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Publication Details

Reference
South African Protest Observatory 11 June 4 July 2014 (2014) South African Protest Observatory 11 June 4 July 2014.  : -.

Summary
Township recovers after fare hike fury
Daily News 4 July 2014
By Kamcilla Pillay

Authorities are picking up the pieces after messy protests in a Ladysmith township this week over taxi fare hikes.

Police said on Monday that more than 300 people had gathered to protest against the increase of 60c – from R5.90 to R6.50 – for the trip from Steadville township into the northern KwaZulu-Natal town.

Roads in the area are still closed and motorists are being advised to take alternative routes.

The area seemed quiet on Thursday, and the rocks and rubbish strewn across the road were the only evidence of the unrest.

On Monday, a paramedic, his team and his critically injured patient were held hostage by an angry mob, but escaped unscathed.

The next day, during the protest, several police officers travelling between Durban and Newcastle in an unmarked vehicle found themselves in the middle of a blockade.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said protesters who had obstructed the road using rocks, stones and burning tyres tried to storm their vehicle.

“Protesters were armed with stones and rocks in their hands. The officers had no choice but to defend themselves by using their official firearms.”

He added: “They fired warning shots into the air, which dispersed the protesters. While the incident was busy unfolding, police in the area heard the gunshots and quickly made their way to the scene. They assisted the officers and also managed to clear the road blockade. No one was injured or arrested during the incident.”

Zwane said the protest action in response to the taxi fare increase in Steadville was continuing.

“The dispute between the community and the taxi association has still not been resolved,” he said earlier this week.

“No criminal cases have been opened, nor have any arrests been effected. Police are presently monitoring the situation,” he said.
www.iol.co.za

Police fired on students: Denosa
IOL News 2 July 2014

Johannesburg - North West police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition on protesting students in Mmabatho on Wednesday morning, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) claimed.

Students were protesting peacefully against the closure of the Mmbatho nursing college, Denosa North West said in a statement.

“One student leader was assaulted and then arrested in the commotion, triggering panic among student nurses.”

The organisation said it was appalled by what it called the reckless actions of police, following the closure of the college nearly two months ago.

North West police denied Denosa's allegations.

“Denosa alleged the police used live ammunition on what they call a peaceful protest of students at Mmabatho nursing college,” Colonel Emelda Setlhako said.

“We want to put on record that students barricaded Dr Albert Luthuli Drive this morning with stones, which they also used to throw at passing motorists, therefore contravening... the National Road Traffic Act.”

Police ordered students to disperse, but they refused.

“Instead, they threw stones at the police. In order to restore calm and put the situation under control, the police were compelled to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd,” she said.

“No one was assaulted during the arrest as alleged.”

A student was injured when the police tried to handcuff him, and a man was arrested for public violence.

Setlhako appealed to students to demonstrate and engage with police peacefully.
www.iol.co.za

Burning rage over power cuts
IOL News 3 July 2014

Johannesburg - Angry residents stormed an Eskom building in Soweto overnight, smashing the gate before torching at least a dozen vehicles parked in the yard.

The front roller gate of the Klipspruit Eskom technical service centre was bent in and rested on the floor.

In the parking lot, at least 12 torched vehicles could be seen although it was unclear whether these belonged to employees personally or were company cars.

Other cars which weren’t razed had their windows smashed in, including a cherry picker truck.

The windows of the security booth at the entrance were also smashed.

The perimeter fence was bent towards the road and its supporting poles nearly snapped off.

Security denied the media access to the property while the police combed the scene.

The protest started late on Wednesday night and protesters attacked some cars including that of The Star’s night editor Mapaseka Mogotsi.

Mogotsi was on her way home to Rockville. She was travelling past the Nancefield Hostel just before midnight when she saw rocks blocking the road and shattered glass. She expected two Nyalas to alert her to any trouble, but since they didn’t, she drove on.

“I kept driving but the road was dark as there is no electricity in the area and it was curving.

“As I continued, I saw that it was barricaded. I tried to reverse but could not as I could not see what was going on behind me for the dark. I had to continue on that road and that’s when people started pelting my car with rocks, screaming and shouting. I am talking about men with rocks that they hurled at my car,” she said.

“As I tried to negotiate myself out of that situation, my front wheel got a puncture and I lost control of the steering wheel. With one hand, I tried to control the car and with the other, I was on my phone trying to call for help.

“Fortunately, I managed to flee and met the police along the way.”

Mogotsi was not hurt because her windows did not shatter.

On Thursday morning, the situation appeared to have calmed down with the police monitoring the area.

A group of Klipspruit women came to see what had happened, but were afraid to be identified.

They said the men from the hostel had become frustrated with what the women said is nightly load shedding in the whole of the Klipspruit and Nancefield area.

“But they don’t pay electricity,” said one woman.

She said for the past two months, power was cut in the Klipspruit area and Nancefield hostel from 7pm and restored between 7am and 2pm the following day.

Another resident said they heard the men approaching the Eskom Centre at about 11pm.

“They were knocking on windows (en route), saying ‘come and join us’.”

She said she also heard gunfire.

Joburg metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said that metro officers had to close the roads in the area early Thursday morning, including Klipspruit Valley Road and Sofasonke Street and redirect traffic while they cleared rocks and other debris.

Traffic was severely affected, particularly on Chris Hani Road, which saw vehicles backed up for kilometres. Motorists were redirected to Chris Hani, Elias Motsoaledi and Reverend Modise roads.

The Klipspruit Valley Road, which has Rea Vaya BRT lanes that go behind Nancefield hostel is busy in the mornings because it is also used by other buses as well as taxis.

By 7.20am, normal traffic flow resumed, said Minnaar.

Eskom could not respond to queries at the time of going to press.

A press conference was scheduled for Thursday morning.
www.iol.co.za

Mob ruin lives because of Eskom
IOL News 4 July 2014

Johannesburg - Motorists who were attacked by protesting residents in Nancefield, Soweto, have told of their harrowing experience at the hands of a mob that pelted them with bricks.

On Wednesday night, a female motorist got lost after dropping off a friend she attends church with and found herself in the middle of a violent mob.

In another case, a brick from the crowd hit the driver on the shoulder and someone punched him through the vehicle’s broken window.

Patrick Dama said he also felt someone trying to drag him out of the vehicle.

Dama and his passengers escaped, but his minibus taxi, which was his only source of income, was torched.

The 30-year-old co-owned the minibus with his uncle. With the money he makes from the business, Dama pays for the room he rents and takes care of his 6-year-old son.

He was also planning to pay lobolo for the mother of his child later this year. The protesters shattered that dream, he said.

“I did not do anything to them. We are not Eskom, we are just people who were coming from work,” the heartbroken man said.

Dama was travelling with three clients when he saw rocks on the road, but he did not think much of it.

He then saw people gathered further along the road and reversed.

Dama was suddenly attacked by people who had been hiding in the bushes.

“I just heard a brick hitting the windscreen and another one shattering my windscreen,” said Dama.

He said the minibus could not get into gear when he reversed. It stalled, and he and his passengers ran for it.

They met up with police, who accompanied them back to the vehicle – but it was gone.

The following morning, Dama found that his vehicle had been torched.

He looked at its charred remains with a heavy heart.

“I made a living with it. It was not insured because I did not have enough money. I had spent a long time looking for a job, that is why I started this transport business with my uncle. This is a messed-up situation,” he said.

Nkhensani Mthombeni, who lives in Pretoria, got lost in the Nancefield area after dropping off a friend at the University of Johannesburg campus.

She was driving on a dark road that was barricaded with rocks when she heard people shouting.

Her car was pelted with rocks and bricks, but Mthombeni drove on, hitting debris on the road.

Finally, she hit the pavement, two tyres burst, the car veered out of control and stopped. She got out and started running.

Police officers and a passer-by helped her.

According to Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela, in another incident, two men were taken out of their smashed-up vehicles and stripped to their underwear by the protesters, who also took their phones.

botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za
www.iol.co.za

Cops use rubber bullets at taxi protest
IOL News 2 July 2014

Mbombela - Police fired rubber bullets during a protest by minibus taxi drivers in Mbombela on Wednesday, Mpumalanga police said.

Colonel Leonard Hlathi said police fired rubber bullets as they tried to remove the taxis drivers had used to block several roads.

Tow trucks were used to remove them and roads were reopened.

Hlathi could not immediately provide reasons for the protest but said safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe was meeting the parties involved to resolve the matter.

Democratic Alliance chief whip in the provincial legislature Jane Sithole said taxi associations blocked roads in a bid to get the government's attention.

Alternative routes, such as the N4 route from Kanyamazane and Malelane, had been blocked, bringing all traffic to the city to a standstill.

“While taxi drivers have a right to strike that is enshrined in the Constitution, they must do so in a manner that does not endanger the lives of ordinary citizens,” Sithole said.

She alleged that feuding taxi associations fired shots.

On Monday group of taxi drivers called the G8 disrupted traffic in a bid to get their own taxi rank in Mbombela.
Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Cato Crest calm after protests
eNCA 23 June 2014

Residents blocked the entrance to the informal settlement with burning tyres and rubble.
Protesters hurled stones at the police, who retaliated with stun grenades.

Police are patrolling the area in case protests flare up again.

The residents are angry after the municipal anti-invasion unit destroyed their shacks, saying they had been illegally erected.

The eThekwini municipality says it cannot allow people to erect informal housing on vacant land.

A similar protest in the same area last year claimed the life of a 17-year-old girl.
Public order police have now moved into the area to monitor the situation.
-eNCA
www.enca.com/cato-crest-calm-after-protests

Mbombela taxi protest causes chaos
SAPA 30 June 2014

Mbombela - A group of Mpumalanga taxi drivers disrupted traffic on Monday in a bid to get their own taxi rank in Mbombela, the municipality said.

“Chaos and confusion reigned on the major roads leading into the city this morning. This was as a result of the strike action by taxi operators belonging to the G8 Taxi Association,” the municipality said in a statement.

According to the SABC, morning peak hour traffic towards Mbombela was backed up for more than 8km on the R40 and P2296 roads.

Members of G8 took to the streets demanding their own taxi rank. They later met provincial government officials.

“At the meeting with the representatives of the operators, it was agreed that a temporary station 1/8taxi rank 3/8 be sought from where the aggrieved operators will continue to operate while a permanent solution is being explored.”

It was agreed that the inconvenience caused by the blockades should be avoided at all cost.

“A task team has been set up to continue with the work of finding a lasting solution to the current disagreements that exist among all taxi operators that ferry passengers to and from the city.”

Police spokesman Brigadier Selvey Mohlala said the protest was peaceful but police would continue to monitor the situation. No arrests were made and no damage was reported.
Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Free State workers demonstrate over health crisis
Mail & Guardian 27 June 2014

The TAC says it fears the arrest of over 50 community healthcare workers after they began a sit-in at the province's health department headquarters.

According to the TAC, Free State health MEC Benny Malakoane sent a circular to all community healthcare workers in April terminating their contracts claiming they were ghost workers. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)
Over 50 community healthcare workers from Bloemfontein are currently staging a sit-in within Bophelo House – the headquarters of the Free State health department – in frustration over the on-going crisis in the provincial health system, according to the HIV advocacy group, Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

“A demonstration was held throughout the night to highlight the urgent need for action to address the collapsing health system and in particular draw attention to the non-payment and uncertain employment status of community healthcare workers in the province,” a TAC press release said.

According to the TAC, health MEC Benny Malakoane sent a circular to all community healthcare workers in April terminating their contracts claiming they were ghost workers. Following this, department head sent a second circular stating that their services should not be stopped. The provincial department are currently allowing non-governmental organisations to manage the payment of the community healthcare workers.

“As of now the community healthcare workers taking action have not been paid their R1 500 stipend for the last two months and have received no information regarding the reasons for this. They do not wish to be paid via an non-governmental organisation and are demanding to be absorbed back into the health system,” the TAC said.

A partner’s meeting had been called by the TAC to address the crisis facing the Free State health system but this meeting has been cancelled and all partners will be joining the protesters at Bophelo House.

“As it stands, no one from the provincial department of health has spoken to the demonstrators and the MEC and head of department are unavailable. The police have arrived at the scene and there are concerns arrests will take place. This is a peaceful sit in and we urge the South African Police Service to use restrain,” the TAC said.
mg.co.za

DA to deadbeat dads: Pay your papgeld
IOL News 26 June 2014

Cape Town - An estimated 9 million South African children are growing up without resident fathers.

DA leader Helen Zille and members of the DA Women’s Network (Dawn) responded to this by gathering outside Parliament on Wednesday, noisily demanding papgeld (child maintenance).

Dawn has launched a campaign to demand that Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies implement new credit laws to crack down on child maintenance defaulters.

Donning blue sashes as a symbol of their commitment to children’s rights, the women danced and held up signs saying: “Pay your papgeld!”

Denise Robinson, interim leader of Dawn, said: “An estimated 9 million children are growing up in South Africa without fathers. From 1996 to 2009, the proportion of living fathers who are absent from their children’s lives increased from 42 percent to 48 percent. Fathers who don’t pay their child maintenance don’t face the full might of the law.”

Robinson called for fathers who did not meet their financial obligations to be penalised, with the co-operation of various agencies, including Sars, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), Home Affairs, vehicle licensing, banks and the Deeds Office.

Zille called on fathers and mothers alike to take responsibility for their children.

“When you make a baby, it’s the child’s interests that are put at the forefront,” she said.

“The Western Cape government was the first and the only one to have distributed 100 million condoms – and that’s now enough condoms. If you can’t be a father, don’t make a baby.”

Lionel October, the director of Trade and Industry, confirmed that following up child maintenance defaulters had been identified as a priority.

“The different departments are currently looking at an Australian model which could possibly be implemented within the justice and police ministeries as well as trade and industry to locate maintenance defaulters within South Africa,” he said.

dylan.oktober@inl.co.za
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za

Macassar residents boo De Lille
IOL News 27 June 2014

Cape Town - An enraged crowd of Macassar residents booed Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille when she addressed them on Thursday night.

Residents packed into the community hall and spilled out onto the street in the rain, desperate for answers as to when they will receive the houses they have been waiting for - and where the city plans to place hundreds of evicted Lwandle residents.

De Lille could barely speak over the shouting.

She said: “You must begin with those who have been on the waiting list the longest, and that’s what we are doing. Phone our office in the morning, give your ID number and we can tell you where you are on the list.”

But the furious residents found no comfort in De Lille’s visit, and said they would take to the streets in the morning.

“People are even more angry than they were before she came. She has just made it worse,” said Macassar resident Celeste Jacobs.

Saul Claassen, who has been a backyard dweller in Macassar for 10 years, said: “She didn’t give me right and proper answers. I’m very upset now.”

Meanwhile, in Lwandle, the frustration of being cooped up at the Nomzamo Hall for more than three weeks since their eviction from Sanral land led residents to fight over donated clothes on Thursday.

The orderly distribution of donated clothes quickly turned ugly when residents declined to wait their turn. Instead they ran up to the front table, where the clothes were displayed, and started grabbing items.

Some clothes were stuffed underneath people’s clothing, and some fell to the ground.

Noluthando Makiva, an elderly woman suffering from diabetes, said she lost a mattress in the fighting. Makiva said she slept on top of a blanket. “When the blankets came they all ran to the front and grabbed and fought over mattresses. I can’t run.”

Nomapeli Pupu refused to queue for the clothes. “I’d rather my children wear the same outfit at all times than fight over clothes.”

She said living in the hall was a constant battle for her and her children.

“This is abuse. How are we expected to spend a month living in these conditions when before the eviction we had homes, jobs and were at peace?”

More than 800 residents were supposed to move back to the SA Roads Agency (Sanral) land that they were evicted from. But residents said they would not move unless their belongings were returned.

The belongings were confiscated during the violent eviction this month.

Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement leader Andile Lili said residents would not move soon. He said people needed their beds and furniture.

“If Sanral, Human Settlements and other stakeholders can’t locate the belongings they need to get sponsors to supply people with beds. Where are they expected to sleep – on the floor? No.”

zodidi.dano@inl.co.za
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za

South Africa: Immigration Protest in JHB
All Africa 25 June 2014

Johannesburg — Immigration practitioners are losing their jobs because of revised immigration regulations, they said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"We want our jobs back! We want our bread back!" they shouted as they marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown to the home affairs department in Harrison Street.

"We have people we took from the streets, helped them to get these jobs that include queuing and applying for permits on behalf of our clients, they rely on this income to put food on the table," said Pitsho Nkoy, who has been a practitioner since 2005.

An amendment to the Immigration Act, which was signed into law on June 2, had removed section 46 which acknowledged the practitioners, they said.

Practitioners assist foreign nationals to apply for work, visiting, study, or business permits in South Africa by doing the administration, standing in the queue, and collecting the documents at a fee.

They say they wrote exams at the home affairs department at a cost of R3000 to qualify as practitioners.

"We wrote exams but they don't recognise our certificates anymore. They cannot take our jobs and give them to foreign companies.

"The act was amended during minister Naledi Pandor's term and it removed us from section 46. Regulations were signed without our permission," Mimi Molwane said.

She has been a practitioner since 2009.

The group said they were thinking of suing the department for loss of income.

She said initially practitioners would deal directly with the department. But with the scrapping of the practitioners in the act, their clients were now forced to use an agency to apply for permits.

The agency is apparently foreign-owned and charged extra costs.

Home affairs Johannesburg office head Khehla Miya was handed a memo.

"We accept people's views and concerns. I will forward this and give feedback to the address given," he said.
allafrica.com

Councillor and community leader hits back
Unemployed residents want project to be labour intensive.

Riaan van Zyl 26 June 2014

Two of the parties in the mine dump rehabilitation debacle who came under the harshest criticism defended themselves yesterday (24 June).

ANC community leader Laetitia Stuurman (also Ward Committee member for Environmental and Infrastructure Affairs as well as chairperson for the sub-committee of Mining and Environmental Legal Affairs) and DA Ward Councillor Gert Niemand came under fire from the faction of unemployed residents and their heads have been demanded on a plate.
Stuurman has had vicious personal attacks launched against her by her critics and political enemies but she is not backing down.

“They attack me because they are jealous of my happiness and my success. The issue of the mine dump rehabilitation is being used for political reasons and now they try to get to me through personal attacks,” says Stuurman.
“As far as the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) is concerned the faction is way out of line. He is a respected member of the community, church and volunteers for the Community Workers Programme (CWP). Why should he have refrained from applying for the CLO position? He had as much right as the next person to apply and has been appointed after going through the process,” says Stuurman.

Stuurman denies claims that the community was not involved.

“We had numerous meetings of every kind and the community was just not interested in engaging. As recent as two weeks ago we had a public meeting. We handed out 1 200 notices and less than 100 people attended. This shows the community is not interested and not the other way around,” she says.

“Yes we need jobs in Davidsonville but what are the people doing to try and better their education to get jobs? The community just wants to sit back and get everything handed to them,” says Stuurman.

“I have dedicated my life to Davidsonville, sometimes to my own disadvantage, so I think that speaks louder than all these personal attacks against me. God has been good to me. That is all I need to say.”

Niemand also painted a different picture to the faction’s version.

“We have been fighting for this project since 2006. Now that it finally has come to light this faction wants to sabotage it due to their shortsightedness and their desire for personal gain,” says Niemand.

“We have followed the correct processes to the letter. Meetings were held, we advertised in the newspapers and everything else that ensured it to be correct and above board.

“The allegations are stripped of any truth. What the community needs to realise is that this project’s goal is to clean up the environment for the community; to alleviate the nuisance of the dust and all the health risks it brings. It is not a job-creation project. Yes, of course jobs will be created but that is not the main aim.

“I always have supported the idea that the community must benefit from the project through the jobs that are created but it is unreasonable of the community to expect 200 jobs when the project only provides for say 40 jobs. The contractor also has gone out of his way with meeting their demands. He has been willing to pay R120 instead of the initial R80. This is R20 more than wat is legally required,” says Niemand.

“Furthermore we have made the criteria for the CLO position as simple and easy as possible. You have to have passed Grade 11, be able to read and write English, have leadership qualities and live in Ward 71.

“The contractor does not have to use local labour or local subcontractors but again he has gone as far as saying he is willing to help them pay their employees initially until the subcontractors receive their first payment and he even is willing to train subcontractors in cases where they fall short of his requirements.
“What the community must realise is that this is a highly technical project and you need to be able to do what is asked. It also is ridiculous to say that it could be made more labour intensive by removing machines from the project. You can not move a 10 000 cubic metre mine dump manually with spades. I think this faction is unreasonable,” says Niemand.

“The community must realise the true aim of the project, which is the betterment of their quality of life, otherwise they face the possibility that the project might be abandoned. Then they will have to live in these conditions caused by the mine dump for another three years.”

Role players’ no show for Davidsonville meeting — 25 June
Relationships between a faction of the Davidsonville community and role players in a mine dump rehabilitation project are turning sour after a no-show for a meeting on 24 June.
The faction’s ‘peaceful’ protest was met with rubber bullets from the Metro Police the day before at the site of the rehabilitation project. According to one of the faction’s leaders, Bobby Hunsley it was agreed that representatives of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ), Laetititia Stuurman (ANC community leader), Gert Niemand (DA Councillor for Ward 71) and the contractor would have met with them at the site on 24 June to try and resolve the deadlock.

The faction of 100 plus unemployed

Davidsonville residents is unhappy with the process the CoJ followed with the appointment of a contractor whom they feel will not use enough local labour. It is alleged that the contractor will use only 40 local labourers but the faction feels that the project can be made more labour intensive. They also fear that the contractors will subcontract work to outside contractors who will bring their own labour from outside.

Except for the unhappy residents the other role players did not pitch up for the meeting where they were supposed to hand over a memorandum.
The memorandum demands the following:
• A better community, lifestyle, education, future through job creation
• Transparency and the end of nepotism and favouritism during the project/s processes. The disgruntled group is insinuating that the appointment of the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) came about due to family connections and they also have accused the contractor of not being transparent with information relating to the costs of the project that the community has asked for. Hunsley also said that he believed the project would cost between R54 million and R154 million but that the beneficiaries are being hidden from the community. They have asked for the removal of the CLO
• That Stuurman be withdrawn from this project, saying she is not a roll model, lacks leadership qualities, needs coaching and has no vision
• That they will remove Niemand as councillor if he does not create jobs but projects only. “We have voted him in and we will remove him, ” says Hunsley. According to the memorandum the group will be piloting a petition that calls for a referendum to vote on Niemand’s future.

“Drugs and crime will keep on increasing in the community if the majority stays unemployed. Jobs will give our people back their dignity,” says Hunsley.

“The system has turned the people of Davidsonville into criminals,” he concluded on a dour note.

JMPD allegedly shoots at peaceful protestors — 23 June
A peaceful protest metres away from the Metro Police’s training centre in Ethel Street went awry on 23 June when the Metro Police allegedly shot rubber bullets at the crowd.
According to one of the leaders of the protest, Andrew Stride the crowd was unarmed and only were chanting their demands when, without warning, Metro Police officers got out of their vehicles and shot rubber bullets at them.
The protestors are unhappy about the way the City of Johannesburg and one of its contractors intend executing a court order to rehabilitate the mine dumps next to Davidsonville to minimise the health risk it poses. The contractor plans to use only 40 members of the community as labourers whereas the hundred or so protestors feel that the project should be made more labour intensive to alleviate the unemployment problem in Davidsonville. They also are unhappy with the fact that the contractor plans to sub-contact work to contractors from outside the community, which they fear will bring in their own labourers.
Stride and other leaders also say they are unhappy with Councillor Gert Niemand who they say fled the scene and did not represent them.

Not far from the scene was a sinister warning to the protestors in the form of a dead dog that had a message attached to its body. The protestors say that the dog was killed by one of the labourers who works for the contractor on site.

Another leader of the protestors, Sean Daniels, also explains that the group is not happy with the initial offer of R80 per day and that they demand at least R150 per day for their labour. He says the contractors are not transparent with their bill of quantities.

All role-players were to meet at the same location the following morning, hoping to bring an end to the deadlock.

“If they do not meet our demands no work will be done here,” warns Joseph Malinga, one of the protestors.

The record awaits comment from Councillor Gert Niemand and JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar
roodepoortrecord.co.za

Rubber bullets fired at municipal strikers
IOL News 26 June 2014

Bloemfontein - Police fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades to disperse striking Metsimaholo municipality workers in Sasolburg, Free State police said on Wednesday.

“The workers threw stones at the municipal building during Wednesday morning,” Sergeant Sellwane Mapamela said.

Strikers damaged the municipal building and a nearby clinic.

Workers began striking this week over salaries and benefits. Some services such as refuse removal had suffered.

Mapamela said the situation was calm on Wednesday afternoon. Police were on the scene.
Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Gautrain bus drivers back at work
IOL News 25 June 2014

Johannesburg - Gautrain bus drivers who briefly walked off the job were back at work on Wednesday morning, the company which runs the high-speed trains, Bombela, said.

“We did have disruptions last night and early this morning but fortunately as we speak it is resolved and all the buses are running normally again,” spokesman Errol Braithwaite said.

“There was a bargaining council wage agreement signed in May and effective first of July, and will reflect on driver payslips at the end of July.”

Several bus drivers misunderstood that, expecting to see the agreement reflected in their June salary, and walked off the job.

The two stations that were primarily affected were Sandton and Rosebank.

“It is very disappointing that people decided to flout industrial relations processes and walk off the job, but in any event everyone is back at work,” said Braithwaite.

“Now we will just need to engage fully with the drivers and see what issues there are to ensure everyone is in the picture.” - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Protesters cause mayhem on Mew Way
IOL News 24 June 2014

Cape Town - Part of Khayelitsha erupted on Tuesday morning as protesting residents burnt tyres, stoned a bus, attacked a provincial government worker and clashed with police.

Residents from S section, took to the streets in protest over a general lack of housing and an apparent breakdown in relations with the City of Cape Town’s Human Settlements portfolio.

Protesters burned tyres and barricaded Pama Road and Mew Way in the early hours before clashing with riot police.

At dawn the fires had been extinguished and police were monitoring the scene. The smell of tear gas hung in the air.

After a period of calm, protesters regrouped in a side street and attacked a Golden Arrow bus.

Young men stoned the bus as commuters scrambled for the exit and ran for safety.

After a period of calm, protesters regrouped in a side street and attacked a Golden Arrow bus.

CAPE ARGUS
By the time police arrived, the trashed and abandoned bus was idling in the middle of Thandazo Street.

Lulama Matiwane, an HIV/Aids liaison staffer for the Western Cape government, was attacked when he inadvertently drove to the corner of Pama and Kusasa roads where protesters were burning tyres. He escaped after being hit on the head with a stone, which left a big gash. The car was burnt.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said no arrests had been made and police continued to monitor the scene at Pama Road.

Local residents spoke to the Cape Argus about their frustrations over the lack of housing and services.

Thembeka Gqawuza, 40, moved to S section in 1997 and lives in a two-roomed shack with her husband and six children.

She was prevented from going to work at Century City because of the protests and feared she would get a warning from her employer.

Yet she said sympathised with her more militant neighbours who mobilised at 3am and trashed the road outside her shack.

“I can’t do that, but I understand why the people resort to these tactics. I do not feel endangered by the protests… it is the police sent by the government to suppress us that we fear,” she said as a rag protected her nose and mouth from the teargas.

“I have to stay at home to ensure that my children are not harmed by the cops.”

Lebogang Bulane, 30, gave the Cape Argus a confused rundown of meetings and failed engagements with the city’s Human Settlements portfolio. The recent cabinet reshuffle, apparently bringing officials into the portfolio who had no knowledge of this history, was a tipping point for the community.

“We have played the ‘official’ game with meetings and paperwork and lists. Now we are done with that. Nothing has changed since I moved here as a child in 1995.

“The police open the road, they think that we’re done. But we are just having breakfast. These protests are far from over.”

Gqawuza said other than the lack of proper housing, a shortage of toilets was the S section community’s other big grievance.

The Human Settlements portfolio had not responded to queries by the time of publication.
daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za
www.iol.co.za

Streets of Macassar a war zone
IOL News 25 June 2014

Cape Town - Police and hundreds of Macassar residents clashed violently for the second day on Tuesday, over an announcement by the mayor that Lwandle squatters would be rehoused there.

Protesters torched a municipal building and barricaded roads with burning tyres throughout the day.

By mid-morning, the streets of the usually quiet neighbourhood outside Somerset West resembled a war zone, with hundreds of people rioting, thick smoke hanging in the air and a police helicopter flying low overhead.

Police arrested seven people on public violence charges, and opened fire with rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades.

Each side blamed the other for the escalating unrest.

Infuriated by the arrests, many of which were accompanied by accusations of police beatings, protesters tried to march on the police station, but were blocked by armoured vehicles and riot police. Using a loudhailer a policeman announced that the gathering was illegal, and they had five minutes to disperse.

This threat sent the marchers into a frenzy. From behind low walls and obstacles that shielded them from rubber bullets, protesters threw stones at the police.

At one stage, protesters tried to storm a Checkers supermarket, but riot police deterred them.

The residents’ anger was sparked by mayor Patricia de Lille’s announcement 10 days ago that residents controversially evicted from land in Lwandle owned by the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) would be settled in Macassar in a new city housing project next year.

Residents said there was ample need for housing among Macassar’s backyarders. They said they were opposed to an influx of “outsiders” as they feared that some of Macassar’s backyarders and shack dwellers who had been waiting years for housing would lose out.

Naomi Mowers, 32, said: “My two children and I have been living as squatters in my parents’ backyard for years.

“Now they want to send strangers into houses that we have been waiting for. This is not fair and today we are sending a message: as long as the backyarders in Macassar have a voice, this will never happen.

“I have been on the housing waiting list for a decade.”

Responding to the crisis, Siyabulela Mamkeli, the mayoral committee member for human settlements, assured all that the city was talking to “aggrieved” residents.

“Although the city respects the right of residents to air their grievances, this must be conducted in a peaceful manner,” he said.

“We reiterate that the affected residents from Lwandle can be accommodated in the Macassar development precinct.

“The precinct development looks much more broadly at the area than only at the Macassar housing project.

“The city is looking at areas for development within this precinct over the medium- to long-term.”
daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za

Protesters take on cops in Macassar
Murray Williams 24 June 2014

Cape Town - “We’re not racist – but it’s not fair.”

This was the cry by a Macassar teacher on Monday, echoing a protest which turned violent. Police fired rubber bullets, hitting several people, including a grandmother who was struck in the face.

The anger was fuelled by an announcement by mayor Patricia de Lille, earlier this month, that shack dwellers evicted from SA Roads Agency land in Lwandle on June 2 and 3 would be added to the city’s housing plans, within nine months – probably at Macassar.

On Monday, a small group of Macassar residents tried to meet John Heuvel, the DA councillor for the Ward 109, which includes Macassar and stretches north towards Croydon and Faure, to discuss the proposed settlement.

But Heuvel was in caucus meetings at the Civic Centre and people’s anger mounted.

Confrontations later raged with police on Monday afternoon, including a petrol bomb of sorts being hurled through the window of a building which reportedly stores administration files – including housing lists, or so many residents believed.

“I was born here. And there are people I grew up with who are still waiting for houses. Some have even had to raise children in these backyards,” said Roekyda Kuys. “It is not racist to say that this is just not fair.”

A friend, who declined to give her name, said: “What happened here today was not right, but sometimes the end justifies the means. These are normal, hardworking people. It’s actually nice to see people standing up for themselves.”

“Why must they come here?” asked Dorothy Daniels. “There are people here who have been on waiting lists for houses for more than 20 years.”

In the violence on Monday, and the police’s attempts to quell the riots, several people were hit by rubber bullets.

“I went to fetch my grandson when I was hit, here, next to my eye,” said grandmother Elizabeth Maarman.

Two men, Ashwin Plaatjies and Denzil Summers, were hit too, while Magdalena Williams complained of a tight chest after a tear gas canister rolled into her tuck shop.

“The whole place filled with smoke, and we rushed to close the windows while someone kicked the canister outside. But how can they throw a canister into a house?” she asked.

A heavy police and metro police presence continued until late on Monday.
Cape Argus
www.iol.co.za

SAPS a ‘Third Force’ traders’ protests
IOL News 24 June 2014

Pretoria - The SA Police Service was the “third force” behind the hawkers' protests in Pretoria CBD, Tshwane informal traders said on Tuesday.

“The SAPS are the third force, they were working with members of Tshwane Barekisi Forum harassing our traders,” Tshwane National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) president Vincent Matjeng said.

Representatives of four different informal traders organisations held a joint press briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Matjeng said members of informal traders organisation Tshwane Barekisi Forum made death threats against him.

“Barekisi Forum members made death threats against me... We are going to protect what is ours, you will see violence, trader against trader,” said Matjeng.

“My surname means stone, when you throw me into the river I create waves.”

Several business closed in Pretoria last week as protesting hawkers wielding sjamboks and sticks marched in the city.

The protesting traders also wanted metro police to act against an officer they accused of shooting dead one of their colleagues in January.

The forum alleged that Foster Jan Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock over to Tshwane metro police.

Tshwane Barekisi Forum chairman Shoes Maloka told Sapa the four informal traders organisations were pushing the mayor's agenda in return for jobs.

“They are pushing the mayor's agenda, the mayor rewards them with jobs, we are not a violent organisation, we are fighting for hawkers' rights,” said Maloka.

He said they were planning to protest again next month.

Efforts to get comment from Pretoria central police station spokeswoman Sergeant Anne Poortman were unsuccessful.
www.iol.co.za

Protest against legislature ‘favouritism’
IOL News 23 June 2014

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Legislature staff affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) are expected to picket outside the provincial parliament on Monday, demanding the institution’s human resources manager be axed.

They claim the manager showed favouritism and flouted rules when employing interns, some of whom are said to be related to MPLs.

“There are at least six interns there who are children of MPLs,” said Nehawu provincial secretary, Zola Saphetha.

While there is no policy which prevents the relatives of MPLs from being hired as interns, Nehawu believed that proper recruitment procedures were not followed.

The union wants a clear policy on how interns are hired at the legislature.

Saphetha claimed there were interns who had been with the legislature for more than three years.

“We have been engaging with the legislature on this matter since last year, but we have not had any success. We even said that in the absence of policy at the provincial legislature, they should use the national policy which governs such things because no one can be an intern for three years.”

An official who works at the legislature, however, said it was untrue that some interns had been there for three years.

He said only interns attached to the finance unit were given extensions of three months last year because the finance management system was being changed.

All had now left, said the official who cannot be named.

Nehawu on Sunday warned that if its demands were not met, its members at the legislature would embark on a strike.

The pickets come at a crucial time in the legislature’s calendar. Premier Senzo Mchunu will deliver his State of the Province address on Thursday. On Wednesday, King Goodwill Zwelithini is expected to formally open the House.

A group of interns have taken the legislature to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration demanding to be fully employed.

Sizwe Mchunu, the leader of the DA, raised a motion on this matter at the last sitting of the legislature, calling for an investigation. Legislature spokesman Wonder Hlongwa said Nehawu’s allegations would be investigated. The legislature had contingency plans to ensure that the opening of the legislature was not disrupted, he said.
bheki.mbanjwa@inl.co.za
www.iol.co.za

Residents tear down 100 bucket toilets
Xolani Koyana (IOL News) 24 June 2014

Cape Town - Kosovo residents destroyed about 100 toilets the City of Cape Town provided because they were of the bucket type already there, which they had rejected in favour of sanitary flush toilets.

About 150 people, mostly residents of Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi, used steel pipes to tear down the concrete toilet enclosure while others pushed it to the ground.

Some of the people dismantling the structures wore Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement T-shirts, with the organisation’s Andile Lili declaring support for the residents. In the hour and a half that the Cape Times was in the informal settlement, about 100 structures were torn down.

Community leader Alpheus Ndima said the council started erecting the concrete structures over a week ago. The Cape Times also noticed some structures which appeared to have been installed months ago and had 100-litre used buckets had also been demolished.

Ndima said residents thought they were flush toilets, but after discovering they were buckets the community called for a meeting.

“We wanted to meet with the councillor so that he can explain to us what the situation was with those toilets because we were never consulted about these toilets. But since Friday we have not been able to get hold of him. So when they were tired, the people decided to demolish these structures,” Ndima said.

“We did say from last year and before we went to the elections that we don’t want these toilets any more. People will not accept anything less than flush toilets.”

A row of communal toilets in front of Nontando Mshweza’s home were the first to be demolished by the group. She was in agreement with other residents that they must be taken down. Behind the recently erected structures was a row of toilets with used buckets.

“You see we already have bucket toilets. Why would we need more bucket toilets? We don’t want them. We have already said that we want flush toilets,” said Mshweza, who has lived in Kosovo for 14 years.

Another resident, Nosiphiwo Ntakana, said:

“I thought they were flush toilets and I was happy because we have been fighting for a long time to get them. But we saw the contractors placing the buckets inside and some of us were surprised.

“They can’t be putting in bucket toilets on top of other bucket toilets. The ones we have are already dirty and not good for the health. We don’t need more,” Ntakana said.

The informal settlement has flush toilets, but buckets provide the bulk of sanitation in the area.

It had been in the news last year after buckets were not emptied for three months.

Lili said: “We support whatever action the residents take against anything that undermines their dignity. This bucket system undermines their dignity. The city knows that people have rejected this inhumane system, but it continues to provide it for the people. What does this show? It shows that they don’t have respect for these people.”

Asked whether destruction of city-owned property was a proper way of people voicing their demands, Lili said the community had a right to show its concerns.

Mayco member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg condemned the destruction of the toilets. “It is very unfortunate that this grouping is not able to engage reasonably with the city on these matters and has sought to scupper the city’s efforts to improve the lives of this community.”

He said over 500 “container toilets” had been installed since February, with 250 to follow. He claimed the city had met residents and was given permission for the buckets.

“While we understand there is a preference for water-borne sanitations, both engineering and budget constraints often either delay its provision, or prevent it entirely. In these instances, the provision of alternative forms of sanitation must be explored.”

He said the city had advised the contractor to lodge a complaint of vandalism.

xolani.koyana@inl.co.za
Cape Times

EFF behind Mamelodi attacks – UN agency
IOL News 24 June 2014

Mob attacks on Mamelodi Somalis continue
Pretoria - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members and the Greater Gauteng Business Forum are accused of being behind the attacks on Somalis and their shops in Mamelodi East.

They are also accused of mobilising and arming youths to destabilise the community and scare foreigners away.

The two groups have been accused of using nyaope-smoking youths to incite other young people to loot shops and attack their foreign owners, forcing them to close shop and leave the township.

“They set these young men on a trail of destruction to push foreigners out, so economic power can be given back to locals,” said Walter da Costa, co-ordinator of the Displaced and Migrant Persons Support Programme.

Members of the group – which falls under the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – were dispatched to the community when the riots began three weeks ago. They went into the township to try to get to the root of the problem and come up with mitigating strategies.

“We went deep into the community and spoke to young people, some of them leaders of the action. They talked about their mandate to cause chaos,” the programme co-ordinator said.

The use of nyaope boys was strategic because they would do anything to get their next fix, and their violent nature made them unstoppable, he said.

The violence started in the Phomolong informal settlement three weeks ago and spread across the township, with groups of armed youths working after dark, attacking and looting shops, stripping them bare.

Where shops were closed they forced open security gates, plundered everything and torched the interiors.

Three Somali shopkeepers have been killed and many seriously injured. More than 300 have fled, some with their stock, most with nothing but the clothes on their back.

While the Somalis and human rights groups have described the attacks as xenophobic, police say criminal elements were at play.

Da Costa said the attacks were “opportunistic xenophobia”.

Only foreigners were targeted.

“They are highly unlikely to attack local businesses, especially because some local business people are behind the action.”

Serialong Malete, of the EFF, refused to comment on the allegations, and accused the media of negative publicity against the party. She declined to accept a written query to respond to after the investigation.

The Greater Gauteng Business Forum’s Tshwane chairman, Mpane Baloyi, said the EFF was behind the Mamelodi attacks.

He said the party was the instigator, and was using the forum’s good name to push its agenda.

“The EFF’s major objective is to destabilise the country. Right now they are using our name to do this.”

Baloyi said forum members were disciplined and had a reputation for entrepreneurship that was being tarnished by the EFF.

The police, policing forums and other structures in the community have met to find ways of stopping the looting and to restore order, saying they want the foreign businessmen to return.

Police said they were investigating the cause of the trouble. A spokesman said they would not divulge aspects of the investigation that could jeopardise the case.
ntando.makhubu@inl.co.za
@ntsandvose
www.iol.co.za

‘Where is our R140m, we want answers!’
IOL News 20 June 2014

Johannesburg - Thousands of disgruntled members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) marched through the Joburg city centre on Thursday in protest against the alleged misuse of union funds by their leaders.

They demanded that police take action against their national office-bearers (NOBs).

At the heart of their grievances is the R140 million that has gone missing from union coffers.

“Where is our R140m, we want answers!” was the message on one of the placards the protesting workers flashed.

The protesters said the march was not a “no work, no pay” situation, saying the City of Joburg had given them time off.

Marchers included workers from City Power, Johannesburg Water, Pikitup and Johannesburg Zoo.

Clad in departmental uniforms, they marched from Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown before proceeding to Johannesburg Central Police Station to demand a progress report on their case of fraud.

A criminal case was opened against the NOBs last month.

As they were being addressed by the cluster secretary, Bafana Dube, the huge crowd danced and chanted slogans, then handed over a memorandum detailing their grievances and demands.

The memo was signed by station commander Ronnie Rajin.

“No arrests have been made yet, and the case is still under investigation,” said Rajin.

The employees said their leaders could no longer be trusted and they wanted their R65-a-month subscription fees to go into the provincial rather than national union account.

Provincial Samwu secretary Mohau Mokgatla tried to explain how the union leaders had misused the funds – estimated at R140m. He said the Samwu House building was bought for about R7m and had to be renovated for R13m.

Mokgatla said R32m had been approved for renovations, which exceeded the budget.

But the more he tried to explain, the angrier the workers became.

Mokgatla and Dube told the crowd that the misuse of union funds had been exposed by Gauteng members.

Samwu deputy general secretary Moses Miya refused to comment.
The Star
www.iol.co.za

Irate vendors take protest a notch up
IOL News 20 June 2014

Pretoria - After three days of mass action yielded no positive outcome, informal traders intend turning up the heat on the Tshwane municipality by sleeping at the gates to the municipal offices at Isivuno House on Friday evening.

Mary Ngema, deputy secretary of Tshwane Barekisi Forum, told the Pretoria News there was a need to intensify the protest.

“We have been marching to Isivuno House since Tuesday and spending the days with no income, yet the mayor (Kgosientso Ramokgopa) still has not come to address us about our demands,” Ngema said.

“Tonight (on Friday) we will take our protest a notch up by bringing blankets and pillows and sleeping here.”

Ngema reiterated her earlier stance that police could shoot them if they so wished, like they did to striking Marikana mine workers.

The group’s organiser Dan Matlanyane said they would continue with the protests.

“Hopefully someone will listen to us eventually. Perhaps authorities in higher spheres of government would help us since Ramokgopa is seemingly not interested,” he said.

The number of Barekisi members who had gathered outside Isivuno House on Thursday was lower than that in the previous two days. There was a heavy police presence on Lillian Ngoyi Street near the entrance to the building.

The traders were in full voice, singing Struggle songs and calling for the resignation of Ramokgopa and his administration.

The three-day protest started on Tuesday when the informal traders marched from Bosman Streetto Isivuno House to deliver a petition.

After insisting that the petition be collected by Ramokgopa and that he address them about their grievances, they agreed to the mayoral committee member for economic development Subesh Pillay’s accepting the petition.

However, the traders did not budge on their demand that Ramokgopa speak to them and continued to wait near the building, with their leadership occasionally talking to police negotiators.

Day two saw the informal traders running amok in the city centre, attacking those who had not joined the march and throwing missiles at business premises.

Municipal spokesman Blessing Manale said the city had been responding to most of the issues as raised by Barekisi, members of the public, business chambers and other informal traders’ forums. These include harassment by metro police, corruption with the issuing of trading permits, sub-letting of stalls, bribery and vandalisation of stalls.

Manale said Barekisi had not provided the city with basic information like its constitution, members list and certificate of incorporation as an NGO or NPO.
kennedy.mudzuli@inl.co.za
www.iol.co.za

Limpopo protesters block N1
IOL News 18 June 2014

Polokwane - Residents of Botlokwa in Limpopo pelted cars with stones and barricaded the N1 on Wednesday, Limpopo police said.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said residents wanted to remove the chairman of the traditional council.

He said on Monday a group called Botlokwa Community Safety wanted to march, but the municipality declined the request because due processes were not followed.

“Today (Wednesday) at 9am they gathered at traditional council with the view of removing the chairman forcefully.”

He said public order police dispersed the crowd, which went to the N1 to barricade the freeway between Polokwane and Louis Trichardt.

Shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted and cars were stoned.

“The situation is now under control. Cars are able to move in and out of the area.

“We however want to emphasise that anarchy in communities will not be allowed and we will not hesitate to arrest those taking the law into their hands.”

Mulaudzi said the cluster commander was facilitating dialogue between the municipality, the traditional council and the concerned group to find a solution to the issue raised.
Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Attacks, looting mark hawker march
IOL News 19 June 2014

Pretoria - People were attacked, shops looted and two businesses petrol-bombed as the second day of protests by informal traders turned violent in the streets of the Pretoria CBD on Wednesday.

Informal traders who had not joined the march – organised by the Tshwane Barekisi Forum – were chased away and others hit with sjamboks and knobkieries for “standing against the revolution”.

Their stock was taken and trading stalls vandalised. Some tried to fight back.

Barekisi organiser Dan Matlanyane said the leadership had nothing against the attacks, as those who stood against the revolution risked being crushed.

A petrol bomb was hurled at the premises of the Office National Africa in Johannes Ramokhoase Street, causing a fire that was extinguished by staff and police officers. Strong fumes and smoke filled the shop premises. Asked for comment, the shop manager said: “They threw a petrol bomb. I have nothing further to say.”

Stones were thrown at businesses as the informal traders fled from gun-wielding police officers dispersing a vocal crowd that had closed Lillian Ngoyi Street in front of municipal offices at Isivuno House.

Police had charged towards the marchers who had been singing songs insulting the metro police and mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

Barekisi members wanted the mayor to address them about the issues they raised in a petition submitted on Tuesday.

They are demanding that metro police stop harassing them and return stock that was confiscated.

They wanted Ramokgopa and Community Safety MMC Terrence Mashego to resign – a demand described by mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale as being misplaced.

Metro police confiscate stock informal traders sell from unauthorised areas, or without a permit.

The simmering tension boiled over just after 1pm after Barekisi leader Shoes Maloka told members Ramokgopa was not going to address them.

Police were ordering the protesters to disperse or be shot, but “there was no reason to return to work if metro police were going to confiscate stock”, he said.

Onlookers ran for cover as police moved swiftly towards the crowd with guns at the ready.

The informal traders also fled, throwing stones at businesses, most of which had closed their doors in anticipation of the violence.

Matlanyane denied Barekisi was led by people trying to settle political scores before the ANC regional conference where chairman Ramokgopa would seek re-election, as claimed by Manale.

But Matlanyane said if Ramokgopa continued to ignore the vendors, they were prepared to force him to “lend us his ears”.

There was no politics in Barekisi. The city was referring to four organisations it wrongfully recognised as representatives of informal traders, he said. “The four other leaders are the ones with political motives.”

Matlanyane said the organisations were set up as a task team but were not representatives of informal traders in the city.

David Mathekga, an informal trader, said: “We were peaceful and wanted the mayor to address our demands, but the police decided to shoot us the same way they did the miners in Marikana.

“Their actions are worse than those of the apartheid regime. They should take responsibility for the damage that was caused.”

Barekisi deputy secretary Mary Ngema said they were returning to Isivuno House on Thursday. “If Ramokgopa sends the police to shoot us again, he can go ahead. He will bury us and then feel good about himself.”

kennedy.mudzuli@inl.co.za
Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za

No homes after 34 years: residents
IOL News 17 June 2014

Durban - Service delivery protests erupted at several points around eThekwini on Tuesday, causing massive traffic disruptions – including the closure of the M4 between Ballito and eMdloti.

At least one high school had to abandon its exams.

Protests in Mariannhill, west of Durban and at oThongathi in the north began early this morning after hundreds of rampaging informal dwellers took to the streets demanding better service.

In the north police closed the M4 after more than 200 members of the Thuthukani informal settlement near Seatides barricaded the road with rocks and burning tyres, said police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker.

Traffic was being diverted to the N2, causing massive delays as thousands of commuters and pupils tried to make their way to work and school in peak hour traffic.

Metro police acting spokesman, Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu, said in Dassenhoek, near Mariannhill, about 200 people had gathered.

We are still assessing what their issues are and what they want done,” he said.

Police had no record of that incident.

A memorandum from the residents of the oThongathi informal settlement handed to city officials this morning demanded they be relocated or allocated houses in the nearby Waterloo area.

After it was read out, the memorandum was accepted by Skhumbuzo Ndaba from the mayor’s office.

He said he would meet the residents’ committee to discuss the demands and return to give feedback to residents.

They demanded a response from city officials within 14 days, warning that their protests would continue until their demands were met.

Community leader, Fana Khanyile, told officials from the city that their pleas for housing had fallen on deaf ears.

He claimed that before the elections in May they were promised 450 houses on Hammonds Farm, near oThongathi.

“Some of us have been living here for 34 years. How do we make ourselves heard? We talk to people all the time then they go back and say they don’t know this informal settlement,” he said.

Executive member of the Seatides Ratepayers’ Association, Indran Pillay, said they were in support of the protest and demands of their neighbours.

“Thuthukani is as old as the suburb and we will work together with them to demand housing,” Pillay said.

Thuthukani had been overlooked for relocation to government housing over Shayamoya informal settlement in La Mercy and the Ocean Drive-Inn informal settlement near Crawford College.

The association had also written to eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, and deputy Logie Naidoo calling for, among other things, the removal of Thuthukani residents to safer houses.

“The settlement is on a very unstable hill, you cannot drive here when it rains because the soil just comes down.”

Pillay said their demand to see the roll-out plan for housing for the informal dwellers had also fallen on deaf ears.

This, Ndaba said, he would look into. “I will check with the various departments, especially with housing, to see what the plan for this place is.”

An oThongathi father and policeman, who did not want to be named, said children were prevented from going to school.

Because of the protest, the road leading to Seatides Secondary in Dolphin Avenue was closed by police.

For those who had arrived at Seatides Secondary School before the protest, frantic parents, fearing an escalation of violence, gathered nearby, pleading with police to give them access to their children.

Principal of Seatides Secondary, Anandraj Bhola, said about 50 pupils had gone home.

He said the planned internal examinations had to be postponed and would be rescheduled because of the protests.

“But school is carrying on as normal. About 50 parents came and took their kids home because they feared the protesters may come to the school. We could not prevent them from doing that as we cannot guarantee the safety of the children. But everything is running normal otherwise,” he said.

Selish Mahabir, 23, a Unisa law student, had to use a dirt road, through the sugar cane fields in oThongathi, to get to his exam centre this morning.

Service delivery protesters had blocked the access road from his Desainagar home to oThongathi.

He arrived 30 minutes late for his exam and was not given an extension of time.

Andre Loots, principal at the Crawford North Coast College, said a few students arrived late for their mid-year examinations this morning because of the protests, but said the examinations were going ahead as scheduled.

He said parents had been advised to use the N2.
Daily News
www.iol.co.za

Transnet striker held for intimidation
IOL News 12 June 2014

Port Elizabeth - A person believed to be on strike from Transnet's Ngqura container terminal, outside Port Elizabeth, has been arrested, the company said on Thursday.

“(The arrested worker has been) connected with the spate of bombings, arson, and thuggery targeted at Transnet employees who chose not to join the union's industrial action,” Transnet spokesman Mboniso Sigonyela said in a statement.

Transnet claimed the arrested person was affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

Numsa members have been on strike for over six weeks at the terminal over transport allowances, working hours for particular tasks, and the use of labour brokers.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Thembi Gwe confirmed an arrest had been made in connection with the strike, but could not immediately provide further details.

Numsa regional secretary Phumzile Nodongwe said he could not confirm whether the person arrested was a union member.

“We have not received any news as Numsa, we are only hearing about it in the media so it is very difficult to confirm.”

Sigonyela said the union represented less than half a percent of its staff.

Transnet had stepped up security around its workers, their families, and property after at least 35 acts of violence and intimidation, including arson, since the strike began.

Numsa national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo said in a statement on Thursday that “not a single shred of evidence exists or shows that our members are responsible for acts of violence or intimidation”.

Rather, Numsa members had been highly disciplined in the face of provocation from a security company hired by Transnet, he said.

“...Our members fully understand the code of conduct of Numsa, since any worker or member seen acting outside the ambit of the law will face serious consequences internally in the union,” Maqungo said.

Sigonyela said Transnet had decided to extend its suspension of a lockout of striking workers for another 24 hours.

Initially the suspension was meant to last only 24 hours, from 6am Wednesday to 6am Thursday.

“The decision... followed pleas from a significant number of the just over 100 colleagues on strike for the company to allow them to abandon the industrial action,” Sigonyela said.

Maqungo dismissed this as “the worst form of Nazi-style propaganda”.

He said the striking workers remained united and were prepared to continue the strike until their demands were met.

“We call on the non-striking workers to unite, irrespective of their union T-shirts or logos, with the workers on strike,” he said.
www.iol.co.za

Barberton protest death not confirmed
IOL News 12 June 2014

Barberton - Police have not confirmed the death of a protester said to have been shot during a service delivery protest in Mpumalanga on Thursday.

Mpumalanga police said the protest began in the morning when community members went on the rampage in Barberton, a Sapa correspondent reported.

“Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd who were burning tyres, barricading roads and further went to burn down a house of councillor in the area,” said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

“We can confirm that one person had to be rushed to hospital after suffering wounds from rubber bullet shots. At the moment, we cannot confirm that the person has died.”

A woman, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said the person had died.

“I'm here at the protest. Police fired shots and one young man has died,” she said.

Community members were demanding water, electricity and better roads from the Umjindi local municipality.

The water shortages followed a strike by municipal employees who are members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

The employees demanded the reinstatement of two officials who were fired and four who were suspended.

Provincial union secretary Samuel Simelane said members were subjected to unfair dismissals and suspensions.

“Four of our members were suspended last week while two were fired for reasons we still do not know yet,” he said.

“We believe this is wrong as the members have not been given the opportunity to present their side of the story.”

Municipal spokesman Sam Jele referred questions to the municipality's chief operations officer, known as Johan, who in turn referred questions to the municipal manager's office.

A woman, Marian, who declined to give her surname, said she would forward emailed questions to municipal manager Patrick Msibi.
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Cops disperse protesting traders
IOL News 18 June 2014

Pretoria - Police officers armed with shotguns chased a crowd of protesting vendors in central Pretoria on Wednesday.

Tshwane metro police and the SA Police Service dispersed the protesters from Isivuno House, the municipal headquarters.

Shops and banks closed as the strikers, carrying sticks and stones, emerged from Lilian Ngoyi Street. The street was closed off, causing heavy traffic disruptions.

On Tuesday, a group representing the hawkers, the Tshwane Barekisi Forum, demanded a response to a memorandum of grievances it handed to the municipality. It claimed metro police were harassing its members and stealing their stock. The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if this did not stop.

Tshwane mayoral committee member for economic development Subesh Pillay received the memorandum at Isivuno House.

The traders also want metro police to act against an officer they accused of shooting dead one of their colleagues in January. The forum alleges Foster Jan Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock to Tshwane metro police.

The forum says it has more than 1000 licensed members in Pretoria.
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Hawkers threaten to make CBD ungovernable
IOL News 19 June 2014

Pretoria - Informal traders who almost brought the Pretoria central business district to a standstill have threatened to return to Isivuno House on Wednesday to demand that mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa address them on their demands.

Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum, who had promised to make the city ungovernable, brought the CBD to close to a standstill for most of on Tuesday.

They converged in Bosman Street and marched to the Tshwane offices at Isivuno House to hand over a petition.

Allegations have since been made that the Tshwane Barekisi Forum is not recognised as an organisation representing informal traders.

There were severe traffic delays as hundreds of informal traders wielding sjamboks, knobkierries and other weapons marched through the streets.

They were holding placards with messages insulting Ramokgopa and the mayoral committee member (MMC) for community safety, Terrence Mashego, and calling for their resignations.

The placards read, “Ramokgopa is a liar”, “The most corrupt mayor ever” and “Ramokgopa must step down”.

They described the mayor as nyoso – a township term from Soshanguve meaning nonsense.

Some of the marchers wore red Economic Freedom Fighters outfits, while others carried SACP flags and T-shirts with a picture of Forster Rivombo, a trader who was allegedly shot dead by Tshwane officers in January.

The marchers emptied refuse bags and rubbish bins along their route, leaving the streets looking like dumps.

They barricaded some of the streets as they went, occasionally sitting or lying down in the middle of busy intersections.

Business people fearing possible looting closed their shops, while office workers and flat dwellers watched through windows and from balconies.

In the petition, the informal traders claimed metro police were thieves and murderers.

They described Mashego and Ramokgopa as “liars” who didn’t care for the poor.

They accused Tshwane of not working with democratically elected structures, and of aligning itself with “ghost organisations”.

They demanded that metro police officers stop stealing their stock and that Rivombo’s killers be prosecuted.

They said that stock confiscated by metro police was not returned.

There was a long stand-off with police at Isivuno House when the marchers demanded that the petition be received by Ramokgopa or MMC for economic development Subesh Pillay.

Barekisi leader Shoes Maloka said the informal traders were concerned that the petition would go unanswered like the two they had submitted last year.

Police initially said neither official was available, but Pillay eventually received it.

But then the informal traders changed their tune, and said they wanted their petition to be received by the mayor personally.

“The reason is that we want to hear from the horse’s mouth, unlike in the past when our petitions have been ignored,” said Barekisi deputy secretary Mary Ngema.

Mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said the call for Ramokgopa and Mashego to resign was unfounded, misplaced and not informed by reason, and was a publicity gimmick used by Barekisi in an attempt to remain relevant.

“Some of Barekisi leaders are not even informal traders, but medium-sized companies using the forum for political scores before the ANC regional conference where Ramokgopa will seek re-election as (regional) chairman of the party.”

Manale said Barekisi was not recognised by the city as it had failed to provide such basic information as a constitution, a members’ list or certificate of incorporation as an NGO or NPO.

He said the city recognised the Tshwane Informal Traders Forum, Tshwane Informal Traders Council, Tshwane Nafcoc and Tshwane Micro Entrepreneurs League.

The shooting of Rivombo remained in the hands of the police and the city was awaiting a decision by the national director of public prosecutions.

“Rivombo was not an informal trader.

“He was visiting his brother, who is an informal trader.”

The city had responded before to most of the issues raised.

kennedy.mudzuli@inl.co.za

Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/hawkers-threaten-to-make-cbd-ungovernable-1.1704967


Man shot in traders’ protest
IOL News 17 June 2014

Eyewitnesses at the scene said the man had joined a group of informal traders who were protesting against the Tshwane metro police.

When Sapa got to the scene, the Tshwane emergency medical services ambulance had just arrived.

Passers-by said the man had been lying at the corner of Mogul and Fourth street for more than 30 minutes.

By the time the man, identified only by his nickname Slesh, was placed in the ambulance, several police officers and a crowd had gathered.

Earlier, members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum demanded answers from the municipality after they handed over a memorandum of grievances in Pretoria.

The forum's chairman, Shoes Maloka, led hundreds of sjambok-wielding protesters through the city centre.

Tshwane MMC for economic development Subesh Pillay received the memorandum at the Tshwane metro municipality's head office, Isivuno House.

The traders want metro police to stop “stealing” their stock, and to act against an officer who shot dead one of their colleagues in January.

“MMC Subesh, talk to the people. Why are you afraid?” Maloka said.

The vendors vowed to congregate at the municipal offices on Wednesday morning.

The forum's secretary Elliot Mcadimeng said several petitions had been sent to Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to no avail.

The vendors had also wanted Ramokgopa to act against an officer who shot dead trader Jan Foster Rivombo in the city in January.

Businesses closed in a hurry as the protesters marched from Bosman station along Paul Kruger Street, leaving litter in their wake.

In January, the forum claimed that Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock over to Tshwane metro police.

The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if the Tshwane metro police did not stop harassing them.

The forum says it has more than 1000 licensed members in Pretoria.
www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/man-shot-in-traders-protest-1.1704771


Tshwane traders demand answers
17 June 2014

Pretoria - Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum demanded answers from the municipality after they handed over a memorandum of grievances in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“Barekisi (traders), the response we are getting is that we can get our answers in seven days. We do not want that. We want our answers tomorrow,” the forum's chairman Shoes Maloka said to cheers.

He earlier led hundreds of sjambok-wielding protesters through the city centre.

Tshwane MMC for economic development Subesh Pillay received the memorandum at the Tshwane metro municipality's head office, Isivuno House.

The traders want metro police to stop “stealing” their stock, and to act against an officer who shot dead one of their colleagues in January.

“MMC Subesh, talk to the people. Why are you afraid?” Maloka said.

Pillay said he was not afraid. He was shielded by several Tshwane metro police and SA Police Service officers as he addressed the crowd.

“You cannot expect us to respond tomorrow. Your memorandum doesn't say when you want the answer. What if I say we will respond next year?

“We have acknowledged receipt of your memo. I can't make that commitment of responding tomorrow,” Pillay said in a discussion with Maloka.

Pillay later told the crowd: “You have said in your own memorandum that you are disciplined and will not resort to anarchy. You can be sure that the issues you raised will be responded to in the next seven days.

“We have to go and speak to other departments before we respond,” Pillay said.

The vendors vowed to congregate at the municipal offices on Wednesday morning.

The forum's secretary Elliot Mcadimeng said several petitions had been sent to Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to no avail.

“We sent a previous memo through his then personal assistant Georgia, who is now his wife. The metro police tell us that nothing will happen to them as long as Ramokgopa is in charge,” said Mcadimeng.

“We demand that they 1/8metro police 3/8 stop stealing our stock. We are still oppressed in Tshwane by Ramokgopa.”

The vendors also wanted Ramokgopa to act against an officer who shot dead trader Jan Foster Rivombo in the city in January.

“That officer is still on duty. He must face the law. We have opened a case with Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) but the killer is at work and enjoying himself,” said Mcadimeng.

Businesses were hurriedly closed as the protesters marched from Bosman station along Paul Kruger Street, leaving litter in their wake.

In January, the forum claimed that Rivombo, a vegetable seller, was shot dead for refusing to hand his stock to Tshwane metro police.

Dan Matlanyane, a convener at the forum, said Tuesday's protest was not sanctioned by the municipality.

“If we are going to be arrested, let it be,” said Matlanyane.

The hawkers threatened to make the city ungovernable if the Tshwane metro police did not stop harassing them.

The forum says it has more than 1000 licensed members in Pretoria.
www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/tshwane-traders-demand-answers-1.1704724



Tshwane cops, traders face off
IOL News 17 June 2014

Pretoria - There was a long stand-off between police and informal traders in front of municipal offices in the Pretoria city centre on Monday afternoon regarding the recipient of a petition from Barekisi Forum.
The members of the organisation wanted mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa or his Economic Development MMC Subesh Pillay to receive their memorandum, but police insisted neither of them was available.
Pillay eventually received the memorandum, but the informal traders indicated they would return the following day to ensure the city responded to the memorandum.

Pretoria streets came to a standstill as the informal traders marched to the offices of the City of Tshwane near the intersection of Lillian Ngoyi and Madiba streets.

They hurled insults at and sang songs against what they called as poor leadership of both Ramokgopa and Community Safety MMC Terrence Mashego and called for their resignation.
The marchers described Ramokgopa as a tsotsi who did not care about the lives of the poor.

The streets resembled a dumping area as the marchers emptied refuse bags and rubbish bins along the way.

Shop owners fearing possible looting closed their shops while office workers and flats dwellers watched proceedings through the windows and from balconies.

The fear for looting became a reality when a group of teenagers helped themselves to several items from a shop selling electronic equipment on Francis Baard Street.

The informal traders said metro police were thieves and murderous, referring to the fatal shooting of an informal trader Foster Rivombo, allegedly at the hands of metro police, in January. Investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
They accused the City of Tshwane of working with democratically-elected structures instead chose to align itself with “ghost organisations”.

The informal traders demanded that metro police stopped stealing their stock and late trader's killer must face the law.

City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale said Barekisi failed to provide basic information like constitution, members list, certificate of incorporation as an and was thus not recognised by the municipality.

Manale said the call for Ramokgopa and Mashego to resign was an unfounded and misplaced not informed by any reason.
Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/tshwane-cops-traders-face-off-1.1704605


Tshwane cops flee as hawkers march
IOL News 107 June 2014

Pretoria - Tshwane metro police officers rushed to remove their vehicles on Tuesday as sjambok-wielding protesters marched in Pretoria central.

Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum were protesting in the city against alleged harassment and abuse by municipal police.

Hundreds of protesters, men in red Economic Freedom Fighters attire, carried sticks, sjamboks, and rubber pipes.

The metro police cars were hurriedly removed from Lilian Ngoyi (former Van Der Walt) Street and taken to Isivuno House, the municipal head office.

Only members of the SA Police Service were escorting the crowd.

Members of the forum called for the resignation of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, alleging that he had failed them.

Some in the crowd waved placards stating “Ramokgopa is a liar, the most corrupt mayor ever”, and “Ramokgopa must step down”.

Earlier in the day, shops in central Pretoria closed their doors as hundreds of hawkers protested in the city centre.

Traffic was gridlocked as hawkers sat, danced, and sang on the roads while frustrated motorists hooted in despair.

Police officers were at the scene but did nothing to stop the protesters.

Some of the protesters overturned rubbish bins as they marched along Paul Kruger Street.

In January, the forum claimed that Foster Jan Rivombo, a vegetable vendor, was shot dead in the city for refusing to hand over his stock to Tshwane metro police. - Sapa
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Businesses close as Pretoria vendors march
IOL News 17 June 2014

Pretoria - Shops in central Pretoria closed their doors on Tuesday afternoon as hundreds of hawkers protested in the city centre.

Traffic was gridlocked as hawkers sat, danced, and sang on the roads while frustrated motorists hooted in despair.

Police officers were at the scene but did nothing to stop the protesters.

Some of the protesters overturned rubbish bins as they marched along Paul Kruger Street.

No Tshwane metro police officers were escorting the protesters.

Members of the Tshwane Barekisi Forum called for the resignation of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, alleging that he had failed them.

“We want the president to intervene and rescue us. The metro police officers who killed Foster Rivombo, our member, are threatening us,” forum deputy secretary Mary Ngema said.

“We are harassed every day. Nothing happens if we open cases with Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate). They are working together against us.”

In January, the forum claimed that Rivombo, a vegetable vendor, was shot dead in the city for refusing to hand over his stock to Tshwane metro police.

Comment was not immediately available from the Tshwane metro. - Sapa
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Power cuts in Soweto a burning issue
IOL News 17 June 2014

Johannesburg - Ongoing power cuts in Soweto have driven residents of Mofolo North in Soweto to hurl stones at motorists and blockade streets with burning tyres on Tuesday.

With the protests entering a second day, residents said they have been subjected to daily power cuts for close to a year, with their electricity going off just before 7pm each night and returning only at 10am the next day.

They said the daily power cuts were endangering their health and crippling their businesses.

Bafana Maseko, a tavern owner in Mofolo North, said this was not load shedding as the houses just across the road always had power when theirs was out.

“It’s so hurtful to look over and see their electricity, that is why we’re so upset,” Maseko said.

Maseko and others said they believed power interruptions were due to the fact that Eskom had not replaced a temporary transformer, which they installed last winter, with a permanent one.

“The transformer they’ve allocated doesn’t have the capacity for the area,” one man said.

A large proportion of the protesters were women who said they were worried about their families.

“We’ve got grannies here, others (have) asthma and children (have) asthma,” said a resident, Phumzile Mnisi.

The situation was calm by 9am as residents said they had been informed that an Eskom representative was going to address them.

JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar warned that it wasn’t safe for motorists to drive in the area.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said there had been no reason to make any arrests as of 11am.

“They (the protesters) are waiting for the councillor and government officials to address them. We hope they will come,” he said.

Eskom, however, blames illegal connections for overloading the system. A statement issued by the power utility this morning says the mini substation that supplies the area is often overloaded due to illegal connections.

“In the event of power outages, Eskom’s key focus is to improve the restoration time of supply… Eskom has embarked on projects for moving networks in townships to allow for easy access.

“We have embarked nationally on an intensive programme to counter illegal connections and to prevent meter tampering. We appeal to residents to report all electricity theft or tampering to Crime Line: 32211,” Eskom said.

City Power earlier this week announced that there would be no load shedding in Joburg if residents and businesses continued saving power as they had during the past months.

The numerous outages being experienced by residents in suburbs around the city were the result of cable theft or overloading, not load shedding, said City Power spokesman Louis Pieterse.
brendan.roane@inl.co.za
anna.cox@inl.co.za
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Stand-off in Mams over housing
IOL News 16 June 2014

Pretoria - A tense stand-off between Mamelodi hostel dwellers and police threatened to get out of hand during a protest on Sunday when the dwellers refused to disperse, demanding that Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa come and address them.

The hostels residents had gathered early in the morning and waited for the mayor and housing MMC Joshua Ngonyama to address their concerns around a new development in the area.

They also wanted clarity on the occupation of new units built for them, which other people had moved into.

Their local councillor had promised them that the mayor and MMC would come to a meeting, they said, explaining that they otherwise would not have gathered there.

“We have patiently waited to be allocated units to move into for years. Next thing we saw other people moving in,” said one disgruntled man, a hostel dweller of 25 years.

They alleged metro police officers, nurses and others they could not identify had moved into completed units.

They wanted answers to these, and other queries.

The hostels occupied by the men, women and children are dilapidated and have no electricity or water. Some have no roofing, doorways are open, and windows have no panes.

Most of the residents are unemployed and cannot afford to find alternative accommodation.

Explaining their situation, one said: “We have no money to pay bribes. That is why we’re losing out on accommodation in new units.”

“The councillor last week said she had no answers, and said she would bring those who knew, including the mayor to today’s (yesterday’s) meeting,” said hostel committee member Daniel Sello.

There were other issues, including a development project and contractors appointed to work there, that were a sore point and needed clarifying, he said.

“We will not disperse until someone says something to us,” some of the men told police officers, who were reminding them that they had not sought permission, nor followed required processes to hold a public meeting or demonstration.

The police had arrived in no fewer than 12 vehicles, among them two nyalas, which prompted the protesters to ask why they had come out in so many numbers to monitor a meeting.

Tempers flared when police officers asked the hostel dwellers to disperse, telling them that despite their grievances, they had no right to be gathered there.

They were told that no one would be coming to talk to them.

“We would’ve been notified if someone was coming, and right now no one is,” a metro police officer told them.

Residents said they would not go anywhere until someone arrived, a large group of them singing and dancing in the open field.

Ngonyama said they had not agreed to attend the meeting, and said he had met committee members last week.

“They raised the issue of allocation, and an investigation into that will be done in two weeks after which I will get back to them.”

Acting city spokeswoman Lebogang Matji said: “In line with a draft policy on allocation and management of communal residential units, the family units in Mamelodi will be allocated to residents of Mamelodi hostels.”

When residents decided to disperse soon after lunch, the protesters threatened to forcefully remove the people who had moved into the new units if no one gave them the answers they sought.

ntando.makhubu@inl.co.za
@ntsandvose
www.iol.co.za

Soweto land invaders arrested
IOL News 15 June 2014

Johannesburg - Thirteen people were arrested for erecting shacks on private land in Soweto on Saturday, Johannesburg metro police said.

Spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said a group of about 100 people invaded land belonging to Transnet in Mzimhlope.

“Six women and seven men disobeyed officers' orders to stop erecting the illegal structures on private land,” he said.

They would appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of illegal gathering and trespassing.
Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Foreigners in Mams told to leave until calm returns
IOL News 13 June 2014

Pretoria - Foreign nationals, under threat from criminal elements and attack in Mamelodi East, have been advised to pack up and leave the area until calm is restored.

This follows the looting of more than 100 foreign-owned shops in Mamelodi East, and the death of three people and others injured between Saturday and Wednesday evening.

Participants in a stakeholder meeting held on Wednesday night resolved that it was in the best interest of the foreign nationals to abandon their businesses while community structures tried to reason with “criminal elements”.

“We agreed to allow a restoration process to take place, to hold community meetings and catch the perpetrators so that this stops,” said community policing forum leader (CPF) Eddie Mnguni.

Mnguni chaired Wednesday’s crisis meeting attended by members of the Mamelodi police station, the CPF, SA National Civics Organisation and other structures. He said they had jointly condemned the actions of unruly youth, who had continued to attack and loot foreign-owned spaza shops.

“We discussed all options at length, and agreed that their evacuation was the best option, under the circumstances,” Mnguni said.

He said the attacks were not necessarily xenophobic, but had stemmed from a miscommunication during an altercation between a Somali shop owner and local boys on Saturday evening. “We undertook to engage with the community until we find the perpetrators and restore order,” he said, adding that they had also re-activated a forum which dealt with such incidents, which would be strengthened by law enforcement.

Two men – one local and the other a Somali shop owner – were killed at the start of the violence on Saturday night. A young man was shot and killed after an attempted break-in at a spaza shop, while the shop owner was attacked and killed with rocks while his shop was being robbed. Another died on Tuesday night, after he was caught trying to break into a supermarket.

The looting continued through to Wednesday night, where more Somali nationals were injured.

Shop owners have been forced to flee, some having enough time to pack the stock from their shops into vans and taking it away, others with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Community members and the foreigners have labelled the attacks as xenophobic, saying no locally owned business had been hit.

The Somalis have taken refuge at a Somali-owned house in Pretoria West, where about 300 men spend their nights sleeping in the yard, without blankets or mattresses, which were stolen or left behind during their escapes.

The Foreigners Association of Pretoria said that while the concern for their safety was appreciated, the situation could have been arrested before it became so volatile.

Amnesty International said government and the police were not doing enough to protect Somali refugees.
ntando.makhubu@inl.co.za
@ntsandvose
Pretoria News


Foreign-owned shops looted in Mamelodi
IOL News 11 June 2014

Pretoria - Attacks on foreign-owned shops in Mamelodi East have forced some owners to flee and leave their goods behind.

Confidence in law enforcement officers has all but evaporated.

Only one person has been arrested in four days of looting.

While some owners managed to pack the contents of their spaza shops into vehicles and move out of the area between Sunday and Tuesday, some said saving their lives was more important than their stock.

On Tuesday night a man was shot dead as looting continued. According to police spokeswoman Mirna von Benecke, it could not be established who had shot the man, or under what circumstances.

Von Benecke said the man was a South African aged 26. The violence had spread to Nellmapius on Tuesday night, she said.

At least two people were reportedly killed over the weekend and about 30 shops attacked and left empty, in what locals and the Somali nationals who own the shops said were xenophobic attacks.

The owner of a shop, which was under attack from a group of youths when a Pretoria News team arrived at midday on Tuesday, left. He said the trouble of arranging storage, putting petrol into a vehicle and getting accommodation while waiting for things to settle down would be too much.

“We can always re-stock, no matter the time it takes, but there is only one life and it needs immediate saving,” said the man.

The group of young people had tried to rip the security gate from his shop to gain access and loot it, in a rampage that started on Saturday.

The chairman of Pretoria Foreign Nationals, Ibrahim Shurie, said Somali spaza shops were being specifically targeted by rampaging mobs who worked together to break down security gates, gain entry and then empty the shelves.

“The policemen who arrive at the crime scenes have not helped us. These are large groups of people and by now they could have arrested quite a number if they put effort into it,” he said.

Police on Tuesday advised the shop owners to pack up and move out of the community until the situation had calmed.

“The only way to save your lives and shops is to leave,” a police officer told them. Explaining that they could not provide non-stop security for all the shops, the officer said the youth involved in the looting were troublemakers, who would stop at nothing to feed their drug habits.

“We need to resolve the impasse with community leaders and members of youth groups before they can open shop again,” he said.

Provincial police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said, however, it was not an official police stance to advise the shop owners to leave, saying: “Ours is to offer protection, not frustration.”

They were facilitating meetings between community members, official structures and the Somali nationals.

He said the attacks were not xenophobic, adding: “Criminal elements are at play here. Young lawless people are on the loose, and we are investigating with the aim of arresting them.”

One person, who was involved in a shooting at a shop on Saturday, was arrested, said Mofokeng. More could be arrested if victims came forward to open cases.

He said they were not aware of any deaths. Two cases of burglary had been opened; another of malicious damage to property could be opened soon.

“The Somali nationals have come to us to seek intervention and protection, but we need them to open cases to facilitate arrests,” he said. Some community members on Tuesday said attacks on the spaza shops were sparked by jealousy among locals who had no means of generating income.

“These owners are our mainstay. They allow us to buy on credit, they are kind and commit no crime, unlike some of the young people here,” said a woman, who asked not to be named.

She blamed nyaope smokers for the looting.

“They need to be arrested and put in jail,” another woman said.

The City of Tshwane condemned the violence and said metro police and other law enforcement agencies would try to quell tensions by escorting victims out of the places of danger.

A meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Ntando.Makhubu@inl.co.za
@ntsandvose
www.iol.co.za

Somalis flee ‘xenophobic’ attacks
IOL News 12 June 2014

Pretoria - Somali shop owners from Mamelodi East have been forced to flee the area and cram together in a house in Pretoria West with barely enough space, rather than face death.

This follows what are believed to be xenophobic attacks during which their shops were looted and one of them killed since the violence started on Saturday.

About 300 men, women and children now live together in the Somali-owned Pretoria West house.

“We are contemplating going back to our war-torn country, where imminent death would be better than dying here,” one shop owner said.

He was among a group who had escaped the strife in the dead of Tuesday night in Mamelodi East, after watching a fellow Somali being attacked by a group of young people who also raided, and emptied, his spaza shop.

The foreign national said things had quickly gotten out of hand during what he referred to as xenophobic attacks. “They have been targeting our businesses. Since Saturday organised groups of youth have been coming with so much force they swept everything in their path.”

The groups, of up to 100 young men, looted the shops of everything – from food to barrels of paraffin, cold drinks and airtime vouchers.

The Somalians said one owner was in Pretoria West when he was informed that his shop was under attack. He rushed there, only to be attacked and killed by an angry mob, they said.

“They broke his skull and many bones in his body. His face was a complete mess,” another Somali man said.

Abdirahman Khalif, who had his left hand in plaster yesterday, had stayed on until Tuesday evening, when the mob descended on his shop.

“I’d just been warned that they were coming my way. I had called the cops and locked up, hoping to escape before they arrived.”

But the group arrived first. Some went straight for the security gates of his shop, a handful came for him, swiping at him with knives and knocking him to the ground, all the while telling him he had overstayed his welcome in the community.

“They hit me with a steel pole and cut my hand with a sharp object.”

A fellow Somali, who had witnessed the attack, bundled him into a car and rushed him to Kalafong Hospital, where he was treated for a broken arm.

“We have nothing and no one to turn to, because the police have been ignoring us and leaving us vulnerable to the attacks,” Abdi Abdullah Omar said.

Looters had taken everything he owned, including his clothes, blankets and furniture. “I have been in these clothes since Monday, but I count myself lucky to have escaped with my documentation, and my life,” the 43-year-old said.

The Somali nationals said they would eat from their stock until they received assistance, but their immediate worry was the cold at night, as they have no blankets. “The city and government have not intervened in this humanitarian crisis, maybe we are better off going back home,” Omar said.

Police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said investigations into the attacks were continuing.

ntando.Makhubu@inl.co.za

@ntsandvose
Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za

Nehawu Parliament picket continues
IOL News 11 June 2014

Cape Town - Parliament remained mum on Wednesday as scores of protesting Nehawu members again blocked the institution's Plein Street entrance at lunch time.

Singing and dancing under a big red National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union banner, they held high posters calling for the dismissal of Parliament's deputy secretary Baby Tyawa, and human resources executive director Ntombekhaya Manyela.

The labour row boiled over earlier this month, following Nehawu claims of “corruption, maladministration and abuse of power” among Parliament's top officials.

A similar protest was held on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, six days ahead of the first state-of-the-nation address to the fifth democratic Parliament, Nehawu members displayed posters proclaiming “Parliament workers have no good story to tell”.

A union official told the crowd: “They (Parliament) must meet us to hear our grievances.”

But exactly what Parliament's response is going to be to the latest round of pickets is not known.

Its media officers were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday, and a call for comment on the matter, sent via e-mail the day before, remained unanswered.

Earlier this month, Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs reportedly said, in reference to media queries, that “our tradition is not to engage with unions through third parties”.

It is understood that talks between Parliament and Nehawu to finalise terms and conditions of service for workers - part of this year's salary agreement - have not been finalised.

Among the posters held up by workers at Wednesday's protest was one that read: “We demand negotiations for conditions of service resume immediately.”
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Nehawu pickets outside Parliament
IOL News 10 June 2014

Cape Town - Scores of Nehawu members sang and danced outside Parliament's Plein Street entrance at lunchtime on Tuesday.

The protesters, including parliamentary staff, were demanding an investigation of "corruption, maladministration, and abuse of power by (parliamentary) management", the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union said in a statement.

It claimed senior officials at Parliament had "colluded" against its members. The union wanted a meeting with National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairwoman Thandi Modise.

"The complicity of... officials in flouting the labour laws and sabotaging the work of the Parliament is totally unacceptable," Nehawu said.

Parliamentary officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
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Rubber bullets fired at bare bum protesters
IOL News 11 June 2014

Johannesburg - Police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters who bared their bottoms during a service delivery protest in Diepkloof Zone Six, Soweto, on Wednesday.

“They (the protesters) were showing their bums by taking their trousers down on the street... (to) show their anger with service delivery issues,” Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said.

Chris Hani Road was barricaded with rocks and burning tyres.

Police used teargas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.

No one was injured or arrested.

By 9.40am the protesters had left the scene.

Police earlier tried to diffuse the situation by calling the ward councillor to address the angry residents, but they did not believe their concerns over water and electricity would be resolved, Makhubela said.

Earlier, Gauteng traffic police spokesman Obed Sibasa advised motorists to avoid Chris Hani Road between Nicolus Street (Power Park) and the Soweto Empowerment Zone, which he referred to as the employment centre.

There was a strong police presence in the area.

Sibasa described the situation as “tense, unsafe, however under control”.

Motorists from Johannesburg South and Soweto were advised to use Klipvalley Road to the Soweto Highway, or Immink Drive to Ben Naude through Diepkloof towards Johannesburg and Alberton, as alternatives. - Sapa
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Desperate woman’s naked outcry
IOL News 11 June 2014

Johannesburg - She pulled her pants and underwear down and squatted in the road. First she showed her backside to all and sundry, then she turned around and flashed her crotch.

Nomathemba Hlongwane danced and jiggled her buttocks in protest at her disgust at the fact that the bucket system, which her hostel still depends on, had not been emptied in three months.

She was angry that her local councillor had come to her for her vote promising her things would change – only to disappear after the May 7 general elections.

An hour later, Hlongwane was flat on her back – fully clad, but floored by the tear gas police had shot to disperse the protesters.

Hlongwane was one of many female Diepkloof Hostel residents who had gathered on Chris Hani Road from 1am on Wednesday, blocking the road with burning tyres.

They wanted decent housing, toilets, electricity and water – which had been promised, but never received. So they squatted in the road, pretending to relieve themselves, as they don’t have toilets. Some emptied their full buckets of excrement on the road.

As the stench of their emptied buckets filled the morning air, they warned that if the situation continued, they might be forced to relieve themselves in the open, so the community should get used to it.

The protesters began dispersing of their own accord at about 10.30am. Suddenly two loud bangs rang out and the acrid stench of tear gas filled the air.

Hlongwane grimaced and fell. She lay as if pole-axed on the ground until someone ran up and revived her with a bucket of water. Another person brought her a cup of water. Suddenly more shots rang out. The police were now firing rubber bullets. Hlongwane was left lying on the ground, passed out from what is believed to be a respiratory problem.

“Get into the house, get into the house,” a police officer shouted, but the protesters refused.

“How can we get into the house when we are trying to help a dying person? You are busy shooting at us whereas we are in the hostel, not on the road. Come and take this lady to the hospital because you have killed her. We were just sitting here, not fighting,” they said.

Hlongwane later got up and was able to leave the scene unassisted.

Residents told The Star they were tired of living this way.

As they don’t have dustbins, they throw their rubbish next to the hostel. Some windows are broken. The hostel units have two walls and the outer wall in some units has collapsed. The foundations are also collapsing.

Sanele Msibi, a community leader, said they used to pay R20 rent but stopped paying when the hostel deteriorated.

Msibi said they took a memorandum to the Department of Housing last year and were promised a response in two weeks. They are still waiting.

At the time, Dan Bomvu, MMC for Housing at the City of Joburg, visited the hostel, but nothing has materialised.

Msibi said although 90 percent of hostel residents were unemployed, they were expected to move into units they couldn’t afford.

“The Diepkloof rental units were completed in 2009 but to date no one lives there, they are empty. All that the councillor does is to give us empty promises,” he said.

Solly Mogase, the councillor, disagreed. He claimed that he was aware that a lot of people at the hostel were employed, saying some police officers and government officials lived at the hostel.

“It’s a lie; our assessments show that many people who live there work. Our agreement with them was that the first phase will be the rental units and the future developments will be mixed units, where there’ll be rental, rent-to-buy and RDP units,” he said.

Mogase agreed the toilets had not been emptied and said it was wrong as it was a health hazard.

“This problem with the toilets is a genuine one. I had informed the department and I thought they had been emptied. I later found out that the contractor claims that he had not been paid and that’s why he did not empty them. I will be meeting the residents and the political leadership and indunas later today,” Mogase said.

Evolution of the poo wars

*June 4 2013: DA leader Helen Zille is forced to flee Khayelitsha as residents pelt her bus with human waste in protest against portaloos.

* June 25, 2013: Protesters dump buckets of faeces at Cape Town International Airport. Two are identified as ANC proportional councillor and youth league member Loyiso Nkohla, and youth league member Andile Lili.

*July 2013: Some 100 Khayelitsha residents block the N2, burning tyres, dumping human waste on the road, halting traffic.

*August 7 2013: Cape Town’s poo protesters cause havoc on the N2 as they fling faeces at passing vehicles.

* October 30 2013: Poo protesters dump human waste at the Western Cape legislature. A large group breaks away and goes on the rampage in Long Street and St George’s Mall.

* February 24, 2014: The ANC expels Loyiso Nkohla and suspends Andile Lili for a year, for heading marches which led residents to dump faeces at the Western Cape legislature and the airport.

* March 26, 2014: Poo protesters Andile Lili, Loyiso Nkohla and two others plead not guilty to contravening the waste act.
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Anger as scissors murder man gets bail
IOL News 11 June 2014

Pietermaritzburg - Emotions ran high when the man accused of stabbing his best friend to death with a pair of scissors was granted bail on Tuesday.

Luvesan Perumal was granted bail of R1 500, to the dismay of the family of Kevin Moodley, the man he is alleged to have slain.

Moodley’s relatives were at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court wearing red T-shirts with his picture emblazoned on it.

They said Moodley and Perumal had been close friends for 10 years.

A relative told the Daily News they believed the justice system had failed them.

“If the law refuses to mete out justice, we will be forced to,” said the relative, who declined being named.

The State had opposed Perumal’s bail application on the grounds that his safety could not be guaranteed if he was released.

The investigating officer, Sergeant Sheldon Norman, who testified in opposition to bail, told the court that Moodley’s family and friends in Northdale were angry.

“The situation is quite volatile. The community threatened to kill the accused in the presence of police officers. For his own safety and in the interests of justice, I am opposing bail,” Norman said.

He said he had received a petition with more than 280 signatures opposing Perumal’s bail.

However, Perumal’s lawyer, Nesan Naicker, challenged the petition and asked Norman to prove that all signatures were verified and credible.

Norman could not do so.

Moodley was walking on Cochin Circle on May 27 when he was allegedly confronted by Perumal and stabbed.

Norman testified that ac-cording to investigations, Moodley and Perumal had argued and a scuffle ensued.

Perumal then allegedly stabbed Moodley multiple times with a pair of scissors.

In granting Perumal bail, magistrate Ntsoaki Ndawande found that the State had not substantiated grounds for opposing bail and said that Perumal would be staying at an address unknown to Moodley’s relatives. The case has been adjourned.
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Five Durban taxi marchers arrested
IOL News 11 June 2014

Durban - Five people were arrested during a march in central Durban by the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance (KZNTA) on Wednesday, police said.

“We are charging them with public violence and malicious damage to property,” Colonel Jay Naicker said.

“There were cases reported of vehicles being damaged and shops being damaged.”

Earlier, police had used teargas and stun grenades on the 300-strong crowd.

The KZNTA delivered a memorandum to the city's mayor James Nxumalo at the Durban City hall. He was surrounded by heavily armed security officers.

The alliance members then marched from the hall to Pixley ka Seme Street (formerly West Street).

Stun grenades and teargas were released as police officers chased after groups of taxi drivers taking part in the strike. It was not clear what caused the chaos.

A number of taxi drivers had hammers, sticks, and clubs in their possession.

All the shops in the street were closed.

The marchers dispersed by late afternoon, leaving stones and rocks lying around.

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu cautioned taxi operators against being used to pursue political agendas.

The group was apparently calling for Mchunu to step down.

“This administration has not even finished one month in office and you already have people calling on the MEC to step down,” Mchunu said.

“The logical conclusion we can reach is that, this is nothing but politicking.”

Taxi operators were protesting about routes, the issue of operating licences, laws being in English, and the alliance feeling “shut out” by the municipality, among other things.

The eThekwini municipality said the province was working on moving the licensing function to the city.

The laws being in English was not an issue as officials always explained matters to drivers in their preferred language, she said.

She said drivers who were charged were given the opportunity to go to court and challenge fines in their own language.

Claims that the city was shutting the alliance out were “unfounded and a misrepresentation of facts”.

On February 14, the municipality signed a memorandum of agreement with the taxi industry, she said.
Sapa
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Teargas used at Durban taxi march
IOL News11 June 2014

Durban - Police used teargas and stun grenades on Wednesday during a march in central Durban by the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance (KZNTA).

The 300-strong crowd delivered a memorandum to the city's mayor James Nxumalo at the Durban City hall. He was surrounded by heavily armed security officers.

The alliance members then marched from the hall to Pixley ka Seme Street (formerly West Street).

Stun grenades and teargas were released as police officers chased after groups of taxi drivers taking part in the strike. It was not clear what caused the chaos.

A number of taxi drivers had hammers, sticks, and clubs in their possession.

All the shops in the street were closed.

Colonel Jay Naicker said the march began at 11am. The taxi operators were protesting about routes.

"At this stage the police are monitoring. No property damaged or injuries reported," he said.

Earlier, the eThekwini municipality called for a peaceful march.

"The municipality urges the event organisers to advise their members to refrain from vandalising council property or causing any disturbances during the march," spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said in a statement.

The municipality was aware of the reasons for the KZNTA's march.

These included the issue of operating licences, laws being in English, and the alliance feeling "shut out" by the municipality.

Mthethwa said the province was working on moving the licensing function to the city.

"The city and KZN department of transport engages with the taxi industry on this matter on a regular basis."

The laws being in English was not an issue as officials always explained matters to drivers in their preferred language, she said.

"In instances where a driver indicates that he or she does not understand English, the officers always get another officer to explain to the driver in a language that they understand."

She said drivers who were charged were given the opportunity to go to court and challenge fines in their own language.

"The reality is that the drivers do not pay the admission of guilt 1/8fine 3/8 or go to court to make a representation to challenge the offence they have been charged for, often resulting in them being in contempt of court and warrants of arrest being issued against them."

Mthethwa said claims that the city was shutting the alliance out were "unfounded and a misrepresentation of facts".

On February 14, the municipality signed a memorandum of agreement with the taxi industry, she said.

"The MOA spells out the principles as to how the municipality and the industry will engage with the taxi operators so that they can be part of the Go!Durban project."

The Go!Durban project is the city's own integrated rapid public transport network.

The marchers dispersed by late afternoon, leaving stones and rocks lying around.
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Residents deny attacking vagrants
IOL News 11 June 2014

Durban - Residents of Dalton Hostel have denied being involved in an attack on vagrants living in King Dinuzulu (Botha) Park that left several people injured.

A mob brandishing sticks, batons and bricks carried out the attack on Monday.

Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said a case of assault and malicious damage to property was being investigated by uMbilo police. No one has been arrested.

Initially police suspected that a mob from Dalton Hostel had mobilised and attacked the vagrants.

But hostel spokesman, Mthembiseni Thusi, said on Tuesday it could have been any of the residents from the buildings surrounding the park.

“There is quite a distance between us and Botha Park. Why was the finger pointed at us? Residents and businesses in the vicinity are complaining about the impact these vagrants are having,” Thusi said. “Even the police came here to investigate and found no weapons or mobs.”

City officials promised a bigger police presence in the area after the incident.

Musa Gumede, deputy city manager for health and social services, whose department has prioritised ridding the city of vagrants addicted to whoonga, said they were at an advanced stage of finding a place to house the vagrants who wanted treatment for their addiction.

He said in many instances, the families of the vagrants had rejected them because of their drug addiction.

There were only two public rehabilitation facilities in the province where addicts could stay as in-patients, Gumede said.

“In the meantime, we are working with (the police) and metro police to increase patrols in the area because of the petty crime that has increased,” he said.

After Monday’s violence, Gumede said the vagrants had moved back to Albert Park.

He said their presence in the city was a concern and his department was doing everything it could to rehabilitate them and integrate them back into their families.

“Unfortunately, many of their families don’t want them back and that is something we would have to look at as well.”

Thusi urged the municipality to move the vagrants to avoid an exodus of businesses and a slum.

Citimed ambulance services treated six people, ranging in age from 20 to 35 years old, who suffered mostly head injuries. They were taken to King Edward VIII Hospital.

The chairman of the uMbilo community policing forum, Ben Madokwe, said they were arranging a meeting with the hostel residents.
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Mob attacks ‘whoonga addicts’ in KZN
IOL News 11 June 2014

Durban - ‘We are not finished with you. We will be back until we have dealt with each and every one of you.”

These were the chilling words from disgruntled Dalton Hostel dwellers as they wielded traditional weapons.

They had allegedly been responsible for a vicious attack on whoonga addicts in Botha Park and lower Glenwood on Monday night.

The mayhem was ignited by residents of the Umbilo hostel’s apparent frustration with crime over recent weeks - which they blame on the addicts.

The drama unfolded at about 8pm on Monday when a mob of hostel dwellers allegedly launched an assault on the whoonga addicts.

The incident has sparked outrage from residents of surrounding suburbs, who on Tuesday took to social media to express their ire.

Armed men marched to Botha Park in King Dinuzulu (Berea) Road and apparently attacked the vagrants and whoonga addicts there.

Heather Hayward Rorick, founder and counsellor at the Glenwood/Umbilo Crisis Centre, said, “The incident spilled over into the residential areas. I was standing at the side of a shop with a friend, in Davenport Road, when everyone started running. About 14 men armed with knobkieries, bricks and sticks with nails were chasing and assaulting these people (whoonga addicts and vagrants).

“About five to eight people were hitting this young girl. They were bumping into pedestrians on the pavement. We were screaming. It was horrible,” she said.

She said the violent mob attacked everyone in sight. And when she tried to intervene, she was told: “Shut up, you white bastard.”

“The hatred, the anger, it was just terrible,” she said. Some of those attacked were car guards in the area, she said.

She berated city authorities for not intervening, warning there would be more vigilante attacks if they did not act.

“The problem here is (that) one day the wrong guy’s kids or wife or family will get hurt and he is going to lose the plot and go on a shooting spree. Unless the government actually pulls their fingers out and does something besides talk,” Craig “Oldmanondamove” Stuart posted on Facebook.

The deputy city manager for health and social services, Musa Gumede, confirmed the incident.

“We are aware that most of them (addicts) have moved to King Dinuzulu (Berea) Road from Albert Park… As you might be aware the city has the Qalakabushe (Start Afresh) programme which has been phased in. The first phase has been linked with social deve-lopment, for rehabilitation and reuniting addicts with their families. The second phase is crime prevention,” he said.

He said police visibility of both metro police and SAPS would increase in residential areas “with motorbikes roving in the areas”.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said the police responded to the incident.

“A skeleton assault docket will be opened by Umbilo SAPS for further investigation,” Naicker said.

No formal complaint had been laid with the police and no witnesses had come forward to identify the perpetrators.

Hostel dwellers on Tuesday threatened to step up their efforts to eradicate the whoonga scourge should the city fail to do so. They said they remained concerned about crime.

A resident at the hostel, who asked not to be identified, said the issue with the addicts had reached boiling point.

Nkosinathi Mchunu, 39, who left with a gaping head wound, said he was surprised by the attacks because he did not take whoonga and survived by selling cardboard.

“I don’t understand why I was hit because I don’t live with the addicts,” he said.
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