||Comrades fleece poor villagers: Community 'basically tricked' into
signing R10m 'agency fee'
Rob Rose Sunday Times 19 December 2009
Angry villagers in a North West community are seething over an ANC
alliance agent demanding a 50% slice of their R26-million mining deal
with a German company.
The Sunday Times has seen a contract struck on November 22 last year
between a leader of the Baphalane ba Mantserre community and five
"agents", which shows how members of the ruling party alliance solicited
kickbacks from the vulnerable rural community.
According to the contract, the five agents were represented by Taurock,
a company owned by businessman and ANC benefactor Aubrey Tau, and
included the Limpopo arm of the ANC Youth League, the SA Communist
Party, the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) and
the ANC Women's League.
The deal was to give the agents 50% of the proceeds of the R26-million
mining deal with German metals company Cronimet - a handy R10-million
after deducting expenses.
The community leader's lawyer says his client was "basically tricked"
into signing the agreement.
The "agency agreement" implies that politicians should get money for
restoring the community's land rights.
It says the agents, "through various means at their several and
collective disposal, assisted the community in restoring such rights to
them so as to enable them to lawfully and profitably alienate the said
rights for the benefit of the whole community".
Tau's lawyer Andries Nkome claims this deal was never implemented, and
was replaced by a new agreement with just the MKMVA and the ANC Women's
League from North West.
This revelation incensed community members, who believed they had struck
a lucrative deal last year to set up a chrome mining company with
Cronimet that would benefit the community - not fatten the wallets of
Lemi Monene, one of the members of the community, said: "We had no idea
that the ANC or these political parties were involved here, and now it
emerges they are due to get half the money. For what?"
Cronimet was surprised when approached. In written answers to queries,
Cronimet SA said it was unaware of any political party involvement in
"Cronimet has at no time entered into any negotiations with ANC groups,
the SACP, Umkhonto weSizwe or any other political entities, nor have
these entities ever provided any services of whatsoever nature to
Cronimet," it said.
It added that "there were no negotiations with Mr Tau or Taurock" and
was also "not aware of the agency agreement or other agreements entered
into between the Baphalane community or its trust with any other legal
entities whilst negotiating" the deal.
The "agency agreement" describes the fee as an "agency fee", but it does
not say what the ANC Youth League, the SACP, Women's League or MKMVA did
for this money.
These details emerged because the community "only paid" R2.5-million to
Taurock, as confirmed by bank statements in the Sunday Times's possession.
Taurock sent a letter of demand to the community demanding "the balance
due to our client, in the sum of R7.5-million".
But Nhlanganiso Fesi, the lawyer representing the community, said the
rest of the money was not paid to Taurock precisely because some of the
trustees of the community's money became uncomfortable with the
involvement of the political parties.
"We did not understand the legal basis for giving them money, so that
was one of the reasons why this payment was disputed by the other
trustees. The community also said we should oppose it," Fesi said.
The Sunday Times met Tau this week, but his attorney Nkome said "this
letter of demand was withdrawn".
But he said a new deal was struck and the details were "confidential".
Tau admitted signing the "agency agreement" with a community leader that
committed to share the R10-million with the political parties, but said
it was redrafted.
Nkome said there were "mistakes" in the agreement - such as referring to
the Limpopo ANC and SACP structures when the community was actually
based in North West - and the new deal only involved the ANC Women's
League and the MKMVA.
Again, he said this new deal was "confidential", and would not provide a
copy to the Sunday Times. But Fesi said he did not know of a new deal.
Tau is adamant that of the R2.5-million he was paid by the community
only the ANC Women's League and the MKMVA from the North West benefited.
In a later meeting, he described the ANC Women's League and MKMVA as
"beneficiaries" of his "donations".
Alfred Motsi, the chairman of the North West arm of the MKMVA, said the
initial "agency agreement" was redrafted partly because he was not
consulted on the deal.
"We didn't sign that first agreement. We also felt that paying 50% to
the agents was too high, when the community was supposed to get most of
the benefit," he said.
When asked why the first deal was done, which agreed to give a large
chunk of the proceeds from the Cronimet cash to those ANC structures,
Nkome said: "The community wanted it that way. We were led by the
villagers, and they wanted to look after these political parties as a
village. They wanted the ANC to benefit because they belong to the ANC
and they love it."
Sub-chief DS Ramakoka, who signed the deal agreeing to give R10-million
to the political parties, referred questions to Fesi, who described
Ramako's decision as a "spur of the moment thing".
"He was under pressure and was basically tricked into signing it, but he
realised later he had committed a serious breach of governance," Fesi said.
But there are mixed messages from the community. Paul Marakalla, the
chairman of the Baphalane board of trustees, said that the community had
indeed wanted to give something back to the political groups.
"They did a very good job for us together with Aubrey," he said, without
specifying what exactly the job was.
When asked what these politicians did, Nkome deferred questions to the
MKMVA and Women's League.
The MKMVA's Motsi said his organisation did not negotiate with Cronimet,
but assisted in rooting out illegal mining in the Baphalane ba Mantserre
Lina Miga, the ANC Women's League general secretary for North West,
said: "We (worked) together with MKMVA to ensure the people in this area
benefit ... If there is anyone who says we haven't done much, what we
know is we have done a lot."
Cape residents oppose nuclear power station
Melanie Gosling 20 December 2009
Residents opposed to the building of a nuclear power station at
Bantamsklip on the southern Cape coast staged a protest march through
Hermanus on Saturday and handed a memorandum to the Overstrand
municipality, saying the local authority had failed to represent their
interests by supporting the proposed nuclear power plant.
John Williams, chairperson of the Save Bantamsklip Association, said on
Sunday that about 300 people had marched through the town to protest
against a proposal by Eskom to build nuclear reactors in "one of the
hottest biodiversity hot spots in the world".
"Eskom says they want to build two 4 000MW nuclear power plants at this
site which is a registered South African Natural Heritage Site and
contains vegetation that occurs nowhere else in the world. It's a centre
"Yet the mayor of Overstrand (Theo Beyleveld) has stated categorically
that he regards the nuclear plant as a growth potential and said Eskom
had hinted they would build schools and facilities as a spin-off,"
"We're saying that there is a big body of opinion that is dead against
it. The municipality is utterly wrong," Williams said.
He said his organisation, which included ratepayers' associations,
tourism associations, environmental groups and agricultural
organisations, represented about 5 000 people.
The memorandum called on the municipality to formulate a
"factually-based" Overstrand council position on the proposed
Bantamsklip nuclear power station, on which the public could then comment.
It also called on the mayor to commission an independent study to
determine the "true tourism and natural resource values" of the
Bantamsklip site, and to determine the comparative merits of allowing a
nuclear power plant to be built at the site.
The organisation criticised the municipality for failing to submit
relevant information to the EIA consultants.
"The mayor been saying 'hey guys, this is a golden opportunity for us'.
We're saying our environment is the very essence of our economy here. If
we don't see the link between environment and economy, we are lost. We
want to know if this (supporting the nuclear power plant) is DA policy
or old Broederbond policy?" Williams said.
On Sunday, Beyleveld denied that he had said he supported the nuclear
"I never said that. It's a lie. I said it's a growth potential but if
it's going to harm the environment we must re-look it. My opinion is we
need electricity but we must also conserve our natural beauty. We need
to let the EIA process be completed," Beyleveld said.
He said three Overstrand councillors had made input into the EIA.
Beyleveld said "only 90 or 110 people" had been on the protest march.
"There are 38 000 voters. I can't become part of a pressure group," he said.
This breaking news article was supplied exclusively to www.iol.co.za by
the news desk at our sister publication, The Cape Times.
< hr width="25%">
Service delivery problems go middle class
Stephen Grootes Daily Maverick (Grootes is an Eyewitness News reporter)
14 December 2009
The crisis comes to the biggest council of them all. It will be messy,
chaotic and won’t be sorted for a long, long time.
It is no accident that the biggest protests against the ANC government
have come from out-of-the-way places with crappy municipal leaders. The
link was obvious. The people who had nothing expected something. When
they realised they still had nothing, they revolted. They used violence,
because that’s the only way they knew how. Sure, some of the protest
leaders knew there were other methods, but they also knew the quickest
way to get national attention, to get young Julius on your side, was to
throw a few rocks at the mayor's office. There may have been other
political factors at work, but by and large, frustration with a lack of
services led to a reaction.
This time it’s different: the problem is now heading to the big cities,
and the reaction from the urban middle classes is very different.
The City of Johannesburg is South Africa’s biggest metro. It provides
services for more people than any other. Its mayor, Amos Masondo, is
perhaps better known than any other mayor in the country (now that Helen
Zille has set her sights a little higher). Over the years things have
gone reasonably well. Driving through Soweto is much easier today than
it was five years ago. More electricity is being distributed to more
people, legally, and generally, the number of services offered has
increased. But deep beneath, something is stirring.
When it comes to getting municipalities right, it's the lights and
water, stupid. For most people, crap roads, rude metro police and green
municipal swimming pools are all survivable. But, as Jacob Maroga used
to say, without electricity our civilisation is in danger. And for our
lives to continue in a productive and healthy fashion, we need
electricity. We need it in our homes, and we need to pay for it. Of
course, we need water even more.
But these two basic issues, and particularly power, are being
spectacularly neglected by some of our metros - Joburg especially. Over
the last month public anger has started to boil at the billing system.
One mention of electricity bills on Talk Radio 702 last week resulted in
literally hundreds of calls, emails and SMSes. Okay, so the mlungus can
get a little angry with the local council from time to time, you might
say. But what was striking was the extent of the efforts to which
literally all of these people had gone to try to fix a billing problem.
It's not just a simple mistake; those happen. It's that people have
spent hours on the phone, or, in an attempt to get around that 21st
Century evil, the call centre, have actually gone to Jorisson Street.
There, they say, are long queues, arrogant officials and no help whatsoever.
Then there's the corruption. There are dozens of tales of people who
have been disconnected for no reason. Their bills were up to date, but
one day someone arrived, with three rather large gentlemen, and walked
off with their meter. To get it back, a snip at anywhere between five
grand and 20. Ah, but if you pay us, say, about three grand, we'll put
it back for you. It would have warmed Al Capone's heart to see
protection rackets still alive and thriving.
To be fair to the council, it is doing what it can to stamp out this
kind of thing. When Eyewitness News got hold of a recording of a bribe
solicitation (and it was pretty damn clear what the man meant when he
said 'I'll help you and you help me'), they were on the blower very
quickly asking for a copy, and, it seems, trying to work out who it was.
But the problem appears to be much more widespread.
What the council cannot explain is why the wrong people are being cut
off. An email from a 702 listener tells his own story of council workers
arriving at his house with a job card. He was fully paid up and fairly
confident about it too. After a brief exchange of words, he grabbed the
job sheet. It had the address of his neighbour. During the remonstration
that followed he worked out that the workers had used a GPS, and had
been told to go to the address plugged into the machine, and take the
meter from that property. We applaud the council's innovative use of
satellite technology. But clearly, someone hadn't thought the entire
The examples go on and on, and while it could be fun (and probably a bit
cathartic) to continue, we should look at what's actually happening.
At the heart of the problem is Joburg Metro's information technology
department. Like so many times before, the people who speak in zeros and
ones have something wrong. And don't kid yourself, if you work in any
company or institution nowadays, when the IT department stops working,
you'll know you're on the verge of the precipice. It is pretty obvious
that the IT system at the City of Johannesburg is in trouble.
While we don't have access to the servers that run it, we can judge
based on the outcomes. And those outcomes paint a bleak picture. It
seems the billing system simply cannot match properties with the amounts
of money owing. Responsibility for that billing system has been
outsourced (according to Carte Blanche, who did a really excellent story
on this earlier in the year) to a certain Masana Technologies. You would
think that the company that gets such a giant contract as this has been
around the block a bit; would pack some punch. You'd be wrong, of
course. Masana Tech is a tiny outfit, employing fewer than 50 people,
according to its own reception staff. Which means they've outsourced
their stuff too. That's probably legal, but it muddies the waters when
it comes to finding out who's really stuffed things up.
If Masana Technologies were a real, robust company, it wouldn't be much
of a problem. And in the normal world, if you buy a service from a firm
and they make a mess of it, you get another company in. That makes the
original firm sort its act out or go bust.
And if you decide to take up the fight, the odds are stacked against
you. If you don't pay, they cut you off. If they bill you a huge amount,
you have to pay until you can sort it out. Not much difference to taking
your child hostage until you give them what they've made up as a demand.
So while the good burghers of Johannesburg fume, you would think Masondo
would be doing his best to sort it out. Normally, Masondo is a pretty
good guy. He doesn't live in luxury (protesters actually marched to his
house in Kensington once), he seems to have tried hard to do what's best
for the city. But his is a horrid job. You've got to tar Soweto at the
same time as deal with some Sandtonite who can't believe his Beemer’s
hit a pothole. But, of late, Masondo seems to be off the boil.
For the record, when questions about the billing system are put to the
head of City Power, Silas Zimu, he proffers his own email address, and
claims to welcome any emails about billing problems. (In case you’re
wondering, Silas Zimu’s email address is Szimu@citypower.co.za.) Good
luck. We hope that's on IT system that does actually work.
The city says it will act harshly against any corruption. Some people
have been sacked, but it's difficult to prove wrongdoing. And when the
cost of the Miss World pageant first emerged, the city's spokesman
didn’t bother to leave his phone on, because it was the weekend. And
that's something that's happened again since then.
So, how do the middle classes deal with service delivery problems? We're
not the types to throw stones. Well, not literally anyway. But we have
to prepare. And what follows is our own City of Joburg survival kit. We
can't make any promises, because the size of what can go wrong is huge,
and you can't prepare for everything.
Keep all your billing information, particularly proof of payment. If the
IT system collapses, these could be critical. One day, you may need to
prove that you've paid. You may also need to show your pattern of
consumption. If you do have a problem, go through the process. But take
some kind of recorder (most cellphones have this), just in case. Report
any bribe solicitation to the police. And the media. And for goodness
sake, make friends with a lawyer.
Anglican Church honours Abahlali leader
Paul Trewhela 18 December 2009
Bishop Rubin Phillip's citation of Holy Nativity award to S'bu Zikode
The Christian churches in South Africa, and in particular the Anglican
Church under the guidance of Bishop Rubin Phillip, have confirmed their
courageous and principled stand in defence of human rights by the award
by the Diocese of the Natal Anglican Church of the Order of the Holy
Nativity to S'bu Zikode, the elected president of the shackdwellers'
movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM).
"Jondolo" is a term for a shack. "Abahlali" are the residents who have
no option except to live in one.
In the week before Christmas 2009, the Natal Anglican Church has given a
lead to the whole of South Africa in the basic matters of defence of
life, of the right to decent housing, and of respect for law and the
The award of the Order of the Holy Nativity at this time looks to the
contemporary reality of the birth of Jesus in a shack. Given the
repression currently suffered by members of AbM in KwaZulu-Natal and the
fate of S'bu Zikode and his family, it anticipates also, though, a
recollection of the tradition of Christian martyrdom in the founding
centuries of the faith. A deeply significant statement has been made,
with resonance beyond the church into everyday civil and political life.
This award by the Diocese of the Natal Anglican Church is clear evidence
of a new politics in South Africa which nevertheless remains far beneath
the radar - not merely of the government, as Amnesty International has
acknowledged - but of the opposition political parties, the press, and
almost the whole of The Great and the Good whose opinions hover over
South Africa like a great cloud, fixed in place for the past 20 years.
To its huge credit, and drawing upon a long spiritual tradition, the
Anglican Church in KwaZulu-Natal has broken with a bad consensus in the
public domain, to give witness beside the weak and downtrodden, in
disdain of the conventional political correctness.
S'bu Zikode was forced to go into hiding when a killer squad attached to
local ANC political authorities attacked the AbM residents at Kennedy
Road in Durban on the nights of 26 and 27 September, his family was
forced to flee and his house in the settlement was wrecked by the wreckers..
In a memorable statement, "We are the Third Force" (here), he wrote:
"Those in power are blind to our suffering. This is because they have
not seen what we see, they have not felt what we are feeling every
second, every day. My appeal is that leaders who are concerned about
peoples' lives must come and stay at least one week in the jondolos.
They must feel the mud. They must share 6 toilets with 6 000 people.
They must dispose of their own refuse while living next to the dump.
They must come with us while we look for work. They must chase away the
rats and keep the children from knocking the candles. They must care for
the sick when there are long queues for the tap. They must have a turn
to explain to the children why they can't attend the Technical College
down the hill. They must be there when we bury our children who have
passed on in the fires, from diarrhoea or AIDS."
The citation by the Diocese of the Natal Anglican Church of the award of
the Order of the Holy Nativity to S'bu Zikode appears below.
At a time of mass immersion in the pleasures of the moment, it speaks of
DIOCESE OF NATAL ANGLICAN CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
ORDER OF THE HOLY NATIVITY
Whereas by resolution of Diocesan Council in the year of our Lord 2003
the Order of the Holy Nativity was authorised for Distinguished Lay
Service to the Diocese of Natal.
And whereas the name of our beloved in Christ, SIBUSISO ZIKODE, has been
submitted to us by Citation for such recognition.
We, Rubin, by Divine Permission, Bishop of Natal, do by those present
confer the aforesaid honour upon him on the following grounds:
S'bu Zikode was born in 1975 in Loskop near Estcourt in the
KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. He has become known to tens of thousands of
shack-dwellers in South Africa, as well as admirers around the world, as
the elected president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack-dwellers
movement. That movement, and the style and content of Zikode's
leadership within it, has been a beacon of dignity and hope in the
ongoing struggle for genuine freedom and transformation in our country.
Zikode not only leads by listening and by taking action, he is also an
extraordinary wordsmith capable of capturing and sharing the heart of a
militant but quite beautiful and salvific poetics of struggle. We quite
deliberately rely on his own words throughout this citation for he and
Abahlali baseMjondolo have consistently made it plain that the poor can
and should speak for themselves.
Zikode and his family first moved into a shack in the Kennedy Road
settlement in Durban because the rental was affordable and the location
was close to work and schools. "Life was much better because we could
live close to work and schools at an affordable cost. But I told myself
that this was not yet an acceptable life. ... It was not acceptable for
human beings to live like that and so I committed myself to change things".
A key to Zikode's involvement in that process of change was a thorough
democratisation of the local development structure, the Kennedy Road
Development Committee (KRDC), which had been in control of the
settlement until then. "We mobilised the young people. We started with
youth activities, like clean up campaigns, and then when the people were
mobilised, we struggled to force that there must be elections, that
there must be democracy".
In the early years of this democratised KRDC, Zikode and his colleagues
worked with the local and regional party political structures of the ANC
and the City of Durban to try and address the challenges the community
faced. But the repeated lies and failed promises built up, and
disappointment led to reflection and a commitment to taking action on
the people's own terms. The Kennedy Road settlement made newspaper
headlines in 2005 when they blockaded a major road nearby after yet
another promise of better housing turned out to be a betrayal. That
event also marked the decisive break from party politics to establishing
a new politics of autonomous, grassroots action and reflection.
Zikode himself comments on how that day of the blockade felt: "It was
good. ... It was difficult to turn against our comrades in the ANC but
we weren't attacking them personally. We wanted to make them aware that
all these meetings of the ANC - the BEC meetings, the Branch General
Meetings, they were all a waste of time. In fact they were further
oppressing us in a number of ways. ... It had become clear that the only
space for the poor in the ANC was as voters - there was no politics of
the poor in the ANC. The road blockade was the beginning of a politics
of the poor".
And out of that politics of the poor )emerged Abahlali baseMjondolo:
"I had no idea that a movement would be formed, no idea. And I didn't
know what form would be taken by the politics of the poor that became
possible after the road blockade. Most people think that this was
planned - that a group of people sat down and decided to establish a
movement. You know, how the NGOs work. ... But all we knew was that we
had decided to make the break. To accept that we were on our own and to
insist that the people could not be ladders any more; that the new
politics had to be led by poor people and to be for poor people; that
nothing could be decided for us without us.
"The road blockade was the start. We didn't know what would come next.
After the blockade we discussed things and then we decided on a second
step. That's how it went, that's how it grew. We learnt as we went. It
is still like that now. We discuss things until we have decided on the
next step and then we take it. ... In the party you make compromises for
some bigger picture but in the end all what is real is the suffering of
the people right in front of you. In fact it had become a shame. To say
that ‘enough is enough' is to walk away from that shame. Instead of the
party telling the community what to do, the community was now deciding
what to do on its own".
And this approach has shaped the movement's understanding of its
politics - which it refers to as a 'living politics' - and its
leadership style. At their heart, both flow from a common sense
understanding that "everyone is equal, that everyone matters, that the
world must be shared":
"Our movement is formed by different people, all poor people but some
with different beliefs, different religious backgrounds. But the reality
is that most people start with the belief that we are all created in the
image of God, and that was the earliest understanding of the spirit of
humanity in the movement. Here in the settlements we come from many
places, we speak many languages. Therefore we are forced to ensure that
the spirit of humanity is for everyone. We are forced to ensure that it
"There are all kinds of unfamiliar words that some of us are now using
to explain this but it is actually very simple. From this it follows
that we can not allow division, degradation - any form that keeps us
apart. On this point we have to be completely inflexible. On this point
we do not negotiate. If we give up this point we will have given up on
This universality of equality, implied throughout the scriptures from
Genesis' account of our creation in the image of God to Revelation's
promise of a new heaven and a new earth, is the singular mark of genuine
democracy and is the heartbeat of every genuine struggle for freedom and
justice. In recognising S'bu Zikode and in conferring the aforesaid
honour on him, we join ourselves with that struggle.
Our decision to confer the Order of the Holy Nativity on Zikode was made
before September 2009 when the Kennedy Road settlement was attacked by
armed vigilantes, and AbM was violently ejected with the connivance and
support of police and local ANC leaders. These attacks have placed acute
pressures on the movement and its politics. We have spoken out publicly
against these developments and will continue to denounce them and to
It is our hope that this award helps to strengthen Zikode and the
shackdwellers' movement - for we have seen before, in the history of
struggle in South Africa, that concerted violent attacks on people's
politics and movements can result in a certain sclerosis of decent, open
and democratic politics. It is vital, not just for Abahlali itself, but
for all of us concerned with the project of transformation and true
democracy, that its 'living politics' is kept living, defended in
principal and established in practice..
We give thanks for this dedicated servant of the people and servant of
Given under our hand and seal on this Sixteenth Day of December in the
year of our Lord Two Thousand and Nine in the Fifteenth Year of our
Mapela and Mokopane march to Anglo Platinum
Jubilee South Africa Press Statement 14 December 2009
Unemployed people from Mapela and Mokopane in Limpopo province will
march to Anglo Platinum PPL mine tomorrow to highlight the lack of
employment in and around the mine.
Anglo Platinum and other mining companies use the promise of
employment as a key element of their strategy to divide communities so
as to minimise opposition to their planned mining operations. The
mining operations then cause untold damage to communities, their
environment, livelihoods and health, but the promise of jobs invariaby
remains largely unfulfilled.
This is particularly the case at the PPL mine. It is an open cast mine
causing extensive environmental destruction by means of
capital-intensive production methods with low levels of employment.
There is a labour desk at the mine, but hundreds of people wait at the
main gate every day in the hope of getting a job only to have their
hopes dashed time and again. Occasionally some people are employed for
a set time or by a company contracted by the mine for a specific task,
but in the main people are not getting jobs.
Over the last few years, Anglo Platinum has been in the spotlight for
removing the Motlhohlo communities to Armoede and Rooibokfontein to
make way for the expansion of its operations, but a mere 50 people
have been employed, 25 from each village.
The march will be from the tar road from Ga Molekane to the Anglo
Platinum PPL Mine from 11h00 to 14h00. It will be a march of the
unemployed with support from communities in the surrounding area,
including traditional leaders from Hans, Ga Chaba, Ga Machikiri and
For more information, contact:
Bennett Mabukela 076 020 9911, Saul Mabe 071 351 8370, Phillipos Dolo
073 789 2489.
george dor +27 (0)11 648 7000 +27 (0)76 460 9620 firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction on 2010 road is halted
Marius Bakkes Lowvelder online 14 December 2009
NELSPRUIT - There is great uncertainty about the workmanship and the
scheduled completion of the construction of the main artery to
Mbombela's new soccer stadium.
The withholding of payment to a subcontractor has brought the project to
an abrupt halt. This follows the recent collapse of one of the bridges
still under construction.
This lack of payment led to riots last week when angry construction
workers downed tools. The police were called in when traffic was
disrupted on the N4 at the construction site of the new bridge at the
Mataffin turn-off. Tyres were burnt and temporary road signs were
forcefully removed on Thursday night. The protest action erupted again
on Friday morning when the main contractor had an on-site meeting with
the angry mob, and promised to make payments direct to them.
Mr Solly Ndlovu, representing the main contract holder, a joint venture
known as 17 MCC Readira, told Lowvelder that payment to the
subcontractor, ME Aqua, had already been stopped by the end of October.
This was due to unsatisfactory workmanship. 17 MCC Readira is the
construction company responsible for the building of the 2,4-kilometre
P166 roadway comprising three bridges at an unconfirmed cost of R360
Ndlovu said Mr Hendrik Venter of ME Aqua had already been cautioned in
May this year because his services were unsatisfactory. A final notice
to terminate his services was sent to him on October 21 after which a
last payment was made.
None of Venter’s employees have received any further salaries since the
end of November.
Venter was not available for comment and only sent a message to Ndlovu's
cellphone stating that he had to attend a meeting in Pretoria.
Since then Lowvelder has not been able to obtain any answers from him or
find out whether he ever received the notice of termination of his
services and if he did, why he continued with the project.
On Friday Ndlovu obtained of a list of ME Aqua’s employees and started
to make electronic payments to some of the bank accounts. 17 MCC Readira
did not want to confirm what this entailed, but it was believd that some
of the workers received a flat rate of R2 000 for services rendered for
the period from November to the present.
This controversial project was further plagued by unconfirmed rumours
that the existing levels of the road did not correspond with the initial
planned survey. Surface levels that differed more than a metre over the
distance of the new road, were mentioned. Ndlovu stated on Friday that
the project was currently two weeks behind schedule. All activities were
halted until next year when the project would commence with a new
subcontractor. According to him many of those workers sent home on
Friday would be considered for re-employment in January.
Ndlovu is still confident that they will make up for lost time and that
the project will be handed over at the beginning of April 2010.
The P166 will also serve as a connecting route between the N4 and the
R40 to White River and later as a western bypass as alternative to the
current route through town from Barberton to White River.
Sun International intensifies strike
Karien Jordaan OFM News 15 December 2009
After almost two weeks on the picket-line SACCAWU members at Sun
International are intensifying their struggle. The striking workers at
Sun International have taken their strike internationally with tens of
thousands of workers, unions and the international union federation the
International Union of Food workers, throwing their weight behind the
striking workers. The IUF is composed of more than 348 trade unions in
127 countries with a combined membership of over 12 million workers. In
only one day the company received more than a thousand protest letters
from all over the world. More than 70% of all SACCAWU members at Sun
International, that is more than 3 500 workers are still on the picket
line at all Sun International establishments throughout the country.
Hawkers want to do trading without police harassment
Penwell Dlamini 14 December 2009
ENOUGH: Hawkers marching to Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo’s office to
demand better working conditions. PHOTO: VATHISWA RUSELO
WHILE hawkers’ organisations are still complaining about the manner in
which the City of Johannesburg treats them, the city insists its plans
are to develop and integrate informal traders into the economy.
Just two weeks ago the One Voice of All Hawkers Association took to the
streets demanding that the city dissolve the Metro Trading Company
established to help hawkers in Johannesburg.
In a memorandum handed to the city, Ovoaha called for an investigation
into allegations of bribes received by Metro police officers from
illegal traders .
They also demanded that more stalls be put up to allow more hawkers to
trade in the city centre .
Ovoaha further demanded that hawkers be included in the city’s plans
around trading during the Fifa 2010 World Cup.
But the latest protest by hawkers was different.
Ovoaha founding leader Zacharia Ramutula said hawkers were willing to
“We are prepared to relocate to an allotted place and pay the required
fee for trading,” Ramutula said.
“All we want is to do our business without harassment from Metro police
City of Johannesburg spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said the city had long
resolved to integrate informal traders into the economy.
Tugwana further outlined the city’s establishment of the MTC .
MTC was formed in 1999 to take care of informal traders and the taxi
industry, giving them development support and managing the facilities
the city has set aside for their trade.
Since 2006 MTC has helped hawkers to organise themselves yielding up to
It has further organised business training for these cooperatives.
“The city acknowledges the need to sustain a livelihood and explore
economic opportunities as very important,” said Tugwana.
“But these cannot be met at the expense of commuters, pedestrians,
formal businesses and other users of the city who want a clean, safe and
well-organised environment .”
He said though the city had Fifa obligations in 2010, it would try to
minimise disruption of registered informal traders during the tournament.
The executive director of the 2010 World Cup in the City of
Johannesburg, Sibongile Mazibuko, said there were already plans to make
more opportunities for informal traders.
“There will be fan parks and fan mile boulevards on the roads towards
the stadium where informal traders will trade during the World Cup,”
She said the hawkers intending to trade on World Cup-designated areas
can contact the city’s economic development unit to get accreditation .
Imizamo Yethu locals welcome back foreigners
Francis Hweshe Special Correspondent 16 December 2009
Locals and foreigners in Hout Bay's Imizamo Yethu informal settlement
were to mark on Tuesday's Day of Reconciliation by trying to sort out
In November, dozens of foreigners were chased out of the area after
three Malawians were arrested in connection with the alleged rape of a
Street committee member Jabulani Sithole said on Tuesday that foreigners
in Imizamo Yethu had written a letter apologising to the family of the
girl and to the Imizamo Yethu community.
"They (foreigners) went to see the family of the girl and apologised.
They want to be part of the community," said Sithole.
"We as the community are excited about that. They have shown us that
they are human beings. Hout Bay is changing now.
"We will use the Reconciliation Day to bring about unity."
This gesture, he said, was meant to "crush the idea that it was xenophobia".
Sithole said an agreement had been reached between the two parties last
Sunday to "focus on bringing peace to the area".
He said locals and foreigners planned to protest outside the Wynberg
Magistrate's Court tomorrow "to oppose bail" for the alleged perpetrators.
Two of the men are 27 years old and the third is 23.
Sithole also said that residents had accepted the majority of the
foreigners back into the neighbourhood.
But a Zimbabwean who was chased out of the area with his family and who
now lives in Mowbray said he would not go back to Imizamo Yethu.
"It's the second time that I have been chased out... and it will not
happen a third time. Who knows what could happen next?" he asked.
Another Zimbabwean who has moved back described the area as "calm".
"There are no threats. Some people have returned while others have
sought accommodation elsewhere," he said.
At the end of last month, almost all the foreigners living in Agget and
Biko streets in Imizamo Yethu packed up and left after they were given
an ultimatum to vacate the area after the rape.
At the time, an angry mob broke down the shack where the suspects lived
and threatened other foreigners into leaving.
Residents alleged that one of the suspects had raped the girl while the
other two men had watched.
The victim's mother told the Cape Argus at the time that she also wanted
the foreigners out of the street where she lived.
She said she had left her daughter in the care of her sister but the
child had disappeared after going to a nearby shop with other children.
"We called her and looked for her, but she was nowhere to be found.
"More than an hour later she came home, clearly upset," the sister said.
"She cried and cried but refused to tell us what had happened, so we
promised her sweets and she showed us where she had been."
The toddler was taken to a hospital in Wynberg where she was examined
* This article was originally published on page 5 of The Cape Argus on
December 16, 2009
Strikes will go on, Vavi tells SACP
Kea' Modimoeng (Sunday Times) 12 December 2009
Strikes and service delivery protests will continue until the basic
needs of the workers and the poor are taken care of, says Cosatu general
secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
He was addressing the mid-term congress of the SA Communist Party in
Polokwane on Friday. Vavi told the congress that the adoption of
"conservative" macroeconomic policies during the early stages of South
Africa's democracy was "unfortunate".
He attributed social unrest and wage-related strikes to the
"casualisation" of workers, the "cruel" labour broking system and the
feeling of economic deprivation among poor communities.
"Our people ask, was reconciliation worth it if we are living in more or
less the same conditions we suffered under apartheid?"
Adding to the concerns raised in the SACP's political report on
corruption and the emerging culture of "tenderpreneurs", Vavi said it
was the responsibility of the SACP as the workers' "political insurance"
to fight those with "get-rich-quick schemes and get-rich-while-you-can"
Blade Nzimande, SACP general secretary, encouraged the delegates to
"throw their full weight" against labour broking "as part of an
important struggle to transform the black working class".
"In the 'white' countryside there has been an increase in the expulsion
and displacement of black farm workers through increased mechanisation
and periodic evictions, as well as intensified exploitation of the black
working class through brazen flouting of labour laws and removal of
farmworkers and farm dwellers from housing and schooling on white-owned
farms," Nzimande said.
Buti Manamela, Young Communist League national secretary, also lashed
out at labour brokers and threatened to mobilise the youth to
"forcefully" shut down labour brokering companies if parliament did not
act on the matter.
"We want to reiterate our call for the complete banning of labour
brokers. We see labour brokers as slave masters of the new order, and
absolutely enrich themselves from the labour power of others.
"Stop earning from others' sweat, get off your lazy bums, go and look
for a job because we are coming for you," Manamela warned those in
Parliament will decide next year whether labour brokers should be outlawed.
Staff discontent at Pick N Pay increases
Cathy Mohlahlana (Eyewitness News) 12 December 2009
Retail giant Pick N Pay may be faced with further protest action if
officials fail to respond to allegations of racism at the company before
Thousands of workers, linked to trade union SACCAWU, held a protest
outside the company’s head office in Kensington in Eastern Johannesburg
They want management to address claims of racism – they say black and
white employees are treated differently.
Workers have given the retailer until Monday to respond to their grievances.
SACCAWU’s Mike Abrahams explained some of the concerns.
“Some of the concrete issues that we are faced with is that the way in
which part time white staff quickly become full time or junior manager,
the difference between payments for black and white managers doing a
(Edited by Danya Philander)
Municipality splurges while residents suffer
Rochelle de Kock and Lee-Anne Butler HERALD REPORTERS 12 December 2009
RESIDENTS closed down a main street in protest against poor service
delivery yesterday, after the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality splashed
out R440 a head on a “pap and vleis” year-end function earlier this week.
Despite a call by President Jacob Zuma for government officials to
tighten their belts and cut down on extravagant parties, the
municipality forked out R106080 on food, about R5000 for a DJ and an
undisclosed amount on “refreshments” for 120 councillors and their spouses.
A service delivery protest was held in Stanford Road, Helenvale,
yesterday when disgruntled residents, mainly children, chanted, burnt
tyres and demanded the immediate removal of Ward 13 councillor Pieter
Residents said Hermans had not delivered while their councillor for the
last four years. They complained about high crime, no electricity, high
unemployment, broken toilets and a shoddy sewerage system.
Desira Davids, Helenvale Youth Sector chairman and also an ANC Youth
League member, said: “The situation in Helenvale has gone from bad to
worse since Hermans became councillor. He has done nothing for the
people, and when you complain there is no response.”
She also accused Hermans of hiring people from outside Helenvale to work
for him in the suburb crippled by unemployment.
“We have protested outside his offices since Monday, and it is time to
make ourselves heard.
“Four years has been long enough. Our councillor has been enriching
himself with a fat salary while everyone else has nothing,” Davids said.
While the community was also out in the streets protesting on Tuesday
evening, the majority of councillors headed off to The Willows resort
for an end-of-year party after a full council meeting. Some councillors
failed to attend, because they said they were only informed about the
function at the meeting.
Speaker Helen Sauls-August told them it would be “a very small party, to
take cognisance of the economic situation” and that they “deserve to
unwind after a very busy year”.
A reliable source, who did not want to be named, said the menu consisted
of “pap and vleis, salads and fruit” – at R440 a head.
The Willows confirmed that councillors and their spouses were served a
“five-piece” braai. The bill was for food, decor and equipment hired.
The establishment refused to disclose the amount spent on refreshments.
But a Willows employee said it normally cost about R160 a person for a
braai meal, which included tables, chairs, salads and breads.
The council’s “application for deviation from supply management form”,
of which The Herald has a copy, states that The Willows was “the only
The application for funding was filled in the day before the event,
against supply-chain management procedures which require at least seven
days to advertise for tenders. According to a municipal employee, who
spoke on condition of anonymity, the municipality did not advertise the
event, as required when allocating funds for any event costing over R10000.
“Acting municipal manager Sithembele Vatala gave a requisition for
deviation, for the application to be approved the same day,” the source
Upmarket beachfront restaurant Blue Waters Cafe said it normally charged
up to R140 for a three-course meal.
The Butchers Block, in Newton Park, said it charged R160.
Municipal spokesman Kupido Baron said yesterday: “The service providers
gave us the quote for that amount, so you must ask them why it cost R440
a person. We could only get one venue at short notice and had to ... pay
DA caucus head Leon de Villiers said he did not attend the event because
of the short notice.
“I think it’s so sad the public purse is being abused in this manner,”
There were also claims Motherwell councillors were seeking approval for
a year-end ward function to have taken place today. The amount requested
for the party was allegedly R60000.
Slovo Park residents go on rampage
KABELO MASENG (The Citizen) 7 December 2009
JOHANNESBURG - Residents of Slovo Park, south of Johannesburg, yesterday
protested over lack of service delivery and called on the government to
respond to their demands.
Angry residents burned tyres, blockaded roads and called on ward
councillor Kevin Wax to address them. On his arrival, Wax announced that
the MMC would be addressing them today.
He said that the City was looking at formalising Slovo Park and was
investigating the feasibility of building houses in the area.
“The City will be dealing with it as soon as all the legal processes are
dealt with,” he said.
Community leader Dan Moalahi said: “In 2003, we were told that 950
houses were going to be built in our area. Six years later not a single
house has been built.”
He added that on November 25 they had given Mayor Amos Masondo seven
days to respond to a memorandum of demands stating their grievances but
the council had failed them. They had also written a letter to President
Three people were arrested for violence and are expected to appear in
the Protea Magistrate’s Court today.
Santa Claus made a special delivery to the Botswana High Commission in
London today, UN Human Rights Day, on behalf of the Kalahari Bushmen.
Botswana officials received a gift-wrapped bottle of water labelled
‘Thirsty Still’, highlighting the fact that three years after the
Kalahari Bushmen won a landmark court case affirming their right to live
on their land, the Botswana government continues to deny them access to
The Bushmen took the Botswana government to court over their eviction
from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2002, in what became the
longest legal battle in the country’s history. On 13 December 2006, the
Botswana High Court ruled that the evictions were ‘unlawful’ and that
the Bushmen could go home.
Three years later, the Bushmen have launched new litigation over their
right to access water in the reserve. The government is promoting
tourism in the reserve, and has allowed a safari company to build a
tourist lodge with a swimming pool. But the Bushmen are not allowed to
access a single water borehole, and must make a 400km round trip to
fetch water from outside the reserve.
On delivering the gift of bottled water to the Botswana High Commission
this morning, Santa Claus said, ‘I wish the Botswana government a very
Happy Christmas, and I sincerely hope it will make the Bushmen’s
Christmas by allowing them to exercise their most basic human right, to
access water on their own land.’