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South African Protest News 3 April - 18 May 2015 (2015) South African Protest News 3 April - 18 May 2015.  : -.

Taxi drivers block roads in Mahikeng
IOL News 18 May 2015

Rustenburg - Disgruntled minibus taxi drivers blocked roads again in Mahikeng on Monday, the North West transport department said.

“There were incidents where taxi drivers managed to snatch keys from a bus and used it to block a road in Mega City. In town they also snatched keys from a delivery truck and blocked another road,” said departmental spokesman Shuping Daddy Sebolecwe.

He said a high number of police and traffic officers were in the area monitoring the situation and traffic was flowing well.

On Friday, the North West capital was shut down when taxi drivers blocked major intersections while apparently protesting the introduction of the Reakgona high frequency bus service.

Taxi drivers alleged that the department had introduced the bus service without consulting them.

The high frequency bus service project is part of the Mahikeng Rebranding, Renewal and Repositioning (MRRR) program. It is also intended to reduce private car dependency and traffic congestion especially during peak hours.

The chairman of Central Region Transport Co-operative, Tseko Moribe, said the department had consulted taxi associations with regard to the introduction of Reakgona high frequency bus service.

On Sunday, Moribe said taxi owners did not support the blocking of the roads. They were expected to inform their drivers not to block the road again, he said at the time.

Transport MEC Gaoage Molapisi denied that the introduction of the Reakgona bus service would push taxis out of business. “We wish to state the propaganda that the bus fare is going to be R3.50 or R5 is ridiculous and misleading, its utter blue lies,” he said after a meeting with taxi associations on Saturday.

Gautrain bus drivers want a break
Alex News 7 May 2015

JOBURG – Following reports of a Gautrain bus driver strike which saw the service between 10am to 11am on the morning of 7 May suspended, it is expected that there will be no bus services again from 5pm to 6pm today.
May 7, 2015

Gautrain spokesperson Ian Findlay said the bus drivers are not technically on strike but are refusing to work due to disputes surrounding their lunch break agreement.

He said the drivers are subject to a National Bargaining Council which states the terms surrounding their employment, which are subject to review after 30 June. According to this agreement, they are entitled to a half-hour break within their nine-hour shift, including breaks between driving – all adding up to three-and-a-half hours.

Findlay said the dispute began on the morning of 6 May when the drivers demanded an hour break and refused to work. When they eventually began working, they went on a go-slow which saw them driving at 5km an hour.

He added that all areas are expected to be affected, including the afternoon shift between 5pm to 6pm today, and again tomorrow with the morning shift between 10am to 11am and the afternoon shift between 5pm to 6pm being affected.

He concluded that the company sincerely apologises for the inconvenience and that they will be taking the necessary disciplinary action against the relevant parties.

He also urged commuters to plan ahead as the train services will still be running.

Community damages councillor’s house
Benoni City Times 11 May 2015

Around 350 people marched to the Etwatwa Police Station on Sunday, demanding answers about a man they thought had been arrested for having an altercation with a local ward councillor.

Benoni SAPS cluster spokesperson Lieut Nomsa Sekele said the community had a meeting in the Emaphupheni section in Etwatwa, at around 4pm, on May 10.

Sekele said an instigator in the group encouraged everyone to go to the councillor’s house.

The councillor’s identity can not be disclosed, to protect him.

The politician received wind of the plans and approached the instigator, and the two proceeded to the police station to sort out their differences.

While the two parties were at the police station, the community marched to the councillor’s house and damaged a door, while trying to gain access.

No further damage was caused and no one was injured.

It is unclear what the meeting was about.

Sekele said the instigator will account for the damages to the councillor’s house.

Samwu strike talks continue
IOL News 8 May 2015

Wednesday's Samwu march saw a large contingent of protesters deviating from the planned route where they threw rubbish in the street and caused damaged amounting to almost R15 000. File photo: Henk Kruger
Cape Town - As talks between the City of Cape Town and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) continue, the strike that started on Monday has not been officially suspended. However, the city expects incidents related to the strike to decrease.

Municipal workers left their posts and embarked on a go-slow on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, they took to the streets in a mass march.

The march saw a large contingent of protesters defying the terms of the march, deviating from the planned route where they threw rubbish in the street and caused damaged amounting to almost R15 000.

Frustrations after their 35 grievances were not fully tended to led to some Samwu members creating havoc across the city on Wednesday.

The union had been on strike since Monday, with members taking part in go-slows and stay-aways, leaving services like refuse removal affected in various areas.

City mayco member for corporate services Xanthea Limberg said senior management was in talks with Samwu on Thursday and talks would continue on Friday.

She added that she was not in a position to comment on what was happening around the negotiating table.

Samwu spokesman Mikel Khumalo said they were positive about the progress being made, but said he was not able to say how many grievances they had already covered.

“We have agreed to set aside three days to go through all the issues and we are hoping to come up with acceptable recommendations that can be made to the mayor.”

Khumalo said they had to keep in line with the city’s processes but were glad to have arrived at this point.

Commuters torch 11 train coaches
IOL News 6 May 2015

Durban - Eleven train were destroyed after they were reportedly set alight by angry commuters at Reunion Station, near Isipingo, south of Durban on Wednesday

KwaZulu-Natal emergency services spokesperson, Robert McKenzie, confirmed the incident but said no one had been reported injured.

Commuters allegedly stoned the coaches and set it on fire, claiming that they were unhappy with the service provided.

Cape Town mayor: We’ve failed
IOL News 7 May 2015

Cape Town - In a major concession to disgruntled council workers, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille admitted the city had not responded adequately to grievances raised by the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) more than a year ago.

“We’ve failed as a city to solve all the problems. I should have intervened sooner, but today we’ve drawn the line,” said De Lille as she addressed about 2 000 striking municipal workers who gathered outside the Civic Centre on Wednesday.

The workers, brandishing metal pipes and hockey sticks, descended on the CBD on Wednesday morning to hand over a memorandum of 34 unresolved grievances.

Those who had arrived via Cape Town Station threw rubbish and upturned bins as they made their way towards Adderley Street. Hordes of protesters deviated from the allocated route and instead headed down Darling and Adderley streets before arriving in Hertzog Boulevard. Shop owners hastily closed their doors, but vendors who were not as fast had some of their goods looted by the large group that carried wooden sticks, mops and even bathroom plungers. Police were forced to use stun grenades to bring them under control.

At the Civic Centre, De Lille made several announcements in response to workers’ grievances while addressing them from atop a truck. She acknowledged that the city did not have a standard policy for transport allowances for all council workers and admitted there was no policy preventing pregnant firefighters from receiving their monthly operational allowances.

She also assured workers that disciplinary hearings would be better handled.

“I can’t be a shop steward for the city, but when it comes to disciplinary hearings and grievance processes, I’m prepared to go to council to take away the validation from line managers to fire people. You can’t be the complainant, the judge and the jury.”

She agreed there may have been a communication problem between the city and the union. “There are weaknesses on both sides. The City of Cape Town is committed to continue training city management to respect and deal with unions better. I want to once and for all sit with them and resolve the issues and I will deal with them myself. It is not my role to interfere with the administrations, but the buck stops with me.”

In a statement issued after her meeting with the union’s leaders, De Lille outlined the city’s response to nine of Samwu’s concerns.

These included respecting the rights of all workers, including pregnant firefighters who would still get their monthly operational allowances, and an undertaking that the city would hire temporary Expanded Public Works Programme employees when permanent posts became available.

The standard transport allowance for all city employees would be in place from July, after consultation with the unions.

But De Lille also challenged Samwu to provide more information for some of its other grievances, including allegations that library staff have been robbed at gunpoint. She urged Samwu to attend a CCMA meeting scheduled for May 18 to deal with allegations of racism in Khayelitsha, as the union had failed to attend a prior meeting on the issue in March.

De Lille also denied an allegation of racism in the reallocation of workers in the water and sanitation department. “That is a lie. Out of the 10 employees intended to be relocated, three are white, five are coloured and two are black.”

De Lille said while the city would do its part to deal with unions more effectively, the unions had to train their shop stewards to deal with workers’ complaints and grievances.

The group dispersed soon after De Lille spoke, in contrast to their destructive arrival in the city centre a few hours earlier.

Protesters had tipped over rubbish bins and emptied bags filled with leaves and litter on to the street. At the Civic Centre, city law enforcement officers confiscated bottles of beer and “papsakke” full of wine being consumed by some of the marchers. Samwu’s national leadership distanced itself from the incidents of looting, which it said was carried out by “opportunists and criminal elements to exploit street vendors”.

“Street vendors are part of the working class and, as such, any attack directed at them would be counter revolutionary and not in our interest in our fight against the City of Cape Town which continues to exploit our members.” said Papikie Mohale, Samwu’s national media officer.

While the protesters wreaked havoc, the corporate services portfolio committee condemned strike-related violence at clinics and municipal facilities.

“Doors have been knocked down with axes, people are being injured. We need to condemn this in the strongest possible terms and the city, with SAPS, must take immediate action to protect these vulnerable service points,” said councillor Stuart Pringle.

Police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana said he was not able to confirm if any criminal cases were opened, but police would be investigating a case of public violence. He added that no injuries or arrests were made. About 50 areas across the city have been affected by service disruptions since the strike started on Monday.

Strikers trash Cape Town CBD
IOL News 6 May 2015

Cape Town - Police fired four stun grenades in an attempt to bring order after striking municipal workers created chaos in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday.

The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) marchers took a different route than the one intended.

Police used a loud hailer telling protesters to return to their proper route, but the group of more than a thousand forced their way down Adderley Street before heading down Hertzog Boulevard and congregating outside the Civic Centre.

Along the way protesters tipped over rubbish bins, emptied plastic bags containing dirt and kicked over cones on the side of the road.

One of the protesters, Sindile Makiwana, who emptied a bag of leaves on to the road said he wanted better pay.

“When they increase our money they give us percentages, we don't want percentages, we want money. The trick is with the percentages and the money ends up being a little,” Makiwana said.

Before embarking on their protest members were addressed by some of their leadership and warned against looting and vandalism in the city.

The union's regional chairman, Mlandeli Bonile, said members should not tire themselves as the strike might go on for longer.

“There is still a battle of wages coming on so let us not exhaust ourselves, don't waste your energy cause we have only been going for three days. Let us go teach the City of Cape Town a lesson,” Bonile added before the marchers headed off.

A group of about 20 members moving towards the starting point threw rubbish on Albert Road in Woodstock as they were seeking to join other marchers in the CBD.

The driver of an Opel Astra also had his car damaged. The driver, who asked not to be named, said he was swerving for the protesters when he drove over a rock, causing his car tyre to buckle.

“I just heard an explosion of glass and I think one of the guys punched my window in. I didn’t really see what happened but I think that’s why his hand was bleeding.”

Law enforcement officers swept up the strewn rubbish to make way for passing cars.

Mpulukeni Lesiea, a Samwu office bearer, said that one of their members was injured and she planned to get more details during the day.

Traffic officers closed off part of Keizersgracht Street as around 200 protesters started gathering in a parking lot off the street.

Scores of police waited nearby as dozens of protesters, some carrying sticks or placards and singing struggle songs, gathered this morning, with hundreds more protesters expected to join the march as it got underway.

The City of Cape Town had been preparing since early on Wednesday morning for the hundreds of Samwu protesters expected to march to the Civic Centre.

City Mayco member for corporate services Xanthea Limberg said police and law enforcement officers would be on duty along the entire route.

“Yesterday was quite a difficult day with the strike as there was reports of vandalism and violence. Today we will monitor the entire situation,” he said.

Tuesday was the second day of Samwu’s planned three-day strike, which saw hundreds of union members picketing at 12 city facilities across the region. Samwu said on Monday it was committed to complying with picketing rules as prescribed.

The strike by Samwu has left at least 50 suburbs across the Western Cape without refuse collection.

As a result, the city has tightened its position on previous concessions to the union, declaring it will no longer consider the outstanding issues identified by Samwu until the union ceases the strike and puts forth a revised complete list of grievances.

Limberg said Samwu had violated rules of protest by stoning city vehicles on Voortrekker Road, threatening non-striking workers at a clinic in Khayelitsha, and failing to show up for work in “essential” city divisions like the solid waste management department, the latter of which left bins in 54 suburbs overflowing with rubbish on Tuesday.

Limberg also said line department managers from the water, sanitation and solid waste depot in Strand, and a transport depot reported that Samwu strikers had locked the gates to the facilities, preventing city trucks from entering or leaving.

“The city will be taking action,” she said.

However, Samwu’s Khumalo said he was not aware of the alleged car stoning on Tuesday.

He added that issues over the health-care centre in Khayelitsha were raging last week before Samwu members arrived.

Two held on second day of Soweto protest
IOL News 7 May 2015
By Gertrude Makhafola Comment on this story

Johannesburg - Orlando West in Soweto was tense on Thursday as protests against Eskom prepaid meters continued.

Metro police arrested two young men and bundled them into a police vehicle. “We’re taking them to Orlando police station,” one officer told a woman who inquired why they were being arrested.

Police maintained a high presence and were trying to remove some of the rocks and tree stumps scattered along Khumalo Street. However, two women kept throwing the rocks back onto the street.

“This is a legitimate protest and we support it. These prepaid meters gulp down our money, we want to pay for electricity, but they should get rid of them,” said one of the women who refused to be named.

A police nyala was parked next to the Hector Petersen Museum as armed police walked up and down the township and police helicopter hovered around the area.

Community leader Mbuzo Ngwenya claimed that the prepaid meters were designed to run at a high speed, costing consumers a lot of money.

“You buy a R500 voucher on Monday, and within that week the money will be finished. Where are we supposed to get R500 a week for electricity? I know I don’t have R2000 a month for prepaid,” Ngwenya said.

The protest started on Wednesday when residents barricaded roads and demanded the removal of the prepaid meters.

Thekwini College protests taking a toll on student learning
Berea Mail 6 May 2015

A STUDENT at Centec College in Durban says her studies are being negatively affected by the protests currently being held at the Thekwini College campuses.

The student, who asked not to be named, said that while she understood the reasons for the student protests, the strikes had meant that she had only had been able to attend college lectures for five weeks this year. She is currently studying towards a financial management diploma.

“The students who are only writing exams at the end of the year are causing trouble for those who have to write now. They can still catch up, but myself and others are suffering. If they want to strike it’s their prerogative, but it is unfair. The students can’t expect the government to pay for everything, I had to work to save up to pay for my studies and now I won’t be prepared for my exams as the syllabus hasn’t been completed,” she said.

She said students had been on strike from January to the middle of February, and time hadn’t been made up.

“For my computerised financial systems module, we can’t miss a class, it is the hardest subject and the most important. We weren’t even able to go for extra lessons on a Saturday as the protesting students wouldn’t let us in. They control the situation,” she said.

The student said she had been so excited about starting college this year, but that the strikes had taken the life out of her.

“This is the only place I can get a financial management diploma as I want to do a BComm, it is very disappointing,” she said.

There was high drama on Monday when registration was meant to take place at the college.

“Things are hectic at Thekwini Colleges at the moment. The situation is out of control,” said an Asherville campus student.

Khaye Nkanyana from the Department of Higher Education and Training, said the department was working on the matter and some senior officials were dealing with the problem.

Delays at Medupi as strike enters 6th week

Fin24 6 May 2015

Lephalale - Workers have been on strike at Medupi power station in Limpopo for nearly six weeks, Eskom's media desk said on Wednesday.

Those wanting to go back to work have been intimidated from doing so, the power utility said in a statement.

"The striking employees belonging to contractors on the Medupi Power Station Project have not heeded the call to return to work since the unprotected industrial action that took place on March 25, 2015, despite a court interdict as well as ultimatums issued in this regard...

"Violence and intimidation was experienced in the accommodation areas where these employees reside as well as en-route to the project site. This has resulted in employees that want to return to work, being prevented or intimidated from doing so."

Tense situation

The police was keeping a close eye on the situation but it remained "tense".

Many workers were sent home over the long weekend and were waiting to hear when they could return.

"The continued unprotected industrial action is in its sixth week and has resulted in construction delays on the Medupi Power Station Project. However, work being carried out on Unit 6 has continued successfully."

Labour unrest has been plaguing Medupi, a dry-cooled coal-fired power station meant to alleviate South Africa's under pressure power grid.

Desperate Eldos residents invade land
IOL News 6 May 2015

Johannesburg - A group of Eldorado Park residents illegally invaded a piece of land in a bid to claim what they believe rightfully belongs to them.

Residents, including young children, embarked on the land grab mission in Extension 6 on Tuesday.

They took to the streets in protest, singing “We want houses”, under the watchful eye of police officers stationed on the corner of the plot.

A mixed atmosphere of excitement and anger filled the air as residents began the beginning phases of erecting their makeshift shelters using plastic, cardboard and sticks.

“This is going to be my very own house, where I can live happily with my family,” Pamela Stainbank said as she pointed to her newly constructed home.

Her face lit up as she spoke about the prospect of having a place where she can raise her three young children instead of staying with her elderly mother in a one-bedroom backroom.

“That room is so small, we struggle to all fit inside and sleep comfortably,” she said.

“I don’t want anything fancy, just a place where we can be happy, safe and comfortable.”

Stainbank said government officials had yet to deliver on their promise of giving her and her family proper shelter years after she had applied for an RDP house in 2002.

“They say that when empty land becomes available they will build me a house, but I know that is never going to happen.”

Danny Reece, founder of the National Association for the Advancement of the Aborigines of Southern African (NAAPSA), shared the sentiments of the enraged residents, who are desperate for a home.

He said there were thousands of Eldorado Park residents who do not have adequate houses and that the last set of houses were built by the apartheid government about 27 years ago.

“This land won’t accommodate all the residents, but we are making a political statement because the ANC government has excluded coloured people for too long. We are not invading the land, we are socialising it and taking back what belongs to us.”

Reece said the government had excluded coloured people from basic services, including housing. “This is the motherland of the Khoisan people who are the first residents of the country. Coloured people are the direct descendants and yet we have been marginalised.”

In a bid to correct this, NAAPSA would work to allocate land to residents in its database who are in desperate need of land. “We will erect shacks and allocate land to people on the register, and we hope the government will come and build upon this,” he said.

But if the government failed to do this, Reece vows to take revenge during the local government elections next year. “We will ask our people and the rest of the country not to vote until the government delivers houses to coloured people.”

Protesters block Soweto street
IOL News 6 May 2015

Johannesburg - Parts of Orlando West in Soweto were engulfed in a cloud of black smoke on Wednesday morning.

A group of about 200 people burnt tyres and barricaded the streets with large rocks, bricks and tree branches.

The residents took to the streets to protest against the installation of pre-paid electricity systems in the area.

Khumalo Street, one of the main routes in the area, was blocked off, resulting in a severe traffic backlog during the early morning commute.

Armed officers from the Joburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the SA Police Service were on the scene to monitor proceedings and to redirect traffic.

But when officers attempted to remove the objects obstructing the road, enraged residents retaliated and prevented them from doing so. The officers stepped to the side but continued to keep a watchful eye on the rowdy crowd.

The disgruntled residents, mostly women, sang and danced in protest against the electricity system which they claim is too expensive.

One of the women, who did not want to be named, carried a sign which read: “Stop lying to us about our electricity.”

She told The Star that residents were not consulted prior to the installation of the meters and although the council paid for meter boxes, residents were forced to incur the escalating costs that came with them.

“We want a flat rate system because the cost of electricity goes up and down every month,” she said.

The woman claims that since the meters were installed, residents now have to pay an average of about R1 000, compared to about R300 before that.

She said that most households already have so many other expenses and that heading into the winter months, the increased electricity costs would mean they would be left in the cold.

Local community leader Sekgoati Sekgale said a task team had been established to negotiate with Eskom on the matter.

But despite this, the power utility has failed to resolve the issue.

“For the past month Eskom has not met with us,” he said.

“They have erected these new meters which aren't user-friendly.”

He demanded that the Eskom officials as well as an MEC visit the area and bring the matter to and end.

Two held after water protest in Rustenburg
IOL News 5 May 2015

Rustenburg - Two people have been arrested for public violence during a service delivery protest in Rustenburg, North West police said on Tuesday.

Sergeant Kelebogile Moleko said the two were arrested on Monday night.

She said residents of Paardekraal Extension 23 barricaded the R510 road at about 8pm and attempted to march to town.

“They were not happy about water-cuts and wanted to march to the city but the police stopped them,” she said.

However, residents said roads were still blocked on Tuesday morning and traffic to Rustenburg was diverted through Seraleng. One of the residents, Bontle Ngwenya said their taps ran dry three weeks ago.

“Our understanding is that water to Sondela, Paardekraal Extension 19 and 23 were cut due to non-payment,” she said.

“This is not fair, how can they cut water for everyone including those who pay.”

She said water tankers were not enough to supply all residents with water.

While residents of Paardekraal were protesting about water, in nearby Lethabong water from burst pipes flooded the roads.

Rival taxi group blamed for Delft violence
IOL News 1 May 2015

Government officials and taxi bosses from rival associations met on Thursday to discuss the recent spate of violence in Delft that have resulted in one death and a number of shootings and protests.

Taxi owner Sipho Maseti, 50, spokesman for the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), was killed on Saturday at his Kraaifontein home in front of his children, while there has been protest action in Westlake, Retreat and Delft due to unhappiness over routes.

Cape Amalgamated Taxi Associations (Cata), the Delft Taxi Association (Deta), Santaco and officials from Transport MEC Donald Grant’s office attended Thursday’s meeting.

The provincial Transport Department mediated the meeting to find amicable solutions to the rising tension, Grant said.

Issues discussed include Cata’s taxi drivers “illegally” operating in Delft, as a memorandum of understanding signed in 2013 did not allow this, said Deta chairperson Nazeem Daniels, who was part of the meeting.

Daniels said the memorandum stated that only seven Cata members were allowed to operate in Delft. He said Cata had increased this number to more than 50. He blamed Cata for the tension by allowing its members to operate on the Delft route.

He said the tension was because Cata had “forced” Deta to increase its fares from R12 to R14 last month.

“We defied the fare increase and that is what started the fighting,” said Daniels, adding that Cata was allowing, without permission, drivers to pick up passengers in Delft.

He said there was also a further 23 Cata taxi owners who reside in Delft and operated in Delft without a mandate.

“We are the custodians of Delft,” said Daniels.

Daniels said “for the sake of peace”, his association had welcomed the 23 Cata members.

Santaco chairperson Lefu Marobela said the Cata drivers operating in Delft “were not part of the meeting”, and it was decided that no solution would be amicable without their presence.

Cata spokesperson Dan Khumalo was not available for comment on Thursday.

Grant said his department “had a number of interventions” since the disagreements within the taxi industry escalated last month, adding that he “visited two taxi bosses” in hospital when they were shot.

“Taxi-fighting hot spots were identified,” said Grant, adding that the issuing of operating licences was “being sorted out”.

Grant explained that the number of taxi bosses who had been killed was “difficult” to determine, but said that in the last crime statistics, police stated that 18 taxi drivers and bosses had died between October 2013 and September last year.

He said “obviously there were many others (lives lost) since”.

“The murders may not happen at the taxi rank, but could be related to the taxi violence.”

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said the police were having monthly meetings with all the roleplayers in the taxi industry to discuss taxi violence.

He said he “cannot elaborate on internal operational matters”.

Umsunduzi cops incompetent and drunk
IOL News 3 May 2015

Durban - Residents in KwaXimba, near Cato Ridge, have given provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mammonye Ngobeni a week to sort out incompetent police at Umsunduzi police station.

They claim criminal cases are unsolved, and officers were allegedly drinking while on duty.

On Monday, more than 2 000 residents marched to the station and demanded to meet with Ngobeni to air their grievances. When she arrived, they complained that the six officers based at the station had failed to solve cases due to incompetence.

While Ngobeni was at the station, a drunk policeman arrived to work. She ordered that he be investigated for being drunk during his shift.

The residents have warned that if Ngobeni does not sort out the “mess”, they will disrupt all operations there.

According to the chairman of the community police forum (CPF), Dumisani Shelembe, the police station serves about five wards which comprise more than 500 000 people. It has been allocated 22 state vehicles but only eight were operational. It is alleged that the others had been taken for repairs at the workshop in Mariannhill after they were in accidents by police who drove them while under the influence of alcohol.

Shelembe said the community was frustrated because the police had failed to crack down on a number of cases and crime was reportedly on the increase in the area. “They buy alcohol from a nearby tavern and drink during work hours. It is a sad state of affairs. Victims are resorting to vigilantism because they have lost faith in the police. They do not report crime anymore because nothing gets done. It is very rare to see someone being arrested here; instead, accomplices tip off criminals if a tactical response unit has been deployed to investigate.”

Among the unsolved cases is that of Tholwephi Miya, who has been missing for exactly a year.

Miya’s sister-in-law, Lungile Gasa, said the community protested because Miya, 45, disappeared and the police had failed to help with the investigation. The family had to turn to a private investigator for help.

Gasa claims that Miya, a street hawker, was kidnapped on May 5. She received a call from someone who promised to take her to a store which had a sale. “She left that morning and never came back. Her phone went off. Police failed to circulate her picture so that she could be traced.”

Miya’s 21-year-old son, Khanyisani, said life was difficult without his mother and the chances of her being found alive were slim, since she has been missing for a year.

Umsunduzi police station’s Captain Zingisile Jam Jam said it was common for people to go missing and not be found despite extensive searches being conducted.

He also blamed the community for not reporting crime that was happening in their areas. He said his police station was expected to serve three wards, which was impossible when looking at the size of the area. He claimed that the cluster commander had been made aware of the problems at the police station.

“Other parts served by the police station are deeply rural and therefore may be a challenge for the victims to access the station. It is sometimes a waste of state resources to patrol the area which is deemed not to have a high level of crime. There are only six staff members per shift, considering that there are those on sick leave, vacation, and family responsibility leave. Sometimes there are situations where only three officers show up for work.

“When there is a crime reported, two officers need to be dispatched to that area. Which means we are now left with only one officer to tend to queries at the station,” Jam Jam said.

SAPS spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that steps would be taken against the member found under the influence of alcohol.

“Disciplinary investigations will follow. A team has been established to attend to the concerns of the community. It will conduct a surprise visit to the station. Cases raised have been assigned to the team from the provincial commissioner’s office.”

ANCYL march against Xenophobia in Alexandra
Alex News 29 April 2015

ALEXANDRA – A number of residents joined ANCYL Zone 13 in marching against Xenophobia on 25 April.

Kill the Boer’ taunt in Howick
IOL News 1 May 2015

The controversial Dubul’ iBhunu (Shoot the Boer) song reared its ugly head during an emotionally charged public meeting debating the merger of the financially crippled Mpofana (Mooi River) and uMngeni (Howick and Hilton) municipalities.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan has asked that the Municipal Demarcation Board help in “disestablishing” Mpofana and incorporating the municipality’s wards into neighbouring councils.

The public meeting, held at the Howick West community hall on Thursday, descended into chaos about 30 minutes after it started, with ANC supporters confronting uMngeni residents opposing the change.

Three wards will be incorporated in uMngeni, one in Umvoti, and a portion of Ward 2 in Impendle.

“The effect of this would be the total disestablishment of Mpofana LM (local municipality),” reads Gordhan’s request.

Tempers flared when Municipal Demarcation Board member Isobel Konyn opened the floor for the public to “air” their views.

DA MP Greg Krumbock was the first to voice his unhappiness about the proposal.

He received a mixed reaction from the audience - he was initially cheered before being heckled by a group of ANC supporters streaming into the hall.

Krumbock said if the merger were approved, “75% of the people would come from this municipality, more importantly, 94% of the rates would come from this municipality. It is right that we have been consulted”.

He said there was something “fundamentally dishonest” about the proposal.

“There’s only R9 million worth of rates that comes to Mpofana as opposed to R144m that comes in from uMngeni.”

Mano Naidoo, the chairman of the uMngeni ratepayers’ association, struggled to make his point as he was booed.

Konyn struggled to contain the uproar and called off the meeting. The commotion saw ANC region leaders and supporters flood the stage, sparking a walkout by the residents who were against the merger.

Mpofana mayor Maureen Magubane was in high spirits, ululating and chanting: “We want to taste the honey.”

She shouted: “People shall share.”

Posters in support of the merger were held aloft, reading: “uMngeni welcomes the merger between Mpofana municipality and uMngeni municipality”.

Two men had to be separated at the hall’s entrance after almost trading blows.

The ANC’s Moses Mabhida region secretary, Mzi Zuma, said: “The Demarcation Act states that the consolidation of boundaries enhances the cohesion in those communities.

“As it is stated in the act, the amalgamation of these municipalities will strengthen the financial viability of both the municipalities joined.”

He said anyone who dismissed the merger did so in support of the apartheid system of “Bantustans”.

“We won’t allow that,” he said.

With uMngeni residents “bullied” out of the meeting, ANC supporters filed into the hall to fill in the critical Municipal Demarcation Board’s input sheet.

After the meeting, Konyn said: “I hope people have heard what we’ve had to say and we’ll make submissions (to the board)”.

Asked if she expected the chaos, she said “it is a political issue”.

Residents attending the meeting were given “input sheets” to fill in. The form invited them to “indicate whether you support or reject the proposed redetermination by ticking the applicable factors in the table below”.

A large group who opposed the merger left the hall after they “felt intimidated and threatened” by those in support of the merger.

The Mpofana council was dissolved and its seven councillors were relieved of their duties in September last year owing to “non-performance or political infighting”.

An administrator was appointed before Magubane was appointed in December.

Protest causes traffic delays in Soweto
IOL News 4 May 2015

Johannesburg - Hundreds of residents in Diepkloof, Soweto, protested and burnt tyres along Chris Hani Road on Monday, Johannesburg metro police said.

“Traffic is being diverted away from the area, motorists are advised to use alternative roads such as Elias Motsoaledi and the Golden Highway,” said spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

The incident has resulted in traffic delays out of Soweto.

Minnaar said residents told officers at the scene that they were protesting over housing issues in the area.

The area between Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and the N12 was affected, said Minnaar. No incidents were reported.

Cops gun for raging protesters
IOL News 4 May 2015

Johannesburg - Nearly a year after Diepkloof hostel residents flashed their buttocks at passing motorists during a protest over the bucket system, they took to the streets again on Monday morning over housing issues.

The source of their anger is a multimillion-rand housing project containing 84 double-storey family-sized units that have been standing empty since 2011, while they are forced to live in squalor, sometimes going for weeks without their buckets being emptied.

So they blocked off Chris Hani Road, one of Soweto’s busiest roads, with burning tyres and rocks and demanded answers.

The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them, but they continued

Their revolt sparked by the housing department’s decision to allocate houses to only four of the thousands of people living in the dilapidated hostel. Four township residents were the other recipients.

Community leader Sibongiseni Khoza said the department expected the beneficiaries to pay for the houses.

“People at the hostel are unemployed and only four of the eight are residents of the hostel. We have been living here for many years and still don’t have proper facilities; we still use bucket toilets and now they want us to pay for the houses,” he said.

Department of Housing spokeswoman Dikeledi Mashile disputed this, saying the units being allocated were designed for rentals.

Unemployed residents would receive RDP housing, she said.

“Hostel residents don’t want us to hand over houses to people who aren’t hostel dwellers, but we have a plan of integration and the issue is that hostel residents don’t want integration of rent stock or rent-to-buy houses,” she said.

She said they had consulted with indunas (headmen) from the hostel on Friday who had agreed to split the new rental stock between the hostel and the township.

Mashile said mayor Parks Tau was supposed to give keys to the eight beneficiaries of the houses on Monday but, because of the violence, the handing over would be postponed until further talks with the indunas.

“We do consider their views, but this had already been agreed to with the indunas and these particular units are rentals,” Mashile said.

She said parts of the hostel were falling apart and about 200 families were moved to temporary accommodation two weeks ago.

The city is trying to integrate hostels into townships.

The DA’s constituency head of Soweto East, Tsepo Mhlongo, blamed poor consultation and “false promises by the ANC-led government” for the protests.

“Today’s (Monday’s) protest is the third of similar protests in just a few months, which shows people are frustrated with the City of Johannesburg municipality and its empty promises. The City of Joburg is failing to deliver. Diepkloof residents are not happy.

“The DA calls on the mayor Parks Tau to investigate the delay of the allocation of flats and houses as a matter of urgency and to institute the necessary interventions to turn it around,” Mhlongo said.

Tug-of-war over ‘tent school’ kids
IOL News 29 April 2015

Cape Town - Teachers at a Mfuleni school were forced to leave the premises on Tuesday by protesters who want the provincial education department to replace them with people from the area.

As teachers from the so-called Parliament Street Primary got into their cars, the toyi-toying group, which included parents, followed to escort them off the premises of Bardale Primary.

Parliament Street Primary makes use of the buildings of Bardale Primary and was established earlier this year to accommodate pupils who were attending classes in a tent in the area.

In January the Cape Argus reported that “teachers at the tent school” said they were volunteering their services. About 800 pupils, who were unable to find places at other schools in the area, were attending their classes.

The Western Cape Education Department offered to transport the children to neighbouring schools, but Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said community representatives had insisted on the “platooning option”.

This meant that children would be accommodated at Bardale Primary, where they attend classes from 1pm to 7pm. The department provided additional teachers and resources.

Community leader Bongani Tyembile said parents wanted the teachers and principal of Parliament Street Primary removed for reasons including that the school didn’t employ people from the area and didn’t include parents when making decisions.

“It is also very dangerous for the children to leave school at 7 at night. It is almost winter and it’s getting dark much earlier.”

He said another concern was that pupils had received report cards, which reflected marks for subjects they were never taught.

Shelver said the officials had “engaged extensively” with the community and, where possible, had tried to meet their demands.

“With regards to the appointment of teachers for the new Parliament Street Primary School, the community does not decide on who gets appointed or not. The community is preventing their own children from receiving an education. Any violence against our teachers will not be tolerated. The department has alerted the SAPS.”

She said the department was investigating claims that pupils had received marks for subjects not being taught at the school.

Parents upset as ‘racist’ head returns
IOL News 29 April 2015
Pretoria - Parents at Elandspoort High School staged a sit-in outside the school on Tuesday morning, protesting against the return of the school’s former principal.

School Governing Body (SGB) members and concerned parents arrived as early as 6.30am to await the arrival of the principal who they say had been the root cause of the school’s problems.

SGB chairwoman Mary Magodielo said they were unhappy with the department’s decision to return the school’s former “racist principal without consulting us”.

“He called our children black b****rds who would never get into heaven and that he would teach them manners so they could teach us (manners),” she said. He is alleged to have also told the children to go back to the township schools where they belong. “He admitted to these claims and was only fined one month’s salary; that is how much our children’s dignity is worth according to the department. I mean, if he hates our children so much why does he even want to come back then?” Magodielo asked.

She said the principal had been gone since 2012 and was not even trained for the new Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement being used, so his return would not be in the pupils’ best interests.

“Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi is contradicting himself if he proceeds with letting that man back here without listening to our pleas. At the inauguration of SGBs last week, he said it was up to us to ensure our children are afforded quality education, trained educators and to root out racism. That is what we are doing now,” said Magodielo.

Charl Swarts, a parent who arrived early to join the sit-in, said the root of the problem was a lack of communication between the parents and the department.

“The principal disappeared four years ago with no one so much as giving us a heads-up about what was going on and now we should just accept that he is coming back,” he said.

“The school doesn’t need him anymore. We have been working on transformation of the school into an English medium with the acting principal doing just fine,” said Swarts.

Gauteng Department of Basic Education spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane confirmed that a disciplinary hearing was conducted in connection with the alleged racist utterances made by the principal and the outcome was suspension without pay, but it also required that he had to return to the school after having served the sanction.

Stones fly as residents try to build on Denel land
IOL News 26 April 2015

Khayelitsha residents sang protest songs outside the court building where Denel's application for the eviction of the Khayelitsha land invaders was heard.

Cape Town - Violence flared as Site C, Khayelitsha, residents returned to rebuild shacks on Saturday on Denel-owned land in Cape Town from which they had been removed after police intervention earlier this month.

Smoke rose as residents burnt bushes to clear land so more people could erect shacks.

When police arrived, the shack dwellers took to the streets and threw stones at a passing Golden Arrow bus, putting passengers to flight, with some even leaving handbags behind.

Police threw stun grenades at the crowd and fired bullets. Some in the crowd threw stones at the police.

Worried residents diverted traffic, warning motorists that they ran the risk of their cars being stoned.

When comment was sought from people in the crowd, they said: “We are not talking to journalists today.

“Just go away.”

They threw stones at the photographer who was taking pictures.

Meanwhile, opposite Lookout Hill, some Khayelitsha residents, whose building materials were confiscated by the city when they first moved on to the land earlier this month, returned with new material to build shacks.

Nonkululeko Mlokoti, sitting on a crate protecting her goods, said:

“They took my material the last time, but I managed to buy new material. We won’t stop until we get this land. We’ll fight till we die.”

Mlokoti said she lived with her husband and three young men in a one-roomed shack.

“My husband and I can’t even enjoy the pleasures of being married because there are always other people.”

Andisa Poponi said she had been paying rent as a backyarder for a long time.

It was time she got her own place, she added. “I’m tired of paying rent because it’s expensive, and having to share a one-roomed shack with other family members means here’s no privacy.”

Poponi said the land they were invading was not being used.

“This land is a total waste because it’s just here, not being used for anything.

“I don’t see what’s the problem when we build houses here.”
Weekend Argus

Fishy fumes in ‘Republic of Hout Bay’
IOL News April 26 2015

Cape Town - Emissions from the boiler chimneys of a Hout Bay fish factory have raised the ire of residents who allege the stench poses a health hazard to the community and they are now lobbying for the city to conduct an independent risk assessment.

The call comes after more than 20 years of complaints by locals who say they suffer from headaches, burning eyes and nausea as a result of the odour from the Lucky Star factory - a division of Oceana Brands.

But the City says there is nothing amiss.

More than 1 000 residents have signed a petition under the forum, Fresh Air For Hout Bay, demanding the City of Cape Town urgently address the issue. It is spearheaded by the Hout Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association.

The petition states they want the fish factory, which manufactures tinned fish and fishmeal, to “relocate or cease releasing foul odours and polluted substances”.

Ike Moriz, 42, moved into the town about 10 years ago. When he first got a whiff of the stench he thought it was a “dead rat” in the house. “I went on my hands and knees looking for where the smell was coming from, I even pulled the oven away from the wall. But then I stepped out my front door and it was still there.”

He said the smell was not just that of fish but had a strong “chemical component” which had grown worse in the past two years.

“I have two kids and they sometimes wake up at night crying and complaining of hectic headaches and nausea,” he said. Moriz said the emissions were particularly bad between 7pm and 9pm at night.

He said after requests for a meeting with the factory’s management, the residents met last year August to form a plan of action.

While the company feared they wanted to have it shut down, Moriz said it was not their intention. They did not want to see factory staff lose their jobs, but the smell remained “unacceptable”.

They contacted an infiltration specialist who told them similar fish factories in the UK had emissions with virtually “zero” levels of toxicity.

Moriz also believed the factory affected many people. Hangberg, alone, had a population of about 10 000 people. There were also schools and retirement homes nearby.

Resident Helen Hays, 56,suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition which causes the brain to heighten levels of pain. She said the “stench” often made her even more sick. “A lot of people have said the smell has made them physically ill. I wake up like at 2am because of the smell and feel I want to vomit.”

Despite the city maintaining that the emission levels are acceptable, both Hays and Moriz believed an independent consultant needed to carry out a risk assessment. They said the residents’ association had also submitted comments for the amendments to the city’s air quality management by-law.

The city said the factory had been in the harbour for about 40 years. City mayoral committee member for health Siyabulela Mamkei said most complaints were from residents who had “chosen” to build homes in the Hangberg Heights located directly above the factory as well as new residents who moved into “upmarket” housing developments which had sprung up in recent years.

He said they had already done emissions tests at the plant using an independent specialist. The results concluded that hydrogen sulphide was one of the poisonous components released by the fish factory.

But while high levels of hydrogen sulphide posed a “health risk”, Mamkei said tests had proved Lucky Star’s emissions were below a non-statutory guideline restriction set by the national Department of Environmental Affairs.

“Our own investigations have not revealed any significant shortcomings in the operation of the fish rendering plant by Lucky Star. The city’s Air Quality Management Unit continues to engage with Lucky Star’s management in efforts to improve on odour emission monitoring and control. A review of their emissions licence operating conditions is currently under consideration.

“We conclude that they have been operating within the Atmospheric Emission Licence conditions and that the malodorous nuisances experienced by the residents are due to concentrated odours from the factory being trapped above the bay due to stable weather conditions during the period in which these complaints were received,” said Mamkei.

Meanwhile, a decision has yet to be made about a low-cost housing project which in 2013 was earmarked for a plot of land near the fish factory. It was reported at the time that mayor Patricia de Lille had halted a risk assessment and given the green light for 65 community residential units to be built despite health concerns which were raised by some city officials. Construction has yet to begin.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen, said the department had prepared a land use application report which would soon be submitted to the Good Hope sub-council for consideration.

Rioters smash up Paarl train station
IOL News 24 April 2015

Cape Town - The Mbekweni station in Paarl bore the scars on Friday morning of a violent protest that erupted in the nearby township on Thursday night with scorch marks in offices at the terminal and on the tracks, as well as rocks scattered across the station.

Residents say an angry crowd descended on the terminal on Thursday night, ripping apart its tin roof and setting fire to tyres on its tracks and in its offices, closing off the railway until late on Friday morning.

But it wasn’t the train operator that had angered the protesters, said Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott.

“Protesters evidently took issue with their local authority about the provision of electricity and vented their dissatisfaction by rampaging at the station.”

On Thursday night police found themselves in a tense stand-off as residents barricaded roads and threw stones.

A group stormed the train station, reducing the inside to rubble as they smashed walls, stormed into the station’s offices and set fire to tyres.

Scott said fire teams were unable to get into the area to quell the flames.

“Due to the volatility in the area, fire services were unable to assist. Asset owner Transnet and rail operator Metrorail have also not been able to assess the extent of the damage to the infrastructure,” said Scott.

The tracks were reopened on Friday morning for normal service. Residents milled around, watching as police arrived to cordon off the station’s main building at around 9am. Many were waiting for trains which were no longer stopping at the township.

Regional manager Richard Walker condemned the attack: “It is inexcusable to destroy assets that serve a law-abiding citizenry reliant on the rail service - this is sheer criminal thuggery.”

Scott added: “SAPS will continue to monitor the situation and will advise Metrorail when it is safe to resume train services in the area. A Metrorail team will visit the area again later on Friday morning to assess the damage and plan the restoration of the service.”

The protest in Mbekweni in Paarl added to recent train delays. Over the past 10 days Metrorail has had 938 delays to its trains. Scott said these could be attributed to two major incidents exacerbated by vandalism and cable theft.

Last week on Monday, there was a power failure between Dal Josafat and Klapmuts at around 4pm. This was followed by faulty turn signals in Bellville. Then a goods train broke down near Klapmuts, trapping passenger trains behind it. Load shedding wrought further havoc in Stellenbosch later that evening.

On Thursday night, cable theft discovered at around 5.30am caused delays of up to 80 minutes.

Rubber bullets fired in Ennerdale
IOL News 24 April 2015

Johannesburg - Joburg Metro police fired rubber bullets at residents of Ennerdale who were burning tyres and sewerage pipes in James Street on Friday morning.

The residents are protesting about a piece of land which has allegedly been set aside for people who will be relocated from Protea South in nearby Soweto. The protest started late on Thursday night.

“We felt that this is unfair because we’ve got so many people here (who also need houses),” said Farouk Jardine, an executive of the Ennerdale Stakeholders Association.

“Why are they (the government) ignoring our people?”

A group of angry residents showed The Star their injuries where they had been shot with rubber bullets.

Metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar confirmed that officers had fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

Cosatu: We’ll bring SA to its knees
IOL News 24 April 2015

Pretoria - Pretoria’s central business district was brought to a standstill on Thursday as 11 000 public servants took to the streets. But in a week’s time the country could be hit by rolling mass action, stay-aways and civil disobedience, should a settlement not be reached by the government and public sector unions, which are demanding a 10 percent pay rise.

A strike will mean schools, hospitals and government services would work on a skeletal to a no-staff complement.

On Thursday, Cosatu public service unions vowed to bring the country to its knees, saying the government seemed to want to plunge the country into crisis.

During the march, major CBD intersections were gridlocked and frustrated motorists had to find “alternative routes”.

This situation was compounded by ongoing city council roadworks - in cases approaching two years - which have seen some streets narrowed to one lane; others have been closed off.

The pay talks at the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council stalled again this week.

The government says it cannot afford more than a 5.8 percent increase, but has offered to pay the lowest-paid state-employed workers a 14 percent wage increase.

But powerful police and teachers unions want a 10 percent increase across the board and a R1 500 monthly housing allowance.

The government offer is a R1 000 housing allowance.

On Thursday, Cosatu public sector wage negotiator, Mugwena Maluleke, said unimproved working conditions could no longer be accepted, slamming the government for negotiating in bad faith including the unprecedented move to revise the government’s initial wage offer down.

“We will be left with no option but to take to the streets in protest against this intransigency and belligerent conduct against workers’ demands,” said Maluleke, who is also the general secretary of Sadtu “The state has the budget and flexibility to meet these (demands).”

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini also accused the government of wanting a strike.

The parties have been locked in pay negotiations for seven months now, but the unions expect a revised offer to be presented at the bargaining council within the next week.

“We expect a revised offer… as soon as yesterday so that these negotiations are completed as soon as possible and the agreement must be implemented by the end of April,” Maluleke said. “We refuse to be reduced to beggars and we won’t allow the employer to impose the percentage increase on us. We warn the government that our country does not need stubbornness and the lack of decisive leadership that has been evident over the last couple of weeks.

Nehawu leader, Michael Shingange, said it was the union’s view that collective bargaining was under threat from the state. “We’ve never seen an employer revise an offer downwards. It is unprecedented. We are not a bunch of lazy public servants who don’t want to be at work.

“It is a battle we can’t win in the boardrooms, (but) we can win on the streets.”

He called on the government to change its negotiators, failing which there’d be a strike. “Our children go to public schools, use public transport and public hospitals. They all feel the impact of today’s protest. The war is still on.”

Bus lane plan fury
IOL News 24 April 2015

Pretoria - Dozens of enraged Pretoria east residents have vowed to stop the City of Tshwane’s plans to decrease the number of lanes on busy Lynnwood Road to accommodate the Tshwane Rapid Transit (TRT).

This comes after it was revealed that the city had deviated from its initial plan of widening the road, leaving the two lanes each way unaffected, but has now decided to create a single lane in each direction of the road for the A Re Yeng bus service.

At a public meeting on Wednesday night, residents signed a petition that will be handed to a council meeting meeting on Thursday to stop the move.

DA spokesman for transport, councillor Francois Bekker, said they were determined to stop the plan that the city aims to implement.

The meeting was held at Pro Arte High School in Alphen Park on Wednesday night, with Bekker saying the city’s plans would have an adverse impact on the residents and businesses in the ward. “The truth is, it will affect the eastern suburbs and influence the link between these suburbs and other parts of the city profoundly,” Bekker said.

It was alarming, he said, that the development almost went through council systems unnoticed.

Residents look at the proposed changes to Lynwood Road to one lane for cars to enable the BRT to operate. Photo: Masi Losi

He accused the city of underhanded tactics by making “a behind-the-doors decision” to reduce Lynnwood Road to one lane in each direction. “As the spokesperson for transport I can state that the changes were never tabled at the oversight committee for roads and transport. If such drastic changes are introduced, surely it requires fresh public participation,” Bekker said.

DA councillor Siobhan Muller accused city manager Jason Ngubani of making a unilateral decision regarding the lane reduction, without considering the ramifications of the decision.

She said affected parties were not included during the decision-making and their concerns were not taken into account.

“Public participation meetings with councillors, businesses, residents’ associations and the University of Pretoria have been taking place since 2012. The parties agreed that reducing the road to one lane would cause severe traffic and parking problems,” Muller said.

She said this would have a domino effect on neighbouring suburbs and future development plans which have already been approved.

This move would cut off suburbs located in the east from access to the CBD. This would also limit the access to schools and business that run alongside the road.

“Future development projects will also be impacted on. There are already 200 units being built in Menlo Park, Lynnwood and Brooklyn, but no upgrade of services. This means there won’t be parking for the people who have purchased units in the affected areas,” Muller added.

City spokesman Blessing Manele told the Pretoria News the project steering committee had considered widening the road to accommodate a BRT lane, but found it practical to instead acquire a general traffic lane.

“The steering committee resolved that the provision of additional mix-traffic lanes was too impactful, too costly and would defeat the overall public transport objectives; hence the proposal to revert to the provision for one mixed traffic lane and one TRT lane,” Manele added.

It was not necessary for the city to initiate another public participation process after the first one concluded last year, he said.

“However section 66 of the ordinance will need to be undertaken due to changes regarding the reduction of car lanes and right-turn movements at intersections.”

Manele added that the aim of the TRT was to reduce traffic and the city’s carbon emissions, by placing emphasis on the use of public transport.

“Priority must be given to public transport by ensuring the provision of adequate public transport services and applying travel demand management measures to discourage private transport.”

The idea of a reduced Lynnwood Road did not bode well with the residents who attended the meeting.

Dave Pournara said this would cause heavy congestion on a road that was already operating beyond its capacity.

“This is going to isolate the east from Hatfield. Its also going increase the carbon footprint.”

Protesters set Metrorail ticket office alight
IOL News 24 April 2015

Cape Town - Western Cape police on Friday confirmed a service delivery protest in which a Metrorail ticket office was set on fire in Mbekweni in Paarl outside of Cape Town.

“On Thursday night, at about 7.30pm, police took action to defuse a riotous situation in Mbekweni when protesters set the ticket office at the railway station alight,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut.

Traut said the protesters also threw stones at vehicles passing by during, what he termed, “an apparent service delivery-related matter”.

“The circumstances surrounding the public violence are being investigated,” said Traut.

Arrests had not yet been made but police had calmed the situation.

Backyarders mark ‘their plots’ in Philippi
IOL News 23 April 2015

Cape Town - Backyarders from various townships marked plots on an open piece of land in Philippi on Wednesday, saying they were tired of waiting for housing.

The group used sticks, pangas and pegs to mark off pieces of land where they plan to erect structures near the Joe Gqabi transport terminus off Stock Road.

The residents were from Langa, Gugulethu, Samora Machel and Site C, and received help from community leaders.

One of the leaders, Joseph Makeleni, said they would continue to assist residents who wanted to invade open land.

“Law Enforcement and police came to remove us, but we were peaceful and some of the people left and others stayed.

“People have been waiting for housing for a long time, they are on the database for a long time and nothing is happening.”

Makeleni said they would continue to take land as a way to make the city notice them and their need for housing and proper service delivery.

“We feel rejected by the government and we will provoke them until they give us services.

“It is the only way to get their attention, by taking over the land that they boast about but don’t use.”

Makeleni said most of the privately owned land belonged to “rich white businessmen”, which was unfair.

Charmaine Mkoni, a community leader from the Marikana informal settlement, said they were forced to fight for themselves as their elected councillors were not doing much about their lack of housing and service delivery.

“We are planning on sleeping here because people are entitled to have spaces and housing.

“We will help each other to put up shacks and stay here,” Mkoni said.

City Law Enforcement spokesman Neil Arendse said they responded to the invasion but it was quiet and no serious incidents were reported.

Arendse said they remained in the area and officers were also focusing on other land invasion hotspots.

“Even though some of the land is privately owned, at some point it becomes a city problem. When the owner doesn’t do anything about it (invaders), the city has to step in,” Arendse said.

Builders chased with knives at Cape school
IOL News 23 April 2015

Cape Town - Chaos erupted at a Kraaifontein school on Wednesday where a group of unemployed construction workers, armed with knives, allegedly chased another group from the grounds and set vehicles on fire.

Cars, damaged from bricks and arson, were left at Scottsdene Secondary School following the attack by a group, allegedly laid off by a construction company.

Principal Karel Cupido said just after interval he saw people running with knives, while stones were thrown, and equipment damaged during the morning chaos. “There must have been injuries,” he said.

It is believed that a group of out-of-work construction workers had targeted another group currently working on the construction of new buildings for the school.

The buildings of this former “plankie” school are being replaced with new ones by the Western Cape Education Department at a cost of R65 million.

Cupido said the first phase of the construction had been completed and pupils and teachers had already moved into the new classrooms.

He said a fence separated this new section from the area where the chaos had erupted and pupils and teachers had been inside the new classrooms and were unharmed.

When the Cape Argus visited the site, workers were gathered behind barbed fences as investigations began.

Local resident and grandmother, Sandra Mapling, expressed her concerns with the security at the premises.

“There isn’t enough security. The people were helpless and we as community members had to get together and help after the attack took place. What about the children’s safety?”

Head of security at the site, Wilvret Hartnick said he and his team had to seek shelter as almost 100 “angry” workers, believed to be from Philippi, stormed the gates “throwing stones and bricks”.

“We only had two security guards on, we didn’t expect this to happen, we didn’t know what else could be done.”

Local construction worker, Barbara Pienaar said: “The office block is usually locked on the site… luckily today the key was in there and me, the health and safety officer and other managers locked ourselves in to keep ourselves safe.”

Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said according to reports to the district office, threats to burn down some of the school’s mobile classrooms were also made. “Western Cape Education Department officials and SAPS are monitoring the situation.”

Police spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said a case of public violence had been registered.

“Vehicles were damaged during the incident. No one has been arrested as yet. The situation has been restored to normal.”

VIDEO: Protest against prepaid meters
IOL News 23 April 2015

Protea residents marched to the Eskom offices to protest against newly installed green prepaid electricity meter boxes.

Pinetown hit by service delivery protests
IOL News 21 April 2015

Durban - Residents of Luganda, outside Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal, barricaded roads and set fire to a municipal office during a service delivery protest in the area on Tuesday.

Residents were barred from going to work by protesters while no taxis or other vehicles were allowed to enter the township.

Disgruntled resident, Nokuthula Ngidi who spoke to ANA, said that the march was about empty promises allegedly made by the ward councillor.

“He (the councillor) sells RDP houses to outsiders. At night we use the bucket system as we are too scared to use the long drop toilets that pose a health hazard,” said Ngidi.

Another protester, Tutu Nxumalo said they wanted the councillor to answer as to why residents went months without water. “Even when the water truck arrives, only one attempts to service such a huge community,” said Nxumalo.

Police used teargas to disperse the protesters who used big rocks and burning trees to prevent cars from entering the township.

Residents claimed six people were arrested during the protest march with residents retaliating by burning a municipal office.

The councillor could not be reached for comment.

It’s a crime to deface statues - judge
IOL News 21 April 2015

Pretoria - The Economic Freedom Fighters party and its leader, Julius Malema, were on Tuesday interdicted from inciting EFF members or any member of the public to deface monuments and statues across the country which relate to the Afrikaner heritage and culture.

Judge Eben Jordaan, sitting in the High Court in Pretoria, granted the order sought by the Solidarity Movement Trust – a group which has the interests of the Afrikaner at heart.

The trust launched the urgent court proceedings about a week ago, when it served court papers on Malema and the EFF, alerting them that the application will serve before court on Tuesday.

No council for the EFF pitched at court and Judge Jordaan was told that neither the party nor its leader filed any papers to oppose the application.

Advocate Francois Botes, acting for the trust, said they will, however, ensure that the court order is served on the party and its leadership, as to avoid them saying at a later stage they did not know about the order.

The application came in the wake of several Afrikaner monuments and statues being vandalised and defaced across the country. This included the statue of Paul Kruger on Church Square in Pretoria which was painted green.

The trust said the application was about protecting the cultural heritage of the Afrikaner. The trust expressed its concern about the EFF leadership inciting its members to deface the statues.

Judge Jordaan, in making the order, commented that it was in any case a crime to vandalise and deface statues.

While various members of the EFF were spotted in court on Monday - attending various cases such as a land invasion application relating to Soshanguve and another case pertaining to evictions in Pretoria North - they seemed oblivious of the urgent application relating to the statues against them.

Nyanga violence ends transport blitz
IOL News 21 April 2015

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town on Tuesday said traffic services and police were forced to end a crackdown on public transport operators in Nyanga after taxi drivers began stoning and setting vehicles alight.

“Word was received that buses were being stoned at the Nyanga terminus and that roads were being blockaded by protestors,” said the City’s JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

“The City’s traffic service assessed the threat posed to private vehicles and property and ceased the enforcement operation as the City’s Metro Police and the South African Police Service had to withdraw to attend to the eruption of public violence”.

City traffic services, Metro Police, and the SAPS had been continuing with a crackdown on public transport traffic violators in Nyanga which began on Monday, when they were allegedly threatened by the local taxi association.

The officers had, at that point, already impounded 16 vehicles, served 51 warrants, issued 194 fines, and arrested three drivers.

Smith said the taxi association then allegedly threatened officers, saying “the situation will develop as it goes on”.

He said shortly after the threat was made, the officers received word that buses and another vehicle had been stoned and set alight.

Police and owners of the burnt buses, Golden Arrow Bus Service, on Tuesday confirmed the stoning and setting alight of vehicles.

“Vehicles were stoned and buses and a delivery vehicle were set alight by protestors,” said the Western Cape’s SAPS’ Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut.

“The situation is still being monitored and no one has been arrested. Public violence case dockets will be registered,” he said.

Golden Arrow’s General Manager FE Meyer said three of their buses had been set alight and they had received reports of minor injuries, resulting in a suspension of their services in Nyanga.

“The safety of our passengers and drivers remains our priority and as such, we have suspended our services in the area,” said Meyer.

Meyer urged all Golden Arrow passengers to make their way to Borcherd’s Quarry where there was sufficient police presence.

Taxi, bus chaos spills on to N2
Kieran Legg and Cindy Waxa (IOL News) 21 April 2015

Cape Town - The chaos that erupted in Nyanga on Tuesday morning was reportedly caused by taxi drivers angry over the impounding of informal taxis, the City of Cape Town has said.

Protesters barricaded the local transport terminus, setting fire to three buses, stoning cars, injuring a commuter and attacking a journalist.

The mayhem spilled out onto the N2 highway as bus operators were forced to relocate their services to Borchard’s Quarry, fearing more coaches would be targeted by the angry crowd.

It wrought havoc, with motorists being delayed by up to an hour on their commute.

A photographer from the Daily Sun was mobbed by the protesters who smashed her camera before stoning her car.

The City of Cape Town’s executive director for Safety and Security Richard Bosman said that the protest had started at around 7am. He said the protesters were reportedly taxi drivers angry over the impounding of 24 informal or amaphela taxis on Monday during a crackdown on drivers operating without valid licences in the area.

The city’s crackdown on amaphela taxis followed alleged threats from disgruntled taxi operators to target traffic officers, said the Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

During Monday’s operations, 24 taxis were impounded after the operators were found to be travelling without valid operating licences. In addition, staff served 99 warrants and arrested one motorist for drunk driving. They also issued 417 fines to a total value of R102 500 for unlicensed drivers and vehicles, for failing to carry a driving licence and for overloading.

”We can take the hard-line approach... but that alone is not going to solve the problem. (So) I have set up an urgent meeting with the relevant taxi association to discuss their concerns,” said Smith.

Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said the protesters had threatened their staff on Tuesday morning before setting fire to three buses parked in the terminus. “It is chaos out there,” she said.

A woman sitting on a chair at the terminus was crying as she tried to phone her children. She said she had jumped from the back of one of the buses as it was set alight, breaking her leg as she landed on the ground.

She said there were other passengers on board, who had fled when protesters first began stoning the vehicle.

Shards of glass lay scattered around the terminus as stranded commuters nervously waited for transport.

Police moved in to contain the situation at around 8.30am. Spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said cars had been stoned on the intersection between Lansdowne and Eisleben roads.

“The incident followed an operation conducted by traffic services,” he said.

He said no arrests had been made at the time of going to print but that the situation was being monitored and police would open various investigations into public violence.

Golden Arrow said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience and assure our passengers that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that they are safe and able to get to where they need to be.”
Cape Argus

Taxi drivers cause chaos in Nyanga
IOL News 21 April 2015

Nyanga taxi drivers barricaded the local terminus and taxi rank, and set three buses alight. Photo: Cindy Waxa
Cape Town - Chaos erupted in Nyanga on Tuesday morning as angry taxi drivers barricaded the local terminus and taxi rank, setting fire to three buses, stoning cars and threatening staff.

There was gridlock traffic outside the township as Golden Arrow scurried to pull all its coaches out of the area, relocating its services to Borchard's Quarry.

The protest had started at around 7am, said the City of Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman.

He said at this stage it seemed that it was linked to the impounding of 24 "Amaphela" taxis on Monday during a crackdown on drivers operating without valid licences.

Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said the drivers had threatened the company's staff before setting fire to buses parked at the terminus.

The Cape Argus spoke to a woman who said she had jumped from the back window of one of the buses, breaking her leg.

By 8.30am, police had moved into the area, reportedly arresting some of the protesters.

The situation seemed to have calmed down, but officers were still on high alert.

SA-Israel ice-hockey match disrupted
IOL News17 April 2015

Cape Town - An international ice hockey match between South Africa and Israel at the Grand West Ice Rink was disrupted by an anti-Israel protest on Thursday night.

Cape Town activist, Bram Hanekom, a leader of the protest at the rink, said he was assaulted by security guards whom he alleged were part of the Israeli ambassador’s security detail.

However, Michael Farr, spokesman for Sun City International, denied the assault and said protesters threw marbles on the ice and had then been evicted.

Protesters from the Congress of South African Students and the ANC Youth League, as well as the National Coalition for Palestine, had bought tickets and entered the arena at the beginning of the match, said Anglican priest June Major, who took part in the protest.

Major said Hanekom was singled out during an interval and dragged out of the venue.

“They attacked him and beat him up,” she said.

“There were about 80 to 100 protesters, but most remained outside because they were doing racial profiling at the doors,” Major said.

“There was no warning, we were peaceful. Bram only had a South African flag, I had a Palestinian flag.”

Hanekom this morning said he had bruises but no broken ribs.

“We went to express our view that the Israeli government, the State of Israel, should not be recognised by South Africa, and that the Western Cape government who hosted the tournament should not give the Israelis this platform,” Hanekom said.

He said he was certain that the security staff had a different uniform to that of the Grand West security staff and that he had heard one say over the radio th at “their man was safe”. He believed this was a reference to the Israeli ambassador, who attended the match.

The Israeli embassy denied that their security had been at the venue.

Cape Town taxi war turns deadly
IOL News 17 April 2015

Cape Town - An escalating feud between rival taxi associations has left one man dead and four men injured after separate shootouts in Delft and Westlake on Thursday morning.

There are now fears the violence will continue as operators have threatened to take revenge.

Both incidents were still under investigation as of Thursday evening, police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said.

The taxi industry has been gripped by an all-out war as the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (Cata) and the Congress for Democratic Taxi Association clashed over lucrative routes in Retreat on Monday.

Cata spokesman Michael Matyala said the rival association’s drivers had begun encroaching on their “turf” in Westlake, Retreat and Tokai over the past couple of months. Despite reporting the drivers to authorities, such as the police who have acknowledged the organisations are the legal operators in the area, he claimed Cata’s members were left to fend for themselves.

On Monday, they took to the area’s Main Road, lighting fires and blocking traffic. They were eventually chased from the streets. On Thursday, more protesters converged on Kirstenhof police station and began picketing over the impounding of nine of their vehicles on Monday, said Van Wyk.

But before they even arrived at the station, drivers from the Westlake Taxi Association were left reeling after two of their members were shot.

Siyamcela Nogantsho was sitting his car when he heard the gunshots. He flinched as the bullets punctured the chassis of his sedan which was parked on Lynx Road in Westlake. It was 6am and he had been parked at the informal taxi rank in the area. When the shooting finally stopped, it was too dark to see what happened.

“But I got out and that’s when I found they had been shot.”

Youngman Fodo and Thembinkosi Matyolo, two owners belonging to the association which is a branch of Cata, had been shot in the legs. Nogantsho carried the pair to his car and sped off to a nearby hospital.

On Thursday, hospital attendants said both men would require surgery at some point but were doing well in the meantime.

“I think they will recover,” Nogantsho said, still shaken by the experience. “I was scared to be sitting there. They shot 14 times, I could have been hit.”

Drivers in the area said rivals were behind the attempted “hit”.

But the association’s chairman, Hudson Mlungwana, said they were not a violent organisation.

“We don’t want any bloodshed. That is not the way we work… But they have been stealing our business.”

Van Wyk said that police were investigating the shooting which had left the two taxi operators critically injured.

Witnesses said there had been two gunmen and that they had posed as customers boarding taxis during the morning rush.

In Delft, a man in his early 50s was fatally shot and two men aged 48 and 51 were injured by gunshot on Delft’s Main Road at 10.30am on Thursday, Van Wyk said.

Additional reporting by Emily Huizenga

Bodies pile up at KZN mortuaries
IOL News 16 April 2015

Durban - Bodies are piling up at mortuaries and hospitals affected by the week-long go-slow by KwaZulu-Natal mortuaries.

The KZN Health Department, however, said that the go-slow by staff at the Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street and Stanger mortuaries has thus far not hindered any planned burials and the issues that have been raised by workers were receiving attention.

Workers claimed the provincial department of health had failed to pay money due to them.

They claimed they work in unhygienic conditions with no protective gear like gloves.

Last week the department’s communication head, Sam Mkhwanazi, said they had noted with regret the sign of a go-slow at the Magwaza Maphalala mortuary.

He said the department was working on an arrangement to transfer bodies to other mortuaries around Durban.

It is alleged that there are 60 bodies in Pinetown mortuary and 25 in Gale Street.

A source said bodies were also piling up at certain hospitals and might decompose if they were left for another week.

The Islamic Muslim Burial Society spokesman, Ahmed Paruk, said they had successfully sent a body to Mozambique last week.

Paruk, who has been in the burial business for 20 years, said it was getting harder to have Muslim bodies released.

“We have been inundated with calls to assist but our hands are also tied,” he said.

To minimise the impact of this, the department has been using the services of facility managers who previously worked as forensic officers.

Since the go-slow began last week, mortuary personnel worked overtime to make sure that work was done and that service delivery was not compromised, the department stated.

Facility managers of the affected mortuaries went a step further by telephoning relatives of the deceased who were still in hospital mortuaries asking them to identify those who were due to be buried over the weekend.

All bodies that were identified by relatives and requested for burial were ready for the families to bury.

The Department said it was not aware of any family who could not bury their loved ones because of the “go-slow”, the department said.

It was not true that workers’ salaries were downgraded. Instead, in 2010, their salaries were significantly increased.

Employee representative, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, provincial secretary, Halalisani Gumede, said the impasse dated to 2006 when the department took over the mortuaries from the police service.

Dr Imran Keeka, DA spokesman on health, said people who were already dealing with strong emotions after the loss of their loved ones, should not be further subjected to emotional abuse from delays, for whatever reason, at mortuaries and facilities.

Protests continue in Ledig
IOL News 15 April 2015

Rustenburg - Irate residents of Ledig near the Sun City resort outside Rustenburg, refused to allow North West Local Government MEC Collen Maine to speak to them on Wednesday.

“We could not allow the MEC to speak. We agreed yesterday (Tuesday) that all arrested people must be released by 10am (Wednesday), before the MEC address us,” said community leader Pakaza Mdluli.

Residents have waged a week-long protest over alleged missing tribal funds. A number of protesters have been arrested during the protests which centre on the alleged mismanagement of some R527 million of tribal and community funds.

“The issue about DJ (Ditsele Phologoane, the chairman of the Bakubung Economic Development Unit) is not paramount. The key demand is for all arrested people to be released,” Mdluli said.

After the failed meeting, some residents chanted : “ Phanzi Phologoane, Phanzi” (down Phologoane, down), and as some headed home, a group of youngsters went to barricade the road. The police fired rubber bullets to disperse them.

Some residents now feared the protests would soon spiral out of control.

“ If this toyi-toyi does not end now, criminal elements would use it to advance their activities. People will be killed all in the name of protest,” said Eugene Ngima, 60.

He said parents were afraid to send children to school.

“Will we be proud if our children failed at the end of the school year?” he asked.

“This burning of houses and shops must end now before more people are hurt.”

A shop was burnt down on Tuesday night, at the Ledig small industry, another shop was torched at the weekend and four foreign-owned shops were looted.

Taxi owners shot in Westlake
IOL News 16 April 2015

Cape Town - Two taxi owners were shot as tensions between rival taxi associations escalated in Westlake on Thursday morning.

Drivers stood by and watched as police investigated a bullet-riddled silver car parked on Lynx Way which had been caught in the crossfire.

Its owner Siyamcela Nogantsho, who had been sitting vehicle at the time, was just happy to be alive.

He had seen the shooting unfold, flinching as bullets penetrated the chassis of his Chevrolet sedan.

He said the two taxi owners, Youngman Fodo and Thembinkosi Matyolo, were standing in the informal taxi rank on the road.

Customers began arriving at around 6am, among them were two armed gunmen .

“They started shooting and everyone was running.”

When the shooters fled, after unloading at least 14 bullets, Nogantsho rushed to help the two owners.

They were bleeding from their legs and he carried them to his car and rushed them to the nearby Victoria Hospital.

He remained hopeful they would recover.

The Westlake taxi association chair said a rival taxi union was likely behind the attack.

Meanwhile on Pollsmoor Road members of the Codeta taxi association converged on the local police station demanding the releae of taxi drivers detained there.

Six injured in violent clashes between Red Ants and land grabbers
Kempton Express 15 April 2015

The violence erupted on Saturday after the metro police had removed all demarcations for sites

SIX people were injured in violent clashes on Sunday between land grabbers and the Red Ants in Esselen Park.

The violence erupted on Saturday after the metro police had removed all demarcations for sites, allegedly done on instruction of EFF members, infuriating the illegal land invaders.

According to metro police spokesman, Chief Supt Wilfred Kgasago, the Red Ants, who were contracted by the metro’s human settlements department, were there on Sunday to remove the land invaders.

“Apparently, this infuriated the people, leading to an altercation with the Red Ants just before mid-day. In their effort to remove the land invaders, the Red Ants were attacked with an assortment of missiles,” Kgasago explained.

The Red Ants defended themselves and in the ensuing confrontation, six land grabbers were injured. Ambulances were summoned by the police to transport the patients to Tembisa Hospital for medical attention.

Shortly after the upheavals, angry land grabbers made their way to Madelukufa informal settlement in Tembisa where they vandalised the home of ANC ward 8 councillor, Robson Lugongolo.

A witness at the scene tweeted that the councillor’s shack was hit with spades and rocks and that police shot at the crowd to disperse them.

The situation has calmed down but the law enforcers are on high alert in order to respond to any further illegal occupation of the land.

The weekend’s incident came after a week-long persistence from the land grabbers, apparently from Tembisa, who had, since Monday last week, been coming in and out of the area, allocating stands for themselves in the open veld between Birchleigh and Birchleigh North, close to Esselen Park.

On arrival at the scene on Sunday afternoon, EXPRESS found that the clashes had already died down and only the Red Ants and metro police were on site.

Residents of Birchleigh North told EXPRESS people started land grabbing on Monday last week. “These people started marking ‘stands’ where they planned to build their homes (shacks),” a resident explained.

“On Monday morning (last week) the police caught and chased them away while they were allocating stands. But on Monday night at about 9pm they were back and the police again removed them.”

According to the resident, the persistent land grabbers were back again the following day on Tuesday morning, this time carrying shovels and other tools for building.

Residents also said the metro police were seen on Pongolariver Drive and Strydom Street in Birchleigh North, conducting road blocks on Saturday morning, and again on Sunday morning at the other entrance into Esselen Park on Link Road.

The metro police were apparently checking cars for people carrying tools and other building equipment.

Some of the Red Ants said they had been in the area since 3am on Sunday and others said they had slept there overnight.

Spokesman for Tembisa North SAPS, Capt Manyadza Ralidzivha, confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property had been opened. No arrests have been made.

Union members go on wage strike – VIDEO
Ceppwawu also calls for casual employees to be employed permanently.

South Coast Herald 15 April 2015

On Tuesday workers at Golden Glo, a company based in Marburg, went on strike demanding wage increases, among other things. The workers affiliated to the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) said it was shameful that the company was paying workers between R800 and R3 000 monthly while working long hours and even night shift.

Ncamsile Mnyandu, who has worked for the company almost 22 years, said she is still getting paid R2 500. “We are working under bad conditions; we don’t even have safety clothes,” she said.

Sifiso Nkabinde, Ceppwawu’s organiser in the region, said casual workers want at least a minimum wage of R4 000 and R7 000 for operators, a guaranteed 13th cheque and for all casual employees to be employed permanently.

“They also want to enjoy annual leave in full, without any disruption by the employer calling them to return to work,” said Mr Nkabinde. The union also called on the company to provide a provident fund for the workers.

When the South Coast Herald contacted the company, the telephone was answered by the someone who claimed to be unable to give any information as the director, Moosa Moosa, was out of the country and would be back only on Friday.

Ledig protests continue as North West MEC set to address residents
The New Age 15 April 2015

Residents of Ledig near Sun City chanted as they filed into the Bakubung ba Ratheo tribal offices where North West Local Governrment MEC Collen Maine was expected speak to them on Wednesday.

The residents have waged a week-long protest over alleged missing tribal funds. “Phanzi Phologoane, Phanzi [down Phologoane, down]”, they chanted in front of the tribal office. They have demanded that Maine should bring Ditsele ‘DJ’ Phologoane, chairman of the Bakubung Economic Development Unit, along with him.

They also demanded that all people who had been arrested in recent days during the violent protests be released before Maine could speak to them. They alleged that money, amounting to R527 million which constitute shares the community got from a mining company, had been mismanaged.

A shop was burnt down on Tuesday night at the Ledig small industry. Other shops were torched at the weekend while four foreign-owned shops were looted during the protests.

Medupi workers reject Eskom offer
SABC News 15 April 2015

Medupi workers refuse to be reinstated until they are paid R10 000 bonuses.(SABC)

Limpopo Medupi power station Eskom Numsa Khulu Phasiwe Striking construction workers at Eskom's Medupi power station in Limpopo have rejected Eskom’s offer to reinstate them until they are paid R10 000 bonuses.

Thousands of workers are due to report for duty on Wednesday. The workers downed tools last week in solidarity with 1 700 others who were dismissed last month for taking part in an illegal march over better working conditions and higher pay.

Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe, says "to reduce the levels of antagonism and intimidation against workers who want to work, we have decided to reinstate all 1 700 workers."

The workers are demanding that those dismissed be reinstated unconditionally.

The utility had on Tuesday confirmed it will reinstate the 1 700 workers who were fired for vandalising property during the strike.

Labour disruption and technical faults have increased costs at Eskom's Medupi coal-fired plant, expected to start generating 800 megawatts of extra electricity by July.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the majority union at the plant, said it would present the offer to workers late on Tuesday.

Listen to Phasiwe on the three main conditions tabled by the workers:

Friendship Town evictees try to rebuild
The Star 15 April 2015

Johannesburg - School books, papers, clothes, broken desks and wardrobes litter the streets of Friendship Town as evictees try to rebuild what is left of their lives and possessions.

About 130 residents of Friendship Town flats were evicted on Monday because they had not paid rent since August.

Friendship Town councillor Moses Mogoba said tenants had stopped paying because of “abnormally high rent”.

“In 2009, rent was R900, then in 2011 it went up from about R1 200 to R3 300 and then it went up again two months later to R4 000.”

Mogoba said this prompted residents to boycott paying rent, leading to evictions and riots late last year.

“We live right next to a squatter camp. We can’t be expected to pay such high prices,” he said.

Resident Thabisile Busakwe said the situation was depressing.

Another resident, Jerome Francis, said: “We want to pay, it’s not that we don’t want to. We are being overcharged in rent and water bills. Many of us have lost all our possessions. The Red Ants came in yesterday, threw out our stuff and sold our laptops and double-door fridges for R200.”

Another resident, Khaya Ngubo, said: “I have a family, two kids and a wife. We’ve had to sleep outside since the eviction and we’re not sure when we will be able to return to our flat.”

Mothers Maria Mophoto and Baybey Mphoka were devastated.

“I’m so embarrassed,” said Mphoka. “All I have left are the possessions in my car. My children had to dress in the street in front of everyone.

“All my documents are lost. My ID, matric certificate and diploma are all gone.”

Some residents say they were beaten by the Red Ants, and showed journalists bruises and cuts on their bodies.

The Star spoke to Rian Reyneke of Ithemba Properties, which manages the flats. He said it was “unfortunate”, but it was not an illegal eviction.

“I feel disgruntled about the innocent people who were intimidated by ringleaders and I feel bad for the kids affected as well, but their actions were irresponsible,” said Reyneke.

He said it had started last year when three or four tenants were evicted from the flats in July.

“These three or four then intimidated other residents into joining an orchestrated rent boycott, which led to riots, the burning of our offices there and a number of court cases, which we won,” he said. “These ringleaders solicited legal fees and rental fees from residents illegally.”

Despite residents’ claims that the eviction was illegal, The Star was able to obtain legal documents which confirmed that about 200 eviction notices and warnings had been sent to tenants who had refused to pay rent, the last being issued on March 15.

“We warned them countless times that if they did not pay rent, they would be evicted. The eviction happened yesterday (on Monday) because we knew the kids were going back to school and didn’t want them home when it happened,” Reyneke said.

Francis said: “Friendship Town is a shining example of what South Africa should be. We’re selling ourselves to big business. Is this what the government wants?”

Road tender said to be at heart of Kuruman violence
Mail & Guardian 15 April 2015
The Northern Cape, with its abundance of unpaved tracks, is riddled with disputes over the awarding of lucrative infrastructure contracts.
Police are holding five people in custody after cars were set alight with petrol bombs in Kuruman.

Five people are in custody near Kuruman in the Northern Cape after cars were petrol-bombed on Monday, allegedly when a dispute between two businesses competing for a road-building tender escalated into violence.

The incident occurred in Mothibistad, about 9km outside Kuruman, the scene of violent protests over the provision of tarred roads last year.

The police have arrested five suspects who will remain in custody until their first court appearance on Wednesday morning. They have been charged with malicious damage to property and pointing firearms.

Northern Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Andrea Cloete said the incident might be related to a tender over building roads in the area. It is unclear which tender was at the centre of the dispute.

Kuruman has become known as a poster child for lucrative tender disputes. One of the men arrested on Monday is said to have been central to at least two rows over government tenders in recent years: the awarding of a R300-million tender to supply piped water to 20 000 people in the Northern Cape and a medical waste disposal tender.

The current alleged dispute revives questions about previous violent protests in the area. The lack of tarred roads in the Kuruman area has, in particular, long pitted residents against government.

In 2012, residents kept 16 000 pupils out of school amid violent protests over the nonprovision of a tarred road.

In 2013, AfriForum obtained a high court order preventing the payment of R4.2-million to a controversial businessperson by the Ga-Segonyana municipality, which includes Kuruman. The money was supposedly compensation for a botched land deal.
Last year thousands of pupils missed four months of school when protesters, calling themselves the Road Forum, took to the streets again over the municipality’s alleged failure to provide tarred roads.

Cloete said that, according to the complainants who were attacked on Monday, petrol bombs were thrown at three cars and the vehicles were set alight.

“The suspects also [allegedly] pointed firearms at the complainants,” Cloete said.
Their names have not been released because they have not yet appeared in court.
But speculation is rife that the suspects – well-known businesspeople, according to sources in the province – were angry about being cut off from municipal tenders.

Municipal spokesperson David Mabudi said he was unable to comment on allegations that a tender was at the heart of the violence. He denied, however, that the targets of the attacks were senior municipal officials.
Mabudi said the municipality believed the tendering procedure should be fair and condemned Monday’s incident.

Home set alight in KZN faction fighting
IOL News 14 April 2015

Durban - Another home was set alight in the continuing faction violence in KwaMaphumulo, near KwaDukuza, this time on Sunday night.

The feuding areas, KwaNdaba and KwaMzulini, have experienced a series of gun and fire attacks over the past week when three people were killed and three homes burnt.

Speaking about Sunday’s incident, which occurred in the KwaNdaba area, a neighbour said he first heard several gunshots from a distance and when he peeked through his window, one house belonging to the Manqele family was ablaze.

“I later learnt from a family member that they had also hadgunshots fired into their home,” said the neighbour who asked to remain anonymous.

The local induna, Bongani Khanyile, said he received a call from a member of the family at about 8pm letting him know that they had been attacked.

The affected family was not available for comment.

A years-old stick-fighting incident between young men from the two warring areas in which one man was killed is said to be the cause of the continuing violence.

Provincial police spokes-man, Colonel Jay Naicker, confirmed that three cases of arson were being investigated by the KwaMaphumulo police.

He could not yet confirm Sunday’s incident.

Naicker said no arrests had been made in the arson and murder cases and investigations were continuing.


Meanwhile, the police have appealed to anyone with information about the killing of four men, including a Tactical Response Team police officer, in eZakheni, Ladysmith, on Friday night, to come forward.

Constable Mboniseni Zungu, 33, Nkosiyakhe Mabaso, 33, Thanda, 31, whose surname had not yet been established, and a fourth person who had not been officially identified, were found dead with multiple bullet wounds inside a silver-grey VW Polo just before 8pm.

Police said a number of heavy calibre cartridges were recovered at the scene.

KZN police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, condemned the killings, saying that the SAPS had suffered a great loss in Zungu.

Home set alight in KZN faction fighting
IOL News 14 April 2015

Durban - Another home was set alight in the continuing faction violence in KwaMaphumulo, near KwaDukuza, this time on Sunday night.

The feuding areas, KwaNdaba and KwaMzulini, have experienced a series of gun and fire attacks over the past week when three people were killed and three homes burnt.

Speaking about Sunday’s incident, which occurred in the KwaNdaba area, a neighbour said he first heard several gunshots from a distance and when he peeked through his window, one house belonging to the Manqele family was ablaze.

“I later learnt from a family member that they had also hadgunshots fired into their home,” said the neighbour who asked to remain anonymous.

The local induna, Bongani Khanyile, said he received a call from a member of the family at about 8pm letting him know that they had been attacked.

The affected family was not available for comment.

A years-old stick-fighting incident between young men from the two warring areas in which one man was killed is said to be the cause of the continuing violence.

Provincial police spokes-man, Colonel Jay Naicker, confirmed that three cases of arson were being investigated by the KwaMaphumulo police.

He could not yet confirm Sunday’s incident.

Naicker said no arrests had been made in the arson and murder cases and investigations were continuing.


Meanwhile, the police have appealed to anyone with information about the killing of four men, including a Tactical Response Team police officer, in eZakheni, Ladysmith, on Friday night, to come forward.

Constable Mboniseni Zungu, 33, Nkosiyakhe Mabaso, 33, Thanda, 31, whose surname had not yet been established, and a fourth person who had not been officially identified, were found dead with multiple bullet wounds inside a silver-grey VW Polo just before 8pm.

Police said a number of heavy calibre cartridges were recovered at the scene.

KZN police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, condemned the killings, saying that the SAPS had suffered a great loss in Zungu.

Our members were run over deliberately: EFF
Jacqueline Herbst The Citizen 15 April 2015

Shocked EFF members standing next to the N2 highway where their deceased fighter lies. Pic: North Coast Courier The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) claim their members were “run over on purpose” on the N2 near Ballito on Monday. One woman died and three women were critically injured when they were hit by a bakkie yesterday at about midday on the N2 North, North Coast Courier reported.

“If you look at the marks on the side railings and the debris at the scene, you can see that the car went out of its way to hit the four ladies in the emergency lane. I am sure he wanted to kill all four of them,” claimed EFF provincial party member of land affairs Tobias Mthiyane.

Mthiyane also claimed the owners of Green Fields farm had not allowed their members to leave the farm via the footpaths they arrived on and were forced to cross the highway.

This was after the EFF had erected an illegal structure on Green Fields farm, opposite Ballito on the N2, which the party had attempted to occupy the day before.

Police gave the farm’s shareholders permission to demolish the shack and the land claimants left the site, only to regroup a couple of hundred metres away.

However, Mthiyane’s claims are in stark contrast to statements by police officers and Green Fields farm shareholder Ricky Pissarra and legal occupant of the farm, Ian Deetlefs.

According to Umhlali police, they were alerted that the group of land claimants were stoning vehicles on the N2 and arrived shortly after the accident occurred.

Captain Maharaj was on the scene and said that according to witnesses the driver of the bakkie had swerved to avoid a pedestrian in the middle of the road, and as a result he hit the four women in the emergency lane, then hit the railings.

Pissarra said the group entered the highway at their own free will, as neither he nor Deetlefs were on the farm at that time.

“I was at the police station when they decided to walk on the freeway,” said Pissarra.

One dead in Ballito land grab attempt
IOL News 14 April 2015

A woman was run over by a bakkie and three others were injured on the N2 during a land grab attempt in Ballito.

Durban - Land invasion by the Economic Freedom Fighters went horribly wrong on Monday when a woman was run over by a bakkie and three others were injured on the N2 near Ballito.

A group of people had built makeshift housing structures on a vacant piece of private property on Sunday afternoon, said police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker.

The land is near the N2 freeway turn-off to Ballito.

Police did not say which political party had been involved into coaxing people to grab land, but the EFF has claimed that it is part of its policy to grab land not being used.

Over the past week its members have been actively engaged in helping the homeless occupy land, including in Ballito.

Police were alerted and the group was dispersed. The landowners then removed the structures the same night, but the group returned on Monday, allegedly stoning passing cars.

“Upon dispersal (Monday), a motor vehicle travelling northwards on the N2 hit four pedestrians suspected to be part of the group which erected the structures. One pedestrian was killed and three were seriously injured,” Naicker said.

Umhlali police are investigating a case of trespassing and culpable homicide.

Paul Herbst, spokesman for IPSS medical rescue, said they had responded to the incident. He confirmed four people were struck by a vehicle.

“Two patients had been treated for moderate injuries. One had been declared dead on the scene. A third patient was treated by another ambulance service. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital,” he said.

The land the group had invaded was owned by a consortium of North Coast residents and was earmarked for residential and commercial development, a source said.

A spokesman for the consortium, Trevor Milstead, called the land grab “silly” and declined to comment further.

The EFF’s provincial chairman, Vukani Ndlovu, released a general statement saying the party was driving its Land Occupation Programme. He did not comment specifically about Ballito.

Ndlovu said the programme was part of the EFF’s founding documents and “seven cardinal pillars”.

“As a Fanonian party we take seriously the words of Frantz Fanon. The first and most important thing for oppressed people, not only because it gives food and shelter but also that it restores dignity, is the land,” Ndlovu said.

He said the EFF had already earmarked unused portions of land where they were helping people to settle.

The DA’s spokesman on housing, Hlanganani Gumbi, said the Ballito land grab should be treated as a criminal act.

“The party lurches from one cheap publicity stunt to another. This could harm the economy and investor confidence,” he said.

Gumbi said there was an urgent need by the provincial government to establish an anti-land invasion unit.

“Our province cannot afford a situation where people believe that invading land is justifiable or leads to faster housing delivery when in fact, it does the opposite.”

EFF land grab at Ballito
IOL News 14 April 2015

Durban - A criminal charge was laid against EFF members on Monday after party members from Shaka’s Head near Stanger invaded private land in Ballito at the weekend.

The invaders started building shacks on land destined for development between the N2 highway and the R102 early on Sunday.

Police dispersed the group on Monday morning and the structures were demolished. Police and private security remained at the farm to prevent the invaders returning to rebuild.

Attorney Jon de Wet, who represents the owners, Greenfield Property, said they would apply for a Durban High Court interdict today to prevent any further invasions.

De Wet said the land was earmarked for a commercial development and the owners were going through processes such as the environmental impact assessment.

Ballito councillor Malcom Hubner said the invaders had a piece of paper from the KwaDukuza Municipality which gave them access to land, “but the land is in Groutville and apparently they are not happy”.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said: “A case of trespassing has been opened for investigation.

“No arrests have been made and investigations are continuing.”

The planned development is called Greenlands Town Centre and seven commercial properties will be built.

Hubner said people started dividing the land into stands at 6am on Sunday. There were about 40 people and by Monday the number had increased to about 100.

Hubner said this was an electioneering stunt, as opposed to a major land grab.

“They are trying to get a position for themselves in terms of who the EFF is in this area.”

He said locals came to see what was happening, but there was no aggression.

Fresh protest at Roodepoort Primary
IOL News 14 April 2015

Johannesburg - The Roodepoort Primary School debacle that began when parents questioned the appointment of a black principal and her two deputies is far from over.

On Monday, parents once again gathered in front of the school chanting that they were waiting for the Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi to address them about issues they had put to him regarding principal Nomathemba Molefe and her deputies.

The parents said they wanted the process of employing the principal re-done as the school had gone “from good to bad” since 2011.

A man with three grandchildren at the school said many pupils did not know how to read or write. When parents voiced their concern, they were labelled racist.” How can we be racist when our school is 80 percent black?” he asked.

All hell broke loose at the school in February when the parents did not want Molefe back saying the proper procedures had not been followed when she was employed. They also questioned why the man, who had been the acting principal at the school for five years, was not given the job. They also accused Molefe of being corrupt. Since she took over, they said, the standards at the school had dropped.

As the situation continued to get out of control with the parents vowing there would be no school until Molefe was removed, Lesufi bowed to pressure. He temporarily removed Molefe from the school and replaced her with a coloured interim principal. He also promised to investigate all their claims and revert back to them about his finding.

However, when after hours of waiting in the cold on Monday they were informed that Lesufi only planned to see them on Tuesday, the crowd that was gathered there went berserk.

“Nee, nee, nee, ons soek hom nou (no, no, no, we want to see him now). He must not come and play games with us,” a woman in the crowd shouted angrily.

One of the community leaders Brandon Rousseau said most of the people had taken the day off work because when Lesufi had last met with them on March 24, he had promised to return to the school and give them feedback about their concerns.

Rosseau said if Lesufi was not at the school at 1pm, he should not come back and hope to speak to them, threatening to escalate the matter to the office of the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.

“He is playing games. If he is not here by 1pm negotiations are off,” Rousseau warned.

A short while later the community made up its mind and organised kombis to transport them to Lesufi’s office.

The group of more than 50 forced their way into the Gauteng Department of Educations offices in the Joburg CBD and caused chaos in the lobby, chanting that they won’t leave until Lesufi showed his face.

After almost two hours police officers present managed to talk the crowd out of their planned sit in and persuaded them to leave.

Lesufi’s spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane, who came out to address the media, said: “Over time we’ve been engaging the community around their concerns about Roodepoort Primary School and the last time we met with them there was a resolution that we’d investigate some of their complaints. The MEC said he’d put in place a forensic investigation into the matter and then said to them that he’d meet with them when the school’s reopen. Now, we didn’t necessarily say it’s going to be the 13th of April. The MEC’s diary says there’s a meeting with the community scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) at 2 o’clock. So tomorrow we’ll be at the school and table the report to them.”

As the protesters left some promised to shut the school down and many said Lesufi shouldn’t even bother coming.

UCT’s Max Price ‘must fall’
IOL News 14 April 2015

This sentiment was expressed by the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement on Monday when it called for the removal of UCT vice-chancellor Max Price and the top tier of the university’s management.

RMF spokeswoman Kealeboga Ramaru revealed that the organisation – which initiated the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue from UCT’s campus – was ready to approach the Department of Higher Education and Training to call for the UCT management’s removal.

Ramaru said that UCT management had failed black students.

“We are giving management until April 15 to deliver on our demands for transformation. If this does not happen, we will approach the minister (of higher education and training) and call for its removal.”

Asked to respond, UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said: “Despite a challenging month, we followed an accelerated process within the UCT community that saw the Rhodes statue removed last Thursday. In addition to that, UCT will complete its work on transformation as outlined in the vice-chancellor’s statement which we have shared.”

RMF members Thatho Pule, Notokozo Dladla and Duduzile Ndlovu joined Ramaru at Jameson Square on Monday to address the media for the first time since the historic removal of the statue.

They accused university management, specifically Price and registrar Hugh Amoore, of using intimidation tactics against RMF. Ramaru linked this to an e-mail from Price which was circulated to staff and students. She also mentioned an eviction notice and a court interdict served to RMF members by Amoore on Friday and Saturday.

RMF has also complained to management, alleging its members had been assaulted by campus security and staff.

UCT has since threatened to take disciplinary action against four students who allegedly acted outside the legitimate boundaries of protest.

Kruger said: “We reject the allegations (of intimidation). Complaints from both staff and students in this last period are being investigated.”

EFF members demand to see police boss
IOL News 14 April 2015

Cape Town - A group of EFF protesters sang and chanted at the gates of the Khayelitsha Stadium, attempting to seize an opportunity to speak to the Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu, who was a guest speaker at a local imbizo.

While police top brass were delivering speeches inside a large marquee set up on the stadium’s field, police officers kept a close eye on the group toyi-toying at the gate.

The protesting group, the same residents who invaded land near Khayelitsha’s Nolungile train station last week, and who were evicted, had heard the minister would be in Khayelitsha.

EFF member and Site B resident Khuliswa Nondala said: “We heard the minister was coming and we wanted to hand over a memorandum to the minister.”

The residents were hoping to list their grievances to the government. While the protesting group dispersed, issues regarding the recent land invasion were among hot topics at the imbizo.

Referring to clashes with protesting land invaders, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer said the past few weeks had been difficult and that resources had to be diverted. “Those resources were supposed to be used to safeguard and fight crime in our communities,”

Earlier in the day councillor Patrick Mngxunyeni questioned Lamoer about police resources, saying Khayelitsha had doubled in size in the past five years and still only has two police stations.

“There’s talk of another station in Makhaza. I submit my humble request that you follow up on that activation,” Mngxunyeni said.

Lamoer said 100 police officers were recruited and would be deployed next year.

“Yes, Makhaza station has been approved,” he said adding that they were drafting the plans and getting the money together.

Questions were fired at Lamoer, Sotyu, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who were on the panel.

Questions varied, among them issues of resources, drug dealing, a lack of confidence in police and xenophobia.

A 24-year-old woman stood up and cried as she told Sotyu that she had been frequently raped since she was 9 years old, and that some of the perpetrators continued to wander around the area.

She said that despite reporting the matter, police had done nothing. Community members gasped as she spoke.

Sotyu said she would follow up on the matter.

“There won’t be freedom anywhere in the world if security of that country is threatened.”

She emphasised a point raised by Lamoer on concerns regarding the number of police officers being killed. “They are being killed almost every day in front of communities, by the communities.”

Near the end of her address, she added: “Above everything I’ve said, talk to your children, stop killing the police… let’s look after the safety of our police officers.”

UCT students end occupation
IOL News 13 April 2015

Cape Town - Students from the “Rhodes Must Fall” campaign have left the University of Cape Town’s Bremner administration building, saving the university’s administration from having to execute an eviction notice.

During the noisy and eventually successful campaign, the students occupied the administration building on March 20, were able to force the suspension of administrative duties at the building and renamed it Azania House. They vowed to stay there until the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, which they said was a remnant of colonialism which offended them, was removed.

The statue was removed on Thursday but students continued to occupy the middle campus administration building, according to SRC vice-president Zizipho Paye. They were served with an eviction notice, but remained defiant and continued to occupy the building until the weekend.

On Sunday, Paye said they were intending on moving from the building but needed time to “formulate a way forward”.

“The occupation was due to end on Friday but we just wanted at least a day to be able to come together to be able to work things out and how we would move forward.”

Paye said some students were still occupying the building on Sunday and were planning to end the occupation on Monday. “The sheriff of the court served us with an eviction notice on Friday and some students have even been charged with things like damage to property…”

Last week, UCT vice-chancellor Max Price issued a warning to the remaining protesters, even threatening legal action.

In a statement after the removal of the statue, Price said “firm action” against the group would not undermine the transformation issues brought about by the campaign.

“We will firstly create a forum where students, staff and the university leadership co-determine the agenda for action. Second, we have committed to concluding the review of symbols and names by the end of this year.

“Third, we have created a space for black academic staff, in particular those who affiliating themselves with ‘Transform UCT’, to engage with academic heads of departments to develop a programme within each academic department that addresses the issues of staff transformation,” Price said.

There would be more to follow, he added.

Additional reporting Henri du Plessis

'Political instigators' blamed for land grabs
IOL News 13 April 2015

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is set to lay criminal charges against “political instigators” of a spate of illegal land invasions which have hit the metropole in recent days.

Metro Police and the SA Police Service officers were called to intervene in at least three land grabs in Khayelitsha, Wallacedene and Kalkfontein in the past week.

“The City is investigating reports of possible political interference pertaining to the Kalkfontein violence but it must be emphasised that a trend of political instigation is already visible in the attempted land invasions which have taken place recently, including in Khayelitsha,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen.

“We condemn land invasions and the incitement to invade State- or privately-owned land in the strongest possible terms. We urge residents not to be misled by miscreants who are preying on the poor to build their political profiles and to create havoc in the city.”

On Sunday night, a group of protestors who were prevented from invading land in Kalkfontein, near Kuils River, set a church alight.

“We will not tolerate this behaviour, which is placing strain on the City’s law enforcement agencies, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the City’s broader service delivery efforts at the expense of law-abiding residents,” said Van Minnen.

“The City will use every available resource at its disposal to prevent land invasions and we will make sure that those who are responsible for any incitement to violence, land invasions and other criminal acts face the full consequences of the law.”

Van Minnen declined to name the politicians the City would be laying charges against regarding the Kalkfontein incident.

The City had, however, already laid charges against Economic Freedom Fighters Western Cape leader Nazier Paulsen who led a group of people to occupy land in Khayelitsha during the Easter weekend.

The City had since managed to remove the structures erected on the land next to the Nolungile railway station.

Law enforcement officers were also called to Wallacedene in Kraaifontein at the weekend. Thirty four structures were removed from the land.

The City on Monday called on private landowners to contact the City and relevant law enforcement agencies if they detect the illegal occupation of land.

“Landowners need to act immediately,” said Van Minnen.

“If landowners or residents are aware of any other illegal activity, such as political instigation or criminality, they must approach the SAPS to conduct an investigation and for assistance.”

No politics for petrol bomb woman
IOL News 10 April 2015

Durban - The mother of the 4-year-old girl injured during a petrol-bomb attack at their home in Esikhawini, near Richards Bay, has decided to distance herself from politics.

Nompumelelo Nyandeni, 38, an IFP member who is the owner of one of the two homes set alight 20 minutes apart early on Monday in the Madukwini area, said she would put her family’s safety first.

“Even though for now it is just suspicions that this is linked to politics, I have decided that politics is not worth putting my family in danger,” she said on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Nyandeni had vowed she would continue serving her party no matter what, as her husband, Samson Gwala, had died serving the IFP.

Gwala, a former ward councillor, was gunned down in 2013.

Nyandeni is now in hiding, in the wake of the attack, with her three other daughters.

The Daily News accompanied Nyandeni to visit her daughter, Aphelele Gwala, in hospital and found the little girl just coming out of theatre after having her wounds cleaned and new bandages put on.

When the child awoke, she was shivering and the nursing sister in charge of the burn section ward ordered an extra blanket for her.

She asked for some water and after one sip, immediately went back to sleep.

“At least she can talk now. I have been praying for her to talk,” Nyandeni said.

“The doctor said the burns on the back of her right leg will cause a little limping once she has healed as there was a lot of tissue damage there.”

She did not want to leave her child’s bedside and said she was waiting for her to wake up again and speak a little more.

Her other daughter, Samkelisiwe Gwala, a 19-year-old Grade 11 pupil who suffered minor burns on her right hand during the attack, said she did not want to go back to their house.

“I have never been that scared in my life. I have never seen so much fire. Sleep does not come easy, I do not think I can ever sleep in that room again,” she said.

Nyandeni’s two other children, Thabile, 6, and Kwanele Gwala. 2, were not injured in the fire.

Nyandeni said it was hard being in hiding because the people she was staying with were also now fearing for their lives.

A neighbour, an IFP member who refused to be identified, said he was scared to speak openly about the attacks because that would get him and his family in danger.

“We are still shocked and asking ourselves what kind of person would want to do that to innocent children,” he said.

“We are some of the people who helped out when we saw the fire and I am not comfortable with even that fact because I ask myself, if these people could do this to children, what would stop them from doing the same to my family if they found out I helped save those lives, which is clear they wanted over and done with?”

Another neighbour said he could not say whether the attacks were political.

“I do not want to talk about something I do not know anything about. I would rather let the police do their job and have them come and tell us why these two homes were attacked,” he said, declining to say which political party he supports.

Miriam Sikhakhane, 48, the acting IFP councillor in the area, said the attack had caused fear in some members of the party.


“Some people are saying they do not want to be identified with the party anymore, which is not very good for our work. Local government elections are coming up next year and this situation is not good for us, but it is understandable why people would be fearful.”

Sikhakhane said she did not know of any previous political violence in the area except for the sole case of the gunning down of Nyandeni’s husband in 2013.

Independent ward councillor, King Nsibande, said last night he could not comment on the attacks as he had not yet seen the family.

Meanwhile, police have reported four other fire attacks in Ngcombo Reserve, a neighbouring area, that happened on the same day as those in Madukwini.

Esikhawini police were investigating six cases of arson, provincial police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane said.

IFP chairman in the Uthungulu District, Thamsanqa Ntuli, said they were not aware of other attacks but would be checking the area to see if the incidents were related.

ANC secretary for the Musa Dladla region, Tholi Gwala, said his party could only comment once the police had established that the attacks were politically motivated.

Ventersdorp municipal workers are on strike
IOL News 13 April 2015

Rustenburg - Municipal workers in Ventersdorp were on strike, demanding the suspension of council directors, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Monday.

Cosatu North West provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said workers embarked on an unprotected strike last week after they were allegedly provoked by councillors.

“The strike has been on since Tuesday (April 7) after the mayor and her council told workers that they are in political power and they have no business with unions, in particular the South African Municipal Workers Union,” Phetoe said.

“Workers demanded the suspension of directors who are employed with no qualifications and continue treating workers very badly.”

He said workers demanded an investigation into corruption allegations against councillors and “protected directors” of the municipality.

“The municipality is under attack due to poor leadership... Poor communities have no water, no electricity. There is poor service delivery rendered by the municipality due to corruption led by councillors,” Phetoe said.

The municipal workers went on strike prior to the re-burial of JB Marks, but the strike was soon resolved through a settlement.

Phetoe said the municipality was not implementing several resolutions reached prior to the re-burial.

He said workers were also demanding the municipality provide them with protective clothing.

“There is one worker who is blind, others were injured when they fell from municipal trucks. Workers demanded that those who are disabled due to the non-compliance must be compensated as per the law and the municipality must take responsibilities for all the medical expenses.”

Phetoe called on the North West provincial government to intervene.

“We call the MEC of Local Government and the Premier to do exactly what they did with Ngaka Modiri Molema and save the people of Ventersdorp.”

The municipality was not immediately available for comment.

Three held for North West protest
IOL News 13 April 2015

Rustenburg – Three people were arrested for public violence in Ledig near Sun City, North West police said on Monday.

Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said the three were arrested on Saturday following a community protest.

“This is after the community barricaded the roads from Rustenburg to Sun City and from Ledig to Mabeskraal with tree branches, burning tyres and rocks. It is alleged that the community is demanding feedback regarding misuses of Bakubung Tribal Council funds,” Ngubane said.

“Preliminary investigation so far revealed that a house, a truck and a shop were set alight while four shops belonging to foreign nationals were looted.”

The three were expected to appear in the Mogwase Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Police say the situatio was calm in Ledig on Monday morning.

The chairman of Bakubung Economic Development Unit, Ditsele ‘DJ’ Phologoane, confirmed that his parent’s home was torched in the early hours of Saturday.

Community leader Pakaza Mdluli said the community wanted the tribal council to account for the R527 million, which he claimed was missing.

He said the community blocked the road in a hope that the North West provincial government would intervene in the matter.

Protests rock North West’s Ledig
IOL News 12 April 2015

Rustenburg - A house was burnt down and roads barricaded in Ledig near Sun City in the North West during a protest over investments, community leaders said on Sunday.

“We decided to block roads in an attempt to get government officials to intervene in our problems. It is seven years now…” said community leader Pakaza Mdluli.

He said there was over R500 million missing that belonged to the Ledig community.

“There is a company mining in our area, it offered us shares, at that time there was a traditional council… the council without consulting the community sold the shares.

“They then told us they have invested the money (over R500m) in some companies belonging to the community, when the money matured they told us they have reinvested the money. How do you reinvest when the community does not have water and proper roads?” Mdluli asked.

“We want the council to account to the community. We want to know where is the money.”

Phologoane who is the chairman of the community investment arm, Bakubung Economic Development Unit, said the issue was stoked by some members of the royal family to shield themselves from disclosing what happened to the R12 million they (royal family) got from Wesizwe platinum mine.

“We disclosed everything to them. We even went to the Auditor-General for our books to be audited. Now it is for them to disclose to the community what happened to the R12 million.”

He said the royal family through the acting-chief was supposed to have called a public meeting in February to disclose how they spent the money.

Protests then flared up last week when a group of people went to Phologoane’s parents’ home to make demands.

“In the early hours of Saturday, my parental home was torched,” Phologoane said.

The Moses Kotane local municipality said all roads leading to Ledig were temporarily closed due to community protests.

The roads were re-opened by Sunday afternoon.

Police were monitoring the situation.

Labour row halts Medupi construction
IOL News 13 April 2015

Johannesburg - Thousands of workers at Eskom’s Medupi power plant stayed away from work on Monday to protest the firing of some of their colleagues, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said.

Labour disruptions and technical faults have increased costs at Eskom's Medupi coal-fired plant, expected to start generating 800 megawatts of extra electricity by July.

“The site is not operational and there is no work being done. We are currently in negotiations with contractors and Eskom,” said Steve Nhlapo, the head of collective bargaining for Numsa.

Once fully complete, the long-delayed power plant would become South Africa's first new power station to come online in 20 years and help to address a chronic supply shortage.

Talk to us, residents tell Impala
IOL News 9 April 2015

Rustenburg - Residents of Kanana near Rustenburg marched to Impala Platinum Mine’s 16 shaft on Thursday, demanding that the mine deal directly with them about issues affecting them.

Community leader Thulani Maboa said their demands had remained the same over the years because nothing had change.

“Impala must engage with leaders that we as mining communities have elected to represent our interest. The continual refusal of Impala to engaged with our elected leaders is an indication of arrogance in cooperation with Kanana community,” he said.

In a memorandum submitted to Impala, residents wanted the mine to hire residents from Kanana directly and to make it a priority.

“The mine must stop using matric as an entry level for people of Kanana while it employed people from Lesotha and Mozambique without matric,” he said.

They also complained that the influx of mineworkers in the area had forced them to share with mineworkers’ health services which was not enough for all of them.

The mine was given seven days to respond to issues raised in the memorandum. The march ended without incident.

We didn’t topple Horse Memorial - EFF
IOL News 7 April 2015

Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters on Tuesday applauded the toppling of Port Elizabeth’s 110-year-old Horse Memorial but said it could not claim responsibility for the act.

“We are not aware that any of our members did that but we do not condemn it. In fact we applaud it because we have now taken a decision that all these statues must come down,” said Simcelile Rubela, the party’s Eastern Cape co-ordinator.

The bronze statue was erected in memory of horses who served and died in the Second Boer War and shows a kneeling soldier holding a bucket of water for his horse. The soldier was ripped off the plinth on Monday.

The EFF, which has issued a call for all colonial and apartheid era memorials to be dismantled, reacted in the same manner after the statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria was defaced at the weekend.

The City of Tshwane has called on heritage experts to help clean the landmark memorial in Church Square after vandals poured green paint over two of the bronze sentries that form part of it.

On Monday, the 363th anniversary of Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival in the Cape, the EFF also called on supporters to remove his statue from Adderley Street in Cape Town.

Occupiers speak out against UCT
IOL News 13 April 2015

By Carla Bernardo Comment on this story
Cape Town - Protestors of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement on Monday said the University of Cape Town (UCT) was distorting engagement between student protestors and staff.

“The email from Dr Max Price, the notice served by Hugh Amoore, and the interdict served to the RMF is a part of management’s attempts to discredit the movement, “ said the RMF.

RMF was responding to an email sent by Vice-Chancellor Price and a notice signed by Registrar Amoore on Friday.

It was also to explain the end of their occupation at UCT’s administration building, Bremner.

Price said the RMF and the Student Representative Council (SRC) agreed to vacate once the Cecil John Rhodes statue was removed, as it was on Thursday.

According to Price, the SRC had honoured the agreement.

However, the RMF said this was just one of their terms before ending occupation which began March 20.

The RMF left Bremner on Sunday night following a court summons.

“You, Max Price, chose not to engage us like humans. You referred to the black student as a problem,” said the RMF’s Thato Pule.

The RMF said they chose to vacate Bremner because of threats to four of their fellow protestors.

“By singling out four individuals, management is attempting a method of divide and conquer,” said RMF.

“Let it be known, we will protect our own and as such, we have vacated.”

The four students RMF were referring to had lodged complaints to UCT management regarding alleged attacks by campus security and staff on student protestors.

On Price’s statement about continuing to tackle transformation despite disagreements with the RMF, the movement said “decolonisation cannot be headed up by the colonialists”. UCT could not immediately comment.

The RMF also tackled allegations that their fight had been taken over by political parties.

“We believe we represent something that is a feeling across the country. It is something many people have been feeling,” it said.

On statues vandalised across the country, RMF said they “would not police black rage”.

“We cannot condemn people who act out the aggression they experience every day,” it said.

The RMF also clarified their position on the role of different race groups.

“All people of colour who have experienced inequality have a place in our organisation,” it said.

The RMF said they were committed to carrying out their three-pronged fight for transformation of staff demographics, academic curriculum, and workers’ rights.

UCT’s Council, the institution’s highest decision-making body, were to meet on Wednesday.

“We are giving management until April 15 to deliver on our demands for transformation,” said RMF.

Seven held after Cape taxi protest
IOL News 14 April 2015

Cape Town - Kirstenhof police impounded seven minibus taxis and arrested seven drivers during Monday morning’s street protest by Westlake Taxi Association (WTA) drivers and supporters, police spokesman FC van Wyk said.

The arrests were for operating taxis without valid permits, he said.

“In addition, two members of the association were arrested for robbery and assault, emanating from this incident.

“Police do not condone this kind of action by any entity, even if there is just cause, and will not hesitate to act against anyone who violates the law,” Van Wyk said.

The protest caused traffic chaos on roads in areas such as Steenberg, Westlake Drive, Main Road from Muizenberg to Steenberg, and Ou Kaapse Weg.

Taxi drivers and their guards used their vehicles to block the Steenberg Road-Westlake Drive intersection, frustrating many motorists. A small crowd gathered at the intersection and toyi-toyied.

Order was later restored by the police, Metro Police and city law enforcement officials, who managed to clear the roads after the protesting taxi operators had blocked the road with burning tyres.

WTA member and taxi driver Weekend Fodo said they were protesting against taxis from Wynberg, Retreat, Vrygrond and Khayelitsha that were “wrongfully” operating on the Westlake taxi route.

“We are supposed to be operating alone here. We were established in 2010,” Fodo said.

“It’s a peaceful protest. We want other taxis not to operate on our routes.”

Cape taxi drivers in violent protest
IOL News 13 April 2015

Cape Town - Traffic came to a halt in Retreat and Tokai on Monday morning as a group of angry taxi drivers took to the streets in violent protest against other operators allegedly encroaching on their business.

City Traffic Services spokeswoman Maxine Jordaan said the Main, Tokai and Steenberg roads were sporadically closed as police faced off with protesters.

Rashied Jochems, an employee at a business in the area, told the Cape Argus that the taxi drivers had started protesting at the Engen service station on Main Road at around 6.30am. “They were throwing people out of taxis, it really wasn’t clear why they were doing that.”

When police came to disperse the crowds, who were blocking the heavy traffic that moves through the area in the morning, the taxi drivers - some armed with sjamboks - ran towards the Tokai and Steenberg roads. They went on to light tyres outside Westlake Square, where plumes of black smoke billowed over the mall.

“It was actually scary,” said Jochems, explaining that many of the residents in the area were unable to get to work. “I saw these huge queues of people waiting for taxis.” The protesters were drivers belonging to the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association, said a spokesman for the organisation.

Michael Matyala said they had become “fed up” after drivers from their rival union, the Congress for Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta), which operates predominantly from within Khayelitsha, had moved on to their routes. “They are coming here to provoke us, so we decided to protest to make sure the city and government help us out.”

Members of Codeta were not available for comment at the time of going to print.

By 10am, the roads had been opened.

A total of nine people were arrested so far in connection with a violent protest by taxi operators which caused chaos on roads in Steenberg and surrounding areas in Cape Town on Monday morning, Western Cape police said.

“In addition two members from the taxi association were also arrested for robbery and assault, emanating from this incident,” Van Wyk said.

Cape land invaders refuse to move
IOL News 13 April 2015

Cape Town - Illegal land invasions have spread across Cape Town from Khayelitsha, Kalkfontein near Bonteheuwel and now to Wallacedene in Kraaifontein.

JP Smith, the mayco member of safety and security for the City of Cape Town, said seven people who occupied land illegally in Kalkfontein were arrested on Saturday.

“There were protesters in the area who were burning tyres and throwing stones near the lane of the R300 earlier on Saturday afternoon. And, firemen in Hamilton Estate were also assaulted after trying to put out a fire. One man was injured and the others refused to go back to control the fire because of the danger that they were in,” Smith said.

In light of the sporadic land grabs that took place across the city last week, Smith provided a breakdown of the city’s intervention.

“(A total of) 20 illegal structures and 920 pegs were destroyed in Khayelitsha, 100 pegs were destroyed in Lwandle (Strand). Thirteen illegal structures were demolished in Kalkfontein.”

He said public spaces in Wallacedene were under threat. “More of these illegal structures are being erected. (On Sunday) police will be in the area to stop these structures from disturbing public spaces.”

When the Cape Argus visited Kalkfontein on Sunday, people remained defiant and continued to erect illegal structures, saying they have nowhere else to go.

Elliot Malgas was adamant that he and his family would not move willingly. “We still want to build here. On Saturday, law enforcement demolished our homes but we haven’t got any other place to stay.”

After being evicted, Malgas said: “It was terrible, I am not happy. Everyone here has bought all the materials for their houses, now we have to spend more money to build. I have lost my TV, clothes and even my ID.”

He said this was the third time in one week that their homes were destroyed.

A church was set alight during the violent protest.

“It’s confirmed that the church has been set alight. Apparently it appears it was set alight by protestors,” said police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana.

No injuries were reported.

“No arrests have been made so far. The investigation is still ongoing,” said Kinana.

Joshua Njingo, who was shot in the head on Saturday said: “They came to shoot at us while we were building. It’s terrible. The South African law enforcement can’t just come from behind and just shoot you.”

Banele Ntlangani, 22, another Kalkfontein resident, feared losing his eight-month-old baby, Uminati.

“We were busy building and law enforcement came. They said they were here just to break the shacks without people living inside them. Afterwards they surrounded the whole area with hippos and then just broke all the houses.”

Police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana said: “Eight protesters were arrested for public violence on Sunday and they are expected to appear in court (Monday).”

March to end bail for alleged paedophiles
IOL News 11 April 2015

Plettenberg Bay - Hundreds of Plettenberg Bay residents and children’s rights activists are expected to take to the streets of the coastal holiday town next week in an effort to bring an end to granting bail to alleged paedophiles.

This comes ahead of the next court appearance of a local computer engineer who was arrested in January for alleged links to a baby pornography network, after international police swooped on his Plett home.

The man, who cannot be named until he has pleaded, was arrested after a lengthy investigation by South African and Belgian police after his internet address was found on a cyber meeting space for alleged paedophiles with fetishes for what appears to be the sexual abuse of infants in nappies.

He appeared in the local magistrate’s court and was released on R10 000 bail under strict conditions. The case was postponed to April 22.

The bust has led to further arrests, including in Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and Midrand.

The incidents prompted a huge outcry from the public and children’s rights groups, especially in Plettenberg Bay.

More than 2 000 residents and visitors have thrown their weight behind an attempt to bring an end to the granting of bail for alleged paedophiles, signing a petition drawn up by local resident Yvette Wilschut shortly after news of the bust made headlines.

More than 300 residents participated in a march through the streets of Plettenberg Bay in February to voice their concerns.

Wilschut said because of the outrage among communities, another march had been scheduled for next Saturday, four days ahead of the computer engineer’s next court appearance.

Another petition will also be handed to local police. “We can’t just do this once and think it is enough. We will continue until we are heard,” Wilschut said.

She said the march and petition were started to convince the authorities to review the law regarding bail for alleged paedophiles.

Woman and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) will also show their support for the cause by sending representatives to Plettenberg Bay for the court appearance.

WMACA advocacy manager Germaine Vogel said the reason for their support was because child pornography was harmful. “It is a serious criminal offence. In every image of sexual abuse, rape and torture of children, there is a victim that needs help,” Vogel said.

“We at WMACA encourage and support as much public activism as possible in raising awareness on the reality and effects of this despicable crime. And at the same time, we need to put pressure on the State to take immediate effective action to fight this crime. The State must appoint highly trained specialists and provide them with all necessary resources to enable them to carry out their duties as effectively as possible.”

In the the present situation criminals who view, distribute and manufacture images of the rape of babies and children are being released on bail and receive below-average sentences.

UCT warns defiant occupiers
IOL News 11 April 2015

Cape Town - As UCT vice-chancellor Max Price warned that students occupying the university’s main administration building could face prosecution, the students were unbowed late on Friday, even renaming the building Azania House and posting a notice above the entrance that reads: “Under new management.”

The warning from Price, which included a threat that university leaders would seek High Court intervention, also extended to students who posted racist comments on social media websites, he said, pointing to a hard line against students a day after

their Rhodes Must Fall campaign saw the removal of the statue of British colonialist Cecil John Rhodes from the campus.

The statue has temporarily been moved until a decision is made on its final destination.

Students occupied the Bremner Building on March 20, vowing to remain until the statue was removed. Price said they were breaching the agreement and had been informed that “failure to comply with the requirement that they end their occupation of the building will be unlawful”.

“(It) will be a contravention of the rules of conduct and will have disciplinary consequences.

“We also informed the occupiers that should they not comply, we will have no choice but to approach the High Court for an order compelling them to do so,” he warned.

It was, however, open to mediation, Price added, but he complained that the students had been “severely disrupting the work of UCT administration, including, from time-to-time, behaviour that had the effect of harassing staff and evicting some from their offices, and disrupting meetings”.

“We have moved staff to work in other buildings and some have worked from home. We have tolerated this disruption to allow the process of consultation and decision on the removal of the Rhodes statue to run its course,” he said.

But the university would not tolerate violence, as witnessed during the Rhodes statue removal on Thursday. Some students and members of political parties present – the EFF, ANC and PAC – had pushed down the fencing around the statue. EFF members also stopped the truck transporting the statue, trying to push it off the vehicle.

The Rhodes Must Fall campaigners has also “crossed a line of acceptable protest, ignoring the SRC’s pleas, when they stormed into the (UCT) council meeting on Wednesday”.

“This behaviour was completely unacceptable, challenged the authority of council, could have risked preventing council from completing its business, and will result in prosecutions of the students involved,” said Price.

“I am also aware of the incidents of chants of ‘one settler, one bullet’ as was heard at both the council (Wednesday) meeting and at the occasion of the removal of the statue.

“I wish to express my dismay that this has happened, condemn all acts of intimidation and reckless utterances as they have no place in our democracy, and are in serious conflict with the values of the university.”

They had also been “disgusted by the volume and vitriol of racist comments made primarily in the online social media, but also some graffiti on the boards assembled for people to write comments on”.

“We are investigating every one of them. Most are under pseudonyms and cannot be traced.

“Where there are names, we have not been able to link any such postings to any UCT students or staff. But if we can, we will be determined in prosecuting the authors,” he said.

Rhodes Must Fall campaigner Busisiwe Nxumalo said they remained committed to occupying Bremner, “until all our demands are met”.

“We are still going to occupy the building. We want to fight for workers and make sure that students are heard.”

Nxumalo said the removal from campus of the Rhodes statue was a “small victory”.

However Student Representative Council president Ramabina Mahapa said the student body had distanced itself from the Bremner occupation.

Hannetjie du Preez, acting chief executive of Heritage Western Cape (HWC), said the statue “forms part of the declared provincial heritage site known as the Upper Campus” on UCT.

“In light of concerns for the safety of the statue, an urgent application was made to HWC for the removal and temporary safe-keeping of the Rhodes statue by the university,’ she said. –Additional reporting by Jan Cronje

UCT occupiers face ‘extraordinary threat’
IOL News 10 April 2015

Cape Town - A group of student protestors who on Friday defied a 2pm deadline to vacate the University of Cape Town’s Bremner building they had occupied since March 20 were up against extraordinary circumstances, a former UCT student said on Friday.

“We have to leave quickly because we are facing an extraordinary threat,” said Chuman Maxwele, the former student who allegedly threw faeces on the Cecil John Rhodes statue and started the debate which eventually led to the removal of the monument.

The protesters and the Student Representative Council had agreed with the university that they would end their occupation as soon as the statue was removed.

The SRC had honoured the agreement but the movement had splintered and the breakaway group had remained behind and continued the sit-in.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price had earlier on Friday issued a warning to the remaining protesters that they needed to vacate at the building at 2pm. But almost an hour later they had not left and the university was locked in closed discussions with the group.

A few of the students left an hour after the deadline.

Maxwele and SRC President Ramabina Mahapa left soon thereafter.

“The movement is going to draft a response to Price,” said Mahapa.

Mahapa said although the SRC were honouring their agreement to vacate the premises, it was their responsibility to protect the remaining students.

“We want to facilitate mediation between the University and the students. We may have separated from the movement but that does not mean we do not continue to support and protect them,” he said.

UCT Bremner building protest continues
IOL News 10 April 2015

Cape Town - Student protesters on Friday defied the University of Cape Town’s notice to end their occupation of the administration building.

“We are still here. We will speak in an hour,” said Chumani Maxwele, the protester who allegedly threw human excrement at the statue of Cecil John Rhodes.

The protesters and the Student Representative Council had agreed with the University that they would end their occupation, which began March 20, as soon as the statue was removed. The statue was removed on Thursday evening. The SRC had honoured the agreement but the movement, which Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price said had since splintered - remained behind, occupying the building.

Price earlier on Friday issued a warning to the remaining protesters that they needed to vacate at 2pm. Almost an hour later, the protesters had not left and the University was in closed discussions with the protesters

Land invasion chaos
IOL News 9 April 2015

Police gave the squatters a five-minute warning to leave the property. Picture: Cindy Waxa
Khayelitsha residents were set to meet on Thursday to discuss the occupation of land in the township’s TR sections.

“They want to meet to find out the way forward… They need this land but they are scared of building again if their homes will just be destroyed,” said a community spokesman, whose name is known to the Cape Argus but who wishes to remain anonymous.

Residents had started gathering by the time of going to print this morning.

Police spokesman Andre Traut reported that there had not been any further violence in the area after tensions boiled over on Wednesday during evictions on land next to the Nolungile train station.

But members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who led the illegal occupation of the private land on Monday, have threatened further disruptions such as setting fires and invading land in other areas.

Squatters on the field next to the train station were outnumbered by police early on Wednesday morning. The owners of the land had obtained an order to evict dwellers who had been erecting shacks there since Monday.

About 20 of the structures, some nothing but skeletal wooden frames stood scattered between the crowd of protesters who waved their tools, including spades, crowbars and wooden sticks, fiercely above their heads.

They said they had brought their materials to the strip of land because of overcrowding in Khayelitsha’s Site C.

“There are homes with 15, 16 people living in them,” shouted Major Mali as he walked carefully along the uneven ground. “This just isn’t right.”

The squatters said they would stand their ground. But the boom of a stun grenade, and the crack of shotguns loaded with blanks and rubber bullets sent them screaming and fleeing. Demolition crews worked quickly, toppling shacks with a clang of hammers against timber and steel.

As the new homes were dismantled and loaded on to trucks, a plume of smoke rose into the air. The ranks of spectators at the nearby railway bridge turned their heads and watched as angry protesters stormed on to Govan Mbeki Road, their tools still in their hands.

Behind them they left a path of destruction, lighting bags of rubbish and tyres, throwing rocks at cars that stood in their way.

Before their clash with police on the private land, there had been hushed conversations about breaking through the doors of the local Shoprite. This plan was turned into action as the crowd turned on Site C’s Plaza, a mall tucked between the shacks in the area.

However, security guards acted quickly. One, who did not want to be named, said they managed to close the metal shutters just as the crowd reached the main entrance to Shoprite. “There was a security guard at the gate who managed to slow them down,” he said. “They beat him, but he was not injured.”

The glass fronts of the shops bore scars of the attempted looting. Security guards said looters had thrown trolleys at the entrance to try and break through, but had given up and turned back towards the train station.

They went on to stone bread trucks stranded on the road. Along Mew Way and Spine Road, protesters threw debris at passing motorists, shattering windscreens and forcing police to sporadically close the streets. EMS spokesman Darren Francis said a truck driver was taken to hospital after he was hit on the head by a rock.

By 1pm dwellers had once again gathered on the private land at the heart of the violence. Fires, started during the protests, crackled in the background, the smell of burnt petrol almost suffocating in the midday heat. After the second face-off, protests continued with stoning on the N2 highway.

Police gave the squatters a five-minute warning to leave the property. Despite supporters threatening to stand their ground, they eventually filtered towards the train station.

EFF member Khuliswa Nondala said the dwellers would not be deterred, warning that they would start fires and build shacks elsewhere to distract authorities.

Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said they were investigating several cases of public violence and malicious damage to property after people, cars and businesses were stoned. He said a few people were injured, although he did not say specifically when, where, or how these injuries were sustained.

At the time of going to print, police were still out in full force at Site C in Khayelitsha.

EFF admits defacing Botha statue
IOL News 9 April 2015

Part of the statue of Louis Botha outside Parliament has been defaced.
Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters have acknowledged that two of their members were caught red-handed by police while defacing the statue of Boer general Louis Botha outside Parliament. “Yes, those are our very own fighters. They were taken by the police while they were at the statue,” EFF MP Sipho Mbatha said. “It happened on Wednesday night at around 7.30.” Mbatha said the party planned to continue its campaign to deface and topple apartheid and colonial era monuments around the country.

“This is only the beginning.”

An officer at Cape Town Central police station, who asked not be named, said the two suspects had sported red EFF berets.

“They are in the cells. We have opened a case of damage to property,” he added.

Mbatha said the EFF expected that the men would be released from custody later in the day after appearing in the Cape Town Magistrate’s court.

Red and blue paint was smeared onto the plinth of the statue of the Boer War hero who went on to become the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, across the Afrikaans inscription reading: “Louis Botha, Boer, Krygsman, Staatsman.”

At the weekend, the EFF stopped short of claiming responsibility for a similar paint attack on the statue of Transvaal republic president Paul Kruger in Pretoria, but said it applauded the act.

The party stepped up calls to get rid of statues of white rule leaders as the heated campaign by University of Cape Town students for the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from their campus — which was happening on Thursday — was making headlines.

In late March, EFF leader Julius Malema urged supporters to tear down all symbols which reminded them of apartheid, including that of Botha.

“I’m challenging you, the fighters of Western Cape, that statue of Louis Botha at Parliament, it must go down and how it goes down it’s your business. How it goes down, I’m not interested… Make a plan for that statue,” he told an EFF rally in Langa.

On Thursday morning, EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi posted a picture of the defaced statue at Parliament’s main entrance on his Twitter timeline, with the words “Louis Botha must go”.

Several political parties condemned the defacing of Botha’s statue, and the Freedom Front Plus said it was mulling charging the EFF leadership for inciting vandalism.

“We must all respect the history and the culture of other groups,” said FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald.

Groenewald had urged EFF leaders to “accept responsibility and to say publicly that it was them”.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani and the Democratic Alliance also expressed disapproval, saying the attacks were neither constructive, nor courageous.

“The Office of the ANC Chief Whip regards the defacing of the statue outside Parliament and others elsewhere in the country as sheer acts of hooliganism and criminality which should be frowned upon by all sensible and law-abiding South Africans,” Sizani’s spokesman Moloto Mothapo said.

“The malicious damage of statues at certain locations in the cover of darkness signifies nothing but cowardice by those seeking to opportunistically piggyback on the publicity generated by the successful campaign led by the progressive students of the University of Cape Town regarding the statue of Cecil Rhodes.”

DA national spokesman Marius Redelinghuys said: “It adds nothing to a much needed constructive national dialogue about the role of statues, monuments and memorials in a post-apartheid society.”

“It is equally cowardly to do these things behind a veil of anonymity instead of making intentions known for their act of vandalism. Vandalising statues has become a bandwagon to jump on for quick attention-seeking political stunts.”

The statue stands some three metres away from a police sentry.

Technically, it is located not in the parliamentary precinct but on land belonging to the Cape Town city council. The council indicated that it intended to remove the paint marks.

Parliamentary spokesman Luzuko Jacobs pointed out that there had been discussion in the legislature on how to deal with objections to the statue in a sensible manner for some time. “It is a serious matter and from Parliament’s side there has been a constructive dialogue, from the time of the Fourth Parliament, and it continues within the context of a multi-party steering committee,” he added.

Rhodes will ‘fall’ today
IOL News 9 April 2015

Cape Town - An unprecedented step for the country was taken on Wednesday night when it was decided that the statue of colonialist Cecil John Rhodes be removed from its current location at UCT for the sake of transformation.

“This process has been orderly and deliberative, canvassing the views of students, senate, academic and PASS staff, convocation, alumni and the public. It has certainly been enriched by hundreds of articles in the newspapers, discussions on radio and television and on social media. We have noted the extent of the support among all the groupings for removing the statue,” UCT council chairman Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane said after the decision was taken on Wednesday night.

“This process has been vindicated by the number of people who have come into the debates opposed to removing the statue and who have changed their minds as a result of the frank engagement. This is exactly how a university should work and we believe is an example to the country in dealing with heritage issues.

“The university has obtained a permit for temporary removal for safekeeping and we will remove the statue tomorrow (Thursday).”

Wednesday night’s decision was preceded by drama when students stormed the council’s meeting at the university’s research office in Allan Cormack House, bringing proceedings to a halt.

Pandemonium broke out when students demanded to be present when council members voted on removing the statue. The meeting was adjourned after students barged in. Council members were blocked as they tried to leave. Police were called, but did not have to act.

Ndungane told students that council members had been on the verge of voting when the meeting was disrupted.

“This meeting was called for us to make a vote when you came in and we had to stop,” Ndungane told students as he pleaded with them to allow the council to continue its meeting.

Earlier Ndungane, UCT vice chancellor Max Price and UCT registrar Hugh Amoore were seen discussing what to do.

Before the disruption, UCT Student Representative Council (SRC) president Ramabina Mahapa had emerged from the council meeting and told a huge crowd of students outside that Rhodes’s statue would be removed on Thursday.

“The statue is going tomorrow. Council members are busy concluding with discussions on transformation.”

Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) campaign spokeswoman Kealeboga Ramaru said: “We tried to have our voices heard in the past, but management kept on sweeping our issues under the carpet. We won’t leave until the vote is taken.”

Students then decided to leave the building to allow the meeting to proceed. Council members voted unanimously to have the statue removed.

Price had tabled a motion to the university’s senate on March 27 on behalf of the Senior Leadership Group, to remove the Rhodes statue.

The SRC, which is spearheading the RMF campaign, wanted the statue permanently removed.

Speaking to the Cape Times before the meeting, student activist Chumani Maxwele, who initiated RMF – which has become a nationwide campaign to “decolonise” universities – after he flung human excrement on the statue on March 9, said students were confident that council would decide to remove the statue.

“We trust that council will not go against the country.”

Muslims protest violent extremism
IOL News 8 April 2015

Cape Town - A small group of Muslims staged a picket in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday to show their solidarity with Christian families who lost loved ones in recent attacks by Muslim extremists.

“We are here to show Christian families we too are heartbroken about their loss,” said Qutb Hendricks, one of the picketers gathered outside the St Georges Cathedral.

The picketers who were from all over the country were taking time out of their holiday.

“Islam is a peaceful religion. The likes of jihadi like Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab are twisting Islam for their crimes,” said Hendricks.

The picketing followed the massacre of 148 Kenyan students over the Easter weekend by al-Shabaab militants.

It also coincided with the one year anniversary of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign following the kidnapping of some 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram.

Hendricks said South African imams condemned the fundamentalist attacks and urged fellow Muslims to do the same.

“South African Muslims are with the people. We want to protect democracy, peace, and human rights,” added Hendricks.

“We are raising awareness to show that we condemn the actions of these deviant groups who claim to be Muslim,” said 19-year-old Nabeelah Kapery.

“If you do not feel the same pain and anger for the lives lost in Kenya as you do for Charlie Hebdo, you are a racist. Black lives must matter,” said Deen TV talk show host Faizal Sayed.

On the alleged recruitment of South Africans by IS (Islamic State), Hendricks said imams and fellow Muslims condemned it in the strongest possible terms.

“Unfortunately, these fundamentalist groups target poor and lonely people. That is the same in every country”.

Land invaders in face-off with cops
IOL News 8 April 2015

Cape Town - The loud bangs of stun grenades filled the air signalling the start of evictions outside the Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha on Wednesday morning.

While squatters threatened to stand their ground, waving tools they had used to erect 20 structures on the private property on Monday, they were quickly dispersed by a large police contingent.

Led by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), squatters said they had taken over the land because of overcrowding in the township’s Site C.

Major Mali, who built a shack on Monday, said the land had been vacant since 1985.

Police arrived on Wednesday morning brandishing what appeared to be an eviction notice. There was resistance from the protesters, many waving crowbars, spades, sticks and pangas as they shouted for the police to leave.

While some of the shacks had been completed, many were nothing but skeletal wooden frames jutting from the pockmarked earth in between tufts of yellow grass.

When police moved to dismantle the structures they acted swiftly, firing rubber bullets at a group of people camped in the bushes with rocks in their hands.

Protesters at first stood their ground, but the first of two stun grenades sent them screaming towards the property’s boundary line with the township.

Within 20 minutes the shacks had been brought down, demolition crews pulling them apart and hammering at the tinder buried in the ground.

Residents watched from the train station. But as the last structure fell, their interest waned and the enthusiastic crowd began to thin.

However, some minutes later a band of protesters set tyres, rubbish and debris alight on a road nearby.

The City of Cape Town has outlined plans to clamp down on any land invaders attempting to occupy the vacant field in Khayelitsha.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith vowed to take action against illegal occupants who erected shacks on privately owned land in the TR section on Tuesday morning.

“We will be laying charges against anyone who can be identified putting up shacks on the privately owned land. They have been warned about this on Monday,” said Smith.

He added that the land invasions weredrawing much-needed police resources away from gang flashpoints. “We had two very violent gang flare-ups in Manenberg and Ottery. There was machine gun fire. This land grab pulled resources away from that.”

Pockets of land across the city have been under threat from members of the EFF and Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement over the past two days. EFF Western Cape leader Nazir Paulsen said they supported residents’ invasion of the land.

“The EFF supports the residents as they deserve this land to build bigger housing. There is nothing wrong with what we are doing. The city can contact my lawyers if they have a problem,” said Paulsen

The DA condemned criminal acts of land invasion by the EFF and welcomed any charges against Paulsen. “As the ringleader of the EFF action and member of the Western Cape Parliament, Nazir Paulsen has encouraged and facilitated criminal conduct.

“The DA welcomes the City of Cape Town laying criminal charges against Nazir Paulsen, and urges the SAPS to investigate…”

EFF land grabs hamper policing
IOL News 7 April 2015

Cape Town - The invasion of land in Cape Town was drawing much needed police resources away from gang flashpoints, the City of Cape Town said on Tuesday.

“We had two very violent gang flare ups in Manenberg and Ottery. There was machinegun fire. This land grab pulled resources away from that,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

Smith was referring to the invasion of land next to the Nolungile railway station in Khayelitsha on Monday.

The land grab was being facilitated by Economic Freedom Fighters Western Cape leader Nazier Paulsen.

Smith said the city’s law enforcement services would be laying criminal charges against Paulsen.

The City was also in the process of writing to the Speaker of the provincial parliament to institute proceedings against Paulsen, a member of the provincial legislature.

“The metro police and city law enforcement are laying a charge against him in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act which deals with land grabs,” Smith said.

“Mr Paulsen is a very public figure so I’m writing to the provincial Speaker pointing out that he’s in breach of the code of conduct for provincial members.”

On Monday, law enforcement officers from the SA Police Service and metro police prevented land grabbers from erecting structures on the land in Khayelitsha which is owned by Denel, South Africa’s state owned arms manufacturer.

Paulsen said the Khayelitsha land invasion was “just the beginning”.

“We occupied land, along Bongani Street. It is big enough for 500 people to build a village. We started yesterday on April 6. People are busy constructing buildings,” he said.

“The council says they are monitoring the situation which is really funny because they were elected to deliver not to monitor.”

Paulsen said the party would assist people with building materials once they identified land for occupation.

“It is not a case of somebody saying I would like a five-bedroom mansion in Camps Bay and then the EFF must go an find one. It is not like that.”

EFF leader to be charged for land grab
IOL News 7 April 2015

EFF Western Cape leader Nazier Paulsen led a group of people to occupy land next to the Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha. Photo: Bheki Radebe
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town was on Tuesday preparing to lay criminal charges against Economic Freedom Fighters Western Cape leader Nazier Paulsen for facilitating the illegal occupation of land in Khayelitsha.

City Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith said he was also in the process of writing to the Speaker of the provincial parliament to institute proceedings against Paulsen, a member of the provincial legislature.

“The metro police and city law enforcement are laying a charge against him in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act which deals with land grabs,” Smith said.

“Mr Paulsen is a very public figure so I’m writing to the provincial Speaker pointing out that he’s in breach of the code of conduct for provincial members.”

Paulsen led the occupation of land next to the Nolungile railway station in Khayelitsha on Monday.

Law enforcement officers from the SA Police Service and metro police prevented them from erecting structures on the land which is owned by Denel – South Africa’s state owned arms manufacturer.

Paulsen said the Khayelitsha land invasion was “just the beginning”.

“We occupied land, along Bongani Street. It is big enough for 500 people to build a village. We started yesterday on April 6. People are busy constructing buildings,” he said.

“The council says they are monitoring the situation which is really funny because they were elected to deliver not to monitor.”

Paulsen said the party would assist people with building materials once they identified land for occupation.

“It is not a case of somebody saying I would like a five-bedroom mansion in Camps Bay and then the EFF must go an find one. It is not like that.”

Residents peg out sites after land grab
IOL News 7 April 2015

Cape Town - About 100 residents from TR Section in Khayelitsha invaded a vacant piece of privately owned land near the Nolungile train station in Site C as threats of widespread land invasions were made on Monday.

Resident Rooi Nobatana said the people were taking the land “by force” because they had nowhere to go.

“We are paying rent in our siblings’ small shacks and there’s no space. If there is a fire in one of the shacks, the fire brigade cannot get to us and everything burns down.

“If the government can just provide us with this land then we will build our own houses,” said Nobatana.

Another resident, Nomzamo Nkolisa, said she decided to invade the land because they had not received answers after a seven-year wait for RDP houses.

“The houses that we are living in now are too small, we need basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity.

“We reported the lack of services and rat infestation to our ward councillor but nothing is being done.”

Nkolisa said she runs a crèche from her home and needed the space to run it effectively.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Benedicta van Minnen condemned the threats of a city-wide land invasion by the Ses’khona movement and the EFF.

“We condemn land invasions and the incitement to invade state or privately owned land in the strongest possible terms.

“Political instigators should start taking responsibility for the conditions that arise in settlements that are borne from invasions,” she said.

“I urge our residents not to be duped by organisations who claim to have their best interests at heart, while in reality they are actually driving a political or financial agenda.

“Some land invasions, which occur on a small scale and in an ad hoc manner, are borne purely of need – but others we consider to be orchestrated invasions and part of a general trend to invade both public and private land across Cape Town as part of a politically motivated campaign to make the city ungovernable.”

Van Minnen said authorities were not able to remove the people from the land as it was owned by Denel.

Denel’s spokeswoman, Vuyelwa Qinga, said on Monday: “We are not aware of the incident, but we will do our own investigations and see how to follow up with the situation.”

Ses’khona leader Andile Lili said he was aware that members from his organisation invaded land, adding that they will continue to do so until their demands were responded to.

“We don’t see anything wrong with it. We will take over any open land all over Cape Town, even as far as Atlantis and Grabouw. We have hundreds of thousands of members and the police will not have the capacity to control us.

“The government knows there are fires and floods and yet they don’t do anything.

“Our people need housing and it will be very difficult for them to stop us.

“We will overpower the police if they want to move us.”

The EFF could not be reached for comment.

Langa mall protest continues
IOL News 2 April 2015

A list of the sub-contractors at the new Langa Junction Mall and what they have been paid.
Cape Town - Residents have continued their protest over what they allege are unfair hiring practices at the new R60 million Langa Junction Mall in Cape Town.

The Langa ward councillor at the centre of nepotism accusations was unavailable for comment on Thursday. When contacted for comment by the African News Agency, councillor Neliswa Ngqose said she was in hospital.

There have been calls for Ngqose, chairperson of the Project Steering Committee for the mall to step down and for the mall to revise its hiring practices.

“This mall was meant to benefit people of Langa but most of the employees are not from here. We will continue this protest until tonight,” said Sihle Tshabalala, a Langa resident who also sat on the Committee.

The first protest took place last week, with much of the anger directed at Ngqose.

Thursday’s protest saw residents calling for the temporary closure of the anchor tenant Shoprite and the immediate removal of the Committee.

Protesters claimed employees of Shoprite had allegedly used addresses from friends and family in Langa to secure employment at the mall. Protesters have called for the temporary closure of the store until they found employees confirmed as Langa residents.

Shoprite was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.

Protesters also accused Ngqose of allowing family and friends to personally benefit from the mall’s construction.

Dialogue needed on heritage issues: DA
IOL News 13 April 2015

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng condemned the defacing of the Mahatma Ghandi statue in Johannesburg and called for a national dialogue on the preservation of the country’s heritage.

“Recent events have shown that the debate around South Africa’s history and heritage is taking place in a leadership vacuum, and has been hijacked by minorities on the left and the right fringes of the political spectrum,” Gauteng party leader John Moodey said in a statement on Monday.

“The DA calls on the leadership of political parties and civil society to enter into a comprehensive dialogue on South Africa’s past and preserving our shared heritage.”

Molefe Maila, 21, was arrested on Saturday in connection with defacing the Ghandi statue in the Johannesburg CBD. He was granted R500 bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Recent events regarding the defacement of statues had shown that the debate around history and heritage was taking place in a leadership vacuum, Moodey said.

“There have been no calls for calm, there have been no calls for restraint, and there have been no calls to find a middle ground where we as South Africans can find unity and purpose in our shared heritage.”

Statue of Gandhi defaced
IOL News 13 April 2015

A bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi has also been vandalised. Picture: Timothy Bernard
Durban - A group of people wearing ANC caps brazenly defaced a statue of Mahatma Gandhi that stands opposite the party’s Johannesburg offices in Gandhi Square on Sunday.

This was on the day that a bust of the Indian peace figure was unveiled in Hannover, Germany, by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The group drove into the square in a dark grey Renault hatchback at about noon and jumped out carrying 1-litre and 5-litre tins of paint, and placards that read: “Racist Gandhi must fall.”

They threw the white paint on the bust and then left, only to return an hour later with more paint in plastic bags, to make it easier to throw.

They also defaced a nearby plaque that contained information about the work Ghandi did in the country, by painting it.

As the group tried to flee, one of them was caught.

“He dropped a set of keys and fell behind the others. We managed to catch him, but he wasn’t worried or afraid,” said Ntandazo Khwephe from Top Ten Security.

Khwephe said the group looked familiar, especially the one they caught.

“I’m used to seeing him around the ANC offices. He said he’s not worried because he’ll just make a call and his leader will get him out of prison. He was relaxed, and said they know what they’re doing. They said we shouldn’t stop them because Gandhi was a racist,” Khwephe said.

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said on Sunday night that the party condemned the attack and did not believe members of the party would partake in such an act.

“It’s not possible for anyone from the ANC to deface any statues because we have been clear on the matter. We have stated that any people who have problems with statues should engage in direct discussions with the community in the area,” said Khoza, who added that the defacers might be imposters.

“Anyone could wear ANC merchandise. We condemn whoever was arrested and call for police to do their duty,” he said.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said the man arrested would be charged with malicious damage to property.

“The 21-year-old will appear in court on Monday ,” he said.

Meanwhile Parliament called for calm and conciliation in the statue debate, urging South Africans to remember the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

“Parliament calls on all South Africans to follow the example set by the country’s leadership under the late president Nelson Mandela, and find political solutions in dealing with sensitive and emotive issues such as the country’s statues,” the legislature said on Sunday.

Parliament added that Mandela championed “nation-building and reconciliation”, and said it would approach the debate in that spirit.

“All of us have a duty to work expeditiously to correct all past injustices and acknowledge the pain of our people.

“We also have a duty to uphold the laws of our country and work towards social cohesion, and avoid counter-productive actions that could polarise our society.”

Xenophobic threats spook students
IOL News 9 April 2015

Pretoria - Fear of xenophobic attacks has gripped a community of foreign students learning English in Pretoria, forcing many to skip class on Wednesday and hide in their rooms.

The wave of threats, which peaked on Wednesday morning, affected about 200 undergraduate and post-graduate students at the Getting to Know English centre in Sunnyside. They are improving their English before entering university to pursue their studies in the country.

Some of them attended class on Wednesday, taking comfort in the safety of numbers, stepping up protective measures to ensure they went undetected outside the institution.

“We are limiting our engagement with locals to avoid failing to speak local languages, we keep our hair covered in hats to hide the different texture,” a Gabonese student said.

The students said they had gone as far as listening to local music on their phones. “I deleted every French song on my phone and listened to local beats on my way here this morning,” another student said.

The students who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect themselves, on Wednesday talked about the warning messages received via community groups on social media.

“They told us of the threat to our lives and told us to remain vigilant always,” the Gabonese student said.

The messages started circulating on Saturday and told of a planned massacre of foreigners in Durban and Cape Town, while one generated on Wednesday morning claimed six had already been murdered in Joburg.

“… avoid public transport, especially trains and taxis. Stay away from isolated areas, don’t walk around townships. Please share this warning with friends and foreign families,” one WhatsApp message read.

All messages told recipients that on Wednesday was the day the xenophobic attacks would be carried out en masse, prompting students and teachers of the school to be on high alert.

“They are in danger, our students face the real threat of being harmed,” school principal Michele Mardones said. The school caters for a large community of foreigners, and the threats were a cause for concern, especially after parents were forced to pull their children out and return them back home during the 2010 attacks, she said.

The students are a mix from various countries who want to study at South African universities. Among them are Congolese, Angolan, Gabonese, and students from Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Mozambique.

While the origins of the messages could not be established they could not be ignored, Congolese national James Ikoko said. “Foreigners have been subjected to violent attacks for no reason at all in this country. How can they ignore a call from one of the highest offices in the land?” he asked.

The violent threats have been blamed on the apparent utterances by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini in Pongola, Kwazulu-Natal, at the end of last month, where he is reported to have said foreigners must go home and stop competing for resources with locals. These words sparked fear among foreigners and condemnation by human rights activists, and resulted in a march by foreigners against the attacks in Durban on Wednesday.

The march turned violent as protesters clashed with police, who used water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, supported the king’s message, saying the country was a ticking time bomb, which was “the threat of foreigners taking over the country”.

The Royal Household Trust had come to the defence of the monarch, saying the real message had been lost in translation. Yesterday, the media reported that the king had agreed to meet church leaders to clarify his stance in relation to foreigners and the alleged xenophobic remarks.

The Pretoria students on Wednesday said they would not rush to go back home, despite some families asking them to leave before the situation became volatile. “We will stick around and keep our heads low and monitor the situation,” one said.

Efforts to find out if police were aware of the threats and action they were taking in preparation for any possible violence were unsuccessful.

One held after land claim chief slain
IOL News 9 April 2015

Pretoria - One person has been arrested in connection with the murder of land claimant, Chief Victor Velaphi Lekhuleni.

His lawyer Vivien de Klerk said one of the two people suspected of killing Lekhuleni was arrested this week. Lekhuleni, of Mamelodi East, who claimed to be the chief of Bakgatla Ba Lekhuleni communities, was gunned down in the neighbouring Mamelodi West last Tuesday.

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale did not respond to queries about the arrest.

De Klerk said Ndebele chiefs had agreed that Lekhuleni be buried as a chief in the early hours of Saturday.

There had been claims that Lekhuleni was not a real chief. De Klerk said: “The chiefs’ agreeing to bury him as a chief vindicates him.”

Lekhuleni would be buried in an unmarked grave by other Ndebele chiefs in line with Ndebele custom.

After the burial, a funeral ceremony will be held at the Mamelodi West hall from 6.30am.

Today a memorial service to be attended by various Ndebele chiefs will be held at the HM Pitje stadium.

Lekhuleni originally lodged the land claim covering almost half of the capital city, including part of the Magaliesberg mountain, in 1996. The commission did not immediately follow up on the claim.

Twice Lekhuleni had to turn to the court, the last time in August last year. The court ruled in his favour. The commission eventually published the land claim in February, sparking a huge outcry and panic from affected communities.

In claiming the land, Lekhuleni said forced removals from 1958 to 1960 by the apartheid government robbed Bakgatla communities of the right to land ownership. But

a group claiming to be the Lekhuleni royal family and council, said he was not royalty and had no right to claim land on their behalf.

Describing him as their distant cousin, members of the group, which lodged a claim for the same land, distanced themselves from him. The dispute forms part of the land claim probe.

Oom Paul excites a chain reaction
IOL News 8 April 2015

Members of the Front Nasionaal (Front National) stand with placards at Church Square were the statues of Paul Kruger and his burghers were defaced. Photo: Masi Losi
Pretoria - An Afrikaans political party and singers Steve Hofmeyr and Sunette Bridges have joined the fight to keep the historical statue of Paul Kruger standing in Pretoria.

Bridges together with members of Front Nasionaal (Front National) threatened to chain themselves to the statue if Tshwane mayor Kgotsientso Ramakgopa did not collect a petition which aims to protect heritage sites.

This protest action came after the ANC Youth League called for the statue’s removal.

On Tuesday members of the Heritage Foundation started cleaning the Kruger statue and those of the burghers that had been defaced with green paint over the weekend.

The controversy began last month at the University of Cape Town where students called for the statue of Cecil John Rhodes to be removed.

The university’s senate voted in favour on March 30.

“Destroying symbols of Afrikaner history will change nothing. You cannot change history, you have to influence the future!” Front Nasionaal posted on its Facebook page.

Bridges encouraged all supporters to join the “sit-in just for an hour”.

“We cannot really just sit here and watch everything around us being destroyed,” she said.

Hofmeyr arrived at Church Square just after 1pm to address the protesters.

There were mixed reactions from the public on Twitter with some supporting the singers and others vehemently disagreeing with their actions.

“Imagine the statue of Hitler in Jewish communities?” Tweeted @Justice_Malatsi. “Same way this idiot wants us to embrace Paul Kruger, f*** Mandela and the peace sign.”

@That_Pedi_Guy tweeted: “Blacks are the 1st to shout about incidents of racism and inequality. Leave Paul Kruger alone there’s K Mampuru for us blacks.”

Some tweeters felt there were other ways to deal with the statues dispute.

@ndlovu_skhu said: “We must build OR Tambo statue next to Paul Kruger statue. John Langalibalele next to Rhodes.”

One Twitter user, @MTshwete, took a more light-hearted approach to the situation: “Now someone wants to chain herself to the Paul Kruger statue, how could Trevor Noah not be a global sensation with all this material?”

Oom Paul painted green
IOL News 6 April 2015

Pretoria - A part of the statue of Paul Kruger in Church Square in Pretoria has been painted green overnight following calls for its removal.

Two of the four bronze sentries beneath the statue of the Transvaal Republic president were covered in bright green paint, though the raised figure of Kruger was largely left untouched.

Tshwane mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said on Monday: “We can confirm that it has been painted green.”

Scores of Tshwane metro police officers have been deployed to the square in Pretoria CBD following the defacing of the statue.

“Nobody has claimed responsibility, so at this stage we don’t know if it was an opportunistic act or linked to the ANC Youth League’s call last week to remove the statue,” he added.

Following the call by the youth league, the Economic Freedom Fighters on Saturday vowed to destroy all statues in Pretoria depicting colonial and apartheid era leaders.

On Monday morning, EFF national spokesman Mbuyseni Ndlozi posted a call on his Twitter account to remove the statue of Jan van Riebeeck in Cape Town, reading: “Jan van Riebeeck must fall: he is situated in Adderley Street, Cape Town.”

Ndlozi declined to comment on the defacing of Kruger’s statue but told ANA: “All these statues must go down. We need to craft a new symbolism to remember and commemorate the colonial and apartheid past that is not based only on icons of white supremacy like Jan van Riebeeck and Paul Kruger but shows freedom fighters, black and white, who opposed it.”

Several onlookers were at the scene in Church Square on Monday, using cellphones to take photographs.

Pretoria resident John Tengwa said the defacing was “disrespectful” to South Africa’s heritage.

“The perpetrators are destroying valuable history. I think this is done by misguided, misinformed politicians,” he said.

Kruger was the president of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1890. The statue was erected in Church Square in 1954 and unveiled by then Prime Minister DF Malan.

EFF to remove Pretoria’s statues
IOL News 4 April 2015

Pretoria – Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will destroy statues of “all icons of apartheid” in Pretoria, including the giant effigy of Paul Kruger at the Church Square at the city centre, the party’s Tshwane deputy chairperson Moafrika Mabongwana said on Saturday.

“The fact that these statues, which are symbols of white supremacy, are still found in this city is a crime against our people. We are going to remove everything that represents apartheid and white supremacy from this city,” said Mabongwana.

“We believe that those statues don’t represent the hue of our society. We are not going to seek anyone’s permission, we do not need it.”

Hundreds of people congregate at Church Square daily.

The numbers of people increases significantly on holidays and weekends.

People of different races take turns to have photographs taken at the Paul Kruger statue.

Known popularly as “Oom Paul”, the Paul Kruger statue is mounted metres-high on a huge pedestal guarded between giant bronze figures of sentries holding rifles.

Mabongwana said due to “lack of education” most people were unknowingly embracing the figures of people who oppressed their forefathers.

“Our people are just not educated about the statues and what they represent. How does a black person embrace such a figure? By destroying the statues, we will be educating our people,” he said.

Mabongwana said that after destroying the statues, EFF members would proceed to hand themselves over to police.

On Saturday, some tourists were taking photographs of the statue.

They were joined by several Pretoria residents.

Some were taking “selfies” while leaning on the sentries.

Sherry Ntabeni said she was not concerned about “Oom Paul’s” apartheid history because South Africans had forgiven their past oppressors.

“I do know history. Paul Kruger was one of our major oppressors, but the gospel today is that we forgive one another. Holding on to the past is not going to help anyone,” she said.

“My kids enjoy playing in this park and I can’t deny them. The efforts we are putting on statues could be spent on improving service delivery.”

Ntabeni brought her two young children to play in the park.

The street leading into the Church Square is named Paul Kruger.

Davison Zwane said the Tshwane municipality should remove the statues installed during apartheid.

“I feel insulted as a black person, every time I drive along Paul Kruger Street. The EFF is right. The ANC-led municipality should have taken decisive action ages ago. I would assist in destroying the Paul Kruger statue,” he said. - African News Agency

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