||Maties under fire over sexual assaults
IOL News 27 August 2015
Cape Town - Members of Open Stellenbosch held a march in the town on Wednesday in a bid to hold the university “accountable for its continuous disregard to sexual assault”.
Chanting “My dress is not a yes”, the group made its way to the therapy and personal development building where a list of concerns was read out.
They held up posters stating “Rapist shaming not victim blaming” and “Drinking is not a crime. Rape is”.
Their list of concerns and grievances included claims that the Centre for Student Counselling and Development was not situated on campus and that it should be easily accessible to students.
They also called for a harsher stance on interacting with “rapists and that victims should not be treated as if they were the ones at fault”.
The students also called for free psychological support for victims and said the “identity of people addressing victims” should be made available to students. There should also be a standardised procedure for questioning that should be recorded and reviewed.
They said they wanted a meaningful discussion about the state of the treatment of victims of sexual assault at Stellenbosch University.
Ijeoma Opara, an Open Stellenbosch spokeswoman, said: “We really want to challenge the institution and the broader community on the rape culture, which is persistent on this campus and also the sexual assault cases.”
She said a former Open Stellenbosch member had recently been accused of sexually assaulting another member and this was unacceptable. “We strongly condemn it. We do not take such incidences lightly.”
She said not enough was being done “to open up the channels” for students who had been victims of sexual assault to contact the university.
The university said it took note of the list of concerns.
“There is a deep appreciation for students who highlight these important issues as they can play a crucial role in curbing incidences of sexual harassment and assault in South African society,” the institution said.
“It is unfortunate that no prior application was submitted as determined by the Regulations on Gatherings Act of 1994 which is applicable to all student bodies and university events. The chairs of the Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee were denied the opportunity to address the gathering who viewed it as a student event. A memorandum was accepted and a commitment made to meet on these issues.”
Stellenbosch University confirmed that it had a “zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault” and that the university would “not hesitate to act against anyone who is found guilty of such practices”.
The university also reiterated that it provided free psychological support and that it conducted ongoing awareness campaigns.
“The university cannot conduct investigations into allegations of rape. As rape is a criminal offence, it falls under the jurisdiction of the SAPS and the judiciary.
“The university will provide its full co-operation in such matters, and students convicted on a charge of rape will be expelled from the institution.”
Juju tells students: Attack, attack
IOL News 27 August 2015
Pretoria - “Fighters, attack, attack,” EFF leader Julius Malema urged his supporters as their South African Students Congress (Sasco) counterparts pounced on them at the Tshwane University of Technology main campus on Wednesday.
Malema was delivering a speech at the university ahead of the students’ representative council elections scheduled for Thursday.
He was interrupted as stones and bricks rained down from all angles, thrown by Sasco supporters.
Malema had gone to the campus to motivate EFF supporters to participate in the elections and outvote Sasco.
As he was making his impromptu speech, a group of Sasco members marched towards the stage where he was addressing the crowd. They were chanting anti-Malema songs. Suddenly a stone was flung towards the EFF members from the Sasco turf.
The firebrand parliamentarian paused for a few seconds and was heard saying, “Fighters, attack, attack”. At that moment, more stones and bricks were thrown from both groups.
Met with a show of force from EFF members, the Sasco group retreated to an area in front of one of the buildings, where they had earlier gathered.
But, they quickly regrouped and hurled more stones and bricks, others using hand-held fire-extinguisher spray to keep their opponents at bay.
During the scuffle, one of Malema’s bodyguards pulled out a firearm, but he didn’t fire any shots.
EFF MP Godrich Gardee also joined the fray, throwing a punch at a Sasco member. More drama unfolded when a female student screamed in agony, covering her face with her hands in front of a parked car, protecting herself from missiles.
The terrified student was rescued by a dreadlocked man who whisked her away from the angry crowd.
A photographer from daily newspaper, The Citizen, Christine Vermooten, was threatened by a Sasco member, wielding a stone. She was pushed away and prevented from taking pictures, sustaining an injury to her ankle in the process and was rushed to hospital.
Earlier, before Malema arrived, a scuffle ensued when two students from the two opposing organisations engaged in a fistfight.
The Sasco supporter had walked closer to the vehicle branded in EFF colours when he was manhandled. He, however, stood his ground and fought back. Police and campus security guards had their hands full as they tried – in vain – to keep the two groups apart.
As police watched the two fighting groups, two EFF members attacked a Sasco student, hitting him with a shoe and bare fists.
Amid the chaos, the Sasco member wiped blood from his forehead with a T-shirt. Eventually police were able to calm the two groups.
Neo Manyaka, a second-year student, said the Sasco supporters were jealous of EFF members who were able to get their leader to address them. “They couldn’t get any of their leaders to address them and then decided to disrupt our meeting,” he said.
In the wake of the chaos, Sasco leader Mankie Maluleka said their committee would meet to assess if the situation was conducive to host the elections or not.
He said five Sasco members were injured, adding he was confident that the organisation would walk away victorious in the elections against the EFF. Maluleka blamed university management for granting EFF parliamentarians permission to enter the campus without making sure there was security in place to maintain order.
EFF spokesman Fana Mokoena accused the ANC of having sponsored political intolerance and violence at the campus through Sasco.
He said: “Members of Sasco attacked an EFF public meeting using stones as police stood by doing nothing.” He described Sasco stone-throwers as “buffoons and hooligans”, adding that the EFF would never tolerate political intolerance.
Mokoena said: “We therefore congratulate our commander-in-chief for giving an order to fighters to protect their own meeting from hooligans whose violence had put students and journalists at risk.”
From the TUT main campus, Malema headed to the two university campuses in Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve where he addressed students without any disturbance.
Drama outside Tshwane council chamber
IOL News 28 August 2015
Pretoria - There was drama outside the Sammy Marks Council Chamber on Thursday as police tried to stave off a move by disgruntled municipal workers to storm into a council meeting.
The workers are employed under “Vat Alles”, a national initiative which forms part of the Extended Public Works Programme. The programme employs young people to clean the streets, municipal offices and schools.
About 500 workers had come from places such as Motsweding, Soshanguve, Mabopane, Winterveld and Ga-Rankuwa. They downed tools with the intention of disrupting the meeting after not being paid their monthly stipends on August 26. They also demanded to be offered permanent posts.
They gathered on the ground floor with bated breath, hoping to have an audience with executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa over their grievances. The council meeting was held on the first floor and escalators were somehow stopped and people attending the meeting were forced to use stairs.
Demonstrators clapped hands and sang Struggle songs in front of the shops, disturbing customers.
Their attempt to derail the council meeting was, however, foiled by a group of police and metro cops armed with batons and firearms who blocked their way to the meeting.
Some protesters desperately tried to negotiate their way into the chamber, but police refused to allow them. They were instead warned not to disrupt the meeting.
Workers’ leader Geniver Mokonyane said the mayor had met them last month in an attempt to solve their problems, which included poor working conditions and lack of protective clothing.
Mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said Ramokgopa could not address them because he was in a council meeting.
However, he appealed to disgruntled members “to refrain from staging illegal gatherings and follow the correct procedures to raise their issues”.
It was not the first time workers had taken to the streets to complain about non-payment of stipends.
Last month they gathered at Atteridgeville Stadium after they had not been paid for a month.
Noria Phoshokwe said their payments last month were processed after the Pretoria News published a story on their plight.
She said workers met the mayor who promised to solve their problems, but he had not kept his word.
Some workers put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the MMC for Roads and Transport George Matjila, accusing him of not taking their problems seriously.
They demanded to work under the mayor’s office and be removed from Matjila’s department.
“We are here because the mayor has consistently lied to us that he would solve our issues,” said Phoshokwe.
She accused Matjila of having failed to provide them with protective apparel such as overalls, gloves and boots, saying the ones they have are worn out.
Inside the chamber, councillors unleashed tirades against each other but nothing was said about the grievances of workers.
They also observed the celebration of Women’s Month by expressing gratitude to the work done by women. Ramokgopa talked about the newly launch wi-fi project which enables people to make free calls from places where they could access the technology.
Manale said Ramokgopa has assigned Matjila to continue to engage with the group “to ensure that any reasonable dissent and dissatisfaction by this brigade of development workers are addressed to their logical conclusion”.
Residents turn hostile over hostels
IOL News 26 August 2015
Cape Town - Residents caused chaos in Langa for a second day as they demanded houses.
The group burnt tyres and furniture on Bhunga Avenue and Washington Road, and the busy arterial roads were again closed on Tuesday.
Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, shooting one person in the leg and another in the arm.
Protesters campaigned for housing allocation for a hostel that was being built in the area to be sped up.
They say many of them still live with their parents or in someone’s backyard, and it angers them to see people from other areas getting houses in Langa while they have to wait.
The hostel is in its first phase and one of the Western Cape’s largest projects aimed at redressing past injustices, according to the City of Cape Town.
Protests began at 4am on Tuesday morning, and the violence has caused the city to suspend construction on their flagship hostel transformation project in the township.
Councillor Benedicta van Minnen for Human Settlements explained that the city met with protesters to discuss their concerns.
She said: “But the youth have refused to co-operate, even threatening to inhabit the first few apartments within the hostel, which are now ready for occupation.”
According to police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana, one person was arrested on a charge of public violence.
Langa residents say they are angry and frustrated at not being included in the new developments taking place.
Nomancube Galo, 40, said she’s unsuccessfully applied for housing three times.
She said: “My father (who was on the waiting list) died before getting a house.”
Van Minnen said to date, 463 units have been built on the Old Depot Site in Langa during the first phase, and over the next five years, 1 300 more units would be built.
She added that this phase of the project would “accommodate all qualifying residents in various hostels such as New Flats and Special Quarters areas and also qualifying residents from the Siyahlala informal settlement”.
“We will not allow this group of protesters, with their narrow and mischievous interests, to delay our project,” she warned.
EFF member ‘sought’ over bus violence
IOL News 25 August 2015
The recent violent Go George bus service protests caused an estimated R15 million in damages and resulted in the suspension of the service.
George - George authorities are expected to question an EFF member in connection with the recent violent Go George bus service protests, which caused an estimated R15 million in damages and resulted in the suspension of the service.
An EFF member in the Southern Cape has claimed law enforcers were “looking for one of their own (EFF member)”, after four Go George buses were set alight and several drivers attacked during protest action over transport routes.
Southern Cape police did not confirm or deny that they were trying to track down a member of the political party.
Police captain Malcolm Pojie said the investigation was ongoing and at a sensitive stage.
Nine people, mostly taxi drivers, appeared in the George Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of public violence and were remanded until their next court appearance.
While Pojie remained tight-lipped about the investigation, he confirmed that all evidence, links and witness statements would be thoroughly scrutinised.
“If found that there are still outstanding arrests, we will act swiftly and effect those arrests. For now the investigation is ongoing and a joint group of detectives are probing the incident. We have centralised all the cases emanating from the bus violence,” he added.
However, the EFF has taken flack for the protest action, having earlier taken up the cause of disgruntled Southern Cape taxi operators who vowed violent disruptions unless a moratorium was placed on the Go George project until all outstanding issues had been settled.
Denouncing the violence, EFF leader in the Western Cape, Bernard Joseph, confirmed that they’ve heard from members in the Southern Cape that the authorities were trying to pin the protest action on them.
“The EFF is neither involved nor responsible for this violence,” he stressed.
Instead, Joseph blamed the chaos on the George municipality who continuously refused to engage with taxi drivers “whose livelihood have been taken away since the buses started operating”.
“As much as the EFF does not condone violence, it is of the view that what is happening in George could be justified, since the municipal authorities have chosen to ignore all the pleas and signs,” Joseph said.
He added that the violent attacks were an orchestrated attempt by officials from the local government in George, to force desperate taxi operators to react.
“Many taxi drivers were promised that they would be better off with the new transport system. However, many are finding themselves in dire straits, with no jobs or income, while the measly pay-outs have already dried up,” he added.
Joseph claimed Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Donald Grant already “tried to intimidate him”.
“MEC Grant tried to threaten me during the last sitting of the provincial legislature, saying I should stay away from the Go George and that he wants to warn me as a colleague,” he said.
Grant’s office did not respond to media inquiries but, in a statement praising law enforcement efforts, Grant indicated that more arrests were expected.
“We will continue with the planned roll-out in the next few phases to Thembalethu and surrounds. The George community can be assured that we will not be deterred by criminal acts and dissent from seeing this nine year partnership project between all three tiers of government, and the local minibus taxi and bus industry, reach fruition,” he added.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille in her “Inside Government” newsletter, also tackled the Southern Cape violence, which the DA had thought would be a smooth transition after 99 percent of the local taxi and bus industry participated in negotiations to find a workable model.
“A total of 240 operators chose to opt-in, be bought out, or go for a combination of these two options. More than half of them, 61 percent, chose one of the ‘opt in’ opportunities. And the province has already paid R61 million to taxi operators who wanted to ‘opt out’.”
She said at the forefront of resistance was a small taxi association called Uncedo whose operators complained that their “buy-out” payments had been inadequate, and that they had forfeited their livelihoods.
She expressed concern that protesters went beyond just targeting buses, with an attempted arson attack on the home of a George Link employee in Thembalethu, while employees of the operating company had to be removed from the township for their own safety and accommodated elsewhere.
She added that several reports of damage to other homes, as well as the destruction of the security CCTV cameras had been reported. “SAPS and other law enforcement agencies implemented high-visibility patrols, and road-blocks and escorted buses throughout the weekend,” Zille said.
Langa housing project to go ahead
IOL News 25 August 2015
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has condemned the violent protests in Langa, the City said on Tuesday.
A small group of 30 youth has been causing chaos in Langa as they campaigned for housing allocation for a hostel that was being built in the area to be sped up.
Frustrated at waiting for the hostel, which is in its first phase and one of the Western Cape’s largest projects aimed at redressing past injustices, the youth resorted to violent, destructive means to express their unhappiness.
Their violent actions has caused the City to suspend construction on their flagship hostel transformation project in the township.
“While we respect the rights of residents to protest, this aggressive and illegal behaviour is utterly unacceptable,” Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Councillor Benedicta van Minnen said.
She said the City had received reports from the project’s steering committee of intimidation.
She stated that their actions “are infringing on the rights of the broader community of Langa”.
Members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and City Law Enforcement would remain in the area to ensure safety, peace and order in the area.
Van Minnen explained that the City met with the group of disruptive youth to discuss their concerns with them, but the youth have refused to cooperate in this regard, even threatening to inhabit the first few apartments within the hostel, which are now ready for occupation.
To date, 463 units have been built on the Old Depot Site in Langa during the first phase, and over the next five years, 1300 more units would be built as the City attempts to redress and eradicate the “horrific apartheid-era hostels” and the squalid conditions Langa families have had to endure for the past 40 years as they sought a better life when freedom arrived, resulting in an overcrowding of space. The results of this overcrowding has been a “deterioration in the provision of sanitation and ablutions as well as social space available in the hostel precincts,” said van Minnen.
Van Minnen said that this phase of the project would “accommodate all qualifying residents in various hostels such as from the New Flats and Special Quarters areas and also qualifying residents from the Siyahlala informal settlement”.
Blocks and informal structures on the sites earmarked for development would be demolished to make way for Phase 2, and “the balance of households living in the New Flats and Special Quarters hostels will be relocated to the Phase 2 units”.
‘It must be noted that engagements about the allocation of units and the project in general have been in-depth, inclusive and thorough over months. A clear process was agreed upon,” said van Minnen.
“We will not allow this group of protesters, with their narrow and mischievous interests, to delay our project,” she said.
It is expected that the project’s next phase would consider qualifying beneficiaries, including backyarders, from the broader Langa community.
EFF, Wits in public war of words
IOL News 24 August 2015
Johannesburg - Wits University’s decision to suspend EFF members and the party has sparked a Twitter war, pitting vice-chancellor and principal Professor Adam Habib and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi against each other.
On Saturday, Habib took to social media to defend his decision to suspend EFF members from the university after a “SRC (student representative council) election debate on Tuesday was disrupted and marred by physical altercations”.
In a statement, Wits University’s deputy chairman of council, Brian Bruce, said: “The actions on August 18 created an atmosphere that was not conducive to free and fair elections, and which culminated in physical altercations. In light of the evidence, the majority of the council exco (executive committee), excluding the SRC, has concluded that it is in the best interests of the university that the recognition of the Wits EFF as a society at the university be withdrawn.”
He added: “Where there is evidence that students were involved in violence and/or threats of violence, these students have been suspended. None of these students expressed any remorse for their roles.”
On Twitter, Ndlozi told Habib: “Your hatred for EFF dear headmaster @AdHabb has turned u into a klein Hitler I see. Or some aspirant Verwoerd who ban people u disagree with.”
Habib didn’t bite his tongue either. He referred to the suspended members as “tsotsis”.
“Have some confused radical with violence, protest with Tsotsi behaviour, politics with gangsterism? This must be challenged!”
Habib soon deleted the tweet but by then it had already been seen by many on the social media platform.
In a statement, EFF acting national spokesman Fana Mokoena, said: “We call on the racist Exco of the Council of Wits to reverse this draconian decision they have made. We call on them instead to thoroughly investigate the said incident of disruption.
“We also warn the university to take issues of transformation seriously and resist their partisan temptation to suppress and ‘kill’ the EFF in that institution. We will not allow it.”
He added: “Universities are fertile grounds for freedom of expression and free flow of ideas. We cannot allow our members, or any student at the university for that matter, to be bullied and suppressed in that manner.”
Klipheuwel protest turns violent
IOL News 24 August 2015
Johannesburg - Protesters were burning tyres and throwing stones at Klipheuwel Road near Philadelphia on Monday, Western Cape police said. “Police are on the scene. Two suspect have been arrested at this stage on charges of public violence. Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies are on the scene monitoring the situation,” police spokeswoman Noloyiso Rwexana said.
It was unclear why the residents were protesting and more information was not immediately available.
Vacant Dunoon school now open
IOL News 24 August 2015
Cape Town - Formal schooling will begin at the vacant Dunoon school that was invaded by residents and pupils who demanded education last month.
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has confirmed schooling would begin in the temporary structures this week.
The children have been taught by residents and parents in the area since occupying the school in July.
The classrooms had been vacant after Sophakama Primary moved to permanent structures.
Parents had claimed that the two primary schools in the area were full, which prompted them to occupy the vacant buildings.
Soon after, classes were conducted by unemployed teachers who volunteered their services.
The group initially claimed that there were 380 children in the area who had not been placed in schools but the WCED disputed this.
Jessica Shelver, the spokeswoman for the MEC of Education, Debbie Schäfer, said the department had invited the parents to register their children and 119 children of compulsory school-going age were registered.
She said that 58.8 percent were new arrivals from the Eastern Cape (70 of 119). “Many of the remainder (41.2 percent , 49 of 119), dropped out after failing, while others were never enrolled in a school.”
She added 113 of the pupils would be accommodated at the mobile school from next week, under the management of Sophakama Primary. Desks, chairs and learning materials would be delivered to the site from Monday.
She said the department had allocated additional teaching posts to Sophakama Primary.
Teachers were expected to be appointed from next week.
Catch-up programmes for all the children would be arranged.
The department planned to continue using the mobile classrooms at the Dunoon site next year and had asked the city council for an extension of the lease.
“Due to the expected increase in numbers for the 2016 academic year, the mobile classrooms at Dunoon will be commissioned to accommodate the increase, and will incorporate the current learners.”
Parent, Nokubonga Tukani, who previously told the Cape Argus that she had been unable to find places in local schools for her children aged seven and 12, said that while parents were happy with the department’s solution, they wanted the volunteer teachers who had been teaching their children for the past few weeks to continue doing so.
Shelver said the department had to follow “due process” in the appointment of teachers.
George taxi association could lose licence
IOL News 20 August 2015
Cape Town - Members of the UNCEDO George Taxi Association could have their licences revoked for their alleged involvement in protests against the Southern Cape town's bus rapid transit system.
The Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) would hold a hearing next month in which it would consider the cancellation of 14 UNCEDO operating licences, the provincial transport department said on Thursday.
“The PRE has received information from the South African Police Services (SAPS) linking certain vehicles owned by members of the Association to the violent protest action, during which roads were barricaded, buses set alight and CCTV cameras and police vehicles damaged,” the department said.
“More operating licences are likely to be affected and camera and video footage is currently being scrutinised to establish vehicle registration numbers and to identify offending operators.” Several buses were set alight this week during protests against the Go George BRT system. The taxi operators say they weren't properly consulted before the system was implemented.
Prasa workers cause chaos
IOL News 19 August 2015
Pretoria - Police rushed to Prasa House in Pretoria as scores of workers protested ahead of a press briefing scheduled to be addressed by the embattled parastatal’s management on Wednesday.
Before midday the workers were dancing and singing inside the yard of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa). All gates had been locked by security guards and one of the workers was waving a broom.
The workers were demanding the reinstatement of fired CEO Lucky Montana.
In July, Montana was fired by the Prasa board two weeks ago. The board said his removal had nothing to do with the scandal over the purchasing of Spanish trains deemed not suitable for South Africa’s railway infrastructure.
Government spent R600 million rand on the locomotives.
On Wednesday, Prasa spokesman Moffet Mofokeng invited journalists to a press conference which was set to start before midday.
“We have a press conference at 11.30 at Prasa House in Pretoria today. I would like to invite you.
“The press conference will be addressed by senior management at Prasa and it is about the paralysis in the company. Moffet Mofokeng,” the SMS sent to African News Agency read.
The outspoken Montana was due to leave the state-owned company in December.
Teargas, rubber bullets at school
IOL News 18 August 2015
Johannesburg - The dispute that has racked Roodepoort Primary School erupted into violence on Tuesday morning with police firing teargas and rubber bullets into a crowd gathered at the gates.
Five people, among them school children, had to be admitted to hospital after being hit during a tense stand-off between police and enraged parents who are opposed to the Gauteng Education Department’s decision to shut down the school.
Parents had allegedly been blocking buses assigned to ferry pupils to neighbouring schools from leaving when police opened fire to disperse them.
But some of those wounded have disputed this, with Ralton Ferrine
saying: “We did nothing to provoke the police, we didn’t even have weapons on us.”
Ferrine was hit by a rubber bullet in the head.
A parent of a child who attends the Roodepoort Primary school shows the media the rubber bullets he picked up after cops opened fire on the protesting parents.
Also left “traumatised” was Ifraan Campbell who sustained injuries to his head and shoulder.
He told The Star that he was passing by the school west of Joburg on Tuesday morning to go to a nearby shop when police opened fire on the “defenceless” crowd.
After being stitched up, the young man, still drenched in blood, was adamant that the crowd had been peaceful when police started firing rubber bullets at them.
ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said paramedics had arrived at the school to find members of the public on the scene as well as a heavy SAPS presence.
“On assessment, we found that at least five people had sustained minor to moderate injuries from what paramedics were told were rubber bullets, although it cannot be confirmed,” Meiring said.
He said patients were immediately removed to an area a distance away from the protests.
“Here they were treated for their injuries.
“The patients were then transported to nearby medical facilities for further treatment.”
Tensions at Roodepoort Primary School have been high recently with race issues being at the centre of clashes.
The school, which is in a predominantly coloured area, has been marred by allegations of racism and irregularities after the appointment of a black principal last year.
Last week, there was a physical altercation between parents and an official from the Education Department on the school grounds, in full view of the pupils.
A few months ago, police fired rubber bullets during a violent protest as parents demanded that a coloured principal be appointed to replace the current principal, Nomathemba Molefe.
In April, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi closed down the school, but reopened it days later saying that there was a plan in place to ensure continued learning at the facility.
On Tuesday morning, a large group of disgruntled parents and community members took their plight to the streets and congregated outside the school.
Members of the Joburg Metro Police Department and the police opened fire with rubber bullets to disperse the crowd after violence erupted.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Lesufi had earlier ordered that the school be closed as no education was taking place, with parents constantly clashing with education officials, and teachers not reporting for duty as they feared for their lives.
Pupils and teachers have since been relocated to neighbouring schools including those in Soweto and Krugersdorp.
Despite alternative arrangements for pupils to be housed at other schools, some parents were not pleased with the development.
A parent who did want to be named said she would not send her child to another school as there was already a school in their neighbourhood.
“It’s unfair because we have a school nearby, why must they be sent to another school.”
Gauteng Police spokeswoman Captain Doniah Mothutsane confirmed that rubber bullets had been used to break up the violent protest after parents threw stones at buses and broke the school gates to gain access to the school’s premises.
Protests over burnt shacks in Durban
IOL News 17 August 2015
Durban - Protests erupted at Durban’s Kennedy Road informal settlement on Monday, as about 200 protesters burnt tyres and debris blocking roads, police said.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said officers from the Public Order Policing unit, the Greenwood Park and Sydenham police stations were deployed to the area.
“They were protesting about service delivery after their shacks were destroyed by fire last week,” he said.
He said police had instructed the protesters to disperse and that a case of public violence had been opened at the Sydenham police station.
He said there were no immediate reports of injuries and no one had been arrested.
Witbank High School learners rampage!
Learners riot over new principal
Witbank News 11 August 2015
DA protests against new visa regulations
IOL News 14 August 2015
Pretoria - Hundreds of Democratic Alliance supporters gathered at Home Affairs headquarters in Pretoria on Friday morning protesting against the new visa regulations.
The crowd, dressed in blue DA regalia, waved placards and danced along Arcadia Street.
The party intends handing over a memorandum to Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
Most of the blue placards read: “Gigaba stop killing jobs” and “Save tourism jobs”. A sound system was placed near the Home Affairs main entrance.
The crowd sang, “Wena ulele laptop eNkandla …” (You are sleeping in Nkandla …).
An advisory issued by the party indicated that DA leader Mmusi Maimane will lead the protest.
He will be joined by DA national spokespersons, Phumzile Van Damme and Refiloe Nt’sekhe. Other party officials expected at the protest include DA shadow minister of Home Affairs Haniff Hoosen, shadow minister of Tourism James Vos, Gauteng leader John Moodey, Gauteng chairperson Solly Msimanga and Gauteng North chairperson Fred Nel.
Earlier this month, Statistics South Africa painted a bleak picture for the tourism industry with year-on-year growth from 2013 to 2014 at just 0.1 percent, compared with 3.6 percent between 2012 and 2013 and 10.2 percent between 2011 and 2012.
In June, South Africa implemented new visa regulations, requiring children travelling into and out of the country to carry unabridged birth certificates.
Five held for public violence
IOL News 13 August 2015
Port Elizabeth – Eastern Cape police arrested five men on charges of public violence and looting during the protests in Walmer, Port Elizabeth, police said on Thursday.
Residents in Walmer have been protesting over service delivery, and violence erupted in the area as roads were blocked and protestors stoned vehicles belonging to the police and other road users on Thursday.
Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said five suspects had been arrested while four people were reportedly injured during the clashes. One of the injured was a police constable who during a fracas injured himself with a shotgun.
“Two suspects were arrested for public violence and three for looting, theft and malicious damage to property,” said Janse van Rensburg.
The police officer had been taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Janse van Vuuren said: “The police have managed to disperse the protesters and the situation has quieted down. The SAPS will continue monitoring the situation and be on the alert for any further violent protests.”
Protestors and leaders who were engaged with talks by the SAPS were warned not to endanger the lives of people and to cease their violent actions of throwing stones at police vehicles and other road users.
Man held after PE protests
IOL News 13 August 2015
Port Elizabeth - A 36-year-old man was arrested and charged for public violence during service delivery protests at Walmer Location in Port Elizabeth, police said on Thursday.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Marinda Mills said protest action by several hundred residents around service delivery issues had seen roads in the area blockaded by burning tyres and stones thrown at passing motorists. One suspect was arrested.
She said the protest had been monitored by the police since 5:45am on Thursday.
“Since early this morning various groups of community members started gathering at different areas around the Walmer Location. They also started to upset the flow of traffic by burning tyres. Victoria Road, 8th to 11th Avenue and 5th Avenue have been closed.”
Mills said two private vehicles had been reported damaged and the community members were reported to have thrown stones at passing vehicles.
“Public Order Police, Tactical Response Teams and local police members have been deployed to bring the situation under control. SAPS members are addressing the crowd on their demand to release the arrested suspect They are awaiting a representative from Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality to address the community on their demands.”
It is alleged that the disruptive actions are due to unresolved matters between the community and the Nelson Mandela Metro Municipality on service delivery, Mills said.
“The suspect will appear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court today (on Thursday). However, a group of almost 500 protesters have gathered at Walmer SAPS demanding the release of the suspect.”
Mills said the road in front of Walmer SAPS (Main Road between 8th and 9th Avenue) had been closed.
A warning had been issued to protesters not to endanger the lives of people and to cease their violent actions of throwing stones at police vehicles and other road users.
Community members were reminded that although they had the democratic right to protest, they had to do so within the boundaries of the law and respect the rights of non-participating public members. Disregarding the law would not be allowed and those who failed to adhere to this would be arrested, charged and brought before a court, Mills added.
Sonop residents take to the streets
IOL News 12 August 2015
Rustenburg - Residents of Sonop near Brits in North West have barricaded internal roads in their area demanding electricity, North West police said on Wednesday.
Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said no arrests have been made and the police were monitoring the situation.
A resident identifying himself Tumi said that a bakkie was burnt down on Tuesday night.
“It was hectic last night [Tuesday], roads were blocked with burning tyres and other objects. People want electricity, there are other issues but the most demanded is electricity,” he told African News Agency in a telephonic interview.
He said residents have vowed to resumed the protest on Wednesday afternoon.
“It was quiet in the morning. The police are monitoring the situation.”
The protest came on the day that the ANC in Bojanala Region called on mayors, speakers and chief whips to stabilise the region by preventing service delivery protests.
Regional secretary Tokyo Mataboge said service delivery protest were common in the Madibeng, Moretele and Rustenburg municipalities.
Sonop is under Madibeng municipality.
Limpopo protesters torch vehicles
IOL News 7 August 2015
A police nyala was burnt during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo, on Friday. Photo:SAPS
Johannesburg – A police nyala and a truck were set alight in Vuwani, Limpopo, on Friday as residents took to the streets and protested against being incorporated into a newly proposed Malamulele municipality.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said the area had come to a total standstill.
“No public transport is operating, shops and schools are also closed. A police nyala and a truck were set alight during the protests, travelers are advised to avoid the area,” she said.
The road from Elim through Vuwani to Malamulele was blocked with rocks and burning tyres.
The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) announced in July that Malamulele would get its own new municipality, to be known as Malamulele-Vuwani Municipality.
This comes after years of protest by Malamulele residents who demanded their own municipality, and to be separated from Thulamela Municipality, which they accused of ignoring their plight for services.
The new municipality will incorporate Vuwani, which falls under Vhembe Municipality.
Protest over schoolboy rape claims
IOL News 8 August 2015
A protest by parents on Friday over the alleged rape of two boys at Tyburn Primary School in Chatsworth forced pupils to leave the school through a hole in the fence.
The parents staged the protest after The Independent on Saturday’s sister newspaper the Daily News reported that four boys aged 11 and 12 had gang-raped two boys aged eight and nine.
Things got heated when a protester and the mother of one of the accused boys began hurling insults at each other.
Leeana Moodley, whose grandchild attends the school, said as parents they were concerned about pupils’ safety and wanted the alleged rapists removed from the school.
She also accused the principal of not acting in the best interests of pupils.
The former day-care teacher said: “There is no security. There are no teachers on the grounds to monitor the kids.”
She said the school’s principal had earlier chased them out of the school when they had sought answers from him.
About 10 parents stood outside the school’s gate and could be heard shouting: “Rape is not allowed!”
In response, the school sent a letter to parents in which it said the incident was “sexual experimentation”.
The mother of one of the alleged perpetrators said she could not comment until she had spoken to a social worker and her lawyer.
The letter, signed by the school’s principal and the school governing body’s chairman, of which The Independent On Saturday has a copy, also said: “The incident occurred within metres of neighbouring houses and the security guardhouse.”
Another protester, whose grandchildren also attend the school, said her concern was the safety of pupils.
“We are very worried it will be girls next time,” said Rita Naidoo.
The grandmother, who has two grandchildren at the school, said she was so scared that she had told her granddaughter not to use the school’s toilets. She said all they were asking was for the school to remove the four accused.
The spokesman for the Department of Education, Muzi Mahlambi, said they were aware of the case, but were being sensitive in their approach as it involved minors.
Mahlambi said they had received a report from the school which contradicted the accusations.
The matter had been handed over to the police.
The Police confirmed charges had been laid with them, but would not comment further on the matter.
uMlazi refuse still uncollected
IOL News 11 August 2015
Durban - Rubbish continues to pile up outside uMlazi homes, as domestic refuse goes uncollected, despite assurances from the municipality.
In a statement released last week, the eThekwini Municipality said waste collection had resumed in parts of uMlazi.
However, residents of the township’s AA Section on Monday said rubbish remained uncollected.
Other sections in uMlazi that have been affected by the refuse problem include H, M and K sections, among others.
Refuse collectors were threatened at gunpoint and told not to collect domestic refuse by men claiming to be uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans.
The veterans and a group calling itself the Umlazi Business Forum have been demanding they be included in the allocation of tenders.
They claimed they had been promised work last year but nothing had materialised.
In a statement on Friday, Durban mayor James Nxumalo said: “We assure all residents that this situation is receiving attention and thank the involved parties for their co-operation.
“Refuse collection has resumed in uMlazi and we are confident that by next week the operations will be back to normal,” Nxumalo said.
A frustrated AA Section resident on Monday said the situation made her angry.
“It is not nice that you leave your home and there is garbage outside. If it was a suburban area this would not be happening. It could also cause health problems especially when you have kids running around,” said the woman, who asked not to be named.
uMlazi AA Section ward councillor, Ntwenhle Dlamini, on Monday said residents were deeply unhappy.
Dlamini said he hoped by next week things would be back to normal, but said he could not comment further as he was waiting for details from the municipality on developments.
Zamindlela “Zam Zam” Mbhele, chairman of the veterans’ association in the eThekwini region, said although MK and the business forum had disputed the awarding of the tenders, they had now told MK members to distance themselves from the matter and that issues should be discussed through the organisation’s regional executive council.
“There are more members of the business forum than there are soldiers,” Mbhele said, which meant that the forum should take the lead in negotiations and the MK did not have any powers to tell the business forum what to do.
Mbhele said MK was already negotiating with the municipality.
Protest erupts in Durban township
IOL News 11 August 2015
Durban - A service delivery protest rocked Durban’s western township of KwaDabeka on Tuesday morning, KwaZulu-Natal police said.
Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said the protest started in the early hours of the morning.
He said police estimated that about 100 people took part, and there were no immediate reports of injuries, damage to property or arrests.
Local morning radio traffic reports advised motorists to stay away from the area.
Residents protest against soaring crime
IOL News 11 August 2015
Cape Town - Hout Bay residents used on Monday’s public holiday to take to the streets to voice concerns about the growing increase in crime.
Residents marched from Hangberg to Imizamo Yethu, carrying placards with messages, saying “Sekwanele (Enough!)”, “Ons is gatvol”, “Say no to crime” and “Bring hope not drugs”.
Imizamo Yethu resident Zukiswa Hlathuka said the people of Hout Bay were living in fear because of crime.
“People are stabbed and killed every weekend. We have had enough, which is why we decided to stand up and take action,” she said.
Hlathuka said the police were overwhelmed by the crime in the area.
“We don’t have enough police and they get overpowered. They need the help of the community,” she said.
Hangberg resident Fagmieda Samaai said the biggest problem in her community was drugs.
“We are faced with a drug problem in our area, and with drugs comes crime. Drug users steal to sustain their habit,” she said.
Samaai shared Hlathuka’s sentiments about policing in the area.
“We need more police officers in the area. There are not enough for the whole of Hout Bay,” she said.
Richard Kalamba, a Congolese national, said he felt that foreigners were targeted by criminals and that some residents approved this.
“We are targeted because we are seen as a weak community, but that doesn’t mean crime doesn’t also affect the locals. Some people seem to be supporting crime; I don’t know whether they are benefiting from it,” he said.
Kalamba said more people should have joined the protest march if they were serious about Hout Bay becoming a crime-free community.
“I’m disappointed with the turnout because you would expect the whole community to be here for such a big issue,” he said.
The memorandum of grievances residents handed over to acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, had three demands: improved policing, safety and security, and the provision of services and amenities that would assist in curbing crime.
The residents also called for unity among all the communities of Hout Bay in taking responsibility for fighting crime and the security of the suburb.
Patekile said he welcomed the actions of the community and said it was appropriate that people were standing up against crime.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to fight crime and we support the stand taken by the community of Hout Bay,” he said.
In response to the call for more police officers, Patekile said five posts for officers had been advertised. But he added that Hout Bay received assistance and support from other stations in the cluster when carrying out operations.
Pics: EFF, church do battle
IOL News 11 August 2015
Pretoria - The streets of Soshanguve’s Block 13 were transformed into a free-for-all on Sunday as blows were exchanged after members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) descended on the infamous snake-eating church, tore down a tent, and set it on fire.
Congregants fled as angry residents vented their anger on them.
Some of the churchgoers, among them a young preacher, flung themselves over a fence and ran away, while others engaged in physical altercations which left some women floored with bruised hands and knees.
“This has been a long time coming,” community member Phanuel Mavundathanda said.
He and a couple of other young men explained they had gone to the church on Sunday hoping to see for themselves the antics of the pastor who fed his congregants snakes, rats and ants.
“The problem is, this man fed a boy from my street a snake recently, so I thought I should come and see him do it live,” the young man said.
There was also a moment of shock when a group of young congregants attacked a female journalism student from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and started “eating” her weave, after a preacher told them he saw food in her hair.
EFF members from the community, led by provincial and regional structures. arrived at the church on Sunday morning, armed with mice and small lizards.
They wanted to ask Pastor Penuel Mnguni to eat those in the same way he had been feeding snakes, mice, ants and an assortment of items to his congregants over the past few months.
The church shot into the news – and notoriety – when it emerged that its young pastor employed unorthodox ways to encourage worshippers to believe.
“He is corrupt and right now he is preying on black women, taking advantage of their vulnerability and promising them a better future, and that we will not allow,” EFF acting Tshwane chairwoman Mandisa Mashego said.
The party, she said, had a social responsibility and would fight social ills.
“We are fighting corruption and this man is a prime example of that,” she said.
Mnguni had been chased away from his hometown in Mpuma-langa and from other Soshanguve neighbourhoods before he settled in Extension 13, she said.
When the EFF arrived, singing political songs and advancing to the church, they were joined by curious residents.
When Mashego explained that they would give the pastor five minutes to emerge from a house next to the tent so that they could feed him the rodents, there were loud cheers from all the spectators.
The pastor failed to come to the tent, prompting the community and EFF members to pull it down and burn it.
Some pursued the preacher, who had continued preaching. They wanted him to eat the rodents instead.
The EFF left the church after just more than half an hour, its members explaining they had Women’s Day celebrations to attend, leaving it to residents to ensure operations did not continue.
In the aftermath of the fracas, the faithful congregants gathered in the yard and continued with their prayers, vowing to uphold the teachings of their “father” and to pray for political parties.
From the streets, neighbours watched as young people threw themselves on the ground at the command of preachers.
They watched in amazement when the preacher fed them toilet paper, and sent them to a tree, telling them it was food.
“This is utter nonsense. Which Bible do they read from?” one angry woman asked.
She was among many who expressed their disgust at the activities of the church.
“Unfortunately our children have rights these days, if you refuse that they attend the church they threaten to report you to some or other authority,” said another, whose daughter is a member of the church.
A number of young people gawked as youths their age fought each other for pieces of toilet paper dangled by the preachers.
“I am not sure what these girls are trying to achieve, but they need urgent intervention,” said an 18-year-old who identified herself only as Kea.
A 16-year-old who gave her name only as Sabelo said the pastor was clearly more toxic than nyaope.
Others voiced their suspicion that Mnguni used an alternative power to win the attention of the mostly female congregation.
“You cannot tell me they can blindly do what he tells them to do, everyone knows nothing in the gospel talks of eating snakes,” Selinah Mabizela said. Many said he used witchcraft while others said he was a devil himself.
Said Petros Mkhaliphi: “It is powerful and scary. The sooner something serious is done the better, before he disappears with our wives and children and we will never know what hit us.”
Members of the church refused to speak to the Pretoria News, saying all communication from the church was made through the pastor.
But they did prophesise to the News photographer, telling him he was a man of God who would receive a promotion within days.
At the preacher’s command
A young man from the End of Times Disciple Ministries in Soshanguve’s Extension 13, on Sunday encapsulated everything that the church has become infamous for. During a two or so hour session he participated in everything the preachers commanded, including attacking a young student journalist and trying to bite the weave off her hair.
He was initially in the circle formed after the tent was removed and burnt to ashes by members of the EFF and community members, but quickly removed himself to roll around on the ground as prayers were said.
He jostled for space when the preacher offered them toilet paper to eat, and joined a group of young women who ran for a nearby tree when they were told it had food.
He chomped away at dry leaves before being slapped across the face by a pastor, who asked “Do you feel any pain” after each slap and to which he responded “no”.
He performed cartwheels which looked like they could break his neck, and fell flat on his face when commanded to “go to sleep”. When one of the two preachers walked around with a brick in his hand, threatening to turn it into food, the young lad followed him sheepishly, seemingly ready to grab and devour it once it had transformed into something edible.
He did not flinch or move a muscle when a preacher jumped on his back, and sped ahead of the pack when the congregation was told that the weave on the head of a female journalism student was food.
He got to her, grabbed her and squatted behind her, grabbed clumps of the hair in both hands and bit it.
Seemingly dazed most of the time and switching between awkwardness and being almost comatose at the instruction of either of the preachers, the boy displayed the perfect example of a disciple whose role was to listen and obey.
At the end of the session and when the spectators started walking away from the show of faith, he was left lying on the ground, covered in sand, leaves and grass and looking more like a vagrant than a young man who had come to a church service.
Fear keeps Roodepoort teachers away
IOL News 11 August 2015
Johannesburg - Learning at Roodepoort Primary School was again disrupted on Tuesday morning when some teachers didn’t show up for work fearing reprisals from angry parents.
The school, which is in a predominantly coloured area, has been marred by allegations of racism and irregularities after the appointment of a black principal, Nomathemba Molefe, last year.
Parents congregated outside the school on Tuesday morning, west of Joburg, under the watchful eye of armed police officers.
One of them threatened to assault a security guard on the premises.
“Come outside and I’ll show you who will win in a fight,” one of the parents told the guard.
But the guard closed the gate and did not retaliate.
He told The Star that the black and white teachers, including the principal, had not shown up for work as they feared for their lives.
In recent weeks there had been violence against those teachers, including when parents threw a petrol bomb at the deputy principal’s car, he said.
The guards, who were hired by Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, managed to douse the flames and prevent injuries.
Cecilia Springkaan, a grandparent who was outside the school on Tuesday, said she had sent her grandchild to school and everything was functioning as normal.
But the guard said only coloured pupils and teachers had arrived.
On Monday, Lesufi threatened to close down the troubled school should disruptions continue.
“I call on teachers to return to work on Tuesday to ensure that learning continues.
“I also appeal to members of the community to respect the processes at the school… I will not hesitate to close the school down should there be any form of disruption on Tuesday,” he said on Monday.
In April, Lesufi closed down the school, but reopened it days later. He said the children would be sent to other schools should the school be closed down again.
Reminder: Response to Free Market Foundation invite to COSATU to join a media briefing on the attacks on the extension of collective agreements
IOL News 6 August 2015
The Congress of South African Trade Unions rejects with contempt the Free Market Foundation [FMF] invitation for COSATU to join them on the platform to brief the media on our different positions on the extension of Collective Agreements.
The FMF has charged itself with a mammoth task of challenging both the concept and the application of centralised bargaining, which is an important provision in the country’s Labour Relations Act.
This is a clear attack on worker rights, and an attack on worker rights, is an attack on human rights.
COSATU cannot and will not provide legitimacy to your practices, developed in Apartheid ideology.
FMF is an organisation fronted by the black elite, such as Herman Mashaba and Temba Nolutshungu who continue to maximise profits by continuing to exploit the vulnerable workers in the country.
The FMF, led by the Executive Director Leon Louw, is using the Small Black Business to turn the clock backward, by continuing fighting the battles we defeated, under the disguise of creating jobs for the unemployed.
We remind you that since the 1995 LRA, centralisation and extension of the agreements has been a practise, where collective agreements exist.
These rights have been won through the blood and sweat of ordinary workers at the height of exploitation, and the Federation will not allow that the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines of our movement be violated by a privileged few.
COSATU welcomes Social Dialogue and invites the FMF to bring its views to the most democratic tripartite structures existing in South Africa and endorsed by International Laws.
Trade Unions under the Federation will continue to support and help organise the most vulnerable people in our communities and will not be deterred from our founding policies.
Leon Louw’s remarks, that they will offer COSATU representatives a light lunch to join their press briefing is symptomatic of the “baasskap” mentality, disguised as a fight for job creation, that the FMF has.
We will never trade these rights for a sandwich.
It is him that does not understand the COSATU position.
Workers have sacrificed for these rights by taking to the streets. It is our duty to defend it by taking to the streets.
The Picket organized for tomorrow is going ahead as planned;
Date: Friday 07 August 2015
Venue: New Free Market Foundation [FMF] Office, Building 5, 170 Curzon Street, (Cnr of Main Road) Bryanston
Issued by COSATU
For more information contact:
Cde Theodora Steele
COSATU National Organising Secretary
Norman Mampane (Acting National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct 010 219-1342
Mobile: +27 72 416 3790
Fire engine torched in Soweto
IOL News 6 August 2015
Johannesburg - A fire engine was destroyed when protesters pelted it with stones before setting it alight next to the Mzimhlophe hostel in Soweto, causing millions of rand in damage and injuring a fireman.
The fire engine was travelling along the Soweto highway after dousing a fire in Meadowlands when hostel dwellers protesting against electricity interruptions surrounded it on Wednesday night, said Johannesburg Emergency Management spokesman Robert Mulaudzi.
“The protesters started stoning the fire engine and the firemen ran out of the vehicle… one fireman was stoned and injured,” Mulaudzi said.
The injured fireman was transported to the Milpark hospital for treatment and later released.
As the firemen ran to safety, residents stole whatever they could from the fire engine.
Then they set it ablaze, destroying it and causing millions of rand worth of damage.
Mulaudzi said hardly anything could be recovered from it.
“The problem is, if there’s ever a fire at the hostel, it would be Diepkloof EMS who would respond to the call… the same Diepkloof EMS who were attacked on Wednesday night.
“It is just a nasty incident,” he said.
Calm has since been restored to the area, but on Thursday morning, reminders of Wednesday night’s violent protest could still be seen.
Early-morning commuters and motorists had to manoeuvre their way past large rocks, stones, pieces of broken concrete and other debris strewn across the streets.
This caused major traffic backlogs.
Despite this, the roads remained open.
Children could be seen walking to school and Joburg metro police department (JMPD) officers were stationed at the scene.
Resident Cynthia Mubva told The Star residents took to the streets to protest against the lack of electricity in the township throughout the day on Wednesday.
“For the last few weeks, the lights go off for days at a time.
“Last week, I didn’t have electricity for two full days… in the middle of winter,” she said.
These sentiments were echoed by Ntsike Ntombe, another resident fed up with the lights going off.
She claims the electricity disruption is due to a cable problem.
“Because we don’t pay for electricity, when we have a problem, we aren’t taken seriously. No one comes to check it out,” Ntombe said.
Eskom was unavailable for comment.
Night vigil for slain cops
IOL News 6 August 2015
Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department for Community Safety, Crime Line and the Gauteng Community Police Board are to host a night vigil on Friday evening in the wake of the recent spate of cop killings.
The vigil to be held at 6pm at the Johannesburg Central Police Station will be led by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, together with anti-crime activists.
The public has been encouraged to bring candles and attend in large numbers.
MEC Nkosi-Malobane said: “We cannot sit back and watch our men and women in blue being murdered. The time has come to stand up and mobilise against cop killings.”
Crime Line's Yusuf Abramjee said: “Let's all unite. We must say enough is enough. These brazen attacks on our police are an attack on all of us. When criminals have this little regard for the lives of police officers, they have even less for the public. We must track them down and put them behind bars.”
Andy Mashaile of the Gauteng Community Police Board has appealed to all community policing forums to support the night vigil.
“We as anti-crime activists cannot sit back and watch our police officers being murdered at this rate,” he said.
Limpopo protests over jobs end
IOL News 7 August 2015
Johannesburg - Violent community protests in Namakgale near Phalaborwa in Limpopo against a local mining company’s recruitment practices have ended after an agreement was reached between affected parties.
Palabora Copper spokesman Hulisani Nemaxwi said on Friday that an agreement was reached following a lengthy meeting with the local community forum.
“Palabora Copper has reached an agreement with the members of the community forum to end the illegal protest immediately. The company expects to have a full operational staff during the afternoon shift,” said Nemaxwi.
“The communities and the local authorities continue to work together in the various areas removing rubble blocking the roads.”
Operations at Palabora, a subsidiary of Phalaborwa Mining Company, were halted over the weekend after residents from nearby Namakgale protested against the company, accusing it of not hiring local residents.
The protest resulted in the shutdown of businesses and schools as major roads were blocked and vehicles set alight. Buses ferrying workers to the mine were prevented from travelling along the R71 between Namakgale and Phalaborwa.
Nemaxwi said his company had refused to accede to the forum’s demand that at least 16 000 CVs from job seekers, which were collected through various tribal councils, be thrown away and replaced by a 100 CVs to be submitted by the forum.
Palabora said agreeing to this condition would have compromised a legitimate process that involved communities and tribal councils, Nemaxwi said at the time.
Schools, businesses closed after protest
IOL News 5 August 2015
Vehicles were burnt down during a protest in Namakgale, Limpopo. Pictures: SAPS
Limpopo - The ongoing protest against a local mining company has resulted in the shutdown of businesses and schools in Namakgale, Limpopo on Wednesday.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said the situation in the area was volatile and tense.
“Last (on Tuesday) night, the R71 between Namakgale and Phalaborwa was blocked again and several vehicles were damaged by people throwing stones. Reports received were that spaza shops were looted and burnt down, we have not been able to verify the reports as roads are blocked and police cannot access the areas yet. Shops and schools are closed.” said Otto.
The protest, organised by the local unemployment forum, started on Monday. The protests were at the local Palabora Copper, a subsidiary of Palabora Mining Company.
The forum accused the company of not recruiting local residents, Otto said.
Palabora Copper spokesman Hulisani Nemaxwi said the unemployment forum, communities and the various tribal councils had been involved in the recruitment process that started in January.
Rocks were placed on the R71 road between Mamakgale and Phalaborwa as residents protested against a local mining company.
“We asked people to submit CVs at their tribal councils, and have them stamped by the tribal office to make sure the CVs were from local residents and not outsiders. We collected 16 000 CVs which we’ve put in our database and started the process of recruiting,” said Nemaxwi.
He said the forum approached the company and demanded that the CVs be thrown away, and be replaced by 100 others they wanted to forward for employment.
“The sad thing is people who are protesting do not know that their forum want to do away with 16 000 job applicants and replace them with the 100 coming directly from them, we refused to accede to their demands as this will compromise a legitimate process that involved communities and tribal councils,” said Nemaxwi.
He added that production at the mine has dropped as protesters prevented buses transporting workers from entering the premises. Contractors’ vehicles were burnt down, he said.
“This is happening at a critical time for the industry, and can have significant ramifications for on the future of Palabora. This is impacting on the execution of the R9.3 billion project and may lead to mine closure.”
Phalaborwa calm after protest violence
IOL News 4 August 2015
Police step in to restore order during a service delivery protest. File picture: Brenton Geach
Rustenburg – The situation was calm but tense in Phalaborwa on Tuesday evening following a violent protest, Limpopo police said.
“The main road is opened but streets in the township are still blocked,” said police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto.
Three trucks and two bakkies were torched during the protest, which started on Sunday.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it fully supported the ongoing the protest by members of the community in Phalaborwa but was strongly opposed to any use of violence by the community to achieve their goal.
“We urge the community to embark on a peaceful strike and refrain from destroying the property,” the union said.
On Monday, Palabora Mining Company confirmed that there was an ongoing illegal and violent protest by the members of the community in Phalaborwa, which was impacting negatively on the safety of employees, contractors, the protesters themselves and was impacting on the production of the company.
“This unfortunate development is happening at the most critical time in the mining industry and the economy. It can have significant ramifications to the future of Palabora – impacting on the execution of the R 9.3 billion Lift II project schedule and delivery and may lead to the mine closure,” said spokesperson Hulisani Nemaxwi.
“The company is opposed to any use of violent means by the community to achieve whatsoever objectives. We remain resolute that we have the best interest of our communities and have always maintained an open door policy to engage with our communities. We however cannot continue engaging in a hostile climate.”
Stranded pupils not welcome
IOL News 4 August 2015
Cape Town - There was a mad scramble by the Western Cape Education Department to find a building in which to teach pupils from Scottsdene Secondary School, after the Eerste River community foiled the department’s plan to accommodate them temporarily at a new primary school in the area.
The department planned to accommodate the pupils from the high school at the newly-built primary school that was completed last month and is only due to open next year.
On Monday however, Eerste River parents said they did not want the school used as they had waited a long time for it to be built.
They blockaded the entrance to the school as pupils from the high school were to be bussed in to start using it.
MEC for Education Debbie Schafer said the department was saddened that the Eerste River community denied the Scottsdene pupils the chance to use the school.
“I am disheartened at how some of these community members have opposed this temporary measure in such an uncaring manner, given that the school building is standing vacant and it is for the benefit of young learners in the Western Cape.”
The plan was to have the Scottsdene pupils use the school for the remaining school terms while prefabricated classrooms were installed at the high school.
The protest by the parents had led the education department to hurry the setup along.
“Public Works has undertaken to fast-track the installation of mobile classrooms at Scottsdene Secondary School, with work
starting on 12 classrooms on the school’s parking lot this week. Meanwhile, contractors have started civil works on the school’s sports fields to accommodate a further 14 mobile classrooms. Public Works expects that it will take about three weeks to install these 14 classrooms.”
She added that there had been consultations with the Eerste River community and the interim school governing body to discuss the temporary relocation.
“I also invited members of the interim SGB to meet with me to discuss the planned relocation and how it would greatly benefit learners from Scottsdene. They rejected this offer.
“The members of the community stated that they did not want learners from Scottsdene Secondary School to occupy the new school building for various reasons.”
Eerste River parent Ron Martin said one of the reasons was that the community had been waiting for years to have a primary school in their area.
“Our kids have to go to Forest Heights Primary School and have to cross a busy highway to get to school and, in the 17 years that I have been living here, there have been 11 fatalities.”
He said residents did not want their kids going to a school that was damaged but rather one that was unused.
“They need it because they virtually trashed their school. The kids there run riot and who knows how they will use this school.”
Aside from those two reasons, he said residents were unhappy as they were not consulted about he plan, saying it was “done behind closed doors”.
Ward councillor for the Forest Village area, Gordon Thomas, said he received a call from the provincial government that it had found a “plan B” for the pupils.
He said Eerste River parents felt “sorry for the pupils” but did not want a “second-hand school”.
Scottsdene principal Karel Cupido said: “We are working hard to find alternative accommodation for the pupils.”
Roads blocked, vehicles burnt in Limpopo
IOL News 3 August 2015
Limpopo - Residents of Namakgale in Limpopo barricaded roads and burnt several vehicles during protests, police said on Monday.
“Last night [on Sunday night] three trucks and two bakkies were set alight. Residents are blocking roads inside the township as well as the R71 between Namkgale and Phalaborwa,” said spokesman Colonel Ronel Otto.
She added that an unemployment forum in the area organised the protests.
“At this stage, it is not clear whether the protest is against the possible lack of service delivery or unemployment. Public order police are monitoring the area.”
No arrests have been made.
Petition drive to save Stables Market
3 August 2015 at
Durban - More than a 1 000 people have signed a petition to save the Stables Lifestyle Market from being evicted. The market, along with horses at Newmarket next door, have until the end of the month to leave.
Both are on property that is to be developed into a new soccer academy.
Signatures were gathered at schools on the Berea during the week and market customers on Sunday.
Market representatives will meet eThekwini city manager, S’bu Sithole, on Monday to discuss their future.
Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, Stables Lifestyle Market spokesman, Yaser Nasef, said the 73 stalls were trading as normal and the rumours had not affected them.
“We are not closing. We will take the matter to court if we have no resolution. The city management does not understand the dynamics of this market. There are arts and crafters who create items and sell them,” he said.
Drumshack owner, Johnathan Pimenta, said his space was all about family entertainment and socialising. He had been creating and assembling drums for the past 16 years at the market.
“Music unites people. The response from tourists to the drums is great. I have to think carefully where I move my business. It has to be close to my clientele. Drumming is noisy, so I cannot move into a residential area,” he said.
Book store owner, Scott Duncan, who had been with the market for 20 years, said his store was all about educating people. He said he had taken to selling books online and had not thought of trading elsewhere.
“People progressed and grew their business after starting here. This is a great place for small-medium-micro businesses. The municipality will shoot itself in the foot if they evict us,” Duncan said.
One of the first five stall holders, Lorraine Thorpe, said it took months to build up the clientele at the beginning, but despite trials and tribulations the market had stood strong and hopefully would continue for decades.
“I will remain positive and I have faith. Hopefully, sanity will prevail,” she said.
The market is trading as normal every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Road Blockade Happening in Siyanda Now
IOL News 30 July 2015
The ANC in eThekwini now support land occupations but only ANC members are allowed to build
When we began our struggle in 2005 the ANC was attempting to ‘eradicate’ shacks. We successfully opposed attempts to ‘eradicate’ numerous shack settlements in different parts of Durban and smaller towns in KwaZulu-Natal. We have also supported many land occupations which we see as the ‘peoples’ land redistribution programme’ or ‘land reform from below’ and as a form of ‘grassroots urban planning’. The ANC has long referred to land occupations, which they have called ‘land invasions’, as criminal acts and have used state violence and other forms of repression to try and prevent them.
While some senior leaders in the ruling party continue to act from above to try and criminalise land reform from below there has been a major shift at the lower levels of the party in eThekwini. The programme of land occupations from below is winning support from the ruling party. We are pleased that our hard fought struggle against landlessness is being supported. However the same logic that applies to ‘service delivery’ is now being applied to the occupation of land. Just as you have to be a member of the ruling party to benefit from service delivery so to you now have to be a member of the ruling party to benefit for the occupation of land. In a number of areas where we have branches – including Siyanda, Shallcross, Sisonke, Palmiet and Joe Slovo – our members report that people are being told that members of the ruling party are now mandated to occupy land. In all of these areas members of the ruling party are not being evicted while others, especially those who are independently organised, face evictions. These evictions are always unlawful and often violent. This selective eviction has caused anger in communities as a whole.
In some cases ANC members are willing to unite with people outside of the ruling party to oppose evictions. After the assassination in September last year of Thuli Ndlovu, our chairperson in KwaNdengezi, residents in the area united across political lines. Our members worked with members of the South African Communist Party to demand the arrest of the local councillor. He has since been arrested and charged with the murder. Where ever possible we will build the broadest possible alliances against evictions.
We have been told that in Siyanda the Ward 41 Councillor, Lucky Mdlalose, has allocated sites to his supporters in order to build shacks. His supporters were able to successfully build but the shacks of other residents who built without the mandate of the councillor were demolished. On the 4th July the Land Invasion Unit came to demolish shacks but left those of the supporters of Lucky Mdlalose. We hope that the ruling party will now stop these selective evictions and endorse a fair and equitable people’s land redistribution programme that does not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation or where people come from.
Right now in Siyanda both Abahlali and ANC members are on the street and are blockading the road in protest against the selective evictions of Lucky Mdlalose. This comes after the Land Invasion Unit arrived to demolish shacks built by non ANC residents. The media can rush to Siyanda right now to speak to protestors and see the situation for themselves.
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Commuters blockade Ladysmith roads
IOL News 1 August 2015
Durban – All roads into the town of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal were closed off on Saturday morning by commuters apparently angry at a R1 increase in taxi fares.
KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate spokeswoman Zinhle Mngomezulu confirmed that the roads into the town were closed by protesters.
She would not comment further, saying that police were in attendance and the matter was one for police to comment on.
Comment was not immediately available from police.
A local resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity said residents were angry at the R1 increase in taxi fares in the city.
The Ladysmith Gazette reported on its website that the communities in Helpmekaar, Peacetown, Driefontein, and Roosboom areas had “erupted into anti taxi price increase protests”.
Pagad defiant after attack
IOL News 3 August 2015
Cape Town - An attack on People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) on Saturday did not deter them from spreading their message against gangsterism and drugs as they took to the streets a day later.
Pagad’s Haroon Orrie said they were shot at and had stones and beer bottles thrown at them, allegedly by gangsters, in Manenberg on Saturday.
Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said they have opened cases of assault, grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property after a police officer was hit “by a stone by unidentified residents during a motorcade in Heideveld”.
“A number of police vehicles were damaged during this incident. Police management condemns the attack on police officials and damage to state property,” she said.
Orrie said despite the attack they would not be intimidated. He said he believes police officers, who were leading the motorcade from Heideveld, purposefully retreated to the rear when they entered Manenberg. “I think it was done purposefully to have our future applications for marches denied.”
Armed with a placard and a loud hailer, a group of residents from Morgenster in Mitchells Plain joined Pagad’s motorcade on Sunday.
Orrie warned the community that people may come to them and claim they are Pagad, as there is now a breakaway of expelled Pagad members who call themselves Pagad G-Force.
“We don’t care what people want to do in their spare time but they can’t use Pagad’s name. The unfortunate part is that they are expelled members. People need to ask what brought about the expulsion and why they want to use Pagad’s name.”
The group said it was sick of the drugs and gangs holding communities hostage.
Pagad’s co-ordinator in Tafelsig, Mogamat Keraan, said residents need to learn to come forward and report drug and gang related activities. “How will you face your Creator one day knowing that the person next door is dealing drugs and you didn’t do anything about it? The onus is on you.”
He added that residents need to take back the streets and reclaim their neighbourhoods. “If you are serious about tackling crime then step up. Because if you are here to just see what Pagad is doing you are in the wrong place. Unless the community is involved we are fighting a losing battle.”
Resident Ricardo Moosa said he is “fed up” with the crime in the area.
“We are fed up of the crime that is going on in our area. People are getting robbed of their cars and at gunpoint and our kids are not safe. They get robbed of their money when we send them to the shop.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said he believes the crime problem is getting worse because drugs are more easily available. “The people are fed up and the police don’t do much for them. The police should have more visibility, especially for the hotspots. It’s important that people see police are involved.”
Trafficking a clear and present danger
IOL News 1 August 2015
Pretoria - Aged just 19, an HIV-positive woman was trafficked by a Nigerian man and introduced to prostitution in Pretoria.
The woman came from a poor family in the Free State and was promised she would be enrolled at a tertiary institution in the capital.
Unfortunately, the promise never materialised when she arrived in the city.
Instead, she was forced to sleep with four to five men a day and the money she made went to her pimp.
The woman was rescued by police and taken to caregivers at The Potters House, a shelter for abused women and children.
She had been rehabilitated, but refused to open a case against her perpetrator out of fear that she might be killed.
Her story was told during a march in Sunnyside on Thursday to raise awareness of human trafficking.
The march was to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the international campaign launched last year by the UN to observe July 30 as a day for raising awareness about human trafficking.
The theme for this year was Be Alert, Be Involved and Be Responsible.
The march started in Arcadia and then proceeded to Sunnyside’s Jubilee Park, where participants voiced their concerns about the growing trend of trafficking people.
Marchers wielded placards bearing the anti-trafficking messages.
Victims were encouraged to report their perpetrators to law enforcement units such as the police and Hawks, they said.
Organisers said the campaign was hosted in Sunnyside because the problem was rife in the area.
Shack dwellers voice grievances
IOL News 29 July 2015
Copy of st Muldersdrift protest2.JPG
Police officers walk towards a barricade in a road during a service delivery protest in Muldersdrift. Picture: Dumisani Dube
Johannesburg - Rocks, burning debris and several chopped down pine trees blocked a main route to Krugersdorp on Tuesday.
Residents of an informal settlement in Muldersdrift, north-west, of Joburg, protested in anger about service delivery issues.
Although the scene was calm when police arrived, community members were adamant that their concerns be heard.
“We see the municipality as lacking ability, energy and action… this is not how we should be addressing our concerns, but it is the only way we are heard,” one community member said.
Community spokesman Louis Mqwashu said issues of service delivery had plagued their neighbourhood for what he and other community members deemed “forever”.
Despite being established in 1952, the informal settlement has no sanitation or flushing toilets, and only two taps with running water.
“We have over 12 000 people living here, two taps is not enough… We have only two municipal skips for refuse, which are emptied once a month.”
Mqwashu said this was adding to sanitation and cleanliness woes because it takes a whole day to fill them up. “They need to be cleaned more often,” he complained.
But on Tuesday, the residents protested for a separate reason. “We have families living on wetlands where water keeps coming up from the ground and into their shacks.
“Their beds and personal belongings are always wet… our children who live there are getting sick. We were promised by the ward councillor that they would be moved to another plot of land long ago and nothing has happened,” Mqwashu said.
He added that some residents living on the wetlands were given permission to build new shacks on an empty plot of land next to the settlements, but the Red Ants had arrived and dismantled them.
“The ward councillor told us that he had no problem with us erecting these shacks in another place, but then later he denied it and sent in the Red Ants,” Mqwashu said.
At a community meeting, the councillor, Molefi Sediba, explained that it was the Red Ants’ job to protect municipal land and to stop the illegal construction of shacks.
“It’s my job to ensure that they are doing their job. The community cannot build shacks wherever they want, I need to make that clear.
“I am also here to clarify to the community that we are in the first stages of purchasing land for those affected (by wetlands) and for betterment of the community,” Sediba added.
Commuters demand Peters be axed
IOL News 29 July 2015
Pretoria - About 500 commuters, under the banner of the South African Commuters Organisation (Saco), thronged Pretoria’s streets on Tuesday, calling for President Jacob Zuma to get rid of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
This comes two weeks after South African Transport and Allied Workers Union members handed over a memorandum to the office of Peters, calling on her to step down.
Joined by leaders of Satawu, Saco members marched to the Union Buildings to deliver a memorandum with their grievances to the Presidency.
Marchers accused Peters of having colluded with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) board chairman Popo Molefe to oust the former agency’s chief executive officer, Lucky Montana. They want Zuma’s office to take over the administration of Prasa and disband the agency’s board headed by Molefe.
Members of Saco, including cleaners, informal traders and commuters, moved from Bosman station to the president’s office.
Satawu deputy secretary-general Freedom Sotshantsha reiterated the call to get rid of e-tolls and blamed Peters for their installation.
He said Montana had, prior to his axing, promised to give Prasa workers 10 percent of the budget allocated to the agency.
Marchers applauded Montana for championing the initiative to create jobs for Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association members during his tenure.
He accused Molefe of being close to “a Congress of the People leader” and of wanting to finance the party’s political activities with Prasa’s budget. “If Lucky is not brought back, we will make Prasa ungovernable,” he said.
He also questioned the timing of the public protector’s report on investigations into maladministration related to financial mismanagement, tender irregularities and appointment irregularities at Prasa. The report is scheduled to be released on August 3. He claimed Molefe was already in possession of the report despite the fact that it is only due to be released on Monday.
Saco president Stephen Sangweni threatened that if their demands were not addressed soon he would mobilise union members to make Prasa ungovernable.
He appealed to commuters not to buy the monthly train tickets for August to express their dissatisfaction with events at Prasa.
Asked to comment on whether the statement condoned lawlessness, he said: “We believe that we wouldn’t have gained our freedom from apartheid in South Africa if we were abiding by the law during the Struggle.”
He said commuters would use trains for free as part of “phase two of the mass action”. He said the mass action would culminate into a boycott of trains.
An official from the Presidency, Shemi Mashweu, received the memorandum on behalf of Zuma’s office, promising it would eventually be handed over to the president.
He said: “This memorandum is very important to the president’s office and we will look into its contents and engage other relevant stakeholders.”
PE schools open amid relative calm
IOL News 29 July 2015
Port Elizabeth - Schools in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas reopened on Wednesday after having been closed for more than a week amid protests over teacher and infrastructure shortages.
Loyiso Pulumani, spokesman for the Eastern Cape’s education department, said that all the schools had opened on Wednesday.
This followed meetings on Tuesday between the education MEC Mandla Makupula and parents, school governing bodies, and principals of the schools in the areas that had been affected by the protests.
Pulumani said: “The department has assured parents that vacancies will be filled with Afrikaans speaking teachers and we will even look outside the province to fill those vacancies.”
He said that he had not heard of any incidents at the affected schools in the Northern Areas.
However, police reported isolated incidents of vehicles being stoned on Stanford Road. “It is small individual groups of children that are throwing stones, trying to see if they can hit a car,” said spokesman Captain Johan Reeder.
Pulumani said there were no reports of objects being placed in roads or burning tyres. He described the situation as “tense but calm” and that police were monitoring the situation.
The protests that erupted on Monday and continued on Tuesday followed the closure of 23 schools in the area by the Northern Areas Forum civil movement. Pulumani said on Monday that the schools had been closed by the forum at the start of the third term last week in anger at the issues plaguing the schools and not by the education department.
Violent schools protests rock PE
IOL News 28 July 2015
Port Elizabeth - Talks between angry residents, principals, the Eastern Cape Education Department and other interested parties were expected to continue on Tuesday to avoid a repeat of violent protests that rocked Port Elizabeth’s northern areas.
On Monday areas – including Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp – were ablaze over the closure of 33 schools due to a lack of teachers.
Protesters blocked roads with burning barricades, forcing the deployment of Public Order Policing and Tactical Response Teams to control the situation.
Photos and videos uploaded onto social media showed some protesters making petrol bombs. Others displayed spent bullet casings, claiming live ammunition had been fired into the crowd by police.
But police spokeswoman Brigadier Miranda Mills said: “We did not fire any live ammunition. Shots (of live ammunition) were fired at the police.”
Mills said that police had to use stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse protesters.
IOL PE riots after done
Residents gather in the streets after order had been restored. Picture: Michael Pinyana
By late on Monday, a tense calm returned to the area.
“It has calmed down a lot. The situation is slowly returning to normal. There are negotiations taking place at the moment,” she said on Monday evening.
Parents, pupils and even taxi drivers reportedly took part in the protests that erupted on Monday morning, with protesters also complaining about a lack of infrastructure at the schools, apart from the closures and a lack of teachers.
Police said: “Criminal elements seized the opportunity” to loot a shop in West End but law enforcement officers were able to disperse the crowd and prevent any looting from taking place.
“Six police vehicles and one vehicle belonging to a resident were damaged.
“Three people have come forward to report injuries, but were not hospitalised.
“Two suspects, aged 19 and 21, have been arrested and charged for public violence. The suspects will appear in the Gelvandale Magistrate’s Court today,” Eastern Cape police said. “Police visibility will be maintained although the situation is currently calm.”
Talks were expected to continue on Tuesday as the education department in the province sought to address some of the issues.
Residents in the area were outraged that schools were closed due to a lack of teachers and resources.
Loyiso Pulumani, spokesman for the Eastern Cape Education MEC, Mandla Makupula, said the MEC was planning to meet all principals from the schools in the Port Elizabeth’s northern areas. The meeting was scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning.
Pulumani said Makupula was concerned with the closure of other schools due to the protest. Pulumani said the department would advertise all vacant posts in the affected schools.
“We hope all affected stakeholders will heed our efforts of making sure that the doors of learning return to normality in the area.”
DA leader in the Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip, said: “The fact is that schools in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth have been notoriously neglected, andparents cannot tolerate this affront to their children any longer.
“These schools are dangerous places, where gangsters and criminals prey on children because school safety is utterly ignored.
“The Nelson Mandela Bay metro police continue to be nothing more than a pipe-dream, while its so-called commanding officer draws a huge salarywithout a single officer on the beat.”
Trollip also said that the party “condemns acts of violence by police and criminal elements who exploited” the protests.
Farm attack victims voice their anger
IOL News 28 July 2015
Pretoria - Three years after her husband was brutally assaulted and then shot dead on their farm in Fochville on the West Rand, Bernadette Hall is no closer to finding out who was responsible for this despicable act.
Hall said five men entered their home and mercilessly started beating her husband David. Then they shot him at close range.
“While two suspects had initially been arrested for my husband’s murder, they were later released as police said there was insufficient evidence. We have had to resort to doing the policing ourselves just to get by,” she said.
She was among the many families who gathered outside the SAPS headquarters in Pretoria on Monday to lay wreaths calling for farm murders to be given priority attention.
“We are not here to fight with anyone, we just want to deliver our memorandum and then we will leave in peace. That is all we want,” an emotional Hall pleaded.
“We really need help to stop these killings, but we always get excuses from the police. It’s difficult to get hold of them on the phone, and when we do, either they don’t have vehicles or petrol or there is no one with a licence to drive,” she said.
Another participant in the protest, Claudia van Wyk, said she had lost three family members in separate killings and there had still been no progress as police had said the dockets had been lost.
“My 72-year-old father was beaten to death last year, and before that my uncle and his wife were also murdered on two separate occasions, and nothing was even taken in their case,” Van Wyk said.
They delivered a letter which stated that since the beginning of the year, 30 farm murders had been committed and nothing had been done about them.
The group also claimed that the refusal to release annual statistics by the police pertaining to farm murders compounded the situation.
Condescending commentary had been made by senior officials when the prioritisation of farm murders was requested and no discussions on possible solutions had been forthcoming, they said.
“While certain crimes have been prioritised, farm murders are not deemed important enough to be given the same attention,” AfriForum’s deputy chief executive officer, Ernst Roets, said.
After waiting for more than an hour for an official to receive their memorandum, there was shoving and insults outside the headquarters as AfriForum representatives, family members and police members clashed.
The police were attempting to bar them from delivering their memorandum.
Roets said the manner in which they had been treated by the police was another reason why the delivering of the motion of no confidence in addressing farm attacks and farm murders was so important.
“It is actually an embarrassment to the force as we just wanted someone to come and hear us out, and that is all, not this aggressive and hostile attitude towards us,” he said.
AfriForum would be laying charges against Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega and the Tshwane Metro Police Department.
“We showed proof that the minister’s office and the metro police had received our notice to hold this gathering, but we were told that no one had been informed and that this was an illegal meeting,” Roets said.
Pupils’ tablet march ends in death
IOL News 27 July 2015
Johannesburg - Three young men have been arrested after burning a bakkie belonging to a foreign businessman they accused of shooting and killing a teenager suspected to have looted his store in Soweto.
The 17-year-old pupil at Landulwazi Secondary School was among hundreds of Soweto pupils who attended the Congress of South African Students march in Pretoria on Thursday, police spokeswoman, Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said.
The pupils marched to the Department of Education to demand that they be given tablets that are being rolled out by the Gauteng Education Department.
“On the way back from the train station, they went to a spaza shop which is owned by a foreigner,” she said on Sunday.
“They kicked the burglar door and the owner pulled out a firearm.
“He fired into the group of learners, injuring the scholar. The scholar was rushed to the nearest clinic, where he was declared dead,” Mogale said.
After the incident, residents burnt a bakkie belonging to another foreign businessman. Police were called to intervene and arrested the suspects.
“Ammunition was found on them but the firearm is missing. A shop and three containers were gutted and three suspects were arrested,” Mogale added.
PE police deny using live ammo on protesters
IOL News 27 August 2015
Protests around the closure of 33 schools are worsening in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth, with police using rubber bullets and water cannons on protesters earlier on Monday.
“Public Order Police, Tactical Response Teams and local police members have been deployed to bring the situation under control and subsequently used a water cannon, fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the protestors. It must be made very clear that under no circumstances was any live ammunition used by the SAPS,” said spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg in a statement.
Police warned community members that, although they have the democratic right to protest, they must do so within the boundaries of the law and respect the rights of non-participating public members.
“Disregard for the law will not be allowed and those who fail to adhere to this will be arrested, charged and brought before a court,” Janse van Rensburg said.
This comes after members of the community started blocking and barricading roads with various items including burning tyres, mattresses and rubbish. The protestors also started throwing stones which damaged police and other vehicles.
The public is advised to avoid Stanford Road, Gail Road and 3rd Avenue and also roads between Hartebees Street and Pienaar Street, due to complaints of stone throwing reported there.
The situation is under control and the SAPS will continue to monitor and maintain high visibility in the area including air support to all the affected areas. No arrests have been made as yet.
Kids played with the burning remnants of tyres while others helped spread smouldering rubbish across Highfield Road in Schauderville as protest action spread across the Northern Areas over poor conditions in schools, reported News24 Correspondent Derrick Spies.
The protests stemmed from a call by the Northern Areas Education Forum, who organised parents to shut down schools in the area last week over unhappiness with the way the provincial education department was dealing with teacher vacancies.
The NAEF’s grievances include teacher shortages, budget allocations being misused and a lack of non teaching staff at schools.
However, what was meant to be a peaceful protest over under resourced schools quickly escalated after vehicles were stoned while driving past the protestors on Monday morning.
Sitting watching the children play with the garbage in the street, a woman held a scarf to her face against the thick black smoke billowing up from burning tyres.
"We have to do it. It's for our children. If they don't sort out the schools then they will end up on the streets and before long they'll be in jail," she said.
Another woman, resting against a wall on the street corner shouted at her child to spread the rubbish further into the street as a bakkie drives past.
"Don't let them drive through," she tells him as they starts spreading the rubbish with a stick.
A teenager walks past and cautions not to take photos.
"Don't let them see your phone, they'll take it from you here," he says as he gestures to a group of men sitting on the railing between the lanes of Highfield Road.
"They don't want people taking photographs," he says as he walks hurriedly past.
One shot in Limpopo taxi violence
IOL News 23 July 2015
One person was shot and wounded near the Mall of the North shopping centre in Polokwane as tensions between members of two rival taxi associations intensified, Limpopo police said on Thursday.
Police spokesman, Captain Ntobeng Phala, said the members of the two taxi associations were fighting over the route between Mankweng township and Polokwane.
“When we were called there, a fist fight had apparently ensued between the two groups and one of the taxi association members was shot already. He was shot on his lower body and was transferred to hospital in a stable condition,” Phala said.
He said the man belonged to the Mankweng Polokwane Taxi Association.
A meeting was convened on Thursday evening to diffuse tensions, said Phala.
“The meeting is between the taxi associations and the police to ensure that commuters’ lives are not put in danger as a result of the taxi violence. We are also trying to avoid possible strike over routes by taxi drivers, which would leave commuters stranded,” he said.
No arrests had been made, and investigations in the incident continued.
Strained backdrop to EFF birthday
IOL News 23 July 2015
THE rally scheduled by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for Rustenburg on Saturday is set to be a tense affair after members of the party on Wednesday squared off with the African National Congress (ANC).
Members of both parties protested outside the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court, where an ANC councillor charged with attacking an EFF member appeared for a bail hearing.
The case was postponed to Thursday and the accused was remanded in custody.
The EFF is to celebrate its second anniversary at the weekend.
The complainant at the court hearing on Wednesday was among a group promoting the upcoming rally last week when the group was allegedly attacked by ANC members, with councillor Levoyo Maqwane at the fore.
EFF general secretary Godrich Gardee told Business Day outside the court on Wednesday that the party was being extra cautious about its planning for the rally because "an assassination attempt on (party leader) Julius Malema cannot be ruled out".
Despite the ANC’s 2012 conference resolution that members facing criminal charges should step aside, party secretary in Rustenburg’s Bojanala region Tokyo Mataboge said the accused councillor was not expected to step down until the matter before the court was concluded.
Mr Mataboge said the resolution applied only to public representatives who had been found guilty in court.
But in 2013, North West ANC deputy chairman China Dodovu was asked to recuse himself from the post because he faced murder charges. Mr Dodovu was acquitted last year.
His case was handled differently because the charges against him were "serious", said Mr Mataboge.
The EFF is the main official opposition in the North West.
Mr Gardee said members would defend the party against any threats of intimidation from the ANC.
EFF gives Gauteng 7-day ultimatum
IOL News 23 July 2015
Johannesburg - The EFF in Gauteng has warned of major chaos in the Joburg CBD if Premier David Makhura doesn’t accede to its demands for subsidised basic services and improved service delivery.
The party made this threat when its supporters marched to the provincial government offices on Wednesday in protest against what it termed high municipal and electricity rates.
Its threat could see a repeat of last year’s chaotic scenes in the legislature, when police had to fire stun grenades and teargas to disperse EFF members protesting the banning of their red overalls.
On Wednesday, about 1 000 EFF members made their way through the CBD to the Gauteng government offices in Simmonds Street.
President Jacob Zuma was their target, with some mocking him by showcasing the bottom of a plastic mannequin with a nappy and the word “Zuma” written above it.
A heavy contingent of police officers, including members of the public order policing unit, kept a close watch.
A water cannon stood idle next to the building as a precaution in case the march turned violent.
But EFF marshals kept the situation relatively calm, barring the crowd from crossing a police line outside the premier’s office.
The marchers handed in a memorandum outlining its demands and the 67 points they said showed that the ANC had betrayed Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
They gave the provincial government a seven-day ultimatum to respond to their demands.
“We have done it this way in light of the recent 67 minutes for Mandela that took place this month,”
the EFF’s Joburg spokesman Arafat Sello
He urged the provincial government to address the lack of water, sanitation, electricity and housing as a matter of urgency.
“The only way the premier will listen is if we march… We hope to eventually take over the municipalities and restore Mandela’s legacy once and for all,” he said.
Tshidi Madisakoane said it was ridiculous for the provincial government to be focusing on building bicycle lanes when pupils had no textbooks or proper schools.
“Our hospitals and schools are dilapidated, the quality of our education and healthcare is falling apart and the government is worrying about bicycle lanes. It just doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
One man accused the ANC-led government of using the people as voting fodder for self-enrichment. “During election campaigns, they (the ANC) are everywhere, but when they need to hear our grievances, they are nowhere to be seen,” he added.
When the EFF marchers arrived at the scene, the premier was nowhere to be seen.
“We will not leave until we have personally handed the memorandum to the premier and the executive mayor,” Sello said. “We want to make the City of Joburg the home of the EFF.”
Makhura’s special advisor, Mxolisi Mayiya, received the memorandum.
The EFF is also opposed to the installation of prepaid electricity meters.
The party’s Joburg region chairman, Musa Novela, said pensioners suffered the most as they couldn’t afford the cost of electricity and water.
“These people live on very little, you can’t expect them to pay so much,” he stated.
New health boss a no-show
IOL News 21 July 2015
Durban - Relations between the new KZN Department of Health head and its paramedics have started on a sour note, with the EMS workers considering his no-show for a “meet and greet” a slap in the face.
About 200 off-duty Emergency Medical Rescue workers marched to the Durban city hall on Monday to present a memorandum consisting of hundreds of pages to Dr Sifiso Mtshali, who began his duties as the head of the KZN health department at the beginning of this month.
Their “desire was to meet with him (Mtshali) in order to bring our side of the story to his attention”, read the memorandum. It was accepted by the department’s labour relations manager, Dumisani Nyembe, much to the ire of the marchers.
Nupsaw’s national general secretary, Success Mataitsane, said: “We are disappointed, but not surprised that the HOD did not come meet us himself. Instead, he sent us their lawyer; that just shows that how much the department undermines us.” He lambasted Mtshali for his “negative attitude”, despite being new in his position.
Grievances included the department’s use of attorneys in disciplinary hearings against employees, as well as danger and overtime pay.
Magistrate explains bail to angry community
IOL News 22 July 2015
Johannesburg - It’s time communities learnt the real meaning of bail. This was the unambiguous message by a Soweto magistrate after a protest by taxi drivers demanding the detention of a taxi boss arrested for the alleged murder of one of their colleagues.
“The community can’t be screaming from the sidelines. Bail is not punishment, but assurance of court attendance. It doesn’t mean the accused is discharged from the matter,” magistrate Audrey Mpofu explained on Tuesday, before ruling in the bail application of Bekuyise Cebekhulu in the Protea Magistrate’s Court.
Cebekhulu is accused of killing taxi driver Khulekani Sibisi, 26, nearly two weeks ago.
His bail application was postponed on Monday after Mpofu asked the investigating officer to clarify if public outrage was under control, and whether the statements of the witnesses had been obtained.
The investigating officer, Isaac Oupa Kubheka, told the court that the community and taxi drivers don’t want Cebekhulu back in the community.
Kubheka said the killing had caused outrage, which had led to the accused’s homes and his two vehicles being torched. Eight of his Toyota Quantum minibus taxis were also damaged.
Kubheka told the court that a witness who saw the shooting was afraid to make a statement because he feared Cebekhulu.
“I told him I would place him under witness protection, but he said he would think about it,” Kubheka said, adding that the witness lived in the same area as the accused.
Advocate Leonard Cindi, for the accused, said Cebekhulu had contributed to Sibisi’s funeral costs. He said the driver was caught in a crossfire and that this wasn’t premeditated murder. He said if witnesses had failed to come forward in the past few days, it showed that they had no interest in doing so.
In granting the application, Mpofu said the community needed to learn how bail worked. She said there was no substantial evidence as to why local residents don’t want Cebekhulu to be released on bail.
Joburg firefighters go slow to protest working hours
Alex News 20 July 2015
JOBURG – Firefighters in Joburg are reportedly on a go slow due to disputes they are having about their work schedules.
According to News24 the firefighters’ demands for overtime pay is being referred to arbitration.
According to Robert Mulaudzi, spokesperson for Joburg Emergency Medical Services, firefighters work 48 hours a week, with four-day shifts of two days on and two days off.
To make up the 48 hours, firefighters work an extra two hours a day but now they want to be paid for the extra hours they work. Firefighters are now only prepared to work a 40 hour week, unless they are paid overtime for their extra hours.
Station commanders, supervisors and managers, who are usually station-bound, are now being forced to respond to call-outs during the times the firefighters refuse to work.
Protestors on the road
Witbank News 17 July 2015
Angry protestors drove and walked from Middleburg to eMalahleni today causing some traffic delays on the highway and roads toward the SARS office.
Cars baring signs during protest action on Friday morning July 17. Motorist can still expect some delays on the road and slow moving traffic from Mandela Street.
Protesters drive around with signs blaming Glencore Mine for their distress. Signs that read: ‘Glencore, stop retrenchment or sell’ and ‘Glencore can’t be allowed to run away with murder’ is plastered on the windows of some of the vehicles part of the protest.
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Witbank News15 July 2015
Residents of Emalahleni woke up on the morning to be met by burning tyres, road blockages and being without transport to take them to work.
Burning tyres on the Willie Ackerman Drive and Botha Street in Ackerville during a protest by some community members. It was not clear as to why some members of the community were protesting, but later a memorandum was received that was emailed to Witbank News.
It was also reported that two buses were burned and roads were blocked off in some parts of KwaGuqa and KwaGuqa Extensions.
In some parts it stated that: “Police have been shooting protesters with rubber bullets again for doing a legal protest where the Mpumalanga office of the Premier has instructed that to stop the protesters to submit a memorandum. This memorandum exposes the right to freedom of speech and rights of the community in exposing the corruption of the premier and his government officials. We will soon be voting and if the ANC is using their government justice powers to exploit the community form protesting and voicing their concerns then we are in a capitalist province led by mafias and dictators. Why always when protesters are trying to do a peaceful strike do the police turn that strike to a violent one by arresting the leaders of the community; then automatically they know the community will be fueled and get mad, so they will get a chance to use their bullets or rubber ones and enjoy the shooting instructed by the greedy government officials protecting their businesses. Emalahleni is under attack and enough is enough.”
The memorandum said that one of the protesters was arrested for using a haler to allow the community to gather for the memorandum to be submitted. It is stated that the Mpumalanga government violated a section of the constitution and that means there is no freedom of speech, but exploitation of powers by the so called government officials
The memorandum stated that they are fighting for a radical economic transformation change and wants to reclaim the position of being the economic hub of Mpumalanga.
“We say No to the third term and say Yes to new leadership for the premier office of Mpumalanga as the community of eMalahleni. Our local municipality must be engaged forcefully in any crucial and sensitive matters of the city which are always redirected to Nelspruit for final decisions. This is affecting the local community of eMalahleni without involving the appointed leadership and stakeholders of the city. We want free and transparent business trading without being compromised by the Premier in subjecting the Mining Houses to stop supporting and communicating with the registered Chambers and social civil organisations representing the community and businesses at large. CEO’s of the private sectors must stop having eMalahleni economic transformation talks with the premier without the involvement of the key stakeholders that are fully recognised by businesses and community.
We demand effective and radical employment opportunities that will enable young people, the disabled and black women of eMalahleni to be part and parcel of the economic justice in this city of coal without any difficulties and exploitations from the Premier and his local paid servants to serve and protect his wealth and business in eMalahleni.
We demand an audit for the new bonded and RDP houses at Klarinet under the contract worth more than 4 billion, headed by the CEO of the Premier Mr Themba Sgudla. The issue of the land for the projects is a huge question. In the meantime the CEO of eMalahleni is getting wealthier and wealthier with the influence of the premier office. We say no to the tendency of frustrating our local businesses because they are not financial contributors of the Premier’s office and his plot for kickbacks. The local businesses are always compromised because they fail to bow down to the unfair economic Premier systems and his plot of contribution to wealth syndrome. We want a free eMalahleni from political dictatorship and radical looting from the neighbouring cities and countries.
The outsiders have no skill transformation, economic stability or future sustainability for the next generation.
We demand clear and transparent skills development coming from the private and public sectors stationed in eMalahleni. We demand fair economic procurement opportunities and relevant decision making from Eskom offices that were taken to Megawatt Park. We demand these offices to be brought back to eMalahleni Eskom Park and Smuts Avenue office, since we are the community affected by this pollution and the benefits of quick decision making and mutual benefit must be within the polluted city caused by the mining houses and power stations that are killing a number of people each year. We want the Mining houses of eMalahlani to start recognizing the community by learning from the Royal Bafokeng platinum development systems meaning transparent social development systems, enterprise development systems and labour development systems that will transform this city to a eMalahleni renaissance.
Unfamiliar sight at the Local Taxi Rank which was empty during the protest by some members of the community.
Unfamiliar sight at the Local Taxi Rank which was empty during the protest by some members of the community.
We demand the resolutions taken from eMalahleni Local Municipality LED Summit to be adopted and put in place as soon as possible within a short space of time meaning before the end of July 2015. We demand better roads and well improved infrastructures in eMalahleni in bettering our city of coal and attracting investors for our local business and social programmes. We say No to the unfair distribution of RDP houses that are looted from the poor by the so-called greedy government officials. We demand the Premier to stop looking at his business interest and attend to such counsel matters that are affecting the community especially the Kwaguqa hostel issue. It’s bad because back yard dwellers are affected by this situation.
We demand the national government to look at the issue of Eskom Kusile construction project that is dramatically failing the people of eMalahleni and neighbouring towns.
The situation is bad in such a way that the car of a community activist in Ogies was burned to ashes. The community activist was challenging the corruption and the unfair looting of the previous executive membership and that means his life is at risk. We want the National government to come up with a plan that will rescue the local Steel firms situated in eMalahleni to recreate jobs and business opportunities for the local community. Highveld Steel must be prioritised and protected. The white owned oil industries from Ferobank are running away with lots of SMME development and skills transformation responsibilities so we demand the DOE to look at this matter as soon as possible.
We demand DMR to allocate an SMME audit of Prospecting and coal mining permits that are only given to established companies and the business people outside eMalahleni at large. We want to know how many mining permits are granted to the people of eMalahleni not freelancers or visitors. We also say No to the granting of prospecting rights randomly like there is no tomorrow for the future generation. We want the commodities saved for the future generation because we don’t want to end up with a ghost City.
We demand eMalahleni radical transformation that is free from government officials that are greedy and stopping any business operations that are benefiting the officials. We say No to the justice systems that are failing the community when it comes to prosecuting drug lords of this city. We demand the National Government to look at this matter as soon as possible,” reads part of the memorandum.
The police have confirmed that eight people have been arrested for public violence.
Motorcade protest through eMalahleni
Witbank News 22 July 2015
A long line of motor vehicles proceeded slowly from the Middleburg toll gate onto the N4 and all the way to eMalahleni.
One of the vehicles passing by the Highveld Mall.
One of the vehicles passing by the Highveld Mall. On Friday July 17, traffic was held up for hours on the highway as a group of protestors drove from Middleburg to the SARS office in eMalahleni.
Signs that read: ‘Glencore can’t be allowed to run away with murder’, ‘Glencore comply or give back the licence’ and ‘Government can’t be silent on this matter’ were put up on the windows of the protestors’ vehicles.
The SAPS followed proceedings and the protest remained peaceful.
The head office of Glencore also issued a media statement which read:
‘Glencore is aware that there was a protest on Friday from various people in a motorcade from Middleburg to Witbank. We did not receive a memorandum from the protesters, however we understand that the protest relates to the requirement to close and restructure various parts of our operations at Optimum due to the dire economic and market conditions. Optimum is currently concluding a Section 189 process with its employees and has been consulting with the Department of Mineral Resources as required by the law.’
Activists appeal against Clairwood development
Berea Mail 20 July 2015
The South Durban Community Environmental
Alliance handed over of the Clairwood Racecourse appeal to the city.
Community members and representatives from the Clairwood Racecourse Action Committee and South Durban Community Environmental Alliance protested in Durban against the development of the Clairwood Racecourse.
THE Clairwood Racecourse Action Committee has handed in its final appeal against the development of the Clairwood Racecourse property into a trucking and logistics centre.
The committee and community members from South Durban, whose lives will be greatly impacted by the traffic that will increase on the roads children use to walk to school, gathered at the Marine Building in Durban to hand in the final appeal to a city official in opposition to the development of what they call a precious piece of land into an obtrusive logistics centre.
The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) organised and obtained the appropriate permits for a demonstration in front of the Marine Building in an act of solidarity against this development, and were angered when no representative from the Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs was available to receive the document.
According to a representative from the SDCEA, the minister was informed in advance that they intended to hand over the appeal, but in his absence, the other officials refused to leave their office floor.
The appeal document highlighted the community’s concerns with the development, including dangerous traffic, noise pollution, environmental emissions, the loss of a crucial emergency gathering space for the community and destruction of biodiversity, all of which occurred in a residential area. It is the opinion of SDCEA that this sort of industrial development in a residential area is highly illegal and the government is remiss in its disregard for the people it is supposed to be protecting.
Also attached in the appeal were letters of disapproval from community organisations and churches, an online petition that garnered almost 100 signatures, including international participants, and petitions from individual homeowners in the community.
Port Shepstone RTI stand-off
IOL News 19 July 2015
Durban - A stand-off between management and officers at Port Shepstone’s Road Traffic Inspectorate has led to a go-slow, with little or no patrols being done, as motorists head home after the school holidays.
Twenty-one RTI officers are believed to have staged a sit-in since Thursday after learning that four members of management, who they previously called to be removed, were reinstated on Wednesday.
This comes as the volume of traffic looks set to increase as families head home after the holiday break.
A drive down the South Coast can be a hell run most of the time, and becomes even more dangerous during such peaks when rules of the road are often disregarded.
Three people died in a collision at Shelly Beach on Friday, but in spite of the go-slow by officers, the Tribune established that they were in attendance at the scene.
A member of staff at Port Shepstone, who asked not to be named, said officers were instructed to provide support in Margate on Thursday to deal with taxi violence, but they did not show up.
“They reported for duty on Thursday and Friday, but were not prepared to take instruction from the reinstated management. And they did no patrol duty on both days,” the informant claimed.
And it is uncertain, at this stage, whether the officers will return to their normal duty today, when holidaymakers are expected to leave the area.
But Zinhle Mngomezulu, RTI’s spokeswoman in KwaZulu-Natal, denied the allegations.
“There is no sit-in at Port Shepstone,” she said.
The unhappy officers previously made allegations that the four members of management had abused their power, displayed racist tendencies and victimised staff.
Those allegations were petitioned with RTI’s national office in 2013, with the disgruntled officers calling for the removal of Port Shepstone’s management.
RTI yielded to the call and later removed the four heads from their respective positions.
They were given strict instructions not to “interfere or instruct” any of the staff at the base or do any supervisory duties.
All the unhappy officers are believed to be members of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), while the management team is aligned to the Public Servants Association (PSA) union.
The PSA’s KZN head, Claude Naiker, said they lodged a grievance on behalf of their members and called for a probe into the allegations made by the officers.
RTI relented and a Pietermaritzburg law firm was engaged to investigate.
“Investigations have been completed and the attorneys have compiled their report. We have requested sighting of the report, but are yet to receive a copy,” Naiker said.
He believed the fallout between management and staff began in 2013 after an officer was charged with soliciting a bribe from a motorist.
The stand-off between the officers and management intensified after another officer was accused of falsifying a sick note.
Naiker said both officers were suspended, and now face bribery charges.
“Dockets were handed to RTI’s management outlining both fraud allegations, but nothing was done and the two accused were reinstated to their positions because Popcru threatened a strike.
“Whenever Popcru intervenes on behalf of its members and threatens strike action, RTI management buckles and matters are swept under the carpet,” Naiker alleged.
Naiker accused RTI of applying “selective discipline” and called on the organisation to investigate more thoroughly when complaints of substance are made.
“If not, anarchy sets in and members begin to think they are untouchable,” Naiker warned.
Popcru’s national spokes-man, Richard Mamabolo, made repeated promises to respond to allegations that their members had staged sit-ins this week, but had not done so at the time of publication.
With regards to the alleged strained relationship between the officers and management at Port Shepstone, Mngomezulu claimed she had no knowledge of it.
ANC councillor in dock for EFF attack
IOL News 17 July 2015
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) laid criminal charges against an ANC councillor for allegedly attacking their members at Popo Molefe informal settlement near Rustenburg, the party said on Friday.
EFF members were allegedly attacked on Monday, while they were doing their political work at the informal settlement.
Spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the councillor allegedly led a mob of about 50 African National Congress members to attack EFF activists with bricks, leaving their cars damaged.
The EFF activists were campaigning in the area for the party’s second anniversary rally to be held in Olympia Park Stadium on July 25.
He said the EFF would not stand by when its activists were being attacked and nothing was done.
“We are not afraid of anybody and no one has any right to use violence in a political game. If this is the case, the EFF will be forced to defend its political freedoms by any revolutionary means necessary.”
Ndlozi said the councillor appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday and the case was postponed to July 22, for bail application.
Fed up locals torch 'problem' Hout Bay building
MSN News 15 July 2015
Cape Town - A case of arson is being investigated after a deserted council building in Hout Bay was set alight on Tuesday night, allegedly by local residents fed up with it being used as a base for criminals.
City of Cape Town Fire Services spokesperson Theo Layne told News24 the fire was started by residents of Mandela Park at about 18:20.
“As firefighters were extinguishing the blaze, people were setting other sections of the building alight,” he said.
Burning tyres were rolled onto the property and it took 45 minutes for the fire to be extinguished.
The roof has caved in, but the rest of the building is still standing.
The house, which is owned by the City’s Transport for Cape Town department, is a base of operation for muggers plaguing the Main Road, Hout Bay Civic Association secretary Roscoe Jacobs said.
The action was taken by residents from “across the greater Hout Bay area”, he insisted, as the City failed to take responsibility for their property.
Jacobs previously told News24 that more than 20 muggings have taken place near the house over the past six months.
In the most recent incident, a 27-year-old Congolese man was stabbed to death after being accosted by three men in a suspected robbery.
According to locals, contact crime in the vicinity is common.
Jacobs said their safety fears had been reported to council and no action had been taken in the past four years.
“This community felt it needed to take action because the City failed to take responsibility.”
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith has slammed the arson attack, saying council resources had been wasted in responding to the blaze.
Residents had also interfered with the firemen as they executed their duties, he said.
“Lives were unnecessarily put at risk as the fire could easily have gotten out of hand.”
Smith said the Transport for Cape Town department had been served with a notice to clean up their property and a demolition order had already been secured. Money has also been made available by his department to have the property boarded up within the coming weeks.
“As there are people squatting on the property, we have to get an eviction order to have them removed before the house can be destroyed.
“By setting the house alight, they put the lives of the people living there in danger. Lives could have been lost.”
Jacobs however said, “If this was privately owned building they would be issuing fines left right and centre. But because it is their building they are dragging their feet.”
IFP's ward chairman gunned down in KwaMashu
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Cato Manor officers appear in court. (Jeff Wicks, News24)
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WEB_PHOTO_SAPS_100415: Police tape off an area after a crime scene.© South African Police Service/ Facebook Police tape off an area after a crime scene.
Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) ward chairman in KwaMashu’s troubled hostels was gunned down, police and the IFP said on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said that Mbhasbheni Biyela was walking along Vuma Road on Tuesday evening when he was approached by two men, one of whom pulled out a gun and shot him.
“He was walking along Vuma road at Shayamoya next to the hostel when he was approached by two unknown suspects. One pulled out a firearm and fired several shots fatally wounding him. He sustained wounds including one on his head, neck, chest and one on his back,” said Zwane.
Mdu Nkosi, the IFP’s caucus leader in the eThekwini Metro Municipality, said that the 55-year old Biyela had left a branch meeting when the shooting took place.
The A-section in KwaMashu has long been wracked by violence, and Ward 39 in which it is located is the only ward seat that the party controls.
Last month, on June13, Makhosi Ndebele, who was a member of the IFP’s ward committee was also gunned down.
Nkosi said that he did not wish to speculate as to who was behind the latest killing or if the killing was as a result of internal rivalry for positions.
He said that the party hoped the police would find the perpetrators of the crimes and that the judiciary would do its work.
"But I need to point out that not one person who has killed an IFP leader or member here (in Ward 39) has ever been convicted. It is a big worry for us."
The current councillor Bongomusa Zondo only visits the ward very briefly or with a police escort.
He is the third councillor since the last local government elections in 2011. Sakhile Ngcamu, who preceded him was arrested on charges of murder while Ngcamu’s predecessor Themba Xulu was allegedly abducted in 2012 by people impersonating police officers.
Xulu’s bullet-riddled body was later found in a sugar cane field.
While there has been an ongoing rivalry between the ANC and the IFP, the split in the IFP that saw its chairperson Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi leave to form her own party, the National Freedom Party, has exacerbated tensions in the ward.
KwaZulu-Natal’s MEC for for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu condemned the shooting.
"We are disturbed at this unfortunate development which comes at the time when the Government was doing everything possible to ensure that peace returned to this hostel. Indeed, the hostel had enjoyed a relative peace."
No arrests have been made and a case of murder is being investigated by detectives.
NUM strike continues at Twickenham mine in Limpopo
The New Age 14 July 2015
Workers at Anglo American Platinum’s Twickenham mine in Burgersfort, Limpopo, were on strike, the company said on Tuesday.
“Anglo American Platinum confirms that a group of contractors employed by SAN have embarked on a strike at its Twickenham Mine due to their contracts with SAN coming to an end. Mine management has facilitated a meeting between SAN and its employees to try and end the impasse and is hopeful for a prompt and peaceful resolution,” said spokesperson Mpumi Sithole.
About 524 workers downed tools on June 30, after Capital Development Services (CDS) served the union with notice to terminate contracts of 165 workers. CDS is a subsidiary of the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).
“The strike is still on, the only way to resolve the strike is to reinstate the workers. We are waiting for the intervention of the department of mineral resource [DMR].
We believe the DMR intervention can save the jobs of the affected workers,” said Matlagolo Councellor Mmowa, NUM North East deputy regional secretary of education.
The workers demanded that all affected employees must be reinstated. Workers also wanted Amplats to cancel its contract with SAN contracting services as a labour hire, and absorb all CDS employees when they return to work.
“We have also been engaged with CDS for the last 6 months where we proposed as the NUM that the company must consider voluntary severance packages [VSPs] as an alternative to avoid retrenchments.
These employees do not even have retirement and pension funds,” Mmowa explained.He denied that striking NUM members were intimidating non-striking workers.
“The strike is peaceful. Our members gather and are being briefed, after that they dispersed. It is not correct that people are intimidated,” he said.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction (Amcu) said it supported the plight of the workers and their demands for decent wages and conditions of employment, but condemned illegal action that prevented its members who were not participating in the strike from going to work.
“Our members have been intimidated and assaulted by striking NUM members. Our members have been prevented from entering their residences, their rooms at the hostels vandalised and so forth, as a result management arranged alternative accommodation for them.
No action has been taken by the law enforcement agencies [SA Police Service] despite such illegal acts of violence taking place in their presence,” the union said in a statement.
“We are not against the strike but, proper processes should have been followed by NUM to ensure that the strike is protected to ensure the legality thereof and to safeguards jobs for the employees.
Our members cannot be compelled to participate in an unprotected strike,” Amcu stated.
Farmworkers strike over poor working conditions
SABC News 14 July 2015
Farm workers from Wood at Heart Project near Ficksburg in eastern Free State have been protesting for over two weeks. The farm is one of the projects funded by the National Department of Environmental Affairs.
The workers, who started the strike on July 4, are claiming that about 60 workers who are supposed to be beneficiaries of the farm that forms part of a Public Works Programme, have been unfairly dismissed.
Workers from Deemster and Khalambazo farms allege that they are harassed in the workplace. They also say safety measures are not adhered to and that no training is provided for handling of the company's machinery.
According to them workers' contracts state that they should be paid R3500, but they are being paid only R1500.
They say they are often injured on duty without getting compensation. One of the employees whose hand was allegedly slashed by company machinery is Thabo Molebatsi.
“We have been on strike for two weeks on the issue of our working conditions and the salaries and the harassment and our safety is not right at all. We have been requesting the management to assist us whereby people are getting injured. Others already passed away here, but they don't follow our request. I lost two of my fingers probably last year December with one of the machines here that means I didn't get training I didn't get even one cent today.”
The provincial Chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Khotso Morapela, is supporting the workers.
“Our intention is to meet the authorities. In particular we have already contacted the office of the minister of environmental Affairs to raise all those questions that the workers were complaining about and we hope that the authorities are going to really come to the rescue because that is an EPWP programme and I think that the whole intention of government is to create jobs through that particular programme but to our disappointment it looks like things are not well.”
Never would we have said the wage levels should be anything other than what they are being paid.
A worker at the farm says “We have been suffering and lied to a lot buy the municipality keeps telling us that it has bought a farm for us after that things were happening without us knowing they hired us for a few months and then fired us putting in other people from outside.”
Another worker says: “We work under pressure it feels like we are still in Apartheid. This is a new democracy but in here we are not free then they fire us telling us that we are many.”
The Deputy Director-general of Department of environmental affairs, Dr Guy Preston, says they are working together with the Department of Labour to resolve the problem.
“Never would we have said the wage levels should be anything other than what they are being paid. We are aware of the allegations, we have both done the assessments and we'll do further assessments. So there have been dismissals that have been made. People have to be treated with respect, we have met with the management but ultimately we are responsible from these factories these are our factories and it's up to us to ensure that these standards apply to any other thousands situations we run across the country.”
Meanwhile, Josial Ramokoena from the Department of Labour says they are aware of this problem and they are still investigating.
Workers say if they don't get feedback by Wednesday, they will all march to the Union Building in Pretoria.
Protesters torch truck on R555
IOL News 13 July 2015
Johannesburg - The R555 at Burgersfort was blocked by a burning truck after protesting Mampuru community members stopped it and set it alight on Monday afternoon, Limpopo police said.
“Travellers in that area are advised to avoid travelling on that road or to drive carefully. The road linking Burgersfort and Eerstegeluk is completely closed with burning tyres and stones,” spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said.
“Motorists are also advised not to stop when people next to the road flag them down as if pretending to be hiking for a lift.”
Otto said police were deployed to the area. She advised motorists travelling in the area, especially the Eerstegeluk area, to drive carefully after members of the Mampuru community blocked the R555 and set a truck alight on Sunday night.
She said the main road was opened on Monday morning but that traffic flowing although some roads in the Eerstegeluk area were still closed.
Otto said no arrests were made yet and that the community was complaining about the building of a new road in the area that was promised but not yet implemented.
Miners threaten to occupy houses illegally
IOL News 4 July 2015
Marikana - Mineworkers in Marikana have threatened to forcefully occupy housing units in Marikana Extension 2, the North West portfolio committee on local government and human settlement heard on Friday.
“Mine employees, particular from Lonmin are under the impression that these flats are built for them. They understand that they cannot occupy the RDP houses but, are saying if they are not given rooms in these flats, they are going to kick open the door and illegally occupy the building,” Eric Mondleki, a ward committee member responsible for infrastructure said.
“They know that this piece of land belongs to Lonmin and the mine [Lonmin] promised to develop it to build houses for them. Now that houses are being built they think the houses are built for them. This is a serious problem that needs to be resolved now.”
The portfolio committee conducted an oversight visit at the Marikana Housing Projects. The houses are built on the land donated by Lonmin.
The North West government has allocated R462 million for the construction of the housing units. The government aims to build a total of 2 658 dwellings, including 535 RDP houses, 2 089 subsidised rental flats and 34 finance linked individual subsidised programme (Flisp) houses.
Mondleki suggested to committee chairperson Motlalepule Rosho, that a meeting should be arranged where Lonmin would be present and the mine should be told to communicate with its employees that they would not just get houses because they work for the mines.
“The problem is that when the land was donated to the government, the workers were not formally told of this new development. Lonmin must communicate this to its workers.”
In Marikana West, a stone’s throw from Lonmin’s Karee mine, shacks could be seen in every yard.
“These are backyard dwellers, most are mineworkers. They rent a one-room shack and have no privacy….one can understand the frustration these workers face,” said Mondleki.
Mamelodi taxi drivers ‘sorry’
IOL News 11 July 2015
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has revealed that it spent more than R114 million in bus subsidies paid to Putco in the past four years to operate in Mamelodi.
The funds have been a source of conflict between taxi operators in the area who staged a violent protest last week when AutoPax - a subsidiary of Passenger Rail Agency of SA - buses took over some of the routes vacated by Putco.
The taxi industry wanted to take over the running of bus services on the Mamelodi and Moloto routes from Putco which the department has said it had allocated nearly R30m for 2015/2016.
When AutoPax was brought in on a temporary basis, the taxi industry questioned the legality of this short-term contract the province entered with AutoPax and what process was followed in issuing the bus service with operating licences.
It would appear the taxi industry had eyes on the millions on offer - hoping to fill the gap left by Putco and hoping the government would subsidise them. The Gauteng provincial government said there was no such deal.
On Friday the Mamelodi Transport Solution apologised to residents after a prolonged period of chaos and disruptions which left thousands of commuters stranded when drivers downed their keys.
Taxi association official Stemer Monageng yesterday said the two taxi associations, Mamelodi Taxi Association (Mata) and Mamelodi Long Distance Taxi Association (Malta), were sorry for the disruptions experienced in the township.
“Come Monday, we can guarantee that everything will be back to order. We just want to apologise to the commuters for everything that has happened,” Monageng said.
He was speaking to the Pretoria News outside the Department of Community Safety compound yard in Koedoespoort where more than 50 taxis belonging to both associations are being kept after they were impounded early this week.
Monageng was helping to facilitate the return of the taxis. He said most of the taxis had already been returned to their owners after they paid their fines.
Earlier, Putco gave notice that it was withdrawing services on loss-making routes in Gauteng.
In total the department had allocated nearly R80m for 2015/2016 to Putco to run routes in Mamelodi, Boksburg and the Vaal where the company has withdrawn.
Putco is the biggest bus operator and receives 65 percent of the provincial government’s R1.8 billion public transport operations grant, along with other 11 contracted bus companies. The department said yesterday the information relating to how applications were processed could be obtained from the provincial regulating entity.
Transport analyst Paul Browning said the fundamental problem with services like Putco and AutoPax in Mamelodi was that they do not form part of an integrated public transport network. “They are leftovers from the apartheid era, and are contracted and funded by the province,” he said.
Meanwhile, taxi operators were left fuming this week when Operation Fiela was brought into the township to bring an end to violence which swept across Mamelodi since the introduction of the AutoPax buses last week.
Taxi operators stoned some of the AutoPax buses arguing that they (taxi owners) should have been allowed to take over the routes abandoned by Putco which terminated its contract with the Department of Transport on June 30.
On Thursday, taxi bosses said they had reached an agreement to have their taxis returned and fines scrapped as most had been issued in a conflict situation with the police.
The confiscation of the taxis led to a stayaway by taxi drivers on Thursday which again left thousands of commuters stranded. But things had returned to normal yesterday as the majority of taxis were back on the road.
However, Department of Community Safety spokesman Thapelo Moila denied that a deal had been reached to return the taxis. He said the government would not negotiate the return of unroadworthy vehicles. A number of taxi owners could be seen at the pound waiting to pay their fines and collect their taxis.
Taxi owner Johannes Mkhondo said the confiscation of his vehicle had interfered with his source of income. “I can’t afford to have my taxi in a police pound because I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. This is a bread-and-butter issue and if I don’t have my taxi, I can’t provide for my family,” Mkhondo said.
He said his public driver’s permit had expired. “The ticket issued was for R1 500 but I spoke to a prosecutor who reduced it to R500,” he said.
Mkhondo said he was losing between R2 000-R3 000 a day while his taxi was locked away.
Gauteng Traffic Department spokeswoman Busaphi Nxumalo said taxis would only be returned if fines were paid.
Hout Bay foreigners threatened
IOL News 13 July 2015
Cape Town - Foreigners who went on a manhunt for killers of a Congolese man in Hout Bay are now allegedly being threatened by a gang of “young criminals”.
The gang have been terrorising the community of Imizamo Yethu, where 27-year-old Nchikala Ngoy was robbed and murdered.
Ngoy moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to South Africa a year ago and had been studying business economics.
Three men robbed Ngoy on his way home from Hout Bay Library on Wednesday last week.
He was stabbed eight times in the back and head and left for dead in Main Road just metres from the police station.
A 25-year-old man, believed to be Malawian, and an 18-year-old were also stabbed to death in Imizamo Yethu last month.
The incidents left foreigners in the area seething and a group were seen storming through the informal settlement looking for Ngoy’s killers on Thursday.
Zimbabweans, Ghanaians, Malawians, Ugandans, Angolans and Congolese swept through the area, beating up an 18-year-old before handing him over to police.
Geoffrey Kavuma, 29, a Ugandan who spoke on behalf of the foreigners, said on Saturday that members of the local gang had threatened to attack the foreigners who had gone on a manhunt last week.
“They told us they will come looking for us and that they were trying to find out where we live.
“Everything is fine with the locals here, but it’s just these thugs who are targeting us,” he said.
Ngoy’s brother Valery told the Cape Times that the “young thugs” were being protected by their families.
He said the gang targeted locals and foreigners, but that locals do not get stabbed or injured because the gangsters feared being necklaced.
Imizamo Yethu Community Policing Forum (CPF) deputy chairperson Vincent Sodlala said the CPF was aware of a gang of under-18s in the area.
“I can imagine that these young criminals have now made threats. They are minors who need help because they are addicted to drugs and have now turned to crime.
“The drugs, their rehabilitation and the social issues here need to be addressed,” Sodlala said.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato visited the community on Friday.
“We all need to ask ourselves what we, individually, can do to help make my own immediate environment safer. I urge our communities to use the available structures like the neighbourhood watches and the community policing forums,” he said.
Police spokesperson Thembinkosi Kinana said three men “aged between 18 and 19” are to appear in court on Monday on murder charges.
* UCT has pointed out that Nchikala Ngoy was not a student there as reported, but his family insists he was
Protests over illegal connections
IOL News 9 July 2015
Residents of Blackburn Village on the N2 northbound near uMhlanga, demanded houses and free electricity. Photo: Sibusiso Ndlovu
Durban - The removal of illegal electricity connections in informal settlements sparked two separate service delivery protests in the north and south of Durban on Wednesday.
Both protests - the first opposite uMhlanga and the other in Lotus Park, Isipingo - were directed at the municipality after they removed the electricity connections. They were also protesting against the lack of houses for those living in informal settlements.
In the first incident on Wednesday morning, almost 100 residents living in Blackburn Village alongside the N2 northbound freeway blocked the two-lane highway, the road to King Shaka International Airport.
Cars veered onto the centre median and some turned back towards uMhlanga.
Protesters brandished sticks and a placard reading - “ Put power now on”.
They had been left without a power supply for three days after the municipal electricity unit removed illegal connections at the informal settlement.
Branch executive member for the ANC in municipal ward 102, Lucky Mziki, said they had handed a memorandum to the municipality demanding that residents living in the informal settlement be given houses, as promised in the elections.
“Two important issues were unemployment and housing. People have been waiting on the housing list, but newcomers are benefiting. None of the residents were given a job at the uMhlanga freeway road construction. We are waiting for feedback from council,” he said.
Other issues were the removal of refuse and the unhealthy living conditions people were living in, he said. And there were children who had serious medical problems, including skin infections.
At about mid-morning, protesters from the Silvergull Drive Informal settlement in Isipingo fought with municipal staff who had also removed electricity wires illegally connected to power boxes.
Jaco Pienaar, ward 90 PR councillor, said a meeting was scheduled for Thursday to solve the problem.
Residents from the informal sector blockaded the street, demanding housing and electricity.
Nearby residents said they were living in fear as the shacks border flats and houses.
“I am totally against the theft of electricity. They are staying there illegally and now they want electricity for free. I have spoken to municipal officials and together we will address them,” Pienaar said.
Ward councillor Sunil Kalicharan said he addressed the protesters, but they had refused to listen.
“They made many demands, which the council will have to look into. We expect more protests if officials do not address them,” he said.
Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane confirmed both incidents were service delivery protests. “Public Order police were standing off at both protests. No arrest have been made at this stage,” he said.
The eThekwini municipality had not responded to e-mails at the time of going to print.
Mamelodi taxis back on the streets
IOL News 10 July 2015
Pretoria - Mamelodi commuters can breathe a sigh of relief after taxi drivers announced they will be operating normally on Friday.
Taxi operators on Thursday brought the township to a standstill when they staged a stayaway after their taxis were impounded, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
“We had a meeting with the Department of Community Safety and they have agreed to return our taxis,” said Stemer Monageng, an executive member of Mamelodi Long Distance Taxi Association (Maldta).
About 50 taxis were impounded between Monday and Wednesday after Operation Fiela was introduced in the township following the eruption of violence last week.
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, said the taxis impounded had expired, invalid or no vehicle licence discs and some drivers were driving without valid driving licences.
“A number of taxis were on the road illegally with fraudulent operating licences. Also, police had confiscated two firearms and in one instance found drugs in a taxi,” Vadi said.
Monangeng said: “We were not fighting with anyone, but we did not appreciate the remarks that were made by the premier.”
Premier David Makhura said at the weekend that the government and people of Mamelodi would not be held to ransom by violent taxi drivers.
“Taxi operators are open to working with the government. We do not want to make it seem like we are unruly, but we cannot be treated like criminals.
“The way they brought in Operation Fiela and took our taxis was not right,” Monangeng added.
He said they wanted their taxis returned and that Operation Fiela be stopped. “The cars have valid documents, the drivers have licences and the cars are roadworthy. When they give our drivers tickets, they write ‘taxi conflict’. We don’t know what kind of charge that is,” he said.
Taxi operators staged a series of violent protests last week when AutoPax buses took over some of the routes which were previously run by Putco. Five people were left injured when gunmen opened fire on a Putco bus.
Some AutoPax buses were also pelted with stones.
Commuters were seen standing at empty taxi ranks and on roadsides, flagging down cars for transport to work, while some went home.
An irritated Tshepo Nzimande, said the situation was compounded by the lack of notification beforehand. “We would have made plans for alternative plans like using buses or trains but getting here and not finding any taxis means I have to go home now.”
Nzimande feels taxi owners disregard the needs of commuters.
Cosatu puts tunnel protest on hold
IOL News 10 July 2015
A Cosatu protest aimed at closing the Huguenot Tunnel to traffic could have affected thousands of vehicles daily. Photo: Armand Hough
Cape Town - Cosatu has suspended Friday’s protest action, intended to close the Huguenot Tunnel to traffic, pending an investigation by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) into allegations of mismanagement and corruption by the company responsible for the management of the toll.
In a statement issued late on Thursday, Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich said: “We ask that the head office of Sanral do a detailed investigation on all the administration anomalies in the Huguenot Tunnel and revert to Cosatu by next Thursday.
“We will, as Cosatu, suspend our action to protest and close off the tunnel for traffic, until your offices (Sanral) revert.
“Failure of a positive response from your good offices on the issues raised will lead to Cosatu embarking on protest action, without further notice.”
In an open letter to Sanral, Cosatu said that it had found evidence of corruption and mismanagement by Tolcon.
In a statement, Ehrenreich referred to “exorbitant” profits made by Tolcon that was going into “private hands”.
He said: “The salaries that workers at the Huguenot Tunnel are earning are not decent wages and much less than at other Sanral toll roads.”
Cosatu would have supported the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) in its bid to close the Huguenot Tunnel when about 200 of its members protested at the toll plaza for higher wages.
More than 11 000 cars travel through the tunnel daily, and the closure of this critical N1 route could have cost Sanral at least R342 690 in lost income from tolls, based on calculations made by Peter Hugo, chairman of the Cape Chamber of Commerce’s transport portfolio committee.
Siphesihle Dube, spokesman for Donald Grant, MEC for Transport and Public Works, said provincial traffic would work closely with the police and the local traffic services to ensure there was no disruption to traffic if the planned protest went ahead.
Cosatu said Tolcon, the company responsible for the Huguenot Tunnel, has been “sucking motorists dry” for more than 20 years since the route was completed.
Meanwhile workers were paid less than R2 000 a month.
Satawu spokesman Brightness Mtwa said about 200 members were to have picketed outside the tunnel for most of the day. They are unhappy with their wages and their working conditions at the toll, and are demanding a R400 pay hike.
Despite repeated calls to Tolcon’s head office in Bedfordview, the company could not confirm whether discussions to reach a settlement with the union had failed.
Meanwhile Cosatu said further protests were being planned to object to the ongoing demand for toll fees when the construction of the tunnel had already been paid in full.
Foreigners hunt killers in Hout Bay
IOL News 10 July 2015
The Cape Times witnessed the mob sweep through Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, venting their anger while residents looked on.
Cape Town - A horde of foreigners went on a manhunt in Hout Bay on Thursday, storming through the streets of Imizamo Yethu informal settlement as they sought the killers of a Congolese man.
Nchikala Ngoy, 23, was stabbed eight times in the back and head after being robbed on his way home from Hout Bay Library on Wednesday evening.
The UCT student – who left the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for South Africa a year ago – had been studying and was on his way back to his shack in Imizamo Yethu.
Ngoy was killed close to “The White House”, a derelict, city-owned building residents say harbours criminals. The area around the building is a crime hot spot. The Hout Bay Civic Association (HBCA) has been asking the city to deal with the building since 2011, by either demolishing it or putting it to good use.
The association’s secretary, Roscoe Jacobs, said the city was aiding and abetting crime by failing to deal with its own problem building.
When the Cape Times visited the area on Thursday, residents were gathering at the Hout Bay police station, where they had handed over a man suspected of being involved in another murder. The man, accused of murdering a Malawian man two weeks ago, was badly beaten up.
Police spokesperson Thembinkosi Kinana could not confirm any arrests on Thursday, saying reports of xenophobia and mob justice were “unconfirmed”.
“A case of murder has been opened and three suspects are being sought. The motive appears to be robbery as a cellphone was stolen,” he said.
Ngoy’s brother Valery said the mob consisted of Congolese, Zimbabweans, Ghanaians, Malawians, Ugandans and Angolans, who came together on Thursday after being continuously “targeted for crime”.
He said a group of young men, who were known criminals in the community, were being protected by their families. “They get arrested and then come back shortly afterwards because they are juveniles. We know who they are.
“The locals get robbed too, but they don’t get stabbed or injured. The robbers fear the reaction from their people will be worse. They know they will be necklaced,” Valery said.
“The locals are fine with us, it’s the thugs who are a problem. This is a crime issue, but their families also support them so it’s difficult to say whether this is xenophobia.”
The Cape Times witnessed the mob sweep through the area, venting their anger while residents looked on.
Police said another suspect had been arrested and that others had allegedly handed themselves over after fearing for their lives.
Jacobs condemned the city on Thursday, saying its failure to demolish the White House was aiding crime.
“It is the view of the HBCA that the city has failed to apply the very ‘broken windows’ theory it teaches to neighbourhood watches.
“The success of this theory is to fix the problems when they are still small and the city has failed to do this.
“The community, led by the Community Policing Forum, has been calling for this house to fall since 2011,” Jacobs said.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said metro police and law enforcement were aware of the problem and were patrolling the area.
The city’s Problem Building Unit was dealing with over 1 900 buildings and had concluded more than 5 000 complaints, with many successes. “There are many crime hot spots in every ward,”
He said the building would soon be boarded up before possibly being demolished.
Taxi driver stayaway leaves Mamelodi commuters stranded
Business Day 9 July 2015
COMMUTERS were left stranded on Thursday morning as Mamelodi taxi drivers staged a stayaway.
This comes a day after the African National Congress (ANC) claimed that calm had been restored to the area following a spate violent attacks on state-owned buses.
Some reports said many commuters had opted to stay home‚ while others took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.
@BonaQhama tweeted: "Taxi drivers in #Mamelodi have downed tools today. These people like to think they’re above the law. Now many people will be late for work."
@Lebereza said: "It’s a sad reality in the #Mamelodi area as #local #community can’t do a thing about it. No taxi. No work. No pay. #Economy affected!!!"
The ANC statement on Wednesday praised Gauteng premier David Makhura and Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa "for providing hands-on and firm leadership to restore order by deploying the South African Police Services‚ Tshwane Metropolitan Police and ensuring the implementation of Operation Fiela".
The matter‚ however‚ is not resolved‚ as the ANC said: "We welcome ongoing talks in an effort to resolve the stalemate in Mamelodi."
@Mthetheleli15 was reluctant to add his voice to the praise: "#Mamelodi taxi operators on strike over #Autopax‚ impounded taxis& operation fiela‚ where the hell is David Makhura? commuters are stranded".
The violence came after the provincial roads and transport department gave a three-month contract to state-owned Autopax to operate eight routes previously run by Putco.
Putco abandoned these contracts‚ the ANC said‚ "as it felt these routes were not profitable".
"The provision of bus services by Autopax elicited a negative reaction from the taxi industry‚ which saw some taxis blockading the entrance to the bus depot in Mamelodi‚ preventing Autopax buses from operating particularly in Mamelodi‚" the ANC said.
The party also said it "condemns all acts of intimidation and violence which have occurred in Mamelodi".
"It is also important to note that consideration is being made on the subsidisation of the mini-bus taxi business to assist them to become better organised and professional‚" the statement said.
This‚ however‚ contrasted with comments made by Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi on Tuesday. He said then that the minibus taxi industry in Gauteng could not be subsidised by provincial government because there was no provision in transport legislation that would allow it.
"The National Land Transport Act draws a distinction between a minibus‚ a midi-bus and a bus. A minibus can carry 10-16 passengers; a midi-bus 17-35. Once that legal distinction has been made‚ the national policy framework is that we will subsidise buses only‚" Mr Vadi said.
"Once that decision is taken at national level‚ I cannot change it. No MEC in the country can change that because it is national policy."
Mr Vadi also said the taxi industry could take over the routes abandoned by Putco if it were successful in an open bidding process.
"If the industry wants that share of the bus market, they have to create a corporate entity. They can either acquire buses themselves‚ set up an operation and then tender as an operator. Or‚ when I open negotiations for all our bus contracts‚ they can come in and say: ‘We are an interested party’‚ and we will include them in the process. But that does not mean that‚ at the end of the day‚ they will get the contracts‚" Mr Vadi said.
But South African National Taxi Council in Gauteng a spokesman Ralph Jones disputed Mr Vadi’s view‚ maintaining that the National Land Transport Act allowed for subsidies to all those providing public transport services.
"The (act) stipulates that existing public transport services (including taxis and buses) be incorporated into an integrated public network in terms of contracts (negotiated‚ subsidised or commercial contracts) with the municipal planning authority. This is per section 41(2) of the act‚" said Mr Jones.
Fear of violence threatens health hearing
IOL News 7 July 2015
Security guards escorted several audience members out of a civil society-organised commission into the Free State health system.
Bloemfontein - Security guards escorted several audience members out of a civil society-organised commission into the Free State health system as fears mounted that tensions in the room could lead to violence.
The men were led out of a University of the Free State auditorium packed with about 200 people after objecting to “People’s Commission,” arguing that organizing AIDS lobby group the Treatment Action Campaign “was not the public protector.”
Among the 200 people present were many who testified to to poor health service services and ongoing medicine stock outs.
The commission is being chaired by three independent panelists comprised of former Johannesburg Central Methodist Church head Bishop Paul Verryn, former Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa General Secretary General Thembeka Gwagwa and Alternative Information Development Centre Co-Director Thokozile Madonko, according to its terms of reference.
The trio is expected to release its own report without the TAC following the two-day gathering.
Anna Motaung from Harrismith, Free State told the commission how she struggled to find her dying daughter amid the province’s allegedly broken referral system.
Motaung’s daughter had been transferred from her local clinic to the Elizabeth Ross Hospital where her mother consented for her to undergo a blood transfusion.
That was the last Motaung knew of her daughter for the next several days as she struggled to find her daughter. She alleges that neither clinic nor hospital staff could tell her where her daughter had been transferred.
“No one at both the clinic, nor the hospital would give me details of her illness or what was wrong with her,” said Motaung.
A patient who had shared a ward with Motaung’s daughter eventually told Motaung where her daughter had been transferred to.
She says she discovered her daughter unable to speak but that her mouth was filled with pills. Despite nurses’ warnings that her daughter would likely die at home, Motaung said she was too afraid to leave her child in hospital
“It was better for her to die at home then at the hospital as no one was taking care of her,” she told the commission.
Meanwhile patients complained of ongoing shortages of medicines including insulin, and treatment for epilepsy and high blood pressure.
Yvonne Richa says she spends more than R500 of her disability grant to purchase diabetes and high blood pressure medication as well as bandages for an untreated abscess she has had for more than a decade. She claims that Thebe District Hospital staff recently told her to purchase her own crutches.
“I cannot walk anymore, and with the no access to crutches, it means I am stuck at home,” Richa said.
Free State Department of Health Spokesperson Tebogo Oepeng has echoed others in the province and alleged that the TAC continues to have “an agenda” in the Free State.
“We are certain to say that the TAC has an agenda,” he said. “The first project and that was to remove the current MEC, has failed and now this is the second round.”
“There have been incidents left and right and personally we don’t really know what the MEC, and that is MEC Benny Malakoane, does to them.”
The TAC has led a campaign calling for Malakoane’s dismissal citing his mismanagement of health services since late 2014.
Oepeng added that medicine shortages were a national problem.
“This issue of a shortage of medicines – it’s a national problem,” said Oepeng citing similar statements made by provincial health departments before Parliament as well as remarks by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi at he recent SA AIDS Conference. “They are an issue of manufacturing.”
International media has reported stock outs of certain vaccines as well as epileptic medication in countries like Ireland, Canada and Zimbabwe. However, the latest civil society stock out report found that 80 percent of the shortages it unearthed were caused by poor management.
Dunoon parents set up own school
IOL News 7 July 2015
Dunoon children are taught at a new school Cape Town - Parents and unemployed teachers have broken into empty mobile classrooms in Dunoon and started their own school for children who have been unable to find a place elsewhere.
The school, which has been occupied by a group of activist residents who slept there overnight, started offering lessons for grade R, 1 and 3 learners on Tuesday.
The parents who broke into the classrooms, which were previously used by Sophakama primary school, say more than 300 children are being deprived of an education after two local primary schools turned them away because they were full.
The Western Cape Education Department has, however, refuted the claims and opposes the parents’ action.
“(My kids) will fall behind if they don’t go to school,” said Nokubonga Tukani, whose children, aged 7 and 12, have not been placed. “Nobody is using these mobile classrooms so why can’t it be turned into a third primary school?”
On Tuesday morning, the group said unemployed teachers from the area were teaching children in the three classes.
Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schafer, said district officials were due to visit the site today.
“The department does not support the intended action of parents. The fact of the matter is that the land on which the mobile classes were erected belongs to the City of Cape Town who made it available to the WCED on a short term,” said Shelver.
She said the Metropole North Education District Office based in Parow is not aware of an updated list of children waiting for school places.
“(The district office) has only received one list to date which was largely an outdated waiting list for Sophakama Primary, dating back to 2013,” she said.
The residents demand that the empty mobile classrooms, which were used by Sophakama Primary until the school moved to permanent structures several months ago, be put to use as a new primary school for their children to attend.
About 80 residents and children marched through the area and protested outside the site from early yesterday morning.
Later in the day the lock of the main gate was cut and the group made their way onto the site.
Resident Nompumelelo Mzilikazi said parents had been told by schools that there were no places for their children for next year. The group vowed to continue their occupation until their demands are met.
Departmental spokesman Paddy Attwell said a group of parents had informed the department that they planned to occupy the mobile classrooms on a field in Dunoon.
“The department leased the site temporarily from the City of Cape Town to accommodate pupils while completing a replacement school next door.”
Attwell said officials had checked a list provided by the group. “It was found that it was largely an outdated waiting list for Sophakama Primary, compiled in 2013. Spot checks of names found that they were already registered at the school.”
He said the district was aware of only six pupils looking for places in the area in the past two weeks. The group disputed this, and said they had provided the department with an updated list.
A meeting with parents has beenscheduled for July 22.
Last month, the Mitchells Plain Education Forum said 59 children in that area had not yet been placed in schools.
In January, hundreds of children in Mfuleni were attending school in a tent with parents claiming schools in the area were full.
Youth march a success
The Tembisan 3 July 2015
The march started with only 25 people. The number of participants gradually increased as the march proceeded through the area.
Young people took a stand against various social illnesses in the community.
Young people took a stand against various social illnesses in the community. Young people took to the streets of Tembisa on June 20 in a united fight against the social illnesses faced by young people.
According to the organisers, the ward 7 Youth Development Committee, the march went as planned.
“The march started with only 25 people. The number of participants gradually increased as the march proceeded through the area.
“The march attracted young people. It also attracted some people who are affected by nyaope,” said Mr Sihle Makhanye, one of the organisers of the march.
According to Mr Makhanye, the march proceeded through Tembisa and proceeded to the Rabasotho SAPS, where a memorandum was handed over to Brigadier John Jacobs.
Mr Makhanye thanked all those who supported the march.
Workers protest outside council meeting
The Tembisan 5 July 2015
The workers said the MMC for Corporate Governance never responded to their memorandum.
No job, no vote, a clear message for the Ekurhuleni mayor, Clr Mondli Gungubele.
No job, no vote, a clear message for the Ekurhuleni mayor, Clr Mondli Gungubele. Workers from the Lungile Mtshali Project protested outside the Germiston Council Chambers during the Ekurhuleni council meeting on Thursday morning last week.
According to the group leaders, the demonstration comes after the demands in their memorandum, which they submitted to the MMC for Corporate Services, Clr Queen Duba, were not responded to.
The memo was submitted on June 17.
Just a month ago, members of the Peace Corps project also protested on the morning of the budget speech on May 28. The peace corps were unhappy about, among other issues, their contracts coming to an end, and wanted the metro to deploy them into various departments.
The MMC was supposed to meet with the workers on Wednesday last week to respond to their memo but the meeting was postponed to June 30.
”We were only told at 11.15am yesterday that the MMC cancelled our meeting, which was supposed to start at 12-noon,” said one of the leaders, who asked to remain anonymous.
Apparently no explanation for the postponement was provided to the workers.
Members from various wards joined the protest, including those from Tembisa, Daveyton and Etwatwa.
The demands in the memorandum included permanent jobs, proper management, a solid skills programme and an increase in their stipend.
Ruth Nkosi from the Etwatwa ward said they were hired on a three-year contract, which would be renewed yearly. The programme began in February last year.
”We renewed the contracts in March this year, during which we were promised training for four months, but we haven’t received one day of that training yet,” Nkosi said.
”Our contracts stated that during phase one of the contract (one year) we would receive six months of learning, followed by another six months of field work. But none of this happened.”
Mayoral spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said a mayoral committee meeting would be held on June 30, where various issues would be deliberated on, including the Lungile Mtshali Project.
“A task team has been set up with MMC Duba and the workers’ grievances will be addressed. As soon as procedures are completed and a solution has been identified, the MMC will give feedback to the employees about the way forward,” Dlamini said.
The Lungile Mtshali Community Development Project is a ward-based job creation programme in honour of the late MMC for finance, Clr Lungile Mtshali, who died in 2010.
Since its launch in February last year, R1-million a year had been allocated to each of the 101 wards in Ekurhuleni to employ 30 ward-based unemployed residents for the purpose of uplifting the community and fighting poverty in the region.
SDCEA’s Durban July protest action halted
Southlands Sun 7 July 2015
SDCEA planned to have more than 500 people at the protest.
Protest (1) THE planned protest action at the Vodacom Durban July by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) was blocked by a high court ruling on Friday, 3 July.
Aiming to raise their concerns about the sale and development of Clairwood Racecourse, SDCEA and affiliated groups planned to protest outside the Greyville Racecourse on Saturday, 4 July during the Durban July horse race.
In court proceedings on Friday, judge Nompumulelo Radebe refused SDCEA’s call to overturn the municipality’s banning of the protest.
“It is shocking. It is just bad and I don’t understand the call to stop our protest. There were no grounds for the refusal both by the municipality and the judge,” said SDCEA co-ordinator, Desmond D’Sa of the ruling.
SDCEA planned to have more than 500 people at the protest. “We could have gone there without asking for permission and picketed with 14 people. We were told we could not hold the protest because there would be high profile people there. What does that have to do with our protest?”
The denial of this protest has not stopped SDCEA, however, and they plan to appeal the ruling.
“We will protest and we will bring our message to people so they know what is going on. We will not stop,” said D’Sa.
Bus drivers agree to go back to work
Berea Mail 7 July 20015
Durban bus drivers will be back on the road on Tuesday morning, 7 July.
eThekwini has confirmed that the municipal buses will be back on the road tomorrow after strike action began last week.
eThekwini has confirmed that the municipal buses will be back on the road tomorrow after strike action began last week. ALL Durban Transport buses will be back on the road from Tuesday morning, 7 July.
According to a media release by eThekwini Municipality, bus drivers have agreed to return to work, putting an end to the strike action which disrupted bus services throughout the metro.
Commuters are urged to make alternative travel arrangements for this afternoon, 6 July 2015, as the bus service, operated by private operator Tansnat, is expected to resume full operations from tomorrow morning.
The Municipality apologises to all commuters for the inconvenience caused.
The Municipality will continue to communicate all updated information about the bus strike through the Municipality’s website
New MyCiti routes irk taxi bosses
IOL News 5 July 2015
Cape Town - Atlantis taxi bosses have vowed to disrupt new MyCiTi bus routes launched in the town on Saturday, claiming it will cut into their livelihood.
Some warned they if they lost their jobs and customers to MyCiti they would resort to crime to earn an income.
Marwaan Gasnola, a protesting taxi owner, told Weekend Argus they would “have to do something”.
“We need work here. If we have to do bad things, we will. We will carry on like this until we are sure our work will be left alone.”
Authorities have already taken over 100 taxis off the roads of Atlantis, about 40km outside of Cape Town, as part of the MyCiti expansion.
A further 16 taxis are set to be withdrawn this week, and after Friday only certain taxis transporting commuters to the town from Witsand will be able to operate there.
Brett Herron, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport, on Saturday defended the plans, saying taxi bosses have been compensated and even offered shares in the MyCiTi vehicle operating company.
Herron said to try to get to the bottom of their problems, he would get a team to meet those unhappy with the bus service, which started operating in Atlantis last April.
The expanded MyCiti service was launched on Saturday, including a direct route from Atlantis to the Civic Centre in Cape Town, a route connecting Atlantis to nearby Mamre, as well as new routes to Table View and Century City.
Some commuters said buses were cheaper for them, while others said taxis were less expensive.
Most Atlantis residents welcomed the expanded bus service, with more than 1 000 people signing up to get bus cards within a few hours on Saturday. Only about 50 people, including taxi owners and drivers, protested.
Initially protesters gathered in front of a library in the town, holding anti-MyCiTi posters and chanting, “Down with MyCiti.”
They then marched to the MyCiti station, and the group of protesters grew in numbers.
While they chanted and waved their posters, a number of commuters stood in a queue for the buses.
A large group of Metro police officers monitored the station.
Daniel Raubenheimer, who started operating two taxis in the area about 18 months ago and has four employees, shook his head and said the expanded MyCiti service meant he would lose commuters.
“They’ll choose those buses. Who is going to support us? Crime here is going to go up,” he said.
“First, the taxis take people closer to their homes. These buses don’t go near the homes so the people must walk far. The crime problem here is bad, these people will get targeted. And there’s no work for our people. It’s like we must now also turn to crime.”
Taxi operator Brandon Reynolds said he now stood to lose his only source of income.
“You can see people are unhappy. There’s a lot of pity for the drivers and the gaatjies (fare collectors),” he said.
A taxi driver, who declined to be named, said: “I will steal from people if I lose my work. Simple as that.”
While some residents said there had been no consultation and the service should be scrapped, others welcomed the expanded service.
Leonie Gordon, 49, of neighbouring Mamre, was in support of MyCiti.
“It helps so much. Before I’d have to wait for the taxi to get full before it moved,” she said. “I got groceries and they used to get squashed in the taxi. Now there’s space for me and the packets. I come to Atlantis three times a week so will use the buses from now on.”
Gordon paid R22 return taxi fare, and R14 for the same journey on a MyCiti bus.
Herron said on Saturday’s protest made no sense to him because the MyCiTi service had been improved by the expanded routes.
“The taxi owners agreed two years ago to exit the mini-bus taxi industry and to accept compensation for their vehicles, permits and business,” said Herron, who
believed the protesters had been misinformed about the service.
Animal activists protest at circus
IOL News 6 July 2015
Pretoria - A handful of activists protested on Saturday near the McLaren Circus in the city.
The McLaren family circus is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with shows in the big top erected on land near the intersection of Stanza Bopape and End streets.
The protesters – under the banner of Ban Animal Circuses – were holding up placards reading “Not born to perform” and “Your fun, misery for animals.”
Organiser Cathy Watson said the aim of the protest was to educate the public about animal cruelty associated with circuses.
Watson said they hoped to “plant a seed of enlightenment”, and that the public would refrain from supporting entertainment that exploited animals for profit.
“We hope that while people are there, they will give some thought to the matter and hopefully do some research later, and break free from traditions (of performing animals) that are no are longer relevant,” she said.
According to Watson, elephants’ spirits were broken in training by a bull hook. “They do tricks because they’re afraid of the bull hook.
“It’s (training) by fear and intimidation,” she said.
But not everyone shares her sentiments.
Steven Douglas, a circus enthusiast from Pretoria West, said he had been following the circus, and in some cases working for it, for years and had never seen trainers or handlers abusing the animals.
“I think they should get their facts straight,” he said of the protesters. “These animals were never taken out of the wild like they say. They were born in captivity, and they get the best veterinary care.
McLaren Circus management could not be reached for comment.
When the circus was in Cape Town, the owner laid a charge of trespassing and intimidation against an animal rights activist who allegedly threatened to set the lions and tigers free.
Six arrested during NWest protest
IOL News 6 July 2015
Brits - Six people were arrested during a protest in Majakaneng near Brits after a truck was torched on Monday, North West police said.
Spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko: “Seven cars were pelted with stones and a truck was burnt down. The situation is calm and police are monitoring.”
He said a group of young men barricaded the N4, allegedly demanding that a local mine must employ them.
“The public order police are monitoring the situation, at the moment situation is calm.”
Ramaloko said it was safe to use the N4 and the R104 (old Pretoria road).
Mamelodi taxis protest against new bus service
IOL News 1 July 2015
The Tshwane metro police are monitoring a protest in Mamelodi after taxi associations apparently took to the streets to oppose the new buses that replaced the cancelled Putco bus services.
Police and the Tshwane metro police at the
Selaluke Chaos erupted in Mamelodi on Wednesday morning when taxi associations protested against new Autopax buses replacing the Putco bus service.
Tshwane metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said about 1 500 people took part, barricading Tsamaya Avenue with rocks near the Putco depot.
“We managed to open the road again. However, we are still trying to determine if it was the taxi drivers, the associations or members of the community who took part in this,” he said.
According to a source, several Mamelodi taxi associations were trying to stop the new buses from operating as they were apparently promised to take over the bus routes once Putco‘s service was terminated on Tuesday.
Mamelodi Transport Solutions spokesperson, Mzamo Dube said: “We went to great lengths of informing our people of the good news and suddenly, without any notice, there are buses now,” he said.
Mahamba said bus companies, Putco and the police were meeting to resolve the issue.
“The road is opened again and traffic is flowing. We are still monitoring the situation.”
Putco ceased its bus service to Mamelodi on Tuesday for financial reasons. Gauteng announced on Tuesday that a state-owned entity, Autopax, would take over the bus service on Wednesday.
Army could be deployed in Mamelodi
Pretoria Record 5 July 2015
The Gauteng Premier said on Sunday the army would be deployed if necessary to restore order in Mamelodi if necessary after violent protests by taxi operators the past week.
Mamelodi community members during a public meeting called by Gauteng premier David Makhura and the Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa. Photo: Twitter. The military would be deployed if necessary to restore order in Mamelodi after violent protests by taxi operators the past week, Gauteng premier David Makhura reportedly said on Sunday.
He was speaking during a public meeting he and Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa held with the community in the township.
Violent protests erupted in Mamelodi the past week when taxi operators sought to prevent a new bus service from operating in the township.
A state-owned entity, Autopax, was to have taken over bus routes previously serviced by Putco last Wednesday. Putco has pulled out of Mamelodi for financial reasons.
But disgruntled taxi operators prevented Autopax buses from operating properly, leaving scores of commuters stranded.
Makhura reportedly told residents soldiers would be brought in to ensure the safety of public transport commuters if the violent protests did not cease.
He said Operation Fiela, involving police, the metro police and home affairs officials, had already been activated in Mamelodi to help restore order in the area.
The protests of the past week saw a bus driver and four passengers being shot and wounded.
The taxi operators claim they have been promised permission to take over the Putco bus routes.
Calm restored in Mamelodi - police
IOL News 6 July 2015
A police car escorts an Autopax bus out of the Mamelodi Putco bus depot. Picture: Masi Losi
Johannesburg - Pretoria’s Mamelodi township was calm on Monday following violence over bus routes on which the Putco bus company previously operated, the Tshwane Metro police said.
“Police will maintain strong presence until the normal situation is fully restored, there has been no violent incidents so far,” said spokesman Superintendent Isaac Mahamba.
Five people, including a bus driver, were injured after they were shot at inside a bus on Friday as taxi operators refused to allow the new operator, Autopax, to take over the lucrative routes previously operated by Putco for years.
On Wednesday, an Autopax bus was stoned allegedly by taxi drivers as it left the depot in Mamelodi. The taxi operators demanded that government implement a subsidy for taxis as it did with Putco, and that they be allowed to operate on the routes left by Putco.
Mahamba could not confirm media reports that over twenty taxis were impounded on Monday for operating without permits.
“I cannot comment on that report that came out this morning, we will issue a media statement on Mamelodi later today,” he said.
Earlier this year, the government subsidised Putco confirmed its intention to stop its operations in several areas around Gauteng, adding that the routes were not financially viable.
The Gauteng transport department then negotiated with Putco to continue providing services until June 30. Putco therefore did not renew eight contracts and government was forced to step in to ensure continuation of services to commuters in the interim.
Autopax bus service, operated by state-owned Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) was contracted by the department to take over the routes for three months.
Police had been escorting buses travelling between the township and the Pretoria CBD following the shooting.
Bid to avert outright Mamelodi transport war
IOL News 5 July 2015
Johannesburg - A public meeting is to be held on Sunday in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, to engage the community following the stoning of buses and violent attacks against some bus drivers in the area during the past week.
Police reinforcements were being brought into the area from Friday after escalating violence resulted in a Putco bus being shot at as minibus taxi owners continued to oppose the introduction of the Autopax bus service.
Autopax is a state-owned entity and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and has adopted the bus routes, timetables and rates operated by Putco.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that shots had been fired at a Putco bus on Friday and five people had been injured.
The driver of the bus and four passengers were injured and taken to hospital.
“A task team of detectives and crime-intelligence officers are already at work to bring those who were responsible for violence to book and they will face the full might of the law,” Dlamini said.
Three other buses were damaged on Friday, bringing the number damaged to seven since Wednesday, when the service was implemented.
Putco cancelled its contract in Gauteng for eight routes, citing financial loss.
Mamelodi was one of the routes dropped. Autopax was appointed to fill the void, much to the dismay of minibus-taxi owners in the area, who questioned how Autopax was able to get permits while they have to wait a long time.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport signed a three- month contract with Autopax to render services in Mamelodi, Midvaal and Kathorus after Putco informed the provincial department about its intention to cease operations in these areas.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who visited the area accompanied by Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and Gauteng MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi on Friday, has condemned the violence.
He called on law-enforcement authorities to ensure the perpetrators were brought to book.
He said the government would not allow taxi operators to threaten the community.
“We will not allow anyone to hold the community to ransom,” said Makhura.
He said the government would not be forced by taxi operators, who resorted to violence, to pull out Autopax.
“Autopax is going to continue to operate here.
“People will (be allowed to) choose whether they will use buses, rail or taxis,” added Makhura.
Woman shot in attack on bus
IOL News 4 July 2015
Pretoria - A passenger was fighting for her life in hospital on Friday night after being shot by gun-wielding assailants who opened fire on a Putco bus along Solomon Mahlangu Drive, as the violence targeting buses escalated in Mamelodi.
The bus was travelling from Mpumalanga and heading to Centurion when Lungile Mahlangu was shot in the abdomen.
Her sister, Nomsa, said she received a phone call in the morning informing her that Lungile was involved in an accident.
“I quickly got dressed and rushed off to where they said she was and found her lying on the ground with a gunshot wound in her stomach,” she said. “She said a group of about four men in a car drove next to their bus and opened fire at it.”
Nomsa said her sister was rushed off to the Netcare Pretoria East Hospital.
“She is in a critical state at the moment, but the doctors said she was lucky that the bullet did not hit her spinal cord, or she would have been paralysed,” she said.
Putco spokesman Tshepo Tsotsotso said five people, including the driver, were shot and wounded, and were all rushed off to hospital.
He said the company failed to understand why the bus was attacked – allegedly by taxi drivers – as it was travelling on an uncontested route.
However, this was in contrast to what the provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba said. He stated only one person was shot and wounded, while another four were injured during the resulting commotion.
“There was only one person who was shot, and the other four were injured while they were trying to rush out of the bus to seek safety,” Mothiba said.
He said no arrests had been made and investigations were ongoing.
When the Pretoria News arrived at the scene early on Friday, at least seven bullets appeared to have struck the bus, which was parked on the side of Solomon Mahlangu Drive. Shattered glass was scattered across the side of the road, while police officers milled about the scene.
Earlier in the morning, two buses belonging to AutoPax, which replaced Putco as the service provider in the area, were pelted with stones and rocks the moment the first daily fleet left the depot. This was despite being escorted by law enforcement agencies.
Autopax buses were scheduled to begin ferrying commuters on subsidised routes in Mamelodi, Ekurhuleni, and Sedibeng on July 1 after Putco opted to end its contract with the Gauteng Department of Road and Transport.
The company cited loss of profit as one of the reasons for the move. AutoPax, a subsidiary of Passenger Rail of South Africa, replaced Putco. However, its operations have been hamstrung, with buses being prevented from ferrying commuters by taxi drivers and owners. They claim they wanted to operate on the route and had an agreement to that effect with the City of Tshwane.
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa rejected this claim and said the city only helped taxi associations by ensuring their proposals adhered to the criteria set out by the legislation. “All we can do is to make sure that their proposal conforms to the requirements for it to be considered by the department. But Tshwane could not have had an agreement with the taxi operators because those routes are not owned by the city,” Ramokgopa said.
Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura vowed to bring an end to the violence meted out by taxi drivers. Makhura said the government would not be held to ransom by taxi operators through violence.
He said, if the situation continued to be volatile, law enforcement agencies would resort to crime fighting initiative Operation Fiela or deploy the army into Mamelodi.
He said ongoing discussions were being held with various factions of the community, which included the two taxi associations.
Makhura assured commuters that buses would be functional on Monday and that measures would be taken to ensure that violent incidents were eliminated.
“We are going to have a general meeting with residents of Mamelodi (on Sunday) to address this matter,” Makhura said.
VIDEO: Mamelodi buses to stay, says premier
Pretoria Record 3 July 2015
Gauteng premier said during a media briefing at the Mamelodi municipal offices that order would be restored after violent protests on Friday.
Protesting taxi operators would not drive the new Autopax bus service out of Mamelodi, Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Friday.
“The people in Mamelodi are happy and want Autopax. We would not be forced by taxi violence to pull out,” he told reporters in Mamelodi.
“My emphasis is we would not allow taxi operators to hold the community at ransom. Order will be restored here.”
The past three days have seen protesting taxi operators disrupting bus services by Autopax, which has taken over Mamelodi routes formerly served by Putco. Putco has pulled out of the area for financial reasons.
The taxi operators contend they have been promised permission to take over the Putco routes.
No Autopax buses were running on Wednesday. Thursday saw the service partly operating while Friday was marred by violence when a Putco bus was shot at. The driver and four passengers were wounded.
Protesters barricaded Solomon Mahlangu Drive en route to Mamelodi.
Transport authorities and concerned parties met on Friday to discuss the violent protests.
Makhura said at a news briefing held at the Mamelodi municipal offices Autopax had been drawn in to operate for the next three months in the township.
Gauteng transport director general Pule Selepe also said Autopax was a temporary solution until a permanent bus service was found.
He said the department would speak to taxi bosses and their industry to seek viable solutions.
Makhura emphasised taxi drivers should remember that the lives of the commuters were more important than their business.
Buses stoned in Mamelodi
Pretoria Record 2 July 2015
At least four passenger buses were stoned in Mamelodi on Thursday morning as taxi drivers tried to stop a new bus service from operating.
“Windows were broken and pieces of glass littered the inside of the buses. Body work was also damaged,” said eyewitness Ron Sibiya.
He said at least 19 buses were nevertheless running, escorted by police. A police helicopter was hovering above.
Protesters also sought to block routes used by Autopax, a state-owned entity that took over the Mamelodi bus service from Putco on Wednesday. Putco has ended its contract with the province, saying the Mamelodi route was no longer viable.
Taxi operators say a promise that they could take over the Putco routes was broken when the province announced on Tuesday that Autopax would take over the service.
At least two buses were in an accident on Thursday.
Tshwane metro police spokesperson Superintend Isaac Mahamba said the buses would continue operating and the situation was being watched closely.
“There is a high level of police visibility on the bus routes and they will continue monitoring the buses until the afternoon.”
Mahamba could not say whether any arrests had been made. No injuries were reported.
Some commuters were left stranded as they did not want to risk boarding the buses.
Mamelodi Taxi Association driver Thomas Mathopa said taxi operators sought to prevent Autopax buses from leaving the depot because Tshwane metro had promised taxis would be allowed to use the routes vacated by Putco.
“The city and us agreed that we would be stakeholders when Putco’s contract ended,” said Mathopa.
This was disputed by metro spokesperson Selby Bokaba.
He said this had merely been a proposal by taxi associations made in a meeting with mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi.
It was proposal and not an agreement, Bokaba said.
Gauteng transport spokesperson Octavia Mamabolo confirmed that 19 buses, escorted by police, were running on Thursday.
He said a meeting between all concerned parties, including the South African Taxi Council, was to be held on Thursday.
Mamelodi Transport Solution spokesperson Delan Trotter denied any involvement in the stoning of four buses in the morning.
“All we want is to be part of the transformation. We do not promote any violence at all. The commuters complained that the bus fare was cheaper than the taxi fare.They should leave the Autopax buses to operate in Mamelodi,” Trotter said.
Commuter Sophy Mabena told Rekord her job was on the line due to the protests.
“It is now two days in row that I have been unable to go to work. All we want is to go to work peacefully. The taxi drivers are greedy. They should go about their business and leave the new buses in peace.”
Other commuters opted to travel to work with taxi’s until the situation was under control.
Putco buses passing through Mamelodi from Mpumalanga were also stoned.
Putco spokesperson Tshepo Tsotsotso was not immediately available for comment.
On Wednesday, the first day of the Autopax service, protesting taxi operators prevented any buses from running.
Taxi owners reportedly met Tshwane metro officials behind closed doors on Wednesday.
Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi said on Wednesday after the meeting there would not be any more disruptions following the meeting.
He was quoted as saying: “We’ve assured commuters and confirmed with the taxi associations that it’s just an interim contract which will last for three months.”
Driver and passengers shot in bus chaos
3 July 2015
Pretoria - Four passengers and a bus driver were wounded on Friday morning when a group of assailants opened fire on a Putco bus on Solomon Mahlangu Drive in Pretoria.
Putco spokesman Tshepo Tsotsotso said the driver and the passengers are in a critical state and have been rushed off to a nearby hospital.
“The driver was shot in the stomach along with four passengers. The bus was travelling in a scheduled and uncontested route from Mamelodi to Pretoria city centre,” Tsotsotso said.
He said the motive for the shooting was not clear at this point, but Putco was working with law enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of it and protect commuters.
This was one of many attacks which happened in the township where taxi operators are protesting against AutoPax buses operating in government-subsidised routes.
Earlier, two AutoPax buses being escorted by police were pelted with stones. The buses returned to the bus depot, where operations have been aborted for the day.
Two delivery trucks were also stoned at the intersection of Solomon Mahlangu and Hinterland roads
Frustrated Commuters have been left stranded for the third consecutive day as taxi associations contest against AutPax operating in the area.
They vowed not to use taxis as fares cost twice as much as bus tags.
A meeting is scheduled between the taxi associations, the City of Tshwane, and the Gauteng MEC of Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi to attempt to resolve the tensions.