||Put people first, urges Brics-from-Below
Noelene Barbeau 28 March 2013
About 500 people from various civil society organisations marched peacefully through the Durban city centre to the International Convention Centre, stopping at the city hall to protest and dance. They were followed closely by police equipped with riot gear and in armoured vehicles.
NGOs concluded their Brics-from-Below civil society summit on Wednesday with a march to Durban’s International Convention Centre, where the fifth Brics Summit is being held.
There they hand over a memorandum which was accepted by a UN Ambassador on behalf of the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
It demanded that Africa not be carved up and that south Durban should not be moved to make way for a dig-out port.
“We recognise how much is at stake. We are very worried about the potential for Brics heads of state and 15 allies among African elites to continue the processes of neocolonial extraction and destruction. The best example of this, close to home, is the south Durban port expansion and petro-chemical investment,” the memorandum read.
The NGOs, including the South Durban Environmental Alliance and the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Civil Society, met south Durban residents at Settlers Primary School, where pupils’ health has been affected by pollution from industries in the area.
“The investments being planned by Brics elites, and in particular the South African government, do not do much to improve people’s lives. The solution to Brics is to be found below, across Africa,” the memorandum read.
The only NGO allowed to attend the main summit was Oxfam Great Britain, which works to overcome poverty and suffering.
Commenting on the summit and in particular on the planned Brics Development Bank, Oxfam’s Steve Price-Thomas said there were still many unanswered questions on this issue.
“What are they going to focus on? It’s essential to put poverty reduction at the centre of its mission. I know the bank will focus on infrastructure, but they need to make sure the needs of the poor are met,” he said. Almost half of the world’s poor people, said Price-Thomas, live in the Brics countries, and all the Brics apart from Brazil have increasing rates of inequality.
He added that there needed to be a better water supply in rural areas, as well as free access to education and health care.
“Brics leaders are blazing a trail in reforming the global financial architecture, but the devil is in the detail. If the Brics Bank fights poverty and inequality it could be a big success. But if it focuses only on big-ticket schemes that fail to directly benefit poor people, it could do more harm than good,” he said.
PICKETING DEMONSTRATIONS AT WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION
SADTU 26 March 2013
All Media Houses and the public in general are informed of a picket by SADTU members in the Western Cape against the Department of Basic Education which will take place as follows:
Date: Wednesday, 27 March 2012
Venue: Western Cape Education Department
Grand Central Building
Lower Parliament Street,
The picket is about the following demands:
• Dismiss the Department of Basic Education’s Director General Bobby Soobrayan for collapsing Collective Bargaining and for being inefficient to run Department of Education.
• Pay Grade 12 markers
• Reduce class sizes
• No to the closure of schools
• The provision of growth post to schools
• Improve infra-structure at working class schools
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
Jonavon Rustin, Provincial Secretary: 0836335714
Sibongile Kwazi, Deputy Provincial Secretary: 0836278006
Shanduka dismisses 250 workers after illegal strike
Monde Maoto 26 March 2013
Shanduka Coal has dismissed about 250 mineworkers for taking part in a week-long unprotected strike followed by violent clashes at its Graspan colliery in Mpumalanga.
Graspan supplies thermal coal for both the domestic and international markets.
On March 18, the employees broke ranks from formal bargaining structures and downed tools, demanding performance bonuses, as unprotected industrial action in the coal mining sector intensified.
Their demand for bonuses was despite not having achieved production targets for February, the company said.
"The situation at Graspan colliery is calm and returning to normal," chief operating officer Zirk van der Bank said on Tuesday. "The illegal strike action was isolated and occurred only at the Graspan colliery."
The dismissed employees would be able to appeal against their dismissal and the company would recruit new employees from surrounding communities, Mr van der Bank said.
The announcement comes a couple of days after mineworkers at six coal operations owned by Exxaro Resources agreed to return to work after reaching a settlement with the JSE-listed diversified resources miner.
Exxaro is one of Eskom’s major coal suppliers, and the three-week unprotected strike action at its Arnot, Matla and Grootegeluk mines had raised concern about the impact on supplies for Eskom’s power stations.
COSATU NW will not give up the fight against Swartruggens toll gate
Cosatu 25 March 2013
The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the North West province is disappointed about the conduct some municipal officials in the Kgetleng municipality who refused to grant COSATU an opportunity to march to the Swartruggens toll gate even after the march was earlier approved.
The police and the officials of Kgetleng worked together and agreed that should COSATU march to the toll gate they are going to arrest all of us on our arrival at the toll gate. This was done because these officials have a good relationship with Bakwena and SANRAL and they all agree to continue to exploit the people of this country by privatising public goods.
As COSATU we are aware that this is part of the campaign to destabilise the federation and make it weak by sabotaging its programs. We were clearly informed that this arrest was going to assist some corrupt police officials to make our march to Impala unsuccessful, as the convenors and the whole leadership of COSATU would have been arrested at the toll gate. This is the second attempt to refuse us the permission with the mission to arrest some COSATU leaders.
We are pleading with the municipality, the police and the capitalists, who privatised our roads so they could continue to be rich at the expense of the poor motorists, that they must stop their tactics of delaying our program. We are following the gathering acts and we expect to be allowed to excise our rights under the law.
If they want us to do what other organisations are doing, taking to the street without permission, we will do so and we are prepared to be arrested and killed as is the plan of some of the beneficiaries of the toll gate.
COSATU wants to send a message that all this scare tactics will not defocus us and we will continue with our struggle to defend the working class and the poor and demand quality public service for them.
COSATU will not stop marching to the toll gate until the demand of reducing the toll fee to R20.00 and an alternative road is constructed for those who cannot afford to pay the toll fees.
We are happy that there is no increase on the toll gate, which is an acceptance that the toll gate is very expensive; we are therefore demanding that it must be reduced.
The state of our roads in the NW demands a full mass action which we are preparing with the civil society which will include the farmers in the NW.
COSATU will be going back to the toll gate again on 5th April 2013 and COSATU calls on all its supporters not to lose hope and be discouraged by this reactionary action of these counter revolutionaries.
COSATU calls on the municipality of Kgetleng to respect the law and the constitution of this country and to stop acting in favour of those who they are in their pockets.
For more information feel free to contact COSATU NW Provincial Secretary Solly Phetoe at 0823044055.
COSATU and CWU to meet striking Post Office workers
Cosatu 25 March 2013
The leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Communications Worker Union, led by COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini, will be meeting more than 500 Post Office workers who have been on strike for more than six weeks, at Witspos in Johannesburg, at 13h00 on Tuesday 26 March 2013
COSATU and the CWU are worried about what is happening there. The COSATU President will listen to the issues workers are raising and discus with them how to pave a way forward.
For further information, please phone COSATU Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, Phutas Tseki on 082 498 5840 or COSATU Gauteng Provincial Secretary, Dumisani Dakile, on 082 727 1422.
Crowd demands justice after bakery massacre
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 22 March 2013
Cape Town - An enraged crowd gathered at the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning to protest at the bail application of a man accused of killing of four Pakistani men in Rocklands.
Gunmen entered the premises of a home bakery in Rocklands on Tuesday night and opened fire on Muhammad Shafique, 42, Adnan Haider, 23, Ghulam Baqar, 23, and Shazad Ahmad, 39.
Two other men were wounded in the attack, one critically.
Outside courtroom 4, confusion reigned when a large group of friends and family were blocked by police from entering. They argued and banged on the door. They were told that they would be allowed to enter only once other cases scheduled for Friday morning had been heard. This subdued the crowd.
In the street outsidee court, several hundred Pakistanis and locals chanted for “justice” and the denial of bail for the accused.
Meanwhile, two men injured in Tuesday evening’s attack remain in hospital, one of them still in a critical condition.
Abid Hussain, whose brother and cousin were killed, has not been able to secure a flight back from Pakistan, where he is visiting. Hussain, a businessman and owner of a company called Eastern Distributors which delivers bread, has lived in Mitchells Plain for 16 years. The Pakistani community believes that the killings were motivated by business rivalry.
But police have warned against speculation.
Hanif Loonat, chairman of the Western Cape Community Policing Forum said: “This case is receiving our full attention. It makes no difference whether the victims of crime are foreign nationals or South Africans. We call for calm, and for the community to trust that the truth will be revealed through the investigation and the processes of the court.”
On Wednesday night, another Pakistani man was threatened at his home, allegedly by two men and a woman. Strandfontein police had not responded to the Cape Argus’ queries about the arrests of the three at the time of publication.
“They broke his window with a spade and said to him: ‘We will kill you, that is why we are here’. He hid with his family, and neighbours came out and scared the suspects off. Two of them were arrested by police,” said Javed Iqbal.
Iqbal is the uncle of Shazad Ahmad, one of the men killed on Tuesday.
“I have not been able to tell my sister (Ahmad’s mother) of her son’s death. The pain will be too deep, and she has a bad heart. She hasn’t seen her son for six years and I know that she was looking forward to him coming to visit later this year,” he said.
The final arrangements for the bodies of the deceased to be repatriated to Pakistan are being made, said Iftikhar Butt, general secretary of the Pakistani Community Welfare Association of the Western Cape.
“We expect that their bodies will be flown out on Monday, by which time we will ensure that all of the next of kin are informed about the deaths. We wanted to shield them from all the stress and admin involved in the repatriation process.”
Farmworkers to march on Parliament 23rd of March
On the 23rd of March, thousands of farmworkers will descend on the city of Cape Town. While Zuma and Motlantle will be busy canvassing for votes in the Boland, they will be marching to Parliament and Premier Zille’s offices to deliver a list of demands in order to show Zille that black farmworkers can make their own decisions and take action without being manipulated by the ANC. Farm workers have an will continue to take action against decades of abuse and exploitation.
Farmworkers have won R105 a day though courage, sacrifice and sheer determination. After having been denied the right to assemble by the City of Cape Town earlier this month, they will be going in force from the farmlands to demand from government urgent political intervention to actively oversee the implementation of their hard won new minimum wage. Farmworkers are also demanding a long overdue transformation of their deplorable working and living conditions as the rural poor of the Western Cape.
The media hasn’t adequately reported the reality on the ground: there are daily reports of farmers vindictively taking retributive measures in the form mass dismissals, hundreds of evictions, harassment and intimidation in order to break workers’ organisation. Where the farmers cry that they can’t afford the R105 and demand exemption, the workers demand access to their books in order to show that they cannot afford to pay and a transparent process. The government and all the official institutions that handle labour issues have shown their gross bias towards farmers before and throughout the strike, from the CCMA to the courts, and especially the police.
The farmworkers demand a moratorium on suspensions, dismissals and evictions and the reinstatement of workers dismissed as a consequence of strike action. They demand that evicted workers and their families be returned to their homes as well as the unconditional release of all arrested workers and the dropping of all charges made during the strike. They further demand for an Inquiry to be made into the SAPS/Justice System/Private Security Guard’s actions and behaviors in suppressing the labour demands and rights. The Minister of Police needs to step down after the killings of farm workers, mineworkers and others in struggle.
Farmworkers invite the media and the citizens of Cape Town to come out in solidarity with the farmworkers to take a stand against the persistence of barbaric and degrading living conditions in the rural Western Cape. Farmworkers supply the city with its food and we urge those who live of the products of our labour to show their solidarity. Farmworkers acknowledge that their struggle is one of many facing poor and working class people and know the importance of standing together for a liberated South Africa.
Place: Keizersgracht st
CSAAWU: 072991 3371
Surplus People’s Project: 0716136471
Women on Farms: 021 8872960
Two miners injured by rubber bullets
IOL News 20 March 2013
Mpumalanga - Two striking miners were injured when police fired rubber bullets at the Graspan colliery on Wednesday, Mpumalanga police said.
“They were taken to hospital but were not seriously hurt. One was injured on the forearm,” Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.
Police were called when striking miners blockaded the mine's entrance with road graders.
“Upon their arrival, protesters began fighting with police and threatening them. They chased police with the graders,” said Mohlala.
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse them. Nine miners were arrested for public violence. Police were unable to say how many miners were involved in the strike, or what they were protesting about.
Mohlala dismissed a report by the SABC that seven people were critically injured, and that live ammunition was used.
“The latest is that only two were injured. And we definitely did not use live ammunition.”
The mine could not immediately be reached for comment. - Sapa
Joburg customer centre closed by strike
IOL News 19 March 2013
The City of Joburg's customer service centre in Braamfontein has been closed due to a strike, the municipality said on Tuesday.
“Customers are advised that the Thuso House Customer Service Centre will be closed until further notice during this unprotected strike.
“We urge (customers) to visit other customer service centres around the city to pay their municipal accounts,” the city said in a statement.
Thuso House is the city's central payment point.
“It is not clear to the City at this stage as to what forms the basis for this illegal strike. Efforts to get clarity from unions drew a blank.”
Employees who participated in the strike have been suspended pending disciplinary processes against them.
“The suspensions stems from refusal of staff to resume duties after being formally notified to do so.”
Efforts to contact the SA Municipal Workers Union in Johannesburg were unsuccessful. - Sapa
Justice ministry condemns magistrates' strike as illegal
IOL News 19 March 2013
"Their actions amount to misconduct as they postponed cases without a valid reason, which is unlawful," says justice ministry.
Magistrates say the ministry is out of touch with the problems confronting lower courts. (Madelene Cronje)
More CoverageNo disruption expected during magistrates' strike"[Justice Minister Jeff Radebe] wrote to Joasa [the Judicial Officers' Association of South Africa] over the weekend asking them to reconsider their aggressive stance which is illegal, but [they] have yet to respond", said spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement
Mhaga said Joasa's actions undermined a basic human right of access to justice and compromised proper administration of justice, especially during human rights month.
"The minister will impress on the Magistrates' Commission to initiate misconduct disciplinary action against those members who unlawfully postponed cases set down for trial," he said.
"This action may lead to their impeachment by Parliament."
Mhaga said the ministry wanted to emphasise that the strike was illegal and that this was why the decision was made to take against them.
He said courts had functioned normally in all provinces with no disruptions. The only exceptions were in East London and two courts in KwaZulu-Natal, where cases had been postponed.
"We are busy collating information to ensure that we assign acting magistrates in affected [courts]. Other legal services have not been affected. In all, there was minimal disruption."
Earlier on Monday, Joasa said the ministry was out of touch with the problems confronting magistrates in lower courts and was not taking their salary demands seriously. As a result, magistrates had reached the point of opting for strike action.
"[It] is quite embarrassing for us to do this," said Joasa president Nazeem Joemath.
"The fact of the matter is nobody listens. The ministry of justice is out of touch ... I'm really stunned by the department's attitude." Joemath said the 5.5% salary increase recently approved by the department had nothing to do with the matter.
The increase was rejected by Joasa and the Association of Regional Court Magistrates of Southern Africa (Armsa). "They've [the justice department] been making it in the media that we are unhappy with 5.5%," said Joemath.
"They are shifting the actual question. It has taken the magistrate from being the victim to the villain."
Joemath said all Joasa and Armsa were looking for were the same salaries, benefits and service conditions as other judges within the confines of the sliding scale.
The point of contention stemmed from recommendations made to the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers (ICR) in 2008.
This related to salaries for magistrates and judges at all court levels, including the Constitutional Court.
It was recommended that salaries be adjusted to a 3% sliding scale. The Chief Justice's salary was planned to be the anchor to work downwards from, in line with the imperative of establishing a single justice system.
Demoralised and disillusioned
However, Joemath said this scale took place only within the high courts.Lower court salaries continued to be adjusted year-on-year, similar to those of other public servants.
Joemath said that in 2008, magistrates earned 47% of what the chief justice earned. In 2011, that figure had shrunk to 30%. He said if the recommendations had been implemented in 2008, magistrates would be earning approximately double what they were earning now.
Both Joasa and Armsa had approached the legislative branch after the implementation was approved by President Jacob Zuma in 2010.
After the National Council of Provinces had studied the recommendations, it agreed with Joasa and Armsa that the sliding scale be introduced across the board in 2008.
"[However] when we went to the justice portfolio committee to brief them, it doesn't matter how good your argument is as the decision has been already made," said Joemath.
"When we called for the strike, we thought we were going to get engagement, which has not taken place.
Magistrates are demoralised and disillusioned." Arguments in the IRC matter had already been presented in the Constitutional Court, where judgment was reserved.
Despite Joemath's comments and a planned strike by magistrates, courts around the country were said to be operating as usual on Monday. – Sapa
Punter protest to be probed
IOL News 19 March 2013
Durban - The National Horseracing Authority is to investigate the start of a race which resulted in a protest by angry punters at Clairwood Racecourse in Durban on Sunday.
The protest forced the abandonment of the last three races at the meeting.
“An inquiry has been opened to establish why a 'no start' (ie false start) was not declared in race six at the Clairwood Racecourse,” the NHA said in a statement on Monday.
The NHA confirmed the starting gate in which race favourite My Sanctuary was loaded had failed to open at the same time as the other gates.
The punters blocked the entrance to the jockeys' weighing room and the office of meeting officials, according to a report in The Mercury, and the seventh, eighth, and ninth races were abandoned.
Officials said afterwards the results would stand, and My Sanctuary was declared a “runner”, according to NHA rules, after finishing among the top four.
“The stipendiary board had no option but to declare My Sanctuary a runner as it was placed third by the judge,” the NHA said.
Members of the SA Police Service were called to the racecourse, but the crowd did not disperse. Organisers abandoned the meeting due to safety concerns for the riders and horses. - Sapa
Angry ANC takes to the streets
Cosatu 18 March 2013
Male members of the African National Congress (ANC) Gauteng Provincial Legislature are to stage a protest against the abuse of women and children.
The ruling party Caucus has called on all men in the province to show their opposition to gender violence by joining them on Tuesday (19 March 2013) when they will stage a picket outside the legislature building, at 8:30 in the morning ahead of the legislature sitting. The Legislature is situated at the corners of President and Loveday Streets in the Johannesburg City Centre.
Spokesperson Jacob Khawe said with more than 11,000 children being raped in Gauteng last year alone, the Caucus is adamant that our society cannot sit back any longer.
“With more and more children being wildly reported to be attacked by their fathers, the pandemic must be brought to an end. It is every girl’s dream to be walked down the aisle by their father. When that dream is shattered, the victim is devastated beyond comprehension.
“We simply cannot be a society derided worst than animals by an atrocious few monster amongst us. Let all men in Gauteng take a stand and state categorically that this is not in our name, and we are committed to working together to rid our society of these scumbags,” said Khawe.
He said the picket is held as part of efforts by the Caucus to find lasting solutions to the scourge of violence against women and children but also, it is held this month, in order to ensure that Caucus include in its programme of the International Human Rights Month, the issues of gender violence as violation of human rights.
The ANC is expected to bring a motion to invite the women and children’s rights Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) such as Gender Links, the Teddy Bear Clinic and Child-line be drawn in to work with the legislature to find society wide and lasting solutions to violence against women and children.
TopTV porn boycott looms
The New Age 18 March 2013
Christian and civil society groups are uniting behind a boycott of TopTV as the company seeks permission to broadcast three porn channels, the Family Policy Institute said on Monday.
"[The] Family Policy Institute (FPI), in partnership with several major Christian denominations in South Africa, has launched a nation-wide boycott of TopTV, its advertisers, and sponsors," said director Errol Naidoo in a statement.
The boycott was announced by the institute on Saturday at a march outside Parliament in Cape Town against rape and violence against women and children.
"The Christian church is deeply concerned that the introduction of three pornographic channels in South Africa will exacerbate the current crisis of rape and violence against vulnerable women and children," Naidoo said.
"Research overwhelmingly indicates the widespread and easy availability of pornography is harmful to society."
On Thursday, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) heard an application by TopTV to broadcast the channels.
Arguing for TopTV at the hearings at Icasa's office in Sandton, lawyer Steven Budlender reportedly said Icasa did not have the legal right to refuse the station permission to broadcast three subscription porn channels from abroad.
Naidoo said there was further concern as increasing numbers of children were being exposed to pornography on the internet and on TV.
"Introducing three porn channels in SA will significantly increase the risk of children being exposed to hard-core sexually explicit images," he said.
"Pornography demeans and degrades women and reinforces the stereotype that women are mere sex objects."
Christian churches that have joined the boycott are the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA, Assemblies of God of SA, the Baptist Union of SA, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, and Church of England in SA.
The Dutch Reformed Church, the Full Gospel Church of SA, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, and the Association of Vineyard Churches in SA have also committed to the boycott.
"We do this as part of our wider campaign to protect the dignity of women and children in the nation," said Naidoo.
"FPI will also encourage other faith groups in South Africa to join the national boycott of TopTV and its advertisers."
Earlier this year, TopTV appointed a legal team known for defending speech and media freedom issues to fight its case.
TopTV is hoping to broadcast the channels Playboy, Desire, and Private Spice between 8pm and 5am.
The initial application made provision for three 24-hour channels, but this plan was abandoned.
Langa shack fire protester arrested
Staff Reporter 14 March 2013
Cape Town - Residents who lost their homes in a shack fire in Langa in 2005, toyi-toyi-ed this morning outside the Delft police station after one of their leaders was arrested.
Siviwe Nondonga was arrested by police because he was seen as a “trouble maker”, residents said.
It was unclear this morning if he had been formally charged.
“But, he is no different from the rest of the community, we are all frustrated. We are here to see him released without being charged,” said resident Florence Myeki.
Myeki, who has been living between tent camps, community halls and a temporary relocation area (TRA) in Delft, said the provincial and local government had not stuck to their promises to provide housing for those left homeless after the fire.
A blaze in Joe Slovo informal settlement left 1 600 families homeless in January 2005. A year later, the Cape Argus reported on the confusion of residents as they were moved into a temporary location in Delft.
“That was years ago. We all thought that we would be out and in new houses by now, but the structures are deteriorating badly and we recently heard the news that the council wants to move us into a new set of TRA structures that are being constructed on land that was supposed to be for real houses,” said Myeki.
She said residents would resist moving into another temporary location by taking their protests to the streets again this week.
Cato Crest community leader gunned down
IOL News 18 March 2013
A Cato Crest community leader caught up in the land invasion chaos that has gripped the area was gunned down at a local tavern at the weekend.
Thembinkosi Qumbelo, who was president of the Cato Crest Residential Association, had gone to Silwane Tavern at about 8.30pm on Friday to watch soccer when he was shot, tavern owner Sipho Mthethwa said yesterday.
Mthethwa said he was not at his tavern at the time, but was told that Qumbelo had been standing in a passage outside when four men arrived and shot him from behind before fleeing. Other patrons ran for their lives, he said, adding that about 10 spent cartridges were found at the scene.
Qumbelo had been trying last week to get the eThekwini Municipality to allocate council houses to shack dwellers whose homes were demolished to make way for a housing development in Cato Crest.
About 1 000 displaced shack dwellers had invaded land in adjoining Sherwood on Wednesday, and were determined not to move. They had dubbed the area “Marikana” after the scene of last year’s Lonmin mine massacre.
In an interview with the Daily News the same day, Qumbelo had described the situation as tense, saying residents had not been provided with alternative accommodation when their shacks were destroyed.
He had said the failure of a community committee to consult adequately with the affected residents had fuelled the land invasions.
Qumbelo had asked his local ANC ward committee to give him an opportunity to address the invaders, but the invaders had chased him away.
A day before Qumbelo’s killing, another member of the committee was shot in the arm.
The Ward 29 member, who asked not to be named, said he feared for his life after he was ambushed at his home.
“I thought I was dying when I heard a number of gunshots fired through the window at about 2am,” he said. “It has never crossed our minds that we could be attacked and probably killed.”
He said he was shocked to learn that Qumbelo had been shot dead. “We worked together in the ward committee meetings. It is not easy to go back home, if discharged, without knowing who is behind these attacks,” he said. “My plea to the eThekwini council is to investigate and arrest these people.”
Mthethwa, who is also a member of the ANC ward committee, said the killing of Qumbelo had traumatised him. He described Qumbelo as a “brave, loyal leader of the people” who had recently rejoined the ANC after a short stint with the National Democratic Convention, an IFP splinter party.
He said it was painful having to wipe the blood of his friend from the floor. “We are coping though. It is not easy to say who did this,” he said, explaining the group of invaders had been infiltrated by outsiders.
“We visited his (Qumbelo’s) family as the ANC to pray with them in this difficult time,” Mthethwa said.
Approached for comment, Ward 29 (Mayville, Bonella) councillor Zanele Ndzoyiya said she had no time for an interview as she was in a meeting with local residents.
SAPS spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said police were investigating the killing, but that the motive was not yet known.
No arrests have been made.
Shack dwellers invade Durban
LEE RONDGANGER and NKULULEKO NENE (IOL News ) 14 March 2013
Durban - Close to a thousand displaced shack dwellers who have begun clearing land along Sherwood and Cato Crest with the intention of living there have escalated their demands that the eThekwini Municipality provide them with houses – or face their wrath.
Yesterday, angry shack dwellers continued to chop down trees and remove bush in open tracts of land along Mary Thipe Road (Cato Manor) and King Cetshwayo (Jan Smuts) Highway after their shacks were demolished last week to make way for a housing development in Cato Crest.
The land being cleared near King Cetshwayo Highway, which also borders Piedmont Road, has been dubbed “Marikana” by the invaders, after the scene of last year’s Lonmin mine massacre. They are determined not to be moved.
The invasion comes as members of Parliament said yesterday that they were “sick to the stomach” when they heard that R886 million had not been spent by the Human Settlements Department (full story on Page 2).
The eThekwini Municipality is facing an uphill battle in providing housing to more than 410 000 people living in 150 000 shacks. There are also 11 000 families living in transit camps in eThekwini.
Recent figures provided by the Department of Human Settlements show there are 636 informal settlements in KwaZulu-Natal, 484 of them in eThekwini.
According to residents of nearby Manor Gardens, the banging and chopping went on throughout the night on Tuesday.
“It was a mad racket,” said a resident of Rif Road who feared being named. “We called the municipality and the police, but the noise and cutting down of the beautiful trees just did not stop.
“It would be a tragedy if they were allowed to clear one of the last green belts in this area, for shacks.”
On Tuesday, a mob armed with pangas and spades attacked a councillor’s house in Cato Crest and also damaged a council office and an earth moving tractor.
Yesterday there was a large police presence at the Cato Crest settlement where several city officials met leaders of the land invaders.
According to Cato Crest Residents Association president, Thembinkosi Qumbelo, officials from eThekwini warned the crowd to stop clearing the forest or face going to jail.
Also discussed was the invasion on Tuesday night of 18 nearly complete council flats in Cato Crest.
Qumbelo said the invaders were chased away by people whose shacks had been demolished to make way for the flats, and who felt they had a stronger claim to the new homes.
“The situation is very tense. Residents were not given an alternative accommodation after their shacks were demolished for the project. Part of the houses had been completed, but not allocated to those on the waiting list,” he said.
“We have been told that invaders came from as far as Chesterville, Bhambayi and uMlazi.
“They want to seize the opportunity to own a house. It is a complex issue,” Qumbelo said.
“Some of the people were from the nearby Wards 29/30.”
He said the failure of the area committee to consult adequately with the people whose shacks had been demolished and those paying rent to “shack landlords” had fuelled the land invasions.
On a visit to the multibillion-rand Cornubia housing development near uMhlanga earlier this year, members of the city’s executive committee expressed concern about the never-ending shack problem.
“The mushrooming of informal settlements is a challenge for the city to beef up its land invasion control,” chairman of the city’s human settlement committee, Nigel Gumede, reportedly said.
Councillor flees from land invaders
Bongani Hans (IOL News) 14 March 2013
Durban - A Durban councillor had to flee his ward with his family on Wednesday when 500 armed land invaders turned on him and stoned his house and office as he was pleading with them to stop an illegal occupation of municipal land.
Despite police and security personnel being called in, the invasion continued and last night the invaders were continuing to use bush knives to clear vegetation.
The incident is unfolding on open land near Cato Manor Road, Rif Road and Owen Avenue and residents of nearby Manor Gardens are concerned it could compromise their property values.
Some of the invaders were living as tenants in shacks in Cato Crest until these were demolished to make way for low-cost housing.
There are also allegations that some of the invaders have received houses, but have been making a living out of letting out shacks.
Heavily armed police, metro police and private security guards were called to stop the invasion, which continued in their presence.
A policeman told The Mercury that the police and security companies had asked officials to negotiate a settlement with the invaders to avert a violent confrontation.
Mayor James Nxumalo said he was concerned about the safety of ANC councillor Mzimuni Ngiba. The eThekwini Municipality would not allow people to occupy municipal land illegally, he said.
Ngiba fled his Cato Crest home after the invaders damaged windows then proceeded to his municipal office nearby, causing more damage.
Nxumalo said the municipality was trying to raise more than R1 billion to build houses for 410 000 people on its waiting list in Durban. He would visit the area on Saturday.
The invasion started on Monday and Manor Gardens residents said some were occupying private land.
This morning I received a call from a lady who said people were cutting down trees close to her property. It is against the law to invade land, whether it is municipal or private,” Nxumalo said.
Ngiba said workers employed by a construction company contracted by the municipality to build low-cost houses had been attacked on Wednesday and had stopped working.
We had a meeting with police, municipal and provincial officials on Wednesday,” he said.
“Representatives of the invaders were also there to demand houses. Soon after the meeting I received a call that there was trouble and there was a threat to attack my house. My children had to flee. “Right now I cannot go home because I’m concerned about our safety.”
ANC members gathered near Ngiba’s house and said they would protect him.
Branch secretary Bongani Ngcobo said:
“If we allow these people to continue we will never be able to evict them from the land, which is already earmarked for more low-cost houses.”
Manor Gardens resident Njabulo Mngoma said he was concerned about the value of his house, which worth about R1.5 million.
“If people are allowed to build shacks we will be exposed to crime here,” he said.
Johann van den Berg, chairman of the local Environmental Forum, said the presence of shacks would have a devastating effect on the value of property in Manor Gardens. “Residents have valid concerns.”
Strike keeps Eskom in suspense
Dineo Faku (Business Report) 14 March 2013
The risk to Eskom’s power generation capacity is growing as strikes at five mines of coal supplier Exxaro enter a ninth day today.
Even though Eskom maintains it has enough coal stockpiles for 40 days, the ongoing strike could hamper power generation ahead of the winter season, a period of higher energy use.
By late yesterday, there appeared to be no end in sight to the Exxaro workers’ strike as business bodies grew increasingly concerned about the damage the dispute might inflict on the economy.
The Chamber of Mines sounded an alarm about the potential effect of the strike on the country’s energy generation capacity.
“The concern is that it seems to be gradually spreading to other mines,” Vusi Mabena, a senior executive at the chamber, said.
“Everybody needs to be concerned about possible challenges of supply to electricity generation if the strike is not contained.”
Exxaro, one of Eskom’s four largest suppliers of coal, is bewildered by a strike across many shafts by workers demanding performance bonuses. This, along with reported sabotage of trucks delivering coal, means a significant dip in the coal it supplies to the power utility.
Production at the Arnot, Matla, Grootegeluk, Leeuwpan and Inyanda collieries and the Reductants char plant halted as employees downed tools over the non-payment of performance bonuses.
The Arnot and Matla mines in Mpumalanga provide fuel to power stations that provide 10 percent of Eskom’s capacity.
The Matla mine produces 12 million tons of coal a year on average for the Matla power station, with an installed capacity of 3 600 megawatts, while Arnot mine produces 2.2 million tons on average for the 2 100MW Arnot power station.
A senior Exxaro official said this week that Matla only had two days worth of coal stockpiles remaining.
“At Matla we have the biggest challenge. The mine is the sole supplier to the power station and due to logistical issues, the company would not be able to source the coal from third parties,” he said.
Exxaro’s Arnot mine only has 19 days worth of stockpiles remaining.
Reports were that the Grootegeluk mine had 40 days of stock.
Eskom was also grappling with strike action at its Medupi power station in Limpopo over pay this week.
Unconfirmed reports yesterday evening were that the Medupi strike had come to an end and workers were expected to report back to work this morning.
Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe would not be drawn on the specifics of coal stockpiles, save to say that the power utility had 48 days of coal stocks across its fleet of power stations.
“We are concerned about the risks which sustained strike action could have for security of supply. This is especially so, given that the power system is very tight at present, because of reduced imports from Mozambique, and one unit of Koeberg being out of service and volatile performance of the power stations,” Joffe said.
She was adamant that the stockpiles were higher than at the time of the 2008 power crisis, when coal stock days had fallen to about six days on average, leading to Eskom initiating load-shedding.
Earlier this week, the parastatal was reported to have undertaken extraordinary measures, which included buying another 1 000MW from energy-intensive industries.
By yesterday, the end to the Exxaro strike seemed distant as employees were obstinate about not returning to the coal face until the company had paid their bonus.
“Irrespective if the country goes into darkness, workers want what is due to them. They don’t care; they say they cannot be exploited,” National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch secretary Mxolisi Hoboyi said.
Hoboyi confirmed that Exxaro workers had sabotaged delivery of coal to the company’s Matla plant.
“I received a report that employees forced a truck to offload coal on its way to Matla. In Arnot this morning, a truck was forced to offload coal on the road,” he said.
An Exxaro spokesman said he could not confirm that the trucks had been offloaded.
A meeting between the national leadership of the NUM and Exxaro management was expected late yesterday.
Exxaro shares fell 1.06 percent to R164.05 yesterday.
HOWARD COLLEGE STUDENT PROTEST
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CORPORATE RELATIONS 13 March 2013
Dear Colleagues and Staff
The University strongly condemns any act of violence that includes violent protest action. The University is committed to peaceful and constructive dialogue to address student and staff issues.
The recent protest action on the Howard College campus has continued despite an agreement in good faith with UKZN management. Lectures were disrupted, students and staff intimidated and damage to property incurred.
A court interdict restraining any further disruptions and illegal gathering on the University’s five campuses has been secured. We are deeply concerned that one student was injured during the protest today. The student has received medical assistance.
We wish to reiterate that the student accommodation matter that arose over the weekend is under investigation. At present the students are being accommodated in various accommodation facilities in the city. The University has given high priority to secure suitable permanent accommodation for our students.
We urge students to raise concerns through the official University processes.
UKZN must accomodate students: ANC
IOL News 11 March 2013
Durban - The ANC on Monday called on the University of KwaZulu-Natal to arrange accommodation for students left with no shelter in Durban during the weekend.
“Failure by any institution of higher education to keep students accommodated at all times can have serious consequences,” provincial spokesman Senzo Mkhize said in a statement.
According to the Independent Online, about 500 students had no place to sleep on Friday night after they were asked to check out of the Coastlands Hotel on Pixley ka Seme street, to make way for a long-standing booking by ANC local government leaders attending a summit.
The university was paying for students to stay at the hotel due to problems in residences.
The students were taken to the Downtown Hotel in Durban's Point area in the early hours of Saturday morning, where about 10 students had to share a room. The hotel is owned by doctor Genchen Rugnath and his wife Ravina. The two are accused of running a brothel from the hotel.
“We don’t feel safe here. This place has prostitutes and drunk people coming in and out,” one student told Independent Online.
Students who had relatives in Durban spent the weekend with their families.
“As the ANC we condemn this and would like to urge the university to speedily look into the matter and make sure that this never happens again,” Mkhize said.
The university did not respond to requests for comment. - Sapa
Students protest over residence botch-up
Leanne Jansen, Andile Dube and Bernadette Wolhuter 12 March 2013
Botch-up leaves students on KZN streets
Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal is to probe how hundreds of its students came to spend the night on the pavement in Durban’s city centre, and has apologised “unreservedly” for the “unacceptable” incident.
The students protested against the situation and disrupted lectures on the Howard College campus on Monday.
This was despite an undertaking from the student housing department to move them and house them all under one roof on Monday night, and to finalise its search for suitable permanent accommodation by Friday.
The students were no happier when they learnt they would all be moved to the Impala Holiday Flats on the beachfront.
“We want proper and permanent accommodation; we are tired of being moved from one place to another,” one student said.
The university’s residence department told students who were put up in the Downtown Lodge, Wyham Hotel and Palm Beach Hotel that they would all be taken to the Impala Holiday Flats at 5pm on Monday.
But who was to blame for the original botch-up with their accommodation is unclear.
The group of more than 500 students were first moved from their off-campus university residences to the Coastlands Hotel in Pixley ka Seme (West) Street. This they had to move out of to be moved to the Royal Hotel, which said it had no record of their intended stay.
They were eventually settled into various hotels in the early hours of Saturday.
UKZN has remained adamant it had an agreement with the owner of the Royal Hotel, which was not upheld by its management which refused to accommodate the students.
It said on Monday the reason the students were living in the Coastlands Hotel in the first place was their previous landlord had not paid the water and lights bill.
Moses Motsa, who owns the Royal Hotel, denied there was an agreement.
“The university approached me, looking for accommodation for the students, but I put them on to management,” Motsa said, adding no agreement had been reached.
Hotel director Lionel Reid said there had been no bookings, contracts or confirmation.
Robbery-accused set alight in Cape Town
IOL News 12 March 2013
Cape Town - A man was beaten to death and set alight in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, on Tuesday morning, Western Cape police said.
Lt-Col Andre Traut said Lindile Maci, 26, had been accused of a robbery in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, before his death.
No arrests had been made and police were investigating.
Strike sparks meat quality alarm
Mogomotsi Magome 12 March 2013
Meat inspectors and examiners protest outside the offices of the International Meat Quality Assurance Services in Lynnwood. Picture: Phill Magakoe
Pretoria - Meat inspectors who on Monday downed tools have raised concerns about the quality of meat that will be distributed to butcheries over the next few days.
The shortage of meat inspectors, examiners, graders and classifiers could raise serious hazards regarding the meat that is distributed to butcheries from abattoirs, they claim.
The inspectors, who have been joined by meat examiners, classifiers and graders in their strike action, say they will not work at any abattoir until their 15 percent wage hike demand has been met.
This will force their employer, the International Meat Quality Assurance Services (Imqas), to deploy alternative staff at various abattoirs across the country.
Imqas board member Dr Langa Simela said they had put alternative measures in place to ensure that meat inspections would continue at abattoirs, but did not specify what these were.
She told staff protesting at the Imqas offices in Lynnwood that the board would study the memorandum handed in on Monday and decide on the way forward. “We thank you for coming to us and making your voice heard. We will discuss the memorandum with the rest of the board and decide on the way forward,” said Simela.
The workers, who are represented by the Congregated and Allied Workers Union of SA (Cawusa), have accused Imqas of negotiating in bad faith and unilaterally implementing increases that were not agreed to with the union.
Cawusa general secretary Thomas Nkeane, said they were shocked that increases were implemented while they were under the impression that negotiations were ongoing. “Most of the workers were surprised to see salary adjustments of between 2 percent and 6 percent in their January payslips, which was never agreed with the union.
“Imqas told us they needed more time to negotiate with individual abattoirs about our demands, but instead they went ahead and implemented the increases. “They have been negotiating in bad faith and the workers are not happy about this. We have downed tools and more workers are joining the strike. This will certainly affect the quality and safety of the meat that is distributed to butcheries and various meat suppliers,” said Nkeane.
According to Nkeane, the union represented more than 200 inspectors at about 150 abattoirs around the country, and were expecting the rest of the workers to join the strike over the next few days. About 400 inspectors are employed by Imqas.
On-campus strikes backfiring on students
Leanne Jansen 12 March 2013
Durban - Violent on-campus strikes were “killing” the reputations of universities and colleges and hurting the chances of their graduates’ finding jobs.
Higher Education Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana told student leaders that the time for violent protests “had come, and gone” and impressed on them the balance between the right to raise issues “sharply and robustly” with a sense of “integrity, respect and discipline”.
Manana, whose office is tasked with handling student leadership, made the comment after a meeting with the University of Zululand student representative council at the weekend.
The deputy minister had been invited to be introduced to Unizul’s new executive management team, and had congratulated its administrator, Professor Chris de Beer, and vice-chancellor, Professor Fikile Mazibuko, for the “exceptional” work they had done in turning the institution around and bring ing it back “from the brink of collapse”.
“The kind of degeneration that leads to strikes as a result of misunderstandings with management is killing the reputation not just of the institution, but also of the students that the SRC are leading. We learnt from our interactions with industry and employers that they tend to absorb the graduates of more reputable institutions as opposed to institutions where there were many strikes, the destroying of university infrastructure and all of those things,” Manana said.
He said he had explained to the SRC that the backlog in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for this year was R1.3 billion, and that his department had placed the provision and revamping of student housing high on its priority list.
Campuses in KwaZulu-Natal had been plagued by student protests related to those issues. Nationally, there had been 39 such protests during the past five years.
A ministerial committee appointed to probe the availability and condition of student accommodation across the country, and whose findings were released last year, uncovered massive shortages and unsafe and unhygienic living conditions.
It also found that some students who received National Student Financial Aid Scheme assistance and lived in university residences were going hungry either because the scheme’s meal allowance was too little, or because the fund was being mismanaged.
As The Mercury reported last month, the province’s universities planned to spend at least R1bn on building new student housing over the next three years.
Unizul would embark on a R550 million infrastructure development programme for its KwaDlangezwa campus, which would include the construction of two residences, computer laboratories for resident students, a disability unit, a student services building, and sports facilities.
Manana said there was a growing realisation that where accommodation could not be provided, some female students depended on sugar daddies for somewhere to live, rather than abandon their studies.
The financial aid scheme allocation to the historically disadvantaged institutions had to be increased, but the sooner free higher education could be introduced, “the better”, he said.
At its Polokwane and Mangaung national conferences, the ANC resolved to introduce free higher education – which Manana believed could become a reality within five to 10 years.
3,000-plus coal workers strike in South Africa
Yahoo News 11 March 2013
Over 3,000 workers at five Exxaro coal mines in South Africa were on strike Monday over unpaid bonuses, a company spokesman said, prompting fears electricity supplies could be hit.
"The strikes are related to different issues at the mines," company spokesman Win de Klerk said in a statement.
"Production has stopped at these mines and Exxaro is engaging with unions and managing the situation to bring operations to normality as soon as possible," it said.
The company supplies the state owned energy company Eskom with coal for power stations.
The state utility said stockpiles would last up to 40 days, ruling out immediate shortages.
Workers at two mines, Matla and Arnot in the eastern province of Mpumalanga were the first to down tools on March 5.
Workers at three other mines have since followed suit.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said talks with Exxaro bosses had not yet yielded results.
"The company informed the workers that failure to meet targets had resulted in bonuses not being paid," said NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka.
South Africa's mining industry is recovering from a wave of deadly labour disputes over pay, which shut down gold and platinum mines last year and slashed profits.
Mob drive couple from their home
IOL News 11 March 2013
Durban - A Merebank couple accused by residents of being drug dealers have gone into hiding after a large mob tried to attack them at their home on Friday, and torched three of their vehicles.
Trevor and Charmaine Moodley have left their three children in the care of their grandmother and sought refuge at an undisclosed location.
The Moodleys told the Daily News yesterday that they feared for their family’s safety.
Trevor Moodley said he was being unfairly accused by some residents of ordering a hit on a local teenager, Reldon Reddy.
A relative of Reddy’s said the 19-year-old had been expected to appear in court on March 19 for possessing drugs.
Reddy was shot dead on Wednesday. He was buried yesterday.
Trevor Moodleys mother, Pushpakanthi Govender, claimed police watched as the mob destroyed the cars. Picture: Sandile Makhoba
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwan, said an 18-year-old suspect had been arrested in connection with Reddy’s murder and would appear in the Wentworth Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
A relative of the slain teen, who requested anonymity, said the family had been told that Reddy had been shot by a friend, because he had “turned against” others who were allegedly involved in the local drug trade.
When a Daily News team visited the block of flats, Beverly Hills, yesterday, a group of residents, some of whom were drinking, said that if the Moodleys returned, they would be killed.
They claimed Moodley had been dealing in drugs for years and that he had been using boys as his pushers, including Reddy.
Moodley denied all the claims last night, calling them “lies”. He said he would not have hurt Reddy, because he looked after him “like a son”.
“I was not there when it (the shooting) happened,” he said.
Moodley’s mother, Pushpakanthi Govender, who lives in the same block, said she was terrified after the attack.
Standing in the parking lot where the cars were torched, she said a mob had gathered on Friday night.
She said the mob threw rocks at her windows and banged the cars with their hands and sticks.
She said children were also present and the mob had became unruly.
At one point, people turned on the police, before pouring petrol on the cars and setting them alight.
“The police did nothing. They just folded their arms,” she claimed. “They didn’t even have tear gas or rubber bullets to threaten them.”
Zwane said police were investigating a case of arson and public violence, and no arrests had been made.
“The allegations that the police did nothing to stop the community are unfounded.”
Govender said it was not safe at the flats, and she wanted police to reassure her that the mob would not return.
Charmaine said it made “no sense” for the community to blame her husband for Reddy’s death, explaining that police ballistic and fingerprint tests would show he was not the killer.
“If police punch in my name and my husband’s name into their system, no drug charges against us will show up,” she said. “We are not convicted drug dealers.”
She said she knew Reddy and his friend very well, adding that they were like sons to her and her husband.
“These boys would eat, sleep and bath at my house. Even when we went to parties, they were with me,” Charmaine said.
She said the mob had made its way to her flat on Friday night after a community meeting, to which she had not been invited.
“Stones were thrown at my house and I phoned the police,” she said.
“And when they were there, this still carried on so I called the Durban flying squad because I could see that police were not able to handle the angry mob.”
Charmaine said the mob had been shouting “Burn their house, burn their cars” in front of police, who did nothing to disperse the crowd.
She said she now felt “like a criminal” on the run. One of the vehicles torched was a van she used to run her business, selling toilet paper and eggs, she said. “I can’t keep booking in and out of places with money that I don’t have, I have no place to go,” she said.
Charmaine said she and her husband had received threatening SMSes warning they were going to be killed if they returned to their flat.