||Cato Manor councillors office burned down
iSolezwe (Translated by Faith ka Manzi) 20 November 2009
The office of a local councillor in Mayville was destroyed by fire in
Mayville, outside Durban, within 24hours after the community of the area
had complained about him.
The community which is shachdwellers, said that they never wanted to see
Mr Richard Ngema who is an ANC Councillor.
Yesterday iSolezwe reported about a meeting which took place at the
local playground in Mayville on Sunday where a decision to chase Ngema
was taken as they felt that he has failed to deliver community services
and that his committee is selling RDP houses.
This community also burnt down a bulldozer in one of the building sites,
they burnt ttyres and had spread rubbish in the streets. Ngema said
that everything in his office was burnt down including his computer, fax
and a printing machine. He said that the culprits had opened a window in
his office a threw a burning device which had burnt everything in his
"I was called by the secutiy officers late at night who said they saw a
mob of people in the plyaground and then I had called the Cato Manor
police who had then rushed to the scene", said Ngema.
He said one of the suspects who was part of the mob had called him
telling him that there were people planning to attack his house that
"I can see that my life is in danger but I will not run away from the
area because of them", said Ngema.
Speaking on behalf of the local Cato Manor Police Station, Inspector
Nkanyiso Mkhize said that they heard about the burningi of the
councillor's office but a case was yet to be opened.
Grave Concerns about the Detention without Trial of the Kennedy Thirteen: This Travesty Must End
Bishop Rubin Phillip 18 November 2009
After their 6th inconclusive bail hearing today, it is now abundantly
clear that the legal process for the Kennedy 13 is a complete travesty
of justice. They are scheduled to appear again on the 27th November. By
that time, some of accused will have been in prison for 2 months without
trial - two months in prison without any evidence being presented to a
court and without a decision on bail. This is a moral and legal outrage
that amounts to detention without trial by means of delay. In our view,
it borders on unlawful detention. I am, tonight, issuing a call for
their immediate release - justice has been delayed far beyond the point
at which it was clear that it had been denied.
Ordinarily in a case with such serious charges as those put to the
Kennedy 13, it is in fact extremely easy for bail to be denied. Usually
all that is required is that the prosecution provide the court with some
evidence showing that they have, at least, a prima facie case to make in
the trial itself. That the prosecution has still not presented any such
evidence, despite the magistrate's repeated concessions to give them
more time to do so, indicates to us that the police simply have no case
to make. What is being pursued in our courts in this instance is a
political agenda against Abahlali baseMjondolo.
The Kennedy Thirteen were arrested in the aftermath of the September
attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Kennedy Road settlement. Abahlali
baseMjondolo is highly respected for its courageous commitment to the
equality of all human beings irrespective of their origins or position
in society. Their recognition of the spark of the divine in every human
being has been a prophetic voice calling us to conscience and grace in
the moral wilderness of a country that is losing its way.
In April 2007 I visited the Kennedy Six in Westville prison where they
held to a hunger strike for 14 days before the murder charges that had
been trumped up against them were dropped. In November that year I,
along with other church leaders, witnessed and denounced shocking police
violence against Abahlali baseMjondolo.
In 2007 I had to put aside some of my exuberant faith in our new
democracy as I came to understand that the days of police violence,
police lies and wrongful arrest were still being used to silence those
with the temerity to speak truth to power. I realised, with a heavy
heart, that the days of the political prisoner were not yet over in our
The attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo, and the response to the attack by
the police and some figures in the eThekwini Municipality and the
Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal, have been met with grave concern
across South Africa and abroad. It is patently clear that there was a
political dimension to the attack and that the response of the police
has been to pursue that political agenda rather than justice.
I, along with many other church leaders as well as academics and human
rights organisations, have called for a genuinely independent and
credible inquiry into the attack on Kennedy Road. That call has not been
heeded. It has become abundantly clear that the state has taken a
political position on the attack and that it has forfeited any claim to
neutrality in this matter.
The Kennedy Thirteen have come to court on six occasions to ask for
bail. On each occasion a group of people, sometimes wearing ANC colours,
some drunk and some armed, have been at the court to demand that bail be
denied. The behaviour of these people has been appalling. They have
openly made all kinds of threats including death threats. Clergy are
amongst those who have been threatened and the apparatus of justice has
been allowed to degenerate into what looks to all intents and purposes
like a kangaroo court.
On six separate occasions the magistrate has postponed the bail hearing
to give the police another chance to gather some evidence that could
link the Kennedy Thirteen to a crime. On each of those six occasions the
police have failed to produce any evidence linking the Kennedy Thirteen
to any crime. Today the bail hearing for the Kennedy Road Thirteen was
postponed until the 27th of November.
There were between thirty and forty clergy present at court today, all
of us deeply disturbed by this travesty. We are all committed to see
this matter through.
I am, tonight, issuing a call for the immediate release of the Kennedy
Thirteen from prison on the grounds that justice has been delayed far
beyond the point at which it was clear that it had been denied.
In light of the fact that this is quite clearly a political trial in
which the rules that govern the practice of justice are not being
followed, I am now calling for people of conscience outside of the state
to join us as we set up an independent inquiry into the attack on
Kennedy Road on 26 September; the subsequent demolition of the houses of
Abahlali baseMjondolo members, the ongoing threats to Abahlali
baseMjondolo members, the role of the police, politicians and courts in
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and
those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
The Lord will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not
despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a
people not yet created may praise the LORD: "The LORD looked down from
his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the
groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death." (Psalm
102: 16 – 20)
Bishop Rubin Phillip
Diocese of Natal, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Chairperson, KwaZulu Natal Christian Council
500 traders protest against new Durban market
Sapa 18 November 2009
Over 500 traders marched in Durban on Wednesday opposing the
controversial Early Morning Market development.
Dancing and singing, carrying sticks and knobkerries, they marched along
Durban's West street (Pixley KaSeme) to the City Hall to hand over a
memorandum. Police had to stop some of them from trying to snatch goods
from street vendors.
"Save the market", "No work no food", "Council robs people of food",
some of the slogans on their placards read.
When the plan to give Durban's Early Morning Market a facelift was
announced, traders fiercely opposed it, fearing it would threaten their
The municipality wants to put a multi-million rand development, which
would include a shopping centre, on the site.
In their memorandum the traders demand the eThekwini Municipality
preserve, promote and support the market's sustainability.
"eThekwini Municipality must upgrade and extend the market in order to
accommodate all informal traders," the document reads.
It was received by Lennox Mabaso from the provincial department of
tourism and economic development.
In September another group of market traders took to Durban streets
demanding that the project to go ahead immediately.
Million Phehlukwayo of the Early Morning Market Traders Association said
demolishing the market would see an increase in the number of poor
people in Durban.
"All malls that have been recently built around Durban do not cater for
Phehlukwayo criticised the group that wanted the development to continue.
"All those people that were marching in September were not from the
market they came from other areas. This issue does not affect them," he
The traders called for the city council's head of business support
Phillip Mhlongo to be removed from his position, claiming that he only
supported the rich. - Sapa
Davyton protest turns violent
Sapa 18 November 2009
A housing delivery protest turned violent when about 400 Daveyton
residents torched seven shacks at the Gabone informal settlement on
Wednesday morning, Gauteng police said.
Angry that RDP houses were being given to illegitimate beneficiaries,
the mob burned down shacks belonging to people who have already been
given houses, said Constable Oupa Magwaza.
"They gathered illegally around 8am and planned to march to the
(Daveyton) police station to protest against last night's (Tuesday)
arrest of three of their leaders," said Magwaza.
The three men were arrested for assault and public violence after they
allegedly assaulted a local councillor during a protest last week.
"We managed to stop the protesters this (Wednesday) morning before they
could get to the police station. However, they had already set seven
shack alight, completely destroying them," Magwaza said.
The damage was estimated at R50,000.
The protesters dispersed peacefully at noon after police negotiated with
them. No arrests were made on Wednesday. - Sapa
From: Toussaint Losier
Sent: 19 November 2009
Thursday, November 19:
The Brecht Forum @ 7:30pm
"The post-apartheid moment: an evening of solidarity with Ashraf
Cassiem of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, South Africa"
451 West Street (between Bank & Bethune Streets), New York, NY 10014
South Africa will be on the global stage as host of the 2010 World
Cup. Yet, with one of the world's highest rates of economic inequality
and social protest, it is likely that the country's glaring
contradictions and its militant poor, perhaps more so than the
"beautiful game," will be center stage next summer.
For the past nine years, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
) has been one of the most prominent organizations of militant poor,
fighting against evictions and police brutality as well as for free
basic service and quality health care in South Africa's poor and
working class communities. As a coordinating body of over 15 community
organizations in the Western Cape Province, the AEC has been at the
forefront of challenging the neoliberal economic policies that have
been imposed since the fall of apartheid, recently helping to found
the Poor People's Alliance as a national network of poor people's
Protesters bring Butterworth to a standstill
Residents take part in a march in Butterworth yesterday. Traffic was
disrupted for almost 30 minutes in Umtata Street, the main street
through the town, as the protesting residents called for better service
delivery. Picture: Theo Jeptha
Residents take part in a march in Butterworth yesterday. Traffic was
disrupted for almost 30 minutes in Umtata Street, the main street
through the town, as the protesting residents called for better service
delivery. Picture: Theo Jeptha
Butterworth came to a standstill yesterday when hundreds of residents
marched to the municipal offices to demand an improvement in service
delivery, writes Msindisi Fengu.
Heavily armed police officers prevented the angry protesters from
entering the Mnquma Local Municipality offices, after a crowd of over
300 tried to force their way in.
Tensions flared when police questioned the legality of the protest, and
the leaders of the protesters attempted to calm the situation.
Traffic was disrupted for almost 30 minutes in Umtata Street, the main
street through the town.
Spokesperson of the Mnquma residents Luzuko Kawe said residents had felt
obliged to proceed with the protest, after the municipality on two
occasions rejected their letters stating their intention to march.
Kawe said the municipality claimed at the time that their notices did
not meet legal requirements. “A member from the Legislature, Bulelwa
Gqoboka, has been sent by the Eastern Cape government to receive our
petition, which contains grievances we have with our municipality,” he said.
The petition would be forwarded to the office of Human Settlement
minister Tokyo Sexwale, Co-operate Governance and Traditional Affairs
minister Sicelo Shiceka, MEC of Local Government and Traditional Affairs
Sicelo Gqobana and the ANC provincial executive committee, among others.
Their concerns include stalled RDP housing projects, the construction
and maintenance of roads, electrification of households and schools and
provision of sanitation facilities and water to public institutions and
YOU TUBE: Protestors fed-up with council squabbles
Boshoff residents against mayor
Sapa 19 November 2009
BLOEMFONTEIN - Four residents of Seretsi township were arrested on
Thursday after protest action related to service delivery problems in
Police spokeswoman Captain Rulene Kuhn said protesters began throwing
stones in the township around 8pm on Wednesday and police reinforcements
were called in.
“The situation returned to calm after the reinforcements arrived and it
started to rain.”
Kuhn said the four residents were arrested on Thursday morning on
charges of public violence.
A legal protest march to the municipality was held, which went without
It was reported that residents were not happy with local mayor Boiki
Obotseng who failed to address earlier grievances, and called for his
Obotsong, the municipalityìs chief financial officer Kevin Khoabane, and
municipal manager Sono Mofokeng, were appearing on Thursday in
Bloemfontein before the Free Stateìs oversight committee on public funds.
The three men received a scolding from the municipality for the state of
the municipalityìs financial situation, which was apparently made worse
by a conflict between Khoabane and Mofokeng.
Obotsong and Mofokeng was earlier sent home by the committee after
arriving at the annual financial briefing without a single paper on Tuesday.
They had to return to Bloemfontein on their own account on Thursday.
However the men were again criticised for their apparent lack of respect
for the oversight committee.
The committee later demanded that the municipality take disciplinary
steps against Khoabane who laughed during the meeting and showed disrespect.
Shiceka gets the message on local democracy
Steven Friedman (Business Day) 18 November 2009
THE national debate is so taken with invented “policy shifts” that it
ignores those that are real. In a TV discussion a couple of weeks ago,
Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka endorsed two policy
changes that could make local government more democratic and might give
citizens less reason to engage in the protests that have dogged
municipalities for four years.
But a public debate, which has consistently misunderstood why there is
local protest in the first place, has ignored the minister’s attempt to
Perhaps the most important change Shiceka suggested was the dramatic
reform of ward committees — he said he was open to the idea that they be
directly elected by residents.
Since the protests began, the government has insisted that ward
committees offer voters a platform to ensure that their ward
representatives do what they want them to do; if voters use them, it has
claimed, they will no longer need to complain that councillors ignore
But ward committees offer no voice at all to most voters. They are
either chosen by the councillor or elected at small meetings, which only
a few voters attend. Either way, it is no surprise that research has
shown that the committees are vehicles for local party activists, not
citizens; ward committee members are beholden to those who choose them —
the councillor or a small group of connected people or both.
If they were directly elected, there would be far more of an incentive
for them to listen to residents and convey their views to councils. In
principle, voters might get heard by ward committee representatives and
need not take to the streets.
Shiceka’s second suggestion was that it might be time to introduce a
recall system for local councillors. Recall measures allows voters to
throw out a representative without waiting for the next general
election; it was used in the US to remove a governor of California.
Recall might operate in at least two ways.
First, a representative might be automatically removed if a percentage
of voters in their ward sign a petition asking them to go: in this case,
democratic principle would demand that the recall petition be signed by
most voters in the area.
Second, a petition signed by a significant minority of voters could
trigger a by-election, which the sitting councillor would need to win to
retain the seat. Whichever method is used, recall would give voters who
demand the removal of their council or councillor a way to do this
democratically rather than relying on demonstrations, which may not
necessarily represent majority opinion.
And the government would not need to agonise about whether to agree to
demands to fire councillors, such as those it acceded to in the Lekwa
Neither of these changes is inevitable. Shiceka is only floating them
and the government’s position will become clear only when it releases
proposals for provincial and local government change. But they do
suggest that the current review of local government is getting to grips
with the key problem — that councillors are largely insulated from the
voices of their voters.
Even if the proposals are accepted, they are not a panacea — all too
often, proposals for deeper democracy run aground because local elites
find ways to beat the system.
Parties’ tendency to hand out jobs in their local administrations on the
strength of party loyalties rather than willingness to represent voters
is one barrier to ensuring local governments more accountable to
citizens, even if the election system becomes more democratic. This is
the source of some soul searching in the African National Congress.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba decried in a recent article
the damage the practice of “deploying” party loyalists was doing to
municipalities, and Shiceka endorsed his concerns. But how party
activists would respond to missing out on posts is another matter.
And, if Shiceka is concerned about making local government more
accessible to citizens, he will have to persuade his cabinet colleagues
to act against the attacks on independent local activists that have been
reported in several municipalities.
Local citizens’ groups are an important source of activism independent
of political parties: it is hard to see how local government can be
democratic if these key vehicles for voice are not available to citizens.
But local governments that should be listening to independent activists
seem often to be trying to suppress them. As long as this continues,
democratic reforms can have at best a limited value; citizens cannot
make use of reforms that allow them to hold councils to account without
the independent organisation that enables them to do that.
These are but two of the obstacles that could prevent reforms bringing
the local democracy they promise. But even if Shiceka’s current thinking
does not guarantee a solution to the citizen frustration that produces
local protests, it does show he understands the key to making local
government more credible is ensuring it is more in touch with voters. If
the debate continues to ignore this issue, we will deserve the local
government with which we are saddled.
-Friedman is director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, an
initiative of Rhodes University and the University of Johannesburg.
Diseased workers take on gold giant
DAVID SMITH 19 November 2009
* JOHANNESBURG: *Tens of thousands of goldminers in South Africa have
contracted lung diseases because employers failed to protect them from
harmful dust, it was claimed.
Eighteen former workers who suffer from silicosis or silico-tuberculosis
are bringing a test case against the mining giant Anglo American South
Africa, a subsidiary of the Anglo American Corporation.
If successful, the lawsuit could set a precedent for further litigation
against mining houses for compensation and medical care worth millions
South Africa's goldmining industry has employed up to half a million
miners over the past century. A series of studies found that one-in-four
long-term miners suffered from silicosis, which put them at increased
risk of tuberculosis and lung cancer.
''There's absolutely no doubt that a huge river of disease is flowing
out of the South African goldmines,'' said Professor Tony Davies, a
clinical expert on occupational health.
The 18 plaintiffs were employed at an Anglo-owned mine in the Free State
from the 1970s to 1998, when Anglo was restructured and moved its head
office to London.
They say they were not provided with face masks or any other protection
against intensive and excessive exposure to dust and were encouraged to
continue working even after they fell ill. They say they received no
aftercare or medical treatment.
Among them is Alpheus Blom, 48, who worked eight hours a day
underground. ''They did not give us facemasks …,'' he said this week.
''The masks were given to people visiting the mine, not us. There was
nothing we could do … we needed work.''
Mr Blom, who was the sole breadwinner but now lives far from his family,
continued: ''When I left … I was told I had silicosis and it is
incurable. There was no way I could work again. I do temp jobs but I
cannot really do anything because I have a shortage of breath.''
He says he does not receive any medical treatment. ''My heart is sore
because the company hasn't done anything … This case is long and I might
die before it's over.''
Black miners, many of them migrants, were the most affected during the
apartheid era. Richard Meeran, a lawyer at London firm Leigh Day and Co,
who is working on the litigation with South Africa's Legal Resources
Centre, said black miners did the dustiest jobs.
Unlike white miners, they did not have access to onsite showers or
changing rooms to remove dust from their bodies.
''Thousands of miners have been sacrificed to profit these mining
corporations,'' Mr Meeran said. ''The goldmining industry has, in the
past, got away with this … because there appears to have been too little
regard for the well-being of black mineworkers. The scale of the disease
affecting South African miners is astronomical.''
The specific claim against Anglo American South Africa alleges it
negligently advised the mines in relation to dust protection of miners.
The claim is seeking compensation and medical help for former miners.
Two of the litigants have died since the action began in 2004.
Anglo American will contest all the allegations in a court case expected
to take place next year.
A spokesman for the company said: ''Anglo American South Africa denies
that it gave negligent advice.''
Guardian News & Media
Mosunkutu no show at protest
Sapa 19 November 2009
South African Transport Workers’ Union (Satawu) members lamented the
failure of Gauteng MEC for Public Safety Khabisi Mosunkutu to receive
“Mosunkutu made an undertaking that he would receive the memo, but today he is not here,” said Satawu’s Gauteng general secretary Xolani Nymezele.
“Public representatives must be accountable and we are not begging for
that. He is creating more problems than those that already exist because
of his attitude,” he said.
The memorandum was instead received by chief director David Tshili from
the traffic directorate.
According to union officials this was a follow-up to a memorandum handed
to the department on July 21.
JHB taxi drivers protest over employment conditions
Sapa 19 November 2009
A group of South African Transport Workers' Union (Satawu) taxi drivers
protested in Johannesburg for better employment conditions.
Satawu official Robert Seroka said today's march was a follow-up to
another held in July this year when the union submitted a memorandum to
MEC for community safety Khabisi Mosunkutu.
"These people [taxi drivers] have no contract of employment, no
provident fund, no employment letters and pay slips. They don't even
have rights to leave grievances with their employers," he said.
The union called on the department of community safety, roads and
transport and taxi owners to meet and find a solution to poor conditions
of employment facing taxi drivers.
The taxi drivers would march to the offices of the community safety
department where they would submit a memorandum to Mosunkutu and
transport MEC Bheki Nkosi.
About a hundred protesters were chanting and dancing in Johannesburg on
the corner of Simmonds and President streets.
Sub-human SANDF conditions a time-bomb
Christelle Terreblanche 19 November 2009
A commission has described the "sub-human conditions" of soldiers as a
The interim National Defence Service Commission - established to
investigate the plight of soldiers after some ran amok during a protest
outside the Union Buildings in August - yesterday said pay was so low
that many soldiers were living in squatter camps.
Soldiers qualified for neither government-subsided RDP houses nor for
bonds, as their salaries were too low.
Barracks were often without beds and there was a "complete breakdown of
discipline" at the infantry battalion at Doornkop, Gauteng.
This is a potential hot potato
The commission yesterday briefed the National Assembly's defence
committee - at its own request.
It said it had handed an "urgent interim report" to Defence Minister
Lindiwe Sisulu two weeks ago on interventions to be made without delay
at Doornkop and other bases.
However, commission chairman Judge Lebotsang "Ronnie" Bosielo disclosed
that just days after the interim report, Sisulu had amended its terms of
reference to ensure it did not recognise unions in the military.
This was after commissioners had already consulted unions with the
blessing of Parliament, a move it says has helped it make swift progress
with its original task of proposing an alternative mechanism to unions
through which soldiers' conditions of service could be regulated.
The new terms of reference state: "It is not within the terms of the
commission to investigate and consider forms of voluntary association of
the military, including trade unions.
"The president, as the commander-in-chief, has, with the support of the
cabinet, declared that de-unionisation of the SANDF must be accomplished
as soon as possible.
"No other person has authority to countermand the president in that
command. The commission must therefore not be seen to undermine this
"To do so would undermine the command and control that are central to
the defence force. It is advisable for the commission ... to steer as
far as possible from entertaining issues to do with unions."
This is a potential hot potato because two Constitutional Court
judgments have already found that it would be unconstitutional to ban
the unionisation of soldiers, although their rights could be limited.
Parliament will have to consider a draft bill on new "unique" service
conditions for the military - which the minister wants to supersede the
need for unions. The bill is being drafted by the commission, which was
appointed by Sisulu in September.
"The issue of salaries is so acute that at one stage we wondered just
how our soldiers survive," Judge Bosielo told MPs.
This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star
on November 19, 2009
Zuma must distance himself from Malema
Patrick Laurence 17 November 2009
A warning uttered recently by Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu general secretary,
should ring alarm bells for President Jacob Zuma, even though Vavi, an
ideologue par excellence, might have been motivated by more than
comradely concern for Zuma and his administration.
Addressing the South African Municipal Workers Union, Vavi warned that
the credibility of the Zuma administration with the poorer sectors of
the black community is in danger of evaporating and, concomitantly, the
patience of residents in woefully or badly served townships is
approaching breaking point.
The warning was meant to nudge Zuma to the left, politically speaking,
and to serve as a reminder to him that deferred promises often lead to
disillusionment, anger and alienation, while, of course, increasing the
vulnerability of the poor to the demagogues who seem to abound in the
townships in times of recession and hardship.
'Greed could destroy the ANC if not checked'
Judging by the string of delivery protests that erupted within weeks of
Zuma's inauguration, particularly in Mpumalanga, black people in
neglected or relatively neglected townships and informal settlements are
not prepared to wait patiently for the Zuma administration to fulfil its
election manifesto pledges.
Action, including the seizure of putatively corrupt local councillors as
hostages and the burning of their offices, seems to have become a
predictable township response in South Africa today, as it was during
the last years of white rule.
To quote a resident of Sakile, a township near Standerton in Mpumalanga
that attracted national and even international attention during its
protest against poor living conditions and the alleged venality of local
officials: "We don't see any changes. We thought Zuma could do better.
So now we have to step up protests, thinking of the future of our children."
The task facing Zuma is not made easier by the profligacy of his
administration, as manifest by the size of his cabinet (there are 34
ministers and roughly the same number of deputy ministers) and their
willingness (with one or two honourable exceptions) to spend every last
cent of the public money available to them on the purchase of expensive
vehicles. While Zuma is inclined to speak about the need for frugality
in the present difficult financial climate, his ministers are wont to
spend taxpayers' money as if there were no tomorrow.
They are as greedy, if not more greedy, than the men and women who
served in Thabo Mbeki's cabinet. The materialism that Mbeki rallied
against seems as prevalent under Zuma as it was under Mbeki. Like
France's Bourbon kings, the ANC's leader seem to have learnt nothing and
forgotten nothing. It is worth noting en passant that Zuma has warned
his comrades that greed could destroy the ANC if not checked. His words,
like those of Mbeki before him, seem to have fallen on the proverbial
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has accused the media of making an
unjustified fuss about the use of public money to purchase limousines
worth up to or even more than R1-million for the ministers. His
argument, judging by his comments on television, is that even if the
budget was limited to R200 000, it would still be seen as an incredibly
large amount to poorer citizens and, his argument implies, might be as
offensive to them as R1m or more.
Motlanthe, however, seems to underestimate the intelligence of the poor.
They are quite capable of appreciating the difference between a R200 000
vehicle and one that is five times as expensive. It is lordly arrogance
to assume that they cannot differentiate between the relatively modest
vehicle chosen by Pravin Gordhan and the expensive million-plus luxury
cars favoured by Trevor Manuel and Blade Nzimande.
An addendum is in order. As a respected former finance minister, Manuel
should have showed the way by choosing a less-expensive car. So, too,
should Nzimande to establish his bona fides as a communist committed to
the notion of equality.
The "fat cats" in the ANC who have forsaken their commitment to
uplifting the poor in reality while paying lip service to it, should
take note of the call by the National Union of Metalworkers of South
Africa (Numsa) for the "nationalisation" of the wealth of those whom its
general secretary, Castro Ngobese, labels "obscenely" rich.
Numsa's call to dispossess these rich of what it regards as ill-gotten
gains is a reminder of Cosatu's slogan of the 1980s: Apartheid and
capitalism - two sides of the same bloody coin." Unless the ANC recovers
its idealism, the slogan may be adapted to read: "ANC and capitalism -
two sides of the same bloody coin." The initials ANC will stand for
Africa's nationalist capitalists.
There is a conundrum to consider about Zuma before signing off: It is to
ponder what prompted him to describe Julius Malema, the ANC Youth League
leader, as a potential president, bearing in mind that Malema is
pressing for the nationalisation of the mines while Zuma has sung
soothing lullabies to capitalists and investors at home and abroad.
One explanation may be that Zuma is trying to tame Malema. Another more
disturbing possibility is that he is simply seeking to appease Malema.
Whatever Zuma's motives, he would do well to remember the warning to use
a long spoon when supping with the devil.
# Patrick Laurence is an independent political analyst.
This article was originally published on page 13 of Cape Argus on November 17, 2009
Delivery protests peak in 2009
SAPA 17 November 2009
Johannesburg - There has been a peak in service delivery protests this
year, with Gauteng, the Western Cape, the North West and Mpumalanga the
worst affected, a municipal hotspot monitor has found.
"By the end of October 2009, 83 major protests have been recorded," said
Municipal IQ which collects the monitoring data and intelligence.
"This accounts for 44% of major protests recorded between 2004 and the
end of October 2009," it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The monitor identified where service delivery protests took place since
2004, profiling the municipalities affected (down to the ward level) and
their level of development compared to other municipalities, it said.
Expectations of work-seekers
The monitor found that almost half the protests occurred in metropolitan
Protests took place in wards with higher unemployment rates than the
both the municipal and national average, and those with worse access to
services than municipal, but not national, average.
"These findings suggest that municipalities experiencing in-migration of
work-seekers whose expectations are not met are the most susceptible to
service delivery protests," it said.
This trend had probably been tipped by the recession and growing issues
of inequality, especially where allegations of municipal
maladministration and corruption fuelled community frustration.
"It is hoped that this assessment will highlight both successes and
failures in the work of municipalities and in so doing, assist to
improve local government delivery," Municipal IQ said.
WCCA Campaign - news update
18th November, 2009: Memorandum to Mike Mabuyakhulu
Today a protest mass march was held by Street traders organisations and
committees that do not support a Mall development in Warwick as the City
is planning. Below is a copy of a memorundum that was presented to the
MEC for the Economic and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu. This memorundum was
accepted and signed by Leonard Mabaso, Speaker from the office of the
+- 3000 traders marched and demonstrated from Curries Fountain to
outside the City Hall.
presented to Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC for the Economic and Tourism,
Provincial office on Wednesday 18th November 2009
Unique Warwick precinct informal traders’ community
With more than 2,1 million working people and turnover exceeding R32
billion, the “second economy” is a force to be reckoned with. The Early
Morning Market and Warwick Junction precinct consists of 7000 – 10000
traders, porters and other informal workers in a unique market community
with a 99-year heritage, serving hundreds of thousands of the low-income
consumers in the eThekwini municipality.
We, as members of the affected community, object to the eThekwini
Municipality’s plans to destroy this unique community and to replace it
with yet another monstrous large retailers’ mall. Recent developments
have seen huge shopping complexes mushroom in every corner including
townships, accommodating large retailers such as Pick & Pay, Shoprite,
Spar, who are all able to purchase products in bulk directly from
manufacturers and producers, and whose goods are affordable to
We and other members of the disadvantaged communities of eThekwini have
sustained our livelihoods in the Warwick Junction precinct and made a
significant contribution to the economy during the troubled political
past, while our political resistance played a meaningful role for our
democratic government. The market vendors and street vendors are a large
community of poor people, whose livelihoods will not survive being
replaced by this kind of private capitalist venture.
Lack of consultation and forced removal
We object to the manner in which the eThekwini Municipality has treated
street and market traders and the organizations who fight for the rights
of poor people. The eThekwini Municipality has taken unilateral
decisions which affect our lives negatively, without consulting us.
Comrades who serve in the eThekwini Municipality are not following the
mandate of the people, i.e. “South Africa belongs to all who live in it,
black or white, and no government can justly claim authority unless it
is based on the will of the people.” The administration and the approach
on this matter constitute the same forced removal for which the
Apartheid government was famous.
We are in full agreement with the need to regulate informal trade.
However, this must be done in a humane way which respects human rights,
including our rights to our livelihoods. We voted for you not only to
beautify the City, but also to serve the needs of the people.
We the various Street vendors associations feel that the MEC for the
Economic and Tourism, provincial office, Mr. Mike Mabuyakhulu and his
team has been undermined by the eThekwini Municipality to such and
extent that Business and Markets Support Unit has arranged marches, talk
shows, media conferences and picketing outside the High Court not
respecting the provincial task team recommendations that issues
concerning the Warwick precinct development need to be resolved amicably
We therefore demand:
1. Business and Markets Support Unit should be dissolved because it is
only supporting major businesses and not small, medium or micro
enterprises. It is the duty of the Business and Markers Support Unit to
upgrade and develop Informal Traders and small markets;
2. eThekwini Municipality must preserve, promote and support the
sustainability of our unique informal trading community in the Warwick
Junction precinct, and find somewhere else to build their mall;
3. eThekwini Municipality to upgrade and extend the market in order to
accommodate all informal traders under shelter;
4. if eThekwini Municipality genuinely wishes to upgrade the economic
activities of informal traders, this should be done by means of
cooperative wholesale and bulk purchase initiatives owned and controlled
collectively by informal traders, enabling them to eliminate “middlemen”
and increase their earned income;
5. Street trading by laws need to be revisited – there should be no
impounding of goods;
6. Police harassment to stop – there should be intimidation by police
for contact show of permits;
7. eThekwini Municipality must reform informal traders’ permit system in
agreement with informal traders and their elected representatives,
temporary permits to be scrapped – permanent permits should be given to
8. Mr Phillip Sithole should be removed from his position as the Head of
the Business and Markets Support Unit as he has no vision for the poor
informal traders, he supports only the rich capitalist;
9. Full access to the I-Trump Hall as this is a community hall, no
informal traders should be denied access to this facility;
10. eThekwini Municipality to get their act together and stop bussing in
traders from other areas who have no direct interest in Warwick
development to be used as pawns in agreeing with their plans. This is a
clear misuse of public funds and resources.
11. A fully fledged Police station to be deployment with a large number
of permanent police to the Warwick precinct which are visible to ensure
reduced crime in the area. Metro Police must wear full uniforms when
they are on duty and street traders can longer be expected to do the
duties of the police in this area.
12. eThekwini Municipality must enter into serious formal consultation
in good faith with all organizations of informal traders;
13. eThekwini Municipality must guarantee either a traders’ permit or a
job for every adult earning a livelihood from informal trade;
14. eThekwini Municipality must commit to the demands of the World Class
Cities for All (WCCA) campaign, to ensure that informal traders have
equal access to opportunities to benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Masibambisane Traders Organization (MATO
Traders Against Crime (TAC)
Early Morning Market Association (EMMA)
South African Self-Employed Women’s Association (SASEWA)
Warwick Informal traders’ interim committee
Warwick residence committee
Stanger Informal traders committee
Verilum Informal traders committee
Tongaat Informal traders committee
Bester Informal traders committee
Pinetown Informal traders committee
Isipingo Informal traders committee
Umlazi Emaweleni Informal traders committee
Umlazi Megacity Mall Informal traders committee
Durban station Informal traders committee
Bovine Head traders committee
Herb market traders committee
World Class City for All (WCCA) campaign task team – Durban
Phumzile Xulu WCCA Co-ordinator Durban
Mobile: +27 82 422 9487
World Class Cities FOR ALL (WCCA) Campaign launches
in Nelson Mandela Bay 16th November, 2009:
The World Class Cities For All Campaign launch in Nelson Mandela Bay is
being held on Tuesday 17th of November, 2009, from 2pm -4pm at City Hall.
The WCCA Campaign launch is making a public call for the WCCA Campaign
demands to the municipality on the preparations for 2010 FIFA World Cup
that no evictions of street vendors and the urban poor take place
without alternatives being provided, as well as for social dialogue and
negotiations to take place.
A reportback will be given on the meetings that have been held so far
held between WCCA Campaign and the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
The following organisations have been invited to speak at the launch:
StreetNet International and WCCA Campaign
Representative from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
Nelson Mandela Bay WCCA Campaign partners are:
Informal traders’ organisations, COSATU, SANCO, SAMWU, SACP, Taxi
The Nelson Mandela Bay WCCA Campaign launch follows the launch of the
Campaign in Cape Town on 12th October, 2009.
For more information contact:
Paul Shambira: WCCA Campaign organiser 073-6245389
23rd October, 2009: Cape Town Mayor accepts Western Cape Informal
Traders Coalition (WCITC) submission
In what is seen as a major breakthrough, the Mayor instructed Mr.
Mohamed (Director economic development and Tourism) to facilitate a day
long workshop between all role-players as soon as possible. This he
intimated might be held at the Good Hope Centre and possibly within
weeks rather than months. The coalition welcomes this development and
views it as an opportunity to better convey our concerns. We
congratulate the Mayor on this bold step, one which we had hoped might
have been implemented a while ago by the responsible City officials.
The lines of communication are once again open and the coalition shall
use them to the advantage of its constituency. The Mayor accepted our
submission and promised to investigate further. (From reportback by
WCITC on meeting, 23 October, 2009)
23rd October, 2009: Durban - Residents were moved to toxic landfill to
make way for Umlazi Stadium for 2010 Games
At a Hearing on Poverty and Climate Change in South Durban on August 20
2009, former residents reported that their houses in Umlazi D Section
were demolished to make way for the expansion of the Umlazi Stadium for
2010 FIFA Games. The residents were removed to live in temporary shacks
on a toxic landfill site with no services, far away from hospitals and
clinics – in an area where ambulance services are not willing to venture.
The WCCA Campaign Task Team is taking up the issue. (Report from
StreetNet News No 17)
23rd October, 2009: Cape Town - Molo Songololo holds Round Table on
Child prostitution & 2010 FWC & beyond
Molo Songololo received various report of children being prostituted in
Cape Town and surrounding area. Report also alleges that brothels,
gangs, pimps, individuals, family members and even ‘children’ are
recruiting teenagers to meet that perceived demands for sexual services
during 2010 FWC. The roundtable will discuss and verify these concerns
and identify possible responses to combat child sexual exploitation.
Click here for Molo Songolo Meeting invitation
23rd October, 2009: FIFA's games are not so sporting
Transparency International reports that journalist Andrew Jennings has
investigated allegations of ticket racketeering, vote fixing and corrupt
marketing deals in FIFA hosted games and FIFA President Sepp Blatter is
in the centre of it.
Please note Streetnet has new e-mail addresses:
Information, website, newsletter: firstname.lastname@example.org
1008 Salmon Grove Chambers
407 Smith Street
Telephone (27) 31 3074038
Fax (27) 31 306 7490
Press Release: Traders Against Development In The Early Morning Market
This press release was emailed out at : 18 November, 2009 18:04
Today's march by informal traders, against the City's multi-million rand
Warwick Development development, is in total contrast to the numerous
consultative meetings that were held by the Municipality and the street
traders, Head of City's Business Support & Markets Unit, Philip Sithole
Less than 200 informal traders staged a march today, 18 November 2009,
chanting slogans and hoisting posters denouncing the Municipality in its
endeavour to upgrade the Early Morning Market area, ahead of the
2010 Fifa World Cup.
They demanded that the City's by-laws be reviewed so that they could
also enjoy the benefits of the World Cup during 2010. Philip Sithole
says, "informal trade by-laws are derived from the Business Act and if
they want them to be changed, the Municipality should be told about such
clauses and proper deliberations should take place to address such.
Furthermore, traders can only continue operating in designated areas
only. He says only those who have shops within the Moses Mabhida Stadium
precinct will be allowed to trade and no informal trading will be
allowed around the stadium during 2010.
Themba Duma, the chairperson of Masibambane Traders Organisation, was
speaking on behalf of the traders said that the Municipality has failed
the traders and barred them from `open' engagement and consultation
processes pertaining to Early Morning Market development. Responding to
such allegations, Philip Sithole, says that "the Municipality has always
had an open door policy and consultation has been on top of his agenda.
He adds that Themba Duma and his group of traders are always invited to
meetings organised by the Municipality and in many instances he
distances himself from such meetings organised by the City. He says Duma
has always been vocal in supporting development initially, and even
moved the motion supporting development and that the Unicity Informal
Economy Forum, which he was part of, can confirm that. I am surprised by
his about turn since he knows everything about the proposed development
and the developers plans were presented in his presence.
It should be clearly pointed out that the Municipality cannot issue
permanent permits to traders at this stage since these are renewable and
only given to deserving individuals. "I would also like to dispute that
street traders are bussed to Council meetings in order to support
development in Warwick Avenue but would like to clarify that
arrangements can only be made if such meeting are called to clarify the
position of the Municipality only.
The Municipality is at an advanced stage with traders and will always
assist them in organising a wholesale distribution network that will
ease the burden of street traders who have to buy and sell at a profit.
Some of them are already on board and we are pursuing this initiative as
it is," says Sithole.
Many people support this development. This year in August, about 35
traders organizations signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU), where
they declared that they are in support of the development. Tthe proposed
new R400-million shopping mall development would help "alleviate
traders' sufferings" and pave opportunities for struggling traders,
while creating much-needed job opportunities and economic growth for the
Lennox Mabaso, on behalf of the MEC for Economic Development & Tourism,
Michael Mabuyakhulu, received the memorandum from the street traders.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality, Communications Unit. Contact Themba
Nyathikazi on 031- 311 2286 or e-mail email@example.com
21 arrested during protest
SAPA 17 November 2009
Mafikeng – Twenty-one people were arrested for public violence during a
service delivery protest in Seweding near Mafikeng, police said on Tuesday.
Superintendent Lesego Metsi said about 500 residents embarked on a
protest when their demand to be addressed by the North West premier was
"At around 10:00 yesterday, the residents gathered at the local stadium
demanding to be addressed by the premier,” he said.
“When their demand was not met they started burning tyres and
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and 21 people were
Started throwing stones
"They started again in the evening," said Metsi.
Residents gathered at a councillor's house and started throwing stones.
One of the councillor's children was injured and a window was broken.
Police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse them.
Those arrested appeared in the Molopo Magistrate's Court in Mafikeng on
Tuesday and face charges of public violence.
10 appear over exam disruption
Sapa 17 November 2009
Ten members of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) appeared
briefly in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court yesterday in connection with
the disruption of matric exams in Cape Town last week, reported the SABC.
They were granted R300 bail each and the case was postponed until
December 10 for further investigation.
The 10 were charged with public violence and assault with the intention
to do grievous bodily harm after matric exams were disrupted in Langa,
Khayelitsha and Philippi in protest against the planned closure of
Lagunya Finishing School.
The Western Cape education department obtained an interdict against
Cosas on Friday night.
Spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said the interdict restrained Cosas from
gathering or causing a gathering within 300m of any examination centre,
restrained Cosas from disrupting any educational activity, intimidating
or attacking any pupil, teacher or invigilator and restrained the
student body from preventing pupils from writing their exams and
damaging property. - Sapa
Residents protest against alleged nepotism
Sharika Regchand (Pietermaritzburg Bureau) 16 November 2009
Municipal vacancies filled without advertisements, nepotism and the
wasteful use of public funds were among the concerns raised by residents
of the Umtshezi (Estcourt) Municipality in a memorandum to Local
Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube yesterday.
About 500 residents protested outside the municipal offices yesterday
and handed an eight-page memorandum to a local government department
In it, the residents also complain of issues including alleged irregular
land sales, high electricity and rates charges, and housing and
"Our anxiety stems from the fact that, since the beginning of 2001, we
have witnessed the gradual decline of our municipality. Overall,
governance has declined. Accountability is almost non-existent. There is
gross financial mismanagement. Employment of people without the
requisite skills is commonplace. Nepotism is rife.
This breaking news flash was supplied exclusively to iol.co.za by the
news desk at our sister title, The Mercury.
For more about this story, carry on watching iol.co.za or click here to
subscribe to the digital or print edition of the newspaper.
"We are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy," reads the memorandum.
Notes on the Police Attack on the Pemary Ridge Settlement
From Abahlali baseMjondolo 14 November 2009
The Sydenham police arrived at Pemary Ridge at around 8pm on Friday
night in one private car.Three police officers first went to a woman's
tuck shop. They found that the shop was closed, and proceeded to kick
down the front door. The woman, hearing the police and fearing they
would damage her shop, entered through the back door. When she entered,
they arrested her for having bottles of beer in her shop.
In the hours that followed, the police tore through the settlement,
kicking down doors, issuing beatings with fists, batons, and even
household items. The police shot, at random, with live ammunition,
within close range of people and their homes. They assaulted both women
Before the shooting began, one man, who was walking by the tuck shop of
the arrested woman, was beaten by police, without explanation. Another
man, who was walking home from work, unaware of what was happening in
the settlement, was beaten on the street. He was told by police officers
that "it was to teach you people a lesson," and so that when he returned
home injured from work, "that lesson would be brought back to the
Other people were beaten by police inside their homes. One man from the
Arnett Drive settlement was visiting friends, sitting inside and
talking, after work. The police kicked down the door, shouting that they
were "looking for ganja." He, the two other men and two women inside,
said they did not have any ganja. The police said, "don't make us look
stupid" and that they "smelled ganja." The man said whatever the police
thought they were smelling was not ganja; he drinks alcohol, but does
not smoke ganja. A police officer then hit him, repeatedly, for "talking
back," and for "trying to make them look stupid." The officers then
began beating all 5 people inside the home, including the two women.
Blood covered the floor of the home, and the door remains off its hinges.
The police were not finished. Shortly thereafter, once another police
van had arrived, the officers returned to the home, and pulled the man
that they had already assaulted outside. They dragged him to the street
that runs along the top of the settlement, and then beat him bloody
again with batons and fists all over his body - injuring especially, his
back and knees. The police said that they were "teaching him a lesson."
With difficulty, the man managed to escape, and ran to the bush to hide.
Some people gathered outside to see what was happening: while standing
and talking, both women and men were beaten by police. An estimated two
men and three women were arrested. Other police officers began shooting,
with live ammunition, at random, in close range of people and their
homes. People ran, and hid in the bush.
Many women in the settlement then began to form a barricade in the
street at the top of the settlement. At first, the women put stones and
a log in the street, and then they put tires and set the barricade
alight. Later, the police forced some of the people they arrested to
remove the smouldering remnants of the barricade with their bare hands.
Again, the police returned to settlement, with an estimated additional
14 or 15 officers. The police, again, shot live ammunition at random,
while most people hid in the bush.
11 women and men were arrested. It is difficult to estimate how many
people have been injured at this stage. However, the 11 people arrested
apparently were assaulted, their friends and families members, who
witnessed the beatings, say. Another 6 people, among those who remained
at the settlement overnight, had visible injuries, swollen wounds and
bleeding. There have been no reported bullet wounds, despite that
police, on two separate occasions, fired live ammunition inside the
Philani Zungu is the former Vice President of Abahlali andthe current
chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo in Pemary Ridge. Philani's home was
shot through with at least one bullet. The police were using live
ammunition that night, as the community confirmed when they found the
bullet casings the following day. At the time, people were fearful that
this was a shoot-to-kill scenario. Many fled the settlement when the
first round of shooting began. Some hid in the bush down near the river
while the police fired. After the second round of police shooting, some
people left the settlement entirely for the night, as they feared the
police would return. Residents went to the Arnett Drive settlement (also
affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo) for the night, or to friend and
family homes elsewhere.
At 11:30pm, residents themselves called an ambulance. The ambulance
arrived at around 12:30am. The ambulance took one man to the hospital,
with head injuries from police beatings. The others, who were also
injured and bleeding, were not taken to hospital, as the ambulance
attendants said their injuries were not serious enough.
Several Abahlali members from Pemary Ridge went to the Sydenham police
station around 2:30am to inquire about those who had been arrested. A
police officer told them that 11 people were arrested. He said they
could not see the arrested, and that visiting hours were at 12pm on
Saturday. He said that the arrested had not been charged yet, but that
they would appear in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court on Monday. When
asked if those arrested had received medical attention, he denied that
they were injured. He said that the 11 arrested were not injured, and so
have not received any medical attention.
The local Abahlali baseMjondolo branch organised a small press
conference in the settlement this morning. About 60 residents attended
the press conference. Later on an Abahlali baseMjondolo delegation went
to the Sydenham Police station to demand a meeting with the police. The
officers on duty used the excuse that they could not speak for those on
duty last night. However a few members of the delegation were allowed to
visit the prisoners. The prisoners said that four of them are seriously
injured and that their requests for medical attention had been refused.
Medical attention for the four was requested by the visitors but the
police told them that 'we know when to call a doctor and when not to.
Who the hell are you to tell us how to do our job?' The detainees have
still not been charged. It was confirmed that they are scheduled to
appear in the Pinetown Magistrate's court on Monday.
This is the third time, since the attacks in Kennedy Road, that the
Sydenham police have brutally harassed and arrested residents of Pemary
Ridge. The last two times, the police said it was for the
self-connection of electricity. Everyone knows that the the police
attacks on Pemary Ridge are part of the wider ongoing attack on Abahlali
Emergency Press Update from Abahlali basePemary Ridge
Abahlali baseMjondolo 14 November 2009
Police Attack on Pemary Ridge - 11 arrested, at least 15 injured
The attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo continues.
The first van from the Sydenham Police Station arrived at the Pemary
Ridge settlement at 8:00 p.m last night. The police officers went to a
woman's tuck shop and kicked down the door saying that they were looking
for alcohol. At the time, a man was walking by, and the police assaulted
him – they struck him, and swore at him. His sister, who saw the attack,
screamed in terror. When members of the community gathered around to see
what was happening, the police opened fire, and started shooting people
at random. Some residents ran to the river to hide fearing a shoot to
kill operation. Others assembled at the top of the road, and began
burning tires in protest. More police arrived and they attacked the
people protesting on the road opening fire several times. They then went
from shack to shack kicking down the doors of residents' homes and
assaulting people in their homes. People were beaten bloody with fists
and batons. Some were also pistol whipped. The police fired several
rounds into Philani Zungu's shack.
At least 15 people have been badly injured but we can't give the final
figure yet as many people scattered into the bush down by the river and
some are too scared to return to the settlement.
11 people were arrested and are being held without charge in the
notorious Sydenham Police station where many Abahlali baseMjondolo
members, and other poor African people, have been badly assaulted, and
at times even tortured, over the years. Most recently the Kennedy
Thirteen were severely assaulted in the Sydenham Police Station. Many of
the people who have been arrested were visibly injured when they were
arrested and community members saw them being beaten further as they
were arrested and put in the vans. But the police are denying that they
are injured and have denied them medical attention.
The Pemary Ridge Eleven will appear in the Pinetown's Magistrate's court
on Monday. It is not yet clear what they will be charged with. Visiting
hours at the Sydenham Police station today start at 12:00.
This is the third attack on the Pemary Ridge settlement by the Sydenham
Police since the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo in Kennedy Road. The
last two times they came and arrested people for connecting themselves
to electricity. This was an attack on the whole community. Before they
left the police said "This is a lesson - tell the others."
The total number of people arrested since the attack on Abahlali
baseMjondolo began on 26 September 2009 is now 32. There is no democracy
for the poor in Durban. In this city if you are a poor person the police
are dangerous criminals and you must fear them.
A full and detailed statement will be issued soon.
eThekwini kukhala abangcwele.
S'bu 076 7438427
Pemary Ridge Under Police Attack Now; Shooting Continues
Abahlalibase Pemary Ridge 13 November 2009
At 8pm this evening, a Sydenham police car arrived at the Pemary Ridge
settlement in Reservoir Hills. The armed officers went to a home, and
kicked down the door. At the time, a man was walking by, and the police
assaulted him – they struck him, and swore at him. His sister who saw
the attack screamed in terror. When members of the community gathered
around to see what was happening, the police opened fire, and started
shooting people at random. Some residents ran to the river to hide. They
reassembled at the top of the road, and began burning tires. More police
arrived and opened fire several times. The police are continuing to
shoot at random now. They are kicking down the doors of residents'
homes. All press are urged to rush to the scene.
The whole of this, and last month, is just reports of the police
shooting. 2010 has arrived, and by by the time the tournament comes, the
stadium will be full bullets.
Sbu 076 7438427
Anti-Eviction Press Release
On behalf of Mandela Park
12 November 2009
Yesterday morning, two Mandela Park residents were assaulted by four
Chippa security guards at the instruction of the local SANCO
chairperson. The two residents along with 7 witnesses went to the police
station to lay a charge against the guards. As retribution, the local
SANCO chairperson laid a counter charge of intimidation against one of
the residents who he ordered to be assaulted - backyarder Khaya Xintolo.
Khaya was then arrested and kept in police custody for more than 11
hours even though the detective himself admitted that there was no case
Khaya was reluctantly allowed to leave after fellow backyarders demanded
his immediate release. He will appear in Khayelitsha Magistrates Court
at 9am this morning. Mandela Park residents will be present in numbers
to support Khaya and to testify against the SANCO chairperson and the
Chippa security guards.
Yesterday evening, more than 300 residents took to the street. We staged
a strictly peaceful protest (but some residents warn that the patience
of the community is running out). We roamed through most of Mandela Park
for many hours singing and toyi-toying.
The protest was in part a response to the continued violence and
intimidation against community activists by police, security guards and
the SANCO affiliated leadership. But the protest was also to demonstrate
our grievances and to let the government know that they must not ignore
the residents of Mandela Park. There is still a serious housing crisis
here in Mandela Park.
MEC Bonginkosi Madezikizela has lied to us over and over. Yesterday he
gave houses to people from Gugulethu but ignored promises made to our
own community. Yesterday, our protest was to let Madezikizela know that
our patience is running thin and that he better start addressing our
Constitutional right to housing. Mandela Park is a ticking time bomb and
the MEC is making it tick even faster each time he lies to and misleads
For more information, contact:
Sluja at 071 433 1101
Nosipho at 073 587 8980
Loyiso at 073 766 2078
They hate us, says Zimbabwean woman
Natasha Prince Staff Reporter 17 November 2009
Scores of De Doorns residents, most of them farmworkers, ripped down
shacks belonging to Zimbabweans this morning, accusing them of "stealing
The Zimbabwean families were forced to pack up their belongings and seek
refuge in a community hall in the Hex River Valley town, which is about
two hours from Cape Town.
As residents, armed with sticks and stones, raced through the
Ekuphumleni informal settlement tearing down makeshift homes, police
fired rubber bullets and used a stun grenade to disperse them.
Angry residents said they wanted the Zimbabweans to leave De Doorns and
that local farmers were opting to employ the Zimbabweans ahead of South
One Zimbabwean woman, who was too frightened to give her name, stood
alongside the N2, which runs through De Doorns, her belongings stacked
"They hate us because we work harder than them and we work every day,"
the woman said.
This breaking news flash was supplied exclusively to iol.co.za by the
news desk at our sister title, the Cape Argus.
(Some terrible photos of an organic Red Ant style xeno-removal squad:
De Doorns quiet, calm - for now
17 November 2009
Cape Town - While there is still a police presence in De Doorns, the
situation is calm and quiet, Supt Desmond van der Westhuizen said on
Earlier in the day, thousands of foreigners, most of them Zimbabweans
and some from Lesotho, fled their homes after tensions flared up with
locals who claimed that foreign nationals accepted lower wages and
robbed locals of jobs.
Van der Westhuizen said most of the 3 500 foreigners who fled De Doorns
are at a sports field and tents will be erected there for them to stay in.
Many others will be accommodated by farmers who they work for.
The immigrants will stay on the field for at least seven days.
The Western Cape department of social development will provide food for
Meanwhile, police are maintaining a visible presence in the township as
some Lesotho nationals are still there.
Local residents earlier on Tuesday destroyed a number of shacks rented
by foreigners and tried to prevent foreign nationals from getting onto
the trucks of farmers coming to collect them for work.
Spokesperson for community safety MEC Lennit Max said that local
officials settled on a temporary arrangement with locals to leave the
A meeting is set to take place on Wednesday between councillors,
disaster management, police and the farming community about the way forward.
Delivery protest in KZN
SAPA 13 November 2009
Durban - A service delivery protest is expected to take place on Monday
at Estcourt in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, the organisers said on Friday.
"We have compiled a list of 14 points in our memorandum which we want to
be received by the local government MEC Nomusa Dube," said Bongani
Dlamini, the ANC leader in the area.
He said the Umtsezi Municipality was failing to deliver services such as
electricity and that its leaders were involved in corrupt activities.
"We want the MEC to come and receive the memorandum. We have
been told that she will come," he said.
Dube's spokesperson Vernon Mchunu was not immediately available to comment.
The Daily News
Symbol of hope silenced: Abahlali community is not perfect. Nor does it pretend to be, writes Sarah Cooper-Knock.
Sarah Cooper-Knock 12 November 2009
In the wake of the violent attacks on Kennedy Road in September,
Abahlali baseMjondolo has once more been carried into the media
spotlight by a whirlwind of vitriolic criticism and impassioned defence.
The ferocity of this exchange exposes not only the base injustice of
those attacks, but also a broader battle for the soul of South Africa.
This battle is waged over conceptual and material issues: the political
space for opposition; the role of citizens in a democracy and service
delivery to the country's poorest citizens.
In a country characterised by gross inequality, 3.6 million citizens
live in informal settlements.
Often, these shack-dwellers are cut off from basic services of water,
sanitation and electricity; unheeded in their call for ambulances or
police help and exposed to the threats of floods and fire.
Fifteen years after the end of apartheid, many are left to wonder when
their promised land - the new South Africa - will arrive. The range of
rights embodied in SA's constitution seem as distant as ever.
It is in this liminal space of citizenship that Abahlali baseMjondolo
operates. Its diverse membership draws people who are disenfranchised
from many of the services and promises the state has offered.
Abahlali members join to fight for dignified citizenship, claiming their
constitutional right to sustainable housing. In doing so, they have
pushed the state into a position of uncomfortable self-reflection,
challenging the complacency (or complicity) of those who seek to live
off the laurels of the anti-apartheid struggle without delivering the
promises which 1994 held for the most disadvantaged South Africans.
Abahlali is not perfect. Nor does it pretend to be. It is as dignified,
beautiful and flawed as the humanity from which it is drawn. But it is
neurotically democratic, impressively diverse and steadfastly self-critical.
In the 10 weeks I spent with the group on fieldwork, debate and
discussion was relentless, at all levels. Women's camps, Youth camps,
camps with the Poor People's Alliance; community meetings, Fire Summits,
AGMs, the list goes on ... slipping out of one all-night meeting at 4am
I cradled a chicken burger in Sydenham before dragging myself home to bed.
Much of my time with the organisation was spent in Motala Heights, Joe
Slovo and Kennedy Road, although I visited many other settlements. While
Abahlali baseMjondolo is fighting for housing and the right to shape
their future as dignified citizens, each individual settlement
democratically deals with local issues.
The community at Motala lies on the far side of Pinetown, stretching
between a largely Indian settlement of tin shacks and shacks for blacks,
which cling to the side of a nearby hill.
Driven by courageous women like Shamita Naidoo and Louise Motha, the
community has fought off evictions and attacks from the local capricious
landlord. Most recently, a member of the Abahlali Youth League, Bongo
Dlamini (who tragically died last month) built a much-needed creche for
the children of Motala.
Joe Slovo lies just beneath Lamontville township. Just visible through
the trees beyond the houses, the N2 flows into the city. Mama Kikine and
Busisiwe Gule have seen the settlement change beyond recognition over
the past few decades. The initial shacks were hidden among the foliage
and tolerated by nearby houses, who offered shack dwellers ad hoc work.
Numbers grew as locals came to escape the violence in the nearby township.
Most recently, the settlement was upgraded, as "matchbox" government
housing replaced the original shacks. As with many projects, however,
allocations were skewed by corruption and confusion.
Several residents still carry slips bearing the promise of their new
houses, where others now live. Despite contesting the allocation in
court, these residents are forced to remain in their shacks, under
threat of eviction.
Many face the physical scars of living in shacks for so many years,
unable to fully protect themselves against the rain and chill of winter.
Some also bear the physical scars of protest.
Mama Kikine's back is marked by the six rubber bullets fired while she
ran away from police, who opened fire on a peaceful protest for housing.
Track the N2 into the city and you will find a much larger informal
settlement, stretched between intersecting highways in central Durban.
Now infamous, because of the recent attacks, Kennedy Road is home to
around 7 000 residents.
The creche, community hall, and Abahlali head office were the beating
heart of this community. Abahlali's computer was often commissioned to
write up CVs and job applications for the local community. In their
library, books from political giants mixed with community poetry,
writing and films.
The vast concrete community hall, built in the early 1990s, was packed
out at least once a week by community meetings, with latecomers
struggling to stand at the back or spilling out into the fenced banks
Meetings tackled crucial but controversial topics, including settlement
expansion, waste collection and shack fires. Contestation was fierce and
long, decisions were made and unmade, ideas were tested.
Elections in Kennedy Road, for Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Kennedy
Road Development Committee were similarly squeezed for space.
Myself and two others acting as independent monitors watched as the
group nominated three candidates for each post, counting the votes that
were subsequently cast.
Allegations have been flying in the recent furore that the KRDC or
Abahlali are undemocratic bodies, that the leadership has been
self-imposed (or at least self-sustaining) in these communities. That
kind of mud is easy to sling but it will not stick on the organisations
or individuals who I met.
The leaders of both organisations were tired. Their reluctance (or
refusal) to stand for re-election was not born from any false modesty.
It was the product of a weariness that stemmed from months (and
sometimes years) of endless duties, keeping them from their families and
One such reluctant leader was Lindela Figlan; totally committed to his
community and totally exhausted by the end of his year as head of the
KRDC. During the celebrations at his re-election I shook his hand in
congratulations ... "ah yes, but Sarah" he said, exhausted, "how am I
going to get through another year?"
Lindela's words now appear depressingly prophetic, given the violence
that has driven him and others from their homes. In my recent M Phil
thesis, I had written of the increasingly co-operative, constructive
relationship that was being built between Abahlali, the KRDC and key
members of the municipality.
The nascent dialogue being established was a symbol of hope; a sign of
what a new South Africa, with all its complexities, could be.
The eruption of fear and the fracturing of lives that has followed the
attacks in September are a stark reminder of the past from which we
hoped we had escaped.
# Cooper-Knock is a PhD student at Oxford University who spent nearly
three months in Durban studying relations between informal settlements
and the municipality.
Angry Blikkiesdorp women give Zille a torrid time
Aziz Hartley – Cape Times 12 November2009
RESIDENTS of Blikkiesdorp in Delft confronted Premier Helen Zille
yesterday and demanded that the DA provincial administration provide
them with proper housing.
Angry women told Zille, on a visit to the area, that nothing has come of
promises housing MECs made before and after this year’s elections.
Blikkiesdorp, a temporary relocation area, has become a place of misery
for families living there, they said.
While community activist Priscilla Ludidi told Zille that Cape Town
mayor Dan Plato had said that proper houses would be built on vacant
land in the area, families had to wait until next year.
Other women demanded to see the housing waiting list.
They claimed they’d waited for up to 25 years while people who applied
much later had received houses.
Zille undertook to investigate their claims and explained that many
problems arose while the government’s N2 Gateway housing project was run
by housing agency Thubelisha Homes which has become bankrupt. She said
the provincial housing authority worked closely with Thubelisha’s
replacement, the Housing Development Agency, and that 2 000 houses would
be constructed soon.
“But I must stress that there are many other families who also have to
be considered,” Zille said.
The DA provincial government changed the housing allocation from 70-30
to 50-50 for people in informal settlements and backyard dwellers
respectively, Zille said. She also promised to investigate if people
were properly registered on the waiting list.
Zille explained that there were 430 000 families on the list and
upgrades of places such as Blikkiesdorp were undertaken while people waited.
“I promise you that we’ll have a transparent process so that everyone
understands what is happening. We have nothing to hide, but I must say
that not everyone will be helped immediately,” Zille said.
A Blikkiesdorp mother, Matilda Groepe, demanded to see the waiting list.
“These are fake promises. Where are our houses? We have been dumped here
by the DA. To think that we are the people who put you in power. You
just talk and talk,” an incensed Groepe shouted at Zille.
Other residents complained about drugs, prostitution, illegal shebeens
and poor living conditions in Blikkiesdorp.
“We have two families in one shack. In one side there are two teenagers
and a baby who have to share a bed with their parents. The place is wet
and our children are getting sick,” a tearful Shireen Mars said.
The city council set up Blikkiesdorp last year to house about 450
families evicted from unfinished N2 Gateway houses they illegally
occupied in December 2007.
The area has since been expanded and currently accommodates about 10 000
Invitation to Mandela Park Housing Indaba at Sizimesele Secondary School 14 November at 9am
The following letter was sent by the Mandela Park community inviting
officials from the City, Provincial and National governments towards
dialogue on the Mandela Park Housing Crisis. The Mandela Park community
would also like to extend this invitation to members of the media so as
to document the voice of our community.
For more information, contact: Mabhuti at 082 997 8475, Sluja at 071 433
1101, Nosipho at 073 587 8980 and Loyiso at 073 766 2078.
DEAR HONORABLE LEADERS
THIS SERVES AS A KIND INVITATION TO ALL STAKE-HOLDERS TO A MANDELA PARK HOUSING INDABA THAT WILL BE HOSTED AT SIZIMESELE SECONDARY SCHOOL IN KHAYELITSHA ON THE 14TH NOVEMBER 2009, STARTING AT 9AM
THE HOUSING SITUATION IN MANDELA PARK HAS BEEN VOLATILE FOR A WHILE NOW AND WE CALL ON YOU AS OUR LEADERS TO COME AND ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY ON A RANGE OF ISSUES THAT MOSTLY PERTAIN TO HOUSING AS WELL AS SERVICE DELIVERY IN GENERAL IN THIS AREA. THE URGENCY OF THE MATTER IS SUCH THAT IF COLLECTIVE ACTION FROM LEADERSHIP (BOTH LOCAL AND PROVINCIAL), THE LARGER COMMUNITY AND ALL RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS IS NOT TAKEN, WE COULD
FIND THIS SITUATION ESCALATING TO EVEN WORSE PROPORTIONS THROUGH PROTESTS AND THE LIKE. THESE ACTIONS OFTEN OPEN THE COMMUNITY TO CRIMINAL ELEMENTS AND ANIMOSITY. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY IF DIALOGUE AMONGST PEOPLE AND LEADERSHIP IS HONEST AND FORWARD THINKING.
HENCE THE CALL FOR THIS ENGAGEMENT THIS COMING SATURDAY. IN AN UNFORTUNATE CIRCUMSTANCE OF YOU NOT BEING AVAILABLE FOR THIS MEETING.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT A REPRESENTATIVE FROM YOUR OFFICE IS AVAILED.
Housing delivery won’t happen overnight
Eyewitness News 12 November 2009
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has promised that construction on the
N2 Gateway project will resume in the next few months.
She addressed residents of Blikkiesdorp, near Delft, on Wednesday after
they had bombarded her with their housing concerns.
Zille accepted an invitation from the residents, under the impression
that they wanted to address education issues.
Some residents complained they have been on the housing waiting list for
more than 10 years.
Zille promised the province’s housing allocation process would be
Residents accused the mayor of being like her political counterparts,
the ANC, and that she would not bring about any change in their lives.
Zille was adamant however that something would be done, but that it
would take time.
“There are huge numbers of people waiting, and we have to do it in a
proper way and in a sustainable way.” - Eyewitness News
Cosas vows more school protests
IOL 14 November 2009
After raiding several schools and tearing up the exam papers of hundreds
of matric candidates, the Congress of South African Students has vowed
to continue fighting against the closure of the only finishing school in
the Western Cape. After the second matric exam in two days was disrupted
by protesting Cosas members yesterday at schools in Khayelitsha and
Philippi, MEC for Education Donald Grant was granted an interdict in the
Cape High Court barring Cosas from disrupting exams.
Yesterday Cosas members stormed two schools in Philippi and tore up
pupils' physics exam scripts. But the schools had replacement papers and
the exams started again with the pupils finishing the new papers.
However, it is not known when the pupils from Langa High, who had their
English First Additional exams disrupted on Thursday, will sit the paper
again. The Education Department said candidates would be notified.
Grant met Premier Helen Zille yesterday and consulted Basic Education
Minister Angie Motshekga before applying for the interdict to bar
protesting Cosas members. After raiding Langa High on Thursday, the mob
attempted to force their way into three other schools in Langa on the
same day. Yesterday the crowd stormed Thembelihle High School in
Khayelitsha, but the matrics had not yet started writing their physical
Frustrated, they regrouped at Khayelitsha station and then headed to
Philippi's Sine-themba High where they entered classrooms and disrupted
the exam. They then charged off to Intsebenziswano High School, climbed
over the fence, disrupted the exam and tore up papers. There were
unconfirmed reports that two pupils had been injured in yesterday's fracas.
Cosas members are protesting against the possible closure of Lagunya
Finishing School. It is the only school left in the province where
pupils who failed matric can repeat subjects at a cost of R50 a subject.
Cosas provincial chairman Benjamin Zantsi said they had tried to meet
Motshekga to plead with her not to close the school.
"The minister promised to get back to us and she has not. Cosas
leadership along with pupils in the area decided that if she does not
want to listen to us then we will have to disrupt exams so that they can
come down to our level. If these pupils fail they will have to go to the
finishing school where they will see that the school is effective and
relevant," Zantsi said. They would continue their fight since most of
their members could not afford to complete their schooling at expensive
"The only way for them to get a second chance is through the finishing
school which is affordable. There was an unfortunate end to our actions
with two pupils getting hurt, but we have tried to meet with the
ministers," said Zantsi. "We are going to continue our fight but we will
have to change our tactics and find other non-violent strategies. We
will also try to assist police to make sure whoever is turning violent
will be dealt with and face the law."
But in a statement yesterday, Grant said: "We simply cannot tolerate
this kind of thuggish behaviour which prejudices the rights of pupils
writing the most important examinations of their lives. "Minister
Motshekga has backed our decision to seek an interdict. She has also
indicated that she has spoken to the Presidency which has given its
support for tough action to be taken against anyone who disrupts any
Commenting on the interdict, Zantsi said: "I am not surprised and no one
will stop Cosas until Cosas decides to stop. We are not scared of the
interdict." Grant wrote to Lagunya Finishing School on September 31
stating that it would be closed on December 31. The Education Department
has previously said that the current model for schooling in the country
does not make provision for the operation of finishing schools. A public
consultation process on the closure is yet to be finalised. IOL
Motsoaledi to probe supply of ARVs in the Free State
XOLILE NTUTU (Mail & Guardian Online) 13November 2009
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has undertaken to personally
investigate the cases of HIV-infected patients allegedly refused
antiretroviral treatment (ART) in the Free Sate, as reported by the Mail
and Guardian two weeks ago.
Listen to an audio recording of Free State health minister Sisi Mabe's
One of the patients, Nanaki Mohajane, died in Bloemfontein's National
District Hospital in October. Medical reports show medical staff failed
to give her life-saving ARV drugs.
Another, Lerato Tsamai, moved to a private clinic when her CD4 count --
a measurement of the strength of a patient's immune system -- plummeted
to 25. She said that nurses at the National District Hospital and state
clinics in Mangaung refused to give her antiretrovirals.
Activists attribute the refusal to administer ARVs to drug shortages and
a lack of trained medical staff.
In the M&G article, Free State health minister Sisi Mabe denied that
there was a shortage of ARVs in the province.
However, Motsoaledi told the M&G: "I don't know why she would say that.
We've heard, especially from the TAC, about these types of problems in
the Free State -- particularly with regard to management of the supply
Mabe also told the M&G that patients with CD4 counts as low as Tsamai's
did not receive immediate treatment because it would negatively affect
their health and they should first undergo "nutritional therapy".
This outraged doctors and activists, who say ARVs should be administered
in such cases within two weeks.
Said Motsoaledi: "The question of whether somebody is reacting
[negatively] to ARVs must be left to doctors; it can¹t be an issue
determined by politicians. I even told her [Mabe] that. But she now
denies that she made such a statement."
Motsoaledi is meeting the CEOs of all state hospitals next week to
discuss the challenges relating to ARV availability.
He has asked the TAC to submit a detailed report of the problems in the
Free State to acting HIV/Aids director, Thobile Mbengashe.
Meanwhile, the TAC is planning a protest march to Mabe's office.
Mail & Guardian
Corruption not only a public sector problem, Vavi asserts
Esmarie Swanepoel 13 November 2009
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary general
Zwelinzima Vavi said it would be a "fatal mistake" for the business
community to see corruption as a problem which only affected the public
"The private sector is deeply implicated as well, with millions of rands
being lost in white-collar crime within businesses. Corruption is a
massive problem that society as a whole has to unite, to overcome," Vavi
said at the recent Business Unity South Africa (Busa) anti-corruption forum.
He added that a "disturbing culture of corruption" had taken root in the
"It is a culture which, I have to be frank, has been imported into our
movement from the business sector. While of course the majority of
businessmen and women, and we can say the same about our political
leadership, obey the law and do not get involved in corruption, there is
a capitalist culture which praises and rewards those who accumulate the
most wealth and despises those who fail."
Vavi added that the business sector had always been run on the basis of
survival of the fittest, where the "principle of dog-eats-dog" applied.
"This culture has lead to the obscene levels of salaries, bonuses and
perks for top executives, which has led to South Africa becoming the
most unequal society on earth."
He added that the recent community protest around service delivery
issues could also be attributed to corruption.
"Resources intended for the public good are being diverted to
individual's pockets so that the poor are deprived of desperately-needed
basic services. It is also the theft of our taxes that we work so hard
to pay, in order to improve public service."
He further noted that within the public sector, high-ranking officials
often created future business opportunities for themselves, then left
public service to work in the same sector within a private company, to
profit from opportunities they created as public servants.
Cosatu was demanding that at the very least, a five year cooling off
period, after public servants left the public office, should be required
before any positions within the private sector was accepted.
Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister Andries Nel
agreed that corruption took place not only in the public sector, but
also in the private sector.
"Recent corporate scandals, including price fixing, indicate that legal
instruments are not fully complied with. The current global meltdown is
a result of, among other things, noncompliance with corporate governance
measures in the business sector."
Nel noted that if no action was taken against corruption, its adverse
effects would be felt in different ways, by people throughout society,
especially the poor who made up the majority of the population.
"Business gets compromised, democratic institutions and values are
undermined, service delivery and sustainable development are hampered,
which in turn leads to other problems."
He noted that a holistic approach was needed to deal with corruption,
and the role of government was to provide a stable environment that
facilitated the growth and development of business, in line with
national and international standards and ethical norms and practices.
"Over and above the introduction of legislation to outlaw corrupt
practices, there is a need to adopt sector specific measures to ensure
that the intended message is communicated and necessary systems are
established for us, as a country, to be victories in the fight against
Police: We've been shooting civilians for years
Sapa CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA 13 November 2009
The shooting of civilians by the police started at least three years ago
and cannot be attributed to recent "sensational" media reports, the
secretary of police said in Cape Town on Friday.
Jenny Irish-Quobosheane, the public's representative in the police
department, told journalists in Parliament the ministry had noticed an
increased number of shootings of civilians by police officers in the
past three years.
"Those shooting haven't just started in last couple of months," she said.
"Over the last three years the ministry has noticed an increased number
of shootings of civilians by police officers. So I don't think you can
attribute those to what is being printed quite sensationally in the media."
Reports of civilians being shot dead increased sharply since government
ministers told the police they should take a tougher line on criminals.
In a recent case, a police constable was arrested for allegedly shooting
dead three-year-old Atlegang Aphane in Midrand. The constable had
apparently mistaken a metal pipe the child was holding for a gun.
In a speech on Thursday, Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said it
was unavoidable for civilians to die in the crossfire between police and
"In the course of any duty the innocent will be victimised," Mbalula
told reporters in Parliament.
"In this particular situation where you are caught in combat with
criminals, innocent people are going to die not deliberately, but in the
exchange of fire. They are going to be caught on the wrong side, not
deliberately, but unavoidably.
"Yes. Shoot the bastards. Hard-nut to crack, incorrigible criminals."
Irish-Quobosheane said the ministry was strengthening the Independent
Complaints Directorate to deal with the shootings and effects were
already being seen. The officer arrested and denied bail for Aphane's
murder was a case in point.
Separate legislation for the ICD to be introduced in the new year would
further strengthen it.
The ICD's annual report released some months ago blamed the shootings
on, among others, poor training and jumpiness by the police due to being
regularly shot at.
President Jacob Zuma said the government planned to "expedite" changes
to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act in a bid to "limit the
number of police killed by criminals".
According to Section 49, if someone suspected of a serious crime resists
arrest, the police may "use such force as may in the circumstances be
reasonably necessary to overcome the resistance or prevent the person
concerned from fleeing".
It also gives police the right to use lethal force if their lives or
those of innocent bystanders are in danger.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Mbalula and national commissioner Bheki
Cele have all suggested the act puts too heavy a discretionary burden on
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, who attended the briefing on Friday, said
Section 49 was being amended so there would be "no ambiguity" on how
police should behave themselves in situations where they may have to use
"People are trying to explain Section 49. Let's wait until we get
wording that chief state law advisors are devising. That hopefully will
be in line with guidelines the Constitutional Court has indicated.
The procedures he said, "will be yardstick to police how to behave under
those trying circumstances".
Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel said the government "regrets" the
death of every innocent victim of crime.
"We are simply saying to the police, do your work," he said.
"Do your work vigorously with dedication, within bounds of law. Where
law said the use of force and deadly force is warranted, do that and
have no reservations, but do it within bounds of law." -- Sapa
Protesting BRT staff suspended
Thabiso Thakali November 14 November 2009
Disgruntled Bus Rapid Transit system volunteers who went to Joburg mayor
Amos Masondo to blow the whistle on alleged corruption and nepotism on
Rea Vaya have been suspended.
Six of the workers who led the march to the mayor's office a week ago in
protest against unfair practices by the Metropolitan Trading Company
(MTC), which runs the BRT, were informed of their suspension this week.
About 40 Rea Vaya staffers, including cleaners, station ambassadors and
security personnel, had complained bitterly to the City of Joburg about
their treatment at work, which included being overlooked for permanent
They also complained of being paid late and having to work longer than
agreed without being provided transportation to their homes after work.
The volunteers, whose contracts expire at the end of the month, claim
management has reneged on an earlier agreement to consider them for
The station management of the first leg of the BRT has been thrown into
disarray in recent weeks with claims of shoddy and unprofessional work
being provided by contractors, including a human resources agency.
In an e-mail sent to the City of Joburg's head of transportation, Lisa
Seftel, the MTC's BRT project manager, Vasco Ndebele, said the companies
were posing a "reputation risk for the BRT as some were not run very
"We are seeking guidance and opinion on whether to terminate all related
contracts and what process to take in the interim while the negotiation
process is being finalised," Ndebele wrote.
One of the suspended workers, Mfanafuthi Dumakude, said they had been
promised to be considered for full-time employment after their three-
month contracts expired.
"However, we were shocked recently to realise that the very same
positions we were promised had been given to other people from a human
resources agency who were not trained or interviewed for the jobs.
"We raised concerns about this and other grievances, but management
failed to act on them until we decided to march to the mayor's office."
Another suspended employee, who preferred not to be named, said their
stipends were much less than promised.
"We have been threatened many times with dismissal for asking too many
questions," he added.
MTC spokesman Lucky Chepane said the six suspended workers were viewed
as a threat to the smooth operations of the BRT.
"During their strike, they intimidated the station staff, stole station
keys and closed down stations, forcing commuters to disembark from the
buses, thus threatening the safety of commuters," he said.
"The volunteers were given a three-month contract to assist commuters to
understand Rea Vaya."
Chepane added that the company would investigate the workers' concerns.
"The company has continued to meet with station staff as part of
understanding the challenges faced by them, and this process has enabled
it to give feedback on areas of improvement," he said.
"They (the workers) were suspended on full pay to allow a fair
disciplinary process that will be concluded before the end of their
o This article was originally published on page 4 of The Star on
November 14, 2009