’s ‘insults’

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she is disappointed at the “personal insults” by public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan in court documents challenging her report into the so-called rogue unit at Sars. “The emotive language and personal insults and blatant lies or innuendos are meant to divert attention from the real issues and the findings,” Mkhwebane said on Thursday. Her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, added: “Mkhwebane … will only be commenting on the facts of the matter as engaging in the personal insults is below the dignity of the high offices … she and the minister occupy.” This comes after Gordhan lodged an urgent court application on Wednesday to stop the enforcement of Mkhwebane’s remedial orders and to review her report, issued on Friday. Mkhwebane found that Gordhan had approved setting up a “rogue unit” which violated the constitution.

Grenades fly as mayor’s fans jam Durban CBD

Police fired stun grenades to disperse protesters who gathered on Durban’s West Street in anticipation of eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s return to work. What started off as a handful of Gumede supporters soon grew to a group of over 100 people who blockaded Durban city hall and stopped traffic in the city centre “to welcome her back to work”. It is understood that city hall was evacuated following the chaos. Gumede, who was asked to take a 30-day leave of absence from work, was due to return to work on Thursday. However, she will not return just yet as an investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption against her is still incomplete. A journalist was among eight people arrested as police and protesters clashed. The journalist was accused of punching a police officer in a scuffle. Gumede is facing charges of fraud and corruption relating to a R208m Durban Solid Waste tender.

‘Missing’ PE nurses found at sangoma school

Two state nurses who went missing six months ago have been found at a sangoma training camp in New Brighton. The discovery was made on Wednesday when police received a tip-off about the women undergoing sangoma training at a shack near Mavuso Road. The incident has raised questions about whether more people who are assumed missing by their families may in fact be students at the training camp. Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said one of the nurses, a 52-year-old working at the Empilweni TB Hospital, had been reported missing in February by her daughter, while the other woman, 35, who worked at Dora Nginza Hospital, had been reported missing last week by her father. “According to their families, they did not say where they were going or that they were going to any form of training; they just did not return home,” he said.

EC cops pay out R120m in civil claims

Police in the Eastern Cape are facing civil claims of more than R2.3bn, safety and liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana has revealed. Responding to parliamentary questions from DA MPL Bobby Stevenson, Tikana said the claims emanate from alleged wrongful arrests and detention, assault, defamation, negligence, shooting, search and seizures, and loss/damage to property. Tikana said for the past three financial years, Eastern Cape police have paid almost R120m in civil claims, mostly relating to wrongful arrests and detention. In 2016/17, police paid R34.2m in 677 civil claims and in 2017/18 paid out more than R39m in 473 claims. In 2018/19, Tikana said police in the province paid more than R45m in civil claims. Stevenson described the figures against the police in the Eastern Cape as a shocking indictment of the state of policing in the province.

Gauteng mom ‘kills three kids, torches home’

A Brakpan mother allegedly shot dead her three children and then turned the gun on herself. Police said they responded to a fire at a house at Sallies village on Wednesday, where they found the woman and her children with bullet wounds. “The owner of the house managed to extinguish the fire and tried to check for his family. He found his wife with their three children in the living room with the bullet wounds of a 9mm pistol, which was lying on the floor next to his wife,” police said. The firearm, they said, belonged to the woman’s husband. The woman was 40 years old and the children were aged 10, 17 and 19. Police are investigating the incident.


Footage released by the South African roads agency Sanral this week shows just how traffic cameras can be used to assist police in tracking criminals.



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



Sudan’s women: bruised and battered for expecting better

In June, security forces stormed a sit-in protest. Horrific stories have begun trickling out, especially from the women

By Umit Bektas
4 min read
World FREE

Oh love that will not let me go: The living death of Vincent Lambert

After a decade in a vegetative state, with his parents fighting to keep his life-support on, he has been allowed to die

3 min read

Not that Germans care, but Merkel is ‘fine’ after a third shakes scare

She claims the episodes are psychosomatic, but German leaders are notoriously cagey about their health

By Jörg Luyken
3 min read

The moon is now littered with junk. Should it be protected?

The battle is on to save the artifacts of the first landings from future astronauts - but it's complicated

3 min read


6 things you need to know about the world

Beware Aussie seagulls. They’re deadly

Australian seagulls are carrying potentially lethal drug-resistant bacteria that experts fear could be passed on to humans. One in five birds in the country may host strains of bacteria such as E.coli, some of them so virulent they could withstand even last-resort medication. Scientists believe seagulls are picking up the bugs while scavenging through human waste, such as sewage and nappies, as well as rotting food. The birds have a range of more than 1,500km from where they hatched, leading to concern they may fly inland and pass on drug-resistant bacteria to farm animals. – Telegraph media Group Limited (2019)

France says ‘non’ to homeopathy

France's state health system will stop reimbursing homeopathic treatment from 2021, the government has announced, in a blow to the alternative medicine industry. The decision followed a report on homeopathy by the national health authority published last month that concluded there was insufficient hard evidence that homeopathy worked. The practice is highly popular in France and remedies are sold in pharmacies while doctors often prescribe them in addition to conventional treatments. Prince Charles has been a vocal supporter of homeopathy for decades. – Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

Nasa in a flap about 2024 moon landing

Nasa has replaced the head of its human space exploration directorate in a major shake-up, as the agency scrambles to meet President Donald Trump's ambitious deadline to return astronauts to the moon by 2024. The project - named Artemis - would be the first attempt to return humans to the lunar surface since the last Apollo landing in 1972, but some experts doubt if the deadline is realistic given budgetary constraints and delays in developing the next-generation rockets and equipment needed for the journey. To meet this “bold challenge”, Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an email to employees that Bill Gerstenmaier, head of the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations missions directorate, has been removed from his position and assigned an advisory role. - AFP

Skull scrambles theories about early humans

Mankind may have arrived in Europe 150,000 years earlier than previously thought, researchers say, after reassessing an ancient skull found inside a cave in Greece. The skull was found the cave in the 1970s, and initially identified as Neanderthal. But new techniques have allowed for further analysis of the skull, and scientists found to their astonishment that it is in fact a 210,000-year-old skull belonging to a Homo sapiens. “It shows that the early dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa not only occurred earlier - before 200,000 years ago - but also reached further geographically, all the way to Europe,” the researchers said. – Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)

Strippers not welcome at Trump’s golf course

A strip club says that a charity golf tournament that was to be held at one of Donald Trump's courses has been cancelled. The event at the Trump National Doral course in Florida was to raise money for a local charity and was offering players the “caddy girl of your choice”, according to Shadow Cabaret, the Miami-area club that organised it. “Due to the climate of everything surrounding our golf tournament, Shadow Cabaret has decided to cancel the event. We want to apologise to anyone that may have been offended by the tournament," it said on its Facebook page. - AFP

Man tries to break into Buckingham Palace

British police said they had detained a man who scaled the front gates of Buckingham Palace, almost 37 years to the day after the most famous break-in at the Queen Elizabeth’s home in central London. The 22-year-old man was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday on suspicion of trespass after climbing into the grounds of the palace. It took four minutes for officers to detain him and in the meantime he had banged on the doors of the 93-year-old queen's home while she was asleep inside. “The man was not found in possession of any offensive weapons and the incident is not being treated as terrorist-related,” police said. – Reuters
Striking workers of retailer Walmart demand better wages and working conditions in Santiago, Chile.
SHE STRIKES PROTEST OFF HER BUCKET LIST Striking workers of retailer Walmart demand better wages and working conditions in Santiago, Chile.
Image: Reuters/Rodrigo Garrido



Facebook’s crypto plans kick flagging Bitcoin in the pants

After a spectacular crash in 2017, the flagship cryptocurrency has tripled in value so far this year

By Nick Hedley
2 min read

When push comes to shove, was it a nudge or a wink?

Steinhoff’s rather abrupt announcement that its CFO was leaving got the gossip mill spinning at full tilt

By Ann Crotty
1 min read

Altron: Market clearly likes Nyati the blunder-buster

Share price on the rise as former boss of MTN steps up to fix strategic mistakes made by Altron in the 2000s

By Nick Hedley
1 min read



Music managers become the new Hollywood supervillains

Narcissistic, sociopathic creatures are devoid of all humanity; the lowest of the low criminal masterminds

By Alex Godfrey
11 min read

Got a phone? Good. You’ll never get lost in here again

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town launches an Instagram guide to its galleries

Claire Keeton
1 min read

Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

By Critics’ choice
1 min read



SPORTS DAY: Ball for all-time record now in Serena’s court

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
3 min read
Sport FREE

You didn’t choose James Small as a friend, he chose you

What we saw on the rugby field  was not the full picture of a complex and occasionally tormented man

Craig Ray
4 min read