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Students burn tyres in protest over alleged nepotism, racism
IOL News 3 May 2017

Johannesburg – A culture of nepotism, racial discrimination and intimidation has descended on the Carletonville campus of Westcol College, where the campus manager, his wife, his daughter and his daughter-in-law all work, student protesters are alleging.

On Tuesday, protesters gathered outside the entrance to the West Rand campus, singing and burning tyres in defiance of campus administration.

Settlement reached with Buffalo City strikers
IOL News 29 April 2016

Port Elizabeth – Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality on Friday said it had reached an agreement on back pay with striking workers to end their work stoppage.

The agreement came a day after hundreds of striking SA Municipal Workers Union members marched to East London City Hall in protest over salary disputes and back pay. The strike started two weeks ago.

A group of workers trashed parts of East London by spilling rubbish onto the streets. Workers reportedly also set fire to electricity boxes near the municipality’s Trust Building.

In a statement on Friday Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said the municipality had reached an agreement with workers.

Mtsi said the CCMA had helped broker the agreement on union demands for back pay for two years because of delays in the job evaluation process.

Mtsi said: “Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality has undertaken to pay the employees their Job Evaluation Adjustment Allowance in the amount R15 000 as a once off payment to each employee as follows: R 9 838.00 within a period of fourteen days and the remaining amount of R5 162.00 will be paid at the earliest possible date of the next financial year”.

Mtsi added: “The employer will withdraw their application for an interdict with costs immediately after the Trade Unions have called off their strike”.

He also apologised to East London residents for any inconveniences caused by the strike.

Meanwhile, Mayoral spokesperson, Sibusiso Pindi warned that investigations were in the pipeline with regards to workers who vandalised buildings and broke equipment.

Pindi said that even the unions did not condone such behavior which amounted to “breaking the law”.

Vuwani residents lose court bid
SABC News 29 April 2016

Residents of the Vuwani area have asked the municipality to reverse the municipal demarcation board's decision to incorporate Vuwani into a new municipality in the Vhembe district.

Residents of the Vuwani area have asked the municipality to reverse the municipal demarcation board's decision to incorporate Vuwani into a new municipality in the Vhembe district. (SABC)

Limpopo Polokwane Vuwani The Municipal Demarcation Board Ephraim Makgoba Witness Tiva The Limpopo high court in Polokwane has ruled against the residents of Vuwani who took the Municipal Demarcation Board to court.

Limpopo Judge President, Ephraim Makgoba says the applicants failed to give enough reasons why the Municipal Board decision should be reversed.

The Demarcation Board has decided to merge parts of Vuwani and Malamulele to form a new municipality.

The applicants have not been able to show that the decision of the board is arbitrary or in any way lacking any rationality

Traditional leaders took the matter to court in a bid to get the board to reverse its decision to merge part of Vuwani and Malamulele to form a new municipality.

Judge Makgoba says each party will pay for the their legal costs. “The applicants have not been able to show that the decision of the board is arbitrary or in any way lacking any rationality.”

“The applicants have also failed to show that there was some important considerations of which ought to have been taken to account but was ignored as a results the applicants failed to make up a proper case for relief sought and the application for review cannot succeed and the application is dismissed and each party shall pay its legal costs.”

Bushbuckridge residents protest appointment of new councillor
IOL News 29 April 2016

Protests Bushbuckridge Mpumalanga Shatale Dwarsloop Enas Selowe LGE 2016 The residents of Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga have been protesting since early Friday morning.

They are complaining about the imposing of an ANC councillor who they do not want.

There is no alternative entrance or exit to the area between Shatale and Dwarsloop as the residents have blockaded the R40 road with burning tires and stones.

Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for the community safety and liaison Enas Selowe says this protest is not about service delivery.

“The police are there and the R40 of course is closed, there is no exit at all, when I try to interact because I tried to interact with the community members here, the cry is not about service delivery, it is about the issue of imposing candidate to those who they do not want”

#RUReferenceList creates ripple effect
IOL News 18 April 2016

Protests are continuing at Rhodes University as students are voicing their discontent about the rape culture across the campus. Following the release of the #RUReferenceList which was published to the “RU Queer Confessions, Questions and Crushes” page stating names of alleged rapists at Rhodes University, protests continued across the campus on Monday.

Protestors plan Freedom Day port blockade
Southlands Sun 26 April 2016

ABOUT 2,500 people are expected to block the entrance to the Durban Harbour this Freedom Day (Wednesday, 27 April) in protest against what they believe are unsustainable developments in South Durban.

Facilitated by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SCEA), the protest on Wednesday, 27 April will see South Durban communities bar access to the Durban Port container terminals on Langerberg and Bayhead roads from 10am.

They will speak out against what they deem are unsustainable developments in the South Durban Basin, including the dig out port and its back of port ramifications, Clairwood Logistics Park, increased trucking and the expansion of petroleum chemical industries.

“The question we need to ask ourselves is, is this type of development worth pursuing at the expense of our natural, social and cultural environments which future generations will not be able to experience? Is climate change not a worrying factor when it is more evident than ever before, considering the droughts and extreme weather patterns in various areas of not only our nation but globally?

Why are these factors disregarded in light of profit? Why isn’t there proper engagement with citizens on alternatives and ways to improve the lives of our people?

As a community we need to stand up against environmental injustice that will lead to vulnerable communities left at the mercy of bad choices made by government and industry,” said SDCEA.

PHOTOS: Meter taxi drivers march against Uber
Berea Mail 28 April 2016

The KZN Meter Taxi Alliance marched to City Hall to hand over a memorandum of demands to the municipality after feeling the pinch of taxi cab mobile app Uber operating in the country.

DURBAN’S meter taxi drivers, with support from other areas around the province, parked their vehicles and marched from Botha Park through the streets to City Hall this morning.

The meter taxi industry led by the KZN Meter Taxi Alliance held the peaceful march to air their grievances against the popular transport mobile app Uber which is “financially crippling” local drivers and handed over a memorandum of demands to the City.

A taxi driver who spoke to Berea Mail at City Hall where the memorandum was being signed, said, “The march is against Uber, we don’t want Uber operating in Durban or South Africa.

“Their rates are half our rates, while we like healthy competition, Uber rates are something we can’t even try to compete with. In our industry, meter taxi drivers have rules and regulations that have to be followed and taxes to be paid, but Uber is tax free!” The driver hoped bringing their issues to the Mayor would assist them in getting rid of Uber.

The carrying placards such as “Support legal local meter taxis”, If we have to obey the law, so must illegal Uber, Illegal Uber must fall, hundreds of drivers sang, toyi-toyied and shouted “Uber must fall” and “Phansi Uber, Phansi” .

The Mayor’s representative, Desmond Myeza accepted the memorandum. A leader of the Alliance speaking in Zulu, threatened that meter taxi drivers would not vote in the local elections if government did not get rid of Uber. Local meter taxi drivers are required to have a current Motor Carrier Permit/Operating Licence issued by the Department of Transport stipulating their point of operation and radius they operate within as well as COR/COF. There are demarcated ranks managed and controlled by Metro Police usually in front of hotels, shopping centres, entertainment and sporting facilities. They are required to have comprehensive insurance and passenger liability, a clean criminal record and valid Public Driving Permit.

Myeza said while he could only accept the memorandum, he would ensure the MEC of Transport Willies Mchunu received and investigated whether Uber was operating illegally in the country.

The KZN Meter Taxi Alliance memorandum of demands included the removal of Uber operators with immediate effect, law enforcement agencies to prosecute and impound all Uber cars who do not have the requirements to operate a metered taxi since Uber uses private vehicles owned by individuals. The Alliance also demanded that a special task team investigate Uber’s anti-competitive and predatory pricing. He said they had full faith in all those in power to bring an end to Uber’s illegal operation which was causing a major impact on the smooth and efficient running of the metered taxi industry.

Parents threaten to ‘shut down’ KZN school
IOL News 27 April 2016

Angry parents, including school governing body (SGB) members, have vowed to “shut down” a KwaZulu-Natal school unless action is taken against a teacher who they say has spent “most” of the past three years out of the classroom, away on union business.

The governing body at the ML Sultan Primary in Ladysmith has given the Education Department until Friday to remove Rama Ramdewo and replace him with a “more capable” teacher.

If it fails to meet the ultimatum, the SGB, in a memorandum delivered on Monday, warned the school would “be locked”.

The SGB also accused Ramdewo, a South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) representative, of being a disruptive influence at the school, abusing his leave and said he had “deprived our children” of their right to education.

16 000 homes to be demolished for proposed mine
IOL News 27 April 2016

Enraged members of a rural community neighbouring the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park are up in arms, defending their land and saying they do not want a proposed coal mine.

The stand-off is not only between community members and Ibutho Coal, which intends to mine on the land, as locals have also accused their traditional leaders of selling land to the company.

A senior official of Ibutho Coal, who is not authorised to speak to the media, told The Mercury on Tuesday that the Fuleni mine would go ahead despite the objections.

The homes of 16 000 families would have to be demolished.

A member of the Mthethwa Traditional Council, Mbhekeni Mthethwa, said the council had supported the mining after being convinced that it would bring development to the community.

“The company had promised us that the mining would come with development. Young people would be sent to universities to acquire mining skills.”

He said the mine would have a lifespan of about 40 years. He also said it was “inevitable” that homesteads, two schools and a clinic would be demolished to allow for the mine to be built.

Mthethwa said it was wrong of the community to involve lawyers in the matter that should be discussed within the jurisdiction of the tribal authority.

The community said it had been told that the company would give each family a cow and a goat to slaughter to apologise to ancestors for removing graves.

Late last week the community of Ocelwane, under the Mthethwa Tribal Authority, barricaded their dirt road with burning tyres and rocks to prevent officials of the government’s Regional Mining Development Environment Committee from inspecting the land.

The community established the Umfolozi Community Environment Justice Organisation two years ago to fight the mining. The organisation’s secretary, Phila Ndimande, said villages to be affected were Ocelwane, Ntuthunga, Novunula, Emakhwezini, Fuleni and Shayamoya.

It is also feared that air and noise pollution would affect the neighbouring Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Africa’s oldest game reserve.

Strangers driving into the area are met with hostility. The Mercury team was interrogated as one elderly man, Bhekukwenzelwa Ndimande, said: “There are lots of unscrupulous people coming here with bad intentions.”

Ndimande said accepting mining because of promises of employment opportunity and development would be like “accepting poisoned food”.

Mthethwa said the negotiations started in 2006 and agreements between the Mthethwa Traditional Council and Ibutho Coal were reached three years later.

“But the progress has been stalled by threats made by members of the community, especially those of Ocelwane,” he said.

Ndimande said the community was angry that despite its repeated rejection of the mining, Ibutho Coal officials kept coming to the area.

“They have brought in heavy duty machines without our approval. They have left holes on the ground that are dangerous to our cattle,” he said.

Across the Mfolozi River, in the Mkhwanazi Tribal Authority, is the 10-year-old Somkhele Coal Mine.

The Ocelwane community cited living close to this mine as the reason they were vigorously opposing to mining on their land.

They said Somkhele Mine polluted their air. Every time there was rock blasting, dust would settle on their houses.

For years we have been breathing polluted air, and we are suffering from chest problems.

This air is also not safe for our animals. Our houses have developed cracks due to the blasts, the community said.

They also said the blasts also traumatised children and livestock.

Thulebona Maphumulo said the company and the traditional council had failed to answer key questions.

“They have failed to tell us how they are going to manage air pollution.

“They have failed to assure us that we are not going to lose our homes and grazing land,” said Maphumulo.

The community appointed lawyers in 2011 to help them in their battle.

“The lawyers have taught us lots about the effects of mining. We have watched videos about how mining has destroyed people’s lives,” he said.

An adviser to Inkosi Temba Mthethwa, Bhekisisa Mthethwa, said the inkosi would not comment until the process was finalised to avoid taking sides.

A Lawyer for the community, Kirsten Youens, said in terms of the law, not only the traditional council should support the mining.

“These 16 000 families have not been spoken to. Whether the tribal authority intends to support the mine is one thing. The rest of the community has to support it as well.”

She said they would definitely take the matter to court if the Department of Mineral Resources gave permission for the company to mine.

“The tribal authority is supposed to represent the people,” she said.

Thousands march for #IamConstitution
IOL News 24 April 2016

Johannesburg – Thousands of people from across South Africa walked in the Johannesburg city centre on Sunday in support of the #IamConstitution campaign and Constitution Hill’s “We, The People Walk”, to celebrate of 20 years of the Constitution.

Constitution Hill partnered with The Ichikowitz Family Foundation in bringing the #IamConstitution campaign to life in an 8km march travelling around the city and ending at the finish line in Constitution Square, the organisers said in a statement.

“#IamConstitution is a national campaign aimed at promoting the values and benefits of the Constitution among all South Africans and encouraging the nation to read, live, and embrace the Constitution of South Africa.”

Constitution Hill in partnership with The Ichikowitz Family Foundation offered citizens a distinct opportunity to engage with heritage and democracy with the dynamic #IamConstitution national campaign that truly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the SA Constitution, the statement said.

UCT accused of ‘victimising’ RMF members
IOL News 27 April 2016

Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) has accused UCT of “victimising” its members after it instituted disciplinary processes against a number of students recently.

RMF spokesperson Mohammed Abdulla said the university is using draconian measures to target “strong voices” in the movement in a bid to derail the student activist group.

UCT has obtained an interim interdict against five RMF members – three of them UCT students – in the Western Cape High Court for violating the university’s code of conduct or breaking the law during the #Shackville protest in February.

The five appeared in court last month and are awaiting judgment.

They have been charged after for their alleged actions during a protest to highlight a lack of student accommodation at the university.

Sixteen people found to have broken UCT’s student code during the protest had been listed on the interim court interdict which prohibited them from entering UCT property until the matter was heard in court.

UCT management then decided to take 11 students off the interim interdict.

This week, university spokesperson Pat Lucas confirmed that more students now face disciplinary processes.

“The university confirms that disciplinary processes are under way against a number of students whose actions are alleged to have breached the Code of Conduct on February 16, 2016,” Lucas said.

She said UCT upholds the confidentiality of internal disciplinary proceedings and will not provide further information to the public.

“UCT does not discipline students for participating in protest within legal boundaries. No students have been disciplined for engaging in protest.

“Disciplinary action is taken when students are accused of participating in activities that violate the UCT Code of Conduct and/or when they break the law,” Lucas added.

Abdulla said there was a strong sense within the movement UCT management was targeting certain individuals.

“Essentially RMF has no official leaders, but there is a definite move from the university’s side to victimise the strong voices within the movement – the ones who they see as trouble makers.

“I’ve seen video evidence of other students committing similar acts to the ones the RMF members have been charged for, but UCT has done nothing to charge them.”

He said RMF is keen to enter into a mediation process for an amicable solution, but UCT has chosen a “punitive hard-line approach”.

The five who appeared in court last month are Alex Hotz, Masixole Mlandu, Slovo Magida, Zola Shokane and Chumani Maxwele.

Hundreds attend #ZumaMustFall march in CTN
IOL News 27 April 2016

CapeTown - A few hundred Capetonians took to the streets of the Mother City on Wednesday to call on President Jacob Zuma to “do the right thing and step aside”.

The march, organised under the #ZumaMustFall banner, was supported by various church groups from the greater Cape Town area and took on a mostly religious tone.

“Zuma must fall; Jesus must rise,” some of the protestors shouted while a gospel band led others in song.

Right2Know protest against state surveillance
IOL News 27 April 2016

Non-profit organisation Right2Know protested against state surveillance at the Office of Interception Centres on Freedom Day.

R2K condemns RICA ‘spying’
IOL News 28 April 2016

Johannesburg - “Phantsi nge secrecy, phantsi!” they chanted.

“Stop spying on us!” their posters read.

Behind the yellow police- barricade tape blocking them from the very institution they were picketing against, a Right2Know (R2K) group remained resolute in their mission.

The group of R2K Gauteng members protested on Wednesday outside the Office of the Interception Centres (OIC), a facility falling under the State Security Agency, calling for urgent reforms to Regulation of Interception of Communications and Communication-Related Act (Rica) and the end of what they alleged was surveillance abuse.

This action comes on the heels of a UN Human Rights Committee report released last month, which condemned South Africa's surveillance capabilities, and the law meant to regulate them - Rica.

The committee recommended the government should stop engaging in mass surveillance of private communications without a judge's authorisation, and consider revoking or limiting the requirement for mandatory retention of data.

R2K said South Africa’s communications surveillance capabilities were not transparent, open to abuse and a major threat to human rights.

Reading out their memorandum to an OIC representative flanked by several police officers, R2K’s Dale McKinley stated: “Evidence has emerged that investigative journalists from at least two media organisations, Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter, from the Sunday Times, and Sam Sole, from the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, have had their phones bugged.”

In their memorandum they also stated that the fear of surveillance had become an increasing feature of many activist struggles.

R2K presented six reforms it demanded from OIC, including dropping SIM card registrations.

DA man allegedly stabbed by ANC supporters
IOL News 28 April 2016

Durban - Police on Thursday confirmed that a case had been opened by a Democratic Alliance member who was stabbed following a political rally, allegedly by supporters of the African National Congress.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said: “The incident took place at Welbedacht near Chatsworth yesterday (Wednesday), but the victim opened an assault GBH [with intend to do grievous bodily harm] case at Ntuzuma police station where he is originally from.”

Zwane said that no arrests in the case had yet been made.

“He sustained a stab wound on the left arm and was taken to hospital for medical attention,” said Zwane.

The 29-year-old was injured when DA supporters and a group of about 40 ANC supporters clashed at the end of a DA Freedom Day rally on Wednesday that was attended by about 1 500 people in Welbedacht, an impoverished area in Durban’s Chatsworth area.

The DA’s provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said on Thursday that he would be raising the clashes at the next multi-party meeting.

DA councillor Heinz de Boer said on Wednesday afternoon that DA supporters leaving the rally found themselves confronted by a group of about 40 people wearing ANC T-shirts.

“As our people began leaving the area, a number of vehicles including a bakkie with a loudspeaker system and the ANC flag arrived, effectively blocking the road.”

It was then that the stabbing is alleged to have taken place, but before matters took on a nastier turn, officers from the eThekwini Metro Police arrived and separated the two groups.

ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma, speaking from Newcastle on Thursday where he was campaigning, said that the party was still investigating the incident.

“We have got that information [of the confrontation]. We are still investigating. It is not the ANC culture to prevent others from campaigning.”

He said that he would be able to further comment on the incident once investigations had been completed. He also pointed out that people wearing ANC T-shirts did not automatically mean they were members of the party.

“There should be tolerance. We cannot have no-go areas. Anyone who does not agree with that, cannot be a part of us,” he said.

Orange Farm protesters block highway
IOL News 25 April 2016

Johannesburg - A section of the Golden Highway near Orange Farm, south of Joburg, was again closed off on Monday morning due to protest action.

From the early hours, residents barricaded the road with large rocks and burning tyres, sending clouds of black smoke billowing into the air and leaving motorists frustrated.

The enraged crowd also pelted vehicles on the busy stretch of road with stones.

A large contingent of SAPS and JMPD officers arrived on the scene and turned motorists away from the affected section of the highway.

Monday morning's protest is believed to be a continuation of action taken by residents earlier this month to demand better service delivery.

They were unhappy about large piles of uncollected rubbish, a lack of paved roads, sanitation, electricity and housing.

Protest action at the time turned violent, with police firing rubber bullets in an effort to disperse the rowdy crowd, who in turn pelted the officers with stones.

JMPD spokesperson Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told The Star that rubber bullets had also been fired at protesters who congregated at the nearby N1 highway on Monday morning.

They had been throwing stones at passing motorists.

No injuries were reported on Monday morning and no arrests had been made by time of publication.

Other affected roads included the R28 Randfontein Road and both sides of the N1 in Orange Farm, where cars were forced to make U-turns as burning tyres and debris blocked the roads.

Spokesperson for the City of Joburg Virgil James told The Star on Monday morning that they were dealing with service delivery issues in the area.

“We’re in talks with the ward councillors and the city will address the problems but it can’t all be done overnight; some of the problems are province-related as well.

“The city is not shirking its duties - the minute the residents don’t hear what they want it gets violent.”

“They are not being ignored, the idea here is to provide services for people and it must be noted that we are spending money in the underdeveloped areas, so that we have fewer protests,” James said.

He added that despite the City of Joburg having a decent budget, the money needed to be spread around and couldn't just be focused on one area.

“We are asking, please, for people to have patience - we cannot meet all demands all at once.”

The Joburg metro police department was on the scene to keep an eye on the situation and to help with crowd control.

The city said it had been informed on about Orange Farm residents' plan to take to the streets on Monday morning.

Video: Blikkiesdorp residents march for better housing
IOL News 26 April 2016

Residents from the Blikkiesdorp temporary relocation area in Delft marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre to demand better housing conditions.

MEC Plato joins march after police officer shot
IOL News 24 April 2016

Cape Town - Another policeman has been gunned down – this time in the heart of gang hot spot Delft – just hours after a memorial service was held for a detective who had been killed in Lower Crossroads, Cape Town.

Police declined to release the name of the constable on Saturday because his family had not yet been informed of his death.

Spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana told Weekend Argus the constable had been driving his private vehicle on the corner of Geelmelkhout Street and another street in Delft when he saw a car blocking the road.

“The suspect came out of the car and started shooting at the off-duty police official,” Rwexana said.

Nothing was stolen from the constable, but Rwexana said the motive and circumstances surrounding the murder were still under investigation.

By Saturday no one had been arrested for the attacks on either of the officers.

Earlier this week, two suspects ambushed Grassy Park detective Lindekile Sikade, 39, who was shot in an unmarked car in front of his house in Lower Crossroads.

His 9mm service pistol was the only item stolen from him – two cellphones were left in his car.

Yesterday Community Safety MEC Dan Plato joined scores of residents in Wesbank, Delft, for an anti-crime march through the area.

He described the murder of two police officers in less than a week as “absolutely tragic”.

“We ask the community to strengthen and work with the police. Police officers have also got to be more vigilant. They live in these areas they work in,” Plato said.

Anyone with information about the murders may contact police on 071 351 7464.

Oakbay workers march to SA banks
IOL News 26 April 2016

Johannesburg - Hundreds of workers from Gupta family-owned Oakbay Investments will on Tuesday march to the banks in an effort to save their jobs.

The operations of Oakbay were thrown into jeopardy after South Africa’s four main banks closed accounts of businesses owned by the controversial family.

At least 7 500 people work for Oakbay, whose businesses include Sahara Computers, The New Age newspaper and ANN7, a television news channel. The family also has mining interests.

Last week, some affected workers made a passionate plea to the banks to re-open the company’s business accounts, saying failure to do so would cost them their jobs.

In the open letter, signed off by two staff representatives, the workers indicated that their livelihoods were at stake, and they refused to be “victims of corporate conflicts”.

The letter was addressed to CEOs of the banks, which shunned Oakbay amid reports the company’s owners were accused of being involved in “state capture”.

Read also: DA refuses to meet with Gupta-owned Oakbay

The Guptas have been accused of offering cabinet minister positions to members of the ruling African National Congress in exchange for favourable decisions that advance their business interests. The Guptas and President Jacob Zuma, who leads the ANC, have rejected the allegations as false.

However, auditors KPMG and Oakbay’s JSE sponsor Sasfin cut their ties with the family businesses soon after the scandal surfaced.

The closure of Oakbay’s accounts by the banks provoked an angry response from Cosatu - the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which lamented possible job losses.

Read also: Cosatu welcomes Gupta bank probe

The South African cabinet has since endorsed the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to engage the banks on the closure of accounts.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane and Labour Minister Nelisiwe Mildred Oliphant have been tasked with setting up a meeting with the banks to “open constructive talks to find lasting a solution”.

PICS: Service delivery protest in Orange Farm
IOL News 25 April 2016

Police fired teargas to disperse residents of Orange Farm who built barricades and burned tyres in a protest over poor service delivery in the area.

Angry mob tells suspected robber: An eye for an eye
IOL News 26 April 2016

Galeshewe - A suspected robber got more than he bargained for when he became the target of mob justice and sustained a broken leg in the process.

The suspect was assaulted by the holder of the stolen bank card.

He lay in pain on the bathroom floor at the Pick n Pay centre in Galeshewe for over two hours, waiting for an ambulance to transport him to hospital on Monday.

Members of the public waited for the man outside the bathroom and threatened to mete out mob justice by clawing his eyes out.

“We will kill him, an eye for an eye. We will kick him in the ribs and break his other leg.”

They stated that ATM robbers regularly stole their hard-earned cash and pension money from the elderly.

“He is a thief, we are tired of these criminals,” they shouted.

As the man screamed, the crowd jeered at him with mock screaming, until he was carried out into the ambulance on a stretcher.

Neville Fritz said he executed a citizen’s arrest after the suspect stole his bank card at the ATM at the Shoprite centre in Barkly Road.

“I felt someone peering over my shoulder as I was trying to withdraw money. He must have copied my pin number as I later received a SMS notification on my cellphone that R3 000 had been withdrawn from my bank account at the Absa ATM at the Pick n Pay centre in Galeshewe.

“I rushed there and approached the suspect who I had recognised from the ATM at the Shoprite Centre. He was holding my bank card in his hand and had withdrawn another R180 from my bank account.”

Fritz said the suspect pulled out a pocket knife and tried to stab him.

“I retaliated by punching him in the face and grabbed the knife, whereupon he suffered a bloody mouth.”

Fritz added that during the scuffle the suspect fell and broke his leg, as he had apparently undergone an operation after previously sustaining a leg injury.

OJ Molusi added that he had assisted Fritz to retrieve the bank card and R180.

“Fritz confiscated the knife and placed it in his pocket while I grabbed his (the suspect’s) other hand and prevented him from fleeing. The security guards allowed us to hold the suspect in the bathroom until the police arrived.

Luckily we were not injured during the incident,” said Molusi.

Police spokesman, Lieutenant Olebogeng Tawana, said the suspect was arrested on a charge of theft.

“It is alleged that the suspect offered to assist the complainant at a local ATM. He stole the complainant’s bank card and went to withdraw the money at another ATM in Galeshewe.”

Tawana added that the suspect sustained injuries and was taken to hospital to receive medical treatment.

“He will appear in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court soon. The investigation continues,” Tawana said.

Squatters ‘tired of empy promises’ invade land
IOL News 26 April 2016

Pretoria - Residents of Mamelodi East have once again decided to invade plot 44 in Pienaarspoort and erect their shacks, saying they are tired of waiting for the City of Tshwane to give them land to build on.

Community members were said to have begun building their shacks on the land on Friday.

By Tuesday afternoon, trucks and cars carrying loads of wood, corrugated iron, window frames and people with shovels were still heading towards the land in their numbers to peg their own stands and build their shacks.

One resident who had all but completed his shack and had already partly furnished his new home said he was relieved to be finished.

“I only brought a few of my belongings, because you never know when the police will come to remove us again,” he said.

“We’re not going to lose hope no matter how many times they kick us out. We are tired of having to rent accommodation when there is land here for us to build on.”

Schoolchildren wandered around carrying shovels, while old women hammered the ground and mothers held their small children while their partners built the shacks.

Community representative Martin Matlala said the community would not be deterred despite having been forcefully removed from the site by Tshwane Metro Police officials 15 times in the past three years.

“We won’t lose hope that we too will have a place to call our own. The community is tired of empty promises that the city officials make so when they don’t honour their promises we come back,” he said.

“We are not fighting with the city or anyone else, all we want is land to build on,” said Matlala.

The community leader said they had already made plans for water tankers and were looking into bringing portable toilets to use temporarily. “The city is always slow to deliver so we won’t wait for them to bring us water or toilets, hence we have made plans of our own. The most important thing for us now is to have places to live in. Things like electricity will be dealt with later.”

Matlala said they had to prevent people erecting new shacks as there were already close to 5 000 people setting up their shacks.

“People are still coming in their numbers to get a piece of land. But we just want to see how well we can accommodate those already here and then we will open up for the others.”

They were expecting the city to ambush them in the middle of the night or in the early morning hours, he said, but they will keep coming back until they were given land.

“Councillors are selling these plots for their own benefit so why can’t we have a piece of land? Our people are tired of renting back rooms,” said the community leader.

The community invaded the plot last year on January 17, heeding the Economic Freedom Fighters’ initial calls for land grabs. Their victory was short-lived as the Tshwane metro police caught wind of the land grab and demolished at least 100 shacks a few hours after they had been erected.

Clashes ensued, resulting in the metro police firing rubber bullets at the illegal settlers. The community retaliated by hurling stones at police.

The City of Tshwane’s mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said they were aware of the renewed land invasion and said plans were afoot to curb the invasion.

“We are deploying our Metro Police Land Invasion Unit to effect eviction from the area. We will give the dwellers until today (Tuesday) 12 noon to voluntarily refrain from erecting any shacks and structures.

“We remain committed to the development of proper and sustainable human settlements,” said Manale.

He said the city believed that the recent land invasion is aimed at destabilising current programmes under the Re Aga Tshwane Programme of proclaiming townships and formalising existing informal settlements while continuing to provide rudimentary services and transitional residential units where it decided to relocate residents.

SACP and Cosatu March in Durban
IOL News 23 April 2016

Durban - About 8 000 members of the SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) marched through central Durban on Saturday.

The colourful and peaceful march started at Durban’s Curries Fountain Stadium and ended at the Gugu Dlamini Gardens where a memorandum was handed over to KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

The joint memorandum included the demands that the country’s financial sector be transformed, improved social security, broader implementation of the National Health Insurance scheme, the banning of labour brokers, free tertiary education, and an end to outsourcing by government.

Both SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini addressed the marchers in Gugu Dlamini Park.

Dlamini warned the African National Congress against imposing councillors on communities that did not want them. Nzimande warned against factionalism. But both reiterated their support for the ANC in the upcoming local government elections.

“There are some people who do not believe in serving the party, but serve factions,” said Nzimande.

He also took aim at the country’s banks and insurance companies for failing to invest in the country.

“There is an investment strike by banks and insurance companies. They need to be transformed.”

He said many companies were sitting on cash reserves that should be used for the betterment of the country.

Property damage in protests is counterproductive
Ryland Fisher 23 April 2016

Ryland Fischer says that he has always had problems with people who wanted to destroy property in pursuit of their demands.

It has not been a good week for public transport in Cape Town, with trains the most affected.

It was not pleasant to hear every morning trains had been delayed by two hours or had been cancelled.

I have not taken a train in a long time but I can sympathise with people who have no alternative other than to travel by rail, including hundreds of thousands of workers. It seems not too long ago I had to do the same. For many years it was my preferred form of transport, although one could argue I had no choice.

I remember working at the Cape Herald newspaper until about 5pm, then going to work as a volunteer at Grassroots community newspaper in the city centre until after 10pm and then rushing to catch the last train home to Mitchells Plain.

It was often difficult because my companion was Mike Norton, a veteran journalist who worked fulltime at Grassroots and who was not the fastest person around. Often we would just about make it in time for the last train. Fortunately we never missed the train, because I have no idea what we would have done.

I saw familiar faces on trains all the time. It often seemed as though the same people travelled at the same time and got into the same carriage every night. It was always a figurative Smarties box of people: from church brothers and sisters to gangsters looking for someone easy to rob.

But after 10pm at night, most of the passengers seemed relaxed. And tired.

But I digress.

In most countries, rail transport is the most popular and reliable mode of transport. It is the only method of transport that can carry thousands of people in one vehicle and in reasonable time.

South Africa should be no different.

Yet the ongoing problems we seem to have with rail transport are making it one of the most unreliable modes of transport. It is not a good feeling to wake up in the morning and worry about whether the trains are going to be late, as they’ve been the whole week.

I would not be surprised to read stories in the media in the next few days about people who lost their jobs because they were late for work due to delayed trains.

This week was, of course exceptional. It is not every day there is a strike on the railways and it is not every day trains are burnt and railway property damaged, apparently in support of the strikers.

I have often wondered about people who destroy their employers’ property when they have a dispute. What happens when they go back to work and no longer have some of the equipment they used to use?

Or the students who apparently recently burnt a university administration building up north when they were protesting for lower or no university fees. Such a building forms an important part of the service the university delivers, just like trains form an important part of the service the railway authorities deliver.

I have always had problems with people who wanted to destroy property in pursuit of their demands. It does not make sense. Protest action – whether it is in the form of a strike or student boycotts – should be seen as a means to an end and not as the end itself.

You should always think about what happens after the protest, when things are supposed to return to normal. It is difficult to return to normal if a building has been burnt down or a few trains have been destroyed.

You should never destroy property that could benefit others and, in the case of trains, thousands of others.

Our country celebrates 22 years of democracy next Wednesday. We are now firmly in adulthood and part of being an adult is accepting responsibility for one’s actions.

One of the freedoms we fought for is the right to protest. In the dark days of apartheid, protesters were often arrested or even shot at. In fact, this was the norm and not the exception, unlike Marikana which appears to have been an exception in post-apartheid South Africa. Marikana is, of course, something that should never have been allowed to happen and will forever be a blight on our democracy.

As we ponder the meaning of freedom, we should consider that, while workers have the right to strike, there are others who have the right not to strike. And there are people who need to continue to get to work despite the turmoil happening around them.

People who burn trains only help to make people antagonistic to the cause in whose name they purport to be doing it.

Freedom of choice means not always making the most popular choices or even those perceived to be politically correct.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

Thousands march for #IamConstitution
African News Agency (ANA) 24 April 2016

Johannesburg – Thousands of people from across South Africa walked in the Johannesburg city centre on Sunday in support of the #IamConstitution campaign and Constitution Hill’s “We, The People Walk”, to celebrate of 20 years of the Constitution.

Constitution Hill partnered with The Ichikowitz Family Foundation in bringing the #IamConstitution campaign to life in an 8km march travelling around the city and ending at the finish line in Constitution Square, the organisers said in a statement.

“#IamConstitution is a national campaign aimed at promoting the values and benefits of the Constitution among all South Africans and encouraging the nation to read, live, and embrace the Constitution of South Africa.”

Constitution Hill in partnership with The Ichikowitz Family Foundation offered citizens a distinct opportunity to engage with heritage and democracy with the dynamic #IamConstitution national campaign that truly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the SA Constitution, the statement said.

Secret satanist society exposed in Mamelodi
Pretoria East Record 22 April 2016

Mamelodi police on the scene of the attack.
Mamelodi police on the scene of the attack. Confessions by satanists to a Mamelodi church minister have exposed an active evil secret society in the township.

The revelations caused an uproar in Mamelodi West, Section B3, prompting hundreds of residents to act in anger.

They gathered on Wednesday night to stone two houses belonging to suspected satanist leaders.

The residents went on the rampage after either witnessing the confessions or seeing them on video.

The confessions were made to Prophet Eric Shikobela of the Holy Faith Family Church in Mamelodi West. He said a number of young people told him the past week or two that they belonged to a secret satanic society.

“A woman named Sabbath Mapoto (32) came to me at church last week to confess she has been in a satanic secret society and needs help.”

He said after he prayed for the woman she also named one of the satanist leaders.

The prophet had invited church members to witness the confessions, which were also recorded on video.

Massive protest action against Dug-out Port plan
Berea Mail 22 April 2016

A community meeting regarding Dug-out Port plans will be held ahead of a protest at the Durban Port on Freedom Day.

EARTHLIFE Africa Durban will host the community at a public meeting where the port expansion and trucking will be discussed. The meeting will take place at Manning Road Methodist Church, 450 Che Guevara (Moore) Road, Glenwood on Monday 25 April from 6pm to 8pm.

According to Vanessa Black from Earthlife Africa Durban, many residents in Glenwood and Umbilo are concerned about the increase in trucking in these areas. The back of port plans include plans for rezoning areas for logistics for the Dug-out Port.

“Already trucking has a massive impact in terms of pollution, noise, congestion, accidents and general crime and grime. Unless communities rise up and stop these plans this will escalate as the port expansion plans into the old airport site and Bayhead will result in a tenfold increase in the numbers of containers coming through the port,” she said.

She said Clairwood had already deteriorated due to industry using its roads for the transportation of heavy goods, which had resulted in a number of fatalities and homes being destroyed due to accidents.

“We need to reduce emissions of Greenhouse gasses from road freight in order to transition to a low carbon city, and prevent catastrophic climate change. This will not happen unless residents are prepared to unite. The Dug-out port alone will cost R250 billion which the country cannot afford. The potential for corruption is huge,” she said.

Desmond D’Sa from South Durban Community Environment Alliance and Black will address the community at the meeting. The meeting will not only inform concerned residents about the recent developments but will also announce preparations for a united protest by civic organsations which will take place on 27 April. It is expected that approximately 2500 people from South Durban and surrounding areas will block the Durban Port at the entrance of the Durban Port container terminals on Langerberg and Bayhead Road.

“Freedom day marks the day we gained democracy and the right to express our views and opinions with considerations. However, as the years progressed, democracy seems more far-fetched than tangible in all aspects of this country. This event will highlight people’s views through a mass demonstration action portraying the communities outrage and distresses around Transnet and other unsustainable developments in South Durban and surrounding areas. Instead of being people centred, Transnet’s programmes and projects have disregarded people and their rights and insulted the definition of democracy in this country,” said Desmond D’Sa from South Durban Community Environment Alliance.

D’Sa said the proposed plans for the dug-out port, and related developments, would infringe on the rights of fishing and farming livelihoods, which he said, in turn would threaten food security and destroys the local economy.

“As a community we need to stand up against environmental injustice that will lead to vulnerable communities left at the mercy of bad choices made by government and industry. At this demonstration we intend on issuing memorandum documents to Mr Richard Valliu from Transnet National Ports Authority, Capt Alexius Miya, harbour master, Port of Durban, and Mr Moshe Motlohi, Durban Port manager. We have rendered invites and are awaiting their responses,” he said.

For more information regarding the meeting and protest, contact Desmond D’Sa on 083 982 6939 or Priya Pillay on 031 461 1991.

Fuleni Blockade stops Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee Site Visit
Sheila Berry 21 April 2016

This morning an angry but well-behaved crowd of well over a thousand Fuleni residents forced the Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee (RMDEC) to abort their site visit to Fuleni for Ibutho Coal’s proposed open cast mine on the boundary of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area. The site visit would have familiarised RMDEC with the area before the meeting tomorrow, at 10h30, at Enseleni Nature Reserve, KZN, to hear submissions from I&APs and their lawyers to substantiate their comments and objections to the Fuleni mine.

In the early hours of the morning, irate Fuleni residents blocked the main road to Ocilwane with rocks and tyres, which they set alight to create a barricade to prevent vehicles entering Fuleni.

Ocilwane is the village that will be most affected by the proposed coal mine. The police eventually managed to enlist assistance from march convenor, Phila Ndimande, when he arrived at the scene en route to the demonstration he had organised in Ocilwane. Phila, together with other Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) activists and researchers from the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) – UKZN, managed to persuade the local residents to assist with removing the rocks and burning tyres.

Once the road was cleared of obstacles, the people surged on to the road and created a human barricade to prevent vehicles crossing the bridge. They held a big banner that spanned the road saying: WE WILL NOT MOVE. When the RMDEC team arrived, a stand-off ensued but eventually they had to concede defeat and turn around and drive back to Enseleni.

Billy Mnqondo, the other march convenor and co-founder of MCEJO, explained that, in 1963, his family was one of many families forcibly removed from their traditional land near Mpangeni to Ocilwane to make way for the Owen Sitole Agricultural College. At the time, the local magistrate promised they would never be relocated again. According to Billy “Forced relocation is not something a family should ever have to experience. The Ocilwane community is adamant that no one is prepared to move to make way for the Fuleni coal mine. When we say No, we mean No! We definitely will not move.”

Phila Ndimande expressed surprise and gratitude for the extent of the opposition to Ibutho Coal. He was initially unaware the blockade was to prevent the RMDEC team entering the area.

“MCEJO’s focus has been on the seven villages directly affected by the proposed mine. It was heartening to discover today how many villages and people do not want the mine,” Phila commented.

Over the past few weeks there have been many protests and demonstrations in the area. A recent protest was sparked by lack of water. The current devastating drought has left much of KZN without water and climate change is expected to make the situation much worse. The Fuleni residents find it incomprehensible and irresponsible that, under these conditions, the government appears ready to agree to the new thirsty Ibutho Coal mine that will steal their water like the existing Somkhele mine steals water from the Somkhele communities. The Fuleni communities are also feeling the impacts.

MCEJO opposes coal-related climate change and questions the obvious disregard the government has for international protocols and agreements it has signed to reduce green house gas emissions. It casts serious doubt on whether one can put any trust in the government if this is their attitude. Fuleni residents have also been angered by strangers coming into the area unannounced. This week the Department of Agriculture sent work teams to drill boreholes. Given the experience of the Fuleni residents with Ibutho Coal, when their contractors were digging boreholes all over the place without any explanation or consent, the Fuleni residents have learned not to trust or welcome strangers.

You shall not pass!
Earlier this week a young woman from SA, attached to Uthungulu municipality, was sent packing after she was discovered going door-to-door gathering data about the number of people in certain households. She was not wearing her identification bib, which immediately aroused suspicions that she was working under cover for Ibutho Coal to gather information in anticipation of tomorrow’s meeting. There are good grounds for suspicion. Today an elderly woman at Shayamoya appears to have been tricked by an Ibutho Coal representative into signing a deal to move from her house. MCEJO is busy investigating.

Attached is the Memorandum MCEJO would have presented to the RMDEC team at the end of the Ocilwane demonstration which never took place because of the blockade. Lebo Ngobeni will now be reading it at the RMDEC meeting tomorrow and presenting it to the RMDEC chairperson.

MCEJO is a community based organisation established in November 2015 to coordinate activities like the successful Isolesizwe Film Festival, on 28 February 2016, and various projects in Fuleni including their current clean-up campaign.

MCEJO’s slogan is “Nothing about us and our land without us.”

The Honourable Minister of Mineral Resources: Mr Mosebenzi Zwane
Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee (RMDEC)
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB)
cc The South African Human Rights Commission
The Office of the Public Protector

21 April 2016

Dear Honourable Minister Zwane

We, the members of Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) and the Fuleni community wish to bring to your attention that we are fed up with the corruption of the majority of members of the Mhlana Traditional Council and the willingness of the government to sell the Fuleni people's land to Ibutho Coal and its foreign investors while sacrificing the lives, health and livelihoods of the residents of Fuleni, particularly the seven mining affected communities: Ocilwane, Novunula, Fuyeni, Ntuthunga 1 and 2, Emakhwezini, and Shayamoya.

Today's demonstration, on 21 April 2016, is also to show RMDEC and DMR that we are totally opposed to Ibutho Coal's proposed Fuleni coal mine on our land.

The march is an expression of our frustration at not being consulted and not having our voices heard no matter how loudly and clearly we say “No to mining”.

We ask why the government is entertaining Ibutho Coal, a prospecting company, with no proven experience of mining. Also we call on the Ingonyama Trust Board to intervene as the trustees of our tribal land and ensure that the needs and rights of the affected communities are considered and parotected.

The demonstration is to make it clear to the corrupt leadership and authorities that enough is enough. Ibutho Coal we do not want to see you back on our land.

Mining is not development. No matter how much the government tries to push the lie that mining creates jobs for the local communities or that the people living close to mines benefit., we know otherwise because already we are living close to Tendele's Somkhele coal mine.

We know from regular contact with the Somkhele communities and other mining affected communities in Mpumalanga and Limpopo that mining brings death and suffering; steals our agricultural and grazing land; pollutes air and water; poisons the soil; splits communities apart; shatters the peace of rural living with explosions; cracks our houses; breaks our windows; brings suffering to our old people, children and our livestock; and only benefits already wealthy shareholders and directors but leaves local people impoverished. It also If living next to mining is so beneficial, we wonder why rich privileged people do not decide to relocate their homes and families to eMahleni?

We are feeling the effects of coal-related climate change and so strongly oppose the continued use and extraction of fossil fuels. The devastating drought here in Fuleni is expected to occur more frequently and become more extreme yet the government is agreeing to thirsty coal mines stealing our water, another constitutional right we are being robbed of.

We stand together with MACUA, GET, CCS – UKZN, groundWork, WoMin, EarthLore, the Amadiba Crisis Committee, the Mpukinyoni Community Property Association (MPCA), Yes to Life No to Mining, The Gaia Foundation, Grrrowd, and many other support organisations to demand:

- The dissolution of the existing Traditional Council because of the high level of corruption amongst the majority of traditional leaders and their lack of interest in the needs of the people, and replaced with councillors who are concerned about the well-being of the Mthethwa communities and have our best interests at heart;
- Nothing about us and our land without us;
- No form of mining in Fuleni, specifically coal mining, fracking, marble mining. No government will convince us that we will benefit from mining or that it will improve our lives. We know that mining equals death. We do not want to experience the same bloodshed on our land as at Marikana and at Xolobeni because the Department of Mineral Resources is so willing to open doors to exploitative investors who not only destroy the environment but split communities apart;
- Free access to information and freedom of speech as enshrined in the Constitution. We do not accept that for almost a year the Traditional Council has blocked attempts by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDTEA) and Uthungulu District Municipality to hold a Public Participation Imbizo for the Fuleni communities as we requested in June 2015;
- No corruption of any kind and no intimidation, oppression, harrassment, and disregard for human rights and basic democratic processes, or threats to people's lives will be tolerated.

MCEJO, with this memorandum, wants to send a clear message and set our position to claim back what is rightfully ours and to put an end to corruption in Fuleni and any talk of Ibutho Coal and mining. Therefore, we call upon the Minister of Mineral Resources, RMDEC, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to implement the will of MCEJO and the Fuleni people.

Residents are ‘prisoners’ in Copesville
IOL News 19 April 2016

Durban - Angry residents of Copesville have vowed to continue with their protest, holding the Pietermaritzburg suburb hostage until their demands for water, electricity and housing are met.

Small pockets of protesters were still on the roads in and around Copesville on Tuesday morning, however residents confirmed that vehicles and taxis had been allowed to leave unhindered.

Police were on scene, keeping watch lest the demonstration escalates.

Fires burned and anger had simmered into the early hours of Tuesday as police and protesters clashed.

At the time of publication, about 20 people had been arrested for public violence.

One resident said the situation resembled a “war zone”. “We are prisoners in our own homes. While I understand why this is happening, it is also very frustrating that our lives are being held at ransom like this,” the resident said.

Day two of the protest looked set to replay on Monday, as police continued to monitor the situation.

Apart from improved service delivery, residents were demanding ward councillor Thandi Ndlovu be removed from her position.

In an attempt to persuade the authorities how serious they were about their demands, protesters burned down Ndlovu’s house in Copesville, ignoring police calls for calm.

Protesters took to the streets early Monday, blocking entry and exit points to Copesville.

Police spokesperson, Major Thulani Zwane, confirmed that about 2 000 hostile residents blocked the main road to the area with burning tyres, rocks and other objects, making it impossible for residents to go to work or school.

Zwane said police had a difficult time monitoring the situation as protesters set Ndlovu’s house alight, threw stones at cars attempting to leave the suburb, and refused to disperse.

“Police were forced to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd,” he said.

Three people were injured by rubber bullets and a 3-year-old child was treated for tear gas inhalation.

Protesters are angry at ward councillor Ndlovu’s “poor service delivery”.

A protester, who identified himself as Cecil Thabethe, said they would not back down until Ndlovu was removed and the Msunduzi Municipality heeded their calls for basic human rights. ”We are tired of being ignored and lied to. We want what we were promised,” Thabethe said.

Issues that have spurred the protest include a lack of slowness in the delivery of water, electricity and housing.

Ndlovu was not available for comment, as the Daily News was told she was in hospital.

Msunduzi spokesperson, Nqobile Madonda, said the municipality condemned the violence, destruction of property and intimidation in the guise of service delivery protests.

“The municipality has various structures and platforms to engage with community members other than them resorting to violence,” she said.

Madonda said the Msunduzi Municipality had been able to deliver basic services to most communities within their wards, guided by its Integrated Development Plan.

“The municipality notes yesterday’s actions and will be engaging with the community to find viable solutions... The municipality urges residents to remain calm and respect the rights of other residents and not stop them from engaging in their daily activities,” Madonda said.

Community sets murder suspect’s house alight
IOL News 13 April 2016

Mabeskraal - North West police on Wednesday said a case of arson had been opened after some residents of Mabeskraal, just outside Rustenburg, burnt down a house belonging to a man accused of killing an elderly woman.

“The community suspected a man called ‘Topdog’ to have killed the woman. He was seen in the village on Monday … the crowd then burnt down a house belonging to his parents,” said Sergeant Kelebogile Moleko.

The house was set alight on Tuesday, but no arrests had been made yet

However, Moleko said police were questioning a man, who had been taken to hospital and earlier on Wednesday.

“He is not yet charged. The police are questioning him for investigation,” said Moleko.

She said police in Sun City had opened an inquest docket after post-mortem results revealed the elderly woman died of natural causes.

The deceased identified as Rebecca “Madituku” Moteane (82) was found dead in her house a week ago on Thursday.

“She was found in a pool of blood,” her daughter Jennifer Bodiba said.

“I called my mother on Monday evening [last week] but, we could not talk as the line was bad. I thought it was network connection problems,” said Bodiba who live in Pretoria.

When she called on Tuesday her mother didn’t answer the calls. Bodiba said she became worried when on Wednesday she still could not get hold of her mother.

“I was worried that she might have been sick, I call a neighbour who told me she did not see the light on the previous night, and suggested that my mother might have visited relatives,” recalled Bodiba.

“I then call relatives in Mogwase, who told me that they have sent prepaid electricity voucher through another neighbour to her.”

Bodiba said she then enquired with the neighbour who told her she didn’t deliver the voucher because the gate was locked. The neighbour said one widow open. The next day the neghbour again checked on the house and the gate was still locked and the window open.

“I asked the neighbour to get into the house through the window to check … they found the house ransacked. My mother was found dead in her bedroom,” said Bodiba.

After Moteane was found dead, irate community members went on a rampage. They barricaded roads with objects. They also searched for a man they suspected of killing Moteane.

The man was described as a serial rapist, who allegedly targets old women who live alone.

Community members traced the suspect and found him at a cattle post on Tuesday night. The suspect was beaten up by the mob, but he was saved by police when they arrived. The man was taken to hospital, where police continue to question him.

The mob then moved to the house owned by the suspect’s parents and torched it.

Unconfirmed reports doing the rounds in the community alleged the suspect raped Moteane and used a “razor blade” to slash her before he allegedly killed her.

Moteane will be laid to rest in Mabeskraal on Saturday.

Truck strike ‘under control’, says municipality
Berea Mail 21 April 2016

The municipality is currently meeting with truck employee representatives to find a way forward following strikes in Durban.

Municipality has reported the situation in the CBD is under control, following reports that Municipal trucks hampered the flow of traffic in certain parts of the City today, 20 April.

According to the eThekwini communications unit, a memorandum of grievances was received by City officials.

“The Municipality is monitoring the situation through the law enforcement agencies after being informed that employees from Roads and Stormwater Department attempted to blockade roads in various parts of the Central Business District (CBD). A meeting between the City Manager and employee representatives to discuss the way forward is currently underway,” said a representative.

The municipaliy said safety measures such as CCTV cameras are in place to monitor the movements of vehicles and to ensure that further traffic disruption is minimised. Law enforcement personnel will take necessary action where there are transgressions.

Cosatu: Workers get fired over #Metrorail delays
IOL News 20 April 2016

Cape Town - Cosatu will embark on a strike against bosses in the Western Cape who are dismissing workers for arriving late due to the current train crisis.

There have been continued arson attacks on Metrorail coaches and infrastructure in Cape Town causing up to three hour delays on a daily basis.

The federation said bosses were showing no remorse, with many of them disciplining workers and docking wages due to employees arriving late at work.

Cosatu Western Cape general secretary Tony Ehrenreich has now asked that alternative transport arrangements be made to help workers be on time.

“We demand that the public transport be put into the areas that need them most, first given the present and ongoing crisis. The busses that presently operate in Milnerton and Camps Bay should be moved to the Cape Flats as a matter of urgency, as Camps Bay people have private transport now,” he said.

A man has been arrested in connection with the attacks.

Gupta employees chase ANCYL away from offices
Eye Witness News 21 April 2016

This is after an open letter was sent out on behalf of workers at Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments.

MIDRAND – A group of ANN7 and Sahara employees have chased the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) from their Midrand offices after an open letter was sent out on behalf of Oakbay workers.

The letter was an appeal to all four banks to restore relations with the company, saying their livelihoods were at stake.

The Gupta-owned business is scrambling to restore banking relations following claims that the controversial family has undue political influence on President Jacob Zuma.

LISTEN: Anonymous employee and Robbie Russo, general manager of Sahara Computers and Oakbay.

An angry group of New Age and ANN7 employees jeered ANCYL president Collen Maine.

They say they were not consulted on the Oakbay letter which said employees didn't care about the allegations of state capture against the Gupta family.

They refused to engage with Maine, saying this was not his battle, and that he was never there when they raised concerns of poor working conditions and low salaries.

The workers have demanded that Phuti Mosomane and Robbie Rousseau, who signed the document, retract the letter.

Mob of nine marches on JZ
Penwell Dlamini (Times Live) 19 April 2016

Russon said the nation had already spoken out against Zuma and the ruling party had to oblige.

"Mr president, we understand the ANC cannot yield to opposition tactics [to step down]. Just take a sabbatical until the next general elections. It will be good for your health."

This was a call made by members of the Concerned Citizens Forum in a memorandum they submitted to Luthuli House in central Johannesburg yesterday after marching from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

The protesters, nine people accompanied by a van fitted with a loudspeaker, were determined to have their voices heard.

"It is not the number of people who came with us," said the convener Ray Russon. "It is the people we are representing - church leaders, unions, non-profit organisations and ordinary citizens who are not happy with what is happening in our country."

The van driving ahead of the protesters played a recording of Nelson Mandela's inauguration speech: "Never and never again ...", followed by the national anthem and Shosholoza.

Russon handed over the memorandum to Babylon Xeketwana, from the office of the ANC deputy secretary-general, Jessie Duarte.

The memorandum read: "We acknowledge the work that the ANC has done for our country ... but the ANC has reached a stage where its so-called good story has become a sour story to tell ... yes, we agree that nobody must tell you to remove your president except your members ...

"We wish to remind you he is also our president and therefore we have a right to voice our frustration.

"Seeing we have no legal instrument to remove the president, as citizens we appeal for the president to step down or alternatively take a sabbatical leave. This would be good for his own health."

Russon said the nation had already spoken out against Zuma and the ruling party had to oblige.

Following the Constitutional Court judgment on March 31, which ruled that Zuma had failed to observe his oath of office in his handling of the Nkandla report, there have been growing calls from civil society, religious leaders and former ANC MPs for him to step down from his office.

But the ANC has rejected the calls and has asked the nation to wait for its branches to discuss the judgment and then advise the party on the best course of action.

WATCH: Rhodes students form human barrier, protest topless against rape
Lee-Anne Butler (Times Live) 19 April 2016

In unbelievable scenes at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday‚ students have taken to protesting topless as they blocked off one of the roads leading to the campus.

Rhodes to set up task team to tackle sexual abuse after protests Rhodes to set up task team to tackle sexual abuse after protests
Rhodes residences ordered shut after students hunt sexual assault-accused Rhodes residences ordered shut after students hunt sexual assault-accused

According to The Herald’s Lee-Anne Butler‚ police have arrived at the scene where students have blocked off Prince Alfred road‚ one of the main roads leading to residences and lecture venues.

Some of the students laid themselves on the ground as they refused to move.

Rhodes rape ructions
One of the protesting students has accused the police of protecting rapists when they‚ the students‚ are protesting peacefully against rape.

The protest comes after tension at the university erupted when hundreds of students started searching residences for alleged rapists and threatened an academic shutdown when the names of 11 male students accused of rape were posted on social media.

Rhodes to set up task team to tackle sexual abuse after protests
The protest arose after the launch of a rape culture awareness campaign which had prompted the Students Representative Council (SRC) to express its support.

However‚ when the SRC tweeted a picture of council members expressing solidarity‚ a student retweeted the picture‚ saying her friend’s alleged rapist was in the image.

Earlier on Tuesday a video began circulating on social media depicting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela shoving a student in an attempt to remove the barricade placed at the entrance to the university.

Dr Mabizela pushing a protester while removing a barricade earlier today. Credit: Zandile Zondani #RUreferencelist

Cops expect big turnout at Zandspruit protest
Pericles Anetos 20 April 2016

Zandspruit residents on Wednesday gathered to protest over service delivery - and the arrests of community members during a previous demonstration – in the informal settlement.

Shops looted in Zandspruit residents demand access to electricity Shops looted in Zandspruit residents demand access to electricity
Situation in Zandspruit stabilises but tension remains Situation in Zandspruit stabilises but tension remains

PICS: Rubber bullets used to disperse Zandspruit protesters PICS: Rubber bullets used to disperse Zandspruit protesters
Momentum Life Cover Provider Police spokesperson Major Mack Mngomezulu said the residents were planning to hand over a memorandum at the Honeydew police station regarding those arrested and charged when residents took to the streets last month and blocked roads over electricity being cut by city officials.

According to media reports‚ the protesters have also given Mayor Parks Tau seven days to provide them with electricity.

Mngomezulu said they were anticipating a large number of protesters to be out on the streets - “We are expecting 3000-4000.”

He said that the march was expected to take place from 9am to 1pm‚ and law enforcement officials had been deployed in the area. – TMG Digital

16 held as protesters block access to Copesville
IOL News 18 April 2016

Pietermaritzburg – At least 16 people were arrested on Monday during a protest for houses at Copesville, a Pietermaritzburg suburb, after they allegedly torched the office of their councillor Thandi Ndlovu whom they want removed.

Police said that about 5 000 protestors began gathering at 03:00 on Monday morning at the intersection of New Greytown and Aquarius roads and removed the metal barriers on the side of the roads to use them as barricades.

Police said protesters blocked access to Copesville. They barricaded streets with burning tyres and other objects.

Owing to the violent nature of the protests schools in the area remained closed.

Police spokeswoman Captain Gay Ebrahim said a mob went to Ndlovu’s house, but she was not there so they went to her office, which they allegedly set alight.

Ndlovu, an African National Congress (ANC) member, is the councillor for ward 35.

“We have waited for houses to be provided, but it has been years of waiting in vain. We are tired of her failures,” complained a community member, who asked to remain anonymous.

School pupils, who could not attend school, said they had to miss tests because of the protests.

Scelo Khuzwayo, the spokesperson for Education MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, said: “Community protests that result in the disruption of schooling are a major concern for the department. We have, on a number of occasions, been pleading with communities to prioritise education and make sure that when there are protests schools are not affected”.

Captain Ebrahim said 16 people had been arrested in the protests.

Protests over ‘disrespectful’ ward secretary
IOL News 18 April 2016

Durban - Residents in New Germany and surrounding areas woke to protests along Otto Volek Road, Shepstone Road and Dinkelman Road, where protesters were burning tyres and rubble on Monday.

ANC Ward 21 secretary Mfana Qwabe said the protest is “for jobs, food vouchers and a wanted councillor”.

According to SAPS in Pinetown, ratepayers were unhappy with the councillor and service delivery. “For now things have died down, protesters are still there and things could get heated again at any minute.”

Mathews Buthelezi, cChairperson of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) in the area said he had been on scene since 5am Monday morning. However, the protests began at 4am.

According to him, residents are protesting against the Ward 21 secretary who has been disrespectful to the community and at one point had sworn at them.

Authorities are on the scene and one woman has been arrested for public violence while a few were taken to KwaDabeka Clinic for treatment after police resorted to rubber bullets to control the situation.

For now the situation is calm as the protesters are waiting to be addressed by the office of the mayor of eThekwini.

Bolsheviks Party SA leader shot
IOL News 6 April 2016

Johannesburg - Bolsheviks Party SA leader Seun Mogotji was shot and wounded at his home in Ntwane, Limpopo on Tuesday night.

According to Limpopo police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto, the shooting happened at around 10.30pm. “He was closing his front door to go to sleep and that’s when several shots were fired by an unknown individual.

“He was injured in both legs – in his right and left thigh,” she said.

The 43-year-old was taken to hospital and was believed to be in surgery on Wednesday morning to remove the bullets. He is in stable condition.

Mogotji spoke with Jacaranda FM in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

He said the suspect, who is still at large, fired roughly 12 rounds at him and believes the shooting was politically motivated.

“I was hit twice and there is nothing that was stolen.

“That's why I'm saying it was not a crime, it's a politically motivated issue,” he said.

Otto said that the motive for the shooting was unknown and no arrests had been made. “It seems that a 9mm pistol was used and a case of attempted murder has been opened.”

Police are still investigating.

The Bolsheviks Party SA (BPSA) was born out of disgruntled members of the ANC who formed the party in opposition to the Limpopo premier at the time.

PICS: Hundreds flee Dunoon after stores are ransacked
IOL News 19 April 2016

Cape Town - Hundreds of foreign nationals have fled Dunoon fearing xenophobic attacks after nearly 200 of their shops were looted by protesters.

On Monday, those shopowners brave enough to return brought trucks and bakkies to transport their remaining stock to safety.

Hell broke loose in the area on Sunday night when demonstrating residents turned on foreigners after they received an unsatisfactory response from the City of Cape Town.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of backyarders marched to the city demanding land for housing, claiming rent from landlords was too high.

On Sunday, the City told them there was no land available, sparking the looting of at least 160 spaza shops, hair salons, hardware stores and cellphone repair shops among others.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, said: “They [protesters] are demanding land for housing from the City but this is not possible.

“There are no large tracts of land available in Dunoon, all open space in and around Dunoon has been appropriated by the community already.”

Van Minnen said protesters were told more than 1 800 housing opportunities are planned for Dunoon beneficiaries in line with the City’s Housing Allocation Policy.

Ward Councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said he was informed late on Sunday night that protesters were unhappy about the City’s response and planned to target foreign national shops.

“It was chaos, only one section wasn’t affected because the residents stood up and refused to take part in it,” he said.

“We understand the issue of overcrowding and I had warned the City that we were sitting on a ticking time bomb and now it has exploded and it’s difficult to contain.

“But our people need to understand that looting the shops of foreign nationals will not bring us houses or land, it diverts the attention from the real issues and it becomes an issue about the lootings.”

On Monday burnt rubble littered the streets of the congested area, as many looted shops stood open and empty.

Protesters also blocked school children and workers from leaving the area in public transport.

Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said a case of public violence is being investigated.

“Twelve suspects were arrested on Sunday night and are expected to appear in court once charged,” she said.

Shopkeepers tell the Daily Voice they were trapped inside their homes on Sunday night, unable to protect their shops for fear of getting attacked.

John Kanyanda, 38, from the Democratic Republic of Congo said he was roused by his frantic brother.

“He told me there was chaos and that they had broken into my shop and taken everything,” he said.

“There was stock of well over R120 000 I lost.

“And this is not the first time I have been targeted, in 2008 during the xenophobia attacks we had to flee and I’m afraid this is what is happening all over again.

“I don’t know if I will be able to rebuild, I have three children and very few resources that will allow me to support my family and after this I don’t even know if we’ll be welcome back here.”

Grocery shop owner Amina Omar, 27, returned to the area on Monday to collect her stock.

“I’m removing my stuff because we don’t feel safe here,” said the Somali national.

“I’ve been through this before in 2008 and don’t want to wait until what little I have is taken away.

“Last night these guys came in and threatened us, all I could do was grab my three children and run, praying I would find everything still intact.

“I don’t even know if I can come back to this community that keeps targeting us when they have issues with the government, we are tired of being their victims, and we are not safe here.”

MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato has condemned the violence and the lootings and said his office “will keep and eye out on the situation”.

‘EFF thugs’ blamed for Dunoon violence
IOL News 19 April 2016

Cape Town - Following a meeting with Dunoon community leaders and the African National Congress (ANC) ward councillor, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on Tuesday lashed out the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who have been alleged to instigate unrest in the area.

“Collectively, we condemn what these EFF thugs and gangsters are doing,” said De Lille.

“It is increasing the suffering of all the people of Dunoon. Children are being prevented from going to school, and parents are being prevented from going to work to provide for their families.”

De Lille, Dunoon leaders, and the ANC ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni met on Monday night to discuss the increasing unrest and violence in the area, ongoing since Sunday.

Since Sunday, “major roads have been blocked with burning tyres, public infrastructure has been vandalised, shops belonging to foreigners have been looted, and people’s lives are being threatened.”

On Monday night, incidents in the area included roughly 400 people gathering to protest at about 7pm, stoning of vehicles, and the burning of tyres.

De Lille linked the unrest to the EFF’s campaign, requesting they abstain from violence and destruction: “They cannot try to gain votes at the expense of the poor through the destruction of public and private property”.

De Lille said the City, the community leaders, and Makeleni condemned the violence with the “full contempt it deserves”.

“We cannot allow politically-driven anarchy and destruction to hold this community hostage,” she said.

De Lille would again meet with Dunoon leaders in the week commencing April 25 to follow up on the discussions of Monday night.

Watch ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini cry after people insult her
Times Live 15 April 2016

A protest against the opening of a Port Elizabeth-based drug centre turned ugly on Friday morning when members of the community prevented government officials from accessing the treatment centre.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who is also the president of the ANC Women's League, was left emotional and in tears after people hurled insults at her, saying she was drunk from expensive whisky.

According to Herald Live, Dlamini was accompanied by government officials. As seen in the video, they too were not allowed to declare the R67 million Ernest Malgas drug treatment centre open.

The centre is set to help teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 overcome substance abuse. It is located in the suburb of New Brighton.

Limpopo chief burns ANC Zuma T-shirt over Nkandla, Guptas
Tivani Qhivi (Eye News Service) 30 March, 2016

A Limpopo traditional leader has publicly set alight an ANC T-shirt bearing President Jacob Zuma’s face, saying he has grown tired of the Nkandla issue and the ANC leader’s alleged links to the Guptas.

During burning of the T-shirt on Sunday, Hosi Hasani Mavambe, of the Mavambe Traditional Authority in Malamulele, told his people that he was joining the Economic Freedom Fighters with hopes that they will restore dignity to South Africa.

"I'm tired of the ANC and its corruption; that's why I have decided to join the EFF. Everyday in the news we read and hear about Nkandla and the Guptas, I believe that the EFF is the only party to restore the dignity of this country because our country has turned into a joke. Other countries are laughing at us," said Mavambe.

Mavambe said he has previously served under the Gazankulu homeland system, which provided better services to its people before the ANC got into power.

Quoting a Biblical portion that speaks about Joshua telling his people that he and his family “shall serve the Lord,” Hosi Mavambe said: “As for me and my household, we will support the EFF in the upcoming local elections.”

EFF member of the National Assembly, Emmannuel Mtileni, welcomed the chief to his new party.

House of Traditional Leaders chairperson in Vhembe region, Hosi Busa Nxumalo, said Hosi Mavambe had a right to join a party of his choice.

Vhembe ANC regional secretary Khathu Netshifhefhe said it was sad to see a traditional leader burning an ANC T-shirt.

“As the ANC, we feel very bad about what he has done, but we also understand that he has a right to political association and affiliation and we hope that there is still a chance to persuade him,” said Netshifhefhe.

'Anti-Zuma' members thrown off manifesto launch bus
Sunday Times 17 April 2016

A bus taking ANC members from North West to Port Elizabeth on Friday had to turn back and several passengers were forced to disembark, reportedly because party leaders feared they did not support President Jacob Zuma.

A branch delegate who made it to the manifesto launch in Port Elizabeth said the bus was told to turn back as it was approaching Pretoria.

"Leadership was not happy with some of the names on the list. Some had to be asked to get out and other comrades were then picked up."

The North West provincial secretary denied issuing instruction for any bus to make a U-turn.

It is believed that the majority of the crowd inside the stadium were not from the Eastern Cape, but had been bused from neighbouring provinces.

The ANC took extreme measures to prevent any disruptions at the event yesterday, carefully selecting those who travelled to Port Elizabeth.

Zuma addressed a half-empty stadium while thousands of party supporters in yellow T-shirts roamed the streets outside the venue.

The Sunday Times has learnt that in provinces where ANC members are known to be anti-Zuma, many were left behind. Each province outside the Eastern Cape was allowed to send 10 buses, and passengers were screened.

In Ekurhuleni, ANC members of Ward 54 in Katlehong said only Zuma "cheerleaders" were allowed to board the bus to Port Elizabeth.

During his speech, Zuma made yet another promise to create jobs by focusing on the "local economy" at the lowest government sphere.

The party committed to creating jobs for the youth by building more centres of production, among other measures.

The premier snub that turned a province against a president
Zuma also promised to hold corrupt councillors liable for losses incurred by any municipality.

"The ANC government will also pursue action against companies involved in bid-rigging, price-fixing and corruption in procurement," he said.

The ANC would also discourage municipalities from outsourcing services, and pledged to monitor closely those who needed to outsource because of lack of capacity.

"The ANC will also engage with municipalities and organised labour on the introduction of flexible shifts to promote greater access to municipal services," said Zuma.

KZN ANC councillor shot dead at Umlazi hostel
IOL News 17 April 2016

Durban - The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal has sent heartfelt condolences to the family of African National Congress councillor Zodwa Sibiya, who was shot dead at Glebelands Hostel, Umlazi, Durban, on Saturday night.

“Sibiya was one of the dedicated councillors who stood firm on fighting corruption in the hostel and the whole of eThekwini,” DA KwaZulu-Natal leader Zwakele Mncwango said on Sunday.

“It is a sad day in eThekwini and the whole province when we lose someone who is steadfast on protecting good governance. As the official opposition, we wish to send our condolences to the governing party, the family, and friends of the late councillor. She will be sorely missed,” he said.

#Pikitup: Unions declare victory
IOL News 15 April 2016

Johannesburg - The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) is claiming victory after the five-week unprotected strike, saying it has finally received what it has been asking for since 2011 - better salaries.

Samwu regional secretary Meisie Sekaledi said Pikitup workers had been battling for better wages for years.

“Now that we have come to an agreement and it’s been accepted by members and officers, we can say it’s a victory,” she said.

However, Sekaledi said she could not reveal numbers, but that members were happy.

“It was a battle over rands and cents, but we got there,” Sekaledi said.

She said that things were back to normal and all members were back at work.

Speaking on the union’s demand that Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair be fired, Sekaledi said they were awaiting the results of pending investigations.

Nair is on special leave until May 3, suffering an undisclosed illness.

All 3 800 workers who were found guilty of contravening two court interdicts preventing them from striking were to have a chance to present their cases in mitigation of their sanctions today.

Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu said the presiding officer would release his findings and recommended sanctions soon.

In the meantime, Pikitup has started a double-shift system to clear backlogs of refuse removal.

The cost will be cheaper than the R1 million a day spent on outside contractors during the strike.

Pikitup workers have started with their normal scheduled waste management services.

Normal operations could be slower than usual due to excess waste which had accumulated for weeks, said Mashapu.

Complaints regarding refuse collection and other related queries and suggestions can be directed to the 24-hour hotline 011 286 6009.

Illegal dumping can be logged on the Joburg Roads Agency Find and Fix App and downloaded to cellphones for free from the Google Play Store.

Visit the Pikitup website on for updates, garden sites and the refuse collection calendar.

Striking Shoprite workers march in Gauteng
IOL News 14 April 2016

Johannesburg – Outsourced Shoprite workers organised under the #OutsourcingMustFall movement on Thursday marched to the retailer’s largest distribution centre in Centurion, Gauteng.

The workers, about 1000 of them, downed tools last week to protest against poor pay as well as their employment through labour brokers at Shoprite.

The strike began last week on Monday morning when management allegedly denied four of the workers’ leaders entry to the workplace on Olivenhoutbosch Avenue, in Centurion.

Groups of workers key to the operation then downed tools in solidarity with their leaders and the nightshift also joined the strike.

#OutsourcingMustFall spokesperson, Clarence Debeila, on Thursday said more than 500 workers had joined the protest march to Shoprite’s offices.

“Yesterday we received a letter from management confirming that they will receive our petition. We are currently on our way there and we will give them seven days to respond to our demands,” Debeila said.

The workers were demanding a minimum wage of R10,000 and an end to outsourcing of staff. They claimed 90 percent were employed through labour brokers.

They also demanded the termination of all contracts with contractors and service providers to be replaced with full-time employment with Shoprite on a permanent basis.

Debeila said outsourced Shoprite workers were paid as little as R23 per hour for a 44-hour week, adding that some outsourced cleaners earned as low as R13 per hour.

Shoprite management has previously rejected any responsibility for the workers.

Management on Thursday was not immediately available for comment.

Arson attacks limit Metrorail’s services
IOL News 18 April 2016

Cape Town - Following several days of chaos at Metrorail stations across the city, Minister of Transport Dipuo Peters on Sunday called for an end to the violence, vandalism and criminality involving Metrorail trains in Cape Town.

“This cannot be allowed in a modern democracy such as ours, where individuals with ulterior motives undermine government commitment to modernise our rail system and turn it into a fertile ground for criminality,” said Peters.

The delays caused violence to erupt at Cape Town station on Friday, with police firing rubber bullets at frustrated commuters.

Several incidents of arson this month have resulted in reduced services on Monday.

On Sunday night, Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said: “People depend on trains and Metrorail will continue to transport them, even under difficult circumstances.”

Metrorail has linked the attacks on its trains to illegal strike action by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, who are calling for higher salaries, the permanent employment of fixed contract workers, and an end to outsourcing.

Referring to the attacks as a “siege”, Walker said Metrorail would be applying for another interdict against the striking workers.

Given the impact of the strike, the vandalism and continued threats of intimidation against employees, Metrorail would only be offering a limited, less frequent service on Monday in the central service area.

Trains on the Cape Flats and southern service area were expected to operate as usual, while delays and cancellations were expected on the northern lines due to reduced capacity as a result of vandalism and arson. Walker said the police, Metrorail Protection Services and other law enforcement agencies remained on high alert and would continue to monitor the situation around the clock.

Additional measures have also been put in place to prevent further damage.

Metrorail advised commuters to consult social media feeds and listen to station announcements for the latest service status.

In the wake of last week’s chaos, the city’s mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, said there would be an additional deployment of MyCiTi buses on the N2 express route between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and Cape Town, to assist commuters affected by the delays.

Golden Arrow would also be deploying additional buses on routes across the city. “The Golden Arrow Bus Service has kindly agreed to add as many additional buses as they can during the morning and afternoon peak hours of Monday, April 18.

“The City’s transport authority will also deploy between six and eight additional MyCiTi bus trips… during the peak hours,” said Herron.

The additional buses would be deployed as long as the situation required them.

Metrorail has been battling several attacks on its trains over the past 10 days.

On April 9, an arson attack at Cape Town station destroyed two trains and 10 carriages. Last Thursday at around midnight, another train and four carriages were set alight at Kraaifontein station, while on Friday, two carriages were set on fire at Esplanade station in Woodstock.

Further delays were caused by a rail death between Wittebome and Wynberg stations, and vandalism and theft left commuters stranded on the northern and central lines.

Looting, stoning as Dunoon erupts again - PICS
IOL News 18 April 2016

Cape Town - At least one road remained closed on Monday morning after violent protest action erupted in Dunoon again, with some protesters stoning cars and burning old furniture rubbish in roads, and others allegedly looting shops belonging to Somali traders.

The flare-up followed the City of Cape Town’s response to a memorandum of grievances backyard dwellers in the area handed in earlier this month.

There were unconfirmed reports that two people were shot dead by Somali shop owners on Sunday.

Police said 12 people were arrested on Sunday night in connection with violent protest action but had not been charged by the time of going to press.

Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said a case of public violence was opened for investigation on Monday morning.

Last month, protests broke out in Dunoon after backyard dwellers who had moved on to a piece of land along the N7 were moved off by the City of Cape Town. They had built structures, which were demolished. The protests prevented MyCiTi buses from operating in the area for at least a day.

On Monday morning, protester Xolani Hlekiso said they had given the city until last Friday to respond, but the city had responded late and had not given them what they asked for. He said some people in the area did not go to work because of the protest.

He also alleged two people were shot dead by angry Somali shopkeepers during the protest action yesterday and it was this that started a spate of looting.

“Now we don’t want any foreigners in Dunoon,” he said.

Hlekiso said the situation was “still tense” this morning and residents planned to meet to decide what to do next.

The city’s Robbie Roberts also said the situation in the area was still tense on Monday morning, with three different groups of people involved protest action.

He confirmed that several shops in the area had been looted by protesters.

Roberts said law enforcementmembers, traffic officers and police were deployed in and around the area, andPotsdam Road was still closed.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the protesters were preventing children and residents from going to school and work.He said Potsdam road was still closed and police were on the scene monitoring the situation.

Several attempts to get comment from ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni were unsuccessful on Monday morning.

DA supporters #MarchForChange - PICS
IOL News 15 April 2016

Thousands of DA supporters marched to the Constitutional Court on Friday calling for President Jacob Zuma to resign, following the recent damning judgment on Nkandla.

Clad in blue party regalia, the marchers hoisted placards reading: “Vote for change”, “Stop Corruption” and “ANC must go” .

Marchers demand action over missing woman
IOL News 14 April 2016

Cape Town - Angry Khayelitsha residents marched to the police station on Wednesday to demand cops step up their investigation into the disappearance of Anelisa Dulaze.

The young woman went missing on January 31, when she went out with friends to celebrate her 21st birthday.

Anelisa was last seen at a tavern in Town Two where her friends left her at the popular drinking spot.

About 100 residents joined the NGO Ilitha Labantu and Anelisa’s mom Vathiswa Dulaze, who has launched her own investigation.

“I spoke to about three of the people who saw her at the tavern and each one of them claims to have left her there with somebody else but nobody knows how or if she even left,” the mother said.

Marchers called on police to treat the case as a priority and question the people who were last in contact with Anelisa “before they take the law into their own hands”.

Ses’khona leader Andile Lili said: “We came here in peace to ask that the police properly investigate this matter. But if nothing happens we will do it ourselves, we will take these people by the hands and place them before the community.

“We will take them to our courts and that is not a nice court, our court is not impartial, there is anger in it and people get slapped.”

The group handed over a memorandum to Khayelitsha’s Site B police station Commander, Colonel Mkhuseli Nkwitshi, who said he would look into the delay.

Metrorail blues for Cape commuters
IOL News 15 April 2016

Cape Town - A train and four carriages were set alight at midnight on Thursday night and defective signals were reported, bringing trains on at least two lines in Cape Town to a grinding halt this morning for over two hours.

Hundreds of commuters were forced to alight from halted trains on Friday morning and started to walk to work along the tracks.

It is alleged that South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) carried out industrial action affecting the signals.

Police spokeswoman Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property in relation to the burning trains at Kraaifontein Station had been opened for investigation. She said no injuries had been reported and n one had been arrested.

Metrorail’s Riana Scott said initial reports indicate that an unknown person was also hit by a train between Wynberg and Wittebome at 8.20am on Friday morning.

Last week Metrorail’s Satawu-affiliated workers were planning on going on strike but called it off after the company obtained a court interdict.

Then last Saturday night, an arson attack destroyed two trains and 10 carriages at Cape Town Station. The damage caused severe delays this week and cost millions of rands.

Satawu’s Luntu Sokutu said on Friday morning that the union had started to strike on Wednesday, despite the earlier interdict, after some of their members were suspended for being involved in last week’ planned action.

“We obeyed their court order last week, but after they suspended some of our members we couldn’t just sit down and do nothing,” he said.

Sokutu said they would continue with the strike until those suspended are back at work and their demands are met.

On Friday morning hundreds of angry commuters were forced to wait for trains after the train signals at Netreg failed to function.

John Darril from Netreg said he boarded the train about 6am and then found himself walking down the line at 9am.

“This is really frustrating especially because there's nothing one can do about it,” he said. “I’m very late and this happens everyday with trains… if it’s not this it’s that with their service.”

He said he should have been at work at 7.30am and now that he was late his pay would be deducted.

Bulelani Gledi, who had just finished night shift, said he understood that Metrorail workers were supposed to strike last week and he was surprised that they decided to strike on Friday morning.

“I’m working again tonight and I need to be home resting for tonight’s shift but instead I’m stuck here,” said Gledi.

He said he ran the risk of losing his job if he fell asleep.

Satawu is calling for higher salaries, permanent employment of fixed contract workers, and an end to outsourcing.

Graveyard dwellers protest for better housing
IOL News 14 April 2016

BURNING tyres and heavily armed policemen set the scene on Coedmore Road as people from an informal settlement on Unit Avenue closed the road for a few hours to protest for basic rights of sanitation and housing from 6am this morning (Wednesday, 13 April).

The informal settlement is found hidden deep in an abandoned Hindu cemetery, formerly known as the Seaview Hindu graveyard. Every path has been barricaded by the shack dwellers, a clear sign to any outsider that they are not welcome. But once inside, one can sense the feeling of community. The shacks housing hundreds of families are built on top of graves which were left for ruin 20 years ago. Those who live among the dead believe that the spirits still roam the earth while they sleep and haunt their dreams. But this is least of their problems.

For years the families have been living in squalor, with basic needs such as toilets and clean water non-existent. Their cries for better living conditions have fallen on deaf ears, according to protestors as they resort to barbaric measures to relieve themselves. Shack dweller, Johannes Qugane (49) who has been living there for 12 years, said he has seen no changes. “It makes me feel disgusted and ashamed that I have to use the bushes as a toilet – it is degrading. We are not asking for much but for our government to notice us, notice our needs and help us,” said Qugane. The fact that his home is built on top of a grave-site gives him an uneasy feeling that he is not alone. “I remember the first time I slept here – I swear you could see the dead walk around at night, you could hear them and feel it in your bones.”

Councillor Billie Prinsloo, who has been aware of the settlement for many years, said she made an application five years ago for the installation of toilets but was told the sewer line was too high so it became an engineering problem. “Kennedy Road informal settlement in Overport had unused porta-toilets. I asked council to rather give these to the Coedmore settlements. With regards to housing, a lot of these people were given RDP houses in Welbedacht but some have left and sold their houses or rented them out and returned to the graveyard,” she added. Housing was promised over seven years ago and at the moment, the shacks are numbered. Security guards have been placed by the council to keep record of the number of houses and to ensure that new ones are not built. “But now it seems the security guards have been moved out of the settlement and will only be allowed back once matters are resolved. Five representatives were taken to city hall on Wednesday by a council official to discuss their grievances and a possible way forward,” said Cllr Prinsloo.

Show property turns out to be a drug den
IOL News 13 April 2016

Johannesburg - A property viewing became violent last month when a group of several men allegedly assaulted members of an anti-trafficking organisation trying to shut down a “drug house” in Krugersdorp.

Cherlyn Tshabangu, chief exective of the NGO Asilweni Cleaning Streets, said she was viewing the house with two other members of the organisation on March 23 when they were attacked.

She claimed the property was home to drug-trafficking and prostitution, and the organisation was looking to buy it for its own use.

The alleged victims of the attack accused the local police of being unhelpful and even conspiring with criminals in the area.

“It has not been attended to because literally some of the police at the station are corrupt,” she claimed.

“That’s why we don’t trust working with some of them.”

Local police arrived on the scene of the alleged attack but made no arrests.

In the wake of the attack, she said, the police have not adequately followed up.

In an email to The Star on behalf of Constable Kabelo Shakung, who is investigating the case, Randfontein Police spokesperson Captain Appel Ernst said Shakung said he is having difficulty getting hold of the complainant (Tshabangu) and that she hasn’t been responding to his calls and visits.

Shakung is investigating charges of common assault.

Tshabangu said that she and the others encountered prostitutes and a man at the house, who locked them inside.

The property owner was not present.

Tshabangu said “about 20 Nigerian men” arrived and assaulted them for about three hours.

She said that she recognised them from the area.

She said the police called her about the case two days after the alleged attack to identify potential suspects, but she did not go.

She has since seen the men in Krugersdorp.

“I can’t just go in and point out these guys,” Tshabangu said. “Next day they are out again, and what will happen to us?”

Johann Labuschagne, project co-ordinator for Asilweni, said the assailants urged him to rape Tshabangu in front of them, which he refused to do. He said he sustained bruises on his chest and a swelling on his head.

“This assault was horrific,” he said.

Labuschagne said he believes the police have connections with the criminals. “The police are part and parcel of these things,” he claimed. “A serious investigation needs to be done into the police to see what’s going on there.”

Marcel van der Watt, a volunteer of the National Freedom Network, an association of anti-trafficking volunteers that is associated with Asilweni, said there were currently no effective systems of documenting cases of trafficking.

Van der Watt, who is also a lecturer at the University of South Africa, said drugs and human trafficking for sexual exploitation were “undeniably intertwined”.

“I would argue that the sex trade is often the front end of what appears to be an enormous drug problem in South Africa, and obviously in Krugersdorp,” he said.

“You cannot separate those two issues.”

However, he said, Krugersdorp was “not an anomaly”, and trafficking was a “permeating problem” in many places.

Tshabangu said the incident had left her hesitant to work with the police.

“One way or the other, we do come across these traffickers,” she said. “We need each and every stakeholder to come on board and assist if we need them.”

* Asilweni Cleaning Streets was established in 2012 and their mission is to help trafficked victims through rescuing, safe houses and rehabilitation.

More than a thousand protest against poor service delivery

EFF leads protest.
South Lands Sun 14 April 2016

eMBALENHLE – More than a thousand residents were led by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in a protest against poor service delivery this morning.

The informal settlement dwellers will submit their memorandum at the eMbalenhle Govan Mbeki Municipal offices.

The protesters said they are sick and tired of being undermined and ignored by Council.

The protesters have arrived at the Govan Mbeki Municipal offices, singing a revolutionary song, “Senzeni Na?”, meaning “what have we done?”.

They are also shouting that Mr Douglas Mahlangu, ward councilor, is the culprit of corruption regarding land and RDP houses in the area.

Durban - Four people were killed execution style at KwaMashu’s men’s hostel on Sunday.
IOL News 14 April 2016

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, said six men entered the hostel block, forced the victims on the ground and shot them.

It was not clear what the motive was, he said.

“We are very disappointed at this terrible development which occurs at a time when we were seeing strong signs that this area was stabilising after the government had invested a lot of time and resources to bring about lasting peace at the hostel.”

KwaMashu police were investigating cases of murder.

Mchunu called on hostel residents to exercise restraint.

He said it was sad that this had happened during the voter registration weekend.

Police today confirmed that the four, aged between 24 and 33, were shot by unknown suspects.

“Three sustained wounds on the back and one on the face,” said police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane.

Cheers, jeers as land is handed over for mosque
IOL News 13 April 2016

Pretoria - Cheering and applause filled the hall of the Vallies Park Primary School hall on Tuesday evening as the Muslim community from Valhalla were given land to build a mosque in the area.

As this was happening inside the hall, a handful of protesters demonstrated outside with placards denouncing the building of the mosque.

In a signing and handover ceremony, Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said some people had argued that the land could be better used to raise funds of up to R250 million to assist needy communities instead.

“I say to those people that there can be no rand value that could stand before the presence of the Lord. We want everyone to know that all faiths seeking space to propagate their religious beliefs are welcome in the capital city,” he said.

“This process is not unique to this area alone. Since 2013, we have already donated over 140 places of worship and we will continue to do so,” said Ramokgopa.

He added that the city was determined to break down the enclaves of exclusivity fostered by the former government and create a democratic and diverse demographic of people seeking peaceful co-existence with one another.

Meanwhile, residents against the donation of the land for the erection of a mosque demonstrated outside the school, saying they were not consulted during the entire process.

They stood silently outside holding placards, one of which read: “No to mosque. Asian neighbours yes. Mosque no.”

Freedom Front Plus party member Anel Geyser said the members were not protesting against Muslims coming to live in their community, but only against the noise a mosque would create.

“The land was donated for free when there were people who wanted to buy the land to use it to build an old-age home and for a special school. We pray in silence and we would like to be afforded the same consideration.

35We already hear them all the way from Laudium,” she said.

Geyser said they were supportive of people practising their own religious beliefs but not when this infringed on others’ beliefs.

Resident Amanda Schoeman said they did not want a mosque in their community as it was a quiet and peaceful neighbourhood.

“What will happen to our animals if they will be blaring out prayers and ringing bells five times a day?”

Cops need help identifying mob killing suspects
IOL News 4 April 2016

Bolobedu - Police in Tzaneen on Monday warned local communities against taking the law into their own hands after a 24-year-old man was forcibly removed from his home and fatally assaulted by a mob who accused him of being responsible for the murder of another villager.

Police said allegations are that a group of community members went to the deceased’s home at Ga-Malematja village on Sunday and took him to the headman’s kraal.

“On arrival there, he was brutally assaulted with various objects until he died and they left him there lying on the ground in a pool of blood,” said Tzaneen police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe.

Police identified the deceased as Collen Bopape.

Ngoepe said the suspects have not yet been identified and no arrests had been made yet.

“Incidents of mob-attacks and killings is still a problem in this area and as the police, we would like to re-iterate our call for the community members to refrain from taking the law in their hands.”

Ngoepe appealed to community members to help identify the culprits.

Man hit by stray bullet in Tembisa protest
IOL News 12 April 2016

Johannesburg - Metrorail trains were grounded for two hours in Tembisa on Tuesday morning and a community member hit by a stray bullet during protests over vacant units at a local hostel.

Trains were unable to run between 5 and 7am as protesters blocked the line with branches, rocks and debris.

Cars and taxis were forced to drive on the pavement because the roads surrounding the Sethokga hostel and Oakmoor train station were also blocked.

One vendor locked himself in his home when the protest began.

“I heard a lot of noise, I could hear them breaking things and destroying the place. There was a lot of shouting and screaming. I was nervous, I’m always nervous when these things happen. What’s the point of being destructive and destroying vendors' things?” he asked, declining to give his name.

A police officer on the scene said the disputes over vacant family units in the hostel had provoked the protest.

Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said a community member was hit by a stray bullet in his leg.

“He sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.”

A case of attempted murder regarding the man and cases of public violence have been opened after hostel dwellers fired live rounds at the police.

No arrests have been made.

At 8:30am, residents were seen clearing rocks and debris.

Thabo*, one of the men clearing the roads, said they hoped to get a few rand from passing vehicles for their trouble.

“We’re coming to help clean for the (taxi) rank and for the people so they can get through.

“We don’t want all this to be in the way for the cars; it’s a good thing to do,” he said.

Ekurhuleni metro police were seen patrolling the area.

Metrorail Gauteng spokesman Tony Games told The Star the station at Oakmoor, which runs between Joburg and Pretoria, was not running for two hours because of the protest.

He said the group barricaded the train tracks with debris including branches, rocks and concrete slabs.

Games said the protest action caused significant inconvenience as one train does about 13 trips a day and transports nearly 100 000 commuters.

CPUT employees protest over wages
IOL News 13 April 2016

Cape Town - Scores of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) employees protested on the Bellville campus on Tuesday to demand that the university revise a 7 percent salary increase, which they claim was “unilaterally” implemented.

Staff members, including academic, administrative and other support staff, participated in the protest outside the administration building to demand that CPUT revise its offer.

In a statement last week, the Joint Union Task Team (JUTT) announced that its representatives and representatives of the university management had failed to reach a settlement in their wage negotiation dispute at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

It said the dispute not only related to the increase of 7 percent, while workers had demanded 8 percent, but also to a housing allowance increase and other issues.

“After almost a year of externally facilitated negotiation, management changed their position which has led to the deadlock.

“JUTT has no option but to exercise its right to embark on industrial action to force management to honour the process and concede to JUTT’s demands for a reasonable living wage and harmonisation of conditions of service as required by law,” JUTT stated in its press release.

It said the increase was to compensate staff for their hard work and to allow them to manage the steep rise in the cost of living due to increases in fuel, food, interest rates, electricity tariffs, and general inflation.

On Tuesday, JUTT spokesman Ben Turner said demonstrations would continue on Wednesday. He said employees were continuing to perform their duties and only participated in pickets before work and during lunch breaks.

“We will continue to pile on the pressure until they come with a revised offer.”

CPUT spokeswoman Lauren Kansley said the institution’s management had met to discuss the strike and its affect.

“The next step will be to arrange an emergency meeting of the human resources committee of council so management can receive a mandate, without which no discussions can take place.”

In a message to the campus community last week, vice-chancellor Dr Prins Nevhutalu stated that CPUT management obtained a mandate from the council to offer a 7 percent salary increase “that was based on principles of affordability and sustainability of the institution”.

He said the increase was reasonable, given wage increases offered by other institutions in the sector and that, based on sustainability considerations, CPUT couldn’t offer more.

“Management undertakes to resolve outstanding issues with council support and, hopefully , with co-operation from JUTT.”

Violent boycotts disrupt schooling in Vuwani
IOL News 11 April 2016

Vuwani - Schooling was disrupted on Monday in Vuwani, in Limpopo, where residents boycotted voter registration at the weekend, police said.

“There is no schooling taking place in the area, shops are also closed, but as police we are monitoring all the key points and road that link Elim and Malamulele,” said Vuwani police spokesman warrant officer Elaijah Malatji.

Community members have been protesting because they are opposed to their area being included in a new municipality. The protests, that have often turned violent, culminated in a boycott of registration in the area.

Protesters have been involved in running battles with the police at Ha-Masakona, where a house, owned by a person thought to support demarcation into the new municipality, was set alight. Huge stones and burning tyres were used to barricade many streets in the area.

Police said eight people were arrested for public violence, malicious damage to property and violating the Road Traffic Act. The arrested protesters were expected to appear in court as soon, said Malatji.

At the weekend protesters repeatedly blocked the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) plan to register new voters in the area as they demand that government first reverse its decision to include their area in the new municipality.

Community leader Alex Ndou said only one voting station at Ekurhuleni opened and a “few people” registered.

Ndou said other registration centres were opened, under the police watch, but residents did not participate.

The IEC could not be immediately reached for comment, but they were expected to issued an update on voter registration later Monday.

On Monday the protesters, apparently upset by the arrest of school going children, disrupted schooling in the area.

Drieziek riots after Pikitup strike ends
IOL News 11 April 2016

Johannesburg - News of Pikitup workers returning to work on Monday has not reached residents of Drieziek at Orange Farm.

They took to the streets in protest against filthy streets from as early as 2am.

Residents said they felt neglected as their trash had not been collected in weeks, leaving their neighbourhood filthy and smelly.

A large group barricaded roads with debris, including large rocks and sticks, saying they were frustrated over mounting service delivery issues such as a lack of paved roads, sanitation, electricity and housing.

“At voting time they come and promise everything,” said a woman who did not want to be named in fear of retribution.

She said the community had been neglected for far too long and that they were demanding that the councillor step down.

Another community member said schools were closed as pupils and teachers could not travel to schools safely.

By 9am, many pupils in uniform were seen strolling the streets.

Taxis that use the main road were redirected.

On several street corners, rubbish piled in winding heaps as the smell wafted through the dusty streets.

A significant contingent of police and metro police officers were on the scene to monitor the protest.

A section of the Golden Highway entering the township was closed off to traffic and motorists were redirected.

Officers warned them to steer away from the protest action as they could be in danger.

JMPD spokesman Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said no arrests had been made and no injuries were reported.

He said officers would remain on the scene.

Drawn-out Pikitup strike finally ends
IOL News 10 April 2016

Johannesburg - The month-long strike by Pikitup workers came to an end on Saturday night after the City of Johannesburg and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) reached an agreement.

“The City of Johannesburg (COJ) welcomes the settlement agreement signed between Samwu, Pikitup, a wholly owned entity of the City, and the City, facilitated by the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration),” said the City in a statement released late on Saturday night.

“The settlement will see an end to the one month work stoppage which commenced on 9 March 2016.”

The stoppage has resulted in accumulation of waste, which poses severe health risks, particularly in low income, high density areas of the City.

Workers had been demanding better wages and the removal of Pikitup Managing Director Amanda Nair, whom they accused of graft. Nair was previous cleared of any wrong doing by the high court, but Samwu claimed it had new evidence against the MD.

The City said there will be an “immediate return” to work and an end to all acts of intimidation and violence. It was also agreed that there will be no victimisation and harassment of employees by Pikitup, the COJ’s waste management entity.

“Pikitup will make a once-off payment of R750 to all Grade A and B workers and this will be taken into account in the further negotiations which will commence on 11 April and will be concluded on 13 April 2016 under the auspices of the CCMA.”

The City said the principle of no work no pay will be applied but 50% of the deduction will be deferred and applied over a period of two months in May and June.

“The immediate return to work will, however, be taken into account in consideration in mitigation of the sanctions in the disciplinary hearings.”

Mfuleni erupts after land invaders strike again
IOL News 1 April 2016

Cape Town - Attempts by desperate Mfuleni backyard dwellers to occupy a piece of vacant land erupted into flames and violence on Thursday night. A ward councillor’s house and car were badly damaged, a community hall was burnt and a fire station and fire vehicles were vandalised.

At least six protesters were arrested in connection with the incidents.

The protest started on Wednesday night when the backyard dwellers erected shacks on an open field.

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said this morning that tyres and tarred poles were set alight last night in Mfuleni and there was widespread “unrest and unruly behaviour”.

He said ward councillor Themba Honono’s house was badly damaged. His car was damaged and his belongings looted.

Smith said Mfuleni community hall was set alight and two suspects were arrested for arson. About 100 protesters stoned three fire vehicles and seemed intent on burning down the local fire station. The staff and equipment had to be moved.

Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said six suspects between the ages of 17 and 29 years were arrested, four were charged with arson and public violence and the other two with public violence. There had been no more reports of public violence this morning.

Backyard dwellers in the area repeatedly tried to occupy land in Mfuleni last year, and tried again over the past few days.

The attempted occupations last year prompted the City of Cape Town to apply for an interdict to halt future attempts at land grabs.

More than 1 000 backyard dwellers descended on a vacant plot earmarked for further housing development on Thursday, threatening to erect structures if the city did not resolve the community’s housing issues.

The city’s anti-land invasion unit and police were dressed in full riot gear on Thursday, ready to tear down the structures.

Building materials lay scattered on the ground as anxious community members waited for positive feedback from the city.

Last year, chaos erupted when police demolished 45 shacks built in front of Bardale, a low-cost housing area. Tense and violent clashes ensued, resulting in the arrest of 16 illegal land occupiers.

Community leader Advocate Tshayela, said the breakdown of communications between the city and the community resulted in the recent land occupation.

“The reason why we are invading land is because of the carelessness of city officials and their selfishness. We have been interacting with them since 2014 about this. The city chose to ignore us.

“Two weeks ago we had a meeting with the city officials, we told them that if they did not respond, we will occupy. We gave them an ultimatum; if they do not respond within seven days we will take the land,” Tshayela said.

He said that when the city built the low-cost housing in Bardale, they did not consider backyard dwellers in their plan.

“There are a lot of young children and old women without a home. Most of the backyarders in Mfuleni are unemployed and tired of paying rent to the Bardale house owners. We can’t manage rent, food and taking care of our children while earning nothing. The City of Cape Town is working for themselves,” he said.

Mayco member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, said the city had engaged with the group and relevant role players, including the Western Capegovernment.

She said the city would continue to monitor the situation and would not allow the erection of illegal structures or any other attempt made to further illegally occupy or invade the land.

Metrorail strike declared illegal
IOL News 7 April 2016

The strike by Metrorail workers in Cape Town has been declared illegal and unprotected after an interdict was granted on Wednesday evening, management said.

Metrorail workers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) had been expected to embark on a strike on Thursday. The union said the strike was about poor management and what it called exploitation of workers.

On Thursday morning Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said the interdict was requested “to prevent the backbone of public transport in the Western Cape from being impacted”.

“We are privileged to transport the bulk of public transport users and every effort will be made to prevent them from being inconvenienced further,” he said.

Read: Trains will run despite strike, says Metrorail

Walker said employees had reported for duty and the service recorded good performance.

However there were reports on Thursday morning that a large group of striking Metrorail workers had gathered at Cape Town train station.

On Wednesday Satawu shop steward Luntu Sokutu said strikers would gather at the station and picket with placards.

He said about 1 600 union members would be part of the strike until their demands were met.

Sokutu said Satawu was demanding an end to outsourcing of permanent services and for local workers’ salaries to be aligned with what workers in other provinces earned.

Metrorail trains transport about 100 000 commuters daily.

Protesters demand justice for Zarah
IOL News 7 April 2016

Cape Town - Two hundred angry, pink-wearing residents protested outside the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning as the two men accused of killing Kuils River mother Zarah Hector made their second appearance.

Ronaldo van Rooyen and Tafiq Ibrahim, both in their 20s, made a brief appearance in a packed court before their bail proceedings were postponed to April 21.

Dressed in T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Justice for Zarah” and an image of the murdered 32-year-old mother, Hector’s family and friends were joined by about 100 members of the Community Women Action Group.

Van Rooyen and Ibrahim have been charged with murder and defeating the ends of justice for allegedly killing the mother-of-two.

Hector was last seen as she left work at Oostenberg Lodge in Kuils River before her shift started on March 15.

The BMW Z3 she was driving, which allegedly belongs to her boyfriend, was later found stripped in Observatory.

Hector’s decomposing body was found in the Groot Drakenstein area, nine days after she went missing.

Police are keeping mum on the details of he death but it’s believed she had been beaten to death with a hammer.

Her body was cremated and her funeral was held last week.

Van Rooyen and Ibrahim were arrested shortly after Hector’s body was discovered.

Van Rooyen’s father, a former policeman, confirmed to the Daily Voice that his son knew Zarah, and she was a regular visitor to their house in Sarepta.

Prosecutor Vincent Adriaanse previously said the State would oppose bail for both of the accused.

While the two suspects appear to have no previous convictions, the State revealed that Van Rooyen has also been charged for an unrelated armed robbery, allegedly committed with a separate accomplice.

Aldrich Burmeister, a friend of Hector’s family, said they expected more residents at the next appearance later this month.

He said: “I made posters with the phrase ‘No bail, stay in jail’, which is what all of us are hoping for.

“This protest was organised at the last minute. We only got the go-ahead moments before the trial and were rushed, but we are happy that some community members such as the women from the Community Women Action (group) are here.

“The fact that they are matching with us with their pink T-shirts is amazing.”

Burmeister said the significance of the pink was that it represented women’s rights and that Hector apparently wore pink nail polish on the day of her death.

The vice-chairwoman of Community Women Action, Violet Mnyimba, said the organisation had delivered a petition to the court calling for no bail for the accused.

She said: “Women and children are being targeted in our communities. There seems to be a war. It cannot go on like this.”

Mnyimba confirmed that the organisation had attended the appearance of the four men accused of raping and robbing Franziska Blöchliger, at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court. That case was postponed to April 28.

Another member of the organisation, Lavona Coerecuis, said: “We are appalled as to why these incidents are occurring in our community so frequently. It is like a cancer that is spreading.

“We support all (protests at) cases that are similar to this one, where a woman is killed or sexually abused.

“One death is too much. We stand united with all the women and families that are going through this ordeal,” she said.

The Hector family was very emotional and wept outside court.

The victim’s brother Brendan, wiping tears from his eyes, said: “We cannot cope, the family is not coping, that is why my mother will never come to court.”

#Dunoon protest: police on high alert
IOL News 8 April 2016

Cape Town - A group of about 800 protesters from Dunoon as well as members of the Economic Freedom Front have gathered at the Cape Town Civic Centre in the CBD.

The group are waiting to deliver a list of grievances to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s office.

Protests over a piece of land along the N7 erupted in Dunoon on Friday morning, allegedly preventing MyCiTi buses from leaving the area, before protesters set out for the local railway station to make their way to the city.

Last month, backyard-dwellers from Dunoon had built structures on the piece of land along the N7 which were subsequently demolished by City of Cape Town officials. As the protests turned violent, a MyCiTi bus station was damaged, and some of the protesters were arrested.

Earlier on Friday morning protesters gathered outside the Stables MyCiTi bus depot in Dunoon before making their way to the train station at Century City to travel to the city centre. They apparently moved right through a police line and were then escorted by police.

It is understood that police used stun grenades earlier in the morning and several roads in the area were blocked off after fires were started by some protesters.

The city closed three MyCiTi stations “until further notice”.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that a protest action was taking place and was being monitored by police. He said no arrests had been made and police would remain in the area to maintain law and order during the day.

Mayco member for Transport Brett Herron said hundreds of MyCiTi commuters were inconvenienced on Friday morning due to the “illegal protest action” by a group of residents who prevented buses from leaving the Stables bus depot in Dunoon.

He said the group gathered in front of the gates at the depot early on Friday morning, blocking the exit and preventing a staff bus transporting bus drivers from entering the premises. Herron said law enforcement officials were deployed to assist with the situation, and the first buses were only dispatched at around 6.30am, with officials escorting the bus drivers.

“Potsdam Road is closed for traffic at the intersection with Blaauwberg Road and Sandown Road.

“As such, the MyCiTi buses operating along the T01 and T04 route are currently turning short at Killarney Terminus until further notice.

“Due to the volatile situation, three of the busiest stations along the T01 – Usasaza, Dunoon and Killarney – will also remain closed until further notice,” Herron said.

Hundreds of motorists were delayed by the road closures and the march.

Protester Xolani Hlekiso said on Friday that they had identified a piece of land suitable for dwellings but the city did not want them to move on to it. “We get exploited by our landlords. Rent goes up every month. We can’t even use the toilet inside the house.”

Hlekiso said they had been trying to engage the city to find space for homes, but to no avail, so they were marching to De Lille’s office to hand over a list of grievances.

Dolly Vinqise said they did not have proper places to live and the last time they built shacks, they were destroyed.

“We are tired of building just for our houses to be demolished by the city. We can’t afford to keep on buying material because when they demolish, they take the material with them.”

Vinqise said the protesters had “permission” to march to the mayor’s office.

Cosatu protests at Durban tollgate
IOL News 8 April 2016

Durban - Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday took to the streets to demonstrate against the introduction of automated lanes in the Mariannhill Tollgate in Pinetown.

The workers’ demonstration formed part of the resolution of the labour federation to campaign against the e-tolls.

Yesterday, workers from different unions had held aloft placards that read “Don’t register with Sanral” and “Don’t buy e-Tags” during the lunch-hour picket.

Cosatu provincial secretary, Edwin Mkhize, said the labour federation had noted that South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) was spreading the e-tolling agenda across the country through the introduction of automated lanes.

“The introduction of the automated lanes, called Shesha lanes, that work through the e-Tags, is nothing but part of their e-tolling system.

“As Cosatu we view this as dangerous in our attempts to create jobs since, there are a number of workers who work in these tollgates who are now going to lose employment,” Mkhize said.

He also said if the automated lanes were allowed, tollgates would benefit the elite and their powerful companies at the expense of the poor.

“It is worrying because government has always used jobs created through tollgates as one of their standpoint to defend tollgates.”

Mkhize also said Cosatu would intensify their demonstrations until the e-tolls were done away with.

Sanral spokesman, Vusi Mona, could not be reached for comment.

Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal leads the struggle against implementation of the e-tolls and tollgates by picketing at the Mariannhill Toll Plaza yesterday.

Daily News 6 Apr 2016

“CHAOS” is what transport and freight operators are calling an unconfirmed labour dispute at the Durban Container Terminal which gridlocked traffic near the port and left operators frustrated yesterday.

Freight and logistic operators said they had initially received no word from Transnet, but learnt of the problem from their truck drivers stuck in the traffic that the congestion had been building up from Monday night.

Yesterday morning, the Durban Container Terminal ( DCT) sent out two SMS messages to operators.

“Please be advised DCT Pier 1 has experienced a work stoppage from 06h00 this morning. Transnet Port Terminals management is currently engaging with employees.”

The second message read: “Further to the previous communication, the issue with labour has not been resolved yet. Transporters are requested to kindly pull out trucks – apologies for the inconvenience caused.”

This morning, most trucks were parked at their depots, easing the congestion overnight. But traffic began to build up this morning around Bayhead Road as they returned.

Heavy duty trucks were parked along Bayhead, Maydon Wharf, South Coast and Umbilo roads causing gridlocking.

A Durban logistics and freight company operator, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal from Transnet Port Terminals, said they were lucky that one of their trucks had been offloaded at around midnight after being in the port from the morning.

“Drivers have to wait in the port queues for up to 18 hours. The company forks out two or three days’ wages on one load. There are no ablution facilities or food in the vicinity. This week we had to pick up 30 containers from the DCT but could only load two. Durban is a nogo area now and it is causing the freight industry to operate at a loss. We remain optimistic about our future,” he said.

Another logistic transport operator said DCT management was to blame for its staff ’s attitude towards work.

He said at midday yesterday port authorities had blamed the wind for delays which he found hard to believe because of the earlier SMS.
He said trucks and cars were driving against the traffic towards Bayhead causing more chaos.

Janna Strang, of public relations company, Promote Communications, said on behalf of Transnet Port Terminals: “I have been trying to get more information about the excessive congestion and am hoping to have some in-depth detail around this to send to you later today. I so appreciate your patience in this regard and will revert asap!”

Protesters block Kuruman road
IOL News 1 April 2016

Rustenburg - About 500 protesters demanding employment from local mines have barricaded the R31 road between Kuruman and Hotazel with burning objects and rocks, Northern Cape police said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Olebogeng Tawana said the road was barricaded with burning tree branches, rocks and tyres.

“The traffic flow, including the delivery trucks from the local mines along the R31 road, came to a standstill. We will continue to monitor the situation, and police officers have been deployed on R31.”

15 held for violence at Mahikeng police station
IOL News 4 April 2016

Rustenburg – At least 15 people have been arrested, including one who was allegedly found in possession of a petrol bomb, after a group allegedly damaged state property at the Mahikeng police station, North West police said on Monday.

“The police have seized two cars that were suspected to have been used to ferry the community members to the police station,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi.

He said the group went to the police station on Sunday, demanding the release of two people arrested for allegedly killing a Nigerian national on Saturday in Golfview near Mahikeng.

The group damaged police vehicles at the police station.

The 15 are expected to appear in the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Marikana calm after political tensions
IOL News 5 April 2016

Rustenburg – Calm has returned to Marikana near Rustenburg following heightened tensions between rival political parties in the build up to the local government elections later this year.

“The situation in Marikana is calm no incidents were reported. The police continue to monitor the area,” North West police spokesperson Major Amanda Funani said on Tuesday.

Tension erupted in the mining town last week when members of the African National Congress (ANC) clashed with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members during campaigning for the coming local government election.

The tension was also believed to have been caused by the illegal occupation of houses in Marikana West.

EFF provincial spokesperson Thabo Sehloho said the ANC was under pressure which left them without any strategy to campaign for the local government election, and they had instead opted to engage in violent activities and continuously blame EFF for the rejection they encountered from the broader community.

“The citizens of the republic is tired with their lies and empty promises. We, as EFF, will never let ANC to continue to harass our community and members of EFF in Marikana, it is high time that ANC must accept loss and accept that indeed EFF is the organisation of the people and it belongs to the people.”

North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, who is also the provincial chairman of the ANC in North West, appealed for calm in Marikana when he visited the area on Sunday.

He said serious actions should be taken against community members who were continuing to illegally occupy the recently built Breaking New Ground (BNG) houses in Marikana West.

“We are going to engage the Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, as well as the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, David van Rooyen, to help in ensuring that these houses are occupied by the rightful beneficiaries.

“We are not going to allow lawlessness to prevail in Marikana, while there are clear laws governing our country,” Mahumapelo said.

Residents claimed EFF members occupied the houses illegally.

In January, when the houses were handed over to the Rustenburg municipality, a group believed to be EFF members and led by activist Napoleon Webster protested and vowed to occupy the houses. They claimed the houses were meant for mineworkers in Marikana.

Bakkie torched in illegal protest
IOL News 6 April 2016

Rustenburg - A bakkie was burnt and shops looted during an illegal protest in Boitumelong near Bloemhof, North West police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said residents of Boitumelong had barricaded the N12 road with objects on Tuesday during an illegal protest. Four teenagers, aged 14 to 16, were arrested.

“A Nissan 1400 bakkie was torched in the process during the early hours, while goods were also looted from several foreign national-owned shops at Extension 4, in Boitumelong township,” he said.

He said traffic was flowing smoothly on the N12 on Wednesday after earlier reports that vehicles had been pelted with stones.

Pupils were ordered to return home, apparently due to security fears, while police were continuing to monitor the situation.

Top Joburg official's house petrol-bombed
IOL News 1 April 2016

Johannesburg - The Soweto house of the Joburg member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for environment and infrastructure services Matshidiso Mfikoe has been petrol-bombed.

This is in the wake of soured relations between the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Pikitup, which falls under Mfikoe’s portfolio.

Since the unprotected strike started on March 9, Mfikoe has been outspoken, calling for workers to return or face dismissals.

On Thursday, Joburg’s mayoral spokeswoman Phindi Chauke said it was not clear if the attack was linked to the strike by disgruntled Pikitup workers.

“I can confirm that MMC Mfikoe’s house was petrol-bombed on Wednesday night. It is not clear who the culprits are, but she (Mfikoe) happens to be the political head in charge of the portfolio in the city that is responsible for Pikitup.

“Workers are currently on an unprotected work stoppage. But as to who is responsible, we can’t say it is Pikitup workers or whoever. It’s a criminal case now, and as it stands, it’s a matter for the SAPS to deal with,” said Chauke.

Samwu refused to entertain the matter.

“Police must investigate the matter. We can’t say anything about it. Ours is limited only to the issue of the workers,” said Samwu’s regional deputy secretary Paul Tlhabang.

Meanwhile, Tlhabang reiterated the union’s stance that the workers will not return to work for as long as the City of Joburg continues to come up with “delay tactics and stumbling blocks”.

“They are now demanding that workers return to work first before negotiations can resume. We rejected that,” Tlhabang said, adding there was no communication between the city and the union anymore.

“We have reached a stalemate. Matshidiso Mfikoe is talking to us via the media. She is saying in the media that the union is a problem, but she is the problem. She must come to us and stop talking in the media.”

Tlhabang said that if the city could afford to spend R1 million a day to pay outsourced workers, then it had no reason not to increase the workers’ salaries.

“What they are doing now is a waste (of money). Maybe the question we must ask is who is benefiting from these companies’?”

#Pikitup: Union remains resolute as rubbish piles up
IOL News 4 April 2016

Johannesburg - As the crippling strike by Pikitup workers enters its fifth week, the union representing the workers says it is more resolute than ever that until “concrete agreements” are met, the strike will continue.

South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) deputy regional secretary Paul Tlhabane said on Sunday that their mandate from the workers hadn’t changed and they were “charging forward” with demands for increases of between R6 000 and R10 000 a month.

The 4 000 workers on strike are also demanding the resignation of the waste removal company’s managing director, Amanda Nair, for alleged corruption and nepotism.

On Sunday, Tlhabane said negotiations between themselves, the City of Joburg and Pikitup had broken down because they were not committed to reaching a resolution.

“They keep saying they are waiting on Samwu, and they are lying. We are not saying implement the changes now, we’re saying give us something tangible.”

Tlhabane said even the disciplinary procedures against the striking workers, which began last week, were marred with alleged unfairness by management and its presiding officer.

Tlhabane said the union were forced to withdraw from the hearings as they believed they were not getting a fair hearing and appointed a legal team to represent the workers - but alleged they too weren’t given a fair amount of time to prepare.

On Friday, Joburg mayor Parks Tau pleaded with Samwu to return to the negotiating table, adding he was worried about the health and environmental impact of the ongoing strike after a rodent tested positive for the dormant plague.

Tau said Ivory Park, Diepsloot and Alexandra were some of the areas that were developing health hazards due to illegal dumping near trading facilities and recreational areas.

In a communiqué released on the same day, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that while there was no outbreak of the plague, following their routine monitoring of various rodent-borne diseases, the single rodent from Mayibuye in Midrand had tested positive for antibodies to plague.

Attempts to reach Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu for comment on Sunday were fruitless.

Meanwhile, Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said no arrests had been made in connection with the petrol-bombing on Wednesday night of Joburg member of the mayoral committee for infrastructure and environment Matshidiso Mfikoe’s house in Soweto.

It is still unclear whether the attack was linked to disgruntled Pikitup workers.
The Star

Nationwide protest for missing activist
IOL News 1 April 2016

Johannesburg - University students and workers across the country were expected to go on nationwide protests on Friday over the disappearance of an Eastern Cape student activist.

#OutsourcingMustFall activist Vusi Mahlangu went missing earlier this week, and the police are investigating a case of kidnapping.

The police are trying to track his cellphone, which he last used to send a message to a #FeesMustFall WhatsApp group to tell fellow activists he might have been arrested or kidnapped.

Mahlangu is one of the activists who have been trying to end outsourcing and push for free education at the Walter Sisulu University of Technology (WSU). When he went missing, he was on his way to meet some workers.

Now, students and workers at various campuses are planning to protest over his alleged kidnapping and demand he be released. The protests were expected to start at midday.

Activist Thenjiwe Mswana said protests would be held at all higher education campuses across the country from noon. Students and workers were to march to their nearest police station.

“In Mthatha, where Vusi disappeared, the workers and students will march to the office of the security company believed to have been involved in the kidnapping,” Mswana said.

The private security company was hired by WSU during the #FeesMustFall protests.

“Other than calling for Vusi’s release, the protesters will also be calling for the removal of private security companies from all campuses,” Mswana said.

WSU spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said allegations against the security company were being treated as just that.

“We have been made aware of the allegations against the company. It says it has had absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance.”

Tukwayo said the company has tracking devices in all its cars and none could be linked to Mahlangu’s disappearance.

She said the university had deployed extra security for Friday’s march.

Angry residents threaten to boycott by-elections
IOL News 2016

Cape Town - An ANC-aligned group in Kuyasa, Khayelitsha, representing more than 5 000 voters, is threatening to boycott the municipal elections this year.

They want their own councillor for Kuyasa, not representation by a councillor from neighbouring Makaza.

Last month they locked the gates and blocked the entrances to two voting stations in Kuyasa, preventing potential voters from registering.

These were the only voting stations in the Western Cape where no voters registered and the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) was prevented from setting up shop.

It seems there is a split in the ANC in the area.

The councillor, Makaza-based Mpucuko Nguzo, and his supporters are up against another ANC member, Thandixolo Wili, who is deputy secretary of the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the area.

The protesters prefer Wili, said Sanco organiser Pasika Ketsile and executive member Gladys Olifant, even though he wasn’t put forward as a candidate by the ANC.

The Wili group are concerned they will fall under Nguzo’s potential successor, Zwelijikile Mndila, who is also from Makaza. They also reject two other Makaza-based candidates and one from nearby Harare.

They believe the Kuyasa community’s services and projects, including the development of an empty field plagued by crime, will be neglected unless they have a representative from the area.

Mndila said: “It’s an ANC matter, so I don’t want to interfere.”

Nguzo told Weekend Argus he was bowing out with his head held high. He was “extremely proud” of having arranged electricity, a clinic and the upgrade of a park as well as establishing a new park for Kuyasa during his term.

On Tuesday a Western Cape ANC delegation led by acting head Khaya Magaxa accompanied by ANC regional treasurer Patric Mngxunyeni and ANC MPL Richard Jantjies held a three-hour meeting with the disgruntled group.

Hundreds packed a community hall and outlined their woes.

The ANC leadership undertook to meet the IEC and the Municipal Demarcation Board before next weekend’s round of voter registration to try to resolve the issues.

Magaxa said the disgruntled group enjoyed support in the area, including from other political parties such as the PAC.

Nguzo was of the opinion the protesters represented “a very tiny faction of the ANC who has nothing to complain about and don’t know what they want”.

“I’ve been driving development in the area and I know I have the support of the majority of the people of Kuyasa. Why didn’t they mobilise and lobby for their candidate to be chosen?”

Three week strike halts production at Wonderfontein Coal Mine
Tumelo Machogo (SABC News)31 March 2016

Over 260 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union are on strike, demanding better wages among others.

Mpumalanga Glencore Wonderfontein Coal Mine Mining Strike AMCU John Sibiya Tumelo Machogo Production at Glencore Wonderfontein Coal Mine in Mpumalanga has been halted for nearly three weeks.

Over 260 workers affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) are on strike, demanding better wages among others.

The strike has been marred by violence. The stand-off has now been taking place for almost three weeks and workers want their basic monthly salary to be doubled from R4 000 to R8 000.

Miner Richard Sengwana has served the mine for 20 years. As a father of five children, he only takes home R5 000 per month. "I earn peanut after 20 years of experience. I was here when the new mine took over, but I earn less money. I have children and my daughter is in university and I still owe the university from the last academic year, she has rent to pay and I also have rent to pay," says Sengwana.

The workers also want medical aid, transport and housing allowances.

Amcu Mpumalanga Regional Secretary, John Sibiya, says efforts of negotiations with mining bosses have thus far been unsuccessful.
"We have tried to negotiate with the mine but they are refusing to take any of our offers. Some people have worked here for years but still earn less. This mine is owned by Cyril Ramaphosa but his employees are suffering."

Management at the mine has condemned acts of violence by striking workers. Heavy security is deployed at the mine.

Pretoria streets disrupted by Walus march
Pretoria East Record 1 April 2016

Traffic will be affected in the city centre as protesters march against the release of Janusz Walus from the Kgosi Mampuru prison.

Motorists are advised to avoid the corners of Nana Sita and Kgosi Mampuru streets and Princes Park Street today.

This area around the Kgosi Mampuru prison will be inaccessible because of a march by ANC alliance partners against the parole of Janusz Walus.

Walus was convicted of murdering SACP leader Chris Hani in 1993 and recently won his freedom in the Pretoria High Court which order his parole.

He has served 23 years of his life sentence in the prison.

Rob Byrne of Traffic SA said only these streets will be affected by the march.

The march will start at the main entrance to the prison then will proceed to Church Square for a rally.

The ANC alliance partners are said to be against the release of Walus.

This week, Justice Minister Michael Masutha, filed an appeal against the court ruling earlier this month.

This is seen as an intention to keep Walus behind bars.

KZN taxi strike ends
IOL News 31 March 2016

Durban - The taxi strike that left thousands of workers in Durban stranded has ended after an agreement was reached between the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KwaZulu-Natal and the province’s transport department.

Santaco’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman Boy Zondi said on Thursday that agreement had been reached late Wednesday. Taxi operators had been on strike for two days.

Santaco went on a province wide strike after several taxis were impounded over the Easter Weekend for failing to have the required permits.

Santaco has long complained that the failure to process permits or issue new ones has led to the problems of insufficient permits for a growing industry.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said incidents of violence had been restricted to the Durban central business district and the city’s Warwick Triangle area.

He said the eight people, who were arrested will face charges of public violence.

eThekwini Metro Police spokesman Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu said that there were various incidents of stone throwing and people being pulled from taxis.

On Thursday morning Zondi said: “The taxis are back to normal. The negotiations went well. We have reached an agreement.”

Zondi said that Willies Mchunu, the province’s transport, community safety and liaison MEC, had agreed to negotiate with the National Prosecuting Authority to have all minibus taxis impounded for permit violations released on payment of a R1 000 fine instead of the initial R10 000 fine.

Mchunu said it had also been agreed that no taxis would be impounded over public transport permit violations.

Zondi said that the national transport department had placed a moratorium on the issuing of permits for the past 10 years.

“This is going on too long. We believe this is not our fault. You are not issuing permits and then you are failing to cater for the growing market. You do no stop issuing birth certificates when you have too many people. They are the ones at fault while they take so long to sort out their processes,” said Zondi.

The Santaco’s KwaZulu-Natal chairman said he would meet Mchunu over the next “three or four days” to deal with specific taxi permit related issues.

There are 246 taxi associations with about 25,000 minibus taxis operating in the province.

Transport spokesman Kwanele Ncelane, was not available for comment.

Tension simmering between residents and Pikitup strike
Alex News 30 March 2016

ALEXANDRA – The protracted strike by Pikitup workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union has created tensions between the strikers and residents who feel undeserving of the health hazards resulting from the work stoppage.

The protracted strike by Pikitup workers affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union has created tension between the strikers and residents who feel undeserving of the health hazards resulting from the work stoppage.

The strike, in its fourth week, follows intermittent strikes last year which ended after a brokered deal with City management which had come unstuck. This in spite of two court interdicts the City management said the strikers were violating. The deal would have seen a senior advocate being assigned to address the workers’ demands, which are mainly salary increases and the removal of Pikitup’s managing director, Amanda Nair, who they have accused of impropriety and corruption.

The Alexandra community feels they are collateral victims in a war not of their making. “Some of our children have contracted illnesses from the uncollected rotting garbage and we are insulted by clinic staff who accused us of neglecting the children. Adults will also get ill soon if no solution was found urgently,”said Beauty Maphala.

The strike, she said, has also created tension between strikers who are also residents and the rest of the community. She fears this could result in a full-scale confrontation. This she said in reference to clashes over the weekend when a group, alleged to be strikers, their sympathisers or criminals, allegedly attacked and injured a Pikitup truck driver who had been dispatched to load rubbish which was gathered voluntarily by the residents and councillors.

Maphala also claimed that even before the strike, residents were displeased with the quality of work of some of the agency workers. “Some spent time seated in parks or under trees, others could be seen drinking alcohol during working [hours]. Many of them didn’t do their cleaning work thoroughly, they refused to give us plastic bags for the rubbish we gather, as we have opted to clean our section of the street, or they sold the bags for R10 each.”

Maphala also pleaded for metal bins instead of plastic bins or bags as she said they were eaten by rats or destroyed by stray dogs, leaving the garbage scattered.

Other residents alleged that the streets were trashed by the strikers overnight after they had been cleaned by residents during the day. Opting to remain anonymous they said, “The strikers have a right to protest but trashing the streets is irresponsible as it affects residents who have nothing to do with their labour concerns. Why not trash at the council offices and homes of the officials?”

Have you read: Disease outbreak looms as rubbish piles up on Alex streets

The residents said they used their own brooms and disinfectants to prevent possible diseases.

“The trash and tree branches block roads, cause traffic jams and endanger vehicle tyres from broken bottles,” she said. The resident also expressed concern about rubbish accumulating around electric lines and power boxes, making it difficult for City power officials to attend to power failures.

Taxi protesters turn aggressive
Berea Mail 30 March 2016

Reports have come in that taxi protestors are becoming violent in Berea and the CBD.

THE SANTACO taxi protests currently being carried out in Durban and across the province today are ongoing. In recent reports it appears that some protests have turned violent with aggressive behaviour by some strikers being reported.

Local motorists are urged to avoid Stamfordhill Road in the vicinity of Greyville Racecourse, as well as the bottom of Berea Road and the Durban CBD.

The taxi associations are protesting the impounding of their vehicles which do not carry the necessary permits, despite an alleged agreement with the provincial authorities.

Taxi associations embark on massive protest action
Berea Mail 30 March 2016

THE South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) are currently protesting in Durban, and have announced the taxi protest will continue today (Wednesday) and Thursday throughout the province.

Motorists are urged to be aware of taxi blockades in various roads in the area.

According to reports, KwaZulu-Natal taxi associations, including short and long distance associations, have come to a complete standstill.

Durban Metro have reported taxis travelling in contraflow in the Durban CBD on central roads such as Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street and Warwick Street.

There are also reports of blockages outside the Durban Station in Umgeni Road as well as Che Guevara (Moore) Road.

A report from SA Crime Watch Durban advised that a group of protesters had been marching along Warwick Avenue and Cannongate up towards Berea an hour ago, to meet at Botha’s Gardens.

Reports also indicate that the R66 towards Umlazi is completely blocked off by taxis.

The strike was called in protest against the Department of Transport Road Traffic Inspectorate and Shanela Environmental Management impounding taxis for not having permits. According to reports, this is despite an alleged agreement between taxi associations and the Department of Transport that taxis would not be impounded for delayed permits by the transport licencing board.

#Pikitup: Union leaders not deterred by threats
IOL News 30 March 2016

Johannesburg - Joburg residents hoping for an end to the ongoing strike by Pikitup employees may have to wait a while longer.

On Tuesday, union leaders vowed to continue with their crippling, unprotected strike action.

This is in spite of threats by the City of Joburg to fire the employees.

“If these employees are fired, Pikitup must look for another place for the new employees to work because we won’t allow them to work in Joburg,” said Emmanuel Koadibane, a shop steward for the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

He was speaking to The Star as he and other union leaders led hundreds of striking employees in a protest march in the Joburg CBD ahead of the start of their disciplinary hearings.

The marchers sang and carried signs, with some reading “Away with corruption and the slavery system”.

Koadibane said the workers would return to work only if their demands were met.

They are demanding salary increases of between R6 000 and R10 000 and that Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair be fired.

This came as the City of Joburg briefed the media on its stance on the strike. It has since emerged that new allegations against Nair are currently being investigated by both the City of Joburg’s risk and assurance department and by external investigators.

The city’s member of the mayoral committee for environment and infrastructure, Matshidiso Mfikoe, reiterated that Nair had been cleared of all allegations last year after being on suspension for 11 months.

She said there was no reason for her to be removed from office at this time.

“She was cleared of allegations of tender fraud and of stealing cellphones. All charges were dropped. However, the unions want these matters reinvestigated,” Mfikoe said.

“The unions are also calling for an investigation into individual salary disparity within Pikitup, nepotism and the hiring of Indians only to key positions, which we are doing,” she added.

Joburg mayor Parks Tau said the “disruptive, illegal work stoppage” had to stop.

“This status quo can no longer be tolerated and the city is taking serious action to ensure this,” he added.

This, he said, was being done through the establishment of a joint operations centre, among others. The centre will identify and prioritise hotspots for urgent attention. It is also responsible for the co-ordination of security and tactical response in vulnerable areas, and to manage queries and mobilise resources in collaboration with the city’s other entities and the private sector through a 24-hour number: 011 286 6009. It will also co-ordinate SAPS, Joburg metro police department and private security.

Tau said that while it was unfortunate that the city had initiated disciplinary action against the striking workers, this had to be to done in order to speedily restore services to residents.

“These are workers who are bearing the brunt of the no-work, no-pay policy for the unprotected industrial action. Two interdicts were issued against Samwu in a bid to get striking workers to return to work, but these were not adhered to,” he said.

As a result, pre-dismissal warnings were issued to workers on the same day that Samwu’s national office called on strikers to return to work. However, these too were ignored, forcing the city’s hand, he said. The workers are being charged with gross misconduct for participating in unprotected strikes on December 18 and 19, February 5 and 6, and March 9 and 10.

Tau said 19 workers had been arrested for attempted murder and public violence since the current strike began, but 11 were released due to lack of evidence. The remaining workers were released on R500 bail.

KZN taxi drivers go on strike
IOL News 30 March 2016

Durban – The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) have announced a taxi protest for Wednesday and Thursday in KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal taxi associations, including short and long distance associations, have come to a complete standstill.

The strike was called in protest against the Department of Transport Road Traffic Inspectorate and Shanela Environmental Management impounding taxis for not having permits.

This comes despite an alleged agreement between taxi associations and the Department of Transport that taxis would not be impounded for delayed permits by the transport licencing board.

Although taxi associations had originally said that no blockages were planned, Durban Metro have reported taxis travelling in contraflow in busy city central roads such as West and Warwick Street.

There are also reports of blockages outside the Durban Station in Umgeni Road as well as Moor Road.

Reports also indicate that the R66 towards Umlazi is completely blocked off by taxis.

KZN ANC marchers disciplined
IOL News 29 March 2016

Durban - Four ANC members have been charged for bringing the ruling party into disrepute by playing leading roles in marching against the executive committee, led by KwaZulu-Natal provincial party chairman Sihle Zikalala.

Disciplinary action has been instituted against the disgruntled members who marched to the provincial offices last November.

Only eThekwini councillors, Sthenjwa Nyawose and Sibongiseni Mkhize, appeared before the hearings chaired by Sinegugu Simelane-Zulu on Sunday.

Nada Ngcobo and Simphiwe Zondo reportedly did not attend the disciplinary hearings, which were postponed until April 17.

The Daily News understands that Nyawose and Mkhize asked for further particulars of the charges and requested an opportunity to seek representation.

When the pair made their appearance at the provincial offices, about 300 people reportedly pledged them solidarity.

Provincial secretary Super Zuma confirmed the disciplinary hearings, which he said started on Sunday.

He would not disclose how many people were charged, but he indicated that “there are still investigations going on”.

Zuma also said the charges were based on the conduct of the individuals.

“We have been consistent as the ANC to say comrades who have concerns should raise them internally. If you have a concern and then do not follow organisational policy, you will be subjected to a disciplinary hearing. This is what we did,” Zuma said.

Nyawose confirmed he had been charged and referred questions to the ANC.

Mkhize said: “ANC matters are discussed internally. I have no mandate to speak on the matter.”

Zondo and Ngcobo could not be reached for comment.

Provincial spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli, did not know the outcome of the Sunday hearings. He said he was unable to reach Simelane-Zulu.

Ntuli said the provincial disciplinary committee had over “the few days” considered hearings against several members. “There are many cases we inherited from the then PEC (provincial executive committee).”

Some related to the march by a faction linked to Zikalala and eThekwini regional chairwoman, Zandile Gumede, when they protested against election of leadership led by James Nxumalo early last year.

It could not be ascertained if any members have been officially charged yet for this march. However, the charges against Nyawose and others take place while an appeal to Luthuli House has yet to be finalised despite claims by some that it had been resolved.

National spokesman, Zizi Kodwa, told the Daily News a report was still awaited from the team of national executive committee members dealing with the matter. Sources said the disciplinary hearings were questionable because the existing leadership authority was challenged.

“What we did was to challenge their being in office. We challenged the process that led them to being in office.”

The source said the hearings could threaten the ANC election campaign. “You can’t charge people in election time. You are collapsing the election machinery,” the source said.

While Zuma would not comment on the awaited appeal, he insisted that the disciplinary hearings were based on individual conduct of members.

“If you join the ANC, you join voluntarily as a member, so we deal with conduct of a member in line with the organisation’s constitution.”

Political analyst, Thabani Khumalo, said the timing of the hearings was risky and could plunge the ANC into deeper crisis. “On the ground people had complained. They sent complaints to the structure at a higher level and no response has been received yet,” Khumalo said.

“There are divisions in the branches. The new leadership has a cloud over its head. They should have managed it differently,” he added.

Shooting of Pikitup trucks condemned
IOL News 24 March 2016

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg on Thursday condemned the shooting of two Pikitup trucks while the company battles to clear piling waste in the midst of a strike by thousands of workers.

Garbage has continued to pile up in the city for the second week running as Pikitup workers continue to down tools over demands for better pay and the immediate dismissal of the company MD Amanda Nair, whom they accuse of corruption.

Last year Nair was cleared by the high court of any wrong doing.

On Wednesday the City of Johannesburg said it “condemns the shooting of two Pikitup trucks along Rand Show Road, near Nasrec, which caused the vehicles to collide just before midnight on Wednesday”.

A statement from the City said: “The drivers of the trucks, which were deployed to collect waste amidst the ongoing illegal work stoppage by the waste management entity’s workers, fled the scene during the shooting”.

Workers, who were on the trucks at the time of the shooting, were left in a state of shock, the City said, adding that “no one” was wounded. Security personnel assigned to escort the trucks managed to call for backup.

Speaking to the affected workers at the scene, shortly after the shooting incident, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau said he was shocked that “striking Pikitup workers were resorting to deadly criminal tactics and intimidation in a bid to prevent the City’s attempts to deliver services to residents during their illegal strike”.

The mayor said the City was finalising collaboration plans with various law enforcement agencies, including the South African Police Service, to ensure that the delivery of Pikitup services continues safely and perpetrators are brought to book.

The incident comes after the South African Municipal Workers Union, recently distanced itself from “workers” who have been damaging city property, emptying bins onto the streets and intimidating “temporary workers”.

On Tuesday, Nair said it was costing Pikitup R1 million a day to hire private contractors to remove the piles of garbage in Johannesburg.

“The market knows we are desperate and they’re charging us exorbitant prices, but there is nothing we can do,” she said, adding that the trucks now operate only at night.

Durban refuse removal workers protest
IOL News 22 March 2016

Durban – About 200 municipal rubbish removal workers disrupted morning rush-hour traffic in Durban on Tuesday.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said that about 200 workers from Durban Solid Waste, the municipal entity tasked with waste removal and recycling, protested on the Mangosuthu Highway in Umlazi near the Megacity Shopping Mall.

Zwane said police were monitoring the situation and that there were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

Municipal spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said that municipal officials met with the protesters.

Mthethwa said that the protesters were employees, employed under the Expanded Public Works Programme.

She said that the protest was brought to an end after it was agreed that “members of the City leadership” would meet with the protesters soon.

Mthethwa did not state what the protesters’ grievances were, or when exactly the meeting would take place.
African News Agency

Protesters turn on foreign shopkeepers
IOL News 15 March 2016

Polokwane – At least 60 shops owned by foreign nationals in Mookgophong, Limpopo, were forced to close on Tuesday after protesting residents allegedly looted and vandalised some of them.

“They are robbing us,” said the foreign national traders’ representative Daniel Woidhana,addng: “Some stocks [are] already gone [and] they said they don’t need us in the township”.

Woidhana claimed that about R2 million worth of stock had been looted since the start of a service delivery protests on Thursday.

Riotous protestors have been calling for the removal of Mayor Sarah Monyamane from office because they say she has failed to an deliver basic services. At least for houses, including one owned by the mayor’s relative, have been torched allegedly by the protesters. Streets have been barricaded with burning tyres.

On Monday night a man said to be part of the protests was shot at and he died at the local clinic. Police are yet to arrest anyone in connection with the shooting, which is being invesigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate better known as IPID.

However, foreign nationals who spoke to the African News Agency (ANA) said protesters inexplicably turned on them and began looting their shops.

The foreign nationals claimed the unprovoked xenophobic attack surfaced for the first time in the area because protesters were “mixing their political battles with their dislike of foreigners doing business in the area”.

The affected shop owners claimed they had been told by residents to leave the area and “return to their motherland”.

Many have since left Mookgophong. However, some shop owners said they wanted to remove and safeguard their remaining stock.

“We want to remove our stocks but when we are there they throw stones at us,” said Woidhana.

He said five foreign nationals have been injured while attempting to remove their stock from the shops.

A local shop owner, sypathetic to their plight, said she was assisting her foreign counterparts to leave Mookgophong.

“They are afraid that looters will return and finish off their stocks,” said the shop owner, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

Woidhana said affected shop owners had rented a space in the central business district, where they hoped to store their goods once they had been able to retrieve them from the shops.

He said so far attempts get assistance from the local police, whom they have asked for an escort, had failed.

Police confirmed that foreign shops were looted. Provincial police, Public Order Police have been deployed to monitor the protests.

At least 22 suspects have been arrested for public violence and malicious damage to property.

Outrage over killing of Mookgopong resident
IOL News 17 March 2016

Mookgopong, Limpopo – Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha battled to address protesting Mookgopong residents who demanded that police leave the meeting venue as anger over the killing of local resident Ben Matlou continued to simmer.

Mathabatha and his entourage were scheduled to meet with residents on Thursday to listen to community demands, but protestors refused to allow the meeting to proceed until police had been cleared from the venue, amid claims that authorities had failed to arrest the suspect who killed Matlou.

Matlou was shot and killed on Monday as protestors clashed with police and private security. Community leaders charge that Matlou was killed by a private firm guard who had joined the public order police officials who were brought in to quell riots in the area related to a lack of service delivery.

Hundreds of disgruntled residents again gathered on the streets on Thursday to demand that Mathabatha remove Mookgopong Mayor Sara Manyamane, whom protesters accuse of running down the municipality.

They blamed Monyamane for lack of service delivery, including access to roads and water.

Having demanded a meeting with Monyamane and Mathabatha, however, the furious protesters chanted and hauled insults at Monyamane, and were later seen jumping onto the armoured police Nyalas as they demanded police leave the area.

Mathabatha said he was optimistic that government would find solutions for the protesting residents. He said that although it was the community’s right to protest, he was disturbed by the level of violence evident during the protest.

#Guptas must fall, chant protesters
IOL News 19 March 2016

Pretoria – A group of young people spent the day protesting outside the St George Hotel in Pretoria where the African National Congress national executive committee (NEC) members were meeting on Saturday.

The protesters were moved to one side by the huge security detail manning the main entrance to the hotel. Some of the young people said they were at the protest not as ANC members but just as “concerned South Africans”.

“I’m very concerned about the leadership of this country. I don’t believe in our President Jacob Zuma in terms of the style of leadership that he portrays and seems to portray,” said Maselela Montja.

“We are here to air our views. I don’t have faith in the NEC but I’m here to simply air my grievances as a citizen and a young South African professional. We want the NEC to listen… The concern is that they don’t listen even to the people on the ground who burn tyres and schools.”

The group – some wearing ANC T-shirts – said they were gravely concerned about the influence of the wealthy Gupta family on Zuma and government. Some repeatedly chanted “Zuma must fall” and “Guptas must fall”.

Former ANC Youth League deputy leader Ronald Lamola was one of the first protesters to arrive at the venue. Standing by the roadside he waved a placard as the presidential motorcade drove into the hotel premises. He was later joined by several young men and women singing and waving placards. Some of the placards read, “Viva Mcebisi Jonas” and “We want Zuma out”.

Lamola said the NEC should remove Zuma urgently.

“This is the last warning shot to the ANC. If they don’t fire or remove him this weekend society must stand up and remove him,” said Lamola.

Tshwane metro police officers, ANC marshals, and some armed men claiming to be police officers approached journalists and told them to immediately remove their cars from the open space near the venue.

“This is a space for police officers,” shouted one officer.

Moments later, two recently acquired Tshwane metro police Nyala armoured vehicles arrived at the scene. Security was increased at the main entrance, manned by guards and police officers.

Many vehicles drove into the premises escorted by police vehicles flashing blue lights.

On Thursday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was asked by journalists if the NEC delegates had been put under pressure by repeated calls from senior politicians to act on the alleged interference of the politically-connected Gupta family in decisions taken by Zuma and some of his Cabinet ministers.

Mantashe said the 90-member NEC was not under pressure at all.

“The NEC doesn’t work that way. The ANC is having a very important document called the constitution. It is not about the NEC working because who is the loudest [and] when. It doesn’t work that way,” Mantashe told reporters.

“The NEC works in terms of the [ANC] constitution and it executes its work in terms of what is expected of it, in terms of the constitution of the ANC. So there is no pressure.”

The NEC meeting got underway on Friday following a turbulent week for the ruling party.

Among others, Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas dropped a bombshell on Wednesday by confirming reports that the Gupta family had approached him to take over as finance minister a few days before Zuma fired Nhlanhla Nene from the post.

On Thursday, Zuma told Parliament that the Gupta family had never appointed any Cabinet minister.

“There is no minister who is here who was ever appointed by the Guptas or by anybody else,” he told the National Assembly.

Also this week, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said Zuma was present several years ago when the Guptas offered her the post of public enterprises minister, held at the time by Barbara Hogan.

R1m a day. That's how much Pikitup protests cost
IOL News 23 March 2016

Johannesburg - Pikitup is paying R1 million a day to hire private contractors to pick up refuse during the ongoing strike by its workers.

This has been going on for the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair said this was because every truck had to be escorted by a security vehicle.

“The market knows we are desperate and they’re charging us exorbitant prices, but there is nothing we can do,” she said, adding that the trucks now operate only at night.

All the trucks have been removed from the depots to satellite depots which have been established across the city.

In some areas, collections have been completely suspended due to intimidation.

On Monday night, when a truck went to the Robinson Deep landfill site to dump a load, the driver and the security vehicle were shot at. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“We do not disclose where the depots are, but the union members know we have to go and dump the refuse at the landfill sites, so that is where we are vulnerable,” said Nair.

Pikitup has two interdicts against the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) rendering the current strike unprotected.

Workers say they are striking for better wages and for the removal of Nair, who was embroiled in a controversy over a R263 million tender but later cleared.

Samwu has called on strikers to return to work.

On Friday, several members appeared at the Labour Court to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court. The workers trashed the area around the court. The judge reserved judgment to this week.

In the meantime, the un-protected strike is set to continue this week.

But Pikitup says it is intensifying its contingency measures to counter the effects of the waste collection service disruptions, despite intimidation by some striking workers.

However, many parts of the city and outlying areas will not be cleared because of intimidation of stand-in workers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Pikitup workers on Tuesday vowed to stop the Red Ants from “taking over our jobs” as they marched through the Joburg CBD and spewed garbage over several streets.

The Red Ants are believed to have been contracted to collect litter at night.

“They don’t work during the day because they are afraid of us. They must know that we won’t let them take our jobs,” said Felix Radzilani, a Samwu shop steward at Pikitup.

At the Bree Street taxi rank, the rowdy crowd brandishing sticks struck a patrol car belonging to the Faraday Taxi Association.

This sparked an altercation with taxi drivers, with both parties pelting each other with stones.

The workers later marched to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, demanding what they called a “political report” into their grievances.

They said this was commissioned by MEC Jacob Mamabolo last year.

Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu said residents and business owners are urged to keep bins and bags outside their properties to ensure that waste is collected through the contingency measures.

“It is important to note that in certain instances, collection is done during the night,” he said.

He urged residents and business owners to recycle their waste to reduce the waste going to the landfill sites and, where possible, to drop off their waste at their nearest garden refuse sites.

“We appeal to communities to work with us in order to ensure the safety of the third party contractors,” he said.

The current state of play

As contingency measures, Pikitup is:

* Collecting waste from the municipal clinics and hospitals, and from some bulk customers;

* Providing the normal daily service only on an intermittent basis;

* Emptying all the garden sites to the bigger landfill sites to make space for local rubbish;

* Appealing to its commercial customers to liaise with their customer service consultants to schedule emergency collection; and

* Continuing to collect recyclable materials in participating areas.

Areas not being collected as a result of intimidation:

* Northern areas: Ivory Park, Diepsloot and parts of Alexandra;

* Central areas: Parts of Doornfontein including hostels in the inner city;

* Southern areas: Central Camp Depot: Orlando East, Meadowlands, the exit from Goudkoppies and Diepkloof;

* Southern areas: Zondi Depot: Zola, Protea North, Emndeni, Dobsonville and Mapetla;

* Southern areas: Southdale Depot: Mangololo, George Goch and Denver;

* Roodepoort Depot: Zamimpilo, Slovo and Kathrada.

* Waterval Depot: Westbury and Riverlea; and * Avalon Depot: Freedom Park, Lehae, Lenasia South and Lawley.

Services not being offered during the strike:

* No street sweeping or litter picking is taking place except for the various CBDs across the City of Joburg; and

* The bulk waste service is not being offered now.

* See also Pikitup online on for a detailed refuse collection calendar and or www.facebook/ / A Cleaner Joburg or on Twitter @CleanerJoburg.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to contact the call centre for any complaints related to refuse collection and other related queries on 0860 562874. @annacox

I will f*****g kill you’
IOL News 20 March 2016

Cape Town - A circus is back in the spotlight with claims of death threats and vandalism levelled against a local animal rights group.

McLaren International Circus manager Arnold Dickson said local members of global animal rights group 269Life threatened to kill circus owner David McLaren.

But 269Life Cape Town director Jeanine Jordaan said members had protested outside the circus and had not threatened anyone.

The alleged incident happened at Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell, where the circus, which showcases acts that involve trained animals, is temporarily based.

Dickson said a woman had threatened McClaren and was one of two who had used spraypaint to vandalise circus trucks. He said McLaren was told: “I will f*****g kill you.”

“The ladies threatened circus staff, swearing at them in full view of the public. The ladies threatened to set free the circus animals, which was seen by the owner as a direct threat to the safety of our animals and the public.

“Before getting into their car the ladies threatened the owner by saying ‘See you tomorrow, a**hole – We have a surprise for you tomorrow.’”

Photographs were attached to a press statement on the incident – these included one of trucks that had apparently been spraypainted with the numbers 269.

There were also photographs of a car with a woman in it who Dickson alleged had been involved in the vandalism and threat. Similar photographs of spraypainted numbers on trucks were posted on the local 269Life’s Facebook page.

Dickson said the matter had been reported to Brackenfell police. But on Saturday police said there was no record of a case having been opened. Police were therefore not investigating the allegations.

On Saturday Jordaan said local members of 269Life had protested outside the circus.

“We made no comments of a personal nature, nor did we direct any comments at any individual at any time during our interaction with the circus staff... No threats on any lives were made by either party.”

She said members had protested against the exploitation of animals in the circus as part of a global movement.

Dunoon still volatile after weekend protests
Eye Witness News 22 March 2016

Dozens of residents went on the rampage after they were evicted from privately-owned property.

A protest broke out in Dunoon on 20 March 2016 after a group of squatters attempted to occupy farmland along the N7 Highway.

The situation in Dunoon close to the N7 is still volatile following violent demonstrations in the area this weekend.

Dozens of residents went on the rampage after they were evicted from privately-owned property.

Two MyCiTi bus stations were set alight during the unrest causing more than R1,5 million in damages.

The City’s JP Smith says eight people have been arrested.

“Potsdam Road is still completely closed off from Killarney Race Track all the way through to the N7. Several of our vehicles have been attacked [and] officers have been injured.”

Angry bus drivers claim victimisation
IOL News 17 March 2016

Cape Town - A large group of Joe Gqabi long-distance bus operators, supported by the Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement, marched to the Civic Centrev on Wednesday claiming they were being victimised by the city council.

After marching through the CBD, the protesters sang in front of the Civic Centre with passers-by looking on.

Bus operators chairman Ndodile Yekiwe said they marched to the mayor’s office to hand in their complaints about the city’s plans to conduct roadworthy checks in time for the Easter Weekend.

Bus drivers refuse safety checks

The City’s Richard Coleman says the checks, which are done every year, would commence next week.

“Every year this time lots of buses and taxis drive to other provinces,” Coleman said. “We do three roadworthy checks and the drivers have a gripe with the City because of this. Some of them don’t pass and that is why they don’t want us to carry out the tests.”

But Ses’khona secretary Loyiso Nkohla said the drivers were unhappy with the treatment they have been getting from the City.

“If a vehicle was tested in December then the certificate is valid for a year,” he said. “Why does it have to be tested again?

“The drivers are unhappy because the City is not doing this to the other bus companies such as Translux and Greyhound.

“If this was the case then SA Roadlink would not have had so many accidents,” he said.

He added the council official who was tasked with dealing with them caused division among their ranks because only one group was recognised at the bus terminus.

Bus owner Mzukisi Mooi said: “We don’t want him to ever set foot at Joe Gqabi again because what he is doing will lead to bloodshed.”

He said they did not want to fight each other and asked for the council to delegate someone who was neutral.

Their memorandum of demands stated: “The official must be removed from Joe Gqabi if violence is to be averted.

“The interim committee that was unlawfully established must be dissolved and an all inclusive committee be elected, and all victimisation stopped.

“We demand equal treatment and fairness be accorded the respect we deserve just like any other business.”

Ses’khona’s Andile Lili said the bus terminus was theirs and did not belong to the council.

“Those buses transport us not the city council. They must stop abusing us.”

Another demand was the right to conduct business without harassment from law enforcement agencies.

“We don’t get permits to operate, law enforcement abuses and victimises us,” Yekiwe said.

The operators gave the mayor seven working days to respond to their demands, and Nkohla said they hoped to meet with City officials next week after handing over their memorandum.

Cops angry after 3 years with no working loo
IOL News 18 March 2016

Durban - Traffic officers frustrated at being without running water for nearly three years staged a service delivery protest of their own on Thursday, preventing security cameras from being installed at a North Coast licensing and testing station.

The officers, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said 30 staff at the Groutville Licensing and Testing Station had to work in difficult and unhygienic conditions despite neighbouring facilities, such as a nearby petrol station, having ready access to water.

They said they had been supplied with three 2 000 litre tanks, but these were not filled regularly by the Ilembe District, and water, when available, was unfit for consumption.

“Only in December did the department (of transport) supply us with 500ml of bottled water, one bottle for each member per day, as if one can dictate to the body systems how much water it needs per day.

“This is absurd because we have been voicing our concern to our immediate supervisor,” said one officer.

“We work under strenuous conditions here because if one goes to the loo, then one has to carry a bucket of water from the tanks, and when they (tanks) run dry, we battle,” he said.

He said they were surprised when they saw people coming in to install security cameras, at a cost of R250 000, and questioned the department’s priorities.

The contract was awarded to Mzansi Fire and Security with the expectation that the job would be completed today.

Another officer said it was unacceptable to be installing cameras when pressing concerns about the welfare of the 11 women and 19 men had not been resolved.

“How can we be motivated if we have been exposed to this condition for almost three years? The ladies here share one toilet, and you can imagine how difficult it can be to utilise such an ablution facility, having to carry water with buckets to flush.

“It’s unhygienic, one of our basic human rights is infringed here, yet you have those in power prioritising cameras.”

The officer said a biometric security system had also been installed at the facility some years ago, but was not working.

A borehole could have solved the water supply problem for a fraction of the cost of the camera system, said the officers, who claimed to be operating one of the best performing stations in the province, despite the “appalling” working conditions.

The officers said they had warned in a recent meeting with their station commander that they would chase away the security camera contractors if the water supply problem was not addressed.

“She threatened us with arrest and disciplinary action. So it is clear that our well-being comes second, yet we are expected to excel in our work.

“In any case we excel, but that doesn’t mean we will let things fall apart.

“We have decided on preventing the contractor so that our voice can be heard,” said another officer.

Mzansi owner, Raffique Aboobaker, is a casualty of the row between the officers and the authorities.

He said if he missed Thursday’s deadline, he would lose about R150 000. “I’ve spent money to buy equipment, including the wiring. The men were forced to stop working as they were laying down the underground wiring. The Department of Labour will not pay me if the job is not done. They will come and inspect what has been done so far and pay for that portion, which is basically the digging,” said Aboobaker.

He said he would then have to bear the costs for the equipment and travelling from Durban.

Road and Transport Inspectorate regional commander, Thabani Mthembu, declined to comment.

Transport Department spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, acknowledged the water crisis at the facility was a concern that had been raised before, but said preventing the improvement of security at the station was wrong.

“It’s suspicious because water supply in that facility is a known concern.

“Now we are improving our security measures because that facility has a weighbridge and impounded cars, so there has to be improvement in security measures to ensure the safety of people’s property,” said Ncalane.

He said the water issue had been raised with the district municipality (Ilembe) and the Public Works Department.

A Public Works employee, who identified herself only as Gugu, said she did not have the authority to speak to the media, but water and electricity were normally the responsibility of the municipality and the department using the building.

Old age home workers strike over labour dispute
Springs Advertiser 17 March 2016

Workers striking in front of the gates of Rus 'n Bietjie Old Age Home. The strike is over a labour dispute. The crowd started gathering at 6am today (March 16) and the strike is now in full swing.

The workers claim they are taking a stand against their contracting company that does not uphold its promises.

Tryphine Manana (59) has been working as a careworker at the old age home for 32 years and feels they are not being paid fairly.

After 31 years of service at Rus ‘n Bietjie, Christina Nkuta says they were promised long service awards but they have received nothing since the new company took over the contract.

“I was employed as a casual labourer 10 years ago and I still am,” she says.

For Zandile Malgas (27) it is all about the overtime.

“If we work overtime, we don’t get paid accordingly,” says Malgas.

Cecilia Buthelezi (34) says she has been a careworker at the old age home since June 2014.

She was asked to work overtime, but refused as they don’t get paid for the extra hours they put in.

Sophie Nthombeni (37) worked as a cleaner for a company in Nigel and when the company closed down in 2014 she came to work for the contracting agency at Rus ‘n Bietjie.

“They promised me that my salary won’t change, yet I earn less money now,” she says.

The rest of the employees complain about their provident fund as they claim they have not received any proof of their contribution towards the fund.

Company representatives are currently in a meeting with the shop stewards and a statement will be issued once this meeting concludes.

Pikitup unrest hits Alex streets
Alex News 17 March 2016

ALEXANDRA – Several streets in Alexandra were a stenchy mess from the wrath of Pikitup workers striking to vent out their anger on their salary and work conditions.

The workers chanted their grievances while overturning bins and hauling rubbish onto the streets, which had just been cleaned.

A few of the workers, who opted to remain anonymous, informed this reporter that the trashing of the streets was the only way to register their grievances about poor pay and unhappiness regarding the agency’s management. On 8 March, the agency reported in a news bulletin that it was dealing with a refuse collection backlog in the city centre after employees, affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), embarked on an unprotected strike.

The work stoppage saw workers downing their tools last month and striking against disciplinary charges instituted against six employees, as well as against salary issues. Pikitup’s Jacky Mashapu said management hoped to resolve the matter soon including the salary increase demand from R6 000 to R10 000.

Alex resident, John Monare, said while workers had a right to strike on labour and management-related issues, trashing the streets was not an appropriate action as it impacted the health of innocent people.

Monare urged the City to create a lasting solution to the agency’s problems, particularly regarding management. This he said in reference to the position of embattled managing director, Amanda Nair.

Last year, Nair was accused of improperly awarding a R263-million tender to Aqua Transport Plant Hire and was suspended for a year, but a new board of directors cleared her of wrongdoing and reinstated her.

Samwu deputy regional secretary, Paul Tlhabang, said they will ensure charges against Nair were reinstated as they were serious. Tlhabang said Nair was being protected while Samwu members, shop stewards and leaders continued to be victimised by management.

MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Matsidiso Mfikoe, also waded into the matter. Mfikoe recently stated that Nair had been cleared after a year’s suspension and anyone with relevant information should come forward.

The MMC also apologised for the strikes’ disruption of waste management services and the severe inconvenience it caused to residents. “The strikes are despite an agreement of December last year to restore a relationship of trust between the City and Samwu,” she said.

Protest at Nigerian mission in Pta
15 March 2016

Activists and members of human rights group Amnesty SA came from as far as Johannesburg to take part.

Amnesty International SA protested outside the Nigerian high commission on Monday, demanding an end to violence in that country.

It said in a statement Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari should act to halt unnecessary killings and violence.

The protesters accused president Buhari of orchestrating violence that also led to the abduction of more than 200 girls several years ago.

An estimated 640 men were killed on 14 March 2014 by the Nigerian military at the Giwa barracks in Maiduguri, a small town in Borno province.

Activists and members of human rights group Amnesty SA came from as far as Johannesburg to take part in the demonstration.

The protesters delivered a memorandum demanding that president Buhari make good on his promise of an investigation into these killings.

They accused the Nigerian government of failing to hold those responsible for the deaths accountable.

“The killing under the president’s reign constitutes war crimes,” said Netsanet Belay, the director for Amnesty Africa.

“They are killing civilians and innocent children. The government should protect the civilians and not kill them.”

The protesters handed over the memorandum to an official, as Martin Cobham, the high commissioner, was not available.

An official refused to talk to the protesters and the media and called the police, but no arrests were made.

Amnesty international is a global movement of more than seven million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign for an end to human rights abuses.

#OutsourcingMustFall takes on Shoprite
IOL News 17 March 2016

Pretoria - Despite the rainy weather experienced across Pretoria on Thursday, numerous Shoprite workers organised under the #OutsourcingMustFall movement to protest against poor pay and their employment through labour brokers.

“We have resolved as follows to demand an immediate end to labour broking at the Shoprite distribution centre, the termination of all contracts with contractors and service providers and employment of all contract workers by Shoprite on a permanent and full-time basis,” the #OutsourcingMustFall campaign's Clarence Debeila said, reading a memorandum of grievances at Shoprite's Centurion distribution centre.

“We have also resolved to demand a minimum wage of R10 000 per month across the board and equal benefits with permanent employees of Shoprite. We are also demanding a moratorium on retrenchments and a freeze on the movement of any contract workers by the contractors from the date of this memorandum.”

The protesters gave the giant retail outlet until March 24 to respond to their concerns.

“We hope and believe that together we can find an amicable resolution to the issues raised here, but failing which, we have every intention to campaign determinedly for permanent and full-time jobs with a living wage,” said Debeila. He told reporters that the fight against outsourcing of work and use of labour brokers had been a drawn-out fight with Shoprite.

“It is the way Shoprite washes its hands off the very workers who make their vast profits for them by having 90 percent of the staff at this distribution centre employed by labour brokers. The labour brokers pay poverty wages - the highest hourly rate is R23 per hour! It's a 44-hour week,” said Debeila.

“Some outsourced cleaners earn as low as R13 per hour. I was speaking to one worker today who has been there since 2002. Of course it [the pay scale] varies ... but this is a long standing permanent workforce despite the labour broking status.” He said the protesting workers were core staff at the distribution centre which included pickers, inventory staff and other workers.

“These are employees which move and handle the inventory of all the Shoprite goods to be loaded onto the lorries for delivery to the shops,” said Debeila.

He said the memorandum was received by an operational manager, Yvonne Mokgoko, on behalf of Shoprite management.

Shoprite was not immediately available for comment.

Mathabatha to visit violence-torn Mookgophong
SABC 17 March 2016

Mookgopong residents have been protesting for better service delivery since last week.
Mookgopong residents have been protesting for better service delivery since last week. (SABC)

Limpopo Mookgophong Stanley Mathabatha ANC Jack Maeko Limpopo Premier and African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Chairperson Stanley Mathabatha is expected to visit the violence-torn Mookgophong township on Thursday morning.

Residents have been rioting since last week. They accuse the local Mayor, Sarah Monyamane, of failing to provide effective service delivery.

Her car and two houses were damaged. resident was shot dead and another wounded allegedly by a private security officer during the protest.

Rakgwale and Lephalale Mayor, Jack Maeko, says the protests are politically motivated.

"It is alleged that there are groups, factions, so they will always link me with the strike that is going on that I am behind it and I am not behind anything. Actually before this happened, we made some contacts with some people high in the ANC that they should send a high powered delegation to come here and try to defuse the situation, unfortunately up to so far nobody has pitched up."

War erupts on East Rand
IOL News 14 March 2016

Parts of Katlehong, east of Joburg, resembled a war zone at the weekend with police vehicles patrolling the area after foreigners fled attacks that left a local man dead.

The aftermath of the mayhem was palpable everywhere as armed police went around the area.

All the foreign-owned shops were damaged.

The doors were gaping open. Inside, food, papers and shoes were strewn everywhere. The corrugated sheets of some of the shops were lying in a heap inside after they collapsed when looters lifted them to gain entry. Where a roof had been were just gaping holes.

In one shop, police officers were offering protection to fleeing foreigners who were busy loading their goods from their tuckshop into a bakkie. A taxi driver driving past shouted: “Go, and never return.”

Two elderly women stood nearby and watched as the foreigners loaded their fridge in the bakkie. The doors of the fridge broke, coming apart.

“What are we going to do now that they are leaving? These people help us,” one of the women said.

Spokeswoman for the provincial police Colonel Noxolo Kweza said no one knew what started the unrest but four people, including a 14-year-old boy, were injured and one man was killed.

“We also recovered a firearm in one of the spaza shops. This firearm had been reported stolen during a house robbery in 2008 in Bramley,” she said.

The grandmother of the 14-year-old said she heard that everything started when someone bought chicken from one of the foreign-owned shops, tried to return it and was hit on the head with a bottle. When people tried to intervene, the foreigners allegedly started shooting them.

The woman said her grandson, who had been hiding by a wall, watching what was going on, was shot in the process.

He is in hospital.

In Mandela informal settlement, words failed Nothayimile Makhence as she looked at her vandalised building. The 52-year-old woman was close to tears as she explained how the unrest had destroyed her only source of income. Makhence’s husband died in 2009, leaving her with their three children to raise.

On Saturday night, she and her children watched as a raging mob brandishing weapons climbed over the stall where she sells meat, damaged it, got on the roof of her shop, lifted the corrugated sheets and gained entry to the shop.

Makhence said residents pleaded with the mob, but were ignored.

When all was done, all that was left was a gaping hole where the roof had been, and fridges were lying on their side outside the shop and a damaged building.

Chaos as Stellenbosch workers strike
IOL News 12 March 2016

Cape Town - Stellenbosch University students begged doormen to allow them into the Neelsie student centre on Friday, where all entrances were locked after workers trashed parts of the building and turned over dustbins.

Scores of security guards dressed in riot gear and carrying glass shields stood in front of the entrances to many campus buildings.

Although police vans and police armoured vehicles patrolled the campus streets, their presence was not nearly as strong as during the #FeesMustFall protests at the end of last year.

The three-storey student centre, which hosts banks, fast food shops, coffee shops, a supermarket, the SRC, the radio station Matie FM and student newspaper Die Matie, was closed from 10.30am after the workers’ protest.

The workers, who have been on strike since Wednesday, demanded permanent employment by the university so they could earn more and get benefits, including medical aid and pension.

They are employed by an independent company subcontracted by the university.

Strikers are also suspected of committing arson which gutted one of the basement offices in the administration building on Thursday night, according to university spokesman Martin Viljoen.

Stellenbosch police are investigating charges of arson and malicious damage to property, Viljoen said, adding that a student’s car was also set alight.

One student, who gave her name only as Danielle, could be seen knocking on the Neelsie doors on Friday and pleading to be allowed in to draw money she said she needed for food.

She eventually burst into tears.

“I don’t have time for this. I’m writing a final exam tomorrow,” she said.

Across the road from the administration building, Die Woordfees, one of the biggest events in the town, went on undisturbed.

The roads leading to its various events were, however, blocked by traffic police.

A representative of a sponsor of the festival, Shelani van Niekerk, gave away 120 bags of free popcorn outside Die Neelsie to hungry students.

“The students were hungry, irritated and scared.

“It’s very sad. They (the workers) have the right to say what they want, but if the students are afraid, it’s a bit bad,” she said.

One striker, a cleaner with two small children who did not want to be named, said he worked eight hours a day, earned R2 300 a month, and had no pension or medical aid.

He said cleaners who were permanently employed by the university “earn at least double”, plus benefits.

Vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers condemned those who damaged property.

Edgars breastfeeding picket was a ‘win’
IOL News 14 March 2016

Cape Town - They didn’t burn their maternity bras or squirt milk on clothing, but their point – don’t discriminate against breastfeeding moms – has been made.

So says a group of about 30 moms who staged a protest at Edgars in Cavendish Square on Sunday in support of the young mother who was banned the store for trying to feed her one-month-old baby.

Tasneem Botha took to social media last week to complain about the treatment she received from Edgars staff.

She said staff first blocked her from changing her baby’s nappy “in a quiet corner” of the store, and when she then tried to breastfeed her baby, she was told to leave.

Her post sparked the idea for the picket, organised by the Normalise Breastfeeding SA movement.

Tasneem was not present, after saying she did not want publicity.

The moms held a one-hour sit-in, breastfed their babies and enjoyed muffins provided by the store.

Anèl Olsson, of Normalise Breastfeeding SA, said the aim was to raise awareness about difficulties moms still face when trying to feed their babies in public.

“Today was positive, a win for our organisation and also a win for the mother who was discriminated against. I’m pleased to know Edcon will be more breastfeeding friendly because of everything that has happened. It’s just perfect.”

Mom Natasha Karenyi, 37, who breastfed her year old son Conrad, says “breast is best” and that people should support them.

“I thought Tasneem Botha was treated unfairly. As a mother of two children I know what it’s like to breastfeed in the most awkward of places. People should support this. All children have been breastfed in some or other way, so why is it offensive?” says Natasha.

Edgars has apologised to Tasneem, and on Sunday opened their doors to the protesting moms.

Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes said they would soon start an in-house training and educational programme to ensure customers are not treated unfairly.

Residents demand justice for #Sinoxolo
IOL News 16 March 2016

Cape Town - As two men appeared in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court for the rape and murder of Sinoxolo Mafevuka, hundreds of residents marched to the Harare police station to demand justice.

The two men, aged 21 and 26, stood before magistrate Xolani Menyiwe for the first time on Tuesday. Their identities are being withheld after Menyiwe requested, for their safety, that no personal details of the men be released.

The court heard that the two men accused of raping and killing Mafevuka, 19, in the SST Section in Town Two, Khayelitsha, were relatives.

The men were arrested on Monday after police investigations were spurred on by Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu – about two weeks after Mafevuka’s body was found in a communal toilet.

Her head had been stuffed into the toilet bowl about 100m from her home on March 2. Her naked body was facing the direction of the toilet door, while her clothes were found in a cistern. She was last seen on her way to use the toilet in Blowey Section, as there were no toilets in the SST Section.

Mafevuka’s family representative, Siwe Coka, said after seeing the men’s mother kneeling beside her during court proceedings: “It is two mothers with something in common. A mother that has lost something and a mother that is about to lose something. No mother wants to see her child in jail and no mother wants to be associated with a murderer. The family just wants justice.”

The matter was postponed to next Thursday for a formal bail application and the men were remanded in custody.

Mafevuka’s killing has been juxtaposed with the murder of 16-year-old Franziska Blöchliger, who was killed while jogging in Tokai Forest.

Police arrested four men in connection with Blöchliger’s murder 36 hours after her body was discovered by Kirstenhof Crime Watch in Dennedal Road last Monday.

Blöchliger was also raped before she was killed. Her attackers made off with her iPhone, her mother’s red tracking watch, a headset and a diamond ring. The case has been postponed for further investigation, with the men remaining behind bars until their next court appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Tuesday’s community protest that started at the Town Two clinic in Khayelitsha, was a cry for better policing resources and in-depth investigation of cases.

This plea comes after Sotyu had stern words for Major-General Johan Brand, who was reprimanded for not communicating the case’s progress.

About 400 people took part in an 800m walk to the Harare police station to hand a memorandum to Brand, which was accepted by Colonel Tshotleho Raboliba.

The march was organised by the Social Justice Coalition. Organiser Khanyiswa Gxotani said that people from disadvantaged communities feel they are not worthy of police protection.

“We are tired of the rape and murders of our children. Here, people from black townships and suburbs are not treated equally by the law.

“It is as if black people do not matter, we are not worth their (police’s) time.”

Gxotani said that as a “fed up” community, they demanded justice for Mafevuka.

“Sinoxolo’s case came as a priority to police only after Sotyu put them in line. Now does that mean that Khayelitsha cases will always wait on Sotyu’s intervention to make priority?”

Residents called for more police visibility in the informal settlements, as well as fully resourced police stations.

An SST resident, Andisiwe Baba, said the men who appeared in court were known to the community.

“We know them, they are tik addicts. If police monitored the SST Section those men could have been arrested for drugs and would not have been able to do this to Sinoxolo,” she said.

Clergy from the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum were also present, including Bishop Michel Hansrod of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

Hansrod said: “We believe all people are created in an image and lightness of God and because of that we should all be treated equally, whether rich or poor, male or female, black or white.

“Justice should be given to Sinoxolo as well as all other young girls.”

Several injured in Zandspruit protest violence
IOL News 16 March 2016

Johannesburg – Paramedics treated several people who sustained injuries during violent protests at Zandspruit informal settlement, north of Johannesburg.

ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring on Wednesday said paramedics responded to calls from the intersection of Beyers Naude Drive and Peter Road, where they found four men had been injured.

“On arrival, paramedics found that the men had sustained minor injuries due to being struck by thrown objects,” said Meiring.

He said the injured men were treated and thereafter transported to Flora Clinic.

In a second incident, a six-month old child and a mother were treated for smoke inhalation. Burning tyres used to barricade roads caused the air to be thick with smoke.

“Paramedics assessed and treated both patients before they were transported to Rahima Moosa Hospital for further treatment,” said Meiring.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters after they blocked roads and pelted vehicles with stones.

Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said one person was arrested for trying to set alight a petrol station, which had been vandalised.

Residents took to the streets to protest against poor service delivery and electricity cuts. This came after Eskom disconnected illegal electricity connections in the area.

The busy Beyers Naude Drive was closed to traffic because protesters were throwing stones at vehicles and the police. Rocks, tree stumps and burning tyres were used to barricade roads around the informal settlement.

Rampage after Eskom cuts power in Zandspruit
IOL News 17 March 2016

Johannesburg - A police armoured vehicle was set alight, at least two police officers were wounded and businesses were looted when irate residents of Zandspruit informal settlement in Honeydew, north-west of Joburg, protested against electricity cuts on Wednesday.

The residents also barricaded routes with palisade fencing and an assortment of objects to protest against Eskom’s decision to disconnect illegal power connections from some of the street lights along Beyers Naudé Drive.

The power utility said residents have made it a habit to wait for its officials to leave the area after disconnecting the illegally connected wires, before reconnecting them again.

Eskom had no choice but to cut the power to any source from where residents could tap power by completely switching off the lights, the utility’s spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said.

While this would leave the area in the dark, he said this was the only way to stop their illegal connections and not put motorists and other road uses at risk if the wires fell on them or their vehicles.

“Previously, we would remove the wires but the electricity would still flow because the street lights were where they were tapping the power from. Those street lights were their distribution,” Phasiwe pointed out.

“The rationale behind disconnecting power from the street lights is that it is dangerous to have wires criss-crossing the streets. We had to do what the Department of Labour was saying, that if someone was to be killed or injured, we would be held liable.

“The safest thing is to not have power flowing in the area.”

Phasiwe said there were about 16 000 shacks at Zandspruit and that many of those households had illegal connections, while the 286 RDP houses in the area were formally connected to the grid.

Eskom had in the past gone to the area to disconnect the illegally connected wires, but on Wednesday things turned sour when residents resisted and police had to be brought in to manage the situation.

Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. Two officers were injured when they found themselves at the mercy of the angry residents after their car broke down deep inside the squatter camp.

“Their vehicle got a puncture when they were inside the squatter camp and residents pelted them with stones,” he said.

Phasiwe said Eskom workers had gone to Zandspruit on Monday and Tuesday but there was no violence, although they had the police with them.

He believes the reason they were able to do their job without a hitch was because it was “almost as if we had taken them (residents) by surprise.

“But today (on Wednesday), the residents were able to mobilise as they were intimidating Eskom officers and throwing rocks at the police,” he said.

Phasiwe said the City of Joburg was working on formalising the settlement, and Eskom would move in and electrify it once this was completed.

The situation remained tense.

Metered taxi drivers up in arms over Uber
IOL News 17 March 2016

Johannesburg - The sound of hooters filled the air in Newtown as metered taxi drivers from across the province prepared to march to the Gauteng department of roads and transport to voice their ongoing complaints about Uber.

The angry drivers from Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni planned to hand over a memorandum to the department’s MEC Ismail Vadi on Wednesday. They were demanding Vadi develop a protocol to govern the internet-based ride-sharing service.

‘New law won’t stop illegal Ubers’

William Mello, a driver for Maxi Taxi and the deputy chairman of a task team that was dealing with Uber-related issues on behalf of metered taxi drivers, said the department had failed them.

“We told the government, you can’t just tell us they’re here to stay. The government has to understand our industry is not a government tender. They have to consult. They have to come to us so we can negotiate. They can’t just come to us and tell us what to do,” he said.

Mello said one of their issues with Uber was around whether permits had been issued to its drivers and what type of permits they were.

“We’re going to tell Vadi it’s better to tell them that Uber mustn’t drive here at all, to keep the peace.”

Flanked by Johannesburg metro police officers, the protesters held posters reading “Uber must fall. Vadi must stop selling our jobs” and “F*** Uber”. The drivers demanded a response from the MEC within 14 days.

Rubber bullets fly at Zandspruit protest
IOL News 16 March 2016

Johannesburg - Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters at Zandspruit informal settlement after residents blocked roads and pelted vehicles with stones on Wednesday.

Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said that one person was arrested for trying to set a petrol station on fire, which had also been vandalised by protesters.

“The situation has stabilised, but roads remain blocked, we urge motorists to avoid driving through the area,” Makhubela said.

Residents took to the streets to protest against poor service delivery and electricity cuts early on Wednesday.

This came after Eskom disconnected illegal electricity connections in the area.

The busy Beyers Naude Drive was closed to traffic as defiant protesters threw stones at vehicles and the police. Rocks, tree stumps and burning tyres were used to block roads around the informal settlement.

Johannesburg metro police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, advised motorists to use the M14 and the Hendrick Potgieter Road.

Folweni rocked by protests over ANC candidates
IOL News 16 March 2016

Durban – Protests in Durban’s southern Folweni area continued on Wednesday with reports that another eThekwini Metro Municipal vehicle had been torched.

Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said that a case of malicious damage to property had been opened at the Folweni police station.

Protesters blockaded the M35 road, some of them carrying placards that read “Xulu must fall”.

They do not want Thokozani Xulu, the branch secretary of the ward who has been nominated to represent the ruling African National Congress in the upcoming local government election.

Themba Mthembu, the South African Communist Party provincial secretary, said that as far as he was aware the violence was related to a conflict between two camps in the party — those who had supported eThekwini Metro Mayor James Nxumalo and those who supported Zandile Gumede, who late last year ousted Nxumalo as the ANC’s eThekwini regional chairperson.

“Xulu was leading the camp that was supporting Zandile. Folweni is known as one branch that is gate keeping,” said Mthembu.

A common complaint among SACP members has been that they have been excluded in participating in candidate nominations with the ANC refusing to renew their memberships.

The Daily News newspaper reported last month that the protesters wanted Sulu Nhlumayo to be their candidate.

The protests over the past four weeks in Folweni has resulted in damage to property as well as police vehicles. The area’s newly constructed fire station was also destroyed in the protests.

The province has seen a number of protests in, among others, Inchanga and Isithebe over nominations. The ANC leadership has been quick to intervene in these areas, but to date the intervention in Folweni has been low key and appears not to have had any positive outcome in bringing an end to the violence.

10 held after Folweni protests
IOL News 15 March 2016

Durban - Ten people are expected to appear in court on charges of public violence that erupted in Durban’s southern Folweni area, police said on Tuesday.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said that the 10 were taken into custody after protests in the area on Monday afternoon resulted in an office at a school being torched and the local fire station being burnt for a second time.

Less than two weeks ago the fire station which was built less than a year ago was targeted by protesters.

Some police vehicles were damaged during the protest.

It is understood that the police’s water cannon was petrol bombed but suffered only paintwork damage as officers quickly put out the blaze.

The area has seen numerous protests related to Ward 95 in the eThekwini Metro Municipality during the past three weeks, that has resulted in extensive damage to municipal and government property.

Business owners start counting costs
IOL News 13 March 2016

Calm has eventually returned to the community living in Isithebe following a week of violence and vandalism which started on Monday morning.

Businesses, a school and a clinic were held ransom as a group of disgruntled residents went on the rampage, burning factories and vehicles in protest against a candidate on the ward councillor list.

The police charged 122 people for public violence, arson and malicious damage to property and they are expected to be released tomorrow. This was among the demands of the community to prevent further flare-ups.

Mandeni municipality mayor, Sphesihle Zulu, confirmed that they had acceded to the community’s demands.

Zulu had been part of the ANC delegation which met with the community on Friday.

He said he had been assured by the delegation leading the protest that the instability was over.

“To quell the situation we had to meet the community half way, after they demanded that we release the suspects.

They could have been released a few days ago but they have misinformed the court by submitting wrong addresses.”

The community was enraged after the former Mandeni mayor Bheki Magwaza was returned by the ANC as a candidate in Ward 11.

Magwaza had vacated his seat after a private forensic company investigated him on allegations of corruption.

Magwaza said he was not allowed to talk to the media and referred questions to the ANC spokesman, Mdumiseni Ntuli.

Ntuli said they had not yet taken a decision to remove PR councillor Magwaza, but chances were high that he would be removed from the list.

“We can not compromise stability in the area. If the community insists that we remove him from the list, we will, although we still need his credentials and skills in the party. We cannot afford the same situation unfolding again. The economy in the area has collapsed in the past week.”

When asked about allegations of corruption againstMagwaza, he said nothing concrete had been found on the former mayor.

“We understand that he is not guilty of any crime. He has never appeared before a court of law.”

But, while the protests have stopped, business owners are counting the costs, uncertain if the damages would be covered by their insurance companies. Seven factories and several vehicles were damaged.

Darren Katzer, the owner of the Distinctive Clothing factory, said his factory was set alight for the second time on Thursday evening.

His factory had been petrol bombed.

“The damage is unbelievable and this could have negative implications for the 1 500 staff employed in our three branches around Isithebe. It is a big concern. In Isithebe for every female you employ you feed about nine to 10 people. 99 percent of my workers are women,” said Katzer.

He said his insurance company was in the process of quantifying the loss.

Mark Richardson, the executive director of Gomma Gomma factory, whose shop was set alight on Tuesday believes that the damages are in the millions.

“Businesses have been used as pawns by the community and politicians. It’s sad that the workers have lost a week’s wages. We have two branches. Fortunately the other one was not affected. The insurance company is still assessing the damage,” said Richardson.

Pupils were also affected and were forced to stay home for the week as KwaVusumuzi High closed its doors.

Qiniso Mbatha, a Grade 12 pupil, complained that missing his trial exam would have a negative impact on his future.

“We were supposed to write maths paper on Wednesday,” Mbatha said.

A patient who suffers from diabetes, Beauty Mthembu said although she understood some of the demands made by protesters she was against the intimidation of staff at the clinic and was angry that the clinic too had to close.

“Most of the patients were turned away, while the gates were hastily locked for fear of attack. Some patients were pregnant and others suffer from chronic illnesses. If this facility remains closed a lot of patients will suffer,” Mthembu said.

Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said there were many triggers which led to violent protest, but it was clear that the protesters had different objectives.

He referred to protestors torching factories as a group which may have been angry over low wages.

“We have a similar situation in other provinces where violent protest becomes the order of the day. Our courts should impose tougher sentences,” he said.

ANC hopeful that iSithebe will calm down
IOL News 11 March 2016

Durban – Both business and the African National Congress on Friday expressed hope that 200 businesses in iSithebe in Kwazulu-Natal could reopen next week following a week of violent protests.

ANC spokesman Mhlaba Memela said party leaders had met with community leaders in a bid to bring peace to the area.

Memela said that senior members of the party’s provincial executive committee had visited iSithebe on Friday.

He said community members were aggrieved over the issue of demarcation for new ward boundaries, the nomination of a formeMandeni mayor and the poor performance at a clinic.

He said the leadership explained to the community members that the ANC could not intervene in the country’s court system to demand the release of some 120 people arrested earlier this week for public violence.

“The ANC cannot interfere with issues related to the law.”

Memela added that the ANC had asked the councillor to step down.

“The community has not been happy about him, his performance as a mayor and as a councillor,” said Memela.

Seven Fox from Business Against Crime in Mandeni said that there had been no incidents reported for the past 36 hours.

“We’re very hopeful. I don’t know that they are content [with the explanations offered by ANC leaders], but they are accepting.”

He said it was too soon to assess the level of damage and the cost in lost production, but added that he knew that one factory had lost R15 million.

Memela said that it had been explained to the communities that if the violence continued, businesses would shut down.

“As far as we know it has ended. We are not expecting any further issues of violence,” he said.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said that the area appeared to be calm.

There is, however, still a heavy police presence in the area.

The industrial estate was established during the apartheid era and many of the workers for the factories live in areas right next to the estate.

iSithebe is located near Mandeni, which is about 90 kilometres south of Richards Bay.

Cosatu “condems” iSithebe riots
IOL News 10 March 2016

Durban - Cosatu has expressed concern about job losses if companies quit iSithebe in the wake of the rioting which has destroyed millions of rands in property. In a press statement released in the aftermath of protesters burning, stoning and looting factories and setting trucks and trailers alight, provincial secretary of the trade union federation, Edwin Mkhize, said the closure of factories would leave many of the 20 000 people employed in the industrial area out of work, “subjecting them to extreme poverty”.

Since the start of the protests on Sunday night, in the town near Mandeni on the North Coast, business has ceased and schools have closed.

“Cosatu in the province condemns this in the strongest terms... The burning and destruction of properties and infrastructure ... if this is not stopped with immediate effect, it will have a long-term effect to workers, which may lead to some workers losing their employment,” said Mkhize.

He said some workers would not receive their wages this week because the factories have shut down.

Mkhize asked companies to bear with them as they attempt to resolve the problem.

“Since the outbreak of violent protests, Cosatu in KZN has been in contact with its local structure in the area of Mandeni. (We also want) to ensure that workers do not become casualties and victims of the circumstances.”

The South African National Civic Organisation has also voiced its concern over the riots.

The organisation’s spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said: “The destruction of factories and other properties is a serious drawback that will affect the local economy and jobs.”

He said there should be an engagement process to quell the violence. “Genuine service delivery issues need to be isolated and dealt with separately from the dissatisfaction with councillor nomination process and the traditional leadership dispute,” he said.

He said the nomination of councillors must be closely monitored to ensure that “wishes” of the community were not undermined.

Protesters have told the Daily News they were angry that an unpopular former councillor was seeking nomination for re-election.

ANC to address iSithebe protesters
IOL News 11 March 2016

Durban – A meeting between the ANC and protesting iSithebe residents will take place on Friday on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

Crowds are awaiting an address by MEC for Economic Development & Tourism in KZN, Mike Mabuyakhulu. The area is under heavy police guard and the distant drone of a police helicopter can be heard over the crowd which has been waiting since 11am to be addressed.

This comes after a week of violent protests in the area which lead to the arson of eight factories, six trailers and one truck. Two other businesses in the area were vandalised and two foreign owned stores were looted.

On Thursday industrialists and politicians in the area met at the Darnall Country Club to try to resolve the iSithebe violence where KZN ANC Provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala assured the industrial community that it would be business as usual by Monday.

By Thursday evening reinforcement had been sent to the area in the form of 35 Public Order Police units, 35 Rapid Intervention Units and 50 Tactical Response Teams.

Friday’s community meeting is the second meeting to be held after a failed attempt on Wednesday afternoon. Protesters have said that they will not negotiate with authorities until the 120 captured protesters are released. However, according to Thursday’s meeting, authorities are not willing to release the captured protesters.

ISithebe protest costs workers dearly
IOL News 9 March 2016

Durban - The torching of factories and rioting that has shut down business in iSithebe was depriving as many as 20 000 people of their livelihood and affecting many thousands more, the government said on Tuesday, as it appealed to the community to “exercise restraint”.

MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, condemned the burning of property and vehicles which continued even as he conducted a site inspection in iSithebe on Tuesday.

The mayhem has reached such a pitch in the North Coast town that the Health Department confirmed on Tuesday that the KwaSithebe Clinic had to be closed and all ambulances removed, amid fears for the safety of lives and property.

Since Sunday, factories and trucks in the industrial estate housing factories owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation, have been torched and about 18 others stoned by people disgruntled with the appointment of an induna and the nomination of a councillor candidate.

Mabuyakhulu said the incidents were “completely unacceptable”.

“We understand that our people have issues they are concerned about. Those issues don’t necessarily have a direct bearing on what is taking place in the industrial estate.

“Therefore we are urging our communities that whatever their issues may be, they should not vent their anger and frustration in an economic hub such as this.”

Mabuyakhulu was speaking after visiting a furniture factory which had been gutted by fire.

In another area, several trucks and trailers stood burned on the roadside while another truck was set alight while Mabuyakhulu was in the area.

A petrol bomb was also thrown into a recycling plant, raising another plume of thick black smoke in the small town near Mandeni.

Mabuyakhulu said an office was broken into and looted of computers, chairs and other equipment. The estate employed about 20 000 people and without their income because of business shutdowns, up to 100 000 people would be affected. He said this would make life difficult for this rural community.

The portfolio manager for Ithala iSithebe Industrial Estate, Kevin Palmer, told the Daily News earlier this week that they were yet to assess the full extent of the damage. He said businesses had to close because of the riots.

“Our call to each and every citizen of this area is that the provincial and local leadership is intervening in dealing with the issues which are the source of the anger and frustration and we are urging them to exercise restraint and not damage any more factories.”

Mayor of the Mandeni Municipality, Sphesihle Zulu, said their foremost concern was for people’s safety. They had already met the committee leading the protest as well as the councillors.

Another meeting was held earlier involving the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs after it emerged that one of the issues fuelling the riot was the removal and replacement of an induna by an inkosi.

Mabuyakhulu said the provincial government and the traditional council were handling the matter. Zulu said they had also reached out to the ANC in the province to assist because protesters had expressed dissatisfaction at the nomination of councillor candidates.

A delegation from the ANC Alliance was expected to visit the area this morning to meet residents and others in an effort to end the protests.

Zulu hoped that by the conclusion of the meetings, they would be able to tell people when they could go back to work and school.

He said there was little the municipality could do about the processes, but “we have a responsibility to the community not to be disturbed by this and for the people of Mandeni to continue to work and be safe.”

Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said since Monday night, the ill and injured as well as staff could not reach or leave the clinic.

“There are reports that the rioters were threatening to burn down the clinic. This is totally outrageous.

“Whatever the protesters are complaining about is bound to lose legitimacy if this wanton behaviour of putting patients’ lives at risk continues,” said Dhlomo.

On Monday, public order police from Empangeni, Ulundi and Newcastle had to be deployed to assist while more than 100 people were arrested for public violence.

Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said they appeared in the Eshowe Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday and were remanded in custody until their next appearance on Tuesday.

MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu visits iSithebe factories burned during protests.

Isithebe protests continue unabated
IOL News 9 March 2016

Durban - Police in iSithebe in northern KwaZulu-Natal, are struggling to maintain order as violent protests in the community continue.

A meeting which was scheduled to take place on Wednesday has been halted after failed negotiations.

A large crowd of unruly protesters are demanding the release of 120 prisoners that were arrested on Monday.

Sources close to the scene said the prisoners will not be released and that no negotiations will take place for the release of prisoners.

ANC provincial and regional leaders along with alliance partners who were present for the public meeting were evacuated after the situation aggravated .


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