Thursday, March 12 2020

THE BIG ISSUES

LEADING THE AGENDA

News FREE

As number of Covid-19 cases grows, SA has first critical patient

The Western Cape on Wednesday announced its first confirmed case of a patient who is in self-isolation

By Naledi Shange, Lwandile Bhengu and Madeleine Chaput
3 min read
Ideas FREE

How viruses and violence will change the way we deliver education

Teaching via online platforms is set to replace the face-to-face model entirely, for one simple – economic – reason

4 min read
Ideas FREE

CR17 slapdown may prove fatal for other Mkhwebane reports

ANALYSIS | Ruling on Cyril’s remedial action could set a very damaging precedent for the public protector

Karyn Maughan
Journalist
4 min read

SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

News FREE

Data may now be cheaper but it still ‘expires’. ...

Vodacom points out that data is not like potatoes, it’s about ‘pipes’, and keeping costs low for poor users

Wendy Knowler
Consumer journalist
2 min read

How, exactly, do Zuma, Mbalula fit into the Prasa capture puzzle?

The SOE lost billions to rotten deals, Zondo is expected to hear. This is the evidence that is going to be presented

Zingisa Mvumvu
Journalist
3 min read

Livid Joburgers want to know what happened to the ‘war on potholes’

The Johannesburg Roads Agency claims it has declared war, but residents say they have yet to see evidence of it

Belinda Pheto
Journalist
2 min read

Animal cruelty at zoo, or just political vultures circling?

Free State government says it has to close Bloemfontein Zoo, but some claim there’s a hidden motive

3 min read

Weight of sadness: baboon moms carry dead babies for days

They even groom the lifeless body in behaviour that’s probably part of managing grief, according to experts

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
3 min read

IDEAS

FEEDING YOUR MIND

Why the ACDP is eternally, religiously devoted to failure

The Bible and the constitution make strange bedfellows, something the Christian party knows all too well

13 min read

In a dull rut? Tell this sex therapist - she’s heard ‘almost everything’

I’ve been compared to Gillian Anderson’s character in ‘Sex Education’. Well, this is a day in my life

By Dr Karen Gurney
4 min read

It’s the international day to promote women – and a few products

Gruesome bandwagon-jumpers are using feminism to line their own coffers

By Celia Walden
3 min read

SNAPSHOT

Dutch PM Mark Rutte gives Dutch minister for medical care Bruno Bruins an elbow greeting to prevent spreading the coronavirus in the Lower House in The Hague.
ELBOW BUMP Dutch PM Mark Rutte gives Dutch minister for medical care Bruno Bruins an elbow greeting to prevent spreading the coronavirus in the Lower House in The Hague.
Image: Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP

Six things about SA you need to know

Load-shedding at stage 4 'until further notice'

Eskom hit another hurdle as it announced on Wednesday that stage 4 rotational power cuts would continue “until further notice” - an IT breakdown. The power utility downgraded power cuts to stage 2 overnight, but ramped them back up to stage 4 after 9am on Wednesday as it grappled with a shortage of generation capacity resulting from unplanned breakdowns, including unit one at Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town. Customers were dealt another blow on Wednesday when they were unable to access load-shedding schedules on the Eskom website. “Due to a shortage of generation capacity resulting from unplanned breakdowns, Eskom will continue implementing stage 4 load-shedding until further notice. We expect that load-shedding, at various stages, may continue into the weekend,” said Eskom.

Ladysmith water 'safe' after poison claims

Umgeni Water declared on Wednesday that the water supply to protest-torn Ladysmith is safe to consume after social media claims that it had been “poisoned”. A WhatsApp message, widely circulated since Monday, urged residents in the northern KZN town not to drink “water that comes out of your taps this morning because it has been poisoned”. The message comes in the wake of recent violent protests. Umgeni Water spokesman Shami Harichunder said that while the WhatsApp message did not identify the nature of the “purported poison, where or how it had been placed in the water supply system”, the entity acted swiftly to conduct tests. Tests from three locations which supply the town showed the water was “safe for domestic use”.

MEC steps in over council's R2.3bn Eskom debt

Gauteng MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Lebogang Maile on Wednesday assured Emfuleni municipality residents that he would intervene regarding the council's R2.3bn debt to Eskom. This comes after Eskom on Tuesday seized vehicles and furniture belonging to the municipality in Vanderbijlpark to settle historical debt. In an eNCA interview, Mailed quashed allegations that the municipality had not been paying Eskom. “The municipality has been paying, I think that’s what is important ... the biggest problem has been the interest that has been growing on the historical debt. We will have to intervene and not just with Emfuleni only, the challenge is also with other local municipalities,” said Maile. Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the total amount owed is R2.3bn. The power utility said it was continuing with the process of seizing assets from the municipality.

Truck drivers got licences without taking test

Five traffic officials are among nine arrested for corruption, with truck driver licences issued to people in the Free State who never took the tests. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation, so-called "jockeys" took the tests, but the licences were instead given to people who were never actually tested. RTMC spokesman Simon Zwane said the alleged corruption involved two examiners, three administration clerks and four jockeys, all based in Bethlehem. “Truck licences (Code 14) were issued to individuals who were not psychically tested themselves but a so-called 'jockey' was used to do the physical testing on the applicant’s behalf,” Zwane said. More arrests were expected.

Sibling pupils killed in horrific Gauteng crash

The Gauteng education department has revealed the identities of three pupils who died in an accident on the R553 Golden Highway in Eldorado Park, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday. The collision - between a taxi and light motor vehicle - claimed the lives of 12 people, including the three pupils, who were siblings. “All of them belong to one family,” said acting education MEC Jacob Mamabolo, who visited Robertsham Primary School on Wednesday afternoon. The pupils were identified as Aiden Goodall, who was in Grade 1, Lashay Goodall, in Grade 5, and Learyn Goodall, in Grade 6. The pupils had been on their way to school in a private Toyota Avanza. The driver also died in the crash, one of 10 who died at the scene. Two others died in hospital, while nine others are fighting for their lives.

Parole hearing for child rapist tennis champ Hewitt

A parole hearing date has been set for now 80-year-old child rapist Bob Hewitt. “This is to confirm that parole consideration for Robert Anthony John Hewitt will be conducted in the month of March 2020. This is in line with the court order, enjoining the department of correctional services and correctional supervision and parole board to schedule a parole hearing within 40 days,” said department of correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo on Wednesday. According to Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), which advocated for his incarceration, the parole board would hear his case on March 24. The disgraced tennis champion, who was convicted in March 2015, is having a second go at parole after being found guilty of raping two teenage tennis pupils and sexually assaulting a third in the 1980s and 1990s.

THE VISUAL SIDE

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

Wake up and smell that cuppa Joe! How Biden bounced Sanders

ANALYSIS | What gave the former veep the edge over the ‘democratic socialist’? Here are five takeaways

By James Oliphant
5 min read

Farewell to arms: what Prince Harry will miss the most in civilian life

So, the Duke of Sussex is off to a new life abroad. We explain what will hit him more than any other loss

By Harry Mount
6 min read

Cheek by ciao: why communal spirit will save Italy

Italians have always had a laid-back attitude to rules, but they make up for it with how they care for each other

By Cristina Odone
3 min read

They’ve been warned: a year after mosque massacre, hate rises in NZ

New threatening extremist post shows the country is now part of an international far-right ecosystem

By Praveen Menon
5 min read

SNAPSHOT

A worker disinfects a dress shop at a popular market in Basra, Iraq.
A FASHIONABLE THING TO DO A worker disinfects a dress shop at a popular market in Basra, Iraq.
Image: Reuters/Essam al-Sudani

6 things you need to know about the world

Anyone got a spare oil tanker?

Speculators hoping to cash in on the plummeting oil price crash are scrambling to hire old oil tankers in which they can store crude for a fast profit when the price recovers. However, traders need to move fast. The cost of transporting oil on a tanker in March on the key Saudi Arabia to China route has climbed to $15/ton of crude as the market adjusts - up from $9.60 at the weekend. – Telegraph Media Group Limited (2020)

Nigeria’s anti-Boko Haram emir booted out

Nigeria’s most powerful Muslim monarch has been dethroned after accusing local officials of failing to address religious tensions fuelling the Boko Haram insurgency. Lamido Sanusi II was emir of Kano. He has been an outspoken opponent of Boko Haram. While his plain speaking has made him a favourite of the West, he has also clashed with local officials, some of whom see him as high-handed. On Monday, armed police removed him from his palace. The governor of Kano Stat, said the emir was guilty of “insubordination” because of his persistent refusal to attend official meetings. – Telegraph Media Group Limited (2020)

Prince Harry dishes dirt on his family, Trump

Two Russian pranksters on Wednesday admitted they duped Prince Harry into believing he was speaking to Greta Thunberg. The pair, known as Vovan and Lexus, have made a habit of fooling politicians and pop stars. In the conversations, the prince attacked Donald Trump for his stance on climate change. He also hinted at tensions inside the British monarchy’s inner circle when asked if normal life was worse than royal life. “Oh no, I think it’s much better,” he replied, before adding: “You forget, I was in the military for 10 years, so I’m more normal than my family would like to believe.” – AFP

Pakistan pilot ‘martyred’ in crash

A Pakistan Air Force F16 fighter jet crashed on Wednesday in a parade ground in Islamabad, killing the pilot as he was rehearsing for a Pakistan Day air show. Amateur footage showed the aircraft appearing to lose control and nosediving before it hit the ground and caught fire. “Wing Commander Noman Akram embraced martyrdom in the crash,” an air force spokesman said. - Reuters

Taliban spurns Afghan peace bid

The Taliban rejected the Afghan government’s attempt to resolve a spiralling crisis over the release of insurgent prisoners on Wednesday, as Kabul warned it was ready to resume offensive battlefield operations. The decree issued earlier by President Ashraf Ghani had raised hopes that Kabul's offer to free 1,500 insurgents as a “gesture of goodwill” before talks begin, would prompt the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. But Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said “5,000 prisoners should be released as a trust-building measure, and ... this should be before the intra-Afghan talks”, refusing to budge from a longstanding demand of the insurgents. – AFP

Anything, anything, just solve it, Israel MPs told

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin urged political leaders to seek compromise on Wednesday, as he received official results from Israel's third stalemate election in less than a year. “Any agreement you are able to come to that produces a stable government that gains the trust of the people will be welcomed,” he told party heads. The final results of the March 2 poll showed right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party gaining 29.46% of the vote and 36 seats in parliament. With his allies Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc has 58 seats, three short of a majority. – AFP

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The best companies strike while the fever is hot

Never let a good crisis go to waste, so the saying goes

By Matthew Lynn
5 min read

Sibanye, Implats, BASF unite to ease palladium deficit

They’ve come up with a new catalyst that will replace between 20% and 50% of the metal in engine exhausts

By Allan Seccombe
5 min read

SA is losing its grip on the slippery state of fisheries

The management of SA’s marine fisheries as a whole can be likened to a weary climber clinging to a cliff

By Kevern Cochrane
6 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

Her heart’s design: the dynamo delivering SA’s goods to the world

Collectable design pioneer Trevyn McGowan has some (bespoke) couch time with Times Select

By Sarah Buitendach
5 min read

Lalela scarves give a good head on your shoulders

The brand sparks creative thinking and awakens entrepreneurial skills

By Thango Ntwasa
1 min read

Say cheese: Gucci Beauty wall art appears in cities worldwide

British photographer’s work gets real with a celebration of the unconventional and the flawed

By Staff reporter
1 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Maluleka quits Amakhosi for Sundowns

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Sazi Hadebe
Journalist
5 min read

Australian Grand Prix on edge as coronavirus infections surge

But there’s ‘no chance’ of a spectator ban despite isolation of Haas and McLaren team members

By Ian Ransom
2 min read

Blast from the past: Proteas edge Oz with record knock

Today in SA sports history: March 12

David Isaacson
Journalist
1 min read