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South African Protest News 15 December 2015 -5 February 2016
 (2016) South African Protest News 15 December 2015 -5 February 2016
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TUT: Talks with striking workers collapse
IOL News 5 February 2016

Talks between management of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and striking workers who are rejecting an “insourcing deal” have collapsed, the institution said on Friday.

“During the past two days members of TUT management met directly with workers’ representatives and spent many hours explaining the benefits of the agreement reached by the task team on insourcing,” said spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter.

“Despite all these efforts, the workers’ representatives returned to the meeting with a list of new demands and a new agreement, which in terms of affordability and sustainability, TUT management cannot accede to.”

The striking workers, supported by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command, had rejected an agreement reached with public sector union National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Student Representative Council (SRC) last week.

The protesters, who demonstrated outside the Pretoria West main campus over the past two weeks, demanded immediate permanent employment and a R10 000 monthly salary.

According to the Nehawu-backed agreement, workers such as gardeners, cleaners and security guards would receive a minimum wage of R5 000 and other benefits. The workers’s dependents would also receive free education.

Outsourcing of services at the institution would gradually be phased out as contracts expire, and woud be finalised by the end of 2019.

De Ruyter said academic activities continue at the institution. Registrations end on February 19.

100 families evicted from Pretoria flats
IOL News 4 February 2016

Residents of RNS House building in Madiba Street got a rude awakening on Wednesday. About 100 families were turfed out and left to fend for themselves.

The Red Ant Security Relocation & Eviction Services (Red Ants) stormed the building at about 6am and began removing residents’ belongings.

The tenants could do little but look on helplessly as these were carried out of the building.

Residents said the eviction was part of a lengthy battle with the landlord who they have accused of failing to maintain the building.

Ephraim Mathole, a member of the tenants’ committee, told the Pretoria News he did not know why the building was being sealed off and made inaccessible as the high court in Pretoria had granted an order allowing them to stay until their matter was heard on February 9.

“We haven’t had electricity at this building since November last year. We went to the rental tribunal and submitted a list of our problems,” Mathole said.

By doing so, he said, they had hoped for an intervention.

“This building is not maintained and the electricity bills are very high, and we don’t know why.

“We don’t understand why bouncers have now been brought in to evict and harass people when there are no lease agreements or specified rent prices.”

He claimed that they were paying between R800 and R2 000 to live there.

Mathole was speaking outside the building, looking on as people dug through belongings which had been thrown down into the street.

However, the tenants’ legal representative Tuelo Mokgare said an eviction order had been granted on December 1 last year.

He said an agreement was reached between the landlord and tenants. It stipulated that the order would be enforced if tenants failed to pay rent by the 1st of each month.

“I received a message from the landlord’s attorneys saying that they were going to implement the order as some tenants had failed to comply with the agreement,” said Mokgara.

Tenant Tabia Kwenane decried the living conditions in the building and said she did not understand why they were being evicted.

“They arrived here, with no letter to explain why they were kicking us out, and started taking out our belongings,” said Kwenane.

With her 2-year-old daughter on her back, Kwenana said she was particularly concerned about where they would spend last night and what she would feed her daughter.

“Where are we supposed to go? We were not warned about this. Maybe we would have been able to make a plan and moved out before this,” she said.

“The most important thing right now is to find my ID document and my child’s birth certificate.

“I won't be able to do anything without them,” she said, searching through a stack of items.

Another tenant, Walter Mabiza, struggled to gain entry to the building as the Red Ants had blocked the entrance while they made their way up and down the stairs, carrying out mattresses, fridges, cupboards and personal belongings.

A Grade 11 pupil at Langenhoven High School said his grandmother was on the third floor and he wanted to make sure that none of their belongings would go missing and ensure that his gran was fine.

Dressed in his school uniform, the 18-year-old said: “I can’t go to school today. Maybe not even tomorrow, because I don’t know where my grandmother and I are going to be.”

By the end of on Wednesday, some of the tenants were seen sitting on the side of Madiba Street with nowhere to go, while some had already made plans to move.

Shots fired as ANC factions clash
IOL News 3 February 2016

Pretoria - Tensions between ANC factions in Stinkwater, north of Pretoria, continue to simmer with party members attacked on Monday night.

Shots were fired into the home of the Tshwane MMC for corporate services, Thembi Mmoko, and her son had to seek refuge in a shop owned by his father. One man was hit and is reportedly in critical condition in hospital.

The MMC’s son, Vincent Mmoko, said the feud was rooted in the hotly contested leadership struggle in Ward 95. He said he and other members of the ruling party had found themselves in the middle of it.

The 44-year-old said he was standing in the yard with a friend when about 30 men fired shots at them.

“My friend, who is a metro police officer, used his service pistol to fire back at them. We tried to run away, but there was another group waiting for us on the other side.

“That was when I hid in my father’s store while they smashed my car and the windows of our house,” said Mmoko.

Two weeks ago, ANC members were infuriated at a bi-annual branch meeting when MMC for sports and recreation Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke, who was overseeing proceedings, allegedly left with a list of members who had voted for a candidate.

Tyobeka-Makeke was apparently unhappy with the results, they claimed. An ANC member in the ward, who opted to remain anonymous, told the Pretoria News that tensions had been high since then.

“We were told that one of the party’s provincial executive committee would come and oversee the next meeting this past weekend. The meeting was intended at electing members to occupy the branch executive committee. However, no one arrived,” he said.

Mmoko, as a senior member of the party, was then asked to officiate at the meeting and everything went well. But on Monday after another meeting which did not go well, a van with armed men arrived.

The men allegedly said there would be bloodshed when they returned in the evening.

Party members said when they left the meeting they heard gunshots in the township. They found about 30 men at Mmoko’s house.

ANC Tshwane regional spokesman Tebogo Joala denied the violence was related to the ruling party.

“The incident of the man who was injured and the violence has nothing to do with the ANC,” he said.

He added that the matter of the shooting was cloaked under a number of allegations that he couldn't comment on.

Protesters block entrance to TUT
Eye Witness News 1 February 2016

Some outsourced workers have rejected an insourcing deal & have continued demonstrations.

Protesting TUT outsourced workers burn a Nehawu t-shirt during a demonstration on Thursday. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.
Protesting TUT outsourced workers burn a Nehawu t-shirt during a demonstration on Thursday. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.
TUT Tshwane University of Technology TUT Outsourcing Outsourcing Must Fall Movement TUT Protests TUT,Tshwane University of Technology TUT,outsourcing,Outsourcing Must Fall Movement,TUT Protests
Email Print Tweet Barry Bateman | one day ago
PRETORIA – The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)'s Pretoria West campus has been blocked by demonstrating workers as it was scheduled to reopen today.

On Thursday, management at the university reached a deal with unions to insource contract workers over the next three years.

#TUTprotest large crowd here, mostly students prevented from entering campus. BB

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 1, 2016
#TUTprotest TUT management reached a deal with Nehawu, NTEU and the Central SRC to insource over next three years and R5k basic salary. BB

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 1, 2016
But some outsourced workers, supported by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)’s student command have rejected the deal and have continued the demonstration, saying they will remain there until their demands are met.


— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 1, 2016
Hundreds of students have broken through a blockade at the Pretoria West campus.

It started off as a trickle of students making their way past the EFF red shirts who were standing with their arms stretched out to stop people getting past.

But it has since swelled and dozens more followed until massive groups were running towards the university’s main gate.

It was then that the police intervened to prevent the EFF from stopping those that wanted to enter, but also prohibited the members from going on to the campus.

#TUTprotest police prevent EFF and workers from entering. EFFSC leader rallying support on loud hailer - "we will enter".

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 1, 2016
#TUTprotest SAPS intervene to stop EFF SC preventing students from entering campus. BB

— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) February 1, 2016
The university obtained an interdict last week that has given the police permission to ensure that the institution’s doors remain open.

Public order police have been deployed to the area, but despite the tense situation, clashes have been averted.

South Africa: Protesters Demand Atlantis School Be Made Safe
AllAfrica 2 February 2016

About 100 people protested outside the Western Cape Legislature today, demanding that Avondale Primary School in Atlantis be made safe for learning.

The protesters included members of Cosatu, teaching union Sadtu and the Avondale School Board, as well as some of the students at the school, and their parents. Fiona Abrahams, a proportional representative councillor based in Atlantis (ANC) attended. So did Tony Ehrenreich, also a proportional representative councillor and regional secretary of Cosatu.

Representatives from organisations took turns to express concern about the state of the school before handing a memorandum to the province's chief director of physical resources, Archie Lewis.

"The school buildings are in a bad state. The structures are moving away from the foundation. There are no windows. Ceilings are falling apart. Toilets are not working. Since 2008 they just come in to repair but you can not repair a school in that state," said Shane Jennicker, chairperson of the Avondale School Governing Board.

According to Jennicker the students currently are not going into the school. Instead they go to school and sit outside.

Abrahams called for the provincial education department to supply mobile classrooms.

In a statement released today, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schafer wrote that parents and students of the school raised concerns about its state at the beginning of the academic year. "Officials immediately sought to engage with the parents and the School Governing Body," she said.

Schafer said that an engineer assessed the school last week. Some classrooms were deemed safe, but parts of the school have been cordoned off until repairs are done.

"Once the necessary repairs are completed, these areas can be used again. These findings have been communicated to the parents of the school. The areas identified will be cordoned off and the necessary repairs made."

She said that the department has also approved the planning of a replacement school.

She expressed concern that "parents locked the school gates and blocked access to teachers, learners and officials."

Home invaders run amok in Cornubia
IOL News 3 February 2016

Durban - Security officers have told how home invaders used “Jet Li-style” flying kicks to break down the doors to homes they wanted to illegally occupy at the Cornubia housing project.

This past week two housing projects on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast have been targeted for invasions. In both incidents, police and security officers promptly removed the illegal occupants.

In Cornubia, security guards at the site said they had had to scramble to safety after 300 people arrived in buses and cars to take incomplete homes by force on Saturday morning.

One of the guards said the invaders – men and women – ran in all directions.

Because the doors to the houses under construction were locked, the invaders kicked them in, splintering wooden panels.

This has caused a setback for contractors who must now replace and repair doors and door frames.

The invaders wrote their names and the word “Taken” in mud, paint and chalk on the walls, doors and window panes.

Two graffiti sentences stood out… “Show me a democracy” and “We are one if united we stand”.

On Tuesday, contractors were still busy finishing the interior and landscaping outside the homes. Tactical Security was also on site monitoring the area to prevent further invasions.

eThekwini Municipality spokeswoman, Tozi Mthethwa, said the city had taken a tough stance and would not stand for the invasion of housing projects in and around Durban.

“They arrived in buses and taxis to move in their furniture and vandalised the units in the process. City officials addressed them on site as they were raising concerns regarding the allocation process,” she said.

Security has been beefed up to ensure visibility and secure the Cornubia precinct. Council said it had a zero tolerance approach to such invasions and was committed to putting an end to the practice.

“There are 586 families living in Cornubia which is KwaZulu-Natal’s largest mixed-use and mixed income integrated human settlement. This project will provide 15 000 housing units for indigent beneficiaries,” Mthethwa said.

KwaDukuza Municipality spokesman, Sifiso Zulu, said they were discussing several major issues and addressing some of the concerns to speed up delivery of the Groutville Priority 2 housing project.

This comes after a protracted protest that resulted in damages there amounting to at least R4.8 million.

Two weeks ago, the N2 and the R102 near Groutville were barricaded and blocked.

Site offices owned by the contractor, Zikhulise Cleaning and Maintenance in Groutville, in the eThembeni area, were also vandalised by a group of disgruntled protesters who were chiefly demanding employment by the contractor and the re-allocation of houses to legal beneficiaries.

The homes have not yet been completed because of delays in the roll-out of ablution facilities.

“We are calling on the community of eThembeni to give peace a chance,” Zulu said.

“We are fully aware of their worries and past disappointments, which have driven them to take up protest action,” Zulu said.

In 2012, KwaDukuza Municipality awarded a contract, after competitive bidding, to Zikhulise Cleaning and Maintenance services to construct roads and related civil works, 1 980 houses and ventilated improved pit toilets. One thousand houses have been constructed.

City won’t tolerate invasions
Berea Mail 1 February 2016

About 300 families invaded the Cornubia
eThekwini-Municipal_56450 EThekwini Municipality will not tolerate those who invade housing projects in and around the city and is committed to stamping out this practice. The city’s tough stance comes after approximately 300 families invaded incomplete houses in Cornubia on Saturday, 30 January.

According to a media statement this week, the families arrived in buses and taxis to move in their furniture and vandalised the units in the process.

City officials addressed concerns raised by the invaders regarding the allocation process. Police arrived and advised them to leave the area. Since then, security has been beefed up to secure the Cornubia precinct. them on site as they were raising concerns regarding the allocation process. They were later advised to vacate the area by police.

There are about 586 families living in Cornubia which is KwaZulu-Natal’s largest mixed use and mixed income integrated human settlement. This project will ultimately provide 15 000 housing units for indigent beneficiaries.

PE parents protest at education dept
IOL News 1 February 2016

Port Elizabeth – Parents from Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas are not backing down and are adamant that they would continue to “fight for education” and stage protests if the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape did not meet their demands.

On Monday, a group of parents gathered outside the Department of Education district office in Port Elizabeth to for an illegal picket protest.

This is the third week in which no learning has taken place at schools in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.

The gathering on Monday became unruly when angry parents attempted to enter the building premises to hand over a petition to department officials.

Police, who were monitoring the protest, barred parents from entering and forcefully closed the gates.

Chatty resident, Crawford Fraser whose daughter attends Parkside Primary, was angry at the proposed government scheme to grant bursaries to virgins.

“If our government can give bursaries to virgins, my eight-year-old daughter who is still a virgin, why can’t she get bursary? What do children in KwaZulu-Natal have that our children don’t?

“Our constitution says I have the right of movement. If the police here want to resist my right then I say they are violating my rights. I am doing this here for my children, my child’s future is my responsibility. These officials sit in air-conditioned cars while my child must sit and sweat in a class of 80,” said Fraser

Another parent who identified himself only as Chief Khoisan SA called upon the department to stop lying to parents.

“You are a bunch of useless people. Things are going to get worse. The whole of Nelson Mandela Bay will burn. We won’t open schools until our demands are met today [Monday].”

A grandmother from Salsoneville, Anita Koopman Smit, said parents were fighting the same battle since 2010.

“All the children in the township are flocking to the Northern Areas, and I want to stress I am not a racist, but they are flocking to the Northern Areas and overcrowding our schools. Where are those parents? We are fighting for all children, not only coloured children, but those parents they are not here. We want quality education but how can you get quality education if you have 60 children in a class?”

Marlon Daniels, regional chairman of the recently formed Nationalist Coloured Party in Nelson Mandela Bay, led the group of protesters on Monday and outlined the following demands contained in the petition:

* Learners with special educational needs to be catered for

* Section 20 schools to be changed to Section 21 schools where schools would manage its own budget

* The need for non-teaching staff such as secretaries and groundsman

* The pupil teacher ratio to be 30:1

“Currently we have schools in our area with 80 learners in a class, this at Gelvan Park Primary and there is another school in Windvogel with 113 learners in a class,” said Daniels.

Meanwhile, the Acting Head of Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, Siza Netshicaphala, who later received the memorandum outside the district office, acknowledged angry parents and said the department had selected six districts that would be visited by the Eastern Cape Education District Executive Committee.

She told reporters that the department’s head office came to visit the Port Elizabeth office on Monday and that the five other district offices selected would also receive visits within the next three months.

“We will make sure that we address all the burning issues that have been identified by our political principals. One of the major issues that we had to deal with specifically in this district is the issue of leadership. Our head of this district has been unwell for some time, we have appointed a new district manager, Joy Grobbler to act in that position until either he is well enough to come back or if he is placed somewhere else.”

Netshicaphala added that there was a team working on the placement of teachers and that they hoped to have concrete numbers by Tuesday.

She reiterated that the Eastern Cape’s Premier Phumlo Masaulle had given a deadline to the department that teachers must be in classrooms by March 1.

SACP accuses ANC of disrupting meeting in Limpopo
Sowetan 31 January 2016

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Limpopo province has accused its alliance partner the African National Congress (ANC) of disrupting a meeting at Turfloop near the provincial capital of Polokwane on Saturday.

It charged that the meeting – to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the death of struggle hero Joe Slovo as well as the Right to Learn campaign – was disrupted by “a bunch of thugs trucked in by the African National Congress (ANC) branch chairperson of Ward 4 near the University of Limpopo outside Polokwane”.

“The mob‚ which arrived in a mini truck‚ started singing anti- SACP songs and became unruly‚ holding the meeting hostage. The mob of thugs then went on to collapse the marque under which the meeting was held and disconnected electric power switching off the sound system.

“Some of the hooligans were visibly drunk. They shouted down invited speakers from the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and the Young Communist League (YCLSA) and then collapsed the marque when the SACP Provincial Secretary was short of finishing his address. The South African Police Services were called to the scene to eject the hooligans from the meeting‚” the SACP said.

It added that the party would lay charges of public violence against the “concerned ANC branch chairperson and his troops”.

“The incident that occurred at Turfloop is not an isolated occurrence. It is part of emerging anti-communist attacks happening throughout the country‚ especially in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. The main objective of these anti-SACP attacks is to scuttle the unity of the ANC-SACP alliance and disrupt the National Democratic Revolution and the struggle for socialism‚” the SACP asserted.

Durban bus blockade chaos
IOL News 1 February 2016

Durban - A municipal bus blockade trapped thousands of motorists travelling to and from Durban in peak hour traffic on Monday.

Striking Durban Transport drivers, employed by the beleaguered Tansnat company, blockaded the entrance and exit to uMlazi in the south, and KwaMashu in the north after they did not receive their January salaries.

People from uMlazi and part of Isipingo were prevented from getting to Durban as buses parked across roadways, blocking lanes.

Cars and taxis were gridlocked on all lanes of the north-bound carriageway of the N2 where it splits to the M4. Some made U-turns on the freeway and drove against oncoming traffic to the Merebank and Jacobs onramps.

South Coast Road entering uMlazi was gridlocked because buses were parked across the entrance to uMlazi at Mega City.

Many commuters alighted minibus taxis and walked to Merebank and Lamontville.

The M4 south-bound after Quality Street was closed to traffic. Motorists were forced to make U-turns and exit in Quality Street. This included trucks with cargo on the trailers.

Phoenix Crime Watch reported on its Facebook page that the intersection of Ntuzuma Access Road/Besters on- and offramps were blocked by buses, preventing vehicles from leaving or entering Phoenix through the intersection.

By mid-morning metro police had opened several roads to traffic.

Hundreds of workers reached work late.

A bus driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were fed up with management and the way they were being treated. He said Monday’s blockade was to protest against not being paid salaries for January. The driver said shop stewards and managers were not trusted.

Striking drivers also said they had been short-changed overtime pay.

“We are working because we need to put food on the table for our families. Most of the drivers are family men. They enforce the no-work, no-pay policy on us,” he said.

At the time of publication, senior eThekwini Municipality officials were locked in a city managers’ operations meeting. On the agenda was the disruption of the bus service.

Comment was not immediately available from either the municipality or Tansnat over Monday’s action.

But a Tansnat notice posted at the bus depots and dated January 30, informed drivers that their salaries would be paid to them on Monday.

According to the notice, an agreement was signed between the company and the municipality at 5pm on “Friday 29 February, 2016”. This is understood to have been a typing error, and the agreement was signed last Thursday.

The notice reads in part: “Notwithstanding the above, personnel whom (sic) have not received their salaries by the end of business on Monday, should present themselves at the office of their respective depot managers.”

This is the second month Tansnat employees have been paid late. They were paid their December salaries and bonuses only in mid-January.

At an emergency session of the eThekwini Municipality on January 22, city manager Sibusiso Sithole revealed that the municipality had been forced to fork out R33 million to keep the service afloat.

Monday’s strike had commuters fuming.

Mandy Singleton took to Facebook: “If there is ANYONE in Empangeni or Richards Bay that could please attend the judgment for the killers of my uncle Kerridge Singleton in Mtunzini court, please go and represent us! We cannot get there due to the bus strike! I’m begging ANYONE to please go. Starts at 10am!”

Pinky Zamahlubi KaBakhona Radebe called herself an “angry citizen” and said she had been standing at the taxi rank for hours because taxis could not move as a result of the strike.

“We are now compelled to stay at home (and) take unplanned or unpaid leave... This is so not on,” she said.

#BusStrike causes traffic frenzy in Durban[PICS]
IOL News 1 February 2016

Durban - Early morning traffic came to a standstill on Monday as bus drivers embarked on a strike, blocking traffic on Durban's main highways, as a result of a salary dispute.

Tansnat Africa CC, the company running the city's buses, posted a notice at bus depots, dated January 30, stating that bus drivers would be paid on Monday (February 1, 2016) but drivers have not been paid as yet.

This is the second consecutive month that bus drivers have not been paid timeously. Durban Transport buses were driven to key intersections where they were parked to obstruct traffic.

According to reports, the N2 Northbound was blocked by buses near the point where the M4 highway heads into the City centre. There were also reports that buses were parked and blocking an intersection on the Mangosuthu Highway, disrupting traffic leaving Umlazi.

The N2 and M4 have since been opened.

Electricity staff too scared to work
IOL News 1 February 2016

Durban - Almost two weeks after an angry mob threatened to kill them if they went out on jobs, terrified eThekwini electricity department staff remain holed up at their depots, with the halt in work wreaking havoc across the city.

Last month, the Daily News reported that the city’s electricity department workers had received death threats from an aggressive group that had visited one of its depots, demanding management not let staff out of the facility on jobs, and threatening to shoot anyone seen driving an electricity unit or Durban metro vehicle.

A source within the department said they had not gone out to work on the weekend.

After being without electricity for 12 days, a Chatsworth resident, who asked not to be named, said on Monday she was at her wits’ end.

“Our fridge isn’t working, we’re throwing out groceries daily,” she said. “We can’t cook or iron and we have to take cold showers.”

And a Montclair pensioner, who also asked not to be named and who has been without electricity for several days, said the meat in her fridge was rotting and she feared for her safety in the wake of news that angry protesters, in the same boat as herself, had taken to the streets.

Residents of Umbilo’s Dalton Hostel who had not had electricity for three days tipped over rubbish bins and looted shops on Wednesday night.

They left a trail of destruction in their wake and rotting meat and shattered glass lay strewn across the streets the next day.

Police spokesman, Major Thulani Zwane, said protesters had barricaded Sydney Road with burning tyres and rubbish.

Gunshots were heard in the crowd and a police officer at the scene said he and his colleagues were fired at with AK-47 rifles. Zwane said no injuries were reported.

“The police managed to control the situation and the crowd was dispersed,” he said.

TUT gets interdict against protesters
Pretoria East Record 27 January 2016

Tshwane University of Technology obtained an interdict against protesters as #OutsourcingMustFall campaign disrupts academic activities on Tuesday.

TUT2_54026 The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has obtained a court order to stop protesters campaigning against the outsourcing of services at universities.

This follows the Pretoria campus shutting its gates on Monday morning when protesters were preventing staff and students from gaining access.

Activities at the Arts and Arcadia campuses were also suspended on Tuesday after ongoing disruptions, spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said.

“The interdict obtained, covers all of the university’s campuses and sites.”

She said discussions between a task team for insourcing of staff and affected workers were disrupted on Tuesday when a group of protesters gained access to and vandalised the venue.

“As a result the university has resolved not to resume activities at the Pretoria west, Arts and Arcadia campuses until further notice. Managers and supervisors will be in contact with staff members required to be on duty.”

Also read:

Outsourcing campaign continues varsity disruptions

Author gets death threats over Zuma book
Times Live 29 January 2015

The author of a controversial book - which portrays President Jacob Zuma as the biblical shepherd Jacob - has received multiple death threats from Christians who consider it blasphemous.

Sabelo Mandlanzi, author of Dear Jacob - due to be launched in April - is considering hiring a bodyguard because he fears for his life.

Mandlanzi said he has received more than 40 threatening calls since November.

Although he had not laid any complaints with the police, because "the threats have not become physical", he had informed the Presidency which had expressed "shock".

But, even before the threats, he said Zuma had warned him when they met to discuss his book, that "he was scared for me and he mentioned that everything that touches him is shot down".

Mandlanzi said many callers were outraged at his comparison of Zuma to Jacob in the Bible because they were critical of the president's leadership ability.

"They said Zuma is taking the country down and yet you are using the Bible to compare him and that my comparison is an insult to the Bible.

"They said I'm trying to put a good spice around the president," Mandlanzi said.

He said callers threatened to find out "where I live".

In his book, Mandlanzi tries to capture Zuma's trials and tribulations ahead of Polokwane in 2007 and likens Jacob's conflict with his brother Esau to Zuma's relationship with former president Thabo Mbeki.

"I could not pretend I did not see the relationship," Mandlanzi said.

EFF, Nehawu clash over TUT worker demands
IOL News 28 January 2016

Johannesburg - Workers at Tshwane University of Technology and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command on Thursday complained that the National Education Health and Allied Worker’s Union (Nehawu) was impeding “insourcing negotiations”.

EFF Student Command at the Main Campus said: “Currently the task team convened does not have the mandate of the workers and some of the representatives especially from Nehawu are highly unpopular amongst workers demanding their insourcing.”

However, Nehawu national spokesperson, Thanzi Nematshema, said the union was doing all it could to “make sure” that workers’ demands would be met.

“We are a trade union not a student body therefore we do not see why we have to answer to the EFF. We are there to represent the interests of the workers,” said Nematshema.

But the EFF said “of primary concern” among workers was that “Nehawu representatives have for years ignored them” each time they asked for their intervention in worker-related challenges and struggles.

Nematshema said workers, TUT management and the EFF student body would meet on Thursday to further discuss contract demands.

“We are going to meet to discuss the R5 000 given to the workers as a benefit on their contracts. We need management to make it clear as to what the amount is exactly for. We want to know if this allowance will be used towards paying for fees of the workers students at the institution,” said Nematshema.

Rubber bullets fly at TUT
IOL News 28 January 2016

Pretoria - A clash broke out between striking workers and students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Wednesday, forcing police to fire rubber bullets to defuse the situation.

Members of the South African Student Congress (Sasco) had demanded that outsourced workers suspend their strike and allow the registration process to take place. But, the outsourced workers refused to stop their three-week strike and sought to continue with their protest under the banner of #outsourcingmustfall.

Workers’ spokesman Vusi Mahlangu said the students demanded that they postpone the strike until registration had taken place. “What they are saying is that we need to postpone our hunger. We can’t postpone hunger because we have been hungry for the past 18 years. It is ridiculous,” he said.

He said the workers had vowed to defy the court interdict obtained by the university on Tuesday, barring them from protesting on TUT campuses. The court interdict prevented protesters from blocking access to TUT, or from engaging in any protest action within 150m of any university property.

Economic Freedom Fighters command leader Mpho Marolane blamed the Sasco members for having started the altercation. He said the workers were sitting in front of the campus entrance when a group of Sasco members approached them and pelted them with stones.”Police fired rubber bullets and threw teargas at the clashing groups after the workers had retaliated,” he said.

On Tuesday, the arts and Arcadia campuses were also shut down after disruptions by protesters, resulting in the university obtaining a court interdict.

University spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said: “We are aware that one of our members was injured in the shooting and it is a very unfortunate situation.”

She couldn’t say whether the institution would be open on Thursday. She said an emergency meeting would be called to assess the situation.

“The university has obtained a court order to stop the protest at the TUT campuses and in view of the order, the public order policing are at the campus to maintain law and order,” she said.

Sasco TUT president Nhlanhla Tshabalala denied that students belonging to the organisation did anything wrong. He said the workers were in the wrong by violating the court order. “Students only reacted when the workers started hurling stones at them. We never started any violence. We can’t beat our parents. However, we can’t allow a situation where people are invading our campus and disrupt the registration process,” he said.

‘Woman ripped house apart after eviction’
IOL News 28 January 2016

Cape Town - A Khayelitsha resident faces a charge of malicious damage to property after allegedly vandalising the house she was ordered by the court to vacate.

Yolanda Swartbooi allegedly went on a rampage on Sunday, vandalising and gutting a house in Harare she claims the community asked her to keep after it was left vacant in 2005.

The rightful owners, Tabita and Malgas Sokoso, denied this, saying their son had been living in the house.

In July, Swartbooi was ordered by the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court to vacate the house so the legal owners, the Sokosos, could move back in.

The Sokosos had moved to another house in Khayelitsha in 2004.

Tabita Sokoso said a former ward committee executive gave the house to Swartbooi after complaints that the Sokosos’ son, who was staying in the house, was a thief. The community threw him out.

The couple wanted to move back into their house and went to court to get an eviction order. The order was granted and Swartbooi was given six months in which to move.

On Sunday

, residents watched in horror when a crowbar was used to pull out doors, windows and ceilings.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property was under investigation. “No one has been arrested at this stage,” Rwexana said.

“They took advantage of our son’s misbehaviour and used it as an excuse to get Swartbooi in,” said Tabita.

Swartbooi said when she moved into the house in 2005, it was completely empty. “There were no doors, windows, toilets and not a ceiling. I did not vandalise it; I was taking what belongs to me.”

Malgas said they had been trying to get Swartbooi out of their house since 2006, but could not as she had backing from the ward committee executive. He said he pursued the matter and ward councillor Jabu Mfusi advised him to get a lawyer to help him get the title deed. “I finally got my title deed in 2013 after changing lawyers,” Malgas said.

Immediately after receiving a title deed the lawyers delivered summons to Swartbooi, but she did not budge, said Malgas.

“We went to the civil court on July 24, 2015, where the magistrate gave her a six months’ notice to vacate, failing which she was going to be evicted by the sheriff. That was how we managed to get our house back after a lengthy struggle,” said Malgas.

Siyabonga Gwaza, of Gwaza Attorneys, has confirmed he represented the Sokosos in a housing dispute last year. “Arguments against and in favour of the order were presented. The Sokosos are the rightful owners, hence the court order was granted.”

Violent protests flare up in Lusikisiki
IOL News 27 January 2016

Police in Lusikisiki are maintaining a strong presence at a violent service delivery protest, Eastern Cape police said on Wednesday afternoon.

Police Spokesperson Captain Mduduzi Godlwana said the protest started last week Friday over service delivery complaints.

Godlwana said residents from ward 16, 20 and 21 were burning tyres and throwing stones.

He said the R61 between the town and Port St Johns as well as the road towards Magwa Plantation had been blocked by angry protesters.

“A councillor’s house was set alight yesterday, a car was set alight and a councillor was assaulted,” said Godlwana.

The three councillors have since fled their homes and are in a place of safety.

Godlwana said about 2 000 residents took to the streets to protest on Wednesday.

He added that a helicopter was currently circling the area.

“We have arrested two people on charges of public violence and damage to property at this stage. Provincial Police Spokesperson Major General Zamutango Mki is in a meeting with the municipality,” said Godlwana.

Pupils back in class after desks delivered
Ndivhuwo Mukwevho 25 January 2016

Louis Trichardt - About a week after parents protesting a lack of school desks pulled children out of Limpopo's Michael Denga Ramabulana Secondary School, students are back in school on Monday. Meanwhile, about 70 percent of children in need of desks are still learning standing up after the Department of Education delivered just 250 of the estimated 800 desks needed at the school.

Last week, parents of learners at the school about 40 km south of Louis Trichardt pulled children out of class in response an alleged lack of desks, chairs and extra classrooms at the school. According to the School Governing Body Chairperson Thomas Malema, the school's 1000 learners share less than 12 classrooms. Malema also claimed that 100 students can share the same room, creating overcrowded conditions that he said were unhygienic.

Overcrowded conditions and poor ventilation can increase people's risk of contracting tuberculosis.

“We are always tired as we are forced to attend classes standing as they is no furniture to sit on,” said Grade 10 learner Mashudu Muthambi. “We have to stand for hours, which make it impossible for most of us to concentrate on what the teachers say.”

“Those who are not so strong to stand for hours are forced to sit down on the dirty floor,” Muthambi added.

Fellow pupil Constance Mulatedzi echoed Muthambi and added that she found the crowded conditions in classrooms overwhelming.

Some parents said they began complaining about the school's conditions in 2012. Last week, Malema said many felt pulling their children out of school was their only option.

“As parents, we felt that we had no other choice but to withdraw our children from the school for their own safety,” he said. “It is not healthy for children's to be packed in one classroom like sardines”.

Following last week's stay away by students, the Limpopo Department of Education delivered 250 of the 800 desks needed to the school Saturday. The Department has promised to drop off 500 more desks by Friday.

Limpopo Department of Education Spokesperson Dr. Naledzani Rasila acknowledged Michael Denga Ramabulana Secondary School is one of many Limpopo schools running short of space.

“There is a backlog in the department as many schools in the province are running short of classes,” Rasila said. “We are in the process of providing mobile classrooms and furniture to all schools where there is a need. (Michael Denga Ramabulana Secondary) is one of the schools that has been identified for this project”.

Attack on lawyer ‘barbaric’, says BLA
Baldwin Ndaba 26 January 2016

Johannesburg - The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) has condemned the brutal attack by Mpumalanga residents on a lawyer who was representing two of four murder accused last week.

The BLA described the attack on Advocate Nico du Plessis as barbaric.

Du Plessis represents Themba Myambo and Jabulani Ndlovu, who together with Louis Sithole and Sfiso Mazibe are all charged with the kidnapping and murder of 3-year-old Lutricia Nkentjane on November 29 last year.

Nkentjane’s body has not yet been found.

On Thursday, angry residents vented their spleen at Du Plessis outside the Nkomazi Magistrate’s Court.

A video shows some residents kicking Du Plessis until he falls to the ground as they continue the attack.

BLA president Lutendo Benedict Sigogo said the attack was a cause of serious concern to the association in particular and the legal profession at large.

“This comes as a huge shock as we no longer expect this type of appalling behaviour in this era.

“According to the media reports, advocate Du Plessis was kicked and pulled by his tie to the ground,” Sigogo said.

He added that “the BLA was of the view that no amount of anger, irrespective of any form of offence a person is accused of committing, justifies any form of attack on the accused's legal representative”.

Sigogo said the assault was an attack on the entire legal profession and some of the rights guaranteed in the constitution, like the right to dignity, right to choose trade, occupation or profession of choice freely, and the right to legal representation.

“Of paramount importance is that members of the community should know that our country is founded on constitutional values, among others, human dignity, the achievement of equality and advancement of human rights and freedoms,” he said. “These rights guarantee us an independent legal profession.”

Threats to burn down mayor’s parents’ home
IOL News 25 January 2016

Pretoria - Actions described as being foreign to the ANC in the Tshwane region continued to wreak havoc in the party at the weekend, culminating in angry members threatening to torch the home of regional chairman Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

The parents of Ramokgopa, who is mayor of the city, live at the Magombane Street home in Atteridgeville. Drama first erupted last week when members were attacked at branch meetings in Bronkhorstspruit, Winterveld and Hammanskraal. This resulted in the now-infamous naked bottom protest by Hammanskraal women at the party’s offices in Arcadia.

The ANC Women’s League branded their actions as being foreign to the ruling party. But matters reached a new low when a large crowd gathered outside Ramokgopa’s parents’ home as the unhappiness within the party escalated.

The dispute is understood to be about the nomination of candidates for the upcoming municipal elections. Party members have expressed discontent with what they say is intimidation and alleged rigging of votes in several wards.

They have accused the ANC leadership of imposing their choices on whom ordinary members would like to propose as candidates.

The matter came to a head yet again during another meeting at Seshogong Primary School in Atteridgeville on Saturday morning. The disgruntled members told the Pretoria News the voting process was not in line with the party’s constitution.

A party member who declined to be named said there were “bouncers with guns” who prevented card-carrying ANC members from entering the premises.

They allegedly also prevented them from casting votes.

Those who were denied the right to vote were not happy with Ramokgopa and claimed they knew that city residents were also unhappy with the mayor and his administration. They said they wanted to vote him and “his friends” out.

The angry crowd then barricaded the intersection of Maunde and Magombane streets with rocks and burning tyres. They also threatened to torch the home of Ramokgopa’s parents if he did not appear and listen to their grievances.

Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Gordon Rabodiba, one of the protesters, said they demanded that the mayor address them regarding the events at the Atteridgeville meeting. “He has chosen his own people. They are going to rig votes just like they have done before.

“We want him out because he hasn’t done anything for this community,” said Rabodiba.

The situation was just as tense in Stinkwater on Friday evening. ANC members were infuriated and bemused at Ward 95’s bi-annual branch meeting when MMC for Sports and Recreation Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke, who was overseeing the meeting, allegedly left the meeting with a list of members who had voted for a candidate.

Makeke was apparently unhappy with the results, they claimed.

“Makeke saw that the numbers were not in favour of the current councillor and the mayor’s preferred choice, Aaron Maluleke, and took off with the membership list.

“This disrupted the process and she knew it,” said an ANC member who was at the meeting.

ANC regional spokesman Teboho Joala could not confirm the events leading to the protest outside the home of the mayor’s parents. But he urged party members to file formal complaints of their grievances to receive the necessary attention.

“These are things that need to go through internal processes. If members are not happy they need to go to the regional offices and to file a complaint, not to the home of the mayor’s parents,” said Joala.

He said he could not make any sense of why protesters demanded that Ramokgopa address them as he was not a presiding officer at the branch gatherings.

Joala denied allegations that Makeke fled with the membership list and said the matter should have been brought to the attention of the party.

“We call on members to desist from approaching the media with internal issues,” he said.

Political analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo said these acts could signal doom for the ANC and the country as a whole as the leadership had failed to act decisively on the growing trend of intimidation and factionalism within the party.

“I don’t feel the leadership is out there to deal with the challenge. Unless there is an intervention, things could get worse,” said Teffo.

He said self-enrichment was the root of the factionalism which had manifested itself in recent weeks.

Protest in Lenasia over water, power
IOL News 25 January 2016

Johannesburg - Residents of the Precas informal settlement, near Lenasia, blocked streets with bricks and burning tyres on Monday morning in protest against poor service delivery.

Plumes of black smoke rose into the air, which was filled with the pungent odour of the rubbish that was strewn around the streets from bins. “We are tired of having no running water and electricity,” said Amanda Ponie, a young woman living in the area.

They were also protesting because those living in Precas had been told that they had to move to neighbouring Thembilihle or Lehae informal settlements.

Despite these areas only being a short distance away, resident Ntombi Mathabela told The Star they didn’t want to be moved as they had been staying in Precas for years and it made no sense to move from one shanty dwelling to another.

“We want to stay where we are and we want good government to give us running water and electricity,” she said.

Other residents said they would approach the provincial government with their grievances as local government had failed them.

The protesters, who had blocked off roads such as the K43, kept police on their toes as they not only monitored the area to ensure easy traffic flow but cleaned up rubble.

By 8am, the police had restored order and were working towards clearing the scene.

The crowd stood and watched the officers at work, although some promised to return later with intensified protest action.

Spokesperson for the City of Joburg’s housing department Dikeledi Mashile said the residents would have to be moved as the land was privately owned and the owner wanted his land back.

“The land was invaded by the people who are living there now. We had negotiations with the owner to purchase the property but the asking price was too high, so we will be removing the people to nearby informal settlements in the next few weeks,” she said.

The member of the mayoral committee for housing, Dan Bovu, had visited the community and warned them of the move.

No learning at northern PE schools
IOL News 25 January 2016

Parents in Port Elizabeth Northern Areas in the Eastern Cape continued to keep their children out of school on Monday.

This is the second week since schools opened, but learning has not yet commenced.

Northern Areas Education Forum, Secretary Richard Draai, told ANA that the schools were open and teachers were present, however, parents through school governing bodies were keeping the children at home.

“The forum’s concern is how to convince the parents that we are on a good wicket with the department. Over the past five to six years parents have just lost trust with the system, but we are are on a good wicket now and a task team has been established,” said Draai.

Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masaulle has since instructed MEC for Education Mandla Makupula to deploy a multi-disciplinary task team to the metro to address pressing issues such as over crowding, teacher shortages and to assist district offices to attend to administrative issues speedily.

“The premier has put together a task team and the forum has since had two meetings. There is a process in place and we just want parents to give the process a chance,” said Draai.

Draai said the forum would meet with parents at Sanctor High School on Monday evening to try and convince parents that children needed to go back to school.

“We just can’t have children on the streets.”

2 dead as bullets fly at SACP meeting
IOL News 26 January 2016

Durban - Fiercely contested nominations for the local government elections may have led to the deaths of two people in KwaZulu-Natal.

The two people were killed on Sunday night at a South African Community Party (SACP) meeting in Inchanga outside Durban.

Pensioner Philip Dlamini, 68, and an unknown man were fatally shot at a soccer field where the SACP had held a meeting.

It is believed that the unidentified man was killed by people who were attending the meeting after they suspected him of being a hit man.

Inchanga is the home village of eThekwini mayor and provincial SACP chairman, James Nxumalo, who was at home when he heard “about 50” gunshots from the nearby soccer field where his SACP supporters held the meeting.

KZN police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said two murder cases had been opened and three men were taken in for questioning, although no one had been charged.

The ANC is already facing problems in some areas where contestations for positions of councillors have resulted in violence.

And on Monday, a T-shirt bearing the face of President Jacob Zuma was burnt in front of the ANC’s Tshwane regional headquarters in Arcadia as internal unrest that has hit the party continued.

Dressed in the party’s regalia, ANC members from Hammanskraal outside Pretoria chanted, danced and hurled obscenities at their leaders. Their protest followed yet another branch meeting which the members claimed took place behind their backs.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe sought to downplay the problems, saying it was to be expected with all local government elections.

“Selection of candidates is always a tense process, it is not something new that we are beginning to see. Actually it is not as intense as in the last elections, we are paying attention to those areas but the reality is that selection of candidates for council is always a life and death issue,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the ANC national executive committee lekgotla at St George’s Hotel in Pretoria.

In Inchanga, Durban, it is believed that the violence was a culmination of the disputed provincial and regional leadership. The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal broke into two camps after Sihle Zikalala was elected party provincial secretary at the provincial conference.

Late last year, councillor Zandile Gumede defeated Nxumalo in the race for eThekwini regional chairperson. Mchunu and Nxumalo supporters refused to support the new leadership.

Nxumalo’s ANC adversaries had held a separate meeting at a nearby local community hall, where they were nominating ANC candidates for the local government elections. He said he had planned to attend the SACP meeting, but he was delayed as he had visitors at home.

“As I was about to leave my home (for the meeting), I heard gunshots, about 50 of them coming from the soccer field. I phoned the local police station, and immediately I phoned provincial commissioner (Lieutenant-General) Mamunye Ngobeni asking her to deploy police,” he said.

People who were at the SACP meeting said they witnessed “an action movie”, except they were the targets. They said trouble started while community members were questioning four men who were not from the area about their presence at the meeting. The men had arrived in a silver-grey Mercedes-Benz, but remained in the car while the meeting was in progress.

“We went to demand that they explain their presence, but we soon spotted rifles on the back seat. We opened the doors to pull them out but three of them broke out and ran away, leaving the driver trying unsuccessfully to start the car to drive off,” said one resident.

The driver was later found dead a short distance from his car. As the crowd was chasing after the three men, Christopher Radebe said he saw about four vehicles speeding towards the soccer field with occupants shooting in the direction of the crowd at the field.

“We all ran away. Dlamini was running with me, but he fell,” said Radebe.

One man said he saw Dlamini falling after being hit by a bullet. “I saw a man jumping from one of the cars and went straight to finish Dlamini off,” said the man, adding that several vehicles were also damaged by bullets.

It is understood that the meeting had discussed the ANC’s decision to sideline Nxumalo’s supporters from the nomination at the hall.

“We then took a decision to nominate our own candidate to stand for elections. But the attack happened before we started nomination,” said an SACP supporter.

However, Nxumalo denied that the SACP meeting was meant to nominate election candidates.

“That was a SACP meeting to discuss various issues. The communist party cannot nominate and there was no way it could to that.”

Nxumalo said he had accepted his recent defeat by Zandile Gumede for the position of eThekwini regional chairman, which had split the party in the region.

He said the provincial leadership had suggested a joint public meeting between him and Gumede to bring peace in the region.

“If there are factions, I think it would be a good thing that we hold the meetings, and tell people to calm down and wait for ANC processes to deal with disputes.”

The Ward 4 councillor in Inchanga, Mzwamasoka Shozi, said the shooting had nothing to do with the ANC nomination meeting.

“We can only wait for the outcome of the investigation because we don’t know what led to the shooting, which happened after we had finished nominating our candidates,” he said.

The ANC in the eThekwini region condemned the attack.

“We cannot speculate, but we are calling upon our members and alliance partners to be vigilant,” said regional spokesman Bheki Ntuli.

On Thursday, another Inchanga resident, Bongani Dladla, was killed outside his home. He had been expected to be nominated to stand for the ANC in the area. - Additional reporting Mogomotsi Magome
The Mercury and The Star

Eskom gathering not illegal, says DA
IOL News 20 January 2016

Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday rubbished claims by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom that two of the party’s MPs and some supporters illegally occupied the utility’s head office in Johannesburg.

DA MPs Natasha Mazzone and Kevin Mileham led a group of supporters to Megawatt Park on Wednesday to hand over a petition, which they claim were signed by some 77 000 South Africans, demanding that the Eskom executives pay back about R73 million in performance bonuses paid out in the last seven years.

“The arrangement to receive the petition was made with Eskom Stakeholder Spokesperson, Mr Loyiso Jiya,” Mazzone said in a media statement.

DA MPs ‘put SA power supply at risk’

“On arrival at Megawatt Park today (Wednesday), the MPs approached the security gates and explained they were from the DA and wanted to hand over the petition. The security guards let them in no questions asked.”

After waiting 30 minutes for Jiya, Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe arrived and after having the contents of the document explained to him, he accepted the petition, Mazzone said.

“At this point he posed for a photo taken by a journalist. Again, all of the above can be confirmed by security camera footage,” she said.

“Once the handover was complete, the group left Megawatt Park in a peaceful and non-disruptive manner.”

Earlier on Wednesday, both Brown and Eskom released a statement condemning the behaviour of Mazzone, Mileham and the DA supporters.

Brown described the party’s actions as “unacceptable” and “irresponsible”.

“MPs should be conversant with the laws governing protests. Acting in a legal and responsible manner would have required them to request permission from the relevant authorities and notify Eskom before embarking on this reckless action,” the minister said in a statement.

“One expects more from elected representatives of South Africa. I appeal to the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, who last year delivered a memorandum at my office, to educate Mazzone and Mileham on courtesy, protocol and the laws governing protests.”

Mazzone denied it was their intention to protest, saying: “It must be noted that in stark contrast to Minister Brown’s statement, this was not a protest. It was an arranged meeting with Mr Jiya to hand over a petition.”

In its statement, Eskoms also termed the gathering a protest, saying the party’s demands were “frivolous and preposterous”.

“This action by the DA was unnecessary. It was cheap politicking and electioneering of the worst kind. More so because the issues raised in the petition are the same issues that have been raised in Parliament, which have been addressed several times,” the utility said in a statement.

It said it would be launching a forensic investigation into “the authenticity of the signatories (to the petition) and the possibility that fraud may have been committed”, after it uncovered some discrepancies in the document.

“But most alarming is the fact that some of the identity numbers of the signatories to the memorandum are nonsensical and do not exist (eg. 780567…, 870431…,723652…). At least one cellphone number is the call centre number of the Financial Services Board,” Eskom said.

“Some signatures appear to have been executed by the same person and the petitioners managed to sign the petition in one page in first name alphabetical order.”

Wits university and SRC reach agreement
Getrude Makhafola (IOL News) 19 January 2016

Johannesburg - The University of Witwatersrand and its Student Representative Council (SRC) have reached an agreement, paving the way for the resumption of 2016 registrations at the institution.

The university said measures were agreed upon after lengthy negotiations with SRC leaders, especially on fees owed by students.

“All students who owe the university between R1-R1 000 will be allowed to register in 2016. The outstanding debt for 2015 will be rolled over to 2016,” the institution said in a statement on Tuesday.

The university said it estimated that this concession would benefit at least 3 607 students this year.

Furthermore, students who could show that they were fully funded for 2016 would be allowed to register. They would have to sign an acknowledgement of debt for fees owed in 2015, the institution said.

Both the university and the SRC would work together to raise funds to clear the debt by at least 1 284 students who owe between R1 001-R5 000.

The Gauteng provincial government would also be approached with a request to cover some of the debt.

“The SRC and the university will approach the provincial government to cover the debt of about 1 418 students who owe the university between R5 000-R20 000. If these efforts are successful, all these students will be allowed to register for the 2016 academic year.”

“We trust that these arrangements will go a long way towards enabling the majority of our students to register for 2016 without hindrance. A number of other issues have also been agreed to and/or resolved. These will be announced later.”

Registration at Gauteng universities was halted following a series of protests that rocked campuses for the past two weeks. The students demanded free education and the cancellation of debt.

Workers at institutions in Pretoria also joined the protests, demanding permanent employment and an end to the outsourcing of staff.

On Monday, vice chancellors and principals from Wits, the University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria, urged protesting students to allow registrations and the academic year to begin.

The continued interruptions and violent protests would shut down the institutions within months, they had warned.

Roads closed as school protest continues
Southlands Sun 19 January 2016

Their calls for justice has reached many ears, attracting the attention of national media houses

Parents gathered outside the school in support of the protest THE road leading to the school, Silvertree Road has been closed off by a supporting Wentworth group to show that they mean business, allowing the protesters to go about their business peacefully.

Protesters have not given up the fight as they continue their two week long stand-off outside the Austerville Primary School.

Their calls for justice has reached many ears, attracting the attention of national media houses who have come out to document their fight against the education department’s appointment of a new principal who they feel is under-qualified. Clint Leverton, a member of the community who has been involved from the onset said the Department has yet to meet with them or even respond to their calls. “It angers me that no-one has come out to talk to us. We have sent in our grievances and a petition is doing it’s rounds,” said Leverton. So far, 500 people have signed it but he is confident that more signatures will be added soon.

Commenting on the attention paid by other schools, communities and media, he is appreciative of the support for the cause.

“We will not stop until the right person is appointed principal. We will not stop until justice is done right by our future generations,” said Leverton.

‘I am not going anywhere’
IOL News 11 January 2016

Marikana – Despite threats and intimidation, a pensioner, Dorah Diremela has vowed not to leave her new house in Marikana near Rustenburg in the North West province.

“This is my house, I am not going anywhere,” she said resolutely on Monday.

“They tried to force me out of the house on Thursday night. I told them this was my house they can do whatever they want (but) I am not leaving.”

She said a group of people had arrived at her house and told he to get out as they wanted to burn the furniture inside the house.

Diremela, 75, was one of two people who received new houses from North West premier Supra Mahumapelo last week, amid protests from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members and supporters.

Another beneficiary, Piet Tlou did not sleep in his house on Thursday night. He apparently left for safety reasons after a mob stormed into his house and forced him out.

“He left on Thursday night and came Friday morning. He left stating that he was going to collect his belongings and he was never seen since Friday,” said one community member.

Mineworkers in Marikana wanted to occupy the houses forcefully, claiming the houses were built for them following the killing of 34 mineworkers during the Marikana massacre in 2012.

The 34 mineworkers were killed when police fired at them on August 16, 2012, following a violent strike at Lonmin platinum mine operations in Marikana. The striking miners had been demanding to be paid a minimum monthly salary of R12,500. Several more people, including two security guards and a police officer were killed in the week leading up to the police action on August 16.

At least 544 houses of the Marikana housing project have been completed. The project was expected to yield 2,600 housing units upon completion.

“I slept well without any fear,” Diremela said. “Community members are guarding me and the police are patrolling this area. I have no reason to fear.”

On arrival at her house on Monday, a number of community members were sitting around her, sharing jokes with her.

“These people are always here, as if they do not have their homes to look after. I cannot rest, I do not know why are they here. When are people leaving?” she joked.

On Monday, officials from the Rustenburg municipality were allocating more houses to new recipients.

Gloria Motsikoe was one of the 30 recipients of the government homes.

“I am so happy, I have been renting a backyard room in Marikana for a solid 13 years. Before that I rented room at various places in Rustenburg for seven years. I am so exited to have my own house,” she said.

The houses consist of two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom. The houses have water and electricity.

More people were expected to be allocated houses, however mineworkers say they have a legitimate claim to the houses. Many believe the houses were built in response to the Marikana tragedy.

“These houses belong to mineworkers, now they are being allocated to people working at shops in Marikana and mineworkers are left behind. That is why mineworkers want to occupy the houses forcefully,” said a man identifying himself as Boiki.

Several houses were spray-painted with the names of people meant to occupy them.

UP strikers vow to defy subpoena
IOL News 18 January 2016

Pretoria - Striking outsourced general workers at universities have vowed to defy court orders prohibiting them from protesting at Unisa and the University of Pretoria (UP).

Violent protests by the workers forced the city’s tertiary institutions to close for most of last week. Both Unisa and UP subsequently obtained court orders to stop the workers from protesting on their campuses.

Academic activities were expected to resume on Monday at Unisa despite the threats of more disruptions by the general workers.

The University of Pretoria would remain closed because of the continuing threats of intimidation and protests, spokeswoman Anne-Retha Bouwer said. The varsity would communicate directly with parents and students about any new developments, she said.

The university’s commission on insourcing met workers’ representatives on Saturday to discuss their demands, but no agreement was reached.

Bouwer said senior students could continue to register online. However, online registration for first-year students would commence in earnest on Monday.

The university cancelled its Welcome Day, which was scheduled for Saturday.

Unisa principal and vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya said they would continue to do all necessary to ensure the safety of staff and students and restore normal functioning of the university.

Meanwhile, Tshwane University of Technology’s Willa de Ruyter said online registration would open on Monday.

Mametlwe Sebei, on behalf of the workers, said: “We are not going to relent on the basis that the management of these institutions have resorted to courts. I don’t think there is any court that can say workers must be forced to work.”

The leader of the Workers and Socialist Party, which is at the forefront of the #OutsourcingMustFall campaign, held a media briefing in Pretoria on Sunday. He announced plans to mobilise more outsourced workers to participate in the planned protests this week.

Workers are demanding permanent posts and pay of R10 000.

Sebei said the campaign was supported by the EFF Student Command and students in general.

Some striking workers were arrested on Friday at TUT, but Sebei said the prosecutor dismissed the charges. He also claimed that at UP, there was a group of academics who were in full support of their strike.

Plans were afoot to lobby for more support from other outsourced workers in the city with a view to stage a mass action, he said.

Sebei said the anticipated protest would make sure that activities and services in the city were paralysed.

On Saturday, the workers met at Burgers Park to take stock. Their leaders said they would convene a meeting with students to talk about the campaign to halt outsourcing.

Last week workers marched to TUT campus, but police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at them.

They trashed the streets and intimidated members of the public and motorists.

Rings of steel at universities amid protests
IOL News 19 January 2016

Pretoria - Security measures intensified at city universities as protests by outsourced general workers continued on Monday.

The University of Pretoria remains closed until further notice and has secured a second interdict restricting protests from 50m to 150m from any of its entrances.

Registration went ahead at the Unisa’s Sunnyside campus under the watchful eye of police and security guards.

Universities in the province have called on political and civil society leaders to step in and ensure that the academic year goes ahead without further glitches.

At a briefing in Auckland Park, Joburg, on Monday, management of the University of South Africa (Unisa), the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), University of Pretoria, Wits University and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University said they were worried that if the fee protests did not stop, the academic year would be severely affected.

Last week, students across the country restarted fee protests, demanding that the government implement free education in higher education.

Unisa, the University of Pretoria and Wits in particular were also hit by protests by outsourced workers.

On Monday Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib said that while the issue of free education needed to be discussed, it was not feasible to implement it immediately.

He warned of dire consequences if students persisted with their protests. “For now, our system is based on fees. If suddenly we would go to no fees the entire system will collapse. Universities will close down within months and we will reinforce the very same inequalities of our society,” he said.

“We don’t want to destroy the one higher education system on this continent that is actually working. We have to be mindful that if we are engaged in activism it has to be thoughtful activism,” he said.

Habib admitted that one of the biggest hurdles in solving the fee protests was the division among student leaders.

“It is in our long-term benefit that student leaders find a way to determine a leadership that has a broad integrity that has support of the broader student body,” he said.

Habib sought to justify why institutions were forced to get court interdicts and deploy extra security guards on their campuses to protect their students and property.

His view was backed by UJ vice-chancellor Ihron Rensburg.

“There are small groups among the protesters that remain determined to shut down institutions through violent measures.”

“We have seen extensive damage in the case of TUT, where an examination hall was gutted,” he said.

“Some institutions spend between R1.5 million and R2m in extra security. It’s not sustainable. It cannot happen.

“If we were simply to withdraw the additional security and cancel court orders, we will leave our institutions vulnerable to violence. If we can stop this expensive cost of additional security tomorrow we would do it but that is subject to these protests being peaceful.”

UP spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer said that while the campus remained closed, students were being encouraged to register online.

Unisa said its campuses, which had been closed to safeguard lives and property, had been reopened. However, it still has an interdict restricting protests to 50m from its entrances.

By late Monday morning, a crowd led by the EFF Student Command marched to the edge of the Unisa campus in Pretoria where they were met by armed police.

A protester announced their intentions through a megaphone: “The management of the university must address the needs of the workers and students.”

“All we are requesting is that there must be insourcing at this university. Students and workers must unite.”

After the short speech, a riot van drove towards the protesters, making them disperse, after which they did not reassemble.

The protests led to increased security at the registration hall, with students queueing outside for hours attempting to register.

On reaching the turnstiles, only a handful was allowed entry at a time. While police managed the crowds outside using pepper spray to force some students back at one point, they were searched once inside.

South African Student Congress (Sasco) branch secretary Kenneth Tsikeli said students who had not been registered were frustrated. “But we are here to ensure they are all assisted.”

Nguela Mirabeau, who registered for his Masters in Electrical Engineering, arrived at 7am and only left the registration hall at 2pm. “I am relieved,” he said. “I came to register last week and it was not possible.”

According to Tsikeli, while students had theoretically been able to register since January 4, this was only the third day they had been able to successfully do so in person.

Unisa spokesman Martin Ramotshela confirmed that registration would continue as planned until the end of the month.

He added that students were able to register online and could phone the university should they encounter problems.

Ramotshela said police were present to ensure the interdict against the protesters was enforced. The combination of security services and Sasco members searching students was due to the abnormal situation, he stated.

At Tshwane University of Technology, registration commenced as scheduled. Spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said sufficient security was in place to ensure the safety of everyone.

“Online registration is there for anyone who wishes to avoid the queues,” she said.

De Ruyter said the only sign of protesters at the university was “an incident at the Arcadia campus, which was very quickly resolved” by the police.

RMF members occupy Azania House
Carlo Petersen (IOL News) 18 January 2016

Cape Town - Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) student activists have reoccupied Avenue Hall at UCT as a prelude to #FeesMustFall (#FMF) protests at the university.

RMF members said they had reclaimed the space and have vowed to relaunch a national campaign for free education from the building they have unofficially renamed Azania House.

RMF spokesperson Alex Hotz said: “We had already claimed the space. Now we are back to reclaim it. The university has given it to us until the end of exams, but we have decided to occupy it indefinitely.”

Hotz said “Azania House” had become the epicentre for “decolonial thought” and a home for students in collective movements. RMF’s leadership had already been discussing alternatives if the university management should decide to forcibly remove students.

When the Cape Times visited on Sunday, small groups of students sat on the lawn in front of the hall, with three security guards in close proximity.

Later more students arrived and insisted that the Cape Times leave as members were to take part in a plenary to discuss #FMF and “other matters”. “We are being targeted and threatened for being part of the movement.

“We cannot have our faces and names being published in the media because our lives are in danger,” the student said.

Last year, UCT student Thabiso Monyakane appeared in court on a charge of rape after fellow student Zola Shokane, 20, alleged that she had been sexually assaulted at Avenue House. A group of students had stayed the night at the venue after a #FMF meeting ended late on November 15.

Monyakane had been part of the #FMF campaign, but RMF has distanced itself from the accused, saying he is not a member of RMF.

UCT management then delivered RMF with a notice to vacate the hall with immediate effect on December 11, but students refused to leave, saying UCT had acted in bad faith by evicting them without providing an alternative venue, as was agreed.

UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said in May last year the university had agreed to make Avenue Hall available to RMF for use during the academic year. He said a new agreement had been reached to permit the students to continue using Avenue Hall as a dedicated working space.

Asked what UCT was doing to stop students from sleeping in the hall after the rape incident, Moholola replied: “The university is concerned that Avenue Hall is reportedly being used for other purposes. UCT will look into this further.”

He said the rape case was being dealt with through legal proceedings.

Now there’s a Zuma Must Fall song
IOL News 19 January 2016

Durban - Award-winning KwaZulu-Natal singer-songwriter Don Clarke, who has written hits for PJ Powers and Leon Schuster, has teamed up with local rapper and friend Thembiso Sithole (aka Special Care) to jointly compose and record Zuma Must Fall, a song that has attracted much interest since hitting the internet last week.

By Monday the video of the song, featuring the two singers in the studio as well as various protest marching footage, had had more than 14 000 views, and this was increasing at the rate of about 2 000 hits a day, said Clarke, who owns a music studio in Underberg.

“YouTube analytics indicates that the video is being watched in countries all over the world,” said Clarke.

The Mercury spoke to ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa on Monday who said they had never heard the song.

The Mercury sent him the YouTube link and the lyrics, but he said he had not received the text message and could not comment.

An e-mail and a phone call was also made to Presidency spokesman Bongani Majola, who did not respond.

Clarke, who won the songwriting competition for SABC’s Bafana Bafana song for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and also wrote the official Splashy Fen song, Hey-Na-Splashy, said they wrote Zuma Must Fall “out of concern”.

“I’m not a terribly political creature, but as is my wont, when moved by anything I take up my guitar. So the song got made.

ANC women bare bottoms in protest
IOL News 19 January 2016

Pretoria - A group of about 16 women bared their buttocks and stormed into the offices of the ANC in Tshwane on Monday morning.

Workers who were on duty, security personnel and passers-by looked on in amazement as the women made their way into the building, minus some of their clothes.

Some had unzipped their jeans, lifted their tops and undone their bras before turning away to expose their naked backsides in full view of our cameraman.

A security guard at the entrance to the building said: “These women are really crazy.”

The women were protesting against the outcome of an ANC Tshwane branch general meeting held at Lebelo Primary School in Hammanskraal on Sunday.

The women claimed bouncers, armed with pangas and firearms, stormed the meeting and stopped them from participating in the voting process to elect the new branch committee. According to them, a committee was elected after they had been forced to leave the venue.

They told the Pretoria News they had been slapped on the bottoms and literally dragged out of the meeting.

The women claimed Tshwane MMC for transport and ANC regional deputy secretary, George Matjila, had ordered the bouncers to disrupt the meeting.

However Matjila rejected their claims, saying he was not even part of that meeting. “I am an ANC leader. I am not working with bouncers,” he said.

The women claimed the meeting register was tampered with, and false signatures of people who were at the meeting were added. They also claimed there were people elected to the committee who were not ANC members in good standing.

The branch meeting in Hammanskraal was overseen by Tshwane MMC for health and development, Eulanda Mabusela.

One of the women said she was manhandled in front of Mabusela. “I told her to stop the meeting because of the chaos, but she ignored what I said,” she said.

Matjila was sent by the ANC to oversee a branch meeting in Winterveld which also degenerated into chaos.

According to Matjila, the Winterveld meeting was disrupted by bouncers who arrived and stood at the back.

“They suddenly started chanting songs and disrupted the meeting,” he claimed.

There were allegations that he had a confrontation with someone who attended the meeting, but he denied this too.

After their dramatic protest, the women dressed and then held a meeting with the ANC regional secretary, Paul Mojapelo, at which they registered their gripes.

According to them, Mojapelo told them that he was aware of the issues raised and he had referred their complaints to the ANC provincial executive committee. He promised to respond by Thursday, they said.

Tshwane regional ANC spokesman Teboho Joala said he was not at the office when the women took off their clothes. “I will have to investigate the situation first before I can make a comment,” he said.

Regarding their complaints, he said there were very clear guidelines in the ANC that outlined processes that ought to be followed by those who were dissatisfied.

He said the ANC would investigate the circumstances under which the matter was reported to the media.

“We do not encourage discussion of the party’s internal processes in the media,” he said.

Another branch meeting in Bronkhorst-spruit was reportedly also marred by violence.

But Joala, who chaired that meeting, said no one there who claimed to have been assaulted approached him.

He said there was a point when the situation almost degenerated into an altercation, but it never reached that point. “There was no one who I saw attacking another person.”

Proof that politics of spectacle is with us

The era of vulgar politics is upon us and the politics of spectacle has taken hold. This is how political analyst, professor Somadoda Fikeni, summed up the behaviour of the protesters.

Fikeni said the behaviour among political party members was a reflection of a society experiencing “serious social challenges including the manner of engagement”.

“You would recall that during the election of Julius Malema as president of the ANC Youth League in 2008 (in Mangaung), some protesters there were bearing their buttocks,” said Fikeni, adding mechanisms of political engagement seemed to be eroding.

“Whether it’s because of desperation, it’s (the type of behaviour) which was there before. Things that used to shock no longer shock. The politics of spectacle is more of what we see,” he said.

Registration protest at Durban FVET college
IOL News 14 January 2016

Durban – About 300 students protested outside a campus of the Thekwini College in Durban on Thursday.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane confirmed the protest at the college’s Springfield campus and said students were demanding to be registered.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from the Thekwini FVET College management.

Students outside the premises claimed that they wanted to register, but that they had also not received their results from the previous year to allow them to do so.

One student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they had been told that the college’s computer system had been hacked and that this was the reason for the delay in releasing the results. This could, however, not be confirmed with the college.

Students sang and danced outside the premises as a large contingent of eThekwini Metro Police and South African Police Services kept watch.

FVET colleges are Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges. They were previously called Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

Protest over ‘parachuted’ principal
IOL News 15 January 2016

Durban - Community activists and parents at Austerville Primary School, in Wentworth, are calling for the sacking of the newly appointed principal, claiming he was parachuted into the post, and a more worthy candidate was overlooked.

Protesters first took to the streets on Monday, demonstrating outside the school, and continued on Thursday.

Llewelyn Jullies, of !Kei Korana Kingdom Natal, a group which seeks to represent coloured and Khoisan people, said in a statement this week that Akesh Singh was, prior to his appointment as principal, a level 1 teacher at the school, who “was not even part of the management team”.

Jullies said that despite having served “with distinction”, the deputy principal of 17 years, Ethany Ogle, was overlooked.

The school’s former principal, Reginald Harper, retired late last year after 17 years in the position.

Of the appointment process, Jullies said the interview panel was made up of the school governing body, and that Singh’s appointment was in accordance with recommendations made by the chairman, and despite a grievance being lodged by a representative of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa).

Protesters are calling for answers from the governing body and for the Department of Education to investigate the appointment process.

They want Singh removed from the school, the governing body’s resignation, and for Ogle to be appointed principal.

Ward councillor, Aubrey Snyman, who was in talks with those involved in the dispute, said community members were “up in arms”.

Education department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said the department was handling the matter.

“The district manager is on top of it,” he said.

Mahlambi, who was at the school on Wednesday, said despite the protest, the school was operating.

He commended the protesters for allowing teaching and learning to take place.

Desperate parents stage school sit-in
IOL News 15 January 2016

Cape Town - Parents desperate to enrol their children in school staged a sit-in at a Mfuleni school on Thursday to demand placement. According to the school governing body of Mfuleni Primary, about a 100 parents arrived at the school wanting to have their children placed but the school was already full.

Some of them later staged a sit-in, demanding that the Department of Education resolve the issue.

Parent and community activist Mzoli Matutu and his son, Zuko, 6, were among the group of about 50 parents and children in the school’s assembly area.

Zuko was dressed in full school uniform with his bag and ready to start learning.

Matutu said they had been turned away by the principal who told them Grade 1 was full. “He told me there is no space although I did apply for my child’s placement last year, already.”

Matutu said the school never responded to his application which made him think that the application was successful.

“All the schools around this area are full. Where can we take these children because they have a right to education?”

Another parent, Fikiswa Nkohla, said if her son, Xoliseka, 13, was not accepted by the school it would be the second successive year that he missed out on school.

Xoliseka who was supposed to be in Grade 8 this year, was struggling to enrol in Grade 6.

His mother moved him from a school in Langa after she married and relocated to Mfuleni.

She said when her son didn’t get into a school last year she had no option but to keep him at home.

In August she reapplied for Xoliseka for this year, but with no success.

Nkohla said the past year had been a nightmare.

“He doesn’t have anything to do during the day and I am afraid the more time he spends at home and not at school the more rebellious he will become.”

Principal Vela Ndobongwana said there had been an influx into the area every year when school reopened.

“Our school needs an expansion. The building is old and can only take a limited number. More and more people are coming to Western Cape schools because of the stellar matric results produced by the province. We can’t hide from that.”

School governing body chairman Silvester Moloi said the school’s previous governing body had written to the Department of Education to ask that the buildings be replaced to accommodate more children.

Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for MEC of Education Debbie Schäfer, said many parents who had recently moved to Mfuleni were now seeking placement for their children, across all grades.

“Our officials have been at Mfuleni Primary School today (on Thursday) to assist parents.

“The school is already oversubscribed as many parents enrolled their children early or on time last year.

“We are trying to ascertain the ages and grades of the learners.”

She said it was unacceptable that parents who had not enrolled their children on time were now wanting to disrupt schooling.

“We urge parents and communities to work with us in the interest of our learners’ education.”

She said the plan was to build two new schools in Mfuleni, one primary and one high school, but the department had been unable to acquire land to build.

‘We want bus shelters like in rich areas’
IOL News 15 January 2016

Cape Town - A handful of Mitchells Plain residents are angry at the City of Cape Town, saying they have been given inferior MyCiTi bus stops.

The group of about 20 people, some of them wearing ANC T-shirts, said they have been given simple poles to mark pick-up points for the new bus service.

But they said that areas like Milnerton and Sea Point have properly built structures that keep you sheltered from rain and sun.

The group gathered at MyCiTi bus stop in Kilimanjaro Road in Tafelsig on Thursday to express their disgust.

The group said their “new bus stop” is merely a pole with a name sign and map attached.

Protester Lameez Moosa said: “Women with babies have to stand and wait for a bus in the heat without any shade to sit in.

“It’s hot and people have to wait and stand on their feet in the heat for a bus, and nobody seems to care.

“If you go to Milnerton you will see a proper bus stop, nicely built.

“But for us it’s just a pole because we don’t seem important to the City.

“We want a properly built bus stop like the ones built in rich areas.”

But mayoral committee member for Transport, councillor Brett Herron, said the protesters have nothing to be concerned about.

He said the poles along the route are part of the new bus service launched in November last year and are merely temporary markers.

“They are not the permanent infrastructure that will be implemented when the final position of the bus stops has been determined,” said Herron.

The protesters came under fire from other commuters passing by.

Derrick Adendorff tried calming the situation, but his view on the bus stop just angered the protesters.

“This is just a temporary structure,” Derrick tried to explain.

“This bus stop helps us a lot, it’s close to our houses and we don’t have to wait for too long for transport now.”

But the group shouted him down and insisted they were being treated like second-class citizens.

Wits gets interdict to thwart disruptions
IOL News 16 January 2016

Wits University on Friday increased security at its campuses and obtained an interim court order preventing students from protesting on campus, disrupting registration or intimidating other students.

The university said safety measures were put in place to protect its staff, students and visitors as well as its property.

The interim court order was granted by the South Gauteng High Court.

Among other things it seeks to prevent students or anyone from unlawfully occupying Senate House, offices and lecture halls.

It also aimed at halting disruption to registration, classes, lectures or tutorials as well as retaining the right to prevent any person from entering or leaving the university.

“The order also empowers the university to bring the police onto campus if required,” the statement read.

Wits said the university recognised and supported the call for access to affordable, quality higher education and welcomed the ministerial commission established to further explore this proposal.

“This interim interdict does not stop legitimate protest,” the university’s management said.

Meanwhile, in Pretoria, academic activities at major universities are set to resume on Monday after days of violent protest by outsourced general workers.

Both Unisa and the University of Pretoria (UP) were closed for most of this week, while the Tshwane University Technology (TUT) remained open.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said contrary to media reports, none of their campuses were closed during the past week as a result of protest action.

According to UP spokeswoman Anna-Retha Bouwer, the institution reopened yesterday after it was closed on Tuesday due to the protest.

“Due to ongoing protest action at the entrances to the university’s main campus and threats of violence, staff were requested to leave early.”

Workers, angered by the apparent lack of response from the universities to their demand to abolish outsourcing, disrupted academic activities at the institutions by blocking the entrances with rocks and burning tyres.

Under the banner of #OutsourcingMustFall, they demanded that they be offered permanent posts and paid R10 000 a month.

The workers marched to the TUT campus in Pretoria. However, they were dispersed by the police, who fired rubber bullets at them and used stun grenades.

UP was forced to cancel its annual Welcome Day scheduled today as a result of the upheaval. Bouwer said senior students could continue to register online. But online registration for first-year students would commence on Monday.

PE parents urged not to disrupt schools
IOL News 15 January 2016

Port Elizabeth - Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle has urged parents in Port Elizabeth's northern areas not to disrupt schools next week.

“As much as there are reasons on the part of parents to be unhappy... let's not further deprive learners by closing down schools. It is not a desired option,” he told reporters at the Port Elizabeth city hall on Friday afternoon.

“We would take this opportunity to invite parents on a different route than that of shutting down schools. We are all concerned about the future of the learners. They all need enough quality time with educators in front of them, we cannot do the opposite,” Masualle said.

On Thursday night, angry parents vowed to shut down schools if the education department did not meet their demands. Port Elizabeth's northern area's came to a standstill last year when violent protests erupted after 33 schools were shut down due to a number of issues, including teacher shortages.

Masualle, education MEC Mandla Makupula, human settlements MEC Helen Sauls-August and Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan conducted back-to-school inspections at several schools in the city this week.

This followed the dismal performance by matriculants in 2015, with the Eastern Cape again bringing up the rear.

Masualle said problems in Nelson Mandela Bay included teacher shortages in specific learning areas, teachers being on sick leave for prolonged periods, and schools being exposed to vandalism and criminal activities because of a lack of security and proper fencing.

“We are particularly concerned to have learnt that in some schools textbooks for critical subjects like mathematics and physics are yet to be delivered,” he said.

Nelson Mandela Bay required urgent attention and Makupula would deploy a multi-disciplinary task team in the metro before January 22 to deal with pressing issues raised.

“In one of the schools we visited we found that a teacher had been absent for more than eight months. That cannot be accepted,” Masualle said.

The task team would assist district offices to attend to administrative issues speedily.

“I find it totally unacceptable that we have to sit with teachers out of work for more than eight months. If he is incapacitated, a person needs to be boarded, and that should not take long,” Masualle said.

Makupula said closing schools in the northern areas was not the answer.

“I acknowledge there are areas where the department is not moving according to pace and expectation, but we don't resolve problems by causing problems.”

One of the issues was the language of instruction and learning at dual-medium schools, Makupula said.

“The law allows a particular community to say we want our children to be taught in a particular language... this teacher who can teach maths in Afrikaans is very rare. Sesotho communities are also demanding a maths teacher who can teach in Sesotho, so it's a transformational issue.”

Makupula said these issues did not apply only to the northern areas, but to all children in the Eastern Cape who wanted equal and quality education.

#FeesMustFall protest set to intensify
IOL News 14 January 2016

Johannesburg – Student Representative Council (SRC) leaders from the country’s institutions of higher learning walked out of a meeting with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Thursday and vowed to intensify the “Fees Must Fall” movement.

The meeting, held in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, was meant to resolve the ongoing protests by students demanding free higher education.

University of Fort Hare SRC president Busisiwe Mashiqa said Nzimande and his team would not commit to their demands, but instead lobbied them to not continue to protest action.

“We were asking for a clear commitment from them, and with time frames so that we can all go back to our campuses and tell students whether government would intervene and if so, when.

“They are not doing that…they’re not giving us a chance to speak, and they’re dictating. They are just here to lobby us not to strike, of which that is not what we want as well because we want to study,” she told reporters after the walk-out from the meeting.

A handful of other student representative decided to stay behind in the meeting.

Witwatersrand University SRC president Nompendulo Mkhatshwa said the meeting turned into one of the many follow-up meetings held previously.

“It is a talk shop, and we are tired of that. These are follow up meetings we keep on sitting in…do they want us to shut down the whole country in order for our demands to be heard again?” she asked.

The student leaders said they would go back to the drawing board to determine the way forward.

Nzimande held his own impromptu press briefing at the venue. The meeting had proceeded well until the walkout, he said.

He added that he welcomed the announcement of a presidential commission of inquiry, led by retired Judge Jonathan Arthur Heher, a former judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, to look into the question of funding for higher education.

He said a structure, comprising of officials from his department, students and vice chancellors would also be formed to address the students’ demand.

“There were eight demands on the table, and we were having good discussions. We encourage those who left the meeting to come back to the table,” Nzimande said.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), consisting of ANC-aligned SA Students Council (Sasco) and the Young Communist League of SA (YCL) and the ANC Youth League, slammed the continuing student protests at a briefing at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquaters.

“As the PYA, we call upon students from all walks of life to use the systems provided by government and not to delay their future any longer unnecessarily. There is no reason for strikes to continue when the people’s government has addressed all relevant immediate concerns of students, within the prevailing fiscal constraints.”

“Mass action is not all of struggle, it is one part of it, that should be employed tactfully.”

Bus strike on first day of school
IOL News 13 January 2016

Durban – Durban’s public transport woes continued on Wednesday with the municipal bus service coming to a standstill on the first day of schools opening.

A statement issued by eThekwini Metro Municipality spokeswoman Gugu Sisilana said that a meeting was being held on Wednesday morning with employees, union leaders as well as the management of Tansnat, the company that operates the bus service, in a bid to avert a strike.

Bus services were expected to be disrupted until later on Wednesday.

“The municipality apologises to commuters for the inconvenience caused. The bus service will be disrupted during the morning peak period. However, the bus service is expected to resume operations as from Wednesday.”

Employees of the municipal service have been up in arms over the late payment of their December salaries and their bonuses, and have raised questions over the lack of payments into their provident fund.

Sisilana said that media were barred from attending the meeting and reporting on it. She said the municipality would issue a statement to the media once the meeting had been held.

According to the statement issued on Wednesday, about 750 employees had been paid directly by the municipality.

It was not immediately clear how many people are employed in the service.

The bus service was sold by the municipality in 2003 to Remant Alton Land Transport for R70 million. In 2008 the municipality spent R405 million buying back the buses from troubled Remant Alton. The company continued to operate the service owned by the municipality for another year.

In 2009 Tansnat Durban Cc was appointed to run the service, but that too has been less than satisfactory, with the municipality having to inject extra funding into the service.

Tansnat, which is owned by taxi boss Mandla Gcaba – a nephew of President Jacob Zuma – has struggled to keep the service operating and has also been sued by the municipality.

In December, the company’s spokesman Vuyo Mkhize told the Mercury newspaper that the company’s difficulties in paying workers had arisen principally from three issues. These were the municipality’s failure to allow an increase in fares, a failure to pay Tansnat what was owed in terms of the operating agreement and the municipality’s failure to pay Tansnat for preloaded trips on “Muvo” cards that it was distributing.

There was a heavy police presence outside the Alice Street depot in the city centre and tyres and rubbish were being burnt outside the depot in Umlazi on the Mangosuthu Highway.

An employee, who spoke to ANA on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday: “Drivers are not going to the meeting. They feel the [eThekwini Metro] council is colluding with Tansnat. They want the mayor to come to them at their depot in Umlazi and Ntuzuma.”

ANA can confirm that the eThekwini Metro municipal manager was speaking to the workers who were attending the meeting. Gcaba was also in attendance at the meeting.

On Friday scores of buses were abandoned along the Mangosuthu Highway in protest against the non-payment of salaries.

Many complained about a culture of intimidation at Tansnat Durban Cc.

“People are scared to speak out. There is a culture of threatening people. It’s run like the taxi industry,” said one worker on Friday.

Provincial education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said on Wednesday that he could not immediately comment on what effect the bus strike had on pupils returning to school.

Zuma’s Rustenburg speech interrupted
IOL News 9 January 2016

Rustenburg – President Jacob Zuma’s speech at the ANC’s 104th anniversary celebrations at Phokeng, near Rustenburg in North West, was twice interrupted on Saturday.

The crowd on the north-west side of the stage interrupted his speech when they loudly demanded water.

ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete then announced that the officials distributing water bottles give the water to everyone.

Later, when Zuma was deep into his speech, a man wearing a yellow vest worn by marshals was removed from near the stage, but while marshals were taking him out another man in a red overall ran onto the pitch from the southern side.

Marshals chased him, pinned him down, and then took him out of the stadium while the crowd cheered.

Zuma continued with his speech as the man in red was escorted out of the stadium.

CT building gets ‘Zuma Must Fall’ sign
IOL News 15 January 2016

Cape Town - A huge banner emblazoned with the words “Zuma Must Fall” has been put up on a building in Cape Town’s CBD.

The banner, on the side of a building that houses McDonald’s in Kloof Street, has attracted a lot of attention.

One bystander was heard saying: “That man must go. We salute this. He must go.”

It is unclear at this stage who is behind the sign.

I’ll stay until they pay’
IOL News 11 January 2016

Pretoria - After living outside the South Sudan embassy for five months, Valentino Chan has no intention of leaving.

Chan, 43, from South Sudan, says he is owed money by the embassy for services rendered and he won’t leave until he receives what he feels is due to him.

Fee protest disrupts Wits registration
IOL News 11 January 2016

Johannesburg - Registration at Wits University was disrupted on Monday after students resumed picketing under their #FeesMustFall campaign at the campus.

The University’s fees office closed on Monday leaving a number of students stranded.

Wits Spokesperson Shirona Patel says they expected that students would bring up the fees issue in January after 2015’s battle between the students.

“The fees office is closed for now. We might to reopen the office in an hour or two. We are assessing the situation. In terms of the fees, we have extended the payment of the registration fee to the end of March, where students can sign a debt agreement form,” said Patel

Members of the Student Representative Council made a brief address to the students saying they want the university to scrap registration fees and reiterated their demand for free education.

Non protesting students are still seated inside the building waiting for registration to resume.

Wits would most likely resort to online applications in the wake of the protests.

UJ students revive #FeesMustFall
IOL News 11 January 2016

Johannesburg - Students outside the University of Johannesburg’s APK campus were chanting and singing “Iyhoo Solomon” reviving the Fees Must Fall movement which began late last year.

Students on Monday were trying to block off the entrance 2 of UJ APK campus. Sporadic quarrels flared up between students and police officers. Students broke out into song in protest.

This followed the briefing by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mpho Letlape and Professor Kinta Burger on the call centre and online registration system provided by the university which is being used by some of the students.

Students emphasise that they want no registration fee and free education for the poor.

Gautrain bus service suspended
IOL News12 January 2016

Johannesburg – Gautrain said on Tuesday that its bus service was not available because drivers were on strike.

Gautrain Spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said: “Please note that due to unplanned industrial action by Gautrain bus drivers, no bus service is available as of this (Tuesday) morning”.

Nayager said discussions with the bus drivers were “currently under way to determine the reason for this action”.

However, Gautrain said its trains were operating according to schedule and without any impact.

“We will keep commuters updated and apologise for the inconvenience in this regard,” said Nayager.

Wits University under lockdown
IOL News 12 January 2016

Johannesburg – A number of students arrived Tuesday morning at Witwatersrand University with the hope of registering, but came face to face with a heavy security presence on campus.

Registration was suspended on Monday after the resumption of the #FeesMustFall campaign disrupted the process.

On Tuesday security at the gate were only permitting students who are writing supplementary exams and university staff.

Workers at the campus said they had also been instructed by university management to block students from entering the premises.

Students said on social media that security guards dressed in black had “blocked a men’s hostel on campus”.

According to tweets and pictures on Twitter, students got into a altercation with guards after they say they were forcibly removed from the university’s Solomon House residence at around 6am on Tuesday morning.

Wits students had been occupying the building as part of the #FeesMustFall2016 campaign.

On Tuesday talks between the Student Representative Council and management were said be under way. The demands student leaders will table in the meeting include: the implementation of free education, registration fee waiver for students and the scrapping of past debt for graduating students.

On Monday, Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said registration would resume on Wednesday after students held a protest at the registration venue.

The university is also allowing students to register online or telephonically.

Meanwhile, vice chancellors from 26 universities in South Africa issued a statement through the University of Pretoria’s website late on Monday saying: “We, the vice chancellors representing 26 universities in South Africa, remain committed to widening of student access to university study and to the transformation of our universities consistent with the founding provisions of the Constitution.”

The statement reiterated support for access of quality education and called for financial provision for academically deserving students.

“We call on all actors in society, the state, the private sector, individuals, civil society and others-to prioritise the funding of higher education with urgency,” the vice chancellors said in their statement.

Fears matrics may join #FeesMustFall
IOL News 13 January 2016

Johannesburg - As 100 000 children enter the Gauteng schooling system on Wednesday, many others in higher grades are planning to abandon classes to join the #FeesMustFall movement.

This worried Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who was on Tuesday not only grappling with the headache of 16 864 children who were not yet placed in schools across the province, but matric pupils who planned to join mass students protests currently sweeping university campuses across the country as well.

At a media conference on school readiness on Tuesday, Lesufi said: “We are anticipating that during the FeesMustFall campaign, some student movements want to encourage our matriculants to join those protests.

“We are working very hard with the student leaders to say let’s allow our matriculants to remain in class and learn rather than be part of protests.

“We understand that this will benefit them in the long run, but we believe that organisations in the higher education institutions can attend to that matter appropriately.”

The #FeesMustFall protests started at institutions of higher learning on Monday, with students calling for the scrapping of registration fees and historic debt, among other things.

But while Lesufi agreed that “indeed these fees must fall”, he said matric pupils “must be in the classroom, and we can take up the responsibility”.

“I am persuading our student bodies and I am glad that we are starting to reach consensus that we will represent them where we need to. For example, if there is going to be a march about fees must fall, I will be there and join that march,” he said.

Congress of South African Students (Cosas) president Zama Khanyase said the organisation was part of the movement last year that took part in protests, but they had not yet decided on the extent of their participation this year.

“We support the call for free education but are against police brutality and students themselves engaging in violent protests. We don't agree with students disrupting the academic year. In terms of our involvement this year, we are waiting for direction from Sasco (South African Students Congress) on the issue,” she said.

Regarding readiness for the first day of the 2016 academic year on Wednesday, Lesufi said they expected the number of children who were yet to be placed in schools to increase to about 20 000. The number stood at 16 864 on Tuesday.

He said a total of 138 820 applications for Grade 1 enrolment were received and that 116 49 of them have been placed.

For high school, 101 592 applications for Grade 8 admission were received and 87 015 of them have been placed.

Lesufi said the biggest problem areas were Johannesburg central and east, as well as the west and south of Tshwane, with over 10 000 children still not placed.

To deal with the problems, the department will speak to single-medium schools to open their classrooms and accommodate pupils.

Schools have been asked to admit an additional five pupils in each classroom to mitigate the lack of space in grades 1 and 8.

In some cases, a Grade 8 class will be created in primary schools on a temporary basis and additional temporary classrooms will be sent to some schools.

“Where we have learners we can’t place, we will request that there be two shifts. We will have learners placed in one shift and learners coming later and use the school as a learning area.

“This will be the last resort. We prefer children to be on the school premises rather than at home. We prefer overcrowding until we have sorted the space constraints. We believe they are safe and better off there,” Lesufi said.

He added that because of the late applications, there would be a shortage of textbooks.

“With new parents applying, there will be learners with no learning material. We are 100 percent on order for those who applied on time. It is only the 16 000 that applied late that we must go and reorder for. The process will take us to early February,” he said.

“There was also a backlog of furniture, but so far we have procured more that R59 million for furniture in both primary and high schools,” said Lesufi.

On Wednesday, eight new mainstream schools and 17 schools for learners with special needs will be opened. For placements, parents are encouraged to contact district offices instead of going to schools.

Roodepoort school off to shaky start
IOL News 13 January 2016

Johannesburg - The academic year at Roodepoort Primary School got off to a shaky start on Monday when 15 black teachers stopped reporting to the school.

The teachers began reporting to the district office instead of going to the school.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said the teachers, in refusing to report to the school, cited security concerns and an environment not conducive for education following incidents last year when parents disrupted lessons.

The embattled school was closed for several months last year as the community and the department fought over alleged racism and corruption.

The community wanted the principal to be removed, accusing her of corruption, but she was cleared by a forensic investigation.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura set up a mediation team to try to solve matters at the school.

On Tuesday, Lesufi said the latest developments were a setback but could be resolved.

“I want to convert that school into a model school. It is the only primary school where I am putting in information communication technology and where I am building a sports facility. I am very hopeful. One thing they didn't want was the principal. I took a decision to move the principal. That school is going to be a model school. It will be the home of non-racialism,” Lesufi said.

He said that if teachers were adamant about not reporting to the school, the department would get replacement teachers.

Lesufi said head of department Edward Mosuwe would appoint a new principal after the previous principal was moved.

“We are going to appoint a competent person who shares our vision of changing the school into one that we can all be proud of. No one is going to bully us. We didn't replace because of these allegations. We had to confront a problem and resolve it. We reached a mutual agreement with the principal that she be placed elsewhere,” Lesufi said.

He said the real issue wasn't the principal, but the economic and political climate of the area.

“The premier stepped in to ensure there are economic opportunities in that area. That school is the economic hub of the community, that's where people get piece jobs. They fear that if you have somebody who does not come from that community, they will be excluded from those economic opportunities.”

He cited Curro Roodeplaat in Pretoria as an example of how schools could be non-racial.

The school was last year accused of segregating pupils according to race. Lesufi threatened to close the school if it didn’t change its policies.

“They are starting to become the most non-racial school in the whole province. They have learnt from their lessons and they give me reports every month on their progress,” the MEC said.

That school is the economic hub of the community

#FeesMustFall protesters threaten polls
IOL News 14 January 2016

Johannesburg - No free education, no elections! This is the newest slogan adopted by the #FeesMustFall movement.

As protests continued at universities across Gauteng on Wednesday, a group of student leaders called a media briefing at a park opposite the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway campus.

The aim was to ensure that the movement’s demands were clear to the South African public, but also to combat university administrations that suggested the movement was aimless.

It was also to make a call to matriculants countrywide to gather at universities in each province to protest over registration fees.

When The Star asked student leader, Busisiwe Siyaya, whether the group would be mobilising to disrupt the local government elections, set for April, or if they would be opposing elections in other ways, she was unwilling to provide a comprehensive answer.

Siyaya would only say the movement's future plans were currently not for publication in the media.

“The public will have to wait and see. They must see what these students are capable of. (They are) willing to put their lives on the line for free education,” she said.

For the past week, groups of students have gathered at universities in Gauteng to fight against registration fees, with Wits having to shut its doors and cancel the registration process on Monday.

Through the use of dozens of private security guards and campus control officers, the campus was reopened for registrations on Wednesday morning, and Wits spokeswoman Shirona Patel said everything had proceeded smoothly.

While the student leaders, Siyaya, Sicelo Xulu and Ntokoza Moloi, claim that the movement has no true political affiliations, they have expressed extreme anger towards the ruling party over its failure to honour its promise of free tertiary education at the advent of democracy.

“We are going to hold our government accountable, we are going to hold corporate accountable, and we will attain free education in 2016. We’re not asking for money, we’re asking to learn,” said Siyaya.

But it seems as though the group wishes to fill the universities with their supporters, as Moloi called on matriculants from last year to flood any campus and demand to register for free.

But anyone else who wished to join the movement was welcome, said Xulu.

“Even if Penny Sparrow wants to join us, (she can). The ANC are treating us like monkeys,” he said.

An altercation between students occupying Solomon Mahlangu House and security guards on Tuesday morning left the movement fuming over how Wits University has handled the recent protests.

Wits students ‘forcibly removed’ from res

Students claim they were molested and beaten by security guards who threw the first blows, yet security officers injured in the scuffle told The Star that it was students who became aggressive first.

The university has also denied these claims after viewing CCTV footage of the incident.

The eviction from Solomon Mahlangu House has become a sticking point for the movement, along with an alleged arrest of a student by police on the Wits campus on Wednesday morning.

The group has called on police to end their alleged brutality and join the cause rather than fight it.

According to Xulu, officers should know that with the average police salary, they would have no chance at sending their children to university with the current payment schemes.

Meanwhile, the University of South Africa (Unisa) was forced to close its doors in Pretoria on Wednesday because of protest actions by staff and students early in the day.

While Wits management had meetings planned with the Student Representative Council in the morning, at the time of publication, minimal feedback on how the meeting went was received.

Fees protesters spell out their demands

- We demand #FreeEducationNow.

- No registration fees (regardless of outstanding fees from previous years),

- Historic debt-repayment for students who are graduating this year to be scrapped and that they be allowed access to academic records.

- Food from all dining halls must be given to underprivileged and day students on campus (inclusive of weekends).

- Suspensions and disciplinary action due to the protest that took place in 2015 should be revoked.

- No police presence on campus.

- African students (international students) within the border of Africa should not pay upfront fees of 75 percent but rather it should be pushed down to 20 percent.

- Removal of upfront accommodation fees, and students should be allowed to move in upon registration.

- We are also stating that the negotiating process towards the insourcing of university workers must continue.

Go back home, EFF tells Unisa students
Jonisayi Maromo (IOL News) 14 January 2016

Pretoria - “You must go back home, registration will not be open today,” Economic Freedom Fighters president of the Student Command Mpho Morolane ordered numerous returning and prospective University of South Africa (Unisa) students gathered at the Sunnyside campus in Pretoria on Thursday.

“We are advising you that you go home. We will communicate with you through the media and social networks regarding when this registration will be open,” said Morolane, who spoke through a loudhailer.

“It (the registration) will be incumbent upon us, not the ANC Youth League, Sasco or Nehawu. We are the ones going to determine when this registration will open. Peacefully, go home, we will contact you.”

Moments later, students started leaving the campus.

Morolane said the strike was double-pronged.

“Firstly, we are protesting because we want access to free education and now. Secondly, we are also saying there should be an implementation of insourcing (of Unisa work) now. University management are benefiting from the companies they hire, through outsourcing, to give services to the university,” Morolane claimed.

Asked how the outsourcing affected Unisa students, Morolane responded: “in the event that my mother is a cleaner at the university, it means she earns R2, 500 per month. With that money, you can’t even afford to buy groceries and other household needs. That is how students are affected. These mothers you see here are are parents to children who want to access institutions of higher learning”.

Morolane said “the struggle for free education is intertwined with the workers struggle for insourcing of Unisa services”.

He said the EFF wants the protesting Unisa staff, comprised mainly of security personnel, gardeners and cleaners workforce to be employed permanently.

More Unisa students arrived after the campus was closed. They said they had hoped to finalise their registrations. Several cars were parked on Justice Mahomed Street adjacent to the campus.

Beaulah Masango complained that she would not be able to find time to return to Unisa on another day to register.

“Do these young people realise that they are dicing with our futures. I am disgusted. This is similar to holding us at ransom. I only had asked for a single day off,” she said before leaving the campus.

On the other side, the protesting staff kept singing and dancing near the closed entrance.

One protester, who requested to be identified only as Shoboro, said “this protest will never end as long as there is no agreement”.

“We are fighting the outsourcing. We are representing thousands of our colleagues across Pretoria. This protest will continue as much as it takes,” said Shoboro, who wore an EFF beret.

The protesters sang: “Uyadelela (You have no respect) Makhanya …” in apparent reference to Unisa vice chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya.

Parents vow to shut down ‘racist’ school
IOL News 13 January 2016

Allegations of racism, victimisation, vandalism and threats of violence were rife as Cape learners prepare to start the new school year on Wednesday.

Springdale Primary School in Lentegeur got the year off to a bad start with a spate of burglaries which took place over the holidays.

Then on Tuesday, to make matters worse, outraged parents vowed to shut the school down, crying racism.

Parents claim black children from outside the area are given preference over coloured children who live close to the school.

Lionel Schroeder, a former soldier, spoke on behalf of the upset parents and says they will shut the school at 7am on Wednesday.

“We have a situation where more black children are allowed to attend and travel to the school in taxis and bakkies,” Lionel says angrily.

“We have parents who enrolled their children since 2014 and live less than four kilometres from the school, but they have to pay R3 000 a year to travel to schools outside of Lentegeur.

“I witnessed [black] parents bringing their children in bakkies and kombies to the school while we confronted the principal.

“We will shut the school down.”

The school principal was not available for comment on Wednesday.

However, police spokesman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the school had been vandalised, but could not reveal the cost of the damages.

Nearby at Seaview Primary School in Rocklands, our team met anxious parent Sanchia Gallant, 35.

She has been battling since May 2015 to enrol her five-year-old son Matthew at the school.

Sanchia says despite making arrangements in May last year already, she was told on Tuesday she is now on a waiting list.

“My child has ADHD and he needs to be in school but I am told as I went to admissions today that he is on a waiting list,” says Sanchia.

By late Tuesday she was still unsure if Matthew would have a seat in class on Wednesday.

Also in Rocklands, at Caradale Primary, we met Patiswa Mgqamgqo, 42, who travelled all the way from Mfuleni to enrol her child.

“My child must be in Grade R,” says the frustrated mom.

“I have been on the waiting list since August and now I have been told I must wait 10 days until the Education Department gives me an answer.

“I want my child at this school because it is a good school as my older child attends there.”

Neither principals at the Rocklands schools were available for comment.

On Tuesday, Gaileen Witbooi, 40, was also praying her son would be accepted at a school after being rejected by SEVEN principals.

Gaileen says she started applying at high schools for her son Tyrese Witbooi, 14, in February last year.

Gaileen, from Cafda in Retreat, says: “Most of the schools rejected the applications because we don’t live in the same area as the school, but my son has attended Claremont Primary School which is also outside the area where we live.

“I started applying at schools in February already, as a precaution I applied at five schools.

“The only two late applications were South Peninsula High School and Muizenberg High School, at which I applied after June.”

The schools Gaileen applied at include Norman Henshillwood, Plumstead High School, Bergvliet High, Groote Schuur High and Voortrekker High School.

“I called Groote Schuur High School and they said they would put my child on their waiting list and Voortrekker High School said they’re already full,” she adds.

Gaileen says she and her husband, Karel, had spoken to department officials about getting getting Tyrese “into a good school”, but had very little luck.

By late Tuesday the department of education had not replied to Daily Voice queries regarding Gaileen’s concerns.

“All they could tell us is that we’ll have to wait for the schools to open,” says Karel.

“We want to get our son into a good school but if he is not accepted, we will have no choice but to consider a school in our area.”

Cape’s political minefield
Warda Meyer (IOL News ) 28 December 2015

Cape Town - It’s been a turbulent year for the DA and ANC in the Western Cape Legislature, with raucous sittings, political rivalry, factional battles and paranoia coming to the fore as the year draws to a close.

Premier Helen Zille, in particular, had a rough time, making history as the first premier since the dawn of democracy to face a motion for impeachment which was tabled by ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman.

The impeachment bid, over the spying saga that erupted in the province, was predictably a failure, with the DA outmanoeuvring the opposition, voting instead to amend the ANC’s motion - so that it endorsed Zille’s outstanding leadership.

Fransman accused Zille of hiring Paul Scheepers, a senior police crime intelligence officer, in his private capacity to spy on the party and her rivals in the DA.

But Zille denied the allegations that she spied on her political foes inside and outside the DA, saying Scheepers’s services were only procured by the provincial government to secure cellphones against spying by anyone.

The year will in all likelihood be remembered as the year when political paranoia set in the provincial legislature, as a furious Zille ripped into her party’s members, accusing them of being the sources of information for the ANC relating to the spy saga.

Trouble started when Zille, in an unprecedented move, named Lennit Max and a former member of her cabinet, Theuns Botha, as Fransman’s sources.

Zille, in her “Inside Government” newsletter, said Fransman let the pair’s names slip during a radio interview and in a sitting of the provincial legislature.

And while Fransman denied saying they gave the ANC information, instead maintaining they were victims of illegal surveillance allegedly instigated by Zille, the premier justified her assertions, saying their names were the only ones mentioned.

In her newsletter, the party said it was not probing Zille but instead was investigating possible disciplinary charges against Max.

With the battle-lines drawn, the MPL’s political future is hanging in the balance, after Zille accused Max of blackmail to get a provincial cabinet post and threatening to walk if his alleged demands were not met.

Zille said she had the full backing of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and DA federal chairman James Selfe in drawing the line and refusing Max’s demand.

Max responded by laying a disciplinary charge against Zille due to her ongoing public attacks on his integrity and character.

The year had started off on a volatile note, with Zille facing heavy criticism for ringing in the New Year with a controversial cabinet reshuffle, which saw party loyalist (Theuns) Botha, who was Health MEC, being sidelined, and having to switch roles with the MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sport Nomafrench Mbombo, a relative newcomer to the political arena.

The move sparked outrage within the DA ranks, with Botha months later retiring from public office.

In another first for the premier, her much-awaited State of the Province address (Sopa) was disrupted by the ANC, forcing her to read her speech at a media briefing.

The ANC’s Western Cape chief whip Pierre Uys ended up being suspended for two days over the Sopa disruption.

Then came Zille’s explosive decision in April to bow out as DA national leader, ahead of the party’s national leadership race, causing a stir within party ranks with many questioning if she was forced to do so.

Maimane was subsequently elected as the party’s first black leader.

The premier notably scaled down on party political appearances, but zoomed in on ruling the province with a proverbial iron fist. And while Zille may have raised the ire of many during the course of the year, the ANC’s provincial leadership had their own fair share of turmoil.

The ANC started the year painting the Cape black, green and yellow as it celebrated the party’s 103rd birthday anniversary in a packed Cape Town Stadium.

While unity reigned supreme for a while, the infighting soon set in ahead of the party’s crucial provincial elective conference which saw mounting calls for the provincial leadership under Fransman and former provincial secretary, Songezo Mjongile, to be dissolved.

Fransman was also drawn into scandal, having been implicated in a failed “votes for cash” saga involving funds paid for support ahead of last year’s national elections.

Media reports claimed Fransman allegedly promised to pay the Cape District Minstrel Board up to a R1 million if it threw its support behind the ANC.

Brushing off the allegations, Fransman said the claims were aimed at stopping the ANC gaining support in the province.

Back in the legislature, Fransman faced disciplinary action after failing to declare the interests for members of the provincial legislature on time.

The Western Cape Parliament’s conduct committee found him and ANC MPL Trudy Dijana guilty of breaching the code of conduct.

The pair eventually won their appeals.

Meanwhile, Mjongile was voted out of the leadership ranks, losing to newcomer Faiez Jacobs who now faces disciplinary charges for allegedly hitting a co-worker.

Jacobs has been placed on precautionary leave over the incident at the party’s provincial offices.

ANC members have been divided on the issue, with supporters of Jacobs claiming he is being targeted by rivals.

JMPD goes on strike
IOL News 4 January 2016

Johannesburg - Motorists returning to work on Monday were due for major disruptions as the Joburg metro police department’s 3 600 officers go on strike.

Joburg traffic officers belonging to the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said they would be off the roads from on Monday until their grievances are addressed.

The union got permission from the Labour Court on December 28 to strike.

The licensing department and testing stations, which were on strike for almost a month in December, will not be affected as the City of Joburg obtained an interdict on December 29 forcing employees to return to work.

Most officers remained on duty throughout the festive season. But JMPD Samwu chairman Archie Ntaba said the action would start properly this morning.

“Traffic officers, who have the most serious grievances, will be on strike unless management calls us in to negotiate,” he said.

Issues leading to the protest action include discrepancies in employee salaries and unfair allowances for overtime, holidays and night shifts, some of which date back 15 to 20 years, Ntaba said.

“We are hoping management will take the initiative to call us in this morning to make peace and to stop our labour action.

“Our members have been patiently waiting for years for positive solutions. The JMPD management has failed to address these legacies and hence the desperate outcries by employees,” he said.

Samwu’s Joburg region initially issued a strike notice on December 14, but the city issued an interdict to prevent this.

However, on December 28, the court granted the union permission to strike.

JMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said although permission to strike had been granted on that date, no strike action had taken place over the New Year week.

He added that every single employee had reported for duty as normal, except for those on sick or maternity leave, or on ordinary leave.

There had been numerous successful arrests throughout the city until yesterday, with a full complement of officers on duty.

“Management has thanked everyone for not heeding the call by unscrupulous people for the strike and work stoppage. We have an open-door policy and are ready to negotiate any grievances they may have,” he said.

DA spokesman on public safety Michael Sun called on the city and the unions to reach an agreement to prevent further inconvenience to residents.

“It is ultimately the residents who suffer. They lived through a month-long strike at the licensing department not being able to renew licences for their holiday trips.

“They were also badly inconvenienced by the Pikitup strike. It is always the residents who bear the brunt of these strikes, so we are calling on the two parties to urgently reach a compromise,” he said.

Besides the licensing department strike in October, Pikitup workers embarked on a two-week violent protest action which saw some of the city's streets strewn with litter.

Minnaar noted that in joint operations with the SAPS and the Emergency Management Services, nine people had been arrested in Hillbrow alone on New Year’s Eve.

While two liquor outlets were closed down, 572 drunk drivers were caught in total throughout the city and 152 apprehended for speeding.

The record arrest for speeding was a motorist caught on the N1 in Midrand for travelling at 249km/h.

Anger as Misholine suspect appears
Megan Baadjies (IOL News) 29 December 2015

Cape Town - The girl who was allegedly strangled and stabbed to death by her neighbour would have celebrated her 11th birthday on Saturday.

Instead her family is now struggling to raise funds for her funeral which they hope to have on the day she would have blown out 11 candles.

To add to her grief, murdered Misholine Jantjies’ mother, Magrieta Jantjies, 38, faced her daughter’s alleged killer in court for the first time on Monday.

Montell Campher, 20, appeared in the Muizenberg Magistrates’ Court for the little girl’s murder.

He is accused of attacking her last Tuesday in a park in Drury Street, Capricorn.

The gruesome attack happened in front of Misholine’s young friend who Campher allegedly threatened as well.

He allegedly choked her before stabbing her in the neck.

Misholine died in the street minutes later.

During his brief appearance on Monday, Magrieta admits she could not bear to look at Campher.

“When I heard his name and he came out I saw him, then I looked down because it was too difficult for me,” she said.

“Ek het heel tyd kop in die grond gesit (I sat with my head to the ground the entire time),” she told the Daily Voice.

Campher’s appearance was over in minutes and the case postponed to January 5 for bail information.

The community handed a letter to the court asking the State to oppose bail.

Outside court residents held up posters reading, “no bail for child killer” and “#childkillermustfall”.

Steenberg Community Policing Forum chairperson Lucinda Evans said Campher must remain behind bars.

“The children who he threatened are petrified,” she adds.

Evans said the community will continue to support both mothers and they will be back at the next court appearance.

Magrieta said Campher’s mother asked her for forgiveness.

“His mother came to me after court and apologised for what he did,” she said.

“She said she didn’t raise him like that.

“I couldn’t say anything to her.”

The mothers hugged each other in front of the picketing community members.

Meanwhile, Magrieta said she needs assistance with her daughter’s funeral arrangements.

“Ek het nie geld om haar te begrawe nie, en ek hoop ons kan haar op haar birthday begrawe,” she said. (I don’t have money to bury her and I hope that we can bury her on her birthday.)

The mother of three said they need R5 500 to bury her daughter.

Anyone who would like to assist with the funeral can contact Lucinda Evans on 073 424 4665.

Buses caused gridlock in KZN
Sphelele Ngubane (IOL News) 5 January 2016

Durban - Tired of empty promises, Durban Transport bus drivers caused a major traffic jam on the N3 going into the city when they parked buses in the road on Monday after not being paid their December salaries and annual bonuses.

Traffic came to a grinding halt on the main route into Durban as about 100 buses blocked off all the lanes.

There was a major traffic jam from near the Pavilion to the N3 Spaghetti Junction as metro police officers diverted traffic on to the N2 so motorists would not be stuck in the bumper-to-bumper traffic.

There was another diversion to the M13 as the drivers had steadily moved buses on to the road, not allowing any cars to pass them.

Frustrated motorists also sat in a major bottleneck at the approach to Tollgate, near the exit to Randles Road, causing major delays.

Another blockade was in Dr Pixley kaSeme (West) Street, near the city hall, where initially all the lanes were closed. However, after negotiations between metro police and the drivers, two were opened so that traffic could flow.

The disgruntled drivers and general staff from the uMlazi, Ntuzuma and Rossburgh bus depots said they had downed tools and protested in this fashion as they were tired of being told “lies” since last month.

It was not the first time the drivers had not been paid. In 2014, the bus operation came to a standstill over annual salary bonuses.

Last year the bus company frequently ran out of diesel, causing it to run a skeleton operation with poor communication to commuters.

The Mercury spoke to some of the drivers, who did not want to be identified. They went on strike on December 18.

After negotiations between the drivers, the city and bus operator Tansnat, the drivers suspended the strike on a promise that they would be paid on December 31. They were not paid, but continued working.

On Sunday, eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo issued a statement saying the city had averted the strike and would pay the drivers directly and recover the money from Tansnat.

However, on Monday the workers said there had been no payments and in desperation they had resorted to blocking the roads.

“It is painful not to get your bonus in December, but not getting your monthly salary is another thing. We decided that, come what may, we are parking the buses on the road. We have been patient for a long time,” one driver said.

A woman who works at one of the depots said: “We have children and on Christmas we could not have proper celebrations, as did other families. Now they (the children) have to go back to school, and still there is no money. And the problem is not just at the end of the year – even during the year there are glitches. We are tired.”

Municipal spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said the city had appealed to bus drivers to be patient while the city verified their account details in order for their December salaries and bonuses to be paid.

“Last week, the city entered into an agreement with Tansnat in an effort to avert strike action by bus drivers.

“The city had sought to pay the Tansnat employees, excluding the management, directly, and recover the money from Tansnat.

“Drivers have been asked by the city to complete an employment confirmation form to verify if they are indeed Tansnat employees. The forms, together with the copies of the drivers’ identity documents and bank statements, are to be submitted to the municipality as part of the verification process,” she said.

After verification, salaries and bonuses would be paid directly from the city to the drivers.

However, Tansnat spokesman Vuyo Mkhize blamed the city for the strike. He said it was a result of the eThekwini Municipality’s failure to honour its contractual obligations.

He said the municipality insisted on paying the salaries and bonuses directly into Tansnat employees’ bank accounts, even though Tansnat had advised it not to do so, as that would cause delays.

“This process may take up to a month or more to complete, as opposed to doing so via the Tansnat bank account, a process that would take a mere 24 hours. They did this despite knowing full well that this was going to result in the resumption of what may turn out to be a prolonged strike,” he said.

Mkhize added: “The city has no answer to Tansnat’s charge that their failure to timeously process the R75 million claim the company lodged as far back as July 2015 is the only reason the company is, up to today, unable to meet its bonus and salary obligations to its employees”.

On Monday, the drivers said they had filled in the employment confirmation forms and left their IDs and bank account numbers with eThekwini officials. They were promised they would be paid from today, they said.

“We will not go back to work until we have been paid,” a driver said.

Tansnat and the city are in a legal battle, with each party claiming it is owed millions by the other. The city says it is owed about R40 million.

The company has said its recurring funding problems are due to its having been underpaid between October 2010 and January 2014.

Nxumalo has condemned the blockading of roads and urged drivers to express their concerns through appropriate channels.

“We appeal to bus drivers to be calm while we address the issue,” he said.

Another illegal Samwu strike at Pikitup
IOL News 18 December 2015

Johannesburg - Members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) at waste removal entity Pikitup in Johannesburg embarked on another illegal strike on Friday.

The company said it was experiencing service disruptions due to an illegal strike that would affect refuse collection across Johannesburg.

“These disruptions are of great concern to us, but most importantly our residents and the business owners serviced by Pikitup on a daily basis,” Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu said on Friday.

“It is rather unfortunate, particularly on the part of the union to embark on yet another unprotected work stoppage,” he said.

The strike came barely three weeks after an agreement was reached between workers and Pikitup, following an intervention by Gauteng human settlements and cooperative governance MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

The workers had downed tools on November 23, demanding salary hikes from R6,000 to R10,000 and that the company attend to salary disparities.

They also demanded the resignation of managing director Amanda Nair.

Mashapu said it was rumoured that the workers were demanding a 14th cheque, although they had not yet approached management about their demands.

“There is nowhere in the agreement facilitated by MEC Mamabolo, where the parties agreed on payment of a 14th cheque. We are surprised by this illegal work stoppage, more so after all parties held a follow up meeting regarding the agreement on Thursday,” said Mashapu.

He said the workers received their bonuses at the end of November.

The union’s spokesman Papikie Mohale, said management had failed to pay workers a once-off incentive that formed part of the agreement.

“They should not confuse a bonus with the once-off incentive. Managers receive performance bonuses, while workers don’t. The incentive agreement was a way of rectifying that,” Mohale said.

The previous strike saw rubbish piling up on street corners across the Johannesburg CBD and residential areas.

A court interdict obtained by Pikitup against the strikers at the time was ignored, prompting the company to hire the Red Ants security service to help clear the backlog.

At least four contract workers were shot at and wounded during the strike.

Cash relief after illegal Pikitup strike
IOL News 24 December 2015

Johannesburg - Pikitup workers have called off their strike for better wages after they were offered relief of R1 000, but they will not be collecting any rubbish on Christmas Day.

The signing of a Political Facilitation Agreement (PFA) on Wednesday marked the end of “the ongoing breakout of illegal strikes” by workers of Pikitup, a waste management entity of the City of Johannesburg.

A statement released on Thursday and attributed to the City of Johannesburg, South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Pikitup said: “The parties agreed to a relief mechanism of R1 000 to workers on level A to C in anticipation of the benchmarking exercise on parity. All undertakings are contingent to adherence to the agreement”.

Samwu entered into the agreement with Pikitup and the City of Johannesburg following recent talks that were anchored on the PFA brokered on December 3 – with support from Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Jacob Mamabolo.

“The signed PFA follows talks led by the City of Johannesburg’s political leadership with Pikitup management and SAMWU on December 11, 17, 18 and 19. This was in a bid to find a lasting solution to the long-standing labour impasse,” said the statement.

The parties also acknowledged that it was “rather unfortunate to have witnessed another wave of unprotected work stoppages on December 14 and 18, respectively, while the PFA was being finalised”.

A city-wide process to address parity issues has also been agreed upon.

“All parties are now pleased to announce that all waste management services have been fully restored with effect from December 21. Normal refuse collection continues in accordance with the normal collection schedule.”

Anti-Zuma protest in Company Gardens
IOL News 15 December 2015

Cape Town - The Cape Town City council on Tuesday said it had granted Unite Against Corruption permission for a protest gathering in the Company Gardens where the activist group said it would call on President Jacob Zuma to step down.

“We stand in solidarity with all people calling for responsible leadership and say Zuma must fall and must be held accountable for his actions,” Unite Against Corruption organiser Miles Giljam said on Tuesday.

“He is the number one corrupter in our country.”

Giljam said the gathering had been scheduled for 10am to noon and so far some 1 500 people had signalled on the group’s Facebook page that they would attend.

It has been reported on social media that the gathering would be addressed by anti-apartheid struggle stalwart and former minister Barbara Hogan - who last week accused Zuma of sabotaging the economy and called on the ANC to remove him from power - but Giljam said she had not yet confirmed that she was attending. However, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s daughter Mpho would he there, he said.

It has also been reported on social media that anti-Zuma protesters would march to Parliament on Wednesday. The City of Cape Town’s executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman said so far nobody had approached the council for permission for a march to the legislature.

However, he said it could happen that those who planned to head to the legislature would join the picket in the adjacent gardens.

PICS: #ZumaMustFall march in CTN
IOL News 16 December 2015

Cape Town - Cries of “Zuma must fall” reverberated through the Company’s Garden in Cape Town on Wednesday as thousands gathered to support a call for the African National Congress to recall President Jacob Zuma.

Many of those participating in the #ZumaMustFall march draped themselves in the South African flag and held up placards.

“Dear Santa, please send me a proper President”, “corruption and mismanagement drive our rand down the drain” and “no reconciliation with corruption, recall Zuma now” were just some of the messages written on the colourful placards.

Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu opened proceedings with an impassioned prayer.

“May God bless you with anger and injustice at oppression…anger at exploitation and corruption,” Tutu prayed.

“May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world.”

March organisers, Unite Against Corruption, told marchers Wednesday’s protest must be the beginning of rolling action to pressure the ANC to recall Zuma.

“This is about us taking back our country. We cannot stand by while our country is being rot by corruption,” said the organisation’s Msizi Cele.

Several people were picked at random from the crowd to address the marchers.

One woman, known only as Thembisa, asked: “Why is the ANC shoving this man down our throats.”

The protesters were expected to start moving towards the Mother City FanWalk where they would join the city’s Purple March to honour Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah.

‘Illegal’ Masi shacks torn down
Sandiso Phaliso (IOL News) 16 December 2015

About 1 000 people were left homeless and one person was arrested when the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit demolished structures erected on an open field and in bushes in Masiphumelele on Tuesday.

The unit also removed 1 600 pegs used to mark plots where people intended to build shacks

Structures had been built on the open field and in the bushes after people affected by a recent fire could not rebuild their homes because there was no space left “as the site was being re-blocked”.

The residents said community leaders had told them over the weekend they should go ahead and build their shacks on the field.

Nomacebiso Tukulu, 30, said that she was shocked on Tuesday when the Anti-Land Invasion Unit, backed up by police, tore their homes down and refused to let them take their possessions.

But mayoral committee member for Human Settlement Benedicta van Minnen said most of the shacks were built on privately owned land and by opportunistic backyarders from Masiphumelele, who were not affected by the fire.

She acknowledged that some of the shacks built on the private land were those of fire victims.

Van Minnen said the fire victims and backyarders “have been erecting structures illegally and illegally pegging off land, on vacant land, near to the area where the fire took place”.

“Many meetings have taken place with this group advising them that they are illegally constructing structures and to give them the opportunity to remedy the situation.

“However, the situation remained unchanged and subsequently notices were issued to a number of the individuals,” said Van Minnen.

“These structures were built by outsiders who were not inhabitants of Masi (Masiphumelele).

“So they were taking a chance to occupy spaces. I am informed by staff that none of them were people from Masi,” said Van Minnen.

She said as a result the Anti-Land Invasion Unit removed approximately 178 illegal structures and 1 600 pegs.

Van Minnen said fire victims were provided accommodation at the Masiphumelele community hall, but chose to stay with friends instead.

She said they would be accommodated within the Masiphumelele informal settlement.

“The people cannot be removed somewhere,” she said.

Tukulu, who was already staying on the open field with two of her young children, said the Anti-Land Invasion Unit came in the morning and started demolishing houses.

“Where are we expected to rebuild our houses because there is no longer spaces in the informal settlement where we used to live.

“This is saddening. We were starting to settle with my children – now this.

“I don’t know where we are going to stay for the night with my children and I have no family around here,” she said.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said one person was arrested for public violence and would appear in court this week.

“You must remember that there is a court order for Masiphumelele people not to build houses on that land. They have contravened that court order,” said Van Wyk.

#ZumaMustFallMarch in pictures
IOL News 16 December 2015

Thousands of protesters marched through South African cities on Wednesday demanding President Jacob Zuma's resignation after he triggered economic turmoil by sacking his respected finance minister.

Zuma was left badly bruised when he fired Nhlanhla Nene last week in favour of little-known backbencher David van Rooyen, who was himself removed after only four days in office.

Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) party, which has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994, won the general election easily last year but could lose power in some major municipalities at local polls in 2016.

Licensing office strike to hit roadblocks
IOL News 16 December 2015

The City of Joburg obtained a court order against the striking workers at licensing stations after the head of the department of public safety met with SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) representatives on Monday.

However, it will be just a short reprieve because Samwu’s Jack Mokalapa said the union has obtained another strike certificate, so the strike would begin again on December 24.

An agreement signed on Monday listed steps that both parties would take to address the workers’ demands.

But, according to Mokalapa, several issues remain, particularly salary progression and allowances.

“That meeting and those issues were incidental to a mutual-interest dispute that was already in motion from four months ago,” Mokalapa said.

He and Samwu’s chairman at the Joburg metro police department, Archie Ntaba, said they had addressed the striking workers on Tuesday morning and urged them to comply with the court order.

“As a law-abiding union, as much as we disagree with the court order, we will abide by it,” Mokalapa said.

Mokalapa and Ntaba said they had told workers about the consequences of going against the court order, which could include a no-work-no-pay policy or even criminal charges.

The workers, who have been on strike since Thursday, had complained about externally advertised positions requiring no experience and which offered better salaries.

Ntaba emphasised that the new strike certificate included uniformed JMPD officers because the issues applied equally to them.

Mokalapa said this meant the officers would not be taking part in festive season roadblocks.

“We hope management will go and get uniforms themselves and set up roadblocks because we will be on strike,” he said.

Ntaba said Samwu would be meeting with officers to brief them about the situation.

The strike could also include support from Pikitup workers as well as the Johannesburg Road Agency.

#ZumaMustFallMarch in Joburg
IOL News 16 December 2015

Thousands marched against corruption in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.

Durban misses out on anti-Zuma protest
IOL News 17 December 2015

Durban - Disappointed Durban supporters of the #ZumaMustFall campaign will have to wait three months for their turn to march against the president.

Thousands took to the streets in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria on Wednesday to express their unhappiness with President Jacob Zuma and called on the ANC to recall him. But in Durban, there was no official march.

Organisers said Durban would have to wait until Human Rights Day, on March 21, to march.

On Twitter, the account @ZumaFallMarches tweeted the date for Durban as March 21, and the march to the ANC’s Luthuli House as April 27.

Some Durbanites who wanted to take part in the march took to Twitter on Wednesday.

Zola Mkhize said: “#ZumaMustFallMarch okay we have none of this in Durban, but I’m with those who are marching in spirit #Amandla”.

And @Clint_ZA said: “Sadly no #ZumaMustFallMarch in #Durban, but I’ll be at the others in spirit. Please join if you can, @MyANC_ must see our discontent”.

However, a few hundred pro-Zuma supporters did march on the Durban promenade, showing their support for the embattled leader.

The Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg, Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Parliamentary precinct in Cape Town were rallying points for angry South Africans who have had enough, some carrying posters with messages directed at the ANC leadership like: “NEC Act Now”, “No reconciliation, no corruption, unite against corruption” and “Recall Zuma Now”.

In Cape Town, mostly white demonstrators gathered outside Parliament and converged on The Company’s Garden.

Outraged residents, holidaymakers and visitors brandished placards, pictures and T-shirts calling for Zuma’s head and depicting the president’s face with devil horns.

“We are tired of what government is doing, specifically Zuma and the way he just goes about doing anything he wants to do,” said Tara de Beer, who recently moved to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s daughter, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu, opened proceedings at The Company’s Garden with an impassioned prayer.

“May God bless you with anger and injustice at oppression… anger at exploitation and corruption,” Tutu prayed.

“May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world.”

The march, organised by Unite Against Corruption, was aimed at putting pressure on the ANC to recall the president in the wake of this past week’s disastrous cabinet reshuffle.

Zuma fired Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, appointed little-known Des van Rooyen, then, following the rand’s slump and an outcry from allies, business leaders and international investors, flip-flopped and re-appointed Pravin Gordhan, who had served in the portfolio from 2009 to 2014.

Nene’s axing was seen in many circles as Zuma clearing an obstacle to government’s nuclear build programme - a perception that resonated with some of the protesters on Wednesday.

“The President wants to approve something that will screw us and our children... He won’t leave. He’s like a sitting hen. He’ll just sit on his eggs until, I don’t know, kingdom comes,” said Capetonian Alex Gunning.

Nkululeko Sinxo, 54, of Langa, who was one of the few black faces in the crowd, said for him it was about protesting against an ANC leadership which was not living up to its motto - “A better life for all”.

“With the Zuma government we’ve seen lots of corruption and empty promises, and this is not the ANC we know,” Sinxo said.

“This reminds me of when Mandela came out of prison and said even if this government of the people was not doing right, we must do the same to them that what we have done to the apartheid government - push them out.”

In a statement on Wednesday, ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa lashed out at former DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille for instigating the march in a bid to divide South Africans on a day which should be used to promote reconciliation among citizens.

“The ANC has noted with disappointment and great dismay, statements by some political leaders, notably Helen Zille, who have chosen to use this important day to engage in partisan politics…” Kodwa said. “Zille, a premier in one of our nation’s provinces, has called for ‘no reconciliation with corruption’ and together with her fellow organisers of this march/picnic belittle the significance of Reconciliation Day by this posturing.”

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