WITH four months of 2013 behind us – that’s a third of the year gone already – it’s time to have a look at East London’s rain figures again. It’s been a pretty good year up to now with consistent...
IN OCTOBER 2010, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster ministers signed a delivery agreement with President Jacob Zuma. It signified the cluster’s undertaking to embark on a “prioritised programme of action” towards making South Africa safe for...
HAVE you ever met a disabled person who is very naughty? Well, I have met many such, but one who stands out is a blind university student who saw no limits at all. He often landed up in trouble...
OUR problem is not that the government ignores business, but that it listens to some in business more than it should. Which is why there is a connection between wedding parties that land at air force bases and the...
SOUTH Africa’s acclaimed constitution has a huge hole. This became apparent when a Gupta plane landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base in violation of aviation, military, customs, immigration, executive regulations and the constitution itself. The whole Gupta saga has President Jacob...
WHAT an awful idea: a pen with built-in sensors that can identify spelling errors as they occur. This new invention, designed to “help” children, apparently delivers a warning vibration in the user’s hand every time a mistake is made. Readers...
IN POLITICAL terms, Nelson Mandela had perfect pitch. From his potentially suicidal speech at the start of the Rivonia trial to his address to the nation after Chris Hani’s assassination, he could, in his prime, read the mood of...
WE HAVE a love-hate relationship with the bees, we humans. We love the final product – honey, flowers, fruit, vegetables – but we are not so keen on the workers who buzz and sting. Indeed, we would happily have...
LAST week I had a bit of fun thinking what I would say had the Sunday Times invited me, as they do various celebrities in their Money section, to tell readers how I handled money matters. Well I received a...
A SEASON of discontent is upon the Eastern Cape, it would appear. The last two weeks have seen residents from different parts of the province taking part in protests to voice their frustration with administration and service delivery. Sanitation, housing...
I’VE had my fair share of hotel horrors and surely you have as well. Mosquitoes (to die for) was one of them way back in my university days at a hotel in Knysna. As first year students we had to...
AS I sat thinking about the significance of Workers’ Day and the many triumphs that have been won by workers in the past, I could not help but ask this question; what is the next step? That is not to...
THE Daily Dispatch was very proud on Monday to carry the first picture on its weddings page of the marriage of two women to each other. We were proud that Maxi and Abigail Lottering had chosen this newspaper to...
AMONG the perils of peanut butter, I find, are its sickly smell and the sticky sensation it creates in the mouth. An almost full jar has been sitting in our fridge ever since my last crank diet some six...
THE detailed data flowing from the 2011 Census released earlier this week will probably have done little more than provide statistical support for what Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet’s administration would have already known. Most specifically, it would have demonstrated...
I’VE never met a poor plumber, have you? I’ve met a few nice ones – a couple of rich ones, too – but theirs was never a career path I contemplated for myself. The very idea of being up to...
SOUTH Africa has lost a king. Media reports tell of how 71-year-old King Mpondombini Sigcau, leader of the amaMpondo aseQaukeni, suffered a stroke and died in hospital less than a week later. His funeral was an official provincial event in...
THE political turmoil in the Congress of South African Trade Unions ( Cosatu ) will loom large over the federation’s May Day celebrations, with alliance leaders addressing workers on the ground across the length and breadth of the country. The...
CFTPAPOTROCRALC might sound like something in your toothpaste; two Romanian football players, or an Icelandic volcano, which could cloud out in undeserved unpopularity. Eyjafjallajökull, readers will recall, was the volcano that went bang in April 14 2010, and cast a...
THE encounter was brief, innocuous, if not downright silly. But when she later reflected on it, my wife couldn’t help shivering. Like most good Capetonians who get shocked when you tell them that they, too, belong to South Africa, this...
WHAT does one do in East London over a weekend? Don't know, could be one answer. There’s lots to do, could be another. For the average person it's probably somewhere in between. This past weekend Mrs Chiel and I had a...
OUR sister newspaper, the Sunday Times, runs a feature in its Money section in which it asks celebrities what they do about money, how they save, how they spend and so on.   Since they’ve never asked me for my opinions,...
THE NGO world suffered a blow in March this year when Idasa closed its doors as funding for democratisation programmes reduced to a trickle. As a well-resourced NGO, it had done much to advance citizen-state interaction and underline the...
OUR 20th year of democracy begins today. Though some political parties define youth as the years up to 40, the reality for most people is that the hard work of life begins around the stage we have reached as...
A SOCCER player was once asked to comment about the “two beautiful babies he put behind the net”. His response was immediately to go on the defensive and he accused people of prying into his private life. This mis-translation of “goals”...
THIS year marks the centenary of the 1913 Land Act. Yet, very little is in the public debate about its multiple legacies in the present. The centenary of the Land Act occurs 18 years after the South African constitution was...
I’D NEVER heard of “the Scunthorpe problem” until about 4am on Tuesday, when insomnia saw me catching up on some reading matter over a large mug of freshly brewed coffee. I know Scunthorpe is England’s largest steel processing centre but...
A FEW weeks ago BMW South Africa managing director Bodo Donauer remarked about the lack of dynamism in the manner in which the country was being driven. He said our leaders spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view...
NO WONDER I’ve had giant blooms all over my garden this summer – until the builder’s rubble obscured much of it, that is. Turns out it was probably all that heavy metal music I was pumping out earlier this...
THE Parliamentary Monitoring Group said in its report on this week’s meeting of the adhoc committee on the Protection of State Information Bill that chairman Luwellyn Landers appealed to members in a moment of exasperation to leave the final...
DREW Archibald, 50, a Durban-born, Cape Town-based surfer, and friends were on a surfing holiday to Indonesia's Metwari archipelago last week. Their charter boat ran into a storm on the first night and a seasick Archibald went on deck, passed...
THERE is an expression that things are not always what they seem to be. This is very much what this Chiel finds about the shipwreck and artifacts discussed here recently. Maurice Durrheim set the scene by telling us there was...
ON THE eve of the 20th anniversary of the birth of the “new” South Africa, we should begin to rehearse the kinds of questions that will dominate national thinking in 2014. These two questions – “Where were we when FW...
THE shock decision to close the Institute for Democracy in Africa, on financial grounds, has amazed many people. South Africa’s democracy so often seems to be on thin ice, and some believe an organisation dedicated to promoting it is...
WE LIVE in a beautiful country, no doubt about it. We also live in a beautiful province, no doubt about that either. East to west, north and south, there is lots to do and plenty to see. The weekend before...
THE drafters of the constitution probably did not realise when they wrote its ninth chapter the extent to which the watchdog institutions they created would bolster confidence in our young democracy. For some it seemed almost to be a vote...
Unlike those whose job description is restricted to petty inter-ministerial squabbles and cheque-fetching, Motsoaledi’s passion for his job is unrivalled. Can’t we have more ministers like him? His knowledge of the latest developments in medical science and health trends is...
IN A former life – or at least, during the decade or so I dropped out of journalism to give the entertainment industry a whirl – the weirdest thing I was ever asked to do (of the things I...
TRANSPARENCY was one of the principles the drafters of our 1996 constitution kept high in their minds throughout the difficult process of its negotiation. With the secretive apartheid government and its state security council fresh in their minds – and...
I HAVE a brand new title. It would be much more exciting if it came with any kind of kudos but, alas, it’s just a description. I am, it seems, a sellsumer. I’ve been a nameless one for years, but...
LAST Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the death of Chris Hani. As we have come to expect when such commemorations happen, when African National Congress (ANC stalwarts pass on or when “lectures” are delivered in the name of...
IT GETS worse. “Not possible!” you cry. Even irregular readers of this column will have noticed that all sorts of good things turn out to be bad for us, such as salt, meat, chairs, braaivleis, take-aways, alcohol, sugar, caffeine,...
MY SEARCH for the perfect tissue seems to have ended thanks to several readers who sympathised, advised and told their stories about where and when. The subject is close to many hearts. Last week I related frustration at losing the...
NATIONAL Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has spoken of the “tremendous improvement” that has occurred in the Eastern Cape education department and announced plans to downgrade her department’s intervention in education in the Eastern Cape. In as serious a...
THE harsh conditions of life in exile in Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) came sharply to mind with the recent death of Buyisile Ntoni, known in exile under his MK travelling name, Mazolane Skwebu. A man who brushed with death during the...
POLICE officers and teachers were undoubtedly the most feared people in the olden days. If you were to use your own “fear-o-meter ” then you would have discovered that the police were not only feared for their ugly diamond shaped...
POLICE confirmed to the Saturday Dispatch yesterday that they were considering the possibility that the attack on Dali Mpofu was politically motivated. There is also a plethora of other theories doing the rounds about why he was in such a...
SO WE think we understand poverty in South Africa? We see it is as a “black thing”, something that can be easily understood, a life below a certain “datum line”, a quantum associated with a rand value or basket...
I HAD an out-of-the-blue but most welcome e-mail this week from a company I’d sent a query to back in January when I could no longer find one of their products on supermarket shelves. “Is it too late to drop...
I HEAR from across the Atlantic Ocean that Andile “Big Joe” died in a car accident on his way to a meeting. Well, Steve Biko died on his way from a meeting. I suppose that’s what happens to leaders...