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South African Protest News 19 November - 18 December 2013 (2013) South African Protest News 19 November - 18 December 2013.  : -.

Help comes marching to abuse victims
Look Local 18 December 2013

Polokego Shelter for abused women and children takes a stand against exploitation by marching through the streets of Munsieville.
18 December 2013

Staff at Polokego Shelter for abused women and children together with a group of volunteers, community members and the SAPS, recently marched through the streets of Munsieville to make residents aware of the various types of abuse and how it affects local communities.

The march served as part of the nationwide 16 Days of Activism Against Abuse Against Women and Children and kicked off at the Munsieville Police Station.

Marchers walked through the streets of Munsieville in song and handed out pamphlets to educate residents mainly on domestic abuse.

Krugersdorp SAPS spokesperson Tshepiso Mashale who joined in on the walk says, "The march made a positive difference as a number of residents interacted and asked questions."

According to Mashale marchers assisted victims who admitted to abuse by providing them with tools and contact numbers of local support structures.

The Krugersdorp SAPS urges victims to report abuse to a social worker or at their nearest police station.

F State residents protest ahead of rape suspects’ appearance
SABC News 18 December 2013

Free State Bloemfontein Thaba Nchu Rape Angry residents of Thaba Nchu, east of Bloemfontein, are holding demonstrations outside the Magistrate's Court where three teenagers will be appearing for the alleged raped and attempted murder of a three-year-old girl.

The suspects, aged 15,17 and 18, allegedly raped and stabbed the girl several times before dumping her at a disused industrial building on December 9.

Residents are opposed to the suspects being granted bail. They are carrying banners that read "No bail for blood-suckers".

The bail hearing will take place in camera because two of the suspects are minors. The victim is recovering at the Universitas hospital in Bloemfontein

Bring Dasnois back - activists
IOL News 18 December 2013

Picket over Cape Times editor’s replacement
Cape Town - Activists, journalists and concerned citizens picketed outside the Cape Times’ offices on Tuesday in a call for editorial independence and the reinstatement of Alide Dasnois as the paper’s editor.

Another group, called the Movement for the Transformation of Media in South Africa (MTMSA), tried to drown out the picketers with singing and music from a band that arrived shortly after the group.

They demanded “all racist reporters” should be fired and claimed there was a lack of transformation in the media.

The movement was started two weeks ago and is made up of the Western Cape Social and Economic Development Forum, the Progressive Professionals Forum and the South African National Civic Organisation, which is an ANC alliance partner.

Police had to intervene to calm tempers, after which most of the movement’s supporters dispersed.

The Right2Know picket went ahead, joined by AgangSA. Right2Know organised the picket after Independent News and Media SA (INMSA) chairman Dr Iqbal Survé removed Dasnois from her position on December 6.

Independent News and Media SA chief executive Tony Howard uses Right2Know co-ordinator Mark Weinberg's back to sign the memorandum the organisation handed to him. Picture: Michael Walker

Her removal followed a report by the Cape Times on the public protector’s adverse findings against the Department of Fisheries in the awarding of a tender to one of the companies in the Sekunjalo Group.

Survé has denied accusations that Dasnois was fired over this news report.

On Thursday, Right2Know co-ordinator Mark Weinberg told the protesters that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu supported their action.

Right2Know handed a memorandum to INMSA, which has a week to respond. The memorandum called for:

* Editorial independence. Right2Know wants a commitment that an editorial charter will be drawn up and an editorial advisory board appointed.

* The unconditional withdrawal of all threats to sue Dasnois and reporter Melanie Gosling;

* The reinstatement of Dasnois as editor; and

* A written assurance by Survé that he will never again sue or threaten to sue any of the group newspapers, editors and reporters.

“You can’t have transformation of media without press freedom. We cannot have an attack on journalists and an attack on editors like we have seen here (at Cape Times),” Weinberg said.

“It cannot go unpunished. Someone must take account. When we say transformation we don’t say put your business friends at the top.”

He said Right2Know picketed because “the owners crossed the line and stepped into editorial just to protect themselves and their own reputation”.

Mary Burton, a former commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said the relationship between a newspaper and its readers must be built on trust, “a trust that is hard won and all too easily lost”.

“We need to be sure that the people who produce our newspapers are independent and free to tell us the truth. There is no democracy without press freedom,” she said.

MTMSA convener Wesley Douglas said the group protested on Tuesday in defence of Survé.

He said the issue was not press freedom but resistance to transformation in the media.

“We are not saying that there should be no coverage of bad things that happen. There is stuff that are in the best interest of all South Africans to know,” Douglas said.

“The question is: why is it that only black politicians and black business people and what they do negatively (that) is in the press but not what white politicians and white business people are doing?

“There is a disparity in the coverage.”

Asked if the MTMSA had any links to Survé, Douglas said he had no links and had never met him before.

Douglas is also the secretary-general of the African-Chinese People’s Friendship Association.
Cape Times

Cape Times protest: Goons rock up to defend Iqbal Surve
Terry Bell 17 December 2013

Terry Bell says the counter-demonstration began with pensioners being bussed in with expensively produced colour placards...

The saga of the Cape Times and South Africa's Independent Newspapers (INL) group plumbed new depths of farce this afternoon (December 17) when a rent-a-crowd arrived in the city to support the putative new owner, Iqbal Survé.
A busload of elderly pensioners was the first to arrive to confront a picket that grew to some 150 people protesting the sacking of Cape Times editor Alide Dasnois and supporting editorial independence for INL titles.
The pensioners, from the Belhar suburb north of the city, carried expensively produced, two-colour placards demanding the dismissal of "racist journalists" and, in particular, assistant editor and Man Friday columnist Tony Weaver. They also carried glossy, full-colour A2 posters of newspaper front pages referring to the death of Nelson Mandela, posters that claimed the Cape Times had ignored this historic event.

But the Cape Times did not ignore the event. And Weaver, in his column, spelled out how Alide Dasnois and the Cape Times team had put together a four-page wraparound that earned that newspaper the accolade of having one of the 14 best "Mandela front pages in the world".

Not that any of the nine pensioners interviewed was aware of these events or of the journalists mentioned. "We were told we could come in a bus to Cape Town and would get food at the [St George's] cathedral," one woman said. Her two companions readily agreed: "We don't know what all this is about," they added. Others nodded in agreement, but would not comment although one muttered: "Ek dink ons is misgebruik." (I think we are misused)
That was bad enough. But the evidently well-financed counter protest had obviously been put together in a hurry - or perhaps there was nobody around to proof read the caption on the glossy posters. This read: FIRE DASNOIS - FIRE TONY HOWARD.

Howard is "the other Tony" at INL, and is the chief executive of the company. However, given recent events at the Cape Times, perhaps the rent-a-crowd had inside information and Howard too is about to be dumped.

Then, as the often bemused pensioner contingent stood around, another small group, similarly equipped with placards and posters arrived. They were younger and noisy, claiming to represent both the South African National Civics Organisation (Sanco) and the ANC. They joined several men who had arrived with the pensioners, one of whom claimed to represent "Khoisan freedom". He pointed out the organiser of the counter protest, a man who gave his name as Wesley Douglas.
Douglas bears a striking resemblance to the Wesley Douglas who was once an ANC Youth League member and who later switched to the African Christian Democratic Party and lists his current occupation as "CEO Hillsong Africa Foundation", a project of the pentecostal Hillsong Church. He obviously did not want to be interviewed, but said he represented the newly formed Movement for the Transformation of Media in South Africa (MTMSA) that was responsible for the counter protest, the placards and the posters. Contact details for MTMSA, printed on the posters, are only a cell phone number and an email address. However, he noted to another journalist that his movement was formed "a month ago".

It was then that a youthful "minstrels" band blared onto the scene. In between blasting on brass instruments and banging drums and cymbals, several of the boy bandsmen were asked what they were doing there. They noted that they had been told "to play music". By whom they weren't sure nor why they had been asked to play.

Amid the noise and shouting, the pensioner contingent was ushered away, apparently to have their promised meal. As tensions in parts of the crowd began to heighten, two police officers appeared to inform "Wesley", whom they seemed to know, that he and his group had ten minutes to leave since they did not have permission for their protest.
This allowed the Right to Know to stage an impromptu rally that resulted in pledges to continue and to build the campaign to protect the media freedom enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. But now more pertinent questions need answers: who decided on a counter protest? Above all, who paid for the posters, the placards and the transport?
Terry Bell participated in the Right2Know protest for press freedom. So did the GroundUp editor.

Sanral not concerned by postal strike
LookLocal 13 December 2013

JOBURG- A week after the launch of e-tolling on Gauteng highways the contentious and long delayed system faces another hurdle.

Postal workers have gone on strike following unsuccessful salary negotiations, which could impact Sanral's issuing of invoices by post to defaulting e-toll users.

Last week, media reported that post office workers vowed to delay the delivery of invoices and notices of demand to non-compliant e-toll users.

According to Times Live, the Communications Workers Union had urged its members to delay processing Sanral's mail.

However, the union's acting secretary general, Thabo Mogalane said its members in Gauteng had been on a go-slow and had since embarked on a strike solely to address their salary demands and related matters.

"Our strike has no agenda and we are not targeting any specific companies," he said.

According to Sanrals spokesman Vusi Mona the road agency had not been officially informed of the strike but was aware of media reports regarding the action.

Mona said the agency was not overly concerned about the postal workers action, adding that the legal obligation to pay for use of the e-tolled road does not arise out of receipt of an invoice but from the use of the road.

"The majority of e-toll account holders have opted to receive their e-toll invoices and statements by electronic means."

However, he said Sanral hoped the parties involved will find a speedy resolution to the labour dispute.

FNB crowd vocal about preferences
Sowetan 10 December 2013

The crowd at the FNB Stadium made no secret of its sentiments as images of politicians and others were shown on the big screen at the memorial for former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.

President Jacob Zuma was repeatedly booed each time he was shown on a large screen at the stadium.

US president Barack Obama was welcomed shortly before 1pm with a sustained shout of joy by the crowd.

However, the second the image on the screen changed to that of Zuma, the crowd began an equally passionate boo.

The crowd jeered even when Zuma was shown appeared during a tribute by Mandela family friend and struggle hero Andrew Mlangeni.

During the welcome address by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, the crowd cheered Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and former presidents FW De Klerk and Thabo Mbeki, but when they saw Zuma, a sustained boo echoed across the calabash-shaped stadium.

People watching the service on a big screen in Dobsonville, Soweto, also jeered when Zuma appeared.

Mandela's widow Graca Machel and his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela were both loudly cheered each time they were shown on screen, as was former president Thabo Mbeki.

An image of a group wearing red Economic Freedom Fighters' berets prompted the crowd to boo.

As the rain came down in Soweto, people huddled under umbrellas trying to keep dry.

Mandela mourners fight over food
News24 10 December 2013

Mourners fought for food and hurled insults outside the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday where thousands gathered to watch a live broadcast of late President Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

They were heard complaining that they had to get up early to catch buses at 06:00 that ferried them to the stadium free of charge.

“We were told to wake up early to catch a bus to the stadium to mourn our father Nelson Mandela but now they refuse us the food," one mourner said.

Packs of food flew through the air as people grabbed it out of each other's hands.

Sbusiso Zitha told African Eye News Service complained about how the caterers behaved.

“We stood here long and are so hungry. It is better that we force our way to the food," he said.

Others said they would not eat food if they had to take it by force.

AENS was unable to get through the crowd to get comment from the harassed caterers.

The shoving was so intense that one of the vans was nearly pushed over. - African Eye News Service

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

Vote against e-tolls - DA
IOL News5 December 2013

Johannesburg - An aircraft trailing a banner reading “fight e-tolls, vote DA” took to the skies of Gauteng again on Thursday during a DA rally.

Scores of Democratic Alliance supporters gathered outside the Gauteng provincial legislature to protests against the e-tolling of Gauteng highways.

They carried placards reading “Mmuso wa Zuma rea o chencha” (We are changing Zuma's government).

The aerial banner made its first appearance on Tuesday, the day e-tolling came into effect.

DA member Edward Tshabalala said government had to be challenged to show that the people would govern.

“Every South African must unite in fighting e-tolls,” he said.

Another DA supporter, Mavis Makola, said the African National Congress government was on a mission to make people poor.

“The ANC has failed its people and it's about time to vote against e-tolls,” she said.

A Freedom Front Plus application to stop e-tolls was struck from the roll by the High Court in Pretoria on Monday, for lack of urgency.

Mail workers to aid e-toll rebellion
IOL News 5 December 2013

Cosatu-affiliated unions in the Post Office and Gauteng metro police have vowed to directly and indirectly help motorists against e-tolling.

Post Office workers who are members of the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) are already on a go-slow. However, they have been urged to work even more slowly when dealing with summonses from the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

“They must work extremely slowly when dealing with those Sanral letters. If they have to sort out 100 a day, they should make it one a day,” CWU Gauteng secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said.

Workers should work “slower than a snail” so that those people opposing the system did not receive the summons.

“We want the system to completely collapse. We are very disappointed that after Cosatu marches and engagements the system still continued.”

Tshabalala said the campaign against the system would be intensified in January.

CWU workers in the Post Office are on a go-slow, demanding a relocation allowance, 10 percent salary increase, housing subsidy, medical aid post retirement benefits, and the removal of capping of medical aid.

Traffic officers in Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg who are members of the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) were also on an unofficial go-slow.

The union distanced itself from the unofficial go slow but confirmed that officers had been complaining they were forced to desert their official duties due to the massive traffic on alternatives routes to the e-tolled highways.

Samwu Gauteng legal officer Jack Mokalapa said the union had received complaints from members that it had been an “absolute disaster” on those roads in the morning as motorists avoided tolled highways.

“They are creating extra work for our officers and they can no longer attend to other emergencies. It's an operational disaster and there is not enough manpower.”

Mokalapa said Samwu, through the Congress of SA Trade Unions, would continue attempts to force government to scrap the system.

“We are going to intensify our efforts to put pressure on government so that the system is not even implemented in other provinces.” -Sapa

DA likens Sanral CEO to PW Botha
IOL News 5 December 2013

Johannesburg - The SA National Roads Agency Limited's CEO Nazir Alli is the present-day PW Botha, DA Gauteng spokesman Musi Maimane said on Thursday.

“Transport links should connect and integrate us. What e-tolls will do is keep us separate and apart... Nazir Alli is the PW Botha of today,” he told a rally against e-tolling in Johannesburg.

“We are here because we are angry and we are here because we must take a stand.”

Apartheid-era state president PW Botha was renowned for his authoritarian approach to governance.

Maimane said the African National Congress government had forced e-tolls on the country.

“Today we tell this ANC government to proudly take their e-tolls back,” he said.

On Monday, a Freedom Front Plus application to stop e-tolls on Gauteng highways was struck from the roll by the High Court in Pretoria, for lack of urgency.

The e-tolling of Gauteng highways came into effect on Tuesday

Hail damage causes riots: Aid follows Kagiso residents' riots.
Look Local 2 December 2013

Kagiso residents took the streets burning tyres as pleads for aid allegedly went unheard after a hailstorm hit the area on Thursday 28 November.

In an interview with SABC News, residents accused the local municipality of not caring enough.

"Where is the help from Government when we need it?" a disgruntled resident asked on air.

Rioters claimed that they burnt tyres to get Governments attention because we need help.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Premier candidate Musi Maimane visited the area and said that he sympathised with residents and understood their anger.

"Residents are angry and rightfully so," he said.

The DA accused Mogale City Municipality of depleting the Kagiso Disaster Relief Fund.

Residents are entitled to their anger when we have a budget in the municipality for disasters and it hasnt kicked in, said Maimane.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane rejected claims.

"What has happened is beyond what the municipality can do. That is why we are working together," she said.

"We thank all people who have been working to put intervention into place," she added.

Meanwhile disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers contributed R2 million towards relief for people affected by hailstorms across the country and handed out blankets, food and plastic sheets in Kagiso.

Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Ntombi Mekgwe, also was set to visit residents of Kagiso to inspect the damage caused by the hailstorm last week.

Homes burn, bullets fly in Sosh
Valeska Abreu (IOL News) 4 December 2013

Pretoria - Two homes were set alight on Tuesday when violence erupted in Soshanguve following the eviction of some families from RDP houses.

Tshwane Metro Police officers were stoned and shot at, and had to use rubber bullets to disperse the angry evictees.

Scores of people watched as the house of ward councillor Maribishi Marotola went up in flames after an angry group of residents stormed the house in Block XX, threw stones at windows and petrol bombs inside the dwelling.

Marotola’s wife and three children were inside at the time and were saved from the flames by neighbours.

Just moments earlier, the mob had set alight the house of community liaison officer Bernard Khoza, whose wife and eight-month-old baby narrowly escaped injury.

Neighbours struggled to break down the doors to get inside and rescue them.

A car belonging to Marotola was stoned after his house was burnt down by local residents. Photo: Masi Losi

The violence was triggered by the eviction of families from RDP houses in an area known as Plastic View.

The evictees threatened to harm Marotola and “his associates”.

They claim that Marotola and “his associates” have been selling the RDP houses instead of correctly allocating them to families whose names are on the housing waiting list.

The council, however, denied these allegations and said that residents managed to get hold of the keys to the houses and decided to house themselves.

Metro police spokesman Isaac Mahamba said: “About three weeks ago, they broke into the place where the keys to the houses were held. They stole the keys and distributed these among themselves.

“Thus they are illegally occupying those houses and will be evicted.”

The house of councillor Maribishi Marotola from Soshanguve Block XX was burnt down by local residents who accused him of selling RDP houses. Photo: Masi Losi

The metro started evicting people on Tuesday morning, but were met with resistance.

“When we arrived this morning, there were arguments with the community about the evictions. “

“We then managed to calm the situation down and started with the eviction of one family. Tensions flared again and the community started stoning the metro police. They managed to get the pumpaction gun of one of our members and shot him in the arm at close range. Chaos erupted and metro police fired rubber bullets.

“One of our members fell during the process and he was trampled over and kicked and assaulted by the mob. We managed to calm the situation and both our members were taken to hospital,” Mahamba said.

According to Khoza, the mob descended on his house, thinking that he had instructed metro police to evict people. “I was at the shop getting airtime to arrange a meeting, because I heard that people were angry about the evictions. When I looked in the rear-view mirror of my car, I saw about 50 people with stones, bricks and sticks storming towards me and I sped off. I went around the corner and got to the councillor’s house and saw more of them coming that way. I then sped off in the other direction,” Khoza said.

He rushed back to his house after receiving a call from neighbours that it was on fire.

The mob then also torched Marotola’s house and dispersed minutes later as police arrived on the scene.

“We want the proper people to be put in those houses. We can’t have the councillor and his people making money from houses that need to be given to people who desperately need them. I’ve been on that list since 2005 but still no house. Now they can’t even find my name,” a resident said.

“No one can occupy a home illegally. There is a process that has to be followed and everyone must respect that process,” he said.

Marotola said that he and his family would be moved to another area and that he was not worried about his life even though his house had been torched.

“ I will cope with whatever comes my way. I lost everything in that fire, but I’m still here and I will continue pushing on. I have no intention of stepping down. I have a commitment to this community. My family and I are still traumatised but we will continue with our lives.”
Pretoria News

Ward 93 protests against e-tolls
LookLocal 4 December 2013

SUNNINGHILL - To show their disapproval of the commencement of e-tolling on Johannesburg's highways, Ward 93 staged a silent protest at the Rivonia Road intersection in Sunninghill on 3 December.
03 December 2013

Ward 93 councillor Annette Deppe explained that during the extensive public hearings held in Sunninghill leading up to the start of e-tolling, she had promised that the day e-tolls started she would protest at the Rivonia Road intersection and she had fulfilled her promise.

Deppe said, "Today we are doing a silent protest to reflect what the majority of motorists out there feel about e-tolls, however this is only the precursor to more DA activity to protest the e-tolling system around Johannesburg."

The protesters brandished placards that read 'Against our constitutional rights' and 'Stop highway robbery'.

These were met with hoots, clapping and cheers from motorists driving passed the protest.

Deppe added that if the alternate roads were in a better condition or were being upgraded as was promised, then there would at least be some form of choice.

Deppe's daughter, Candace, a student at the University of Pretoria was worried that many of her classmates who commute from Johannesburg to Pretoria daily would not be able to afford the cost of e-tolls on top of tuition fees.

"I relate e-tolls to going shopping," she said. "If you can't afford to buy something in a shop you can just choose to not buy it, but with e-tolls we don't have a choice, we just have to pay for the use of these roads whether we like it or not."

Meanwhile, Johannesburg's alternative routes suffered severe traffic congestion on the morning of 3 December.

According to News24, Superintendent Edna Mamonyane of Metro police said Hendrik Potgieter, Ontdekkers and Main Reef roads experienced heavy traffic.

"Kliprivier, Booysens and Rosettenville roads were backed up for motorists coming from the south of Johannesburg," she said.

She said there was an increase of traffic in neighbourhoods, as motorists used suburbs in a bid to escape tolled roads.

E-toll protests, fears of price hikes
IOL News 4 December 2013

Warnings of food and goods price hikes, protests, impending fuel hikes, party electioneering and an apparently smooth switch-on marked the start of e-tolls yesterday.

E-tolling went live with very few glitches – a result, many motorists said, of schools being closed and less traffic on the roads.

A handful of anti-toll protesters gathered at the intersection of Witkoppen and Rivonia roads. Motorists hooted in support.

Protester Annette Deppe, a DA ward councillor, said the day that President Jacob Zuma pays back the cost of upgrading his Nkandla home would be the day she paid e-tolls.

The system went live ahead of today’s fuel price hike, adding to motorists’ woes.

Battling consumers will have to tighten their belts this festive season, with the first in a series of fuel price hikes kicking in today.

On Friday, the Department of Energy announced a 17c increase in the price of petrol and a 10c hike for diesel. The price of unleaded petrol inland will increase to R13.19 a litre and to R12.82 at the coast.

The real effect of e-tolls may be felt only in a few months when retailers begin to increase the prices of their goods.

The e-toll tariffs for Class B heavy goods vehicles (3000kg to 9000kg) is capped at R1750 a month, while Class C (heavy articulated trucks) is capped at R3500.

Economist Mike Schussler said e-tolls would lead to an inflationary increase of 0.2 percent next year.

“On its own it doesn’t sound too bad, but when you add it to the increased costs of everything else (electricity, water, school fees and petrol), consumers will have to give up something,” he said.

The chief executive of Karan Beef, Arnold Pretorius, said the tolls would cost his company a lot. “It’s difficult for us to tell how much at this stage, but we will be trying to avoid those roads.”

He said they would plan deliveries to be as economical as possible, but ultimately they would have to pass on the extra cost to the customer because the profit margin for beef was very small.

RAM Hand-to-Hand Couriers director Graeme Lazarus said e-tolls would lead to an increased cost to their customers.

“We have no alternative but to follow the rules of the country,” he said. “Every truck has an e-tag fitted.”

Tamra Veley, spokeswoman for Pick n Pay, said the retailer was “very concerned about the impact of e-tolls on consumers”, and they would do everything they could to absorb costs.

SA National Consumer Union vice-chairman Cliff Johnston said: “Any administered price increase, such as petrol and tolls, creates expectations and can be a trigger for retailers to raise prices, often by much more than the actual cost impact.

The National Consumer Forum’s Thami Bolani said the e-tolls might affect how people vote in next year’s elections.

He also expects goods to cost more. “That is why businesses have been quick to buy e-tags. They did not want to get involved in this battle because they don’t want their businesses to be affected by this. They will simply pass the costs on to consumers,” said Bolani.

DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane – also the party’s candidate for Gauteng premier – launched an electioneering anti-e-tolls banner flown behind a plane: “Fight etolls. Vote DA”.

The ANC spokesman, Jackson Mthembu, said: “The ANC calls upon motorists in their numbers to register for their e-toll accounts so as to take advantage of the benefits of being registered. The ANC further calls for restraint from all members of society against mobilising for lawlessness.”

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance chairman Wayne Duvenage said that in other countries where tolling had failed, they began with compliance levels of about 90 percent, but South Africa’s levels were not even close to that.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited remains confident that the system will work. -The Star

Disabled ‘burnt by Sanral’ promises
Shain Germaner (IOL News) 4 December 2013

Johannesburg - A burning wheelchair in front of the Rivonia e-toll customer service centre captured the protesters’ message: “e-tolls has paralysed us”.

About a dozen wheelchair-bound Gauteng residents, mostly members of the QuadPara Association of South Africa (Qasa), gathered at the centre on Tuesday to protest against the fact that the disabled were not exempt from the tolls.

Qasa chief executive Ari Seirlis said the government and the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) had allegedly promised the disabled exemption from the e-tolls, but had never implemented this promise as legislation.

Tuesday saw the group arriving at the centre to apply for tags that would ensure they wouldn’t be charged for using the freeways.

But when the group entered the office surrounded by media, cameramen were forced to leave the centre by security guards.

It was then that manager Ali Ndou explained to the crowd that there was no exemption for any drivers outside of those associated with public transport.

“We’ve been burnt by Sanral… We (Qasa) had tried to consult with them even as late as last week, and we have still not had a response,” said Seirlis.

The crowd then switched from trying to register their e-tags to a full-blown protest as they revealed their protest signs and shouted outside the centre that “e-tolls tax the poorest of the poor” and “e-tolls will paralyse us”.

In a final act of defiance, the group then took a wheelchair, doused it in petrol and set it alight.

But despite the flames getting dangerously close to the centre’s lawn and the stench of burning plastic, the security personnel and management remained inside the centre, seemingly ignoring the protest.

'Protests every second day in SA'
IOL News 3 December 2013

South Africa had almost one protest every second day this year, specialised local government data and intelligence service company Municipal IQ said on Monday.

Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were the most protest-ridden provinces in 2013, it said.

"What is worrying about the Eastern Cape, is that protests did not only take place in urban areas stressed by in-migration, like those in Uitenhage [in November], but they spread to smaller towns like Cookhouse and Port St Johns and more remote areas like Matolweni," said the company's economist Karen Heese.

There were fewer protests in the Western Cape, Free State, North West and Mpumalanga this year than in the past nine years.

Municipal IQ head Kevin Allan said urban areas like those in Gauteng and the Western Cape attracted "in-migrants" looking for better employment prospects and living conditions.

"Despite the often impressive efforts by municipalities in these provinces, the demand for basic services and housing is not fully met, giving rise to service delivery protests," he said.

"This is a paradox we have seen for some time -- protests often afflict well-run municipalities and provinces with high productivity scores."

Allan said the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, which had the worst productivity ratings of all the provinces, experienced an increase in protests this year.

"This is concerning -- it is not just deprivation relative to well-off neighbours in Gauteng and the Western Cape, but absolute deprivation in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal that is fuelling protests," he said.

Municipal IQ said seven of the 10 best-performing local municipalities were in the Western Cape. The lowest performance scores were in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

E-toll protest takes to the skies
IOL News 3 December 2013

An aircraft towing an anti e-tolls banner took to the skies of Johannesburg on Tuesday as part of a new DA protest.

The red and blue banner read: “fight e-tolls, vote DA”.

The plane circled Germiston, on the East Rand, before flying over all the newly-tolled routes.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said people needed to use their votes to fight e-tolling.

“If people oppose tolling, they must vote for a party that opposes it,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“If you oppose tolling, you must oppose the current government.”

He reiterated that motorists were under no obligation to register for e-tags and said he would not register his own car.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) went live with its collection of e-tolls on Gauteng highways shortly after midnight, following several unsuccessful attempts to halt its implementation.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced on November 20 that the e-tolling of Gauteng's highways would begin on Tuesday.

On Monday, an application by the Freedom Front Plus to stop e-tolling was struck from the roll by the High Court in Pretoria, for lack of urgency.

The DA said it intended taking its fight against e-tolling to the courts, arguing that the legislation providing for e-tolls was incorrectly tagged as national, rather than provincial.

Maimane said that when the matter came to court, the constitutionality of e-toll collections would be tested.

The DA launched a campaign against e-tolling last month. It erected a billboard on the N3 highway in Germiston with the slogan “A vote for the DA is a vote against e-tolls”.

African National Congress spokesman Dumisa Ntuli said at the time: “The DA uses e-tolling as a trump card to entice voters because they are divided on issues of leadership, equity and BBBEE broad-based black economic empowerment.” -Sapa

Thousands down tools at Post Office over wage demands
Business Day 29 November 2013

THOUSANDS of members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) will down tools at the South African Post Office on Friday over unmet wage demands, the union said on Thursday.

An expected 7,000 union members will march on the regional headquarters of the Post Office in Johannesburg on Friday to present a memorandum of demands including a salary increase, a relocation allowance for transferred workers and improved job security.

The CWU declared a wage dispute in September after rejecting a wage increase offer of 6% from the Post Office.

CWU spokesman Matankana Mothapo said on Thursday the last meeting between the union and Post Office management had been on October 2, but no progress was made.

The Post Office could not immediately be reached for comment, but had warned in September during the presentation of its 2012-13 results that it faced a "hostile operating environment coupled with various identified business risks".

Post Office CEO Christopher Hlekane reported a R179m loss for the year, attributed to a decline in the mail business as well as a damaging strike earlier in 2013 that caused a loss of revenue of R100m.

Postal workers embarked on widespread unprotected strike action in February and March after being informed they were owed billions of rand in unpaid salary adjustments dating back to 1994.

A total of 588 striking workers were ultimately dismissed after they failed to respond to an ultimatum from the Post Office.

CWU 28 November 2013

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) will tomorrow (Friday, 29 November 2013) embark on a strike action against the South African Post Office (Sapo).

The union’s demands are as follows:
• Relocation Allowance
• Housing Subsidy
• Job Security
• Medical Aid Post Retirement Benefit
• Removal of Capping from Medical Aid
• 10% Salary Increase
• Salary Ranges
• Implementation Period

We urge our members to gather at Cosatu House in Braamfontein from 8:00am and march to the regional office of the Post Office in Braamfontein (Rennesy) at 9:00am to submit a memorandum of demands.

Contact: Matankana Mothapo, National Spokesperson - 0827590900

Morocco: Vigil Outside Moroccan Embassy in Pretoria to Protest Occupation of Western Sahara
All Africa 28 November 2013

Pretoria — A vigil to protest Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara was organized today, Wednesday, outside the Moroccan embassy in South Africa, said a source from Saharawi Republic's embassy in Pretoria.

The vigil, organized by the African National Congress (ANC), is part of a programme annually held by the South African movement of solidarity with the Saharawi people.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (NEHAWU), Rally of Solidarity with the Saharawi people, Communist Party and the civil society coordination of Pretoria and Johannesburg took part at the protest.

Raised Saharawi flag and large banner reading "solidarity the referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara", the participants of this vigil roamed Pretorius Street.

At the end of the protest, they read a statement, in which they expressed unshakeable solidarity with the Saharawi people and their just struggle for freedom and independence.

The statement denounced Morocco's obstacles in the face of organizing the decolonization of Western Sahara, urging to respect international law on human rights and disclose the fate of all missing Saharawis and free the political prisoners.

It also called for the need to abide by requirements of international law in regard to the respect for human rights in the occupied territories of Western Sahara, and to stop the depletion of Western Sahara's natural resources and wealth.

Strike puts St Mary’s on the edge
IOL News 27 November 2013

Durban - Staff at the cash-strapped St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill embarked on a strike on Tuesday after pay talks deadlocked, leading to the effective temporary closure of the historic institution.

The hospital’s paediatric ward was shut down on Tuesday and no patients were being admitted to the male and female surgical wards.

“We only dealt with those patients who were already in the hospital. The ideal is to move as many patients as possible tonight,” St Mary’s marketing and fundraising manager, Julie Vivier, said on Tuesday.

She said patients had been transferred to other facilities such as RK Khan, Don Mackenzie, King Edward VIII and McCord hospitals.

Staff should realise that the hospital could potentially be permanently closed, as a last resort, Vivier said.

The staff union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa), said management had not met its demand that a 6.5 percent salary increase be paid within two weeks.

On October 31 about 300 employees, including nurses, picketed at the gate of the hospital, west of Durban, demanding the increase.

The hospital’s management has offered workers a 3 percent increase.

“There is no new offer. They gave us the same offer that they said they would be able to give us, which was not accepted by the workers,” said Denosa’s provincial organiser, Mandla Shabane. “(They) have not moved from it.”

Last week, Denosa and the hospital management were at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration attempting conciliation but no agreement was reached.

The hospital was then notified by the union that its workers would go for a full-blown strike.

“We have been in negotiations with the hospital until last week. The workers are not prepared to go back to work and we will be present at the hospital’s gates on a strike until our demands are met,” said Shabane.

Vivier said the hospital’s management had told employees during their picket last month that the institution was financially strapped and dependent on a subsidy from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health.

“Various processes were agreed at the last meeting with the department of health and are still under way. They are to be presented at the next meeting scheduled for December 9, 2013,” said Vivier.

The 200-bed, level-one district hospital is run by a non-profit organisation aligned with the Mariannhill Mission Complex. It is owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood.

It serves more than a million people from disadvantaged, semi-rural communities.

Most of the patients are treated for opportunistic infections such as HIV and Aids, malnutrition, gastroenteritis and tuberculosis.

Shabane said workers were desperate to know the fate of the hospital as they had been informed that it is struggling to remain open.

“The anxiety is there but we cannot (accept) that it is facing potential closure. It is up to the hospital management if they are able to run the hospital,” said Shabane.

Said Vivier: “While this is absolutely the last resort, staff do fear the possibility of closure.”

The hospital had applied for a R135 million government grant last November, for the period April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016, but the KZN Department of Health had indicated it would provide only R112m, until next year.

This was not enough, the hospital management said.

Joburg hawkers shut down CBD
Getrude Makhafola 28 November 2013

Johannesburg - Disgruntled hawkers in Johannesburg forced businesses in the CBD to close on Thursday.

The hawkers said they would not allow anyone to trade because the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg High Court were not taking them seriously.

“We are hungry. How are we supposed to feed our families this Christmas? They must all close,” said vegetable vendor Dorcas Mlangeni.

Mlangeni said she had been trading along Kerk Street for over two years.

“We are losing income while officials get salaries and will have a good Christmas.”

They walked in groups and forced shopkeepers along Kerk, Small, and Bree streets to close their doors.

Those who did not adhere to the instructions had stones thrown at them.

A defiant shopkeeper on Kerk Street was kicked at and hit with sticks. He decided to oblige after a few of them tried to loot his shop.

The busy Small Street was also closed for business.

The SA Police Service and the Johannesburg metro police arrived minutes later as the shops remained closed.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the hawkers' application to be allowed to trade again was not urgent.

The case was postponed to next year. - Sapa

Northam Platinum strike continues
NUM 25 November 2013

The Strike at Northam Platinum is still continuing . "We have not heard anything from management since the last meeting under the auspices of the CCMA section 150," said NUM Chief Negotiator at Northern Platinum Ecliff Tantsi.

Workers have decided to take their march to Northam head office on Tuesday 26. The march will start at around 10h00. They will gather at Hyndhan Park situated at Hume and Northumberland Road in Dunkeld West.

The NUM is still open for further negotiations with the company and we would be on stand by 24 hours.

The NUM members have resolved to continue with this peaceful and bloodless strike.

The strike continues.

For more information, Please contact

Ecliff Tantsi- (Chief Negotiator)-082 941 4210

Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 (Acting NUM spokesperson)
National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Cnr Frederick
Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257

Cape anti-toll protests accelerate
Dave Abrahams (IOL News)

With little more than a week to go before the planned introduction of e-tolling in Gauteng, the protest rides organised by Bikers Against e-Tolls seem to be taking on a new urgency.

Hundreds of riders - nearly double the turnout for the previous Cape Town BAT ride - gathered on Keizergracht in the CBD on Saturday for the third such protest, escorted by the motorcycle patrolmen of the city’s Traffic Services.

They ranged from inarticulate teens on scruffy scooters and 400’s to mainstream riders on beautifully presented cruisers and expensively leathered hotshots on the latest sports bikes, each festooned with statements - some printed on elegant silk flags, others hand-lettered on sheets of stiff paper - all expressing their opposition to being charged for riding on roads that had already been paid for, often in terms too graphically anatomical to be reprinted here.

“We’re not going to go away.”

Gauteng BAT organiser Shaun Pfister told the riders that the protest movement against tolling in general, and e-tolling in particular, was not going to be a short-term campaign. BAT, he said, was in it for the long haul, and Sanral was beginning to take note.

“Keep on attending the rides,” he said, “Keep pressuring the authorities; it’s not going to happen overnight but it will bear fruit.”

As has become a BAT tradition, the ride took in some of the Cape’s proposed toll roads - the N2, R300 and N1 - in a wide loop that ended at a popular biker’s pub in Montague Gardens, its signage driving home the point to every four-wheeled motorist they passed that all it takes is for the majority to do nothing, and one day we will all have to pay to use the roads our taxes built.

Councillor held for protest violence
IOL News 21 November 2013

Rustenburg - A ward councillor and nine other people were arrested for public violence in Lethabong near Rustenburg on Thursday, North West police said.

Sergeant Kelebogile Moiloa said a group of people burnt an excavator and pelted stones at a truck during a protest at a construction site.

“The TLB (excavator) was completely burnt. A councillor, two females, and seven males were arrested for public violence,” she said.

The group was reportedly unhappy with the appointment of a contractor.

The contractor was developing a site where houses would be built, she said.

Thokoza protesters turn on foreigners
IOL News 20 November 2013

A barefoot woman wearing a nightdress, disappears into a store owned by immigrants and then bolted out with goods clutched tightly to her chest.

Two young men ran holding a bucket filled with goods and one of them tightly clutched a big packet of chips.

These were the scenes in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, on day morning as residents went on the rampage, breaking into foreign-owned shops and emptying them. This was after the owners fled the area at the first sign of violence on Monday during a protest over illegal electricity connections.

As the barefoot woman in the nightdress came out carrying stolen goods, she did a little dance, to the horror of her neighbours. “To think that he is a policeman’s wife… she has no shame,” remarked a neighbour watching as looters ran amok.

Another woman said some of the looters had earlier been driving around in minibus taxis and carrying guns.

Protesters strip a bakkie that was torched in Thokoza. Picture: Itumeleng English

Municipal spokesman Sam Modiba said illegal connections saw the city losing R36 million per annum.

“This translates to losses of about R2.8m to R4.9m per month,” Modiba said.

On the other side of Thokoza, an elderly woman with a defeated look on her face stood outside a spaza shop whose steel garage door that had been sliced open. She lets the building to foreign traders.

Gunshots that suddenly rang in the air quickly brought police officers onto Sekonyela Street, looking for the gunman. People ducked for cover as the speeding cars with sirens blaring arrived and police officers armed to the teeth jumped out of the vehicle.

They went into a house where they suspected the shots were coming from, but found a couple with an infant.

Just as quickly, the officers rushed two streets away, where they encountered three women carrying looted items. The officers then went next door, where they found that the man living there had filled his shack with looted goods. Just as they were arresting him, other looters were coming out of the spaza shop just opposite them, stolen goods in their hands.

A visibly shaken woman who was caught with looted items was on the verge of tears and kept pleading with the police who caught her as she tried to flee. “Please don’t hit me, please don’t hit me.”

Spokesman for the Thokoza police Captain Godfrey Maditsi could not say how many people had been arrested for looting.

He said three people were arrested over Monday’s mayhem and charged with public violence.

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