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SA Protest News 22 -28 March 2010 (2010) SA Protest News 22 -28 March 2010.  : -.

Jika Joe residents battle cops over disconnections
Thami Magubane 26 March 2010

RESIDENTS of the Jika Joe informal settlement in the lower CBD were
yesterday engaged in running battles with police after they allegedly
disconnected illegal electricity connections.

The disconnections come after numerous complaints from other residents
near the settlement, who said the connections have put the electricity
supply under severe strain, resulting in numerous power outages.

According to the residents, yesterday’s skirmish began last week when
Msunduzi municipal electricians tried to remove the connections.

They were allegedly stoned by the residents. The police were called in
and they used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

Some residents sporting bruises allegedly sustained during that
incident, said police were shooting indiscriminately.

Sifiso Mkhize, one of the injured, said he was not even part of the
fracas when the police shot him.

“I was just coming out of my room and the police were just shooting.

“One of the bullets hit me in the arm and even now my arm is still

After last Thursday’s skirmish, police returned in numbers yesterday to
stand guard as municipal employees removed all the illegal connections.

There were at least nine police cars.

The angry residents resorted to throwing all the rubbish from the
settlement into Masukwane (East) Street, demanding that the police
remove all the rubbish, which they say was last collected before the
municipal strike.

They blockaded the road with rubbish, old fencing and wood.

Police then sealed off the entrances to the settlements between
Masukwane and Burger streets.

The police had to remove the rubbish themselves to open the roads.

Community leader Bheki Dladla said the residents threw rubbish on to the
streets to vent their anger.

“The rubbish here has not been collected since the municipal strike,
despite them paying for it to be removed, and the community is just
angry about that.”

He said the residents will no longer siphon off electricity from the
transformers as they were negotiating with the municipality to install
proper meter boxes.

The process manager at the Msunduzi Municipality, Maxwell Mthembu, was
not available for comment.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed that last Thursday,
the police had an altercation with the residents after they had tried to
stone municipal employees. She said the police used rubber bullets to
disperse the crowds.

“A similar protest took place yesterday.

“However, no violent incidents were reported,” she said.

South Africa admits violent protests can cloud World Cup
By ANI 26 March 2010

London, Mar. 26 (ANI): Even as South Africa gears up to host World Cup this summer, its government has acknowledged the possibility of violent protests breaking out during this year’s football carnival.

With poor sections of the country demanding access to basic services, South Africa has been rattled by escalating township protests over the last month.

“Obviously we are concerned. The violent and destructive nature of some of the protests is unacceptable,” The Telegraph quoted Themba Masek, a government spokesman, as saying.

“We do not want to see these demonstrations, especially during the World Cup, when the country’s attention and focus should be to be the best host ever,” he added.

Shootings, arson and stone pelting during the recent demonstrations have prompted the government to raise the security levels ahead of the June 11 World Cup.

But on Thursday, the head of the South African Army Chief to announce a security shake-up in the face of escalating violence.

Lieutenant General Solly Shoke told a press conference in Pretoria that the military would take over responsibility for border patrols on April 1 in order to free police officers for fighting crime.

“We are ready to help where needed with the World Cup. All army leave has been cancelled over this period. We will be on high alert,” Lt Gen Shoke told reporters

“This World Cup is not about security. It’s about enjoyment. People must be allowed to come here and enjoy the soccer,” he assured. (ANI)

Service delivery protests continue in Mpumalanga
Sapa 22 March 2010

Sixteen more people were arrested in Leandra at the weekend after three buildings were set alight during service delivery protests, Mpumalanga police said on Saturday.

Thirteen people were arrested initially, but this number has since gone up to 29, said Captain Leonard Hlathi.

"It was quiet today (Sunday) but not last night," he said.

A group had set fire to a municipal office, the local Civic Centre and a construction company office at around 8pm on Saturday.

"All were destroyed in totality but no injuries were reported," he said.

Earlier on Saturday, protesters barricaded the R50 and stoned passing cars, destroyed property, buildings and police vehicles.

The protest, which began on Thursday, was over poor service delivery.

Meanwhile, one person was injured when police shot at a crowd that was charging towards them in Oogies. Thirty-two people were arrested.

Residents took to the streets on Thursday complaining about local mines giving jobs to foreigners instead of locals.

They burnt a truck, two bakkies and vandalised property.

The protesters also took belongings of a police reservist from his house and burnt them.

Hlathi said the arrests in Oogies remained at 32. - Sapa

Mineworkers down tools at Gold One
NUM 24 march 2010

Over one thousand mineworkers downed tools at Gold One Mine- Modder East Operations in Springs last night as part of a protracted legal strike action over wages. The mineworkers were awarded a certificate of non-resolution by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after failing to bring the parties to agree. The dispute is over a living out allowance as many of the workers have been recruited from as far as Limpopo and Matlosana. Thus, these workers fall within the cracks as they do not qualify for RDP houses whilst at the same time do not qualify for housing loans from the banks. As a result of Gold One ‘s unwillingness to pay living out allowances, shacks are mushrooming adjacent to the mine ‘s premises. Negotiations have been going on since last year with no results. The NUM calls on Gold One to come to the party and meet the demands or face a crippling protracted strike action.

The other disagreement is over the duration of the agreement. Gold One mine is owned by Gold One International Limited, an Australian multinational listed on the financial markets operated by ASX Limited (the Australian Securities Exchange) and JSE Limited (the Johannesburg Stock Exchange).

Lesiba Seshoka (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719

'Taxi operators not excluded from World Cup'
Mail & Guardian 24 March 2010

Four bus drivers were injured when their vehicles were stoned during a one-day taxi strike in Cape Town on Tuesday, amid rising tensions related to the roll-out of the new rapid bus system.

"They sustained minor injuries when stones were thrown at the buses. They received attention and they are not in hospital anymore," said police spokesperson Andre Traut.

The strike in Cape Town follows protests in Johannesburg last week where police fired rubber bullets at striking taxi operators over the new bus system which is being introduced ahead of the Soccer World Cup.

Taxi associations claim they are being excluded from the global soccer showpiece but officials have denied this.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gauteng Provincial Transport Minister Bheki Nkosi said the notion that "the taxi industry has no role to play during the World Cup is unfounded and misleading," he said in a statement".

Regional transport top official Robin Carlisle said he was outraged at the stonings in Cape Town, which police believe are linked to the taxi strike.

"I am furious that the body [of taxi drivers] was involved in acts of violence and intimidation including pelting stones at buses," he said in a statement.

"The warlords and bully boys in the taxi industry are its own worst enemies."

South Africa is rolling out new bus systems in several Soccer World Cup host cities to overhaul a legacy of poor public transport.

The Western Cape chapter of the South African National Taxi Alliance warned against the new system last week.

"Whoever implements it, it will be over our dead bodies," regional chairperson Mandla Mata told a meeting of 500 operators on Thursday, the Cape Argus reported.

Spokesperson Mvuyisi Mente told the South African Press Agency on Tuesday that the alliance was a non-violent organisation and could not be blamed for the stonings.

In Johannesburg some operators, like those associated with the United Taxi Association Forum (Utaf), claimed the government was taking over routes which they saw as their "intellectual property".

By December last year, the Johannesburg council and the city's taxi industry said 167 operators had agreed to take their vehicles off the road in return for compensation of over R3-million from the city.

Utaf spokesperson Ralf Jones said city was also clamping down on illegal taxis as a means to further the system. -- AFP, Sapa

Shack dwellers up in arms
Corrinne Louw 23 March 2010

There was a tense stand-off between protesters and police when members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo took to the streets of Durban yesterday to demand that the government take action to help the poor and homeless.

Shop owners closed their doors when the police tested their water spray trucks and cordoned off roads with a heavily armed police force when the marchers stormed down West Street.

The march by the Abahlali baseMjondolo (shack dwellers association) and Rural Network had to be diverted from the Durban City Hall, with the police and marchers squaring off. Earlier city officials had obtained a court order to prevent protesters from gathering near the city hall.

The protesters, whose main demand was housing, converged on Albert Park in Durban to voice their grievances.

Abahlali baseMjondolo president S’bu Zikode said: “We are not just asking for housing, we are marching for human dignity, respect, equality and justice.

“Of course we would like basic services like shelter and toilets, but our concerns are much bigger than that. The land and the wealth of this country must be shared equally.”

“It’s a disgrace and an insult that our city manager, Mike Sutcliffe, has not allowed us to march to public buildings and is violating our human rights on Human Rights Day. The city hall is a public building,” Zikode said.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Poor People’s Alliance, Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape, Western Cape Anti- Eviction Campaign and the Landless People’s Movement in Gauteng showed their solidarity with the protesters by marching with them.

In a hard-hitting memorandum Abahlali baseMjondolo said: “For too long those of us living in shacks have suffered without enough water and without toilets, electricity, refuse collection and drainage.

“Therefore we demand decent social services in all our communities so that we can live in safety, health and dignity.”

Alliance Coordinator Desmond de called on the crowds to boycott the 2010 World Cup.

“The government has failed the poor of this country. They have taken money that was meant for us and used if for the 2010 World Cup.

“We will boycott the Soccer World Cup because it is not for us. We must not go to the stadiums because there is a constant onslaught on the poor.”



SAMWU members at Madibeng Local Municipality in the North West province went out on strike which started on the 25th February 2010 and ended on the 12th March 2010. The strike was for the immediate dismissal of the Acting Chief Finance Officer, Ms. Nana Masithela who was appointed on a six months contract that started in November and would end on the 30th April 2010.

When appointing this CFO, the Executive Mayor gave a CV to the then Municipal Manager saying that the incumbent was deployed by the Minister for Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs to recuperate the bad financial situation of the municipality. This statement by the Executive Mayor was a pure lie that misled the Council meeting to resolve on her appointment per resolution A.1077 on a salary scale of R75 412.50 per month.

SAMWU shop stewards at Madibeng municipality visited the Office of the Minister on the 28 January 2010 where they discovered that the Minister’s Office did not know how the Acting CFO was deployed to Madibeng municipality and on her unbecoming actions and behaviour.

What made SAMWU members angrier is that on her (Nana Masithela) arrival at the municipality, she did the following, which we consider as unacceptable;

Dismissal of the external auditing company that was appointed by Council resolution to audit the finances of the municipality and appointed her own company without any Council resolution.

Her refusal to pay for material that was deemed important for the provision of service delivery to the communities e.g. she refused to pay for chlorine that was to be used to clean the water as the entire community of Madibeng municipality was drinking dirty and stinking water.

Her use of harsh, derogatory and unacceptable language to junior employees.

Her appointment of a legal firm called Ramonamane Legal cc. without Council resolution.

Her maltreatment of service providers who wanted their payments while service providers that were appointed by her were paid without any delay.

She appointed her younger sister without following correct recruitment procedures of the municipality. There was no advertisement, short-listing and interviews for the post.

She paid R6 500.00 per month to her younger sister while other employees at the same level and doing the same job with her sister were earning R3 500.00 per month.

She invested R49m of the municipality to a Trust Account of the very same Ramonamane Legal firm without any Council resolution and without even informing the Municipal Manager.

All the above issues were raised with both senior management and politicians and it was finally agreed that her service with the municipality be terminated with immediate effect per Council resolution A.1170 of 12 March 2010.

The resolution supra satisfied the workers and they returned back to work on Monday, 15 March 2010.

What makes SAMWU more and more angry

The Provincial Task Team of the NEC of the ANC convened a meeting with all ANC structures at Madibeng municipality on Monday, 15th March 2010 to announce that the municipality is being placed under section 139(1) (b) of the Constitution, which means that all the executive powers of the Mayor, the Single Whip and the Speaker as well as that of the Mayoral Committee and Council are being withdrawn.

After that announcement, the Executive Mayor of Madibeng, Mrs. Sophy Molokoane-Machika wrote a report on her capacity and convened a special Council meeting on the 18th March 2010 which resolved for the reinstatement of the very same problematic Acting CFO per item A.1171.

1. That the Mayor has realized that she and her accomplices will no longer be able to loot the municipality after the deployment of the Administrator by the National or Provincial government.

2. That the deployed Administrator may extend the contract of the Acting CFO seeing that he/she may not be able to perform properly without the CFO in the municipality. Thus creating conducive environment for those who were looting the municipality to loot more.

3.That the report to reinstate the CFO was supposed to be prepared by the Acting Municipal Manager and not the Mayor herself.

SAMWU therefore demands;

That the municipality speed the appointment of the CFO.

That Ms. Nana Masithela should not be reinstated as she has proven not to know or understand the Municipal Finance Management Act.

That should point 1 supra be impossible, the Provincial or National Government deploys a knowledgeable incumbent to be the CFO of Madibeng Municipality.

We further demand that the Mayor refrain from interfering in administrative issues.

That the resolution to reinstate Nana Masithela be rescinded with immediate effect.

For further comment contact July Khoza, SAMWU shopsteward at 073 434 5476 or Fafi Mthombeni at 079 992 0353.

Issued by
Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity officer.
Office: 011-331 0333.
Cell: 0829403403.

Zuma in S.African shantytown, vows to improve services
AFP 20 March 2010

President Jacob Zuma visited a shantytown outside Johannesburg and vowed
to improve public se