||SOUTH AFRICAN PROTEST NEWS 27 November - 10 DECEMBER
Memorandum from the residents of Sasolburg, Zamdela and the Vaal Triangle Supported by Climate Justice Now! South Africa
Date: Wednesday, 9th of December 2009
Venue: Sasol Main Gate, Sasolburg
Submitted to: Sasol Management, Sasolburg; The Minister of Water and
Environmental Affair and The South African Presidency
We the people of Sasolburg and Zamdela in the Free State and the Vaal
Triangle in general are saying ‘enough is enough’ the time has arrived
that Sasol be held accountable for polluting our local environment and
contributing to global climate change.
Today Climate Justice Now! South Africa stands in support of us the
people of Sasolburg, Zamdela and the Vaal Triangle. We the people at the
gates of Sasol want to highlight to South Africans and the world that
Sasol is a dying archaic industry. It is a fossil dinosaur, whose
activities result in climate change and the destruction of our planet.
Zamdela and Sasolburg was developed to supply cheap labour to the
apartheid created coal to liquid plant that was built on the coal beds
in the Vaal as the strategic fuel company for the apartheid government,
who could not freely access crude oil on the market because of it’s
racist archaic policies.
We call on the Sasol shareholders and the management of the company to
acknowledge that they have caused mach harm to the people of Zamdela and surrounding area.
We the residents of Zamdela, Sasolburg and the Vaal Triangle together
with the participants of Climate Justice Now! South Africa recognise
that Sasol’s dirty industry:
- pollutes the neighbourhood of Zamdela, which has been confirmed by
independent community based air pollution monitoring and government;
- results, through their pollution, in the ill-health of the residents
of the area, resulting in the impacts upon our economy by resulting in
loss of workdays due to illness in the Vaal Triangle;
- makes it’s Secunda plant the single biggest source of climate change
- makes it one of the top three polluters in the Vaal Triangle including
being the source of volatile organic compounds which are cancerous;
- has its origins in Nazi Germany and was given huge state subsidies by
the apartheid state for its development. It still receives perverse
state subsidies by not being allowed to reduce it’s pollution urgently
and externalise this cost onto community health and well-being;
- is being expanded to Indonesia, the United States, China and India
with our present democratic government’s consent while knowing the
dangers of this technology;
- is proposed to be expanded in the Limpopo Province in South Africa,
where they are planning a third coal to liquid plant for the country.
- is using the climate change debate to increase its obscene profits via
cleaner development mechanism initiatives where it will receive money
for ‘claiming’ that they have reduced pollution;
- knows that climate change could threaten its future and concedes in
official documents that international efforts to counter climate change
could have a “material adverse effect” on its business and “financial
- has pushed the yet unproven carbon capture and storage as an
acceptable technology fix within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
- has paid more than 2.5 million rand to the Livingston Group to lobby
the United States Congress to support coal to liquid in the US; and
- Sasol has been nominated for the Angry Mermaid Award in Copenhagen at
the Climate Change Negotiations for its national and international
lobbying campaign to promote carbon capture and storage as a clean
solution to the dirty business of producing liquid fuels from coal and gas.
Recognising the above and the present danger of climate change not only
globally but also through pollution at the fence-line where we live with
Sasol in our neighbourhoods, we demand the following:
1. A total reduction of all their toxic emissions including the climate
change pollution such as sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane and
methane associated volatile organic compounds.
2. That the government develop an independent intensive health study
process in Zamdela investigating the pollution from Sasol and the health
of the people in order to better understand the impact of the pollution
on the present and past health of the people.
3. At this time of climate change negotiations that Sasol releases all
information relating to their cleaner development mechanism projects in
4. That all monitoring stations and the information is publicly
available through the process of transparent access to all Sasol’s Air
Quality Monitoring Stations.
We also stand in solidarity with other communities facing the onslaught
of Sasol. Specifically we call on Sasol and the South African government
1. Abandon its dirty coal to liquid plant plans in the Waterberg area
2. To respect local communities globally and to stop lobbying for the
development of coal to liquid plants that are sever climate change gas
emitters in countries such as India, Indonesia, China and the United
Finally, we the people of the Vaal, Zamdela and CJN we will continue
with our struggle against the corporate abuse and continue to fight to
make out constitutional rights a reality for all in South Africa.
Contact: Samson Mokoena, Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance
Coordinator, 084 291 8510
Marchers accuse Sasol of air pollution
Daily News 9 December 2009
Residents of Zamdela in the Vaal Triangle marched to Sasol's offices in
Sasolburg on Wednesday to protest against air pollution.
"We call on the Sasol shareholders and the management of the company to
acknowledge that they have caused much harm to the people of Zamdela and surrounding area," the residents said in a memorandum of grievances.
The protesters accused Sasol of polluting their neighbourhood through
its local plant, which they claimed had led to the ill-health of residents.
They alleged that the Secunda plant was one of the top three polluters
in the Vaal Triangle and the source of volatile organic compounds that
They demanded that Sasol reduce all its toxic emissions, including those
of sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane and methane-associated
volatile organic compounds.
"We also demand that the government develop an independent intensive
health study process in Zamdela investigating the pollution from Sasol
and the health of the people in order to better understand the impact of
the pollution on the present and past health of the people," they said.
They said they also wanted Sasol to release all information relating to
its cleaner development mechanism projects in South Africa.
They demanded transparent access to all of Sasol's air quality
They called on Sasol and the government to abandon "dirty"
coal-to-liquid plant plans in the Waterberg area.
Sasol was not immediately able to comment on the protest. - Sapa
Service delivery protest in Lenasia South
JP du Plessis Eyewitness News 7 December 2009
Police in Lenasia South were keeping an eye on a service delivery
protest on Monday. They were forced to stop the demonstrators from
blocking the N12 highway.
Residents littered streets with rocks and burning tyres, while heavily
armed officers were patrolling the area.
A man passing through the area said traffic on the highway was slow as
motorists tried to catch a glimpse of the protest action.
“From Lenasia I saw people reversing because there is traffic,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bus Rapid Transit busses were delayed because of protest
action in Nancefield, Soweto.
Many of the Rea Vaya routes were blocked with rocks and burning tyres
but these have since been cleared and the busses are back on track.
Planned strike against Pick n Pay
By I-Net, 9 December 2009
Trade union Saccawu says its planned strike action against Pick n Pay
would continue on Friday.
"After more than 500 workers appeared outside the Labour Court in
Braamfontein today to protest the company's intention to interdict
Saccawu and our members in an attempt to stop the planned strike against
racism in the workplace, the company decided to withdraw its interdict
which was going to be heard in the Labour Court tomorrow," said Saccawu.
The union said the strike action planned for Friday December 11 2009 was
expected to see more than 25 000 Saccawu members taking to the streets.
"Mass marches will be staged in Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein,
Johannesburg and Durban. "The protest in Cape Town has been postponed to
18 December 2009 due to the refusal by SAPS to grant permission for this
action on the day," it said.
"The key issues the workers want changed is the continuing racism
experienced by our members at the hands of the company and its managers
in the workplace.
"This include amongst others the tendency to fast track the promotion of
white staff from 'casual' employees to management position despite
full-time employed black staff with decades of experience not being
trained to fill such positions as well as racial utterances against
black by the CEO Nick Badminton while he still headed Pick 'n Pay
Western Cape," it said.
It added that the company also tended to treat white management staff
differently from black staff for in disciplinary hearings facing similar
Wits cleaners up in arms over retrenchments
By Angelique Serrao 8 December 2009
"Merry Xmas. Wits gift: retrenchments."
This was just one of the posters held up by students and lecturers at
Wits University who held a lunchtime protest over the possible
retrenchments of cleaning staff.
Lecturers at the University said they became aware last week that a Wits
cleaning contractor, Supercare, had retrenched staff, giving them only
one month's notice.
A letter by Supercare Cleaning Services to the staff states that their
service level agreement with the university has been cancelled and will
terminate at the end of December.
The letter further states that employees will only get their UIF cards
and money due after they have returned the company's uniform.
No retrenchment packages are mentioned.
In a petition sent to Wits lecturers and students, it was said that some
of the cleaners had worked at Wits since the 1990s when they were
directly employed by the university.
"When they were transferred to the outsourced company their pay was
halved and they lost their benefits as well as the right to educate
their children at Wits," the letter read.
A cleaner who protested yesterday said December would be his last
"I have five children, I have bills to pay. Everything in my life will
collapse if I am retrenched," he said. "None of us know what to do.
Christmas is here and in January I have to find money to send my
children to school."
Senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences Noor Nieftagodien said
the retren-chments were timed when students were gone for their
holidays, hoping the issue would not be noticed.
"The timing is callous. It's Christmas time and the workers are mainly
women. Often they are the sole breadwinners," he said.
He said the retrenchments were done with no consultation and with no
"The university is taking in more students next year. They are erecting
new buildings. Who will do the cleaning?" Nieftagodien asked. "Will we
go into dirty lecture theatres?"
Another lecturer said that academic staff had received a 12.5 percent
increase in July, yet the cleaners earned around R1 100 a month.
The acting vice-chancellor and principal of Wits, Professor Yunus
Ballim, said for 2010 there had been a renegotiation of the service
level agreement with Supercare and Impact which "marginally reduces the
level of services required".
He said the school was not insensitive to the possible impact its
decisions would have on the staff of service providers.
"We are concerned about the welfare of people who work on our campuses,"
Ballim said. He has forwarded the staff petition to Supercare.
* This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on
December 08, 2009
University workers to keep their jobs
Kingdom Mabuza 9 December 2009
JOBS of cleaning staff at the University of Witwatersrand are now secure
after talks were held to stop retrenchments yesterday.
National Service and Allied Workers Union (Nsawu) spokesperson Sam Ndou
said the union met with the cleaning company Supercare and agreed that
retrenchment would be stopped.
“The company agreed to look at other options other than retrenchment.”
Workers were threatened with retrenchment in letters given to them by
the company last week.
With the support of the academic staff, students and unions, the workers
vowed to oppose the retrenchments. On Monday a picket was held to
protest about threats of job losses .
Supercare chief executive Philip Kruger was not available to comment. –
Woman, children march against violence
PROTEST: Children, staff and volunteers from ACVV branches around Nelson
Mandela Bay marched in support of the 16 Days of Activism campaign
against violence against women and children.
Put the 'act' back into activism
Lisa Vetten 9 December 2009
YOU'VE been shocked by the statistics, outraged by the ineptitude of the
criminal justice system and moved by the trauma portrayed in the 16 Days
of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign last
year and the year before, as well as the year prior to that. That may
explain why this year's 16 Days of Activism has a somewhat muted edge to
it - as if we have run out of steam because it has all been said before,
done before and heard before.
It is possible that the very success of the campaign is now playing a
role in its decline. In 1999, when the campaign began to include
government, rape, domestic violence and intimate femicide were new
issues with the power to shock and galvanise people into action.
Shock, however, wears off and outrage and horror cannot be sustained
indefinitely. Indeed, we seem to have got stuck at this point, with the
repetition of traumatic events serving only to numb. Now only the most
brutal of acts attracts attention, making less savage violence seem
"ordinary" in comparison.
Focusing on the all-too-common failures of the system also leaves people
helpless and thinking there is nothing to be done.
Saving the environment just seems so much more do-able. There are many
nice practical steps that anyone can take to contribute to saving the
world, like installing a solar geyser, or using recycled toilet paper
and unbleached tea bags.
The response to violence against women is less practical and tends to
consist of slogans like "act against abuse, don't look away" and "speak
These sound good but offer little direction around what should happen
once we have witnessed, or women have spoken.
So at the risk of sounding like another sloganeer, here are some ways to
put the "act" back into the activism.
The portfolio committee on women, children and people with disabilities
has blazed part of the way forward. Refreshingly (for a parliamentary
committee), they held public hearings in October this year around the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and spent two days listening
to individual women, as well as organisations, speak of the difficulties
they were experiencing with its application. It is too soon to say what
the outcome of the hearings will be, but taking the time to listen
marked a bold departure from the inertia of the past. It is an overdue
exercise in accountability that other parliamentary committees would do
well to emulate. So write to your MP and ask them to tell you what they
have recently done to exercise their oversight in relation to rape and
How cabinet and the relevant government departments respond to an
invigorated, independent parliament will also be an interesting test of
the Zuma administration's responsiveness to violence against women.
There is a role for Community Policing Forums (CPF) who ought to be
finding out if their particular stations have been audited by the
Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) for compliance with the
Domestic Violence Act. In 2008 the ICD audited 438 stations nationally
and found no more than 14 percent to have met their legal obligations in
terms of the act. Whether those 86 percent have since made the effort to
comply with the law is unknown.
CPFs could also take a similar approach to finding out if their
particular stations have implemented the National Instructions in terms
of the 2007 Sexual Offences Act. As for the business sector, it would be
fascinating to know how much corporate social investment goes into
addressing the problem of violence against women, as well as the extent
to which companies link up with domestic violence shelters to provide
skills training and job opportunities to women.
There is also the question of how they deal with men's retrenchment.
Being a provider is core to the identity of many men.
Loss of a job, which is likely in the current economic climate, can be
an emasculating blow for which some men compensate by becoming more
controlling and domineering at home. How could companies planning
lay-offs deal with this? This is also an issue for trade unions to take up.
Trade unions may also want to consider how they negotiate the time off
work that women require to navigate the legal system when applying for
protection orders or testifying in trials.
Those who do not belong to CPFs or trade unions can donate toys, money,
food and clothes to women's organisations, or organise a fundraiser.
Alternatively, they could support shelters whose residents often provide
catering services, or engage in bead-making and the production of other
In many families both parents (or the only one) must work. Long working
hours and erratic public transport mean they often have to leave their
children in the care of neighbours or other family members - both
categories of people with potential to rape children. Ensuring that
every parent has access to good, safe childcare would make a significant
contribution to protecting children.
We can also make environments safer by scrutinising the areas
surrounding public transport. Do women need to walk through unlit,
deserted, overgrown veld to reach taxi ranks and train stations? Do
security guards patrol these spaces at night and early in the morning?
It is important that we create public spaces that provide no
opportunistic rapists with cover for their actions.
The 16 Days cannot undo a lifetime's worth of socialisation into sexism
They can however offer an opportunity to reflect on the other 349 days
to assess what has been done, what can be learnt and what is required in
future - a sort of giant public performance appraisal. This review is
for all of us - not government alone.
Lisa Vetten is a senior researcher and policy analyst at the Tshwaranang
Legal Advocacy Centre.
Service delivery protests still rocking SA
SAPA 1 December 2009
Service delivery protests and marches continue to hit the country
unabated. Hundreds of residents from informal settlements in East Rand,
Johannesburg marched to Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s office to
hand over a memorandum. They were lead by the President of the African
People's Convention (APC), Themba Godi.
An outcry for better housing and proper sanitation - a community of 600
people that share one tap and one toilet today said enough is enough.
They chose the APC as a vehicle to deliver their grievances.
The memorandum was accepted on behalf of the premier by a senior official.
The down-trodden are hoping that their plight will be resolved. But, a
speedy response will not be realised whilst municipalities lack basic
administrative systems to collect funds that will pay for service delivery.
There has been a peak in service delivery protests this year, with
Gauteng, the Western Cape, the North West and Mpumalanga the worst
affected and now a municipal hotspot monitor has found. "By the end of
October 2009, 83 major protests have been recorded," said Municipal IQ
which collects the monitoring data and intelligence.
"This accounts for 44% of major protests recorded between 2004 and the
end of October 2009," it said in a statement today.
The monitor identified where service delivery protests took place since
2004, profiling the municipalities affected (down to the ward level) and
their level of development compared to other municipalities, it said. –
Additional reporting by Sapa
Reintegrating Zimbabweans is a Hard Sell
United Nations 3 December 2009
De Doorns — More than two weeks after the attacks that drove some 3,000
Zimbabwean migrant workers from their homes in an informal settlement
called Stofland, outside De Doorns, a farming town about 140km from Cape
Town, South Africa, the mood among the displaced remains grim.
"The situation seems like we must go back to Zimbabwe," farm worker
Taphiwa Mheva told IRIN. "You don't know with these people - maybe one
of these days they think about killing us. We would go now, but we have
Mheva is one of the lucky ones. She is one of 282 Zimbabweans given
accommodation on the farm where she works, and plans to return to
Zimbabwe after the grape harvesting season ends in April.
Another 1,200 Zimbabweans are living in 190 tents provided by the UN
Refugee Agency (UNHCR), pitched on the De Doorns sports field. On
weekends that number swells to around 1,600, when spouses and partners
working in other areas come to visit. Almost all the displaced are
seasonal labourers on the area's wine farms, an industry worth over
US$400 million annually.
Every evening hundreds of workers disembark from trucks returning from
the farms and wait while security guards check their papers and
possessions before entering the safety site. Red Cross volunteers check
registration lists, and distribute food around the camp.
"We are trying to avoid a situation where this becomes an overcrowded
area, and where people are coming from other areas," said UNHCR Regional
Protection Officer Monique Ekoko.
More worrying is that people are coming from as far away as Port
Elizabeth, in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, and even straight
from Zimbabwe. "People are coming to take advantage of what is happening
here - that itself will create a problem. We want to maintain the
temporary nature of this site, and to ensure that people move as soon as
the conditions are right," Ekoko told IRIN.
She also noted the importance of dealing swiftly and effectively with
the situation. "The longer we keep this site here, the chances increase
that it might spur other people to take similar actions [xenophobic
attacks]. Integration efforts are key, and not only to send a message
that people have to live side by side."
According to Martin van Rooyen, a member of the De Doorns Displacement
Crisis Committee, 11 December has been set as the starting date for
reintegrating displaced people into their original communities.
"We have various processes unfolding to create an enabling environment,"
Van Rooyen said, citing an interfaith prayer service on 29 November, and
ongoing meetings with local government, religious ministers, and the police.
The people living in the camp have given no indication of being willing
to leave. "For me there is no option to go back in the community. I've
got three kids and a wife - I managed to escape with only a few
blankets," Doubt Chinomera, a Zimbabwean labour contractor, told IRIN.
"It's only an option if our security is guaranteed ... because last time
when they attacked us the police were there." Chinomera's sentiment was
echoed by many, and the perception that the police did nothing to
protect them remains vivid.
"The police were just accompanying the South African people. When they
were busy destroying the shacks the police were there behind them,
looking at them, not arresting them," said farm worker Siyabonga Nkomo.
Superintendent Desmond van der Westhuizen, commander of the De Doorns
police station, said the police had been aware that some people in the
townships of Stofland and Ekuphumleni had intended some kind of action
against the Zimbabweans.
"It was established that the community wanted to stop [Zimbabweans] to
go to work the next day, and then they indicated that they would try to
dismantle some of the shacks," he told IRIN.
Van der Westhuizen said he had requested support from Worcester, the
nearest large town, and Cape Town, as his force was too small to handle
the situation, but the distance of those stations from De Doorns meant
the additional police officers did not arrive until it was too late.
"At that stage [when the Zimbabweans were blocked from going to work and
the looting began] we were trying to do it on our own. It was not
obvious whose property was whose. There were 12 officers; police had to
use discretion. The crowd was so big - there was chaos, actually - they
didn't make arrests earlier because of the manpower shortage."
South African rules
"There is still resentment on the part of South Africans," committee
member Van Rooyen said, referring to allegations that the Zimbabweans
worked for less than the minimum wage of R60 ($8) per day, thus
"robbing" South Africans of jobs.
"Now, the latest resentment is that you're getting services on this
site, when we are told to be patient [and to wait for water, sanitation
and electricity] by our same government," Van Rooyen said.
People were also angry about the 24 arrests after the attacks - 12 of
those arrested were released for lack of evidence, and a bail hearing
has been set for the remaining 12 on 5 December.
The Zimbabweans insist that they are not working for less, a claim
strongly supported by Agri Western Cape and the Hex River Valley Table
Grape Association, umbrella associations to which all the producers in
the region belong.
"With regards to the allegations that workers are paid less than minimum
wage, Agri Wes-Cape would like to challenge the organisations and
individuals that are making these allegations to provide the Department
of Labour with the necessary proof, so that those allegedly responsible
can be investigated," the association said in a recent press release.
According to Agri Wes-Cape statistics, during the harvest season nearly
9,000 seasonal workers swell the ranks of 5,337 permanent workers; of
the total workforce of some 14,000, just over 1,500 are Zimbabwean.
Agri Wes-Cape also noted an independent study in 2008 by the Labour and
Enterprise Policy Research Group at the University of Cape Town, whose
findings indicated that most workers in the De Doorns area, including
the Zimbabweans, were earning R10 ($1.40) a day above the minimum wage.
Nonetheless, local South Africans persist in their belief that
Zimbabweans are taking their jobs. "The farmer comes with a truck, says,
'I need 100 people.' Those Zimbabweans, they go like sheep; so our
citizens stay behind and don't have bread in their house," Manghozi, a
resident of Stofland, told IRIN.
Manghozi and his friends also complained that the Zimbabweans worked on
Sundays and holidays. "They must respect our labour rules," he said.
Then we can live together."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Mokopane: Protests against Anglo Platinum
Jubilee South Africa Press Statement 1 December 2009
The police in Mokopane, Limpopo Province, arrested two activists from Ga
Machikiri and Ga Mokaba and are searching for others from Ga Mokaba and
Ga Molekane. The activists organised pickets over the past weekend in
protest at the poor state of service delivery in the villages in the
area, the impact of Anglo Platinum on affected villages and the planned
expansion of its operations to more villages.
In a related development, the community of Sekuruwe has since last week
been opposing yet further encroachment by Anglo Platinum on their land
by means of protest action and intensifying their use of the land.
Ga Molekane, Ga Machikiri and Ga Mokaba pickets On Sunday, in Ga
Molekane, people picketed the houses of the Ward Councillor, members of
the ANC, and members of the ward committee because of the lack of water,
the poor condition of roads and the need for better houses. The water in
the area has been severely contaminated by the Anglo Platinum mining
operations and the air is heavily polluted by the slimes dump which is
being expanded alongside the village. The picketers raised concerns that
councillors no longer come to the community and when they do they are
aggressive and bullying. According to an activist: “Communities are fed
up and they are rising now.”
In Ga Machikiri, there were pickets at the Ward Councillor and a ward
committee and ANC branch executive committee member. The pickets were to
demonstrate people’s dissatisfaction at the impact of Anglo Platinum on
their village. Their houses are cracking due to the mine’s blasting
operations and the air is polluted. These problems will be exacerbated
by the new shaft earmarked for Ga-Machikiri.
There were pickets in Ga Mokaba at members of the ward committee and the
ANC branch executive committee. They expressed concern at the close link
between the political leaders and the mine, the lack of accountability,
corruption in tendering and the imposition of decisions on the
community. Anglo Platinum wants to fence off the cemetry and is
intending to open two shafts at Ga Mokaba and Sandsloot.
The pickets were organised in keeping with the Gatherings Act which
allows for pickets of up to 15 people on a picket. According to
Phillopos Dolo, Jubilee Mokopane Coordinator, “We are trying to indicate
to these people that we are conscious about their failures to us as the
constituency. If we take peaceful actions through pickets, marches, the
world can hear us.”
Yet, the police have responded with arrests and the search for others,
arriving at people’s houses late at night with three or four cars and
15 to 20 personnel. This is clearly unwarranted intimidation in
violation of the right of all South Africans to protest.
Anglo Encroachment on Sekuruwe Land
The community of Sekuruwe has come out in numbers to protect their land
from Anglo Platinum and Fraser Alexander in response to drilling and the
digging of a furrow on their land. Over the past year, Anglo Platinum
has fenced off Sekuruwe community land to expand the slimes dump
alongside Ga Molekane. Now it has gone beyond the fence into adjacent
Last Wednesday, the community initiated their protest action against
this further encroachment. James Shiburi of the Sekuruwe Committee
explained, “The community is angry at Anglo Platinum for repeatedly
ignoring our wishes and our rights. We are still fighting for that side
in the camp, now you are coming this side.”
More than 200 people protested until the company retreated behind the
fence, “back into the camp”. The community is maintaining an ongoing
presence at the site. They are using hand tools, forks and spades, to
plough the land and plant their seeds. They have also sent new letters
Anglo Platinum and government, stating that the company is not welcome
on their land on their land, these in addition to repeated letters
throughout the year.
For further information, contact: Phillipos Dolo, Jubilee Mokopane
Coordinator, 073 789 2489 James Shiburi, Sekuruwe, 072 478 3894 George
Dor, Jubilee South Africa General Secretary, 076 460 9620,
Burning tyres block Sebokeng road
The Citizen 12 December 2009
JOHANNESBURG - Residents of Sebokeng in Vaal Triangle blockaded a road
with burning tyres and rocks on Tuesday in what was believed to be a
service delivery protest, police said.
The burning of tyres was started at 4.30pm on Moshoeshoe street by a
small group of people, said Inspector Aubrey Moopela.
“We are not quite sure of the reasons behind it because onlookers along
the street also said they did not know. No one is coming forward with
information,” said Moopela.
He said people were standing around in groups, others in their yards
watching as police patrolled the streets.
“The situation could worsen as night falls,” he said.
Situation worsens for Nokeng residents
Business Day 2 December 2009
NEARLY six months after it was razed by locals in protest against
corruption, the municipal government building in Refilwe, Gauteng,
remains a chaos of rubble and charred office equipment.
The June protest was a reaction to mismanagement that has left the
finances of the municipality of Nokeng Tsa Taemane, about 30km northeast
of Pretoria, among the worst in the country.
The municipality, which includes the town of Cullinan, was one of three
in Gauteng which received a “disclaimer” from the auditor-general for
2007-08 — meaning its financial management was so poor he was unable to
express an opinion.
Its finances have deteriorated further, with an overdraft more than
quadrupling to nearly R9m in the year to June , while service delivery
projects stalled due to lack of funds.
Community leaders say there are still no signs of improvement — even
after the municipality’s finances were placed under provincial
management in July by local government MEC Kgaogelo Lekgoro.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane pledged to implement a “financial
recovery plan” for the municipality after it was unable to pay its
creditors within the prescribed 30 days, due in part to a salary bill
that exceeded budgeted expenditure.
But Jan Boshoff, a Democratic Alliance councillor and former mayor of
Nokeng, says Lekgoro has still to appoint an administrator for the
municipality, while those responsible for the mismanagement remained in
their posts. “The provincial government has not implemented a recovery
plan — all they have done is tell us to develop a turnaround strategy.”
A status quo report carried out in September by the province shows that
the municipality’s cash-book balance worsened from an overdraft of
R1,91m in June last year to R8,98m in June this year . The
municipality’s quarterly financial statements had misrepresented this
figure, giving the bank statement balance instead of the cash-book balance.
Repairs and maintenance were just 4% of expenditure in the 2008-09
financial year, with employee-related costs over budget by 22,5%, or R9,4m.
Boshoff says the number of municipal employees had more than doubled
under the watch of Anna Digoro, mayor since 2006. “The mayor uses a
traffic officer as a driver, and at one point hired a political adviser
— these people don’t contribute to service delivery.
“Her first budget allocated R700000 for two mayoral cars, which was
illegal. The law entitles a mayor to one car — and then only for
The report says the municipality’s equitable share allocation — a grant
from the national government — “is not fully utilised to provide free
basic services but mainly to provide for operating expenditure”.
“The municipality has an obligation to seek out indigents in need of
services,” says Boshoff. “But Nokeng has been keeping indigent
registration in abeyance to keep more money for salaries. This year’s
list found only about 140 indigents, which is impossible. There are
Local South African Communist Party leader Chris Mahlase says: “It has
got worse since July. The MEC told the municipality the province could
not give them money forever, and they would have to generate their own
revenue. The municipality became so desperate that they began cutting
electricity to indigents.”
Mahlase claims R8m donated by De Beers to the municipality has gone
missing, while R11m in the 2008-09 budget to rebuild family units at a
hostel in Refilwe was unaccounted for. Projects to build toilets and
sewerage have been abandoned due to lack of funds, says Mahlase, as had
construction of an electrical substation in Cullinan and RDP houses in
His account is supported by Emily Mabuza, 75, who lives in a damp
two-room shack next to a half-built RDP house that lies vacant and roofless.
“I used to live in a nice place on the site where the RDP building now
stands,” she says.
“In early 2006 municipal officials told me to cut the shack in half, so
they could build an RDP house for me on the site.
“They waited for over six months before they started work. After more
than a year, they still had not put the roof on.”
Mahlase called for an investigation of Digoro and municipal manager Mpho
Mogale, who has been on indefinite leave since June, when councillors
raised concern over his performance.
“We estimate over R20m was spent last year on the purchase of nine land
sites around the municipality. The land was sold to the municipality at
an inflated price, and municipal officials were sharing in the profit.”
Mahlase says Lekgoro had told community leaders Digoro could not be
removed due to the embarrassment it would cause the African National
But Fred Mokoko, a provincial government spokesman, denies this.
“An investigation into the municipality’s finances was conducted and
nothing untoward was found. The MEC has visited the municipality, and he
was not happy with what he found there. In particular, it is an anomaly
that the majority of the municipality’s money goes on salaries.
“But the province is now monitoring the municipality’s finances — not a
rand is now spent without approval.”
Repeated attempts to contact Digoro were unsuccessful.
Ngwenya River Estates
The protest meeting by Madibeng community members, as reported on fully
in MadibengPulse on November 11, requested that the Oberon, Kommandonek
and Ngwenya Rivers Estate (Ngwenya) transactions be reversed by Madibeng
Council “with immediate effect.” In a subsequent analysis of the
Memorandum handed over to officials from the local government ministry,
North West Province officials and the provincial task team,
MadibengPulse concluded that the protest meeting may have been a
spontaneous reaction from community members feeling aggrieved about
corruption and bad service delivery, but from some source the compilers
of the Memorandum received information available only to insiders.
Confirmation of dubious actions with regard to Ngwenya, appear elsewhere
in this issue in a report on the financial woes of Madibeng. The local
sheriff turned up at the municipal offices with an execution order for
an amount of about R2.1 million, a reliable source told MadibengPulse.
The tender process for Ngwenya, an unsuccessful bidder contended, was
neither transparent nor fair, and the aggrieved bidder was so confident
that he would be able to prove it, that he took Madibeng to court,
claiming compensation for what he considered to be his loss occasioned
by bias in the tender process. At the time MadibengPulse asked questions
about this transaction from the municipal manger, but we are still
waiting for an answer.
The action of the unsuccessful bidder ended in a settlement (reported on
elsewhere) negotiated between the attorneys for the aggrieved bidder and
the municipal manger. The municipal manager acted without a mandate from
Madibeng Council and his involvement in the Ngwenya River Estates
dispute settlement is one of the many matters on which the Council wants
an explanation from him.
Our source has a very simple explanation for the municipal manager going
solo in negotiating a settlement in this case. Without saying that the
municipal manager was directly involved in the shenanigans around
Ngwenya, our source explained, “there are Councillors and officials who
could not afford to have the details of this case aired in a court,
where the media and the public have access to all the evidence.”
The terms of the settlement were not, however, met and this is how it
happened that the Brits sheriff arrived at the municipal offices with an
Madibeng Council as successors to the local governments at Brits,
Hartbeespoort, Mooinooi and two others in 2 000, inherited some of the
most valuable real estate in South Africa. MadibengPulse challenges the
Council to name ONE transaction involving public property which was done
transparently, fairly and in the public interest. We may be ignorant of
such transactions, but we would be very happy to apologise for our
ignorance and publish details of such transactions as models of how
community minded Councillors deal with the public property entrusted to
Overview of the political situation post the union federation's 10th
Zwelinzima Vavi 30 November 2009
There is a wave of community service-delivery protests, which are about
specific local grievances but are also related to the structural
problems in the economy. The patience of increasing numbers of poor
working class communities seemingly is running thin. They are facing a
huge squeeze in the former black only residential areas particularly in
the former Bantustans.
They are living with massive unemployment and grinding and humiliating
poverty in places such as Alexandra, while across the road they see that
the grass is green in the flashy buildings in Sandton. The general law
of capitalist accumulation stated by Marx in Capital Volume I operates
without hindrance. Talking about the rise in centralisation and
concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, Marx says:
"Along with the constantly diminishing number of magnates of capital,
who usurp and monopolise all advantages...grows the mass of misery,
oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows
the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers
and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process
of capitalist production itself".
There is an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans who are equal victims of
mismanagement of the economic and political system, armed with better
education, sidelining and regrettably dragging the basic protection of
South African workers' rights down. Many in the SADC region, the African
continent and even as far as Europe and Asia, combine in their thousands
from everywhere in the world under the mistaken belief that South Africa
is the land of milk and honey.
We need to begin a conversation on how we can address all these issues
in a manner that ensures we maintain our strong stance against
xenophobia and the misguided and mistaken belief that our African
brothers and sisters who are streaming down south under pressure of
poverty are the source of our crises of unemployment and crime.
At the same time we need to ensure that we develop systems to ensure
that we do not open floodgates in a manner that simply worsens the
squeeze in the townships and rural areas.
Overcome Heights Protest Turns Violent
Radio 786 30 November 2009
Police fired rubber bullets on the protesting Overcome Heights squatter
camp residents on Sunday. The residents allegedly tried to hold their
local councilor hostage. A public meeting with Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato
turned violent when Plato left the conference venue after telling local
they would not be getting electricity until next year. The locals then
barricaded the roads and prevented Councilor Dimitri Quarry from
leaving. The community accused the councilor and the mayor of lying to
them. At least three people were arrested.
The mass protests continue tomorrow at Gugulethu Square Mall
Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Press Release 30 November 2009
Protest: March to Gugulethu Mall to protest corrupt and anti-local job
Time and date: 09h00 on 1 December 2009
Venue: Assembly at Kwezi Hall. March to front of Gugulethu Mall on NY1
Contacts: Malibongwe @ 074-639-9551, Nomvuyo @ 082-687-8533, Mncedisi @
078-580-8646, Sipho @ 078-589-7000
Tomorrow, the Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign will again be protesting
against the management of the new Gugulethu Square Mall. Despite efforts
by the police to stop us from protesting citing 2010 events, the City of
Cape Town has declared this to be a legal march.
When we marched two weeks ago, we handed over a memorandum to the
manager of the Gugulethu Mall – Azania Landingwe. She told us that she
would read the memorandum and respond within a week. However, to this
day, we have received no response from the manager.As a response to the
arrogance of the mall’s management, we are no longer demanding that 80%
of the jobs at the mall be given to residents of Gugulethu. We are now
demanding that 100% of the jobs at the mall be given to local Gugulethu
We are demanding that, from now on, the job application process be open
and transparent and that the local councillors are no longer in control
of who does and does not get jobs.
The Gugulethu AEC has long said that local politicians – particularly
Gugulethu councillor Belinda Landingwe – are selecting only CVs of its
ANC supporters and throwing out the CVs of other residents. Even
managers of stores such as PEP have refused to accept residents CVs
saying that they will only take CVs the have been vetted directly by the
Indeed, the evidence of nepotism is obvious when one considers that the
manger of the mall, Azania Landingwe is a close relative of councillor
Belinda Landingwe. This is clearly political party corruption and
rampant nepotism and must end immediately.
Our demands include the following:
1. That management of the mall respond immediately to our memorandum
2. That 100% of Gugulethu Mall jobs go to local residents
3. That councillors and the Gugulethu Development Forum be removed from
the job allocation process
4. That police refrain from violence against us when we protest peacefully
We will continue our protests and continue to call for a boycott of
Gugulethu Square Mall and all businesses owned by Mzoli Ngcawuzele until
the community has more say in the mall and our demands are met.
For more information, contact:
Malibongwe @ 074-639-9551
Nomvuyo @ 082-687-8533
Mncedisi @ 078-580-8646
Sipho @ 078-589-7000
Police gear up for De Doorns protest
Chantall Presence Eyewitness news 1 december 2009
De Doorns residents were planning a protest march in town on Monday
morning to coincide with the court appearance of 23 people arrested on
charges of public violence.
The group was set to apply for bail following their arrests after
xenophobic clashes in the area.
The case was moved to Worcester due to capacity constraints in De Doorns.
Police said they had called in reinforcements to ensure the protest was
Strikers call off protest blocking of N2
Katherine Wilkinson GARDEN ROUTE CORRESPONDENT 30 November 2009
A MOVE by members of the Coldstream community to block the N2 near
Storms River on Friday as part of a protest organised by the ANC Youth
League was averted when marchers heeded the advice of community elders.
Community activist Mary-Ann Mngomezulu said dismissed workers from the
AC Whitcher sawmill had wanted to “block the N2 to make people aware
that some employers are using oppressive tactics, like making people
clock in and out when they want to go to the toilet”.
She said they had decided against blocking the N2 when community elders
asked them to wait for the outcome of negotiations between sawmill
manager Shaun Westcott and Labour Department officials.
Westcott said written communication from the ANCYL to Whitcher on Friday
demanded “all the remained workers who didn’t go to strike be stopped
working immediately” and those who did go on strike “be returned to work
He said about 285 out of about 400 employees had been on an illegal
strike since November 5 and had barricaded the premises and issued
threats to management. Whitcher obtained a court order which declared
the actions illegal and ordered the workers’ return to work. This was
ignored by the strikers, who were dismissed on November 16.
Westcott said the clock-in system was introduced to identify workers who
absented themselves from the production line several times a day for
lengthy periods, in addition to breaks, at times causing the line to
come to a standstill.
He believed the system was being used as a smokescreen and workers were
unhappy as they received lower pay increases than expected. Chemical,
Energy, Paper, Printing and Wood Allied Workers Union regional secretary
Sakhiwo Zako said: “... We find ourselves in terms of the definition of
strike action outside law boundaries.”
MEC wants action over manager
Riot Hlatshwayo 30 November 2009
MPUMALANGA MEC for corporate governance and traditional affairs Norman
Mokoena says the continued suspension of Nkomazi municipal manager
Sabelo Shabangu needs “decisive political intervention”.
Shabangu was suspended on November 4 last year after allegations of
irregularities and maladministration.
Mokoena compiled a report, a copy of which Sowetan has, on protest
actions in municipalities .
“The issue of the suspended manager remains unresolved,” Mokoena says in
the report. “It has the potential to have a negative impact if it is not
Sowetan has also learnt that Mokoena handed another report, titled
Section 106, to the municipality three weeks ago but that the
municipality is dragging its feet in tabling it to the council.
“The MEC has given ... the report to the municipality for consideration
but I do not want to go into details ... yet,” Kunene said yesterday.
Among other things the report is said to implicate chief financial
officer Sheila Mabaso in serious corruption relating to contract documents.
Shabangu initially charged Mabaso with the same allegations but the
former was instead suspended about five days later.
It is understood that Mabaso is holding the council to ransom, saying if
she were charged she would open a can of worms against full-time
Repeated attempts to speak to Mabaso proved fruitless since her phone
kept on ringing unanswered yesterday
Kaizer denies deal - Chiefs boss opposes housing move
Getrude Makhafola 30 November 2009
IRATE: Phefeni, Soweto residents burn tyres outside the Uniting Reformed
Church to protest against a proposed housing development on a nearby
soccer pitch. PHOTO: PETER MOGAKI
Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung denied making any deal with the
Uniting Dutch Reformed Church in Phefeni, Soweto, about a piece of land
he used as a soccer field in 1971.
Motaung had his initial practices on the Phefeni pitch when he formed
Kaizer XI which is today known as Kaizer Chiefs.
This came out at a heated meeting between residents of Phefeni, the
church and Motaung.
Matters came to head after the church decided to bring in developers to
build low- cost houses on the pitch.
The developers would in turn refurbish the church and build a mission house.
A member of the congregation, Nancy Malatjie, told Motaung to “be
honest” and said that she was present when Motaung came to ask the
church for permission to use the piece of land back in the 1970’s.
“You came and asked to use a portion of the land and we agreed. It is a
pity that the then Reverend Tema is dead now. He gave you the go ahead,
you know that the land belongs to the church,” she said.
Motaung denied ever approaching the church.
He said the then small soccer team had asked the late Doctor Khumalo’s
father Elkim Khumalo to go to council and ask for use of the land.
“Khumalo worked there, and at the time we knew that the land was the
property of the council.
“We later went to the church to make sure we did not infringe on their
space,” Motaung said.
He said he was against the building of houses.
“My wish is to see the place developed into a sporting venue and I am
prepared to contribute towards that,” Motaung said.
Phefeni residents are up in arms over the proposed development.
They said that the dusty pitch was the founding ground for Kaizer
Chiefs, and therefore a heritage side.
Motaung’s parental home is opposite the pitch.
Two weeks ago residents threatened to burn down the church after they
set alight car tyres on the church’s door step.
The meeting was held last Thursday.
The church’s priest Zacharia Mokgoebo was booed every time he tried to
speak, but stood his ground.
He said the church owned the land and has the title, and therefore was
free to do anything it wanted with it.
According to Mokgoebo, the church gave Motaung permission to use the
piece of land for football in the 1970’s.d