Retired army boss among the clients of cheat website
A South African ambassador and a former highranking army officer are among scores of local adulterers who have been caught with their pants down.
The man is one of thousands of South Africans whose name appeared this week on the database of AshleyMadison.com, a website that helps married people have affairs.
This week, hackers published the list – containing personal details of millions of the site’s users – on the dark web, a part of the interview that cannot be accessed by search engines like Google.
City Press’ sister newspaper Rapport, with the help of local computer experts, obtained the encoded database of almost 78 000 transactions between 2013 and this year. The list features the full names, email addresses, home addresses and banking details for the credit card payments and the dates, times and amounts of money they spent on the site.
Men have to pay to obtain the contact details of female members.
A former general, who has previously disciplined soldiers for their sexual indiscretions, spent R450 on the site in search of action in January this year.
He has been quoted as saying that soldiers are seen as ambassadors of the country and indecent behaviour casts the nation in a bad light.
But it’s not just former generals who have been making use of the site – an examination of the users’ email addresses show that scores of doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, advocates and government officials have been using it.
These include a well-known paediatrician, who since 2013 has spent R5 000 on the service and is one of 73 South African medics looking for a bit of action outside their marriage.
There are also 770 South Africans connected to local universities on the database.
There were 57 academics from Stellenbosch University followed by 41 employed by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.
Of the government officials, there are 140 users who used Eskom email addresses, 51 at Telkom, 18 from correctional services, and 15 from the police.
City Press contacted 100 of those with government email addresses to ask how they felt about being outed.
Many of the emails bounced, but some responded, vehemently denying they had ever heard of Ashley Madison.
An official working for the department of public works in KwaZulu-Natal said she did not even know what Ashley Madison did.
“I guess there would be repercussions for those who use the service [during work hours] – not me, obviously.
“As to whether it’s appropriate to use a work email is up to the individual. If one can use work cellphones to call friends, I guess work emails can be used for private things.
“I used to receive emails from Ashley Madison and I marked them as spam a few years back, but I didn’t bother to check why I’m receiving the emails,” she said.
Another official from the National Prosecuting Authority demanded to know where the leaked list had come from.
“There is no way my name can be on that list. Protocol at work does not allow us to go on such websites.
“This information needs to be verified and you can do that with our IT department,” said the official.
Another official from the department of public enterprises said she had only looked at the site once and had “never been a user”.