Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Pan Macmillan

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

How to have sympathy for the cops AND the drug dealers: The Street by Paul McNally launched at Love Books

The StreetThe Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers by Paul McNally was launched at Love Books in Melville recently, in the company of Anton Harber, ENCA Editor-in-Chief and Caxton Professor of Journalism, and Carolyn Raphaely, senior journalist at Wits Justice Project.

McNally is an award-winning journalist and the Director of Citizen Justice Network. The event at Love Books was packed.

Harber called the book: “A remarkable piece of writing.”

“Seldom these days we see books in journalism based on patient, detailed reporting by someone who is prepared to spend days, weeks and months observing, interviewing and doing the hard work of basic journalism,” he said.

The book follows the corrupt relationship between the police and the drug dealers in Johannesburg.

“Paul has given us insights into crime and the fight against it from ground level. The kind of grainy detail that you can only get from that combination of patience and commitment,” he said.

“What I found most fascinating about his book is that it’s not about crime, it’s not about good and bad, villains and victims. What he shows us that is it often very difficult to tell the difference between them,” Harber continued.

“So it’s an important book but most of all it’s a rarely found enthralling read. I would go so far as to say that you will have difficulty understanding crime and the fight against it in this country unless you have read this book. It’s a must-read for anyone trying to understand this issue, this city and this country,” Harber said.

The Street follows the stories of three characters. The first is Raymond, a shop owner on Ontdekkers Road who takes a baseball bat to the dealers when they break his rules. But he is also against the corruption: he systematically records in his notebook when the police officers come to collect their bribe money from the dealers. And he plans all manner of schemes from his shop on how to disrupt the system.

The second character is a police officer called Khaba who wants a quiet life but whose demons will not leave him in peace. He is trying to regain his trust in what he once regarded as an honourable profession.

The third character (who came to the launch to receive her signed copy) is Wendy, a petite, ageing police reservist who can handle an R5 rifle with confidence.

The story of The Street developed as a project based at Wits Justice Project around the Sophiatown police station.

And ultimately the author became entrenched in the world on Ontdekkers in west Johannesburg. He spent two years investigating how the drug dealers and cops interact without any sign of accountability. This resulted in the author being in a general state of fear while working on the book.

But with time, McNally said that sympathy for the drug dealers and the police developed.

With the release of the recent crime stats the boom in books around the police has been evident. What is also necessary is the need for narrative, reporter-based journalism to bring together the comprehensive picture on the state of crime and the police in the country.

Facebook album:

Visit for details on where to order the book.

Book details

How much does it cost to bribe a cop? Read an excerpt from The Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers

The StreetThe Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers, by award-winning journalist Paul McNally, was recently released by Pan Macmillan.

The book documents the relationship between the police, drug dealers and shop owners on a stretch of Ontdekkers Road in Sophiatown, Johannesburg.

There are no villains. McNally finds corrupt cops, drug dealers, vigilante residents, addicts, torturers, murders and cops partnered to drug dealers. But no villains.

The book was launched at Love Books in Melville recently, where Anton Harber, ENCA Editor-in-Chief and Caxton Professor of Journalism, called it: “A remarkable piece of writing.”

Read an excerpt:

The shop on Ontdekkers Road is empty besides Raymond and his son, who is sitting about two metres away from his father in the corner, listening to music through his headphones. Raymond reaches for a scratched, rectangular metal box of Johnnie Walker Red and pops the top. He moves his keyboard – which is still wrapped in its original protective plastic – to the side to clear some desk space. He shakes the Johnnie Walker container and empties its contents – fuses, bolts and other collected junk – onto his newspaper and begins to sift through them. He’s hunting for a rare transistor that a customer needs for his car’s sound system. Raymond pokes at the mess he’s made on his newspaper and coughs to jiggle the phlegm in his throat. The transistor he needs isn’t among the odds and ends he’s spread out on the newspaper. Raymond sticks his neck out, the slight flab under his chin stretching taut, peering closely, picking pieces up and putting them down again. He sighs heavily and glances over at his son.

Through the tinted window Raymond can see the van, but the cops who are in it can’t see him.

‘Here’s one. Here’s one,’ Raymond says to his son, scooping the bits of plastic and metal back into the tin and pulling his newspaper closed. His son ambles over to get a better view. The cop van is parked in front of the orange security gate. It is in the exact spot where a white man in a Mercedes bought cat 20 minutes earlier and where a fidgety black couple in a silver BMW had called on their cellphones and bought an hour before that. For every dozen, maybe two dozen, users who drive up to be seen by a dealer Raymond will be rewarded with the sight of an official, marked police van. Raymond doesn’t describe a person according to their clothes, job or race. He talks in cars as identifiers – ‘Blue Tazz comes every Friday’; ‘Here’s Red Polo again’. Red Polo is the private car of a constable stationed at Brixton police station. He is a cop and an addict. Sometimes Red Polo swings past several times a week.

A dealer in a white T-shirt opens the security gate and walks towards the cop van. It is April in Johannesburg and the tar on Ontdekkers is bright, but no longer burning. The dealer stands by the cop van’s passenger side and performs the manoeuvre described by local shop owners and sources within the police with uncanny dexterity. You could miss it happening if you were a casual observer, but once it has been pointed out to you it is embarrassingly obvious. The dealer leans on the open window so that his hands are inside the car and then he drops the money on the floor. He never hands the cash directly over.

The rates for bribes are surprisingly small: R150 if there are two cops in the car and R200 if there are three or four cops in the car. Whenever they need a little money for some bread they’ll cruise by the dealers for a top-up.

The amounts might be small, but Raymond reckons ten bribes are dished out to various cop cars from three or four of the surrounding police stations every day. That’s 300 separate bribes per month. The dealers don’t ever want to refuse a cop, so the rates are kept small to ensure that cops can pull in and get a nibble whenever the impulse takes them. The dealers have schemed that if they refuse a cop he becomes an enemy, but if they reduce the amount he will continue to feed lightly and be placated. They are dealers, after all; they grasp addiction. Maybe the cop will pop by again, but his frequency will be restricted by how often he can be absent from his duties.

Before the cop has finished his transaction with the dealer Raymond is out from behind his desk and on his feet looking down Ontdekkers Road through the tinted glass.

Book details

AB de Villiers will be back in action for South Africa against Ireland and Australia

AB: The AutobiographyAB de Villiers will return to action in the six one-day internationals South Africa will play against Ireland and Australia from 25 September.

De Villiers‚ who missed two tests against New Zealand last month with an elbow injury‚ was named on Tuesday in the squads to play both opponents.

Dale Steyn and David Miller are back in the mix having last played an ODI for SA against India in Mumbai in October – 12 games in the format ago.

Steyn stormed back to prominence after months out with injury by taking 10 wickets at 10.20 in just 42.2 overs against the Kiwis. He is in the squad to play Australia. Miller led the averages and was the second-highest runscorer in the quadrangular A-team one-day series in Australia that ended earlier this month. He was picked in both squads.

Morne Morkel‚ whose back problem kept him out of the Kiwi tests‚ and Rilee Rossouw‚ who has not played since injuring a shoulder during SA’s tour to West Indies in June‚ are still sidelined.

“Morne Morkel and Rilee Rossouw were not considered for selection as they continue to recover from injury and a lack of match fitness respectively‚ while AB de Villiers is on track to return from the injury that kept him out of the test series against New Zealand‚” selection convenor Linda Zondi was quoted as saying in a release.

Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius are part of the squad to play Ireland while Andile Phehlukwayo‚ the third-highest wicket-taker in A-team series‚ will be involved in both engagements. Among those three players only Bavuma has international experience – in test cricket.

“As far as Temba Bavuma is concerned we want to see what he can do in the ODI format after the extremely successful run he has had in the test squad where he has averaged 66 during the current calendar year‚” Zondi was quoted as saying.

Bavuma has scored a century and a half-century in his eight test innings this year.

SA squads: To play Ireland: AB de Villiers (captain)‚ Temba Bavuma‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Quinton de Kock‚ JP Duminy‚ Faf du Plessis‚ David Miller‚ Chris Morris‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Andile Phehlukwayo‚ Dwaine Pretorius‚ Kagiso Rabada.

To play Australia: AB de Villiers (captain)‚ Kyle Abbott‚ Hashim Amla‚ Farhaan Behardien‚ Quinton de Kock‚ JP Duminy‚ Faf du Plessis‚ Imran Tahir‚ David Miller‚ Chris Morris‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Aaron Phangiso‚ Andile Phehlukwayo‚ Kagiso Rabada‚ Tabraiz Shamsi‚ Dale Steyn.

Sept 25: SA v Ireland‚ Sahara Park Willowmoore (10h00 start)
Sept 30: SA v Australia‚ Centurion (13h30)
Oct 2: SA v Australia‚ Wanderers (10h00)
Oct 5: SA v Australia‚ Kingsmead (13h30)
Oct 9: SA v Australia‚ St George’s Park (10h00)
Oct 12: SA v Australia‚ Newlands (13h30)

TMG Digital

Book details

Don’t miss the launch of The Street by Paul McNally at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of The Street

The StreetPan Macmillan and Love Books invite you to join Carolyn Raphaely in conversation with Paul McNally for the launch of his new book, The Street: Exposing a World of Cops, Bribes and Drug Dealers.

The launch will take place at Love Books in Melville, Joburg, on Tuesday, 6 September.

Don’t miss it!

This is an important piece of journalism that gives rare insight into Joburg’s rotten underbelly and the criminals, cops and citizens who co-exist there. – Anton Harber

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 6 September 2016
  • Time: 6 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Interviewer: Carolyn Raphaely
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

Book Details

Paul McNally explores Joburg’s rotten underbelly in The Street

From drug lords to gangsters to captured police who take bribes daily, McNally’s book chronicles in a very fresh way the breakdown that has happened in Sophiatown. – Mathatha Tsedu

This is an important piece of journalism that gives rare insight into Joburg’s rotten underbelly and the criminals, cops and citizens who co-exist there. – Anton Harber

The StreetPan Macmillan is proud to present The Street by Paul McNally:

There are no villains here. Award-winning journalist Paul McNally finds corrupt cops, drug dealers, vigilante residents, addicts, torturers, murders and cops partnered to drug dealers. But no villains.

Raymond is a shop owner on Ontdekkers Road who takes a baseball bat to the dealers when they break his rules. He systematically records in his notebook the police officers who come – all day, every day – to collect their bribe money from the dealers, and is looking for someone to trust.

Khaba is a middle-aged police officer who wants a quiet life but whose demons will not leave him in peace. He is trying to regain his trust in what he once regarded as an honourable profession.

Wendy is a petite, ageing police reservist who can handle an R5 rifle with confidence, but not the sadness that accompanies her in her daily life – the loss of her police officer husband, brutally murdered by a drug lord, and the addiction that has her young son in its grip. She is looking for respect and affirmation and for her own life to have meaning.

Through different paths, the lives of Raymond, Khaba and Wendy intersect on the street as their attention is focused on the current power couple – a drug dealer named Obi and his police officer wife, Lerato. Seemingly untouchable, Obi and Lerato terrorise Ontdekkers, and in the process upset the balance of this already lawless world.

About the author

Paul McNally is a journalist living in Johannesburg. He is the founding director of The Citizen Justice Network, an award-winning media initiative that develops journalism in under-reported areas in local languages. McNally produces feature articles and narrative radio documentaries for Wits Journalism on criminal justice, health and science. He is a 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard. This is his first book.

Book details

The God Who Made Mistakes – the powerful, poignant new novel from Ekow Duker

The God Who Made MistakesPresenting The God Who Made Mistakes, the third novel by Ekow Duker:

Behind the closed doors of their suburban Johannesburg home, Themba and Ayanda Hlatshwayo, both legal professionals, are beset by deep tensions that claw with relentless intensity at the polished facade of their lives. Ayanda seeks solace in dance classes, while Themba is increasingly drawn to the male companionship he finds at a book club.

With wit and sympathy, The God Who Made Mistakes explores the origins of Themba’s unease and confused sense of identity. It takes us back to a river bank in Alex, the township where he grew up, and to a boy he once knew who met a violent death there. As the story peels back the painful layers of recollection, Themba’s domineering mother, Differentia, has a major decision to make. When developers set their sights on buying the family home and building a supermarket in its place, tendrils of envy and greed begin to curl out of unexpected quarters, as the unscrupulous seek to grab a share of the spoils.

Backyard tenant Tinyiko, with her short skirts and questionable morality, and Themba’s disgraced, unemployed elder brother, Bongani, begin to plot and scheme, while across town Themba’s fragile marriage faces its biggest challenge. When his past walks unexpectedly into his present, it threatens to blow apart his carefully constructed world.

The God Who Made Mistakes is a powerful, poignant story of unexpressed longings which, when finally uttered, can no longer be contained.

About the author

Oil field engineer turned banker turned writer Ekow Duker was educated in Ghana, the United Kingdom, the United States and France. His time in the oil industry took him to the harsh expanses of the Sahara desert and the fetid swamps of the Niger delta, with lengthy stopovers in several countries in between. Since leaving the oil field, Duker has worked mainly as a corporate strategist and in banking, roles that, at their core, are really all about storytelling. Duker lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Duker’s previous novels are White Wahala and Dying in New York:

White WahalaDying in New York

Book details

OUTA investigating possibility of class action against Eskom

The E-Tolls SagaBlackoutThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says it is investigating the possibility of bringing a class action against Eskom.

This follows a court decision setting aside the 9.4 per cent Eskom electricity tariff increase.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Tuesday that Eskom had not followed the correct methodology when requesting an additional tariff increase for 2016 using the Revenue Clearing Account.

Eskom had failed to submit quarterly reports to the national energy regulator Nersa to lay the basis for the application and also submitted late‚ outside of the permitted time frame. The case was brought by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers and others.

Outa said on Wednesday evening it would be engaging with various experts to assess the viability of launching a class action against Eskom on behalf of the public to recoup the amounts unlawfully charged.

“We applaud the businesses and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chambers for successfully challenging the irrational manner within which Nersa approved the increase in Eskoms tariffs. Although not all amounts overcharged will be deemed significant in the eyes of some‚ it is an absolute matter of principle that Eskom pay back every cent they have overcharged,” said Ivan Herselman‚ director of legal affairs at Outa.

On 31 March 2016‚ Outa applied to interdict the Eskom tariff increase on the basis of insufficient time and information to analyse the reasons for the electricity tariff increase agreed to by Nersa‚ before it cames into effect.

Outa is currently on appeal against the judgment which ruled against the organisation. It said the judgment of this latest court ruling specifically confirmed Outa’s position that Eskom could revert to the lowest tariff‚ if the interdict was granted.

“We are fully aware that Eskom and/or Nersa are likely to appeal the ruling but will start with our preparations to determine whether a class action is feasible in the circumstances” Herselman added.

Source: TMG Digital

Book details

International retirement is not an option for AB de Villiers

AB: The AutobiographyYou read it here first: there are things AB de Villiers cannot do. Like get away with pretending a cricket ground is a tennis court.

“It’s got to do with the tendons‚” De Villiers told reporters about the elbow injury that will keep him out of South Africa’s Test series against New Zealand‚ which starts at Kingsmead on Friday.

“I play some shots that look like tennis shots. I’ve been given six weeks [to recover].”

De Villiers has missed only two of the 108 Tests SA have played since he made his debut in December 2004.

If it seems like he is always playing some format for some team somewhere‚ that’s because he is.

Since his first match for the North Gauteng under-19 team in December 2000‚ De Villiers has played 663 games of cricket.

That’s an average of more than 41 matches a year.

Something’s got to give …

“It [the elbow] is not the only issue that I have‚” De Villiers said.

“I have five to six niggles at the moment‚ including the shoulder that everybody knows about.

“It started about eight months ago‚ but I’ve been hanging in there. I did fool myself a bit in thinking that I could just keep going and keep going and it has sort of caught up with me a bit.

“Lots of things play a role when it comes to injury. I’ve definitely played a lot of cricket in all three formats‚ all over the world. It definitely played a role.

“It caught me like a thief in the night. This was not part of the plan. That’s just the way it is.”

As bad as De Villiers’ absence is for a Proteas team that will be intent on showing against the Kiwis that they have halted last season’s spiral of six defeats in eight Tests‚ things could have been worse.

De Villiers is among the most marketable stars of world sport. He doesn’t need his salary from Cricket SA‚ who are believed to pay him 10 times less than what he earns from Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Wouldn’t he uncomplicate his life significantly by retiring from international cricket?

“I love playing for my country and I would love to play as long as I can‚” De Villiers said.

“You’ve got to look after your body sometimes and that’s happening with the six weeks now. Hopefully after this New Zealand series I will be ready to go and will tackle the Aussies [in a home one-day series] in October.

“There’s a [one-day] game against Ireland in seven weeks’ time. That’s a good time to test where I am physically.”

Save the date: September 25.

TMG Sport

Book details

The story of a modern sporting phenomenon – AB: The Autobiography by AB de Villiers

AB: The AutobiographyOut in September – AB: The Autobiography by AB de Villiers!

AB de Villiers is one of the finest batsmen ever to play cricket, and yet his achievement extends beyond his outrageous armoury of drives, pulls, paddles, scoops and flicks.

Whether he is delighting home crowds at the Wanderers or Newlands or setting new records in Bengaluru or Sydney, he plays the game in a whole-hearted manner that projects a positive image of his country around the world and also makes millions of South Africans feel good about themselves.

This is AB’s story, in his own words … the story of the youngest of three talented, sports-mad brothers growing up in Warmbaths, of a boy who excelled at tennis, rugby and cricket, of a youngster who made his international debut at the age of 20 and was then selected in every single Test played by South Africa for the next 11 seasons, of a batsman who has started to redefine the art, being ranked among the world’s very best in Test, ODI and T20.

Through all the pyrotechnics and consistency, AB has remained a true sportsman – quick to deflect praise, swift to praise opponents, eager to work hard, to embrace the team’s next challenge and to relish what he still regards as the huge privilege of representing his country.

This is the story of a modern sporting phenomenon.

AB has become the most valuable cricketer on the planet. – Adam Gilchrist

About the author

The statistics tell barely half the story but, so far, AB de Villiers has scored 14 000 runs in 98 Tests for South Africa, 8 000 runs in 190 one-day internationals and more than 40 000 runs in his professional career. He is mainly distinguished by the style in which he bats and his humble, determined captaincy of the South African national team in one-day international cricket.

Book details

Julius Malema: ‘I’m not suffering from an uncontrollable ambition for power’

Still an Inconvenient YouthEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says growing the party‚ not winning municipalities or positions‚ is what the party is focusing on.

He was speaking at the EFF’s gala dinner on Saturday‚ at Meropa Leisure and Entertainment in Polokwane‚ ahead of its Tshela Thupa rally on Sunday in Limpopo.

The rally will mark the party’s final day of campaigning ahead of the local government elections on Wednesday.

“I don’t care whether we win a municipality or not‚ but we are going to increase our numbers. I’m not suffering from an uncontrollable ambition for power‚” said Malema.

He said those who wanted to win municipalities at all costs were “shortsighted” and “myopic”.

Malema reminded the audience that the EFF was only three years old and people should not put pressure on it to win municipalities.

The EFF leader also said it was important to grow local economies and put land in the hands of its rightful owners.

“When we speak they think we want to be like Zimbabwe. We don’t want you to be like Zimbabwe‚ we want you to benefit from the land‚ there’s too much money to be made from this land‚” said Malema.

He added that the state should be funding and supporting black farm owners instead of giving them land that soon lay vacant and unused.

“That is setting black people up for failure … you must sit with them‚ you must babysit them for 10 years and then pull out after 10 years because you mentored those people‚” Malema said.

He said South Africa had the responsibility to ensure that patterns of property ownership changed.

Malema also spoke about nationalisation saying that he was not calling for a complete ban of the private sector but the economy should be led and owned by the state.

“We are not the enemy of business‚ we want to partner with business‚” he said.

Malema said sanitation services should not be outsourced but should rather be the responsibility of the municipality.

“You can’t privatise water‚ you can’t privatise a reading of meters … because the reality is that those are basic things that the municipality is doing. So once you privatise them‚ you’re going to pay more‚ because a job which can be done with R100m we end up doing it with R150m because R50m goes to this middleman called a tenderman‚” said Malema.

He said tenderpreneurs depended too much on government tenders and lacked the innovation needed to be true entrepreneurs.

The party has vowed that under its leadership general tenders would come to an end‚ and that it would only outsource scarce services.

TMG Digital/BDlive

Book details