South Africa

While you were sleeping: 13 January 2016

By John Stupart 13 January 2016

Obama's state of the nation address, the Giraffe's ancestor revealed, and Rams to move to LA.

“Being human cannot be borne alone. We need other presences..We need the little clicks and signs of a sustaining otherness. We need the gods.”

John Updike


President Barack Obama sharply rebuked Republican leaders in his state of the union speech. Obama criticised idiotic statements on ISIL and Muslims respectively by both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. In a final attack on the Orange Menace, Obama lamented whether Americans would “respond to the changes of our time with fear, turning inward as a nation, and turning against each other as a people?”

Two US boats and their crews have been detained by Iran. Ten sailors, nine men and a woman, were placed under Iranian custody after their riverine boats travelling between Kuwait and Bahrain developed technical difficulties. Iran has accused them of “snooping”. That said, Iran’s reasons for detaining anyone are generally shaky as a leaf in autumn.

Since Mexican authorities re-arrested Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, the drug kingpin has been subjected to a host of anti-escape measures. These include reinforcing his cell floor, the posting of extra guards and a constant reshuffling of cells. Thus far El Chapo has been moved no less than eight times. All well and good, but these measures are utterly unprotected from corrupt personnel who may eventually help El Chapo escape a fourth time.


Work by Victorian scientists on the giraffe’s ancestors has been revived thanks to modern technology. With excavated fossils subjected to a barrage of tests and 3D imaging, it now appears as though ‘Sivatherium giganteum’ may well have been the largest ruminant alive. Beyond this, the prehistoric giraffe could prove a missing evolutionary link between giraffe and elephant.

After much paper shuffling, the St. Louis Rams are relocating to Los Angeles. The NFL franchise will move to a new stadium after paying the league a $550 million relocation fee. The San Diego Chargers have an option to join them in LA, but have yet to confirm a move.


Oil=$31.06 Gold=$1,084.50 Platinum=$837.95
R/€=17.84 R/£=23.81 $/€=1.08
JSE All Share=48,396.18 
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The number of road crashes in South Africa between 1 December 2015 and 11 January 2016.

Today in 1942 saw the first use of the ejection seat. A German pilot flying a Heinkel He-280 jet fighter was the first unfortunate guinea pig.

Fact of the day: London only reached pre-WWII population levels in January 2015. Lest anyone think war’s effects are short-lived.


Bloemfontein: min: 21° max: 32°, sunny
Cape Town: min: 19° max: 27°, cloudy
Durban: min: 21° max: 29°, cloudy
East London: min: 19° max: 30°, cloudy
Johannesburg: min: 17° max: 29°, rainy
Kimberley: min: 21° max: 33°, rainy
Nelspruit: min: 15° max: 29°, rainy
Pietermaritzburg: min: 15° max: 30°, rainy
Polokwane: min: 17° max: 29°, rainy
Port Elizabeth: min: 21° max: 30°, cloudy
Pretoria: min: 18° max: 30°, rainy

A 2016 survival guide for President Zuma

President Jacob Zuma obviously doesn’t understand how cross everyone is with him after The Great Finance Minister Juggling Act of 2015. It was a costly and irresponsible act to suddenly shift Nhlanhla Nene – and the flimsy cover-up story about the yet-to-be-established BRICS bank added insult to injury. This year, it will be lot tougher for Zuma to evade accountability, as many more people have reached their tolerance thresholds. Here are a few helpful hints for the president to avoid even more hashtag campaigns coming his way. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Of water slides and racial exclusion: The Durban I remember

Every year, I asked my dad to take me to that water slide, to that section (the part Ms Sparrow et al have claimed as hers – “our beach”) because it looked like awesome fun and I wanted to splash too in a wooden log on a water slide, and every year he gave the same answer “next year, my darling”. By FATIMA HASSAN.

Grade RR: Priority or pie in the sky?

Last year, reports emerged that South Africa was not ready to roll out a high-quality early learning programme for all its children. The potential in this investment, should it work, is huge: studies show that investments in education tend to be money better spent earlier on. But research showed that there were significant gaps in the quality that would be on offer. Now, experts have added that the quality cannot be improved unless there are tools available to measure the effectiveness of ECD programmes. MARELISE VAN DER MERWE investigates.

Remembering the Unforgettable Ch-ch-changes

J. BROOKS SPECTOR considers the place of a trio of truly irreplaceable musicians who have departed this world in just the past two weeks.

GroundUp: Where are the traffic death statistics?

The government agency responsible for publishing them has not done so since March 2011. By Barbara Maregele and GroundUp Staff .

Football and Society: Not cool, Yaya, not cool

Channeling Didier Drogba in 2007, Yaya Touré was disappointed that he did not win the African Footballer of the Year Award in 2016. Like Drogba, Touré now thinks that because he did not win, the Award was a sham, and the CAF process was antiAfrican. Shem, neh. By ISMAIL LAGARDIEN.

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane: Dear Penny Sparrow and Velaphi Khumalo… Let’s talk frankly

Velaphi and Penny are birds of a feather. They set us back, way back to a time before Nelson Mandela vowed to die for an ideal of a non-racial society, one that worships neither white or black domination.

Ian von Memerty: Confessions of a Recovering Racist

Every day I have to acknowledge that what I was taught was wrong. This is not an apology. It is a fact. And every day I have to do some small thing to right that wrong.

Mlilo Mpondo: The Fumes of Joburg

Walking along a road in the city of Johannesburg, you stumble onto a pile of discarded food waste. You realise that you no longer notice the dirt that cloaks each and every alley, street corner, and every building. The dirt that is constantly at your feet. You laugh and think Penny Sparrow has no clue what litter is. That woman must have it good.

While you were sleeping: 12 January 2016

Urgent evacuation of Syrian villagers required, Messi the Ballon d’Or winner, and Grindr gets a new financial match.


Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


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The Great VBS Heist: Former ANCYL Limpopo leader’s R35.4m spending list exposed

By Pauli Van Wyk

An accountant named Kushim was the first recorded name in history.