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South African Protest News 2 April - 6 May 2014 (2014) South African Protest News 2 April - 6 May 2014.  : -.

Diepsloot protest for jobs
Andrei van Wyk (Fourways Review) 30 April 2014

DIEPSLOOT – Diepsloot residents expressed outrage that they were not offered jobs at a construction site near the informal settlement.

The community of Ext 12 gathered for their third day of protest and held up signs calling for jobs while they burnt tyres in the middle of the road.

Diepsloot resident Sharon Takalani said residents of Ext 12 were resentful that the contractors and local government had hired people they knew, and who were politically affiliated to them to work on a project just off of the R114.

Ward councillor of Ward 113 Abraham Mabuke said the Johannesburg Roads Agency project would cost R6 million. He said they had held three meetings, including one with the local community regarding the process of appointing a community officer in Diepsloot to liaise with the residents and mediate the interviewing process.

Protesters were enraged after Mabuke left after 10 minutes without addressing them, but he said the disruptions and protests near Ext 12 and 13 were allegedly instigated by residents who did not want to follow the hiring procedures.

An Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) member at the protest who did not want to be named, said the interviewing process was flawed and that jobs were only given to ANC supporters.

Mabuke contested this claim and said EFF members have used this protest as an opportunity to discredit the ANC.

The protesters, however did not disclose their political affiliations and said the protest was community-oriented and not political.

Workers win R200m backpay battle
IOLm News 7 May 2014

Durban - The eThekwini Municipality has buckled under pressure from its angry employees, giving into their demands for seven years of backpay.

The about-turn follows Monday’s rampage by members of the ANC-aligned SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu). Workers marched through the city centre, threatening to shut down the municipality’s electricity grid before Wednesday’s general elections.

The city’s top brass were also earlier pelted with plastic bottles and stones during a feedback meeting on the controversial backpay issue.

The matter stemmed from the divisional conditions of service arrangement made in 2007 after various municipal entities merged to form the eThekwini Municipality.

City officials, along with the ANC-led executive committee, scrambled to put together a multimillion-rand backpay deal late on Monday night, fearing a poll backlash if the city was plunged into darkness by irate workers.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, workers will get seven years’ backpay and not only three years, as previously offered by the city.

The first payment, which is three years’ of backpay totalling R120 million, will be paid on May 23.

The remaining four years of backpay, totalling about R80m, will be paid out in December after the city budget is approved on July 1.

The omnibus allowances that had been stripped from metro police employees will be restored and employees will be able to cash 100 percent of their long-service leave and not just 50 percent as originally offered by the city.

The offer, presented by Samwu union leaders to nearly 10 000 employees on the steps of the city hall on Tuesday, was met with wild celebration and cries of “viva”.

On Monday about 3 000 city workers marched through the city centre towards the city hall, overturning bins, burning tyres and blocking intersections with their municipal vehicles after mayor James Nxumalo told them a decision on the backpay would only be made after the elections.

Nxumalo, along with city manager S’bu Sithole, speaker Logie Naidoo, councillors Nondumiso Cele, Fawzia Peer and ANC eThekwini chairman Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo – the MEC for health – had to be whisked away by bodyguards when angry employees hurled plastic bottles and stones at them.

Addressing thousands of Samwu members on Tuesday, the union’s regional secretary, Nhlanhla Nyandeni, said they did not have any problem with the city’s administration and put the blame squarely at the feet of former city manager, Michael Sutcliffe.

He said Sutcliffe was the person responsible for “arrogantly” implementing the 2007 divisional conditions of service agreement, which stripped thousands of workers of benefits.

Nyandeni also accused Sutcliffe of appealing against a Labour Court ruling that sided with employees and dragging the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Speaking to the Daily News after the meeting, Nyandeni said they were happy with the city’s offer and hoped to sign a formal agreement by Friday.

He denied there had been any political pressure to hammer out a deal before the elections, saying members would have still have gone out in their numbers to vote for the ANC. “But there was pressure on the ANC part of exco because Samwu is at the forefront of all ANC activities,” he said.

“If Samwu is angry you will be afraid.”

Nyandeni said Monday’s march through the city happened because members were angry the process had been dragging on for so long.

He, however, denied that Samwu members were behind the trashing of the city.

“Until someone provides us with definitive proof that it was our members we will not comment.”

DA caucus leader, Zwakele Mncwango, said the city had no option but to agree to the union’s demands.

“They were going to cut off the electricity and throw the city into darkness on election day. That threatened the safety of the elections,” he said.

Mncwango said while he agreed with the city’s decision to pay the workers, their actions on Monday had created a dangerous precedent.

“Does this mean that every time they want something they are going to hold the city and the ratepayer to ransom? We need to have a decisive leadership in council who will be able to avoid getting into these situations,” he said.

“Besides having a legal obligation to pay workers, the city should also have a moral obligation to pay them what they are owed.”

Municipal spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, said they would not be commenting on the offer until they had “official confirmation” from the unions on their acceptance'.

Sutcliffe: apartheid pay was the target

Former city manager Michael Sutcliffe said on Tuesday it was “ridiculous” that the issue over the divisional conditions of service was being personalised.

He said the point of implementing new service agreements in 2007 had been to do away with apartheid pay structures, which meant that some city workers were paid more than others for doing the same job.

For example, some metro police staff had received a danger allowance for sitting behind a desk while firefighters had not, he said.

“There were various aspects of the old service agreements that were unfair and needed to be changed.”

He said the divisional conditions of service had been agreed upon by all parties before they were implemented, but the unions had “disassociated their signatures” from the agreement and embarked on court action.

Sutcliffe said he was not a signatory to that agreement.

He said the decision to fight the unions in court had not been his decision alone.

It had been the decision of the city council, which had the support of the ANC leadership.

“We got legal advice every step of the way. This was not a decision taken in some dark room or corner somewhere.

“We had the support of our party, which was the ANC, every step of the way.”

Sutcliffe said that when he left the city in 2011, he understood that the matter would be “settled politically”.

“I don’t know what happened subsequently. There was supposed to have been a sober sitting down of (political) leaders to look at what aspects made sense and what did not and come up with something that was fair and just.

“I have no clue what happened after I left.

“The intention of the service agreement was to get rid of the inequities of apartheid and if anyone would like to defend those apartheid inequities let them stand up.”

Attempt to torch voting station
IOL News 5 May 2014

Sterkspruit - An attempt was made to burn down an Eastern Cape school, said to be used as a voting station, Sterkspruit police said on Monday.

“Attempts were made by unknown people to burn a school hall... in the Makhetheng admin area in Sterkspruit,” Colonel Sibongile Soci said in a statement.

A guard at the Ekuzoleni Junior Secondary School noticed smoke coming from the school hall in the early hours of the morning. He found burning tyres inside the hall and a broken window.

“School material, including books, chairs and cabinets, were destroyed,” Soci said.

An arson docket was opened. No arrests had been made yet, but police were following leads. Soci said the area was being monitored and additional members were on standby.

The Electoral Commission of SA said it would comment later.

Trio sentenced for protest violence
IOL News 24 April 2014
Tonga - Three Mpumalanga protesters found guilty of public violence were each handed a suspended three-year prison sentence by the Tonga Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

France Nkumba, 29, and siblings Siphiwe, 22, and Phindile Masuku, 25, were found guilty and sentenced by magistrate Edgar Moletsane, a Sapa correspondent reported.

The three earlier testified they did not take part in the protest for which they were arrested.

Nkumba told the court: “I got arrested while I was on my way from buying meat at the butchery. I came across a group of protesters running towards my direction, and then the police arrested me for something I didn't know.”

The Masuku sisters testified the police arrested them while they were sitting under a tree at their homestead near a road barricaded by the protesters.

Prosecutor Thulani Msibi argued that police would never lie in court.

“It is impossible or madness that trained police officers who deal with the crowd can just arrest you for doing nothing. No, I disagree,” Msibi said.

Warrant Officer Patrick Mhlongo had testified that the protest, in Masibekela Trust along the R571 around 10am on February 20, 2013, involved about 600 residents.

“As a section leader of a group of six police officers I personally arrested the two women after I saw them holding burning tyres and running in a circle towards our direction,” he said.

This was while police were in full uniform and driving marked police vehicles. Their sentences were suspended for five years.

Workers arrive for Nactu rally
IOL News 1 May 2014

eMalahleni - People were given yellow T-shirts as they entered the Pumas Rugby Stadium in eMalahleni for a Workers' Day rally organised by the National Council of Trade Unions.

The Nactu-branded shirts had the words “we vote for land and worker's dignity” printed on the back.

Buses were bringing people to the venue. Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, dressed in green T-shirts, sang and danced with sticks held aloft as vuvuzelas droned.

Preparations of the podium, from were speakers would address the crowd, were still underway shortly before 11am. Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema was expected to be one of the speakers. - Sapa

Crowd gathers at CT rally
IOL News 1 May 2014

Cape Town - Scores of people filed into Khayelitsha Stadium in Cape Town ahead of a Cosatu May Day rally on Thursday.

A large gathering of children skipped, danced and had cartwheel competitions on the field to funky beats.

People stood around in mostly long-sleeved red and yellow African National Congress and Congress of SA Trade Unions shirts, under jackets to guard against a nip in the air.

Some grabbed a spot near the stage and sat down on picnic blankets. Others sang struggle songs to pass the time. Curious youths peaked through the stadium's barbed-wire fence to see why they had been woken up by loud music on a public holiday.

Police and paramedics watched from the side. Marshals in neon yellow vests lined the field.

Minibus taxis and buses lined up outside the stadium to drop commuters off. By 11am, around 300 people were on the field.

The weather was expected to play along and no rain was expected for the day. ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize was among the speakers expected to address the crowd later. - Sapa

ANC crowd chases EFF man
IOL News 4 May 2014

Cape Town - An Economic Freedom Fighters supporter was forced to run for his life after a large group of ANC and Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement supporters chased him out of the Strand Stadium, where an ANC and Ses’khona rally was taking place on Saturday.

The man stood out in the crowd because of his red beret, red T-shirt and EFF poster, and was quickly rounded on by ANC supporters, who gave chase.

He hid inside a house until the police intervened.

Ses’khona leader Loyiso Nkohla then left the stage to restore calm.

Thousands of people turned up at the stadium, hoping to hear President Jacob Zuma, who was billed by the organisers as a speaker, but did not appear.

They did, however, hear a range of speakers promise that low-cost houses would be built in Blaauwberg, Wingfield and Youngsfield.

Human Settlements deputy minister Zou Kota-Fredericks said the ANC was committed to talking about the problem of housing and sanitation, a key focus of the movement.

“They (Ses’khona) have spoken to us about housing and toilet problems, and we will help them solve this problem. We have noted three pieces of land that we will be talking about, and are hoping to put low-cost housing on,” she said.

Ses’khona leader Andile Lili said it was important to wrest power from the DA in the Western Cape, so as to provide decent housing and sanitation for people.

ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman said the DA government had insulted the people in the province over the past five years.

Breakdown causes picket, train delays
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News) 6 May 2014

Cape Town - Train commuters were again left in the lurch on Tuesday morning after a broken down train at Cape Town station led to widespread delays.

The T3405 to Muldersvlei, one of the first trains to leave the city in the morning, broke down due to a “faulty train set” shortly before leaving the station. This affected services on the Bellville (via Monte Vista), Central and Cape Flats lines. Speed restrictions on the Southern Line also contributed to delays on Tuesday morning.

Dean Damon, from Athlone, took to Facebook on Tuesday morning to warn commuters of a near total lack of trains travelling towards Cape Town.

He warned that the delays had caused overcrowding on taxis and buses from Athlone.

Anthea Williams from Heathfield complained that the first three city-bound trains that passed since 6.20am had been overcrowded.

The Cape Argus reported on a series of major delays on Metrorail services in recent months.

A train derailment in March left a number of platforms out of service for about two weeks while repairs were being done.

In April, Metrorail’s regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz reported that the service experiences more than 200 cases of cable theft a year, resulting in delays. About one in 10 delays and cancellations were caused by these thefts, Swartz said. As a result, Metrorail had embarked on a R4.8 million project to replace copper wiring with fibre-optic cables.

Yesterday, following major delays on the Southern Line from Cape Town station, commuters staged an impromptu picket and demanded answers from Metrorail.

Thuliswa Mlotsha, who has to travel from Khayelitsha to Plumstead via Cape Town for work, joined the picket out of frustration.

She spoke to the Cape Argus this morning.

“All we wanted was answers. But the Metrorail officials refused to engage us. Instead, they got scared, locked up the offices and hid in the bathrooms. Why? We had no intention of being violent, we merely wanted them to explain what the problem was. A lot of us were running late for work, so obviously we were frustrated.”

Police intervened and escorted the picketers through the Strand Street exit at the station. But the group became agitated when one of the officers pushed a woman to the ground, injuring her, Mlotsha reported.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said the situation was defused and that no one was arrested.

Zinobulali Mihi, acting spokesman for Metrorail, confirmed the delays on the Southern and Cape Flats line which resulted in the picket.

Ten buses were made available to assist stranded commuters between Plumstead and Muizenberg, and an investigation into “root causes” of the delays is under way.

Video: ‘Bring back our girls’ march

IOL News 9 May 2014
Demonstrations were held outside Parliament and at Sandton City, calling on the world to help find the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls.

Ennerdale residents seize land
IOL News 30 April 2014

Johannesburg - Ennerdale residents have decided to mark out stands for themselves and start an informal settlement, saying it’s the only way for them to get housing.

The residents said they had been backyard dwellers for more than 20 years, sharing yards with more than 25 people.

Believing the government prioritised informal settlers over backyard dwellers, more than 100 residents began clearing a piece of vacant land in Ennerdale Extension 6 last week, which continued on Tuesday, in a land invasion move.

Grass has been cut and small stands marked using paint, sticks and plastic wrappers.

In a memorandum directed at Joburg housing MMC Dan Bovu – handed over to acting project manager Ewarts Malope at the Ennerdale Civic Centre on Tuesday – residents said they would be occupying vacant land notorious for criminal activity.

Riccardo van Schalkwyk, a resident of Ennerdale for more than 15 years, believes the government has failed them.

“People are getting houses everywhere else but Ennerdale. Nothing is happening for the coloured community. This is not a political thing but a community struggle,” he said.

Residents said it was not uncommon to have five generations of the same family occupying one house.

Community leader Margery Cass said:

“We are tired of being overcrowded and here there is vacant land. When we want to buy property, we are told that in Ennerdale the stands are frozen.”

Residents also claimed unfair treatment by Joburg metro police department (JMPD) officers, after they fired rubber bullets on Monday, injuring seven.

Cass said the police never reacted violently when people in neighbouring areas such as Lawley invaded land and started an informal settlement.

“People started cleaning the area last week already. This thing has been happening in Lawley. Why did they chase out the people of Ennerdale when all other people were left (alone)?” resident Farouk Jardine asked.

JMPD spokesman Wayne Minnaar insisted that officers had used rubber bullets to defend themselves.

“There was land occupied illegally. Officers were attacked with stones and bricks. One female officer was hit with a brick on the head and had to be taken to Milpark Hospital.”

Bovu added: “We have explained to the residents of both Ennerdale and Lawley that we have plans in place to develop these areas in order to ease the burden of housing. One of the hold-ups is the connection to water and sewage.”

The community has given Bovu until the end of next month to respond to the memorandum.

Bhudu held over prison garb
Ntando Makhubu (IOL News)30 April 2014

Pretoria - Corrections and Civil Rights Movement president and former convict Golden Miles Bhudu was arrested on Tuesday for dressing up in a prison issue uniform.

Department of Correctional Services spokesman Logan Maistry said Bhudu had breached sections of the Correctional Services Act, which says: “Any unauthorised person who wears or uses the prescribed sentenced offender dress or anything deceptively resembling them is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or, in default of payment, to incarceration for a period not exceeding 18 months or to such incarceration without the option of a fine, or both.”

The SAPS was investigating the matter, Maistry said. “Bhudu was arrested at the High Court of South Africa Gauteng Division, Pretoria,” he said.

The 52-year-old has been at the centre of controversy before, once being arrested for aiding the escape of an Israeli national while he was being transported for deportation from South Africa.

He has for years appeared in public wearing prison uniforms or in chains, ostensibly as part of his campaign to highlight conditions in South African prisons, raising possible questions about the timing of his arrest.

He registered as a political party at national level in 2010, which will participate in the elections next week. It has two constitutions – one for those in jail and one for those outside jail.

The party says it wants to unite people against crime and act as a political and human rights watchdog over the criminal justice cluster.

Bhudu has spoken out against favouritism in jail and is supporting prisoners being released under what he calls the “right” conditions.

Police presence aids ANC rally in Bekkersdal
IOL News 4 May 2014

Johannesburg - The sight of ANC colours boils the blood of many in Bekkersdal, the west-of-Joburg township that remains volatile three days before the elections.

No sooner had a handful of ANC youths set up two marquees in a community park on May Day than a meeting by members of the Greater Westonaria Concerned Residents Association resolved they should be removed.

The meeting heard that removing the ANC youths – dressed in the party’s T-shirts and drinking alcohol in the park – was in line with the community’s “resolution” that the party was not allowed in Bekkersdal, at least until Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane apologised for her “dirty votes” utterances.

Losing her cool at an angry, booing Bekkersdal crowd she was addressing in October, Mokonyane said the ANC didn’t want their “dirty votes”.

Now that the ANC was gathering publicly in the township, “we feel we’re being belittled and disregarded as a community”, Thabang Wesi, leader of the residents association, told the meeting on Thursday.

Throngs, many of whom were mobilised in the vicinity soon after the meeting, then descended on the park and chaos ensued as tyres went up in flames.

Verbal quarrels and physical threats flared up as the ANC group refused to leave, their standpoint being that they were not campaigning but just gathered for entertainment.

“You’re sell-outs, we don’t want you here. You must go,” a woman shouted at the ANC group.

Another woman yelled at the youth: “Nomvula said the ANC doesn’t want our dirty votes. Our votes are dirty, right? So, what do you want here?”

Standing his ground against the crowd, one ANC member told them: “We’re also members of this community. Don’t treat like us we’re foreigners. We’re not going anywhere. Who said this is a campaign?”, he asked at the top of his voice, before emphasising that they were just having fun at the park and everyone was welcome to join them.

The tension died down when police arrived, but not before the men in blue separated two political foes pushing each other and preparing to throw punches.

On Saturday, heavy police presence in Bekkersdal appeared to have aided the ANC hold its well-attended rally. Different units of police, including tactical response teams, were all over the township as part of a visit by the six security cluster ministers.

“The ministers knew very well there’s an ANC rally taking place in Bekkersdal. They pretended to be coming here to address the issues, knowing very well they are coming to protect ANC members so that they can campaign,” Wesi said.

But ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete rejected that heavy police presence was the reason the rally proceeded without intimidation.

“Our people are not unreasonable. I think it’s the people that decided that it’s time to allow the ANC to hold a rally here.”

It’s “not that the people of Bekkersdal hate the ANC, it was anger about specific matters” Mbete said – and added that the issues are now being addressed.

Bekkersdal’s service delivery protest has lasted for a long time. It began in August, with community members demanding the resignation of the Westonaria Local Municipality mayor Nonkoliso Tundzi and councillors over allegations of corruption and nepotism.

The Special Investigating Unit and the auditor-general are investigating. The last confrontation in Bekkersdal happened in March, when a high-powered ANC delegation trying to execute a door-to-door election campaign was stoned. Speaking to The Sunday Independent away from the quarrelling crowd, long-time Azapo member Xolani Nkosi said the community was rejecting the ANC because it had “sold out”.

“At any given time I don’t need these people here. These people know that the ANC sold us out. After 20 years Bekkersdal, as one of the richest townships on Earth, is still the same.

“Bekkersdal produces the finest gold on earth, but we don’t have anything.”

The township is surrounded by gold mines. Wesi confirmed there had been concerted efforts to ensure the ANC didn’t campaign in the township. “What incites this is that the community hasn’t got an apology from the premier, but now the ANC is busy doing their programmes in the township.

“Based on the utterances of the premier, they were never allowed to campaign,” he said.

Wesi would not predict whether violence would erupt on election day, as it did during the Independent Electoral Commission’s registration campaigns in November and February. “I’m not a sangoma, I cannot say what will happen on May 7. But as a community we’re going to vote. We expected Nomvula to come to the township so that the ANC can get that access.”

Top cop Andy Mashaile said “police and the community have engaged to ensure there’s peace and stability on the day of the elections”.

Thebe Mohatle, Mokonyane’s spokesman, shut the door on prospects of the premier visiting Bekkersdal before Wednesday to apologise. “Premier Mokonyane has apologised to the community of Bekkersdal as referenced by (her November 2013) statement and several media forums she has addressed,” he said.
Sunday Independent

DA says buses stoned in Joburg
IOL News 4 May 2014

Johannesburg - Three buses carrying DA supporters were stoned, two of them severely, in Alexandra and near the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Sunday, the party said.

Gauteng police and Johannesburg metro police were not immediately aware of the incidents.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng candidate Mmusi Maimane said in a statement that hundreds of DA members were being interviewed by police after “ANC ambushes”.

The DA buses were taking supporters to a DA “We Can Win” concert at Walter Sisulu Square, in Kliptown, Soweto. The African National Congress is holding a rally at the FNB Stadium around 15km away.

Maimane said the driver of one of the buses was hospitalised.

“One bus was so heavily stoned that it is no longer usable.”

Maimane's spokeswoman Kelly Clark could not immediately give further clarity on where the incidents happened. - Sapa

Pre-election protest at Western Cape Provincial Legislature
Cosatu 6 May 2014

COSATU will have a Protest at Western Cape Provincial Legislature, at 19h00 on Tuesday 6 May 2014. This will be the final pre-election event.

The demand is for EQUAL EDUCATION in the Western Cape, from the DA.

A Press Conference will be held:

TIME: 20h00,
VENUE; Provincial Legislature
Wale Street
Cape Town

Members of the press are invited to attend.

With questions, please call COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich on 082 7733194.

Arrests after 4,000 rampage in S.Africa platinum belt
Yahoo News 30 April 2014

South African police have arrested four people for public order offences after thousands looted a shopping centre, burnt public buildings and chased away a government minister in the country's restive platinum belt.

At least 4,000 protestors were involved in day of violence near the northern city of Rustenburg on Sunday, amid a simmering three-month long strike by platinum miners.

Police told AFP on Tuesday that four people had been arrested on charges of possession of stolen property and public violence in relation to the looting of a shopping centre.

Others are being investigated for arson and malicious damage to property.

The unrest began Sunday when protestors set fire to a municipal councillors house, community hall and a newly built municipal service centre, venting anger at the government a week before general elections.

Residents also pelted stones at the entourage of Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who was campaigning ahead of the general election on May 7.

"The mob started attacking his entourage outside the premises by throwing stones at them," said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

The minister was hastily evacuated in a bullet-proof vehicle, according to media reports.

Later a mob descended on the shopping complex, looting 11 shops as well as an electronic cash dispenser as outnumbered police looked on.

The crowd was finally dispersed in the early hours of Monday.

Such unrest is common in South Africa, with as many as 30 protests about poor basic services a day.

The Rustenburg area northwest of Johannesburg has seen violent unrest since 2012, when police shot dead 34 miners in one day at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

The latest convulsion comes amid a platinum sector strike that begun on January 23.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union has demanded a basic wage of 12,500 rand ($1,180, 850 euros), more than double the current basic salary.

But mining firms Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin and Implats have said such a raise is unaffordable, leading talks to fall apart.

Malema leads EFF march to SABC
IOL News 29 April 2014

Johannesburg - Economic Freedom Fighters supporters began marching to the SABC on Tuesday with thousands of people making their way down Empire Road.

Five police cars led the march with a sea of red berets behind.

Placards were hoisted high in the air as supporters sang and danced.

Marshalls struggled to contain marchers. Both sides of Empire Road were occupied by marchers, causing a traffic jam.

The march is in protest against the public broadcaster refusing to air the party's election commercial. The SABC claims the advert, which features the slogan “destroy e-tolls physically”, incites violence.

EFF leader Julius Malema walked in front, wearing a red EFF T-shirt, black trousers, red shoes and a red EFF beret.

People watched through the windows of office parks as the marchers passed by. - Sapa

Election violence flares on South Africa's platinum belt
Ed Stoddard (Yahoo News) 28 April 2014

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Violence erupted on South Africa's platinum belt on Sunday when members of the striking AMCU union attacked sports minister Fikile Mbalula as he campaigned in the area for the ruling ANC in May 7 elections, union officials and local media said.

SABC radio, the public broadcaster, said the minister had to be whisked away in a bulletproof car when AMCU members set upon him and ANC activists, pelting them with rocks, as they went door to door in Freedom Park, a shantytown northwest of Johannesburg.

Sydwell Dokolwana, the regional secretary for the National Union of Mineworkers, a key ANC ally and AMCU's arch rival, told Reuters he was with the minister at the time and that several people were hurt and buildings were torched.

"There was a group of about 100 guys with AMCU shirts. We had to run for our lives," he told Reuters.

Police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tensions are high in the platinum towns as the AMCU continues a crippling three-month strike against the world's top producers of the precious metal, Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

The AMCU/NUM rivalry adds to fuel to an already combustible social and political mix in the area.

AMCU emerged as the top union in the platinum shafts after poaching tens of thousands of NUM members in a vicious turf war the killed dozens of people and triggered a wave of violent wildcat strikes that year.
(Reporting by Ed)

Community holds service delivery protest.
Nokuthula Sonile (IOL News) 25 April 2014

MIDRAND – The community of Kanana took to the streets to protest the poor service delivery of land ownership.

Early in the morning of 23 April, community members and the South African National Civic Organisation Sol Plaatjie branch closed the roads in Kanana. Residents said they had been promised stand 1075 and stand 1345 in Rabie Ridge in 2011, but nothing has materialised.
The organisation’s spokesperson Marcus Mojela said, “In February MMC for Housing Dan Bovu promised us title deeds for the land but that never happened. We are tired of empty promises. We are not happy with the outcome of the meeting we had with the councillors on 23 April. We hope on 24 April MMC Bovu will come and speak to us as promised.”

Ward 80 councillor Queen Sikweqa said protesters caused chaos for road users. “In the morning, protesters closed roads around Kanana extentions 4 and 5, mainly Parliament and Church streets. At first protesters wanted to be violent but police intervened. The South African National Civic Organisation and community members protested against the delay in issuing land that they were promised by the City of Joburg.

“I met with community members and the civic organisation’s representatives for six hours, trying to hear their concerns. All parties involved have agreed to have a public meeting with MMC for Housing Dan Bovu on 24 April at Kanana Community Hall to settle the matter peacefully.”

MMC Bovu said he knew about the protest, “I am meeting with the community members tomorrow, 24 April.”

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said calm had been restored to the area. “The situation in Kanana has been peacefully quietened, and 12 people were arrested for public violence after they tried to block the road again. No property damage has been reported.”

'Intolerant' ANCYL members boo Malema
25 April 2014

DURBAN - ANC youth league members at the University of KwaZulu Natal have been accused of political intolerance after they allegedly disrupted an address by EFF leader Juluis Malema on Thursday.

The youths allegedly shouted at and booed at Malema as he addressed supporters at the university.

Malema eventually delivered his address outside the venue.

Some analysts have accused the youths of turning the university into a no-go area, and political science lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said such behaviour has no place in a democratic South Africa.

“South Africa is a constitutional democracy and we should remember that. There is rule of law, people should be free to campaign anywhere. There should not be a place where we say it’s a no-go area,” said Ndlovu.


PHUMZILE NODONGWE, Eastern Cape Regional Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will address the striking Continental Tyres workers, tomorrow Friday 25 April 2014, at 10h30am, Continental Tyres, 1 Cadle Street, New Brighton West, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape province.

The workers have been on strike since last week Tuesday 15 April 2014, after failed attempts by the Continental Tyres bosses to interdict the strike. The strike has halted production in the plant.

The details are as follows:

DATE: Friday 25 April 2014
TIME: 10h30am
VENUE: 1 Cadle Street, Continental, New Brighton West, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Members of the media are hereby invited to attend and report.

Phumzile Nodongwe
Regional Secretary
Mobile: +2778 802 3140

Soshanguve FET students go on rampage
IOL News 24 April 2014

Pretoria - Students at the trouble-torn Tshwane North Further Education and Training College in Soshanguve went on the rampage on Wednesday over “unpaid” transport and meal allowances, blockading access roads and making bonfires outside the main gate.

Last year, the students caused hundreds of thousands of rand in damage on the campus when the national student fund delayed paying their tuition fees.

They decided to stay away from classes on their return this week from the Easter break.

“They told us they had transferred the money and we would have it when we came back (from Easter), but it’s not in our accounts,” student representative council chairman Rio Mondlane said.

Lecturers and other college staff did not come in on Wednesday.

They turned away when they realised there were problems on Tuesday.

Mondlane said the students had met management at the central office in Pretoria last Thursday, where they were assured that payments had been made.

“No one has received the money, which means they have no intention of ensuring that we get educated,” he said.

The students claimed to be owed money from the second semester last year, and said class attendance was greatly affected.

“We are owed in the region of R7 500 a student, which means those using public transport are unable to attend regularly,” Mondlane said.

Those who lived on campus attended classes on empty stomachs, he added.

At the main gate one protesting student said they would not be voting in the May 7 national elections because the ANC was not making it worth their while.

The college is earmarked for use as a polling station.

Students vowed on Wednesday they would make sure no one voted there.

“They are failing to ensure that it runs for the cause it is intended for – why must others use it then?” said one.

Students said they could sometimes attend classes twice a week if they “borrowed” money from their parents, but then they would not be able to eat during the day.

The campus has long had problems, with students occasionally running amok and damaging facilities and equipment.

At the end of last year, they damaged windows, doors, computers and other school equipment over the non-payment of tuition fees. They they have often been locked out by the administration.

The student leadership locked residences on Wednesday morning “to protect student property in the absence of security personnel”, Mondlane said.

With security off campus, the student leadership was responsible for students’ property, he said. This was why they had blockaded the road with large stones.

“That will deter anyone trying to gain access for mischievous reasons.”

The administration – expected to come to the campus on Wednesday – could make their way around the obstacles if they wanted the matter resolved, Mondlane said.

Although the college’s administration was unable to provide official comment, one member said the allowances had been paid.

“They have other reasons for making the college ungovernable,” said an official, who refused to give his name.

The Department of Higher Education and Training had not responded to questions by late Wednesday.

No end in sight to KwaMashu hostel violence
Kwanele Sosibo (Mail & Guardian) 22 Apr 2014

Several measures have been put in place to ease tensions at the violence-plagued KwaMashu hostel in KwaZulu-Natal, but some believe it's not enough.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa was among the inter-ministerial committee that inspected the notorious KwaMashu hostel. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

When the inter-ministerial committee responsible for the general elections strode into the dense and vast KwaMashu hostel north-west of Durban, many of its residents were away on Easter break. The committee, which went on a walkabout through several shack-laced blocks under heavy police guard, included Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Security Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele, and Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

Mthethwa told reporters, rather flatly, that security could be beefed up because "some levels of intolerance have been noticed".

Tlakula merely said the electoral commission was ready to deliver elections on May 7, while KwaZulu-Natal MEC for community safety Willies Mchunu spoke with a bit more nuance, telling of plans to deploy 175 private sector lawyers to provide legal advice on the election processes inside voting stations. He also said 58 officials were to monitor policing immediately outside the voting stations, and 1 595 crime prevention volunteers would engage with communities outside the stations.

As the chair of the three-a-side talk shops – efforts by the ANC, the National Freedom Party (NFP) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to bring peace to the violence-plagued hostel – Mchunu would have heard the horror stories of last month's ward 39 by-election, with allegations of intimidation, vote-rigging and out-and-out violence being levelled at the IFP.
It was the ward's second by-election since 2011, following the death and arrest of the two previous IFP councillors. In December 2012, Mduduzi Ngcamu won the ward with a 70% majority following a by-election forced by the abduction and murder of his predecessor Themba Xulu.

No end to violencem
Protas Mbatha, an ANC member who fled the hostel after allegedly being shot at 11 times, said: "As it is now, there is no end in sight to the violence. I can say the three-a-side meetings established by Mchunu [to facilitate negotiations] are not working for the ANC. In one of the sessions, it was agreed that in the run-up to the last by-elections, we'd allow each party room to conduct the door-to-door campaigns without interference. We respected the IFP's time, but the IFP didn't respect ours. While we were on the door-to-doors, we heard gunfire and they threw stones at us.

"Over and above that, there's a hit list, but we don't hear anything from the police about it because people are continuing to die. Two weeks ago, we buried one of our members who was on that list."

The athletic, clean-shaven Mbatha says there are known gunmen residing in sections of the hostel and there are others who come and go depending on the assignment.

He says he was leaning sideways against a wall when he was shot at the back of the head several times. He fell down from the initial salvo that grazed his head and sustained more shots as he fell down.

"Police usually say there is no evidence, even if we know the people that shot at us. I've even asked them what it takes to put together an identikit of the person and offer up a reward because surely that would solve the problem."
Mbatha, a former hostel block chairperson, is a recent convert to the ANC. So blinding is the violence (with eight people having been murdered this year alone), that even as the country nears a national election, the politics spoken here is not one of the wider country's issues or party policies.

Political benefits
Jabu Mncwango, who meets me on a busy hostel thoroughfare dressed in an orange NFP golf-shirt says the main cause of the violence is the long-established system of dispensing patronage that is controlled and jealously guarded by the IFP, for whom ward 39 represents the party's only stronghold in the eThekwini Municipality.

"There is a system here that dictates that if a municipal project comes in, certain people expect to benefit personally from it," she says from her lounge in one of the old hostel blocks. "So before, it was the IFP that was benefiting from the projects, as the ward was in their control. After the last councillor was arrested [on unlicensed firearm charges], the three public representative councillors [from the NFP, ANC and IFP] were working in conjunction. If a project came, such as a toilet fitting or the floodlight instalment project, it would have three community liaison officers so that members of all three parties could divide the work equally among the members. It was a way of curbing violence by making sure no-one felt left out in the cold."

IFP block chairperson Sifiso Sibiya rubbished claims that the IFP was responsible for killings in the hostel and the rigging of elections, saying that if incidents had occurred, they were the result of people who were not politically educated and therefore were intolerant.
"If people have to resort to violence, it points to a lack of maturity, because violence won't lead to a lasting solution. In our roles as block chairmen, we try to deal with everybody respectfully."

Sibiya said the election of a new ward councillor would bring stability to the ward. What all the parties agreed on was that it was the quality of policing that could go some way in resolving the violence, not the number of deployed police officers

Zille’s anti-drug plan for W Cape
IOL News19 April 2014

Cape Town - A total of 250 000 police on the streets is one of the election promises Democratic Alliance Leader Helen Zille made during an anti-drugs and gangsterism march in Manenberg, Cape Town, on Saturday.

“If the DA was in government at a national level, we would be able to put 250 000 properly trained police officers on the streets, with thousands of new detectives,” said Zille in a speech prepared for delivery.

She also said that the army would be deployed in the “worst-affected” areas, and specialised drug and gang police units would be reintroduced.

Zille said that in the Western Cape, “the DA government is now spending R30-million a year actively fighting gangs and drugs”.

She said additional money was also going to drug rehabilitation programmes.

“The gang culture in the Western Cape is old and entrenched, and there are no simple solutions.” - Sapa

Zuma booed at Limpopo rally despite promises
Mail & Guardian 16 April 2014

Residents in Malamulele have booed President Jacob Zuma at a rally when he told them their grievances would be attended to.

Residents jeered at President Jacob Zuma at Malamulele in Limpopo on Wednesday when he told them their grievances would be attended to, City Press reported.

Zuma addressed a packed Malamulele Stadium as part of the ANC's election campaign and residents yelled and signalled for officials to go away and even pelted a few cars on a nearby road.

Residents of Malamulele outside Thohoyandou in Vhembe have told Independent Electoral Commissioner Pansy Tlakula that they will not vote during this year's provincial and national elections.

The community is demanding their own municipality, separate from Thulamela municipality.

Zuma promised the residents a solution to them wanting their own municipality and said he had listened to presentations. "It is important that we conclude the matter within a reasonable time. Since the matter is been presented to the president I am now going to take an interest to look at the matter ... I don't believe we cannot resolve this matter," Zuma was quoted as saying.

City Press reported that despite the promises made by Zuma the community threw their hands in the air. "The matter is now in the hands where it is supposed to be so that it can be concluded. That is what we can say. We can't say more than that," he said.

"I don't want to tell a lie. I can't on my own come here and take a decision. I am not a dictator; only dictators do so."

Zuma was not the only target. The crowed booed an artist who asked them if they would vote and also booed another artist who chanted "ANC will win!" the City Press reported.
On December 10, at the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela, the crowd in the FNB Stadium in Soweto repeatedly booed each time Zuma was shown on a large screen at the stadium. However the crowd welcomed US president Barack Obama with a sustained shout of joy and the second the image on the screen changed to that of Zuma, the crowd began an equally passionate booing.

The crowd jeered even when Zuma appeared during a tribute by Mandela family friend and struggle hero Andrew Mlangeni. The national elections will be held on May 7. – Sapa

Mob bars Mooiplaats residents from being moved
Valeska Abreu (IOL News ) 16 April 2014

Pretoria - Mooiplaats residents willing to be relocated from the informal settlement to nearby Olievenhoutbosch were left helpless and frustrated on Tuesday after their expected move was met with fierce opposition.

Rocks, bricks and burning tyres barricaded the road leading into Olievenhoutbosch, sending a clear message that an influx of new-comers would not be tolerated.

“We are fighting for houses for ourselves and now the municipality wants to move in people from another area, but there isn’t even space for us. It wants to give them houses, but where are ours? They must be joking,” a resident said.

Scores of protesters gathered on the R55 at the two main roads to the township around 4am on Tuesday, preventing vehicles from moving in or out. They dispersed late in the afternoon, police said.

“All the affected roads have been reopened,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

Earlier, a foolhardy man was lucky to get out of harm’s way. He drove past protesters at high speed and his car was pelted with rocks and stones. He escaped into the area but the protesters went in search of him. Minutes later, the car, with a mob of about 30 on top and inside, pushed it to a nearby traffic light, where hundreds more damaged it further. The vehicle was overturned and a tyre placed on top of it, in full view of about five metro police officers.

Photographers who tried to capture the action were called impimpis and spies, were threatened and almost had their cameras forcefully taken by the mob. Metro police had to rescue a curious onlooker who captured the action on his cellphone after the mob had turned on him.

Olievenhoutbosch community leader and SA National Civil Organisation secretary Kleinbooi Aphane said the protesters would not back down. “People in Extension 27 have been promised RDP houses since 2012. If the mayor moves Mooiplaats people here, they will be entitled to the homes that our people have been waiting for for years but still don’t have.”

Kleinbooi said there were between 10 000 and 15 000 Olievenhoutbosch residents already in that section, and only 4 500 RDP houses commissioned to be built.

“You tell me where the 5 000 people from Mooiplaats must stay? The mayor must not make empty promises to the people.”

Aphane said they had asked council representatives to accept a memorandum, but were ignored.

Mooiplaats community leader Rabie Ndlovu said tensions were building from those ready to move but left stranded.

“They want answers. People had packed to go but there is no word from the city’s housing department. They made people wait and wait.”

Calm after Olievenhoutbosch protest
IOL News 16 April 2014

Pretoria - The situation in Olievenhoutbosch, Centurion, returned to normal on Wednesday following service delivery protests in the area, the DA said.

Democratic Alliance representative in the area Zweli Khumalo said: “There is nothing happening today (on Wednesday) but according to the residents it's not over yet”.

Residents began protesting along the R55 on Tuesday morning. They blocked the road by gathering in the middle of it.

Khumalo said residents were considering further protests later in the week.

In a statement on Wednesday he said that residents were protesting about service delivery issues.

“The situation which has been brewing over a long period has the capacity to turn violent if the City of Tshwane does not heed the peoples call for better service delivery.”

Grievances included housing issues around the relocation of Mooiplaas township residents to Olievenhoutbosch.

“It is claimed that scores of people have been waiting for an allocation for more than ten years, while connected persons have a number of houses allocated to them which are being rented out,” Khumalo said.

Other complaints were that around 100 families living in Choba informal settlement did not have sufficient sanitation facilities as there were only two taps and two toilets, and concerns about crime.

“As a caring party, the DA calls on the African National Congress-led metro to attend to these burning issues as soon as possible,” Khumalo said.

Centurion protesters disperse
IOL News 15 April 2014

Pretoria - Protesters in Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion, outside Pretoria, had dispersed by Tuesday afternoon, Gauteng police said.

“All the affected roads have been reopened,” Lt-Col Lungelo Dlamini said.

Residents began protesting along the R55 on Tuesday morning. Dlamini said at the time residents had gathered and blocked the route.

“They did not use anything to block the road, they just gathered in the middle of the road.”

He said it was not yet clear what they were protesting about.

“Police are monitoring the protest. So far no violence was reported.”

Protests in Olievenhoutbosch, Soweto
IOL News 15 April 2014

Johannesburg - Gauteng saw two protest actions in Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion and in Soweto as residents protested and blocked roads on Tuesday, Gauteng traffic police said.

“Burning tyres, stones and rubble are being used by protesters to block the roads.

“Motorists are advised to avoid Olievenhoutbosch and Kliptown due to protest action,” said spokesman Obed Sibasa.

The R55 was closed to traffic between Centurion and Kyalami.

Sibasa advised road users to use the N1, the old Johannesburg Road or N14.

Earlier, police spokesman Lieutenantt-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said it was not yet clear why Olivienhoutbosch residents were protesting when they started gathering on the road.

Further afield protesting residents in Kliptown, Soweto blocked the Union Road.

Union Road between Pimville Golf Course and the Kliptown Flats has also been closed, Sibasa said.

“Motorists are advised to use Klipspruit Valley Road from Chris Hani Road, and if travelling from Eldorado use the N1/N12 or the Golden Highway,” he said. - Sapa

Numsa delegates boo Dlamini despite truce
Business Day 14 April 2014

CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sdumo Dlamini was heckled by a section of delegates at the federation’s KwaZulu-Natal shop stewards council meeting in Durban on Sunday.

Hundreds of shop stewards had gathered at the Durban Playhouse theatre for a report-back on recent developments in the federation — notably the truce brokered by African National Congress (ANC) deputy president and former National Union of Mineworkers leader Cyril Ramaphosa, which supposedly ended the war between affiliates.

Before this intervention, a special Cosatu central executive committee meeting last Tuesday was poised to expel the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) for its belligerent stance against President Jacob Zuma’s leadership of the ruling ANC.

That meeting was due to vote on the fate of Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi, whose eight-month suspension was set aside by the South Gauteng High Court on procedural grounds.

Last week, a gathering of pro-Vavi union shop stewards, led by Numsa, was disrupted when South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) members stormed the venue in Durban. Police prevented both factions from attacking each other.

On Sunday, Cosatu wanted to present a show of unity and things seemed to be going well until Mr Dlamini was due to speak. Numsa delegates defied orders from the leadership and sang pro-Vavi and pro-Numsa songs.

They disrupted the programme for 20 minutes, much to the ire of Mr Dlamini and the Sadtu delegates. Cosatu KwaZulu-Natal chairman Zet Luzipho eventually brought about some order, but Mr Dlamini was heckled and booed throughout his speech. He was accused of being behind the divisions in Cosatu and was urged to call a special congress to elect new leaders.

Nevertheless, Mr Dlamini told delegates that this was not the first time the federation had faced testing circumstances, but it had managed to resolve its differences.

"The central executive committee had unanimously agreed to give the ANC mediation process a chance to resolve the problem facing Cosatu. We have also agreed not to make utterance to action that will poison the atmosphere and undermine this process," he said.

He said that despite the boos he would continue to do his bit to unite the federation and urged unions to find each other and ensure that the ANC achieved a big victory in the May 7 election. Mr Dlamini received a friendlier welcome at a rally at Durban’s Curries Fountain Stadium, where the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) was celebrating its 22nd anniversary. The Cosatu president wished Sanco well and informed the rally about efforts to pacify the warring factions within the labour federation.

Mr Zuma also addressed the rally, rejecting calls for his impeachment in the aftermath of the release of the public protector’s report, which found that he had unlawfully benefited from the R246m upgrade to his Nkandla private home.

"People who say I must step down are those who hate the ANC and they are using my name now to get to this glorious organisation.

"Our people must not vote for the opportunistic political parties who want to use their votes to get parliamentary position and then forget about the promises they made," Mr Zuma said.

He urged Sanco members to go out and persuade people to vote for the ANC in the election.

Protest breaks out in North West
Eye Witness News 14 April 2014

JOHANNESBURG – Violence has broken out in a village near Zeerust in the North West Province over water shortages.

Police say residents burnt down a tribal office and a ward councillor’s house on Friday evening.

The trouble started after residents marched to their local municipal headquarters to demand the delivery of water to their villages.

The province has been plagued by water shortages in remote areas. In March the community of Mothutlung said the “ANC doesn't have a good story to tell” in the area which saw violent water protests and cases of police brutality take centre stage in January.

Four people were killed in the North West township just outside Brits during service delivery protests.

Premier Thandi Modise has condemned the violence.

Her spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele says they suspect the violence was fuelled by outside forces.

“Burning public and private property is not a solution to addressing any concern a community might have. Her disappointment is that the violence occurred after receiving a memorandum from the community earlier that day.”

Meanwhile on Friday Modise condemned another violent service delivery protests in the Christiana and Boitumelong townships near Bloemhof, saying they are politically motivated.

Residents want the Lekwa-Teemane Local Municipality to be dissolved, accusing officials of corruption and maladministration.

Over the past few days community members have gone on the rampage, destroying government property and torching vehicles.

In an impromptu briefing outside the Bloemhof police station on Thursday, the premier issued a stern warning to all protesters in the province.
(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)

Gauteng hit by service delivery protests
Eye Witness News 14 April 2014

JOHANNESBURG - Less than a month before the elections and amid a call from struggle stalwart Ronnie Kasrils for people not to vote for the ANC, another two protests have broken out in Gauteng over poor service delivery.

Millions of South Africans will go to the polls on 7 May to vote in the country's general elections.

Police are on the scene of both this morning's protests in Tsakane on the East Rand and Winterveld outside of Pretoria.

Community members of Tsakane in the East Rand have barricaded roads, demanding houses and electricity.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini says the motive behind the Winterveld protest is still unclear at this stage but says police are monitoring the situation on the scene.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Ben Martins told a New Age breakfast briefing in Johannesburg this morning that the ANC had achieved more in 20 years than the apartheid regime did over 100 years.

Martins said government was delivering and people were getting the electricity they need.

“In less than 20 years, the ANC-led democratic government has provided access to electricity to more than 5.8 million poor households.”

However, Kasrils and former deputy Health Minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge are urging South Africans to spoil their votes during the upcoming elections.

Kastril says, “By taking this particular very strong stand, we are hoping that things might come right and the party won’t continue skidding downhill and dragging the country with it.”

Their ‘Vote No’ campaign will be officially launched at the University of the Witwatersrand tomorrow.

The community of Boitumelong in the North West Province has accused authorities of failing to take their plight seriously.

Residents took to the streets last week and torched seven delivery trucks, a municipal building,a library and 16 houses belonging to council officials and police officers.

The community has accused the Lekwa-Teemane Local Municipality of corruption and maladministration and say they want the entire council to be dissolved.

One community member said residents were tired of being ignored by authorities.

“We have been ignored for a very long time.”

He said the municipality was not accountable for their actions.

But North West Premier Thandi Modise says the protests are part of a political agenda.

Life in Boitumelong is back to normal following mop-up operations at the weekend.

Road closed due to Weilers Farm protest
IOL News 14 April 2014

Johannesburg - Residents of Weilers Farm were protesting along the R554 south of Johannesburg on Monday morning, the city's metro police department said.

The road was closed between the Golden Highway and R81, as it was not safe for motorists, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

Protesters were burning tyres and throwing stones at motorists.

The reason for the protest was not yet known. Police were monitoring the area, he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said protesters also closed several roads in Tsakane, on the East Rand, on Monday morning.

Police have reopened the roads and were monitoring the area.

The reason for that protest was not known.

Bottles fly as DA, ANC clash in Soweto
IOL News 13 April 2014

Johannesburg - The DA’s march in Zola, Soweto, was marred by on-the-side squabbles between its supporters and those of the ANC.

About 3 500 DA members marched on the township’s Bendile Street on Saturday as a show of political force ahead of the upcoming elections.

A number of ANC die-hards stood in groups in parts of the street, observing and some singing in defence of their party.

At least two clashes broke out between the two groups.

The DA marchers were seen throwing their plastic mineral water bottles at their ANC opponents. ANC supporters then threatened to retaliate with violence, but a sizeable police contingent stood guard.

The first confrontation was the ugliest. After a short verbal quarrel, plastic bottles flew at an ANC group of about six people outside the Maseko home in Zola.

Girly Maseko, in her 40s, was left drenched in water after the police intervened and the DA members continued marching. “They’ve hit me because they can see I support the ANC,” Maseko said.

Pinkie Maseko said: “The DA has messed up. Zille must apologise. We’ll tell our branch chairperson to complain against the DA.”

A marching DA supporter told ANC members: “Sizonishayela i-corruption (We’ll hit you for corruption).” “We’re being hit, we’re being hit. Did you see what they did? They are throwing (plastic) bottles at us,” an irate ANC member Raymond Shenge said when asked what triggered the commotion.

Draped in an ANC garment, a woman shouted: “Do they see us going to the suburbs? We don’t go there. This is our Zola.”

The clash died down as police intervened and the DA marchers continued to the sports grounds adjoining Pace Commercial Secondary School.

This is where DA leader Helen Zille and the party’s Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane took turns lambasting the ANC and the SABC for banning their party’s “Ayisafani” TV advert.

It emerged on Friday that the public broadcaster had removed the DA’s advert from the airwaves, saying that it incited violence.

Ayisafani translates to “It is not the same” in Nguni languages. The ad campaign implies the ANC has changed from what it used to be.

Both Zille and Maimane accused the SABC of colluding with the ANC to ban the advert because it was critical of President Jacob Zuma.

“The ANC is scared,” Zille told the crowd.

She said the banning was a “serious issue”, not just because it violated the DA’s freedom of speech, “but because of the rights of South Africans that we fought for”.

“This is about our right to free speech,” said Zille.

Speaking to the media, Maimane conceded that he hadn’t seen the clashes between his party’s and ANC supporters.

“If there are members of our party who are misbehaving in that manner, I’ll be the first one to deal with them,” said Maimane.

But the ANC “are the biggest culprits” of political intolerance, he said.

“In fact I was in Winterveldt (outside Pretoria), where ANC members came and stoned us,” Maimane said.

“We were in Sharpeville (south of Johannesburg), they then attacked our bus.”

DA supporters march against SABC ad ban
Mail & Guardian 12 April 2014

Hundreds of DA supporters marched through the streets of Soweto to protests the banning of the party's advert by the SABC.

The advert DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country. (Gallo)

Hundreds of DA supporters marched through the streets of Soweto on Saturday.

Dressed in their traditional blue shirts, they sang and danced while making their way to the Jabulani sports field where they would be addressed by party leaders.

The march was in protest of the banning of the party's 'Ayisafani' advert by the SABC.

The advert in question shows the DA's Gauteng premier candidate and spokesman Mmusi Maimane standing in front of a mirror talking about the current state of the country.
He says life today is better than it was 20 years ago and gives credit to great leaders who he believes have taken the country forward.

The SABC did not broadcast the advert and gave the DA a letter.

In it, SABC acting group CEO Tian Olivier informed the party the corporation would not be able to broadcast the advert on radio and television as it incited violence. –Sapa

Pupils march to support raped schoolgirl
IOL News 11 April 2014

Pretoria - School pupils in Mamelodi were expected to march around the Pretoria east township on Friday in support of a schoolgirl allegedly raped by her teacher, the Congress of SA Students (Cosas) said.

The pupil from Modiri Technical High School claimed to have been raped earlier this week, said Cosas secretary Khulekani Skosana.

The same teacher was alleged to have harassed other girls at the school.

“After she opened a case, we decided to have the march,” said Skosana.

Police Captain Johannes Maheso confirmed that a case of sexual assault had been opened against the teacher.

“At the moment, no arrests have been made,” said Maheso.

Skosana said by 9am, at least half of the school pupils in the area had gathered at a park next to Solomon Mahlangu High School.

“We are marching to the school to check to see if the teacher has been suspended. From there we are marching to the two police stations to call for the police to act, and then we are going to the taxi rank in Wonderboom.”

He explained they were going to request taxi drivers to give a discounted taxi fare to school pupils.

“When you are wearing school uniform, taxi fare should be less by at least 50 cents or R1,” said Skosana.

Maheso said police were not aware of the march. - Sapa

NW premier worried by protest instigators
IOL News 10 April 2014

Johannesburg - North West premier Thandi Modise on Thursday expressed concern at allegations that councillors instigated protests near Lichtenburg.

Reports that some Ditsobotla local municipality councillors and municipal officials instigated the violence that had erupted in Bodibe and Itsoseng township outside Lichtenburg was worrying, she said in a statement.

“The allegations that expanded public works programme beneficiaries have been coerced to participate in the anarchy is worrying and also needs to be investigated.”

She urged police to leave no stone unturned to unmask those behind the criminality which had resulted in roads being blockaded, shops looted, and the destruction of private and public property.

“Plunging communities into mayhem without regard for the rule of law and/or following engagement processes to further narrow personal interests is not only myopic but reactionary,” Modise said.

Modise and members of the executive council intervention task team are scheduled to engage residents regarding the unrest and provincial intervention at the Itsoseng Stadium on Friday.

Situation tense in Boitumelong
IOL News 10 April 2014

Johannesburg - The situation in Boitumelong was tense as protest action intensified in the area, the office of the North West premier said on Thursday.

“It is very tense in the area but we hope the situation will be conducive when the premier visits the area later this afternoon (Thursday),” spokesman Lesiba Kgwele told Sapa.

Premier Thandi Modise is scheduled to interact with residents and visit the family of the Christiana teenager who was shot dead at a tavern on Wednesday.

He was allegedly part of a mob looting shops while protests were underway in the town. When the group arrived at a tavern, its owner fired shots at them, killing the boy and wounding two other people.

Kgwele appealed for calm in the area.

“We don't want heightened racial tensions. We are appealing for calm and to allow for the law to take its course,” he said.

Last week, protests started in Boitumelong township in neighbouring Bloemhof.

On Monday, residents blocked the N12 and set alight a municipal office, community hall, houses belonging to the mayor, two councillors and two officials, and several businesses.

By Tuesday, the protest had spilled over to Coverdale in Christiana where a community hall was torched.

Journalists were also not spared the brunt of the anger of residents. Their cars were attacked and stoned.

“At the moment residents have blocked roads in Boitumelong and we can't enter the township. There is a police nyala patrolling the streets,” said one journalist.

Police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said police were monitoring the situation but no acts of violence were reported. - Sapa

Boy, 17, shot dead during protests
Michael Mokoena (IOL News)10 April 2014

The violent protests that started in Bloemhof and spread to Christiana has claimed its first casualty: a Grade 9 pupil who was shot and killed when protesters in Christiana marched to the municipal offices on Wednesday.

The angry residents said that the 17-year-old boy had been shot and killed by a white tavern owner who allegedly shot at them when they were marching to the Lekwa-Teemane Municipality.

“We were marching from Geluksoord then we went over the N12 and then onto the road leading to town and as we were about to enter the town, the white man and his friends came out of the tavern wielding their guns and approached us,” the residents said.

They said that as the white men approached them, “we got frightened and started turning back”.

“As we ran, one of the men shot at us like he was shooting animals at a game farm. We ran until we crossed over the N12 onto the side of the township. This is why we started to barricade the highway with rocks,” the protesters added.

They said that shortly after they barricaded the highway, the police arrived “and they started shooting at us too”.

The residents vowed to avenge the death of the 17-year-old.

“We are going to pay revenge for the killing of one of our own,” they said.

“That white man must be arrested or else we will set that tavern of his alight or kill him,” they said.

They said that the killing of the pupil was going to divide the town along racial lines.

“Racial tensions in this town are serious already and this latest incident is like pouring petrol onto the fire,” the protesters added.

Efforts to speak to the man who allegedly killed the boy were futile as he was arrested by the police.

The man’s wife, said that it was not true that her husband had killed the boy.

“My husband was given an advice by the local chief of traffic, who told him to shoot in the air if the protesters came into town. So he did exactly that. He did not shoot at the people. He only shot in the air. The person who died could have been trampled on during a stampede that occurred when the marchers were running away,” she said.

She added that “for almost an hour my husband held those people off from accessing the town”.

“What would have happened had he not done so? Police arrived a bit late. Some of those marchers wanted to come to the tavern to harass the people who are working here because some of them are foreign nationals,” she added.

Police officers on the scene refused to speak to the DFA on the killing of the boy.

The spokesman for the North West police, Brigadier Thulani Ngubane, confirmed that one person was shot and killed in Christiana during the protest.

“The police found the man already dead and it is believed that he was shot dead during the time when people went into the town and started looting shops belonging to foreign shop owners,” Ngubane added.

He said that although no one had been arrested in connection with the killing, “the police have taken some people in for questioning”.

The teenager’s mother, Tshidi Mokonono, said that although she had not yet identified her son’s body she was certain that it was him.

“The people that were

Boitumelong protests intensify ahead of Modise's visit
Mail & Guardian 10 April 2014

The situation in Boitumelong was tense as protest action intensified in the area, the office of the North West premier said on Thursday.
"It is very tense in the area but we hope the situation will be conducive when the premier visits the area later this afternoon," Premier Thandi Modise's spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said.

Modise is scheduled to meet with residents and visit the family of the Christiana teenager who was shot dead at a tavern on Wednesday. He was allegedly part of a mob looting shops while protests were underway in the town. When the group arrived at a tavern, its owner fired shots at them, killing the boy and wounding two other people.

Kgwele appealed for calm in the area. "We don't want heightened racial tensions. We are appealing for calm and to allow for the law to take its course," he said.

Last week, protests started in Boitumelong township, neighbouring Bloemhof. On Monday residents blocked the N12 and set alight a municipal office, community hall, houses belonging to the mayor, two councillors and two officials, and several businesses.

By Tuesday, the protest had spilled over to Coverdale in Christiana where a community hall was torched. Journalists were also not spared the anger of residents. Their cars were attacked and stoned.

"At the moment residents have blocked roads in Boitumelong and we can't enter the township. There is a police nyala patrolling the streets," said one journalist at the time. Police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said police were monitoring the situation but no acts of violence were reported.

Task team
Meanwhile, the premier formed a provincial executive council task team that would meet with Boitumelong and Itsoseng protesters, her office said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Lesiba Moses Kgwele at the time said the team would be spearheaded by Modise. It would meet Buitumelong protesters on Thursday at 3pm, and on Friday at 2pm the team would meet Itsoseng residents.
Kgwele said that on Wednesday, the council took a decision to appoint an independent firm to conduct a forensic investigation into allegations of nepotism and corruption. The allegations were raised by residents of Boitumelong, near Bloemhof in the Lekwa Teemane local municipality.

Modise said service delivery issues were not raised in the memorandum that was submitted by the protesters from Buitumelong. "We are committed to get to the bottom of the allegations raised in the interest of good governance."

Kgwele said residents of Itsoseng township on Wednesday morning blocked roads, burned tyres and looted shops belonging to foreign nationals.

Schooling was disrupted and residents could not go to work because all the roads were blocked in the area. "We don't know what the protest was about because we have not received a memorandum," he said. A community hall was also burned in Christiana near Buitumelong on Wednesday.
On Monday, six houses and a community hall were torched during protests in the area.
Protesters disrupted schools, barricaded the N12 with burning tyres, pelted police with stones and petrol bombed a nyala. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital. A police officer lost his finger in the process. Protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor and some councillors, accusing them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.

Burning of properties
On Tuesday night, seven houses belonging to police officers were set alight following a community meeting. Modise condemned the burning of properties during protests.
"Destruction of properties is a drawback for which there will be consequences for those orchestrating and participating in these acts that undermine the rule of law," she said.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union also condemned the violent protests in North West. The public needed to be reminded the right to protest came with responsibility, said spokesperson Theto Mahlakoana in a statement. "It is disturbing that protesting community members vandalise public facilities, which are meant to provide them with services and later blame government for lack of service delivery," said Mahlakoana.
Mahlakoana said the union was willing to work with the communities to ensure that their issues were addressed through proper channels. "However, we cannot sit back when public facilities are destroyed and the lives [of] our members are exposed to dangers posed by unruly protesters." – Sapa

Mortuary workers end four-day strike
Sphelele Ngubane (IOL News) 11 April 2014

Mortuary strike: bodies pile up

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal forensic pathology services resume on Friday after a four-day strike over employment conditions linked to job grading, backpay and organisational structure.

The Public and Allied Workers Union announced its decision to stop the strike at the meeting with the provincial Health Department’s management on Thursday.

Workers throughout the province downed tools on Monday

Mortuary workers on strike
IOL News 8 April 2014

Durban - An idefinate strike that began on Monday at state mortuaries in KwaZulu-Natal has affected post-mortems and the identification of bodies.

Adding to the disruptions, a small group of forensic pathology officers and support assistants protested outside the province’s busiest mortuary in Magwaza Maphalala (Gale) Street on Monday.

The workers are responsible for technical assistance, helping with dissecting bodies, as well as collecting bodies at crime scenes and helping families with identification.

Leading the strike, Public and Allied Workers Union of SA (Pawusa) provincial secretary Halalisani Gumede said moves were afoot to try and resolve the internal grievances.

The province-wide strike led to disturbances at some of the 40 or so mortuaries in KZN including Phoenix, KwaDukuza, Richards Bay, Eshowe, Mtubatuba and Nongoma.

The spokesman for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Desmond Motha, said a meeting was expected to be held today to resolve the issues.

However he said that because workers were performing essential services, they were not permitted to strike.

Gumede disputed this, saying the policy was not in writing and was only brought up by the department when workers attempted to go on strike.

He claimed that the health of workers was at risk, particularly at the Magwaza Maphalala Street mortuary, where he said conditions were particularly bad.

One of the workers - who did not want to be named - said the air-conditioning at the mortuary had not been working for some time.

He added that staff were also not equipped with proper protective gear, such as masks and gloves.

“We have been waiting for our working conditions to change for more than eight years,” he said.

Workers vowed not to return to work until their demands were met.

The chairman of the Islamic Burial Council, Ahmed Paruk, said on Monday that the troubles plaguing the mortuaries were especially concerning for Muslims who, according to Islamic law, had to be buried within hours of death.

Paruk said he had written to the department in November, raising several concerns, including the non-functioning of an X-ray machine for two years.

Bodies had to be transported to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital in Durban for X-rays, causing “a tremendous inconvenience to grieving families”, he said.

And with bodies going to the hospital from the Pinetown and Phoenix mortuaries, burials were delayed even further, he said.

“About a month ago, bodies had to be transported to Pietermaritzburg and a week and a half ago, X-rays were being done in Newcastle.

“That is too far. Families will not be able to bury on time and also have to think about the extra transport costs,” Paruk said.

In January, in a written response to his concerns, the provincial general manager for forensic services, Dr Mandla Mazizi, said the department was in the process of acquiring a new X-ray machine, but that one might not be sufficient because of the heavy workload at the mortuary.

“This will be resolved once our new facility in Phoenix is completed,” he wrote.

Once completed, the R68 750 000 mortuary at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Phoenix will have the capacity to store 460 bodies.

Mazizi had also said that the air-conditioning at the Magwaza Maphalala Street Mortuary was working, and that there were on-site technicians to attend to any problems.

He also disputed problems with protective gear, saying he could not obtain any evidence of a shortage.

Mortuary staff are also calling for back pay stemming from a grievance lodged by Pawusa with the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council in 2009.

They claimed that when forensic pathology services were taken over by the Health Department from the SAPS in 2006, staff were placed on incorrect salary levels.

This was only rectified from 2010, which meant employees were short paid, they said.

The union also alleged that the department had used a “blanket approach” that did not recognise work experience.

Gumede said this left experienced employees earning the same as those who had just entered the field.

Violent protests ‘self defeating’: minister
IOL News 8 April 2014

Johannesburg - The violent protests taking place at Boitumelong township in Bloemhof, North West, were self-defeating, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Lechesa Tsenoli said on Tuesday.

“Violent protests such as these are self-defeating and undemocratic, and set us back collectively as a nation,” Tsenoli said in a statement.

The damage protesters had caused to national infrastructure, such as a road, or local infrastructure like a municipal building, could take years to repair.

“Members of this community have turned too easily to crime and violence as an avenue to express their frustrations,” said Tsenoli.

Instead of violent protests, people should use alternative forums as a platform to communicate their grievances.

“South Africa's democratic and developmental local government system provides many forums in which community grievances can be aired,” said Tsenoli.

“When local government fails there are many national and provincial government channels which can and must be pursued.”

Tsenoli called upon the police to ensure appropriate action was taken against criminal perpetrators.

North West police said earlier protesters partially burnt down the back room of a house belonging to a police officer in the township on Tuesday morning,

On Monday, six other houses and a community hall were torched during a violent protest in the area.

Protesters disrupted schools, barricaded the N12 with burning tyres, pelted police with stones and petrol bombed a nyala. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital.

“One police officer lost his finger in the process,” said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

Protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor and some councillors, accusing them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the protests began last week Wednesday. They have been charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

Sixteen of them appeared in the Bloemhof Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The case was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

N West protesters cause more damage
IOL News 8 April 2014

Bloemhof - Protesters partially burnt down the back room of a house belonging to a police officer in the Boitumelong township on Tuesday morning, North West police said.

On Monday night protesters torched the houses of a municipal councillor and a municipal clerk in Cavandale township, said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.

Six other houses and a community hall were set alight in the area earlier on Monday.

“The unruly behaviour of the community led to burning down of a number of houses belonging to the mayor, two officials of the municipality, two police officers, and the neighbour of the mayor,” said Ngubane.

Ngubane said the protests caused the closure of the N12 from the side of Christiana to the side of Schweizer-Reneke.

“Protesters also took their illegal action to the N12, next to Boitumelong where they attacked and pelted vehicles with stones,” said Ngubane.

Trucks driving along the route were stoned and got stuck on the barricades.

“One truck driver lost control of his truck and it overturned and ended on the side of the road,” said Ngubane.

Traffic would be diverted until the road was cleared.

Protesters also disrupted schools and pelted police with stones and petrol-bombed a Nyala on Monday, said Ngubane.

Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital.

“One police officer lost his finger in the process,” said Ngubane.

The officers inside the vehicle escaped unharmed.

Protesters were demanding the resignation of the mayor and some councillors, accusing them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the protest began last Wednesday. They have been charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

Sixteen of them appeared in the Bloemhof Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The case was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

Ngubane said: “The situation is volatile and the police are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue effecting arrests on those who are breaking the law.”

Police monitor Zeerust protests
Gaborone Mbele (IOL News ) 8 April 2014

Schools and public offices have been closed by members of the community.(SABC)

South Africa North West Zeerust Khunotswane Ramotshere Moiloa Botswana Angry residents of Khunotswane Village, near Zeerust, North West, have barricaded roads entering the village.

Schools and public offices have been closed by members of the community.

The angry protesters say they don't want their current ward councillor as she failed to represent them in the municipality council on issues relating to service delivery in the village.

Residents are calling on the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality to intervene. They are also threatening to barricade the N4, which links South Africa and Botswana.

Police have been called to calm the situation.

Tipping point: Sixth BAT protest ride
IOL Motoring 8 April 2014

It used to be called the snowball effect, but these days the popular buzzword is "tipping point" - that moment when a small initiative by a dedicated group of activists suddenly picks up its own momentum and becomes a movement.

For Amanda Bruwer and the founders of Bikers Against e-Tolls in the Western Cape, that moment happened on Sunday morning, when more than 1000 riders gathered on the Grand Parade for Cape Town's sixth BAT protest ride.

The issues at stake have become part of mainstream biker culture. Even if Bruwer never organises another protest ride, from now on there will always be motorcycles (and cars and bakkies) out there sporting the BAT logo and the brilliantly simple slogan "Proudly e-tag Free".


With the number of riders jumping threefold from one BAT run to the next, the handful of police officers on hand looked a bit worried. But it's a matter of record that, despite bikers' fearsome reputation, there has never been an instance of public violence at a BAT event.

Cape Town traffic officers escorted the bikes smoothly out of the central city on to the N2, the R300 and the N1, to Dukes of Hazzard in Montague Gardens, where a fundraiser was held for Bondi Rossouw, a biker who has muscular dystrophy.

Afterwards, Bruwer said Cape Town motorists would be ready when the SA National Roads Agency came to erect their gantries along the city's highways.

NW govt calls for calm amid protests 8 April 2014

Government officials in the North West province have appealed for calm amid violent protests in Boitumelong and Coverdale townships near Bloemhof.

North West Acting Premier and MEC for Finance, Paul Sebegoe, has called on protestors to exercise their constitutional right to protest responsibly and not destroy property.

His appeal comes after protesters torched the Lekwa-Teemane municipal office, community halls, and five houses belonging to the mayor, two councillors and two officials.

"We wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible the destruction of private and public property, and the looting of several tuck-shops belonging to foreign nationals, as it undermines the rule of law and the right to peaceful protest," MEC Sebegoe said.

He said the provincial government has committed to talk with stakeholders and community representatives, and that there was no need for communities to be misled to participate in illegal marches, or "allow themselves to be used by those who seek to exploit their genuine concerns to create an environment of chaos."

"When communities do not get any joy from local engagements, they should escalate their dissatisfaction to the provincial government for intervention, instead of opting for unlawful violent protests," said MEC Sebegoe.

He said the provincial government was considering a memorandum and reports it had received from officials from the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs, who were sent to the area ahead of talks with the municipality and affected communities last week.

According to police, 51 people have thus far been arrested in connection with the ongoing violence, looting and destruction of properties in the area.

Two policemen were allegedly injured in the protests.

ANC calls for calm in Boitumelong
IOL News 8 April 2014

Johannesburg - No violence was reported in Boitumelong near Bloemhof on Tuesday morning, North West police said, after the ANC called for calm in the area after six houses were burned during a violent protest on Monday.

“The ANC condemns [such] acts of provocation, intimidation, public violence and criminality by some of the protesters,” North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete said.

“While the public has the constitutional right to protest, these very rights do not imply that people must be violent, destroy private and public property, attack police and intimidate others.”

Residents went on a rampage demanded the resignation of the mayor and councillors.

The houses of the mayor, two municipal officials, two police officials, the mayor's neighbour and the community hall were burnt on Monday.

Schools were also disrupted and the N12 was barricaded with burning tyres. Police were pelted with stones and one nyala was petrol bombed. Two police officers were injured and taken to hospital.

“We (therefore) urge the community of Boitumelong to act in accordance with the law because the South African law applies without impunity,” said Legoete.

“Public violence cannot be an alternative to address the needs of our communities but can only reverse progress on services already done, thereby reverse community development. Negotiations remain the only solution when disenchantment reigns.”

He urged the provincial government to urgently convene a meeting with the residents of Boitumelong in an effort to restore stability in the area and to agree on a plan to resolve the impasse.

The provincial African National Congress executive committee was expected to meet residents at 4pm on Tuesday.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the protest began last Wednesday. They have been charged with public violence and malicious damage to property.

Sixteen of them appeared in the Bloemhof Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The case was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

“The situation is volatile and the police are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue effecting arrests on those who are breaking the law,” said Brigadier Thulan

Cosatu comradeship reaches low point
Bongani Hans, Sibonakaliso Msane and Sapa
(IOL News ) 7 April 2014

Comradeship in Cosatu reached a low point as supporters of president Sdumo Dlamini and suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi traded insults in public in Durban on Sunday.

They shouted that they did not need each other any more.

Police in protective gear separated the factions, who threatened to beat each other up.

The trouble occurred at the Coastlands Hotel, on the Point, at which each group had booked a conference centre.

As National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members and other invited affiliates arrived at the venue, they found members of fellow Cosatu affiliate, the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

A police officer said one venue had been booked by Numsa, while another had been booked by Sadtu.

It is understood the hotel inadvertently opened the Numsa-booked venue to Sadtu.

Police had to divert traffic as the two groups occupied Pixley ka Seme (West) Street in front of the hotel.

Inside the hotel, police battled to separate the factions, who came close to attacking each other.

Sadtu’s Durban South Regional secretary, Sva Xulu, said: “We were having a Sadtu meeting upstairs when we became aware there were other Cosatu members here.”

Police eventually persuaded the Numsa-led group to hold their meeting in the third-floor conference room while the Sadtu-led group remained on the second floor.

Vavi and suspended Sadtu president Thobile Ntola had been invited to Durban to address the “shop steward council” called by Cosatu affiliates which supported them, including Numsa.

The function, also attended by national leaders of unions, was seen as a way of celebrating Vavi’s court victory.

However, Vavi could not attend as he was with his daughter, who had been involved in a car accident in the Eastern Cape.

He is due back at work on Monday.

Sadtu members, who had been calling for Vavi’s head, said they did not want Ntola to address Vavi’s group.

Xulu accused Vavi’s group and Numsa of hijacking Cosatu.

Vavi and Numsa could find themselves suspended from Cosatu, while Sadtu’s suspended president believes he will be fired within the week.

Referring to a Cosatu central executive committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Numsa deputy president Karl Cloete told delegates: “On Tuesday, they will say let us continue with the disciplinary charges against Zwelinzima Vavi.”

The office-bearers of Cosatu should be held accountable for having wasted workers’ money in hiring expensive lawyers to fight Vavi’s reinstatement, Cloete said.

Ntola told the meeting: “I have no doubt that within a week I will be fired.”

The central executive committee meeting was “a war” for the survival of Cosatu, Ntola said.

He said it was “unfortunate” that members of his union had attempted to disrupt the shop stewards council.

Protests continue in Boitumelong
IOL News 7 April 2014

Johannesburg - Violent protests continued on Monday across the Boitumelong township in Bloemhof in the North West, said police.

Protesters torched six houses including that of the mayor, said Brigadier Thulani Ngubane.

The houses of two municipal officials, two police officials and the mayor's neighbour was also destroyed.

“The next door neighbour... is allegedly the relative of the mayor,” said Ngubane.

The community hall was also set alight.

As schools re-opened on Monday, many of them were disrupted by protests.

The protesters barricaded the N12 road with burning tyres and pelted police officers with stones.

“Two police officials sustained injuries from the incident after they were pelted with stones by the community and were taken to Christiana hospital for medical treatment,” said Ngubane.

“One police officer lost his finger in process, his right hand thumb.”

A police Nyala vehicle was also petrol bombed.

Ngubane said the vehicle had been stuck in the area after experiencing engine problems. The police officers inside the Nyala managed to escape unharmed.

Almost 100 people have been arrested since the protests began on Wednesday.

They have all been charged with public unrest and malicious damage to property.

Sixteen of those arrested earlier appeared in Bloemhof Magistrate's Court.

The matter was postponed to Friday when they were expected to apply for bail.

“The situation is volatile and the police are closely monitoring the situation, and will continue effecting arrests on those who are breaking the law,” said Ngubane.

Protesters apparently demanded the resignation of the mayor and councillors.

They reportedly accused them of nepotism and failing to deliver basic services.

EFF member's house torched
IOL News 7 April 2014

Johannesburg - The house of an EFF member was torched in Khayelitsha on Monday morning, the party said.

“After successful campaigning... this weekend, a candidate of the EFF Western Cape... has had his home gutted by a fire in the early hours of this morning,” said Economic Freedom Fighters provincial spokeswoman Yerushka Chetty.

The party's leadership would visit the member on Monday afternoon.

Captain Frederick van Wyk said he was not aware of the incident. “Nothing has been reported at the police station so far,” he said.

Maimane leads DA jobs march
IOL News 6 April 2014

Tembisa - Hundreds of DA supporters marched in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, on Sunday demanding jobs.

Several police vehicles escorted the protestes led by Democratic Alliance Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane.

The procession went along several streets with the protestes waving blue placards saying: “Together for change” and “Together for jobs”.

Maimane is set to address the crowd later on Sunday.

In a statement, the DA said leadership of several community organisations based in the east of Gauteng would publicly withdraw their support from the African National Congress and endorse Maimane for premier.

Zille leads Cape anti-crime march
By Jenna Etheridge 6 April 2014

CApe Town - Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille led a march against crime and drugs through Mitchells Plain in Cape Town on Sunday afternoon.

“The purpose of the march is to once again draw the attention of the national government to the major failings of bringing drugs and crime under control,” she said outside Mitchells Plain police station after handing over a memorandum.

“We are asking for more police on the street. We are asking for the reinstating of the gang and drug unit that was scrapped... and we are looking for the army to be brought in.”

Around 100 people, mostly women and children, marched from Atletiek Street in Beacon Valley to the police station.

They were escorted by a Nyala, metro police and a DA-emblazoned bakkie blaring out loud music.

Zille said she believed the police in the area were doing their best but that they had few resources.

“They haven't even got the information and communication technology of the standard they need to fight crime and they're really overworked.” She said it had recently been revealed in the media that the Western Cape had the highest vacancy rate for police personnel.

“We in the provincial government can do nothing about it because that is the responsibility of police, of national government.”

A 63-year-old woman who took part in the march said at least seven children had been killed in her street, Netball Crescent, as a result of gangsterism this year.

Children could not play in the field across the road because the Mongrels and 28s gangs had made it unsafe.

She did not want to give her name for fear of reprisal.

“At the moment, we have two drug smugglers in our road. The police come and the police go. I say it's corruption.

“They smile at the police. The police smile at the gangsters.”

Armed cops protected Mantashe in ECape
IOL News 4 April 2014

Johannesburg - The ANC on Friday declined to comment on reports that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had to be protected by armed police officers during an election campaign in Sterkspruit, in the Eastern Cape.

“I was not there and I have not even spoken to him,” African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

“So I can't comment until I've spoken to him. And if there is a need to release a statement then we will.”

The Dispatch Online reported that the rally took a volatile turn in Sterkspruit on Thursday when Mantashe visited. It reported that two groups, each about 400-strong, shouted and cursed each other.

One person yelled: “You are thieves, we will not vote for Nkandla.”

Another shouted: “Gwede does not care for us. We are not his sheep.”

The Dispatch Online did not clarify how it had become volatile.

Mantashe told the publication he was excited to be in the area.

“There was no hostile grouping. Actually I was excited that we blitzed the whole town.

“We didn't run away from them, we asked them to bring a delegation we can talk to. They have not (done so),” he was quoted as saying.

“When you do not want to talk, but instead disturb ANC programmes, we say you are working with the opposition. It's like someone riding a donkey backwards, they look like they are coming towards us (ANC) but in fact they are walking away.” - Sapa

Eldorado residents protest over cable theft
IOL News 5 April 2014

Johannesburg - Eldorado Park and Klipspruit West residents blocked roads and threw stones at passing cars on Saturday morning due to cable theft in the area, Johannesburg metro police said.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the two neighbouring communities were protesting along the K43 road as there was no power in the area.

“City power are busy restoring cables in the Klipsruit West area.”

The road was closed to traffic and additional officers were deployed there.

Around 8.30am, protesters were gathered at major intersections.

They blockaded roads with rocks, tree branches and the remains of burnt tyres, forcing motorists to use alternative routes to exit Eldorado Park.

Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe was due to visit the area for a door-to-door election campaign on Saturday morning.

Spokesman Justice Ngalonkulu said they were not aware of the protests. - Sapa

EFF protests against alleged political intolerance
EFF alledges that police were influenced unduly to arrest leader.
Riaan van Zyl (Roodepord Record) 4 April 2014

A small group of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) gathered outside the Roodepoort Magistrates’ Court on 4 April in support of one of their leaders who was arrested on 23 March following a violent protest at Emhlangeni informal settlement on Progress Avenue.
The EFF community leader Mohlomola Maraka was arrested on charges of malicious damage to property and arson, but was released on R500 bail.

The Record spoke to the EFF’s Sub Region B and C convener Katu Khedzi outside the court.
“We are here today to support our leader, Fighter Maraka, who we believe has been singled out and targeted by the ANC leader of the community. There is great political intolerance towards our people in the area,” says Khedzi.

“The whole community took part in the protest, regardless of their political affiliation, but only our leader was arrested out of all the people. This new lady is not even a proper resident of the community but she has just moved in and taken control. The people are also unhappy that she is bringing in outsiders to be involved in the projects in the community and the ANC is barring the EFF from partaking. The funds that are being spent are the people’s money – not the ANC’s. Everybody has the right to partake. Furthermore she is taking jobs out of the hands of the people in the community by bringing in outsiders for the jobs,” says Khedzi.
Khedzi also alledges that the SAPS was bribed to arrest Maraka.

“We do not condone damaging of property when protesting, but this is clearly a sign of political intolerance since only our member was arrested.

“The ANC sees that we are gaining ground on grassroots level and feel threatened but this is not the way to settle political scores. It should be done at the voting stations. Last Saturday the community chased away the ANC when they did their door-to-door campaign. This shows that the people are unhappy with the ruling party.

“This lady also said that she ‘will deal with our members one by one’ and threatened to have Maraka killed,” says Khedzi.

Khedzi also challenges the ANC leadership in the area to explain how they allocate jobs and tenders, and again appealed for political tolerance and freedom of association
Khedzi could not supply the Record with the full name of “the lady”.

More police deployed over protests
SABC News 4 April 2014

Limpopo Tzaneen Tickeyline Ronel Otto More police officers have been deployed to troubled villages outside Tzaneen in Limpopo where service delivery protests have been taking place throughout the week.

Shops belonging to foreign nationals have also been looted. The protests started in Tickeyline on Friday last week.

They have now spread to surrounding villages.

Residents are demanding water and the construction of a bridge in the area. Police spokesperson Ronel Otto has urged communities to desist from violence.

The looting has spread over to several villages in the area and members of public order policing have been deployed in the area.They are patrolling and monitoring.

They have arrested several suspects already for the looting of shops and have recovered stolen goods.

Police are appealing to the members of the community to rather work with them to stop this lawlessness.

Mob threatens Free State councillor: DA
IOL News 3 April 2014

Bloemfontein - The Democratic Alliance in the Free State has laid criminal charges after a party councillor was threatened while accompanying a TV news crew.

This was confirmed by Free State DA chairwoman Annelie Lotriet on Thursday.

“DA councillor in the Phumelela municipality Doreen Wessels was threatened outside the house of the MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs, Mosebenzi Zwane, by a group of ANC cadres in Warden,” she said.

Lotriet said this happened when Wessels accompanied a television news crew to the area after the DA expressed concerns about Zwane's private home built on municipal land.

The DA said the mob of ANC supporters also attacked the media crew, destroying camera equipment.

Free State ANC spokesman Thabo Meeko said the matter was seen in a serious light.

“The question is why was the TV crew taking pictures with the DA of a private house of a member of the ANC.”

Meeko said the community revolted when they saw the group taking photos of a private individual's home in the community.

“They wondered who were these individuals.”

Meeko said a case was opened against the group after members of the community were called the “k” word.

Lotriet said the DA would continue to conduct oversight and hold government accountable without fear of intimidation.

Striking MyCiTi drivers settle
Daneel Knoetze (IOL News )4 April 2014

Cape Town - MyCiTi drivers who went on an unprotected strike on Wednesday agreed to go back to work on Thursday afternoon, after reaching an interim agreement with their employer.

This followed a meeting between Transpeninsula Investments (TPI), which manages the Hout Bay, CBD, Dunoon and airport services, and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu).

The company and union have agreed to negotiate further regarding the workers’ grievances, which include poor pay and inadequate rest periods between shifts.

Tony Franks, Towu’s general secretary, said the union would approach mayor Patricia de Lille’s office to report what it deemed “illegal” labour practices at TPI.

The drivers have agreed to sign a statement stating that they would not engage in any “illegal activity” and would resume their normal duties.

The drivers toyi-toyied outside the TPI offices in Green Point before the meeting on Thursday. In the interim, replacement drivers had been recruited and the affected routes were running at reduced capacity.

At the picket, the drivers spoke out about other grievances, including being paid an hourly rate as opposed to the salary prescribed by the collective agreement between employers and unions; not being paid during the 45-day training period; and being forced to sign on as an employee via a contract with a labour broker.

A driver, who has been working for five weeks, complained that TPI kept changing the information about payment. He asked not to be named for fear of being victimised.

“They butter you up with promises, but the reality got more and more disappointing,” he said.

“First they told us that there is a R7 500 salary, regardless of how many hours you work. This then dropped to R6 000. Then, when we finished our training, they told us you have to sign a contract with a labour broker and you will be paid an hourly rate for the hours you work. When they tallied my hours for the first month, it came to R4 000. I can’t live off that. I know of a lot of people who just left when they saw what was really going on.”

The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council received a complaint about this payment method and sent Nazeem Davids to investigate. He found that the grievances were legitimate and that the payment regimen was not in line with the main collective agreement, which prescribes working conditions in the sector.

The bargaining council ordered TPI to make the necessary adjustments and to comply with the agreement within 14 days. The deadline was on March 24, Davids said.

Bargaining council general secretary Gary Wilson said TPI would be issued with a second “warning” and a 21-day deadline, after which it would have to report to a hearing at the bargaining council. This second notice has not yet been issued.

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the contract between the city and TPI prescribed compliance with the collective agreement brokered by the bargaining council. “The gathering and verification of the relevant facts will determine the city’s actions. The city can also confirm that the CCMA is addressing the strike with the TPI. In the interim, the city’s law enforcement teams have increased their presence as of Thursday to ensure opera- tions can continue where possible.”

The Cape Argus made a number of attempts to get comment from TPI.

EFF joins Pagad on anti-drugs march
Natasha Bezuidenhout and Warren Fortune 3 April 2014

Cape Town - The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) came out in support of Pagad as the city rerouted an anti-drug march away from suspected drug merchants in Mitchells Plain on Wednesday night.

A small crowd of residents joined People Against Drugs and Gangsterism (Pagad) on their peaceful march. Among them were EFF members showing their solidarity with Pagad and its anti-drug drives.

Pagad spokesman Cassiem Parker said authorities had tried to stop Pagad marches from taking place over a long period of time but they had finally been granted permission.

“We have the constitutional right to occupy streets in rejection of drugs and gangsterism.

“We believe that we must stop the drug trade.”

He said the organisation understood the community’s problems.

“People feel safe when Pagad is in the community although there is a fear factor put into people by the authorities.”

EFF provincial convener Nazier Paulsen said the party and Pagad had a common purpose in improving conditions in communities.

“We are a vanguard of communities here in the Western Cape and we are plagued by gangsterism and drugs. That is why we wanted to show our support for this march because we cannot allow these things to happen anymore.”

Residents came out to watch as Pagad and EFF members marched down roads with a loudspeaker blaring: “We want a drug-free and gang-free society.”

Pagad leader Abdus-Salaam Ibrahim said: “The initial route had six drug houses. This tells us that the city is aware of the problems and they asked us to divert our route.

“We accepted the diversion. We know this is only the beginning stages and we showed authorities we can behave.”
Cape Argus

Gautrain bus drivers’ strike ends
IOL News 4 April 2014

Johannesburg - Drivers operating feeder buses to the Gautrain agreed to go back to work on Friday, a few hours after going on strike, said the Gautrain operating company Bombela.

“All buses are fully operational,” Bombela spokesman Errol Braithwaite said.

Some drivers embarked on an unprotected strike in Johannesburg on Friday morning, amid wage negotiations.

Earlier in the week, Rea Vaya bus drivers left commuters stranded for four days around Johannesburg.

They demanded the banning of labour brokers, a review of their code of conduct, that senior staff members choose their shifts, and that the union be introduced during the induction of new workers.

The Rea Vaya bus drivers were expected back at work on Friday. - Sapa

Rea Vaya bus strike ends
IOL News 3 April 2014

Johannesburg - The Rea Vaya bus drivers' strike in Johannesburg is over, the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said on Wednesday.

“We have signed the agreement, workers will be back at work tomorrow,” Samwu regional chairman Dion Makhura said.

Bus drivers embarked on a strike on Monday, leaving commuters around Johannesburg stranded.

The drivers demanded labour brokers be banned, the code of conduct be reviewed, senior staff members choose their shifts, and the union to be introduced during the induction of new workers.

All but one of the demands were agreed to, Makhura said.

The demand that senior staff members choose their shifts would no longer be pursued.

Piotrans and Litsamaiso manage the operations of Rea Vaya's buses.

Piotrans spokesman Dumisani Mntambo confirmed that an agreement had been reached.

On Tuesday, Mntambo said Piotrans was seeking an urgent interdict against the drivers to have the strike declared illegal.

He said the strike was regarded as illegal due to the nature of the workers' demands.

On Thursday, he said the matter was settled out of court.

City of Johannesburg director of communications Benny Makgoga confirmed that an agreement was reached in judge's chambers.

Northern Cape a ‘homophobic province’
IOL News 1 April 2014

The Northern Cape has become a “homophobic province” because it is run by a “homophobic government.”

This is according to the DA’s provincial leader, Andrew Louw, who spoke during a silent protest the party staged on Monday in Kimberley to express its condemnation of crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) community.

This followed an incident in Lerato Park at the weekend when a young homosexual man was allegedly raped by five men during what the community believed to be “corrective rape”.

The man was left in a burning room in a vacant house, after his alleged attackers set the mattress on which he was raped on fire. He managed to escape.

During the protest, DA supporters closed their mouths with tape in a symbolic gesture signifying the silence in the Province regarding violent attacks against LGBTI persons and also those whose voices were taken away by the incompetence of those responsible for apprehending these attackers.

Louw said that the actions of the alleged perpetrators were evil and added that is was unacceptable that they were ignoring the Bill of Rights by violating others’ rights to safety and human dignity.

He added that it was intolerable that people were victimised because of their sexual orientation.

Louw called for the “quiet diplomacy” by various MECs in the Province, and even President Jacob Zuma, to come to an end.

“The President and provincial leaders need to give an indication of their commitment in ensuring that all South Africans are able to live their lives free from fear of discrimination or violence. Unfortunately, President Zuma has in the past shown himself to be prejudiced against homosexuals.

“South Africa also chose to remain silent while lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights have been under attack in Nigeria, Uganda and other countries worldwide.

“This quiet diplomacy must be brought to an end and we must ensure that all human rights are maintained,” Louw said.

He added that the DA, which he said has been actively involved in campaigning for LGBTI rights, stood in solidarity with the LGBTI community by condemning the weekend’s incident and other homophobic attacks.

“We want to spell it out clearly to the people of the Province that there is no place for homophobes in the Northern Cape. We need to take this message home and spread it amongst our families, neighbours and friends. We cannot have our children growing up with the stigma that gays are evil or demonic. LGBTI persons are not inferior to others. They are normal human beings whose rights must be guaranteed, protected and respected.” Louw said.

He also called for the scope of the 16 days of Activism Campaign Against Women and Children to be broadened to include violence against the LGBTI community, because this too was a form of gender-based violence.

Tebogo Makwati, a representative from the Diamond Gay and Lesbian Organisation and Shaine Griqua from the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Organisation’s national task team, explained that the practice of corrective rape was something which they considered a hate crime.

“Corrective rape is a hate-crime where people are raped because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The perpetrator intends to turn the victim heterosexual or even punish or discipline him or her with the rape.

“Corrective rape is not recognised by the South African legal system as a hate crime despite the fact that the Constitution states that no person shall be discriminated against based on social status and identity, including sexual orientation.

Crimes based on sexual orientation are not expressly recognised in South Africa and corrective rape reports are not separated from general rape reports,” the men said.

Griqua added that his organisation was currently engaging with the Department of Justice to have corrective rape separately classified from general rape. - Diamond Fields Advertiser

Kanana protesters arrested
IOL News 27 March 2014

Orkney - Thirty five people were arrested on Thursday for public violence, arson and malicious damage to property in Kanana, near Orkney, North West police said.

Protesters partially burnt the local municipality offices and pelted windows with stones on Wednesday and Thursday, Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said.

Others barricaded roads with burning tyres and looted a number of shops owned by foreign nationals.

Mokgwabone said one of the shops and a bottle store were burnt down.

He said protesters damaged two police vehicles by breaking the windscreens.

“The protesters allegedly went to schools in the township in the morning today, disrupted classes and forced learners to join the protests,” he said.

Thirteen women and 22 men, aged between 15 and 39, were arrested between Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon. Two minors, both aged 15, were also arrested.

They were expected to appear in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court, Mokgwabone said.

North West residents protest for water
IOL News 30 March 2014

Residents of Mokgola village near Zeerust have blockaded roads during a protest for water, North West police said on Sunday.

Captain Pelonomi Makau said the protests began on Friday and had been peaceful so far.

“We have not made any arrests but police are present and are diverting traffic from the site, keeping a close eye on the situation,” Makau said.

Residents had blockaded roads around the village, about 20km from Zeerust, and part of the N4 leading to a nearby border post to Botswana.

“What I know is that they have so far used rocks, tree trunks and water tanks to blockade the road,” Makau said.

A motorist told Sapa that two large JoJo water tanks were blocking the road.

She police had told her the road had been blocked for the past three days.

Police said the residents refused to be addressed by the local mayor on Saturday.

They wanted Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa speak to them.

Makau said there were no reported damages or injuries.

Officials of the Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality and Ngaka Modiri Molema district municipality were not immediately available for comment. - Sapa

48 major protests since January
IOL News 3 April 2014

Bekkersdal has been the site of protests over service delivery and other issues since last year, resulting in damage amounting to around R11.2 million. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - There have been 48 major service delivery protests against local government since January 1, Municipal IQ said on Thursday.

Protests were occurring roughly every second day, it said in its Municipal Hotspots Monitor report.

Gauteng and the Eastern Cape were the most protest-ridden provinces this year, with the Eastern Cape just slightly ahead at of the end of March.

Municipal IQ is a web-based data and intelligence service specialising in monitoring and assessment of South Africa's 283 municipalities.

Managing director Kevin Allan said: “At the current annual rate, protests in 2014 may set a new record, but an apparent slow-down in March means that this is not a foregone conclusion.”

Municipal IQ economist Karen Heese said in 2009 and 2011 protest activity fell immediately before and during elections.

“It is important that constructive engagement continues during election campaigns,” she said.

Municipal IQ's hotspots monitor collated major protests staged against a municipality as recorded by the media or other public domain sources.

It said, unlike the SA Police Service crowd-incident data, it monitored protests pertaining only to local government service delivery issues.

There were a spate of violent and destructive protests, mostly associated with service delivery grievances in Gauteng and North West in February.

Areas such as Khutsong, Bekkersdal, Roodepoort and Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng were heavily affected.

Protesters in the Bronkhorstpruit area, east of Pretoria, set alight several buildings, including a clinic.

The week before, protesters torched the Zithobeni satellite police station and municipal offices. Residents were protesting about the high price of electricity.

Around the same time violent protests broke out in Sebokeng because of housing development in the area.

In the North West, protests over dissatisfaction with the municipality erupted in Brits. In Majakaneng, violence spilled over in February as residents torched three vehicles and a councillor's house. - Sapa

Bus driver attacked in Soweto
IOL News 1 April 2014

Johannesburg - A Rea Vaya bus driver was attacked in Dobsonville, Soweto, on Tuesday, operator Litsamaiso said.

The man was reporting for duty when other drivers allegedly attacked him, the company's spokesman Babu Maharaj said. He could not provide further details.

Litsamaiso manages the operations of the Rea Vaya's buses along with Piotrans.

Maharaj said Piotrans employees were on strike, but Litsamaiso workers could not work because of the sensitivity of the matter. The companies both operated from the same depot.

He said there no busses were running as the company was waiting for the union to report back on whether they would accept a draft agreement tabled on Sunday.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela could not confirm the incident.

Rea Vaya drivers went on strike indefinitely on Monday, leaving commuters in Johannesburg stranded. Drivers wanted labour brokers to be banned, the code of conduct be reviewed, senior staff members to be able to choose their shifts, and the union to be introduced during the induction of new workers. - Sapa

Joburg bus drivers to strike
IOL News 30 March 2014

Johannesburg - Johannesburg's Rea Vaya bus drivers will strike from Monday, the Gauteng community safety department said.

Bus drivers would work from 5am until 8am on Monday, then go on strike “until further notice”, spokesman Obed Sibasa said in a statement on Sunday.

“Passengers are advised to look for alternative transport in the afternoon and after work until further notice.”

Sibasa urged commuters to arrive early at taxi ranks and bus stops.

In a separate matter, the Gauteng transport department had planned a meeting on Monday in an attempt to resolve tension between two taxi associations - Meadowlands, Diepkloof North (MDN) and the Baragwanath, Meadowlands Taxi Association (BMTA).

Representatives of the Top Six, MDN, and BMTA associations and Gauteng government were expected to be at the meeting.

“It is alleged the fight for routes between the two associations led to the death of MDN owner Mzayifani Mpongose,” said Sibasa.

This was due to week-long MDN drivers' strike, which started last Monday and ended on Sunday following a meeting between drivers, said Sibasa.

Mpongose was shot and killed in Orlando West, Soweto, last Saturday.

No arrests had been made and police were investigating.

“According to owner-driver Joe Mcunu, drivers will be back at work tomorrow (Monday) and taxis will be operating from Meadowlands and surrounding areas to town (Johannesburg CBD),” Sibasa said.

“The Bara-Meadowlands route is still a stalemate pending the outcome of the department of transport meeting tomorrow (Monday).” - Sapa

Flames of fury in housing protest
IOL News 29 March 2014

Pretoria - Smoke billowed into the air as residents of Mamelodi East Extension 11 blocked the streets with burning tyres and stones, demanding that the Tshwane municipality grant them permanent stands.

Motorists, including taxi drivers, had to find an alternative route through a neighbouring informal settlement because the main road into the area was inaccessible.

A group of residents were singing struggle songs and toyi-toying under the watchful eye of community leaders, who had urged them to protest peacefully since the protest action erupted on Thursday night.

Isaac Swafo, a residents’ committee member, said workers from the area had not gone to work and children did not attend the last day of the first school term in order to make themselves heard.

“The protest will continue into the night and the leadership will be here to ensure no property is damaged or shops looted,” said Swafo.

Tempers have been rising since the allocating of stands and relocation of residents started last weekend.

The protest has its roots in a 2012 petition in which the residents told the City of Tshwane they had been living there for 20 years and deserved permanent residential status, since they were located on a rightfully mapped area.

They pointed to inequalities that had resulted in other newer informal settlements getting permanent residential status ahead of them.

The petitions committee resolved that a meeting be convened to discuss the concerns of the petitioners. However, the residents claimed such a meeting never took place.

Tired of waiting, residents came up with a plan to allocate the stands to people already living in the informal settlement, using the city’s layout map, and relocate them accordingly.

Several shacks have already been relocated and their owners helped to settle into their new homes.

The residents had a first brush with the law on Monday when metro police officers dismantled a shack and took the pieces away. Community leaders have laid charges against the metro police.

“When we went to complain to the police bigwigs we were told we would be shot,” Swafo said.

Local councillor Philemon Magoboya said he was working frantically to defuse the tensions. “It’s not safe in there, so I have asked police to accompany me so we can talk to the community leaders and determine the way forward,” he said yesterday. Magoboya said the city came up with a plan to relocate 150 households to permanent stands in another informal settlement in Hatherley, redevelop Mamelodi East Extension 11 and allocate stands to the remaining people there.

The 150 households were identified and 96 of them relocated by the end of last year, but the other 54 refused and indicated they were not willing to move, Magoboya said. “They said that if the city did not allocate permanent stands to them in Extension 11, they would do it themselves. They started doing this last week.” However, Swafo said they did not want to relocate to Hatherley because the area had no basic services.

“We don’t want to relocate. All we need is permission to carry on with the land occupation.

“We have the right to be given the land. Since 1994, we haven’t received any assistance from the government.”
- Pretoria News Weekend

MyCiTi drivers ‘struggle to stay awake’
Daneel Knoetze 3 April 2014

MyCiTi bus driver Johannes Gordon is so tired he often nods off at traffic lights.

“All the other cars go when the light turns green, but I sometimes find myself just sitting there in a daze. It’s up to the passengers to shout, ‘Driver, it’s green,’ and then I snap out of it.”

But that’s not the worst of it.

He drives the long route from the city to Hout Bay along Victoria Drive, and he describes his “special technique” to avoid falling asleep and letting the bus plunge off a cliff.

“I am a Christian, so I pray to God. I pray for him to keep me awake, and about other things. I find that the conversation with God helps me to stay awake. But my eyes still burn.”

A wildcat strike on Wednesday by drivers working for Transpeninsula Investments (TPI), one of three companies contracted to provide the MyCiTi service for the City of Cape Town, seriously interrupted the service. Drivers told the Cape Argus they were endangering their own lives and those of commuters because of inadequate rest periods and exhaustion.

But TPI has denied any knowledge of these grievances and charged that the drivers had not used the proper channels to engage the management before going on their unprotected strike.

Half a dozen striking drivers spoke to the Cape Argus at the offices of the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) in Observatory.

At issue was the split shift, which ensured that drivers were available for the morning and evening peaks. But the drivers said they did not have enough time to rest between the shifts.

Gordon said that after a few days on the split shift, he regularly nodded off behind the wheel. Commuters “would not step near a bus” if they knew how tired some drivers were.

When working a split shift, the drivers complain of having as little as an hour and a half at home, between being dropped off by the staff transport shuttle at night and being picked up again for the new day’s work.

Driver and Towu shop steward Rutherford Kiet described a typical day’s work on the split shift.

“Staff transport picks you up at 3am and then the bus picks up other drivers. At around 5am you are in the depot, and your shift starts. Sometimes you have to wait and only drive out on your first trip around 6.30am. You drive until around 10 or 10.30am.

“Then there is a break for a few hours, but nowhere to sleep – just steel chairs at the depot. There is not enough time to travel home if you live in Khayelitsha or Mitchells Plain.

“Your second work period is between about 5pm and 10.30pm, then back to the depot. But everyone has to wait for the last bus (which comes in at about 11pm) before the staff transport takes us home. Sometimes you get back at 1.30am. Then, you have to be ready to go again at 3am.”

Attempts to raise this grievance with TPI had fallen on deaf ears, Kiet added.

Frustrations boiled over on Wednesday and workers embarked on an unprotected strike, apparently triggered by the dismissal of driver Kayalethu Stokwe, who on Friday was found guilty by a disciplinary committee of negligent driving and fired.

The hearing followed a collision in which he drove into the back of another bus on the fifth day of split shifts.

He blames the crash on sleep-deprivation.

“I worked as a Golden Arrow driver for many years. I crashed because I fell asleep, not because I am a bad driver.”

Commuters were caught off guard when buses on the CBD, Dunoon, airport and Hout Bay services all failed to arrive on Wednesday morning.

Ghaalid Behardin, a TPI director, said: “This is all news to me. Why have these grievances not been raised with us via the proper channels? Instead, the agitators embarked on an unprotected strike and intimidated their colleagues into a work stoppage through threats of violence. That is unacceptable.”

However, Nezaam Davids, of the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council, said he investigated allegations of unlawfully short rest periods and underpayment on March 10.

He found that both allegations had veracity, held a meeting with managers at TPI and issued a compliance order to the company.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act prescribes a minimum daily rest period of 10 or 12 hours.

Towu president Fuad Inglis said that conditions at TPI amounted to “modern-day slavery”.

At first, the city avoided queries about the drivers’ working conditions, saying that it was inappropriate for it to comment on a labour dispute between TPI and its employees.

Later, mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the allegations were concerning.

“If these allegations are in fact true, they would certainly impact on the safety of commuters and the staff of MyCiTi service.

“The city will investigate them with urgency.”

The workers had agreed to return to work on Thursday, and TPI said that as long as the drivers were at work, the services would be restored.

* TPI, Table Bay Area Rapid Transit and Kidrogen are the companies that have 12-year contracts with the city to provide the MyCiTi service.

MyCiti bus strike causes chaos
Daneel Knoetze and Henri du Plessis (IOL News) 2 April 2014

There was commuter chaos in Cape Town at peak hour on Wednesday morning after MyCiTi bus drivers went on strike, trains were delayed, roads were flooded in heavy rains and car crashes occurred on major routes.

A wildcat strike by a group of MyCiTi drivers this morning left scores of bus commuters with little option but to seek alternative transport.

This, as heavy downpours continued around the city.

A quick tour of the MyCiTi’s Salt River route confirmed that dozens of people were standing on platforms in the rain, waiting for buses that would never arrive.

Some commuters inquired politely, via Twitter and telephone helplines, about the delays.

Others slammed the City of Cape Town’s newest public transport system.

The Hout Bay Civic Association (HBCA) issued an angry statement, calling for an apology from Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Brett Herron for failing to anticipate the strike and warn commuters.

Roscoe Jacobs, the association’s secretary, said that he had waited in the rain with other commuters in Hangberg, not knowing that the bus would not arrive.

“This is a clear sign of the failure of having only one mode of public transport,” read a statement issued on behalf of the association.

“(We) demand that the city put Golden Arrow and taxis back on the Hout Bay and Cape Town route. In doing so allowing residents the choice of the mode of public transport.”

Herron said that drivers from the Transpeninsula Investments vehicle operating company (VOC), which operates CBD routes, the airport route and the Hout Bay route, made no prior announcement about the intention to strike. They simply did not report for work.

The strike started at 5am and nine MyCiTi routes were affected during the morning peak. Drivers for the MyCiTi service are not employed directly by the City of Cape Town, but by one of several VOCs.

“The City arranged that drivers employed by the other VOC’s assist with the service, but the strikers have been barricading the gates at the depot in Prestwich Street in Green Point this morning, preventing the MyCiTi buses from exiting,” Herron said.

“The situation is being monitored and the (police) are assisting in allowing the MyCiTi buses to leave the depot. At this stage the reason for the unprotected strike is unknown.”

But the drivers, who gathered behind the Green Point bus depot, were clear about their grievances which date back to 2011.

They claim that low basic pay, no pay when under training and problematic contracts were among the main reasons for their sudden strike.

A lack of proper rest time led to accidents – apparently 36 crashes since February 15. One driver who fell asleep behind the wheel and was in a crash was apparently ordered to repay the company for a bus at R200 000.

“We were trying to negotiate with management since 2011 and then, as soon as we took them to the bargaining council, they decided not to recognise us,” said Zamuxolo Tiso, of the Professional Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (PTAWU).

His colleague of the Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union (TOWU), Rutherford Kiet, said drivers were required to work 195 hours a month minimum and ended up taking home just over R5 000.

The two union representatives admitted the strike was not protected and that the drivers had decided to walk off after reaching deadlock with the company. Transpeninsula management would not comment and directed inquiries to Herron’s office.

l Meanwhile, Metrorail reported continued delays on all lines this morning. Metrorail regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said last night’s rain disrupted repairs on the electrical overhead wires.

The death of a pedestrian, who was killed when trying to cross the tracks between Nyanga and Heideveld, also contributed to the delays.

Heavy rains overnight and this morning contributed further to commuters’ woes.

City Traffic spokesman Richard Coleman reported 10 crashes on Cape roads this morning.

At publication time, there was a vehicle alight on the N1 incoming, near the N7, which obstructed the right and centre lanes.

Seven roads flooded, including the N1 at Koeberg, the N2 at Somerset West and the M3 at Newlands.

Affected MyCiTi services

* 101 – Vredehoek, Gardens, Civic Centre

* 102 – Salt River Rail, Walmer Estate, Civic Centre

* 103 – Oranjezicht, Gardens, Civic Centre

* 105 – Sea Point, Fresnaye, Civic Centre

* 106 – Waterfront Silo, Civic Centre, Camps Bay (clockwise)

* 108 – Hout Bay, Hangberg, Sea Point, Civic Centre

* 109 – Hout Bay, Imizamo Yethu, Sea Point, Civic Centre

* A01 – Airport, Civic Centre, Waterfront

* T01 - Dunoon, Table View, Civic Centre, Waterfront
Cape Argus

MyCiTi bus drivers strike
IOL News 2 April 2014

Cape Town - Striking MyCiTi bus drivers disrupted several routes in Cape Town on Wednesday morning, a city official said.

Several drivers from the Transpeninsula Investments (TPI) vehicle operating company started striking at 5am, transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron said.

“At this stage the reason for the unprotected strike is unknown,” he said.

None of the buses serving the inner city routes had been running during the morning peak hour as a result. The route linking the Cape Town International Airport to the V&A Waterfront was also disrupted.

The Dunoon-Waterfront route was affected to a lesser degree as only seven of 38 buses were operated by TPI.

Herron said drivers from other companies had been hired to help with route disruptions, but that strikers had barricaded the gates at the depot in Prestwich Street, Green Point.

He said the police was on the scene to help drivers get buses out of the depot. A limited service would run for the rest of Wednesday. - Sapa

Grenades, stones fly at demolition protest
Jason Felix (IOL News) 1 April 2014

Two Cape Town law enforcement officers were injured, roads were closed, vehicles stoned and journalists attacked as Elsies River residents protested against the demolition of a shack on Monday.

About 500 residents of Clarke Estate blockaded 35th Street with burning tyres and stones after law enforcement officers demolished the shack next to the council-owned Rooiberg Court flats.

The city’s safety and security director, Richard Bosman, said the city had demolished “an illegal structure” last week following a complaint from the local ward councillor.

“Officers returned to the area after the structure was re-erected. During the operation, a crowd gathered and became riotous, resulting in two officers being injured.

“The crowd then blockaded 35th Avenue and pelted passing vehicles with stones,” Bosman said.

The Cape Times could not speak to the owner of the demolished shack because the crowd was too violent. Some residents said it was the third time the shack had been demolished.

“There is a father and child living in the shack. Why must the city come here and demolish this poor man’s shack? It is totally wrong of them doing this,” resident Jenny Jacobs said.

Another resident, Jan Abrahams, said: “We will not stop protesting. These city cops are treating our people like they are animals. They break down the homes of our people without thinking twice. We are poor and trying to make a living. This is wrong and I know our action here is not right, but we are fed up with our situation.”

There was a tense stand-off between community leaders, some dressed in ANC T-shirts, and Public Order police officers.

The leaders had asked police to move away from the crowd, but officers said they had a responsibility to keep the road safe.

“These people will not go away if you keep on standing here. You must go. Where are you when the gangsters are shooting in the area?” a leader, Jonty Mark, asked.

A second round of negotiations with police failed and officers told the community leaders they were going take action.

Police threw a stun grenade and about 20 officers ran into the area, lobbing more stun grenades and firing rubber bullets. They threw stun grenades on to properties where protesters were hiding.

Officers were met with a shower of stones, sharp objects and glass bottles as the crowd intensified their action. Protesters burnt more tyres and placed bigger rocks in the road.

The Cape Times team was forced to run into the home of a resident as protesters targeted journalists at the scene.

Police responded with more stun grenades and rubber bullets.

A police water cannon was later used to disperse the crowd.

Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said on Monday night that the situation had calmed just after 7pm.

“Our officers were still on the scene. Earlier in the day, they tried to disperse the riotous crowd.

“It appeared the law enforcement officers had done an operation and the people did not take kindly to their action. We will remain in the area to ensure the road is safe,” he said.

No injuries were reported and no arrests were made, he said.
Cape Times

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