Boots on the ground

TIMESLIVE PODCASTS  |  Podcast , ±27 min episodes every 3 weeks, 3 days  |  Broadcast schedule  | 
In this short podcast series, we follow Sunday Times top investigative journalists as they cover the real stories that make-up SA’s national headlines.

Boots on the ground is a true piece of mobile journalism — all interviews, voices and sound effects have been gathered using nothing but smartphones.

Boots on the ground is a production of MultimediaLIVE, a division of Arena Holdings.

PLEASE NOTE: This podcast may contain explicit and sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

#COVID-19, #SALockdown, #Coronavirus, #Investigation, #Police

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Cape of Cocaine EP 4 - 'go to prison, meet nice guys, become a nice guy'

In February 2018 assassins murdered Bulgarian couple Angelo Dimov and Nessie Peeva in their home at around 11 am in the Cape Town suburb of Bergvliet.
It was not a house burglary gone wrong, it was a hit ordered by a British cocaine dealer who felt he was double crossed.
There was more to Dimov and Peeva than their friends in the Cape Town southern suburbs knew.
Dimov was an alleged member of the Bulgarian mafia, a secretive criminal organisation which would go from successfully cloning thousands of credit cards raking in millions of rand to drug dealing.
Their murders remain unsolved but a burglary, a kidnapping, and a pile of diamonds give clues as to what may have led to their demise.
The British man who is allegedly connected to their murder is also allegedly a major cocaine dealer and he was playing the same game as the Bulgarian mafia and their fixer Asen Ivanov.
This week in Cape of Cocaine we reveal for the first time details about Dimov and Peeva’s murders and we delve into lives of the men who helped Ivanov become a major cocaine trafficker.

Cape of Cocaine EP 3 - Cocaine Inc: Chasing Ivanov, the Bulgarian mafia's fixer

It’s February 2014 and Hawks Warrant Officer Johan Combrinck has received a tip-off through Interpol that Bulgarian men were busy constructing a large drug lab in a mansion in the Cape Town suburb of Durbanville.
On the evening of 24 February Combrinck parked his car opposite the house and conducted a steak-out.
The smell of sulphur was in the air, a sign to Combrinck that chemicals used for processing drugs were nearby.
In the house Combrinck could see movement. And then a man wearing a hazmat suite and gas mask appears in sight. It’s the same equipment which Combrinck and his men use to protect themselves from hazardous chemicals when they destroy drug labs.
The next day Combrinck and his Hawks colleagues arrive at the house with a court order.
They knock on the door. The man who opens it introduces himself as Asen Ivanov.

Cape of Cocaine EP 2 - The ghost ships haunting SA's shores

Out there with the legendary Flying Dutchman is a fleet of 'ghost ships' trafficking cocaine from South America to destinations around the globe. They are invisible to satellites and tracking systems and make lonely voyages undetected, sometimes across rough seas.
The Atlantic Warrior is one of them. She belongs to the Bulgarian Mafia and trafficked cocaine from Brazil to Saldanha Bay off the South African West Coast. She is now missing after TimesLIVE Investigations journalist Aron Hyman spoke about her involvement in drug trafficking on Bulgarian national television. 
Following the arrests of Asen Ivanov and his Bulgarian associates for possession of a tonne of cocaine on 1 March last year police managed to confiscate three ships belonging to the syndicate. It's believed others are still out in the ocean possibly still trafficking cocaine around the world. 
Episode two of Cape of Cocaine reveals how a fleet of ships trafficked drugs between South America to South Africa and eventually off to Australia on an industrial scale. 

Cape of Cocaine EP 1 - Discovery on the shores of Saldanha Bay

On March 1 2021 the Windward, a Bulgarian mafia cocaine ship, was three days behind schedule docking at Saldanha Bay harbour on SA’s west coast.
Bulgarian cocaine fleet manager Asen Ivanov and his Bulgarian associates were waiting, probably worried their Myanmar crew had become lost in thick fog or rough seas. 
Unbeknown to him, he had much bigger problems because watching the mafia’s every move was Lt-Col Johan Smit and members of the Western Cape police’s narcotics unit.
When the drug dealers approached the ship, the moment the police officers had been planning for months arrived.
They were on the cusp of one of the biggest drug busts in SA history and inadvertently exposing a large secret crime organisation.

Cape of Cocaine - Trailer

One of the biggest cocaine busts in South Africa’s history, on the misty shores of Saldanha Bay, lifted the lid on an international drug-smuggling ring led by the Bulgarian mafia. But the syndicate brought more than just the drug to this country's shores.
Cape of Cocaine is a mini podcast series unpacking the group's operations and its dealings in South Africa. It's a tale of drugs, ghost ships, corruption and assassinations.
Join me, Orrin Singh, every Monday from November 14 as I delve into the inner workings of the Bulgarian Mafia’s operations on our shores, talking to journalists, investigators, partygoers and gangsters, among others.. Cape of Cocaine is brought to you by Boots on the Ground, a TimesLIVE and Arena Holdings production.

Truck drivers ‘flying’ to meet increased export demand blamed for road carnage

The horrific crash between a truck and bakkie that claimed the lives of 20 people, including 18 pupils, on the N2 in Pongola, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on September 16 has shone a spotlight on the cracks in SA's road freight industry. 

The rising global demand for coal caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine has hurt the local trucking industry as it races to meet growing export demands amid a crisis. This increased demand has resulted in more heavy vehicles on SA's national roads, particularly on the N2.

In this episode of Boots on the Ground: Behind SA’s National Headlines, we look at why our national roads have become unsafe; the role of the freight industry in the carnage, particularly the working conditions of truck drivers, and what needs to be done to make SA's roads safe.  

We hear from various stakeholders including trucking industry associations, drivers, concerned citizens and the government.

Royal Rumble - how are Zulu monarchs actually selected?

Welcome to Royal Rumble, a short podcast series. This series is dedicated to celebrating the amaZulu Monarchy and its traditions; while unravelling the complicated power dynamics associated with traditional succession and leadership.

In this first episode of our three part series, we focus on the significance of traditional leadership and the contradictory parallel existence of a constitutional democracy and a traditional monarchy within SA.

SA already has a president, so why do its various clans need traditional rulers or kings? What authority and sway is associated with the title of king of the Zulu’s? How is succession decided? And what ramifications lie in wait, if a traditional king’s authority is questioned? 

The bloodiest days in SA's democratic history

In today’s episode of Boots on the Ground, behind SA’s biggest headlines we commemorate the bloodiest days in our democratic history, by not only reliving what our country went through, but also trying to make sense of it.
You will hear testimony from looters themselves, who saw an opportunity and took it, community members who witnessed racial tension rip through their hometowns, vigilantes justifying gun-toting to protect their homes and recollections from journalists on the ground.  

SA’S IS CRISIS | State lets scores of fighters return from Syria in secret scheme

The government is repatriating hundreds of South Africans and their families, who for years fought for and aided the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, providing them with new identity documents and a means to resettle.
A TimesLIVE investigation can reveal the repatriations — done through the international relations and cooperation and home affairs departments, with the State Security Agency’s (SSA) approval — began in 2019, shortly after IS’s caliphate in Syria and Iraq collapsed.
The repatriations have met stiff resistance from SAPS and Hawks officers investigating terrorism cases. Anti-terrorism officers say repatriations are “growing SA’s IS ranks”, with police unable to effectively monitor returnees because of a lack of resources.

Inside Gauteng's psychiatric healthcare crisis

In today’s episode of “Boots on the ground: Behind SA’s national headlines”, we dive into the state of psychiatric healthcare in SA, particularly in some of Gauteng's public hospitals in the inner cities and townships. We look at the challenges faced by hospitals when it comes to the treatment of psychiatric patients and how they have affected their staff and other patients, and what is being done to address this worsening issue.

Here is why kidnapping for ransom cases have exploded in SA

In today’s episode of Boots on the ground: behind South Africa’s national headlines, we dive into the secretive, underground world of ransom kidnappings. Why has this kind of organized crime become so prevalent? Who are the targets and how are they being targeted? How is it possible for syndicate to extort millions of Rands without leaving a trace? And what happens behind the scenes when high profile kidnappings take place?

Why are SA’s most deadly convicted criminals up for parole?

In this week’s episode of Boots on the Ground: behind South Africa’s national headlines, we focus on the Van Vuuren and Van Wyk judgments that paved the way for lifers to be eligible for parole after 12 years and four months of serving their life sentence.

Parole for lifers has had devastating emotional impacts on the families of victims and communities.

40 episodes

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