||Truckers to stage protests
Fin24 14 February 2011
Johannesburg - South African truckers planned protest rallies on Monday to support a wage strike launched at the weekend.
The South African Allied Transport Worker's Union (Satawu), the biggest body in the trucking industry and three other unions that in total represent more than 30 000 truckers, are demanding a 20% salary increase over the next two years, housing allowances and shorter working hours.
"The strike is going to continue indefinitely until the demands are met," Satawu first vice president June Dube told Reuters.
Trucking industry group Road Freight Association has offered a 7.5% rise this year and 7.5% next year.
The strike has not had any major impact yet on transport, said Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, labour relations manager with the Road Freight Association. "We will be having meeting with the unions on Tuesday," she said.
Unions say the strike will have a devastating impact on Africa's largest economy.
"All sectors of the South African economy and neighbouring states will be affected," Dube told Reuters.
Community kills alleged rapist
IOL News 12 February 2011
Ezimangweni community members, outside Durban, killed a man who allegedly kidnapped, raped and killed a nine-year-old girl on Friday night, KwaZulu Natal police said.
“The man, 30, was killed after he allegedly showed the community where he dumped the body. He was killed by the community early today (Saturday),” said Director Phindile Radebe.
The girl was with her grandmother when she was kidnapped.
Radebe said the man allegedly dropped his cap when he kidnapped the girl.
“We have been told that the cap helped the community to locate the suspect. The community beat him and he showed them where he dumped the body,” said Radebe.
She said the man was found in possession of wonga drugs - a lethal combination of antiretroviral (ARVs), marijuana, rat poison, clay and detergents. - Sapa
University suspends academic classes
Sowetan 11 February 2011
AFTER two days of student protests, management at the troubled Durban University of Technology (DUT) yesterday suspended all academic activities at Durban campuses until Monday.
In a statement, the university's vice-chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa said: "Due to the difficulties we have experienced during the course of this morning, such as vandalism and fears for the safety of staff and students, we have now decided to suspend academic classes with immediate effect.
"The academic programme will resume on Monday, February 14."
Bawa said staff were expected to report for work, but stated they should observe safety precautions.
SRC secretary Gwajo Hadebe said: "We will be meeting with the Young Communist League to determine a possible solution considering management's slow response.
"We also want to meet with Sadtu to seek assistance on how to deal with students' concerns."
The students are demanding the registration of students who still owe money to the university.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Mdunge said they did not receive any call from the university regarding violence.
"We received no reports on vandalism or on students' unacceptable behaviour," Mdunge said.
Chaos as police fire rubber bullets in G'Town
David Macgregor & Zandi Radebe 10 February 2011
Police fired rubber bullets and shotguns loaded with rocksalt at angry residents of Phaphamani township outside Grahamstown on Thursday during a march to protest high crime rates and the lack of service delivery, reporters on the scene said.
Dispatch reporter David Macgregor said at least 100 people were involved in a tense stand-off with police after shots were fired earlier on Thursday to disperse the crowd.
"People are protesting, saying the area they live in was not safe and that the municipality was not listening to them," Macgregor said.
Freelance journalist Zandi Radebe said the protest started around 8pm last night when residents staged a sit-in at the Makana Municipal offices in the scenic university town.
The sit-in and protest were organised by two local non-governmental organisations: the Woman's Social Movement and the Unemployed People's Movement.
It focused on the high incidence of rape in Phaphamani, as well as unhappiness over crumbling RDP housing and a demand that the bucket toilet system be replaced with modern facilities.
Radebe said police broke up the sit-in late Wednesday and when protesters tried to march to the council offices on Thursday, they were told the march was illegal.
Police then fired on the crowds. No serious injuries were immediately apparent.
Three leaders - a woman belonging to the Womens' Social Forum and two men from the Unemployed People's Movement were arrested and charged with public violence.
They were expected to appear in court on Friday.
Radebe said the situation remained tense with residents burning tyres and blocking the access road to Phaphani.
The Makana Municipality was not immediately available for comment
Prof. Jane Duncan
Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society
School of Journalism and Media Studies
Tel: +27 (0) 46 603 7185
Fax: +27 (0) 46 603 7189
COSATU NW supports NUM members at Hernic Mine, Brits
COSATU 10 February 2011
The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the NW province support workers who are on legal strike fighting for their rights against the contractor employed at Hernic mine under the so called super-exploiting labour broker, Hydro Sebenza, which is supposed to be led by the so called BBEEE, but has only white racist directors.
The COSATU Provincial Secretary will be leading a delegation tomorrow with the NUM to demand that the management of Hernic and its directors must make sure that all those 400 workers who are dismissed for fighting for their rights are back to work. Workers have been on the strike for two weeks and some were shot by a racist security company last week.
COSATU demands that all the workers must be back at work and that the management must give a full response the issues raised in the demands and must stop using scab labour against workers’ rights and stop using their white racist security to threaten our members.
Today, 10 February 2011, during the preparation of the State of the Nation address, we will be preparing to extend the fight against the exploitation of our members by a labour broker assisted by Hernic.
As again we request the police to protect our members not the white colour.
For more information, feel free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary, Solly Phetoe, on 082 304 4055.
Westonaria workers and community to protest!
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT
10 February 2011
Some 1000 Workers and members of the community of Westonaria Local Municipality will be embarking on a protest action as of tomorrow; workers will be delivering a list of reasonable and legitimate demands to the Municipal Manager T. Ndlovo.
Workers of this Municipality are concerned about the Municipality and service delivery in the area and are therefore calling on the management to address their concerns immediately.
Some demands workers will be delivering to management;
1. Filling of vacancies, as per agreement.
2. Rent allowance.
3. Back-pay owed to certain employees.
4. Travelling allowance disparities.
5. Employees who have been in an acting position for more than 3 months to be appointed.
6. Reviewal of the Organogram.
7. Complaints and promises to be addressed; emanating from quarterly and monthly meetings.
8. Lack of transparency.
9. Unilateral decision making.
10. Wasteful expenditure.
11. Restructuring and transformation.
12. Training and education of employees.
13. Disclosure of information.
14. Shift allowance
15. Salary disparity.
Above are some of the issues workers have been complaining about for a long time. Workers firmly believe that if management listens to them and accepts the reasonable demands stated above, then the Municipality will be managed better and service delivery will be better administered.
Where; Daveton Street, Westonaria, opposite the testing station.
When; 11 February 2011 at 8am.
Members of the media are invited and encouraged to attend and report on the 1000 strong protest to take place.
For further comment contact SAMWU’s Branch Chairperson Chiya Dumisani on 071 862 0141 or 079 026 2953.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity Officer.
Office: 011-331 0333.
Tyres Burnt in Cape Housing Protest
Sandiso Phaliso 8 February 2011
Cape Town — Black smoke billowed across morning rush hour traffic as angry backyarders in Nyanga blockaded Lansdowne road with burning tyres on Tuesday, forcing commuters to find alternative routes to work.
The Backyarders from Nyanga's Mau-Mau, Old Location and White City areas were protesting over the lack of housing for them and demanding the provincial government allocate houses to backyarders in housing projects in the area.
About 500 protestors blocked the busy thoroughfare of Lansdowne Road for hours before police forced them to disperse by firing rubber bullets.
Protestor Mzimasi Khonkco, 19, who lives in a backyard in the area, said backyarders were opposing the fact that newly built houses were being allocated to shack dwellers from other areas rather than to backyarders living in the same area as the housing project.
He said backyarders had also been waiting for houses for "over a decade". Backyarders also believed promises to them had been broken.
Khonkco said before construction on the housing project began, he and other backyarders were told that certain of the houses would be allocated to them.
"We were supposed to have been handed keys before December, but we were told that there are delays.
He said he was then "surprised" to learn that the houses they believed would be handed over to backyarders, were given to "shack dwellers".
"We oppose that," said Khonkco.
Backyarder Amos Nembezinye, 30, said they will protest until the provincial government listens to them.
"We are not going to stop until our voices are heard. We are fed up with empty promises. Other backyarders from other areas are listened to but no-one cares about us. We're doing this (burning tyres) because we want to be heard and attended to," he said.
Motorist Mvume Sibane, 26, who transports schoolchildren from the townships to Cape Town's suburbs, said the protest meant all the children he was ferrying would be late for school.
"What the protesters are doing is not on. Why can't they use the right channels if they are dissatisfied with something?" asked Sibane.
Ward councillor David Tshambula was not available for comment by the time of going to print.
Nyanga police spokesperson Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi said the police were forced to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd as they "were blocking the traffic and burning tyres which damaged the road".
She said three people - a man and two women - were arrested for public violence and would appear in court this week.
"We appeal to the community to refrain from engaging in unlawful protests," said Sitshitshi.
She said people needed to apply to engage in peaceful lawful protest.
"People should follow formal channels to solve problems they encounter in their areas. They must know that if they break the law we will arrest them because through these protests, people's properties are damaged."
Zalisile Mbali, spokesperson for provincial Human Settlement MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, confirmed the protests.
He said there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesday with the areas sub-council committee to resolve the issue.
UJ students gatecrash VC's party
Mail & Guardian 7 February 2011
Unresolved tensions between students and management at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) erupted on Friday last week at the university's high-glamour launch of its Soweto campus, revamped at a cost of R400-million.
Glitterati at the event included Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who gave the keynote address, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, UJ chancellor Wendy Luhabe and ANC national executive committee member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
UJ management's "victimisation of and lack of respect for" student leaders led to the planned disruption, students who were involved -- some of whom are Student Representative Council (SRC) members -- told Mail & Guardian at Friday's ceremony. They said they also wanted suspended SRC president Emmanuel Mapheto to be reinstated.
Before Motlanthe started his keynote address, students in T-shirts with ANC Youth League, Young Communist League (YCL) and Sasco logos sang protest songs and shouted slogans such as "Forward with free buses, forward!" and "Down with bus fare, down!" (referring to the costs of travel between UJ campuses in central Johannesburg and Soweto).
The revamped campus -- formerly Soweto branch the now disbanded Vista University, which had eight campuses around the country -- has buildings named after struggle heroes such as Helen Kuzwayo, Robert Sobukwe and Bram Fischer.
As the students continued protesting and singing, a clearly upset Ihron Rensburg, UJ's vice-chancellor, said they would be removed from the venue if they did not stop. It was only after the students met deputy vice-chancellor Adam Habib and agreed to a later meeting that the protests stopped and the formalities could commence.
Rensburg remarked that even the most perfect preparations do not run the perfect course and said it was "sad" that management and students had not reached common ground on the matters under dispute.
"And so the students of Sasco have seen it opportune to present their case," Rensburg told the assemble guests. "There's nothing wrong with that -- it is just the manner in which it is done."
SRC president Emmanuel Mapheto has been suspended for a year after an SRC-organised party got out of hand late last year and a security guard was almost attacked by students, said Habib.
But Kholofelo Selepe, YCL treasurer and spokesperson for the Doornfontein SRC of UJ, said Mapheto's suspension was the very "victimisation" they were referring to.
He said the SRC president had been suspended because he refused to sign UJ documents concerning fee increases and bus fares. UJ students will from this year pay a R2 per bus trip between campuses, down from the R5 management had orginally stipulated, said Selepe.
"These charges were not brought against him but we suspect that these two factors influenced the decision to suspend him," Selepe said.
Habib said the SRC president had been charged with unbecoming conduct after his address at last year's bash incited students who almost attacked the security guard. Mapheto was found guilty and then appealed, but the university upheld its decision and suspended him for a year.
Habib said the university did not want to destroy the future of a student but could also not let unbecoming conduct go unpunished. "We had a meeting on Thursday [last week] with the student that the other SRC members are fighting for and came to the agreement that we will facilitate his move to another institution; and should he wish to return to UJ after a year he is more than welcome," said Habib.
Pupils set to protest over teacher cuts
Thabo Jijana 4 February 2011
Parents and teachers of Mary Waters High pupils will be right behind them when they take to the streets on Monday, in protest, after their third successive week without crucial classes.
The provincial education department took the radical step last year of declining to renew the contracts of temporary teachers, saying they needed to conduct an audit before they assigned what they considered extra staff to schools.
Grocott’s Mail previously reported that 4 219 temporary teachers’ contracts were terminated last year, largely due to overspending by the department. “We’re fed up. It’s us who will be badly affected – not our parents, and not our teachers,” said Mihlalikazi Swartbooi, 18.
“This will have a bad impact on our end-of-year results. We feel unlucky because we have less teachers, and we seriously need help,” said Geneva Bouwer, 20.
While Mary Waters pupils claim their school is the worstaffected in Grahamstown – the school is short of 11 teachers across all its grades, including in Grade 12. other local schools affected by the layoffs include Victoria Primary, TEM Mkrwetyana High (both one teacher short), Nombulelo High and Nathaniel Nyaluza
High (both three teachers short).
Victoria Primary is paying the temporary teacher from its own coffers; others have chosen to share teaching duties among the remaining staff.
“Our frustration has reached boiling point,” said Mary Waters High principal, Samuel Wessels, after the school decided at a recent parents’ meeting to take their frustrations on to the streets on Monday.
“The future of our Grade 12s looks bleak, because even though everyone tries to go the extra mile, the education we give to our children is not the same as when we have a full staff,” said Wessels.
Wessels, like the other remaining 27 teachers, has stepped in. He has taken over the Grade 12 history class. But even with sharing teaching duties, Wessels said, the children’s education was being compromised.
Errol Goliath, chairman of the school governing body, said there was now one teacher to 40 or 50 children – far above the department’s required 1:35 ratio.
Goliath said while each class was supposed to receive five lessons a day, lack of staff meant pupils could now miss an entire day’s classes, because there was no one to teach them.
“We are trying to build normality in an abnormal situation,” said Wessels. A parent whose child is in Grade 8 at Mary Waters High said, “I feel as if my child's right to education is not being honoured.”
The parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, claimed the Grade 8s had not been taught anything since opening day, except for introductory classes on the first day of school, January 19.
To make matters worse, said Grade 12 pupil, Phiwokuhle Bay, 18, sharing teachers meant students who understood little Afrikaans, including her, suffered, since sometimes a teacher was fluent only in that language. Some teachers, she said, had taken to addressing classes in both English and Afrikaans.
“We have exhausted all avenues,” said Goliath. On Monday, parents, school teachers and pupils will march from the school grounds to the local district office of the education department on the corner of St Aidans Avenue and Milner Street, to hand over a petition containing their demand for more 11 teachers.
Anxious not to be caught short when the June exams arrive, a group of Grade 12 Physics and Mathematics pupils will start an after-school study group with their counterparts in Nombulelo and Nathaniel Nyaluza high schools.
At the time of going to print the department’s spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani had not responded to our queries.
Bus drivers continue strike
Mail & Guardian 10 February 2011
Johannesburg Metrobus drivers were still on strike on Thursday morning in protest against their new shift schedule, the bus company said.
"We will be meeting with the union today to try and resolve the problem," Metrobus managing director Herman van Laar said.
Only a "small portion" of drivers were on strike -- about 70 out the 500 employed. They were affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and were unhappy about the new driver shifts implemented from December 6 2010.
However, Van Laar acknowledged many routes across the city were affected.
The bus company had changed the shift system to "improve services and meet market demand".
Drivers took their feet off the gas on Wednesday afternoon, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
"Metrobus wishes to extend its sincere apology to the thousands of stranded commuters and assure them that the company is doing all in its power to resolve the situation," spokesperson Esther Dreyer said in a statement.
"Our new shift system adheres to the law. In fact it is in line with bus driver shifts for the bus transportation industry as a whole." -- Sapa
Students disrupt UJ unveiling
Independent Newspapers 4 February 2011
SRC members at the University of Johannesburg have disrupted the unveiling of the institution's revamped campus, attended by deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe.
The students, some in ANC regalia, sang struggle songs as their leaders opened proceedings and welcomed guests on Friday. These included businesswoman and UJ chancellor Wendy Luhabe, and former education minister Naledi Pandor, who is now science and technology minister. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was also in attendance.
Leaders tried in vain to halt the lack of discipline by the students. The disruption continued until the few students were threatened with being removed from the venue. It was later established that the students had an issue with a representative chosen to speak on their behalf during the ceremony.
Motlanthe was expected to officially unveil the R400 million revamped campus shortly. - Sapa
Mob justice for suspected thief in CBD
Karabo Seanego 4 February 2011
People watch as a woman kicks a man accused of robbing tertiary pupils of their bank cards. Picture: Masi Losi
A suspected thief has been seriously injured when he was attacked by a mob in the Pretoria city centre after he and an accomplice stole bank cards and phones belonging to two females.
What followed was like a scene from National Geographic where a pack of wolves attack their prey. People dished out mob justice until police arrived on the scene.
It all began on Wednesday when two students from the Academy of Business and Computer Studies were making their way home along Vermeulen Street.
They were approached by two men who asked them if they were interested in buying a bag at half price. One of the girls expressed interest, while her friend said she was not interested.
They went into a food outlet, but the two men followed them inside
“One of the suspects asked if he could see my phone and I told him it was off. He shouted at me and said ‘don’t you want free airtime’? My friend then gave him her phone and I did the same,” said one of the girls.
She said one of the suspects then asked for their bank cards. She was a bit suspicious when the suspect said that, but her friend took out her bank card.
“The suspect said I should also give him mine, so that if my friend’s card did not work in paying for the bag, he could use mine. He then walked away and said he was going to fetch the bag,” she said.
One suspect remained with them. One of the girls decided to follow him while her friend remained with the other suspect. They walked to Andries Street, where the suspect told her to wait for him.
“I stood there and when he started to run I followed him. I managed to catch up with him and I grabbed him by the arm and started screaming for help,” she said.
People heard her cries and a man approached her to ask what was going on. When she explained, the man caught the suspect and took him to a bus stop next to the Pretoria News building where his friend had remained with the other girl.
“As we were moving, the girl kept saying the suspect had taken their bank cards and phones. When he got there he said he wanted to call his friend to bring the items back,” the man said.
When the other suspect saw his friend being held and walking in his direction, he bolted, leaving an angry mob assaulting his colleague.
The mob attacked the suspect until police arrived. The two girls said they had written their pin numbers on the back of their bank cards and it would have been easy for the suspects to withdraw money from their accounts had they managed to get away with the cards.
The suspect who was assaulted was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Police spokeswoman Captain Louise Reed said when a suspect had been injured and was taken to hospital, “they are placed under police supervision until they are released”.
The suspect will be charged with theft once he has been released from hospital. - Pretoria News
Cosatu: March in solidarity with Egypt
4 February 2011
Embassy of Egypt 270 Bourke Street Muckelneck Pretoria
South Africans support Egypt protests
Sapa 4 February 2011
Some 300 protesters in South Africa are holding a peaceful protest in support of pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt.
Protesters on Friday blocked the street in front of Egypt's embassy and shouted "out with Mubarak" - referring to President Hosni Mubarak - in English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Arabic.
The protest was organized by South African unions and rights groups and Egyptians in South Africa. Fazila Majam, gesturing at people in the crowd recording the scene on their cell phones, said Egyptians would get the message when they saw photographs on social networking websites. Such sites have helped drive protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.
Majam says Egyptians can draw a lesson from South Africa's struggle against apartheid and for democracy
LGBT GROUPS PROTEST SOUTH AFRICA’S FOREIGN POLICY
Mamba 3 February 2011
LGBT rights groups picketed outside the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in Pretoria on Tuesday, demanding that South Africa uphold its constitution internationally.
Around 150 people took part in the rally, which was organised by the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, the Treatment Action Campaign and Section27.
The protest follows actions by the DIRCO at the UN and in various countries which appear to support an anti-gay agenda that is directly in conflict with the country's constitution.
In a number of votes at the UN, South Africa has declined to support measures to combat homophobia, apparently in an effort to show solidarity with African countries. The country further posted openly-homophobic journalist John Qwelane as high commissioner to Uganda, a nation embroiled in anti-gay fervour.
South Africa has also failed to use its powerful position to lobby for LGBT equality via the African Union and SADC which represent, arguably, the most homophobic continent in the world.
"South Africa’s ignorance of its obligation to uphold its constitution makes it, at the very least, complicit in the recent murder of one of the most vocal voices against homophobia on the continent, Ugandan David Kato as well as many other LGBTI people across the continent," said the event's organisers.
A memorandum calling for South Africa to act in accordance with the principles of its constitution in its international affairs was handed to representatives of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nkoana Mashabane.
COSATU NW and the Amalgamated Medical Store
Cosatu 3 February 2010
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is worried and disturbed by the attitude of the acting head of the Department of Health for refusing to intervene on the matter of Amalgamated Medical Store workers who are employed by a private company under the Department of Health. Workers have been dismissed unfairly by the same company for fighting for their rights.
Over 69 workers have been on strike for three weeks and the dept is not worried about the poor people who are not receiving service provided by government, such as people who expect to get medicines from the clinics and hospitals.
Workers embarked on an action demanding to be employed by government after being super-exploited for 7-10 years by the so-called BEEE Company which is ripping off our tax payers for nothing. The department privatised their core function of delivering medication to the people of NW for the selfish and personal interests of some few senior officials who do not care about the lives of the poor people, in particular rural people who travel a long distance and are not getting their medication, e.g. ARVs.
The company’s contract expired in June 2010 and it was extended without the tendering procedure up to now.
The same company, in its documents for tendering, indicated that they are paying workers between R4, 500 and R6000. They also submitted that they will give workers skills training. The worst thing that they did was to claim skills money from the levy, even though they have not provided any skills training to the employees who are exploited, assisted by the department of health.
The federation is in possession of the document that they used to get the tender from the officials, who are able to manipulate the process for their own political agenda. The same company has submitted again for the new contract which is due in the next two months.
We are demanding that the MEC should not approve any tender.
We are demanding that the current company must give workers all that is due to them, including the money which they robbed from them for the past years, and that the Department of Health must take over their core function and take over all the workers who have been expelled unfairly by the criminals who abused our tax payers.
We are also demanding that the MEC must make a full investigation into the whole tendering on the matter of the Amalgamated Medical Store now.
Our members in the COSATU Local will be putting up a program of action in the next five days exposing the corrupt activities that have been taking place in that company including the department of health.
More information fell free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary, Solly Phetoe on 0823044055
Solidarity hand protest memo to police
Solidarity 2 February 2011
Telkom employees fall victim to crime in Pretoria CBD
Seven representatives of the trade union Solidarity and AfriForum as well as a Telkom employee, who fell victim to crime near her workplace recently, handed a memorandum to the Pretoria Central Police Station today. The memorandum was handed over in protest against the spate of attacks on Telkom employees at Telkom’s offices in the Pretoria city centre over the past month. This comes after two attacks on Telkom employees yesterday morning, which brought the number of attacks over the past month to more than ten. Colonel Joel Phukubye received the memorandum on behalf of the Pretoria Central Police Station.
Some 250 Telkom employees who work at Telkom’s offices in the Pretoria CBD indicated their support for the memorandum by means of e-mail and SMS yesterday.
In the latest incidents, two female Telkom employees were accosted in separate incidents in Vermeulen Street yesterday morning while they were on their way to work. According to Debbie van der Merwe, one of the women who was attacked yesterday, everything happened very fast. “At around 06:45 when I was on my way to work, they grabbed me by the throat and tried to yank off my chain. Fortunately, they ran off when I shouted,” she says. Van der Merwe was not hurt and only has a scratch on her neck. Another Telkom employee, Nicolene Grové, was also attacked in Vermeulen Street and robbed of her jewellery in January. This case was reported to the police, but Grové has not received any feedback from them yet.
Another victim, Lenise Viljoen, was involved in two incidents in Proes Street in September last year while she was on her way home. On 4 September 2010 her handbag, cell phone and purse were looted and later that month her car’s tyres were deflated. Although the police were summoned, they informed Viljoen that she could not report the case, because, according to them, the suspects had escaped and there were no witnesses. Viljoen describes her attackers as very aggressive. “It was an extremely traumatic experience. I was admitted to hospital and had to receive psychological treatment. I was unable to go to work for two weeks,” Viljoen says.
“The problem is that Telkom has limited undercover parking for its employees. Many Telkom employees have to park outside the offices on public parking spaces where they are confronted by robbers almost daily, despite various attempts by the employer to provide security for staff,” Marius Croucamp, Solidarity spokesperson, explains.
In the memorandum, the trade union, AfriForum and Telkom demand, among other things, that crime prevention be made the number one priority in South Africa and that the investigation into the attacks on Telkom employees be prioritised.
“Working people are the heartbeat of South Africa and crime is killing this heartbeat. Crime causes people to leave the country. Many skilled people who are needed to steer our country and economy are also leaving the country because of crime. In addition, general and investors’ confidence in the country is undermined by crime,” according to Croucamp.
“We demand that the South African Police Service start dealing with the situation in earnest and ensure a greater police presence in the area. Plain-clothes police officials should also be deployed in the area to prevent crime,” he adds.
Fists fly in protest over schools crisis
The Herald Online 27 January 2011
TEMPERS boiled over and furious parents held an education official hostage for three hours at Booysen Park Primary School yesterday as part of a protest against staff cuts that have left many pupils without teachers.
A group of about 100 parents caused a major disruption, plucking pupils out of their classes to join in the protest and bringing teaching at the school to a halt.
The parents have vowed to shut down every school in the area indefinitely if education officials do not meet them today with a solution to the critical teacher shortage.
Schools in the Eastern Cape have been severely hit by the provincial education department’s decision at the end of last year to axe more than 4000 temporary teachers.
Ramaphosa quiet after anti-foreigner protest
News24 2 February 2011
Tension at Ramaphosa informal settlement "quietened down" on Wednesday after renewed threats from locals against foreign shop owners earlier this week, Reiger Park police said.
"Nothing is happening there... it's all quiet," said spokeswoman Toni Perifort who visited the area in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, around 7am.
"So far it's all talk, these threats against foreigners."
She said police were on "high alert" and monitoring the situation.
"We have our normal guys on duty... but if anything happens then we will call in back up from other areas."
The Ekurhuleni local government and housing department said on Tuesday that locals had threatened foreign shop owners, demanding they shut down their businesses and leave.
Police moved in swiftly to calm the situation. Xenophobic attacks broke out in Ramaphosa, near Reiger Park, two years ago. In 2008, 62 people were killed and 150,000 displaced in a countrywide wave of xenophobic attacks that started in Gauteng.
‘Victory’ for Medunsa students
Mogomotsi Magome(IOL News) 2 February 2011
The student leadership at Medunsa campus claimed victory after the university gave in to some of its demands yesterday.
Calm is expected to return to the campus in Ga-Rankuwa and students and parents have been urged to continue with registration which had been suspended as a result of the protests.
Students had called on Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene in the chaos at the campus, which has seen the presence of police and the boycotting of classes since last week.
The registration of first-year students at the campus was halted on Monday and there has not been any learning or teaching since then.
Students stepped up their action yesterday and the atmosphere remained tense with police monitoring the situation.
Waste bins and tyres were burnt and the entrance to the university barricaded with concrete blocks.
A memorandum was handed over to the management last week in which students complained about the lack of accommodation for post-graduate students and fee increments, among others.
However, SRC president Tiisetso Ntsie said the students had won their fight after the management announced yesterday that all students would be accommodated at its residence regardless of their level of study.
The management also announced that students facing academic exclusion could appeal and the SRC had been given an opportunity to send proposals about the rules governing this process.
According to Ntsie, the fee increments issue had been referred to the university council and the students would have an input in this.
Earlier in the day Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana said the separation of the education department into two - basic education and higher education - had not yielded the intended results.
“The shortcomings in the higher education sector show that the split is not satisfying the needs of students. We are not happy about the pace with which problems in this sector are resolved, if at all.
“We have communicated with the office of the minister and we are waiting for feedback because the situation at this campus is a matter of urgency and he needs to intervene here,” said Mandlana.
Addressing students who had packed the campus auditorium during the protest, Mandlana said the fact that there were student protests looming at various institutions across the country was proof that there was something wrong with the entire system.
“It is not a coincidence that students at different universities are complaining about the same issues of accommodation, fee increments and academic exclusions.
“This shows there is something fundamentally wrong with the higher education system in this country. Universities have failed since 1994 to acknowledge that there are great numbers of black students who are enthusiastic about getting into universities, and therefore have failed to create necessary space for them,” he said.
“It is in the interest of the university community that normality be restored so that academic activities can resume without interruptions. We urge all parents of the prospective students to continue with the registration of students at the Medunsa Campus as from today at 7.30am,” said the vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Mahlo Mokgalong. - Pretoria News
Strike over Provident fund, wages hits Hernic Ferrochrome mine
NUM M1 February 2011
Over five hundred workers belonging to the National Union of Mineworkers downed tools as from yesterday at Hernic Ferrochrome in Brits, Northwest over demands for wage improvements. The workers are employed by a company called Hydro Sebenza and works at Hernic Ferrochrome. Workers demand that the company should improve its wages by 15% which has been lowered from 20%. Currently, workers earn as little as R1400 a month and have neither provident fund nor medical aid. Hydro Sebenza is one of the many labour brokers in the mining sector that the National Union of Mineworkers is currently waging a fight for them to be banned. “At this time and age, there is still a company that pays workers meager wages of R1400 a month with no provident fund, with no medical aid, with no living out allowance nor a transport allowance” says Sello Mfikoe, the NUM ‘s Regional Organiser in Rustenburg. “We are very angry and have no option but to bring Hernic Ferrochrome down on its knees” says Mfikoe.
The wage negotiations have been ongoing since last year and the union took the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) where it was awarded a certificate of non-resolution to the dispute. “The company offers only 13% on wages with no offer on the minimum wage, with no offer on the provident fund and medical aid” says Mfikoe.
The NUM demands a minimum wage of R3500 down from R4500 a month and would not compromise on these legitimate demands.
Sello Mfikoe (NUM Regional Organiser)- 071 681 9321/ 083 522 0101
Lesiba Seshoka (NUM National Spokesman)- 082 803 6719
Tel: 011 377 2047
Five held after mob hunts ’rapist’
IOL News 27 January 2011
Five people were arrested and charged with public violence after a group of Hanover Park residents gathered outside a house there, trying to get to a rape suspect they believed was inside. Photo: Independent Newspapers
Five people have been arrested and charged with public violence after a group of Hanover Park residents gathered outside a house , trying to get to a rape suspect they believed was inside.
Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd on Tuesday, a spokesman said, after some residents threw stones and bricks at patrol vehicles and tried to fight with police officers.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Ettienne Conradie said the trouble had started when a social worker approached police on Tuesday, asking them to accompany her to a house where it was believed a child had been raped.
Conradie said the child, who is three, was at home with her mother when police and the social worker arrived.
The mother willingly handed her child over to the social worker, Conradie said, but while police were questioning the mother, a group of about 150 people gathered outside the house.
They “started throwing stones and bricks at the cars and even tried to fight with some of our officers, at which point the police needed to open fire with rubber bullets to disperse the crowd”.
Conradie said police had tried to explain to the community that the suspect was not in the house, but residents insisted that they wanted to go inside to see for themselves.
A woman and four men were arrested for public violence after they were identified by police as having allegedly thrown stones at the officers.
Two police vehicles were damaged during the clash.
On Wednesday police were again approached by social workers who asked the officers to accompany them to the same house because they believed there were four more children living in the house who may have been raped.
Conradie said officers had again gone to the house with social workers, and the children had been taken to a place of safety. There had been no resistance from residents yesterday, he said.
The police’s Family Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit is investigating the case.
The alleged rapist has not returned to the house and police believe he is on the run, Conradie said.
Anyone with information about the incident can call 10111 or the police station on 021 690 or 1500 021 690 1500 and ask for Warrant Officer Carleigh Noemdo.
18 held over riot at school
IOL News 29 January 2011
Eighteen students have been arrested at a high school in Giyani after rioting over recent media reports about their high pregnancy rate, Limpopo police said.
“Yesterday (Friday) the provincial department of education and the MEC, Dickson Masemola, went to speak to the school children and the children later rioted,” spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said.
“They damaged some windows at the school and a teacher's car. Police were called and 18 students were arrested, 15 girls and three boys,” she said.
All 18 were being assessed by social workers and if they were given a positive report that would be released into their parents custody.
The group were expected to appear in the Giyani Magistrate's Court on Monday, Otto said.
The Star newspaper earlier this week reported that since the start of the school year 27 pupils at Mavalani High School outside Giyani had told the school’s administration that they were pregnant.
The youngest was a 15-year-old Grade 8 pupil, and on Monday, a 16-year-old became a new mother.
Last year 50 of the school’s pupils fell pregnant. - Sapa
Pupils held for arson
Independent Newspapers 12 January 2011
Two men were arrested in Botshabelo on Tuesday for allegedly burning down the principal's office at the Khoroyathuto High School during protests, Free State police said.
The pair, aged 18 and 19, was expected to appear in the Botshabelo Magistrate's Court on Thursday on charges of arson, spokeswoman Constable Consolation Mokoale said on Wednesday.
Grade 10 and 11 pupils who failed protested at the school on Monday, wanting to be promoted to a higher grade.
Police were called at 9am after pupils broke classroom windows, started fighting, barricaded roads and threw stones.
“They wanted the reports to be corrected, and the management of the school indicated that any learner who is having a concern about the failure must come individually with a parent so that the report can be compared with their scripts,” Mokoale said.
“Some of the learners and parents allegedly agreed with the process, but some did not. Those who did not agree with the process of the review started to fight at the principal's office.”
When police arrived on Monday stones were thrown at vehicles and a police van was damaged. Police managed to control the situation by firing rubber bullets. - Sapa
Cops on high alert after violence
Independent Newspapers 11January 2011
An ANC secretary-general from the Hartbeespoort Dam area was shot on the M4 Pretoria bound, according to the police. Photo: Independent Newspapers
Mpumalanga police are on high alert following a “violent rampage” in Thulamahashe by 39 people who allegedly intended burning down the house of a relative of murdered Ehlanzeni district municipality chief whip Johan Holme Ndlovu.
Captain Leonard Hlathi said on Tuesday: “We are on high alert, and remain so; the situation at the moment is quiet, but if something has to arise again we are there to contain the situation.”
The 39, 11 of them teenagers, appeared in the Mhala Magistrate's Court on Monday. They were released on free bail and would appear again on February 28.
They were arrested on Friday after police received information about the incident.
Hlathi said: “We became aware that a mob was outside the house of Ndlovu's family member. They were armed with stones and intended to burn down the house. They even pelted a police car; luckily nobody was injured.”
Meanwhile, three other men appeared in the Mhala Magistrate's Court on Monday in connection with Ndlovu's murder.
Hlathi said five men were arrested last week in Nyongane near Hazyview. Two of them could not be linked to the crime.
The case was postponed to January 19 for further investigation and to allow the three men to apply for legal aid.
Life Khosa, 22, his brother Modi Khosa, 23, and Bongani William Mkansi, 27, would remain in police custody.
They were found in possession of a firearm, which was allegedly used to kill Ndlovu, and two cellphones which belonged to him.
Ndlovu was shot, a few kilometres from his home, in the chest, left hand and buttocks in the early hours of Wednesday.
Relatives found his body in bushes in Bushbuckridge after an unidentified man told his wife where to find him. - Sapa
Medunsa Students Protest Fee Increases
NewsTime 28 January 2011
Students at the Medunsa campus of the University of Limpopo have boycotted classes in protests against increased tuition fees as well as insufficient student accommodation, reports the Pretoria News.
After protests yesterday, the Student Representative Council (SRC) called for the campus sports complex to be shut down next week.
The protests comes as first year students are due to register starting next week.
The SRC has given university management until today to respond adequately to their demands.
A spokesperson for the institution said the SRC had been fully aware of the fee increases adding that they were agreed upon by the university council of which the SRC is a member.
N West denies xenophobic attacks claims
IOL News 20 January 2011
The North West government denied on Thursday media reports that Chinese businessmen have been victims of xenophobic attacks.
“Media reports of alleged xenophobic attacks on Chinese businessmen by residents of Madibogo village in the North West province (are) an exaggeration of a moderately tense situation,” said acting public safety MEC Magome Masike in a statement.
A 22-year-old man was allegedly assaulted last week by two Chinese men in Madibogo village after he was caught stealing from their shop.
Media reports claimed that outraged residents have been threatening Chinese people operating businesses.
Masike condemned “elements within the community” who spread a rumour that the assaulted man had since died from his injuries.
“According to police a crowd of about 400 residents gathered in Madibogo village planning to protest against the 'killing' of the local.
“The crowd dispersed after they got assurance from the police that the local is still alive (and) is recuperating from a broken leg and other injuries under police guard at Bophelong provincial hospital.”
Masike said charges of theft have been laid against him.
He would appear before court once he was discharged from hospital.
The two Chinese men, who allegedly assaulted him, appeared in court last week on charges of intent to do grievous bodily harm.
“They were released on warning to reappear before court on January 21...
“Police are patrolling and closely monitoring the area and will do everything possible to safeguard the lives and properties of Chinese businessmen in the village.” - Sapa
Residents protest against incinerator
News2424 January 2011
Johannesburg - Olifantsfontein residents in Midrand protested outside the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday against a company operating a toxic waste incinerator in their area.
The residents, who held up placards with slogans asking if ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was concentrating on Thermopower Process Technology, alleged the dioxins released into the air by the company caused cancer and affected human growth and development.
Company representatives were expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday to face nine charges related to breaches of environmental law.
Community leader Kgomotso Modiselle said in a statement the dioxins also disturbed the normal functioning of hormones and the immune system of the human body.
"Clearly this tells us that our health is at stake," he said.
According to its website, the company received a permit to treat various types of hazardous waste in August 2004, following a "rigorous" three-year-long process and commissioning period.
South Africa Ivory Coast Protest Pictures & Photos
Sulekha 10 January 2011
Ivorians living in South Africa stage a protest in support of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, outside the French embassy
Calm Returning To Khayelitsha After Weekend Protest
NewsTime 23 January 2011
Western Cape police have said that calm has returned to Khayelitsha after a wave of protests hit the township yesterday.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk told Sapa police had the situation under control and calm had returned. He said the protest had been driven by frustrations with service delivery and persistent power outages.
A couple of hundred residents blocked access to the townships Walter Sisulu Road as well as Baden Powell. A shipping container was placed on the road and surrounded with burning tyres.
He added that :” This was obstructing the flow of traffic."There were no injuries reported to police and no damage to property, apart from what was done to the road surface by the tyres”.
Schubart Park residents promise more violent protests
Gatvol 1 January 2011
Schubart Park residents warned they may resume violent protests should the Tshwane Metro Council fail to address their concerns.
Slum tenants and police clashed for several hours on Friday after the block of flats was left without electricity for two days.
Resident committee spokesperson said, “Residents are used to the fact that if they don’t do anything violent, they will never get joy from the city,” he said.
A metro police spokesperson said they were constantly monitoring the situation.
When taking office Tshwane Mayor Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said Schubart Park was one of his priorities.
SCHUBART PARK RESIDENTS TAKE ACTION
On the 31st December 2010, Schubart Park residents took to the streets to show their discontent about services that were denied by the municipality of Tshwane. This made headline news of all the radio stations and later during the evening, TV news. It was a well calculated move by the residents as what led to the protest was anticipated because it is the plan of the city of Tshwane to attack the complex during the festive holidays. They underestimated the community in terms of protecting the residence during this period. They took a wild, dangerous and myopic decision to destabilize the residents during this time so as to unsettle them with a view of evicting them during the process.
WHAT LED TO THE PROTEST
Schubart Park is situated at the heart of the City of Tshwane, which is the capital city of South Africa. With the water infrastructure running all sides of the complex, it is ironic that we spend more than three weeks without water. All the attempts to get the department of Human settlement and water affairs to deal with the problem were futile. To compound the problem, on the 28th December 2010, the City of Tshwane decided unilaterally to switch off the power supply to the complex. This was done under the guise of draining water and fixing the power infrastructure next to the electric bars. The irony to this was that the residents did not have water in their units but there was water that was posing danger to the electricity infrastructure.
There has been a problem with the service delivery in this complex. The first being that if there is no electricity there is obviously no water because the water pumps uses electricity to pump water into the tanks to supply the units. Since there are no working lifts, residents are expected to fetch water on the ground floor and climb steps until the 22nd floor in order to flush their toilets. People are compelled to use the same water that other people used to bath because it is very difficult to get water from the ground floor because of long queue.
The second issue is that in the absence of electricity the complex becomes very dark and in darkness a lot of evil things happen. The authorities wish is that there should be a lot of crime in the complex so they can convince the court that the place is harboring criminals and is not suitable for human habitation. This happens after 16 years of democracy. We are expected to use paraffin for cooking and warming water for bathing. The usage of paraffin has got its dangers as well. One of the units caught fire due to lack of power in the complex and the residents were lucky to escape unhurt. What if people died there? The answer is that , the city would have pretended that they were deeply hurt, knowing very well that that is not the case.
After electricity was switched off the city refused to reconnect, citing safety issues. After two days, the residents committee convened a mass meeting of the residents to discuss the way forward and also to explain the obstacles we came across in trying to restore power to the complex.
The municipality realized that there was a meeting in progress and the MMC for Human Settlement called the chairperson of the committee to reassure him that, electricity will be restored the following day. This was an attempt by the city to disturb the planning of a mass protest, because this telephone conversation took place while the community meeting was in progress.
The community was not fooled by the lies of the MMC but went ahead with the planning of an action. The city underestimated the plans as we know that they knew that action was going to be taken as some of the informers of the city were present. That is the reason they knew in the first place that there was such a meeting.
An ultimatum was given by the residents to the city to either restore power or face a revolt the following day. The deadline was 06:30 on the 31st December 2010. At 06:45 the community was already on the ground floor willing to take action. When about half of the community was available, we divided ourselves into units so that strategic positions could be manned. Some went to the streets to barricade and burn tyres a sign of discontent. Streets that are the main entrance to the city were barricaded, meaning that town was not easily accessible.
The police responded by shooting rubber bullets without asking what the problem was. The level of violence and the brutality by which the police responded showed us that we are dealing with a repressive state that was not accommodative and approachable to deal with the issues and listen to the complaints of the people. Protesters were shot with rubber bullets at close range without impunity and the people retaliated by throwing stones at the police to push them back from entering the complex. The police called for reinforcement but that did not help deal with the angry community.
At 11:30 the cluster commander of the SAPS came out of his shell to try and deal with the problem. The amazing thing was why should the police chief be the one to come and deal with the problems where as the entire municipality leadership was all available at the scene? The answer is that they were all afraid to deal with the masses because they knew that they will have to account for their actions. We as the residents of Schubart Park are not respected and this has been demonstrated by the manner in which our problems are handled by our local government.
The action that took place on the 31st is reminiscent of the activity of the 25th December 2008, on Christmas day when we battled with the police over the same issues of water and electricity. So history repeats itself.
At last the cluster commander managed to get the committee of the complex together to discuss the way forward as he could see that fighting the residents would not yield pleasant result because the community was getting angrier with each and every rubber bullet that was fired. This kind of militancy resulted in some of the city’s officials saying that the residents were under the drug influence. We managed to explain our situation to the police commander and eventually the leaders of the city who happens to be ANC members were forced to resolve the situation. The MMC struggled to get hold of the contractor that was suppose to come and fix the problem, and this meant that there was no arrangement to fix the problem prior to the action.
The community vowed to continue with the action if the problem was not resolved on time. Power was restored at 5pm, much to the delight of the residents who started to prepare for welcoming the New Year.
OBJECTIVES OF THE SHCUBART PARK COMMITTEE
The community is diverse and consists of South Africans and non South African residents. What is interesting about the community is that there has never been an issue of Xenophobia. As a community we believe that South Africa belongs to all who lives in it. Corruption and Gear are the ones that robbed all of us of service delivery that is adequate and therefore we should come together to bring the system down. When there is protest action every one comes and joins even though there will be those that will not take part and this also includes our South African brothers and sisters. In terms of the Xenophobia issues, credit should be given to the committee as they played a pivotal role in denouncing Xenophobia. This can also be attributed to fact that the community is affiliated to the APF (Anti-privatization Forum) which is against Xenophobia. The APF and Khanya College played a pivotal role in shaping the leadership of the Schubart Park community.
The community put in place a programme of defeating Capitalism. The programme is as follows.
- To collapse the system of rental payment
- Force municipality to refurbish the buildings
- Demand through mass action to be allocated the units as part of the RDP.
- Force the authorities to provide basic services free of charge.
- Stop evictions by all means.
The municipality should also make sure that they reduce unemployment as this is a thorn in the community.
LISTENING THROUGH THE EYES
The city of Tshwane understands only one language and that is action. We had face to face meetings with the department of Human Settlement, including the MMC in an attempt to resolve the water and electricity crisis in Schubart Park but nothing came out of it. We marched to the Mayors office to hand over memorandums previously, but were disregarded. The city tries by all means not to respond to any demands that come from our complex.
THIS REPORT WAS COMPILED BY THE ORGANISER OF SCHUBART PARK – MASHAO CHAUKE.