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South African Protest News 4 - 27 February 2015 (2015) South African Protest News 4 - 27 February 2015.  : -.

Protesting teen killed, allegedly by police
Mail & Guardian 27 February 2015

Lucas Lebyane was shot when protesters demanded that the Bushbuckridge local municipality provide them with water.

The teenager's aunt, Kedibone Lebyane, said the police should bury Lucas because they killed him. (Gallo)

A 15-year-old boy was shot dead, allegedly by police, during a service delivery protest between Acornhoek and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

Lucas Lebyane was shot on Thursday, when protesters from Casteel village blockaded the R40 with rocks and burning tyres demanding that the Bushbuckridge local municipality provide them with water, a South African Press Association correspondent reported on Friday.
Another boy from the village was shot in the leg, but was not hospitalised.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said a case of murder was opened at the Acornhoek police station.
“A case of murder was opened after a 15-year-old boy was shot and we don’t know yet how he was shot. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating the matter,” he said.

‘Never a threat’
Casteel Youth Forum spokesperson Thabiso Mahlakoane blamed police for the death. “We are disappointed with our police because the two boys were never a threat to them and they were not carrying any weapon, but they chose to use live ammunition instead of rubber bullets, killing one boy.

“His crime was to demand what he was promised, which is access to clean water.” Mahlakoane said Lucas, who in Grade Nine at Alfred Matshine Secondary School, was shot in the chest.

He said the police’s intention was not to instil calm because they did not address protesters, but fired bullets at close range.

He said Lucas’s body lay on the ground for almost an hour before paramedics arrived.
“We are taken aback by our government that is supposed to give us a basic needs, but we are being shot at. We were expecting the municipal delegation to address us but instead they called riot police to shoot us,” said Mahlakoane.

No money for burial
The teenager’s aunt, Kedibone Lebyane, said the police should bury Lucas because they killed him.

“We don’t have money to bury our son. He was a promising young boy who always dreamt of becoming a leader in the community. We don’t know what to do because justice always protects rich people,” she said.

She said the boy’s mother was unemployed and bedridden.

Bushbuckridge local municipality spokeswoman Maria Masuku said technicians were sent to assess the boreholes on Tuesday, but residents wanted an urgent solution.

“We know the water problems in the area and we usually send water tankers to assist them,” Masuku said. – Sapa

Woman flees looters by jumping from window
IOL News 26 February 2015

Cape Town - In a desperate attempt to escape looters pounding at her door, Save September jumped from the window of her first-floor flat

She then turned to catch a six-month-old baby who, for safety sake, was tossed out of the window by her mother.

September and six other people had locked themselves in a room to avoid assault from protesters on the rampage in Marikana in Philippi. Locking themselves in and barring the door was not enough to keep out looters.

Amid a heavy police presence, the looting continued for a second day on Wednesday and spread to the Better Life informal settlement next to Marikana, where two more foreign-owned shops were looted.

On Wednesday, several foreign shop owners, including September and her husband, had closed up shop and fled the settlement. They said they no longer felt safe doing business in the area.

“The people who looted our shops had no respect for life. I heard that two people were shot dead and I was not going to let them kill me or my baby,” said September, a South African citizen who married shop owner Abed Nduwimana, who came from Burundi four years ago.

Since then, she has been ostracised and physically assaulted by residents who called her a traitor because she had married a foreigner. The couple would seek refuge with family members in Blackheath, September said.

Police spokesman Andre Traut said on Wednesday that 11 people were arrested for public violence.

One person was shot dead and another wounded – allegedly by foreign shop keepers as residents looted foreign-owned shops. Traut said no one had been arrested for the shootings.

Nduwimana’s brother, James, owns a shop nearby. On Wednesday he packed all his belongings and a few food items into his vehicle. He would seek refuge in Mitchells Plain, he said. On Tuesday he had watched the front of his shop go up in flames as protesters rolled burning tyres at his business.

Responding to allegations that the attacks were xenophobic and that Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement members were responsible, movement leader Loyiso Nkohla rejected the accusations and said the attacks were the actions of a handful of criminals in the area.

He condemned the incidents and urged the community to report attacks on foreign nationals to police.

Abdulkadir Ali, spokesman for Save Somali Community said he believed the attacks were xenophobic like recent attacks in Soweto.

“I believe it is spreading. Can’t they understand that we are African brothers?”

SONA scuffle charges dropped
IOL News 26 February 2015

DA national spokesman Marius Redelinghuys, right, arrives at the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Thursday morning accompanied by MP Glynnis Breytenbach and his co-accused, staff members Deon Basson, Bernard Lotriet and Ricardo Saralina. Picture: Cindy Waxa
Cape Town - Charges against five senior DA members involved in a clash with police on the day of the State of the Nation Address have been dropped.

The party’s national spokesman, Marius Redelinghuys, one of five charged with public violence, looked relieved on Thursday morning as he heard the news at Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

He had been arrested after intervening in a scuffle between police and DA supporters who had gathered in Adderley Street ahead of the president’s address on February 12.

Redelinghuys said he was shocked by the police’s response. “I was inside Parliament waiting for the State of the Nation Address when I heard police were trying move our supporters on Adderley Street.”

Redelinghuys said he tried to reason with the police, but was manhandled by one of the officers. Supporters were sprayed with a water cannon. Redelinghuys said he was then arrested and thrown into the back of a police van, where he found four other members nursing various injuries.

In a paramedic’s report submitted to court the following day, it was revealed that Redelinghuys may have suffered fractured ribs. Other members, including Cape metro regional chairman Shaun August, had bruised limbs and hurt necks. They had been released on bail in the early hours of the morning.

During their first appearance on February 13, their lawyer, Bruce Hendricks, told the court that the injured members would be pressing charges against the officers who had arrested them.

The case was postponed to allow for officers to complete their investigation. But late on Wednesday night the DA members were asked to appear in court on Thursday morning.

August, who is currently in George, was unable to make it.

In a brief appearance, Hendricks explained that the charges against his clients had been dropped.

Standing outside the courtroom afterwards, Redelinghuys said he was happy. “They were baseless charges to begin with, so I can’t say I’m surprised.”

The party is still deciding whether it will pursue its case against the police officers. “It’s still an option, we just have to see if it will be worthwhile.”

Protest at CPUT over student housing
IOL News 26 February 2015

Cape Town - “Frustrated” Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students protested on the Cape Town campus on Wednesday, demanding their accommodation problems be resolved.

Students led by the CPUT Cape Town branch of the SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) occupied offices in the university’s housing department and demanded to see its head. Some of the students said they had successfully applied for accommodation last year but other students who applied this year had received places before them.

Before the protest, Aviwe Gwayi, Sasco’s local secretary, said the aim of the protest was to highlight the “serious” problems with student accommodation.

He said some students who had applied for student accommodation were told they couldn’t be found on the system while other students were told residences were full. But this didn’t make sense as some students who had found places in the residences had reported there were empty beds.

Residences head Temba Hlasho eventually addressed the students. He said certain processes had been agreed upon with the Students Representative Council but asked students to compile a list of their names and issues. He would then meet with their leadership.

The group agreed.

Earlier this month, the Cape Argus reported that some students claimed they had to sleep outside on the campus or in the student centre because of problems with their financial aid payments and delays on the computer system.

The university refuted the claims.

At the time, acting dean of students advocate Lionel Harper said: “Our system cannot delay students’ admission to our residences since making a payment and getting a receipt is proof enough of payment and allows a student into the system.

“Even a letter from the CPUT National Student Financial Aid office is proof enough that a student has been funded, therefore we automatically allow them into our residences.”

Burgersfort calm after protests
IOL News 27 February 2015

Polokwane - Most of Burgersfort was quiet on Friday following an evening of protests the previous day, Limpopo police said.

“Yesterday communities were blocking the roads, they were demanding employment at the mines (in the area) and that a new tarred road be built by the mining companies,” Colonel Ronel Otto said.

“They set alight a bus that is used to transport the mine's staff. Rubber bullets were fired to disperse the crowd.”

The protests began on Thursday afternoon and went on into the evening, Otto said.

No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made.

By Friday morning the area was quiet, with sporadic incidents “every now and then”, Otto said.

Cops battle feuding taximen
IOL News 26 February 2015

Johannesburg - A war over routes between two taxi associations continued in Bryanston on Thursday morning after one driver was severely assaulted and another killed in Hyde Park on Wednesday.

Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said one group “redirected” the other off William Nicol Drive, but

no one was injured in the incident.

He was unable to confirm whether it was linked to Wednesday’s taxi violence.

Taxi drivers who stood metres away from police officers at the scene on Thursday morning refused to talk, saying they were waiting for their bosses to arrive.

A source at the scene who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said the battle was between the Alexandra and Diepsloot taxi associations.

William Nicol Drive was the Alexandra association’s route, he said.

On Wednesday a taxi driver screamed as he ran up the northbound lane of William Nicol Drive in full view of the traffic. A mob of taxi drivers – armed with stones, sticks and knobkieries – chased him, chanting that he should die.

The hysterical man ran to a petrol station, banged on the locked glass doors and screamed at those inside to call the police.

“Why kill me when I’m already dead?” he shouted in Zulu at the mob.

But the mob caught him.

“They beat him so much that a knobkierie broke,” said a witness, who asked not to be named for fear of being victimised.

Then a taxi driver known only as Jabu pulled up. He was enraged, baying for the blood of the man the mob had beaten.

“Leave him, Jabu,” the other drivers said, “we’ve already taken care of him.”

But Jabu wanted “the dog” dead.

“Jabu pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed the man about four times, then went to fetch a big rock and smashed the man’s head. When I looked at him, his face had caved in,” the shaken witness said.

Satisfied with their work, the mob withdrew, but then another minibus appeared.

“There’s another one,” a shout from the group went up.

The crowd began chasing the vehicle and threw rocks, with Jabu leading the charge.

“Jabu stood in front of the taxi near the island and spread his arm, trying to block its path. That’s when it ran over him.”

The panicked driver drove over the island into oncoming traffic, dragging Jabu beneath his vehicle.

When the taxi drove over the island, back on to the northbound lane, Jabu’s body lay crumpled on the median rocks. He died at the scene.

The mob jumped into taxis and raced after the taxi that had run over him, while one of the onlookers called an ambulance for the man Jabu had allegedly beaten.

Makhubela said: “The taxi driver ran over a man and did not stop, so we’re investigating a case of culpable homicide.”

Business owners set shops on fire
IOL News 27 February 2015

Johannesburg - A foreigner suffered burns to his arms and torso after angry Soweto business owners lobbed a petrol bomb into his shop in a bid to dislodge him after he refused to get out.

Thursday’s xenophobic eruption followed an outbreak last month sparked by the deadly shooting of a teenager, allegedly by a Somali shopkeeper, in nearby Snake Park, Dobsonville.

The looting and the violence spread like a virus.

From Snake Park, attacks on spaza shops spread to Naledi, Zola, Emndeni and, finally, Bramfisherville.

The shop in Bramfischerville was one of the many stops made by business owners who had gone on a mission to shut down foreign-owned shops on Thursday.

The shopowner dug his heels in and refused to come out even after a petrol bomb was thrown into his store.

A photographer from The Star, Dumisani Dube, witnessed the man being threatened by the young Soweto men, who kept shouting: “We’ll bomb you. Get out! Get out!”

The mob tried to break in by pulling at the burglar bars and smashing them with a panga.

The shopowner screamed for mercy and offered merchandise - a box filled with cigarettes - and money.

While he was in the shop, trying to put out the fire with a blanket, another petrol bomb was thrown inside.

He told the mob he did not have the key, but eventually gave in and ran out of the shop, screaming in pain.

The skin on his back and arms was severely burnt and he had a head injury from a steel rod shoved into his face while he was in the shop.

His blue container shop was also looted.

Earlier, business owners had gathered in Orlando East to discuss closing down foreign-owned shops.

They said they had sent letters on Wednesday to warn the foreigners to close their shops on Thursday.

When the business owners arrived at the police station in Doornkop on Thursday afternoon, some foreigners had gathered there and started throwing stones at the locals.

The business owners then moved towards one of the shops in the area, but the foreigners pushed back, firing warning shots into the air.

Police arrived and cordoned off the scene, arresting the foreigners who had allegedly fired the shots.

The business owners then moved around in a convoy of about 12 vehicles - including cars, bakkies and Kombis - to Dobsonville, Snake Park and Bramfischerville to close down any shops they found open.

Some of the vehicles carried homemade petrol bombs.

About four shops were bombed.

Residents who rent out the space to foreigners were also threatened.

The convoy arrived at another block in Bramfischerville and made a bid to bomb a shop, but the shopowners quickly closed it.

Local residents came to the shop owners’ rescue when they saw what was happening and argued with the instigators.

“This is our area. We have the right to defend them,” said a resident of Ntabamhlophe, a section of Bramfischerville.

“It’s not fair for them to just come here and do as they please when they are not even from here.”

People could not simply arrive and start closing businesses without speaking to the leadership in the area, they said.

“It’s our responsibility to talk for them (foreigners). They can’t come here and kill them. If they want to throw them out, it must be done right,” another said.

The residents said they refused to be dragged into a business conflict that did not involve them. The people who had problems with the foreigners must talk to the mayor.

“They’re committing a crime. They can’t influence people to fight,” another resident said.

The police, who were on patrol throughout the day, arrived at the scene and prevented the incident escalating into a fight.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said the bombers were people who lived in areas other than the three affected.

“They were armed with petrol bombs and knives, and one foreign national was severely burnt. No arrests have been made,” he said.

Makhubela said four foreigners were arrested earlier in Doornkop when they were found in possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The convoy of local business owners dispersed late in the afternoon and calm was restored.

On Friday morning police continued to monitor the area.

"There were no incidents reported overnight but police will continue to monitor the situation," Makhubela said.

Cops monitor Doornkop after man set alight
IOL News 27 February 2015

Johannesburg - Police continued to monitor Doornkop in Soweto on Friday after a foreign shopowner was set alight.

“There were no incidents reported overnight but police will continue to monitor the situation,” Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

On Thursday, a foreign shopowner was seriously injured after he had paraffin poured on him and was set alight, Makhubela said at the time.

Police officers who rushed to the scene rescued him. He was badly injured and taken to hospital.

A group of people who had been going around Doornkop telling foreigners to leave were allegedly behind the attack. No arrests had been made.

In a separate incident, police arrested four foreigners in the same area when a group of locals tried to loot their shop.

“One of them fired a shot in the air,” Makhubela said of the shopowners.

Police confiscated the weapon. None of the locals were arrested.

Looting of foreign-owned shops in several parts of Gauteng began with the shooting death of 14-year-old Siphiwe Mahori on January 19. Mahori was allegedly part of a group who tried to rob a shop kept by Somali national Alodixashi Sheik Yusuf, in Snake Park, Soweto.

The unrest spread from Soweto to Kagiso on the West Rand, Sebokeng in the Vaal, Eden Park in Ekurhuleni, and Alexandra, Johannesburg.

Several people were killed, including a baby trampled during looting of a shop.

Itireleng residents stone madressa
IOL News 27 February 2015

Pretoria - Residents of Itireleng informal settlement near Laudium stoned a madressa after finding the mutilated body of an 8-year-old boy who had gone missing earlier this week.

The boy’s body was found behind the building - an institution for the study of Islamic theology and religious law - which also houses a number of foreign nationals.

The child was found behind the building on Tuesday after a frantic search by the community.

The boy’s eyes had been gouged out, and his hand and nose cut off.

This angered residents who stoned and vandalised the madressa claiming the foreign nationals were behind the murder.

The foreigners fled.

Lorraine Laka, who lives near the centre, was one of the first on the scene when the boy was found.

She was shocked at the state of the body and took pictures on her cellphone.

“When the community discovered the body, they got angry and blamed foreigners,” said Laka.

On Thursday, police returned to the scene when some members of the community returned to the madressa and continued to loot.

When the Pretoria News visited the scene many of the building’s windows were broken and rooms had been damaged by fire.

Police were still on the scene to prevent further looting.

A foreign national said angry locals had taken furniture and anything they could get their hands on. He said some of the people living there had lost thousands of rand.

The boy’s family declined to speak to the Pretoria News.

“The child’s mother identified the body. She had reported him missing earlier this week,” said police spokesman Constable Tumisang Moloto.

A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder and will appear in the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court soon, he added.

Cops move in to stem Lenasia mayhem
IOL News 27 February 2015

Johannesburg - The police stand-off with Thembelihle informal settlement residents went on for hours on Thursday, after the flames of discord were reignited by a shooting incident.

Dozens of police vehicles and officers were summoned to the settlement from the early hours because two people in the area had been shot, allegedly by a resident of neighbouring Lenasia.

On Wednesday night, residents had arrived in Lenasia to burn down electricity boxes as part of recent service delivery protests in the informal settlement.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said a man who owned the property next to one of the targeted boxes allegedly began shooting at the crowd.

Two protesters were wounded and the man who had opened fire was arrested on an attempted murder charge.

Meanwhile one of the victims, who was shot during the confrontation, died in hospital, police said.

“We got the information that the man died in hospital. The situation is calm this morning,” Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

“Earlier this morning [Friday] there was a group of people who wanted to try and come back into the streets but did not when they saw the police. The police will remain in the area.”

On Thurday morning, dozens of protesters began blocking the K43 roadway that separates Lenasia and Thembelihle, throwing rocks and other objects at passing cars.

Police, who believed it was a revenge attack, dispersed the crowd for a few hours with rubber bullets and teargas, forcing the groups to retreat into the settlement.

However, at about 9am, another group returned, reportedly marching to a nearby school and recruiting school children to join in the protest.

This included two young pupils who were spotted firing slingshots at the police.

About then, one of the groups went to the home of the man who had fired on the protesters the night before.

The crowd threw debris at the house and, finally, a petrol bomb.

Police dispersed the crowd, and back-up was summoned to stop the hundreds of protesters who had gathered.

Meanwhile, the family who lived in the house were seen vacating the premises for their own safety.

By noon, police were patrolling the settlement on foot, with many of the protesters making rude gestures, throwing rocks and bottles at the approaching officers.

Some used rusted corrugated iron as makeshift shields to thwart the rubber bullets.

No one was injured, but the patrolling officers arrested 20 people for public violence before 2pm, and the road was reopened.

The ward councillor for the neighbouring area, Abdia Benni, said she had tried to call a meeting with the Thembelihle leaders at about 11am, but because of the arrests, the plan had fallen through.

Mohamed Bulbulia, the co-founder of community organisation Active Citizenry, said Lenasia community leaders had tried to meet Thembelihle residents throughout the week, but these plans had failed.

He said Lenasia residents feared for their safety, and that the protesters had gone too far in recruiting school children to join the protest.

“One person did something,” said Bulbulia, referring to the shooting, “they can’t hold the whole community hostage.”

Makhubela said the police would continue to monitor the area.

On Monday, residents had taken to the streets to demand improved electricity and sanitation in their area.

20 Lenasia residents arrested
IOL News 26 February 2015

Police use teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to subdue protesters. File picture: Brenton Geach
Johannesburg - Twenty people were arrested for public violence in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg on Thursday, Gauteng police said.

Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said a large number of Thembelihle residents had blocked a road and tried to burn down a house.

“They were throwing petrol bombs at the house. The police managed to disperse them,” he said.

The house was not burnt. It belonged to a 47-year-old man who allegedly shot and wounded two people during a confrontation between residents of Thembelihle and Lenasia Extension 11 on Wednesday night.

Fights broke out after Thembelihle residents allegedly tried to burn electricity boxes in the area.

“While the police were restoring order, some residents from Thembelihle threw stones at the Lenasia residents,” he said.

“It is alleged the man took out a gun and fired at Thembelihle residents, injuring two people.”

The man was expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Makhubela said Thembelihle residents regrouped on Thursday and blocked the road before trying to burn the house down.

A large contingent of police had been deployed to restore order.

Two shot in Lenasia confrontation
IOL News 26 February 2015

Johannesburg - A man was arrested after he allegedly shot and wounded two people during a confrontation between the Indian community in Lenasia and residents of Thembelihle, Gauteng police said on Thursday.

Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said the Indian community confronted residents of Thembelihle after it was alleged they wanted to burn down electricity boxes in the area.

“While the police were restoring order some residents from Thembelihle threw stones at the Lenasia residents,” he said.

“It is alleged the man took out a gun and fired at Thembelihle residents, injuring two people.”

Makhubela said the 47-year-old man was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

He was expected to appear in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Makhubela said Thembelihle residents had earlier held a meeting following their service delivery protest this week.

After the meeting they went to the road and stoned passing cars. Later it was alleged they wanted to burn down electricity boxes in the area and that sparked the confrontation between them and residents of Lenasia.

United Front demand a people's budget
Thulani Gqirana (Mail & Guardian) 25 February 2015

The group handed over a nine-page memorandum demanding a people's budget, decided by the people to end gender-based violence and load-shedding.

Brandishing posters and wearing ninja style headbands, thousands of United Front (UF) members and supporters sang, danced and booed outside Parliament, demanding a people’s budget minutes before Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene delivered his budget.
Led by Numsa’s deputy general secretary Karl Cloete and UF’s Western Cape leader Wafaa Abdurahman, the group, some wearing Economic Freedom Fighters berets with the party’s t-shirts, brought Plein Street to a standstill, demanding a budget that allows for free water, sanitation, housing and electricity for everyone.

The group of protesters was made up of more than 10 different non-governmental organisations from the Western Cape, who all pledged support to the UF in their quest for an “anti-rich budget”.

Wealthy must be taxed
Standing out in the sun so hot that one of the protesters fainted and had to be taken to hospital, Cloete said they demanded that the wealthy and the capitalists must be taxed so that the poor could get better housing.

“The RDP houses provided are an insult to the people. They are an insult to both [Helen] Zille and [Jacob] Zuma. People who create a circus of this institution [Parliament] must know that they are sitting on a ticking time bomb. Every day in our communities we must battle for clean water, must worry about lack of sanitation and sanitation serves.

“When they [the ruling party] say they want to reclaim the freedom charter, it suggests to us that when you want to reclaim something, you have lost it somewhere.”

He said the UF was not a political party, but an organisation for all those who were against policies that were anti new liberal.
“It is bringing workers and communities together. It is making sure the kind of treatment that communities are getting is changed into a dignified, human society. The worker’s party is coming. People must run and be scared about 2016 local government elections, because people’s power shall determine who can have the privilege of governing our people at municipalities.
“The problem with those sitting in the house of the circus [Parliament] is that they think to be elected is a right, but is a privilege to serve the people. And if the people do not want you anymore, you must go,” he said to whistles and loud applause.

The group handed over their nine-page memorandum to deputy secretary to Parliament, Baby Tyawa, who promised to give it to the proper authorities.

The memorandum, addressed to Minister Nene, demanded: “A people’s budget democratically decided by the people themselves. A budget to end gender-based violence. A budget to end load-shedding.”

Though they demanded that their memorandum be read out in parliament before the minister spoke, the group read out each of their demands to the deputy secretary, going over the 2pm when Nene started presenting his budget.

With posters calling for “people before profits” and “no to an anti-poor budget”, they kept singing and protesting outside Parliament as the minister presented his budget.

Protest greets outcome of ANC election

BD Live 24 February 2015

MORE than a thousand protestors on Monday marched to the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) KwaZulu-Natal headquarters in Durban over the outcome of the party’s eThekwini’s elective conference 10 days ago.

The conference took place after two postponements resulting from intense lobbying in what is the ANC’ s biggest region. Ethekwini mayor James Nxumalo beat his rival Zandile Gumede by 253 votes to 212.

Monday’s march appeared to have been triggered by reports of a letter giving reasons why the result of the conference should be nullified. However, ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said a letter of grievances was discussed in preconference meetings and the matter would now be reviewed together with other allegations made about the conference.

Political analyst Sifiso Kunene said the march indicated the existence of a much bigger issue.

"You must bear in mind that when Mr Nxumalo and Ms Gumede contested the position of regional chairman so much was at stake because of the dominant role of the eThekwini region in the provincial and national ANC."

ANC protests against ‘racism’
BD Live 20 February 2015

ABOUT 100 people marched to the Western Cape legislature on Thursday as part of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) new campaign to highlight "racism" and the "socioeconomic exclusion of the majority in the province".

ANC provincial leaders chairman Marius Fransman and secretary Songezo Mjongile led the march, just a day before Democratic Alliance leader and Premier Helen Zille delivers her state of the province address today. It came amid fears that the ANC was planning to disrupt Ms Zille’s speech in the same way that Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters disrupted President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address last week.

But the ANC dismissed the speculation, saying it would raise its issues without disrupting the speech.

In its memorandum delivered on Thursday the ANC said transformation in the province had failed and that had resulted in "the exodus of black professionals" from the Western Cape.

Ms Zille has previously said the Western Cape has a small pool of qualified professionals to consider for senior management posts, regardless of race. Only 10% of the province’s economically active population had a three-year degree, one of the requirements of a senior management position.

The 14th report of the Commission for Employment Equity released last year showed that the Western Cape continued to perform poorly in terms of making its workplaces reflect its demographics. But it also pointed out that the slow pace of transformation was a national problem.

Ms Zille this week said racism was the "only card the ANC has left to play".

Ses’khona crowds go on looting spree
Kieran Legg & Chelsea Geach (IOL News) 25 February 2015

Cape Town - Bouts of xenophobic violence followed Ses’khona People’s Rights movement supporters as they clashed with Somali residents in Bellville and Philippi on Tuesday night, following their leaders’ appearance in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court.

Ses’khona supporters from Marikana informal settlement looted at least four foreign-owned shops in Philippi, and unconfirmed reports suggested that shop owners shot two people dead in retaliation.

Earlier, Bellville’s central district erupted into chaos following a brief appearance by the Ses’khona leadership in the magistrate’s court. Andile Lili, Loyiso Nkohla and seven others were convicted earlier this month of contravening the Civil Aviation Act after they upended buckets of human waste at Cape Town International Airport.

The organisation’s leadership had vowed their fight for decent sanitation facilities, which is at the heart of their so-called “poo protests”, would continue even if they had to spend the next 250 years behind bars.

Outside the court, supporters sang and danced; the crowd separated from the courthouse by a line of policemen and two imposing Nyalas parked at the entrance.

However, things turned violent as supporters began making their way back to the train station at around 2pm.

They began throwing stones, allegedly targeting Somali residents in Durban Road. Police, fearing that protesters might loot, responded by setting off stun grenades.

A large contingent of police converged on the crowd and began shepherding them towards the station.

By 3pm, most of the supporters had boarded trains and gone, and police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said there had been no serious incidents of violence to report.

However, when the supporters arrived home, they began looting and rioting in Philippi.

Ses’khona spokesman Sithembele Majova said the movement condemned the looting, but that the Somalis had instigated the conflict.

“The people of Ses’khona condemn the looting that took place. It didn’t take place on our behalf,” Majova said. “But on the other side, we have to look at what made people angry towards Somalis.”

He said that as crowds gathered in Bellville ahead of their leaders’ court appearance, Somalis had attacked a woman and thrown bottles at the crowd.

“This was not a xenophobic attack at all, but when the people of Marikana were out to support Ses’khona leaders as they appeared in court today, they were attacked by Somalis in Bellville.”

Majova said that Somalis on the upper floors of a building had thrown bottles onto the Ses’khona supporters, as well as targeting a woman. “The Somalis just attacked a lady from Marikana. That lady suffered many dangerous injuries.

“When people got back to the townships, they were so angry. We don’t encourage attacks on shops but the Somalis did a very bad thing by attacking that woman. They were the main instigators.”

Traut said police were deployed to Lower Crossroads in Philippi East, to “maintain law and order during acts of public violence perpetrated by a group of individuals aimed at foreign-owned shops in the area”.

There had been reports of people shot dead, but those could not be confirmed, he said. “Reports of two males who were allegedly shot by foreign shop keepers were received, however the victims are yet to be traced. The exact extent of the situation is yet to be determined and although arrests have been made, the numbers will only be released at a later stage.”

Traut said that police would remain on the scene until the situation had stabilised.

Earlier in court, sentencing proceedings continued for the nine members who could face up to 30 years behind bars under the Civil Aviation Act.

Ses’khona’s lawyer, Pearl Mathibela, said taking into account the nature of their possible sentence, a pre-sentence report – which requires a correctional services officer to interview the convicted members – needed to be compiled.

The magistrate postponed the case until April 16 to allow for this report to be completed. Lili and Nkohla, who was dressed in the same red camouflage outfit he had worn on Monday, seemed unfazed.

Together with the other convicted members – Yanga Mjingwana, Ben Dyani, Jaji Diniso, Bongile Zanazo, Thembela Mabanjwa, Bantubakhe Mgobodiya and Wandisile Mkapa – they will now have to be interviewed one by one and asked, among other things, how a prison sentence might affect the lives of their families.

They smiled as they emerged from the courtroom where hundreds of supporters had gathered chanting their names. – Additional reporting by Cindy Waxa

Thembelihle gives MEC ultimatum
Karishma Dipa Comment on this story 25 February 2015

Johannesburg - Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo has until Sunday to address the demands of the residents of the Thembelihle informal settlement in Lenasia, failing which they will continue their protest action.

On Monday, residents took to the streets to demand the MEC make good on his promise to improve service delivery.

But on Tuesday, Thembelihle crisis committee spokesman Bhayiza Miya said the community had decided to suspend protests until the end of the week.

“We will give the MEC this week to attend to our grievances, but if he doesn’t, we will continue protesting on Sunday.

“For now, people have returned to work and children are back at school.”

Miya said residents had handed over their memorandum of demands to Mamabolo in November, but since then, nothing had been done.

The community is calling for better electricity, water, housing and sanitation services.

Mamabolo said the protest was unnecessary because the department was handling their demands, adding that it would take time.

The MEC’s slow response sparked a protest among the disgruntled residents on Monday.

Police fired rubber bullets throughout the day in an attempt to disperse the crowd and clear the streets, which were barricaded with rocks and bricks.

The crowd retaliated and pelted police with stones. Residents also looted some foreign-owned shops.

Miya condemned the looting and said residents had agreed on a peaceful protest.

“We will take the law into our own hands when we find those who are looting,” said Miya.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said three people had been arrested in connection with the protest.

“They will be charged with public violence and illegal gathering,” he said.

Protestors and mayors reach short term agreement
Escort & Midlands News 24 February 2015

On Monday protestors in Mimosadale blocked part of the R103 with stones, demanding that they receive running water

Police are keeping a close eye on areas affected by service delivery protests during the past days. Residents in Wembezi and Mimosadale blocked off roads and demanded that their concerns be addressed by mayors from Umtshezi and Uthukela District municipalities.

On Monday protestors in Mimosadale blocked part of the R103 with stones, demanding that they receive running water.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel TM Mabaso said that both mayors, Bongani Dlamini (Umtshezi) and Dudu Mazibuko (Uthukela District) addressed the protestors and a short term agreement was reached.

“Police were monitoring the area and are continuing to do so in case violence breaks out again,” added Lt Col Mabaso

ANCYL march against land grabs and looting
Alex News

ALEXANDRA – Alex ANCYL members lead by the Thoko Mngoma branch 108 marched in the township from 9th Avenue to Marlboro on a anti land grab and looting campaign.

Alex ANCYL members march against land grabs and lootings. The anti-land grab was in reference to pronouncements by other organisations to forcibly take land which they deemed a right in an attempt to correct the wrongs of the past; while the anti looting was in reference to recent lawless acts of breakins at foreign-owned shops.

The media had captured images of women and children in Soweto stealing goods from the shops. A boy reportedly died in one of the incidents when a shop owner allegedly shot at the marauding crowds. The shop owner was arrested and is out on bail. Some of the perpetrators of the thefts have been arrested and stolen goods recovered.

Similar incidents, said not to be co-ordinated, are reported to have occurred in KwaZulu-Natal where people are said to have died; and in the Western Cape.

The march condemned both acts and said they trashed the country and continent’s image. Addressing the marchers, ANCYL provincial chairperson Mathome Chiloane said, “These acts were justifiable in the past when citizens where fighting for their freedom, but now, with democracy, they are unacceptable as they can sow anarchy in the country.”

He said government had established frameworks and platforms to resolve problems, and urged the branches to encourage residents to use them and to lead processes of addressing communities’ basic needs.

“Branches should heighten their conscience of development challenges and be in the forefront of endeavours towards economic freedom,” said Chiloane.

Branch treasurer Mthokoziai Kambule said the intended land grabs and lootings were criminals acts disguised as economic freedom. “They risk people’s lives and [cause] loss of property. The march sought to raise public awareness on the need for restraint against criminality. This, especially, as government has plans on the use of the land for local development and household needs.”

Judges rebel at ‘disgusting’ courts
IOL News 23 February 2015

Durban - In a quiet rebellion about their “disgusting” working conditions, judges at the historic Durban High Court building are refusing to work in courts without air conditioning – so hot that people have been fainting and recording machines have been shutting down.

In what they say is a “serious health and safety issue” which is affecting the administration of justice, some of the courts are infested with fleas and birds which fly in at windows that have to be left open for air.

“If we don’t start doing things like refusing to go into court, nothing will ever change. I don’t feel like a judge when I walk in here in the morning. It’s all a bit demeaning,” one judge, who asked not to be named, said this week. The air conditioner in his chambers was giving off a weak gust of coolish air, while water from it dripped into a bucket he had placed underneath.

The building in Margaret Mncadi Avenue (Victoria Embankment) is a national monument built in 1910.

It is a shabby shade of its former self, the judge says.

Outside, his secretary has no air conditioning in her office, and no fan. Most of her colleagues are in the same boat. The windows don’t open and the blinds don’t close.

The judge says earlier this month an advocate and an interpreter fainted after working in two courts which have been without air conditioning for most of the summer.

Court sources say the recording machines, designed to sound an alarm and trip automatically at temperatures above 40ºC, often break down.

“It is inhumane to expect people to work in these conditions. There is an air of despondency among the judges and the staff,” another judge said.

There are growing concerns about the pigeons – and their feathers – which fly in through open windows in courtrooms.

Sometimes the pigeons mate, disturbing proceedings.

In an e-mail to the area court manager, Bheki Mtshali, a judge noted a recent report about an Eastern Cape magistrate who allegedly died as a result of exposure to dust, droppings and feathers caused by pigeons in the court.

His widow is suing the minister of justice and constitutional development for R2 million.

“We need to take note of this potential danger,” he urged.

Feral cats, which defecate in the court building and leave carcasses of their kills in the corridors, are another problem. Broken chairs, lights which “spark”, and security systems which don’t work all go unattended, the judges say.

There have been flea and bird lice infestations in courts and chambers.

Another judge said the situation had turned him into a “powerless, constant whinger”.

“I write e-mail after e-mail and nothing gets done.”

He says he cleans his own sash windows in his chambers because no one else will do it, saying it is not dangerous.

“There is nothing dangerous about it. You stand on the sill inside the window and slide each section open as you clean it with a squeegee.”

He said the telephones had been on the blink for two weeks and the security access system on the doors had broken down “apparently because of load shedding”.

Most of the problems had been going on for at least 10 years.

“We are told there is no budget, that our complaints are logged with the Department of Public Works. We are not talking about minor inconveniences here. We are talking about health and safety issues.”

Advocate Rajesh Choudree, chairman of the KZN Society of Advocates, agreed that conditions were appalling.

“One just has to look at the state of the public toilet for men. You can’t walk past it without a peg over your nose.

“I think the judges are being failed by bureaucracy.”

Department of Justice spokesman advocate Mthunzi Mhaga replied:

* Air conditioning: The court manager logged urgent calls, a contractor was appointed but could not repair the air conditioners. The call has been re-logged.

* Fleas or bird lice: The court manager bought foggers from petty cash and they were set off in two courts, one secretary’s office and one judge’s chambers in early February as an interim measure while waiting for quotes for contractors.

* Broken chairs: In January last year all courts were allocated new chairs for judges and secretaries.

* Pigeons: Netting to stop birds from entering the building was installed. The problem now is opening of windows in courts.

* Feral cats: Cleaners clean the building as early as 6am and remove dead pigeons. The court manager has approached several organisations such as the Animal Anti-Cruelty League and the SPCA for help.

* General degeneration, such as broken blinds and damp, rubbish in front of the building and piles of broken chairs/dead pigeons in the “smoking area” for staff. There is an additional accommodation, refurbishment and renovations project. Planning started in 2013 and sketch plan approval is awaited.

* Filthy windows: Because of the height of the building, Public Works staff cannot clean the outside of the windows – a call was logged for this. Contractors must be appointed by the Department of Public Works.

* Filthy public toilets: There are about 12 Public Works cleaners and a supervisor permanently allocated to the high court and they work from 6am to 1pm. An outsourced service has been requested from the Department of Public Works.

* The security system: This is breaking down because of load shedding. The contractor has been approached for a solution.
The Mercury

Stellenbosch students in brutal brawl
IOL News 24 February 2015

Cape Town - Racism has again reared its ugly head - this time during an incident at a fast-food franchise in Stellenbosch, where a confrontation between two groups of Stellenbosch University students left two of them injured.

Students Lwazi Phakade, Sikhulikile Duma and Sphele Masuku said they were in a queue waiting to order food at an outlet in Merriman Street in the early hours of Saturday when they saw three white students insulting black staff.

“They were intoxicated and whistling at staff members like they were calling dogs to get them to hurry up. When we told them to stop, they said it’s fine because the staff were their friends,” said Phakade.

He said the young men proceeded to further antagonise the staff by tugging at their caps. Phakade said Duma and Masuku again intervened, and told them their behaviour was inappropriate.

During the argument that ensued, one white student told them they didn’t belong there because they could not speak Afrikaans.

Moments later, he found himself being choked by a bigger guy and pushed from inside the shop to the courtyard of the BP garage, Phakade said.

Duma and Masuka then attempted to help him, but four other white students outside the restaurant started attacking them.

At this point, Duma said there were seven young men approaching them outside McDonald’s and as he tried to help Phakade, he was struck on the back of the head and “hit the floor”.

“I must have been out for a few seconds when Sphele pulled me up and we ran to the car.

“We caught up with Lwazi at the side of the garage, where he was waiting for us after escaping from the other group,” Duma said.

“In the restaurant they kept swearing at us and told us we were nothing because we couldn’t even speak Afrikaans,” he said.

During the scuffle, Phakade hurt his hand and leg as he tried to escape. He said on Monday that he was still in pain.

Duma said they never expected to be attacked for defending the restaurant’s staff from being treated disrespectfully.

“When I was hit against my head, I feared for my life. I understand altercations can occur at 2am, especially when students get drunk, but my concern is when drunk students treat the people serving them with disrespect,” he said.

Besides not getting any assistance from McDonald’s staff, campus security refused to help them, said Duma.

The three students then went to report the matter to the police.

Police spokesman André Traut confirmed that an assault complaint is being investigated.

University spokesman Martin Viljoen said the incident was reported to a campus security office in Merriman Avenue and security officers accompanied the three students back to the garage to identify their attackers.

“Unfortunately, no one could be identified. It is thought that they had left the scene. The SAPS confirmed that an official complaint had been lodged and the university will assist the SAPS in its investigation,” said Viljoen.

Management at McDonald’s said they were still probing the incident.

Violence closes UKZN campuses
13 February 2015

Durban - Westville police arrested 10 students at the UKZN’s Westville campus on Friday.

Lectures and teaching activities on all UKZN campuses have been suspended until next Friday.

Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said the 10 students had been charged with public violence and would appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court.

A crowd of protesting students at the campus had to be dispersed yesterday as the university secured an urgent court interdict against its student representative council (SRC).

The situation deteriorated on Friday when students burned more than a dozen fridges, a tree stump, desks and refuse bins at the entrance to Oval Residence in the campus. Other entrances were barricaded with burning refuse, tyres and bins.

Public Order Police and campus security were on hand to monitor for violence.

Students gathered near the residence sports stands singing and chanting.

The interdict comes after violent protests - particularly at the Pietermaritzburg, Edgewood (Pinetown) and Westville campuses this week, where students have been demanding that more students be given financial assistance.

University spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka, said: ”SAPS, University Risk Management Services and the Public Order Policing are present and monitoring the situation on campus and continuing to disperse the protesters.

“We are unaware of the reasons for the protests as these students have not raised their concerns through the correct channels,” he said.

Seshoka confirmed the university had secured a high court interdict to protect the university against “unlawful protests, disruptive gatherings, demonstrations, mass action, intimidation or any violent act to persons or property at the entrance and premises of university campuses”.

The court interdict was served to the five SRC councils at individual campuses and the central UKZN SRC (which oversees all the campuses) yesterday.

“We reserve the right to take appropriate action on any student or person who is in breach of the interdict. Management has been engaged in discussions with the SRC.

“Students are urged to cease and desist from engaging in illegal and destructive acts while dialogue is in progress,” Seshoka said.

The various SRC leaders did not respond to requests for comment when contacted.

Three held for Malamulele protests
IOL News 20 February 2015

Johannesburg - Three people have been arrested in Malamulele for their alleged involvement in ongoing protests in the area, Limpopo police said on Friday.

“Three suspects were arrested late yesterday [on Thursday] afternoon, into the early evening, for contraventions of sections of several acts,” Colonel Ronel Otto said.

The suspects would be charged with contravening sections of the Riotous Assemblies Act, the South African Schools Act, and the Gatherings Act.

“They will face charges of incitement, intimidation,” Otto said.

Police arrested the suspects following ongoing investigations.

They were expected to appear in the Malamulele Magistrate's Court on Friday.

There has been ongoing violence in Malamulele in recent weeks where residents have been demanding their own municipality.

The Municipal Demarcation Board announced in January that Malamulele did not qualify for its own municipality.

Protests erupted in the area last year before the May general elections, and re-ignited more than a month ago with residents demanding their own municipality.

Residents claim the Thulamela municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, rather than their own, which is dominated by Xitsonga speakers.

On Monday, Malamulele residents called off the six-week long protest.

Otto confirmed that no new incidents had been reported in the area.

“Now it's still quiet, no incidents or protests,” she said.

Malamulele task team meets Cogta
IOL News 19 February 2015

Polokwane - The Malamulele Task Team (MTT) and the co-operative governance and traditional affairs department met on Thursday, to discuss stability and enhance service delivery to the community, the department said.

“The MTT has also committed itself to ensuring that stability and the resumption of normal community life and activities are sustained in the area of Malamulele in order to create a climate conducive for service delivery to take place.

“Government committed in involving various ministries that can make a meaningful contribution to the improvement of living conditions of the people of Malamulele,” the department said in a statement.

The MTT committed itself to investigate the “re-determination of the outer boundaries of a number of municipalities” across the country, including all local municipalities within Vhembe District.

Is would also make a submission to the Municipal Demarcation Board in pursuance of its aspiration for a stand-alone municipality for Malamulele.

The involvement of various departments included the agricultural department to exploit the potential for growing economic investment in agriculture.

Also the public works department to expand the reach and impact of public employment schemes such as expanded public works and the community work programme in the Vhembe District.

“That package of services to be accelerated through this process includes roads and storm water, water and sanitation, reconstruction of bridges and electrification of settlements, with an estimated existing budget allocation of R455 873m,” the department said.

Government established a project management office to ensure the effective management and implementation of all infrastructure projects in the area, said the department.

“The projects will be implemented within the resource envelope of the Integrated Development Plan to be rolled out in the area, covering the plans by both national and provincial sector departments to be implemented in municipalities.

“The meeting concluded in a consensus on timelines for the projects intended to address the service delivery backlog,” it said.

Another school torched near Malamulele
IOL News 18 February 2015

Johannesburg - A school in Xigalo near Malamulele was torched in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Limpopo police said.

This is the fifth school that has been set alight in the area since January.

“Members of the public order policing unit were patrolling in the area at about 5am when they noticed the smoke,” Colonel Ronel Otto said.

Malamulele protest called off
IOL News 16 February 2015

Polokwane - Residents in Malamulele in Limpopo called off a six-week long protest in the area on Monday.

“We as the task team of Malamulele have met with other 14 stakeholders and agreed to suspend the total shut-down until August,” community leader Isaiah Ndhambi said.

The residents' task team, who organised the protest, will meet Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan in August when government looks into the new reconfiguration of municipalities.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said police would continue to keep an eye on the area.

She could not say how long police would monitor the town.

Residents in the area have been demanding their own municipality.

The Municipal Demarcation Board announced in January that Malamulele did not qualify for its own municipality.

Protests erupted in the area last year before the May general elections, and re-ignited more than a month ago with residents demanding their own municipality.

Residents claim the Thulamela municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, rather than their own, which is dominated by Xitsonga speakers.

Since January, four schools have been set alight.

Gauteng cops keep EFF, ANC apart
23 February 2015

Johannesburg - Police formed a barrier line to separate members of the EFF and the ANC demonstrating outside the Gauteng legislature following premier David Makhura's delivery of his State of the Province address on Monday.

A handful of Economic Freedom Fighters supporters stood on one side of the road while African National Congress supporters occupied the other side. Both groups sang struggle songs.

Dozens of police officers and metro police officers monitored the situation.

Meanwhile, the police brass band provided entertainment.

Members of the public stood close by, dancing to the music while others recorded them.

Makhura was expected to address the crowds outside the legislature.

Earlier, members of the EFF disrupted the delivery of his State of the Province address in the legislature.

Protesters block Lenasia road again
IOL News 23 February 2015

Police use teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to subdue protesters. File picture: Brenton Geach

Johannesburg - Protesters once again blocked the K43 road in Thembelihle, Lenasia, on Monday evening, Johannesburg metro police said.

“K43 is again blocked off to traffic due to protests, following protests earlier this (Monday ) morning,” said Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

“Motorists are advised to use the Golden Highway and Nirvana Drive as alternative routes, as protesters are throwing stones towards passing cars. There has been no injuries or damage confirmed as of yet.”

It was believed they were protesting over electricity.

Earlier on Monday, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said police used teargas to disperse the protesters, who were apparently demonstrating over service delivery issues.

Makhubela said residents barricaded roads, while others went to loot foreign-owned shops

“We have arrested two people who were caught in the act. They took a lot of things from the shops. They unfortunately fled the scene,” he said.

Police had been monitoring the area from around 3am. No injuries had been reported and no property had been damaged, he said.

The two arrested would face charges of possession of stolen property.

Lenasia protest meant to be peaceful: DA
IOL News 23 February 2015

Johannesburg - A protest that turned into a looting spree by residents in Thembelihle, Lenasia was supposed to be peaceful march against a lack of service delivery, the DA said on Monday.

“A public meeting was called yesterday to discuss a peaceful march today, in order for their grievances to be heard,” Democratic Alliance councillor Nico de Jager said in a statement.

“However a small group of people did not adhere to the instructions of keeping the peace, and chaos erupted.”

This was according to one of the residents, De Jager said.

When police started firing rubber bullets and teargas, residents started looting shops “and doing as they please”, he said.

The purpose of the march was apparently to bring attention to residents' questions about housing issues, illegal electricity connections and portable toilets not being regularly drained, De Jager said.

Two people were arrested for stealing goods from a foreign-owned shop in the area, Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

Some residents had barricaded roads, while others went to loot foreign-owned shops.

“We have arrested two people who were caught in the act.”

He said the shop had been looted by residents in the area.

“They took a lot of things from the shops. They unfortunately fled the scene.”

Police had been monitoring the area from around 3am. No injuries had been reported and no property had been damaged, he said.

The two arrested would face charges of possession of stolen property.

Johannesburg metro police said earlier that residents barricaded the K43 road in the area with burning tyres. The road was closed between Volta Street and Nirvana Drive as protesters threw stones at passing cars, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

By 4pm, the streets had been cleared and traffic was moving again.

Lenasi looters caught red-handed
IOL Newas 23 February 2015

Johannesburg - Two people have been arrested for stealing goods from a foreign-owned shop in Thembelihle, Lenasia, on Monday, Gauteng police said.

During what appeared to be a service delivery protest, some residents barricaded roads, while others went to loot foreign-owned shops, Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said.

“We have arrested two people who were caught in the act. They took a lot of things from the shops. They unfortunately fled the scene.”

Police had been monitoring the area from around 3am. No injuries had been reported and no property had been damaged, he said.

The two arrested would face charges of possession of stolen property.

Johannesburg metro police said earlier that residents barricaded the K43 road in the area with burning tyres. The road was closed between Volta Street and Nirvana Drive as protesters threw stones at passing cars, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

By 4pm the streets had been cleared and traffic was moving again.

Earlier, Makhubela said police used teargas to disperse the protesters.

Protesters block road in Lenasia
IOL News 2015 February 2015

Johannesburg - Residents barricaded the K43 road in Thembelihle, Lenasia, on Monday with burning tyres, Johannesburg metro police said.

The road was closed between Volta Street and Nirvana Drive as protesters were burning tyres and throwing stones at passing cars, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.

Motorists could use Nirvana Drive or the Golden Highway as alternative routes.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said police used teargas to disperse the protesters, who were apparently demonstrating over service delivery issues.

No injuries had been reported by 11.30am and no one had been arrested. Police were monitoring the situation.

Racist undertones in Roodepoort: Sadtu
IOL News 20 February 2015

Johannesburg - The disruptions at a Roodepoort school appeared to be underpinned by racist undertones, the SA Democratic Teachers Union in Gauteng said on Friday.

“We have observed racist undertones underpinning these unfortunate and unjustifiable disruptions,” provincial secretary Tseliso Ledimo said in a statement.

“It is the responsibility of all of us to eliminate the demon of racism wherever it rears its ugly head.”

Earlier on Friday, public order police had to form a buffer between two groups of protesting parents at Roodepoort Primary School.

Situation calms at Roodepoort school
IOL News 20 February 2015

Johannesburg - The situation at a primary school in Roodepoort has quieted down, Gauteng police said on Friday.

“It's very quiet, the two sides have been separated and the police are keeping an eye on the situation,” said Lt-Col Katlego Mogale.

Earlier, public order police had to form a buffer between two groups of protesting parents at Roodepoort Primary School.

A group of coloured parents started protesting at the school earlier this week, demanding a coloured principal. They claimed the process of appointing black principal Nomathemba Molefe was flawed.

Children were prevented from entering the premises and schooling ground to a halt.

Gauteng education department spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said the department investigated the community's claims last year.

“(Investigators) found that there was no evidence of the alleged irregularities in the process of appointing the current principal,” she said.

On Thursday, Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi called an emergency meeting with community members.

“At this meeting it was decided that we should act in the best interests of the children.”

Molefe was temporarily removed from the school while the department negotiated with parents.

The Star reported on Friday that police had to escort Molefe from the school while parents banged on her car and poured water on it.

They reportedly held placards and chanted, “die hoof moet uit (the principal must go)”.

Black principal faces backlash
IOL News 19 February 2015

Johannesburg - The principal of Roodepoort Primary School was escorted by the police after reporting for duty to protect her from parents and members of the community who were baying for her blood this morning.

Gauteng Education Department spokesman Phumla Sekhonyane said the people in the area didn’t want black teachers and the black principal and her two black deputies.

Parents prevented their children from going to class, which has been the case for over a week. The parents brandished placards in front of the school gate. Some of the placards read “MEC has failed Davidsonville”; “Ons is gatvol”; “We want the MEC”; and “Genoeg is genoeg”.

Police were brought in to help normalise the situation.

As soon as they saw Nothemba Molefe on Thursday, and that she was followed by a police van, they started chanting for her to leave. Some in the group shouted that they wanted a coloured principal as the area where they lived was coloured. Others said the reason they did not want her was that proper channels were not followed in her appointment.

Sekhonyane said when Molefe was appointed in 2011, the acting principal at the time lodged a complaint saying the appointment was not procedural. His appeal failed and he resigned. That’s when the problems started.

“They are saying coloured teachers are being overlooked for black teachers,” Sekhonyane said.

She said their investigations revealed that there was no wrongdoing in Molefe’s appointment.

Veronica James, who has a grandchild at the school, said Molefe had dropped the standard of the school since taking over. James said a Mr Strauss had been acting for 11 months before Molefe’s appointment in 2011.

Everything was good at the time but things started going wrong when Molefe was appointed.

“We had an acting principal… His application was tampered with and he was told that he had submitted an incomplete application.

“We don’t have problems with the race of the employees, we only want the ones with the best interests of people at heart. We don’t want people who drop the standards of the school.

“When Mr Strauss ran the school before Molefe’s appointment, everything worked fine. We were happy with Mr Phillips who acted for three months last year (when Molefe was home as the community fought her appointment).”

Another woman who has a grandchild at the school said she wanted a coloured principal and accused Molefe and the two deputies of not knowing how to do their job.

But some parents said allegations that they were racist were not true.

Another parent, Cliff Murray, said they wanted a principal of any colour but not Molefe because “she paid for the job”. “We are not racist, the SGB (school governing body) told us she paid (to secure the post).”

The Department of Education has lodged an urgent application to get an interdict preventing parents from disrupting the school. – Additional reporting by Sapa

TUT, SRC ink agreement
IOL News 23 February 2015

TUT students march in protest against various grievances. File picture: Sizwe Ndingane
Pretoria - Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) management and the central student representative council signed a formal agreement on Monday, following protests at the institution, the university said on Monday.

“TUT management and the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC)... signed a formal agreement which concludes the recent talks about student funding between the parties,” spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said in a statement.

“It is believed that this will also bring an end to student protest that halted activities at various campuses the last weeks.”

In terms of a memorandum of agreement, TUT management and the CSRC agreed on several issues, including outstanding student debt and issues surrounding the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Regarding outstanding debt, all students who had outstanding debt from previous years would have to pay a minimum of R1500

across the board towards outstanding debt, plus the minimum initial payment of R1500 to register in 2015.

Any remaining balances payable, together with the 2015 fees balance, would have to be settled by no later than October 30, 2015.

Students would also have to sign acknowledgement of debts for the remaining outstanding 2014 balances.

“This agreement will assist students to make payments towards their debt, while enabling them to register and continue with their studies,” she said.

“This equates to approximately R37 (million) in assistance.”

Regarding the around 226 final year B Tech students, they would now only have to pay the minimum initial payment of R1500, and make financial arrangements in relation to their historic debt.

“Roughly 471 final year National Diploma students will have to pay an initial payment of R1500, coupled with financial arrangements,” De Ruyter said.

“This will provide approximately R7m in terms of assistance towards this critical constituency.”

In terms of NSFAS funding, students who were funded by the NSFAS in 2014 and owed the university outstanding debt and had no NSFAS-funding in 2015, would be allowed to register with outstanding debt, on certain conditions.

“It was also agreed that funding set aside for academic merit bursaries be re-allocated to academically deserving and financially needy students in the NSFAS group,” she said.

“This constitutes about R16m in financial assistance towards this group of students.”

TUT vice-chancellor and principal Professor Lourens van Staden expressed the management team's gratitude to the CSRC for the positive spirit with which they assisted TUT to resolve “this national challenge” and to resume academic activities.

Protests started at the university's Soshanguve campuses and later spread to the Ga-Rankuwa, eMalahleni and Pretoria campuses.

TUT students return to some residences
IOL News 17 February 2015

TUT students vacate residences on the Soshanguve south campus following two weeks of violent protests. Photo: Phill Magakoe
Pretoria - Many Tshwane University of Technology students have returned to the institution’s residences despite the Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa campuses closing due to a string of violent protests.

Students from Soshanguve north and south campuses, Ga-Rankuwa. Mbombela and eMalahleni campuses started leaving the campuses on Sunday. This was after a notice was sent out saying they should only return later. They then established that the notices were not eviction notices, but advice from TUT to leave for their personal safety.

Other students have heeded the advice and returned to their respective homes in various provinces.

Remaining students at the Soshanguve campuses could be seen milling outside and around the campuses, saying they were relieved they were not evicted because they would have been stranded.

Sifiso Mahlangu, a third-year correctional services student, said he had been highly annoyed by the protests and the suspension of classes.

“This is unfair, because it’s February already, semester tests are usually scheduled in less than three weeks from now and we haven’t attended a single class,” he said.

Mahlangu said the tug-of-war between TUT and the student representative council needed to be resolved to allow them to continue with their studies.

“We need them to sort things out, because we are just wasting away here on campus. Students are fighting for a good cause, but we need them to sort this out quickly,” he said.

Last week, two students were injured during a clash between private security guards employed by TUT and students. This prompted the institution to advise students to vacate the campuses for their own safety.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said that due to escalating violence at the affected campuses, a decision was taken to suspend activities until an agreement was reached with the SRC.

Two weeks ago, students closed down the two Soshanguve campuses because of inadequate NSFAS funding and a shortage of residences.

By Monday, the Pretoria campus had also been affected by the nearly three-week-long protest with classes being cancelled and students being told to return home.

Mpumelelo Kgaphole, a second-year crop science student, said she was unaware that the situation had spread to the main campus.

“I am from Hammanskraal and had to come to campus only to be told there would no classes on Tuesday. I wasted money and time to get here. This problem needs to be resolved soon,” she said. Students wearing T-shirts of different political parties were preventing students from accessing the campus.

SRC president Tshepang Makgatla said they were having a peaceful demonstration and did not intend using violence.

TUT students evicted from campus
IOL News 16 February 2015

Pretoria - Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has officially suspended academic programmes and requested students at a number of its campuses to vacate the residences as of Sunday, following violent protests.

Students at Soshanguve north, Soshanguve south, Ga-Rankuwa, Mbombela and eMalahleni campuses were all notified on Friday evening to vacate the residences by noon on Sunday.

Some of the students at the Soshanguve south campuses loitered around the gate, surrounded by some of the burnt notices, uncertain of where to go.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said due to the escalating violence that took place at the affected campuses, a decision was taken to suspend activities until an agreement was reached with the Student Representative Council (SRC).

“Our first and foremost concern is the students as we are responsible for them while they are on our premises. So, in the interest of their safety and to avoid possible damage to property, we decided this was the best route,” she said.

“The vice-chancellor remains in communication with the SRC and we are awaiting their response to the proposal tabled to them by the university’s executive management last Wednesday.”

However, student Mxolisi Maisela said the university was being unreasonable as they had not harmed anyone or damaged property, so there was no need to kick them out.

“This time they were the ones who brought in bouncers to assault us without any provocation.

“If this is a TUT matter then let all campuses close including Pretoria campus,” he said.

Third-year local government student Thembinkosi Khosa, who sat with his bags at the university entrance, said he was still uncertain where to go as things stood.

“I’m from Nelspruit and have no relatives this side; my parents said it was up to me to decide what to do as I was the one here.

“I’ll try looking for a place to rent just outside the university, until they tell us what to do or when to return,” he said.

Khosa and other students said that although the SRC representatives had told them to refuse to move out of the residences they (the SRC) were nowhere to be found.

“They haven’t said anything to us except that we must stay, but they have moved out. We are not taking that chance either so we are trying to make a plan,” he said.

Student Muzi Gumede, from KwaZulu-Natal, said his parents could do nothing to assist him and as he knew no one in Tshwane he was certain he would be sleeping outside the university’s gates. “My parents said they would try to help me but I know they too are struggling so I guess I’ll stay out here,” said a gloomy Gumede.

De Ruyter said they were hoping for a response from the SRC soon.

Anger flares during anti-xenophobia march
IOL News 13 February 2015

Members of the African Diaspora Forum and civil society organisations shout at police for stopping them from moving past Claim and President streets yesterday. Metro police said the march was illegal. Photo: Antoine de Ras
Johannesburg - An anti-xenophobia march that started off on a festive note at Pieter Roos Park in Parktown descended into chaos and caused traffic disruptions when the police halted the proceedings on Thursday.

The African Diaspora Forum (ADF), Right2Know and the Workers and Socialist Party were some of the organisations that joined the march, which organisers said was supposed to raise awareness and take a stand against xenophobia.

The marchers first gathered at the park and were treated to traditional African music and dance.

The intention was to move through Hillbrow and Berea to the Carlton Centre, where leaders from the organisations were due to address the crowd.

One of the organisers of the march, Democratic Left Front national secretary Trevor Ngwane, said they had initially got the go-ahead to march from the Joburg metro police department and were told only at the 11th hour that they could gather only at the park. Ngwane said they refused to change their plans.

Metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar denied that permission for the march was given.

“They were not allowed to move beyond the park for security reasons,” he said.

Despite this, the marchers made their way up Empire Road in Hillbrow.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who joined in the first leg, said it was wrong for South Africans to take out their frustrations on foreigners.

“They ran away from their own situations in their own countries under the mistaken belief that there would be milk and honey in South Africa.

“We can’t take our frustrations of unemployment, poverty and inequality against out fellow Africans who are suffering just like we are suffering in South Africa,” he said. “So we’re here to demonstrate our support.”

As the marchers moved on, the metro police and SAPS set up impromptu roadblocks to manage traffic flow.

Motorists were forced to snake through throngs of people as roads were reduced to single lanes.

Pandemonium broke out when police officers - armed with rifles and spray canisters - refused to let them continue past the corner of Claim and President streets.

Marchers grew more agitated and started swearing at the police, demanding to know why they were arming themselves because nothing untoward had happened.

Ngwane had a scuffle with some of the officers and was forced into a police vehicle. He was later released without being charged.

By then, marchers had scattered and agreed to reassemble at the park.

ADF vice-chairman Jean-Pierre Lukumba said the organisation would not give up and would continue to organise marches to speak out against xenophobia.

Minnaar said no arrests were made and no damage to property was reported.

SRC at TUT ‘holding varsity to ransom’
IOL News 13 February 2015

Pretoria - The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) says the student representative council is holding the institution to ransom by shutting down campuses as student debt is increasing.

Students have closed the Soshanguve campuses for two weeks and on Thursday the protests over financial exclusion and insufficient National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) spread to the main campus in Pretoria West, Emalahleni and Ga-Rankuwa.

Acting vice-chancellor Professor Lourens van Staden said every year, the institution and the SRC reached agreements to deal with the financial situation, but the students never kept their side of the bargain.

Last year, Van Staden said, TUT allowed students, despite owing the university, to register in the first and second semesters without paying the R1 500 registration fee. The students were supposed to sign acknowledgement of debt letters but they did not do so.

“This resulted in the student debt increasing from R134 million in 2013 to R247m in 2014, an increase of 84 percent. Even though students were allowed to register without implementing financial exclusion blocks in the second semester, there was another strike by students because there was insufficient NSFAS funds… After a long, protracted and violent strike, council approved that the university would enter into loan agreements similar to NSFAS for 2 660 students to the value of just over R46m,” Van Staden said.

For the current protest action, Van Staden said management met the central SRC and made proposals that the students rejected.

Management had proposed that:

* Students owing R4 000 and below should clear their debts and pay a R1 500 registration fee;

* Students owing between R4 001 and R7 000 should pay 50 percent of the debt, plus the registration fee;

* Students owing between R7 001 and R11 000 should pay 30 percent of the debt, plus the registration fee; and,

* Students owing R11 001 and above should pay 20 percent of the debt, plus the registration fee.

It also suggested that students settle any remaining balance payable and that this year’s fees balance must be settled by no later than October 30. Students would also have to sign acknowledgement of debt letters for their outstanding 2014 balances.

For NSFAS students, management proposed, among other steps, that:

* 2014 NSFAS-funded students who owe the university money but who are not NSFAS-funded this year will be allowed to register, but have to make arrangements with the university to pay off their debt;

* 2014 NSFAS-funded students who owe the university money but who will be funded by NSFAS this year will be allowed to register despite their debt. They will also not be expected to pay the registration fee; and,

* That there be no allocation for books (R1 500) or meal allowances (R4 000) and this will release about R77 million which could assist at least 2 400 additional students.

The students rejected the steps and instead proposed that:

* The food allowance should be increased from R400 a month to R700;

* Students who have applied for the Fundza Lushaka Bursary Scheme (teacher education) should be allowed to register without payment of the registration fee; and,

* The fee increment of 12 percent was above the consumer price index (CPI), the difference between the CPI and the actual increase should be redirected towards assisting students who cannot afford to pay fees and could not be assisted by NSFAS.

Van Staden said: “The higher education price index was at 9.5 percent. The student fee increase that was approved by council was 12 percent. 3 percent was set aside for merit bursaries and 9 percent will be used for university operations. There is thus no money available to be redirected anywhere.”

Roads blocked in Daveyton
IOL News 12 February 2015

Johannesburg - Residents of Daveyton, on the East Rand, placed rocks on the roads and burnt tyres during a protest on Thursday, the Ekurhuleni metro police said.

“They started at midnight at Xhosa section. Those responsible run away whenever they see officers approaching.... At this stage, we do not know why they are protesting,” said Inspector Kobeli Mokheseng.

At least five streets were blocked and no vehicles were moving in or out of the affected area, said Mokheseng.

TUT protests spill over other campuses
IOL News 12 February 2015

Tshwane University of Technology students marching to the Soshanguve North campus to seek answers over their funding. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Johannesburg -

Protests at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) spread to its Ga-Rankuwa, eMalahleni and Pretoria campuses, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The protest action, which has already resulted in the suspension of business at the Soshanguve North and South Campuses last week, started to spill over to other University campuses on Thursday,” TUT said in an early morning statement.

University management met student leaders on Wednesday evening in a bid to resolve points of contention, primarily student funding.

“Although progressive proposals from the University's side were tabled, these were rejected by the student leaders.”

The SA Students Congress last week criticised university management for failing to help needy students.

“It is outrageously irresponsible for university management to provide students with no alternative than sending them home,” Gauteng deputy chairman Sthembiso Ndlovu said in a statement at the time.

“Students are cancelling their academic courses due to outstanding fees and NSFAS budget cuts.”

In September the university was forced to close some of its campuses when protests about student funding became violent.

The protests lasted almost three weeks and 18 cars were torched.

Tensions ease on CPUT campus
21 February 2015

Cape Town - Management of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and rioting students reached some agreement on Friday night after staff and students were advised to leave the campus on Friday in case of more violence.

Violent protests have been the order of the day at the Bellville campus this week. On Friday protests were more controlled and calmer.

Some students were angry about, among other issues, registration policies which mean students who owe the university money are prevented from registering.

Earlier this week, protests broke out at the Bellville campus, peaking on Thursday when violence erupted, with bricks being thrown, cars damaged and students blocking the main entrance to the campus.

Racial tensions apparently also surfaced, with reports of black students preventing white students from leaving the campus.

Late on Friday Student Representative Council (SRC) Deputy President Vuyani Moerane said student representatives were meeting the university’s management.

CPUT spokesman Thami Nkwanyane told Weekend Argus: “We are working on it. Some resolutions have been agreed upon.”

One of these was that returning students who had not applied for bursaries by the closing date would now be given an opportunity to do so.

Moerane told Weekend Argus that if the university did not meet some of the students’ demands, protests were likely to continue next week.

Moerane said students were unhappy about a number of issues, and were demanding that management address them.

“The one issue is that we felt we were not being taken seriously by management. It was like they were running away from us and not wanting to meet with us.”

The SRC was also unhappy that students owing the university money were not allowed to register. They wanted this to change.

Moerane confirmed the situation had been much calmer on Friday.

But the SRC had asked the university to advise staff to leave the campus in case more violence broke out.

Nkwanyane said the university was “very concerned about the safety, security and welfare of our staff and students, and will do anything in our power to ensure their well-being”.

Race clash: CPUT at standstill
20 February 2015

Cape Town - Student leaders at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have initiated “a state of emergency” and called for classes to be cancelled after a violent clash at the Bellville campus’s gates on Thursday.

The deputy president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) has warned that protests will continue, which have so far seen bricks being thrown, cars damaged and students injured, until demands for “fairer policies on registration fees” were agreed to by management.

CPUT officials said they would respond in due course. L ecturers and students were were prevented from leaving on Thursday afternoon by another group of students milling around the Bellville campus’s front entrance. SRC deputy president Vuyani Moerane said the 300 students at the gates had arrived with the organisation’s leaders to discuss their memorandum with Vice-Chancellor Prins Nevhutalu.

As the executive members sat down with the university’s management, the students had gone to sit in the shade at the entrance.

Staff at CPUT said it was 4pm and most lecturers and students were leaving campus. When they reached the gates, the waiting students caused traffic to grind to a halt.

Moerane said a few students leaving the Department of Mechanical Engineering became frustrated.

Staff said there were arguments as the students at the gate refused to budge.

And then a fight broke out.

Moerane said: “(Our students) started retaliating, throwing bricks and stones at the people trying to leave.” Car windows were smashed and a group of white students were injured, suffering from head wounds caused by the heavy projectiles.

“This is not what we wanted, this is not how we encourage our students to behave,” said Moerane. He added that the students had been provoked by security guards.

But witnesses said the students at the gates had already armed themselves with bricks and stones before security had even intervened.

Public order police were called in to disperse the angry crowd with stun grenades.

At the time of going to print, police could not confirm if any arrests had been made.

The violent clash was the latest chapter in a long-running feud between students and the university’s management over its registration fees. Protests began last week and escalated on Monday, when two students were arrested after stoning buildings on the Bellville campus.

Moerane said they had become frustrated after the vice-chancellor repeatedly snubbed the SRC’s leadership’s requests to sit down and discuss their memorandum.

The SRC is calling for fairer “registration policies” accusing the university of excluding students who had rung up debt during their studies and were now unable to complete their degrees. At the time of going to print, the university’s spokesman Thami Nkwanyane had not yet responded to these allegations.

Moerane said he is now calling on all students to stay away from classes until the SRC’s issues have been resolved. “This is a state of emergency.”

This is not the first time that protests have brought the university to a standstill. In 2011 protesting students disrupted lectures and exams calling for the then Vice Chancellor’s resignation. Just a year later students clashed with security guards over registration fees.

CPUT students in race clash
Siyavuya Mzantsi and Francesca Villette 20 February 2015

Cape Town - Students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) were embroiled in violent racial clashes on Thursday, leaving some with head wounds.

Lectures were halted and the university was in lockdown while vehicles were prevented from entering or leaving.

The clash erupted between two groups of students, one black the other white, after about 300 protesting students blockaded both main gates of the university and stopped vehicles from passing through. During the clash, some students were injured when bricks and stones were hurled at them.

A CPUT student, who refused to have her name published, claimed she and other protesters had prevented cars from going in or out. A group of white students then started assaulting them and told them to get out of the way.

“They started pushing us to the ground and forcing their way past. That’s when we fought back because we explained to them why we were blocking the gate.

“But they refused to listen and started to fight us. Why can’t they join us as fellow students? Why must they learn while we struggle.

“We are poor and don’t have money,” she said.

A student struck by a brick said he was next to the gate when the protesters attacked him and his friends. They all asked that their names not be published.

“They threw a brick at my head. I was standing here doing nothing. When we got here, they were already standing with bricks and stones in hand. Then they started throwing them at people,” he said.

He said the protesters did not want other students to attend their classes.

“Why do you have to shut the whole university and start throwing stones at people just to make a point? Why can’t you talk like civilised people to one another? Why do you need to attack people?” said another CPUT student who had been injured in the fight.

Students who were not part of the protest found themselves forced out of classes, the library and from their buses.

Public Order Police arrived to intervene and used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

CPUT spokesman Thami Nkwanyana could not confirm if there had been any damage to property on Thursday. At the CPUT campus in Cape Town, lectures were suspended and students told to go home. Security kept a close watch.

The protest started on Monday when two students were arrested. They were released on Tuesday, when CPUT management held a meeting with the Student Representative Council (SRC) in an attempt to resolve the students’ grievances.

Several windows were smashed during the protest.

The students demanded that the university allow the registration of students who owed the institution money, Nkwanyana said.

“Given the historical background of the institution as one of the most accommodating in terms of low student registration and

tuition fees, it also has to be sustainable and operate optimally.

“The university council made an effort to arrest the accumulation of student debt.

“This has been done without excluding academically deserving students, but by introducing measures that specify the different

amounts, depending on the debt, that students should pay before they can register in line with rules of the National Credit Act,”

Nkwanyana said.

SRC deputy president Vuyani Moerane said students felt the university did not take students’ demands seriously.

They demanded, among other things, that students be allowed to register, irrespective of whether they had outstanding debt from last year, or whether they could afford to pay the registration fee.

Protest, burst main dog Cape traffic
IOL News 16 February 2015

Cape Town - Protest action in Hout Bay and a burst water main in Rondebosch were among the main causes of traffic problems in Cape Town again on Monday morning.

Police and traffic officers closed the main road in Hout Bay between the Victoria Road circle and Disa Road from early on Monday morning after a taxi blockade and unrest in the area, said traffic spokesman Richard Coleman.

Protesters were burning tyres in the main road opposite the cemetery, and no traffic could use the road safely as a result, Coleman said.

And in Main Road, Rondebosch, a water main burst at about 7pm on Sunday night, breaking a large hole in the road. Municipal workers responded quickly and repaired the pipe and the hole, but the pipe burst again soon after.

On Monday morning the road was closed until about 9am, when repair work had progressed sufficiently for the traffic department to establish a temporary stop and go system, Coleman said.

Residents protest against the use of fossil fuels
Sharl Els (Southlands Sun) 27 February 2015

According to SDCEA the level of toxic fumes in the atmosphere remains high in the South Durban Basin against world standards.

Residents of Wentworth, Merebank, Isipingo and Umlazi protest outside SAPREF against the use of fossil fuels on Friday, 13 February

Some 60 people joined the protest organised by South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA).

“We are calling for the divestment of fossil fuel and calling on organisations, wealthy people, religious leaders and people of conscience to pull their funds out of fossil fuel and into renewable energy,” said co-ordinator Desmond D’Sa.

According to SDCEA the level of toxic fumes in the atmosphere remains high in the South Durban Basin against world standards. SDCEA also argues there is a lack of appropriate monitoring of emissions in the South Durban area. “We want a clear response in writing from SAPREF to give us emission data,” said D’Sa.

The organisation also calls for SAPREF to cooperate in providing plans and programs for eco-friendly renewable energy to be provided in schools and move their programs away from providing chemical science laboratories. Attempts to receive comments from SAPREF were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

MyCiTi strike continues amid confusion
16 February 2015

Cape Town - The MyCiTi bus drivers’ strike enters day 13 on Monday and the end is not in sight, despite the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) saying there are moves to have Cosatu mediate between it and bus company Transpeninsula.

Satawu official Brightness Matwa said on Sunday they would meet Transpeninsula this week and Cosatu would be there to mediate. He could not confirm a date, he said.

Satawu members had gone on an unprotected strike over working conditions and union rights at Transpeninsula, among other issues, Matwa said.

The strike turned violent recently when four MyCiTi buses were attacked in five days. No serious injuries were reported during the attacks, which took place in Salt River – where two incidents occurred – Hout Bay and Camps Bay. Satawu has condemned the attacks.

“This week there will be some engagement,” Matwa said.

“Cosatu has offered to play a mediating role on this issue so we can resolve it. It is our intention to get back to the negotiating table with the employer, facilitated by a mediator.

We are looking to bring this strike to an end.”

But Transpeninsula director Ghaalid Behardien dismissed Matwa’s claims of a meeting as untrue. ”It is completely untrue that Satawu has arranged a meeting with us and that Cosatu will mediate. The strike is still ongoing and no progress has been made.”

Behardien said the company had reported the attacks to the police and the company’s insurers, and would pursue criminal charges if witnesses came forward.

When asked about Behardien’s response, Matwa said: “We did not arrange a meeting officially. It will be arranged by an external organisation, Cosatu.”

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the federation had offered to mediate and Satawu had accepted. It had yet to hear from the city and Transpeninsula.

Ehrenreich said the city “was holding back efforts to negotiate”.

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said: “As far as I am aware, Transpeninsula Investments has been asking for Satawu to return to the negotiating table for the past 10 days.”

Herron said Satawu had apparently abruptly abandoned dialogue when it embarked on the strike. “If it is true that they have agreed to return to talks, then that would be very welcome news,” he said.

“I am grateful to the many drivers who did not strike and who kept our service running largely as scheduled, despite calls from Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich, who last week encouraged other drivers to join in.”

The city said the strike’s effect has been limited as all scheduled MyCiTi routes operated normally.
Cape Times

Clampdown on minstrels over ‘sordid stuff’
IOL News 15 February 2015

Minstrels at Athlone Stadium for the end of season trophy presentation. Picture: Enrico Jacobs
Cape Town - Cape minstrel troupes have once again clashed with City of Cape Town officials after complaints from Bo-Kaap residents that they use drugs, urinate on their propertis and block roads.

JP Smith, the city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, filed an urgent court application to prevent the minstrels from parading in central Cape Town and the Bo-Kaap on Saturday.

Smith said city officials would also consider “laying criminal charges” and “threaten withholding sponsorship money at the end of the year if (the minstrels) do not comply with our by-laws now”.

Saturday’s parade was to mark the end of the minstrel’s annual competition at Athlone Stadium where trophies were awarded to the best singers, costumes and troupes. Smith said complaints from Bo-Kaap residents had prompted the city to take action.

DA to take cops to court over assault
Chelsea Geach and Kieran Legg Comment
(IOL News) 13 February 2015

Cape Town - Fractured ribs, bruised limbs and hurt necks, this is how paramedics have described some of the injuries sustained by five DA members arrested and manhandled by police officers on Thursdayday ahead of the State of the Nation Address.

And now, they are looking to press assault charges against the officers who allegedly hurt them.

DA national spokesman Marius Redelinghuys led the members into the dock of the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday morning.

He was nursing injured ribs. Staff member Deon Basson wore a neck brace and seemed to grimace in the dock.

The five had allegedly been pushed to the ground and arrested on Thursday after they intervened when police turned a water cannon on a group of DA supporters.

They were released on bail on Thursday night after an hour-long bail application.

They are facing charges of public violence and taking part in an illegal gathering.

The case against them was postponed until March 26 to allow police to complete their investigation.

However, court proceedings continued as their lawyer revealed that they were pursuing charges of assault against the arresting police officers.

The opposition party protesters were chased by police and blasted with water cannon in the precinct surrounding Parliament on Thursday.

The DA members, including Cape Metro regional chairman Shaun August and national spokesman Redelinghuys, were arrested after a clash broke out between police and DA supporters lining Adderley Street before the State of the Nation address.

Social media reports suggested that ANC members were also arrested, although the Cape Argus was unable to confirm this with their leadership on night.

Video footage showed August being picked up by his hands and feet and manhandled by police before being tossed into a van.

Minutes before he was arrested, August said: “We are coming to see how our president looks because he’s been absent the whole year, we’ve forgotten what he looks like. We’ve got no placards, we are peaceful. We are here to send a clear message that Zuma must resign.”

Redelinghuys, who is an MP, was dressed in black when he was blasted head-on with water cannon. Crouching slumped against a car he was also arrested and bundled into a police van.

DA spokesman Shaun Moffitt said police told him they had orders to remove the DA supporters from the street before President Jacob Zuma arrived.

“We had to tell police that we are peaceful spectators at a state event,” he said. “But they said they had orders from above to remove us before the president comes up Adderley Street.”

Several hundred DA supporters dressed in blue T-shirts were lining the side of Adderley Street before the clash with the police escalated.

“They tried moving us back,” Moffitt said. “Then they were charging us with their shields; they got very aggressive with their shields.”

As the DA crowd ran back towards Greenmarket Square, police blasted them with water cannons from Nyalas.

When the crowd regrouped, a leader told them the safest option would be for them to go home, but many refused, chanting that they would not leave.

Retreating to Burg Street, the DA supporters instead protested for their incarcerated leaders to be released.

Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said he would only be able to comment on the events later, when information had been reported back from the police teams at the scene.

School shut over sex assault teacher
Ilse Fredericks Comment on this story
11 February 2015

Cape Town - A senior staff member at a Kraaifontein school has been axed after being found guilty at a disciplinary hearing of sexual assault and other charges. Now protests by angry parents and pupils have shut the school for days, with teachers saying they fear for their lives.

On Tuesday, parents of Imvumelwano Primary, other Wallacedene residents, and members of the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco) toyi-toyied outside the school gate, demanding the man be reinstated. Some pupils were also present.

The school has been closed since Thursday, and the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union said teachers who had testified against the man at a hearing had been intimidated.

Simon Tshoba, deputy chairman of the school’s governing body, said the department had not informed them of the reasons for the man’s dismissal, and parents wanted answers. “We want our man back.”

Chippa Arosi, chairman of Sanco in Kraaifontein, said the residents were concerned because they believed the department was acting on gossip and conspiracies. He said they had asked the teachers to leave.

Jessica Shelver, spokeswoman for Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said the teacher had been dismissed. “The educator was charged with five charges of misconduct under sub-sections 18(1)(dd), 18(1)(q) and 18(1)(s) relating to sexual assault and harassment, and two charges of misconduct relating to dishonesty under section 18(1) (ee) of the Employment of Educators Act. He was found guilty of misconduct in terms of Section 18(1) of the Employment of Educators Act, Nr 76 of 1998.”

She said in December the teacher had appealed against the findings and the sanction of the disciplinary panel. The appeal was considered by the MEC and dismissed “as she found no evidence that was presented at the disciplinary hearing which convinced her to interfere with the finding or the sanction imposed by the presiding officer at the disciplinary hearing. Western Cape Education Department officials attempted, on numerous occasions, to explain due process to the staff and school governing body. The crowd said they were not interested in due process and procedures.”

Shelver said officials reported on Tuesday that teachers were allegedly fearing for their lives and that no children had arrived for classes. “Education department officials asked to meet the governing body at the district office, which was turned down unequivocally. The department is trying to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.”

She said residents had indicated there would be no schooling until the man was reinstated.

Sibongile Kwazi, deputy provincial secretary of Sadtu, said teachers were feeling vulnerable and had reported that they were receiving threats. They had called on the department to protect their employees. Shelver said there were police in the area.

Majakaneng disillusioned with ANC
The M&G returned to Majakaneng and spoke to residents about last week's violent service delivery protest that brought the village to a stand still.

DA hits back at ANC over SONA dinner
iAfrica 11 February 2015

The Parliament Buildings in Cape Town. Credit: GCIS Article by Gaye Davis
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has hit back at accusations that the party is costing taxpayers money by informing Parliament late of its decision to boycott the dinner following the Sona.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli says the party only informed Parliament of its decision yesterday.

"They must account for it. If we would have our way, we would ask them to pay for every plate and three course meal because they didn't let us know in advance."

But DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says parties were only informed last Thursday.

"We're not attending. We don't think it's correct that in the current economic crisis the current energy crisis and the state of South Africa, the real state of the nation, that politicians and their guests should be consuming wines and food at the expense of the taxpayer."

Steenhuisen says the DA will be taking its guests to restaurants at its own expense.

Parly feast

Some of the foods that will be served at the dinner party will be cold seafood, cheese and biscuits, chicken, lamb, beef, fish, salads and small cakes.

A total of 1700 guests are expected to attend the dinner function in the precinct after the president has delivered his speech.

Mamelodi residents remain calm
The New Age 10 February 2015

Mamelodi residents remained calm on Tuesday after police restored order in the area following a service delivery protest which took place on Monday.

SAPS Spokesperson Kay Makhubela said: “Things are still calm in Mamelodi, the police are still patrolling the area”.

Police arrived in the township situated North East of Pretoria, after residents took to the streets, in the early hours of Monday morning, burning tyres and blocking roads due to their frustrations over the lack of service delivery; mainly energy supply.

Makhubela said police would continue to patrol the area in order to ensure that no further protest activities would commence, as some community members had threatened to continue with the strike. The Zululand Observer

UPDATE: 57 protesters appear in Mtunzini court
Crowd comes out in support of protesters.
ZuluLand Observer10 February 2015

A CROWD of about 60 people have marched to the Mtunzini High Court today.

The peaceful group have come out in support of the 57 protesters who are appearing in court later this morning on charges of public violence.
Police have closed the road between the Mtunzini Library and Mtunzini Primary School to minimise disturbance.

Motorists are advised to take the road behind the court and police station into town.

The 57 accused were arrested yesterday during a riot on the highway between Gingindlovu and Mtunzini, where one man died.

Protesters are reportedly up in arms over the alleged lack of co-operation from the Tronox Fairbreeze mine

Breaking News: One dead in N2 protest
A protester died in this morning’s riot near Tronox Fairbreeze mine.
The ZuluLand Obsrver 9 February 2015

POLICE have just confirmed that a protester was killed after being knocked over by a vehicle during this morning’s unrest on the N2 between Gingindlovu and Mtunzini.
A second person was also injured while running onto the road during the protest.
The crowds have been dispersed and police are monitoring the tense situation.

Leeuwfontein residents take to the streets
Goitsemang Tlhabye (IOL) News 10 February 2015

Pretoria - Residents of Leeuwfontein east of Pretoria on Monday joined a string of other communities that have taken to the streets to complain about lack of services.

In the past few weeks, there have been violent service delivery protests in Malamulele in Limpopo, Randfontein in the Merafong municipality and Majakaneng outside Brits, west of the city.

On Monday, Leeuwfontein residents burnt tyres and blocked the R513 and the dirt road on the northern side of Mamelodi from 4am.

The protesters said they were tired of waiting for almost a year for water and electricity.

Community leader Nicholas Mahlangu said residents came to his home early in the morning and demanded that he join their protest to prove he had not sold them out.

Mahlangu said a meeting was held with representatives of the MEC, as well as the local and provincial government and residents in April last year and they were promised basic services and the investigation of corrupt councillors.

“Since April, all we have to show is Apollo lights and nothing more. So since our needs have been put on the back burner we took to the streets to protest,” he said. “It’s not that we want to strike but we are forced to strike as no one is taking us seriously. We haven’t hurt anyone or damaged any property.”

Representative from the office of the MEC for Housing, Solly Chepape, and councillor Mike Buthelezi, came to try and allay the community’s concerns and to assure them the matter was being taken seriously. However, the protesters were not pleased as they said they only wanted to speak to their superiors who had made the initial promises.

Resident Rosinah Mosoma said they were tired of representatives coming to talk to them, because they had discussed the issues of lack of service delivery for long enough. “We don’t want them coming here telling us they will speed things up. We want the mayor and the MEC to come here and give us an exact date when we will have water and electricity,” she said.

Police spokesman Johannes Japhta said they were called in to help clear the roads blocked by residents and to maintain order. Japhta said the residents were not violent and no one was hurt or any property damaged. “The community dispersed by the afternoon, but we will continue to monitor the situation in case there might be a flare-up later.”

City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale said plots 123, 124 and 125 which were used by the community had been a subject of dispute regarding the legal ownership. The correct township development procedure was not followed so no infrastructure was offered.

“The city has been rendering basic services such as water, refuse removal and chemical toilets, but we have been unable to provide electricity as the area does not belong to the city. Eskom can only provide the services after a memorandum of understanding is entered into with the city being the legal owner of the land,” he said. The issue of electricity would not come to fruition until consent is given by the trustees to release the bond register against the land at R1.5 million, he said.

On the protest, he said: “This proves the city’s statement that the illegal selling and inappropriate occupation of land before proper township development processes are finalised lead to long term complications as witnessed in this case.”

More rubbish dumped at council
Some residents have continued to object to council’s 240l Wheelie Bin System.

9 February 2015

Rubbish bags and other refuse has been dumped outside the EMM’s Customer Care Centre

Breaking news: FET students stage protest It is not immediately clear what the students’ grievances are.
South Coast Herald 9 February 2015

Police were called in to calm the situation.
STUDENTS at the Gamalakhe FET college staged a protest at the campus this morning.
According to reports, some 500 students were involved in the protest and police were called in to calm the situation.

A meeting between management and the students is currently under way in an effort to resolve the problem.

It is not immediately clear what the students’ grievances are.

N Cape education department condemns march to 'rape school'
SABC News 9 February 2015

African National Congress Youth league members and learners from the Tlhwahalang Secondary School marched to handover a memorandum to the Principal of the Jankempdorp Agricultural High School.(SABC)

Northern Cape Department of Education Jankempdorp Agricultural High School Tlhwahalang Secondary School ANC Youth league The Northern Cape Education department has condemned school children marching to the Jankempdorp Agricultural High School on Monday morning.

African National Congress Youth League members and learners from the Tlhwahalang Secondary School marched to handover a memorandum to the principal of the Jankempdorp Agricultural High School. This after four boys were accused of allegedly raping and assaulting a fellow pupil last week. They've meanwhile been suspended from the school and are out on bail.

The protestors demanded that the school principal be removed and the four boys be expelled.

Northern Cape Education Department's, Sydney Stander, says the future of learners shouldn't be compromised by having them protest during school hours.

“We also disappointed by the fact that learners were removed from the school and as you know the president and the minister were quite clear in terms of all of us working very hard to protect the learning and teaching time. That is something that we would like to come back and engage the community on, in terms of, how do we take the community struggles forward without compromising the future of our children,” said Stander.

Angry protesters attack Bishop Verryn
IOL News 4 February 2015

Protesters in Majakaneng village near Mooinooi, North West, threw stones at Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn and his colleague as they tried to speak to residents on Wednesday, he said.

“The situation here is very tense, the presence of police and the firing of rubber bullets is aggravating the situation,” Verryn said.

“I came here with a colleague to try and mediate and when we were approaching the protesters, they started throwing stones at us and told us to 'voetsek' (go away),” he said.

He said he and his fellow priest from the local community walked away unharmed.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, he said.

“Roads have been closed, there is chaos everywhere...I am standing on the side of a road right now and there is a vehicle on fire as we speak,” Verryn said.

North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane could not be reached for comment.

Verryn said he would try to approach mine companies in the area to be part of a mediation process with the residents.

On Tuesday, residents complained about water and electricity supply in the area and barricaded roads and burnt tyres.

Earlier, the North West community safety department said protesters were throwing stones at vehicles travelling between Rustenburg and Pretoria.

The stoning of vehicles led to traffic officials closing the road between Mooinooi and Brits.

The R104 between Mooinooi and Bokfontein was also closed.

Motorists were advised to use the Lonmin private road as an alternative.

R9m injected into Majakaneng
IOL News 7 February 2015

A total of R9 million has been allocated for the development of water infrastructure in Majakaneng, North West premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Saturday.

A contractor was already on site to ensure that water in Majakaneng was restored by the end of next week, Mahumapelo said during a meeting with residents on Saturday.

“We must remain united as a society, and focus our energies towards reconciling and renewing our province.”

He pleaded with people to cooperate with the contractor and said the water provision would be done in phases, with the contractor being phase one. The second phase would be implemented through the R9m allocation.

His office said it would collaborate with the water and sanitation department, Magalies Water and Sedibeng Water.

On Thursday, technicians were sent to Majakaneng to resolve water problems in the area, after several days of violent protests during which locals demanded water and electricity.

Protesters have been demanding water there for years.

During protests last year, one resident said taps had been dry since 2005.

When the unrest started on Monday, protesters looted two foreign-owned shops and set alight a bus, and barricaded parts of the N4.

Seven people were arrested and would face charges including public violence and malicious damage to property.

Mahumapelo's office said community members who attended Saturday's meeting were urged to allow pupils to return to school as disrupting schools was not developmental.

Mahumapelo also appealed to the community to work together with the provincial government to ensure peace and stability.

“We assure you of our firm commitment to ensuring that basic services are delivered as planned,” he said.

Water protest chaos in Majakaneng - PICS

Reporter and photographer hijacked
IOL News 5 February 2015

Brits - A Beeld newspaper reporter and photographer were hijacked in Majakaneng, outside Brits in North West, the Afrikaans daily reported on Thursday.

Crime reporter Leanne George and photographer Deaan Vivier were driving on the R104 on Wednesday to cover protests in the area when they were accosted, according to the report.

The two were just outside the area when a man in a grey T-shirt banged on the passenger window where George was sitting.

George called the office to get help, but only managed to tell them they were on the R104 before her phone went off. Another three or four men pulled on Vivier's door and forced him out of the car at knifepoint.

George's door was opened and she was pulled out of the car. She said someone grabbed her from behind but she turned around, freed herself and ran into oncoming traffic. A man in a silver car saw her.

“I just know him as Solly,” George told the paper. “He is an angel, he turned around and came to help me.”

The hijackers asked Vivier to show them how to start the car and drove away.

Solly took Vivier and George to a crossing where traffic police were sitting. A policewoman took them to the Mooinooi police station.

Tracker found Beeld's car in Rustenburg. The hijackers had reportedly tried to set it alight, but people threw sand on it to stop it from burning.

Vivier and George's cameras, laptops, and an iPad were found in the car.

Lt-Col Tsolofelo Matlhoko, from the Mooinooi police station, confirmed the crime was being investigated.

Cops shoot at Mohlakeng protesters
IOL News 4 February 2015

Johannesburg - A protester was injured when the police fired rubber bullets to break up a service delivery protest in Mohlakeng in Randfontein on Wednesday morning.

The group of protesters had barricaded the main road to the township with rocks and burning tyres. A large police contingent was present with about 10 vehicles.

The protesters began to march to the Randfontein local municipality offices in Mohlakeng, many carrying pangas and sticks.

When they reached a police cordon line on the main road, the police began firing rubber bullets.

Most of the crowd dispersed, but some protesters retaliated, throwing stones at the police.

The police then fired a second round of rubber bullets.

An unknown number of people were injured.

Rosinah Motlhaping was wounded in her leg, apparently by a rubber bullet.

She said she had been sitting down when she was hit.

“We sat down to show we surrender, but we were still shot,” she said.

“I shouldn’t be hurt for just marching for my rights, I wasn’t even carrying a weapon.”

Several ambulances were seen driving through the area to treat those injured at the scene. Protesters soon regrouped and set fire to the post office, municipal office and library.

“We are fed up with the way that the municipality handles the area,” said resident Thato Msibi. “We are unable to live properly and we don’t even have clean water.”

The protest is believed to have been organised by the EFF and many in the group wore EFF T-shirts.

“Residents are fed up with the way the municipality does things,” said regional EFF spokeswoman Kholeka Mandyu.

“There’s too much corruption,” she said.

Mandju alleged that the municipality was involved in fraud and corruption and that this had been confirmed in a recent internal audit, while most residents were destitute and didn’t have water, sanitation or RDP houses.

Mandyu said the EFF had impressed upon residents that the march must be peaceful and that vandalism and damage to property would not be tolerated.

MyCiTi bus strike continues
Lisa Isaacs (IOL News) 9 February 2015

Cape Town - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) plans to intensify the MyCiTi strike and has called on all bus drivers to join the industrial action.

As the strike enters its sixth day, Satawu official Brightness Matwa said the strike would continue until MyCiTi operating company, Transpeninsula, met the union’s demands.

Union members went on strike over working conditions, poor representation and additional leave days, he said.

“At the moment, there has been no discussion between parties. We intend to intensify the strike and we are going to ask other bus drivers to support it, not just MyCiTi drivers – other companies including Golden Arrow,” he said.

Transpeninsula director Ghaalid Behardien said:

“Satawu refuses to come to the table and negotiate. They are sticking to unreasonable demands and only when we agree to these demands are they willing to meet.”

He said contingency plans, including the use of stand-in drivers and assistance from other VOC’s would continue.

“Contingency plans seem to be working, but our aim is to minimise the inconvenience to the public,” he added

The strike turned violent last week when two MyCiTi buses were attacked in Hout Bay and Salt River.

Behardien said criminal charges were to be lodged.

Matwa said although thousands of commuters could be inconvenienced if more drivers joined the strike, they were dealing with “an unreasonable company, with draconian working conditions”.

“We ask our people to assist because these workers are suffering. We understand the impact this will have on commuters, but workers’ rights must be taken into consideration. Commuters will be affected, but that is not our problem, it is the problem of our employer,” he said.

Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the federation supported striking workers.

He said the city was responsible for the strike as they should ensure workers’ rights were protected in contracts.

He also urged other MyCiTi drivers to join the strike.

“This is a huge inconvenience, and we think the city will allow the company to drag this strike out. We want the strike to end,” he said.

Mayco member for transport Brett Herron appealed for drivers to return to work.

“In the meantime we will continue to put contingency measures in place to mitigate the impact of the strike on commuters,” he said.

Two MyCiTi buses targeted
IOL News 6 February 2015

Johannesburg - Two MyCiTi buses have come under attack in Cape Town, the City said on Friday.

The first incident took place in Victoria Road at 8pm on Thursday when an object was thrown at a bus, mayoral committee councillor Brett Herron said in a statement.

“An unidentified person threw an object, which may have been a stone, at one of the bus's side windows. No injuries were recorded to the driver or the passengers.”

The second incident took place 30 minutes later on Roodebloem Street in Woodstock.

“An unknown man ignited something in the back of the bus after all of the passengers had alighted at the stop and then he too alighted from the bus and fled the scene,” said Herron.

“The bus driver hurt his hand when he broke a side window to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher.”

MyCiTi operations on the two routes were immediately suspended.

“The buses have been removed from active service due to some minor damage to the interior and side windows,” he said.

Herron said the attacks were linked to the strike by bus drivers.

On Monday, the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) gave notice of a strike.

The bus drivers are employed by Transpeninsula Investments (TPI).

The dispute between TPI and Satawu revolves around organisational rights and the interpretation of clauses in their recognition agreement.

The matter was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration for resolution in October last year, but remains unresolved.

Herron said no other incidents were reported on Friday morning.

“Law enforcement officials are deployed along certain bus routes,” he said.

Call to restore order in Majakaneng
IOL News 6 February 2015

Johannesburg - Some residents of Majakaneng near Randfontein are calling for order to be restored to the township following violent protests, the local municipality said on Friday.

A group of them had started a campaign “Call For Action”, condemning the violence which flared in the township west of Johannesburg on Wednesday, municipal spokesman Phillip Montshiwa said in a statement.

“We have also noted that a number of our community members have since the early hours of 1/8Thursday 3/8 started to take active action by cleaning up and removing all rubble on our streets,” Montshiwa said, praising their efforts.

The violence erupted following what was supposed to have been a peaceful, police-approved demonstration.

Protesters barricaded roads with tyres, trees and stones, and prevented children from going to school and commuters from going to work.

They torched the library, economic hub, maternity clinic, home affairs offices and mayor Sylvia Thebenare's house.

Gauteng's co-operative governance and human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo blamed the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for the protest.

The EFF denied this and blamed the African National Congress.

The municipality condemned the violence on Friday.

“Destruction and burning of public facilities meant to directly deliver much needed services to our community is highly unacceptable and should be condemned by everyone,” said Montshiwa.

He condemned the looting of foreign-owned shops and called on community members to report any criminal activity to the police.

The municipality said it was committed to delivering better services to the locals and called for peace.

Racial brawl on Durban beach
IOL News 9 February 2015

Durban - Racial tension spilt on to a Durban beach on Sunday when two groups, one Indian and the other black came to blows after an Indian child was allegedly knocked over by a black beach law-enforcement officer.

The fight, on Sunkist beach, was sparked when the child’s father shouted at and allegedly punched the officer.

Witnesses said the girl, of about 9, was injured, but this could not be confirmed. However, an ambulance was seen leaving the area.

Lifeguard Xolani Dlamini told The Mercury that the beach patrol had been attending to a complaint about drunk men playing football on the sand. Lifeguards phoned beach law enforcement officers to remove them. While the officers were busy, the child sat down on the sand behind the car.

“When the two officers were leaving, the black male officer saw the child and took her by the hand to move her out the way. The officer climbed into the car and, as he was about to drive off, an Indian man appeared saying that the child was his and he opened the door and punched him,” Dlamini said.

“He was not soft on him, but the officer did not retaliate. We ran closer, but the father continued punching the officer. That is when everyone came closer and the black members of the crowd said the father must be arrested.

“Hearing that, all the Indians came down on to the sand and took the side of the father. It then turned into a racial fight. There were Indians punching blacks and blacks punching Indians,” he said.

Dlamini said that black members of the crowd took handcuffs from the officers and handcuffed the father. They threw him into the back of the van. The girl was not injured. The officer did not reverse over her as alleged. The father’s problem was with the manner in which the child was removed from the back of the car.”

Another witness, journalist Farhana Ismael, said she had heard that a law enforcement vehicle, NDM 16704, had knocked the child over.

“The officer was trying to drive away and knocked the kid down. The father saw what had happened and he stopped the vehicle and he said: ‘You have just knocked my kid down.’ The kid got knocked on the head.

“The father pulled the man out of the vehicle and, by that time, the child was bleeding. The beach patrol then arrested the father. They took him and threw him into the back of the van and they took him away.”

Ismael said the child was taken to a beachfront emergency room where her mother asked for an ambulance.

“Then I saw the vehicle bringing back the father, but he was still handcuffed. The crowd started beating the van and shouting, saying: ‘Take the father out.’

Ismael said the beach security left with the father and the child was taken to hospital.

“SAPS came and told the crowds to calm down and they would try to find out what happened. But there was a riot here.”

Police could not say whether the child was injured.

Protesters ‘tired of excuses’
IOL News 7 February 2015

Pretoria - Residents of Soshanguve extensions 9, 10, 12 and 13 are no longer willing to accept the municipality’s excuse of having no money when it comes to uplifting their area.

The community took to their main road on Friday and blocked it with rocks, burning tyres, and rotten produce to protest the lack of proper roads.

They stood back watching as the police tried to remove the rubble from the road.

A disgruntled community member, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were tired of constantly being neglected by the city.

“We have no roads and things are worse when it rains and we are forced to make our way through the mud with plastic bags over our shoes. We can’t access basic services. At funerals the hearse has to stop on the side of the road and the coffin gets carried to the relevant home because the roads are not passable. Undertakers don’t want to risk damage to their cars,” he said.

“There are no clinics or schools close by and as if that wasn’t bad enough we are chased by nyaope addicts,” said the resident.

Community members said the area had been neglected for 14 years.

Councillor for the area Siphiwe Montlha said the community was fed up after going through the right channels for the past three financial years to get roads. Montlha said their requests had been turned down numerous times and when a petition was submitted to the council the response upset residents.

Tshwane spokesman Selby Bokaba confirmed that George Matjila, MMC for roads and transport, held a meeting with community representatives on February 5 to discuss the issue relating to roads in extension 9, 10, 12 and 13.

“The resolution of the meeting was that the MMC will consult with the mayor to source funds for the requested roads and that developments would be communicated through the community representatives,” he said.

Montlha said: “The council told the community there just wasn’t enough money to build new roads, only enough to maintain existing roads. It is understandable that the community is angry. The situation really is that bad.

“The lack of roads impedes basic services like police being able to respond to their calls. They were unhappy with the response given at the meeting and so they blocked the roads.

“We are trying to calm the situation,” he said.

Montlha said the community was demanding a direct response from Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and the minister of roads and transport.

Break power monopoly before Eskom breaks us – Maimane
City Press 4 February 2015
TweetGovernment should allow other power producers to compete and end Eskom’s monopoly, says the DA.

“Let’s break this monopoly before Eskom breaks us, and allow independent power producers,” Democratic Alliance leader in Parliament Mmusi Maimane told party supporters in Johannesburg today.

The DA held a protest against rolling blackouts outside Eskom’s head office in Megawatt Park, Sunninghill.

President Jacob Zuma should scrap the nuclear power deal, said Maimane.

“Scrap the nuclear deal now… Zuma and his Cabinet are looking for pensions from this deal. It has nothing to do with the needs of South Africans right now.”

He called on Parliament to pass the Independent System and Market Operator Bill. The bill, if passed, would allow independent power producers to enter the electricity market.

Eskom implemented more stage one rolling blackouts today.

Students outraged at drying-up NSFAS funds
Mail & Guardian6 February 2015

The student representative council of TUT is demanding that government make a loan to international development banks to bail out indebted students.

TUT students leader Tsholofelo Modise says that if the government can bail out SAA then they can rescue students who are unfunded and in debt. (Gallo)

Pinky Phosa, the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training, has appealed to thousands of unfunded university students to return to their respective homes as a way of averting humanitarian crises and conflict on campuses.

During a committee session held at the volatile Soshanguve campus of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Thursday, Phosa posed some questions to the institution’s student representative council (SRC) about how it expected students who were under debt and who lacked funding to be absorbed into the university.

Student protest erupted at the township-based campus this week over insufficient funding by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

The SRC estimates over 20 000 returning students across the university’s six campuses have been excluded, a predicament compounded by NSFAS’s decision to cut allocations to the institution.

Thousands of students owe the institution fees because they weren’t funded in previous academic years and are now barred from registration.

Students at institutions including the Vaal University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg, the University of Venda and the Walter Sisulu University are also facing the same predicament.

“There’s no money, and you’re saying [the university must] take all of them. They are going to suffer. You’re making them suffer,” Phosa told the SRC leaders, largely directing her message to Tsholofelo Modise – president of the structure.

“How does the university use money it doesn’t have? One of the principles of accounting is that you don’t use money you don’t have.”
Phosa, who is representing the ruling ANC in Parliament, relayed how the committee recently went to a university in which members learnt that 13 students were sharing a single room.

She said it was both male and female students sleeping in one room, and barely had food. The parliamentarians learnt that some females fell pregnant and dropped out, she said.
“Is that what you want to see?” she asked Modise.

“The girls [could] submit themselves to prostitution ... to find money because there’s no money. Is that what you want? I want us to be practical, not emotional. It’s better they go home.”

“Those students that cannot be accepted, let them go home. They will be safe there. We don’t want our girls to be raped. If we say all must be absorbed, we must be practical here.”

Emotional blackmail
Speaking to the Mail & Guardian on the sidelines of the session, Modise dismissed Phosa’s advice that unfunded students should go home as “nonsense”.

“I’m not going to transmit that message [to the excluded students]. That is a non-starter. For a Member of Parliament who earns over R70 000 [a month] that is a luxury that she can afford to say.”

He said Phosa’s lecture to the SRC proposing that unfunded students face the spectre of poor accommodation, poverty, rape and prostitution was tantamount to emotional blackmail.
“Those things have been happening already. They’ve been in government for over 20 years and have done nothing about it, now she tells me I should feel guilt about it,” said Modise.
“Majority of the students that I’m leading in this university don’t have running water [in accommodation they rent around Soshanguve], they don’t have access to electricity, and they don’t have the basic comforts that people in the cities take for granted. Those are the students we are serving and we’re going to be true to them.”

“I’m not a decision-maker. I’m not in power. They are turning the levers of state, not me. I’m mandated by the students, and so I have a political and moral obligation to represent my students to the best of my ability.”

The portfolio committee sitting was almost abandoned when a group of chanting students stormed it, threatening to disrupt it if they were not listened to.

During the short-lived commotion, a student of this group introduced himself to the committee as Mxolisi Maisela and started delivering his impromptu oration.

“The money you’re expecting from us, we don’t have it.”

“All of us must be able to register. Our debts of last year must be cancelled. If you do not have answers, [higher education and training minister] Blade Nzimande must come here and tell us what must happen.” he said.
He told the meeting as chairperson of the Pan-Africanist Student Movement of Azania in Gauteng” “[I am] happy I’m being listened to for the first time.”

Police escorted this group out of the session.
Student debt has doubled
Belinda Bozzoli, member of the Democratic Alliance in the portfolio committee, cautioned universities against admitting unfunded and indebted students.

“I understand student debt [at this institution] has doubled in the past two years. You cant just brush aside sustainability of the university. The overall funding to universities per student has gone down. If they let everyone who owes, that’s the end of the university.”

Lourens van Staden, the university’s acting vice-chancellor, told the meeting that student debt now stood at almost R150-million.
“It is a dramatic increase. This is shocking.”
After the session Phosa reiterated to the M&G her advice to students to go home was a sensible solution. “All I’m advising is: let’s be practical,” she said.

“I want us to be practical and find practical solutions for nation building. Even in your own house when it is full and you force matters to have more people, there will be disorganisation in that house. There would be a crisis in terms of where do people sleep and eat.
“In this particular case ... students will find themselves without food and you’ll find 13 people sleeping in one room.” she restated.
“To me, that’s punishment. If you don’t have even a place where you can rest, study and write your assignments at night, that is a recipe for failure. Much as we’re concerned about the high drop-out rate at universities, it could be coming from situations where you’ve got students who don’t have accommodation.”
She urged students to “exercise patience” and apply for the next year. “This government means well, this government wants everybody to go through tertiary education. But then let’s take it one step at a time.”

Government must bail students out
Msulwa Daca, the chief executive of NSFAS, confirmed to the session that the scheme has decreased allocation to TUT this year. He said increased funding last year was due to special funding arrangements, which were no longer in place this year.

But Modise asked: “How do you explain someone moving funding from R633-million [to 475-million]? Over R158-million has been chopped in the last two months.”

“We actually need a total of R900-million of student funding to function as an institution. What are they giving us? They are giving us just more or less 50% of what we actually require.”

Modise called on the government to make a loan from one of the international development banks and bail students out. “When government doesn’t have money it has capacity to go and make loans.” he said.
“We’re saying the South African Airways (SAA) has been faltering in terms of financial performance for almost the entire period since the university mergers [in 2004]. Year in, year out they’ve been bailing them out.”

“What is different about us? Between SAA and the largest contact university [TUT] in the republic, which one has a greater social impact? These are questions that South Africans must begin to ask,” he said.
Modise said the government was just chasing a pipe dream if it hoped established firms would heed its call to help fund poor black students.
“You cannot come here and tell me that you still need to go and attract big business. They will never [come to the table]. They are comfortable putting money to previously advantaged institutions.”

SACP, ANC eThekwini split looms
IOL News 4 February 2015

On Tuesday, a group of 50 ANC supporters from KwaXimba marched and protested outside the ANCs provincial headquarters. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo
Durban - The bitter ANC eThekwini regional elective conference, which has seen fists fly, knives pulled and guns fired, is threatening to tear apart the party’s alliance with the SACP in the city.

The SACP in eThekwini on Tuesday said ANC leaders in the city were sidelining the party and had recently disrupted a Joe Slovo Memorial lecture which was scheduled to take place at Thokoza hostel near Greyville.

SACP district secretary Thabani Luthuli said party members were confronted by a marauding mob of ANC members outside the women’s hostel and were “violently prevented” from entering.

“These ANC branch officials said that they could not allow the SACP to hold the Joe Slovo Memorial, because it was not sanctioned by them. That alone made the SACP realise that there are people who have ascended to leadership positions in our structures and do not understand both the ANC and SACP,” Luthuli said.

“It is unthinkable that members of the ANC, let alone leadership at this particular time, (would) act against the SACP in that manner. It is a clear indication of ‘corruptreneurs’ and tenderpreneurs running amok within our organisation.

“It is not time for any of our organisations to build enemies, instead, we need more allies to be able to confront the current onslaught on our alliance and the government,” he said.

The latest incident has been linked to the increasingly bitter tussle for the powerful position of ANC chairman of the eThekwini region.

The position is being contested by the current mayor, James Nxumalo (also the chairman of the SACP in the province) and regional ANC treasurer and veteran councillor, Zandile Gumede.

The person who emerges as chairman at the elective conference is likely to become the next eThekwini mayor after the 2016 local government elections – and control the city’s R36 billion budget.

On Tuesday, a group of 50 ANC supporters from KwaXimba marched and protested outside the ANC’s provincial headquarters in Durban to voice their dismay at the allocation of 11 delegates to the conference that will decide the eThekwini region’s top leaders ahead of the local government elections next year.

The group was disheartened about where the delegates who were selected had come from.

Their meeting last year was suspended because of violence between factions supporting Nxumalo and Gumede.

Speaking to the Daily News on Tuesday, the ANC’s provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, said the matter would be investigated by the party’s provincial working committee (PWC).

“They are complaining about processes of their branch general meeting which was held some time ago… We have assured them that we will deal with their matter because it is still an internal matter within the organisation.

“We will give them space and listen to them and solve their concerns,” he said.

Zikalala said the delegates were deployed by the regional leadership.

The conference date had not yet been decided, he added, saying the date would be communicated to the ANC structures before being made public.

Asked if KwaXimba was the only unsettled branch, he said there had been no major issues elsewhere and that the process had been completed.

Luthuli said that the Joe Slovo lecture had nothing to do with the eThekwini regional conference.

He said it was shocking that some of the ANC members were chanting that they “now understand why the boers banned the SACP, because they don’t want us to eat at eThekwini; that’s why they don’t want mama (Gumede)”.

“These acts have demonstrated that there are elements penetrated in our organisation who now want to take the centre stage. These elements have no regard to the history of the alliance; the character of each alliance partner.

“The disruption of an event to commemorate the icon of South African struggle has been something unthinkable in the history of South Africa.

“The act itself has all the hallmarks of rubbishing the liberation struggle and all the sacrifices and work of our heroes,” he said.

MyCiTi drivers not back at work yet
Chelsea Geach (Business Report) 5 February 2015

Dozens of MyCiTi bus drivers went on strike at 2pm on Wednesday. Here they gather outside the Transpeninsula Investments depot in Green Point. Photo: David Ritchie
Cape Town - Striking MyCiTi bus drivers will not be back behind the wheel on Thursday. Around 50 drivers employed by operating company Transpeninsula Investments knocked off at work at 2pm on Wednesday and gathered at the bus depot in De Waterkant, peacefully singing and dancing through to the end of rush hour.

Drivers said they were striking because even though they paid membership fees to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), the union was not properly recognised by their employer, so they could not benefit from its protection.

The drivers’ other grievances, such as bad working conditions and poor salaries, would be addressed once their union was properly recognised, they said.

Driver Kervin Lingeveldt, who is also a shop steward for the unionised drivers, said he hoped commuters would support the drivers in their struggle.

“We apologise for the inconvenience, but people must know the pain of what we go through,” he said. “We work long hours, we have less than eight hours to go home and spend time with our families, but at the end of the day our pockets stay empty.”

Service was not badly disrupted, as buses ran at 30-minute intervals on affected routes, making rush hour slower, but not unbearable for commuters.

Lingeveldt said Transpeninsula was blocking Satawu’s organisational rights in a power play.

“They don’t want the union in because the union is powerful,” he said. “They have deducted R90 subscription fee every month for six months now, but the union remains unrecognised.”

Transpeninsula chief executive Ghaalid Behardien said his company had nothing to hide, and that the strike was a result of the union being greedy for members and their fees. Behardien said he had no problem with the drivers being unionised.

“We actually promote them belonging to a union. If you are able to belong to an organisation that can protect your rights, we are all for that.”

However, Behardien said, Satawu was demanding to be the only union Transpeninsula employees could belong to, because it wanted all their subscription fees.

“What Satawu wants is for everyone to belong to them. They want us to sign a recognition agreement that they are the only union here,” he said. “It’s all about the money.”

Behardien said Satawu had also made an unreasonable demand that there must be six shop stewards, with each entitled to 20 days additional paid leave so that they could attend to union affairs.

“In order to avert the strike and inconvenience all the passengers, we came to the table with seven days. They walked away from it,” he said. “I’m not the one who walked away from the negotiation table.”

But Lingeveldt said the frustrated drivers would continue to strike until the recognition had been signed.

“We are prepared to wait for management to come to the party,” he said. “The minute they sign the recognition, we will go back to work.”

Routes that continue to be affected are:

- 01 (Airport, Civic Centre)
- T01 (Dunoon, Table View, Civic Centre, Waterfront)
- 101 (Vredehoek, Gardens, Civic Centre)
- 102 (Salt River Rail, Walmer Estate, Civic Centre)
- 103 (Oranjezicht, Gardens, Civic Centre)
- 105 (Sea Point, Fresnaye, Civic Centre)
- 107 (Civic Centre, Camps Bay)
- 108 (Hangberg, Sea Point, Adderley)
- 108a (Civic Centre, Queens Beach)
- 109 (Hout Bay, Imizamo Yethu, Sea Point, Adderley)
- 110 (Table Mountain)

Rea Vaya buses still not operating
Business Report 4 February 2015

A Rea Vaya bus pulls out at the Orlando bus stop in Soweto, Johannesburg. File photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - Rea Vaya buses were still not operating in Johannesburg on Wednesday after drivers abandoned them on Monday, the operating company Piotrans said.

“We are still not operating,” said Piotrans general manager Dumisani Mntambo.

He said the drivers have not communicated their grievances to management.

He said management had sent a notice to them on Monday to return to work.

There was no response and on Tuesday, the company sent a final notice to them to return to work.

“No one came until after 8am today (Wednesday). Now they are coming in to make representations to management.”

Mntambo explained that because the drivers had not made any demands, there would not be any talks with them.

“Today, they will make representations to management on what happened on Monday, and why they should not be suspended,” he said.

Around 160 Rea Vaya drivers abandoned their buses on Monday without explanation.

Mntambo said the public would be informed later in the day on when Rea Vaya operations would resume.

Dion Makhura, regional chairman of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), which is representing the drivers, said it was demanding a meeting with the Department of Transport, as Piotrans falls under it.

“There are lots of issues, for now we not going to divulge the issues. The day we get the hearing, then we will divulge the issues,” he said.

“Piotrans, they don't want to meet anybody. They must give us a hearing so that the drivers can say what the issues are. The department of transport must come and facilitate a meeting.”

TUT calm despite protest
IOL News 4 February 2015

Activities continued as normal at the Tshwane University of Technology despite a protest.

Johannesburg -

Activities continued as normal at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) despite a protest on Wednesday morning, it said.

“There has been limited protest action early on Wednesday morning, the situation is calm,” spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said.

She said it was not clear what the protest was about, but that management was meeting student leaders during the day.

“I'm waiting for feedback on what the issues are. From what I understand NSFAS (the National Student Financial Aid Scheme) is one of the issues,” she said.

The SA Students Congress on Wednesday criticised university management for failing to help needy students.

“It is outrageously irresponsible for university management to provide students with no alternative than sending them home,” Gauteng deputy chairman Sthembiso Ndlovu said in a statement.

“Students are cancelling their academic courses due to outstanding fees and NSFAS budget cuts.”

Budget cuts at the university had a crippling effect on poor students, he said.

In September the university was forced to close some of its campuses when protests about student funding became violent. The protests lasted almost three weeks and 18 cars were torched.

Mohlakeng protesters: The president is failing us
Thuletho Zwane (Mail & Guardian) 5 February 2015

Mohlakeng residents say their march for improved service delivery was peaceful, and claim the mayor instructed police to shoot rubber bullets at them.

The service delivery protests in Mohlakeng come in the wake of similar protests in Majakaneng, in the North West, and Malamulele, in Limpopo. (Gallo)
What started as a peaceful march by the Mohlakeng community for the improved delivery of services on the West Rand on Wednesday morning ended in violent protests, after police shot rubber bullets and teargas at marchers.

The local ANC-controlled municipality said later the march had been a political ploy by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was seeking votes ahead of the local government elections in 2016.

Community members burned down the municipality office, library, maternity clinic, home affairs building and the mayor’s private residence and cars.

“The police were shooting the people, the same police who escorted us from Mohlakeng to town,” said David Kolo, an ANC member living in Mohlakeng.

“They shot us before we handed over the memorandum. We are tired of this bullshit.”

The memorandum of demands Kolo was referring to was drafted by the EFF and addressed to Sylvia Thebenare, the executive mayor of Randfontein local municipality. The demands included the abolishment of high rates and taxes, the installation of prepaid electricity and water meters, the end of poor service delivery and corruption, and a demand for better jobs.

The memorandum also makes reference to a KPMG auditor’s report which alleges that tenders were given to companies owned by “girlfriends and boyfriends” of the local municipality leaders.

It also questioned why the speaker Mzi Khumalo had expensive new cars every three months, and asked why the mayor’s daughter had been given a municipal vehicle to drive – in which she was involved in an accident.

‘Shoot these dogs’
In an interview with the Mail & Guardian, one community member – who would only refer to himself as Ranger out of fear of being intimidated – said they heard that Thebenare had instructed the police to shoot at the marchers to stop them from protesting and handing over the memorandum.

Another community member who lives in Thebenare’s street said community members burned down Thebenare’s house after the shooting because they heard that she had directed the police to shoot at them.
“She [Thebenare] said bulaya dintja tse [shoot these dogs] and that’s why we burned down her house and those cars,” she said.

However, the West Rand district mayor Mpho Nawa told journalists that the march and the burning down of buildings and Thebenare’s property had been “politically motivated”.

“The people who burned the mayor’s house are EFF, so we get a sense that this thing is political. If it was about service delivery then why burn buildings?” said Nawa.

“We are not shifting the blame. We are not saying the issues raised are not genuine. But some of the issues raised were allegations against the mayor,” he said.

Nawa said the EFF had led the march and this made them responsible for the violent protest.

The MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane reiterated the sentiment, “We condemn the actions of the EFF. It is the EFF that planned the march and gave us the memorandum. We are going to force them to take responsibility for their actions and make sure they pay.”

EFF: Bring it on
EFF Gauteng responded to the allegations in a statement, saying that they “are aware the police are colluding with the ANC in a bid to silence the EFF in West Rand”.

“The community of Randfontein has for years been raising serious issues with no success ... we want to place on the record that no amount of police brutality and victimisation of the masses will silence the voice of the poor and hungry,” said EFF Gauteng spokesperson Ntobeng Ntobeng.

Ntobeng said they are aware the of a report that said the EFF members responsible for the protest march will have charges pressed against them, “and we say bring it on”.

“We have given them [Randfontein municipality] seven days to respond and failure to respond [means] we will be left with no choice but to employ more radical action,” said Ntobeng.

According to Capson, a community leader and local school teacher who does not wish to be identified, the march was not politically motivated.

“Yes, the EFF planned it [the march] but we said this was a community issue. They [the local municipality] take our children who went to universities, technikons and FET colleges and place them in expanded public works programmes so that they fill potholes and build roads, instead of being given proper jobs in the municipality.

“What they do is they take their own people and give them positions. They give their own friends tenders.”

The president is failing the people
Capson said he was an umKhonto weSizwe veteran, a member of the South African Communist Party and ANC supporter.

“But the president is failing the people. We are staunch supporters of the ANC but he just comes here and smiles and sings umshini wami.”

“What they are doing is not fair. This is a very responsible community. We have never protested or incited violence. In this section we said the looters will not loot the shops owned by foreigners. We are responsible citizens.”

“But look, we don’t have houses, we still live in shacks. We talked to the mayor, we even talked to Nawa. We have been talking to Nawa since 1999,” said Capson.

Ranger said that if the community issues were not addressed then the vandalism of property would still continue.

“We’re going to continue because they don’t take us seriously. We were going to give them the memorandum but they shot at us. The municipality is abusing us. They are taking our money.

“We must burn everything. We will burn the cars, we will burn everything.”

Ranger told the M&G that the protests were not about which party people supported.

“We are doing this because we are concerned.”

EFF members burnt municipal property – Mamabolo
City Press 4 February 2015

EFF members set fire to municipal buildings during a protest in Mohlakeng, outside Randfontein, says Gauteng co-operative governance and human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

“The EFF members went on a rampage and burnt down municipal properties after blockading all roads and entrances into the area, preventing the community to go to work,” said Mamabolo today.

Mayor Sylvia Thebenare’s house and car, the library, municipal offices and hall were among the properties burnt.

Mamabolo said protesters looted shops owned by foreign nationals. He condemned the violence.

“This is a cowardly act and a total disregard for our democracy. In fact the EFF is saying away with democracy and advocating for a chaotic society characterised by violence, civil strife and general disorder.”

Residents embarked on a service delivery protest today, barricading roads and burning tyres.

Mamabolo said the Economic Freedom Fighters were granted permission to march, but did not deliver a memorandum to anyone.

The EFF’s West Rand regional chairperson, Christina Mabala, said local African National Congress members started the fires.

“Some people within the ANC decided to use the opportunity to burn properties and loot. We as the EFF distance ourselves from the violent acts and damage to property,” she said.

Mabala said the EFF organised a march from Mohlakeng township to Randfontein to hand a memorandum of grievances to Thebenare.

Police fired rubber bullets at the marchers after they stopped next to the traffic department to regroup, she said.

“We also received calls that people were burning buildings in the township after police fired rubber bullets at those who decided to turn back.

“Mamabolo was not there… he should stop making false accusations against the EFF.”

The marchers handed a memorandum to municipal officials, said Mabala.

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