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South African protest news 6 December - 31 December 2011 (2011) South African protest news 6 December - 31 December 2011.  : -.

Alleged vigilantism kills one
IOL News 29 December 2011

A 32-year-old man has died in an alleged mob justice attack in Kgaphamadi village, outside Groblersdal, prompting Limpopo police to warn communities not to take the law into their own hands.

The killing came after four men reportedly held a shopkeeper hostage on Wednesday and stabbed him in the neck and feet. They also ransacked the store. A young child witnessed the incident and alerted villagers, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Thursday.

“The community managed to apprehend two men at the shop, while the other two managed to escape. It is alleged that the two were severely assaulted by the community until they were rescued by the police.”

A 32-year-old man, identified as Tummi Mmotong, was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

Mulaudzi said a meeting was called by the police with community members to condemn this kind of behaviour.

“Problems should be directed to the police. We had to open a murder docket because we have to follow the letter of the law,” he said.

“We are expecting to make some arrests regarding the death, but it will be difficult because in situations like these, people are reluctant to talk.” - Sapa

Metro cops threaten to strike over grievances
Wendy Jasson da Costa (IOL News) 15 December 2011

Claims of racism, the flouting of policies, corruption and preferential treatment. These are among the problems that eThekwini metro police want the council to address, failing which they will go on strike during the festive season.

About 400 metro police staff, mainly traffic officers, protested outside their Old Fort Road headquarters yesterday, saying they had been responsible employees by avoiding industrial action for a long time, but it was time to act because nothing had changed.

They called for the contract of metro police head Eugene Nzama to be reviewed and for top managers Rajen Chin and Monty Naidoo to be suspended.

One woman said she did the work and had the title of a fully fledged traffic officer, but her job description was that of an authorised officer – a junior position – and she was paid accordingly.

Other authorised officers complained that they had been overlooked for training to become traffic officers for several years.

Now they were being rejected because the cut-off age was 30. Others were angry because they had been in acting positions for several years, only to be replaced by non-metro police staff with no experience.

SA Municipal Workers Union official Nhlanhla Nyandeni said the officers would not be on the streets over the festive season if they did not receive a positive response to their memorandum by Monday.

He attributed some of the problems to the “mismatch of skills and deployment” in the metro police.

“You can’t take a soldier and make him head of an operation like the metro police,” said Nyandeni, referring to Nzama.

Councillor Zandile Gumede, who received the officers’ memorandum, promised that the workers would have a response by Monday.

“We will ensure that workers are happy so that residents of eThekwini are safe,” she said.

Rubber bullets fired at protesters
IOL News 16 December 2011

Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse over 300 people who protested over service delivery at Ottoshoop near Mahikeng on Friday, the North West public safety department said.

“Police used teargas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, who then ran into the bushes,” spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said.

Protesters had barricaded the R49 road between Mahikeng and Zeerust with stones and burning tyres since 3am.

Kgwele said two front tyres of a passing VW Polo was punctured after the driver drove over the scattered stones on the road. No one was injured.

“Police have reopened the road but we advise motorists to use other alternative roads until safety is fully restored.”

Residents from a nearby informal settlement have been demanding housing since August.

Kgwele said human settlements MEC Desbo Mohono, Mahikeng Local Municipality mayor Lena Miga and the residents had held a meeting in September.

“It was agreed in the meeting that 107 housing units would soon be increased to 400 for beneficiaries in that area.”

The meeting followed another protest over housing provision in the previous month. - Sapa

Limpopo march against corruption
Cosatu 15 December 2011

Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU, will be leading a march against corruption in Polokwane today. The details are:

DATE: Tuesday 13 December
TIME: 09h00
ROUTE: The march will assemble at the SABC Park, Polokwane and proceed to the premier’s office, where Zwelinzima Vavi and others will speak.

For more information please phone Dan Sebabi, COSATU Limpopo Provincial Secretary, on 072 515 6699

Canadian youth marched out of COP17
Leanne Jansen (The Mercury) 8 December 2011

Environmental activists demonstrate outside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties meeting (COP17) in Durban, South Africa.

Six Canadian youths were booted out of a plenary session of the UN climate talks in Durban on Wednesday after staging a silent demonstration.

Soon after Canadian Environmental Minister Peter Kent started his address, the youths stood up without a word and made an about-turn, with the message “Turn your back on Canada” scrawled on their T-shirts for Kent to read.

They failed to respond when asked to take their seats. UN security escorted them from the room and revoked their accreditation for being disruptive.

The six were part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP17, a project of the Canadian Youth Climate Alliance.

The youths, as well as indigenous peoples, have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of Kent.

This is because the Canadian government has refused to stop the development of its immense reserves of tar sands to produce fuel, and has indicated a withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol.

After Wednesday’s incident, the national director of the alliance, Cameron Fenton, said that previous efforts to sway the government on its climate policies had come to naught – “the reality is they just don’t listen”.

“Young people here and across Canada do not agree with the goverment’s stance – the stance they’ve taken on our behalf. There is a need in Canada to separate the oil from the state.”

Karen Rooney, a 25-year-old nurse from Saskatchewan, one of the six to be barred from COP17, said the action was part of a continuing campaign to make her government aware that it was “representing the interests of the polluters”.

“We tried the polite, respectable and so-called right way of doing things to get through to them before.”

James Hutt, a 24-year-old student from Halifax, said that if anything, it was the official Canadian delegation that was guilty of disrupting negotiations by “sabotaging” support for and progress on Kyoto. Hutt said that the east coast where he lived had had hurricanes in recent years such as had not been seen before.

Rooney and Hutt are the eldest of the six, though the entire youth delegation comprises 18 members.

Patrick Bond, who directs the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, applauded the action.

“This was a not only a good example of what we should all be doing when facing destructive power: express dissent. Gandhi developed this approach, satyagraha, a century ago in Durban. But it was also one of the first signals that the demand for generational justice – kids demanding that adults behave – will be articulated through disrespect for elders who deserve disrespect.

“I hope this tactic catches on across Africa, because as we saw in Tunisia and Egypt this year, youths are often the brave conscience of the society.” - The Mercury

13 held in Petrusburg protest
IOL News 8 December 2011

Thirteen people were arrested on public violence charges in Petrusburg after blocking the main route between Bloemfontein and Kimberley on Thursday.

Police spokesman Captain Rolene Kuhn said the road was reopened to traffic after police made the arrests. Two women and 11 men were arrested during the morning.

About 200 disgruntled Petrusburg residents gathered at 4am, blockaded the N8 with rocks and burnt tyres during a service delivery protest.

Traffic was diverted towards Dealesville during the morning. The group wanted a response to a memorandum of demands which had been delivered to the Letsameng municipality two weeks ago. It concerned the provision of water and sanitation.

Kuhn said a police public order unit was monitoring the situation.

Last week nine people were arrested on public violence charges during similar protests. - Sapa

R2K Media alert: 8 December 2011

Right2Know KZN to picket Speaker’s Corner on Thursday 8 December
Right2Know KZN 7 December 2011

We invite all supporters and the media to join us in a lunchtime picket (12pm-1pm) on 8 December 2011 at Speaker’s Corner (Cnr Braam Fischer & Samora Machel St) in Durban.

Stop the climate secrets!
While the Right2Know campaign continues to mobilise against the draconian provisions in the Secrecy Bill, which remains a threat to the right to access and share information, we also recognise that the Bill is a symptom of a much broader culture of secrecy. In solidarity with the social justice movements calling for real change at COP17, the Right2Know campaign has joined the call for access to information for climate justice.

Cosatu delivers ultimatum over train service
Shanti Aboobaker 7 December 2011

Cosatu has demanded longer train sets and that station platforms be expanded, among other measures to help ease overcrowding for Metrorail commuters.

If Metrorail did not commit to meeting these demands by January 12, the union federation would embark on a strike that would “bring the local economy to its knees”, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said yesterday.

He was speaking to about 150 people who gathered outside Metrorail’s offices in Cape Town in protest at poor train services. Cosatu also demanded that some of the city’s MyCiti buses, in service from Table View to the city centre, be used on the Cape Flats, and that a train service from Strand to Simon’s Town be provided to link “historically divided communities”.

The federation had initially planned a one-day strike for yesterday, but after talks with Metrorail management, decided on a lunchtime protest.

Ehrenreich, who had predicted about 2 000 people would take part in the protest yesterday, told the small crowd that staggered working hours and the possibility of schoolchildren taking “different trains at later times” should be considered to spread peak times.

He called on Cosatu members to report cable theft, whichdisrupted train services, and said: “We will jointly promote a toll-free number (to report cable theft).”

In a memorandum given to Metrorail regional manager Lindelo Matya, Cosatu has said its grievances are also directed at the local, provincial and national governments.

“The national government must effect the same funding commitments that they have made for the Gautrain and the modern fleet of planes for SAA,” the memorandum read.

Matya said while many of Cosatu’s demands would be impossible to meet, some of the measures sought were in place or could be by next month. He said that Metrorail had been in talks with the Cape Chamber of Commerce about the staggering of working hours to ease peak-hour congestion on the trains, and that these discussions had been positive. - Cape Times

9 arrested as DRC protest turns violent
Barbara Maregele (IOL News) 7 December 2011

Nine Congolese refugees were arrested and two police officers slightly injured when police used pepper spray to disperse a crowd of about 300 protesters in Cape Town on Tuesday.

The protesters retaliated by throwing stones and destroying refuse bins in Wale Street outside the Provincial Legislature. Police spokesman November Filander said the protesters had been arrested for riotous behaviour.

They will remain in custody and are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

The refugees were protesting for a second day in support of Democratic Republic of Congo presidential candidate Étienne Tshisekedi WaMulumba. Holding posters and beating drums outside the Provincial Legislature and the French Embassy, they said the DRC elections were rigged and accused President Jacob Zuma of sending the SANDF to support incumbent President Joseph Kabila against the wishes of DRC citizens.

They also called on Premier Helen Zille to help them oust Kabila. Brief scuffles broke out between the protesters and police and protesters threw stones and overturned bins in the road.

The team of 18 armed officers blockaded Queen Victoria Street in front of the embassy, and forced the crowd back to Wale Street. Men and women were pushed over and trampled on as they ran away from police down St George’s Mall.

One of the Congolese protesters, Armando Ilunga, said they were angry and frustrated. “We are angry because we want one of our people to be president and not an outsider.”

“I came to Cape Town four years ago to study and I’m done with my studies now, but I haven’t been able to go back home. I fear for the lives of my mother, father and baby brother every day.

“The last time I spoke to them, my baby brother hadn’t gone to school for days because they were too scared something would happen.

“So many people have been killed over there already. Things are being exported out of the country, but our own people are struggling without work.”

Zille addressed the group of protesters and explained that she had no jurisdiction over foreign affairs and defence.

She said she would take the matter up in Parliament through the DA’s spokespersons on defence and international affairs, and would request a meeting with Zuma. - Cape Times

County Fair Securities Assault Workers and Unionists
Food & Allied Workers Union [F.A.W.U.] 7 December 2011

A scuffle broke out late yesterday afternoon when FAWU officials Lookington Ndongeni , Gafieldien Benjamin and Llewellyn Cupido went to intervene in a strike by County Fair workers in Klipheuwel, Durbanville. The two officials,Mlungilisele Ndongeni and Gafieldien Benjamin attempted to try to contact management to further talks about workers’ demands over bonuses when the company’s private securities, who were busy having a braai, suddenly sprayed tear gas in one official’s face after being called “ unsensitive” for braaiing while workers were on strike. After this verbal altercation, another security guard kicked one official, Gafieldien Benjamin in the face, and started to beat them up. We even have pictures of a severely injured official in our posession .

Striking workers then became aware of the incident and tried to assist the officials whereafter chaos ensued as security guards randomly started shooting everyone with rubber bullets. Several workers have consequently been injured . FAWU officials lodged a case of assault with the local police but it is being reported that these securities are getting preferential treatment and is not yet locked up.

FAWU cannot believe that the management of County Fair, one of the bigger poultry producers, would allow such thugs to be in their employ. Their behavior was barbaric and should be condemned by the company.

Please contact Provincial Secretary Lookington Ndongeni on 082 493 2019 or Gafieldien Benjamin on 082 827 8388

COSATU NW marches to Kgetleng river local municipality
Cosatu 7 December 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions together with its affiliate SAMWU will march to the offices of the Kgetleng River local municipality tomorrow, 7 December 2011.

COSATU has been reliably informed that there are acts of corruption and nepotism taking place in the municipality.

Several attempts have been made by SAMWU to engage the council to deal with this matter and resolve it amicably but to no success.

SAMWU has been awarded a certificate to go on strike and as COSATU we support their action.

COSATU demands that these appointments must stop immediately.

COSATU calls on the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs to intervene immediately.

For more information contact Solly Phetoe COSATU North West Provincial Secretary at 082 304 4055

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