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South African Protest News 2 September - 10 October 2014
 (2014) South African Protest News 2 September - 10 October 2014
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Taxi industry wars caused a commotion
Phindile Kgomo (Witbank News) 8 October 2014

Taxis came to a standstill as drivers left commuters stranded and embarked on a strike that caused some commotion in certain areas of eMalahleni.

A building was also almost burnt to the ground.
On Friday, October 3 the taxi drivers that are affiliated to the Local Taxi Association (LOTA) took to the streets, not for work, but to strike against the taxi committee for not meeting their demands. The drivers have made demands on the taxi committee board members and wanted an immediate reply. “The drivers cannot make such demands and they cannot demand the things that they are demanding without wanting to have a formal meeting about it. They do not want to hear reason why we cannot, at the moment, accommodate their demands,” said taxi owner, Mr William Galebetsi. Galebetsi also mentioned that the demands of the drivers are too high and they do not even consider the consequences that their actions are going to be causing for them.

On Thursday, October 2 some taxis were taken off the roads by drivers who had started the strike as they felt that they should stand united against the committee. On Friday, chaos erupted.

There were protests at the traffic circle leading to the entrance of KG Mall by taxi drivers who were striking. The protesting drivers allegedly forced commuters off other taxis not associated with LOTA, and they also forced bus drivers to offload their passengers.
Some buses had to return to their place of work and not resume duties for the day. Other taxis that were on the routes to aid commuters also had to park and not offer their services, as they feared that they could have their vehicles vandalised or be hurt by the protesting drivers.
The protest was however not the last of the incidents that occurred on that day. Tyres were burnt at the local taxi rank in eMalahleni Central Business District by drivers. Some of them went as far as vandalising their head office in Rhodes Street. Windows were broken and a fire was started, police arrived and the drivers fled the scene, leaving passer-bys and other occupants in the yard to put out the fire.
Pastor Mandla Khuzwayo, who runs his church services in the vicinity of LOTA head office, said that he heard the commotion and ran outside only to find a fire in front of the LOTA office.

“I shouted for the women to bring water, as I stood over the fire and moved the planks set alight away from the door of the building. The roof was about to burn, some paint had already been damaged,” said Khuzwayo. He added that had he not removed the planks, the building would have caught alight and burned down.
“I run my services here and have a congregation coming to a sermon this evening, I could not just let the drivers have their way,” added Khuzwayo.

Taxi owners and members of the board arrived one by one as the commotion was wearing down. Some were shocked at the sight of their office and were in disbelief at the extent of damage.

The taxi drivers are demanding bonuses from the association, a burial scheme, taxi owner positions as well as taxi permits from LOTA. The chairperson of LOTA, Mr Solly Vilane, said that they have met as the committee and reached a consensus with the drivers on how their demands can be met.

“The bonuses the drivers must discuss with their employer, the taxi owner. Regarding the burial scheme we have agreed to bury only two children, and they must make other arrangements if they have more than two children. As for the positions, the drivers are more than welcome to hold positions, provided they can pay the joining fee as per LOTA rules as well as obtaining a driving permit on their own accord,” said Vilane.

As of Monday, October 6 the taxi drivers were back at work and all was in order regarding their routes. Vilane said that they do not know how long this will last, but are hoping that the drivers have ceased fire and will work towards meeting the necessary conditions to being a member of the Local Taxi Association.

MEC shocked at vigilantism
IOL News 9 October 2014

Pietermaritzburg - Don’t take the law into your own hands. That’s the plea from Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu after two 25-year-old men were allegedly beaten then burnt to death by a mob of about 200 angry Pietermaritzburg residents.

A total of 15 people have now been arrested in connection with Monday night’s deadly vigilante attack at the Bob Mattison informal settlement near Copesville.

One of the victims has been identified as Nathi Gwala. The other was known within the community only as “Rasta”.

It is alleged that the mob suspected the two men, and three others, of having committed a string of robberies in the settlement after finding a stash of stolen items in their homes.

The men were dragged out of their houses into the open road and attacked with spades, hammers, sticks, pangas and spears. Their houses were then torched and they were also set alight.

Community members claimed that the men were robbers and rapists who had been terrorising the residents of the settlement for months.

While praising police for the swift arrests, Mchunu said on Wednesday he was dismayed by the violent meting out of vigilante justice.

“I am shocked at this incident because we have continuously been urging communities to report incidents of this nature to the police and not take the law into their own hands.”

The MEC urged communities to rather hand over suspects to police so that they could face the full might of the law.

“While we understand the anger of the community in this case, it is, however, proper to work with the police in dealing with such matters,” he said.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said 14 suspects, aged between 21 and 58, were arrested for the murders and arson early on Wednesday in a joint operation by the Mountain Rise tracing team unit, serious and violent crimes unit and the Midlands K9 unit.

One suspect was arrested on Tuesday, while two others were arrested in connection with robberies at the settlement.

Among those arrested on Wednesday was a 27-year-old man who was allegedly found in possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

“He was found in possession of a home-made shotgun with two live rounds of ammunition. A panga and a knife believed to be used in the murder were also found and the man will be charged accordingly,” Zwane said.

Zwane said further information received at the informal settlement led police to Durban where they traced three suspects linked to fraud cases committed in the Mountain Rise area.

“Three suspects, aged between 36 and 44, were arrested in Point and Sea View. They were found in possession of a fraudulent cheque book, an amount of R8 000 cash and R20 000 worth of groceries,” Zwane said.

Taxi torched in Pretoria West
IOL News 9 October 2014

Pretoria - A minibus taxi was set alight in Pretoria West during a battle between two taxi associations in the area, Gauteng police said on Thursday.

“The taxi was torched yesterday (Wednesday) as the associations were allegedly fighting over routes,” said Colonel Caroline Naidoo.

A case of assault was also opened on Wednesday.

“Police are investigating both cases,” said Naidoo.

Police managed to bring stability to the conflict, which began on Wednesday.

“The situation is calm at the moment,” said Naidoo.

She said members from the two taxi associations as well as the metro police and the local police were meeting on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

No arrests had been made.

Alleged faeces flingers get support
IOL News 8 October 2014

Cape Town - A group of about 400 people protested outside the Bellville Magistrate's Court in Cape Town on Wednesday in support of people accused of throwing faeces, Western Cape police said.

“The group sang and danced peacefully,” said Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana.

There were no injuries or arrests.

Police were unable to confirm details of the people who were appearing.

Transgender goes on hunger strike over ID application
Mail & Guardian 9 October 2014

A transgender person, in a struggle to get Home Affairs to give her an ID that reflects her name and gender, has gone on a hunger strike in protest.

A lack of regulations that oversaw this category of applications 'means the application process is left to the whims of Home Affairs officials and their prejudices'.

A transgender person has embarked on a liquid and food hunger strike in an attempt to force the home affairs department to give her an identity document that reflects her changed sex and name.

Nadia Swanepoel began her transition four years ago. She approached the Department of Home Affairs three years ago and applied for a name and gender change on her identity document.

Provision for this is made in the 2003 Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act 49. It applies to “any person whose sexual characteristics have been altered by surgical or medical treatment or by evolvement through natural development resulting in gender reassignment”.

The Act says the people “may apply to the [home affairs] director general for the alteration of the sex description of his or her birth register”.

Municipality to meet Etwatwa protesters
October 8 2014 at 04:42pm

Johannesburg - The Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality on Wednesday will meet leaders of a protest currently under way in Etwatwa, on the East Rand.

“We are meeting at 4pm,” municipality spokesman Zweli Dlamini said.

He said it was unclear what the protest, which began on Wednesday morning, was about.

“(The protesters) could not articulate the reason for the protest. The group of protesters seems hell-bent to disrupt the peace of our residents and to cause malicious damage to properties with no intention of engaging with the metro.”

Earlier, municipal officials tried to speak to the leaders of the protest, but they could not be immediately identified.

Dlamini said the protesters became violent and disruptive when municipal officials and police approached them.

24 held for electrocution protest
IOL News 8 October 2014

Durban - At least 24 people were arrested on Wednesday following protests in Tongaat, north of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

The 24 would face charges of public violence, spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said in a statement.

The afternoon Daily News reported that the protesters from the Emona area of Tongaat converged on the eThekwini municipal offices in Tongaat demanding to meet mayor James Nxumalo.

According to the report, they were angry about the deaths of a teenager and two men on Tuesday. A 19-year old man was electrocuted while illegally making a connection to the electricity supply. He fell into a swamp, his 23-year old brother tried to save him, but was also electrocuted.

A 17-year-old boy tried in vain to rescue the two, but succumbed to his injuries en route to a local clinic.

The protesters wanted to be connected to the electricity grid to prevent illegal connections and similar tragedies.

Anger over mine blasting turns ugly
IOL News 7 October 2014

Johannesburg - The house of a chieftain was set alight and Bokoni Platinum mine equipment destroyed outside Burgersfort, Limpopo police said on Tuesday.

“The double-storey house was burnt last night, but not the whole house. However, the estimated damage is R500 000,” spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

“Mining equipment was also burnt, including trucks and pick-up trucks. The equipment was stored at the house. No arrests have been made.”

Mulaudzi said more information was not immediately available.

He said police were investigating cases of public violence and malicious damage to property.

SABC news reported that the chieftain had authorised mine blasting in the area, which killed a man doing welding work in the Masonti Ga-Selepe village. According to the report, residents became upset and decided to take the law into their own hands.

EFF members turn themselves in
IOL News 7 October 2014

Johannesburg - Four EFF members handed themselves to police after six houses, some belonging to Nala municipality councillors, were burnt down, Free State police said on Tuesday.

“They are EFF members. They were wearing the T-shirts of their organisation when they handed themselves over yesterday (Monday) to Bothaville police,” said Captain Stephen Thakeng.

Economic Freedom Fighters' spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi could not immediately be reached to verify if the four were party members.

They were charged with public violence, arson, attempted murder and malicious damage to property. They would appear in the Bothaville Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

On Friday, six houses were torched in the township of Kgotsong, four of them belonging to councillors. A library was also set alight.

Twelve people were subsequently arrested and appeared in court on Monday. They are Sam Ndlovu, 31, Koos Motsili, 29, Jona Mabunda, 28, Carlos Machava, 31, Sello Malefane, 42, Mokete Namola, 41, Moses Xaba, 30, David Schalkwyk, 24, Serame Khumalo, 24, and Motlalepule Chaana, 18.

The other two, Godfrey Tsoai, 51, and Plaatjie Ndisisa, 30, appeared separately.

Their case was postponed to October 13 for a bail application. - Sapa

Twelve in court for burning houses
IOL News 6 October 2014

Bloemfontein - Twelve people appeared in the Bothaville Magistrate's Court on Monday for allegedly burning eight houses in the local Kgotsong township, Free State Police said.

Captain Stephen Thakeng said the case was postponed to next Monday for a formal bail application.

The 12 face charges of public violence, malicious damage to property, arson, and attempted murder.

“Twelve suspects were arrested in Bothaville after four Nala municipality councillors' houses were burnt down.”

Another two houses and the library were damaged, and two Kgotsong residents' houses were burnt down.

Sam Ndlovu, 31, Koos Motsili, 29, Jona Mabunda, 28, Carlos Machava, 31, Sello Malefane, 42, Mokete Namola, 41, Moses Xaba, 30, David Schalkwyk, 24, Serame Khumalo, 24, and Motlalepule Chaana, 18, appeared in court on Monday.

Godfrey Tsoai, 51, and Plaatjie Ndisisa, 30, appeared separately.

Thakeng could not comment on a report in the Sowetan on Monday that the houses were burnt down in clashes between Economic Freedom Fighters and African National Congress members.

“We can't confirm this for now. I don't want to say much on it for now because the case is in court,” he said.

Meanwhile, EFF convenor in the province, Kgotso Morapela, said there had been unrest in the area since September because of a lack of services. He said when the EFF wrote to the mayor a junior official responded.

“The EFF took an issue with that because they were sent from pillar to post and have been undermined,” he said.

The party's representatives demanded to meet the mayor, but nothing happened. They then went to the township to tell residents they were not happy, he said.

“They started to sing and the situation went out of control,” he said.

The ANC and mayor's office were not immediately available to comment.

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Director linked to jobs-for-sex scandal
Norma Wildenboer 3 October 2014

Kimberley - Women should not pay with sex for government jobs and they are not “sponges” that should absorb the sexual juices of senior officials.

This was the message from a group of National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) representatives, who on Thursday embarked on a picket at the Northern Cape Department of Labour, calling for the head of a director at the department.

Protesters called for the removal of the director who allegedly sexually harassed employees.

“He must go... stop abusing (your) power... stop liking ‘iwewe’ (sex or vagina) at government’s expense,” the placards held up by the picketers stated.

The union’s regional chairman, London Kopa, said Nehawu would make sure that the director involved was removed after they received several complaints about sexual harassment.

The name on the above poster has been distorted to protect the identity of the director.

The name of the director is known to the DFA.

“We have solid proof . . . in the form of SMS correspondence between him and one complainant, who was bold enough to come forward and expose his vulgar behaviour. The man is also accused of organising positions within the department for woman ... in return for sex.

He also allegedly told a colleague, who wanted to approach a woman for a position at the department, that he did not want her to work there as she was an “ANC sponge” (a slut who was only good for absorbing the sexual juices of ANC officials) after finding out that she was a member of the ANC,” Kopa claimed.

He added that this statement was counter revolutionary and in contrast to the progress of the ANC and further undermined women.

“We will not let this matter go... we submitted our grievances about the director to the department a month ago but have received no response.

“Now they are forcing us to take the matter to the Public Service Commission, the Public Protector, the Gender Equality Commission and the national Department of Labour,” Kopa added.

According to Kopa, the man involved was also underqualified for his position as director.

“He has no tertiary qualifications and only a matric certificate. While we are questioning how he was appointed, we are also concerned about the current vacancy of chief director at the department.

“If he is appointed in an acting role, he will be able to spread his dirty ways even deeper into the department,” Kopa claimed.

The Department of Labour failed to respond to questions.

Protesters take on Nyalas in Newclare housing protest
Sipho Kings 6 October 2014

Tweet It took the sheer presence of police Nyalas to smash apart groups of furious protesters who took over the streets of Newclare yesterday.

In the early hours of Monday morning a few hundred protesters from Kathrada Park blockaded the road outside the Newclare train station – which services the community just west of Johannesburg. Through placards and chants, they demanded houses that had been promised them since 2002. Things escalated and the green palisade fences of the station were torn down, before it was torched. A security guard opened fire, killing one member of the crowd.

The main streets of Newclare were then barricaded with chunks of rubble and large tree-stems. This stopped traffic, forcing it to flow down the side roads. Only the largest police vehicles could knock their way through.

“We want our houses. They were promised so many years ago and we have nothing,” said one member of the crowd. While a few dozen in the centre danced and provided the energy, the majority hung around on the periphery. “We are living in shacks.” In a calm voice, he spoke slowly to ensure his thoughts were recorded. “You know what happens when we have a fire in shacks? People die.”

Smoke and flames
Led by the vocal core – many of whom were swigging liquid from glass beer bottles – the crowd moved through the wide suburb roads to a local municipal building. Here, mothers fled with their children clutched tight before the advancing crowd. People in the neighbouring houses rolled gates closed, snapping the locks.

A solitary police Nyala attempted to stop progress. Other police cars parked under the shade of big acacia trees, the officers keeping their weapons locked in their boots.

An older man, waiting for the crowd, chuckled. “That place is a fortress.” A three-metre tall palisade fence had barred protesters for years before. “Always when there are problems the people come here and try burn it down. They never succeed.”

When the crowd arrived it was with a wave of sound. The gate was surrounded. Black dustbins, piled outside the municipal building’s gate, were set alight. This formed a focal point for the crowd, its energy rising as the flames flicked into the hot midday sky. But before the crowd could test the gates, a Nyala rammed its way into the centre. This burst its energy.

It then refocused on the Nyala. The two officers used its squat presence to back them up as they walked around the crowd. Their colleagues looked from the periphery.

Suddenly the energy levels of the crowd shot up, as the officers tried to stop them smashing the gate. One officer was forced to turn his back to the Nyala, using it as a shield and pointing his gun at the seething crowd. Blue and black smoke coughed out of its exhausts, as the diesel engine burst into life.

Holding thick sticks, some members of the crowd clambered onto the Nyala. They beat its sides, the hollow, metallic noise ringing across the singing. A second Nyala then arrived, pushing aside the crowd, dissipating it. The less hardy protesters scattered as they did so many times on Monday at the sight of a Nyala.

Officers, dismounting the armoured truck, pushed into the crowd with their shotguns and cowed it into relative silence.
Housing is a provincial problem

“Policing is harder since Marikana because you can use so few of your tools in a situation like this,” said one officer. The Nyala becomes the only way to show force. Through its sheer size it can go into the centre of crowds and force them to break up. This breaks their momentum, they said.

With one boiling point gone, the area’s ward councillor arrived. Susan Stewart stood with a small group of police, while the crowd moved to surround her. The crowd refused her explanation that a lack of housing is a provincial problem, and she was doing her best to get the province to deliver on houses that were promised in 2002.

As the argument grew in intensity, the more wary began leaving the circle. Police then guided Stewart away, but the crowd cornered her near the large gate of a house 400-metres from the now-silent Nyalas. With things spiralling out of control, their diesel engines roared into life again. One pushed into the crowd again, before Stewart was rushed inside.

An angry protester points a finger at Susan Stewart, the area’s ward councillor, unwilling to accept her explanation for the delay in houses. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Rubber bullets and the sudden and sharp explosion of a stun grenade quickly dissipated the crowd. The smaller police vehicles then raced down side streets – followed by cars full of journalists – to find ringleaders of the day’s violent protests. The Nyalas took to the blocked roads, their thick tyres breaking apart the barriers installed by protesters.

The police’s spokesperson, Warrant Officer Jerbes de Bruyn, said a case docket for murder had been opened agains the security guard who had killed the member of the crowd in the morning. He said the police had arrested several people, and would now wait for further developments.

The Nyala is still king, but now it no longer has the power to cower protesters on its own.

Arson suspected in Open Mosque fire
IOL News 4 October 2014

Cape Town - South Africa's controversial first gay-friendly mosque, which also allows Christian worshippers and women to lead prayers, was damaged by a fire overnight, its founder and the police said on Saturday.

Police have opened an arson inquiry into the fire which occurred shortly after midnight and damaged the front door of the mosque in Cape Town.

There were no injuries and no arrests have yet been made.

“This a deliberate arson attack,” the founder, Muslim academic Taj Hargey told AFP.

“They used petrol and oil,” he said adding close circuit television video footage showed that unidentified people had made several reconnaissance trips to the mosque two hours before the attack.

Andre Traut, police spokesman for the city, said they “are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire”.

The mosque, which welcomes gay people, Christians, and treats men and women equally, opened peacefully in Cape Town last month amid opposition and threats of violence.

Just days after it opened, municipal officials said the mosque could be closed down unless it abides by municipal laws.

Hargey said Saturday that he has already complied with the requirements and the mosque has been operating.

He blamed his opponents for the attack which occurred on the eve of the celebration of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

“Instead of preparing for the holy day these people were preparing to destroy the house of God ... it's very sad, disrespectful,” he said.

But Hargey remains defiant.

“They cannot shut us down, they can try whatever they want,” he said. “They have tried verbal intimidation, threats and now arson, this should be the last.”

“Our opponents should know that they don't have a copyright on Islam.”

Hargey has described his mosque as a “religious revolution” following on from the political revolution led by late former president Nelson Mandela when democracy replaced apartheid rule in South Africa in 1994.

There are around 737 000 Muslims in South Africa, about 1.5 percent of the population, according to figures from the Pew Research Centre. - Sapa-AFP

Renewed strikes to take place in the Western Cape Farmlands
PRESS Conference (All Agricultural Unions):
Tuesday 7 October 2014 at 11h00
COSATU Boardroom
1st Floor, Community House
41 Salt River Road, Salt River

COSATU and a number of Farm Workers’ Organisations in the Western Cape are cautioning farm owners to stop their evictions of farm workers, as a result of the announcement made by Minister Mkwinti. The announcement that the Minister made in respect of the issues of land reform has seen many evictions taking place across the country. Farm workers have declared that they are going to resist the evictions and COSATU and Unions support them. COSATU will be using all of the lawful and moral means at their disposal to assist the farm workers.

There must be a moratorium on evictions, pending the finalisation of the new land reform dispensation and its operational measures. Failure to comply with this moratorium will see large scale occupation of the farms, whose owners continue with the apartheid style practices, of evictions.

A failure on the part of farm owners to respond to these cautions will see renewed protest across Western Cape farms with this extending to the rest of the country given the large scale humanitarian crisis caused by evictions. We are further calling on the Government to urgently intervene to stop these evictions before it blows over into the full scale conflict we saw in the past. The Government had put in place ESTA which had the unintended consequences of seeing a million people evicted from farms, when they were alerted to this danger they took no mitigating actions. Now they are announcing land reforms that are having the unintended consequences of many more people being evicted from farms. Will they again do nothing to stop the carnage? Farm workers have no alternative but to defend their rights and the livelihoods of their families, from farm owners who have maintained the historical hostility that they first displayed when the grand land theft from indigenous people first commenced in South Africa.

Should farm workers not defend their rights to stay on the land that they had occupied for generations, the effect would be of the land reform provisions applying to no one, because everyone would then be evicted. We demand provisions along the line of the Solms Delta project in Franschoek, which sees equity and justice being advanced as a short term measure, while the long term details are resolved by Government.

This continued evictions of farm workers and the disregard of the intention of the law by racist farm owners both Black and White will see renewed war for justice in the Agricultural Sector, because the call for urgent mitigating steps were ignored.

With questions please call COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, at 082 7733194

Defaulters hijack scores of flats
IOL News 2 October 2014

Johannesburg - Friendship Town, a R65 million middle-income estate in Tembisa, consisting of 266 flats and 360 free-standing bonded houses, was hijacked by a group of disgruntled tenants who were evicted for non-payment of rent.

Following two riots over the evictions in the past month, the managing agents of the flats, Ithemba, its employees and including security staff have been chased off the premises.

Several times, residents have blockaded the entrance, preventing the flat owners and tenants from entering or leaving the estate.

Rian Reyneke from Ithemba said the problems started in August when they obtained an eviction order against four tenants who were not paying rent. The aggrieved tenants then started lobbying others not to pay, telling them they were being overcharged and that the flats had been donated to local residents by the Chinese government.

After the eviction, residents went on the rampage, burning down offices, burning tyres, and threatening tenants with violence if they paid their rent.

A second order was obtained against them to stop the intimidation and threats.

Attempts by Ithemba to place private security on the property proved fruitless.

“Prior to our eviction order, we had a 99 percent payment level, indicating that people were happy with their flats and our services,” said Reyneke.

Documents that The Star has seen show that Friendship Town was built in terms of an agreement with the Chinese government for the Ekurhuleni municipality, which, in turn, sold it to the Affordable Housing Company, at a profit. The money made was to have been used to build more houses.

“There was never a rent-to-buy condition attached to the rental of the flats. These actions by illegal tenants, against whom we have an eviction order issued by a court, jeopardise and discourage further private investment sector,” he added.

A member of the Friendship Town committee, Mpho Setati, said residents had given MEC for Housing Jacob Mamabolo a memorandum of their demands on August 1.

Ekurhuleni municipality said the properties do not belong to it and that it was unaware of the situation.

DA leads e-toll protest in Pretoria
IOL Motoring 2 October 2014

Pretoria - DA members gathered at the national transport department's offices in Pretoria on Thursday to protest against e-tolls.

The crowd, wearing blue party T-shirts, cheered when Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane arrived, draped the party's flag over his shoulders and danced.

Motorists flashed their headlights and hooted as they passed the group.

Police officers stood guard in front of the offices in Struben Street.

Protesters damage Gauteng mail depot
IOL News 1 October 2014

Johannesburg - The SA Post Office (Sapo) has opened a case of malicious damage to property against protesters who vandalised the Vanderbijlpark mail-sorting depot, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

“Two vehicles were set alight and windows of the building were broken,” said Sapo spokesman Lungile Lose.

Sapo initially said Tuesday's incident happened at the Vanderbijlpark post office, and that one vehicle was set alight. This was later clarified.

No injuries were reported and no update was given on the strike.

There was no damage to mail and protesters did not enter the building.

Sapo's casual workers have been on strike for the past few weeks demanding permanent positions.

According to the City Press, post office employees claimed management was dragging its heels in converting casual workers to permanent staff. This was part of Sapo's labour strategy approved last year to convert 7945 casual workers to permanent employees.

Sapo was using a phased approach, offering casual workers part-time positions as an alternative to being contracted to the company through labour brokers.

“The aim of the flexible labour strategy has always been to advance the part-time employees to more permanent positions with full benefits. However, a staggered approach had to be adopted given the difficult financial position the company is in,” Sapo group chief operating officer Mlu Mathonsi was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

“Disputes with unions are around agreements made at the time that casual workers would be employed in entry level positions with limited benefits.”

Advancement to full-time positions with full benefits would only be done if Sapo was in a financial position to do so, the newspaper reported.

Vanderbijlpark post office vandalised
IOL News 1 October 2014

Johannesburg - The Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, post office has been vandalised and a vehicle torched, the SA Post Office (Sapo) said on Wednesday.

“Yes there was an incident of vandalism there yesterday (Tuesday). Windows were broken and a car was set alight by protesters,” spokesman Lungile Lose said.

No injuries were reported.

Casual workers had been on strike for two weeks demanding permanent positions.

According to the City Press, post office employees were claiming that management was dragging its heels in converting casual workers to permanent staff. This was part of Sapo's labour strategy approved last year to convert 7 945 casual workers into permanent employees.

Sapo was using a phased approach, offering casual workers part-time positions as an alternative to being contracted to the company through labour brokers.

“The aim of the flexible labour strategy has always been to advance the part-time employees to more permanent positions with full benefits. However, a staggered approach had to be adopted given the difficult financial position the company is in,” Sapo group chief operating officer Mlu Mathonsi was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

“Disputes with unions are around agreements made at the time that casual workers would be employed in entry level positions with limited benefits.”

Advancement to full-time positions with full benefits would only be done if Sapo was in a financial position to do so, the newspaper reported.

Lose said a press statement would be issued shortly with an update on the strike.

Reservists stage sit-in over SAPS jobs
IOL News 1 October 2014

Police reservists camp outside the office of the minister of police demanding to be integrated into the SAPS. Picture: Masi Losi
Pretoria -

A group of reservists who claim they have been promised full-time employment in the SAPS, have staged a two-night sit-in at police headquarters.

The group claim police management has since reneged on the promise to employ them.

About 50 reservists took part in the sit-in at police headquarters in the Pretoria CBD from Monday, demanding they be employed permanently.

The reservists claim they were ignored by former minister of police Nathi Mthethwa for years, forcing them to resort to a sit-in.

Three weeks ago, they submitted their third memorandum to the Presidency and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko’s office. “We slept at the head office yesterday, hoping we would get answers,” said national spokesman of the reservists Molefi Masuelle.

Nhleko’s spokesman Musa Zondi said the minister was at the presidential imbizo in KwaZulu-Natal. He said he could only comment today.

Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Dr Johan Burger said it would be practical for police to hire reservists, provided they met minimum requirements.

“I doubt the minister could have made such a promise. Perhaps it could have been said during a discussion, but I do not remember a promise being made,” he said.

“The minister could have been misunderstood. He could have said those who fall within the requirements can apply and would be considered, but not that everyone would be employed,” Burger said.

Masuelle said reservists were given forms in 2009 which they were made to sign to be integrated into the police force as permanent employees.

“All we want is for them to properly give us permanent employment like they promised us in 2009.

“They should also give us the money that is owed us since then,” he said.

Reservists were seen lying on the floor of the head office on Pretorius Street, with bags and blankets. Some were wearing police attire, blue pants and black boots.

Elijah Raphela, who has been a reservist since 2008, acknowledged that reservists were not promised employment when they decided to volunteer.

He said their demand was a result of a promise made to them after they started work as reservists. “It’s hard to survive when you are not being paid. I have one child and we are both dependent on my parents,” he said.

Police mistreated them as they were not a part of the force, they charged.

“The forms we signed have been processed in the system. We can’t receive basic health services from state hospitals because we registered as SAPS employees and have medical aid. We can’t even get RDP houses because it seems like we have salaries,” said Raphela.

FAWU 2 October 2014

The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) has seen thousands of its members going on strike in the past few days, weeks and months and others gearing themselves for such strikes in few days’ time.

The below is the summary of these strike actions as undertaken and resolved or as ongoing and still to see resolution or those that that are coming up.

1. Protea Landmark Lodge (Limpopo, Polokwane)

The strike by 18 FAWU was resolved on the 29th September 2014, having taken two weeks since the 15th September, after the company has agreed that workers must receive a basic monthly wages as opposed to them working on a call or without guaranteed hours of work.

Workers will meanwhile receive 9% increment of their hourly rate of whatever number of hours they are working while the basic wage structure with minimum hours of work is being worked out by the union and management. In addition, workers will receive transport assistance, to be ferried at home, for those workers working night shifts.

2. Blinkwater Mills (Mpumalanga/near Limpopo border town of Stoffberg)

150 members of FAWU are going back to work on the 2nd October 2014 after a three-month strike that started on the 2nd July in pursuit of wage increment and other demands. However the strike was resolved when a 6% wage increment was agreed as a settlement amount. This is a first union initiated and protected strike in more than 2 decades since the plant was established.

3. Umbhaba Farms (Mpumalanga’s Komatipoort)

As from Monday (6th October 2014) about 2 000 workers, 1 500 permanent and 500 seasonal, in the Umbhaba banana farms in Komatipoort will be commencing a strike action in pursuit of the critical demand for their union, FAWU, to be recognised for organizational rights and as a their bargaining agent. This follows certificate of non-resolution granted by the CCMA. This strike action may be averted if an agreement between FAWU and the employer is reached by this Friday.

4. Du Toit Group (W Cape’ Ceres and E Cape’s Humansdorp)

There is a national strike action involving our members in the Du Toit group since the 1st October 2014.

The strike involves 1 033 workers, 600 employed as so-called high-seasonal because they are working 10 months a year and 400 seasonal workers working for 6 to 8 months as well as a mere 33 permanent workers, in the packing facilities of the Du Toit Group in the Western Cape’s town of Ceres another 378 workers, 235 as permanent and 143 as seasonal, in the Du Toit Group E Cape’s district of Humansdorp.

Workers are demanding a single national bargaining forum between FAWU and Du Toit group rather than multiple bargaining forums.

5. Chickery Dairy and Twizza Bottler (E Cape’s Queenstown)

210 of FAWU members have been on strike since 18th September 2014 in pursuit of a 12% wage increment and 10% night shift given that this is a 24-hour, seven-day a week operation. This also follows the unilaterally implemented 5.5% wage increment by the employer despite rejection by workers.

Meanwhile, FAWU is calling on all farm owners and company managements to accept that labour unions are here to stay and FAWU is here to organize those farm workers instilling confidence in them and mobilizing their collective power in pursuing workers’ demands.

Whilst workers resort to strikes as a last option employers must not take workers’ demands and the need for meaningful dialogue on those for granted. In this context, we call on all the above companies and farms where strikes are still on-going to return back to the negotiations table and meaningfully engage with FAWU.

For more information feel free to contact the FAWU General Secretary, Katishi Masemola at 082 467 2509 or arrange through the Pa to the GS, Ms Nicoleen Gegese, reachable at 071 682 5878 or

Issued by
FAWU General Secretary

Maimane provoked Tsakane residents: MEC
IOL News 2 October 2014

DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane. Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha
Johannesburg - DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane provoked residents of Tsakane by campaigning on the back of water supply problems, Gauteng's co-operative governance MEC said on Thursday.

“I have noted with concern allegations that Maimane went to Tsakane and promised residents water in return for joining the Democratic Alliance,” Jacob Mamabolo said in a statement.

“We saw a normally peaceful community erupting into party political clashes and almost spilling into violence because of Maimane's provocative visit to the area.”

On Wednesday police escorted Maimane out of Tsakane, on the East Rand, after residents, some wearing ANC T-shirts, booed him when he arrived in Section 17 with two water tankers.

Resident Bila Ndou said the DA had asked people to sign up for party.

Maimane denied claims that the DA wanted people to sign up for party membership in exchange for water. The party was compiling a petition, he said at the time.

Mamabolo, who also visited areas affected by water cuts in recent weeks, said government was “handling the water problem well”.

“Water supply problems which are still being experienced in parts of Ekurhuleni, in areas such as Tsakane and Etwatwa, are receiving immediate attention from the technical team from the municipality and Rand Water,” Mamabolo said.

“We are also satisfied the levels of water in all the reservoirs have recovered, with the majority reported at over 50 percent of capacity.”

Parts of Gauteng experienced severe water shortages in the past weeks. Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane blamed this on a “technical glitch” and the theft of electricity cables which stopped pumps from working.

Maimane booed during water campaign
News 24 1 October 2014

Johannesburg - DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane was booed on Wednesday when he tried to address Tsakane, East Rand, residents during a water delivery campaign.

A group of people in ANC T-shirts booed him, chanting "go away", and burnt a DA T-shirt.

"Go away, we do not want you DA," they shouted. Police intervened and separated supporters of the two parties.

When Maimane tried to address the crowd ANC supporters began singing.

Speaking to reporters Maimane said the ANC had forgotten about the people and was spreading political intolerance.

"What is criminal about bringing water?" he asked, referring to the two water tankers he had brought along.

"We are bringing water for the community. As a responsible citizen I cannot sit back when the people are suffering. Water Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has promised to address this issue, what has she done?"

A group of women shouted at Maimane, asking him where he had been in the past three weeks when taps ran dry.

"Where have you been? Why are you coming now?" they asked.

ANC Ward Councillor Silas Thabo Letsimo said it was not necessary for the DA to bring water tankers.

"The municipality is delivering water daily here," he said.

"The water problem is under control. This tanker has been here since the morning. If it runs dry another truck is sent to deliver water."

He said the DA wanted to portray him as a non-caring councillor.

Parts of Gauteng experienced severe water shortages in past weeks, which Mokonyane blamed on a "technical glitch" and the theft of electricity cables which kept water supply flowing.

Housing activist shot dead
The Mercury 1 October 2014

A WOMAN was shot and killed in an attack on her house in KwaNdengezi on Monday.
Thuli Ndlovu, 36, chairwoman of the KwaNdengezi branch of the shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, was killed a few hours after telling her mother, “today we are going to be shot”. She had been suspicious of a car driving past her house in the afternoon.

Ndlovu’s teenage daughter, Slindile, was unharmed, but her maths tutor, Sphe Madlala, 18, was shot and seriously injured.

Ndlovu’s mother, Khemani Ndlovu, said she had been watching television when she heard what she thought was a thunderstorm.
She saw a man fire shots into Thuli’s building, but when she went outside, the killer had fled.
Her daughter was lying in a pool of blood, while Madlala bled profusely.

Madlala is believed to have had surgery and is in a critical condition.

Abahlali was adamant that the shooting was linked to a housing development spat between the community and local leaders.

The movement said in a statement yesterday: “We have accepted that some of us will die in this struggle. Many of us have received threats. We knew that another assassination was coming.”

In July last year, former Abahlali president S’bu Zikode called for a probe into the killings of Nkululeko Gwala and Thembinkosi Qumbelo.
Police spokesman Jay Naicker said KwaNdengezi police were investigating a case of murder and attempted murder. No one had been arrested.

The DA’s provincial spokesman, Hlanganani Gumbi, said the party, to which Abahlali was aligned, would monitor the investigations.

Poor showing for Malema vigil
IOL News 29 September 2014

Polokwane - A small group of EFF supporters stood outside the Nirvana Hall in Polokwane on Monday where a night vigil for party leader Julius Malema is expected to be held.

The group wearing the Economic Freedom Fighters signature beret and T-shirts stood chatting in the street.

About five marshals in reflective vests stood on the side of the road. A police van patrolled the area and an amubulance arrived on the scene around 7pm.

Malema's trial in the Polokwane High Court is expected to start on Tuesday morning.

Supporters from the night vigil that started at 6pm will march to the court in the morning.

Roads around the court will be closed on Tuesday.

Malema faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering.

His trial will be heard from September 30 to October 31 next year.

It is alleged that he made nearly R4 million from corrupt activities.

He is out on R10 000 bail. His four co-accused, who are his business associates, are out on bail of R40,000 each.

The State alleges that the five misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Lesiba Gwangwa, one of the co-accused and a director of On-Point Engineering.

Malema's Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43m. According to the charge sheet, Malema substantially benefited from this payment, using it to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.

No end in sight to postal strike
IOL News 27 September 2014

The SA Post Office does not know when the protracted strike will end and post can again be delivered effectively. Photo: David Ritchie
Cape Town - The SA Post Office (Sapo) does not know when a protracted strike will end and post can again be delivered effectively.

On Friday, when asked for comment on the failure to end the strike which now enters its eighth week, group executive corporate affairs at the Sapo, Lungile Lose, said the issue was that labour agreements were up for review to “see where we have gone wrong”.

Asked when the strike could end, he said: “I don’t think this is a time-(frame) issue.

“We can’t meet all the demands because of affordability.

“The last published (financial) statements showed a loss.

“This will be the third year of losses after seven years of profit,” said Lose.

The main objective now was to get “a permanent solution to this problem”.

Too many labour agreements and supplementary contracts entered into with labour unions which now cannot be met lie at the heart of the strike by Sapo employees that has paralysed essential postal services and left customers seething.

The strike has severely affected depots, especially in Gauteng the Western Cape.

In Gauteng, mail centres such as Tshwane, Witspos, Germiston and Krugersdorp were either operating at minimal capacity or not at all.

In Cape Town, where postal services have been closed intermittently since January, most of the centres remained closed this week.

This was amid incidents of violence and intimidation by striking casual workers.

Sources familiar with the negotiations at Sapo traced the strike to an initial agreement, signed before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in February.

The agreement stipulated that about 600 striking casual workers be employed in permanent positions.

This is also revealed in an internal Sapo memorandum dated September 10, and which Pretoria News has seen, that shows that Telecommunications and Postal Offices Minister Siyabonga Cwele had “joined the Sapo executive in trying to mediate in the protracted strike”.

“The minister discovered that the cause of the recent strike was non-compliance in the implementation of the CCMA agreement dated February 11, 2014, which refers to the appointment of the 600 casual workers with Wits and Northern region into permanent positions,” the memo states, in part.

“There are too many agreements and supplementary agreements that have been entered into between labour and management. Management has not implemented most of the agreements.”

The memo also suggests the existence of divisions within the Sapo executive.

“Management seems to be working against each other in implementing the agreements and supplementary agreements.”

In terms of an agreement employees – who were earlier dismissed – had to be reinstated.

It was this agreement that prompted permanent workers who had previous agreements with Sapo to embark on a strike of their own.

“In essence, you have different agreements with different frameworks and different committees that is the sticking point,” said one source.

“The one (agreement) entailed converting some 900 contracts into permanent positions….”

After concern that Sapo workers had not been paid this week, a glitch was blamed and salaries were paid.

Lose said: “We have explained that we had technical glitches in the system that resulted in salaries being paid in batches, according to the (employees)’s respective banks.

“If any person wasn’t paid their salaries, they would have to give their details to our human resources department.”

“We were able to resolve the matter (on Thursday) and everyone was paid,” said communications officer Johan Kruger.

Kruger also said he was uncertain when things would return to normal at post offices across the country.
Saturday Star

TUT campuses reopen
IOL News 29 September 2014

Pretoria - Work at all Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) campuses resumed on Monday, following their closure due to a spate of violent protests, TUT said.

“Large numbers of students returned to class and the situation on all campuses was monitored throughout the day,” spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said.

“Everything was calm and no incidents were reported.”

The decision to reopen the campus was made on Friday, following progress in talks between management and student leaders.

“In a bid to address the lack of funding for students to study, which sparked the two-week-long protest action, a meeting of the full TUT council also approved a proposal from the university to make R46 million in student loans available to assist a group of 2500 unfunded students for the remainder of 2014,” De Ruyter said at the time.

This was in addition to R30m which the university had made available this year for returning students to cover a shortfall in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

“More detailed information on the academic recovery plan will be communicated to students in the course of the week,” she said.

De Ruyter said students would be allowed to return to their residences, but they first needed to sign an undertaking that they would not be involved in any violence, disrupt university activities, or damage property.

Cars set alight as Hangberg erupts
Natasha Bezuidenhout and Murray Williams (IOL News) 30 September 2014

Cape Town - Cars were set alight and buildings damaged early on Tuesday morning as the Hangberg housing saga erupted again. The Panorama Hill complex, an upmarket block of flats at the entrance to Hangberg, became the target of angry residents who burned and damaged six cars after a community member was arrested.

On Tuesday morning, rocks and tree branches littered the road at the entrance to Hangberg as a police Nyala parked close by.

Tenants from the complex inspected the damage to their vehicles as more police arrived.

A block away, the Hout Bay harbour market was in disarray as sculptures, paintings, crockery and an ATM were damaged and silverware allegedly stolen.

Yellow police tape cordoned off the area.

A teacher who lives in Panorama Hill building assessed the damage to her car on Tuesday morning.

Her white Corsa was burnt on the right side and its windows were shattered.

“There was a lot of screaming and shouting at around 3am.

“A flare was thrown on the car parked next to mine.”

She added that residents were afraid.

“It is heartbreaking, especially when children are involved too.

“Children and adults were throwing stones and rocks.”

Another resident said she heard what sounded like gunshots after midnight and couldn’t sleep.

“I heard stones and went to look through the window when I saw people climbing over the wall.

“I saw them light the cars and then I started to pray.

“Apparently, they were promised this land and it is the second or third time they have done this.”

The violence was related to the arrest of Tony Jonker early on Tuesday morning for “breaching a high court order”.

The land at the centre of the dispute is above Hangberg, on a firebreak between the community and SANParks land.

A 2011 court order came after extensive mediation between the land owners and the community, facilitated by the Peace & Mediation Forum, whose agreement was made an order of the court. The order prevents any further construction on the land, for health and safety reasons - and it was this which the court acted on on Tuesday.

Jonkers’s mother Fadwah Vardien said her 8-year-old grandson was traumatised by the arrest.

“I am very angry. It is the third time police came to my son’s place, beating him and arresting him. How many times must my grandson see his father treated like this?

Her son’s structure was one of the first illegally built in 2010 and one of the first to be destroyed.

“When the court order was granted (to evict illegal structures) he had already rebuilt. So his structure was already there.

“The court order came afterwards.”

Roscoe Jacobs from the Hout Bay Civic Association said arrests of community members were a “huge miscarriage of justice”.

“Evictions are still taking place. People have become very frustrated. The arrest on Tuesday morning is the fourth or fifth since last year. The court order stems from 2012 for people who built their structures illegally in 2009 and 2010.”

“How long will this court order from 2012 be valid for?

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the community and the only reason they continue to build is because the city and provincial government did not address their issues properly.”

The community would challenge the court order. “We will continue until the mayor and premier properly address this. The mediation process has failed and had taken place behind closed doors in the past.

“We need to come together and work towards the best interest of the community.”

Police spokesman Andre Traut said on Tuesday morning: “At this stage, the situation has calmed down and no one has been arrested on charges of public violence as yet.”

Alderman JP Smith, Mayco member for Safety and Security, said: “Members of the community of Hangberg invaded a fire break. They were in breach of a court order and it was unsafe for them to reside there.

“As part of the city’s commitment to building a safe city for our residents, we were obliged to serve them with a notice. Upon doing so, members of our city staff were repeatedly attacked.

“For more than a year and a half the city tried to engage with these individuals constructively.

“They refused to comply and on Tuesday morning the SAPS moved in in order to arrest those who were in breach of said court order.”

Angry parents storm school
IOL News 25 September 2014

Durban - Pupils from a primary school in Northern KwaZulu-Natal were forced to stay at home on Thursday after angry parents forced the school gates closed.

This follows a morning staff meeting on Friday which turned ugly when a mob, including parents, stormed into the staffroom and attacked a teacher with knobkieries, steel pipes and bricks.

The Grade 7 male teacher, who is also in charge of the school’s sporting activities, said the group was led by a councillor.

Teachers ran for cover while the principal tried to stop the attack. However, the angry mob turned their attention to him.

The names of the parties and school are known to the Daily News, but are being withheld at this stage.

The teacher, who was discharged from hospital on Tuesday, said: “We were in the middle of a morning staff meeting when the mob stormed the staffroom. No questions asked or explanation given. Knobkieries, steel pipes and all sorts of weapons did the talking until the principal shielded me from the attack.

“Unfortunately, the attackers assaulted the principal too. Those people meant to kill me but I believe it was not my day.”

He said he heard later that the attackers accused him of sexually violating pupils.

No medical evidence was produced to support the claims.

“This is crazy. I have worked with children for years and I have my own children aged 13 and below. I sometimes take my children to school during sports days and they would play and chat with others. How then can I commit such evil acts on them?” he said.

“If it is something that I have been doing for a long time, why then have they not taken the victims for medical examination for evidence that can be used in court against me?”

He said he had laid charges of assault and malicious damage to property against a councillor who allegedly led the attack.

The principal, who was approached for comment, would only say: “I registered an assault charge with the police for the assault. I have since forwarded a report to the (KZN education) department about the incident.”

The area councillor denied he had been part of the attack. He said he had been trying to defuse the situation but the parents, who today prevented their children from going to school, would not listen to him.

“I did not attack anyone. As a community leader, I was there when the parents attacked the teacher and I tried to stop them but I failed.

“Even today the parents are still angry and they have closed the school demanding that the teacher be removed.

“I don’t understand why the (alleged) victims have not been taken to the doctor for examination to prove that the teacher assaulted them,” he said on Thursday.

Themba Ndhlovu, spokesman for the South African Council of Educators (Sace), condemned the attack.

He said sexual assault allegations against teachers were taken seriously and should be reported as they came to light. He said Sace had dealt with many cases in the province where parents had either closed schools or attacked teachers after sexual interference allegations had come to light.

“We call upon the parents… to write to us detailing how the assaults were taking place and who have they reported to. In a mob-kind of a struggle there are people who take advantage of the situation without evidence that the accused has committed the crime or not,” Ndhlovu said.

“In some cases parents claim that they had reported the allegations to the relevant bodies without action taken. In such cases parents then decide to take the law into their own hands. We do not condone that because it’s against the law.”

The spokesman for the KZN Department of Education, Sihle Mlotshwa, said it was shocking that parents could storm into a school and attack teachers and principals.

“We still need to get to the bottom of this if it happened, and if it did, we will be very much disappointed because schools are institutions where young minds are moulded into better persons for the future,” Mlotshwa said. “This will be very embarrassing.”

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said cases of common assault and malicious damage to property were being investigated, but that no arrests had been made.

The deputy mayor of the town where the school is situated said they needed to hear the councillor’s side of the story before commenting.

‘Big step’ taken towards peace at hostel
IOL News 25 September 2014

Durban - Political intervention could see the end of illegal evictions and assassinations at the violence-stricken Glebelands hostel in uMlazi.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala told the Daily News a “big step” had been taken to resolve the issues at the hostel, amid calls by activists and hostel dwellers for a political solution to the ongoing violence.

Yesterday, activist group R2K held a picket at uMlazi’s MegaCity shopping district.

Campaigner Mthembeni Thusi said the first move to end violence at the hostel would be for police to confiscate all illegal firearms, which he claimed were used in the recent spate of shootings.

“Killing each other will not bring a solution to the problem. Since March more than 100 dwellers have been illegally evicted and 16 people killed in the hostel.”

Zikalala said earlier that the ANC had resolved that premier Senzo Mchunu and Public Safety MEC Willies Mchunu “should put their heads together and resolve the hostel issues”.

“Both the premier and the MEC agreed a task team should investigate all the murders committed at the hostel. It is up to the two to decide when the investigation should kick in.”

Zikalala said the call by residents and community activists to pull uMlazi police out of the hostel would be attended to.

MEC Mchunu’s spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said on Wednesday the MEC, premier and eThekwini municipality officials would address hostel residents on Sunday on the steps taken to resolve differences among residents. “We are optimistic that the intervention will bring peace in the area.”

Asked if local police deployed at the hostel would be pulled out soon, Ncalane said that information would also be communicated on Sunday.

Community activist Vanessa Burger said it was promising to hear that the authorities were at last taking action to address hostel violence.

“We hope they will address the corruption allegations, illegal evictions and assassinations carried out by one faction against the other. We hope they will also touch on the need for counselling for all the families affected by the violence.”

Said R2K’s Thusi: “We hope that the visit by the government on Sunday will bring calm and motivate the warring factions to sit down and talk about their differences.”

Taxi violence hits Limpopo
IOL News 25 September 2014

Lephalale - Violent clashes between two taxi associations occurred in Marapong, near Lephalale on Thursday, Limpopo police said.

“This morning we received a call from the community to say somebody was being assaulted in Marapong,” said Warrant Officer Frans Mokoena.

“The conflict was between the local taxi association and the recent, newly formed metered taxi 1/8group 3/8.”

A driver of the local taxi association was assaulted and his taxi damaged.

Seven of the metered taxis were burnt, as well as a house and two shops.

Two people of each organisation had been arrested, Mokoena said.

The injured driver was taken to hospital.

Israeli-owned businesses harassed by customers
Cape Times 25 September 2014

TWO Israeli-owned businesses say their staff have been harassed by customers who support the Palestinian cause – and some have received threats.

Micabella Cosmetics and Premier Dead Sea Cosmetic Products have had outlets in Cavendish Square.

A director of Dead Sea Products South Africa, who did not want his identity disclosed, said: “Our staff have been racially abused because of the products we sell. But I don’t want to talk about this. It’s been happening for a while.”

The employees had not reported the matter to the police, the director said.

Micabella closed two weeks ago, but its owner, Eli Frenkel, says this was not because of the harassment.

A Micabella employee, who asked not to be named, said: “Our staff sometimes received threats about the products we sell.”

The employee would not give details of the threats.

“This happened on a regular basis. The sad thing is that we have been harassed over something we have no knowledge of.”

The campaign, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa (BDS), said it was not aware these companies had been harassed. However, customers had told it they had been harassed by employees of these companies.

BDS national co-ordinator Muhammed Desai said that in one case, a woman reported that she had approached an Israeli Dead Sea Cosmetic stand in the Killarney Mall in Johannesburg, wanting to know whether the products were from.

When the saleswoman told her the products were from Israel, the woman said Israel was occupying Palestine illegally.

The saleswoman had then become aggressive and told the customer to “get her hands off the counter”, Desai said.

He urged employees at these companies to report incidents of harassment.

“If they have complaints they must report this to authorities like the police,” Desai said.

BDS has held marches and pickets across the country opposing the importing of Israeli products.

Fire fails to force councillor out
IOL News 23 September 2014

Cape Town - A Philippi ward councillor whose offices were torched has defied residents calling on him to quit, saying he will not step down.

Thembinkosi Pupa of Ward 80 in Philippi said Phantsi kweCingo informal settlement residents were upset because officials from the Human Settlements Department had delayed a re-blocking project in their community.

Pupa said R460 000 had been allocated to the re-blocking project to move the Phantsi kweCingo residents living under power lines.

On Friday around 8pm, when Pupa was at home with his family, residents marched to the building that housed his offices.

“I received a call from my personal assistant informing me that the office was on fire.”

The gates to the offices had been pushed down, and the the reception area and the two offices inside the building were in ashes.

“They first smashed the windows and then threw petrol bombs inside. Two computers in my offices are burnt and the community social worker’s office was also set alight.”

Pupa said three days before the fire, residents had confronted him about the re-blocking delay and said he had three days to respond.

On Monday, Phantsi kweCingo residents took to the streets, burning tyres and barricading Lansdowne Road.

Pupa said: “No work can be done until all this is repaired.”

But community leader Philasande Foyi said residents were tired of being “made fools”. Pupa was not delivering on any of the promises he had made the community prior to his election in 2011.

“There is no development in this area. We have tried to talk with him but he keeps making excuses. We are living under electric poles… but he does not seem to care. All he cares about is himself.”

Foyi said said he had lived in the informal settlement for 15 years, and in all that time there had been no progress. They wanted their own electricity boxes.

“We have to illegally hook electricity to nearby houses, paying up to R400 for the connection, and this is money we do not have. This is why people are angry.”

Earlier this year, a DA proportional representation councillor Nceba Hanana, also from ward 80, was stabbed several times in the back allegedly by a community member outside the council offices after a council meeting.

Alida Clem, spokeswoman for the Speaker of the City of Cape Town, confirmed the fire. She said the matter was being investigated and no formal complaints had been received against Pupa.

Protesters torch municipal building
IOL News 23 September 2014

Port Elizabeth - A municipal building in Kirkwood was set alight during service delivery protests on Tuesday, Eastern Cape police said.

Warrant Officer Basil Seekoei urged motorists to use alternative roads and members of the public to avoid the town's central business district.

Burnt tyres and wood were strewn along the town's main roads.

The protests began in the early hours of Tuesday morning, he said.

Rubber bullets were used to disperse the crowd.

“There were splinter groups and we had to control all of them simultaneously.”

Police were monitoring the situation. No arrests had yet been made.

Seekoei said the protest was linked to residents' unhappiness with the municipality and service delivery.

He could not confirm that the residents were from Moses Mabhida township, which was about 5km away.

By midday some of the protesters were still in the CBD.

Democratic Alliance MPL Vicky Knoetze said the Sunday's River Valley municipality had written off R84.5 million for irregular expenditure.

The municipality could not be immediately reached for comment.

Golden Highway open after protests
IOL News 23 September 2014

Johannesburg - The Golden Highway was reopened on Tuesday after residents of Lehae township, south of Johannesburg, blockaded it with rocks earlier, metro police said.

The highway was reopened around noon after the rocks and stones had been removed, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

“Traffic is flowing but there is still a very heavy police presence.”

He said some of the protesters were still in the area.

The protest started before 5am. Human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo condemned it, called on police to stabilise the area and to act against those responsible.

“There is no reason for this type of unlawful protest in this area. Lehae has been receiving attention by government in terms of housing and other services.”

Mamabolo said he was open to discussions with residents of the area, near Lenasia.

“I have established a task team to investigate the issues surrounding the protests and to engage in talks with the community.”

Mixed income development plans for the area included building 5344 housing units, of which 3066 would be RDP houses, 770 rental units and 1508 bonded units, he said.

Six community centres, two secondary schools, two primary schools, four crèches, eight sites for religious institutions, two taxi ranks, four business sites and 38 public open spaces were part of the plan, Mamabolo said. His office could not immediately say when this would be implemented.

Post office strike infuriates residents
Kgomotso Nkabinde (Bedfordview & Edenvale News) 19 September 2014

The post office were stolen and bicycles and undelivered mail were set alight and burnt by striking Post Office employees.

A sign indicating that the Post Office is closed due to reasons of public safety.

“This Post Office is temporarily closed for reasons of public safety.”

This is the sign outside the Edenvale SA Post Office after the keys to the post office were stolen and bicycles and undelivered mail were set alight and burnt by striking Post Office employees.

The incidents took place last week at the Edenvale Post Office.

The acting spokesperson for the Edenvale SAPS, Lieutenant Colonel Robbie Roberts said, “We received a call about a group of problematic Post Office strikers at the Edenvale branch. The strikers arrived at the branch in a Toyota Venture and started threatening the staff and demanding they close the branch. The strikers burnt two bicycles belonging to the Post Office. They also set undelivered mail alight. Before leaving the branch, the strikers stole the branch keys from the manager.”

“When the Edenvale SAPS arrived on the scene, the strikers had already fled. A case of public violence and theft of keys has been opened,” said Lt Col Roberts.

It is unknown which branch of the Post Office the strikers represent.

“Residents should be vigilant and should they see something suspicious, they should alert the police so that we can immediately dispatch our vehicles,” said Lt Col Roberts.

Frustrated Post Officers users from across the country took to social media to vent their anger, which resulted in a trending of the hashtag #PostOfficeStrike.

Edenvale resident and local business owner, Mr Martin Sinclair, was frustrated when he went to the branch on Wednesday, September 17. He found that the Post Office was still closed, due to reasons of public safety.

“It is an utter inconvenience,” said Mr Sinclair.
“It has been two weeks since we received any mail. Why was this not communicated? I have been coming to the Post Office every day only to find that there is no mail,” said Mr Sinclair.
“The strike is affecting local businesses. All the courier services are getting business and the Post Office is becoming obsolete. However, the issue is that people cannot afford to pay for courier services because it is more expensive,” said Mr Sinclair.

According to a statement released by the South African Post Office, the service is currently in the process of implementing dismissal processes, following a two-week, unprotected industrial action by some casual and part-time employees within Ekurhuleni and Tshwane.
This action is a culmination of a fair and due labour relations-based process to resolve the matter, following a strike which severely impacted on customers.

According to the statement, the strikes have been characterised by intimidation and violence, through the blocking of workplaces, assaulting employees and damaging property. This has resulted in the closure of some Post Office branches and mail delivery depots in an effort to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

“In our view, the strike is unnecessary, as it is centred on the speed with which the conversion of casual workers into permanent positions is being implemented. This is being addressed concomitantly and constructively with the leadership,” said Mr Christopher Hlekane, the GCEO at SA Post Office.

According to Mr Hlekane, the Post Office has already commenced the process of converting 900 casual worker positions into permanent positions, which is part of the agreement reached with the casual workers’ leadership.
Business continuity plans have been implemented to keep operations going and to minimise the impact of the strike on customers.
At this stage, customers should expect some delay in the delivery of mail in the affected areas. @BedfordJourno

Durban NGO marches on Eskom Protestors call for more action from Eskom.
Erin Hanekom (Southlands Sun) 22 September 2014

ABOUT 40 people joined South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) in a peaceful protest outside Eskom’s offices in Westville on Friday, 19 September in solidarity with the international People’s Climate March and to voice their concerns of the threat of tariff increases.

On Sunday, 21 September, hundreds of thousands of people, including SDCEA’s Desmond D’Sa marched through the streets of New York in a climate march. Around the world, thousands of people joined in by hosting solidarity events in their countries. SDCEA did their bit by protesting against Eskom and calling for more research to be done into renewable energy.

They used the opportunity to highlight concerns about the affordability of local households should impending tariff increases be too much for people to bear. The National Energy Regulator has agreed to Eskom recouping costs to make up for its debt, which will see an increase in costs for electricity.

“This affects everyone. Many people are barely making ends meet and this increase will hit them hard. Eskom needs to look into other methods of providing energy that reduces harmful emissions and lightens the burden on average citizens,” said SDCEA’s Bongani Mthembu.

The energy company is facing attacks from many fronts, as last month, Greenpeace Africa began a petition, which garnered thousands of signatures, following the company’s refusal to search for other energy sources.
Following the protest, SDCEA handed over a memorandum to Eskom calling for action and asking them to be accountable.

Councillor’s woes mount
Leseho Manala (Alex News) 22 September 2014

ALEXANDRA – A local ANC councillor is faced with a barrage of challenges and accusations from the community and his party colleagues.

Members of the local business forum. Standing is Moses Ntuli, secretary.

The councillor is Chris Mabunda of Ward 75. His most recent challenge is a petition from residents for his removal for failing in his duties. A ward committee member Senzonini Buthelezi said 500 residents signed the petition.
This after a service delivery meeting was aborted last week when Mabunda allegedly couldn’t explain why he hadn’t called community meetings since the provincial and national elections in May. Buthelezi said Mabunda was always unavailable to explain issues or to attend to residents’ problems.
Last month residents at Block D flats on Reverend Sam Buti Street were angered by Mabunda’s failure to help them get council officials to repair blocked sewerage pipes which overflowed into their rooms resulting damage to property. The residents, supported by ANC Youth League members, had to pay a private contractor to repair the pipes.

Recently, members of the local business forum also accused him of failing to resolve an issue with city officials who are alleged to be giving contracts for local maintenance work to external contractors instead of the agreed practice of awarding the work to local contractors.

At a hand-over of a petition by the youth council to the Joburg Development Agency demanding jobs, an ANC Youth League and council member Kenneth Mgaga expressed their displeasure with Mabunda’s leadership, calling him the most useless councillor. This was said in his presence.

In May, Mabunda was cited for misconduct during the provincial and national elections. He was accused of entering the space restricted to election officials and allegedly tampering with ballot papers. This resulted in violence and damage to the city council premises housing the electoral offices, allegedly by opposition parties’ members angered by his actions.
The alleged indiscretions were part of the complaints lodged with the electoral commission.

Opposition parties’ members involved in the violence were arrested for malicious damage to council property and their case is still pending in court.

In a radio interview recently, Mabunda said he wasn’t actively involved in ward matters because of the election-related accusations against him which are before the courts, but he attends to individual service delivery-related cases brought to him. He claimed that he was still ward councillor until 2016 and his party was happy with his performance.

Youth marches for economic freedom
Lerato Mnculwane (Highvelder) 22 September 2014

The ANCYL in Carolina at Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality and concerned community members took to the streets of Silobela and Carolina, as they marched to Shanduka Mine formerly known as Strathrae mine last Friday to voice their dissatisfaction with the mines not doing enough for the community.

Ermelo: The ANCYL in Carolina at Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality and concerned community members took to the streets of Silobela and Carolina, as they marched to Shanduka Mine formerly known as Strathrae mine last Friday to voice their dissatisfaction with the mines not doing enough for the community.

Of the nine mines that operate around Carolina that were invited, only five headed the call and attended the march and received the memorandum. They were given 14 working days to respond back at a community meeting.
Ndumiso Mokako of the ANCYL informed the marchers that it was high time the mines played their role in the community.

Pupils charged after attacking teachers
IOL News 25 September 2014

Durban - Criminal charges have been lodged against pupils who attacked two teachers at an uMlazi high school, severely injuring them.

Pupils went on the rampage at the embattled Vukuzakhe High School at uMlazi’s L Section last week, attacking the teachers and stoning their cars.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said they were investigating two cases where two male teachers were assaulted, and a vehicle belonging to one of them was damaged.

“The motive for the incident is unknown… Bhekithemba police are investigating a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property. No arrests have been made.”

The KZN Department of Education spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, could not say what the motive for the attack was.

He said department officials, including the district manager, had visited the school on Monday.

“This is a criminal act and after investigating and finding out who did this, we will deal with the attackers. Teachers have a right to open criminal charges,” said Mahlambi.

“We cannot allow a situation where people hide in school uniforms and commit criminal acts.”

The Daily News reported in June that the crisis at Vukuzakhe High School had been sparked by demands for the school principal, Doris Fulela, to be removed, amid unproven allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse.

As a result 32 teachers, according to the school’s register, had stayed away for two weeks.

The education department intervened to resolve the matter. After the attack last week, it was evident the school is still unstable, just weeks before the year-end exams begin.

A Congress of South African Students representative, Qiniso Ndlovu, said the two teachers were among the 32 who had staged a stayaway demanding the principal’s removal. He said the attack might have stemmed from the original, unresolved issues.

“I was phoned after school by other learners who said pupils were beating teachers. After those teachers had returned to school in June, there has been no changes at the school. They occupied their own staffroom, separated from other teachers, and would teach for less than their hourly period,” claimed Ndlovu.

“It was students who started the attack. This could have started by what had happened before June. Our wish is for them (the attacked teachers) to leave this school by next year and for the issue to be resolved,” he said.

Pupils attack teachers at KZN school
IOL News 23 September 2014

Durban - Two teachers have been attacked by pupils who went on the rampage at an Umlazi school, the KwaZulu-Natal education department said on Tuesday.

“We have no idea what prompted it. The educators were severely injured,” said department spokesman Muzi Mahlambi.

Mahlambi said there had been problems at Vukuzakhe High School over the last few months over its principal Doris Fulela.

“As the department… we are very much worried about what is going on at that school. It's a matter that has been going on for months,” he said.

“It started with some educators not being happy with the principal. They boycotted classes and they had a very long list about the things they were not happy about.”

The department of education intervened, and the head of department appointed a team to look into the matter.

They were still investigating when teachers returned to school.

“We were all surprised last Friday when learners went on a rampage and attacked two educators at the school.”

He said department officials would return to the school on Tuesday to try and resolve the matter.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane could not immediately comment.

The Sowetan reported that the pupils wanted the principal to remain in charge of the school and accused unionised teachers of planning to oust her by spreading rumours that she had misused school funds.

The newspaper further reported that four teachers had been attacked. Mahlambi could not confirm that. - Sapa

COSATU NW to picket outside court against Sun City security
Cosatu 23 September 2014

The Congress of South African Trade Unions supports all workers who are at the court protesting against the Sun City security, who continue with their racism, including stripping only African black women while accusing them of stealing the customers’ money. This relates to stripping off their cloths and searching for money in their private parts with fingers.
We are happy that the case was set down last month in August 2014 and is now proceeding again for judgement at Mogwase magistrates’ court. We call all our members in the Moses Kotana municipality to be picketing outside the court on 25th September 2014 from 9h30am.

We hope justice will be done to those poor workers who have been accused and harassed by the white security company which is still doing that on a daily basis. This is the one case out of many others that have been reported to the police and we are still demanding a full detailed report on those cases. They must also appear in court when investigations are completed and we know that investigations are completed, but we just want to hear the response from the investigators as they know very well that delaying cases is a strategy for throwing the cases into the dustbin and we are watching with very big eyes.

There are cases that were reported in 2011 and now it is 2014 and we want to know what is happening on those cases. Some of them were reported to the Human Rights Commission during the Guptas’ stay, when many workers were racial discriminated against by those Guptas and Sun City management and we are working for those cases to appear in court for justice to be declared against anybody who led those criminal activities against the workers.
We are aware that some of the workers have been told to withdraw the cases against the employer or the security; it is unfortunate to hear that, but is up to those workers, if they want to put a stop to abuse and racial discrimination.

COSATU will be there on 25th September 2014 from 9ham until judgement is out against those criminals. We call on the media to be there to expose those criminals.
For more information call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary Solly Phetoe [0823044055]

Despatch protesters barricade R75
IOL News 22 September 2014

Port Elizabeth - Protesters barricaded the R75 between Despatch and Port Elizabeth with burning tyres on Monday, Eastern Cape police said.

“Apparently they are protesting about service delivery of housing and transport for their children to and from school,” Warrant Officer Basil Seekoei said.

“Tyres are burning and the councillor for the area is addressing 500 to 1000 people on the matter.”

Police were on the scene.

Protests outside SA’s first ‘open mosque’
IOL News 19 September 2014

Cape Town - Cape Town residents exchanged strong words about “open religion” outside what proclaims to be South Africa's first gender-equal, non-sectarian mosque on Friday.

Around 10 Muslim men in religious robes stood in front of the gate of the Wynberg open mosque, founded by Dr Taj Hargey, refusing to let people in for its inaugural prayer session at 1pm.

One of the mosque-goers, who did not identify himself, pushed through and shouted at the men.

“South Africa has got a great Constitution. What did you fight apartheid for? Not this crap!” he said, before managing to squeeze through the closing door.

The men moved to the side but still voiced their displeasure at a large throng of reporters and TV cameras.

Shaheem Vardien, from Manenberg, said Hargey was creating “mischief” among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

“Is this what we want in Cape Town? No, no. If I fall dead right now, what is going to happen to my children. They are going to enter a mosque like this? Not while I am alive, maybe when I am dead yes,” Vardien said.

He insisted that they were not radicals and had practised their religion peacefully in Cape Town for 300 years.

However, the building should be called an open place of worship and not a mosque, as it insulted the religion.

Hargey's mosque welcomed all sects of Muslims, non-Muslims and women to take part in the sermon.

Public order policing vans lined the road close to the unassuming green industrial building, sandwiched between auto-repair workshops.

At 1pm, a group of people entered the mosque from a steel gate on the side of the building, accompanied by three police officers and the media.

Inside, people laid their boots and takkies on metal shelves and kneeled on an emerald green carpet laid across half the cement floor.

Women in headscarves gingerly made their way to chairs or the carpet, not separated by partitions or walls.

Bags of cement and building materials were piled to the side and the odour of carpet glue wafted across the room.

The wall was peppered with the words: “There is no deity except God. Muhammed is the messenger of God.” Hargey was to deliver a sermon on the nexus between Islam and Christianity.

COSATU NW visits workers locked out by NEASA companies
Cosatu 19 September 2014

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the NW have visited workers who are still locked out by companies affiliated to the National Employers Association of SA (NEASA) in the Brits area today. We are continuing to keep in touch with them and get feedback from our last march against those racist companies that are leading union-bashing against NUMSA and other COSATU affiliates.

During our last march to their workplaces they all closed their gates and ran away. A memorandum was only handed over to the SOS Tool and Die; the rest of their factories were closed and they called to us to deliver the memorandums under the door, which we call a racial and anti union attitude.

It is confirmed today that both NEASA and other employers’ association are leading a campaign of union-bashing, with the support of some individual government officials, to destroy COSATU. During our visit today we received letters of resignation of workers from NUMSA on the letter heads of both Megaroller and Machinery Contractors, and all those workers who have resigned are back to work. Is that not union bashing?

We are also concerned about the continued calls that workers are receiving from management agents to inform them that if they want to work they must resign from NUMSA and COSATU. This is a clear fight against the union in our 20 years democracy and our government is very quiet.

Union bashing is a criminal offence because it goes with intimidation of those workers who are on strike or are members of the union, and it is a labour matter; it needs the minister to intervene. What happened to our NUM members in the Impala mine, led by mine bosses, was exactly what is happening today with manufacturing employers leading union bashing against COSATU affiliates.

We are now calling on all COSATU affiliates to unite against the capitalists who are trying to destroy COSATU and unite and fight against anybody who is leading union bashing against COSATU affiliates, as we see happening again in the Brits area and is still happening in the mining areas.

We are also concerned that security companies are still being used to attack our members during strikes. We are calling for the minister of police and minister of labour to act against these criminals.

As we said in our last statement, we are planning a march against all companies in Brits, as we have information that confirms that all employers have declared war against workers, led by big companies in Brits, who we will be exposing very soon. We are in possession of letters from two companies which confirm our allegations against them and which we will publicise and send to the media people to see.

For more information call COSATU NW Secretary Solly Phetoe [0823044055]

Strike – Tembisa wants Gungubele gone
Victor Mukwevho Ne-vumbani (The Tembisan) 18 September 2014

More than 4 000 angry members of the Tembisa Concerned Residents group are calling for the resignation of the executive mayor of Ekurhuleni, Clr Mondli Gungubele, with immediate effect.

Striking members toi-toi on the road as they make their way to hand over a memorandum stipulating their grievances.

They are accusing the mayor of failing to provide much-needed services to residents.

Clad in red colours and chanting freedom songs, the group marched from Tsenelong, Winnie Mandela and the surrounding areas to the Rabasotho municipal offices, where they handed over a memorandum to municipal officials.

They were marching against what they call poor service delivery from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM).

Members from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) and the SAPS, escorted residents from the start of the march until the end.

When reading the memorandum, a representative from the Tembisa Concerned Residents group said they are giving the premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, 14 days to respond to their grievances, failure of which they will increase the pressure on the municipality until their demands are met.

“We demand the mayor of Ekurhuleni, Clr Gungubele, the MMC for Roads and Transport in Ekurhuleni, Clr Thumbu Mahlangu, Clr Dudu Mahlangu, Clr J Mkhananazi and Clr Aubrey Mokgotsi, resign with immediate effect.

“Clr Mahlangu brought the BRT to Tembisa without consulting with the masses. Taxi drivers who happen to be our brothers and members of the community are going to loose their jobs because of the BRT system and we will never allow that,” he said, to thunderous applause from the crowd.

He added that many areas in Tembisa are named after people who do not belong to this country.

“We are going to make it a point that our people benefit from the resources of this land, and the government should understand that time for change has come. Residents in Tembisa will make sure that things change.

“We also demand RDP houses be given to people without looking at political affiliation as we are all members of this community,” he said.

Residents beat armed robber to death
IOL News 17 September 2014

Rustenburg - Residents of Meriting, near Rustenburg, killed an alleged robber, North West police said on Wednesday.

A group chased four people who had robbed an Ethiopian-owned shop at gunpoint at 11.30am on Tuesday, Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said in a statement.

The four allegedly stole an undisclosed amount of cash, airtime vouchers, and cigarettes.

“The community were alerted of the incident and they chased and arrested the suspects. The suspects were then severely assaulted by the violent mob and one of them died later on the way to the hospital.”

The other three sustained serious injuries and were under police guard in hospital.

North West provincial police commissioner, Lt-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo, condemned the violence.

“When the community arrests criminals, they are obliged to hand them over to the police so that they can be dealt with in accordance with the law,” she said.

Mamabolo’s alleged shooter arrested
IOL News 16 September 2014

Johannesburg - A man was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly shooting and injuring ANC Youth League Limpopo leader Boy Mamabolo and three others in Polokwane, Limpopo police said.

“The suspect was accompanied by his lawyer when he handed himself over in the early hours of this (Tuesday) morning,” said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

He would appear in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Tuesday and would face four counts of attempted murder.

Mulaudzi said Mamabolo was in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

The three others, who were apparently Mamabola's friends, were treated at hospital and released.

Mulaudzi said the incident happened at around 9pm on Sunday at a Metro FM event in Polokwane.

Mamabolo is a former friend of Julius Malema, who was sacked as president of the African National Congress Youth League, and became leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

Mamabolo faces 72 fraud charges related to his chairmanship of the Limpopo Geograhical Names Committee.

He was also embroiled in a court battle with Malema last year over a threatening text message he allegedly sent to Malema.

In the SMS, Mamabolo allegedly wrote that he would exhume the body of Malema's mother and take her remains to Malema's grandmother's home in Seshego.

This was apparently in retaliation for Malema allegedly sending his allies to seduce Mamabolo's girlfriend.

Malema took him to court over the SMS but the crimen injuria case against Mamabolo was provisionally struck off the roll last year.

‘Starving’ inmates threaten to burn prison
IOL News 18 September 2014

Limpopo - Starving inmates at Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Louis Trichardt have threatened to burn down the prison facility.

They claim prison guards left them to starve behind locked cells and went on strike.

Kutama Sinthumule is a private facility operated by the South African Custodial Management (SACM) company.

It’s home to more than 3 000 extremely dangerous criminals who serve maximum sentences for crimes ranging from rape to murder, according to workers there.

Two inmates who phoned The Star on Wednesday said that the last time they had a meal was at 4pm on Tuesday.

An inmate who is serving a 25-year jail sentence for hijacking and murder said some of his fellow inmates had not taken medication as a result.

“They have locked us in here and people are restless. We will burn this prison if they don’t give us food,” he said.

Another man, also serving time for murder, said he sympathised with the employees, but they needed food.

“What these guys (guards) don’t realise is that inmates may start fighting against each other out of frustration. That would be an ugly situation,” he said.

A Kutama Sinthumule employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they wanted risk, medical and housing benefits.

“There is a group of people who started working here since 2002 who still don’t have pension today,” he said.

The employee said workers had gone on strike after SACM managing director Pieter Jordan failed to show up to address their grievances.

“He doesn’t take us seriously, even to date he hasn’t arrived.”

Attempts to contact Jordan for a comment were unsuccessful.

A prison official who identified herself as Florence Nalana said she was not permitted to give out Jordan’s cellphone number to third parties.

Violence erupts after Grabouw meeting
IOL News 17 September 2014

Cape Town - Violence erupted in Grabouw in the Western Cape on Wednesday morning after an unsuccessful meeting to try to end a service delivery protest.

Theewaterskloof municipal officials, Grabouw Civic Organisation (GCO) leaders and representatives of protesting and rioting groups, attended the meeting at the Grabouw police station.

On Monday, protesters marched to the municipal offices in Pineview to hand over a memorandum listing their grievances. Grievances included a lack of housing, poor and expensive electricity supply, and bad roads.

Wednesday's meeting ended with arguments continuing outside the police station. Soon afterwards violence erupted.

Earlier, Grabouw was calm and the N2 was re-opened with a detour through Ou Kaapse Weg. However, it was closed again after cars were stoned.

The first signs of a repetition of violence emerged when a group of more than 100 people gathered at the house of GCO secretary Margaret le Roux.

Le Roux said people threatened to burn her house down if she did not address them.

She left the emergency meeting, fearing for the safety of her adopted son and daughters, aged nine and 10. They were being looked after by her 14-year-old daughter alone at her home.

GCO supporters from surrounding areas came to her house. After she spoke to the two groups police arrived to defuse the situation.

“The group was organised by DA 1/8Democratic Alliance 3/8 supporters who approached close friends with the threat of burning my house,” Le Roux said.

Zwai Bhangazana, also of the GCO and who had been at the forefront of the protests, said the GCO was not satisfied with the outcomes of the emergency meeting.

“There was no sign that our demands for service delivery would be met satisfactorily,” Bhangazana said.

“We will now have to go back and convey this message. They have warned us that they want to continue with the unrest and I have no idea how they will react.”

Theewaterskloof mayor Chris Punt said a list of answers to all the grievances was handed to those at the emergency meeting.

He was accompanied by Theewaterskloof municipal manager Stan Wallace.

Soon after the meeting, cars were stoned in Ou Kaapse Weg and the access from the N2 was closed again.

A group of more than 1000 people then gathered in Hillside attempting to move through Slangpark to reach the N2. Police and the public order protection unit were patrolling the townships to disperse crowds.

By early afternoon they succeeded in preventing rioters from crossing the berm running along Slangpark to barricade the N2.

Smaller groups continued to try to rush onto the N2 to burn tyres.

The sound of rubber bullets, teargas and stun grenades being fired was heard continuously, as on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning the building housing the traffic department's testing facilities was set on fire.

On Tuesday night, windows were shattered at the building of home affairs in Ou Kaapse Weg, and at the Umyezo wama Apile Primary School.

One security company reported that their guards were too scared to come to work, leaving clients without security services.

The Caledon cluster of policing forums, which include the chairpersons of the policing forums of Grabouw, Caledon, Greyton/Genadendal, Villiersdorp and Riviersonderend, all towns in the Theewaterskloof municipality, planned a meeting for Wednesday afternoon at the Grabouw police station to see what they could contribute to find a solution.

Bikers Against Tolls: Making a noise
Dave Abrahams (IOL Motoring) 17 September 2014

“Cape Town’s bikers have kept quiet too long!”

This may sound strange, coming as it does from one of South Africa’s noisiest and most in-your-face (not to say intimidating) minorities, but Bikers Against Tolls spokesman Richard Green has a point. Motorcyclists are not, by and large, political animals, preferring to think of themselves as ‘outside the system’ – until you touch them on their roads.

The immense public backlash against the imposition of e-tolling in Gauteng and the South African Roads Agency Limited’s stated intention of planting a toll-gate on every major route into and out of the Cape Metropole has turned BAT from a fringe group with an eye-catching logo, parading up and down the roads that Sanral wants to toll, into a political force that speaks directly to the authorities.

On Sunday morning an estimated 600 motorcycles, escorted by Metro police vehicles and accompanied by dozens of ‘fellow travellers’ in cars and bakkies, roared into the centre of Cape Town and, for a brief, gaudy hour, completely took over the two blocks of Wale Street outside the Western Cape Provincial Government building.

As the deafening sound of the motorcycle engines died away, their riders gathered in the street at the entrance to the building, waving BAT flags and holding up placards advising Sanral exactly what to do with its e-tags.

Green said there was a place for tolling where specific roads needed special care – the Huguenot Tunnel and Chapmans Peak being local examples – but that the Cape’s bikers refused to pay again to ride on existing roads which had already been paid for by their taxes and the ubiquitous fuel levy.

“We can’t go to a garage and say ‘Fill her up but don’t add the fuel levy’,” he said, “but we will not be charged yet again for riding on those same roads.”

Then, for the first time, BAT Western Cape convenor Amanda Bruwer handed over a memorandum to Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant, stating in detail its objections to the tolling of existing roads – and challenged him on how long it would take him to respond.

Grant replied that it usually took about 10 days, but undertook to attempt a swifter response on this issue. He implored the protesters to pay more attention to safety on the roads, pointing out that the South African economy simply could not sustain the R21 billion annual cost of road deaths and injuries.

He said he looked forward to working with BAT to prevent further tolling of roads in the province – prompting a wry response from a leather-clad wit in the crowd that this must be the first-ever political protest in support of local government.

Green and Bruwer were elated by the by unexpectedly large turnout, but Green said afterwards this was just the beginning, with plans already in place to present their demands – and their challenge – to Cape Town’s mayor, the premier of the Western Cape and, if necessary, the national minister of transport, “moving up the ladder until people start to take us seriously”.

‘There are two reasons for Cape taxi unrest’
IOL News 17 September 2014

Cape Town - Strict policing of the taxi industry by various spheres of the government is at the heart of the ongoing strife in the industry - and intense negotiations lie ahead.

On Tuesday, in response to the Cape Argus, the City of Cape Town said it hoped to negotiate with the industry to thrash out improved systems. But the authorities also warned they would stand firm on the need for taxis to abide by the law.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for Transport for Cape Town, described two of the current causes of conflict in the industry. First was the taxi industry’s complaints around the increased value of fines for traffic offences.

Herron said that although taxi drivers had to obey the rules of the road, like every other driver, the taxi drivers’ employment conditions could be studied.

“The relationship between drivers and their employers needs to be fixed - using the tool of sectoral determination of their employment conditions. Some of taxi drivers’ law infringements could be due to fare-chasing. Many drivers have targets to meet, and only earn what they exceed those targets by. That reality certainly does contribute to taxi drivers’ driving patterns on the road.”

Herron hoped reviewed employment conditions would improve this situation.

The second cause of conflict was a “structural issue”. “The taxi industry’s second complaint is around impoundments, and the cost of release fees. Taxis are typically impounded for operating without an operating permit, of for being ‘off-route’.

“At present, taxi operators have to belong to a taxi association, and the city, as the planning authority, conducts surveys into supply and demand, when looking at granting operating permits for different routes.

“We don’t grant licences, yet - this is done by the province, but based on whether we support the application or not. We base our decision on the results of the supply/demand surveys. A ‘free market’ model - with no prescribed or restricted number of operating permits - would have its own problems, such as conflict and violent resolution of competition for business. Many of the problems over a long period, including murders, have been in connection with route invasions and over-trading.”

To find a solution, a “Taxi Working Group” had been set up, as part of the Land Transport Advisory Board , as prescribed by law. Herron hoped the city and the taxi industry could thrash out an improved model.

Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant said the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) - the mother body for all the taxi associations - had recently highlighted the following issues for discussion:

* Traffic Fines: questioning the increased traffic fines approved by the chief magistrate, which came into effect as of August 1, for virtually all fine categories.

* Impoundments: asking for law enforcement officers to apply proper consideration when impounding vehicles, and for the issue to be looked at by all role players.

* Admin Mark: claiming that the Admin Mark system, implemented in the Western Cape, is a serious hindrance on the taxi industry’s ability to run its business.

* Late Renewals: raising issues with how late renewals are handled, asking for a six-month extension on late renewals, and a special task team from the city and the Provincial Regulatory Entity to be established to fast-track applications for late renewals.

“At the meeting, the Department of Transport and Public Works maintained that its support for the fine increases, by the chief magistrate of the Western Cape, is based on the urgent need to improve commuter safety and compliance on our roads. These fines are not limited to public transport operators, but apply to all motorists in the Western Cape.

With regard to impoundments, it is widely accepted that route invasions, and other illicit practices within the taxi industry, cause conflict and have resulted in the loss of lives and the tarnishing of the image on the minibus-taxi industry.”

“The Admin Mark system is imposed, as per regulation 59(2) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, on persons who owe any penalties or fees in terms of the provisions of the National Road Traffic Act (93 of 1996). In such instances, an Admin Mark is captured against the ID numbers of vehicle owners in the eNatis system, effectively disallowing them from transacting on eNatis with the affected registering authority. This means vehicle owners with an Admin Mark against their name may be refused the application for the licencing of a motor vehicle or the issuing of a licence disc until such penalties and fees have been paid.”

“The matter of late renewals and the six-month extension on the 30 June 2014 deadline for late renewals being automatically supported, was discussed with all factors being considered.”

Grant condemned the illegal and violent strike action that has taken place over the past few days. “The Western Cape government has kept in close contact with the Santaco, the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies and is monitoring the situation. It is critical the perpetrators behind the violence are brought to justice immediately.”

Cape taxi driver shot in strike
IOL News 16 September 2014

Cape Town - There was commuter chaos in Nyanga on Monday after Nyanga taxi drivers staged a wildcat strike in protest against their bosses - the owners of the taxis they drive.

A 44-year-old taxi driver was shot in the leg, allegedly by the owner of his taxi, when a fight broke out between the drivers and owners after owners decided to drive their taxis themselves.

Golden Arrow bus services were suspended in Nyanga for the day after two buses were stoned.

This followed the killing of a taxi driver and the torching or damaging of 11 buses near the Nyanga Terminus earlier this month, in the first taxi drivers’ strike.

One of the issues angering drivers is that they get stopped and fined by the City of Cape Town when the vehicles given to them to drive by the owners are unroadworthy.

A driver, who declined to be named, said: “We receive heavy fines amounting to about R10 000 for vehicle faults which are not our problem, and with fines and warrants against your name you can’t reapply for the public driver’s permit (PDP) once it expires.”

“What is worse is that owners are not even defending us or helping us because they are not the ones getting ripped off like this.”

The injured taxi driver was unloading passengers when he was shot.

Police spokeswoman Constable Zodwa Kedama said the taxi driver was hit in the left leg, allegedly by a taxi owner.

He was taken to KTC Day Hospital where he was receiving treatment.

Kedama said police were still seeking the owner and no arrest had been made.

SA Taxi Council provincial spokesman and Nyanga taxi owner Sipho Maseti said the owner had been “merely protecting himself” when he allegedly shot the driver, after the driver slapped the owner for transporting commuters.

Maseti said: “More drivers came armed with knobkieries and spades, so the owner shot the driver in self-defence.”

Maseti said owners had taken to driving their own vehicles because of the strike.

“We were not told about the strike by our drivers; we were shocked to hear what was happening this morning.”

On Monday, the entrance to Nyanga was barricaded with burning tyres.

Striking drivers smashed the windows of all vehicles that tried to enter or leave.

Maseti said: “It’s funny that these drivers are now attacking us when we are the ones who came up with some of the grievances they are protesting about. Admin marks and the Bus Rapid Transit system - it doesn’t affect them, that’s the problem of the owners.”

Maseti claimed a “third force” was instigating the strikes and using the drivers “to achieve whatever its goals are”.

He said in a meeting with the drivers on Friday it was agreed that there would be no strike.

“They are doing this all on their own.”

Golden Arrow bus services spokeswoman Bronwyn Dyke said two Golden Arrow buses were stoned in Delft and Nyanga.

“We don’t take these situations lightly and decided that Golden Arrow buses will not enter Nyanga, but will operate from the corner of Borcherds Quarry and the N2. We are monitoring the situation. As soon as we get the all-clear buses will resume operations in Nyanga.”

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said no agreement had been reached between the City of Cape Town and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).

“Last Thursday I met the leadership of Santaco Western Cape, as well as six regional taxi executives operating in Cape Town. The purpose of the meeting was to formally establish the Taxi Working Group I proposed, and to discuss how we can work together to tackle the issues that are being raised by the taxi industry (including the drivers).”

Herron said the taxi leadership raised concerns similar to those raised by drivers.

“We will seek ways, together with the taxi industry, to improve on the sustainability, viability and stability of the taxi industry.”

He added that the city had set up a number of engagements with the taxi industry and was making every effort to avoid a strike by taxi drivers.

“If despite our efforts and our assurance that we are working with the taxi leadership on these issues, some taxi drivers still withdraw their services, then this must raise questions as to whether they are engaging in good faith since these issues cannot be resolved overnight.”

The next meeting between the city and Santaco is expected to take place on Monday and Nyanga taxis are to resume on Tuesday. and

Settlers blockade roads during protest
IOL News 16 September 2014

Pandemonium greeted Copesville residents when about 1 500 people blocked Bhambatha Road with burning tyres. Photo: Henk Kruger
Durban - Pandemonium greeted Copesville residents early on Monday when about 1 500 people blocked Bhambatha (New Greytown) Road in Pietermaritzburg with burning tyres, rubbish and boulders.

Residents of the Ezenketheni informal settlement in the area are protesting against lack of service delivery, especially the lack of electricity.

They have also complained that the Msunduzi Municipality has failed to electrify the informal settlement as promised, and has taken to disconnecting illegal electricity connections, resulting in the informal residents being left without any form of power.

Angry protesters barricaded the road at about 6am on Monday, denying exit and entry to Copesville residents and taxis.

Protesters then moved to Dr Chota Motala (Old Greytown) Road, which is an alternative route to the area, and also barricaded roads in Copesville itself. Police at the scene used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that no arrests had been made, and that the public order unit was monitoring the situation.

Calls, smses and e-mails to the Msunduzi Municipality went unanswered, and no response was forthcoming at the time of publication.

The Msunduzi Municipality, backed by the provincial Treasury, is due to electrify informal settlements in the city in a project that is expected to be completed by December.

An amount of R7 million has been made available to electrify the homes of 2 000 residents.

The municipality said it would start with the roll-out in the Ezinketheni informal settlement in Copesville, and then move to other settlements.

Earlier this year, mayor Chris Ndlela also promised to eradicate illegal electricity connections after several deaths.

DA motion against Mbete is defeated
IOL News 17 September 2014

Cape Town - The ANC put on a show of force during Tuesday’s debate on an opposition motion of no confidence in Speaker Baleka Mbete, with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula throwing labels like “counter-revolutionaries” and “charlatans” at the opposition.

“What gives this bunch of losers and hypocrites the audacity to question the ANC deployment policy?” Mbalula asked during his defence of Mbete, who is also the ANC national chairwoman.

“The Speaker is not a consultant in this House. She is an elected member of the ANC... and the ANC has won majority rule and therefore we don’t apologise.”

But after a high-volume, acrimonious debate the ANC was left alone in the House after six opposition parties walked out – effectively leading to a unanimous vote by the ruling party to defeat the DA-led motion of no confidence.

This came after ANC chief whip Stone Sizani had brought a counter-motion of full confidence in the Speaker. After the walkout, which cleared the opposition benches regardless of whether or not they supported the motion of no confidence, the chief whip withdrew the ANC proposal.

Because the motion of no confidence was a constitutional one, it went to an electronic vote to be recorded in the Hansard, Parliament’s record of debates. Thus the DA-led motion joining six opposition parties was defeated with votes of 234 against, with none in favour and no abstentions.

However, the spanner in the works remains United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa, who has asked the parliamentary joint ethics committee to investigate Mbete’s involvement in a controversial Goldfields empowerment deal and whether, in addition to her benefits as a former deputy president, she is also receiving the package of a Speaker.

Earlier, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane wrapped up the debate, which he said had abandoned the constitution and citizens, with his call to “Vote for South Africa! Vote against Luthuli House!” Kicking off the debate, Maimane said the motion arose out of a fundamental conflict of interest between Mbete’s two jobs as both Speaker and party chairwoman.

Noise levels from the floor were echoed in the public gallery which was packed with ANC supporters. Opposition MPs objected to being pointed at and jeered from the public gallery and the ANC eventually said it had sent its whips to talk to the visitors.

Relative calm prevailed only briefly when veteran politician IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi took to the podium to emphasise the need for a Speaker to be impartial.

Citing the names of seven English speakers who were beheaded after bringing the king unwanted news, Buthelezi asked whether Mbete would deliver a message from Parliament that the president would not like.

“She may not risk beheading, but the ruling party deals harshly with those who do not toe the party line.”

For the IFP the “problems of anarchy” in the House was self-created through heckling and ill-discipline, he said.

With ANC speakers arguing an attack on Mbete was an attack on democracy, and part of an effort to undermine democratic institutions and the ANC majority, opposition parties came under verbal assault.

Mbalula got away with referring to Maimane as a “token” as he had not specifically mentioned him by name, referred to Cope as an “abandoned ship”, and did not mince his words about the EFF: “Being rude and disrespectful doesn’t make you a revolutionary... To be dressed in red garments does not make you a working-class hero.”

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen later countered by pointing out that Mbete had discarded any mantle of neutrality when she addressed ANC supporters from the back of a police truck earlier in the afternoon.

EFF MP Khanyisile Tshabalala-Litchfield argued for a judge, who could remain impartial, to preside.

Grabouw remains ‘volatile’
IOL News 17 September 2014

Cape Town - Protests continued in Grabouw on Wednesday morning, with a section of the N2 closed to traffic and two government department buildings partially damaged.

On Wednesday morning a section of the N2, at the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass, was closed for the third day. Later, much of the section of highway was re-opened to traffic.

Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said the area remained volatile.

“A section of 2km on the N2 still remains closed. The alternative route for traffic would be travelling Bot Road, through Grabouw and towards Caledon.”

Africa added that the Grabouw area remained tense.

He said community members had planned a meeting with the municipality, the SAPS and the mayor of Grabouw on Wednesday to try to find a solution.

“Since the start of the protest on Monday, 11 people have been arrested. Stone-throwing and placing tree branches in the road is still problematic.”

When the Cape Argus visited Grabouw on Wednesday morning, firefighters had just doused flames at a traffic department building. A burning tyre had allegedly been thrown at a side door, causing the the blaze.

In town, the windows of the Home Affairs building had been shattered.

Large rocks littered some roads and a heavy police presence remained in the area.

Meanwhile, 12 Grabouw schools were closed on Tuesday as violent protests in the town continued. Education MEC Debbie Schäfer said the protests came at a critical time for matrics who should be writing their September mock exams, while primary school pupils were scheduled to start their annual national assessments - which assess their numeracy and literacy skills - on Tuesday.

Around 6 000 pupils had been affected.

The protesters’ grievances include a lack of housing, poor and expensive electricity supply and bad roads.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato described the rioting, stone-throwing and violence as “organised guerrilla-type tactics”.

Speaking at a section of the N2 that had been closed by police, Plato said he had come to see first-hand what was happening.

“According to our information there are three large groups responsible for the violence in Grabouw and moving in different directions to cause problems,” he told a Sapa correspondent. “This is a headache for the police and causing endless frustration.”

Schäfer said she wanted learning to resume as soon as possible and on Tuesday laid criminal charges at the Cape Town Central Police Station against the executive committee of the ANC Western Cape, John Michels of the Grabouw Civic Organisation, the executive committee of the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement and its leader Andile Lili, and others.

“In terms of the SA Schools Act it is an offence to prevent people from attending school and we believe that the parties involved are undermining our learners’ constitutional right to education.”

Even if the ANC and Lili were not at the site where the violence was taking place, “the fact that they are making public statements supporting it makes them in my view equally culpable”.

But Lili hit back, accusing Schäfer of “distracting from the real issues”.

“They should be focusing on improving the lives of people in Grabouw and improving the school system but instead they are trying to intimidate us with court cases.”

ANC Western Cape secretary Songezo Mjongile said that instead of running to the police, Schäfer should approach her party leaders in the province “to stop evading their duties” and, together with the affected communities, find amicable solutions for their unhappiness.

“The ANC understands people’s frustration, but does not support the means they use to vent their rage. The ANC says all learners should be in school on time and learning. The ANC also calls on all leaders in Grabouw to tell people to exercise restraint, desist from violence and report all criminal acts in order for the perpetrators to be brought to book.”

Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said Schäfer’s case docket would be transferred to the police in Grabouw for further investigation.

A motorist in Somerset West, who travelled from Hermanus on Tuesday, said the traffic on the road from Kleinmond was chaotic.

“It is the only road we can use because of the closure at Grabouw. It is taking us hours longer to get to our destination. The road is crowded with trucks,” he said.

MEC denounces Grabouw ‘guerilla tactics’
IOL News 16 September 2014

Grabouw - Western Cape community safety MEC on Tuesday described the rioting, stone throwing and violence in Grabouw as organised guerrilla-type tactics that were causing the police frustration and made their task of restoring order very difficult.

Speaking at a section of the N2 in Grabouw that had been blocked off by police, Plato said he had decided to visit the area to see first-hand what was happening.

“According to our information there are three large groups responsible for the violence in Grabouw and moving in different directions to cause problems,” he told a Sapa correspondent.

“This is a headache for the police and causing endless frustration.”

He said African National Congress leaders were also at the scene.

Plato spoke to Overberg ANC regional leader, Wilfred Herman, about looking for a solution.

“A meeting will be held at the Grabouw police station later this afternoon to determine exactly what the reasons behind the rioting are.

“I hope we will find a way to end the violence before tonight,” said Plato.

Plato asked Herman to invite John Michels and Margaret le Roux, chairman and secretary of the Grabouw Civic Organisation (GCO) to the meeting.

They were the main organisers of the service delivery protests on Monday.

Michels denied any involvement in the riots.

A police team of negotiators were also ready to attend the meeting.

“I will not necessarily attend as I do not want to be seen to be interfering,” Plato said.

As Plato was speaking, about 30 police officers formed a line along the N2 standing individually at intervals from the Eskom turnoff at Pineview North to a bend just before The Orchards Farm Stall.

Two Nyalas were patrolling the highway.

Rubber bullets and teargas was being fired at regular intervals to prevent stone throwers from returning to the N2.

At one stage a stun grenade was also used.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited's teams of road workers were trying to clear the debris of rock and burning tyres left from the morning's protests.

After the police fought back around 1000 protesters gathered on a hill in the Siteview township not far from the N2.

They were shouting insults at police, throwing stones, chanting, and toy-toying.

Another large group had gathered on a steep hill right next to the N2 close to The Orchards Farm Stall.

They were stoning the police and the Nyalas as they passed on the N2 below them.

Some of them had makeshift plastic shields to defend themselves against the rubber bullets.

A motorist in Somerset West who travelled from Hermanus said the traffic on the road from Kleinmond was chaotic.

“It is the only road we can use because of the closure at Grabouw.

“It is taking us hours longer to get to our destination. The road is crowded with trucks and most of the time we were driving at about 20 km/h,” he said.

Rubber bullets fired at Grabouw protesters
IOL News 16 September 2014

Grabouw - Members of the public order policing unit fired rubber bullets at protesters in Grabouw .

A group of about 100 protesters moved across a division onto the N2 and started moving closer to the police cordon. Then they began throwing stones at police.

Police responded by firing rubber bullets and the crowd fled into the township of Slang Park.

Police set up a vantage point on the division and continued firing at the crowd.

There were also reports that more protesters had gathered at Ou Kaapse Weg and were toyi-toying while police kept a close watch.

The North Pineview entrance to Grabouw has been closed again and traffic was starting to back up in the direction of Gordon's Bay.

Thirteen people were arrested for looting spaza shops during the protests.

Protesters have also made several attempts to break into the U-Save supermarket on Gaffley Street, said Lt Raldene Atson.

Police have been working with a private security company at U-Save which has become a regular target during riots in Grabouw.

Earlier residents claimed that the popular Moonlight Cafe in Melrose Place had been “totally stripped”. The gate and fence in front of that shop had also been stolen.

Some protesters lined the N2 on the barrier next to the Slangpark township. Smoke could be seen rising in the area between Slangpark and Melrose Place.

Atson said the smoke came from tyres being burnt in an effort to barricade the road close to the Pineview Primary School.

Some protesters have also approached the police cordon close to the Orchards Farm Stall on the N2 to see if they can find a way through.

All schools in Grabouw have been closed.

Atson said the town was relatively quiet by mid-morning and traffic was being allowed through the Pineview North turnoff and Ou Kaapse Weg.

An SA National Roads Agency official, Wonder Mpofu, said he was waiting for a truck and digger loader to be on standby to clear the N2 of rocks and rubble as soon as the police gave the go ahead.

On Monday protesters marched to the municipal offices in Pineview to hand over a memorandum listing their grievances.

Grievances included in the memorandum were a lack of housing, poor and expensive electricity supply and bad road conditions.

Burning N2 closed to traffic
IOL News 15 September 2014

Cape Town - Protesters in and around Grabouw in the Western Cape started fires on the N2 on Monday evening, police said.

“They (the fires) are currently on the N2. There are a lot of people on the N2, police and other people. We are trying to clear the highway,” Lieutenant Raldene Atson said.

The N2 was closed to traffic, with police directing motorists around the area via alternative routes.

However, protesters under the cover of darkness had begun throwing stones at cars on the alternative routes as well.

“On the alternative routes, people started throwing stones as well. Police are addressing situation and it doesn't help us that its now dark in the area,” said Atson.

Informal housing near Gaffley Street, at Melrose Place in Grabouw, had been broken down by protesters.

Police moved into the area to restore order, with protesters throwing stones at them in response.

“Protesters, apart from throwing stones at motorists, also threw stones at police. Police there are being hindered by the darkness,” Atson said.

“Protesters are using the darkness to evade police, as they keep switching positions.”

It had been reported to police that a number of shops in Melrose Place and Xola Naledi owned by foreign nationals had been looted by protesters on Monday evening.

“We warned the people and shop owners (earlier and over the weekend) to be aware of what's happening,” Atson said.

Its believed most of the shop owners removed their valuables following the warning by police.

Earlier, police fired rubber bullets and used teargas to disperse more than 1000 people protesting over service delivery at the Grabouw municipal offices.

The rubber bullets were fired when protesters marching in Ou Kaapse Weg started throwing stones at police.

A section of the N2 passing the town had to be closed for several hours after cars were stoned.

Oil was poured on the highway and later rocks and burning tyres were used to block access to the town.

The N2 was closed at Sir Lowry's Pass, Gordon's Bay and close to Bot River.

The protesters gathered in Gaffley Street and marched to the municipal offices in Pineview to hand over a memorandum listing their grievances.

The public order policing unit was called in with Nyalas and water cannons to contain the crowd.

Theewaterskloof mayor Chris Punt arrived from Caledon to receive the memorandum.

After handing over the memorandum and being addressed by several community leaders, the crowd left the municipal offices. They started marching back to the townships and throwing stones.

The protest is the second in recent weeks. Residents were not satisfied with the response to a list of grievances handed over to deputy mayor Mlulami Tshaka and town manager Anton Liebenberg on August 20.

John Michels, leader of the Grabouw Civics Organisation, then warned that the N2 would be blocked every weekend until their demands were met.

Grievances included in the memorandum were lack of housing, poor and expensive electricity supply and bad road conditions.

Rubber bullets fired at Grabouw protesters
IOL News 15 September 2014

Cape Town - Police fired rubber bullets and used teargas to disperse more than 1000 people protesting over service delivery at the Grabouw municipal offices in the Western Cape on Monday.

The rubber bullets were fired when protesters marching in Ou Kaapse Weg started throwing stones at police.

Earlier in the day, a section of the N2 passing the town had to be closed for several hours after cars were stoned.

Oil was poured on the highway and later rocks and burning tyres were used to block access to the town.

The N2 was closed at Sir Lowry's Pass, Gordon's Bay and close to Bot River.

The protesters gathered in Gaffley street and marched to the municipal offices in Pineview to hand over a memorandum listing their grievances.

The public order policing unit was called in with Nyalas and water cannons to contain the crowd.

Theewaterskloof mayor Chris Punt arrived from Caledon to receive the memorandum.

After handing over the memorandum and being addressed by several community leaders, the crowd left the municipal offices. They started marching back to the townships and throwing stones.

The protest is the second in recent weeks. Residents were not satisfied with the response to a list of grievances handed over to deputy mayor Mlulami Tshaka and town manager Anton Liebenberg on August 20.

John Michels, leader of the Grabouw Civics Organisation, then warned that the N2 would be blocked every weekend until their demands were met.

Grievances included in the memorandum were lack of housing, poor and expensive electricity supply and bad road conditions.

Margaret le Roux, secretary of the GCO, said some people had been waiting more than 20 years for their houses.

“We are also not satisfied with the way the houses are allocated,” she said.

“We have a list of people that need houses but the municipality has a different list to ours.”

The Theewaterskloof municipality said in a statement that it did not provide electricity to Grabouw.

Eskom was responsible for the provision of electricity.

“We do have a road maintenance programme to keep roads in a proper state but we will look at the conditions of the specific roads mentioned in the memorandum of grievances,” it said.

“As far as the roads are concerned, the statement says the municipality receives a very limited budget from the national housing department of which the bulk is spent on housing for Grabouw.”

The African National Congress in the Western Cape and the SA Communist Party have pledged support for the protesters.

Andile Lili, expelled former Cape Town councillor and leader of the Ses'Khona Peoples Movement, said they were gaining more and more support in Grabouw and the Theewaterskloof area.

He was not at the scene in Grabouw but confirmed by telephone that members of his movement were involved in organising the march.

“We fully support our members and the Grabouw Civic Organisation and will encourage them to continue taking action until their demands are met.

“The people must stand up for themselves.”

Ses'Khona, which has a strong base in Cape Town, was aiming at extending its support base to the Western Cape rural areas including Theewaterskloof, Hermanus and De Doorns, Lili said.

TUT closes Pretoria campus after protests
IOL News 17 September 2014

Violent protests again erupted at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Wednesday, forcing management to close the Pretoria campus.

The university had expected students back in class on Wednesday following several days of violent strike action, said TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter.

“They were meant to return but violent protests erupted again at Pretoria and Soshanguve, the arts and Arcadia campuses,” she said.

“We decided to close the Pretoria campus for today (Wednesday).”

Students blocked the gates to the campuses, she said.

Police had been called in and security had been increased.

“Students have been returning to their lectures. We are monitoring the situation at all our campuses.”

Student Representative Council (SRC) secretary general Signified Tivana said on Tuesday that students would not return as management had not yet resolved their issues.

“There won't be any classes tomorrow. It is a lie from a pit of hell that students will return to class,” he said.

“Whoever comes to the campus will be there to join the strike.”

“Students will only go back to classes once the management addresses the students' concerns and re-admits SRC members that were suspended,” Tivana said.

TUT announced on Monday that it had served the SRC with suspension letters on Sunday. - Sapa

TUT students won’t return to class: SRC
IOL News 16 September 2014

Pretoria - Classes would not resume at the Tshwane University of Technology as scheduled by the institution's management, TUT's suspended SRC said on Tuesday.

The university had said it expected students back in classes on Wednesday following several days of violent strike action.

Secretary General of the Student Representative Council, Signified Tivana said that would not happen as the management had not yet resolved the students' issues.

“There won't be any classes tomorrow. It is a lie from a pit of hell that students will return to class,” he said.

“Whoever comes to the campus will be there to join the strike.

“Students will only go back to classes once the management addresses the students' concerns and readmits SRC members that were suspended,” Tivana said.

TUT announced on Monday that it had served the SRC with suspension letters on Sunday.

University spokeswoman, Willa de Ruyter said the suspensions would be for the remainder of the term.

Academic activities were disrupted at the institution's Ga-Rankuwa and Pretoria campuses last week.

Student were protesting against the lack of funds in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

De Ruyter on Monday said they were concerned about time wasted as the end of the academic year drew closer.

Tivana said the SRC shared the same concerns.

He claimed that a recovery plan was necessary and students were prepared to lose their September holidays to ensure that all their modules were completed ahead of the exams.

“We are prepared to push the semester to December if we can,” he said.

Tivana said some students were continuing with their studies with the assistance of tutors.

Meanwhile, several students were injured when they clashed with police on Tuesday, said Tivana.

“Five students were badly injured and are hospitalised after they were shot with rubber bullets. One of them was said to have been shot with a real bullet,” said Tivana.

He claimed that many others suffered minor injuries.

The students took to the streets after learning that the SRC had been suspended, said Tivana.

“The students were carrying sticks and bricks but they never threw them. They never provoked the police,” he said.

The core of the unrest stemmed from the fact that management was not willing to engage with the students, said Tivana.

“We do apologise for any inconvenience caused by this strike,” he said.

De Ruyter and the police were not immediately available to comment on the matter.

R10m is price tag of illegal protests
IOL News 16 September 2014

Johannesburg - Gauteng has experienced 229 illegal protests in the past three months, at a cost of R10 million to the province.

This emerged in a response by Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane in the legislature to written questions from the DA.

Of the protests, 110 took place in Joburg, 84 were in Ekurhuleni and 35 in Tshwane.

Nkosi-Malobane cited a number of reasons for the protests.

By far the highest number of protests (131) took place because people were dissatisfied with service delivery. Other unhappiness stemmed from wage-increase demands (45), labour disputes (11), unemployment (6), resistance to the education system (5) and the rest were demands for the resignation of councillors, resistance against eviction and dissatisfaction with the high crime rate.

The cost was mainly due to physical damage to property during the protests.

Nkosi-Malobane said the authorities had developed a crowd management model to deal with protests.

She said 623 cases of crimes related to the protests were reported during the demonstrations, with 265 arrests. The biggest crimes were public violence, damage to property, intimidation and incitement to commit public violence.

DA infrastructure development spokesman Alan Fuchs said: “The DA supports the right of South Africans to peaceful and law-abiding protest; violence at such events is never acceptable and clearly costs the public dearly.

“It is clear, however, that much unhappiness in the province stems directly from poor government delivery and the inability of officials to adequately liaise with communities about their concerns.”

One of the biggest protests in the province involved the Congress of South African Students marching through the Joburg CBD, looting shops and vendors’ stalls.

The protest took place in July.

The schoolchildren were demanding changes to education, such as an end to corporal punishment, proper food and a ban on application fees for placement at tertiary institutions.

Last month, a lack of electricity led some residents of Soweto to take to the the streets. Residents blockaded roads with rocks, concrete slabs, tree branches and burnt tyres.

In Ennerdale, an unfulfilled election promise prompted the community to protest, leading to the police firing rubber bullets and using teargas to disperse crowds.

Residents protesting over a lack of a sewerage system and piped water blocked the Golden Highway.

Bluebirds game cancelled due to riots
Alex News 16 September 2014

ALEXANDRA – Student riots at the Vaal University of Technology have sunk an impending Sasol Women’s League game between the visiting varsity team and local Alex side Bluebirds Football Club.

Mpumalanga protesters barricade road
News 24 16 September 2014

Mbombela - Protesters in Mganduzweni outside Hazyview in Mpumalanga barricaded the road leading into Mbombela on Tuesday, Mpumalanga police said.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

"Protesters in the morning barricaded the R40," said Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

"Police are still there trying to negotiate with them," he said.

Police were not sure why people were protesting

DA marches to Oudtshoorn municipality
IOL News 15 September 2014

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance marched to the Oudtshoorn Municipality on Monday morning in protest against alleged mismanagement of the area.

DA Western Cape leader Ivan Meyer said a memorandum was handed to Mayor Gordon April.

The document listed examples of “gross mismanagement” and “dirty tricks” allegedly employed by the African National Congress.

According to Southern Cape police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie, more than 1000 people took part in the march.

“There were no criminal activities or incidents that took place,” he said.

“There were some Icosa (Independent Civic Organisation of SA) bystanders positioned somewhere but they didn't march as such.”

Meyer said a coalition between the ANC, Icosa and the National People's Party had “clung to power” in the municipality.

“ 1/8This is 3/8 despite the fact that the DA won a by-election in August last year which gave us control of the Oudtshoorn council.”

The local DA constituency asked on Monday that the municipality be placed under administration.

“I will take this request to the Western Cape government,” said Meyer.

Municipality spokesman Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe confirmed the memorandum had been received and said a response would follow at a later stage.

EE marches for school sanitation
IOL News 13 September 2014

Activist group Equal Education (EE) on Saturday, marched to the office of Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, in Johannesburg, to demand better sanitation facilities in schools.

Lesufi's office said in a statement that he accepted the memorandum from EE and gave an update on work towards fixing school toilets over the last three months.

“I want to assure you and everyone present here that I am on your side,” he said.

“My presence here, demonstrates, one point and that is, we can differ in strategy but let's not forget the objective to fix all our schools.”

EE said in a statement on its website that the memorandum contained demands that all prefabricated toilets in Tembisa, on the East Rand, be opened and that the department release a plan for permanently addressing the schools sanitation problem.

“Despite MEC Lesufi's promise to unblock and open all toilets in Gauteng by 31 August 2014 - the end of his first 100 days in tenure - during the first week of September, EE members counted 200 blocked or closed toilets in Tembisa.”

Lesufi said that R115 million had been set aside to fix toilets in the province and that 400 toilets had been fixed thus far.

“For me, sanitation is dignity. I have sent a strong message to my officials that deadlines are not negotiable,” he said.

The department developed guidelines to help schools manage and maintain toilets more effectively.

On its website, EE acknowledges student vandalism as one of the causes of problems with school sanitation and commits to addressing it. - Sapa

Ja well, no fines: Taxis 'down keys'
IOL News 15 September 2014

Cape Town - Nyanga taxi drivers unhappy with negotiations on traffic fines went on an illegal strike on Monday 15 September.

They put tyres in the road to stop other drivers from working and hammered on the sides of passing minibuses; Provincial Traffic spokesman Richard Coleman said there were also no taxis operating in Delft this morning.

A heavy police presence, including a Nyala, was stationed at the Nyanga taxi terminus early on Monday morning.

One striking Nyanga driver said: “We are striking because the city made our ticket fines too high and we cannot pay. We are in trouble now and the owners are doing nothing about it.”

They would continue to strike until their grievances were sorted out, they said.

Earlier in September a taxi driver was shot dead and 11 buses burnt or damaged near the Nyanga bus terminus.

Msinga Mbemba, another taxi driver, said on Monday morning they were regularly arrested and, as a result, lost their jobs.

“We can’t afford these fines and when we are arrested we can’t apply for our professional driving permit.”

Taxi drivers chanted and danced at the station, stopping minibuses from leaving.

South African National Taxi Council provincial spokesman Sipho Maseti said the council believed a third party was behind Monday’s protest.

“We have spoken to taxi drivers last week and told them there was no need for protest. We are in the process of talking to the City of Cape Town.”

“One of the issues already sorted out was dormant permits that were on hold because of traffic fines, can now be renewed. That was already a victory.

“There is no need for a strike to take place,” Maseti said.

He added that it was not taxi owners involved but rather a few taxi drivers and a third party behind the protest.

“We don’t know who’s behind it. Somebody is telling them what to do.”

They had tried to negotiate with taxi drivers on Monday morning, he said, but they were not willing to talk.

Mxolisi Franse, chairman of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, said some of the drivers were still unhappy about traffic fines.

“We told them we are dealing with it and that they should work.”

Franse said they were trying their best to calm the situation.

“Some drivers are too afraid to drive. No one is safe.”

He said they feared for their lives.

Commuter Khanyisa Njiva, 30, had waited at the Nyanga taxi rank from 7am but was unable to find transport.

“I work in town and was supposed to be at work today. I’ve already phoned my boss to explain.

“It is very disappointing. The taxi drivers say they will be striking the entire week. Tomorrow I will take the bus.”
The Argus

Somalis fear xenophobic syndicate
Francesca Villette (IOL News) 15 September 2014

Cape Town - Somalis fear a xenophobic syndicate is operating in the Western Cape, killing their nationals - 26 in a year to last month.

The combined death toll in the other provinces was 14, said Somali journalist Mohamed Noor, who has been working in South Africa tracking attacks on Somalis for two years.

Last year there were 56 killings in the province by which beating to death with blunt objects was the most common cause, Noor added.

“Generally, South Africa is a hospitable country, with a refugee-friendly constitution. As a refugee you are almost guaranteed free health-care service, freedom of movement, the right of ownership of property, business and are treated equally to all in front of a court of law,” said Noor.

“But there are serious issues to be addressed like the spate of killings against Somali nationals, in which most of the cases appear to be xenophobic or targeted.”

He listed some of the “hot spots” for Somali killings as Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi and Delft.

The Cape Times is in possession of the 26 death certificates dating to August last year. The certificates list the deaths of the Somalis as “unnatural”.

Police spokeswoman Novela Potelwa said any murder or alleged murder was a big concern, and that it always launched full-scale investigations of any murder.

Potelwa said the “unnatural death” citing did not necessarily mean Somalis were murdered at the hands of South Africans. The department would need to further its investigation to be able to comment on suspicions of a syndicate operation, Potelwa said.

Somali Council of Elders secretary-general Hussein Ali Omar alleged there was a “specific group of people” targeting the Somali community. “It seems attacks on the Somali community are organised. Although the attacks happen in different areas, it seems there are certain groups in the different areas who carry out the murders,” Omar said.

Somali Association of SA provincial spokesman Mohamed Aden said informal traders in the townships, in particular, faced ongoing attacks.

“We have a good relationship with the police. We always work with them to apprehend the suspects responsible for the attacks. But this is an ongoing trend that started in 2008,” Aden said.

Last month, two Somalis died after they were wounded by gunmen as they sat in a car metres from their shop in Elsies River. The men, in their thirties, died in Tygerberg Hospital.

In July, thousands of protesters in Langa moved from Bhunga Avenue to Washington Drive while 53 Somali shops were looted.

Recovering from the incident, Allie Hussein, who still bears a scar in his neck because of a stabbing during the incident, erected heavy metal fencing outside his shop in Langa. During the uproar over housing allocation, protesters looted his shop and broke Hussien’s fridge. He was unable to sell any cold cooldrinks or milk, and that affected his business, he said.

Allie Ahmed, a shopkeeper in Langa, said he lost his brother when armed robbers opened fire at their shop in Kraaifontein last year. He had no choice but to keep trading, as his family in Somalia relied on the income he made here.

The Western Cape Department of Community Safety spokesman, Ewald Botha, said they were consulting about the policing needs and priorities process and that people, irrespective of nationality, were encouraged to attend.

Protesters shut down N2 near Grabouw
IOL News 15 September 2014

Cape Town - A stretch of the N2 near Grabouw was closed on Monday morning after protesters threw stones and set oil alight on the highway.

But a Grabouw community organisation has criticised the violence - distancing itself from “criminals who are not part of our protests”.

The N2 was closed between the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass and the foot of Houwhoek Pass, at Bot River.

The violence prompted provincial traffic police to shut down the full stretch of N2 on either side of the Elgin Valley. Buses were unable to leave the valley, including school buses which operate in the Somerset West area.

John Michaels, chairman of the Grabouw Elgin Civic Association, explained why they were marching: “It’s basically to have a march to hand over a memorandum. Two weeks ago we marched, but the mayor of Theewaterskloof, Chris Punt, was not there to receive it.

“Today we are marching again to tell him to come to the table, or he will have ongoing protests.”

About 4 000 residents assembled on Monday monring at the intersection of Grabouw’s main road and the Old Cape Road, and planned to march to the Grabouw municipal buildings at around 11am.

Asked what their demands were, Michaels said: “Grabouw is divided into areas, and each area has its own problems. But mainly crime, housing, the condition of the roads and the delivery of all municipal services.”

He slammed the violence on the N2, and said his protesters had nothing to do with them.

“I know nothing about the N2. That’s wrong, unacceptable, and we condemn it in strongest possible terms. The police must act against those responsible.”

Violence flares up at Majuba Rail site
IOL News 11 September 2014

Ermelo: Police and the Msukaligwa emergency services were called in on Monday morning to quell an incident of industrial protest action by hundreds of employees at site offices of the Aveng Grinaker-LTA’s Majuba Rail project.

Foreigners in fear after looting of shops
IOL News12 September 2014

Pretoria - Looting of shops owned by foreign nationals amid service delivery protests in Mamelodi East’s Phomolong settlement this week has sent ripples of fear among the shopkeepers, who have just recently returned to the area after being forced out a few months ago.

Some Somali shopkeepers were woken up after midnight on Wednesday by large crowds of residents on a rampage following three days of protests.

Protests began as early as 3am on Monday and continued non-stop into on Thursday, with protesters burning tyres and blocking roads.

“It was only a matter of time before they zoomed in on the foreigners, who are always a target when things go wrong,” resident Elijah Sangweni said.

Four shops were looted in quick succession, one after the other, leaving the shopkeepers cowering inside as their stock and other possessions were stolen.

Protesters continued to mill around on Thursday. Roads into the informal settlement were blocked with huge rocks and access by vehicles restricted.

“They have not come out of their shops all morning, they are so scared,” said Ibrahim Shurie of the Pretoria Foreign Nationals body.

After walking across the length and breadth of the settlement and checking up on his countrymen, Shurie said they were terrified and extremely worried that they would be attacked and injured if the protests continued.

“They were innocent bystanders during the last protest action which saw over 100 shops cleaned out. It is likely to happen again,” he said.

More than 300 Somali nationals fled the settlement when groups of young people ran riot and broke into their shops and carted off everything inside.

In three weeks of the rampage, more than 100 shops were cleared of fridges, stock, shelves, sinks and personal effects. Three people died and several more injured, and shop owners recounted insults and xenophobic slurs hurled at them during beatings.

Those attacks started on the heels of service delivery protests.

Some residents said the young people needed to continue on the momentum created by the protests because they had not calmed down from the excitement of demonstrating.

On Thursday, the police denied knowledge of the lootings, and said unless a case was reported with them they could neither confirm nor deny any criminal activity.

Community protest over corruption widens :Authorities deploy heavily armed response
WASP reporters 12 September 2014

The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) has been leading the community of Ga-Nchabeleng, (in the Fetakgomo municipality of Limpopo) in a major service delivery protest that has broadened into a full scale community strike. Hundreds and hundreds of community members, with the youth and school students of the Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) in the vanguard, have protested daily.

The protest was sparked over ten days ago by the lack of transparency and almost certain corruption surrounding the allocation of former community land handed to the municipality for the development of new Home Affairs offices. The land allocated for the new offices is in the centre of Ga-Nchabeleng, yet offices have sprung-up many kilometres away. The community wants to know who in the municipality authorised this spending; who was awarded the tender; and how the community is meant to access a facility so far away.

Under the leadership of WASP, the community has written a memorandum to the authorities, demanding this situation be addressed but also demanding action of the mass unemployment afflicting the area, the lack of adequate roads, water and sanitation in the community.

The scale of the protests forced not just the municipal authorities but representatives of the Provincial government to meet with the community to discuss their demands. The community rejected proposals for the establishment of a ‘community forum’ given that the community has already established its own democratic structures to coordinate the struggle and represent their interests. This was clearly a delaying tactic and intended to disarm the community with the inclusion of ANC representatives.

In response to this legitimate snub, the authorities deployed a heavily armed and militarised police Special Task Force to the area. These forces must have been mobilised in advance of the meeting with the Provincial government representatives, given the speed of their arrival, showing the dishonest and cynical approach of the ANC. When co-option failed, force was resorted to. Helicopters, water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets were used against protestors. Dozens were arrested, including leading WASP organisers.

But the protests are continuing. The community will not be cowed. The people are sick of unemployment and under-development. In response to the assault, a community strike has been called, with schools closed, roads blocks and businesses closed.

Call to axe ‘racist’ TUT lecturers
IOL News 10 September 2014

Protesting Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) students gather outside the Vice Chancellor's office. File picture: Phill Magakoe
Pretoria - Students at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Wednesday claimed that some lecturers were racist, and demanded their dismissal.

“We can't sit back and watch the future of black students going down the drain because of arrogant vice-chancellors and some incompetent managers,” the university's student representative council (SRC) president Mboniseni Dladla said in a statement.

“The university failed to address a number of issues raised during (our) February protest which related to... dismissal of all racist lecturers.”

Among other things, the students wanted the salaries of executive management reviewed, and an end to the outsourcing of transport and cleaning services.

Classes were suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday because of protests.

The boycotting of lectures was also related to a lack of funds in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

On Tuesday, TUT said the students behind the protest were in breach of an interdict the university obtained earlier this year.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said in January the university had suspended classes and evicted students from residences. It obtained a court order to stop protests. She said the order was still in force.

Dladla accused De Ruyter of being a liar, saying the protest was carried out at the Pretoria, Ga-Rankuwa, Soshanguve and eMalahleni campuses.

“The university spokesperson lied by telling media that it's only a group of a few unruly students.

“The students are not in contempt of a court interdict as the strike was not started by any of those interdicted, but ordinary students....”

The SRC questioned why De Ruyter “decided not to tell the world” about the alleged resignation of the university's chief financial officer and the suspension of its head of department of nursing.

“We wish to condemn the management's lies and consistent attempt to undermine students. We've noted with great disappointment the distortions made by the university spokesperson,” said Dladla.

The SRC claimed De Ruyter's role was to hide the truth and portray students as a bunch of “losers” and “hooligans” who have no interest in studying.

Democratic Alliance Youth chairman Yusuf Cassim said it was clear NSFAS was failing students.

“Our students are suffering and they are desperate... This is completely unacceptable and we are demanding that the minister (of higher education) addresses this immediately,” he said in a statement.

“We will fight for every qualifying matriculant to get access to higher education. We will continue fighting this battle until all qualifying students get the opportunities they deserve.”

De Ruyter had not responded to a request for comment by 3pm.

Service delivery protests on the up 10 September 2014

A municipal watchdog body says there’s been a steady rise in major service delivery protests nationwide.

Municipal IQ’s so-called "hotspot monitor" shows there have been 134 violent demonstrations between January and August.

Most of the protests were recorded in Gauteng.

Muncipal IQ’s Karen Heese says this figure will probably increase even further.

"At the moment we see Gauteng as the biggest protests province. Although, what’s unusual we see the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal coming in quite tightly in second.

"And then the fourth one which features quite prominently during winter is the Western Cape."

Mob assaults suspected serial killer
IOL News 10 September 2014

Mamelodi residents take pictures of a man, believed to be the killer of four women, who was assaulted by the community. Picture: Mamelodi Revitalisation Business Forum
Pretoria - Residents of “Marikana”, a small township outside Mamelodi East, were up in arms on Tuesday, viciously attacking a man suspected of being behind the disappearance and killings of two Mamelodi women in recent weeks.

Residents believe up to four women may have fallen prey to the man. They identified and located the alleged suspect and marched to the Mamelodi East police station to lay charges.

Police apparently told them to go to Mamelodi West police station, because the incidents were out of their cluster area.

“The guys in the Mamelodi taxi industry could not wait any longer and went to the man’s house,” said Walter Lerumo, one of the community leaders in Mamelodi.

Along with residents, the taxi drivers apparently set the alleged suspect’s house and two cars alight and waited for him to escape.

“He came out through the window and had about 100 angry people waiting for him. They pounced, kicking and punching him,” said Lerumo.

Schoolchildren look on as two cars and a house believed to be that of the man accused of killing four women were burnt. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Independent Newspapers
The taxi drivers were angered by the alleged suspect’s modus operandi - pretending to be a taxi driver - which they said tarnished their image and reputation.

Bloodied and dazed, the suspect was taken away by ambulance when the Pretoria News arrived on the scene.

In one of the cars believed to have been used in the alleged kidnappings, residents said they found wire and blood in the boot.

They claimed the blood was that of the victims and the wire was used to tie their limbs.

The alleged suspect was not a resident of Marikana, but was hiding there because of his deeds, they said.

More than 100 residents, including schoolchildren, gathered around the burning house, while some took part in the assault.

Warning messages began spreading on social media last week and had residents on edge after four bodies were discovered.

Residents accuse the man of killing two women, Katlego Ndlovu and Letta Letsoalo, last week.

They claim as many as four women had been killed, but police denied this.

Police spokeswoman Captain Doniah Mothutlane said they couldn’t link the man to the murders yet, and also rejected claims there was a serial killer and rapist on the loose.

“We are investigating whether the cases are linked. We are waiting for post-mortem results to find out how the women died. We appeal to the community to come forward with any information.”

Mothutlane also urged the community to remain calm.

Lizzy Malinga, a resident in Marikana, said: “We are happy and relieved that we found this killer. We couldn’t use taxis anymore.”

She said they believed the alleged suspect operated in a syndicate and that there were more culprits who helped him.

Katlego Ndlovu’s family demanded that justice be done and for their daughter’s killer to be found. On Tuesday last week, Ndlovu’s naked and battered body was found near a reservoir in Mamelodi after she had disappeared the night before.

Her aunt, Petunia Chauke, said: “On the Monday evening after work she went out with her boyfriend to Sunnyside. The boyfriend said that after the evening out, they caught a taxi to Mamelodi and then a cab to the house.”

That was the last time the 23-year-old was seen alive.

“The boyfriend told us that the taxi driver said he knew her and they lived in the same area. He suggested they drop off the boyfriend at home first and then her,” Chauke said.

When Ndlovu did not arrive home, the boyfriend called her mother and they went to open a missing person case at the local police station. The couple had been dating for a month.

“Police told us that they could not open the case because she had only been missing for a few hours. In the morning, her naked body was discovered next to a reservoir,” she said.

Ndlovu had been stripped naked and strangled.

Mpho Seerane, who discovered the body, said that at about midnight on Monday they heard a car driving around. Seerane’s house is next to the reservoir. “The next morning my nephew found the body. He called us and we called the police who did not come.”

After an hour, they decided to go to the police station.

Talking about the family trauma, Chauke said: “The police told us that she was strangled with razor wire, but they were still awaiting the post-mortem results. I washed her body (at the mortuary). There were two gaping holes below her chin and burn marks on her thighs. It looked like she was burnt with a blowtorch,” she said.

Chauke said from information they received, the taxi driver fit the description of the taxi driver who was their neighbour.

Ndlovu was buried on Saturday.

“On the day of the funeral, the taxi driver drove past our house. Some people followed him and they found razor wire in his car,” Chauke said. “We called the police and they said they could not arrest him because there was nothing linking him to the case,” she said.

The same man is also accused of killing Letsoalo, 24, last Tuesday. Her brother Tebogo Letsoalo said: “My sister was on her way way to work and took a local taxi (sedan). That was the last time she was seen.”

Letta’s body was found next to a dumping site. “My sister was kidnapped, raped and killed. She leaves behind a son who is 15 months old.”

On Tuesday, the community turned on the alleged suspect and assaulted him. “I do not know if he is the one who killed her, but if he is, then justice must be done,” Chauke said.

‘Raw deal for graft exposers’
9 September 2014

Pretoria - Laws have allegedly been broken and unnecessarily heavy-handed treatment meted out to workers at a state laundry facility. They have been offered a deal, including transfers, that corruption whistle-blowers be charged and their salaries be docked in return for going back to work after being locked out of work for more than a month.

These conditions were laid down at a meeting between the Public Servants of Association of SA (PSA), acting on behalf of Masakhane Laundry workers, and their employer, the Department of Health, on Monday. The employer offered that the workers return by the end of the week if they agreed that the corruption whistle-blowers be charged and those who’d been locked out be transferred.

The lock-out started five weeks ago – the result of a three-year stand-off between the laundry’s staff and the depart-ment– after an alleged job-for-sale scam was blown open. About 84 laundry workers were prevented from entering the Rosslyn plant on a Monday five weeks ago after they had refused to work the Friday before in protest against the return of seven staff fingered in corrupt deals.

Among those locked out were whistle-blowers, who had been gathering evidence since 2011 when the graft was first suspected. They had expected to be called to testify after the seven staff members suspected of graft were suspended last year.

But in July, managers told the workers that the suspended workers were returning to work because of insufficient evidence. The workers initially went on a go-slow and questioned the authenticity of the probe, because none of them had been invited to submit their evidence.

On a Friday five weeks ago, they resolved not to work, arguing they could not accept the findings of the investigation, especially since they were denied access to them.

The PSA intervened at the time and an agreement was reached that the workers return to work on the following Monday. But when they reported for duty, the gates were locked – and in the five weeks since, no one has given them reasons for the lock-out.

In the meeting on Monday, the employer apparently offered that the workers return by the end of the week if they agreed that the whistle-blowers be charged and those who had been locked out be transferred. “We met to find a way to lift the lock-out, but they gave us conditions we found unacceptable,” an official said.

The employer offered to allow employees back on condition the salaries of all who had participated in strike actions be docked. “We could not accept this. We’ll meet members tomorrow to get a mandate on the way forward.”

The offer has been called heavy-handed and un-necessarily harsh. Labour experts called it a breach of law. It would appear laws were not followed,” a Labour Department director, Stephen Rathai, said. He would launch an investigation, he said. “You cannot punish people for exposing graft.”

Lock-out procedures involved a perceived threat to property or person and could not be arbitrarily put in motion, he said.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said the workers were being victimised for revealing corruption. “While the no-work no-pay rule could be legally applied, these workers were being given a very harsh ultimatum.

“This is a clear case of shielding the alleged scammers, while those opposing their actions are being punished. This is in breach of all labour codes,” labour lawyer Mandisi Sidzumo said. Whistle-blowers were protected by law. She said: “No matter what the findings, they cannot be charged.” This action served to discourage the public from speaking out. The PSA will meet the locked-out workers on Tuesday before meeting the department on Wednesday. Health Department spokesman Prince Hamnca was unable to comment on the offer, saying resolving the dispute was “ongoing”.

Tut protest breaches court order
IOL News 9 September 2014

Pretoria - Students behind protests at the Tshwane University of Technology were in breach of an interdict the university obtained earlier this year, the institution said on Tuesday.

In January the university suspended classes and evicted students from residences. It obtained a court order to stop protests at its campuses.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said that order was still in force.

Classes were suspended on Tuesday and Wednesday at the institution's Pretoria and Ga-Rankuwa campuses due to protests.

“The strike was violent and illegal and student leadership did not follow the agreed protocol required before embarking on protest action,” said De Ruyter.

She said only a small number of people were behind the disruptions which affected nearly 50,000 students.

The boycotting of lectures was related to lack of funds in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

“The university can only disburse the funds allocated by the department of higher education and training,” said De Ruyter.

The department had given the institution R644 million this year. The money was used to help 4359 first-year students and 13,550

returning students.

De Ruyter apologised to those students negatively affected by the protests.

7 held for Mamelodi protest violence
IOL News 9 September 2014

Pretoria - Seven people have been arrested for public violence during a protest in Mamelodi East, Tshwane, police said on Tuesday.

They were arrested just after midnight on Monday after throwing stones and bottles, and burning tyres in Solomon Mahlangu drive and Hector Pieterson street during a protest, said Lt-Col Khensani Magoai.

They would appear in the Mamelodi Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Democratic Alliance councillor Peter Millar said in a statement that residents of Extension 11 in Mamelodi East had “vented their anger about the lack of service delivery and other social problems” in the area.

Call for talks to end KZN university violence
IOL News 8 September 2014

The Department of Higher Education and Training has ordered disgruntled students and management of the troubled University of KwaZulu-Natal to negotiate an end to a week of violent protests.

“No party must withdraw until a solution is found. It is in the best interests of the management as it is for the students that priority is given to the normalisation of the academic process,” department spokesman Khaye Nkwanyana said at the weekend.

“At no point can the strike action resolve issues. A premium must be placed on the talks.”

The academic programme at UKZN was to have resumed today after last week’s violence led to a decision to shut the university for two days.

Hundreds of students at the Howard College, Edgewood and Westville campuses embarked on protests over next year’s registration and fee increases, which were rumoured to be steep.

However, university spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka, has denied this, saying the proposal had been a gradual fee increase of 10 percent a year over two to three years. This was to be understood within the context of the current student debt, which now exceeded R800 million, said Seshoka.

He said the Westville campus had been affected the most, and was not accessible to staff and students because of the road barricades and stone throwing.

Protest action had continued despite a high court order prohibiting unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act towards persons or property at the entrance and premises.

The violence intensified at the Westville campus on Thursday, leaving two people injured.

One was a student and the other, a police officer who, according to police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane, was hit by a stone thown by protesting students.

Water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas were used after a group of students threw stones at windows and cars. Many of the students were wearing masks and balaclavas.

Said Nkwanyana: “The ministry condemns in the strongest terms the criminal acts of damaging the university property. No amount of anger and frustration can justify the act that vandalises public property that belongs to future generations of students.”

The ANC’s KZN secretary, Sihle Zikalala also expressed concern, saying, “We are worried that the stand-off happens at a very critical time when students should be sharpening their readiness for the final examinations scheduled to take place in two months”.

Noting the “constitutional right for every citizen to express their concerns freely”, Zikalala said the lawlessness could not be condoned.

“Any violent conduct to highlight grievances is unacceptable and uncalled for.”

Zikalala called on the university to ensure that students’ concerns receive “honest and urgent attention”.

“As we continue to improve access to tertiary education, we cannot afford to have frequent disruptions at our institutions of higher learning,” Zikalala said.

Fears of clashes after hostel killing
IOL News 8 September 2014

Durban - THE killing of a resident of Glebelands Hostel in uMlazi and the attempted assassination of an ANC branch treasurer at the weekend have heightened fears of more violence at the volatile complex.

The attacks occurred amid political tensions between two factions, with some residents supporting the local councillor and others wanting him ousted.

Two weeks ago another hostel-dweller, identified as Sifiso Mngadi, was killed near Glebelands. He was shot dead and his body dumped on Griffiths Mxenge (Mangosuthu) Highway.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said yesterday it was believed the latest violence was triggered by disputes over housing and bed allocation in the hostel.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed a case of attempted murder had been opened and investigated by uMlazi SAPS after Thandiwe Ntombela, 41, was shot at the hostel on Saturday afternoon.

Ntombela, an ANC branch treasurer, is recovering in hospital.

Thothenhle Shinga, 39, was shot on Thursday night and his body was found on the highway on Friday morning.

Police said no arrests had yet been made.

The Daily News reported recently that there had been more than a dozen killings at or near the hostel over the past year.

A hostel resident, who did not want to be named because he feared for his life, said yesterday that he had seen Ntombela a few hours before she was attacked.

“Nothing seemed to have worried her. She was walking from one block of flats to another block where she stays.

“She was talking to people along the street and I have no idea where the attacker might have come from, but I am sure he must have been keeping an eye on her all the way,” he said.

“When she arrived at her block, just when she was about to start walking up the stairs to her room, a man came from behind. Those who were around said when she turned around she was shot instantly.

“He (the attacker) then ran down to the road (Griffiths Mxenge Highway) where he got into a white VW Golf that sped off.”

Another resident who also did not want to be named said gunshots were nothing unusual at the hostel.

He said police were present and patrolling every day, but he feared it was not going to be easy for them to stop the killings.

“Assailants here know very well who they are targeting and everything about their targets. There are a lot of people staying here and one cannot know everyone. People are always walking up and down, and you wouldn’t know who is targeting who because there are a lot of hitmen here,” said the resident.

“One thing important here is not to talk too much about this tension because you do not know who takes notes of which side a person is on. Rather not be vocal about politics here.”

Bongani Mthembu of hostel-dwellers organisation Ubunye Bamahostela, who was shot in the leg while trying to escape a hail of bullets last month, said the violence was part of a continuing problem over rentals, dating from 2006.

He said the issue could be resolved if all parties involved were prepared to discuss the issue.

“We should be frank with each other,” he said, adding that the block chairman and the Ward 76 councillor, Mshiyeni Mzobe, should be part of the discussions.

Mzobe welcomed the police presence at the hostel, but when he was asked to elaborate this morning. he but put down the phone.

Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu called for calm and restraint, saying no amount of violence would solve problems for Glebelands residents.

“There are interventions that are being explored to resolve the situation. We are working with all structures inside and outside the hostel to bring about stability and peace. We urge all peace loving residents to denounce violence and intimidation,” said Mchunu.

He said the current problems at Glebelands could not be resolved because of continued acts of violence and attacks.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikala called for police to strengthen their operations at the hostel.

l The IFP’s candidate for the Ward 12 by-election in the Newcastle area, Thanduyise Norman Mkhwanazi, was stabbed four times outside his house yesterday. Nothing was stolen from him.

“For us, to see a candidate moving outside his house and stabbed at the gate, it shows something sinister,” the party’s national chairman, Bless Gwala, said yesterday.

“It appeared to be politically motivated, so they disadvantage the IFP as we move towards the by-elections taking place on September 17. We view such incidents as assaults on our hard-fought-for democracy,” he said.

Insults at Marikana inspection
IOL News 8 September 2014

Miners shouted obscenities at a woman wearing a red National Union of Mineworkers T-shirt when she joined the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's inspection “in loco” in Marikana, North West, on Monday.

“Voetsek (bugger off). F**k you,” the miners shouted at the woman, who took cover among police officers.

The commission's chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam intervened, telling the miners to “cut the nonsense”.

“I am in charge of this inquiry and this is a public place. Everyone is free to wear what they want. You have your Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) T-shirts on,” he said.

Police warned the miners that they could be charged with intimidation. No arrests were made.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police on August 16.

More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested.

The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them at the time.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Earlier this month, Farlam said Monday's inspection would focus only on areas linked to the shootings on August 16.

“We are confining our attention to the events of the 16th (August 2012). We anticipate that it will probably take us the whole day,” he said.

Several police Nyalas (armoured vehicles) and a water cannon were at the hill where the miners were shot. A helicopter hovered overhead.

During an on the scene inspection in October 2012, two North West crime scene experts led Farlam and his team around the area where the 34 were shot dead.

Warrant Officer Patrick Thamae pointed out where bodies were found near the hill where the mineworkers had assembled in the days leading up to August 16.

Another inspection was held in March 2013 near Lonmin's K3 shaft. The commission's members retraced the steps of miners and police officers on August 13.

On that day, Warrant officers Hendrick Tsietsi and Sello Ronnie Lepaaku were hacked to death in a confrontation with protesting mineworkers. - Sapa

TUT classes suspended
IOL News 9 September 2014

Johannesburg - Classes were suspended at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Tuesday following a student protest, the university said.

“Groups of students started protesting this morning at the TUT main campus. Very early in the morning a bus was burned down,” spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said.

“All academic activities have been suspended for the day.”

She could not provide further details about the bus.

De Ruyter said the protest was related to National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) payments. She could not immediately confirm claims that first-year students' funding applications had been rejected.

“I will have to get more information because there has been a change in the administration of NSFAS funding.”

She said universities and colleges used to administer the funds themselves, but after the change, the NSFAS centralised the funding so it came directly from the scheme.

De Ruyter said students would be updated later.

TUT students protested about the NSFAS in May and in January.

In January the university suspended classes and evicted students from the institution's residences. It also obtained a court order to stop protests at its campuses.

The Socialist Youth Movement and the Student Representative Council later won an interdict at the High Court in Pretoria against the unlawful eviction of students. The university was ordered to pay costs.

Ses’khona crowd urged to ‘fight’ cops
IOL News 9 September 2014

Cape Town - Hundreds of Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement followers gathered outside the Western Cape High Court on Monday to protest in favour of the right to protest.

Protest songs resonated through courtroom corridors as the City of Cape Town brought an application for an interdict against Ses’khona leaders and the organisation in a bid to stop them organising future protests.

Before court proceedings started, leader Loyiso Nkohla stood on the court steps and told the large crowd, all wearing yellow Ses’khona T-shirts, to continue singing and “fight” if police “provoked” them.

“It is not by coincidence that you are here; you are here because Ses’khona is respondent number 23.

If police provoke you, fight,” Nkohla said.

Shortly afterwards, Nkohla and Andile Lili were in court along with 21 others, including the Ses’khona movement, as respondents to the interdict application.

Renata Williams SC, for the city, argued that the aim of the interdict was not to stop future protests, but to prevent incidents such as a violent protest on Vanguard Drive which led to millions spent restoring infrastructure after roads and street lights were damaged.

The interdict has been brought to prevent protesters from taking part in marches for which they have not been granted permission in term of the Gatherings Act.

The court heard that in one such incident, on Friday, February 27, a large group of “illegal” marchers were making their way into the city when they were stopped at Woodstock railway station by police using water cannon and stun grenades.

Some protesters made it to the city, but did not create any problems.

The city said a breakaway group reached Vanguard Drive in the early hours of February 28, barricaded the road and burnt portable toilets belonging to the city.

The city said it had had to deal with several unlawful gatherings for which no permission had been granted.

Advocate Pearl Mathibela argued that the events of February 27 and 28 could not be linked, and that the interdict could not be granted based on past events.

Williams shot back, saying they were not interdicting past conducts. “It’s about interdicting ongoing conduct.”

Judge Elizabeth Baartman reserved judgment.

When the two Ses’khona leaders emerged from the court the crowd cheered and sang.

Lili told them:

“They (the city) are confused. We are supposed to issue them with a notice, but they continue talking about this permit nonsense. We can never back down; we will always march to the CBD.”

The singing crowd was accompanied by public order police all the way from Keerom Street to Cape Town Station.

After a short break at the Strand and Adderley streets intersection, blocking traffic, they rushed off to catch trains. - Additional reporting by Natasha Prince

Cape battles land grabbers
IOL News 8 September 2014

Cape Town - As she watched her shack being demolished, Nosiphiwe Mthathi, looking tired after spending the night erecting the little dwelling, said: “I had no other choice but to build here”.

It is a statement echoed by many of the thousands who have decided to grab private or city land near the Cape’s townships. It’s last-ditch effort to escape from expensive rent, dirty conditions and overcrowding, adds the Enkanini resident.

Land invasions have become a common sight. In the past year alone, the city’s department of human settlements has documented 21 invasions in nine areas, including Philippi, Strand, Dunoon, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Wallacedene, Browns Farm, Lwandle and Lavender Hill.

The land grab has sparked violence as authorities clashed with residents.

Rocks, stun grenades, rubber bullets, hammers and even spades have become the ammunition of a back-and-forth conflict.

Authorities say they need to uphold the constitution and protect the land owners. But squatters say they just need a roof over their heads, something which local government has “failed to provide”.

In Marikana, a sprawling informal settlement that grew from just a few shacks erected on private land in Philippi back in 2003, tensions have been mounting.

For weeks authorities have moved into the township to demolish “uninhabited” shacks, with residents quickly gathering materials and rebuilding the dwellings overnight.

There have been riots and there have even been unconfirmed reports that police used live ammunition. Some residents have been evicted as many as a dozen times, says Tumi Ramahlele.

When asked why people continued to risk their livelihoods to grab land, the Marikana resident and community leader said they had “no other choice”.

“These people are coming from rural areas. There is poverty there and facilities are non-existent. Coming to the Western Cape is a chance for a job, to provide for the people back home.”

Ramahlele said on arrival they struggled. Social grants were swallowed up by hungry families and renting backyard dwellings cost too much.

“It is not our first choice to move onto this land,” he added. “But when we have tried everything, marching to Parliament with no result, and we see that this land is vacant, we decide to govern ourselves.

“We will not move,” he warned.

“It would seem that people are coming mainly from backyards where they say they are paying exorbitant rent,” said mayoral committee member for human settlements Siyabulela Mamkeli.

“(But) there is no excuse for illegal actions. The city will continue to uphold the values contained in the constitution. This includes respect for the dignity of all, compliance with the rule of law at all times, and preventing queue jumping by those who illegally invade land,” he wrote in an email.

He added that at times squatters had invaded land set aside for housing.

The city established the anti-land invasion unit in 2009 to prevent illegal occupation of city and provincial land. The unit has been closely involved in the recent Marikana evictions after it was brought in to assist police execute a court order to demolish “uninhabited” dwellings on private land.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said a structure was only deemed inhabited after furniture had been moved inside and the family had slept overnight. He said that in most areas, land invasions were spearheaded by “opportunists”. However, in Marikana, he has frequently claimed the most recent land grab was politically motivated.

“Blaming a third force is a pretty common accusation from politicians, whether DA or ANC,” said Children of South Africa founder Jared Sacks.

“Every time there is a land occupation or large protests or roads being blocked, Smith and others in the city immediately claim they are politically motivated. It is a way of delegitimising the actions of poor people who are desperate for something better. It also has the effect of maintaining the widespread belief that poor people can’t think and act logically for themselves.”

Sacks has worked closely with residents in Marikana and has been a vocal critic of the way the city has handled evictions in the past.

He said the occupation of the land had nothing to do with the ANC or Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement.

“They’re desperate. They don’t need to be instigated or manipulated.”

Sacks said the city had failed to address the housing crisis in Cape Town.

“Yes, legally the right to property is enshrined in the constitution. However, the right to housing and various other rights such as dignity are also enshrined in the constitution and legally take precedence over the right to property.”

He suggested the city should purchase the land and formalise such settlements or make other land available.

The land where Marikana first began to develop was bought for around R5m in 2003. The owner, Oscar Saunderson - a spokesman for many of the property owners in Philippi East who are battling with squatters - said his plan was to turn the land into an economic hub.

But invasions had turned it into a “time bomb”, he said.

“Every neighbourhood needs a mall, industrial park, residential and social developments. Without that you can not achieve healthy growth,” Saunderson said.

Invasions had turned Philippi into an even more unstable and fragile destination for any industrial warehousing, he said.

“The land was worth around R5m, and today it is not worth much. I am still liable for rates and taxes, I am the legal owner, but I can’t set foot on my own land.”

He and other private landowners in Philippi have an interdict from the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court preventing illegal occupation or trespassing on the land.

However, Saunderson said: “Eviction orders, interdicts and who knows what is not stopping the masses doing what they want. The police came to the party, but in many cases too late. Earlier reaction times would have helped.”

“What does the future hold for Philippi? Housing? I don’t know. As experts on this area, we know that jobs are pivotal to changing the neighbourhood for good.”

We’ll grab any open land - Ses’khona

Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement leader Andile Lili has warned that his members would grab “any empty land they could find” if the city did not address the housing crisis.

The city has repeatedly linked the organisation to recent land invasions, primarily in Marikana, Philippi and Lwandle, where they accused its leadership of inciting violence and selling off private land to squatters.

Lili has denied these accusations.

He said mayor Patricia de Lille was panicking: “She can see we are growing more powerful. We are going to make sure the government of the DA is taken out of power. They have every right to panic.”

Last month, responding to assertions made by De Lille that the organisation was just an ANC proxy, Lili said, “This is a blatant lie.”

He claimed the organisation had strongholds in KwaZulu-Natal and Port Elizabeth.

He said he was tempted to tell his members to grab any open land they could find and start building shacks.

“The number of people we have right now will be uncontrollable for police and law enforcement? I am this close to making that call.”

At the Barry Streek memorial lecture last week De Lille accused Ses’Khona of being a front for the ANC.

Angry parents close school in Limpopo
IOL News 9 September 2014

Angry parents have closed down Ntji-Mothapo Primary School in Limpopo indefinitely because they are not happy with the provincial Education Department.

On Monday, parents prevented their children from attending classes for the second time in as many weeks.

They resolved in a Sunday meeting to close the school permanently until the department removes three unwanted teachers.

“The department must choose. If it wants the school to reopen, it must fire the three teachers and reinstate the disbanded school governing body (SGB),” chairman David Mokoena said of the SGB’s disbanding by the department last week.

Parents were angered by the disclosure that the department had allowed an SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) official to head a task team that investigated alleged financial mismanagement at the school.

They said Sadtu was allowed to be “player and referee”in the probe, which excluded parents.

The parents have rejected the outcomes of a report compiled by the task team.

Parents have sided in the dispute with the principal, Ngoako Rapaledi, who they say is being undermined by three teachers affiliated to Sadtu.

On Monday, the school gates were blocked by rocks. Pupils were not allowed to attend classes.

In January, the pupils lost four days of study after their parents prevented them from attending classes.

Limpopo education spokesman Paena Galane slammed the parents, saying they keep changing their demands.

“They are being dishonest,” he said.

Asked for the department’s reaction to the school closing, Galane said: “Because they (parents) closed the school, they will have to reopen it.”

He said the task team report did not recommend that the three teachers be dismissed.

“In the report, it says the matter must be referred to labour (a unit in the department) to deal with it,” said Galane.

He said teachers would be expected to report for duty at their local circuit office as the school remained closed.

Parents stop classes once again
IOL News 2 September 2014

Johannesburg - Pupils at Ntji Mothapo Primary School in Limpopo were prevented from attending classes by their parents again on Monday.

Parents barricaded the school entrance with stones and a burning tyre. They first blocked them from going to school in January, leading the pupils to lose four school days.

On Monday, parents demonstrated after Friday’s decision by the provincial Education Department to dissolve the school governing body (SGB).

The parents claimed the department had installed people who had no children at the school as new SGB members.

At the centre of the lengthy battle is the principal Ngoako Rapaledi and representatives of the parents on the disbanded SGB on the one side, and three teachers who represent the teachers on the other.

The three teachers have the support of their 29 colleagues, who are members of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

Parents say Sadtu members come to school carrying firearms, assault pupils and disregard the principal.

The teachers accuse Rapaledi of being an autocrat and of misusing school funds.

A 2011 report by the department’s Capricorn district office recommended he be charged with misconduct. It found that he had fiddled with SGB minutes, resulting in the payment of two SGB members unduly.

He has denied wrongdoing.

Instead of implementing recommendations of the findings, the department instituted another probe in January.

On Monday, Paena Galane, the department spokesman, said the latest report implicating some SGB members in financial mismanagement and maladministration would be tabled to parents at a meeting on Thursday. He defended the decision to dissolve the SGB.

Ex-mayor shot amid municipal mayhem
IOL News 3 September 2014

Johannesburg - The former mayor of the Waterberg district municipality, Eric Gwangwa, was shot on Tuesday during the disorder that erupted on the premises of the Mogalakwena local municipality in Mokopane, Limpopo.

Gwangwa’s shooting is the latest episode of the anarchy that continues to play out at the ANC-controlled council.

Mogalakwena falls under the Waterberg district council.

Spokesman for the local municipality Malesela Selokela said Gwangwa, who was shot in the leg, was rushed to hospital. He said Gwangwa was part of a rowdy group that had earlier broken down the municipality’s gate and forced its way onto the premises.

He would not say who shot Gwangwa, but confirmed the former mayor was shot near the council chamber. The shooting took place while a special council meeting was under way inside the chamber.

“I heard about seven gunshots. I was unable to see exactly who shot him,” said Selokela.

He said some of ANC councillors who were sacked by the municipality last week for boycotting a series of council meetings were among the disruptive group.

“They even broke the gate and forced their way onto the premises. The police were there and they just looked on,” said Selokela.

Provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto referred enquiries to her superior, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. He could not be reached on either his cellphone or his office line.

For a long time, the Mogalakwena municipality has hogged the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In July, the ANC provincial executive fired 22 councillors for colluding with the opposition to remove former mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite and chief whip David Langa.

The two men had been implicated by a KPMG forensic report in corrupt activity totalling R1.5 million.

They have denied wrongdoing.

The 22 ANC councillors, among them mayor Malose Mabuela, Speaker Meelba Mabusela and former mayor Esther Mothibi, defied the party by remaining in their positions.

The rebel councillors teamed up with their opposition colleagues last week to kick out their 27 ANC colleagues for boycotting council meetings.

Mashamaite and Langa are among the group of 27 who were expelled last week.

Gwangwa’s shooting comes on the heels of the killing of civic organisation leader Piet Pale in July.

Pale, a vocal critic of Mashamaite and Premier Stan Mathabatha’s leadership, was gunned down outside his home in Mahwelereng.

His killers are still at large.

Former Mogalakwena Speaker Lleka Lekalakala, who was considered by some as an anti-corruption activist, was mysteriously killed in 2006.

No one has been arrested for his death.

Pravin must explain chaos, says DA
IOL News 4 September 2014

Johannesburg - The DA wants Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan to answer before Parliament for the lawlessness unfolding at Mogalakwena local municipality in Limpopo.

DA MP Beyers Smit said Gordhan should tell the National Council of Provinces when he will restore stability to the violence-ridden municipality.

He also wants Gordhan to explain why the recommendations of the KPMG forensic report relating to R1.5 million that went missing were not being implemented.

The official opposition was reacting to Tuesday’s shooting of Eric Gwangwa, the former mayor of Waterberg district municipality, on the local council premises in Mokopane.

It was thought that Gwangwa was shot in the leg, but Mokopane police spokeswoman Constable Mmadikgale Masingi said he was hit by a bullet in the buttocks.

She said police recovered several cartridges from the scene.

“We were told that some had been picked up before we arrived,” Masingi said.

The police said a case of attempted murder was being investigated and no arrest had been made.

Masingi would not comment on whether the gunman who shot Gwangwa was known.

Earlier, municipal spokesman Malesela Selokela said he had heard seven gunshots.

Gwangwa was recuperating in hospital.

On the same day, police arrested a security guard who had fired a warning shot when a rowdy crowd broke down the municipality’s gate and forced its way onto the council premises. He has been charged with reckless discharging of a firearm in public.

“He was arrested and released on bail of R500. His next court appearance is on September 26,” she said.

Masingi said the guard’s case was not related to Gwangwa’s shooting.

Gwangwa was shot after the crowd had entered the municipal premises.

The municipality said earlier Gwangwa was shot near the council chamber.

Selokela said the former mayor was among a disruptive group that forcibly entered the council premises before the shooting.

Six other people, among them Sam Montane a councillor at Mogalakwena, were arrested for damaging the municipal gate.

They appeared in court on Wednesday and were released on warning. The case was postponed to September 26, Masingi added.

Some of the central figures in the Mogalakwena mayhem are former ANC mayor Tlhalefi Mashamaite and chief whip David Langa.

They had been implicated in the KPMG probe in the alleged R1.5m corruption activity.

Twenty-two ANC councillors teamed up with opposition colleagues and removed the two men from their top positions.

Protesters, cops clash in Ennerdale
IOL News 2 September 2014

Johannesburg - An unfulfilled election promise sparked a protest in the south of Joburg on Monday. Police fired rubber bullets and teargas to disperse the crowd.

Residents of Ennerdale South blocked the Golden Highway at the intersection with the R550 early on Monday to protest against the lack of a sewerage system and piped water.

A protester, who gave his first name as Big for fear of reprisal, said he was struck on the knee by a rubber bullet fired by the police during what he described as a peaceful protest.

“They just opened fire without even speaking to us,” Big said.

One car’s windscreen was smashed by a rock thrown by a protester. While Big acknowledged it was thrown by one of the residents, he said the police were to blame.

The police officers left their armoured Nyalas and hid behind the car while they fired rubber bullets, and the rocks accidentally hit the car instead of the police vehicles, Big said.

He added that the other residents had met several Joburg mayoral committee members on May 5 in the build-up to the elections and were promised a temporary sewerage system because the pit toilets they were using were unsanitary.

“We went to the elections on May 7 and they never came back to us. We never got anything up till today and it’s September now,” Big said.

“We put them into power and they are not delivering,” another protester said.

Joburg’s housing MMC, Dan Bovu, arrived to address the crowd at about 10am and confirmed that the council had promised the community a temporary sewerage system.

However, he said they could not roll it out immediately as engineering, health and environmental assessments had to be done before building such a system in a residential area could begin.

“We’re still consulting with Johannesburg Water to allow and agree that we use it,” he said.

Bovu’s address to the crowd seemed to calm tension that had been created by the skirmish between the police and residents. The protesters dispersed by midday.

Earlier, at about 9am, police dispersed the crowd of about 100 protesters using rubber bullets and cleared the road for traffic.

Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that police dispersed the crowd using rubber bullets after being pelted with stones.

“Two Joburg metro police vehicles were pelted with stones. A policeman sustained a neck injury and was taken to hospital and two women in their late twenties were arrested for public violence,” Dlamini added.

Lamoer defends police response in Nyanga
IOL News 4 September 2014

Cape Town - Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer has defended his officers against claims that police did not respond adequately to intelligence about the transport violence that broke out in Nyanga on Monday, leaving a taxi driver dead, bus drivers beaten up and more than half a dozen buses torched.

Lamoer was questioned for more than an hour by a joint sitting of the Western Cape’s standing committees on community safety and transport and public works on Wednesday, before rushing off to brief Premier Helen Zille and her cabinet on the issue.

“The information that we received was broad and we had to deploy people all over,” Lamoer said.

The only information available before Monday referred to possible disruptions in the taxi industry in Kuils River and Khayelitsha areas. Lamoer described criticism of the police reaction to the weekend’s crime intelligence as “unfair and unnecessary”.

“There is a major improvement in our crime intelligence capacity in this province and the way they work. I’m quite happy with the information we received.”

He added that ultimately the taxi industry’s concerns were linked to labour issues. “Drivers felt that they must pay the fines and be prosecuted while the taxi owners do not assist.”

Lamoer said public order police had 300 members spread across the province.

“We have three units, one in Paarl, one in Oudtshoorn and one in the Peninsula.”

As a rule members had to deal with up to seven or or eight public protests every day.

Lamoer stressed that the province had seven key priority areas of which Nyanga and Crossroads were not the only hot spots for taxi violence.

“We also sit with Grabouw, Delft, Kraaifontein, Bellville, Vrygrond and Khayelitsha. We have all these areas to look after but we prioritise as the information becomes available.”

He said police visibility in hot spots was continuously adjusted and upgraded according to the threats received.

“We’ve stepped up our current deployment in Nyanga but the area is calm and the buses are operating normally.”

On the processes followed, Lamoer said police acted on early warnings and send out members accordingly.

The chairman of the standing committee on transport and public works, Lennit Max, a former police commissioner himself, said they wanted to determine whether the police had done everything possible to ensure the safety of Western Cape citizens.

Speaking after his briefing to the provincial cabinet, Lamoer said police had had “no information that they were going to burn the buses”.

In hindsight people would say that police could have done more, but if the police had not been there the situation would have been much worse.

“People must understand there are laws in this country, and they must abide by the laws. We have no problem that people want to protest because the constitution states that they have the right to do so, but they must take other people’s rights also into consideration,” Lamoer said.

Pro-Palestine group slams Woolies attack
IOL News 5 September 2014

Cape Town - A pro-Palestinian lobby group, which has protested against Woolworths for allegedly importing goods from Israel, condemned Thursday night’s bombings in Athlone and Crawford and called for the bombers to be caught.

The “Cape Town for Gaza” group on Facebook, which has more than 6 000 “Likes”, said on Thursday morning: “This must be the work of evil hands trying to spread misinformation about the cause.

“Sorry but this won’t stop the boycott, however this is ridiculous to go to this extreme and unacceptable whoever it was. Hope the perpetrators get caught.”

The sites in Athlone and Crawford were being combed for clues on Friday after a car was set on fire and a Woolworths shop window smashed - possibly after explosions just before midnight.

A VW Golf caught fire at about 11.15pm in Belgravia Road, outside Belgravia Autos, and the window of the Woolworths in Kromboom Road was smashed about 10 minutes later. The stores are a few minutes walk from each other.

Woolworths reported a large shop window had been smashed but no one had been injured.

Three shops were damaged by an explosion on Thursday night. Picture: Henk Kruger

There was speculation on Thursday morning about whether the explosions could have been an ATM-bombing.

A woman who lives near the car dealership said on Friday: “My neighbour is building, and it was quite loud.

“I thought maybe one of their new windows had broken,” she said, asking not to be named.

“I was frightened to go too close but I stood in my garden in my gown and saw lots of cars going to the scene.”

On Friday morning, the police would not comment on speculation that the blasts were caused by pipe bombs.

“We can confirm that two incidents of explosions occurred on Thursday just after 11pm - one in Belgravia Road, Athlone - and the other one at the corner of Jan Smuts and Kromboom roads,” spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said.

One was a motor dealership and the other was a small business centre.

“Cases of malicious damage to property were opened for investigation but there are no arrests as yet,” he said.

Van Wyk said there were no reports of injuries or fatalities. No further details were provided.

A projectile-like bomb was allegedly placed in front of Vee’s Video, next to Woolworths.

Vee’s Video store manager Grantham Wolhuter said he was surprised when he got the call telling him about the explosion.

“Apparently the blast happened at 11.26 last night.

“It’s shocking; you don’t expect to hear that a bomb has gone off.”

He added it was impossible to say why the store was targeted.

“There have been several protests at the centre, with people boycotting Woolies, so maybe that is why.”

The blast tore through the front window of the store. It also shattered windows of the next door shop.

A 60-year-old Crawford resident said he had heard three “loud sounds” on Thursday night.

“We wondered whether it was perhaps shooting.

“We all think it’s connected to Woolworths, because of the boycott.”

He added that boycotts should be peaceful.

“There must be militant elements doing this because the auto dealership was also bombed.”

In mid-August last year, the auto dealership was fire bombed on a Sunday night - the second dealership in the area to come under attack in three weeks.

Two cars at Auto Belgravia in Belgravia Road, one of which was a rare, imported 1997 Volvo S90, were damaged in the fire on Thursday night.

The damage was most severe on the front bumper and engine area of the vehicles. A third vehicle was slightly damaged in the bombing.

Recently there have been pickets over Woolworths’s alleged position on Israeli imports.

On Friday, on Facebook, the group “Cape Town for Gaza” posted the following message: “Urgent! With the current confusion relating to the bombing at the Fellos / Woolworths Kromboom store, everyone is advised to remain vigilant and not get involved in finger pointing and sympathy giving.

“We know throughout history, when those with truth make serious advances on the imperialist, they either use divide and conquer methods to create discord amongst those making advances on them, or they play victim to gain sympathy from the masses and point those with truth as aggressors.

“Given that, it could be the imperialist themselves who have pulled this stunt. (which many claim to be very likely).

“Or, the source could be organised crime who saw the opportunity to allow their crime to be blamed on the boycott force who’ve been challenging WW Kromboom regularly since the escalated aggression started.

“Let us wait for evidence but continue to commit to the cause.

“Long live the Intifadha,” the group wrote.

Truck drivers blockade chicken abatoir
IOL News 5 September 2014

Cape Town - Truck drivers in Grabouw in the Western Cape blocked access to a chicken abattoir on Friday in a protest over wages.

A Sapa correspondent reported that some of the 180 protesters, who had been on strike since Wednesday, blocked access to the Elgin Free Range (EFR) Chickens Abattoir and Production plant.

“The 10 truck drivers employed by the company have blocked the gates and this is the second day that deliveries are being prevented,” said Raymond Barties, a representative of the Workers Against Regression Union (WAR).

The employees allege they were not being paid overtime as required by labour law.

“We have been told that there are two contracts, one that provides for certain overtime payments and one that does not,” said Barties.

Management was in talks over the dispute, EFR's general manager Linka Bester said.

The company supplies more than 75 000 chickens per week to large retail chains, delis, and restaurants.

Truck driver Piet Kok said: “We will not leave before management meets our demands.”

Another driver, Colven Smith, claimed they sometimes had to work long hours from 3am until 10pm.

“Some of us also have to work on Sundays without overtime pay,” Smith alleged.

Margaret le Roux, secretary of the Grabouw Civics Organisation, said it fully supported the protest and was monitoring the situation.

“If their demands are not met we will mobilise our supporters and join the workers,” she said.

Grabouw police were on the scene and public order policing had been called in as reinforcements.

Campus ablaze after rampage
IOL News 5 September 2014

Durban - The Higher Education and Training Ministry has expressed concern over the student riots at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) that appear to have been sparked by rumours of a proposed steep hike in registration fees.

University authorities on Thursday decided to shut the institution until Monday after days of violent protests. But on Thursday afternoon there was still a police presence on the troubled Westville campus after violence flared in the morning.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said an officer and a security guard were slightly injured when they were hit by bricks that were thrown at them.

Zwane said rubber bullets and water cannons were used to disperse the rioters, and police were monitoring the situation.

Staff members, students residing off campus and vehicles were earlier barred from accessing the campus by stone-throwing protesters.

University Road was strewn with bricks, garbage and burning appliances, some of which looked like refrigerators.

There were also violent protests at UKZN’s Howard, Edgewood and Pietermaritzburg campuses.

“We heard that the university was in flames and that students were vandalising. We have since written to the university requesting an explanation regarding the registration fee increase,” ministry spokesman Khaye Nkwanyana said on Thursday.

“If this is just a proposal, then the students are out of line to embark on a premature strike. A strike is a last resort, when all the avenues to resolve a dispute have been exhausted,” he said.

Nkwanyana, who condemned the disruption of academic programmes and the vandalism of the institution's property, said the ministry was expecting a response from the university by Friday.

UKZN spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the university’s executive management committee had deliberated on the situation on Thursday morning and taken a decision to suspend the academic programme on all campuses until Monday.

“The university regrets the inconvenience caused and apologises to all students whose commitments have been interrupted by the unfortunate activities of a handful of disruptive elements


Seshoka said the police and the university’s management services were monitoring the situation and that discussions with student representatives were continuing.

The Daily News reported last week that rumours about the 2015 registration fee hike had fuelled the riots.

At the time, university registrar Convy Baloyi said about 200 students had marched through the campus illegally with the student representative council (SRC).

He denied that registration fees would shoot up to R9 000, as had been rumoured.

SRC president Sthabiso Mthethwa said at the time

that there had been a proposal from the chief financial officer to increase the registration fee to R6 000.

“We rejected that. Then they said R4 500 and we still rejected that. Registration remains at R2 750. We are not going to allow any fee increments,” he had said.

Seshoka said on Thursday the issue of registration fee increases had not been communicated to the students and their representatives because it was still a proposal that was being discussed at university council level.

He also attributed the riots to next month’s SRC elections. “Everyone is looking at this as a way of garnering votes. We never said there would be a fees increase. Those behind the riots and the rumours are opportunists who will use the fees issue to their advantage,” he said.

Seshoka said the situation had “cooled down” by on Thursday afternoon.

Asked about the damage to the university property, he said: “Once we have viewed our surveillance cameras, whoever is identified as damaging the university property will be dealt with harshly. Die poppe sal dans (the puppets will dance) because they will be sent to jail and expelled from the university.”

Samwu condemns ‘hooliganism’
IOL News 4 September 2014

The SA Municipal Workers Union has condemned the scuffle between its members and security guards at its central Johannesburg office.

Johannesburg - The SA Municipal Workers Union on Thursday condemned the scuffle between its members and security guards at its central Johannesburg office.

“Samwu condemns the hooliganism of the so-called SOS group that put the union offices and staff and more importantly themselves at danger,” general secretary Walter Theledi said in a statement.

He said the group, led by former leaders, had resorted to violence after having lost all credibility and standing within the union.

The Star reported that the union's national office-bearers (NOBs) announced this week that more members believed to be sowing division in the union would be suspended.

About 40 members and leaders had already been suspended. A group calling itself Save Our Samwu (SOS) wanted a forensic audit to prove that R136 million of the union's money was misappropriated through “dodgy dealings”.

Members clashed with security guards in the foyer as they demanded entry into the office.

“Union security had to protect the property from being vandalised by these people and prevent them entry to minimise the damage they would have caused,” said Theledi.

He said people could not go to the office and throw rocks and claim they were assaulted when security guards reacted.

“Union property has been damaged by these disgruntled people who continue to use the union name while they know very well that they are not members of the union.”

He said the union was concerned about the safety of staff.

“We are shocked that the people who are claiming to be acting in the interest of the union are the very same people who are now destroying union property, threatening and preventing union staff from entering the union offices to do their jobs.”

Pensioners march to Parly over lost land
IOL News 4 September 2014

Cape Town - Nearly 40 years ago, thousands of “illegal” squatters from Modderdam, Unibel and Werkgenot were left homeless when their shacks were bulldozed by the apartheid state.

On Wednesday, about 300 of them marched on Parliament to claim financial compensation for the land they lost.

Clutching walking sticks and knobkieries, gogos and grandpas from Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Philippi limped from Keizersgracht to Parliament. They stopped at certain points along the route to catch their breath; many sang as they marched.

In 1977, over 26 000 people lost their homes in Modderdam, Unibel and Werkgenot after the then department of community development ordered that the settlements be razed. The following year, state wrath spread to Crossroads where more shacks were demolished.

Early last year, the pensioners approached the Land Claims Commission office in Mowbray asking to be compensated for the homes they had lost, but they were told they needed to provide dompasses, old rent cards or receipts as proof, and pay R70 in application fees.

Nonegete Ngobana, 75, said she had been arrested when her home was bulldozed by police in Modderdam.

“I want that money - it is our right to have it. Why all of a sudden are we being told to bring dompasses when they know the passes were lost during those evictions?”

Mhlangenqaba Rhasmeni, 90, said they had no rent cards to give officials because they were squatters. “Where are we going to get rent cards? We were not renting there and we don’t have dompasses because we were not born here.”

Rhasmeni was forcefully moved from Unibel and moved to Crossroads, in those days a sprawling squatter camp forever under threat. His home there was also demolished, and his wife was shot by police during the evictions. He now lives in Philippi.

He said: “We are here to pressure Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwiniti to give us our money and stop asking for documents which he knows we cannot provide… Why are they treating us like savages now that they have our votes? This is not what we were promised.”

The pensioners claimed that last November they had been promised they would be paid compensation, but they were unclear who had made the promises.

A partially blind Ntombekhaya Magadla, 64, from Khayelitsha, who used to live in Crossroads, said politicians had made “fools” of them. “We are old and we do not have time to play around here. We have left our medications at our homes for this.”

The pensioners’ memorandum was received by the minister’s chief of staff, Errol Heynes. Heynes said: “I doubt that dom-passes and rent cards are needed; it’s just the identity document needed.”

The pensioners gave Heynes a fortnight to respond.

Two held over damaged bus
IOL News 2 September 2014

Cape Town - Eight people were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly setting two trucks alight and damaging a bus in Mfuleni, Cape Town, Western Cape police said.

Batteries and cellphones were stolen during the violent protest, Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

“The suspects are detained on charges relating to malicious damage to property, possession of stolen property, robbery, theft and public violence,” he said.

They would appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court soon.

Eight buses in total were torched and four others were badly damaged during the protests which began on Monday in the area.

Eleven bus drivers were pulled from their vehicles and assaulted.

Bus company Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said while the crowd could have been taxi drivers who were protesting, the company preferred not to speculate and would leave it to police to investigate.

A taxi driver was shot dead during the violent protest on Monday.

The 39-year-old man from Zwelitsha was apparently shot while on his way to work.

Two MyCiti buses were vandalised in the vicinity on Monday. One was stoned on the N2 freeway and another set alight on Mew Way in Khayelitsha.

Golden Arrow buses had been operating on the outskirts of Delft, Mfuleni, and Nyanga since Monday afternoon.

Dyke said bus services resumed in Delft on Tuesday morning.

Due to possible threats to safety, bus services had been pulled out of Samora Machel and were operating on the outskirts of the area.

Van Wyk warned those who were involved in “destroying property and the violation of human rights”.

“The SA Police Service recognises and respects the rights of people to embark on peaceful protests as enshrined in the Constitution of the country, however, if such actions involve violence and infringement of other people's rights, including the destruction of property, the police are obliged to take action,” he said.

“Nobody has got the right to take the law into his/her hands regardless of the reasons to justify such actions.”

Advocacy organisation Public Transport Voice (PTV) on Tuesday condemned the violent protests in the area.

“Even though PTV condemns any acts of violence that happened to Golden Arrow Buses... PTV calls for calm and an initiation of workable solutions to all parties affected by the violence,” spokesman Zingisani Nkanjeni said in a statement.

He said that despite attempts to overhaul the system, public transport in the country remained unequal.

“ 1/8Twenty 3/8 years after democracy the public transport system received by working class people in South Africa remains vastly unequal to an extent that some people are losing their jobs, students missing exams, people missing their appointments.

“Public transport system was the foundation upon which inequality was fashioned during the years of apartheid, but unequal public transport system opportunities still remain amongst the greatest obstacles to equality, dignity and freedom in today's South Africa.”

Taxi driver shot dead in Nyanga
IOL News 1 September 2014

A taxi driver was shot dead in Nyanga, Cape Town, on Monday morning, Western Cape police said.

The 39-year-old man from Zwelitsha was apparently shot while on his way to work, said Captain Frederick van Wyk.

Witnesses heard gun shots at around 6.15am.

Van Wyk said the man was apparently robbed of his firearm. The motive for the shooting was unknown. No arrests had been made.

The shooting occurred at the same time as a violent protest in the area, in which seven buses were set alight and four were badly damaged.

Golden Arrow Bus Services spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said 11 bus drivers were pulled from their vehicles and assaulted.

It was believed the crowd could be protesting taxi drivers.

Dyke said it was impossible to run bus services in Nyanga at present. The company was instead operating from Borchards Quarry and the Manenberg police station.

Earlier, Van Wyk said the public order policing unit and fire brigade were on the scene.

Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant and mayor Patricia de Lille condemned the violence.

De Lille said there had also been sporadic stoning incidents in Nyanga and Philippi, traffic disruptions along the N2 highway, and tyres set alight on the corner of Vanguard and Oliver Tambo drives.

The city had temporarily withdrawn some of its staff from the area because of threats of violence.

“Today’s attacks on public transport infrastructure are clearly well-orchestrated and driven by the desire to make the city ungovernable.”

De Lille said it was “clear” these actions were politically motivated and part of a campaign to make the city ungovernable ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

She said the city would monitor the situation closely and help to contain the situation in conjunction with the police. - Sapa

Councillor suspended over march
IOL News 5 September 2014

Pretoria - City of Tshwane councillor Apson Makaung has been suspended from the ANC and placed on special leave by the City of Tshwane for participating in last month’s march to the party’s regional offices in Arcadia.

The ANC has charged Makaung with bringing the party into disrepute, causing a breakdown of unity as well as undermining the respect for and impeding the functioning of the party’s Tshwane region and Gauteng provincial working committee. The decision to suspend the proportional representation councillor was taken by the provincial committee, which informed regional secretary Paul Mojapelo.

The provincial committee is accusing him of misconduct and contravening the rules and constitution of the ANC through his participation in the protest on August 1.

The regional leadership informed Tshwane council chief whip Jabu Mabona, instructing him to give Makaung leave of absence pending completion of the hearing.

Makaung, who has been a councillor since the 2011 local government election, has been barred from participating in council and related business, pending the outcome of internal disciplinary processes.

The SACP district secretary who served in many political, civic and student movements since the 1980s, may also not participate in any activity of the ANC during his suspension.

Makaung confirmed he had received notices of temporary suspension from the ANC and another placing him on special leave from the City of Tshwane.

However, he refused to comment further, arguing any statement he made in public could prejudice his rights in the matter.

Lebogang Matji, spokeswoman for the City of Tshwane, told the Pretoria News the municipality was committed to clean governance and would take action against any official implicated in misconduct, irrespective of their position.

Matji said the city had taken a principled decision not to comment on the matter regarding Makaung in order to allow all internal processes of the metro and ANC to unfold.

The city had a responsibility to respect the rights of employees who were the subject of any investigation and disciplinary process, said Matji.

According to the ANC, the illegal violent protest, which the party said Makaung organised and led, was held with the intention to intimidate staff members and security officers in charge at the regional offices.

The office had to be closed for the safety of the ANC and staff as a result, the party stated.

The charges relate to the events of the day when disgruntled members of the ANC descended on the regional offices in Arcadia, demanding that the national executive committee monitor the party caucus in Tshwane to ensure meetings were run democratically.

They wanted all members dismissed, suspended or removed unfairly to be reinstated, and the regional nomination list for the upcoming conference nullified and any member in good standing allowed to participate.

Atteridgeville residents in fresh RDP demand
IOL News 4 September 2014

Atteridgeville West community members marched to municipal offices in the township voicing their concerns over apparent fraudulent activities involving homes. Photo: Phill Magakoe
Pretoria - Residents of Atteridgeville West are refusing to back down on their demand to have their RDP houses given back to them and have taken to the streets again to deliver a third memorandum to the municipal offices.

The community has moved from pillar to post searching for someone to rectify the alleged corruption and maladministration which led to RDP houses originally allocated to them being sold to other people.

Community police forum (CPF) chairman Jack Phahlane said they had been trying in vain to get the police and municipal officials to sort out the mess.

“We came to the municipality to deliver our first note and they ignored us. We tried the police here in Atteridgeville and they too refused to help us. Even after we went to the Union Buildings they promised to get back to us in 14 days but they have still not responded,” he said.

Phahlane said it had reached a point where they were even considering removing the illegal occupants themselves, because no one was helping them and people had been waiting from 1996 for houses, only to have them sold to other people.

The residents marched earlier this year after they had discovered a black plastic bag filled with 22 fraudulent IDs and other housing documents.

Crime Prevention Forum member Martin Ngubane said they still had the documents with them and were reluctant to part with them as they might be destroyed.

Members blocked the roads holding placards reading: “We want our houses, RDPs are not for sale.” They sang songs mocking Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

A number of the protesters were reluctant to talk to the media, saying they feared victimisation.

One community member, Mmutle Phetlhe, said he had a similar problem in 2009 when a stand that was supposed to be allocated to his grandmother was given to someone else. Phetlhe said they struggled to have the man removed until they involved the CPF and the police.

“When the police asked the man to produce the relevant documents, he produced identical copies of my particulars, but they removed him because he didn’t even know who that was,” said Phetlhe.

Besides corruption relating to RDP houses, the residents also want unoccupied land in Atteridgeville west to be allocated to residents from the area and informal settlements and for the SAPS to focus on more serious crimes so residents can feel safe in their communities.

City of Tshwane spokesman Selby Bokaba said the issue had been dealt with on several occasions and the community petitions had been forwarded to the Speaker’s office.

“We are waiting for the community to provide us with the evidence so that necessary steps can be taken against implicated officials,” he said.

Rioting residents want to own flats
3 September 2014

Johannesburg - Residents of Friendship Town are tired of empty promises. On Tuesday morning, they protested on the streets of Mayibuye township, near Tembisa.

The busy Modderfontein Road was blocked off from 3am as residents placed burning tyres and rocks on the street.

A committee member of Friendship Town, Mpho Setati, said residents had given Gauteng MEC for Housing Jacob Mamabolo a memorandum of their demands on August 1.

“We haven’t heard anything from them since then,” said Setati.

He said the main problem was the ownership of flats.

“When we moved into these flats, it was under the promise that we would be renting to buy for a period of five years. Others were subsidised, but things changed after the place was sold to a private company in 2003,” he said.

Setati said Friendship Town was established in 1998 and handed over to the government in 2001.

He said the development was meant to build low-cost housing to generate money to build more houses as there was a serious housing backlog in Ekurhuleni.

Setati said residents were paying up to R4 200 rent when most of them earned about R5 000.

“The rent used to be R1 200 and then it went up.

“We thought we were paying for flats to become ours, but that is not happening. They want us to pay rent forever,” he said.

Residents gathered outside the residential area after the police dispersed them from the main road.

“The government has a problem of not getting back to people,” said Setati.

Residents said they were tired of being backyard dwellers who rented for life.

“We won’t pay the rent until the matter is solved. We want ownership,” they said.

Mlungisi Mvulane, chief of staff at the Department of Human Settlements, said the department had received the memorandum.

He told the residents that they were still investigating the rental issues and needed to get to the bottom of the history of the development.

“We have engaged with the rental tribunal and sent the matter there,” said Mvulane.

He said the department had already requested that no evictions be done without a mediation process.

“We are looking at long-term solutions. We appeal for the people to allow the process to unfold so that other issues can be addressed.”

Mvulane said members of the department and the leaders of the committee would meet with the rental tribunal on Wednesday to discuss the issues.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said two people were arrested during the protest.

Rubber bullets fired at Tembisa protest
IOL News 2 September 2014

Johannesburg - Police were monitoring the situation following a housing protest at Rabie Ridge in Tembisa on the east Rand, where rubber bullets were fired on Tuesday, Gauteng police said.

“Two hours ago the police fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesting residents and two of the protesters were arrested for public violence,” said Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini.

“No injuries have been reported. Police are on the scene monitoring the situation. They (the residents) allege they were protesting about housing in the area.”

Modderfontein Road, which had earlier been closed, was now open.

Violence erupts at two Jozi post offices
IOL News 3 September 2014

A car was burnt next to Saxonwold post office in Rosebank, Joburg. The car was quickly removed and only the dark spot where it was burnt remained. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya
Johannesburg - There was violence and fires at two Joburg post offices on Tuesday, with a van being burnt at one and protests at another.

This follows 473 casual postal workers being fired on Monday after engaging in a three-week strike.

Throughout the day on Tuesday, a number of former Post Office workers burnt rubbish and blockaded roads outside the Randburg post office.

Joburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said they were called to the scene to investigate smoke, but found that the building’s structure was not on fire.

Mulaudzi said that shortly after responding to the Randburg post office, they were called to the Rosebank post office, where a postal van had been set on fire.

Police spokeswoman Constable Mpho Mashakane confirmed that just after 1pm on Tuesday, three people approached the van and set it on fire, before fleeing the scene. She said they were not certain what was used to start the fire, and no arrests had been made.

Mashakane said the incident was isolated and was not accompanied by any other violence or protests at the Rosebank post office.

The 473 fired employees had called on management to employ them permanently and were sacked by the Post Office because they allegedly engaged in violence.

The strike has caused severe delays in the delivery of mail from the Tshwane and Ekurhuleni distribution centres.

The Post Office did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

A Post Office employee said a human resources employee was stoned by casual workers and admitted to hospital last Tuesday. She was in intensive care.

The DA has called on the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, to put an end to the strike by postal workers, which the party claimed had turned violent in recent days and was costing the Post Office millions of rand.

The DA said striking workers at various post offices had inflicted damage amounting to R5 025 760, and that about 78 690 man hours had been lost, while losses totalling about R71 million had been incurred.

Casual workers’ task team leader Desmond Moeketsi said they had heard about the allegations about damage, but were not the ones responsible, nor had they intimidated anyone.

“We have been coming together and marching peacefully, moving from one place to the other trying to get help. Today we even marched to the premier’s office, but we were turned back as we did not have an appointment,” he said.

Moeketsi said there were permanent employees who were dismissed by the Post Office last month who could also have been responsible for the damage.

He said he was disappointed they were being blamed for something they had not done.

SA Post Office head of group communication Khulani Qoma said the strike officially started on the August 18 and had been filled with violence and vandalism from the beginning.

“We have continually reported the incidents of assault and violence within the affected areas and have tried our best to reinforce the security at our premises,” said Qoma.

Sapo strikers rail against ‘exploitation’
IOL News 4 September 2014

A car was burnt next to Saxonwold post office in Rosebank, Joburg. The car was quickly removed and only the dark spot where it was burnt remained. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya
Johannesburg - As the strike by casual and part-time employees at the SA Post Office (Sapo) entered its third week, customers told of their frustration at not receiving their letters and parcels.

At the same time, some of the 473 striking employees have complained of many years of exploitation, toiling for low wages without any benefits.

“I don’t know whether I am a casual or part-time worker. I do a bit of everything, from sorting mail to delivery and cleaning,” said one worker, a father of two who has worked at the Witspos hub for 10 years.

Non-permanent employees in Gauteng embarked on an illegal strike on August 18, demanding improved working conditions.

The strike, mainly at the mail sorting centres, has been characterised by intimidation and violence, including blocking of sites, assault on other employees and damage to property.

A Sapo delivery van was set alight in Rosebank on Tuesday.

The strike has had ripple effects in Ekurhuleni and Tshwane, shutting several post offices across Gauteng and resulting in delays on the posting of municipal accounts and couriered parcels.

“We are not getting notification for water and electricity (monthly) bills and deliveries of vehicles and licence renewals,” said a man at the Germiston Mail Centre, who identified himself only as George.

As he spoke, more and more customers arrived to collect their mail.

“When we go to our local post office, they direct us here. Every year, it’s strike, strike, strike. This is highly inconvenient,” said Johan Baynes, also from Reiger Park.

Several notices were placed at the main entrance, including those from the Labour Court notifying employees that their strike was illegal.

Sapo said on Friday it was in the process of issuing dismissal letters to striking employees.

“This action is a culmination of a fair and due labour relations-based process to resolve the matter amicably. All efforts to resolve the industrial action – which included negotiations, ultimatums and a Labour Court interdict – came to naught,” said Sapo chief executive Christopher Hlekane.

Sapo remains among the organisations hardest hit by industrial action.

A 2013/14 draft independent audit report into Sapo that The Star has seen indicates the entity was hit by “three waves” of labour strikes last year alone.

The strikes, which had paralysed its mail business in the Wits region, resulted in the loss of 59 days of business operations and more than R236 million in estimated revenue.

The intermittent strikes mean Sapo’s mission as an organisation that “strives to increase shareholder value and maximise socio-economic benefits” could be a pipe dream.

It also makes a mockery of its “strategic turnaround plan” and business code of “commitment to sound corporate governance principles”.

But that piece of news seemed to have done little, if any, to appease the striking workers.

A Witspos worker alleged there were wage disparities between black and white colleagues.

“Some of us do the same jobs as our white colleagues, but they are being paid better and get taken when there are permanent positions.”

Communications Workers Union deputy president Clyde Mervin called for the permanent employment of all casual and part-time employees.

“We have seen the Post Office, since the arrival of Chris Hlekane, going down the drain. The entity has, under his leadership, been blessed with strikes,” Mervin said.

He added, though, that Hlekane had “inherited the baggage of the previous leadership”.

Hlekane said Sapo had “already commenced the process of converting the casual workers into permanent positions”.

Stun-grenade mishap at Church Square
IOL News 4 September 2014

People run for cover as a cloud of smoke covers the air after the police threw a stun-grenade intended for security guards gathered at Church Square. Photo: Masi Losi
Pretoria - In a comical sequence of events, a Public Order police officer almost injured himself and his colleagues while attempting to throw a stun-grenade into a group of protesting security guards on Church Square on Wednesday.

The security guards were demanding better wages, saying that they had been earning the same pay for the past 10 years. After a lengthy discussion between the protesters and police offers, the policing officer appeared to grow impatient.

He pulled the grenade from its holster, unhooked the pin, only to realise before throwing it at the crowd that it had hooked on to a strap on his wrist. He tried to unhook it, succeeding only in throwing to his feet before it exploded.

Fortunately nobody was hurt but the blast had different reactions among the crowd.

While having the desired effect of dispersing the protesters, it also clearly frightened his colleagues.

Police also used a water cannon to disperse some of the demonstrators. SAPS spokeswoman, Sergeant Ann Poortman said five security guards were arrested for allegedly gathering illegally and would appear in court soon.

The guards, who are employed by the Protea Coin Group and Fidelity Security Group, claim that they were frustrated that their demands were being ignored by their employers. They said they had delivered three memorandums to the Department of Labour.

A protesting guard, Sefako Rasehashe, the department had not responded to the memorandums.

When the Pretoria News arrived at Church Square, the guards were sitting on the grass, refusing to leave.

The guards were later escorted by police to the Pretoria train station where they boarded a train.

Protesters set ambulance alight
IOL News 2 September 2014

Protesters from Ganspan went on a service delivery rampage, blocking roads and setting an ambulance alight.

Kimberley - About 300 protesters blockaded roads in Ganspan with burning tyres, trees, rubble and stones, while an ambulance was set alight during a service delivery protest near Jan Kempdorp on Monday.

The protesters said that the passengers and the driver had to flee the ambulance after it was set on fire.

Community members said that they had not received feedback after handing over a memorandum to the municipality two weeks ago.

Their grievances relate to 210 RDP houses and toilets that were never completed.

The protesters said the number of shanty dwellers in the area has since swelled in number to over 900.

“Construction on the houses was halted two years ago after the contractor left the site and after foundations were laid for 13 houses,” said the protesters.

“The toilets do not work and we are forced to dig holes for toilets. There are no water pipes or taps and we demand that the MEC for the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs inspects the site. We have no other choice but to go to these extreme measures to attract the attention of government.”

The Provincial Public Order Policing unit was deployed to the area on Monday and Lieutenant Donald Mdhluli said the police were monitoring the situation.

“An ambulance was torched by protesters, who had earlier blockaded the Ben Rossouw Road with burning tyres, stones and rubble. There were about 300 protesters but no arrests were made. The situation is calm and the road was later opened,” said Mdhluli.

Spokeswoman for the Phokwane Municipality, Kgalalelo Letshabo, said their municipal offices would be open as usual from on Tuesday, after they were forced to close due to the protest.

She added that no damage was done to the property and no injuries were reported.

Letshabo pointed out that the memorandum that was handed over to the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and that “we are not aware of their grievances”.

The Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs did not respond to media inquiries on Monday.

Meanwhile, the ANC in the Frances Baard region welcomed the Public Protector’s investigation of the Phokwane Municipality after civil rights organisation AfriForum reported allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Some of the issues highlighted include land that was sold illegally, the failure to evict squatters, councillors that were in arrears, inflated electricity tariffs and property rates.

Spokesman for the ANC Frances Baard region, Ali Diteme, did, however, accuse AfriForum of trying to “seek public sympathy, scoring cheap political points and spreading malicious gossip”.

“We respect the rule of law and would support and respect the outcome of any investigation to unearth any wrongdoing in our municipalities. However, it cannot be correct that while the matters are sub judice and we are still waiting for the investigations to be concluded, that we get exposed to a court of public opinion from AfriForum and its collaborators through media reports, as we have observed in the recent past.”

Diteme pointed out that the ANC was forging ahead with “responsible land reform programmes” that were aimed at “re-dressing the skewed patterns of ownership in the district”.

Residents attack suspected muthi-killers
IOL News 1 September 2014

Residents of Mbilwi village, near Thohoyandou, vandalised four homes of people suspected to have been involved in a muthi-related murder, Limpopo police said on Monday.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said locals met on Sunday and an elderly woman told them the names of people she believed were behind the murder of Elina Mphaphuli, 60, in May.

Her mutilated body was found covered with a towel between rocks. Some of her body parts were missing.

“Members of the community then escorted (the informant) to the Sibasa satellite police station and informed the members on duty about the information which the woman told them,” said Mulaudzi.

Police were offering a R100 000 reward for information which could lead to the arrest of Mphaphuli's killers.

“Soon after leaving the police premises, members of the community allegedly set alight one house belonging to a supposed suspect. Three more houses were severely damaged after they were stoned.”

Eight people were rescued from the four houses and were being kept at the local police station.

“Nobody was injured during these incidents,” said Mulaudzi.

Police were investigating cases of arson, public violence, and malicious damage to property. No arrests had been made. - Sapa

KZN mayor axed after protests
IOL News 3 September 2014
KZN co-operative governance and traditional

affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube
Durban - Protesters who stoned cars on the N3 last week had their demands answered on Wednesday when all Mooi Mpofana municipal councillors were relieved of their duties.

Not only were they relieved of their duties, but the municipality had been placed under administration, KwaZulu-Natal co-operative affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said.

Last week, dissatisfaction with local municipality mayor Ntombi Mpangase's performance led to vehicles on the N3 near the Mooi River toll plaza being stoned.

At one stage residents lit tyres and police used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them.

The municipality's affairs had deteriorated to such an extent that it received a qualified audit opinion and public funds were being abused.

“Further compounding matters were relentless illegal protests and councillors getting involved in infighting which has led to council not taking executive decisions,” Dube-Ncube said.

“The municipality continues to experience maladministration and disarray and there is an ongoing battle between rival factions. As a result, there has been a complete erosion of public confidence in the municipality.

“The municipal council is operating in a state of chaos and order and stability must be restored urgently,” Dube-Ncube said.

She said an administrator would be appointed until a new council was elected.

“We would also like this intervention to serve as an important lesson to other municipalities where similar tendencies towards anarchy are rearing their ugly head.”

Five of the seven councillors were from the African National Congress, one from the Inkatha Freedom Party and one from the Democratic Alliance.

According to the results of an online poll on the municipality's website,, 70 percent of those asked to “rate our councillors” considered them to be “bad”.

Fresh protests at UKZN
IOL News 2 September 2014

Durban - Water cannon were used against protesting students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus on Tuesday, police said.

Colonel Jay Naicker said around 7am students started setting alight rubbish bins and tyres, and throwing stones and bottles.

“The public order police were alerted. Students refused to stop 1/8their 3/8 violent actions and disperse. Police were forced to use water cannon,” he said.

The students dispersed. Police were monitoring the situation.

Comment was not immediately available from the university, but it is believed the students were protesting at the university's proposal to increase registration fees.

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