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South African Protest News 3 - 17 March 2012 (2012) South African Protest News 3 - 17 March 2012.  : -.

Protesters block Cape Town highway
IOL News 16 March 2012

About 100 Khayelitsha residents were locked in a stand-off with police on the N2 highway in Cape Town, Western Cape police said on Friday.

Captain Frederick van Wyk said men, women and children blocked the highway at about 10pm on Thursday with stones, rubble and burning tyres.

The crowd had gathered at the Mew Way bridge near the airport, he said.

Police were pelted with stones. They warned residents to disperse but were ignored.

“Two stun grenades were thrown among the protesters and they ran and hid behind a wall. They were still throwing stones at the (police) members,” van Wyk said.

A flare was set off to provide light for the officers, who then moved to disperse the crowd.

Residents disappeared between houses before they could be apprehended.

Van Wyk said police patrolled the township while the highway was cleared of debris.

It was re-opened at 1am.

The motive for the protest is unknown, and no arrests were made. – Sapa

COSATU NW reminds Sun City of the deadline
Cosatu 16 March 2012

The Congress of South African Trade unions in the North West would like to remind Sun City and Sun International of the agreed time frames in the finalisation of the investigation into racism, the payments of workers’ overtime and gratuity, and the issue of labour brokers.

In the meetings COSATU has had with Sun International we have agreed that these issues will be resolved by the end of March 2012 but as for now Sun International is just too quiet or relaxed. It seems as if there is no work happening there.

Jointly COSATU and Sun City we are expected to give the premier feedback on these critical matters which affect our economy in the NW.

COSATU would like to remind Sun International that we are left with only two weeks to the end of March and we are not expecting any extensions for these matters to be resolved.

COSATU will convene a mini rally on 24 March 2012 in Moses Kotane to give feed back to the workers and get a new mandate from them.

COSATU warns Sun International that they should resolve this matter speedily, failing which we will have to revert back to our mass action as initially planned and we are ready to be interdicted at any time for fighting against any capitalist agenda of wanting to destroy the workers’ rights.

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

Men murdered over ‘stolen plasma TV’
Lauren Isaacs 16 March 2012

The theft of a television set allegedly led to the death of three Khayelitsha men.

Macassar police said the bodies of Luxolo Mpontshane, 25, Mabhuti Matinise, 20, and Sivuyile Rola, 28, were found on sand dunes in Macassar early Thursday morning.

The men were allegedly kidnapped by community members and tortured for nine hours after they were suspected of stealing a plasma television set.

“When police searched around the crime scene, they found the sticks that had been allegedly used to murder the men.

“A plastic container with clear fluid in it, with a chemical smell, was also handed in as evidence, as it is presumed the men might have been forced to drink it,” police said.

The three men had been allegedly kidnapped at 4pm on Wednesday. They were allegedly beaten and tortured until 1am, they said.

Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said four people had been arrested on murder and abduction charges.

He said while the motive for the murders was not clear, they were not ruling out the possibility that the men may have been killed in a “vigilantism attack”.

On Thursday, when the Cape Times visited Khayelitsha, where the men lived, their relatives were in their homes, crying and comforting one another.

Mpontshane’s mother, Nokhanyiso Mpontshane, at first refused to speak to the media, saying tersely: “I have nothing to say. I can’t speak yet because my heart is broken.”

But after several minutes blinking back tears, she went on to say that while her son was a “naughty boy”, his behaviour had “changed for the better lately”.

His uncle, Sanele Twetwa, who lived with Mpontshane and identified his body at the dunes, told how a man had come looking for Mpontshane on the day before he was killed.

He said the man had accused his nephew of stealing his television.

“(He) came over to our house and asked Luxolo, ‘When did you steal my TV?’ My nephew then said he had nothing to do with the missing television.

“Luxolo then left but (the man) came back a second time, looking for him,” he said.

Twetwa said he had reprimanded his nephew, who had denied stealing the TV, saying it was a “case of mistaken identity”.

“About a hour later, one of Luxolo’s friends came to me and said (the man) and his sister-in-law had captured Luxolo, (Matinise) and (Rola), took them into his house and was beating them,” Twetwa said, adding that he had alerted the police immediately.

Police had searched for Mpontshane, Matinise and Rola until 11pm on Wednesday, he said.

Twetwa went on to say that after police had spoken to the man who had earlier accused his nephew of stealing the TV, they were told that Mpontshane, Matinise and Rola had gone to Macassar, where police later discovered the three bodies.

At the home of Matinise, Nomvelo Matinise said her brother had taken her old television for repairs on Tuesday.

She said community members could have thought that it was the stolen TV.

“(Mabhuti) put my television in a trolley and went to have it fixed,” said the tearful woman.

Meanwhile, Rola’s aunt, Nothemba Nobanda, said she had learnt of her nephew’s death during the prayer meeting which was held at her house daily.

An emotional Nobanda said she had brought up Rola because his mother and her sister, who lived in the Eastern Cape, could not look after him.

“I don’t know a thing about this television. I am just so shocked.

“I phoned his mom immediately and we will be sending his body back to the Eastern Cape to be buried.” - Cape Times

Protest sees 62 arrested
IOL News14 March 2012

Police arrested 62 people when a protest at Theunissen in the Free State turned violent, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Sergeant Ian Gaobepe said a service delivery protest apparently got out of hand on Tuesday.

Residents started breaking the windows of an old clinic and a community hall in the township.

The group moved to the town centre and threw stones at the municipal building and the offices of the African National Congress.

Gaobepe said the situation was under control and quiet on Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance urged Free State premier Ace Magashule to step in and sort out the water supply problems in the municipality.

The municipality governs the towns of Theunissen, Winburg, Brandfort and Soutpan.

"The management of this municipality find it seemingly impossible to deliver the most basic and necessary of all commodities, water," said Free State DA local government spokesman Peter Frewen.

He said it was no surprise that the residents of Masilonyana had invaded and disrupted a meeting by the district municipality at Theunissen.

Residents went on a rampage through the town afterwards and the damage to property was immense.

Frewen said the water supply in Winburg was always at critical levels.

"There is insufficient pumping capacity to get reservoirs up to full capacity."

In Theunissen, the water supply was mostly erratic.

Frewen said the municipality was unable to get the town’s system functioning at any effective level, with officials staggering from one water crisis to the next.

In Brandfort, the situation was a tragedy, he said.

One clinic was without water and people were being turned away.

Frewen said the water situation in Masilonyana needed urgent attention before similar riots spread to other towns.

Samancor ‘s four week long strike ends
NUM 27 March 2012

The four week long strike by over 3500 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) at Samancor Chrome came to an end last night after the parties reached a deal. The NUM demanded an increment in the funeral cover which has now been increased from R10 000 to R20 000. The company further agreed to base their calculations on 93%, top up with R 300 for category A and B and R250 for category C. The parties further agreed on the establishment of a task team to assist in the investigation of minimum wages between Samancor Mines and Smelters and that such investigation should be concluded before the 30th of June 2012. In addition a R1000 once off settlement has been agreed to. “We are proud of the achievement as we have been given what we struggled for. It is a pity the company thought they will go away with not acceding to our demands in the beginning but eventually realised that there is no going back on our side” says Ecliff Tantsi, the Chief Negotiator at Samancor Chrome.

The Eastern Chrome workers are currently at the training centre for orientation to resume their duties whilst the Western Chrome workers would return to work on the 29 March.

Ecliff Tantsi- (Chief Negotiator)-082 941 4210

Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719

NUM ‘s three week long strike bites Samancor harder
NUM 14 March 2012

The strike by over 3500 mineworkers at Samancor Chrome ‘s East and West divisions is now in its third week. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) demands that the company should equalize its wages across all Samancor Chrome mines and smelters. Other issues include the issue of calculation of benefits, family responsibility leave and the funeral cover. “We will not surrender and we won’t be starved to return to work. This is a battle we are prepared to die for” says Ecliff Tantsi, the NUM ‘s Chief Negotiator at Samancor Chrome. The NUM and Samancor Chrome management met yesterday in what is now a failed bid to resolve the almost three week long strike. The parties will further meet this afternoon.

The NUM appeals to the company to come to its senses before it is too late to recover lost production when operations resume. “Our members remain resolute. They are as determined to continue with the strike as ever before” says Tantsi.

The strike has hit the company harder and management is dancing on one spot across the clock and the NUM is not shaken.

Ecliff Tantsi- (NUM Chief Negotiator at Samancor)- 082 9414210

Lesiba Seshoka- (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719

Fouriesburg quiet, cop monitoring
IOL News March 14 2012

Fouriesburg was quiet on Wednesday morning after violent protests erupted earlier in the week, Free State police said.

“Nothing was reported since yesterday (Tuesday) but we will continue monitoring the area until we are satisfied that protests won't start again,” Sergeant Majang Skalkie said.

A woman was killed and 110 people were arrested after public violence in Fouriesburg on Monday and Tuesday. Most of those arrested had been looting shops.

“The 110 people that were arrested will appear in the Fouriesburg Magistrate's Court tomorrow (Thursday) on charges of public violence.”

Skalkie said the body of a 42-year-old woman was found in one of the looted shops. Police suspected she was trampled when looters fled as police arrived on the scene. A post mortem would be held to determine the cause of her death.

Residents blocked the road between Fouriesburg and Bethlehem. They were reportedly unhappy with a local municipality project, for which workers from a neighbouring municipality were employed. – Sapa

Woman killed, 110 arrested in protests
SAPA 13 March 2012

A woman was killed and 110 people were arrested in Fouriesburg during public violence in the past two days, Free State police said on Tuesday.

Sergeant Majang Skalkie said 105 people were arrested during renewed protests on Tuesday. Most of those arrested had been looting shops in the local township. Five people were arrested on Monday.

The body of a 42-year-old woman was found in one of the looted shops.

Police suspected she was trampled when looters fled as police arrived on the scene. A post mortem would be held to determine the cause of her death.

Residents also blocked the road between Fouriesburg and Bethlehem. They were reportedly unhappy with a local municipality project, which was hiring workers from a neighbouring municipality.

Police were monitoring the situation. - Sapa

Grabouw school closes doors for now
IOL News 14 March 2012

The troubled Umyezo Wama Apile combined school in Grabouw, Cape Town, will be closed until April.

The troubled Umyezo Wama Apile combined school in Grabouw, Cape Town, will be closed until April, the Western Cape education department said on Wednesday.

“The disruption and intimidation of teachers and learners have made it impossible for normal teaching and learning to take place,” MEC Donald Grant said.

“The department has not taken this step lightly and remains committed to its policy of protecting teaching and learning time.”

Members of the Elgin Grabouw Civic Organisation barged into the school last week to demand the building of a new school.

Some facilities were set alight and a few people were arrested for public violence.

Disruptions continued this week when civic organisation members stormed classrooms and demanded that classes stop.

They told pupils that Grant had not responded to a memorandum in which the group demanded new classrooms be built.

Grant said he responded to the memorandum last Friday and was doing everything to obtain a site for a new school, news which the organisation “chose to ignore”.

Pupils would be dismissed from Wednesday till the start of a new school term on April 10.

He said district officials would assist teachers with preparing syllabus catch-up plans.

“The school's management team and other educators will report for duty as usual and will continue with school-related activities for the remainder of the term.” – Sapa

School disruption condemned
SAPA 12 March 2012

MEC Donald Grant said members of the Elgin Grabouw Civic Organisation entered classrooms on Monday and apparently told pupils that teaching would not take place.

Describing this as unacceptable, he said the reason given for the disruption was that he had not responded to a memorandum, in which the group demanded that new classrooms be built.

“The truth is that the education ministry has communicated with the Elgin Grabouw Civic Organisation and has responded to their memorandum.

“We informed the chairman that should we be able to secure the site, there was every possibility that we could have a new mobile school erected and ready for use as soon as the start of the second school term.”

Organisation members apparently threatened teachers who wanted to continue classes despite the interruption. Some children left the premises.

Last week, residents stormed the school in Grabouw to demand the building of a new school. Some facilities were set alight and a few people were arrested for public violence.

Grant said a suitable site for a new school had been identified, but it needed to be transferred from the national public works department, which Minister Thulas Nxesi was considering.

The school's principal and governing body had been encouraged to make sure pupil attendance was a priority. Grant said he might seek an interdict against organisation members should disruptions become a trend. – Sapa

Police on alert in Villiersdorp
IOL News13 March 2012

Tension remained high in Villiersdorp after protesting residents set fire to a community hall in the town.

On Tuesday, police maintained a strong presence outside the Theewaterskloof municipal offices.

Reports varied that between 850 and 4 000 people marched to the municipal offices on Monday, destroying council-owned facilities on the way.

The drama unfolded when police used water cannons to disperse a crowd of protesters who retaliated by throwing stones and bricks, damaging the post office and municipal offices. Twelve protesters were arrested and are to appear in the Caledon Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. Protesters also threw a beer bottle at someone, forcing police to fire rubber bullets.

Later, protesters retreated to the local township, Goniwe Park, where they burned down the community hall.

Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said the trouble started at about 5am on Monday, when some 150 residents burned tyres on a street corner. Some commuters were prevented from going to work.

When a local leader, who usually led protest marches, was called to talk to the crowd without success, protesters insisted on speaking to municipal manager Stan Wallace to hand him a memorandum of demands.

“The memorandum was handed over to Wallace but the crowd was still unruly. The protesters were warned to disperse without success,” Van Wyk said.

He said the 12 people arrested faced charges of malicious damage to property and public violence.

They were part of more than 800 protesters who took to the streets, burning tyres. The group also blocked Buitenkant Street with logs and rocks.

Angry protesters also demanded to know how the Theewaterskloof Municipality spent its budget.

Tuesday morning, Van Wyk said there was a heavy police presence to monitor any violent flare-ups.

“It’s relatively quiet, but we have deployed sufficient police combat to monitor the area,” he said.

Villiersdorp mayor Chris Punt said in a statement that the protest was an attempt to destabilise the Threewaters district municipality which “has been very peaceful and effective”.

Community members were unhappy that the municipality did not provide services to an informal settlement on a farm called Destiny, said Wallace.

He said the memorandum contained a request that the town council meet with representatives of the protesters within five days. - Cape Argus

Protest turns violent
SAPA 12 March 2012

Villiersdorp residents burned down a community hall and destroyed public facilities in a protest on Monday, Western Cape police said.

Captain Frederick van Wyk said the trouble began around 5am when about 150 residents burned tyres on the corner of Buitenkant street and Graaff street in the town.

Some commuters were prevented from going to work.

A local leader, who usually led protest marches, was called to talk to the crowd without success.

Protesters insisted on speaking to Theewaterskloof district municipality manager Stan Wallace, and an opportunity to hand him a memorandum of demands.

About 800 people then marched to the municipal offices, destroying facilities along the way.

“The memorandum was handed over to Wallace but the crowd was still unruly. The protesters were warned to disperse without success,” Van Wyk said.

Police used water cannons to disperse the crowd. Residents retaliated by throwing stones and bricks, damaging the post office and municipal offices.

They also threw a beer bottle at someone, upon which police officers used rubber bullets.

The protesters retreated to local township Goniwe Park where they burned down the community hall.

Van Wyk said a case of public violence and malicious damage to property was opened. No arrests were made and no injuries were reported.

The municipality was expected to comment later on Monday on the reason for the protest.

The situation was being monitored. – Sapa

‘Eastern Cape nurses work or be fired’
SAPA 12 March 2012

“The nurses have until tomorrow (Sunday) to report to work or they will be fired,” said spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.

The nurses abandoned their posts on Friday night, after holding two hospital managers hostage over the night duty allowance.

The nurses, who were not armed, locked them in a boardroom at around 11am.

Kupelo said a list of nurses qualifying for the allowance had been submitted, but had to be re-submitted when it was found to contain mistakes.

“It was detected that the list was fraudulent. There were names of people who were on leave at the time,” he said.

He said when nurses were told in a meeting that they would not be paid by Monday, they got angry and locked two managers in a boardroom.

Another group went to wards and ordered nurses out to attend a meeting.

“Nurses who were reporting for night duty were ordered out, leaving patients without nurses.”

He said nurses abandoned their posts except those in the maternity ward and intensive care unit.

“Today (Saturday) as we speak, all nurses have reported for work including those who are on night shift, we suspect their intention is not to work the night shift,” he said.

He said labour union National Education, Health and Allied Union was holding a meeting with the nurses on Saturday, to warn them about the danger of their “wildcat” strike.

“Administratively we are issuing out notices that nurses must return by Sunday or risk being fired,” said Kupelo.

He said one patient was transferred to an East London hospital on Friday night. Other patients were being taken back to the hospitals which had referred them to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital for specialised care.

“What we do not want is for people to die... we hope the meeting will come with a solution.”

Kupelo said departmental officials from Bisho had been sent to the hospital in a bid to manage the problem. - Sapa

Vavi: More ways in store to halt tolls
IOL News 6 March 2012

The Congress of SA Trade Unions has more “creative-ways” to make the e-tolling system an epic failure, general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.

He told reporters in Pretoria if government went ahead with e-tolling on Gauteng freeways after Wednesday's strike, Cosatu would organise more strikes.

The nationwide strike is in protest against e-tolling and labour broking.

“Particularly on April 28...we are more likely to think about lots of creative ways which we have talked about which will make that whole (e-tolling) system unworkable...completely unworkable.”

He said government would have to choose between the economy losing billions in the e-tolling battle or choose to negotiate with the organisation instead.

“Government has R300 billion, it can't tell us that it can't get just R20 billion from that R300 billion to pay for public roads,” he said.

Vavi said Wednesday's strike action was a sign that Cosatu was still willing to negotiate with government regarding the two issues.

“We are going to be listening very carefully in terms of what government is going to be saying...we are forcing government back to the negotiating table we are saying we remain open to talks, even at this moment,” he said.

He said strike action was being used sparingly as it was a huge sacrifice for workers to lose a days' wages.

He said teachers were also expected to participate in the strike.

“Teachers are workers too and they have the same rights as all other workers.”

He said plans would have to be put in place to make up for the learning hours which would be lost on Wednesday.

Everybody and all organisations were welcome to participate in the strike except for those working in essential services.

Cosatu said it would not allow participating political parties to push their own agendas at the strike.

He said the attendance of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was placing Cosatu in a “tight corner”.

Malema was in solidarity with the action and would march with protesters on Wednesday, said Vavi.

A total of 34 marches will be taking place across the country.

In Johannesburg protesters were expected to gather at the Library Gardens and proceed to the department of labour and then the department of transport. - Sapa

Man killed after rape attempt
SAPA 5 March 2012

A man was beaten to death in Soweto on Monday after trying to rape a woman, Gauteng police said.

The man, in his 30s, entered a shack in Doornkop where two women were sleeping around 3am, Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said.

“He tried to rape one of the women, but she started to scream.”

The man tried to escape, but neighbours caught him and started beating him.

“Police arrived to find the man severely beaten and in a serious condition. He was taken to hospital, but died on arrival.”

No arrests had been made. – Sapa

Four arrested in protest
SAPA 5 March 2012

Four people were arrested early on Monday morning for public violence in Grabouw, Western Cape police said.

Warrant Officer November Filander said residents began blocking roads and burning tyres just before midnight.

“The reason for the violence is that they alleged that a local school only caters for coloured learners and not for other learners of colour, and want a school to be built for them,” he said.

The four were arrested around 1am when police found tyres and a petrol container in their white Nissan bakkie. – Sapa

Limpopo residents held after unrest
SAPA 5 March 2012

A total of 53 people have been arrested following unrest at Sephukubje village in the Sekgosese area of Limpopo, police said on Monday.

Violence broke out at the local clinic on Sunday after a security company owner shot and killed a 47-year-old guard over a work-related dispute.

“The residents wanted police to hand over the arrested owner. When police refused, they started throwing stones at the clinic, breaking windows,” Lieutenant-Colonel Ronel Otto said.

“One police vehicle was set on fire while another one was damaged,” she said.

The 53 arrested face charges of public violence and damage to property while the arrested man faces a charge of murder. – Sapa

Pupils arrested for violence
SAPA 5 March 2012

Four high school pupils were arrested for public violence in Nyanga in Cape Town on Monday, Western Cape police said.

They were part of a group of 80 pupils who gathered at Nelson Mandela High School at around 7am to protest against a school fees issue, Warrant Officer November Filander said.

He said police had stones thrown at them.

“The situation is tense but under control. We have about 40 students still standing there.” – Sapa

Riot sparks traffic chaos in Cape
IOL News 5 March 2012

Rampaging protesters forced police to close down parts of Vanguard Drive on Monday as they burnt tyres and portable toilets and vandalised road signs and traffic lights.

Thousands of motorists were stuck in gridlocked traffic as police clashed with nearly 100 protesters, many in their early teens or younger.

The protesters threw rocks at police who in turn fired rubber bullets in their direction. There were no reports of injuries.

City of Cape Town traffic spokeswoman Merle Lourens said a section of Vanguard Drive between the R300 and Lansdowne Road, in both directions, was still closed at the time of going to press.

“Traffic is being diverted from there,” she said.

Protesters had also vandalised traffic lights and traffic signs along Vanguard Drive.

The city said Vanguard Drive had been closed along several key stretches – including around Duinefontein and Lansdowne roads, NY72, Weltevreden and Varkensvlei roads – causing a substantial diversion of traffic on to the N2, which became heavily congested.

City spokeswoman Kylie Hatton confirmed incidents of tyre burning and stone throwing.

The protest started in the early hours, with one couple saying they awoke to burning tyres and the sounds of protest.

“Our toddlers were so scared,” said the couple, who declined to be named.

A group of nearly 100 young men taunted police and at one point threatened to storm one of the Casspirs stationed on Vanguard Drive.

Groups of protesters also chased a photographer who fled to safety.

It took motorists more than an hour to get out of Mitchells Plain – a journey that usually takes 10 minutes.

Golden Arrow started diverting its buses onto Varkensvlei Road from just after 6am, leaving many commuters stranded at bus stops along Vanguard Drive.

At one point, protesters pulled portable toilets from nearby Sweet Home Farm in Philippi on to the road and set them alight.

None of the protesters was willing to speak to the Cape Argus.

However, onlookers said the protest was about the city cutting off electricity in the informal settlement.

This could not be confirmed at the time fo going to press.

On Monday morning a pall of smoke hung over Vanguard Drive as police patrolled the area on foot and in police vans and Casspirs.

There were two rows of burning tyres across Vanguard Drive, which police doused with water.

Motorist Elizabeth Mashaba, who was on her way to the gym at Westgate Mall, said it took her an hour to get from Morgenster to Highlands Drive.

A teacher, who declined to be named, said she was coming from Ottery and that it had not been difficult to get into Mitchells Plain, although it had been a nightmare trying to get out.

At about 9am the situation had been stabilised by police, who were considering opening the main thoroughfare.

Police had managed to track down the protest leaders and were in discussion with them. - Cape Argu

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