2013 Here comes the poison

2013 Here comes the poison

By October, the acidic, radioactive liquid lurking under central  Johannesburg is expected to pass a critical point. After decades of inaction, a mad scramble is underway to save the city and its neighbours. As usual, the job of policing the industry has been left to unpaid members of the public, underfunded NGOs and academics.

The plan is to start pumping in October, the very month in which the deadly liquid is expected to reach the Environmentally Critical Level (ECL) of 186m below the surface. 

The new plant, at a disused shaft in Germiston, will have to remove and treat 57 million litres of AMD daily just to prevent it topping that mark. Any higher and it will drown Gold Reef City, eat away at Joburg’s subterranean infrastructure, contaminate its dolomitic aquifers and start percolating upwards to seep out of the ground in the CBD and Boksburg. The rising water is also expected to increase seismic activity and promote the development of sinkholes.

It’s unthinkable. Unless you live a few kilometres to the west, where the unthinkable has already happened ... [To read more of this incredible story, you have to be a subscriber. So why not subscribe online today?]

 

Another top sportsman loses it

Another top sportsman loses it

Sean Wisedale, first mountaineer from Africa to have reached the summit of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, has for the past year had his entire neighbourhood terrorised by his aggressive, “psychotic” behaviour.

In the corporate world, he is known as one of the few who’ve conquered Everest and an inspiring motivational speaker well worth his high fee, but to his anxious neighbours in Durban, he is known as the monster who periodically keeps them awake all night, manically yelling threats and abuse at them from behind his high boundary walls. On and on, for five hours at a stretch. (Readers may listen to a recording of one such event by going here.)

[To read the rest of this extraordinary story, you need to be a subscriber to Noseweek. So why not subscribe online right away?]

Keep taking our pills

Keep taking our pills

A drug company is dispensing a range of incentives, including fees, bonuses  – and even safaris – to induce doctors to prescribe its products.

Is the medicine you’re taking the medicine your doctor thinks is best for you? Or is it simply the medicine that your doctor has been persuaded to prescribe, or your pharmacist has been encouraged to dispense? By a drugs company that’s willing to splash the cash.

It’s a murky world this and we still don’t know exactly how the Procyon/Eurolab deal works, but we do know that the two companies work hand in glove, and that money is being dished out to oncologists.

ADT sets alarm bells ringing

ADT sets alarm bells ringing

Taken from their website "South Africa's top security firm, Be safe with ADT - Always There" is their promise, but there is cause for alarm.

When they sign you up, ADT say they will take under five-and-a-half minutes to respond to a call. Promises, promises.

Helen Grange reports...

If Harriet Shapiro of Cape Town had not been on a Skype call to her friend Ari Oliver, he wouldn’t have known to call ADT Security when he heard a scream in the background. Their call was suddenly cut off.

As it turned out, Oliver’s quick thinking, and the fact that Shapiro herself is a subscriber to ADT, made no difference at all. She still ended up becoming a victim of an armed robbery and asking herself afterwards, what the point was of having ADT Security?

Historic club row escalates

Historic club row escalates

Strife boils as rival groups battle over finances and survival plans for preservation of national treasures collection.

The money’s run out and the lights are flickering at the Cape Town Club, one of the Mother City’s oldest institutions. All this has emerged after the membership of former chairman Donwald Pressly and corporate governance expert Martin Hess were suspended after they asked some robust questions about the club’s financial state – and, sin of all sins, telling some non-members about it.

Tender Touch - How to print your own money

Tender Touch - How to print your own money

Lucrative copier sales to bribery-ridden Polokwane made Malema’s mate a very rich man and ripped off the taxpayers.

The MD of a well-known supplier of office printers in Polokwane, Limpopo, received a call at his office in July. “You are speaking to Phasha from the Thulamela Municipality,” said a voice. It had been three months since the municipality in the former Venda homeland had called for tenders for the lease and maintenance of 23 multifunction printers, for which his company had put in a bid. “Maybe we can work something out,” he told the MD.

Trust me, I'm a doctor

Trust me, I'm a doctor

Despite an avalanche of previous convictions for malpractice, an ex-con medic has been reinstated as a GP.

Gavin Foster reports...

Perhaps the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) took to heart too readily the old adage that justice should be tempered with mercy when, in July 2008, they reinstated Dr Ferdinantus Booyens as a General Practitioner. Or maybe they just didn’t bother to delve too deeply into what he’d been up to during his years in the wilderness.

Wind farms blow ill for Overberg

Wind farms blow ill for Overberg

Wind farms are great  for banks, bad for birds and burghers. Residents of the Overberg accuse developers of steamrolling objections to an energy generation  project and failing to conduct proper consultation.

Most right-minded people feel that renewable energy initiatives should be encouraged, yet in the case of wind farms, they come with all sorts of problems: they’re bad for tourism – being both ugly as well as noisy – and bad for birdlife, because those massive turbine blades are lethal.

Wind farm projects tend to be motivated by profit rather than any desire to save the planet. Wind farm developments seem to follow the same course as other property developments – although the developer needs to go through all sorts of hoops because of South Africa’s comprehensive environmental legislation, the environmental approval thing is a farce, a case of form over substance.

Judgment handed down on tablets

Judgment handed down on tablets

Nerds would notice the differences in the Samsung-Apple tablet wars. The good professor did what all lawyers do so well: he made something simple sound immensely complicated.

The tablet wars have been fought on many fronts (in the US, South Korea, Australia, much of Europe) and have gripped the public’s attention because they’re about something that we all have or want – the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy.

Feet of clay

Feet of clay

Get those poncy sports stars off their pedestals – give us real heroes.

In the first few weeks following the killing of Reeva Steenkamp there was plenty we didn’t know, but two things had been proved beyond all reasonable doubt.

The first was that, when it comes to sociopathic scandal-mongering, certain sections of South Africa’s media can compete with the foulest in the world. Whatever good Media24 does in the future, it will never be able to redeem an article titled “News24 trumps rivals on Oscar shooting”, a gloating little press release about how Media24’s voyeurs had beaten competing voyeurs in the race to publish salacious details of how someone’s daughter was shot to death in a toilet.

The second thing proved once and for all that many, perhaps most, South Africans genuinely believe sports stars to be heroes.

Wonder Woman: Gauteng's last hope

Wonder Woman: Gauteng's last hope

She visits the mines in high heels, dressed to kill, but unlikely activist Mariette Liefferink – South Africa’s authority on acid mine drainage – is the only person who can save the country’s ...
 
2013 Here comes the poison

2013 Here comes the poison

By October, the acidic, radioactive liquid lurking under central  Johannesburg is expected to pass a critical point. After decades of inaction, a mad scramble is underway to save the city and its ...

Another top sportsman loses it

Another top sportsman loses it

Sean Wisedale, first mountaineer from Africa to have reached the summit of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents, has for the past year had his entire neighbourhood terrorised by his ...

Keep taking our pills

Keep taking our pills

A drug company is dispensing a range of incentives, including fees, bonuses  – and even safaris – to induce doctors to prescribe its products. Is the medicine you’re taking the medicine your doctor thinks ...

ADT sets alarm bells ringing

ADT sets alarm bells ringing

Taken from their website "South Africa's top security firm, Be safe with ADT - Always There" is their promise, but there is cause for alarm. When they sign you up, ADT say they will take under ...

Historic club row escalates

Historic club row escalates

Strife boils as rival groups battle over finances and survival plans for preservation of national treasures collection. The money’s run out and the lights are flickering at the Cape Town Club, one of the Mother ...

Tender Touch - How to print your own money

Tender Touch - How to print your own money

Lucrative copier sales to bribery-ridden Polokwane made Malema’s mate a very rich man and ripped off the taxpayers. The MD of a well-known supplier of office printers in Polokwane, Limpopo, received a call at his ...

Trust me, I'm a doctor

Trust me, I'm a doctor

Despite an avalanche of previous convictions for malpractice, an ex-con medic has been reinstated as a GP. Gavin Foster reports... Perhaps the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) took to heart too readily the old ...

Wind farms blow ill for Overberg

Wind farms blow ill for Overberg

Wind farms are great  for banks, bad for birds and burghers. Residents of the Overberg accuse developers of steamrolling objections to an energy generation  project and failing to conduct proper consultation. Most right-minded people feel ...

Judgment handed down on tablets

Judgment handed down on tablets

Nerds would notice the differences in the Samsung-Apple tablet wars. The good professor did what all lawyers do so well: he made something simple sound immensely complicated. The tablet wars have been fought on many fronts ...

Feet of clay

Feet of clay

Get those poncy sports stars off their pedestals – give us real heroes. In the first few weeks following the killing of Reeva Steenkamp there was plenty we didn’t know, but two things had been ...

Books: Directions and another Biko

Books: Directions and another Biko

Another Biko points the way to a brave new South Africa. THE GREAT AFRICAN SOCIETY: A Plan for a Nation Gone Astray (Jonathan Ball) by Hlumelo Biko ...

Books: King takes Queen

Books: King takes Queen

Anne Boleyn’s fate makes for perfect holiday whodunnit BRING UP THE BODIES (Fourth Estate-HarperCollins) by Hilary Mantel ...