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Publication Details

Reference
SA Protest News 15 February 1 March 2011 (2011) SA Protest News 15 February 1 March 2011.  : -.

Summary
Angry council flat residents protest in CT
Gatvol 1 March 2011

Residents of Hanover Park, Manenberg and Mitchells Plain in Cape Town are refusing to pay rent to the city council, saying they are refusing to cough up more for poorly built homes.

Members of three communities joined forces on Tuesday afternoon, when they marched through Hanover Park in protest.

The group is also demanding city officials scrap rent arrears.

Upon Eyewitness News’ arrival at the Hanover Park Terminus where the group had gathered, it did not take protesters long to express their anger with city officials.

Their frustration was palpable as they outlined their demands.

“We want them to listen to the people of Hanover Park,” one protester said.

Representative Donovan Berg said they are paying rent to stay in shoddy council flats.

“The protest that is taking place today is because of the poor quality service we are getting from the council; the poor quality service we are getting from ward-councillor,” he said.

Community members have issued a one-week ultimatum to council officials, including Mayor Dan Plato.

If officials fail to respond, they say their protests will resume.
(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)
www.gatvol.co.za


APPEAL FOR BAIL FOR 58 Community Members/Workers Arrested at Maandagshoek, Limpopo, RSA re Platinum Australia
DLF 24 February 2011

58 people were arrested in Maandagshoek, Limpopo, South Africa on Thursday 24 Feb, with their bail hearing only taking place today. They are being held at the notorious Mecklenburg Police Station, against which complaints about treatment and abuse of human rights were laid with the Limpopo Police Commissioner's office, who's official response is that they could not determine that anything had been done wrong.

The community members were demonstrating related to a mining company called Platinum Australia which is operating on their land. The company used to use a contract company to hire workers called Redpath. Platinum Australia has recently contracted with a company owned by someone in the Zuma family and the Guptas (there are lots of news articles about this relationship and concerns of undue influence and corruption- see Sunday Times from 27 Feb2011). The company has much worse labour conditions, and they have let go most of the local community members who were working in the mine, hiring people outside the area. The community was demonstrating about this after some of the workers were going to get their last paycheck (some received between R79 and R100), and the police somehow saw fit to arrest 58 people, charging them R500 bail per person, for a total of R29,000.

We are trying to raise funds for bail to assist them. Men and women were shot at with rubber bullets with some people injured, and both males and females are being held in jail for standing up for their rights.

We are asking all who are able to donate. If only 29 people/organisations donate R1000 each, we will be able to raise the bail. I will keep all posted as to how much we were able to raise. If you can't contribute 1000, any amount will help.

You can deposit the funds in my account, and please inform me of how much you deposited: AK Mayher, Standard Bank, Branch Code: 006105, Account Number: 203 751 469, I will report on the total amount, and the outcomes once we ensure bail is paid. The aim is that once the bail can be returned, we can put that money into a revolving bail fund.

Hoping you all can contribute. AND PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY.

Thank you again for your support!
Yours comradely,


UKZN students go on rampage
Jauhara Khan 1 March 2011

Protests at the University of KwaZulu-Natal continued on Monday as students marched through its Howard College campus, damaging property and intimidating other students.

The rampage followed violent unrest at the institute’s Edgewood campus last week, where students set a staff member’s car alight.

Students were demanding aid from the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the Funza Lushaka teachers’ bursary.

At Howard College on Monday, hundreds of students walked from block to block, chanting, disrupting lectures, overturning bins and benches, and damaging property as the SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) went on strike. They threatened other students.

The DA has laid charges of intimidation and assault against Sasco.

According to SRC president Mnikeni Phakathi, the students were protesting for several reasons, including the lack of financial aid and accommodation on campus.

“We have been negotiating with the university since October, but they don’t have the capacity to deal with our issues.

“There are only 350 NSFAS packages available for 500 first-year students. There is no funding for postgraduate students. Because students are waiting for financial aid, they are unable to access resources such as the LANs (local area networks) and libraries.

“The university has also said it cannot build more residences because it has no money, so students are coming from distant places and staying at residences illegally. The SRC can’t perform the university’s duties and provide them with these,” Phakathi said.

UKZN spokeswoman Nomonde Mbadi said the SRC had not approached them with its demands, and management had been taken by surprise by the illegal protest.

She urged the protesting students to exercise restraint until their gripes could be dealt with. - The Mercury
www.iol.co.za

STUDENT PROTEST ACTION: HOWARD COLLEGE CAMPUS
Executive Director: Corporate Relations
1 March 2011

The student protest on the Howard College has disrupted lectures. Risk Management Services and SAPS are present on campus. Management has requested a meeting with the student leadership to discuss and address the issues of concern. The students have requested permission to hold a student meeting at Howard College to discuss recent events regarding the protest at the Howard College campus. Permission has been granted. Following this meeting Executive Management will meet with the student leadership to address the issues.

Issued by:
Ms Nomonde Mbadi
Executive Director: Corporate Relations


SAMWU to march to MEC of Local Government
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 28 February 2011

The largest Local Government Union SAMWU will on Monday march to the offices of the MEC of Local Government and Housing, regarding the desperate situation in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. The Municipality has unlawfully fired seven of our Shop Stewards, including the SAMWU Gauteng Provincial Chairperson.

Apart from the above, the Ekurhuleni Municipality is hiding grave corruption. The seven SAMWU Shop Stewards who have been fired were investigating issues of grave corruption within the Municipality, involving senior politicians and millions of Rands!

The situation is fast becoming desperate, as the Mayor and his team tries to start smear campaigns against the seven who have been unlawfully fired.

SAMWU will march to the MEC’s office on Monday, to deliver a memorandum of demands, calling for an intervention in the saga that’s currently playing out.

SAMWU’s objective is solely to ensure that the Municipality in question is free from the cancer of corruption and that it is willing and able to deliver the much needed services to its people.

Members of the media are invited to observe and report on the march, to take place as follows;

Date : 28th February 2011 (Monday).

Venue : The march will start at the Workers library, 52 Jeppe Street, Newtown.

Time : 10am

For more details about the march please contact, SAMWU’s Ekurhuleni Branch Secretary; Elsie Pos on 0939772476.

Issued by;

Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity Officer.
tahir.sema@samwu.org.za
Office: 011-331 0333.
Fax: 0866186479.
Cell: 0829403403.


PROTEST ACTION – HOWARD COLLEGE CAMPUS
Executive Director: Corporate Relations 28 February 2011

Dear Colleagues
We have been informed that there are some students that are protesting on the Howard College campus. The South African Police are present and are monitoring the situation.

We have also been informed of damage to property. We are not aware of any issues that have been raised to lead to the protest.

A communiqué will be issued as soon as we have established what the issues are.

Issued by:
Ms Nomonde Mbadi
Executive Director: Corporate Relations
ecc 017/2011


‘Give us jobs, not promises’
Matthews Baloyi, The Star 22 February 2011

Wesselton councillors were giving jobs and tenders to their friends and neglecting the community, claimed youths outside the Ermelo Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

The youngsters had gathered at the court to support a friend arrested in violent protests last week.

“When the councillors here are voted in, the first thing they do is move out of the township and into a house in Ermelo,” said a young man wearing a red T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.

“They send their children to the good schools and then they take care of their family and friends. They give them jobs at the municipality and tenders and all the business,” he claimed.

Violence broke out in Wesselton on February 14 when television visuals showed youth pelting the police and journalists with rocks.

The police were shown firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

Solomon Madonsela died during the riots. His body was found at The Acacia Café in Wesselton.

The police swooped on the township at the weekend, arresting dozens of men and women.

A group of 26 was to appear in the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday afternoon on charges including public violence and theft.

The youths, all aged between 19 and 21, said they were too afraid to give their names to journalists.

“We can’t give you our names,” one of the men, aged 20, said while leaning against a wall outside the court.

“They’ll come for us,” he said, refusing to elaborate, but lifting his T-shirt to expose bruised ribs.

“I was arrested last week,” he said. “I appeared in court on Monday. My mother had to borrow R200 from a loan shark to pay my bail.

“The police came late at night. They kicked down the door of my house and they pulled me out. They beat all of us with sjamboks and their fists and with any weapon they could find.

“My shoulder was dislocated. They wouldn’t let any of us see our parents.

“They wanted us to make a statement, but we remained silent,” he said.

Mpumalanga police's Captain Leonard Hlathi said any brutality alleged to have been inflicted by the police needed to be reported to the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).

“People have two options, one is to approach the ICD directly, which will then assist them to open a case or they can visit their nearest police station to open a case, which will then be referred to the ICD for investigation,” he said.

“It will never help the public or the community to refer their complaints to the media, rather they go to the relevant authorities to get effective or the necessary help,” Hlathi said.

One of the men, who is supported by his domestic worker mother, opened a copy of the local newspaper, the Highveld Tribune, to the classified section and pointed at a municipal advertisement for a general worker.

According to the advert, the job paid R2500 a month, and required basic literacy and physical fitness.

“All of us standing here passed matric in 2009,” one of the men said.

“We drop-off our CVs at the municipality, but we never get any reply.

“Then we hear that someone who has no qualifications and who is related to a councillor has been given a job. Sometimes people come out of jail and they get a job at the municipality. It’s not right.

“That’s why we are fighting.”

He said the ANC asked for their vote every election and that he joined the party after an ANC councillor promised to arrange a bursary for him to study law in 2008.

The man had since “vanished” and he was still “loitering on the streets”.

“Nothing improves. We share a hole in the ground as a toilet. The roads are fractured. We don’t have electricity. We are living in the dark,” he said.

Another youth asked why police commissioner General Bheki Cele sent his officers into the township.

“Why didn’t he come and ask us what was wrong? He could have talked to us and we could have told him our problems.

“We have matric, but we can’t get jobs, so that’s why the young people are committing crime. It’s why we are angry.

“Instead the police come at midnight and kick our doors in. They beat us and their dogs bite us. They tell us we are ‘s'boshwa' (Zulu for prisoners).”

He said it was not the youth who had looted shops during the riots.

“Those people are thugs. They don’t care about our cause. They were using the opportunity to steal,” he said.

The young men said they would vote for an independent candidate as councillor in the coming local government elections.

“We know the one we will vote for. He is a teacher. He has money and he has a wife. He will try to improve things for us.”

Inside the court, Magistrate Catherine Hugo groaned when she heard more “public violence” arrestees were due to appear.

“Ah nuwes (ah, new ones),” she said.

“This is terrible. I have no space to work. The people have no space to sit.

“Tell the gallery to keep quiet,” she snapped at the court translator.

“I’m in a bad mood.”

Prosecutor Nomsa Linda said 26 “public violence” protesters were to appear on Tuesday afternoon.

“The matter will be postponed for further investigation,” she said.

“I have to sum up the dockets and send them to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

“I will ask that the accused be given bail of R200.”

Wesselton was quiet on Tuesday afternoon. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


UPDATE - STUDENT PROTEST ACTION: EDGEWOOD CAMPUS
Corporate Relations 24 February 2011

Students are continuing with the protest this morning and have blockaded the entrance to the Edgewood campus. The University’s Risk Management and SAPS is present.

The Students Representative Council presented a memorandum outlining grievances to management yesterday, Wednesday 23 February. Students at the Edgewood campus have highlighted a need for increased financial aid, access to the academic programme and teaching and learning resources.

Management is engaged in negotiations with students to reach an agreement to formally convene a meeting to address the concerns raised and take the process forward. Management is committed to resolve the impasse in a consultative and effective manner that will benefit all students.

Issued by:
Ms Nomonde Mbadi
Executive Director: Corporate Relations

UPDATE - STUDENT PROTEST ACTION: EDGEWOOD CAMPUS
COMMUNIQUE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: CORPORATE RELATIONS 22 February 2011

Dear Staff and Students

Early this morning some students from the Edgewood Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal blocked the entrance to the campus by placing a large tyre which they later set alight.

Risk Management Services (RMS) Staff used fire extinguishers to put out the fire. The South African Police Service (SAPS) was on site to assist and used a water tanker to extinguish the flames. Students are reported to have set alight a vehicle belonging to a member of staff. The estimated damage to the car is around R30 000.00. There are also unconfirmed reports of students throwing stones at passing motorists. The SAPS is said to have intervened.

Members of management have been on site to try and assess what the real issues are and to get the SRC to provide the University management with a memorandum stating their issues. The SRC has undertaken to provide the memorandum. Some of the issues and concerns raised center around the meal and book allowances for students receiving the Funza Lushaka bursary scheme, which is a government scheme.

UKZN like all other public higher education institutions is aware of the financial challenges facing many students that want to study but do not have the means to do so.

The University management regrets the disruption of lectures and assures students that every effort will be made to make up the lost time.

Regards
Nomonde



Skwatsha’s camp cries foul
Quinton Mtyala (Independent Newspapers) 21 February 2011

Supporters of Mcebisi Skwatsha again cried foul as six ANC conferences to choose the party’s proportional representation candidates got under way.

About 100 Skwatsha supporters protested outside the Bloekombos Secondary School hall on Sunday, refusing to take part in the proportional list conference and saying the process was flawed.

Zukiswa Celeni, a supporter of Skwatsha, said she would not attend the conference under the auspices of the newly elected ANC provincial executive when its legitimacy remained in dispute.

“We are not disgruntled, we are saying that the processes are flawed. We object to the outcome of the provincial conference.

“How (then) can we take part in this meeting?”

In other parts of the country, nominations of ANC candidates for the local government elections have been marred by violence and protests.

The meeting in Bloekombos was peaceful, bar occasional verbal jousting between Skwatsha supporters and some members of the ANC’s provincial executive.

Last week, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed his office was processing complaints from delegates who attended the party’s Western Cape conference and were angry that ANC Youth League members had been allowed to vote, a decision that led to league-favoured candidate Marius Fransman being elected provincial chairman.

Fransman was booed by Skwatsha supporters as his car passed them on Sunday.

Kaizer Mbobo said the people protesting had not been given the right to choose delegates for the list conference.

Fellow Skwatsha supporter Thembela Mawele said invitations had been sent by SMS to “selected people” instead of individual branches.

Calling it “a meeting of bourgeoisie”, Nancy Mfino, from Khayelitsha, said she and others would complain to the ANC’s headquarters.

Siyabonga Mkutshulwa said he would not recognise Fransman as provincial leader. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s not our chairman. There’s no provincial executive committee. If fraud continues (in the ANC), we won’t be able to retake Cape Town.

“Fransman doesn’t lead a branch, but he wants to call himself provincial chairman. We want Skwatsha.”
Cape Times
quinton.mtyala@inl.co.za



Workers in Westonaria to march once again
SAMWU PRESS STATEMENT 22 February 2011

The South African Municipal Workers Union in Westonaria will once again march to the Westonaria Local Municipality Council Chambers, to deliver a memorandum of demands to the Executive Mayor of Westonaria, Cllr Maserame Khumalo.

Amongst the workers demands, are calls for an effective administration, to address workers well being. The community and the workers are concerned about the Municipality and service delivery in the area and are therefore calling on the management to address their concerns immediately.

Members of the Media are cordially invited to witness the march which is supported by the community of Westonaria. Scheduled as follows;

Date : 23rd February 2011
Venue : From Railways station Westonaria to Civic Center Westonaria Local Municipality Cnr Neptunus and Satunus Street
Time : 7H30am

For further details about the march please call; Cde Dumisani Chiya (SAMWU’s Branch Chairperson) on 071 862 0141 or 073 945 8198.

Issued by;

Tahir Sema.
South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.
National Media and Publicity Officer.
tahir.sema@samwu.org.za
Office: 011-331 0333.
Fax: 0866186479.
Cell: 0829403403.


Protest suspended in Ermelo
IOL News 17 February 2011

The protest in the Mpumalanga township of Wesselton, near Ermelo, was suspended on Thursday, said a community leader.

“We feel the message has been sent out. National leaders now know that there is a crisis in Ermelo,” said Dumisani Mahaye.

A community meeting was scheduled for Monday, when the community expected a report back from senior leaders of the ANC.

“We are waiting for their response and we will take another action on Monday depending on the response from the leaders,” he said.

Mahaye said the community was not happy about the state of service delivery in the area, unemployment and the manner in which candidates for the forthcoming municipal elections were selected.

“In ward five, the community feels the screening process is not transparent because their preferred candidate is placed down on the list, automatically ruling him out of the race,” he said.

Residents wanted Bongani Phakatsi on the list, but the ANC in the region wanted as their candidate a man who had been identified only as Comrade Mpe.

The Msukalinga municipality said R350 000 damage to property was caused during the violent protests in the area earlier this week.

Spokesman Surprise Ngcongo said the damaged property included traffic lights, road signs and access roads.

“The recent spate of violent protests had nothing to do with service delivery concerns. In fact, concerns raised by the angry protesters are political in nature,” he said.

He said the municipality had received a memorandum relating to the state of roads in the township six month ago, and was addressing the problem.

“The municipality has not received any written memorandum relating to the sombre political situation thus far, however there are reports that the ANC in the Gert Sibande district is facilitating a dialogue with local councillors to find an amicable solution to the current impasse,” he said.

The situation in Wesselton was slowly return to normal on Thursday.

Taxis negotiated their way around heaps of rubble which protesters had used to block the road as they transported people to town.

Schools remained deserted, with children roaming the streets.

“We did not go to schools because it was not safe,” said Sibusiso Ncgobo, who was playing soccer with friends in the street.

“Maybe on Friday, we will be going to school,” he said.

There was a high police visibility in the area. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za

Protest spokesman held
IOL News 21 February 2011

Violent protests in the Mpumalanga township of Wesselton, near Ermelo, had nothing to do with service delivery. Photo: Matthews Baloyi, The Star

A man speaking on behalf of protesters in Wesselton, Mpumalanga, last week was apparently arrested along with a few others on charges of damaging property, his brother said on Monday.

“He [Dumisani Mahaye] was arrested this morning...at our mother's house at around 2.15am,” Simphiwe Mahaye told Sapa.

“The police said they destroyed property...streetlights...we went to Ermelo police station to look for him but he's not there.”

The brother said police moved through the township from midnight.

Captain Leonard Hlathi could not confirm Mahaye's arrest but said a number of people were arrested in the township on Sunday.

A community meeting with senior leaders of the ANC had been scheduled for Monday, following which a decision to take action would have been made.

“Maybe they did this because they didn't want the meeting to take place,” Mahaye said.

Dumisane had told Sapa last week that the community was not happy about the state of service delivery in the area, unemployment and the manner in which candidates for the forthcoming municipal elections were selected.

An Msukaligwa municipality spokesman, Surprise Ngcongo, however said that violent protests in the township last week had nothing to do with service delivery, citing political reasons as the cause. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Three unions end truckers' strike
19 February 2011

Three striking freight unions have accepted a revised wage offer of 9%, a union official said on Friday.

"Three unions have signed an agreement and their members will return to work on Monday," said Reckson Baloyi, general secretary of the Professional Transport Workers' Union (PTWU).

He said the PTWU, the Transport Allied Workers' Union of SA (Tawusa) and the Motor Transport Workers' Union (MTWU) had accepted the offer, while the Congress of South African Trade Unions-aligned union, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu), had rejected the offer.

"Our understanding is that only one province, Limpopo, accepted the offer while the majority of Satawu members rejected it," he said.

He said members of the three unions would return to work while Satawu would continue with the strike.

The offer tabled by the Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) was a 9% increase across the board for 2011 and 8,5% for the second year.

Negotiations continued on Friday night with the unions proposing a further 1% to be granted between September and November this year and an 8% increase in the second year, but the employer rejected it.

An achievement by the unions was the employer agreeing to an extended bargaining unit, Baloyi said.

For the past 10 years supervisors and controllers were not included when unions negotiated.

"Another thing the members are happy about is the thirteenth cheque they will receive at the end of December."

These revised terms to the wage agreement were added on Thursday, Baloyi said.

The unions were demanding a pay hike of 10% for 2011 and 2012.

They were also negotiating on decreasing the use of labour brokers and consultants in the industry.

The RFEA had initially offered 7,5% for 2011 and again in 2012. - Sapa
http://mg.co.za/article


All is calm after PE school protest
IOL News 18 February 2011

The situation was calm the day after school children protested and set tyres alight outside the Kuyga Intermediate School in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape police Photo: Independent Newspapers

The situation was calm the day after school children protested and set tyres alight outside the Kuyga Intermediate School in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.

“They were complaining because there were no ablutions or water,” Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said.

She said children were toyi-toying in front of the school and burning tyres on Thursday, but when police arrived at about 11am the situation was brought under control.

“Police suggested to the principal to close the school for the day so they could discuss their problems with the department of education to find a solution.”

No one was reported injured during the protest.

She said she could not comment on reports that the protest was fuelled by racial tension.

The Herald Online reported on Friday that children as young as seven-years-old participated in the protest action.

It reported that there was racial tension between coloured and black pupils and their parents, apparently because there were more Xhosa-speaking than Afrikaans-speaking teachers at the dual medium school.

Children, armed with stones and sticks, protested while parents hurled racial insults at each other.

At one stage, black pupils and parents locked themselves inside the school while coloured parents and pupils protested outside.

Parent Bianca Smith said she believed coloured children were being marginalised at the school.

“The way we are being marginalised is totally unacceptable. They are taking us back to the days of apartheid. Our kids have just as much right to be educated as theirs.”

Police managed to calm protesters down and the children extinguished the burning tyres.

The police cleared the gates to allow teachers to leave the school safely.

Education spokesperson Mali Mtima said members of the district department would visit the school to assess the situation. -
www.iol.co.za


Protesters slam JHB billing crisis
IOL News 18 February 2011

Pensioner David Haarhoff was billed by the City of Johannesburg at his house for the usage of 4.4 million units of electricity. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg residents protested outside the city's customer service centre in Braamfontein on Friday to protest against the billing crisis.

Protesters, led by Democratic Alliance councillor David Dewes, handed over a memorandum of demands to a representative for the city's finance department.

“Political parties are not going to fix the problem. The people of this country will,” shouted Dewes in a voice that could be heard a block away.

“We are tired of politicians pillaging our money.”

He was referring to the over-billing of many Johannesburg residents for rates and utilities, followed by disconnection if the bills are not paid.

The small group of angry Johannesburg residents, unhindered by the rain, danced and sang: “Our brothers are abusing us, come to Soweto.”

Head of the city's financial department, Viki Shupeng, said the city had set up a hotline where residents could register complaints and that the billing crisis would be resolved “soon”. -
www.iol.co.za


ANC members march in Tshwane
Mail & Guardian 18 February 2011

A large group of ANC members marched in Tshwane on Friday in support of their regional chairman amid claims of manipulation of the nomination process for the upcoming local government elections.

Protesters were singing struggle songs and holding up placards expressing their support for ANC chairman in the region, Sputla Ramakgopa, who is also Tshwane's mayor.

Some of the placards read: “We support and vote for our own candidate”, “Elias is a (Congress of the People) agent and is making divisions within the ANC” and “We are tired of those hooligans and corrupt cadres, Ramakgopa is our leader”.

The poster referred to Elias Motloutse, secretary general of the ANC's Tshwane's region.

This happened a day after another faction of the ANC marched to the regional offices and locked the doors with chains. They claimed that leaders were manipulating the list process and that Ramakgopa was imposing candidates as ward councillors.

However this was denied by ANC regional spokesman, Burton Joseph as “a lie and not correct”.

Joseph said that Ramokgopa was not even part of a list committee.

Many ANC members continued arriving in buses and were on their way to unlock the chained-up offices.

Burton said they took the actions of those members involved in the chaining of the offices seriously and that they would find the culprits.

“We were given a mandate by the metro general council to crush foreign tendencies we are experiencing within our ranks. Our members are protesting today in support of our leadership and for the integrity of the list process.

“Our members will also unlock the regional offices so that the organisation can continue its work of leading the election campaign,” he said. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Cosatu plans strike over Gauteng toll roads
Mail & Guardian 18 February 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Gauteng is planning a strike and stayaway over the imminent introduction of additional toll fees in the province, it announced on Friday.

"The PEC [provincial executive committee] has resolved to fight tooth and nail this system called toll gates," said provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile at a media briefing.

The announcement of the tolling system in South Africa's economic powerhouse sparked a public outcry -- consumer groups and unions said the poor would be the hardest hit.

Dakile announced a "programme of action" to deal with the e-toll system, to be implemented later this year.

Cosatu in the province would submit a Section 77, or strike notice, to the National Economic Development and Labour Council on February 28.

Negotiations would then unfold.

It would call for a public march on March 12, a mass demonstration on all Gauteng highways on March 19 and a public meeting on March 26.

The federation would also call for a stayaway on April 8.

'Ill-informed decision'
"We will also engage with the department of roads and transport, the premier and also within the alliance to reverse the ill-informed decision without consulting our people," he said.

Dakile said Cosatu in the province approached its alliance partner in the province, the ANC, in November last year to be briefed on the tolling system.

"They also responded that they had never been briefed," he said.

The ANC and Cosatu then approached the department of transport in the province and were then updated on the implementation of the tolling system.

"They did not consult with Cosatu or even the ANC itself," he said.

However, he added that the Gauteng ANC's response to the tolling system fell short of rejecting it entirely. The ANC's provincial secretary, David Makhura, has described the likely impact of the tolling system as "disastrous".

Turning to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele's comments on the system -- urging people who did not like it to use public transport -- Dakile said Ndebele should experience public transport for a month to give him a "better understanding" of the hardships faced by most South Africans.

"The trains are always late and in some instances do not arrive at all.

"The introduction of the Gautrain in the province will not resolve the crisis, nor is the BRT [bus rapid transit] system capable in its current form to address such a crisis," he said.

"Gauteng does not have a public transport system that is reliable, safe or affordable."

Ndebele on Thursday called for "constructive proposals and solutions" to the tolling system and for "further engagement".

"Over the past weeks, we have been listening to the various views regarding the tolling of the GFIP [Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project]. There will be further engagement on this matter. However, constructive proposals and solutions are required.

"There will be no scapegoats," he said. "These engagements will culminate in a specific roads funding summit in March 2011 by the department of transport, to resolve the GFIP tolling issue as well as other pertinent issues related to the funding, construction and maintenance of roads in South Africa."

Discounts and frequent users
Earlier this month, the South African National Roads Agency Limited announced that motorists could expect to pay 66 cents a kilometre before discounts when travelling on the 185km Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.

Motorists who purchased the e-tag system would pay 49,5 cents a kilometre, while medium-sized vehicles with the e-tag system will be charged R1,49 a kilometre. Heavy-duty vehicles with an e-tag will be charged R2,97 per kilometre.

Motorists would get further discounts depending on when they used the highway and on whether they were frequent users.

Users of the 185km system would not have to stop at a traditional toll booth, but drive under gantries, fitted with electronic equipment as well as cameras, which photograph the vehicle's number plate and measure its size.

Gantries are positioned between 5km and 14km apart -- an average of 10km. -- Sapa
mg.co.za


CRISIS IN EASTERN CAPE EDUCATION: Equal Education (EE) PICKET AT PARLIAMENT - 17 FEBRUARY 2011
DFL 17 February 2011

The crisis in Eastern Cape Education cannot be overcome without sustained national intervention, and Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure

The school year in the Eastern Cape began with multiple crises. The public and media are invited to join members of Equal Educations grade 11 and grade 12 Khayelitsha youth groups who will be setting up a school classroom, with desks and chairs, outside Parliament on Thursday 17 February. The picketing and vigil will include the following:
-An exhibition of photographs from our visit to the Eastern Cape mud-schools.
-Political art made of mud to remind our Parliamentarians of the conditions in hundreds of schools.
-Speakers who are coming from No-ofisi Senior Primary School near Bulungula in the Eastern Cape.
-Poetry, songs, and presentations by members of Equal Education.

Why are we picketing Parliament?
-Teaching Posts: More than 4,000 temporary teachers arrived at schools on the 17th of January this year to find that their contracts had not been renewed because the ECDoE can no longer pay them. This hit rural areas hardest. An investigation is needed to find out why some schools apparently have extra teachers ('double-parking'), and others are understaffed and losing the temporary teachers.

-Transport: The funding crisis in the ECDoE means the transport programme was stopped in January 2011 leaving more than 100,000 learners without transport to school. The ECDoE says it needs R247 million to pay service providers, and has only raised R60 million.Many learners currently have to walk long distances to school in the heavy rain that the province has been experiencing.

-Nutrition: The School Nutrition Program in the Eastern Cape has been stopped due to lack of funds, despite huge underspending in previous years. Tens of thousands are going hungry.

-Mud Schools & Infrastructure: There are 395 "mud schools" in the Eastern Cape. One of the reasons for this is that no national Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure exist. There is no standard that a school must meet. These Standards are called for by Section 5A of the SA Schools Act, but no Minister has acted on this provision since it was introduced in 2007.The National Policy for an Equitable Provision of an Enabling School Physical Teaching and Learning Environment, passed (due in part to EEs campaigning) in June 2010, states: National Norms and Standards will be developed and will be fully adopted by the end of the 2010/2011 financial year. This means the deadline for finalising these regulations is 31 March 2011. We look forward to celebrating these before the deadline, and to helping the Minister implement them in every province, in every district and in every school.

- Financial Mismanagement and Corruption: The Eastern Cape Education Department has received a negative audit from the Auditor General for the last three years. Due to a settlement in recent litigation between seven mud-schools and the national and provincial departments, R6.3bn has been allocated to replace all inadequate structures by March 2014. There is little chance of the dysfunctional ECDoE implementing this on its own.

A strong national response is critical.
Section 100 of the Constitution allows for the national Department of Basic Education to take over the administration of a provincial department if that department cannot fulfill its obligation. Minister Angie Motshekga has visited and assessed the problems first hand, but resolving the crises will require her direct and ongoing leadership.

We demand:
The national Department of Basic Education must fulfill its constitutional responsibility by stepping in and resolving the ECDoE crisis:
· We demand a detailed plan of action from the National Department of Basic Education that is geared towards resolving the ECDoE crisis;
· The National Department must take over the financial administration of the ECDoE to ensure that the school nutrition plan and school transport system are restarted immediately;
· We call on the National Department to build capacity within the ECDoE to facilitate the delivery of basic education services to learners.

DATE: Thursday 17 February 2011
TIME: 6:00pm until 7:30pm
VENUE: Parliament, Corner Plein and Roeland Streets.

Equal Education leaders will give a first-hand eye-witness report based on their recent visit to the Eastern Cape mud-schools, and there will be a photographic display.

For More Information contact:
Yoliswa Dwane at 021 387 0022/3
or email her on kathryn@equaleducation.org.za
Dmitri Holtzman at 082 733 5000


Ermelo violent protests rage on

IOL News 17 February 2011

Police battled to restore calm to Wesselton as protests continued. Officers moved back and forth as they tried to clear up the barricaded streets, littered with burning tyres, shattered glass, uprooted street signs and carpets of broken bottles and bricks. However, as soon as the officers moved to the next street, protesters came back to set tyres alight and barricade the roads again. The protesters threw stones at the police and the media but no injuries were reported. Photo: Matthews Baloyi, The Star
www.iol.co.za


Fury as ANC ‘imposes candidate’
Mogomotsi Magome 17 February 2011

ANC branches in the Tshwane region are revolting against their leadership over the nomination of candidates for the upcoming local government elections. About 100 members from ANC branches across the city marched to the regional offices of the ruling party to protest against the “leadership imposing leaders on the masses”.

Branch members from Mamelodi, Hammanskraal and Atteridgeville say candidates they have chosen for the upcoming elections are being replaced by candidates favoured by the regional executive committee.

They have called for the whole process of fielding candidates to be reviewed and claim their regional leadership is bribing some members to back candidates.

The irate members, who said they want the regional office shut down, started by voicing their grievances at Luthuli House before coming back to the regional office near Church Square in Pretoria.

Tebogo Mkhize, a branch member in the Mamelodi zone, said they wanted the intervention of Luthuli House as their grievances would be ignored by the regional leadership.

“This can only be resolved by the national executive committee and nobody else, because we are being ignored by leaders we have put up there to represent us. “What is the point of the process if they already know who they want to see stand as candidates?” he asked.

Another member, who chose to remain anonymous, said members in almost all the Tshwane regions were not happy. “The process of nominating candidates for the upcoming elections is flawed, because the leadership is choosing its own people to stand.

“The voice of the branches is being ignored, because the leadership is choosing its own candidates and that is not how the process is meant to unfold. “We want Sputla (Ramokgopa) to address this issue and stop imposing leaders on us, because we are supposed to choose our own leaders,” she said.

ANC regional spokesman Burton Joseph dismissed allegations against the leadership as unfounded as an “open, consultative and democratic process” was followed in the nomination of candidates. “The process made provision for objections and we received many of these and they were all dealt with, with some deliberations going on until the early hours of the morning.

“The process was overseen by the regional list committee in close consultation with the ward screening committee. Any allegation of wrongdoing on the part of the leadership is completely unfounded,” said Joseph.

Tshwane community spokesman, William Baloyi, confirmed that the protesting members had not vandalised any property and had been peaceful during their appearance at Church Square, even though police had been called in to keep an eye on the situation.

A senior regional ANC official who cannot be named as she is not authorised to speak to the press, regarded yesterday’s protest as a culmination of the leadership “short-changing” the masses.

“This was always going to happen and we have to admit that we have wronged our people in many areas where their preferred people have been removed from lists.

“We still remain with factions in the region and for as long as that continues, there will always be conflicts regarding the fielding of candidates.

“We have to start listening more to the branches because this has led to the destruction of many regional and provincial executive committees around the country,” she said. - Pretoria News
www.iol.co.za


ANC battle at EC headquarters
Daily Dispatch 17 February 2011

Top party leaders, police attacked by disgruntled members

'We want the national government to step in to take control of the province. This province is chaotic and is falling to pieces' - Macdonald Matiwane ANC dissident

TOP Eastern Cape ANC leaders were attacked and one was hospitalised yesterday when angry branch members stormed the party's provincial headquarters in King William's Town.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane was injured in the attack and had to be admitted to hospital.

The large crowd, which was protesting against the party's Provincial Executive Committee (PEC), vandalised the offices and assaulted security guards at Calata House - the ANC's provincial headquarters.

Police were not spared the wrath of the angry crowd, and one even suffered what appeared to be a broken nose during the fracas. Police were forced to use stun grenades to disperse the 200strong crowd, all members of the ANC's Amathole region. Eastern Cape ANC secretary Oscar Mabuyane was assaulted and chased down the street by the unruly crowd.

Yesterday's incident happened days after violence erupted in Mount Ayliff at the weekend where the party's Alfred Nzo regional offices were vandalised amid growing tensions among rival groups. The ruling party has been embroiled in violent activities in recent weeks when police were called to intervene at branch meetings convened to elect local leaders and also nominate candidate councillors.

Party insiders said disgruntled branches yesterday converged at Calata House to hand over a petition complaining about parallel structures and formation of the disputed interim regional committee, among other things. "The branches called on Mabuyane to come to address them and also receive the petition, but he did not come," said an ANC member.

The member said deputy secretary Helen August-Sauls was also called, but refused. When no provincial leaders came to the disgruntled members, the group stormed the boardroom and disrupted a meeting under way attended by Sauls-August and other leaders to consider disputes from the election of branch leadership and candidate councillors. Party insiders also said PEC member Nonceba Kontsiwe was allegedly manhandled during the fracas.

It could not be ascertained whether or not Sauls-August, who is also Human Settlement MEC, was assaulted. Both Kontsiwe and Sauls-August could not be reached for comment. Police officers at the scene said Mabuyane was rushed to hospital because of the extent of his injuries. They also claimed some of his clothing had been ripped off.

Sources said Mabuyane was attacked when he was spotted outside the building after he had not availed himself to receive the petition. "Someone just said 'here is Oscar'. When approached he did not speak to the comrades in the right way. He was chased and he ran into the street being beaten with fists and sticks."

When the Dispatch arrived at Calata House some officers were covered in blood and most were armed with guns. The gate had also been ripped off its hinges and some parts of the palisade fencing were bent inwards. Large pockets of people were still drifting around with most wearing ANC and SACP Tshirts. ANC's provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle, who arrived soon after the skirmish, condemned the crowd's behaviour and insisted they were not ANC members. "Members of the ANC will never act like this. The people responsible are either criminals or enemy agents," Masualle said.

Macdonald Matiwane, one of those that led the disgruntled group, said they wanted the PEC to be disbanded. "We want the national government to step in to take control of the province. This province is chaotic and is falling to pieces," he said. He dismissed claims that they were not ANC members. In their petition, the disgruntled group wants the national leaders to disband the PEC and send a team to run the affairs of the province.

Police spokesperson Captain Thozama Solani confirmed that property was damaged and that stun grenades were used. She said a large number of people were assaulted but only two cases of assault had been opened. "We are still waiting for more people to come forward," she said. Solani said one made yesterday.

The suspect is expected to appear in the King William's Town Magistrate's Court today or tomorrow.

michaelk@dispatch.co.za
mayibongwem@dispatch.co.za


Ermelo protests enter day 3
IOL News 16 February 2011

A policeman runs towards burning barricades during protests over the delivery of basic housing and education near Ermelo.

Police fired rubber bullets in the troubled township of Wesselton on Wednesday after a man refused to take instructions from officers.

Protests against poor service delivery and lack of work entered day three at Wesselton, outside Ermelo east of Johannesburg, on Wednesday.

Sapa reporters on the scene said three shots were fired into the ground as one “suspicious guy” refused to stop for officers who wanted to search him.

Barricades, burning tyres, shattered glass, uprooted streets signs, broken bottles and bricks littered the township streets.

Earlier on Wednesday, people started gathering in small groups and residents threw stones at photographers when they started taking pictures of them setting fire to tyres. However, there were no injuries immediately reported.

Mpumalanga safety and security MEC Vusi Shongwe condemned the spate of violent protests.

Media casualties included the eNews team.

National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele was expected to visit the area later on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, 89 people were arrested on public violence charges.

“Overnight it was quiet and there were no further incidents,” said police spokeswoman Captain Carla Prinsloo.

Twenty of the 89 were between the ages of 15 and 17.

A strong police presence was monitoring the roads going in and out of Ermelo on Wednesday. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Protesters turn on Somali shop owners
Independent Newspapers 15 February 15 2011

Police fired live ammunition at violent protesters in the Wesselton informal settlement near Ermelo. Photo: Independent Newspapers

Somalian shop owners fell victim to the violent service delivery protests outside Ermelo on Tuesday.

Shops were looted and goods were taken or destroyed.

“I have lost almost R200,000,” said shop owner Anwar Dawe Mohammad.

He was waiting outside Ermelo's police station to lay a charge.

He said he had tried to open a case earlier in the day.

“I asked a policeman 'please help me my brother', but he replied ‘you are not my brother go home'.”

Ebfa Abubakara was beaten with a coke bottle when protesters stormed his shop. They pulled down his trousers and stole his shoes.

Lorato Ahmed, another shop owner, said they were certainly targeted because they were foreigners.

“My shop is in the middle of two other black-owned shops - they didn't touch them. They are still selling even now.”

Mohammad's wife Gini Abdulahi said she did not know where she would find milk to feed her young child.

“I left Somalia, all my family were killed, I came to South Africa the land of freedom. Now they say to us: “f*** you Kwerekwere this is not Somalia”.”

Polic spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlat howeveri said foreigners were not targeted during the protests.

“They are always caught up in the crossfire. It was to divert the focus of the police.”

Over 15 people were arrested on Tuesday evening for public violence.

Hlati said violence also erupted in the nearby informal settlement of Everest Park near Piet Retief where residents were also protesting against service delivery.

“The protesters were burning tyres and pelting cars with stones,” he said.

One man was found dead in a field near the informal settlement but the cause of death could not be linked to the protest.

A post mortem would be conducted on Thursday.

Hlati said some police officers would work throughout the night.

“Our role is to make sure the place is safe.” -
www.iol.co.za


COSATU backs transport workers
Cosatu 16 February 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions pledges its total support to the transport workers who are currently on strike for higher wages and better working conditions, both the SATAWU members employed in the road freight sector and the SAMWU bus drivers employed by Johannesburg’s Metrobus.

The truck drivers work very long and unsocial hours, driving on South Africa’s poor and often dangerous roads. They play a crucial role in the economic life of the country and require a high degree of skill and commitment. They are right to demand that they be paid a decent wage to compensate for this.

COSATU demands that the employers bring an improved offer to the table as quickly as possible so that a settlement can be negotiated. But should no acceptable offer materialise, the federation will mobilise solidarity support for the striking workers.

In the meantime we call upon the workers to conduct their struggle in a peaceful, lawful and disciplined manner, in the best traditions of COSATU unions.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein
2017

P.O.Box 1019
Johannesburg
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
Fax: +27 11 339-5080 / 6940
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456
patrick@cosatu.org.za


Classes resume at DUT
Independent Newspapers 14 February 2011

Classes resumed at DUT after they were closed for three days following violent student protests. Photo: Independent Newspapers

Classes resumed at DUT on Monday after they were closed for three days following violent student protests.

“After three days of planned closure of the academic programme, classes have resumed on both the Durban and Midlands campuses,” said Durban University of Technology (DUT) principal, Professor Ahmed Bawa.

Protesting students set one of the institution's cars alight and threw rocks at the executive director's office on the Pietermaritzburg campus on Wednesday.

There had been protests on all campuses and Wednesday's violence forced the institution to suspend classes.

Since the beginning of the semester, students had demanded financial aid towards the BTech degree, which was not allowed by the higher education department and the National Students' Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Bawa said meetings involving the national department of higher education and training, political leaders, students and management had taken place.

“The key issue to be resolved was the issue of financial aid for Bachelor of Technology students,” he said.

He said about 450 students accepted into BTech programmes needed financial aid to be able to continue their studies.

“The current national policy prevents the university from providing NSFAS resources to students as financial aid packages,” he said.

Bawa said it had been agreed that students be given loans which would allow them to register for courses and be given accommodation.

“Currently this dispensation covers just two months accommodation.” -
www.iol.co.za


Burning tyres, stones used to block roads
IOL News 15 February 2011

Service delivery protests in Wesselton, outside Ermelo, were entering a second day on Tuesday, Mpumalanga police said.

“The protest did not stop last night, it only subsided,” Captain Leonard Hlathi said.

He said protesters were still setting tyres alight in the township.

Thirty-three people would appear in the Ermelo Magistrate's Court on Tuesday after they were arrested on Monday for public violence.

Hlathi said protesters barricaded roads by using burning tyres and stones on Monday.

“They broke down robots and some traffic signs.”

Police could not say how many people were participating in the protest because they were operating in different areas.

No further details were immediately available. - Sapa
www.iol.co.za


Truck drivers injured in protest
INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS 14 February 2011

Four striking truck drivers were injured in downtown Johannesburg on Monday after the police fired rubber bullets at them, SABC radio news reported.

An SABC journalist on the scene said some of the striking workers had assaulted a truck driver who was not taking part in the labour action.

The police intervened and fired rubber bullets at the striking drivers, injuring four people.

The disgruntled road freight workers in Gauteng had gathered at the Mary Fitzgerald square in Newtown, where they were planning to hold discussion rallies ahead of Wednesday's strike action over wages.

SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) president June Dube told Sapa workers were merely gathering and would not be marching on Monday.

Workers embarked on a go-slow at various working stations on Sunday, demanding a 20 percent increase over two years. The Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) was offering 15 percent.

Dube told Sapa workers would be meeting with the employer on Tuesday, which was confirmed by the association's labour relations manager, Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht.

The union warned that the road freight industry will be brought to a standstill as about 65000 members would be joining the strike.

The wage talks between the unions and RFEA have deadlocked since December and the unions were issued with a strike certificate by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

In 2009, Satawu and RFEA signed an agreement, which included an 11 percent wage increase for all road freight industry workers across the board after workers embarked on a seven-day strike. - Sapa


Truck drivers' protest turns chaotic
IOL News 14 February 2011

Four striking truck drivers were injured in downtown Johannesburg after the police fired rubber bullets at them. A journalist at the scene said some of the striking workers had assaulted a truck driver who was not taking part in the labour action. The police intervened and fired rubber bullets at the striking drivers, injuring four people. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi, Business Report
www.iol.co.za


Protesters threaten to disrupt elections
IOL News14 February 2011

Disgruntled Eastern Cape ANC members sang and danced outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg demanding to speak to secretary general Gwede Mantashe. Photo: Independent Newspapers

Disgruntled Eastern Cape ANC members sang and danced outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Monday demanding to speak to secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

The group is protesting over the formation of a committee to oversee the upcoming local government elections in the Alfred Nzo municipality.

The protesters had travelled the previous day from communities in the Eastern Cape and arrived outside the ruling party's headquarters at 5am.

Alfred Nzo is one of three ANC regions which were disbanded as part of re-alignment ahead of next year's local government elections. The region lodged appeals over the re-alignment of party structures following demarcation of municipal boundaries.

Protesters believe the new Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) is to blame for the reconfiguration but ANC spokesperson in the Eastern Cape, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, said the PEC was simply implementing a decision which was taken in 2007.

This reconfiguration has also resulted in a new Interim Regional Committee (IRC) which will co-ordinate the upcoming local elections in the Alfred Nzo region and will also recommend the appointment of mayors into municipalities.

“The response we have had is that the secretary general is attending to the matter and is going down to the Eastern Cape,” said leader of the protesters, Sipho Tshekela.

Tshekela said the delegation requested that one of the two former IRC chairpersons be appointed chairman of the new committee.

Qoboshiyane said the ANC had hoped to announce on Sunday that indeed a former chair of the IRC had been invited, and had accepted, the position of chairperson.

But instead fights broke out among various ANC faction members and the meeting was cancelled. They disrupted the meeting allowing “things to fall into a state of anarchy” and so the announcement could not be made. “We need those people to come back from Johannesburg and face discipline in this province.”

The protesters say they will not return to the Eastern Cape until members from the ANC National Executive Committee members speak to them.

Should the IRC not be implemented correctly, “elections will be disrupted”, they said. -
www.iol.co.za


Bus drivers face hearing
Independent Newspapers 15 February 2011

About 70 Metrobus drivers started striking last week to protest against new shift systems.

Bus commuters in Johannesburg and Pretoria could expect another difficult day on Tuesday as authorities warned of more service disruptions.

City of Tshwane Console Tleane warned of a “disruption to the normal flow of the Tshwane bus services” on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“This is due to the mass appearance of bus drivers in front of a disciplinary committee. The drivers face a range of