Thursday, August 15 2019

THE BIG ISSUES

LEADING THE AGENDA

She’s got Maile: now Mkhwebane is gunning for Gauteng MEC

EFF claims he unlawfully rented office space, but he says he has no idea what they’re on about

Aphiwe Deklerk
Journalist
2 min read

ANALYSIS: these 13 questions about NHI need urgent answers

It all looks good on paper, but Times Select believes there are some crucial points the government needs to clarify

7 min read

Unisa has a race problem: if you’re black, promotion’s a walk in the park

FREE TO READ | This is the column that sparked the controversy

4 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

Bullies can’t stop Caster – not even IAAF ones

SA's athletics hero has had to fight for her rights since childhood, and she's the best only thanks to working hard

Alex Patrick
Journalist
5 min read

SA designer’s love letter to the world is written in cloth

Palesa Mokubung is the first African to collaborate with Swedish retail giant

Leonie Wagner
Journalist
3 min read

Heartbreak for family after bees put plumber in coma

But help is flooding in - even his business competitors are taking on his jobs and giving the money to his wife

2 min read

Child killers must remain invisible to us. Here’s why

Children who murder need to be protected from society, even as adults, argues a legal centre

4 min read

Bid to stop private adoptions draws huge backlash

Activists want a reworking of the Children's Act Amendment Bill, which is set to remove the adoption fee clause

3 min read

IDEAS

FEEDING YOUR MIND

Blown covers: the spy that drove a wedge between Le Carré and Greene

Kim Philby inspired the Cold War's two greatest thriller writers - then he drove them apart

By Duncan White
10 min read

Row over boardroom beauty isn’t helping the feminist cause

While we debate the benefits of being attractive at work, no one is fretting about strategic levels of masculine allure

By Hannah Betts
6 min read

The Father, The Son and the hole that mystifies classical musicians

Few composers have approached the Holy Spirit. Enter James MacMillan

By Ivan Hewett
6 min read

SNAPSHOT

A dog in Denver peeks through the netting before the Colorado Rockies’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
ON THE FENCE ABOUT WHO TO SUPPORT A dog in Denver peeks through the netting before the Colorado Rockies’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Image: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Six things about SA you need to know

Thieves hit Gauteng schools for R121m

than 250 Gauteng schools have been hit by theft and vandalism in 2019, with damages exceeding R121m. There have been 262 incidents of theft and vandalism since the start of the year. These figures were released on Wednesday by Gauteng education and youth development MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who said: “It is concerning that the department has lost a total of R121,348,663.40. In about 256 schools in Gauteng there were 262 cases of theft and vandalism reported, 187 of bullying and 107 of violence and assault." Although there has been support from law enforcement agencies, Lesufu said the department believed more could be done. “We would like to appeal to members of the community to take ownership of their schools and declare war against criminals who are targeting schools,” he said.

New spy boss wants to fix ‘porous borders’

SA’s porous borders are the number-one threat to domestic security, says newly appointed spy boss, advocate Mahlodi Muofhe. He is the new head of the domestic branch of the State Security Agency (SSA). “The number-one domestic threat is to ensure that our borders cease to be so porous. From all over the world there is a perception that our borders are porous … We need to ensure that those who come into our country, do so lawfully,” he told eNCA on Wednesday. Muofhe will play a key role in rebuilding the integrity of the SSA. A recent damning report by a high-level review panel found there had been “political malpurposing and factionalisation of the intelligence community over the past decade or more that has resulted in an almost complete disregard for the constitution, policy, legislation and other prescripts”.

Parliament seeks action on ‘sexist’ tweets

The National Assembly's basic education portfolio committee wants "drastic action" to be taken against the department's spokesperson for "sexist" tweets he posted at the weekend to promote reading. Committee chair Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba "strongly condemned" what she called inappropriate tweets and images distributed by Elijah Mhlanga, which she said objectified women. "These images of near-naked women must be condemned. Mr Elijah Mhlanga's approach to the Read to Lead campaign for the basic education sector misses his target market completely and does more harm than good," said Mbinqo-Gigaba on Wednesday. She said Mhlanga’s apology was not enough, and called on the department to take drastic action against him for "his thoughtless, sexist, chauvinist approach to a worthy and noble campaign".

‘Sex-pest’ pastor wants a crack at SCA

Port Elizabeth High Court judge Irma Schoeman has dismissed Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso’s application for leave to appeal against her decision to allow the trial to be heard in Port Elizabeth. Schoeman found there were no reasonable prospects that a different court would come to a different decision. Attorney Peter Daubermann, defence counsel for Omotoso and his co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, brought the application, claiming the Port Elizabeth court did not have the jurisdiction to hear evidence led by the state relating to charges for alleged offences committed elsewhere. Daubermann indicated that he would petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to hear the matter. He has 30 days to do so.

Mkhwebane files Ramaphosa probe documents

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has filed the full record of documents that led to her adverse report against President Cyril Ramaphosa over his ANC election campaign, but it is currently not available to the public. Last week, Ramaphosa’s lawyers asked deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba that parts of that record - which includes e-mails and bank statements - be sealed and not made available to the public. This, they contended, was due to questions over whether this evidence was legally obtained. Mkhwebane’s office insists her investigation was above board. Her investigation found that Ramaphosa had misled parliament about a R500,000 donation to his campaign for the ANC leadership in 2017 from controversial company Bosasa. On Monday, Ramaphosa secured an interdict staying the implementation of Mkhwebane’s remedial action against him.

Man arrested over dog-poisoning spree

A man found carrying suspected housebreaking tools and a large quantity of poisoned meat has been arrested in Florida, west of Johannesburg, where a spate of dog poisonings has left residents reeling. Community Led Animal Welfare (Claw) founder Cora Bailey raised the alarm after more than 40 dogs were poisoned in the suburb in the space of a week. Bailey warned that children were also at risk should they consume contaminated items. At the time she said that pets were being poisoned daily. On Monday, a 43-year-old man appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on charges under the Animal Protection Act, and possession of housebreaking implements and stolen property. He was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday after being spotted by a private security company.

THE VISUAL SIDE

The animal protection organisation Adventures with Elephants hosted a walk with elephants in Bela Bela, Limpopo, on Monday to celebrate World Elephant Day. The organisation adopts problem elephants and improves their lives. The educational day ended with a fun display from each of the ellies, sealed with a kiss.


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

The big billion-dollar tumble: how Tumblr became a $3m minnow

It used to be the go-to blogging site – Barack Obama and Lady Gaga were huge fans, for heaven’s sake

By James Cook
4 min read

‘Re-traumatised’ Muslims slam New Zealand’s response to mosque shooting

Families say they are shut out of a government probe into the attack, and the court process is taking too long

By Charlotte Greenfield
6 min read

Sperm warfare: why male ones are faster and what this means for humanity

New research means we could soon be able to choose the sex of our babies. But do we really want to?

By Sarah Knapton
3 min read

Schmooze like Cruise: how to suck up to your boss and not look like it

UK chancellor Sajid Javid bought the prime minister wine, but it’s probably better to make like the ‘Top Gun’ star

By Helen Chandler-Wilde
4 min read

SNAPSHOT

Hindus celebrate Raksha Bandhan, during which a sister ties a sacred thread to her brother’s wrist for protection in Kolkata.
BIG BRO’S YELLOW TAXI Hindus celebrate Raksha Bandhan, during which a sister ties a sacred thread to her brother’s wrist for protection in Kolkata.
Image: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

6 things you need to know about the world

Is there life on ... Iceland?

To prepare for the next mission to Mars in 2020, Nasa has taken to the lava fields of Iceland to get its new robotic space explorer ready for the job. With its black basalt sand, windswept dunes and craggy peaks, the Lambahraun lava field at the foot of Iceland’s second biggest glacier, Langjokull, was chosen as a stand-in for the Red Planet’s surface. For three weeks, 15 scientists and engineers sent by the US space agency descended on the site, 100km from the capital, Reykjavik, last month to develop a prototype. It will aim to continue the work of the Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars since 2012 in search of signs of ancient life and making preparations for human exploration. — AFP

So the word faggot is now a character trait

North Macedonia’s prime minister Zoran Zaev has apologised for using a gay slur while trying to defend his government against a corruption scandal that has ensnared justice officials. Zaev said on Tuesday he would ‘not allow a few criminals, a vain journalist and — I ask the LGBT community to forgive me — one faggot, to overthrow the government’. He was referring to a gay TV channel owner, Bojan Jovanovski, at the heart of the corruption case transfixing the public. Zaev later apologised for using the slur on Twitter, in a statement that some found equally offensive. ‘I apologise. I used the word as a character trait, not as a sexual affiliation,’ he wrote. — AFP

Russia gets all paranoid about spies again

Foreign spies keen to get their hands on Russian research are monitoring Russian scientists around the clock, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, after experts denounced a new security decree as a Soviet throwback. The Kremlin’s comments came after scientists criticised a ministry directive calling on researchers not to meet foreign colleagues one-on-one and requesting filed reports after every encounter — even a cup of coffee. The document imposes significant red tape on any visits by foreigners into Russian institutes, asking that they are always accompanied by a designated employee. It requests special restrictions on their use of computers, phones and other devices, including watches and binoculars. — Reuters

Who needs a Zimmer frame if you’ve got a tail

Millions of years after the ancestors of humans evolved to lose their tails, a research team at Japan’s Keio University have built a robotic one they say could help unsteady elderly people keep their balance. Dubbed Arque, the grey 1m device mimics tails such as those of cheetahs and other animals used to keep their balance ‘like a pendulum’ while running and climbing. It is attached to the waist with a harness. When a human tilts their body one way, the tail moves in the opposite direction. As Japan greys it is leading the industrial world in seeking ways to keep its ageing population mobile and productive. The robotic tail uses four artificial muscles and compressed air to move in eight directions. — Reuters

Chunks fall off Notre-Dame after heatwave

Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris is still at risk of collapse after being gutted by a fire in April, with more stonework falling during the recent heatwave, the government said on Wednesday. Work to secure the cathedral was suspended on July 25 to allow for decontamination of the lead that had spread during the fire. The work should resume next week. The culture ministry said there were recently new falls of stones from the nave vaults due to the heatwave. President Emmanuel Macron has set an ambitious target of five years for the restoration to be finished. But the ministry said restoration work would not even begin until next year. — AFP

Do androids preach of electric priests?

A 400-year-old temple in Japan is attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism with a robotic priest it believes will change the face of the religion — despite critics comparing the android to Frankenstein’s monster. The android Kannon, based on the Buddhist deity of mercy, preaches sermons at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, and its human colleagues predict that with artificial intelligence it could one day acquire unlimited wisdom. ‘This robot will never die, it will just keep updating itself and evolving,’ said priest Tensho Goto. The adult-sized robot is able to move its torso, arms and head. But only its hands, face and shoulders are covered in silicone to replicate human skin. — AFP

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

BULL’S EYE: In this economy, the Zam-Buk stops here

The fortunes of packaging company Nampak’s DivFood division swing on cheap beans, bully beef and ointment

By Jeremy Thomas
3 min read

Final day of PIC probe peeps under the Steinhoff covers

It now has until the end of October to complete its investigation and submit a report to the president

By Warren Thompson
3 min read

Eastern Platinum: Is there life left in the limping old dog?

Investors can be forgiven for giving up hope in the stalled miner, but bosses want to resume production

By Allan Seccombe
1 min read

Apple Card: A little side bet as hardware sales plummet

Compare Apple Card with Facebook’s plan to launch a digital global currency and the ambition looks stunted

By ft.com
1 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

Small wonder: How Barbie turned Lira into a living doll

I was concerned about the hair, says singer of her lookalike toy, but it turned out to be her favourite part

By Toni Jaye Singer
1 min read

Home furnishing: Why it’s worth saving for the very best

Interior designer Zimkita Sidumo shares her tips on which items you should invest in for your home

By Thembalethu Zulu
1 min read

Newly woke Victoria’s Secret: now the fat really is in the fire

Purveyor of fine underpants and brassieres finally seems to have caught a wake-up about its dated image

By Bethan Holt
4 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Kolisi’s back, but Brits leads on Saturday

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

David Isaacson
Journalist
2 min read

New director of cricket has to manage the business of winning

The position has never existed, but SA cricket desperately needs a strong hand to guide it

1 min read

Blasts from the past: Ryk and the lads storm 2004 Olympics

Today in SA sports history: August 15

David Isaacson
Journalist
2 min read