Meat tycoon has a bone to pick

Meat tycoon has a bone to pick

Service station staff sue Durban tycoon for late night assault. By Robert Martens

Self-made entrepreneur Brett Latimer is a controversial character. On 22 July this year Durban’s Daily News ran a “Lee Rondganger” interview, “Businessman fends off critics”, telling how the man behind the burgeoning Oxford Freshmarket chain became very wealthy when, a few years back, he sold his six Cambridge Meats stores to Massmart for about R500 million.

He told Rondganger that he’d struggled through school and dropped out after three months at university. “I wanted to study law but I had a learning disorder. I am much better at hearing stuff and seeing it and I struggled to learn. I used to fight a lot in school…

“There are people who resent me because I fight for what I want. I’m not scared to use my hands in a boxing match and I’m not scared to use my tongue in a verbal boxing match”. 

Skating on thin ice

Skating on thin ice

KZN premier appears to be in disfavour with party loyalists. 

It may be cold outside the ANC, but it can also get frosty inside. Ask KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu, who felt the chills for months before receiving a series of ice-cold slaps in November and December.

Over the course of a few weeks, Mchunu lost his position as provincial ANC chairman, failed to make it on to the Provincial Executive Committee and was bumped to the second chair in the legislature’s seating arrangements while he was away on business and the new chairman was being sworn in.

Mchunu’s premiership is now a tightrope walk. Some speculators say he will be ousted after the 2016 municipal elections in order to avoid more political disruptions in the province. Until then – and if that even happens – Mchunu still retains value as premier in order to implement massive provincial investment projects that his administration spearheaded, many of which start in January.

Truth, Justice and the South African Way

Truth, Justice and the South African Way

TV pundit Justice Malala is disillusioned – but not despairing. By Sue Barkly

A few weeks ago, TV personality and political analyst Justice Malala was on his way to visit his mother in Hammanskraal in northern Gauteng, when he came across a roadblock that some young kids had set up.

“They were protesting, burning tyres in the road. I asked them what the problem was. They said: ‘Our water has been cut off. We’re not moving until someone comes to address us. If we don’t do this, we won’t be heard’.

“What interests me about this – in context of the recent student uprisings – is that there are protests like this going on in about 40 communities every day,” says Malala. That’s the number which Police Minister Nathi Nhleko gave Parliament. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, that’s 14,700 service delivery protests a year – usually against an ANC councillor. Why isn’t this government jumping up and down?

The art of coffee

The art of coffee

Clovis Lawi can't stop thinking about coffee as Victoria Packer soon discovered.

St Alban's: School for Scandal

St Alban's: School for Scandal

Attempt to hush up shock resignation of well-connected teacher.

St Alban’s College, one of South Africa’s most expensive private schools for boys (R197,300 pa for boarders) ended its Michaelmas term with pupils and staff receiving counselling following the shock resignation in mid-November of an unnamed teacher after an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Great secrecy has enveloped the affair. St Alban’s is an English-medium Anglican church school in Pretoria’s Lynnwood Glen, and not even the Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt Rev Jo Seoka, who is chairman of its Foundation trustees, was told the name of the axed teacher.

All that headmaster Tom Hamilton confided to the bishop was that the teacher’s father was a “well-known person”. Hamilton refuses to name the teacher, or give any details, when approached by Noseweek.

 

Uneasy lies the head

Uneasy lies the head

Who has the greater right to the kingship of AmaMpondo aseQuakeni – Princess Wezizwe Sigcau or her cousin Chief Zanozuko Sigcau?  Judge John Murphy ruled that the Princess ask the Constitutional Court to uphold her claim, but in the meantime President Zuma is legally empowered to recognise Zanozuko as King. The Princess has sought leave to appeal that ruling, but the ramifications of Murphy’s Law go way beyond the interests of the AmaMpondo. Sanral, an Australian mining company, and all who cherish the Pondoland Wild Coast are stakeholders in the final outcome of a dispute that has simmered for nearly 80 years.

A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!
The last words of Shakespeare’s Machiavellian King Richard III before he perishes in battle at the hands of the future king of England Henry VII, ring through the ages. Even if, today, royal succession disputes in South Africa are not decided on the battlefield but in the courts, they are still charged with the timeless theme, “...a personification of the Machiavellian view of history as power politics” according to Shakespearean scholar Janis Lull.

Most modern urban dwellers, regardless of race, believe that the institution of traditional leadership belongs to the Middle Ages and should be swept aside as an expensive patronage system that dangerously distorts the proper flow of political power from the bottom up, and warps democratic accountability. 

Greed City ignores the Protector

Greed City ignores the Protector

Durban has a problem – a R1.6-billion problem.

Ethekwini Municipality’s liberal use, or misuse, of a little-known clause of the Municipal Finance Management Act has sparked a probe by the Public Protector. 

Thuli Madonsela’s office has cast a wide net, asking for records of all transactions under Section 36 of the act, dating back to 2004/05. But Durban’s leadership has ignored all requests for information despite all the files being deemed public documents.

Section 36 allows circumvention of normal supply chain management processes in an emergency – effectively allowing officials to hand any contract of any value to anyone of their choosing on the basis that it is “an emergency”.

While the policy was intended to facilitate, for example, helping families whose homes may have been destroyed by a fire, opposition parties claim Section 36 has been used to dish out lucrative multi-million-rand housing tenders to a select few at inflated prices.

All change at the Casa Rosada

All change at the Casa Rosada

Never mind packing for Perth – would-be emigrants might consider tangoing to Argentina.  

On 22 November Argentina voted for an end to the populist rule of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who, with her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, had ruled the country for 12 years.

Those 12 years have brought consistency to a country whose reputation for political instability and financial mismanagement is legendary. Since 1930 Argentina has suffered 16 military coups d’état (twice in 1943) and achieved notoriety in 2001 for the largest default in the history of the International Monetary Fund. The number of political dissidents and activists who were “disappeared” under the last rule of the military Junta between 1976-1983 is believed with some credulity to be around 30,000; shot, tortured and thrown from aircraft over the muddy waters of the Rio de la Plata.

Of the three periods of relative post-war stability in Argentina under firstly Lieutenant-General Juan Perón from 1946-1955 (when he was ousted in a military coup) and Carlos Menem from 1989-1999, whose policies sowed the seeds for Argentina’s astounding collapse in 2001.

Faking it

Faking it

Lies, damned lies and CVs.

With the slew of fake qualifications that seems to have plagued the public sector over the past year, many school-leavers will wonder whether it’s acceptable to alter their matric certificates in the hope of increasing their chances of finding a job. One popular ploy is to add desirable subjects such as maths and science, another is to change symbols from, say,  an E to an A or a B.

Police recently arrested members of syndicates alleged to have forged documents ranging from passports and IDs, to matric certificates, to permanent residence permits for illegal aliens.

Kirsten Halcrow, CEO of background-screening company EMPS, said matric certificates were the most widely forged qualifications documents.

“There is a perception that if senior members of government can lie about their qualifications – and in many cases, get away with it for years – why not take a chance in the hope that nobody will take the trouble to verify the certificate?”

Confusing times. Oz comes to a standstill

Confusing times. Oz comes to a standstill

By now the world knows that, on a horse with odds of 100-to-one and wearing the colours of the suffragettes, diminutive Michelle Payne, 30, became the first woman jockey to win the hallowed Melbourne Cup, the 155-year-old race that sees Australia come to a standstill, transfixed by their television screens.

Perhaps less well known is that Payne, whose groom and strapper is her Downs Syndrome brother, is the youngest of ten children (seven are jockeys) who lost her mother when she was six months old and a sister after a 2008 riding accident. Moments after her win, she said that everyone who didn’t think women good enough should “get stuffed”.

The Sting

The Sting

A dramatic tale of double-dealing, stolen gems and shady characters. Ernesto Bisogno was a colourful old pirate accustomed to sailing close to the wind. Opal-cutting, emerald-smuggling, uplifting silver bars from a sunken galleon in ...
 
Meat tycoon has a bone to pick

Meat tycoon has a bone to pick

Service station staff sue Durban tycoon for late night assault. By Robert Martens Self-made entrepreneur Brett Latimer is a controversial character. On 22 July this year Durban’s Daily News ran a “Lee Rondganger” interview, ...

Skating on thin ice

Skating on thin ice

KZN premier appears to be in disfavour with party loyalists.  It may be cold outside the ANC, but it can also get frosty inside. Ask KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu, who felt the chills for ...

Truth, Justice and the South African Way

Truth, Justice and the South African Way

TV pundit Justice Malala is disillusioned – but not despairing. By Sue Barkly A few weeks ago, TV personality and political analyst Justice Malala was on his way to visit his mother in Hammanskraal in ...

The art of coffee

The art of coffee

Clovis Lawi can't stop thinking about coffee as Victoria Packer soon discovered. ...

St Alban's: School for Scandal

St Alban's: School for Scandal

Attempt to hush up shock resignation of well-connected teacher. St Alban’s College, one of South Africa’s most expensive private schools for boys (R197,300 pa for boarders) ended its Michaelmas term with pupils and ...

Uneasy lies the head

Uneasy lies the head

Who has the greater right to the kingship of AmaMpondo aseQuakeni – Princess Wezizwe Sigcau or her cousin Chief Zanozuko Sigcau?  Judge John Murphy ruled that the Princess ask the Constitutional Court ...

Greed City ignores the Protector

Greed City ignores the Protector

Durban has a problem – a R1.6-billion problem. Ethekwini Municipality’s liberal use, or misuse, of a little-known clause of the Municipal Finance Management Act has sparked a probe by the Public Protector.  Thuli ...

All change at the Casa Rosada

All change at the Casa Rosada

Never mind packing for Perth – would-be emigrants might consider tangoing to Argentina.   On 22 November Argentina voted for an end to the populist rule of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who, with her late ...

Faking it

Faking it

Lies, damned lies and CVs. With the slew of fake qualifications that seems to have plagued the public sector over the past year, many school-leavers will wonder whether it’s acceptable to alter their matric ...

Confusing times. Oz comes to a standstill

Confusing times. Oz comes to a standstill

By now the world knows that, on a horse with odds of 100-to-one and wearing the colours of the suffragettes, diminutive Michelle Payne, 30, became the first woman jockey to win ...