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Week of 19 March 1999

I offer some items from today's newspapers that amused me - I make no apologies for the blackness of my humour - that could only happen in SA:

1. Department of home affairs employees with a bag full of wages were hijacked at Engcobo (near Umtata) after leaving the bank yesterday. One stuffed R36 850 in her underwear without the hijackers noticing, and they went off with the bag containing only R70. When the police spokesperson was asked how it was possible for the woman to stash so much money in her
underwear, he said: 'I also doubted it but I have been convinced because she took the money out in the presence of the police'.

2. Thieves in Port Elizabeth's Kwazakhele township stole Sophakama high school. On Tuesday the school's 11 classrooms were still there, but on Wednesday morning the school and its surrounding security fence had vanished.

3.Overheard at a Howick Falls tearoom:
German tourist: 'What can we see in Howick?'
Waiter: 'Consider a walk to the bottom of the gorge. But you must hire a
guide. The charges are low. He will see you don't get lost. Also, if you
get murdered, the guide is responsible.'

4. President Mandela's nephew, the Rev Daliwonga Mandela, has joined the New National Party and intends establishing a branch of the party at Motherwell, near Port Elizabeth.

5. A former home affairs official was shot dead in Shoshanguve this week by illegal immigrants to whom he had failed to deliver falsified ID books.

6. 1775 guns were either lost or stolen from the police in 1998. 78 were were lost in visits to discos and shebeens, and a further 18 in bathrooms and toilets.

7.An Irish UCT student tied herself to a pillar at Jameson Hall for two days to protest against a home affairs bid to deport her from SA, as her student visa had expired.

8. The Freedom Front has begun putting up election posters in men's urinals (some at Stellenbosch university). The posters are addressed to 'all men' and urge them to put their 'most valuable assets' in the party's hands. 'We gurantee success and will put you in the right direction' say the posters.

9. 'When you see it too often, it doesn't really get to you any more,' said Constable Siraj Beck this week, on the fact that at least one person is killed in Cape Town everyday crossing railway tracks.

10. An Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) executive said on radio this week (re the election): 'People must not panic. The IEC will do that.

Just to keep all of you abroad - and those of you still here but emigrating in your head - abreast of what's happening in the motherland you have deserted/will desert in pursuit of filthy lucre and lustful love-affairs. Admit, the news is never this much fun elsewhere. Mmm, while I am it, the weather outlook for the weekend... no I won't be that cruel. We'll be enjoying one of SA's many conveniently summer-situated public holidays on Monday. Viva human rights day!  - and we still have two Easter days, Freedom day, and Workers day before winter - such as it is - descends in June. Viva freedom! Viva workers! Viva JC!

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©Jean Redpath 1999