||Women pinafore-sellers and informal traders protest against EThekwini Municipality for fair trading rights
Street Net8 August 2012
Commemorating Women`s Day, a march was held this Tuesday, against the City Council. This was done to speak out against the exorbitant prices charged by private business owners and to protest the rights of the informal traders. There is a call for the municipality to provide Street Vendors a decent place to trade as they also have trade permits.
The march had started from Botha`s Garden and then proceeded to the City Hall, where a memorandum was given to the office of the Mayor. The march mostly consisted of the women pinafore-traders, supported by Ubambano Traders Alliance (Ubumbano) and StreetNet (to which Ubumbano is affiliated), a worker organisation that broadens, networks and represents their members through national and international structures.
Ubambano has been formed in order to coordinate the representation of informal traders and provide a channel through which different traders` organisations and representative structures may collectively represent the interests of informal traders in Durban.
Mazwandile Mvula, Secretary for Ubumbano and Convenor for this event, commented that the rent charged for the Street vendors to sell in the flea market is too high. "If you look at the women pinafore-sellers on the south side, I have been told they are charged between R1 000 - R1 200 a month. It sometimes can be more, depends on what they negotiate with the private business owners. Some would have to pay for the electricity as a separate expense and they also work in small rooms were buildings are old and not maintained. They are allowed to sell their goods on Sundays only. This means they are not taking much money home. Many of the women are single mothers who are the main bread winners" he said.
Mvula commented that this issue with the municipality has been ongoing on since 2008. "There are also select places in the CBD that are unoccupied and can be used. We are having this march in hopes to bring awareness to this issue as government needs to cater for the informal traders whose livelihoods depend on their trade." he said.
Other issues that surfaced were the need for the municipality to have proper procedures in place to help Street vendors to purchase their trade permits. Many of them don`t know where to get them from. According to the protestors the municipality has a Street Committee along each road, where they assist traders to get their permits.
Margaret Shange has been a Street Vendor for 10 years and works as a dressmaker. She complained that the municipality has no regulations in place for the Street Committee as there are allegations of corruption in some of the places. "It costs R480 to obtain a trade permit that has to be renewed every six months. The Street Committee who I have to go to charges us R2 000 every time we have to renew it. It is against the law as they pocket the extra money. It is sadly a common problem. Many of us don`t have that kind of money. When we complain to the municipality they don`t hear is and send us back to the Street Committee. When we are unable to produce our trade permits, we are evicted by the police. It is not fair as already we have high rent expenses to pay. We need a proper place to trade. I am a single mother and I work 7 days a week just to try put food on the table for my family. I hope that we will be heard this time," she said.
"StreetNet, jointly with Ubumbano, has asked the new City Manager for a meeting to discuss the many problems of street vendor regulation in Durban which the Council under previous City Manager Mike Sutcliffe failed to address ever since they abandoned the implementation of the inclusive Informal Trade Policy adopted by the City in 2002. Certainly we will also add the problems of the pinafore-sellers to the agenda for that meeting, "added Pat Horn, International Co-ordinator for StreetNet.
StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.
Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.
The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies
Protests cripple Cape Town
Junior Bester (IOL News) 11 August 2012
Cape Town - Violent protests involving a petrol bomb, burning tyres and stone-throwing crippled Cape Town yesterday, with the N2 closed for most of the day, while flights from Cape Town International Airport were delayed.
Sixty people have been arrested.
Police came under attack as more than 500 protesters threw a petrol bomb, burned tyres and attacked vehicles and police with stones. Two police officers were injured, a police spokesman said. One was hit in the face with a brick.
Police fired back with rubber bullets, and used a water cannon to bring the fires from burning tyres under control in the latest of a spate of service delivery protests that have rocked the city over recent weeks, prompting accusations that they are being orchestrated by the ANC Youth League.
Yesterday mayor Patricia de Lille continued to blame the youth league. But the ANCYL hit back, saying the provincial and city governments were playing “the blame game”.
The trouble began just before 4am yesterday, with a group of about 200 people gathered at the airport approach road. When the police and the city’s law enforcement agencies warned them to disperse, they started throwing stones and faeces.
Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said two policemen were injured and a vehicle was damaged. A car belonging to a TV news team was also stoned in Gugulethu, but no one was injured.
Provincial disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the demonstrators left when police fired rubber bullets.
But they returned at about 8.30am, and the crowd grew throughout the day, forcing officials to close both lanes of the N2 between Mew Way and Duinefontein Road. It was only reopened after 2pm.
“At 8.30am, while the city’s solid waste management and the provincial roads department were clearing the roadway, a group of 500 protesters reassembled on the N2 and Borcherds Quarry turn-off (to the airport),” Solomons-Johannes said.
By 9.15am the violence peaked as a petrol bomb was thrown at police.
About 45 minutes later, 62 protesters were arrested.
Airports Company SA spokeswoman Deidre Hendricks said the airport was “not at risk”, but she conceded they had police at the airport and aviation security in place “should there be a threat to the national key point”.
Later yesterday, the singing protesters marched up Klipfontein Road towards the Gugulethu police station, where they demanded the arrested protesters be freed.
Their songs feted ousted ANCYL leader Julius Malema while criticising provincial premier Helen Zille, who has also blamed the league for the spate of protests. But Zille’s spokesman Zak Mbhele said they would not comment, and were leaving the mayor’s office to field queries.
Yesterday the ANCYL was adamant it was being used as a scapegoat.
Last week the league threatened to make the province ungovernable if the service delivery issue was not addressed. Khaya Yozi, chairman of the Dullah Omar region, said the seven days they gave the premier to respond ended yesterday, but they had still had no feedback.
Yozi denied they had told their members to burn tyres in the streets. “That does not make any sense. When we said that we will make the province ungovernable we were talking about the fact that there will be more marches, which will all be legal.”
He added that unless their demands were met, the ANCYL would march in the city on the 27th of every month.
Xolani Sotashe, chairman of the ANC Dullah Omar region, voiced his support for the ANCYL, slamming the provincial government allegations.
“People are trapped in serious poverty, they are fed up and they are realising that they are living in a two-tale city – one for the rich and the other for the poor.”
But De Lille was having none of it, charging that the city was being forced to waste scarce resources to contain the situation. “What is particularly disturbing is that in this well-directed action – with evidence again indicating that this was led by the ANCYL – school children were deliberately put in the front lines.”
She added that this tactic prevented police from acting.
“This kind of cowardly action speaks volumes for the values and principles of those involved. Thug-like behaviour of any kind can never be an accepted as part of our democracy,” she said.
Cape Chamber of Commerce president Michael Bagraim said the protests were not only hurting businesses, but were also harming poorer communities.
“If these people cannot get to work they will not get paid, and sometimes companies will decide to cut their losses and eliminate their employment,” he said, adding that it also sent a negative message to the international market.
Late last night police said the situation was calm, but that they were still on alert. – Additional reporting by Warda Meyer and Bianca Capazorio
Chaos as protest shuts N2
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 10 August 2012
Hundreds of protesters forced the closure of the N2 highway between the R300 and Vanguard Drive, causing traffic chaos. Photo: Thomas Holder
Petrol bombs thrown in Cape protest
Cape road open after protest
Hundreds of protesters forced the closure of the N2 highway between the R300 and Vanguard Drive on Friday, causing traffic chaos.
The protest, along the N2 near Cape Town International Airport, appeared to be around service delivery issues, with protesters near Borcherd’s Quarry Road, adjacent to the airport, taunting police with buckets of faeces, to highlight their dissatisfaction with the bucket system.
DA leader Helen Zille tweeted on Friday morning that law enforcement officers on the scene had confirmed that the N2 tyre burning and closure was being co-ordinated by the ANC Youth League’s “ungovernability” campaign.
But Mfuzo Zenzile, regional secretary of the ANCYL, denied any involvement. “We just heard it on the news - the ANC Youth League is not involved at all,” he said.
Ramifications for road users in the vicinity of the airport were far-reaching, with reports of a queue of vehicles 1.6km long in Modderdam Road late morning, as motorists tried alternate routes to get to the airport.
An airport spokesperson said flights had been delayed as a result.
Spokeswoman for the City of Cape Town’s Traffic Services department, Inspector Maxine Jordaan, said the N2 had been closed for several hours between Duinefontein Road and the R300. This caused traffic chaos.
At about 9am around 500 residents from informal settlements in Nyanga were met by a line of police alongside the N2 near Borcherd’s Quarry Road
Protester Bongani Mama said:
“We had a meeting last night, and decided that if [premier Helen] Zille and [mayor Patricia] De Lille did not want to come to us we would make our point by protesting...”.
Residents dumped a bucket of faeces in front of police, who fired stun grenades at the crowd.
A hail of rocks came down on police from the shacks, and police were also attacked with petrol bombs.
By late morning there were two arrests, police said.
Petrol bombs thrown in Cape protest
IOL News 10 August 2012
Cape Town - Protesters threw petrol bombs at police officers near Cape Town International Airport on Friday morning, the city's disaster risk management centre said.
Spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the bombs were thrown on the N2 highway, where about 500 residents had gathered to protest over poor service delivery.
Police retaliated and protesters retreated to nearby shacks.
Solomons-Johannes said a nearby Eyewitness News vehicle was stoned on NY108 road in Gugulethu. Journalists inside the vehicle escaped injury.
“The (N2) roadway has since been cleared, however it remains closed in the interest of the public.”
Police officers were monitoring the scene and had made no arrests, he said.
The highway was closed between the Mew Way and Duinefontein offramps.
People wanting to get to the airport from Somerset West could use the R300 link onto the Stellenbosch arterial.
If coming from the city, motorists could use the Modderdam offramp to access Borchards Quarry. - Sapa
Cape road open after protest
IOL News 10 August 2012
Cape Town - A main road leading into Cape Town International Airport was re-opened on Friday morning after a service delivery protest, a city official said.
Disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said motorists could use Airport Approach road to access the airport.
The N2 highway remained closed in both directions between the Mew Way and Duinefontein offramps.
About 500 people gathered from 4am to protest over poor service delivery, burning tyres, blocking the roads and throwing stones at passing motorists.
Petrol bombs were also thrown at police officers, Solomons-Johannes said.
A nearby Eyewitness News vehicle was stoned on the NY108 road in Gugulethu. Journalists inside the vehicle escaped injury.
No arrests were made.
In another protest on Friday morning, about 50 people were gathered on the corner of Lansdowne and Eisleben Roads in Crossroads.
“The group of people are expressing their concerns regarding the proposed building of a mall in the area and are picketing with placards.”
The City said the protest was peaceful. - Sapa
Youth League defiant on Cape Town
Neo Maditla (IOL News) 9 August 2012
Cape Town - The ANC Youth League on Wednesday threw down the gauntlet to the DA provincial government, vowing to continue with a programme of protest action aimed at making the Western Cape “ungovernable”.
The league’s defiant posture flies in the face of criminal charges laid under the Intimidation Act by the DA against the ANCYL, the ANC Women’s League and two taxi associations.
The charges were laid in the wake of an earlier march from Salt River to the provincial legislature in Wale Street on July 27. On this occasion a memorandum was handed over demanding improved housing and service delivery in townships, and threatening “ungovernability” if the demands were not met.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Mfuzo Zenzile, regional secretary of the ANCYL in the Dullah Omar region, said they had given Zille seven days to respond and she had failed to do so.
He said the ANCYL would organise activities throughout the province which included protests and sit-ins. “We can’t give you details on when and where the activities will take place.”
Rolling mass action, the ANCYL has said, will focus on the 27th of each month, drawing attention to the 27 schools in the province the DA has threatened with closure.
Zenzile said their protests would be legal and non-violent, but that the protests in the city would go ahead “with or without permission [from the City of Cape Town and police]”.
“By not responding, she [Zille] is testing us as the ANC Youth League,” Zenzile said.
Chairman of the ANCYL in the Dullah Omar region Khaya Yozi said: “The ANCYL leadership is not intimidated by the use of police and state security agencies against it.”
Zille on Wednesday accused the ANCYL of blackmail: “The purpose of the ANCYL’s memo was to threaten violence against law-abiding citizens of Cape Town unless their demands are met. This is blackmail. It is unconstitutional and unlawful. Their threats are now the subject of a criminal investigation.”
She said the league’s demands included issues such as stopping the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and scrapping the Work & Skills Programme for youth.
“When the ANCYL formally ends its widespread ungovernability campaign and withdraws its threats of violence, we will respond to their memo.”
Yozi said the BRT system was killing “100 percent black-owned businesses – the taxi industry” and that the project was unsustainable.
Solly Malatsi, spokesman for mayor Patricia de Lille, said the city will schedule another meeting in Khayelitsha soon. “We won’t let a small politically motivated group prevent us from reporting back to the community.”
On the threat of the planned protests, Malatsi said the city would work with the police and law enforcement agencies to minimise the impact of the strike.
Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said: “Sadly, the majority of the businesses affected by these planned marches would be small businesses, many of which are already struggling to make ends meet. The chamber believes in constructive dialogue as the best means to deal with any disputes.” - Cape Argus
Farm school pupils burn desks - report
IOL News 8 August 2012
Bloemfontein - Pupils at a farm school outside Bloemfontein have burned tyres and school desks, apparently in a protest against additional classes ordered by the principal, it was reported on Wednesday.
According to the Volksblad newspaper, it appeared that some of the teachers opposed the additional classes and that they might be behind the pupils’ vandalism.
Teachers at the Semajane farm school, in Roodewal, stood and watched as the children, some just 10-years-old, started burning school desks around 8am on Tuesday and vandalised the school's fence.
They also pelted the city’s fire brigade with stones.
The newspaper reported that the school's principal Tate Ntlhare announced the additional classes in an attempt to help the children catch up with their school work and improve their marks.
People gathered at the scene criticised the children’s behaviour and told Volksblad Ntlhare was working hard to establish a proper school.
“Before he arrived, nearly no Grade Eight pupil passed, now all of them pass,” one of them said.
Free State education spokesman Howard Ndaba denied the vandalism at the school, despite the witnesses' accounts.
He told the newspaper the pupils thought two teachers had been suspended, but that they had actually been redeployed because there were no posts for them at the school. - Sapa
De Lille gets ambushed
Sibusiso Nkomo (IOL News) 8 August 2012
Cape Town - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and her mayoral committee members had to be evacuated when a meeting in Khayelitsha’s OR Tambo hall turned nasty.
Tuesday night’s disruptions came against the backdrop of threats by the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) to go ahead with plans to make the city and the Western Cape ungovernable.
De Lille was with mayco members Belinda Walker, Grant Pascoe and Thandeka Qgaba and housing director Seth Maqetuka.
The meeting dissolved into chaos around 8pm when Maqetuka tried to outline phased plans for housing delivery in the sprawling shack land of Khayelitsha. Members of the 400 strong crowd demanded their areas be prioritised over the zones identified by Maquetuka.
Chairs were hurled and angry residents stormed the stage, forcing the contingent to retreat through a back door.
Police arrived on the scene only after the mayor and her party had left the area.
In a statement issued in the wake of the disruption, De Lille said the “ANCYL has a lot to answer for”.
Describing the meeting as a “reportback to the community on how their input… has helped determine the city’s delivery priorities”, she said the behaviour of a “group of unruly youngsters” was “yet another example of how the ANCYL’s threat to make the city ungovernable is impeding the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Earlier on Tuesday the secretary of the ANCYL’s Dullah Omar region, Mfuzo Zenzile, invited the media to a public meeting on Wednesday where the youth league would “unveil its plans to make the City of Cape Town and Western Cape ungovernable”.
But ANCYL spokesperson Nyameka Mguzulo distanced the organisation from on Tuesday night’s disruption.
“We don’t condone the anarchy and chaos caused at the OR Tambo Hall… We need to teach people how to raise issues without descending intoviolence.”
Mguzulo said the threatened strike action would not take place.
The announcement comes after a statement was issued by Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich distancing the trade union giant from threatened disruptions.
“Cosatu members who had concerns about the transport services on the day can rest assured that the transport will be running as usual,” Ehrenreich said.
But he remained critical of the DA, accusing the party of arrogance and failing to take into account the “desperate circumstances” of protesters.
De Lille has warned that disruptions could place the youth league on a collision course with the law.
“In consultation with the police, we have made provision for the deployment of an increased number of law enforcement staff to identified hotspots throughout the city.”
We will shut down Cape - ANCYL
Tshego Lepule (IOL News) August 3 2012
The ANC Youth League has declared war on Helen Zille’s provincial government.
The battle lines were drawn on Thursday after the arrest of two ANC members at a service delivery protest.
ANC Youth League members say if they do not get satisfactory answers from Zille about improving their living conditions by next week Tuesday, they will make the city ungovernable.
They have vowed to bring the province to its knees using the following tactics:
* Stopping all residents from going to work;
* Preventing any and all Golden Arrow buses and taxis from operating;
* And forcing all government cars off the road.
“We have given the Provincial Government seven days to respond to the memorandum,” says ANCYL Regional Committee member Loyiso Nkohla.
“If the attitude is positive then we will report that to the people but if it is not, we will shut this city down.”
He was speaking to the Daily Voice outside of Lingelethu-West Police Station where they demanded the two ANC men be released.
Loyiso says: “When we arrived here to enquire about the arrest of two of our members, we were shot at by those police.
“This tradition by the police to respond with violence does not help the situation.
“We know how to fight back; if and when the time comes for us to fight with the police we will do so.”
Late on Thursday night, reports emerged that the arrested men – Ward 90 councillor Luvuyo Hebe and ANCYL Branch sector secretary Khaya July – were released. But police were unable to confirm this.
City of Cape Town officials say they will not tolerate lawlessness from any organisation.
“The City will not stand idly by while organisations and individuals actively break the law,” says Mayor Patricia de Lille’s spokesman Solly Malatsi.
“It is for this reason that we have laid charges against the ANCYL and the four other organisations that have threatened to make the city ‘ungovernable’.
“The full might of the law must take its course against individuals or organisations that instigate violence in the metro.”
Earlier in the day, Site B resident shut down Mew Way and Pama Road in a service delivery protest.
Community members from TR and Z sections woke up in the early hours and disrupted morning traffic by stoning passing cars and buses.
A group of about 100 residents marched from Mfuleni to the Nuwe Begin housing development.
People chanted: “Zille, you are a whore” and “your governance is stupid.”
Once there, the group was met by an army of armed police officers who prevented them from storming into the yard and causing havoc in the area.
Another group had already started burning tyres and rubbish along Pama Road in Khayelitsha.
Armed Metro Police officers dispersed the crowds by firing rubber bullets.
Hebe and July were taken into custody and hauled off in a cop van shortly after their arrival.
This article was published in the Daily Voice
8 protesters held in Sandton
SAPA 6 August 2012
Eight people were arrested for public violence during a service delivery protest on Marlboro Drive, Sandton, on Monday morning, Johannesburg police said.
Spokeswoman Lt-Col Katlego Mogale said they would appear in court soon.
The road was reopened by 11am, after being barricaded with rubbish and burning tyres from around 5am.
“Everything has returned to normal.”
While it was believed the disruption was a service delivery protest, she said it was not immediately clear what group was dissatisfied about. Police were monitoring the situation. - Sapa
Protesters barricade Sandton road
SAPA 6 August 2012
Protesters barricaded Marlboro Drive in Sandton early on Monday morning over service delivery issues, Gauteng police said.
Lt-Col Katlego Mogale said a crowd blocked the road using rubbish and burning tyres from around 5am.
While it was believed the disruption was a service delivery protest, Mogale said it was not immediately clear with which services the community was dissatisfied.
By 9.30am no injuries had been reported and no arrests had been made, Mogale said.
Police were monitoring the situation. - Sapa
Five students suspended over campus rioting
MOLOKO MOLOTO (IOL News) 3 August 2012
Students at the University of Limpopos Turfloop campus have demanded that a freshers ball be held, after it was postponed in May for security reasons. Picture: Moloko Moloto
The University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus has suspended five students after Wednesday’s rioting on campus over a freshers’ ball event.
University spokesman Kgalema Mohuba said yesterday that the five had led a group of students who disrupted lectures and intimidated fellow students and security personnel.
“You cannot disturb teaching and learning simply because you want a freshers’ ball,” said Mohuba.
“Why do you remove students from the library, for example?” he asked.
The freshers’ ball was initially postponed in May for security reasons. This followed a spate of criminal attacks on campus by thugs who preyed on students.
In retaliation, students assaulted a group of men and killed a 24-year-old suspected cellphone thief.
This week, a group of students went on the rampage and demanded that lectures be boycotted until the freshers’ ball was held.
“Disruption of academic activity is a serious offence,” Mohuba said.
“They have been suspended and have been removed from campus. Next week we will charge them and they will go through disciplinary hearings,” he added.
He said the rioting students had also wanted to loot the cafeteria.
Mohuba said the freshers’ ball would be staged, but he could not say when.
Mankweng police spokesman Constable Moses Molepo confirmed that there had been strife at the campus.
“We were called by the university management to restore order,” he said.
No arrests had been made.
Mohuba admitted there were alleged irregularities relating to the appointment of the company that was set to host the ball.
He would not divulge details, but said: “This is a subject of investigation. The service provider is disputing this and he has also served us with papers from the lawyer, that’s why I can’t comment on it now.”
He said the event would be held only after investigations into alleged irregularities had been concluded.
The students representative council also condemned the violence on campus.
SRC president and the ANC Youth League’s branch chairman on campus, Simon Rammutla, labelled the rioters “thugs”.
“(The freshers’) ball is not our primary role here. Our role is to learn, pass and leave,” said Rammutla.
He said the violent students were ANCYL members, but they were not leaders.
“Students must stand up against this kind of misbehaviour,” said Rammutla.
He insisted that the freshers’ ball would be held in the middle of this month.
Mohuba said order had been restored and lectures resumed immediately after the police’s intervention.
Unions, Wits clash over pay
IOL News 2 August 2012
Johannesburg - Unions representing Witwatersrand University service staff and academics went on a pay strike on Thursday, disrupting some campus activities.
The boom gates on Yale Road, leading into the university, were unmanned and open in the morning, and at least one library had closed for “security reasons”.
A second, large library on campus remained open, though it appeared to have fewer staff members.
The gates were again operating by 1pm, though they did not appear to be staffed by uniformed security guards.
Several students interviewed said they had seen some, though not all, of their day's lectures cancelled or postponed.
“A lot of our lectures were cancelled,” said actuarial student Muteto Muteto.
“Today, instead of having five (lectures) I had three.”
Not all students were affected by the strike. Medical student Mpazi Siwale said his classes at Wits Medical School had not been disrupted.
“Unfortunately, not for me. I just had an exam,” he said.
Academic Staff Association of Wits University leader David Dickinson accused management of negotiating in bad faith over the past three years.
Dickinson was joined by representatives from the Administration, Library and Technical Staff Association and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu).
Dickinson said the university was not living up to its previous agreement of paying academics an average up to the 75th percentile for the industry.
He said this was key to insuring the university attracted the best academic staff and remained competitive. The academics also wanted more funds for research and argued that funds allocated by the government for this were not reaching them.
“The demands are precisely to protect the value of this university,” Dickinson said.
Nehawu's Wits chair Richard Sadiki said his members were seeking a “sliding” scale increase with a nine percent increase for the lowest paid workers.
Sadiki showed reporters his payslip, indicating he earned only a R3000 base rate for his work as a security guard.
Wits vice-chancellor Loyiso Nongxa denied the university had been negotiating in bad faith and accused unions of walking out of discussions.
He said unions and the university had agreed on “98 percent” of the issues, with pay increases the only outstanding matter. Nongxa maintained the increases were “unsustainable”.
Dickinson said the university had a R100 million surplus last year and could afford to pay more.
Nongxa agreed the university had shown a surplus. However, this was due to vacancies.
“You cannot support (pay) increases on positions that have not been filled.”
Nongxa said management was concerned about how the strike would damage the university's reputation, but could not agree to the union's demanded pay increases.
“I am concerned about our reputation, but we cannot be coerced into something that is unsustainable,” he said. - Sapa
The struggle against high toll fees continues
Cosatu 2 August 2012
The Congress of South African Trade unions in the North West will continue with its campaign against the high toll fees at the Swartruggens toll gate.
This time COSATU will be demanding feedback from both provincial and national departments of transport and SANRAL, as we have handed over a number of memorandums to them and they have not yet responded.
What COSATU wants in this toll gate is the adherence to the proportional payment policy and for Bakwena to stop robbing the motorists of their money by making them pay for the kilometres they are not going to travel and also that there should be an alternative route for those who cannot afford to pay the toll.
COSATU will not be intimidated by the dirty tricks played by both Bakwena and the police in attempting to arrest the Provincial Secretary and accusing him of intimidation. COSATU wants to make it clear that there is no intimidation. What the provincial secretary did was to articulate the position of the federation and put the demands of COSATU forward.
We are repeating our position in our last memorandum that our government must help us to reduce the toll or the boom must be removed so that our poor motorists can move free.
What is happening on this case is the confirmation that the 18 years of democracy continue to benefit the white monopoly capital and the state continues to protect them by using the police to intimidate us.
The Provincial Secretary of COSATU Solly Phetoe opened a case of crimen injuria against one of the officials of Bakwena who insulted him in a meeting where there were more than twenty people, amongst them police officials.
The case was withdrawn without being investigated. Now the same white man has opened a case of intimidation against the provincial secretary and a senior investigator is appointed. Where is justice and fairness? Where is equality?
Does this happen because blacks can be insulted at anytime like we saw it happen in the Goodman gallery?
COSATU will be back at the toll gate tomorrow, 3rd August 2012 at 13h00 and we will not leave until we get a satisfactory response from government. Case opened or not, we will not be intimidated.
For more information contact Solly Phetoe the Provincial Secretary of COSATU North West at 082 304 4055
Three die in mine strike
IOL News 2 August 2012
A clash between striking miners and security guards has left three protesters dead and another 15 injured near Boitekong, North West police said on Thursday.
Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said security guards at the K5 Khwezi mine opened fire on about 250 mineworkers who were attempting to force entry to the mine on Wednesday at 1.30pm.
Ngubane said police were called to the scene and found petrol bombs used by the striking employees.
Ballistics testing will be done on the firearms of the security guards and a post mortem conducted on the dead. A case of murder and attempted murder is being investigated.
Ngubane said the mineworkers had been on an illegal strike for the past two weeks. Wednesday's clash followed the dismissal of the mine workers by the employer. - Sapa
Clashes at Darling polling station
IOL News 1 August 2012
An incident between candidates' supporters occurred at a voting station in the Western Cape, the Independent Electoral Commission said.
Darling, Western Cape - An “incident” between candidates' supporters occurred at a voting station in the Western Cape, the Independent Electoral Commission said on Wednesday.
Spokeswoman Kate Bapela said this happened outside the boundary of the voting station and police resolved the matter.
Western Cape police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut said the police were not involved.
“It is a political matter. We did not take action,” he said.
The SABC reported that tension boiled over between African National Congress and Democratic Alliance supporters in the by-election in Darling.
Supporters of the candidates set up colourful banners outside voting stations in a last-ditch effort to encourage residents to vote. Tempers flared when the supporters argued over the space to set up banners. The SABC reported that police had to intervene to bring the situation under control.
Ward six in Darling East had 3658 registered voters. Three candidates contested the ward: Carol Adams of the ANC, the DA's Michael Rangasamy, and the Pan Africanist Congress's Deon Olivier.
The ward became vacant after the DA councillor died. - Sapa
Crisis hits top KZN school
Slindile Maluleka 1 August 2012
KwaZulu-Natal - Pupils and teachers at a top-performing KwaZulu-Natal school are boycotting classes in a show of support for their principal, who has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged mismanagement.
Khulabebuka High principal, Premilla Deonath, has been at home since her suspension from the Mbumbulu school last week.
Deonath is facing allegations of mismanagement of funds, falsely declaring surplus teachers, inciting parents and community members to turn against some teachers, and failing to declare a business.
She has denied the allegations.
Four maths and science teachers, who had been declared surplus to the rural school’s requirements, had complained to education district officials about Deonath.
They have since been placed at other schools after they were allegedly intimidated when word got out to the community that they had accused the principal of wrong-doing.
“An investigation was launched and it was established that they (the four teachers) were not surplus,” a source said. “She (Deonath) also did not want to declare financial statements.
“Her reason was that there was a break-in at the school and the financial statements were stolen.”
The letter of suspension had to be served by a sheriff of the court at Deonath’s home, allegedly because education officials were too scared to go to the school, where governing body members were believed to have camped out in support of the principal.
Last week, an education official was held hostage at the school and was released only after police intervened.
Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said a team of investigators has been set up to look into the allegations.
“Instigating the community is a crime, even going to the extent of holding education officials hostage is a crime,” he said. “There was also a sit-in organised by parents at the education district office to say no classes would take place until the principal is back at school.”
Mahlambi said the suspension was to investigate and collect evidence that could lead to a disciplinary hearing where Deonath would be given a chance to respond.
Deonath confirmed the suspension, but said the allegations had no substance.
“I have nothing to hide. I am not afraid of any investigation, in fact, I welcome it,” she said in an interview.
“Eventually, the truth will come out. This has something to do with me being the only Indian in the area.”
Deonath said the school’s audited financial statements had been submitted to the department. She denied running any business.
In 2008, Deonath was recognised in the Standard Bank Salutes Women of KZN campaign for raising funds through sponsorships for the building of the school, and for ensuring an environment that is caring and conducive to learning and teaching.
But Khulabebuka High did not have maths and science teachers for almost a year, until three months ago
Four teachers had been kicked out of the school by parents last year for absenteeism, and for allegedly making racial remarks directed at Deonath, including taunting her by singing lyricist Mbongeni Ngema’s notorious Amandiya song in her presence. In 2002, the Human Rights Commission ruled that the song’s lyrics were racially offensive.
However, one of the affected teachers claimed that Deonath was using the racism card.
“In 2003 she was away for almost the whole year, allegedly moonlighting. We informed the department as concerned teachers, but received death threats after that until we chose to leave for safety reasons. Parents protested against our return,” the teacher said.
Despite the staff challenges at Khulabebuka High, the school managed a 100 percent matric pass rate last year.
The school’s governing body chairman, Mkhithikelo Buthe-lezi, said parents wanted Deonath to return to the school pending the outcome of the investigation.
“The school has not been functioning since she left and the only way to solve this is bringing her back,” he said.”
Anthony Pierce, KZN chief executive of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa, said if Deonath were charged, the union would represent her in a disciplinary hearing. - Daily News
West Rand quiet after violent protests
Mail & Guardian 1 August 2012
Police say there is no sign of protesters in Kagiso in the West Rand the morning after a service delivery protest turned violent in the area.
On Tuesday, protesters barricaded roads and stoned vehicles and police officers. They also set parts of the municipal building alight. (Gallo)
Our CoverageVision 2030 faces Cabinet uphillMore CoverageReport finds rampant corruption in TshwaneMunicipal auditors intimidated, told to cover up corruptionCaptain Mosotho Phaahla said the area was calm and the roads that had been barricaded by protesters were now open to traffic.
On Tuesday, protesters barricaded roads and stoned vehicles and police officers. They also set parts of the municipal building alight.
Police fired rubber bullets at the crowd when they attacked fire fighters who had been called to the scene.Three people were injured and taken to hospital.
Police could not confirm reports that one of the hospitalised protesters had died.
Fifteen people were arrested and were expected to appear in the Kagiso Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
Police were monitoring the area.
The violence broke out on Monday night after two school children, a girl and a boy, were run down by a truck on the busy main road next to the informal settlement as they made their way home, the Times reported on Wednesday.
The girl died on the scene; the boy was rushed to Leratong Hospital with serious injuries.
Soon after, 600 residents took to the streets to demand that the Mogale City municipality construct speed humps on the road to reduce the accident rate. – Sapa
15 arrested for public violence
IOL News 31 July 2012
Fifteen people were arrested on Tuesday for public violence in a protest in Kagiso, on the West Rand.
Kagiso, West Rand - Fifteen people were arrested on Tuesday for public violence in a protest in Kagiso, on the West Rand, Gauteng police said.
They were arrested after police dispersed protesters, but they returned and started barricading roads, Warrant Officer Solly Sibiya said.
“They were throwing stones at the police after the situation calmed down.”
Earlier, one person was shot and wounded and two others were injured when a protest turned violent. The protests started on Monday afternoon when two children were knocked down by a truck on Tudor Road. One of them died.
Protesters pelted vehicles with stones on Tuesday. Two police officers were injured, and a protester was wounded.
“Our members were treated on the scene, and the wounded protester was taken to hospital.”
Parts of the municipal building were set alight. Roads leading into the township, and to the Chamdor industrial area, were blockaded. Firefighters were attacked when they arrived. Police had to use rubber bullets and teargas to protect them.
Earlier, residents refused to listen when Mogale City municipality officials tried to speak to them. They wanted mayor Koketso Calvin Seerane to speak to them. The residents said they had previously asked the municipality to construct speed bumps on the road, but that nothing was done, Sibiya said.
Sibiya said the police would keep a close watch throughout the night.
Motorist were advised to use the R28 and Impala Road as Tudor Road was still closed.
The 15 arrested would appear in the Kagiso Magistrate's Court on Wednesday on charges of public violence. - Sapa
Kagiso residents vow battle will go on
LEBOGANG SEALE and NTOMBI NDHLOVU (IOL News)1 August 2012
Angry residents of Tudor Shaft informal settlement in Kagiso on Tuesday waged running battles with the police as yet another service delivery protest flared in Joburg.
It all began as a demand for the erection of speed humps along the main road after a truck knocked down two children - killing one and seriously injuring another - along Tudor Road leading into the settlement shortly after 4pm on Monday.
The protest then escalated into full scale violence when irate residents added their longstanding, “outstanding” issues of lack of housing, electricity, water and sanitation to their demands.
The residents vowed not to disperse until Mogale City mayor Calvin Seerane had addressed them.
Municipal spokesman Nkosana Zali said the municipality had already started its programme to relocate residents to new sites, but were frustrated by new residents who kept coming into the informal settlement.
But residents said only a handful had been moved to Sinqobile Extension 1 and 2, some of the sites earmarked for relocations. The other sites are Rietvallei Extension, Ethembalethu and Nooitgedacht.
“They (municipality) say they don’t know us and that all those on the list have been moved. How can this be, because many of us have lived here for many years,” said Tsholofelo Barnard.
“We have been waiting for too long and the municipality has done nothing for us. We are tired of empty promises.”
It rained stones and bullets as more than 500 residents took to the streets.
Parts of the precon municipal wall were taken down and poles were set alight. As the air thickened with smoke, tensions between police and residents heightened.
The road was littered with burnt tyres, shards of broken beer bottles, stones, spent cartridges and empty boxes that had contained rubber bullets.
“It’s like taking a knife to a gunfight,” said Corzy Ramoba, part of the march since it began.
“Most of us have not slept at all.”
The police used rubber bullets, teargas, stun grenades and water canons as they battled to disperse the determined crowd that barricaded Tudor Road with rocks, burning tyres and logs. Not even the release of the two residents who were arrested could appease the protesters.
“I will fight until I die. No retreat, no surrender,” said Felicia Mokganele, 53, after she was released. Vincent Pula, who was shot in the abdomen, was rushed to Helen Joseph Hospital.
The Star understands that he was transferred to ICU after undergoing surgery. At 4.30pm, the police seemed to have brought the situation under control, but only with the help of an SAPS helicopter that started encircling the settlement.
Then, as darkness fell, the settlement’s residents vowed that they would take to the road again, and that nothing would break their protests. - The Star
11 minutes of mayhem
Bronwynne Jooste and Daneel Knoetze
2 August 2012
In rarely seen CCTV footage of a service delivery protest, 11 minutes was all it took for protesters to run amok.
The footage, shot from cameras near the intersection of Duinefontein and Lansdowne roads, shows a lone patrol car in the area at 3.14am on Monday. At 3.16am, small groups of men and women appear out of the shadows.
At 3.17am, tyres are brought forth and set alight, a wendy house is pulled into the street, a stop sign is toppled and a traffic light is destroyed.
Gathered in the centre of the intersection is a growing group of toyi toying protesters, egged on by a man with a loudhailer.
When a solitary response vehicle arrives on the scene, they chase after it, hurling stones, until it is forced to retreat up the road. By 3.25am, protesters gather around at least five burning barricades.
The footage has given the City of Cape Town an idea of the magnitude of the task it faces in trying to quell the protests. Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the confidence with which these groups moved spoke of a meticulous plan of action.
On Wednesday, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and mayor Patricia de Lille laid intimidation charges against the ANC Youth League after it admitted to threatening to make Cape Town “ungovernable”.
The city has convened a special task force for protests, comprising law enforcement officers, metro police, the SAPS and the defence force.
ANC stoking protests in Cape - De Lille
Xolani Koyana and Aziz Hartley 30 July 2012
Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille has accused the ANC of stoking protests in the city for political reasons. In her weekly newsletter on Friday, she said some protests over services were politically motivated and part of an agenda to destabilise Cape Town.
“This is not a conspiracy theory. It is the real frustration of a government dealing with those individuals who would destabilise our society because they have no faith in the ballot box and so must resort to violence.”
De Lille said while she acknowledged there were legitimate protests and that residents felt excluded and neglected, there were people who used the poor to push political agendas.
“I resent the use of such brutal tactics to fulfil a political agenda,” she said. “There are already pieces of evidence in the public domain which indicate that such forces are working in our communities.”
There was a link between the protests and the ANC’s “Operation Reclaim”, which had been presented as “a concerted campaign by the ANC to, it is suggested, destabilise the Western Cape in the run-up to the national election in 2014”.
The cost of protests continued to mount. Protesters from the Phumlani Village informal settlement had caused R600 000 damage to 12 traffic lights on Thursday.
In the past two weeks, R2.6 million had been spent in fixing traffic lights in the metro area, De Lille said.
ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman said the protests had nothing to do with the ANC.
Asked on Sunday which protests were part of Operation Reclaim, De Lille said there was a growing trend for organisations to state publically their intention to destabilise Cape Town.
“The most recent example was the ANC Youth League protest on Friday,” she said.
De Lille said on Friday she would seek a meeting with police provincial commissioner Arno Lamoer to probe theories of political agitation around certain service delivery protests.
“This meeting is aimed at ensuring maximum co-operation between the city and SAPS to best manage these protests, and giving dignity back to those who may be being used by those with resources to do so,” she said.
“We need to be able to distinguish between legitimate protests and those fuelled by political ambitions.”
Fransman said the DA-led government had done little for poor people in the province in the past five years.
“All of this has nothing to do with the ANC. It just shows the DA’s failure to provide for the poor people.”
Andiswa Bhabha, a leader of the Progressive Youth Movement which led the protest over the bucket toilet system in the SST informal settlement in Khayelitsha, said: “The protest was by the community, not the ANC. People have real problems.”
The protesters had also demonstrated outside the home of ANC councillor Amos Komeni, who lived in the area.
Protest leaders had met the mayoral committee member for utility services, Shehaam Sims, and city officials last week and had been promised they would visit the area on August 7.
“We are happy with the outcome of the meeting. They are putting in toilets. The ANC Youth League guys came on Saturday to say they want to help us. We told them they are too late.
“I’m not shy to say I’m ANC, but they and other politicians, when they see elections coming they approach people to ask what they can do.”
Zondelele Mzantsi, a community leader in Phumlani Village, said: “This has nothing to do with the ANC. It is about the way residents feel.
“The mayor must come here and talk to us about the land issue. The DA councillor has promised to get to us in two weeks’ time, but if there are no answers then, people will go back to the streets.”
Protests close Cape town roads
IOL News 30 July 2012
Cape Town - Four intersections in Cape Town have been closed to traffic due to a service delivery protest, the city's traffic department said on Monday.
The intersections of Lansdowne and Stock roads, Vanguard Drive and Duinefontein Road, Vanguard Drive and Weltevreden Parkway, as well as Vanguard drive at the R300 were closed, spokeswoman Inspector Maxine Jordaan said.
Motorists were advised to use Old Strandfontein Road and Baden Powell Drive instead.
All city services concerned would attempt to minimise disruptions. - Sapa
More service delivery protest rock CT
IOL News 30 July 2012
Cape Town - About 100 people protested about poor service delivery in Nyanga, Cape Town, on Monday morning, Western Cape police said.
Lt-Col Andre Traut said the group gathered on the corner of Lansdowne and Duinefontein roads around 3.45am, and barricaded the road with burning tyres.
“The situation is monitored, and police are on the scene to maintain law and order,” he said.
Golden Arrow bus services spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said one of the company's buses got caught up in the spreading protest action.
“They stoned the bus and set it alight in Gugulethu, on the corner of Lansdowne and Nyl roads,” she said.
“The driver was injured. He suffered facial lacerations because a stone came through the window and hit him on the face. He is okay though.”
She could not say how much damage there was to the bus. - Sapa
Service delivery gripes now in cities too
Deon de Lange (IOL News) 31 July 2012
Most South Africans are dissatisfied with the quality of services they receive from the government – and the unhappiness appears to be spreading from historical service-delivery hotspots in informal settlements to large metropolitan areas, a recent survey suggests.
Having canvassed the views of about 2 000 urban adults in April and May, market research company TNS SA released findings yesterday which suggest that 56 percent of citizens are unhappy with service delivery. This is down slightly from 58 percent in February last year, but up from 51 percent in November 2010.
“On a more positive note, 38 percent are satisfied with the service delivery they receive – essentially unchanged from the 41 percent (recorded) in November 2010 – while 6 percent gave a ‘don’t know’ response,” TNS’s Neil Higgs said.
Historically, the highest levels of dissatisfaction have been recorded in informal settlements – the scene of many service delivery protests – but the latest survey results suggest the negative mood has spread to large metropolitan areas.
Dissatisfaction levels in Pretoria have increased from 50 percent in November 2010 to 71 percent in May. And in Soweto, 61 percent of respondents recorded a negative attitude towards service delivery in May, compared to 49 percent two years ago.
High levels of dissatisfaction were also recorded in other urban areas, such as the West Rand (61 percent), Buffalo City (East London – 63 percent) and Joburg (55 percent).
Attitudes appear to have softened in some areas, including Mangaung (Bloemfontein), where recorded dissatisfaction declined from 70 percent in February last year to 54 percent this year, and in the Vaal (70 down to 56 percent).
Cape Town residents recorded the lowest levels of dissatisfaction among all the major metropolitan areas, with 48 percent of respondents saying they were unhappy.
Unlike similar socio-economic surveys conducted by TNS over the years, the latest study suggests that when it comes to service delivery dissatisfaction, race is a relatively insignificant factor.
Marchers claim police opened fire
SIYABONGA MCHUNU (www.looklocal.co.za) 27 July 2012
There was drama at the municipality last week.
POLICE are accused of firing rubber bullets during a protest march to the Vulamehlo Municipality on Monday this week. Simphiwe Mbhele, who organised the march, said four women had been injured when the shots were fired.
“The injuries were all serious and the four women were all taken to a public health facility for treatment,” he said. Mr Mbhele said there had been absolutely no reason for police to open fire, adding that cases had been opened to investigate the shootings. “We want to know why shots were fired,” he said.
The march was the third to the Vulamehlo offices this year and this time residents of ward seven called for the dismissal of manager Msizi Zulu. “We have given the MEC for co-operative governance 14 days to take a decision on the future of the municipal manager.
“We have very strong evidence of corruption and financial mismanagement at the municipality and we want the provincial leadership to take action,” said Mr Mbhele. The general complaint from the residents is that there is a lack of service delivery because of what they deem to be corruption at the municipality.
“These people are not receiving services, they don’t have water, they don’t have electricity and they don’t have roads because money is being misused and that is not acceptable,” said Mr Mbhele.
Protest closes Free State highway
IOL News 27 July 2012
A section of the N6 highway in the Free State was closed to traffic on Friday morning after protesters threw stones at passing cars, police said.
Captain Harry Nagel said the highway was closed between Reddersburg and Smithfield. Reddersburg residents started throwing stones at cars on Thursday night.
“Apparently it started after community members were left standing when a community leader failed to attend a meeting on service delivery.”
Nagel said workers at stop-and-go systems for road work on the N6 also joined the protests, apparently out of sympathy. They abandoned their posts at the construction sites.
Traffic would be diverted at Smithfield to Bethulie to the N1
and at Reddersburg to Edenburg and then the N1. - Sapa
North West protesters arrested
IOL News 27 July 2012
Sixty-seven residents of the Schamberg informal settlement in the North West were arrested for taking part in an illegal protest, police said on Friday.
Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said the 67 were part of a group of nearly 600 local residents who barricaded the R506 road in Hartbeespoort with tree trunks and stones on Thursday morning.
Mobile toilets were burned and stones were thrown at police officers. A constable was injured in the incident.
The protest was related to the residents' dissatisfaction with the Madibeng municipality's service delivery.
“The protesters were apparently unhappy with the municipality's delivery (of) services, specifically water provision,” said Ngubane.
Calm was restored by noon on Thursday, but police were keeping watch.
Ngubane said the 67 would appear in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of malicious damage to property and public violence. - Sapa
Protesters ‘should not have been held’
Daneel Knoetze 27 July 2012
The 21 people arrested on charges of public violence in Grassy Park appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court a few hours after they were arrested on Thursday. They were released from custody and warned to reappear in court on August 29.
Eric Balebamye, of the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in Phumlani Village, said he was unhappy with the way protesters had been treated by police.
“They should never have been arrested in the first place,” he said.
He said the protest, which was scheduled to start at 6am on Thursday, was legal “up until the last moment”, but the City of Cape Town sent an e-mail postponing the time allocated for their march to 9am. By then, it was too late.”
Early on Thursday, protesters from Phumlani Village burnt tyres and set alight traffic lights on Strandfontein Road, bringing morning traffic to a standstill. Police responded by firing smoke and stun grenades to disperse the crowd.
Much of the community anger was directed at local ward councillor Shaun August (DA), who they said had refused to meet them to discuss their grievances about electricity, street lighting, housing, water and sanitation.
But August wrote off the protest as “cheap politicking” by “an affiliate of the ANC” and blamed the community for the grievances, saying it was drug pedlars who had broken street lights to deal under the cover of darkness. He also reprimanded community members for illegal electricity connections and for trying to “jump the queue” in the housing programme.
August said the destruction of property, the burning of tyres and the fact that the protest started at 5am made it illegal.
He met Sanco representatives and community leaders afterwards to discuss a way forward.
Commuters stranded as taxi drivers march
Mercury Reporters 26 July 2012
KwaZulu-Natal - Durban and Pietermaritzburg taxi commuters were stranded on Wednesday when taxis belonging to the KZN Transport Alliance stopped operating so that drivers and owners could march on the licensing board office and provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg.
There was a mixed reaction to the protest from local business on the economic impact of the strike.
In Durban some taxis, whose operators were not members of the alliance, continued to operate.
The marchers handed over a memorandum demanding:
* the closure of the licensing board and taxi register;
* the government stop its plan to do away with 14-seater Siyaya taxis;
* the government subsidise the taxi industry; and
* the police set up a special task team to investigate taxi violence in the province.
During the protest insults were hurled at government officials, accusing them of plotting to shut down the taxi industry.
Police monitored the Mariannhill Toll Plaza after taxi operators threatened to disrupt traffic flow through the toll plaza. However, there were no disruptions.
In Pietermaritzburg several streets were gridlocked but, again, there was no violence.
Zwelibombu primary school principal Themba Bango said at least three of the school’s 20 teachers did not arrive for work. They travelled from uMlazi and KwaMakhutha south of Durban.
Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew Layman said the impact was not widespread.
“Overall it is not good for business if people can’t get to work,” he said.
Commuter Siyabonga Mngadi said he waited an hour at the Ntuzuma taxi rank.
“I woke up at 4am to get transport to work. I have been standing in the queue for nearly an hour and there is no sign of taxis.”
Another commuter from Ntuzuma, north of Durban, said he took a bus to work which was “very full” but he was on time.
An Inanda resident said he was two hours late for work
“No work, no pay. I had to get to work,” he said.
Riverdene secondary school pupil, Musawenkosi Hlongwa, said his neighbour gave him a lift to school in Newlands West because there were no taxis in Ntuzuma.
“I was 30 minutes late for school. I may have to sleep over at a friend’s place because there are no taxis to take us home.”
Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said the department would respond to the taxi operators’ demands in two weeks.
He said there was a plan to delay the phasing out of the Siyaya taxis. A provincial conference on the taxi violence was also planned. - The Mercury
Cop hurt in protest
IOL News 26 July 2012
A constable was injured during a service delivery protest in Hartbeespoort on Thursday morning, North West police said.
The officer was hit in the face by a thrown object and was rushed to a local hospital, said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.
He was in a satisfactory condition.
“Several people were arrested during the protest and they will be charged with public violence,” Ngubane said.
A group of residents from Shambrix informal settlement near Hartbeespoort began protesting in the early hours of Thursday.
Ngubane said the protesters barricaded the R506 road with burning tyres and other objects.
“We believe the protest was related to the people's dissatisfaction with Madibeng Municipality's delivery of services, because they were requesting to speak to the mayor,” he said.
Ngubane said calm had been restored by noon, but police were keeping watch. – Sapa
Calm restored in Tembisa
IOL News 26 July 2012
Police have managed to restore calm in Tembisa where residents were protesting, Gauteng police said on Thursday.
Police were able to prevent a group of about 100 people from barricading the Allandale Road earlier in the morning, said Captain Pinky Tsinyane.
“They were dispersed after they were found dragging tyres to the road,” she said.
About 500 protesters from Klipfontein barricaded the Allandale Road with burning tyres on Wednesday afternoon.
It is alleged that the area had been experiencing continuous interruptions to the electricity supply in the past two days.
Tsinyane said police were patrolling the area. - Sapa
Mob attacks alleged rapist, police, medics
Xolani Koyana 26 July 2012
Sir Lowrys Pass Village residents beat and stabbed a man suspected of raping a four-year-old girl before the police could intervene. The mob then attacked the police. Picture: Greg Maxwell
An alleged rapist of a four-year-old girl is under police guard in hospital after he was severely beaten by Sir Lowry’s Pass Village residents.
The man was rescued by police after about 50 people beat him with with rocks, pipes and sticks.
Paramedics had to seek refuge at the Sir Lowry’s Pass police station after they continued attacking the man while he was being loaded into an ambulance.
The attack came as the residents were searching for a missing 13-year-old girl they suspect was raped and killed two weeks ago.
Residents said they caught the man raping the girl in a communal toilet at the Rasta Camp informal settlement. The man tried to escape but was caught as he fled over railway tracks.
Police spokesman November Filander said a neighbour found the 19-year-old man in the toilet with the girl.
“The suspect then fled the scene but was caught and badly assaulted.
“A case of rape is being investigated. The girl was taken the hospital for medical attention,” Filander said.
The girl’s grandmother, who may not be named to protect the child’s identity, said her granddaughter had been taken to a doctor for examination and trauma counselling.
The family had last seen the little girl playing with friends not far from their home.
“I had just put a jacket on her and she went outside. Then I heard screams coming from outside. When I got out of the house there she was. She could not say anything. She was just crying.”
The grandmother said the man was known to her family and didn’t live far from their home.
Some residents said the man was mentally ill, but others said he was on drugs.
A resident who was part of the group who found the girl said the man had fled after noticing them.
She did not want to be identified.
“He pushed me out of the way. We ran after him and he was caught by other people near the train tracks.
“We can’t have people who do such things in our community. If he comes out we will kill him,” she said.
She said that in addition to the missing 13-year-old they suspected had been raped and killed two weeks ago, a seven-year-old girl had been raped and killed recently, and her body buried at the back of the informal settlement.
At one point the residents gathered at the railway tracks behind the police station where the man was being kept before he was taken to the Somerset West Hospital.
Residents were upset that police had intervened and pelted them with rocks. They also threw rocks at passing vehicles.
Strand resident Andrew Solomons, who was visiting the settlement yesterday, said it would serve as a warning to anyone who thought about harming children in the area.
“He was beaten up pretty badly but he could still stand. If someone else wants to try something like this then now they will know to think twice,” Solomons said.
Housing protest in Cape Town
IOL News 26 July 2012
About 200 people took part in a housing delivery protest in Grassy Park, Cape Town, on Thursday morning, police said.
Warrant Officer November Filander said residents gathered on the corner of 5th Avenue and Old Strandfontein Road around 5.30am because they were unhappy about the non-delivery of housing.
They damaged five traffic lights, burned tyres and blockaded the roads.
“Police had to use smoke and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. They arrested about 21 people for public violence,” he said.
The roads were re-opened by 9am.
Small groups of people were still on the scene by lunchtime. – Sapa
Taxi protest: hundreds stranded
Noloyiso Mbalane 25 July 2012
Hundreds of commuters in and around Durban have been left stranded
this morning as minibus-taxis aren't operating in some areas.
There have been reports that there are no vehicles running in the
Phoenix, Inanda, Umlazi and Newlands East areas.
Only some drivers are working in the Durban city centre.
Taxi operators and drivers are gearing up for a mass march in
Pietermaritzburg this morning.
They will be protesting against government's re-capitalisation programme.
School teacher Zama Mzoneli, a taxi-commuter from KwaMashu, says she was at her bus stop at 4am this morning and waited an hour before being told taxis weren't operating today.
She says she is frustrated.
"There are about 100 or so students who are now losing out on the day's
work. I must now try make up for it out of my time and their time. It's
a big inconvenience for me and for them, considering Matric and how this
term is very short. It's annoying, really, it's annoying!" she said.
Xoli Nzimande, who travels via the Market area, says there are taxis
operating at the rank but there aren't enough to get all the people
waiting there to work.
"I am just worried that later on this afternoon on there will be no
taxis, so that is just my biggest concern right now, but I'm just happy
I will be able to get to work," she said.
Taxis plan five cents protest
Giordano Stolley (IOL News) 24 July 2012
Durban - Toll cashiers near Ladysmith could find themselves counting five cent coins from every minibus taxi passing through the plaza on Wednesday.
This would form part of a protest by the KwaZulu-Natal taxi industry against the government's taxi recapitalisation programme, spokesmen said on Tuesday.
KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance chairman Eugene Hadebe said the five cent protest would be held at the Tugela toll plaza on the N3 near Ladysmith.
He urged taxi drivers to stock up on five cent coins to pay their toll fees.
Taxi owners would also march on KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize’s office to hand over a memorandum of grievances.
They were also dissatisfied with the provincial transport department's administration and issuing of operating licences.
Another grievance was the government’s decision to recognise the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) as the sole representative of the taxi industry.
Hadebe told a meeting of various taxi alliances at Durban’s Curries Fountain stadium that permission had been granted for the march in Pietermaritzburg. He said Santaco did not represent his association or others.
Concerned Taxi Operators chairman Thami Ngcongo said: “They are the only people being recognised by government. They are not leading us. They are taking decisions without our consent.”
Earlier on Tuesday, KwaZulu-Natal transport spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said the provincial government had, as part of an agreement with Santaco, decided to approach the national government in an attempt to get it to delay the taxi recapitalisation programme in the province.
Ncalane said this had been agreed at a meeting between the provincial department and Santaco.
“We decided that we needed to approach the national department of transport to consider the moratorium of implementing the taxi recapitalisation programme (TRP), so that we can engage with taxi operators.”
The R7.7 billion TRP was first announced in 1999 and came into effect in October 2006. It was intended to replace the country's ageing minibus taxi fleet with safe, modern vehicles.
In terms of the TRP, taxi owners would each be paid R50,000 to have a vehicle scrapped. The owner could then use this money to exit the industry, or as a deposit on a newer, safer vehicle.
Currently the amount paid is R63,100 per taxi.
The TRP was supposed to be introduced in KwaZulu-Natal in September.
Ncalane said the transport department would ask for an extension of six months to hold talks with taxi operators.
He dismissed taxi operators' claims that the government wanted to scrap all Siyaya taxis.
Siyaya minibus taxis, originally known as Hi-Aces, were built by Toyota SA until the end of 2007.
“When government compensates taxi operators they cannot use that money to buy a vehicle that was bought in 2006 and the years before,” Ncalane said.
“There are certain provisions in the National Transport Act that talk about compliance of vehicles to be deemed roadworthy.”
He said that often the delays in issuing operating licences came about as a result of taxi owners not providing correct documentation, or obtaining the necessary municipal approval for the route they would be operating.
Ncalane said there was no need for taxi operators to march on Wednesday as the department was in talks with Santaco.
However, later on Tuesday afternoon, he said the government was attempting to hold a meeting with the other taxi alliances.
It was not immediately clear how commuters would be affected. Hadebe and other Curries Fountain stadium speakers urged drivers not to stay away, but to rather take commuters to work before joining the protest march in Pietermaritzburg.
N3 Toll Concession spokesman Con Roux said it would have extra staff on duty to help count the coins. - Sapa
Taxi protest looms for Durban
Anelisa Kubheka and Sapa 24 July 2012
Durban commuters, including office workers and school children, could find themselves sitting at home on Wednesday if they don’t make alternative transport arrangements.
Taxi owners are planning to converge on the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday to deliver a list of grievances to Premier Zweli Mkhize. And in a show of support, their drivers – about 5 000 in total – may not be reporting for work.
The planned taxi strike will affect commuters throughout Durban.
“The march (to the legislature) is being organised by the taxi owners, and to avoid what happened the last time there was a strike of commuters being stranded – we have decided not to operate at all on the day,” Musa Vilakazi-Ndlovu, chairman of Qina Mshayeli, the drivers’ union, said on Monday.
In May, hundreds of commuters were stranded at their workplaces after striking taxi drivers stopped operating after dropping passengers off in the morning.
The violent strike, over perceived harassment of drivers by metro police, left buses and cars damaged.
But Vilakazi-Ndlovu said things would be much calmer tomorrow if the strike went ahead. He said commuters would not be prevented from using other modes of transport.
He apologised for the inconvenience, saying “we have no choice because our grievances from the last strike have still not been met”.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport’s system of issuing permits was one of the taxi industry’s gripes. Another was the arrest of drivers who did not have the required permits.
“Some permits are held up at the department for reasons drivers don’t know. And when police have roadblocks for permits they arrest the drivers,” Vilakazi-Ndlovu said.
“We think impounding taxis for permits is more viable than arresting the drivers.”
KZN Transport Alliance chairman, Eugene Radebe, confirmed that taxi owners would be handing over a letter containing their grievances. Whether drivers worked on the day would depend on the drivers and their individual employers, he said.
“There will be a mass meeting at Curries Fountain stadium today where taxi owners will decide whether their drivers will work,” Radebe said.
Secretary of the Top Six Taxi Alliance, Big Boy Dladla, said operators were also dissatisfied with the government’s taxi recapitalisation programme and legislation which would make it impossible to sell a taxi older than six years to another operator.
“If you have a taxi that was bought before 2006 you cannot sell it to someone else as the buyer cannot get a taxi operating licence for it.”
He said the taxi operators were not interested in taking advantage of the programme.
The R7.7 billion programme was first announced in 1999 and came into effect in October 2006 in an attempt to replace the country’s minibus taxi fleet with more modern and safer vehicles.
In terms of the programme, taxi owners were paid R50 000 to have a vehicle scrapped.
The owner could then use this money to leave the industry or as a down payment on a newer, safer vehicle.
Since 2006, 48 000 taxis have been scrapped, of which about 5 000 were from KwaZulu-Natal.
Department of Transport spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said yesterday that the issues raised by the taxi owners were being addressed and Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu, saw no need for a march.
“Our doors are always open for dialogue and there has been no one person that we have talked with until reaching deadlock,” he said. “The MEC respects their right to march as long they respect the right of those not marching.”
eThekwini Municipality spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, said officials had only been made aware of the march through media reports, but said they would monitor the situation tomorrow to ensure minimal disruption to commuters.
Mkhize’s spokesman, Ndabezinhle Sibiya, said the premier’s office would issue a media statement on Wednesday on who would be at the legislature to accept the letter of grievances. - Daily News
Residents protest over lack of housing
Kamcilla Pillay 24 July 2012
Durban - More than 300 disgruntled community members, fed up with the lack of service delivery and the issue of land claims, gathered at Mariannridge on Tuesday morning.
The protesters started blockading the Milky Way road going into and out of the area with rubbish and burning tyres at 6am.
Some residents said the problem had started on Monday night.
They said the ward councillor had agreed to meet the community, but had cancelled at the last minute, leading to the protest.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the SAPS and metro police were monitoring the situation.
By 9am, although most of the crowd had been dispersed after the police fired tear gas, a few people remained, hurling abuse and stones at police.
Lesley-Ann Arnold, who has lived in the area for 23 years, told the Daily News that the protest stemmed from frustrations with councillors over housing and land issues.
“People are unable to go to work, primary school kids are getting tear-gassed on their way to school and people are being woken up by the sound of gunshots.
“Some residents are saying it (the protest) is barbaric, but is it really? Have you had to live in a two-bedroomed home with 20 people? Have you been ignored and insulted – not once but on many occasions – by the very people supposed to be helping you?”
Arnold said she and other residents had started their own forum on the issues they had.
Another resident e-mailed her concerns to the Daily News. “We need houses. People are rioting and blocking off roads. We are saddened at this extreme, and the level we have to stoop to get our plight heard. Help us, please.
“Today many could not go to work. This has got to stop. Help, help, help!”
Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said officials were on their way to the area to find out what the people’s issues were.
“We are not sure what sparked the protest yet,” he said.
Ward councillor in the area Mdu Gumede asked to be contacted later for comment, because he had been held up in a meeting. - Daily News