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South African Protest News 28 August - 20 October 2015 (2015) South African Protest News 28 August - 20 October 2015.  : -.

More police arrests as student protests intensify
SABC News 20 October 2015

Police have arrested more students at the University of Cape Town (UCT) as they occupy one of the entrances to the upper campus. A large police contingent has been deployed to monitor the situation at the university.

UCT management has confirmed that all three entrances to the institution are inaccessible due to the student protest action. They include the Upper, Middle and Lower Campuses.

Defiant students say they will use their bodies as barricades after police and fire service officials removed burning tyres on the road. The student's no-fee increase campaign is now entering its second day.

Classes were suspended on Monday and the institution obtained a court interdict prohibiting students from occupying some of its buildings. At least 20 students were also arrested overnight for defying the court order, and have since been released on a warning.

The development at UCT comes on the back of a surge in countrywide student protests over fee increases. The first to go on a protest action was Wits University in Johannesburg, last week, protesting against a proposed 10.5% fee hike by the university. The institution has since suspended the increases.

On Tuesday, Wits students moved their fee protest to the Education Faculty on the Wits West campus.

Joining in on the protest action elsewhere has been the University of Fort Hare, where scores of students at the Eastern Cape campus are marching. Fort Hare students allege that the management is proposing an increase between 10-15% which they can't afford.

Mabizela will put forward the grievances of the students and also negotiate the issue of high fees.

However, the management says the matter hasn't been finalised yet. The SRC will meet with the institution's management this afternoon.

In Stellenbosch, management is expected to meet with protesting students shortly. The students gathered outside the administration building this morning to hand over a memorandum of grievances as part of their no-fee increase campaign.

Students say they are not intimidated by an interdict obtained by the institution preventing them from protesting on campus.

In Grahamstown, Rhodes University students continue with their protest. Vice Chancellor at the university, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, is expected to attend a meeting with the Higher Education Minister along with other Vice Chancellors from other institutions to discuss the national student protest.

Rhodes University Spokesperson, Catherine Deiner, says Mabizela will put forward the grievances of the students and also negotiate the issue of high fees.

Meanwhile, protesting student doctors from the medical faculty on the Wits campus are adamant that their activities are not hindering the essential medical services offered at the neighbouring Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.

As protesters' numbers continue to swell, the National Civic Alliance has come out to say it supports the plight of the students at Wits.

Protesters occupy Shoprite, demand lower bread price
News 24 20 October 2015

Cape Town - Protesters occupied Shoprite in Khayelitsha Mall on Tuesday morning, demanding a reduction in the price of bread, reported GroundUp.

The Shoprite store was closed during the occupation.

A witness told GroundUp that the protesters were eventually escorted out of the store.

Private security guards in bulletproof vests and carrying rifles were patrolling the area.

The protesters came together under the social media hashtag #ThePriceOfBreadMustFall.

They have expressed solidarity with protesters demanding lower university fees who are using the hashtag #FeesMustFall.

Earlier on Tuesday, the photo below was being circulated on social media.

Residents protest against smart meters
Standerton Adverts 20 October 2015

This comes after the Kosmospark and Florapark residents called on the municipality to remove the newly installed meters

The community takes a stand against the installation of smart meters on 19 October.
The community takes a stand against the installation of smart meters on 19 October. The community embarked on a protest against the installation of smart meters yesterday.

This came after the Kosmospark and Florapark residents called on the Lekwa Municipality to remove the newly installed meters.

They said they are spending more money on electricity because of the smart meters.

Business owners also came out in their numbers in support of the march.

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) organised the march together with the Standerton Taxi Association and other locally based organisations.

The angry residents do not want the smart meters, saying they were not consulted.

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East Rand residents protest over scourge of crime
Springs Advertiser 20 October 2015

A violent protest erupted today at eGugulethu informal settlement near Springs, on the East Rand, resulting in police firing rubber bullets at the angry crowd.

The furious residents gathered at the corner of Welgedacht and Enstrada roads at about noon and the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) along with police were called in to quell the protest, Springs Advertiser reported.

The residents blockaded the roads with rocks and burnt tyres. EMPD spokesperson Clifford Shongwe said he heard residents complaining that police don’t assist them when they report cases.

“It seems as though the protest is due to residents being tired of criminal activities taking place in this area, and them claiming that nothing is being done to help them,” he said.

“Our officers responded to the scene as they saw the roads being barricaded. They tried to address the crowd, but the residents turned violent and started attacking the officers, throwing rocks at them. Officers had to fire rubber bullets at the crowd to disperse them,” Shongwe added.

According to one of the residents, the community’s anger was sparked after a woman, who had just arrived from the Eastern Cape, was attacked and robbed by criminals in the early hours of the morning.

“The woman screamed and her son ran out to help his mother. The thugs disappeared and moments later they came back and shot the boy, who died on the scene. The mother and sister of the boy were injured and taken to the Far East Rand Hospital for treatment.

“We are not safe here and our community is tired of crime as a lot of things happen in this area, but the police do nothing to help us,” said the concerned resident.

Another resident said: “Police say that they patrol this area but we do not see them. The community is tired of living in fear of their lives because of criminals”.

Shongwe said officers are monitoring the scene. Three arrests have been made and cases of public violence have been opened at the Springs Police Station.

Fees protests hit Rhodes University
Mail & Guardian 19 October 2015

Rhodes University has suspended classes as students started protesting against fee hikes, according to reports on Monday.

The Daily Dispatch reported that a group of about 100 students, some armed with sticks, turned people away from the Eastern Cape campus on Monday morning.

eNCA reported that students had barricaded entrances with burning tyres.

“Students are protesting about the minimum initial payment, which means students are required to pay 50% of the fees. This means if students live in res, they will be required to pay up to R45 000,” Rhodes SRC president Zikisa Maqubela told the broadcaster.
“We cannot pay so much, we just don’t have the money.”

Vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said it had been decided to suspend all academic activities planned for Monday, the Daily Dispatch reported.

On social networking site Facebook, a message was doing the rounds threatening a total shut-down of the campus.

But not all students were supportive, with some complaining that they needed to focus on exams happening in two weeks. One woman said her bedroom window was broken by protesters during the night.

The protests came after Wits University in Johannesburg this weekend suspended an increase in fees pending the outcome of negotiations, after being hit by protests that halted academic work.

Also on Monday morning, entrances were barricaded to the University of Cape Town with rocks, benches and dustbins. – News24

Cosas members attack Germiston school
IOL News 16 October 2015

Johannesburg - Chaos broke out at Germiston High School on Friday when about 200 members of the Congress of South African Students movement (Cosas) stormed the school throwing stones and vandalising the premises.

The action was triggered after three leaders of the organisation were chased off the school premises by the principal when they arrived unannounced to hand over a memorandum. It is unclear exactly what the pupils are demanding.

Six vehicles belonging to staff were allegedly damaged, while pupils and teachers locked themselves inside classrooms during the incident.

Police spokesman Manaka Raphulu said the group of 200 forced their way onto the property when their leaders were chased out of the school.

“Their leaders were chased out as correct protocol wasn’t followed,” said Raphulu.

He couldn’t confirm whether the three members who were arrested would be released in the care of their parents or spend the night in custody. They trio face a public violence charge.

They are aged between 16 and 17 years old.

On Friday night Cosas provincial chairperson Nkhobo Khomongoe called for the immediate release of the pupils saying “now is a very crucial time for their studies”.

He maintained that all students had a right to belong to a student movement.

He said: “Therefore, it was wrong of the school principal to refuse Cosas leaders of that region to launch in that school.”

It is understood Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi held a meeting on Friday night with the organisation’s leaders regarding the issue. Lesufi had recently announced that serious actions would be taken against those who disturb learning and teaching at schools.

Wits students march in Braamfontein
IOL News 19 October 2015

Johannesburg - Protesting Witwatersrand University students took to the streets of Braamfontein on Monday to intensify their demand against the proposed 2016 tuition fee increase.

They marched peacefully, singing revolutionary songs, as they made their way through Braamfontein’s streets ahead of a special assembly where the Wits council was expected to report back to students on its way forward.

Led by leaders from most political formations at Wits, students held sticks high in the air and screamed: “No to fee increase!”

Many wore Progressive Youth Association (PYA) and EFF red regalia. Medical students donned their uniforms and carried stethoscopes around their necks.

The students were protesting against increased 2016 tuition fees, and lectures at the university remained suspended on Monday as students awaited a response on the 2016 tuition fee increase from the council.

Late last week students protested for three days. The students began protesting by shutting down the Braamfontein campus. They demanded that vice chancellor Adam Habib respond to their demand of no fee increase, arguing that the proposed 10.5 percent increase was not affordable.

On Friday, Habib and members of the executive council were surrounded by protesters and locked in at Senate House until Saturday morning. The students would not back down and demanded that top management hold a meeting and accede to their demand.

Eventually, an agreement was signed on Saturday between the students and the council, led by its chairperson Dr Randall Carolissen.

The parties agreed to suspend the 10.5 percent proposed tuition fee increase for 2016 and that the negotiations on fees start anew.

They agreed that there would be no disciplinary action against students and workers who participated in the protests.

The council, which held a meeting on Sunday, was expected to report back to students at midday on Monday.

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has also called an urgent media briefing for Monday afternoon where he will respond to the students’ demands.

Reports of two hurt as UCT shuts down
IOL News 19 October 2015

Cape Town - Two students have reportedly been injured after a man drove through a barricade set up by protesters at the University of Cape Town, members of the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement have said.

On Monday RMF members took to social media to state that a “white man” had rode over two of the protesting students at UCT, and an ambulance had been called in to assess the situation.

“Reports coming in that some white man drove through one of the barricades causing an accident. Two are injured,” tweeted the movement.

“An ambulance is on its way to UCT. One of the injured individuals is a young woman [and] it is suspected that her leg is broken,” read another tweet.

The group also tweeted a photo of the man’s car number plate.

It was later reported that one of the injured had been taken to hospital.

Students have blocked off to the university’s three campuses to protest increased fees as well the outsourcing of services at the various campuses.

Similar protests were ongoing across the country with the University of Witwatersrand having led the way and institutions such as Rhodes University and Fort Hare following suit.

On Monday UCT announced it was suspending all operations and activities until further notice due to the protest action.

“All lectures, academic and other operations on upper campus, middle and lower campus at the University of Cape Town have been suspended for today,” said UCT spokesperson Gerda Kruger, adding that UCT’s Hiddingh campus, Health Sciences campus, and the Graduate School of Business would remain open.

“The decision to do so was taken after various access roads to the university were blocked by protesters. This prevented staff and students from getting to their classes and work spaces”.

Kruger said UCT viewed the protest action as “a threat to the safety of staff and students” and that the decision to suspend all operations would allow the institution to “do the work to bring the university back to safety and normal operation”.

Kruger added that the protest action was unacceptable and unlawful.

“The actions of the protesters are de facto preventing the business of the institution to continue. Their actions prevent others from exercising their right to come and learn,” she said, adding that the university had a deep respect for protesting and had not charged any student for doing so.

However, she said, “interfering with the rights of others, and the right of the institution to continue with its normal academic functioning, is simply not acceptable”.

Kruger said the acting vice chancellor Professor Francis Petersen was engaging with students in order to return the university to its normal operations.

In response to the nationwide protests, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has called an urgent media briefing for Monday afternoon where he will respond to the students’ demands.

UCT protesters disrupt traffic and classes
IOL News 19 October 2015

Students blocked entrances to the UCT's three campuses, to protest increased fees.
Cape Town - Small groups of students at the University of Cape Town disrupted traffic on the M3 and classes at the university on Monday.

Students blocked entrances to the university’s three campuses, to protest increased fees and the university management’s taking action on behalf of students.

A similar protest was also planned for Stellenbosch University on Monday morning.

At UCT a student on a motorcycle was pushed over at the middle campus entrance on Woolsack Drive and parents were forced to drop off their children on the side of the M3 as cars trying to enter the Upper Campus were prevented from entering the university’s grounds.

According to a pamphlet distributed by the protesters, believed to be of the South African Students Congress, the blockades were part of a Sasco drive for free education. Repeated attempts to reach Sasco organisers failed on Monday morning.

However, according to the pamphlet, the protesters were demanding an “emergency” meeting with the university’s management to work out what it should cost working class students to attend UCT.

“The management of UCT has repeatedly used a pretend concern for the fees of black working class students to justify its refusal to pay its workers a living wage,” the pamphlet continued.

“Yet, at the same time, the poorest UCT student (sic) has to pay out of their own pocket to attend university,” it said.

“Raising fees raises the debt that funded students will have to pay back. UCT has repeatedly refused to respond to student, worker and union demands for an end to outsourcing.

“Let’s end this practice of UCT management doing things on our behalf,” it said.

In a letter to the media on Monday in anticipation of the demonstration which he believed would only be held on Tuesday, acting vice chancellor Professor Charles Petersen pointed out that the government had only increased its support for the university with its block grant by 3% a year, while the university’s average costs, largely due to inflation including salary increases, have increased by 7% to 8%.

“The recent student demonstrations nationwide are of concern to us all,” he said.

“Most times the protest actions are within the parameters of the law as protestors exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression, whilst respecting the rights of others.

“At some campuses however, we have seen unacceptable and illegal behaviour on the part of individuals or groups that have interfered with university business. Such actions infringe on the rights of others who wish to continue with their work.

“While the University of Cape Town will always protect anyone’s right to lawful protest, we also value and protect the rights of those who do not participate or who hold different views.”

He outlined details of the university’s fees structure and what the university was doing to help poor students.

“We are committed to ensuring that our fees are never an obstacle to poorer students. We have achieved this through allocating about 12% (R125 million) of all the fees we raise to topping up the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) allocation.

He added that if the fees were lower, there would be significantly less available for financial aid.

Fear grips female students at UCT
IOL News 16 October 2015

Cape Town - UCT students at Hiddingh Campus have raised concerns about their safety, saying they fear being sexually harassed by other students.

About 100 students, most of them female, marched on campus on Thursday. They called for the university to act and be strict on sexual harassment cases at the institution.

The protest was sparked by an incident in which a first-year student was allegedly sexually harassed in a bathroom by a male student on October 5.

Since then, a number of students have come forward with similar complaints, said the female student, who did not want to be named.

UCT student Jasmin Valcarcel said their protest was to put pressure on the university to take the matter of sexual harassment more seriously.

“It doesn’t look like they are taking these matters seriously. The victimised girl has gone to all the right people, who are supposed to be dealing with these matters, but it seems like nothing has been done. No discipline has happened,” she said.

“We are definitely concerned about our safety. All girls are now living in fear. This is a small campus and we all know and trusted each other before this incident happened.”

The victim’s friend, who also did not want to be named, said the student was currently not psychologically stable, and is not able to attend classes due to her ordeal and “knowing that the guy is roaming free and she has to watch her back”.

The protesters chanted “Wathint’abafazi, wathint’imbokodo (You strike a woman, you strike a rock)” and sang Struggle songs denouncing violence against women.

UCT spokesperson Patricia Lucas said a sexual harassment complaint was registered with the Discrimination and Harassment Office (Discho) on October 6.

She said on the same day the Discho legal adviser and case co-ordinator who assisted the complainant referred the matter to the University Student Disciplinary Tribunal (USDT).

“Disciplinary charges are processed and administered by the USDT; Discho assists with medical/counselling referrals, support and advice.

“All disciplinary matters regarding students and staff at UCT are treated confidentially, and the university will provide no further information on this case.

“However, the complainant has been briefed on the development of the disciplinary action,” said Lucas.

Twitter support for #FeesMustFall
IOL News 19 October 2015

Students blocked entrances to the UCT's three campuses, to protest increased fees.
Inspired by the #WitsFeesMustFall campaign, students at UCT, Rhodes and Stellenbosch have taken up the battle against planned fee increases.

According to reports, classes were suspended at Rhodes University on Monday morning after students blocked access roads to the university.

Small groups of students at the University of Cape Town also blocked entrances to the university’s three campuses, to protest for an end to “exclusionary” fee increases and the university management’s taking action on behalf of students.

A similar protest was also planned for Stellenbosch University on Monday morning.

All Wits campuses remained closed.

Twitter has erupted with support for the #FeesMustFall campaign.

Fee protests shut down universities
IOL News 19 October 2015

Cape Town - Students are protesting againt fee hikes at universities across the country, following last week’s #Witsfeesmustfall campaign.

According to reports, classes have been suspended at Rhodes University in Grahamstown after students blocked access roads to the university.

University of Cape Town students are also set to protest for an end to “exclusionary” fee increases at the university. Roads around the campus have also been blocked.

Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) – the movement which effectively sparked the removal of Cecil John Rhodes’s statue from UCT – said it would lead Monday’s protest at the campus.

According to unconfirmed reports, protests are also set to take place at Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape, Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria.

Monday's action follows protests at Wits University, where students shut down the entire campus last week, demanding that a tuition fees hike for 2016 be suspended. Students had taken issue with a proposal by the Wits council to increase fees by 10.5 percent and blockaded the university entrance, effectively cancelling all lectures.

Wits vice chancellor Adam Habib was forced to leave the Higher Education Summit in Durban to attend to the students’ demands on Friday.

All Wits campuses remained closed on Monday with students and the Wits Council to meet at noon.

MPs commend Wits negotiations
IOL News 18 October 2015

Parliament – Parliament’s higher education and training portfolio committee on Sunday lauded both management and students at Wits University for the manner in which they are handling their disagreements over the proposed fee hikes.

“This essentially provides an example of how disputes should be handled on campuses,” committee chairwoman Yvonne Phosa said in a statement.

“We’d like to see the students exercising their democratic rights to voice their grievances in a responsible and peaceful manner. At the same time, we’d like to see the management speedily engaging with students and providing a platform through which their voices can be raised,” she said.

The Wits Council on Saturday signed an agreement with the Students’ Representative Council suspending the proposed 10.5 percent hike in fees next year, and opened the door for renewed negotiations on the matter. Students protested for three days against the increase and classes were suspended.

In her statement on Sunday, Phosa also commended the department for successfully staging the second higher education summit, which was concluded in Durban on Saturday.

The three-day summit provided a platform for a wide range of delegates to discuss pertinent issues in higher education – including funding and transformation – and to work towards identifying sustainable solutions for these.

The committee attended the summit and this afforded MPs an opportunity to gain insights on the extent of the problems in the sector and also provided a gauge on current interventions, as well as a forecast on longer term solutions, Phosa said.

“As a committee, we were enriched by the deliberations that took place over the three days. This will certainly aid our oversight work going forward. We will be able to interact with management at universities and TVET colleges [Technical Vocational Education and Training] being fully informed by virtue of having a full picture of the current challenges as presented directly by the various stakeholders, which crucially included the students.

“We will continue keeping a close eye on the implementation of the various resolutions in our role of holding the department and its entities accountable,” said Phosa.

Wits prof denies being held hostage
IOL News 18 October 2015

Johannesburg - Wits University principal and vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib says media reports that he was held hostage are nonsense and “completely wrong”.

Habib left a high stakes education gathering in Durban to attend to the demands of his students on campus and was never held hostage on Friday, contrary to media reports, he says.

“I sat down because I was tired and wanted to eat,” he says.

The singing that went on around him – as he sat munching on nuts and each time he went to the loo – he ascribes to being “part and parcel of social protest”.

He says he was treated with respect, had his phone with him and could have walked out at any time he wished: “I took a calculated guess and decided to stay.”

But he blames some among the student leadership who gave the impression that he was kept at the hall against his better judgement.

Shirona Patel concurred with Habib that he had enough security detail around him not to have felt threatened.

Outgoing SRC president Sharee Kalla says at no point was Habib threatened and believes the student population should be commended for the manner in which they carried themselves on the day.

Before the meeting with Habib, there had been instances where protesting students were bumped by cars and some were pointed at with a firearm by disgruntled white students, she says.

But she insists none of the Exco members who attended the late evening meeting with the students was held against their wishes.

Both Habib and Dr Randall Carolissen, chairman of the Wits council, flew back from the higher education conference on transformation convened by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande to address the concerns of the students regarding the proposed fee increases next year.

The protesting students took umbrage at Habib’s late arrival from Durban and insisted he stay with them at the Great Hall until Carolissen came to address their concerns over fees.

Wits suspended the fee increase after the overnight protests at its Braamfontein campus. The students began their protests on Wednesday and by Friday the institution had taken the decision to suspend classes. A statement from the university read: “The university will officially be closed on Monday, October 19, to allow council to report to a University Assembly.

“This includes the suspension of all university activities, including lectures, exams, assessments and practicals, etc, and will affect all students and staff on all campuses, including the Medical School and affiliated hospitals.”

The situation climaxed on Friday when the students summoned Habib to the Great Hall, where he was made to sit on the floor with the deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Crouch alongside student leaders – Mcebo Dlamini among them.

Nzimande had earlier in the week condemned the violence that often accompanied student protests in his opening address at the Durban conference.

Nzimande was not immediately available to speak but ministerial spokesman Khaye Nkwanyana said: “We condemn this practice. It is uncalled for. Students can strike but not resort to such levels.

“It’s a bad precedent. We encourage protest but it must have some responsibility in it.”

Among the decisions of the summit to be published would be the resolution of student demands, Nkwanyana said.

But the Wits statement agreed to follows “an intense and protracted engagement between protesting students and members of the executive committee of council”.

It promised that “there will be no disciplinary action taken against students or workers who participated in the protest, and no worker will face dismissal as a result of their participation in the protest”.

Wits suspends 10.5% fee hike
IOL News 17 October 2015

Johannesburg - The University of the Witwatersrand has suspended its proposed 10.5 percent increase in student fees for next year and signed an agreement with students for new negotiations in this regard, the university said on Saturday.

“Following an intense and protracted engagement between protesting students and members of the executive committee of council, it was agreed that the university will suspend the decision on all fee increments made for 2016. There will be no fee increments until negotiations reach an agreement,” Wits said in a statement on its official website.

“The negotiations pertaining to fee increments will resume anew. In the eventuality of negotiations breaking down, the university will not revert to its initial decision. A new framework for negotiations will be jointly agreed upon in which any final decision of council on this matter will be presented to a university assembly.

“There will be no disciplinary action taken against students or workers who participated in the protest, and no worker will face dismissal as a result of their participation in the protest. The exco of council will advance the position of the students for a no-fee increase at council,” it said.

The university would officially be closed on Monday to allow the council to report to a university assembly. This included the suspension of all university activities, including lectures, examinations, assessments, and practicals, and would affect all students and staff on all campuses, including the medical school and affiliated hospitals.

The agreement was signed by the chair of the Wits Council Dr Randall Carolissen and outgoing Students’ Representative Council president Shaeera Kalla.

“A full council meeting will be called tomorrow, Sunday, 18 October 2015 to deliberate on these matters. Council will report to students at noon on Monday, 19 October 2015,” the university said.

Wits students have been protesting against the 10.5 percent hike for three days and lectures were suspended.

Habib held hostage by students
IOL News 17 October 2015

Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib speaks to student leaders during the protest over a 10.5 percent fee hike. Picture: Paballo Thekiso

Johannesburg - ‘Baby, I’m going to be late tonight” – it’s what angry Wits University students instructed the institution’s vice-chancellor to tell his wife when they allowed him a second phone call, after surrounding and prohibiting him from leaving Senate House on Friday night.

Hundreds of protesting students vowed to stay the night, with Professor Adam Habib “detained” alongside them, till executive council chairman Dr Randall Carolissen arrived on campus to address them over a disputed fee hike that brought the university to a standstill for three days this week.

Earlier in the afternoon the protesting students had instructed Habib to call Carolissen on speaker phone in front of them to tell him to convene a meeting last night.

Habib and Carolissen had both been at the higher education conference on transformation in Durban. While Carolissen remained in Durban, Habib flew back to Joburg, but his “late” arrival angered the students. As he arrived the students encircled him, separating him from university security that had accompanied him into Senate House.

“Voetsek,” they shouted. “He made us wait for him the whole week. Now he will wait,” they vowed.

Some students carried placards that declared: “Dear Adam Habib. Application for dictatorship successful.” Others described the VC as “Adolf Habib” and expressed: “Blade Nzimande. Adam Habib. Homo Naledi. No difference.”

Habib first stood on a planter so he could be seen over the crowd that surged toward him. He told student leaders Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and Shaeera Kalla he did not have the power to grant their demands to stop the 10.5 percent fee hike and end the ban on students writing exams if they owed a high percentage of their fees.

“Law doesn’t give me the authority,” he said, explaining the university’s council made those decisions. When one angry student asked why he had come in the first place, he answered: “I come to respect you.”

The students were not there to negotiate. A chant of “Fire Habib!” rose from the crowd before they summoned Habib and seated him on the floor in the middle of the sea of students.

Deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Crouch, who was already in the hall, was also made to sit on the floor with Habib. Mcebo Dlamini, the former SRC president later allowed Habib a quick private phone call to his wife, warning the the vice-chancellor that it would be a long night.

After sunset, Carolissen did arrive. He addressed students saying that while he acknowledged the students’ financial difficulties and their right to protest, university staff and other students could not be held ransom. The students dismissed his comments, breaking out in protest songs.

Odwa Abraham, a third-year post-graduate law student, said he had paid R103 000 in university fees. “My bursary can’t pay so much money. I have to pay R30 000. Most of us, especially black children, are the first to come to university and having to go home and face the family – it’s very sad. We must chant and study at the same time.”

Students accused management of marginalising black students by increasing the fees and said it was detrimental to the poor. “It is painful to be a black child in South Africa, it is worse if you are poor and are from the rural areas,” said Dlamini. He said even if those poor students scored high academically, they were often rejected when they applied to tertiary institutions.

“We continue with the struggle to educate black people. Wits must lead society but they neglect us. Our families look up to us to change this poverty cycle,” Dlamini said.

Chaos at #WitsFeesWillFall protest
IOL News 19 October 2015

Johannesburg - Chaos erupted at Wits university on Friday night shortly before a meeting between vice chancellor Adam Habib, chairman of the university council Randall Carolissen and the students.

Students rushed frantically after the university's security personnel threw teargas at them. Some students were forced to splash their faces with water. Paramedics also attended to a student who had broken his leg in the scuffle and to another who collapsed outside.

Shortly afterwards students barricaded doors leading to the Senate house with chairs and tables.

Habib sat on cushions on the floor in the packed Senate House.

Students said their stance remained the same - they wanted fees decreased.

Several attempts to address them proved futile. By 8pm the students said they were not giving up adding they were dealing with intellectual thugs and to think the same way.

Child porn petition goes online
IOL News 14 October 2015

Kimberly - A petition calling for convicted Kimberley child pornographer and rapist, Rudolph Coetzee, to be kept in prison “until the day he dies” has gone online.

The petition, entitled “24 Years Not Enough for Child Rapist”, was started by the mother of one of Coetzee’s victims, an eight-year-old boy.

Coetzee, a Kimberley photographer, was sentenced to an effective 24 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of five counts of rape, 22 counts of using children in the production of child pornography, 16 counts of sexual assault and two counts of attempted rape.

The crimes involved local boys and girls aged between three and 12 years.

The petition had, by Tuesday, received 243 signatures from people not only from Kimberley and surrounds but also across South Africa and even abroad.

The petition, to be handed to the Departments of Justice and Correctional Services, reads as follows:

As a parent I am struggling to come to terms with the brutal and premeditated sexual abuse of my son. My pressing concern is that the sentence handed down to Coetzee is way too lenient for the hideous crime he committed.

The degree of torture, brutality meted to my son during the time of the abuse that he suffered at the hands of this monster is nothing short of sewage, callous and inhuman. The revelation by my son during the court case makes living another day unbearable for me and my family.

The nature and circumstances of the offence have induced a serious outrage and fear in the whole community as well.

We, the family of an innocent eight-year-old boy, pray that you will consider our plea and assist in keeping this monster behind bars for the rest of his life.

We, the undersigned call on the Minister of Justice and Correctional Service to ensure that this monster Rudolph Coetzee is kept in prison until the day he dies in jail.

This monster pleaded guilty to five charges of rape, twenty-two charges of using children in the production of child pornography, sixteen charges of sexual assault and two charges of attempted rape.

Coetzee penetrated a boy anally with his finger (rape), the boy penetrating Coetzee’s mouth with his (the child’s) penis (rape), penetrating a boy’s mouth with his (Coetzee’s) penis (rape), virginally penetrated a girl (rape), and placed his penis between the buttocks of a boy (rape). Four boys were involved in the sexual assault charges and one boy was involved in the two attempted rape charges.

He showed no remorse what so ever and the reality is that people like him is not rehablitatable and will most definitely come for his accusers once released prematurely.

Our plea is that he must remain behind bars for his whole natural life. We are aware that his mother has filed a request for mitigation of sentence. Our request is therefore also that such a request must not be granted.

We the undersigned citizens of the Northern Cape hereby petition the department of Justice and Correctional Services not to grant Coetzee any reduction on the 24 years sentence and instead plead for revision of the sentence and impose a much harsher sentence of life sentence for every abuse case of seven children affected.

Various comments were also included by signatories of the petition.

“The problem will not improve until the message is sent to offenders that it will not be tolerated,” one signatory said.

“There is no excuse for child abuse, it has to stop. The destruction of young lives and futures must not be tolerated for another year, day, hour or second. If you are intent on ruining an innocent child’s life, then you must be punished appropriately for the evil things you have done. Children have rights in society and it’s every child’s right to live in a safe environment, free from harm,” another stated.

“People like him don’t even deserve the gift of life . . . Make this disgusting pervert molester sit in jail for the rest of his rotten life.”

Those interested in signing the online petition have until Friday to do so.

Vehicles torched in mine jobs protest
IOL News 14 October 2015

Burgersfort, Limpopo - At least ten vehicles were set alight by residents of Burgersfort in Limpopo amid angry protests over lack of job opportunities in the local mining sector.

Four trucks, four buses and two cars were set alight on Tuesday night by residents living near the platinum mines who are demanding jobs and development in the area.

Residents, who claimed mining companies had failed to deliver on earlier promises to employ locals, also burnt tyres and barricaded roads with debris.

The vehicles that were set alight had been driving along the R555 road between De Hoop dam and Burgersfort, when drivers were pulled off from their vehicles and ordered to run. Several could only stand by and watch from a short distance away as their cars went up in flames.

On Wednesday, the majority of mine workers, many of whom reside far from their places of work, did not report for duty as there were no buses travelling on the route due to protests.

Community spokesman Sikhalo Motubatse said residents had taken to the streets because local government and the department of minerals had failed to facilitate a proper hearing of their demands.

“We are not retreating, and this time enough damage will be caused. Yesterday four trucks were set alight, buses were set alight near De Hoop dam as well as two cars. These mine managers are playing with us and we are not in that game,” said Motubatse.

He said they had been requesting a meeting to have their issues resolved since January but had been ignored by mining companies.

Public order police had been deployed to monitor and maintain peace in the area.

Police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said motorists should be cautious when using the R555 road, saying that the situation had calmed down but warning that people should be observant when using the route.

A number of local residents had joined the protests even though they were not demanding jobs in the local mines, but arguing that their area had undergone little to no development despite mining companies accumulating huge wealth.

Protestors vowed to continue with their protests until the Department of Mineral Resources made sure that mining companies fulfilled their social labour and social development policy obligations as enlisted on the mining license conditions.

Sasco protests at education summit
IOL News 15 October 2015

Durban - A small group of the South African Students Congress (Sasco) picketed outside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre as the National Higher Education Summit took place inside. The protestors called for the removal of higher education minister with one of the leaders saying “hashtag Blade must fall (#BladeMustFall)”. The students are unhappy about what they perceive to be the minister's siding with university vice-chancellors.

Sasco president Ntuthuko Makhombothi threatened that there would be similar scenes across in the country's universities to those playing out at Wits University if üniversities continued to increase fees. “We are going to ensure that we have a lockdown in these universities if we are going to be violently abused by vice-chancellors by increasing fees by more than 10 percent as we have seen at Wits University” he said.

The students were not attended to by the minister who was busy inside the summit.

The protesting students said they were unhappy with Nzimande's leadership of the department saying he has chosen to align himself with university management. One student who did not want to be named said their unhappiness with the SACP Secretary General had caused a rift between them and the Young Communist League which was not present at the march.

The protestors are demanding free education and the end of violence by the police against students during student protests in universities. The protest began in front of the ANC offices on Stalwart Simelane Road and ended at the ICC on Braam Fischer Road.

The protest comes after student uprisings have marred universities across the country from the University of Cape Town's #RhodesMustFall, to the violent protest at the University of kwaZulu-Natal that lead to a building housing securities being set on fire and the ongoing school fees protest at Wits University.

The protesters dispersed without incident after Mthombothi's address.

Two shot dead in Cape taxi protest
IOL News 15 October 2015

Two people were killed on Thursday morning in a spillover of taxi violence on the Cape Flats near Muizenberg, said the City of Cape Town .

“At 5.50 am two occupants of a taxi were fatally shot at the corners of St Patricks Way and St Stephens Avenue in Seawinds,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

“The reason at this stage is unknown,” he said.

The Western Cape Government Health also reported on the fatal shooting. Spokesperson Robert Daniels said: “Taxi violence and random shootings caused the death of two adult males in Capricorn Village near Muizenburg this (on Thursday) morning.”

Daniels added that a government Health Emergency Medical Services ambulance had been caught in the crossfire, requiring a police escort to exit the volatile area.

On the second day of taxi-related violence in the Vrygrond/Capricorn/Seawinds area, Smith reported a group of roughly 500 protesters gathering in the area. He confirmed that the metro and national police, as well as traffic services, emergency services, and law enforcement were all on the scene.

The violence and protesting began on Wednesday when taxi owners demanded the release of their impounded taxis.

Prince George Drive was closed and then reopened when the protesters moved to Capricorn Village.

A building in Burg Street True North Consulting was petrol bombed, but no casualties were reported.

The city then, at about 4pm, reported that the situation in the Vrygrond area was peaceful.

However, the violence and protesting flared up again, and by 7am on Thursday, 25 people were arrested and detained for intimidation at the Steenberg police station.

Mob blocks roads, stones cars
IOL News 14 October 2015

Cape Town - Protesters in Vrygrond barricaded several roads with burning tyres and dustbins, preventing many residents from getting to work on time on Wednesday morning. Some motorists also had their cars stoned and windows smashed.

Rowdy demonstrators took over an area across Vrygrond Avenue, Capricorn Avenue and Prince George Drive, apparently because illegal taxis were impounded last week.

A Marina da Gama mother and her son were traumatised after they were “attacked” by the protesters during the morning school run.

”I was taking my son to school, it must have been around 5.30am, it was pitch dark,” said Jeanette Nicholson of Marina da Gama. “I saw a fire on the road and when I tried to turn back I saw about 100 people. The mob then stoned my car. I’m sure 10 stones hit my car.”

Nicholson said no officials were on hand to help or to warn them away from the protest.

“I have never been in this situation before, my son and I are still terrified. He couldn’t even finish his tennis match he had this morning because of the frightening experience.”

Another resident from Capricorn, Calude Shoko, said he is scared to go home after he narrowly escaped harm during the protest.

“When I was driving to work I was told to go home by the protesters, and when I tried to make a turn they came from all directions and smashed my car windows.”

However, the chairman of the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations, Makhosandile Tumana, said the community had sympathy for the plight of taxi drivers and wanted the impounded vehicles back on the street.

“The protest is organised by the community who feel we were undone last week when our taxis were impounded, and we are here to support the community.

“The government listens when people start burning tyres and protesting. We won’t stop. We’ll fight until kingdom come.”

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said 19 taxis were impounded last week in Retreat and Vrygrond during a two-day operation.

“No amount of violence can get impounded taxis released because that will set a bad precedent.”

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said about 200 people had gathered at around 5.30am in Vrygrond.

“They are demanding to speak to the Minister of Transport.

“Thus far, there have been no reports of any violence... There have been no arrests at this stage.”

Pension debacle: 200 out in the cold
IOL News 15 October 2015

Cape Town - About 200 pensioners from the Eastern Cape spent a cold and wet night outside the gates of Parliament waiting for somebody from the government to help them get pension money they are owed.

The group - all former employees of Transnet’s railway division or the former Ciskei Bus Transport Company, or surviving dependents of deceased employees - had borrowed money to hire six buses to travel to Cape Town to demand their money from the government.

The issue goes as far back as 1990, when the Ciskei Bus Transport Company was dissolved and a new company formed in its place, while the Transnet employees were locked out during a strike and not allowed to return to work - even though they had not been officially fired, members of the group said.

A court order specifying that the group had to have their pensions paid out was issued in KwaZulu-Natal “some years ago” and when the group came to Parliament in Cape Town last year, they were promised that they would be paid by February, said former Ciskei Bus Transport Company employee Clement Bacela.

Bacela said they slept on the concrete pavement last night and many did not have blankets to keep warm.

“We have come to fetch our money. The government last year promised us we would get paid according to the court order, but they still have not done so,” he said.

“These people are not doing the work they are supposed to do. They will not get our votes again in the next election. No, they tell us we should come back next year.”

Bacela said they believed their money had been stolen when the bus company closed, with another immediately started under another name.

“The problem is, a private investigator has found that many of us are still listed as employees, not pensioner,” he said.

The son of a woman who was among the group, who asked that neither he nor his mother be identified, said he had to wonder who was getting the salaries if the pensioner were still listed as employees.

Striking workers break into Braamhoek
Ladysmith Gazette 8 October 2015

It is expected that police will use force to remove the Braamhoek workers

Braamhoek (Ingula) workers have been on strike since Monday. The Eskom Ingula power plant site has been locked, with no one allowed entry into the construction site.

This morning, workers broke into the site and forced their way underground. They are evidently damaging property.

No injuries have been reported thus far.

Tactical Response Team (TRT) officers are currently on scene and are waiting for backup. It is expected that police will use force to remove the Braamhoek workers.

Steelpoort strike resumes again
Ladysmith Gazette 14 October 2015

According to the paper’s sources, some of the residents were unhappy about the way in which the task team that had been elected on August 14, recruited and hired workers for the mines.

A truck belonging to Nulaid Eggs was torched by residents this morning.

A truck belonging to Nulaid Eggs was torched by residents this morning. EERSTEGELUK – Just less than two months after the violent Steelpoort strike came to an end, it flared up again on October 13.

A Nulaid Eggs truck loaded with eggs was torched by residents of Tukakgomo who blockaded the R555 next to Lannex Mine. They demand jobs at nearby mines.

According to the paper’s sources, some of the residents were unhappy about the way in which the task team that had been elected on August 14, recruited and hired workers for the mines.

“The task team that was elected only recruits friends and family. If you don’t know them, chances of getting hired are slim,” one of the sources revealed.

The task team comprises community members from Tukakgomo, Phasha, Mampuru villages, members from the Department of Minerals Resources and mine management.

It was revealed in August that its main duties were to deal with the mining squabbles and to ensure effective communication and cooperation between the mines and communities.

The residents also complained that some of the mines did not hire “the sons and daughters of the soil” as agreed in Pretoria on August 14. They still wanted local business to be given procurement opportunities in the mines. Read more about this in Friday’s Steelburger/Lydenburg News.

Police disperse angry protesters on R103
Ladysmith Gazette 11 October 2015

The road is now open to motorists

police The authorities had to disperse an angry crowd along the R103 earlier this evening.

Protesters were burning tyres and would not let any motorists pass through.

RTI and police reacted quickly and chased the mob away.

The road is now open to motorists.
Police and RTI are monitoring the area.

Protesters burn two trucks in Limpopo
Witbank News 13 October 2015

Angry protesters set two trucks on fire along the R555 road near Burgersfort in Limpopo during a protest today.

Burgersfort police spokesperson Constable Victoria Maluleke said the protesters barricaded roads with stones and burning tyres. They are demanding the nearby mining company employ the locals, Review Online reported.

“They stopped a truck near Lavino, pretending as if they wanted a lift. Later they ordered the driver to jump out and set it alight. They proceeded to the other area known as Tubatse Residence, near Steelpoort, where they burnt yet another truck. Protesters have now opened an illegal tollgate where motorists have to pay money before proceeding with their journey,” she added.

“No arrests were made and police are patrolling the area. Motorists driving to Burgersfort should be vigilant of stone throwers and the illegal tollgate,” said Maluleke.

In July, Mampuru community members stopped a truck along R555 and set it alight during another protest in Burgersfort, Limpopo.

“Travellers in that area are advised to avoid travelling on that road or to drive carefully. The road linking Burgersfort and Eerstegeluk is completely closed with burning tyres and stones,” spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said.

Otto said no arrests had been made and the community was complaining about the building of a new road in the area that was promised but was not implemented.
Caxton News Service

Mob beats alleged rapist to death
IOL 13 October 2015

Potchefstroom - An alleged rapist has been murdered at Setlagole village near Mahikeng, police said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old man was beaten to death on Monday morning.

A 24-year-old woman alleged that the man had approached her on Sunday evening, October 11, at Letsapa’s Tavern.

After chatting, the two went to the Complex Garage together where the man asked her to accompany him to Madibogo. When she refused and ran away, he allegedly chased her, said police spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko.

He then allegedly forced her into a field near Malebogo Primary School, where he raped her.

He then allegedly took her to an RDP house where he continued to rape her.

Ramaloko said the victims’ relatives and friends searched for the suspect and found him sleeping where the attack had allegedly taken place.

A group of people took the man to the chief, where police later found him. He had been assaulted and was seriously injured.

The suspect was taken to the local clinic where he died, Ramaloko said.

No arrests have been made.

Silicosis case: huge show of support
IOL News 14 October 2015

Johannesburg - Richard Sqhamo Hoyi toiled for 27 years in the mines until he contracted silicosis.

Today, he finds it difficult to walk long distances as a result of the terminal disease.

The 57-year-old Hoyi, from Peddie in the Eastern Cape, was among the silicosis-stricken mineworkers who joined the march against the mining companies on Tuesday.

The march was led by Section27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Sonke Gender Justice.

The three organisations demonstrated in support of the mineworkers’ case currently unfolding in the high court in Joburg.

Hoyi spoke of his plight through an interpreter. Normally, silicosis makes it difficult for him to walk long distances. But luckily, Tuesday’s march moved slowly enough so that he was able to keep up.

He said if they won the case, he would feel free from the burden of the disease because silicosis made it difficult for him to look after his children, and it was his biggest worry. He has daughters aged 21, 16 and 12.

Bongani Radebe, a demonstrator with the TAC, said: “If the man is affected, the wife is affected and the children are affected.”

At least 400 people – their T-shirts’ colours representing three different organisations – united by donning white mining helmets and marching together in support of the mineworkers. This was as the class certification hearing by their legal team entered its second day.

The march began in Newtown and stopped twice in Marshall Street, once at the offices of Anglo American, a mining company involved in the case, and once at the Chamber of Mines, before arriving at the high court.

“The mining companies are profiting with the lives of our people,” said Sibongile Tshabalala, the TAC’s Gauteng chairwoman, as she bellowed into a microphone from the back of a flatbed truck.

“It has to stop now. They have to take care of the miners while they’re making profits off them.”

Many held signs with messages condemning the mining companies. The signs read “Dear goldmines, apartheid is over” and “Exploited. Damaged. Discarded. #silicosis.”

As they passed the Anglo American offices, the marchers formed into rows and held hands.

“You killed our miners,” one man yelled before the group erupted in song.

“Senzeni na (What have we done?),” they sang.

Mark Heywood, the director of Section27, said his organisation supported the miners because it stood for the right to health and helping the poor get access to justice.

“This country is built on gold, but the people who dug the gold are dying from it.

“Silicosis and tuberculosis are among the biggest health crises in the country.”

Heywood said most of the mineworkers lived in rural areas where getting the treatment they need was difficult.

The three organisations were due to continue presenting arguments on Wednesday. The miners’ lawyers are scheduled to take over on Thursday.

Anger erupts at Wits over fees
IOL News 14 October 2015

Johannesburg - Enraged Wits University students blocked off entrances to the institution on Wednesday morning in protest against planned fee increases.

Fees are expected to go up by 10.5 percent from next year due to declining government subsidies, but the students will have none of it, saying the “exorbitant” increase excludes working class students from the chance of getting a higher education.

They blocked cars trying to enter the university from 6am, disrupted classes, opened lecture hall doors and chanted struggle songs.

“In barring the cars from coming in, we’re showing how many students won’t be able to come back next year

The confrontation got physical shortly before 9am when a student on a motorcycle tried to force his way through and was pushed back out by the crowd.

Security had to intervene and stop protesting students from fighting with those trying to enter the campus.

“There are people who are writing tests. I’m upset because I drove here from far away and classes are cancelled,” said Shahil Singh.

However there were many who supported the action. “When I started at Wits in 2007, the registration fee was about R5 000. It’s now almost R10 000. #WitsFeesMustFall,” wrote @ThatDasia.

Others, like @valavoosh, said to cut costs the university should stop outsourcing services.

“Universities are meant to be centres of learning but they are looking more and more like businesses #WitsFeesMustFall.”

Wits chief financial officer Linda Jarvis said since Wits announced the fee increases, she has been inundated with students asking her why it was necessary.

She said the increases were necessary because:

* The rand-dollar exchange has fallen by 22 percent, which now means the university has to spend more to buy library books, journals and other items overseas.

* Salary increases for academic staff are set at 7 percent on a three-year cycle

* Inflation is hovering at 6 percent while rates for utilities are increasing at a rate higher than that.

Jarvis said they expected a subsidy increase of 5 percent from the government and this wouldn’t be enough to cover their expenses. She said Wits had, in fact, reduced the fee increases from 11 percent to 10.5 percent and the registration fee from 10 to 6 percent.

“We are mindful of the current economic climate and financial strain on students and families. About 20 000 of our students are on bursaries, scholarships and financial aid, but we are cognisant of the pressure this increase places on parents and caregivers of those who pay their own way,” Jarvis said.

Higher Education and Training spokesman Khaye Nkwanyana agreed with the students that the increase was too high.

“These institutions always raise their fees in double digits and the decision excludes many students who can’t afford it.”

Nkwanyana said Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande was investigating the cost drivers.

Wits spokeswoman Shirona Patel said that by 10am, lecturers were continuing as normal.

But according to reports, students were mobilising others to be part of a protest at 12pm on Wednesday.

Wits students demonstrate against res demolition
EWN 13 October 2015

JOHANNESBURG – Around 30 students are protesting at Wits University's Business School in Parktown against the institution's expansion plans which will see the demolition of a residence.

Parktown Village 2 will be replaced with new academic and research facilities.

It's understood some students are unhappy with the new plans and have blocked the entrance and exit points of the campus.

Wits University’s Shirona Patel says all 150 students who currently live at that specific res will be relocated.

“They are protesting agsinst the university’s expansion plans in Parktown and Braamfontein which will see one of the residences demolished next year and replaced with new research facilities.”

The institution’s Professor Adam Habib is expected to address the crowd later today.

Coal strike ends
News 24 13 October 2015

Johannesburg - The strike in the coal sector has come to an end after the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Chamber of Mines reached an agreement on wage increases.

The chamber and the union will sign the agreement on Tuesday afternoon, according to NUM chief negotiator in the coal sector Peter Bailey.

This comes after NUM members accepted the chamber's offer.

In terms of this, lowest paid workers will get increases of between R750 and R1 000 per month in year one and guaranteed increases of 7.5% in year two. Most employees in the higher categories could receive increases of between 5% and 7.5%t in both years.

Bailey said the striking workers will resume work on Wednesday.

The chamber, which represents Anglo Coal, Delmas, Kangra, Koornfontein, Msobo and Glencore [JSE:GLN], said earlier that increases to the living out allowance and housing allowance will vary from company to company.

The chamber's head of employment relations Motsamai Motlhamme said before the deal was made that "the producers have made a number of concessions during the course of wage negotiations".

"The offer on the table is significant and at the limit of what is affordable," said Motlhamme.

The strike attracted national attention because of the effect it could have on Eskom’s ability to supply electricity.
A prolonged strike would result in the depletion of Eskom’s coal stockpiles, threatening power generation.

Eskom has consistently said it had no immediate fears of a power supply crunch because of the strike as it had enough stockpiles at its coal-fired power stations.

Except for two hours and 20 minutes, South Africa has had no load shedding for the past 65 days now, Eskom said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are implementing our maintenance plan to increase the reliability of our plant, which will in turn increase our operating reserves and stabilise the grid," it said.

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

Mob necklaces man in Masiphumelele
IOL News 11 October 2015

Violence has again flared in Masiphumelele, with a fourth man being necklaced in an apparent mob attack, despite intense police focus on the area to try to prevent further killings.

In the latest incident, the fourth apparent vigilante murder in the community in less than a month, a man was set alight early on Saturday.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said the incident occurred at 12.45am.

No arrests were made and the motive for the murder was being investigated.

Masiphumelele has recently been rocked by the killings and a massive protest, which about two weeks ago saw more than 1 000 residents clash with police who fired rubber bullets and tear gas to try to disperse them.

Even though police have increased operations and focus on the area, community leaders have repeatedly vowed to keep going after anyone they suspect of committing crimes.

Yesterday, before confirming a fourth murder, Traut said an adequate number of police officers were deployed in Masiphumelele daily “to ensure that the law is not taken into the hands of the community”.

He said police were monitoring protests and violent outbursts, and using the information they gathered to plan how they would then later deploy members.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who visited the area about two weeks ago and who promised to return to again meet residents, said yesterday he would discuss the latest killing with acting provincial police commissioner Thembisile Patekile when they met on Tuesday.

“I’ll put it to him that we need to hold an imbizo there,” Plato said.

He recently also visited Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, where two residents were killed in mob attacks about two months ago.

“I was shocked. In both areas people were saying they are beginning to take the law into their own hands. They believe they have the right to do so.”

Plato wanted to return to Masiphumelele along with police officers to discuss the way residents felt.

The spate of killings started in Masiphumelele on September 15, when two men were murdered hours after 14-year-old Amani Pula was found killed and apparently raped in his home there. That same morning the teen’s body was found, a 24-year-old woman was raped in a separate incident.

About three weeks ago residents then fatally attacked a man and beat another.

They suspected the duo of having carried out burglaries in the area.

Seven men were arrested during the attacks on the two men and when they appeared in court a week later, after being held in custody, this sparked a massive protest with the more than 1 000 residents turning on police.

Kya Sand protest turns violent
IOL News 12 October 2015

Johannesburg - Chaos erupted in Kya Sand on Monday morning when residents pelted motorists with stones and blocked thoroughfares near Witkoppen and Malibongwe roads with rocks, burning tyres and debris.

Armed with pangas and sjamboks, about 500 residents marched along streets chanting songs and blowing vuvuzelas, while frustrated motorists had to manoeuvre their way past debris strewn in their path.

Some motorists looked on helplessly as a cloud of black smoke from the burning tyres billowed through the air.

Police who had rushed to the scene were not spared as the crowd smashed the windscreen of one of their vehicles.

As the police car swerved to dodge flying rocks, it hit a pedestrian.

Although the passer-by only sustained slight injuries, he lay on the pavement and groaned in pain as police officers attended to him.

While a large contingent of armed police officers had their hands full trying to direct traffic, residents marched on undeterred, some of them drinking alcohol.

“We want houses here. We refuse to leave,” said resident

Surprise Bila, adding that the government planned to relocate them to Brits in North West.

Bila said residents, who had started their protest at 3am, would continue their action until their grievances were heard.

Sizwe Nsingwane, a resident of nearby suburb Bloubosrand, said he had relatives who had been staying in the Kya Sand informal township since the 1990s and their lives would be adversely affected if they were moved.

“Even if some of them have been staying here illegally, it would be unfair to move them to another area after they have been living here for so many years,” Nsingwane said.

These sentiments were echoed by Nomsa Velo who said the relocation would make their lives difficult.

“We have been staying here for so long and the government has been promising us houses.

“If we move to Brits, we will have to rebuild our lives.”

A march to the municipal offices on Malibongwe Drive is underway and the residents will hand over a memorandum of their grievances.

Cape’s mob justice hot-spots
IOL News 8 October 2015

Cape Town - People living in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha are more likely to be killed in vigilante attacks than in any other suburb in Cape Town, a Stellenbosch University study has found. The study, which reviewed mob killings in the Western Cape over a 10-year period, showed that community instigated assaults – or vigilante attacks – affected mainly young men.

More than 420 cases of vigilante killings were analysed at Tygerberg Forensic Pathology Services between January 1, 2003 and the end of December 2012. It showed that most victims died as a result of multiple head injuries from blunt-force trauma.

About 250 fatalities took place in Khayelitsha and 47 in Mfuleni. However, concern was raised about Mfuleni when considering “population numbers per area”.

An analysis shows that the number could be converted to about 73 killed for every 100 000 people living in Mfuleni.

Delft recorded 37 vigilante killings and Kraaifontein, 24. While the ages of those killed varied from 14 to 62 years, young people between 15 and 30 – and almost exclusively male – were the victims of mob justice. Of the 424 vigilante victims, only one was female.

About 42 percent of deaths was as a result of multiple injuries. This was followed by head injuries at 23 percent and blunt force trauma at 14 percent. About 13 percent of those killed sustained “soft tissue” injuries. A combination of blunt and sharp-force trauma accounted for 4 percent of deaths. In many of the cases it was not clear what victims were assaulted with. However, in 21 percent of cases, objects found on the scene included stones, sticks, bricks and sjamboks.

In about 10 percent of attacks there was evidence of restraints, such as bounding of feet and hands. Only 8.5 percent of victims were hospitalised and most died as a result of pneumonia or renal failure due to injuries sustained. Almost 60 percent of all victims were under the influence of alcohol when they were attacked. In 2004, recorded mob killings stood at only 5.4 percent, but in 2008 this number peaked at 14.6 percent before decreasing by 2010 – the year South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup. In 2011 it increased, reaching 14.4 percent in 2012. In Khayelitsha the alarming regularity of vigilante attacks in 2012 resulted in the establishment of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, which found that there had been a breakdown in trust between the community and police. It also said there were “serious inefficiencies” in the area.

Writing in the SA Medical Journal, Dr Celeste Herbst, lead researcher and senior registrar at Tygerberg Forensic Pathology Services, said the dramatic peak of mob killings in 2008 and its increase again in 2012 could not be explained. However, the drop in 2010 could be attributed to the strict policing enforced during the World Cup. She said the age groups of victims had similarities to previous studies that looked into mob killings.

“It should be noted that even teenagers are falling victims to this type of assault. Another important finding was that ‘necklacing’ fatalities accounted for only 0.9 percent, suggesting that this practice, started during the apartheid era, is no longer common,” she said. Herbst said the low percentage of hospitalisations could also be attributed to the fact that “very few mob attack victims survived long enough to get to hospital”.

Most succumbed to their injuries and died on the scene.

She called for stricter policing protocols where attacks were prevalent, as well as better strategies to combat violence.

Fruit workers urged to intensify strike
IOL News 8 October 2015

Cape Town - It was a sea of red in Voortrekker Road in Ceres on Wednesday when about 500 members from the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) marched to the Witzenberg municipality to hand over two memorandums – to the Ceres Fruit Growers (CFG) and the Department of Labour.

Wearing their red T-shirts, they demanded that the department send inspectors to CFG to see the terrible working conditions in the factories.

CFG is one of the country’s largest apple and pear packing and storage facilities. On its website it states that they are a significant employer of choice in the valley.

Supported by the ANC, the United Front (UF) and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), they barricaded the entrance of the CFG premises with burning tyres before proceeding down the one-way Voortrekker Road, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The group sang “these dogs, Pieter Graaf and Du Toit, are taking us for a s*** as they don’t want to give us our monies”.

They reached their destination, the Witzenberg municipality offices, under the watchful eye of the police.

In their five-week strike, CFG workers have been protesting for a 12.5 percent wage increase or 10 percent plus profit share of R1 300 for each worker.

Pledging UF’s support, Abraham Aghulas urged CFG workers to intensify the strike. “Your bosses are still practising the apartheid wages policies. Your rights as farm workers are undermined.”

Aghulas said they were fighting a new liberal agenda. “This country’s capitalist economic policies are a problem. What is a 10 percent increase for a few workers from people who own more than 40 farms. This is a blatant exploitation.”

Fawu provincial head of operations Meshack Nteshane said they were disgusted by the manner in which CFG had handled the negotiations around the genuine and legitimate demands of workers.

“We are calling on CFG to return to the negotiating table. These demands are noble and reasonable in the face of hard work and toiling effort the workers make in getting this company to be profitable as it has been over the years.

“Both wage increments and a profit share are legitimate demands that should be considered instead of being labelled as unwarranted and irresponsible,” he said to cheers.

Numsa’s provincial secretary, Vuyo Lufele, said it was unfair for the “boers” who stole 87 percent of the land to not want to increase their salaries by just a fraction.

“These boers own all the rich land and as a result they drive luxury cars while you live in shacks. And yet they pay you peanuts.

“You can not even send your children to school. What is 12 percent to someone who has farms and exports your hard labour overseas and gets foreign currency in exchange.”

CFG did not respond by the time the Cape Times went to print.

Pregnant woman shot by cops
IOL News 9 October 2015

Pretoria - A six-months pregnant woman was hospitalised after being hit three times by rubber bullets during the second round of evictions at Soshanguve’s Extension 19 informal settlement.

Residents occupying private and municipal land were removed by metro police and the Red Ants, as per a court order issued over a week ago.

During Thursday’s encounter, Sister Shokane, 33, said the remaining residents were caught unawares by Tshwane metro police officers who stormed the settlement, firing rubber bullets at them while also confiscating the makeshift building structures that had been assembled.

“I just saw people running because they were being shot at. When they approached me I tried to stop them and tell them that I couldn’t run because I am pregnant but they didn’t listen and they shot at me,” said an emotional Shokane.

She was shot in both sides of her body, and below the abdomen.Her woes were compounded as she was not able to receive medical attention immediately as residents protested and closed off the M17 with rocks and rubble, preventing vehicles, including emergency vehicles, from accessing the trunk road.

However, Shokane was later driven to George Mukhari Hospital where she was admitted and kept for further examinations.

About 2 500 shacks were removed on Monday while four people were arrested.

Two were arrested for public violence and the other two for possession of petrol bombs.Residents joined in an exodus from another informal settlement called “Marry Me”, and settled in Extension 19.

“They better kill us; we are not going anywhere because we do not have anywhere to go. We do not have money to take our belongings back to Marry Me, and even if we do, we heard that another eviction order was issued in that area, giving them seven days to leave,” said William Madzie.

He said it be a futile exercise to move back as they would be evicted within a number days.”The government must make a plan for us and let us know what they intend to do with us because we do not have anywhere to go. We don’t have water, we don’t have electricity, now our shacks have also been taken,” said Madzie.

Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Issac Mahamba confirmed that an operation took place at the settlement, but said the officers acted within the law.

“We are still monitoring the area because that land does not belong to them. It is privately owned and we will continue to evict anyone who unlawfully occupies it,” Metro spokesman Isaac Mahamba said.

Building set alight ‘in bid to stop evictions’
IOL News 9 October 2015

Johannesburg - Mattresses, suitcases, clothes and drawers littered Kerk Street in the Joburg CBD as members of the Red Ants evicted residents from a dilapidated building.

A resident, who asked not to be identified, said the evictees had set the building alight in an attempt to stop the Red Ants and police.

He said the ground floor and the first few floors were partially damaged. Firefighters managed to douse the flames and no one was injured.

“It’s a new tactic that those being evicted have. They set fire to the building to try to stop the eviction,” the resident said.

There were three fire engines on the scene when The Star arrived. Once the fire was extinguished, angry evictees began swearing at the Red Ants as they re-entered the partially burnt building to continue the eviction.

A resident, who identified himself only as Max, said all his clothes were missing.

“They won’t let me back into the building to get my things and now I just have these clothes on my back. I want my clothes. What am I going to do? Where am I going to go?” he asked.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said he’d be sleeping on the streets.

However, people who lived nearby were pleased about the eviction. “It (the building) is full of thugs and robbers. You can’t walk past without being robbed,” said one man.

A curious onlooker said she had been threatened with a knife and her bag was stolen as she walked past the building recently.

“It’s about time they evicted these people. They are the reason there is crime on this street,” she said.

Tension heightened as The Red Ants threw belongings from the higher floor windows. The evicted residents then began to threaten journalists on the scene, telling them to “f*** off”.

One man approached a team from The Star with a group of others behind him.

“If you take pictures of us we will take your cameras and hit you over the head with them,” he warned.

Another resident picked up a stone and threatened to throw it at journalists if they didn’t leave.

Joburg emergency medical services spokeswoman Nana Radebe said it took firefighters about half an hour to extinguish the blaze.

“The exact extent of the damage cannot be determined yet but we are on scene and are dealing with the situation.”

Six held for locking govt building
IOL News8 October 2015

It took police more than an hour to cut the locks and make the arrests. Outside the building, other protestors resisted arrest.
Polokwane - Six protesting employees from Limpopo’s Department of Public Works were arrested for public violence in Polokwane on Thursday.

The protest started when disgruntled members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) locked the department headquarters, demanding that Public Works MEC Jerry Ndou respond to their grievances.

The workers locked two entry points with locks and chains, trapping department head Kate Machaba inside, and barring other senior management from entering the building.

When Ndou arrived he was met with protesters chanting in the streets.

The disgruntled employees complained that the department had allocated performance bonuses unfairly to senior managers.

They also want the department to fill vacant positions.

Ndou slammed the protest action calling it “treasonous”.

“We take that as sabotage and we believe it is treasonous to stop a government department from continuing to provide service to the people,” said the MEC.

“But we are open for discussion on issues that relate to the improvement of conditions of workers, and will be having discussion with the union about the issues.”

Police spokesperson constable Ntobeng Phala said six people had been arrested.

“We have made arrests after they locked the department building demanding to see the MEC, when they locked the office the head of department was inside the building and that amounted to forced imprisonment or kidnapping,” said Phala.

Phala said the protesters will also face assault charges.

It took police more than an hour to cut the locks and make the arrests. Outside the building, other protesters resisted arrest.

A scuffle broke out between union leaders trying to stop the arrests and police officers.

Calm was restored and police were monitoring the situation.

Only senior managers were allowed back into the department’s headquarters.

Left homeless to house others
IOL News 8 October 2015

Durban - When demolishers arrived at Maria Tekana’s home in Inanda on Wednesday to knock it down, the devastated woman ran inside, saying she would go down with the house.

Tekana’s family of five were left homeless when the sheriff of the court and demolishers contracted by the eThekwini Municipality destroyed the R250 000 house.

Built by Tekana’s late son, the home had three bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge, bathroom, and a toilet.

Tekana, 56, and another two homeowners in the neighbourhood had been locked in a court battle with the municipality after being told they had to move from the area as the city wanted to roll out a low-cost housing project.

They were told the land they had occupied since the 1980s belonged to the municipality. Their efforts to challenge the municipality were unsuccessful as the court ruled that the houses be demolished.

Yesterday, outside what used to be Tekana’s home, neighbours, who supported the woman and her family, argued with government officials.

Tekana had refused to vacate the building. She and her weeping son held on to the security gate, not wanting the workers to continue with the demolition operation. The workers went inside the house and removed her belongings. Her beds, stove, sofas, kitchen units and food were all taken outside.

The traumatised Tekana begged the officials not to demolish her home, asking where they thought she would go with her family after they had completed their work.

The woman was forcibly removed from the house by the police and wailed as she was placed on the ground.

“Where am I going to sleep with my family? I have two grandchildren – where are they going to sleep?”

When the bulldozer which was to be used in the task approached, neighbours who had been watching threw stones at the demolishers and the police.

Some of the neighbours were in tears. Police fired rubber bullets at those who were throwing stones. A window of a nearby car, believed to be that of the sheriff of the court, was shattered.

Tekana said: “A letter from eThekwini was served, ordering me to appear in court because my house was on land that had been earmarked for the housing development. For the whole year, I was attending court cases about the matter and as far as I am concerned the case had not been finalised.

“I was surprised when these people came to demolish my house. The last time I was in court, the municipality said it was not going to pay for the damages and the case was left hanging. Now this happens,” the distressed woman said.

A further two houses in the vicinity were demolished on Wednesday.

Municipal spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa was not available for comment at the time of publication.

ANC councillor shot dead in KwaZulu-Natal
Alex News 8 October 2015

No arrests have been made after Ward 10 ANC councillor, Mziwendoda Ncwane, 52, was shot dead while watching television at his home in Maizeland, KwaZulu-Natal.

Provincial police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said Ncwane was fatally shot by two suspects on Tuesday, South Coast Herald reported.

Municipal spokesperson Zime Sithole-Gcaba said Ncwane was not only a councillor but also an Exco member and Chief Whip.

“We extend our condolences to the family, and we hope that the law will take its course,” she said.

Vulamehlo Municipality councillors are reportedly still in shock after the shooting of Ncwane.

Zwane said the motive for the killing was still unknown and Umzinto police were investigating a case of murder.

Police are appealing to the public to come fourth with any information that may lead to the arrest of the suspects to call: Crime Stop number on 08600 10111.

In a separate incident, three men were arrested and charged with the murder of KZN councillor, local speaker and educator Vusi Ntombela in June.

The three were arrested an hour after the incident occurred. Ntombela was fatally shot inside his classroom at a school in the Luvisi area in Nquthu.

“Within the hour three suspects were arrested and a firearm believed to be the murder weapon was recovered,” police spokesperson Jay Naicker said.

‘Anarchists’ halt R550m project
IOL News 8 October 2015

Durban - The fate of a massive foreign-funded R550 million contract to build one of South Africa’s first private power generation plants hangs in the balance with the project already shut down for a month because of continued violent attacks by dismissed workers.

Group Five Projects, which is building the Avon Power Peaking Plant at Shakaskraal on the North Coast for Italian consortium Ansaldo Fata, has been forced to get an urgent Durban High Court interdict against about 500 former employees “who are either participating or associating themselves with the anarchy”.

“The project is of national importance because it is aimed at generating additional power for Eskom,” Group Five’s human resources director, Cindyanne May, said in her affidavit.

She said the company was facing penalties of up to R1 million a day, to a maximum of R75.5 million, because of the delays.

The plant is one of two of its kind in South Africa – the other, in the Eastern Cape, is already operational – representing foreign investment of about $1 billion (R13.6 billion) in the country.

Workers on the Shakaskraal site – who were employed from the local community – first downed tools in an unprotected strike earlier this year and ignored an interdict granted by the Labour Court stopping any intimidation, threats and obstruction to other employees who wished to work, including subcontractors.

This resulted in mass dismissals of the workers.

May said after discussions, the workers were reinstated in terms of a collective agreement.

They returned to work on August 27, but soon after, the violence began again.

“This time it was worse and resulted in a number of injuries to employees and managers. There was also large-scale destruction of property and assets,” May said.

“On August 26, the employees surrounded the site office, intimidating and ultimately assaulting the contracts director, Chris Willemse, and supervisor Theo Janse van Vuuren who required medical attention.”

They also broke windows and set fire to a truck.

The workers were again dismissed and the site was shut down because the company could not ensure the safety of employees.

May said new workers were hired, but when the company tried to reopen the site last week a group – led by former shop stewards on site – took scaffolding off the site and blocked the public road, in full view of the police.

The group, armed with pangas, knobkieries, mallets and sticks, barricaded another access road with logs and tyres.

May said they also set fire to sugar cane fields on a private farm and when the farmer tried to stop them, his vehicle was stoned.

“We have suffered downtime for over a month due to this violent conduct,” she said, noting that the wage and salary bill every month was R14.5 million and the plant costs were R5.1 million a month.

“The propensity for violence and damage to property increases with each day that the unlawful gathering remains in place and criminal acts continue. They have recourse in terms of the Labour Relations Act should they feel aggrieved by their dismissals but have elected to conduct themselves unlawfully,” May said.

“All attempts to resolve this by the SAPS and local councillors have failed.”

The interim interdict prevents barricading of the public road and site entrance, damage to property, assault and intimidation of workers or gathering in the vicinity of the site.

The dismissed workers were given until today to oppose the interdict’s being made final. As of late Wednesday no notice of opposition had been received, Group Five’s attorney, Michael Maeso, said.

Six arrested for public violence
IOL News 7 October 2015

King William’s Town - Police in Sterkstroom in the Eastern Cape have arrested six suspects for attempted murder and malicious damage to property following community protests in which several houses, including that belonging to the mayor were damaged.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Namhla Mdleleni said: “Two groups in the community had disagreements with regard to local political matters. It is alleged that the quarrel started in town at about 13:00 on Tuesday and resulted in members of the public vandalising the Mayor’s House and proceeded to the township where they damaged eight private houses. Three were burnt down including that of the former Mayor.”

The six suspects ranged in age from 26-37 years.

Mdleleni said: “One male suspect, 35 years, faces a charge of attempted murder after he allegedly took out his firearm and fired shots randomly at a rival group. The other five suspects have been charged for malicious damage to property. The suspects will appear in the Sterkstroom Magistrate’s Court on Friday, facing charges of malicious damage to property.

“Local as well as Public Order Police have been deployed to quell the violence and to maintain peace and order in the town. The situation is still tense and police will continue with their presence until all has normalised.”

The Queenstown Cluster Commander, Brigadier Pumla Mavuka requested the Sterkstroom community to stop vandalising public property and endangering other people’s lives.

“There are other amicable ways of solving our differences, we cannot resort to violence. The police will arrest anyone who breaks the law and perpetrators will be prosecuted, “ she said.

PICS: UCT protest over outsourced labour
IOL News 8 October 2015

Cape Town - Students and workers marched at UCT on Tuesday, calling for an end to “exploitation and poverty wages for workers” and demanding that the university stop outsourcing contractors and services on the campus.

The march coincided with marches on Tuesday at Wits and the University of Johannesburg, which were all aimed at bringing an end to outsourcing.

At UCT, the march started on Lower Campus, passed the Bremner building and ended at Jameson Memorial Hall, which was then occupied by the group of protesters.

“Today workers at UCT are still experiencing all forms of discrimination and inequalities. Black workers and mainly women are still marginalised and continue to earn poverty wages,” Monica Gqoji, representing the UCT joint shop stewards of the National Education and Health and Allied Workers Union, read from a statement.

“UCT is responsible, through outsourcing, for bringing private companies into this public sector institution. These private sector companies are making a profit of public sector funding and the exploitation workers’ labour.”

Gqoji said the majority of workers in the cafeteria and bookshop were employed by contractors instead of by the university. The same applied to maintenance workers, cleaners, catering and security guards. “These contracted service workers constitute the university’s invisible workforce. These workers take home poverty wages at the end of each of month. These workers don’t earn proper benefits such as medical aid.

“These workers or their dependants don’t enjoy proper study benefits,” she said.

In a statement read out during a press briefing, the Rhodes Must Fall movement said the mass outsourcing of university workers to private companies since 1999 “is a deliberate policy to exploit workers in order to cut costs of institutions at the expense of these workers”.

“October 6 marks a turning point in the politics of outsourcing on university campuses. It represents the coming together of campus specific struggles into a national campaign for insourcing on campuses,” the statement said.

UCT spokeswoman Patricia Lucas said the UCT Council had called for a review of outsourcing last year.

“The Report on Outsourcing at UCT, dated April 14, 2014, estimates that the total additional costs of insourcing all services at the university would be R58 million a year, with additional upfront asset purchase costs of R68m. The university will not be able to absorb this cost without raising student tuition fees significantly, and this would impair student access to UCT,” she said.

In addition, the report found that the efficiency of the services allowed the university to concentrate on its core focus of teaching and research.

“The report confirms the value of the Code of Conduct that UCT incorporates into its outsourcing agreements, and encourages a strengthening of this Code to ensure that outsourced workers at UCT ‘have voice in the form of structured representation within the workplace’,” said Lucas.

Meanwhile, ANA reports that President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that while the government supported students’ right to protest, the same right should be exercised with utmost responsibility.

Ceres workers vow to intensify strike
IOL News 6 October 2015

As the strike by Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) members at Ceres Fruit Growers (CFG) entered its fifth week on Monday, the protesting workers are due to decide on Tuesday how the strike will be intensified.

The strike involves 1 200 workers at CFG and other companies in the area. They demand a wage increase of 12.5 percent, or 10 percent if the companies share their profits with workers.

CFG is one of South Africa’s largest apple and pear packing and storage facilities.

Fawu deputy secretary Moledi Phakedi said recent negotiations proved fruitless as workers rejected an 8 percent wage offer.

“There are hardships that the workers are experiencing thus the demand for more money,” said Phakedi.

He said CFG employees were seasonal workers who worked for a maximum of four months a year and spent eight months without employment, while they had families to feed.

“We will decide how we take the strike forward so that the employer may see the employee needs the wage increase,” he said.

Worker Nozabele Mokoena, 33, said she would strike until her wage demands were met.

She said earned R400 a week and it was barely enough to feed her three children and rent a room at Ceres.

“The money all goes to food and rent and there is no money for schooling, it is frustrating,” said Mokoena.

“I have not had an income for a month and my children are starving. Until the demands are met I will protest in front of the gates.”

Another worker, Ashlyn Bernadine, 39, said the conditions at CFG included hard work and long hours.

“The bosses know we deserve the increase and they are taking advantage that the workers are illiterate and the area where we work is remote. We have been exploited for years but now enough is enough,” said Bernadine.

Nicholas Dicey, chairperson of HORTGRO, an umbrella body in the horticultural sector, said: ”The fruit industry is prepared and willing to engage and contribute towards such multi-stakeholder solutions in a constructive manner.”

He said there was concern about intimidation and even threats of arson, and that protest organisers should be held accountable for a disruption of services.

Bozwana stayaway ‘reckless’ - top cop
IOL News 8 October 2015

Wandile Bozwana was killed in a drive-by shooting on the N1 in Pretoria on Friday.

Johannesburg - The North West Business Forum (NWBF) has urged its members to close their businesses and honour its slain billionaire Wandile Bozwana on Thursday.

A memorial service for Bozwana has been scheduled for Thursday at the Motshiwa Stadium in Mahikeng, and more than 5 000 members of the forum are expected to attend.

Bozwana, who was the forum’s deputy chairman, was mortally wounded in a drive-by shooting on the N1 in Garsfontein, Pretoria, on Friday.

He was with a female colleague, Mpho Baloyi, travelling north from Joburg, when a silver- grey BMW M3 pulled up next to theirs near the Garsfontein off-ramp.

A gunman apparently pulled out a gun and fired shots in the direction of Bozwana, who was in the front passenger seat. The man allegedly fired 12 bullets, nine of which struck Bozwana.

Baloyi, who was in the driver’s seat, was also hit in the attack but managed to drive to the nearby Menlyn Shopping Centre for help.

Bozwana and Baloyi were taken to Unitas Hospital but he succumbed to his multiple injuries.

On Wednesday, business forum spokesman Joe Mabe said Bozwana was “vociferous in condemning corruption and collusive dealing with regard to the procurement of goods and services by the provincial administration”.

“Sadly, as a campaign against rampant corruption in the North West government intensified and was gaining momentum, Bozwana was gunned down execution style,” Mabe


“The heinous killing of Bozwana comes at a time when he was involved in several successful litigations against the North West government. The timing and style of his execution raised suspicion that his killing was a (political) hit.

“In loving memory of this gallant fighter and our fallen hero, we call on all peace-loving citizens to exercise restraint while taking forward the fight against corruption. We further call on our members to remain calm, cautious and always alert,” Mabe said.

He urged anyone with any information which could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators to contact the police.

Mabe said their organisation was the “most vocal and vibrant voice of businesses, particularly those deliberately marginalised and excluded by the North West government from participating in the economy of the province”.

He said their forum sought to create space for its members in the economic dispensation of the province and to facilitate an enabling environment for its members to do business there.

North West police urged residents not to heed to the call to stay away from work. Provincial commissioner Major-General Jacob Tsumane said: “The no-work call is a reckless call.”

Workers deliver job demands during Cosatu march
Mail & Guardian 7 October 2015

Thousands marched in support of Cosatu's call for a nationwide strike, delivering demands for jobs, e-toll scrapping, a wealth tax and minimum wage.

About 1 000 people joined Cosatu in the relatively peaceful march through Cape Town's city centre. (David Harrison, M&G) About 1 000 people joined Cosatu in the relatively peaceful march through Cape Town's city centre. (David Harrison, M&G)

Thousands of people, most of them clad in red T-shirts, braved the sweltering Highveld heat to march through the Johannesburg city centre in support of Cosatu’s call for a nationwide, multi-sector strike.

Among other reasons, the workers marched for decent jobs, an end to retrenchments and the scrapping of the controversial e-tolls on World

Day for Decent Work.
The workers handed memorandums to FNB Bankcity, Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office and the Chamber of Mines. The socioeconomic march was protected by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

At Bankcity, Cosatu bemoaned foreign ownership in the banking sector, saying this would result in capital flight. They cited Barclays Bank’s ownership of Absa as well as Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s 20% stake in Standard Bank.

By Wednesday afternoon, none of the business bodies had commented on the economic impact of the strike.

Nedlac has given the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) permission to march against corruption on October 14.

Free Market Foundation executive director Leon Louw said on Wednesday that while the foundation supported the actions Cosatu took on behalf of its members, the federation’s demands would make it more difficult for the unemployed to get jobs.

If the cost, risk and difficulty of employing people was higher, people whose productive capacity was less than the threshold could not be employed. That includes unskilled, elderly and youth, more than half of whom have never had a job and are denied learning on-the-job skills, according to Louw.

He said Cosatu’s demands could drive small businesses out of business.

“It would normally not be necessary to ask a trade union to consider the interests of non-members, but with our extreme crisis of low growth, the world’s highest level of sustained unemployment, rising inequality and unsustainable poverty, we implore Cosatu to keep demands and expectations within reasonable limits,” said Louw.

“We know that is counterintuitive for a union federation, and we know they have to make strident demands to combat threats from rival unions, but the country is in such a dire crisis that Cosatu should rise above narrow interests in the greater national interest.”

Tax the rich
In Cape Town, Cosatu provincial general secretary Tony Ehrenreich had strong words for government and higher income groups as union members marched to Parliament.

“We want them to tax the people who live in Clifton and Sea Point,” he said, adding that workers should be exempt. “Unemployment and poverty in this country is a tax on poor people ... We have to feed our brothers, our grandparents and our family when they are unemployed,” he told the crowd outside Parliament.

“The white people have great public transport, but our people suffer the most.

“In our shops, they now want to move value added tax from 14% to 17%. We want higher tax, but not the taxing of our workers.”

Around 1 000 people joined Cosatu in the relatively peaceful march through Cape Town’s city centre. They were joined by numerous members of the trade union’s provincial and national branches, as well as the South African Communist Party’s Thulas Nxesi, who addressed the crowd.

Ehrenreich handed the trade union’s new workers’ demands to a representative from the ministry of transport at the end of the march.
Cosatu was joined by members from Numsa, the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and members of the South African Students Congress.

Cosatu stated its demands in its Memorandum for Integrated Public Transport.

Ehrenreich suggested that there existed a viable solution that would help working-class people of the country lower their transport costs. “We want to make sure that there’s an end to e-tolls, and we want a better public transport system.

Workers want jobs and an end to poverty.
“Some people spend half their wages from jobs just to get from the outskirts of the city to the city centre. And they didn’t choose to live there; they were forced there by apartheid,” he said.

Cosatu’s demands included a moratorium on all retrenchments in all sectors while parties looked for sustainable solutions, as well as the introduction of progressive taxations, including a wealth tax.

The trade union demanded a national minimum wage be set to avoid “super exploitation”.

Other demands included:
A call for government to release a white paper on national health insurance and urgent attention to be paid to the current healthcare system
A secured energy/electricity supply for households, economic growth and job creation
A rejection of a youth employment tax incentive.

“We are building this economy and we must celebrate that. But when things are wrong, we must challenge that,” Ehrenreich concluded. At this point, he called on a representative of Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and Cosatu national treasurer Freda Oosthuysen to co-sign the Cosatu memorandum.

“I am so tempted to join in the song. On behalf of the minister of transport, we accept the memorandum,” the transport minister’s representative said. “We appreciate the discipline you have displayed and we hope you can portray that same discipline as you go back to your homes and workplaces.” –

Huge protest decries Wits's outsourcing practice
Mail & Guardian 6 October 2015

Almost 2 000 students, workers and staff gathered to protest Wits University's "exploitative" practice of outsourcing support workers.

Wits University has reportedly been outsourcing the majority of its support workers since 1999. (Paul botes, MG) Wits University has reportedly been outsourcing the majority of its support workers since 1999. (Paul botes, MG)

“Stop outsourcing! Stop exploitation! Insource!” screamed one placard at Witwatersrand University on Tuesday, as the institution faced its largest protest yet against the practice of outsourcing support workers.

Under the banner of Oct6, which describes itself as a new student movement, almost 2 000 people staged the protest at Wits – marching and singing inside and outside campus in Braamfontein. Comprising largely students, the protestors included outsourced workers and the university’s academic and administrative staff members.

Oct6 also organised similar protests at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and University of Cape Town (UCT) on Tuesday, institutions also notorious for outsourcing.

According to various speakers at the Wits protest and pamphlets distributed there, Tuesday was just a start of a new mass campaign to compel the country’s universities to abolish outsourcing. They want universities to start insourcing in 2016.

Cleaners, cooks, security guards and maintenance workers such as electricians and landscapers were among the most outsourced employees in the country’s universities.

The practice at Wits continues despite several years of consistent opposition by the contracted workers and some staff members. Vice-chancellor Adam Habib has repeatedly told outsourced workers he would employ them directly if he could, but the institution simply could not afford this.

But opponents of the practice argue it is the worst form of exploitation of people whom work on campus each day.

Workers saw their salaries slashed when this form of privatisation was introduced in 1999, firstly at UCT. Many others lost their jobs.
In a pamphlet distributed at the Wits protest, Oct6 said: “When workers lost their direct employment contracts with universities, they not only had their salaries cut by up to 40%, they also lost the benefits they had once received as employees of universities, including the right for their children to attend university for free.

“They also lost work security. High rates of casual work means that jobs are insecure. They cannot petition the university for better working conditions because the university no longer employs them directly.

“University managements make themselves unaccountable to workers because they argue that workers are no longer their responsibility, they are the responsibility of private companies. But workers spend all of their working days on campus, travelling vast distances to provide important services to all of us that live and work at universities.”

A detailed statement which Oct6 also distributed at the Wits protest accused administrators of paying lip service to the economic plight of outsourced workers: “University administrators, while claiming to be sympathetic to the plight of workers, have refused to address the underlying cause – outsourcing – offering various excuses to continue with the system. In so doing, they have abdicated their responsibility to defend the ideals of public university.”

Placards at the Wits protest spoke loudly. “Respect us. Treat us with dignity. Pay us a better wage,” read one placard a cleaner hoisted. “No more discrimination,” said another. A student placard read: “Black lives are cheap in Africa.”

Addressing the protest at Wits, outsourced cleaner Elizabeth Mncube said she was happy so many students and workers turned to support the campaign.

“We’re tired of staying in shacks. Today we want to raise awareness that we’re suffering. We want universities to kick out outsourcing. We want benefits as well. When you retire you’ll find that you have nothing, but you had been working for decades. This was a success but it’s only a start,” said Mncube.

Richard Ndebele, formerly an outsourced electrician at Wits, told how he and about 20 others became “victims of outsourcing” when a company that employed them suddenly disappeared last year.

Wits management did not even heed their requests to be absorbed by another company, Ndebele said. “We didn’t get benefits because the company wasn’t registered. How does Wits hire a company that’s not registered? We can’t hide this.”

Delivering a message of support to workers, a Wits student said: “There is no university without the workers. We as students are standing with you. You’re the lifeblood of the university. We can’t ignore you. We want to say to management how dare you.”

Mathews Bodiba, a landscaper at Wits, compared outsourcing to imperialism. He called for continued solidarity in the campaign. “I want to appeal to ANC, EFF students to fight against this imperialism. It’s not about political parties because at Wits workers are facing an injustice.”

Die in’ protest warns of nuclear dangers
SouthLands Sun 6 October 2015

Activists fight against planned nuclear programmes.

Protestors stage a 'die in' to show the dangers of nuclear energy. PHOTO: SDCEA ANTI-nuclear activists, including some from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), staged a ‘die in’ outside the Department of Energy offices in Durban’s CBD on Tuesday, 29 September.

SDCEA’s Noluthando Mbeje, Precious Mazibuko and Maggie Mazibuko participated in the event in protest against SA’s plans to invest in nuclear energy.

29 September was specifically selected as the date for the ‘die in’ as it marks exactly 58 years since the almost unknown Kyshtym disaster in what was then the Soviet Union.

Following an incident where radioactive liquid waste near the town of Kyshtym was leaked, resulting in a radioactive cloud that spread nearly 800 square kilometres, many people were afflicted with acute radiation syndrome.

The aim of the ‘die in’ was to highlight this incident and others and show the potential nuclear investment has for producing such incidents within South Africa. The protestors also called for government to invest in renewable energy sources.

Along with SDCEA, organisations like United Against Corruption KZN, Greenpeace Volunteers Durban, Durban, GeaSphere and Ecodefense joined the cause.

UKZN protests ‘now over’
IOL News 6 October 2015

Durban - The marathon weekend negotiations at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have led to a successful agreement between students and management.

The SA Students Congress said on Monday that the protests had come to an end.

UKZN spokesman Lesiba Seshoka confirmed that an agreement had been reached.

Seshoka said consensus had been reached on almost all the issues up for discussion, but that the details could not immediately be shared.

Sasco’s KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Pinda Mofokeng, said the students’ most critical demands had been met.

The protests, which began early last month, were over the decision to review the registration appeal committee, a proposed increase in the registration fee, and campus security concerns.

Early on Monday morning – before the agreement between student leaders and UKZN’s management – five students wearing balaclavas attempted to block traffic on the Westville campus.

Students also discharged pepper spray in some venues on the Westville campus. One student was found in possession of the pepper spray and apprehended by police, Seshoka said.

“The university management regrets the inconvenience caused to both staff and students during this period.”

At the last tally, the violent protests on the Westville campus had resulted in damage to property worth about R22 million.

It is expected to take several months to repair the damage to the administration building on the Westville campus, which was vandalised and torched.

Last week the student wellness office situated on the Westville campus was also set alight.

Westville SRC president Lukhanyo Mtshingana was arrested more than two weeks ago, along with former UKZN student Luwazi Magwaza, on charges of public violence.

Small, sporadic protests have also occurred at the Edgewood and Pietermaritzburg campuses over the past three weeks.

Protest at racecourse to highlight community’s concerns
SouthLands Sun 2 October 2015

Call for community members to attend.

Protest ANOTHER protest is planned this weekend at the old Clairwood Racecourse grounds to highlight the concerns of local communities regarding the development of the land.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and Clairwood Racecourse Action Committee (CRAC) host the event with the aim of highlighting the possible effects of this development.

According to the groups this will include an increase in truck traffic which will lead to traffic jams, pollution, health and safety risks, the destruction of endangered species, community and social degradation and noise pollution.

“Let us rally as neighbours, as friends, as people who want justice. Encourage as many people as possible to join in. We should not be bullied out of our homes, neighbourhoods and vibrant communities by industries and government in their greed for profit,” said the members of the SDCEA.

The protest will be held on Saturday, 3 October from 9am to noon at the entrance to the old Clairwood Racecourse.

Samwu bus drivers strike in Tshwane
EWN News 5 October 2015

The strike comes after the City decided drivers should temporarily carry money bags & sell cash tickets.

The drivers are refusing to carry money bags and sell cash tickets due to safety concerns.

Last month, the union instructed its members to stop working until the situation is resolved.

The City of Tshwane's Lindela Mashigo says an alternative fare collection system is being explored.

“The strike action comes after a decision was taken by the City that drivers should continue carrying money bags and sell cash tickets in the buses while an alternative system for collecting is being investigated.”

Bus commuters have been urged to make alternative transport arrangements.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

'Poo protesters' to once again march over township sanitation services
EWN 5 October 2015

The group will soon take to the streets to intensify calls for better sanitation services in townships.

CAPE TOWN - The Ses’khona People's Rights Movement says it will once again take to the streets to intensify calls for better sanitation services in townships.

Four members of the movement appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court yesterday for allegedly dumping faeces on the steps of the Western Cape legislature in 2013.

The state and defence delivered final argument in the matter.

Ses’khona’s Loyiso Nkohla says they are in the process of planning another demonstration against poor sanitation services in informal settlements.

“On 28 October we will have a similar march against the things we’ve been raising in the past two years as all issues of sanitation still remain a challenge in our communities.”

Judgement will be delivered next month, against Nkohla and three others, for allegedly dumping human waste at the Western Cape Legislature more than two years ago.

The provision of portable toilets in Khayelitsha is believed to have led to the 2013 demonstrations characterised by the dumping of human waste at the airport, on highways and at the provincial legislature.

Nkohla maintains they've done nothing but highlight the plight of the poor.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Cape, The Democratic Alliance’s Athol Trollip says it's a disgrace that the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has the most bucket system toilets in the country.

The mayoral candidate says the area has more than 30,000 bucket systems still in use.

Trollip visited the Walmer township in Port Elizabeth yesterday as part of his campaign to visit all 60 wards in the municipality in just two months.

He inspected sanitation conditions in the township and says a lot of work needs to be done.

“It’s important for me to see that, because any mayoral candidate worth their salt or any political party worth their salt in government would have eradicated those problems a long time ago. There’s absolutely no dignity in that kind of sanitation environment.”

EFF submits memorandum
The Highvelder 2 October 2015

Economic Freedom Fighters in Ermelo together with residents of ward 3 and ward 6 in Wesselton recently submitted a memorandum of demands to Msukaligwa Local Municipality giving them seven days to respond.

Some of the grievances mentioned in the memorandum include sanitation, electricity and land for better living conditions.

The organisation and members of the community say they are now sick and tired of empty promises and demand that the municipality does something to improve their quality of living.

Charges against ANC councillor dropped
IOL News 1 October 2015

Rustenburg - Charges of malicious damage to property, intimidation and assault against Rustenburg councillor Luvuyo Tolo Maqwane were withdrawn at the Rustenburg Regional Court on Thursday.

Maqwane, 54, appeared surprised when the prosecutor told magistrate Chris Nel that charges against him were withdrawn, without giving reasons for the withdrawal.

The ANC councillor from the Rustenburg local municipality was accused of attacking members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on July 15 at Popo Molefe informal settlement near Rustenburg.

He was arrested on July 17 and spent ten days in custody before he was released on R1000 bail.

“I am surprised at the withdrawal, however I am happy. I never fight with anyone. I was arrested for stopping a fight.”

Maqwane allegedly smashed a windscreen shield of a car with a stone in an attempt to stop EFF members from entering the informal settlement.

Maqwane’s lawyer, Tshepo Lekokotla, said he was also surprised the case was withdrawn.

“When the matter was transferred to the regional court I braced myself for a tough trial. We were in court today [Thursday] for documents. I have not been briefed why the case was withdrawn. I am happy my client is free,” he said.

‘Lying De Lille booed off stage’
IOL News 2 October 2015

Cape Town - A meeting between backyarders from Bonteheuwel and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille ended in chaos on Thursday night after a protest group allegedly broke up the meeting amid booing and accusations that the mayor was lying.

De Lille said in a statement on Thursday night that the trouble started as she tried to give residents an overview of the Backyarder Programme that is being implemented in the area and rolled out across Cape Town for those who are living in the backyards of council rental units.

She said the Joint Peace Forum (JPF), which she described as a group of five or six people, “violently” broke up the meeting where more than 500 beneficiaries of the Backyarder Programme had come to listen to her.

However, the JPF alleged that residents had become upset and then responded when the mayor said: “We are the government, we will do as we please and do not have to ask anyone’s permission to do so.”

She is alleged then to have followed this up by saying audibly to protesters “voetsek, julle is mos ANC (get lost, you are ANC)”.

De Lille said the JPF did not represent any serious segment of the backyarder community.

“The JPF represent nothing more than their jackets. They were never elected nor mandated to speak on behalf of the backyarders or the Bonteheuwel community at large. This was evident when the beneficiaries arrived at the public meeting with placards protesting against the JPF.

“We will not allow these people to deprive almost 1 000 families of the basic services that we promised them in 2011,” she said.

But the forum hit back, saying: “The community meeting held in Bonteheuwel last night, originally called by the JPF, and then claimed by the city (council), erupted into chaos when the mayor made… lying statements about service delivery in Bonteheuwel. The residents she claims to be helping called her a liar and booed.”

But resident David Pillay said on Friday morning that only “a handful” of people disrupted the meeting on Thursday night. He added that many in the crowd ended up booing the protesters because they were disturbing proceedings.

The forum said their members “stood calmly” during the ruckus. “We refuse to be treated as third-class citizens and disrespected because of political wrangling and party politicking. Bonteheuwel is disgusted at the mayor’s comments; residents are calling for strong action against the mayor and councillors.”

De Lille also alleged in her statement that JPF leader Geraldine Kennedy, who is project manager for Cosatu and who works with ANC opposition leader in the region, Tony Ehrenreich, was living in comfort with services provided by the council, “yet along with a handful of followers, is determined to deprive people living in backyards from the same services”.

JPF chairwoman Judy Kennedy countered on Friday morning:

“We’ve never said we don’t want backyarders to be serviced, we simply want public participation. And we ask ourselves if the city provides these services, will they provide houses for them (to go with services)?”

She said people from the area were fed up with the mayor. “People are angry and we are going to call a meeting to decide what next step to take.”

The backyarder project, which provides services to council-owned property, was first implemented in Parkwood in March.

The project is being implemented in Bonteheuwel where about 700 families are set to benefit.

UKZN campus poo stunt thwarted
IOL News 2 October 2015

Durban - What appears to have been a potential poo protest has been thwarted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Two students on the Pietermaritzburg campus were apprehended with a bag of faeces early on Thursday.

The university believed that the intention of the students was to disrupt lectures and deface university property, spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said.

They were apprehended in the car park on the campus.

“We can confirm that faeces were found today at UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus. Two students were taken for questioning and were later released due to lack of evidence. No case has been opened,” said KZN police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker.

Seshoka said lectures were continuing, and were being attended by the majority of students.

Ongoing acts of protest were being carried out by a small group, he said.

At the Westville campus, students at the Dunstaple Heights residence in Varsity Drive were locked inside the building by protesting students. UKZN security guards tried to cut the locks but were pelted with stones and bottles. The police were called in to assist, Seshoka said.

The university management remains in negotiations with its student leadership.

There were also protests at the Edgewood campus, and two students were arrested.

Seshoka also warned staff and students on Thursday about racist remarks being made related to the protests.

“The university management respects the individual’s right to freedom of speech as enshrined in the South African constitution, and cautions all staff and students to refrain from any racist comments.”

Seshoka said the university was monitoring the internet, and disciplinary action would be taken against individuals found to be perpetuating virulent statements.

On Tuesday night the student wellness office on the Westville campus was set alight, for which two students were arrested.

On Monday a 21-year-old Pietermaritzburg student was arrested for malicious damage to property and for contravening a court order when he allegedly took aim at fellow students with a fire extinguisher.

A 23-year-old Westville student leader handed himself over to the police on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in the violent protests earlier this month which saw two cars and an administration building vandalised and set alight.

Westville SRC president Lukhanyo Mtshingana was arrested more than two weeks ago along with Luwazi Magwaza, a former UKZN student.

Protest violence closes KZN campuses
IOL News 30 September 2015

Durban - Violent student protests, which have been continuing for the past two weeks, forced the closure on Tuesday of the FET Midlands campuses, including Northdale, Msunduzi and Plessislaer.

Protesting students brought traffic to a standstill in Newholmes Way and Pietermaritz Street last week, when more than 1 000 gathered and went on a rampage, burning tyres and barricading the road.

Buildings on all three campuses were also damaged, with windows and water pipes being broken. Light fixtures in lecture theatres were also ripped out and bins upturned and litter strewn all around the campus and in classrooms.

Some staff who spoke to the Daily News on Tuesday said non-protesting students and members of staff were also threatened.

“Lectures have been postponed and the campuses shut down until further notice. Management is in the process of liaising with the SRC to come to some sort of resolution,” one lecturer said on Tuesday.

The students were demanding answers from campus management on funds meant for students, which they say have not been allocated to them.

The aggrieved students claim management had given them no explanation about student financial aid that had been provided by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme for transport, but had not filtered down to students.

Meanwhile, relative calm has returned to UKZN campuses following a court order granted to the university prohibiting students from participating in any protest action in the wake of weeks of violent protests.

On Monday, two students were arrested for allegedly threatening other students and chasing them out of their lectures by spraying them with a fire extinguisher.

The UKZN SRC had sent out a mass e-mail to students, calling for a boycott of all lectures, tests and tutorials in support of a “peaceful protest”

It is believed the students were protesting about issues related to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, student accommodation and the university’s intended closing of the registration appeals committee process.

Schools, clinic burned in NWest protest
IOL News 30 September 2015

Rustenburg - Three schools and a clinic were burnt down during a service delivery protest in Atamalang near Delareyville on Wednesday, North West police said.

Captain Paul Ramaloko said protesters, demanding electricity torched ten classrooms at the three schools in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Five classrooms were burnt at one school, four classrooms at the second school and one classroom was torched at another,” he said.

Four people were arrested for malicious damaged to property, they were expected to appear in court on Thursday, he said.

North West education department spokesman Elias Malindi said schools in the area were affected.

“Learners did not come to school as results of the protest. The situation here is bad, there are no people on the streets,” he said.

He said the roof of one school looked as it was blown away by a heavy explosion.

UCT lecture disrupted by Rhodes Must Fall
IOL News 1 October 2015

Cape Town - The student-led Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement on Wednesday interrupted the annual Nelson Mandela Foundation lecture at the University of Cape Town (UCT), calling the audience and panelists hypocritical.

“If they are concerned about inequality, they should be celebrating our protesting. Instead, they ignore our presence,” said RMF member and UCT Masters student Brian Kamanzi.

The annual lecture, which this year featured world-renowned economist Professor Thomas Piketty, was themed “Income, Wealth, and Persistent Inequality”. Alongside Piketty - who was patched in via livestream - was UCT’s Associate Professor Debbie Collier, the University of the Western Cape’s Professor Olajide Oloyede, and Stellenbosch University’s Kholekile Malindi.

Facilitating the discussion was Trevor Manuel, former finance minister and current Rothschild advisor and deputy chairman.

Kamanzi said Manuel chose to ignore the RMF members at the beginning of the lecture when they stood quietly in front of the audience assembled in UCT’s Jameson Hall.

“He had the opportunity to engage with us but chose not to,” said Kamanzi.

Later on, during Collier’s presentation on inequality, RMF members marched into the hall and onto the stage, singing liberation struggle songs.

When Manuel requested that the RMF members refrain from protesting, the students disregarded him.

Asked about this - and an earlier, similar incident with UCT’s Barney Pityana, important figure of the Black Consciousness Movement, where they demanded he leave the stage at a UCT discussion - Kamanzi said the movement did not see it as disrespecting struggle stalwarts.

Instead, they as protesting students should be celebrated, he insisted.

Kamanzi added that UCT, the audience, and the panelists were hypocrites, as workers - who were most affected by issues of inequality - were made to stand outside and not participate in the discussion.

Taxi strike finally over
Berea Mail 1 October 2015

Taxi industry strike ends after hours-long meeting on Thursday night.

This came after an all-day meeting between KZN government, the eThekwini Municipality and the taxi leadership, which ended late on Thursday night.

The KZN government, together with eThekwini Municipality, created a platform that will expedite the process of releasing the remaining 85 impounded minibus taxis.

However, a proposal by government to ensure that the 85 vehicles are released by today Friday, 25 September, after following the court process, was rejected by members of the taxi industry.

In the high-level meeting with KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, city manager, Sibusiso Sithole, city and KZN Transport Department officials on Wednesday, 23 September, the taxi industry demanded that vehicles be released by the municipality free of charge.

However, an impounded vehicle is only released to the owner after following proper legal processes and paying a fine, which is determined by the court. This process is in line with the National Land Transport Act.

Since Monday, 21 September, 81 minibus taxis have been released following the payment of a R1 500 fine if the owner of the vehicle presents a valid route permit. A fine of R3 000 was imposed if owners failed to produce a route permit.

Members of the taxi industry went on strike after the Metro Police impounded 305 vehicles during a joint enforcement operation with the South African Police Service, which was conducted from 18 to 20 September in eThekwini.

Of the 305 impounded vehicles, 163 were minibus taxis.

To minimise the impact on commuters, eThekwini Municipality has requested that the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa increase the number of trains and Durban Transport buses are also operating to ferry commuters.

Law enforcement has been beefed up. Members of the South African Police Service and Metro Police are monitoring the situation and will not hesitate to act swiftly if any incidents of violence flare-up.

Commuters are urged to be on high alert and to report acts of violence, vandalism and intimidation to the Metro Police number 031 361 0000 and SAPS on the number 10111.

“An agreement was reached last night and every vehicle will be released. The strike is over,” Stembiso Duma, PRO for the eThekwini Metro Management Taxi Council said on Friday.

Crowds march against corruption
Berea Mail 1 October 2015

A group of concerned citizens and organisations, under the banner of the United Front, joined forces today to stand up to government.

Hundreds of residents and members of civic organisations gathered at King Dinizulu Park on 30 September to march against corruption in South Africa.

Hundreds of residents and members of civic organisations gathered at King Dinizulu Park on 30 September to march against corruption in South Africa. ‘AMANDLA! Power to the people!’ That was the cry of hundreds of citizens who gathered at King Dinizulu (Botha’s) Park on 30 September to take a stand against corruption.

The group of residents and members of various organisations joined others in Johannesburg and Cape Town, who marched against corruption in the country, which they feel is hampering service delivery and bringing the economy to its knees.

The group gathered in King Dinizulu Park in Durban where there was a festive atmosphere, with people uniting for the cause before they walked to Durban City Hall.

Various placards read ‘Marikana murders = Corruption of our democracy’, ‘Who is making dirty money from tenders?’, ‘Put people before corrupt profit’, and ‘We demand accountability’, and a resounding message was shared by people with the Berea Mail.

The march was a joint project between United Front KZN and many civic organisations, and came together to build an alliance against corruption and to call for social justice. It was a protest against Nkandla, e-tolls, ‘golden handshakes’, Eskom, looting of the state coffers, lack of accountability and public officials still holding positions after being implicated in corruption – basically everything South Africans complain about. It was a mass call to action by civil society against corruption and an apolitical initiative.

At a planning meeting in Morningside recently, Eric Tate from Arise and Act For a Just Society said this would only be the start, and would not be a once-off event.

“We are not stopping, we can’t allow people to get away with corruption, it needs to be ongoing,” he said.

What the people said

Speaking to Berea Mail at the march, Nikoh Thakersee said he felt corruption would destroy the country’s future.

Michael Naidoo from Awethu said Awethu strongly condemned corruption. “Corruption impedes the progress of the country. Many imbalances need to be rectified, such as housing, health care, social grants and education. With the elimination of corruption, we wouldn’t have such a backlog, such as in housing,” he said.

Helge Janssen said the march had to happen and was long overdue, and would hopefully effect change in the country.

Janine Dryden said: Hoods and criminals in government are unacceptable.

Cheryl Johnson from Save Our Berea said she felt it was great South Africa was holding these marches.

“There’s a very festive atmosphere and it is great to see this march happening in Durban. Save Our Berea sees corruption all the time, and it has got to stop,” she said.

Thembi Dlamini said she was fed up with corruption. “We are human beings, and have the right to know what is happening in our country. We need answers,” she said.

Sthembiso Khuluse said he thought the march was a good thing. “Corruption affects service delivery. The one enemy of service delivery is corruption and we need to fight this enemy. South Africans are suffering and I think this march is the way to fight for people to get service delivery,” he said.

G Pillay said corruption was getting out of hand at the moment. “I hope people high up realise that what is happening is very wrong, they are depriving the poor and basic needs through corruption,” he said.

Union calls on MEC to intervene at Bara
IOL News 1 October 2015

Johannesburg - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has described the management at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital as irresponsible and incompetent.

The union marched to the hospital on Wednesday to hand over a memorandum addressed to Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu and the head of department, in which it detailed its grievances.

Nehawu complained that management had disregarded due process when hiring 147 workers recently.

The union also alleged that the EFF had “captured” the hospital and infused it with “corrupt tendencies”.

“We cannot allow Bara to become a political playground where political parties will come and demand employment (while) disregarding employment processes,” the memorandum stated.

“If our employer succumbs to pressure from a political party, it is dangerous. This is a clear indication that we lack management with vision.”

The union alleged that when management employed the workers, it didn’t inform organised labour about the deviation from the recruitment process.

Nehawu also accused management of misleading the employment equity committee on the number of posts available. “The process was so flawed that no interviews were conducted (and) no screening was done. Contract employees, who have been cleaning the hospital for years, were overlooked.”

The union said there was a backlog in translations and payments of nurses and auxiliary nurses who were upgraded to staff nurses dating from 2012.

“In February 2015, the hospital board sponsored a relationship-building exercise. Management and shop stewards went to Parys (in the Free State) in an effort to improve relationships.

“This was an important exercise, which was led by labour relations. Once more, important resolutions were adopted. (Until) today, not a single resolution was implemented.”

The union blamed that on management’s unavailability each time a consultative forum was due to meet.

Nehawu made several demands, among them the removal of the 147 employed workers, proper engagement with unions as well as the immediate removal of the chief executive and human resource director and all managers allegedly involved in the corruption.

It also called for a forensic commission of inquiry to investigate the matter.

The Health Department’s spokesman, Steve Mabona, said the department would peruse the memorandum and attend to the demands.

“It must be noted that we have been in constant liaison with labour and we will continue to do so, to address all concerns,” Mabona said.

The EFF couldn’t be reached for comment.

Tense stand-off between Nehawu and EFF members at Bara
IOL News 1 October 2015

There has been a tense stand-off between members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

This is ahead of Nehawu's march against what they say is the bullying of hospital management by the EFF. Nehawu members are dressed in red and black union colours and African National Congress t-shirts.

They have been chanting slogans, calling for the removal of the hospital Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sandile Mfenyana, and his management within seven days.

Union members say over 100 EFF members have been employed at the hospital without following proper procedures. They say there were no interviews but the people have already signed contracts of employment.

A small group of EFF members is also singing songs against the planned march. Police have had their hands full when the two groups clashed. The party refused to comment on how their members were employed at the hospital.

Security tight at UKZN
IOL News 30 September 2015

Durban - A strong security presence remained on the Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday, as a student handed himself over to police for his part in the violent protests there two weeks ago.

Classes at all five campuses have proceeded uninterrupted this week, bar an incident on the Pietermaritzburg campus on Monday, and a protest at the Edgewood campus on Tuesday.

On Monday a 21-year-old student was arrested for malicious damage to property and for contravening a court order when he allegedly took aim at his peers with a fire extinguisher on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The 23-year-old student, who handed himself over to the police in Durban on Tuesday, would appear in court soon for public violence, KZN police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said.

The Mercury understands that he is a member of the students’ representative council, and was allegedly involved in the violent protests at the Westville campus which saw two cars and the administration building vandalised and set alight.

The torched building houses the office of vice-chancellor Albert van Jaarsveld. No students were arrested at the Edgewood campus on Tuesday.

Students have been interdicted from gathering unlawfully at any of the institution’s campuses. While the SA Students Congress (Sasco) claimed responsibility for leading the protests, it said it did not condone the destruction of property - which is estimated to have cost R22 million.

The protests, which were over financial aid and an increase in the pass mark required for financial aid students, eventually saw classes suspended at all five of UKZN’s campuses.

Westville SRC president Lukhanyo Mtshingana was arrested two weeks ago along with Luwazi Magwaza - a former UKZN student.

The two were charged with public violence, and appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court last week, when they were denied bail.

The Higher Education Department’s spokesman, Khaye Nkwanyana, said that while the aggrieved students might have had valid reasons for protesting, there could be no justification for the level of violence perpetrated.

The National Assembly’s portfolio committee on higher education also condemned the criminal acts.

Schools, clinic burned in NWest protest
IOL News 30 September 2015

Rustenburg - Three schools and a clinic were burnt down during a service delivery protest in Atamalang near Delareyville on Wednesday, North West police said.

Captain Paul Ramaloko said protesters, demanding electricity torched ten classrooms at the three schools in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Five classrooms were burnt at one school, four classrooms at the second school and one classroom was torched at another,” he said.

Four people were arrested for malicious damaged to property, they were expected to appear in court on Thursday, he said.

North West education department spokesman Elias Malindi said schools in the area were affected.

“Learners did not come to school as results of the protest. The situation here is bad, there are no people on the streets,” he said.

He said the roof of one school looked as it was blown away by a heavy explosion.

DA supporters gather for e-toll ruling
IOL News 30 September 2015

Cape Town - A small group of Democratic Alliance supporters have gathered outside the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday morning, ahead of judgement in the controversial e-tolls case.

Carrying placards that read “No to Tolls” the silent protesters wait patiently under grey Cape Town skies.

The City of Cape Town brought an application to have the South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral) decision to toll sections of the N1 and N2 set aside.

Earlier this year, the city’s advocate Geoff Budlender argued that the Winelands Toll Project had been “procedurally flawed”.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille branded the decision to toll the roads an “irrational” one. But, Sanral has argued that tolling the roads is a necessary funding mechanism for much needed road upgrades.

If tolling is given the go ahead, Capetonians will have to fork out three times as much as Gauteng toll road users at about 74c per km.

Judge Ashley Binns-Ward is expected to deliver judgement later on Wednesday morning.

Volatile Masi being monitored
IOL News 30 September 2015

Cape Town - Police were keeping a close eye on Masiphumelele on Tuesday night after hundreds of protesters set up burning barricades to prevent access to the area on Tuesday morning.

The protesters demanded the release of seven men who appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court after an alleged mob justice incident in the area two weeks ago.

The alleged vigilante attack resulted in the death of one man who had been beaten and shot, and the severe injury of another who had been beaten and set alight.

The attack on September 15 was believed to be in response to the murder of a 14-year-old boy.

The arrest of the seven men thought to be responsible for the attack had residents up in arms.

Tuesday morning, residents took to the streets, burning debris, rubbish bins and tyres while chanting and singing songs, and hurling rocks and stones at the police.

Resident Sithembele Mtshamba said the men needed to be freed in order for the crowd to disperse.

“We were protesting because seven residents were arrested last week in their houses, not at the scene. Now more people have been arrested and the people are angrier and won’t go away until they are released.”

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said on Tuesday morning approximately 100 residents from Masiphumelele staged a protest, blocking off Kommetjie Road outside the informal settlement.

Van Wyk said police were immediately dispatched to the scene to monitor the protests and try to contain any violence that might erupt.

However, the protesters regrouped and returned with approximately 1 000 who gathered inside Masiphumelele, he said.

The seven men were released on R500 bail each.

Despite the men’s release, the crowd remained, adding fuel to the burning barricades, claiming to show solidarity with the arrested men.

They refused to allow anyone to leave or enter the area.

Police arrested more people on charges of public violence.

A mother told the Cape Argus her daughter was unable to go to school, which resulted in her arrest by police.

She said it was not fair that the protest affected innocent people.

“This will go on for a while now because the communication between the police and the community is not going well. We don’t want to leave,” she said.

Protesters continued the barrage on public-order police, who retaliated with rubber bullets and stun grenades.

As journalists tried to approach the large group of protesters, the crowd turned on them, throwing stones and shouting that they should leave.

Efforts by the police to have the protesters disperse peacefully through negotiations were unsuccessful.

After a number of warnings issued over a loudhailer, the police stormed the crowd, which quickly dispersed between the informal structures.

Van Wyk said:

“Police have since arrested 35 people in respect of public violence.

“Investigations thus far have established that the protests Tuesday morning were in retaliation to the seven people who were arrested last week for public violence and were refused bail on September 23.”

Meanwhile, investigations into the murder of the boy and the murder and attempted murder of two men were continuing.

George taxis could lose license over probe
IOL News 29 September 2015

Cape Town - About 50 taxi operating licences aligned to the Uncedo George Taxi Association could be suspended or cancelled as the Western Cape government’s probe into the violent bus protest action in George recently gains momentum.

Roads were barricaded, buses set alight and CCTV cameras and police vehicles damaged as disgruntled taxi operators demanded a halt on the implementation of the Go George bus service and an urgent review of negotiations surrounding the deal.

The department of transport and public works, which is responsible for the regulation of public transport services in the province explained that operators found to be involved in the violence and damage to property run the risk of having their operating licences cancelled while registered operators who are not considered fit and proper to provide public transport services have their registration certificates cancelled.

A team from the Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) acting in terms of section 79 of the National Land Transport Act, held another round of hearings in Oudtshoorn last week to consider the possible suspension or cancellation.

The department has confirmed that more vehicles have been implicated after CCTV footage was studied and other evidence obtained.

Byron la Hoe, spokesman for the department, said as a precautionary security measure, road blocks and police controlled access to the site where the hearings were held in Oudtshoorn, were put in place.

He added that the regulatory entity took action after police linked vehicles owned by members of the association to the George protest action.

He added that initially only 26 taxi operating licences had been facing possible cancellation but the figure has now increased to 50.

La Hoe said various government agencies were engaged in investigations into the violence and traffic disruption.

Alleged offenders have been charged with violating the code of conduct for minibus-taxi operators, and certain conditions of their operating licences.

The department said the complainants in the matter are the police, the Traffic Department and the George Municipality.

Phase 2 of the hearing has been set down for October 30 to give the parties and their legal teams time to prepare while Phase 3 hearings are likely to take place in November.

Speaking on behalf of the George taxi industry Cornelius Esau said the entire process was a witch-hunt against disgruntled operators. Esau said they would issue a statement later on Tuesday.

ANCYL threatens Stellies
IOL News 27 September 2015

Cape Town - The ANC Youth League has threatened to make Stellenbosch University ungovernable if the transformation and race rows plaguing the institution are not resolved.

The threat came as the ANC escalated its involvement in the run-up to its election campaign. It has also vowed to take legal action against Stellenbosch Municipality and to shake up what it says is embedded Afrikaner culture.

Anti-transformation practices and allegations of racism at the university have recently come under intense scrutiny.

The ANC’s stance on the row was outlined at an event held late on Friday at the university to celebrate the youth league’s 71st birthday.

Hundreds of the party’s supporters packed into a room to hear leaders speak on the issue.

“This institution does not benefit poor people. It continues to benefit the white minority… The league of this province, we must mobilise the youth. We’ll call upon all young people of this province that we fight against this racism.

“When it comes to a push, we will make this institution ungovernable,” the league’s newly elected national deputy president Desmond Moela said.

It was Moela’s first address to the league’s members in the Western Cape and his speech prompted wild applause.

Moela said they could not accept “white arrogance”, which he described as the biggest opposition to transformation.

ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman also spoke at the event and said the ANC backed action to undo anti-transformation policies.

“The next process is to take over the (DA-run) Stellenbosch Municipality; therefore we as the ANC would support this struggle and this campaign.”

Fransman said at least 63 percent of students at Stellenbosch University were white, as were 83 percent of the academic staff.

Fransman cautioned that the campaign should not focus on the Afrikaans language itself.

“It’s not Afrikaans that’s the fight here; it’s the way the language policy at this university is being implemented.

“ It’s the way they entrench the culture of Afrikaners.”

Fransman said it was clear that the ANC needed to use the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act legislation against Stellenbosch Municipality and to force the university to reveal information about its transformation policies.

“We must actually litigate against this municipality so that we can understand what this institution really is. Most probably this will be in front of the Equality Court.”

Chumile Samson, Stellenbosch University’s South African Students Congress chairman, said black people were undermined at Stellenbosch University.

“There is (not) one sentence that can define this university, except what I’m going to say now: we are in a state of war here in this university.

“No longer will we allow these white males to make decisions on our behalf… The policies in this institution are anti-black.”

Samson said black people at the university had been reduced to a quota system.

“Black people are here just to make up numbers.”

Murders turn Sweet Home to hate
IOL News 27 September 2015

Cape Town - Two young men were the latest victims of mob violence on Friday night after angry residents said they had had enough.

Broken families are angry with their neighbours, who they say could have handled the matter differently.

The residents of Sweet Home in Philippi, near Browns Farm, ambushed the men who were smoking tik in a shack, saying they would not tolerate anymore victimisation by them.

Rubble, empty beer bottles and a broken television set are all that is left of what used to be 21-year-old Abongile Zake’s hang-out and bedroom in the front yard of his family home.

A witness said the angry mob kicked down the door of the shack and pulled the men out before beating them with wooden planks and bashing their heads in with bricks.

Shortly after they beat the men the group tried to tear down the shack.

“These boys sit around the township all day everyday using drugs and they rob us for money to buy the drugs so people were fed up.

“We often reported them to their families but it had become clear to us that they were unable to deal with their children and we were fed up with being robbed and have our homes broken into by drug-addicted children,” said the witness.

Lieutenant Colonel André Traut confirmed the incident, saying no arrests had been made yet.

“Two males aged 21 and 18 were beaten to death by unknown suspects who are yet to be arrested. The circumstances are being investigated and the motive is unknown,” said Traut.

Zake died in his yard while his friend, Siyabonga Tsetse, died just a few steps away from him, trying to flee the mob.

Tsetse and Zake’s families confirmed the men were criminals and were addicted to tik. Tsetse’s aunt Zoleka Jejani told the Weekend Argus the family had tried everything to help him get off drugs and stop doing crime.

“He had been doing drugs, tik and Mandrax, and breaking into people’s homes and mugging them. We know he was a naughty boy. He dropped out of school three years ago in Grade 7 and that is when he began using drugs. But he did not have to die like that.”

She said she found him “lying face down in a pool of his blood”.

Zake’s family was still too emotional to speak about his death, but agreed he was troublesome and that he had broken into people’s homes.

Zama zama war: residents live in fear
IOL News 29 September 2015

Johannesburg - Residents living alongside an abandoned mine shaft in Springs, Ekurhuleni, say they fear for their lives because of the spate of deadly shootings between rival illegal miners fighting for territorial control of the mine.

In the latest incident on Monday, the bodies of five suspected illegal miners, commonly known as zama zamas, were found at Grootvlei mine, located on their doorstep.

Police made the gruesome discovery at the disused mine, which has been the epicentre of gang warfare between rival zama zamas in Gauteng.

The bodies were found sprawled in the veld metres from the mine and adjacent to a cluster of housing complexes. It is believed that the group were killed during a war over the control of mining territory in the area.

This comes after 29 zama zamas died at various abandoned mine shafts within five days early this month. In the first incident, 19 zama zamas died after a gunbattle between rival groups in Benoni.

Ten more died a week later after suffocating in the abandoned shaft.

On Monday, residents who live in the mining complex told The Star they heard the two rival gangs exchanging gunfire on Sunday night. Although the sound of the gunshots terrified them, many said it had become the norm.

Thabo Mpogo, one of the residents, said he heard the two groups battling it out around 8pm on Sunday “I didn’t think it was serious because I always hear gunshots going off. I didn’t expect it to get this bad,” he said.

Mpogo said he was startled on Monday morning when he saw a large contingent of police officers in the veld inspecting the bodies.

“I was so shocked by what happened so close to us that I was unable to go to work this morning.”

Another resident, Albert Alphane, said:

“We are so scared that we could get injured or killed if we get caught in the crossfire. It isn’t safe to live here.”

Alphane explained that although he heard numerous gunshots on Sunday night, he never thought of calling the police because he didn’t expect the battle to escalate to such an extent.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said some of the slain zama zamas were shot dead while others had been killed with sharp objects.

“Several cartridges from handguns were found at the scene,” he said. Dlamini said the police were notified of the bodies when a community member stumbled across them on the way to work and reported it.

Although the motive for the shootings was under investigation, the incident was believed to be linked to illegal mining, he added.

No arrests had been made and the police appealed to those with information to report it to them.

Westenburg under police watch after community violence
Eye Witness News 28 September 2015

Residents at the weekend attacked a family accused of having a hand in a boy's disappearance.

JOHANNESBURG – Limpopo police are monitoring the situation in Westenburg, Polokwane where community members attacked a family accused of kidnapping.

On Wednesday an 11-year-old boy went missing. He was last seen with a friend.

It’s reported the boy walked off with an unidentified man who asked for help with buying airtime.

Now, community members are accusing the missing boy's friend and his family of having a hand in his disappearance.

The police’s Ronel Otto says the family’s property was set alight over the weekend.

“Over the weekend two houses were set alight and a tavern and a vehicle belonging to the family. They managed to escape unhurt with the assistance of the police."

She says the situation is calm at the moment.

R2K protests outside JSE
Eye Witness News 28 September 2015

Right to Know members are picketing against corporate corruption.

JOHANNESBURG – Supporters of the Right to Know (R2K) campaign have arrived at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange where they are picketing against corporate corruption, which the NGO says has cost South Africa R700 billion in 20 years.

The R2K activists say the picket is part of International Right to Know Day, and they are trying to highlight the dangers and evils of corporate secrecy.

It’s also a precursor to The Unite Against Corruption marches to Parliament and the Union Buildings in the Western Cape and Pretoria on Wednesday.

R2K spokesperson Dale McKinley says corporate corruption is overlooked in South Africa.

“We believe that there is a great deal of corporate secrecy in our country that is not being paid attention to, specifically around issues of transfer pricing, taking money illegally out of the country and share ownership. We’re in the dark.”

At the same time, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) says it's national executive committee has not approved support for the corruption marches and it won't subject its members to potential disciplinary action.

The marches are being supported by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the National Council of Trade Unions.

But the workers' one-day demonstration is not protected by law as the strike certificate from Nedlac is only valid from 8 October.

Fedusa General Secretary Dennis George says, “We are not going to endanger the jobs of our people by encouraging people to participate in illegal action that could lead to companies taking disciplinary action against them.”

United against crime
The Tembisan 23 September 2015

The ANC zone secretary, Mr Aubrey Langa, said they have joined other communities of Gauteng to reclaim their streets.

The marchers are seen holding placards and chanting songs against crime, police killings and drugs on Saturday last week.
The marchers are seen holding placards and chanting songs against crime, police killings and drugs on Saturday last week. Members of several political parties and the community took part in a march against crime, drug abuse and police killings on Saturday.

Members of the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and the community, participated in the march.

The march attendees gathered at the Mehlareng Stadium and marched to the Tembisa SAPS, where they handed over a memorandum to the station commander, Brigadier Johan Jacobs.

The ANC zone secretary, Mr Aubrey Langa, said they have joined other communities of Gauteng to reclaim their streets.

“We believe and are committed to a community free of crime and illegal drugs, and which values its law enforcement agencies. We reclaim our streets by calling for a stop to women and child abuse, crime, drugs and substance abuse and police killings. These crimes are an attack on the moral fabric of our society. They ravage our families and the values of our society,” he said.

Mr Langa added they condemn the on-going spate of police killings.

“We commend the police for arresting suspected perpetrators of this gruesome act. The continued killing of police and law enforcement officers is an attack on our hard-earned democracy. We send our condolences to the families of the members of the SAPS and Metropolitan Police Departments who have been killed,” he said.

He said they believe that only a united, caring and active community can defeat crime, drugs and police killings.

Tembisans plead for rehab centre
The Tembisan 25 September 2015

The group marched through the streets of Teanong, Montsu and Difateng sections, distributing pamphlets about substance abuse.

Some of the recovering drug addicts, parents and Makeke Drug Centre team members during their march through Teanong Section recently.
Some of the recovering drug addicts, parents and Makeke Drug Centre team members during their march through Teanong Section recently. Members of the Makeke Drug Addiction Centre and young people recovering from nyaope addiction, together with parents, have once again marched against the use of nyaope.

Nyaope is a concoction of heroin, dagga and other harmful substances.

The group marched through the streets of Teanong, Montsu and Difateng sections, distributing pamphlets about substance abuse.

Ms Cathrine Makeke said they wanted to handover a memorandum to the Tembisa Customer Care Centre’s (CCC) offices, but the group was rejected for unknown reasons.

“We were told to follow certain protocols for the memorandum to be accepted next time,” she said.

In the memorandum, the group was appealing for an open space so that they can build a treatment centre, specialising in drug addiction.

Ms Makeke uses her six-bedroom home, a garage and two outside rooms for the rehabilitation of Tembisans.

“I am appealing to the local government to give us a free open space so that I can help rehabilitate those addicted to this drug in Tembisa.

“Young people addicted to drugs are coming into my house in large numbers. I reject some of them because of limited space and it hurts to see a child who is looking for help but not receiving any. I am not doing this for my family but for the children on the streets taking drugs,” she said.

Out of 44 young people currently rehabilitating at the Makeke Drug Addiction Centre, only four will graduate from the recovery.

The Community Safety Forum’s Ms Nonhlanhla Nkosi also took part in the march.

For more information, contact Ms Cathrine Makeke on 084 412 4675.

Man shot and killed
Rubber bullets lay strewn in front of Vosman Police Station, a silent witness to the drama that unfolded over the weekend.
Witbank News 21 September 2015

A man was shot dead and three others injured when police allegedly fired at an angry crowd who voiced their frustration with bribery.

This tragedy unfolded in Vosman Hlanikahle Extension 1 on Sunday, September 20.
On Monday, September 21 community members went to Vosman Police Station to enquire about a policeman, who is accused of shooting the 28-year-old Isaac Tebele.

Tempers again flared up when one of the policemen was seen leaving the police station in full uniform, only minutes after the station commander, Brigadier Makhosazana Kheswa, assured a delegation chosen by the community that the policeman was not at work.

“The station commander blatantly lied in our faces. We were told the officers were suspended with immediate effect,” Mr Aubrey Mtsweni, from the ANC Youth League said.
“When we took the matter up, the police chased us out of the gates firing rubber bullets,” Mtsweni said.

Residents then took to the streets to barricade nearby road with rocks.

Mtsweni described the incident that led to Tebele’s death and the hospitalisation of three other men.

He said it started when policemen searched spaza shops in the area and arrested three men believed to be foreigners.

“Two were from Bangladesh and the other is a South African,” Mtsweni said.

He said rage erupted when one of the policemen were heard allegedly asking one of the foreign nationals for R50 in exchange for his ‘freedom’.

The crowd quickly grew bigger and tempers flared. The back of the police van was opened by the community and the three suspects were let out.

The policemen ran after the suspects, but they were stopped by the angry crowd, who by then closed off the road.

Mtsweni said when the community questioned the policeman he left, but returned shortly afterwards with back-up.

Rubber bullets were fired at a delegation of community members who spoke to Vosman Police Station Commander Brigadier Makhosazana Kheswa.

“The next moment shots were fired,” Mtsweni said.

In a video taken by one of the community members, one can clearly hear the community asking what the police were doing there.

“What type of backup are they bringing when they don’t sort out the problem?” can be heard. The next moment people are seen scattering as the sound of shots cut through the air.
“They shot Isaac! They shot him! Call the ambulance they shot him,” cries are heard.

As the police vans sped away Tebele is left alone in the dirt road.

The community took him to a nearby clinic where he later died.

Tebele’s brother, Mr Solly Tebele, said this is a huge shock for the family.

“My brother heard a noise and had gone outside to check where the noise was coming from when he was shot,” Mr Tebele said.

He said he is humbled by the visit of the Executive Mayor of Emalahleni, Cllr Lindiwe Ntshalintshali and other councillors who offered condolences to the family.

Tebele said his cousin, Mr Jonathan Pourle, was also wounded during the shooting. He was discharged from Witbank Hospital on Tuesday morning.

One of the other victims, Mr Thami Thobela refused hospital treatment and was sent home and Mr Tebogo Segole was discharged the same day after assessment by casualty
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the matter.
Ms Grace Langa, spokesperson for Ipid said the investigating officer met with witnesses on Tuesday, September 22.

“The policemen accused of the shooting are still at work,” said Colonel Leonard Hlathi, provincial police spokesperson.

“We are compiling a report to the provincial commissioner, Commissioner Lieutenant General Mark Dumisa Magadlela, from which he will decide if the members acted negligently or not. On that basis he will then assign an investigator to probe into the matter,” Col Hlathi said.

SDCEA march calls for more forests
Local schools join in.

SouthLands Sun 23 September 2015

Marchers prepare to work through the CBD.
Marchers prepare to work through the CBD. IN conjunction with the World Forestry Congress in Durban, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted a march through Durban on Thursday, 10 September to highlight pollution concerns.

With Arbour Day being celebrated this month, the local organisation along with Timber watch and the Civil Society Alternative Programme aimed to educate people on the importance of environmental justice and preservation of forests.

While hundreds, including many high school pupils, gathered to march from City Hall to Speakers Corner to raise awareness, South Durban schools presented posters about trees and the environment to show the need for forests, not plantations.

Hundreds of pupils from Assegai Primary School, Austerville Primary School, Collingwood Primary School, Durban East Primary school, Junagarth Road Primary school, ML Sultan St Marys Primary School, Gardenia Primary School, Nizam Road Primary School, Parsee Rustomjee Primary School, Wentworth Primary School and Settlers Primary School proudly displayed their posters to passersby.

According to SDCEA environmental project officer, Noluthando Mbeje, the aim of the awareness march was to highlight the horrors of pollution, community destruction, water resources and the destruction to natural environments.

“This was such a great achievement and learning experience for the youth and children of South Durban. It’s important we focus and educate our children and youth as they are the future leaders,” said Mbeje.

Man killed during Bloem school chaos
IOL News 23 September 2015

Bloemfontein - Bloemfontein police were on Wednesday investigating a case of murder after a man was beaten to death, allegedly by residents of Heidedal, amid scenes of chaos at a local school.

“At this stage, we cannot confirm why he was attacked. We’ve opened a case of murder to investigate, but there have been no arrests,” said police spokesman Zweli Mohobeleli.

“We heard about chaos at schools and went to investigate but there was no incident to report as a criminal act.”

Local media in Bloemfontein have been reporting that gangsters were terrorising pupils in Heidedal, prompting residents to take the law into their own hands.

Free State education department officials were not immediately available to comment.

5 arrested for N West violent protest
IOL News 25 September 2015

Johannesburg - Former leader of the Congress of SA Students Andrew Babeile has been arrested over his alleged involvement in the destruction of property belonging to the Naledi Local Municipality in North West during a protest this week.

Babeile, Lindwall Steytler, Handy Ntshotshoba, Mvuyo Ncobo and an unnamed man handed themselves over to the police on Wednesday night.

According to councillors and police, they destroyed municipal property and assaulted the municipality’s chief financial officer David Thornhill on Tuesday afternoon.

Babeile is no stranger to controversy. In 1988, he was found guilty of stabbing a white pupil with a pair of scissors at Warrenton High School, following an argument over race.

On Tuesday, hundreds of protesters from Huhudi and surrounding townships had marched to the municipality to demand jobs at the R34 road construction site between Vryburg and Schweizer-Reneke.

The group accused acting mayor Clifton Groep and Speaker Gift Mathiba of having secured jobs on the site for their family members.

Although it is a provincial road, the SA National Roads Agency is responsible for its construction and has appointed a local contractor to do the job.

The contractor approached councillors to nominate 150 people to assist them.

According to the protesters, chaos broke out after the councillors allegedly forwarded the names of people they knew.

Some protesters demanded that Groep, the Coleridge township ward councillor, step down. They accused him of failing the coloured community.

Many of the young women who were part of the protest demanded that Groep resign. They said they wanted jobs.

“I’m sick and tired of stealing. There is nothing to steal any more here in Vryburg. Let them give us jobs,” said one.

Groep denied the allegations. He said the protesters had been influenced by ANC councillors.

Last night, tension was high. Locals accused the police of not arresting the real criminals.

After the protests erupted on Tuesday, Naledi’s municipal manager Modisenyane Segapo told employees to leave early for their safety.

Two municipal security guards and a bystander were also attacked during the chaos.

Hundreds of people were expected at the Vryburg Magistrate’s Court today when Babeile and his co-accused were expected to apply for bail.

Protesters dig trench across R360
IOL News 25 September 2015

Johannesburg - Residents of Magatle in Limpopo blocked roads with stones and dug a trench across the R360 during a service delivery protest on Friday, Limpopo police said.

“Motorists travelling in the Magatle area are advised to drive carefully on the R360 as protesters blocked roads with stones. Police removed the obstacles, the problem is that a deep hole has been dug across the road,” said spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto.

“The protest is against a lack of service delivery,” she added.

Politics ‘behind crippling taxi strike’
IOL News 27 September 2015

Durban - Durban taxi bosses believe they were being used as “political pawns” in this week’s four-day strike which brought the city to its knees.

Bafana Mhlongo, secretary of KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Association, made a damning claim that the strike had been ignited “behind the scenes” by politicians aligned to Zandile Gumede’s faction in the battle to lead the ANC’s eThekweni region.

She is challenging mayor James Nxumalo for the position of regional chair in the postponed elective conference of the ANC’s biggest region.

Mhlongo alleged allies of Gumede, who hold senior positions in the municipality, motivated Metro cops to launch their heavy-handed operation on Monday with the intention of provoking the taxi operators into strike action, which in turn would make the city appear ungovernable.

This, he said, was a deliberate ploy to portray Nxumalo as a failure prior to the elective conference scheduled for next month.

Gumede is also the committee chairwoman of Health, Safety and Social Services, which Metro cops fall under.

The date of the conference has not been announced.

Mhlongo said: “This is a deliberate move by people who want to use us to create instability so that the mayor is seen as failing to run the city.”

He also pointed fingers at City Manager Sbu Sithole for being behind this operation.

Sithole did not respond at the time of going to press.

Mhlongo said their view was reinforced by the fact that earlier this year taxis were impounded just before the eThekwini elective conference was to have taken place. Unruly delegates brought the conference to an halt.

“Every time we approach the conference they impound our taxis, which would lead to chaos and people would blame Nxumalo. It’s clear that we are being used, that was one reason why we aborted the strike,’’ he said.

The strike was called off on Thursday after the taxi industry, provincial government and city reached an agreement to release impounded taxis to owners who paid a R1 500 fine

“We don’t have tangible evidence, but we are confident we are being used to cause chaos in the city. The people behind this operation know we will strike. Their aim is to make the city ungovernable under the current leadership building up to the conference,” said Mhlongo.

The conference to elect the region’s chairperson has been marred by nullifications, postponements and cancellations. At stake is the city’s close to R40 billion budget.

Bheki Mbambo, deputy chair of the SA Taxi Council in KwaZulu-Natal, said they would fight against being used by politicians for political gain. “We want to remain as independent business people. We don’t want to be involved in politics because we are not politicians,” said Mbambo.

He said the long-standing unresolved issues between the taxi industry, Metro police and the Department of Transport must be resolved: “The department must get its house in order. They must process applications for permits in time, and there will be peace in the province.”

Secretary of the ANC in KZN, Sihle Zikalala, who is believed to be backing Gumede, brushed off the claims, saying he would not like to comment on this matter because these were “baseless” allegations.

“We will not like to give credence to things that are baseless,” said Zikalala.

Gumede expressed shock at the allegations. “All I know is that the strike was caused by the issue of permits. But I’m used to people who go around tarnishing my image and it doesn’t worry me any more,” she said.

Nxumalo, who is said to enjoy the support of premier Senzo Mchunu, could not be reached for comment.

Taxi strike leaves Durban commuters stranded
IOL News 22 September 2015

Durban – Thousands of Durban commuters were left stranded in the city on Tuesday as the taxi industry embarked on a strike protesting the impounding of more than 300 vehicles by the eThwekwini Metro Police.

There was a heavy police presence in the city centre which was devoid of minibus taxis.

The South African National Taxi Council’s eThekwini spokesman Thembisa Duma said taxi bosses had held a meeting in Durban on Tuesday, and had resolved to continue the strike.

All 112 taxi associations in the Durban region would take part in the strike, he said.

The minibus taxis were impounded because drivers did not have the necessary route permits. But the taxi bosses claim there was a massive backlog in the issuing of permits on the side of the provincial transport department.

“For us to transfer the permit, it takes almost two years. To renew the permit takes almost 10 months,” Duma said.

He said a resolution was taken by taxi bosses not to stage protests. “But I can tell you if they can’t respond, we will request the province to join the strike, failing which we will ask the national [association] to strike,” Duma said.

Reacting to a statement by the KwaZulu-Natal transport department that it was not at fault over the permits, Duma said he had receipts from March which proved he had paid for his permits which still had not been issued.

“Next door, in the Eastern Cape, you go there and you renew a licence, you get it at the counter. Here, same government, same political party, we don’t know what’s going on. Here, it’s hell,” he said.

Willies Mchunu, the KwaZulu-Natal transport, community safety and liaison MEC said in a statement that over 2407 permits have been issued in the Durban region alone since last year. He said that out of these, over 265 permits had not been collected by the respective taxi owners.

“The allegations that the Department of Transport has not been issuing permits is a lame excuse and an attempt to distract us from dealing with real issues,” Mchunu said.

“The fact that some are owing traffic fines is making it difficult for them to obtain permission from the municipality to be issued with permits. Equally, the on-going illegal recruitment of people by some taxi associations to become operators without permits is the main source of the taxi industry instability, over and above route encroachment.”

There were no immediate reports of violence and comment could not immediately be obtained from the Durban Chamber of Commerce to ascertain the impact of the strike on businesses in the city.

Khoisan protesters break princess’s bench
IOL News 23 September 2015

Cape Town - Eight Khoisan members were arrested on Tuesday after damaging a concrete bench on the corner of Castle Street and St George’s Mall in Cape Town.

The bench was erected in honour of Khoisan Princess Krotoa. A group of about 12 Khoisan people claimed the City of Cape Town disrespected the princess by allowing people to sit on the bench, instead of erecting a formal statue of her.

Krotoa lived and worked in Jan van Riebeeck’s homestead and later acted as an interpreter between the Dutch colonies and the indigenous inhabitants of the Cape in the 17th century.

On Tuesday morning, the group marched through St George’s Mall to the Western Cape provincial legislature.

Western Cape Legislation Khoisan Group Secretary Tania Kleinhans-Cedras said the march was significant for them.

“We are going to rectify the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Convention 169. We are bringing life to it and our process of self destination is under way.”

She said there was much inequality in the province.

“We represent the largest Khoisan clan in the Western Cape, yet we remain the most unidentified.”

She claimed breaking the bench was not a violation and was supported by ILO Convention 169 concerning the rights of indigenous people worldwide.

“Those rights are the rights we are going to affirm with the most integrity.”

A member of the group, Phillda Moses, said all she wanted was for her people to be recognised and Krotoa acknowledged as their “queen and icon”.

“They put Nelson Mandela everywhere in this city but failed to do the same for our queen. “Khoisan people are the first people in the history of Western Cape but now they disrespect us.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut confirmed that eight protesters were arrested in Wale street “for malicious damage to property and illegal gatherings”.

They will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court soon.

TUT rampage blasted
IOL News 23 September 2015

Pretoria - Regular violent outbursts at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) were counter-productive and taking South Africa back many years.

The violence and destruction of property characterising student protests at TUT, was also anti-educational, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said in Hatfield on Tuesday.

But across the city, students at the TUT main campus were at it again, having gone on a rampage destroying property.

Nzimande said students’ right to protest about dissatisfactions were justified, but violence should not be part of that process. “It has become a ritual for TUT protests to involve burning and damage to property.

“I’m very concerned about the persistent damage to property at TUT and other institutions. We encourage management to work with law enforcement agencies to bring the culprits to book.”

Nzimande was speaking at a media briefing about the second national higher education transformation summit to be held next month.

However, at TUT, a group of students believed to have been drunk, allegedly stormed into residences and kicked open doors of rooms in the wee hours of the morning.

They forced fellow students out of their rooms, urging them to join the protest over “the lack of financial support for needy students, poor security at the campus, and stale food served in the canteen”.

Some escaped unharmed with bags of clothes and ran outside the campus. They showed the Pretoria News pictures of their rooms, left in disarray with some doors broken.

A student said a group forced her door open and damaged the furniture. At least four tyres were set alight at the main entrance of the university by sunrise.

TUT vice-chancellor Professor Lourens van Staden said he would only be able to confirm the extent of the damage later, after calculating what the rampaging students destroyed.

The protesters, however, failed to disrupt the graduation ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, he said.

Some students were highly inconvenienced as they had to sit for tests. These had now been rescheduled for next week following the outbreak of the violence, Van Staden said.

He expressed concern at the growing trend to stage protests at the campus since the beginning of the year. He said he was hearing about issues being raised by the students for the first time.

“In terms of the rules of natural justice, their issues are genuine. We need to go and analyse the issues and we would report back to them.”

Monkie Maluleka, deputy president of the SA Students Congress, rubbished claims that students were forced out of their rooms as “propaganda”. He blamed the Higher Education Department for students finding themselves in financial distress and unable to pay their tuition fees. “The department must come to the party and see to it that students are given financial support,” he said.

He also challenged the university to contribute the money it received from donors to pay students’ tuition fees.

Maluleka said security at the campus was a pressing concern. He cited instances of students having been robbed of their cellphones and laptops, branding the contracted security company incompetent.

The EFF’s Thuto Thulenyane said the perpetrators of Tuesday’s violence were drunk. One student was sprayed with a fire-extinguisher, could hardly breath, and had to be taken to hospital, he said.

The protesting students alleged the food was cooked in bulk days before being served and was stale.

Van Staden said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme problem was a national one. The university enrolled 57 000 students for this year with a first-year intake of about 14 000. For next year, 16 000 students were expected, and there wouldn’t be enough funds for them.

He said the university had a shortfall of R46 000 required for next year for needy students. On crime, he said: “There had not been formal reports about the incidents.”

Taxi strike leaves Durban commuters stranded
IOL News 22 September 2015

Durban – Thousands of Durban commuters were left stranded in the city on Tuesday as the taxi industry embarked on a strike protesting the impounding of more than 300 vehicles by the eThwekwini Metro Police.

There was a heavy police presence in the city centre which was devoid of minibus taxis.

The South African National Taxi Council’s eThekwini spokesman Thembisa Duma said taxi bosses had held a meeting in Durban on Tuesday, and had resolved to continue the strike.

All 112 taxi associations in the Durban region would take part in the strike, he said.

The minibus taxis were impounded because drivers did not have the necessary route permits. But the taxi bosses claim there was a massive backlog in the issuing of permits on the side of the provincial transport department.

“For us to transfer the permit, it takes almost two years. To renew the permit takes almost 10 months,” Duma said.

He said a resolution was taken by taxi bosses not to stage protests. “But I can tell you if they can’t respond, we will request the province to join the strike, failing which we will ask the national [association] to strike,” Duma said.

Reacting to a statement by the KwaZulu-Natal transport department that it was not at fault over the permits, Duma said he had receipts from March which proved he had paid for his permits which still had not been issued.

“Next door, in the Eastern Cape, you go there and you renew a licence, you get it at the counter. Here, same government, same political party, we don’t know what’s going on. Here, it’s hell,” he said.

Willies Mchunu, the KwaZulu-Natal transport, community safety and liaison MEC said in a statement that over 2407 permits have been issued in the Durban region alone since last year. He said that out of these, over 265 permits had not been collected by the respective taxi owners.

“The allegations that the Department of Transport has not been issuing permits is a lame excuse and an attempt to distract us from dealing with real issues,” Mchunu said.

“The fact that some are owing traffic fines is making it difficult for them to obtain permission from the municipality to be issued with permits. Equally, the on-going illegal recruitment of people by some taxi associations to become operators without permits is the main source of the taxi industry instability, over and above route encroachment.”

There were no immediate reports of violence and comment could not immediately be obtained from the Durban Chamber of Commerce to ascertain the impact of the strike on businesses in the city.

Stale food, theft prompts TUT protest
IOL News 22 September 2015

Pretoria - Police units were deployed to the Tshwane University of Technology on Tuesday, as protesting students burnt tyres and destroyed some infrastructure belonging to the institution of higher learning.

Vice-chancellor and principal Professor Lourens van Staden said not much damage was done during the “very peaceful” protest.

“In the beginning of the year we had the same thing, very peaceful, no destruction of property and no violence. A few tyres here and there is what you will [get],” Van Staden said as he addressed reporters at the Pretoria West campus.

“Even according to the police giving us reports, it has been a few tyres burning and it has been peaceful. I am not saying I condone it but that is how we do things in the country.”

There had been damage to the students’ residences at the university but Van Staden said the financial cost had not been calculated. He said some doors had been broken, using fire extinguishers.

Lessons and tests scheduled on Tuesday were suspended and scores of students were returning home.

Quantity surveying student Mohau Tsikoane said that on top on the students’ list of grievance was the increasing crime incidents on campus, stale food served at the canteen and inadequacy of accommodation for students.

“People are getting robbed on this campus. When you are walking to the residences late from the library, you get robbed. They take your phone, the Timberlands and Air Max (shoes) are taken by those people. Frequently we hear that so and so was robbed at gunpoint or at knife-point on campus,” said Tsikoane.

“Regarding the food, it is messing up with students because it is cooked in bulk a day or two before.”

Tsikoane said the students were also aggrieved because of the shortage of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds.

Numerous security guards from a company Nationwide Security were milling on the campus. Members of the Tshwane Metro Police and the South African Police Service were stationed at the main entrance.

Chaos erupts at TUT over NSFAS
The New Age 22 September 2015

Students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) burnt tyres and blocked the entrance to the main campus on Tuesday morning allegedly over lack of funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

According to reports classes have been suspended following the protests.

A source who preferred to remain anonymous, a student at TUT, told The New Age that the strike was related to NSFAS and lack of security.

"Its a mess, our doors were broken down in the morning, and we were chased away from residential area," she said.

She also cited that the Management was given a memorandum of grievances ten days ago which she says they did not respond to.

Tshwane Metro police senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba said: "The situation was calm and under control. It's still quiet for now."

Principal 'is a witch'
The Sowetan 20 September 2015

Pupils at Port St Johns Secondary School in Eastern Cape threatened to burn down their school after they accused the principal of practising witchcraft.

Police spokesman Captain Mduduzi Godlana said chaos erupted at the school in the morning when pupils disrupted learning by burning wood and car tyres at the school's entrance gate.

"When we got to the scene there were about 300 learners chanting and dancing, calling for the school principal to be removed. The learners are accusing the principal of practising witchcraft. They say the principal makes them sick and when they are sick he does not offer them assistance," Godlana said.

He said a group of 50 parents including members of the school governing body met with teachers at about 11am to find a way forward.

"The tension subsided for a while during the meeting, but learners again gathered in front of the office where the meeting was taking place and began singing and dancing again." Godlana said the meeting was disrupted, resulting in teachers and the principal going home.

"The school is closed, we monitored the situation until everyone had left the premises. There was no damage done to the school and there were no injuries reported," Godlana said, adding that no one was arrested and no case had been opened.

A response to questions sent to the department of education was not received at the time of going to press.

Parents march against ‘dictator’ at school
IOL News 21 September 2015

Cape Town - Disgruntled school governing body (SGB) members and parents braved cold and rainy weather on Tuesday to march on Parliament Primary School in Mfuleni and demand the removal of the acting principal.

The SGB and the parents accuse acting principal Xoliswa Sbayi of being a “dictator”, disputing the elected and recognised SGB, forming her own interim SGB and employing teachers without the original SGB’s consent.

On Tuesday, parents who support the original SGB took to the streets to voice their unhappiness with Sbayi. They vowed to march until she is removed.

The school was opened on February 2 after concerned parents went to the Department of Education to plead with officials for a school for children, who were learning in a tent belonging to a church. The children had not been accepted at other schools for various reasons, said SGB Chairperson Nomonde Mkhithi.

She said on May 29, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) asked parents to elect an SGB.

“That was done on June 2 in Bardale Primary School in the presence of an electoral officer, Mfuleni High School principal Mr Mlotywa, and two teachers, Ntombomzi Nazo and Mandla Masiza, both from Parliament Primary as agreed to by the department.”

SGB deputy chairperson Busisiwe Majiza said the principal was supposed to introduce them to the department after the elections.

“She did not do that. We went to the department on June 11 to find out what was going on. We were shocked to be told the principal was disputing the SGB.”

The members claim that Sbayi elected her interim SGB. They also claim that she employed teachers without consulting. “The school had nine teachers brought by the department when it was opened. But now there are more than 16 teachers. She recently advertised five posts.”

Sbayi has denied the allegations against her, saying the parents have been against her since the school was opened.

“These are blatant lies aimed at discrediting my name. I follow due procedures when appointing a teacher. There are individuals in the community who are hell-bent on getting me out of the school,” she said.

WCED spokeswoman Jessica Shelver confirmed the department was aware of the allegations, and that an investigation was under way.

“Our district officials are investigating the claims as these currently cannot be verified. I will provide further comment when the investigation is complete,” she said.

Video: Huge turnout at #PharrellProtest
IOL News 21 September 2015

Hundreds gathered outside Grand West Casino, where Pharrell Williams was performing, as part of the Boycott Woolworths campaign.

Protesters face off with Pharrell Williams concertgoers
The Sowetan 21 September 2015

A smaller than expected crowd of about 1‚500 people had gathered outside Grand West Casino in Cape Town by 5pm yesterday (Monday) to protest against US singer Pharrell Williams’ concert there last night.

Williams’ performance is part of a collaboration between the Happy singer and retailer Woolworths on their “Are You With Us?” campaign.

Activist group Boycott‚ Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa (BDS)‚ planned the protest because of Woolworths continued trade with Israel‚ which it believes is unlawfully occupying Palestine.

BDS had expected a larger crowd after the Cape High Court ruled that 16‚000 people would be allowed to attend the protest.

The crowd that arrived occupied the pavements outside the main entrance to the casino‚ waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Free‚ free‚ Palestine” at arriving concertgoers.

There was a strong police presence and the vocal crowd was marshalled by volunteer Cosatu members.

Fear and anger after Etwatwa attacks
IOL News 22 September 2015

Johannesburg - Calm might have been restored on the streets of Etwatwa, but behind closed doors, parents grieve for children killed or wounded in last week’s attacks.

Among those parents is Elinah Simelane, whose 25-year-old son Sfiso is in a critical condition in hospital after being attacked by the OverLoaded (OVL) gang. She is afraid that her son won’t walk again.

Sfiso is the sixth victim of last week’s attacks in Etwatwa.

Residents took the law into their own hands and kidnapped suspected gang members, necklacing some and stabbing others. The community accuses the gang of abusing drugs and robbing people.

Simelane said she’d received phone calls, allegedly from members of the gang, threatening to finish Sfiso off in hospital. Another son, Simphiwe, 20, has run away.

She recounted the story when Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele visited the family on Monday, saying: “Sfiso was beaten with a panga on the head and legs. When we saw him on Saturday, he looked like he’d never walk again.”

After being stabbed, Sfiso crawled to a nearby house, and residents called an ambulance. His left eye was so badly swollen, he couldn’t see out of it.

“When they left him, they were sure he was dead,” his mother said.

Mary Masilela’s son Thulani was also attacked. His girlfriend had received threatening SMSes, allegedly from the OVL gang.

Gungubele and local councillors held a short prayer meeting at the home of the dead Mayisela twins, Sabelo and Samkelo, aged 16, who were necklaced my an enraged mob of residents last Tuesday.

Gungubele vowed to do away with vigilantes.

“We do not accept vigilantism; we have the police, who are dedicated to taking care of community,” he said.

The mayor said a series of prayer meetings and community meetings had been planned this week to address the problem.

He said the police would patrol the houses of those families threatened by the gang.

On Monday, Etwatwa appeared to have returned to normality as residents were seen on the streets and children went to school. A handful of police officers patrolled the area.

While many were reluctant to speak, a man, who didn’t want to be named, told The Star that residents from the Mandela section of Etwatwa were behind the attacks.

He said that after youths from Etwatwa committed robberies in a nearby section, residents retaliated by attacking them.

Ekurhuleni metro police department spokesman Clifford Shongwe said three people, aged 14, 19 and 53, were arrested on Saturday in connection with the teenagers’ deaths.

He said the older man, Shadrack Makua, was believed to be the kingpin of the mob.

The 19-year-old was found in possession of a knife when he was arrested; the 14-year-old, he said, had since turned state witness.

But Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the two men and the 14-year-old had only been taken in for questioning.

South African Students Protest Apartheid At Stellenbosch
Nancy Fleming (All Africa News) 21 September 2015

South African students marched Friday against what they call a 'culture of institutionalised apartheid' at their university, despite a range of concessions and proposals by the institution.

Students at Stellenbosch are calling for 'transformative change' after the release of a documentary showing interviews with students alleging that racist practices are in place across the campus.

The documentary is called Luister, the Afrikaans word for Listen, and shows people giving accounts of being repeatedly victimised because of the colour of their skin. The group behind this, Open Stellenbosch, say these are some of the ways people are being impacted by what they call policies of apartheid at the university.

Aneli Mbude, a student with the Open Stellenbosch group, told RFI: "Being a black person in Stellenbosch is traumatising ... There's so much pain and heartbreak that you have to face, because it's like you're hated just because of the colour of your skin."

Much of this heated debate has focused around the use of Afrikaans as the primary language of teaching there. A large group of the student body is calling for a change to English, to rid academic life at the institution of the negative, oppressive connotations that many people have with the Afrikaans language.

The governing ANC party, the African National Congress, has waded into the debate this week with Baleka Mbete, the party's chairperson, going to Stellenbosch.

"We want a South Africa where people must not feel that they are small because they are not white," he said.

Stellenbosch University has said it would be investing nearly 70 million rand (4.6 million euro) to diversify its staff, and that more programmes would be moving into the English language, but the protest groups say this is not enough. They have handed in demands for some management staff on the university's council to step down too.

UPDATE: Residents’ protest scares contractor away
Randburg Sun 21 September 2015

ROOSEVELT PARK – Contractor feels threatened by crowd of residents.

Residents took to the streets on 19 September to demand restoration to their electricity.

This comes after the Roosevelt Substation caught fire due to a cable fault at 11.15am on 18 September.

While electricity was restored shortly afterwards to several suburbs, some suburbs are still without power.

Residents protested en masse on Beyers Naudé Drive the day afterwards, and paid regular visits to the substation to check on the matter, as late as 8pm.

City Power spokesperson Sydney Mphahlele could not be immediately reached for comment, but City Power stated on Twitter around 5pm on 19 September, that repairs were done, but “while they were doing trip testing termination blew on temporary feeder board”.

A latter tweet said that City Power would advise residents on the “new restoration time once they have detyermined the extent of the damage”.

Ward 88 councillor Pat Richards explained that if it was not for “cables blowing”, all suburbs supplied by the station would have power now.

The cables blew, however, and the contractor returned to the site to restore power.

According to Richards, the contractor saw a myriad of protesters, and feeling threatened, turned his car around.

He will apparently return to work at the substation on 20 September, but a feeder board will be used to restore power some time during the night on 19 September, depending on the required load.

“It is shoddy work,” Richards said.

Vuwani plans to resume protests
IOL News 21 September 2015

Limpopo Vuwani Cyril Ramaphosa Thulamela Makhado Livhuwani Matsila Vhembe District There are reports that residents of Vuwani in Limpopo are planning to resume their protests on Monday.

They suspended their action a week ago, after Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed them. He focused on the Municipal Demarcation Board's decision to merge their area with other parts of Thulamela and Makhado municipalities to form a new municipality in the Vhembe district.

The residents want the board's decision to be reversed.

“The message is to encourage all people to go to work. To encourage all learners to go to school and to encourage all businesses to operate as normal in the Vuwani area. We are telling all our people that there's no strike on Monday or in the week. The strike has ended, everything has gone back to normal. Those people who are busy threatening people with strikes, they must understand that police will arrest them and the will face the might of the law,” says Chief Livhuwani Matsila.

Mob justice fury in Masi
IOL News 21 September 2015

Cape Town - Masiphumelele is now a boiling cauldron of resentment, with vigilantes allegedly beating and shooting one man to death and then beating and burning another and leaving him seriously injured during a rampage through the township on Sunday night.

Last week, a man accused of killing a 14-year-old boy was burnt to death by angry residents who then stoned and torched a police vehicle.

Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that residents had attacked two men. It is understood one man was beaten, then shot dead, and another beaten, burnt and left seriously injured.

“According to reports, at about 7pm a hundred residents of Masiphumelele apprehended two men, aged 25 and 34. It was later reported that a 34-year-old was fatally wounded, while the other one was seriously injured.”

Rwexana said the circumstances surrounding the incidents were being investigated but police did not know the motive at this stage. She added that cases of murder and attempted murder were under investigation, and no one had been arrested.

Angry residents also set up a barricade of burning tyres across a road, making it difficult for police to get into the area.

Community Police Forum’s Kathy Cronje said the community’s frustration was understandable but mob justice was not acceptable.

“The frustration in the community has been brewing for a long time now, but they can’t just kill people. Mob justice is not the answer.”

She said the community is trying to get rid of all drug dealers and that the man who was killed had been warned to leave the area, but decided to come back on Sunday. This angered the community, leading to the vigilante attack.

Resident David Sithole said the community was tired of crime and that the same thing kept on happening over and over.

“The problem is that the same thing keeps on happening, and when criminals are arrested they always get released and come back to the community. We don’t feel safe at all, you can’t even walk on the streets.”

Another resident, Mzuvukile Nikelo, said the police were not doing nearly enough about the high levels of crime.

“The community was not expecting crime to continue after they burnt and killed the man who killed the 14-year-old boy. But instead, people are still getting robbed, people’s houses still broken into. The community saw that the criminals were not shaken by their actions.”

He said the residents had also gone door to door visiting known drug dealers, but on that occasion no one was assaulted.

Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Thembisile Patekile said police had held talks with the community.

“We have engaged the community on numerous occasions and we can’t take lawlessness. We are going to intensify and deploy more personnel in the area until the situation has stabilised.”

Patekile said they were treating the mob justice incidents as crimes.

MEC in bid to end Etwatwa violence
IOL News 21 September 2015

Johannesburg - Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane was due to visit the troubled township of Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni, on Monday after a week of violence that resulted in the killing of three suspected gang members.

“She (Nkosi-Malobane) is going to hold a public meeting to engage with the community to find a solution to the violence,” said Department of Community Safety spokesman Ndivhuho Gadisi.

He said that since the violence broke out last week, the MEC had deployed more police officers to the area.

The three teenagers, believed to have been members of the notorious gang Overloaded (OVL), were buried on Sunday.

The emotionally charged funeral was attended by hundreds of residents. Relatives wept uncontrollably.

Meanwhile, the police said three suspects had been taken in for questioning over the murder of the three teenagers, who were all necklaced when enraged residents went on the rampage and targeted those they believed were members of OVL.

“Police are investigating two cases of murder and attempted murder,” police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said on Sunday.

“No one has been arrested or linked to the crimes. Three people have been taken in for questioning, only on suspicion that they were involved.”

Earlier, Ekurhuleni metro police department spokesman Clifford Shongwe had said two suspects, aged 53 and 19, were arrested for allegedly orchestrating last week’s bloody violence.

He said the 19-year-old suspect was found in possession of a knife, and when police questioned him about the weapon, he claimed he was using it for self-defence against OVL.

The violence started last Sunday when OVL members allegedly necklaced a teenager.

On Tuesday, enraged residents retaliated and necklaced two others who they believed were part of the gang.

On Thursday, a fourth teenager narrowly escaped death after he was necklaced with a tractor tyre.

Pupils from Caiphus Nyoka Secondary School said they feared walking in the streets after school because OVL members often tried to force them to join the gang.

Some residents said they haven’t been going to work because they feared the gang would attack them.

Anti-drug march overwhelmingly successful: DA
IOL News 19 September 2015

Various community organisations and the community at large in the Johannesburg South area marched in protest against drugs. Picture: DA

Johannesburg - Various community organisations and the community at large in the Johannesburg South area marched in protest against drugs on Saturday.

Organised by the local council, the march attracted more than 400 people, DA MP Manny de Freitas said.

The march started in Rotunda Park in Turfontein and proceeded for over five kilometres, ending in Rotanda Park again.

Among the marchers, was Crimeline CEO Yusuf Abramjee, who was impressed with the community taking a stand against drugs. The crowd chanted along with him, “No to drugs”.

De Freitas asked children, specifically, to say no to drugs, and said that “you’re not a cool kid if you take drugs; the cool kids don’t do drugs”.

The route of the march went past the houses of suspected drug dealers to “show them and the community that the fight against drugs will be intensified”.

De Freitas said he spoke to some of the SA Police Service officers present, who said the march was not a “once-off” event, but rather part of an overall strategy in the fight against drugs.

“The SAPS have informed me that they have previously undertaken a number of successful operations with future anti-drug operations in the pipeline.

“This is a long-haul fight that needs to be fought so that more people do not start drug-taking and others get out of the drug cycle,” De Freitas said.

Protesters ban political parties
Sowetan 21 September 2015

Residents of a Limpopo mining area have taken a stance to bar political parties from interfering in their negotiations with a mining company.

Villages around Mapela near Mokopane were recently rocked by days of violent protests amid allegations of non-compliance by Anglo American Platinum.

The area is home to the company's Mogalakwena mine.

The violence settled after meetings with Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi which ended with a "road map plan" to resolve issues last Friday.

Yesterday, Mapela community leader Andrew Langa warned that residents would not allow political parties to meddle in their affairs during the negotiations.

"The people of Mapela have decided they do not want any political parties to interfere. We know that because there will be elections [local government] next year, some of them will come here with promises [for] votes," Langa said.

He said Ramatlhodi would only be allowed to address the community as a minister and government representative.

Yesterday, Langa attended a meeting involving the mining company, community representatives and the South African Human Rights Commission at the Park Hotel in Mokopane. The community has been accusing the company of failing to hire locals and develop the area. Locals previously told Sowetan that they struggled with employment and access to clean drinking water.

According to the mining charter, companies must conduct an analysis of developmental needs in the community and devise projects targeting such needs.

In recent months political parties have been making appearances in protest-prone mining areas.

EFF provincial secretary Jossey Buthane was arrested along with three locals while he was visiting the Mapela area recently.

The province has been hit by protests in other mining areas of Burgersfort and Phalaborwa, resulting in road blockages and the destruction of property.

EFF leader Julius Malema also staged a march to Modikwa Platinum Mine in Burgersfort.

Community activist in Mapela, Mokete Khoda, also complained that some ANC councillors arrived with the police on Monday morning to clear the streets that had been blocked by protesters.

Khoda said this was unfair because parties were taking advantage by making it look as if they were at the forefront of the community struggle.

Among the solutions agreed upon in meetings with Ramatlhodi last week was the return of 600 pupils to Seritarita Secondary.

The school was relocated earlier this year due to learning being disrupted by mine blasting.

Umlazi media statement
20 September 2015

From the Monday protest in demand of electricity connection. This protest have resulted to one community member Mr Zakhe Xulu being arrested on Friday morning in the closure of Mangosuthi Highway. The police bail was not granted for Mr Xulu in GG Police station in Umlazi.

The week protest where community was burning tires have finally reached the attention of Ethekwini Municipality. A community meeting have been called by Ethekwini Municipality where Mr Mngwengwe will be engaging with the community in understanding their grievances.
The community meeting will take place today in Mxenge Sport Ground which is at Emhlabeni informal settlement next to Mangosuthu. Media is invited to join this community meeting. The meeting will start at 9am this morning
Tomorrow Mr Zakhe Xulu will be appearing in Umlazi Magistrate court at 9am.
For more information please contact
Mr Phumlani Zulu on 0718305057
Mr Sizwe Shiba on 0781390055

Pupils protest over school chairs
IOL News 16 September 2015

Polokwane – One Wednesday, learners and parents in Limpopo disrupted schooling at Luthuli Park Combined School, demanding the immediate supply of furniture.

Learners returned home, saying they could not share 36 chairs in the school, where at least 1,000 learners have to go without chairs or desk in their classrooms, the chairman of the school’s governing body said.

Clifford Mohloana said parents returned to the school and endorsed their children’s protest. They accused the department of education of failing to deliver on its mandate.

Angry parents locked the school and bused their children to the department’s headquarters in Polokwane on Wednesday and demanded MEC Ishmael Kgetsepe agreed to deliver chairs and desks to the school.

However, two hours later police were called to restore order at the department’s headquarters, and parents agreed to return home without meeting with Kgetsepe.

Later in the day, the school’s governing body’s leaders circulated an invitation to parents, and informed the education department that Kgetsepe must attend the meeting or they would deliver the message at his official residence.

Mohloana said the protest was started by “our children” but when parents enquired as to the reason, they took the same view as the shortage of chairs was “shocking”.

Mohloana said their top demand of the department was that it obtain furniture suitable for 1,000 learners.

“They told us that they delivered 36 chairs, [but] how do you say you deliver chairs and boast when hundreds of chairs are needed, and you expect our children to share 36 chairs,” argued Mohloana.

Parents also accused the department of not providing suitable teachers since the school opened in 2000.

Mohloana said when they made demands for additional classrooms, successive MECs used the excuse that they were new to the job.

He said every MEC who came to the department had told parents “I am still new”.

“There is no MEC who has finished their term there,” he said adding that the parents also wanted the department to make land available for a new high school.

The department criticised parents for taking their children out of class and staging a sit-in at the department’s headquarters.

Provincial education spokesperson Naledzani Rasila confirmed that they delivered chairs and other furniture early this year, but could not confirm whether 36 chairs had been supplied.

However, he acknowledged that the school had a shortage of furniture for the learners.

“It’s true that we have a shortage of school furniture, but we are in the process of procuring. It was delayed by the procedure we had to follow, and even Luthuli is also affected - we did not forget them,” said Rasila.

UKZN shuts down completely
IOL News 18 September 2015

Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s management announced on Thursday that it would temporarily shut down all campuses and residences, on campus and off campus, and students would have until 12pm on Friday to vacate the facilities.

This followed a series of violent protests in which university property was damaged and lectures were disrupted.

Early on Thursday, a Westville campus residence was torched and students staying there were taken to other residences. On Monday night, a private bus which the university contracted to transport students was burnt to ashes.

On Sunday night, two cars and the building which houses the office of vice-chancellor Albert van Jaarsveld were torched.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane said at 2.05am on Thursday, a group of people wearing balaclavas set a laundry building at the Westville campus alight. About five rooms and the laundry were set alight while students were sleeping inside.

Zwane said a case of public violence was opened, but no arrests had been made.

After the announcement on Thursday that students had to leave, violence erupted at the Pietermaritzburg campus where a car was overturned.

Speaking to The Mercury on Thursday night, UKZN’s central SRC president, Dithobe Mosana, said the student body was only aware of the decision in the afternoon that students had to leave.

“As the SRC, we feel that we have been excluded in the decision-making process of the university. We do not see any co-operative governance.

“It looks like the only governance that is continuing is from the side of the management and not co-operation with other stakeholders of the university.

“We are very disappointed that the university decided on its own, without consultation with the SRCs, to close the residences.”

Dithobe blamed a court interdict preventing the SRC from addressing students at the university campuses and residences.

“We have been denouncing violence, but the court interdict means we are not in control of anybody. It is now students moving in different directions because student leaders have been interdicted and cannot engage with students,” he said.

Dithobe said the protest would have been kept under control if the SRC could still address students.

He said students from distant areas would be disadvantaged by the closures.

“Students are now coming to us and asking on social media where should they go. There are students who come from as far as Limpopo, the Western Cape … Where are they going to go?”

He said there were students who relied on National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding, which was not enough to cover such emergency cases.

“A lot of people have blamed the students for what is happening, but there are things the university does which agitates the students,” he said.

Zwane said two people had been arrested since the violence had erupted.

Van Jaarsveld said insurers were still assessing the damage at the campuses and the monetary value had not been finalised.

The university said it had made arrangements for international students, but students from areas within the country had to leave the university premises.

The university said it would issue a full statement to the media on Friday.

Etwatwa teen survives necklacing
IOL News 18 September 2015

Johannesburg - A teenager believed to be a member of a gang accused of terrorising residents of Etwatwa near Daveyton, Ekurhuleni, narrowly escaped death after he was necklaced with a tractor tyre.

The boy was taken to hospital with serious burn wounds. He was the fourth teenager to have been attacked since the beginning of the week, when irate residents went on the rampage, hunting down members of the feared Overloaded gang - popularly known as OVL - and killing them. Three boys were necklaced earlier this week.

Late on Thursday, the situation remained tense. Police, including some from the Tactical Response Team (TRT), kept a heavy presence in the area.

Some residents said on Thursday they haven’t been going to work because they feared the gang would attack them.

Pupils from Caiphus Nyoka Secondary School said they feared walking in the streets after school because OVL members often tried to force them to join the gang.

Residents said OVL had initially started as a group who wanted to root out the scourge of the nyaope drug in the community but eventually started killing residents and stealing from them.

Around noon on Thursday, a mob hunted down a teenager, believing him to be a member of the gang.

“Residents necklaced the youngster with a tractor tyre,” said Ekurhuleni metro police spokesman Clifford Shongwe.

“He sustained critical injuries on both of his arms, on the legs and on the chest.”

Shongwe said the police were working with the SAPS and the TRT to bring the situation under control.

Three teens burnt to death
IOL News 17 September 2015

Johannesburg - A woman from Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni whose house was set alight by community members now fears for her life and refuses to stay at her gutted home.

On Tuesday, enraged residents went on the hunt for members of the OVL gang, who have allegedly been terrorising the community.

On Wednesday, Martha Nhleko told The Star how she had received a frantic phone call from her sons when she was on her way to church. He told her that her house was on fire. She immediately notified the police, who escorted her back to the property.

“I’m scared to go home because I don’t know if these people will come again. I feel bad because I’ve had to run away from my house,” she said.

Nhleko claimed that rumours that her son was part of the gang were untrue.

On the same day, twin boys Samkelo and Sabelo Maisela, 16, were burnt to death, allegedly by residents who believed they were OVL gang members.

The deceased family said they were struggling to cope with the trauma.

Elizabeth Maisela, the great-aunt of the boys, said it wasn’t right that the boys met their end in this manner. The boys lost their mother when they were younger and were raised by their grandmother.

Maisela hoped the police could mediate between the gangsters and the community so that the violence in the area would be resolved.

Violence erupted in the area on Sunday after another teenager was burnt to death, allegedly by OVL gang members.

Ekurhuleni metro police department spokesman Clifford Shongwe said four minors were arrested after the incident and were being held at Daveyton police station.

Residents then hunted down children at school, who they believed were part of the gang.

“The community was seen carrying all sorts of weapons: pangas, axes, garden forks, stones and bricks,” Shongwe said.

“Yesterday, (Tuesday) they caught two of them and burnt them,” he added.

By Wednesday afternoon, the situation in the area had calmed down.

The police were using armoured Nyalas to patrol the area, as the community had stoned their other vehicles.

Senior police management had met to discuss ways of solving the situation.


Five held for Ceres violence and arson
IOL News 18 September 2015

Cape Town - Five Ceres Fruit Growers (CFG) employees were arrested this week for public violence and arson during a continuous strike.

On Thursday, police arrested two people after a warehouse was destroyed in a fire when almost 200 workers protested in front of the company.

Workers toyi-toyied and sang freedom songs.

Ceres police station Commander Salmon Williams said officers arrested two people after assessing CCTV footage.

“We’ve identified people who set the factory alight. We will arrest four others who were involved.”

On Wednesday, the police arrested three people on charges of public violence.

CFG employees have been on strike since last week. They are demanding 12.5 percent in wage increases and a share in company profits.

CFG is one of South Africa’s largest apple and pear packing and storage facilities.

Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) provincial organiser Sandile Keni said CFG was not willing to negotiate. He said members would lead a mass march on Tuesday to hand over a memorandum to the company.

“These boers do not want to negotiate. We will have a huge march of more than 5 000 members on Tuesday. We will not rest until they stop exploiting workers. We only want 12.5 percent increase and a share of profits out of what they make,” he said.

Ruth Yisa, 67, a former CFG employee, said she lost two grandchildren due to cold conditions people work in. “That yard is a fridge. It’s a mortuary on its own. Our children are exploited here. They really deserve the increase.”

Miriam David, who has been working for CFG for 25 years, said she earned R800 a week and takes home only R300 after deductions. She said it was a struggle to feed her two children and four grandchildren.

“We sacrifice a lot for these people. We even work on holidays and weekends. Why can they not sacrifice some of their profits? That’s all we ask,” she said.

Agnes Fonya echoed her colleague, saying: “After medical aid, union fees and funeral-policy deductions, I take home R400 a week. Imagine a single parent feeding and clothing three children and three grandchildren. We are fed up with CFG. They must give us a share out of millions we make for them. The 12.5 percent increase is nothing to them.”

Carl Opperman, from Agri Wes-Cape, said the loss of the warehouse would have an enormous impact on the local economy. “Reinvestment in the rebuilding of that structure will require a substantial amount. There will be low profits that will result in job losses. Our country needs economic growth to produce much needed jobs,” he said.

The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Strategist Tammy Evans said officials were concerned about the strike at CFG.

“The value of agricultural production in the Ceres and Witzenberg Municipal area amounts to approximately R1.353 million in gross value added a year. Produce from this region represents 7.93 percent of the total value added of the agricultural sector within the Western Cape.

“Ceres Fruit Growers is a large producer in the area. There are concerns that if the strike action continues, it may affect perishable products from getting to market.”

CFG did not respond to requests for comment.

Gun battle at dawn at Durban taxi rank
IOL News 16 September 2015

Durban - Semi-automatic gunfire shattered the predawn peace in central Durban on Wednesday, leaving three dead, in what appears to have been a fight between taxi factions over the Port Shepstone route.

Initial reports from paramedics said that six people had been killed and three people were injured but it has now been confirmed that three people were killed and three injured.

The shots were fired at the top end of Dr Pixley kaSeme (West) Street, at the Brook Street taxi rank, between 5.45 and 6am.

When the gunfight was over, A male passerby lay dead, as did a security guard from the station. The third victim, also a man, was apparently linked to the fight.

The Daily News team counted about 50 bullet shell casings. There were more in an area the media could not see clearly. Police collected more than 10 guns and belts of ammunition.

As the sounds of gunfire echoed around the CBD and bullets flew, taxi and train commuters dived for cover. Police arrived within minutes and arrested seven men, including a security detail for a taxi boss, and a prominent Durban taxi owner.

The security guard who died worked for Mvimbeni Security which is contracted by the local taxi association to guard its offices at the rank.

When contacted for comment, a man who identified himself as Gumede, an operational manager for the company, said they could not comment at this stage.

Witnesses said a group of men armed with rifles and pistols shot at another group standing on the corner of the taxi rank in Theatre Lane. The men all then ran towards the Berea train station where the shooting continued.

Guards at the cemetery said all hell broke loose with train, bus and taxi commuters running, screaming and taking cover behind anything they could.

Paramedics who rushed to assist the injured described it as “carnage”.

About seven men lay face down and handcuffed on the ground. Another lay in a pool of blood with a semi-automatic gun next to him. Another body was on top of a staircase leading to the stalls on the train station bridge.

The male bystander lay dead at the corner of Theatre Lane and Brook Street, with a parcel lying next to him.

Police were piecing together the motive of the shooting.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane confirmed that three people had been shot dead. He said three more had been injured.

“We are not sure if the firearms are licensed or unlicensed. There might be more suspects involved. The motive is unknown at this stage,” he said, adding that one suspect allegedly climbed over the cemetery fence and ran away.

Among the dead in the Dr Pixley kaSeme (West) Street shooting on Wednesday was a security guard who worked at the station, a pedestrian and one of the men involved in the shooting.

A witness, a woman trader who sells food at the Port Shepstone taxi rank, said she was setting up her table when the gunfight broke out.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said that when she arrived at the rank, she saw a group of men standing next to a minibus taxi near the entrance to the Berea train station.

“They usually do that, so there was nothing out of the ordinary. Minutes later there were loud bangs. The Berea station turned into a movie scene. As I was running for cover, a young man walking with a woman fell in front of me. The young woman also fell, but it turned out she had collapsed. I saw the ambulance taking her away after the shooting ceased,” said the woman.

Another witness, who also plies his trade at the station, said there were two groups involved in the gun battle.

“On the ground level there was a group of about seven men and there was also a number of men near the stalls on the first floor of the station bridge. I had just pulled out my trolley preparing to start the day and all hell broke loose.

“I was hiding behind one of the pillars of the station structure and could hear them (the shooters) taunting each other. The security guard was at the top of the staircase when he was hit by a bullet from the ground level. One of the men on the first floor fell. I heard one of his group members shouting to those on the ground “usubulele umf’ethu” (you’ve just killed my brother). The response from the ground was “usulungile” (are you ready for your turn?). Every word uttered was followed by bullets,” said the man.

He pointed at one of the handcuffed men under police guard and said he belonged to a prominent family in the transport industry.

KZN Taxi Alliance secretary Bafana Mhlongo said he had no details of the incident yet. However, he indicated there was an “old” issue between the Port Shepstone and local taxi operators.

“Even MEC Willies Mchunu was aware of the issue with that rank. The (Port Shepstone) office at the rank was closed a long time ago because of certain animosity,” Mhlongo said.

Protest against bail of four accused
IOL News 17 September 2015
ago, four bakkies and a water tanker were burnt to ashes in Soshanguve by the rampaging workers who have been at loggerheads with the city for more than a month now.

The workers also threw stones, smashing the windows of two other bakkies, while also stoning a municipal building. They vowed not to back down until their grievances were heard.

Etwatwa protests against 'OVL' gang members subsides
EWN 16 September 2015

Angry residents in Etwatwa allegedly necklaced two suspected gang members after a young boy was killed in a similar way at the weekend.

JOHANNESBURG - The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) and police have managed to quell protests by community members in Etwatwa on the East Rand, following the murder of three teenagers this week.

Angry residents allegedly necklaced two suspected gang members after a young boy was killed in a similar way at the weekend.

EMPD say the community told them they're fed up with the so-called OVL gang terrorising residents.

Residents have been gathering outside the high school during the week to find the gangsters, most of whom are between the ages of 14 and 18. Some residents claim the same people who were looking for the gangsters, are behind the necklacing of two of the boys this week.

Etwatwa residents have been gathering outside the high school during the week to find the gangsters most of whom are between the ages of 14 and 18. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

The police's Lungelo Dlamini says they have not yet identified any suspects behind the killings, but that SAPS is aware of claims of mob justice.

“We don’t know who committed this crime. On Monday the bodies were found but at this stage we don’t know. The investigation is ongoing and no one has been arrested.”

He adds they don’t know whether the suspected gang members were killed by the members of the community.

A resident from Etwatwa resident says the OLV gang is well known in the area and community members are tired of being intimidated by them.

“The community started a group, just to fight the gangsterism. They are fighting back, but in a bad way because they’re killing each other.”

At the same time, four school children between the ages of 14 and 18 have been arrested in connection with the murder of the three teenagers.

Police say they will remain in the area throughout the day to prevent further gatherings.

Masiphumelele attack centres around 2 rapes & a murder
EWN 16 September 2015

CAPE TOWN - The Masiphumelele Township near Fish Hoek is the scene of two alleged rapes and the murder of a 15-year-old boy.

It’s believed the separate incidents happened in the area yesterday.

In the first incident, a 15-year-old boy was allegedly raped and murdered at his Masiphumelele home yesterday morning.

The teenager's body was found by his older brother in the dining room of his family's home shortly after his mother left for work around 7am.

Another brother, Sonwabile Pula, says the family's distraught.

“When it comes to family, this type of incident is not nice. It’s not something that we can just forget overnight. It will take time to heal.”

In the second incident, a 24-year-old woman has been rushed to a Cape Town hospital after she was allegedly raped also yesterday morning.

Hours later a mob of angry residents allegedly beat and burnt a man to death, they thought is responsible for the attack on the woman.

Motive for ‘awful’ bus attack unclear
IOL News 16 September 2015

Cape Town - Two passengers burnt to death and 32 people were injured, including two children, after an Intercape bus was petrol-bombed on Tuesday night.

While the motive for the attack was still unclear late on Tuesday night, murder and attempted murder cases have been opened, police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said.

Three petrol bombs were thrown at the bus, she said.

The bus was on its way to the Eastern Cape, travelling on Onverwacht Road in the Strand to collect more passengers at a nearby garage, witnesses said.

By the time emergency services arrived it was too late to save two men. They had burnt to death.

“There was no protest in the area. The driver said it was a petrol bomb. It was a double decker and the entire bus burnt out,” Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Layne said.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said 32 people were injured.

“Numerous people were standing around the bus and some were being cared for by locals from a nearby informal settlement. Emergency services joined forces to set up a local triage area.

“Four people sustained serious injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals. Twenty-eight others were treated for minor to moderate smoke inhalation and burn wounds,” he said.

“Intercape confirms an incident in which one of its coaches was petrol-bombed in Strand, outside Cape Town. The incident is being investigated and the motive for this horrendous attack is not yet clear.

“There appears to have been no unrest in the area at the time. Intercape will provide an update as soon as possible.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this shocking incident,” the company said in a statement.

Intercape bus drivers have been on strike since the beginning of August. They have demanded the company reinstate hostesses who had been retrenched, which meant that drivers have had to do their jobs as well.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Likhona Cita said it would be surprised if any of its members had a role in Tuesday night’s tragedy, as they were on the brink of ending the strike.

The law should take its course if any union members were involved in the attack, she said.

A witness, JJ Maxeke, said: “People were screaming and jumping out of the windows of the bus. People also broke windows to escape.”

Lwandle resident Sizeke Ntsholo said: “Two women ran into my house screaming they were burnt. I covered one of them with a blanket and called the ambulance.

“Other people ran around and didn’t know where they were going.”

Lwandle resident Victor Luhwali said he rushed to the area after he had heard sirens.

“When I arrived here, there were a whole lot of emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire engines. The bus is completely gutted.

“It is so sad that lives have been lost and people have been injured. There are many onlookers around, but the emergency services have the situation under control.”

Tthe City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said: “It’s madness. It’s just too horrible. This is a long distance bus…and somewhere there is a mother or daughter or sister waiting for these two men who burnt to death.

“Whatever the motives of this deranged person of persons are that threw this petrol-bomb, it’s too awful for words and I hope SAPS (South African Police Service) catch them quickly.”

Acting mayor Brett Herron said: “We grieve with the families of the deceased during this time of loss. We condemn this criminal act in the strongest terms.

“I would like to appeal to residents to come forward should they have any related information which could lead to the arrest of those responsible for this criminal act.

“We would like to thank the emergency services and the South African Police Service for their swift action and appeal to them to work tirelessly until those responsible are arrested and prosecuted.”

Calm returns to Strand after bombing of Intercape bus
EWN 16 September 2015

It’s understood three petrol bombs struck an Intercape bus making its final pickups before leaving the city.

At least two people have died and several others have sustained severe burn wounds after three petrol bombs struck the double-decker bus.

It’s understood the bus was hit moments before making its final pickups before leaving the city.

Burnt rubble and other objects have already been cleared from the road following the torching of an Intercape bus along Onverwacht Road last night.

Witnesses claim to have seen three men fleeing the scene shortly after the bus was set alight.

Two people have died and several others have been left injured after an Intercape bus was petrol bombed in Cape Town on Tuesday 15 September 2015.

But community leader Nkosinathi Ralarala believes this was an act of criminality.

“I think some people have plotted this. How did they know that bus was passing this road at that time?”

Police say they will leave no stone unturned to bring the assailants to book.

The driver of the Intercape bus claims he has being targeted by striking drivers.

Denis Moyo says the assailants threw two petrol bombs directly at him, before tossing another one at the passengers.

Moyo says he's lucky to have escaped the burning wreckage alive.
The 42-year-old long distance driver says this was the second attack on his life after he was shot at in Grabouw last month.

He says while he has notified his employer and laid a criminal charge, he is too traumatised to return to work.

Man killed in EFF protest
MSN News 15 September 2015

Durban - An EFF member was shot and killed on Monday afternoon outside the Illovo sugar mill in Dalton following an illegal protest.

The protest was sparked by allegations made by the EFF that the mill had employed some of its employees on a “casual” basis for many years and had not made them permanent.

It is alleged that when the protesters reached one of the entrances to the mill, a member of Illovo’s security fired a shot into the crowd that hit and later killed a man.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said the protesters were at the gate to one of the entrances chanting slogans when the incident occurred.

“The police were trying to calm the crowd and explain to them that they were partaking in an illegal strike when a gunshot was heard,” said Ngobese.

“A man was seen falling to the ground and it was alleged that a member of Illovo’s security had shot the EFF member from inside the property.

“The suspect was then seen getting into his car and driving through the property. The crowd then noticed one of their members had been shot and asked police to call an ambulance.”

Ngobese said the man was rushed to a nearby hospital in one of the protesters’ cars where he was pronounced dead later.

“The crowd got angry after the shooting and ran towards another entrance to look for the shooter.”

Ngobese said the crowd found the alleged shooter’s car and set it and an Illovo company car alight.

The suspected shooter was arrested and has been charged with murder.

A close friend of the man who was killed, Rosemary Kunene, said she could not understand why her friend was shot as they “were not fighting”.

“We were standing outside the gate, singing and dancing when a security guard pulled out his gun and just shot.

“My friend was standing right next to me. I heard the gun and he fell down.

“I thought he had fainted but then realised he had been shot,” said Kunene.

Umgungundlovu EFF head Dumisani Shelembe said the man was a true leader and fought for the rights of the employees with heart.

“It is a very big loss and words cannot express our sadness.”

He said they hoped the police would bring the alleged shooter to justice and that he would receive a life sentence.

Ngobese said a case of malicious damage to property had been opened against the protesters. “The police condemn such illegal gatherings and lawlessness will not be tolerated,” he said.

Illovo spokesperson Chris Fitz-Gerald said they were co-operating fully with investigators.

“While police investigations continue and facts are as yet unverified, it would be inappropriate for us to comment in any detail.

“The safety and security of our employees remains our paramount responsibility,” said Fitz-Gerald.

Roodepoort school back to normal
IOL News 15 September 2015

Johannesburg - Order seems to have been restored to Roodepoort Primary School after months of bickering between the Gauteng Department of Education and a section of parents over the suitability of the principal.

On Monday, the majority of pupils reported for classes, a week after the school was re-opened. It was the first time in months that most of the 1 300 pupils reported for school, following countless meetings between the department and parents to resolve the dispute around the principal.

The school was temporarily closed for the third time last month, following a dispute that started a year ago when parents claimed the principal was unfairly appointed ahead of a better qualified teacher. The parents disrupted schooling and there was violence outside the premises.

On Sunday, the department and parents met again to discuss whether schooling should continue at the school, after it was reopened on Wednesday on the recommendations of a mediation team appointed by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The mediation team also resolved that the principal and her two deputies should keep their jobs.

Two investigations – one looking into the officials’ appointments and another into allegations of financial misconduct and corruption – cleared the school’s management.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi met with the parents and agreed that all pupils should return to Roodepoort Primary because the alternative school, Lufhereng, did not have good infrastructure.

Some parents had said they wanted their children to stay at the alternative school because they feared for their safety. The department promised to beef up security at Roodepoort

On Monday, provincial education spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said more than 1 100 of the pupils had come to school.

“Counselling sessions are taking place on an ad hoc basis as per requests. The environment is calm both inside and outside,” she said.

As a result of the disruptions at the school, the pupils were lagging way behind the curriculum.

Sekhonyane said that other than receiving counselling, the pupils would take part in catch-up lessons. The catch-up programme would include the deployment of subject advisers to work with the teachers, the addition of an extra hour to the school’s daily timetable and extra classes during the school holidays.

Sekhonyane said at least 60 parents had applied for their children to be transferred from the school next year, while one teacher had resigned

The department is also looking into the feasibility that pupils from Mathole, near Davidsonville, should get their own school in the long term.

One of the recommendations of the mediation team was that a process of social cohesion between the Davidsonville and Mathole communities be initiated.

Elsenburg families have legal tenure - ANC
IOL News 14 September 2015

Cape Town - Three former Western Cape ANC MECs have vowed to take the stand to defend the rights of families facing eviction from state farms in Elsenburg near Stellenbosch.

Forty-eight families living in the state-owned houses at Muldersvlei, Helderfontein, and Vaaldraai recently received notices informing them that eviction processes had commenced to remove them from the houses they’ve occupied.

ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman described the evictions saga in Elsenburg as a “major attack on the poor and disadvantaged” during a sitting of the provincial legislature last week .

Fransman said the ANC had proof that in 2008 there was already an agreement in the provincial government that the houses in question would be handed over to form a settlement.

“The provincial government needs to explain why they are ignoring decisions taken by the previous government.

“It was part of negotiations between local government and housing, public works and agriculture along with the Stellenbosch municipality,” Fransman said.

He said former MEC of Local Government and Housing Richard Dyantyi, former MEC of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Pierre Uys and himself had knowledge of these negotiations and would not hesitate to take a stand in defence of the people.

“This is a community that has developed in Vaaldraai and other areas over many decades.

“If you want to remove them it will be like taking out a whole township,” he added.

In response, MEC of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said Fransman had no understanding of the facts.

Referring to the departmental statements issued to the community, Winde said the letter asked occupants to state why they should not be evicted.

The Department of Agriculture has maintained that it is “wholly inaccurate” that eviction notices had been issued to any of the families.

“No decision has yet been taken with regard to these cases. In 29 of these cases, individuals were either dismissed from or left the state’s employ or were previously living with a lawful occupier who themselves, no longer live in the house. These are now private occupants, who are effectively preventing the Department of Transport and Public Works from allocating these homes to the Department of Agriculture so they may be used by state employees who require work-facility housing on the farms,” Joyene Isaacs, the head of the Department of Agriculture, said.

Isaacs said the remaining 19 cases involved persons occupying houses by virtue of their connection to the deceased officials that were previously employed by the Department of Agriculture.

The premises are covered under the Extension of Tenure of Security Act.

Fransman stressed that the ANC would oppose such a move.

“We believe that this goes against the earlier decision of the provincial government years ago. The community has decided to go to court and the ANC will support that.”

Fransman accused the provincial government of lying to the public in statements issued last month that there were no planned evictions, adding that letters of notice had been served on the community at the same time.

The Cape Argus has seen reports dating back to 2008/2009 which state that a joint submission by the Department Agriculture and Public Works would be submitted to cabinet for approval for the transfer of management and ownership of Vaaldraai houses to the current occupants.

Cape Argus
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Strike threat over Spring Queen pageant
IOL News 14 September 2015

Cape Town - The South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu) is threatening mass strike action in opposition of the City of Cape Town’s decision to rent the Good Hope Centre to Film Afrika at R200 000 a month.

Sactwu called a rare meeting with its regional executive to discuss a strike.

In a press statement, the union on Sunday announced it would host a special extended regional executive committee meeting tomorrow with its “most senior constitutional structure” in the province. Such a meeting was last held 19 years ago. The outcome of the meeting would determine whether or not a strike would commence.

The statement read: “This decision (to rent out the Good Hope Centre) has jeopardised the union’s 40-year-old Spring Queen Pageant, which has for decades been hosted at this venue.”

An earlier meeting – attended by close to 300 shop stewards – wanted a mandate from the union’s members to lodge a Section 77 Labour Relations Act Notice with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

“The mandating process commenced in local clothing, textile and leather factories on Friday and is expected to be completed by Tuesday morning. Our special meeting on Tuesday is expected to consolidate the factory mandates on the matter, into one Provincial-wide decision,” the statement read. The union warned that a strike could happen as early as next month which would be supported by civil society organisations in the Western Cape through its RAAK WYS campaign.

The city confirmed to the Cape Argus earlier this month that Film Afrika moved into the centre and would be occupying the building until December. The Film group was hiring the venue at a rate four times as much as the union paid to hire the venue last year. The film company is shooting a four part mini-series onTutankhamun.

Last year, the union hired the centre at a discounted price of R54 612 to host the pageant.

The renting out of the venue to Film Afrika has now left the annual Spring Queen and Fashion Pageant, due to take place in November, without a venue.

The pageant has up to 48 competitors in the final round who will be battling it out for the title of Spring Queen. The women – all industry factory workers – are aged between 18 and 40. The event forms part of the union’s campaign promoting locally manufactured clothing, footwear, leather and textile products.

Mayco member for tourism, events and economic development, Garreth Bloor, in a letter told the Cape Argus that the city had offered the unions – and other vendors who relied on the Good Hope Centre as an events venue – alternative placements like the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

He said the city would help contribute to the financial cost of renting alternate venues. However, the city would not give an exact rand value of the assistance, but would help negotiate discounts. The union rejected this, saying the hiring of the CTICC would cost R2.5 million, which is more than Sactwu’s annual budget.

Nearly 1500 low cost houses illegally occupied
SABC News 14 September 2015

Western Cape Cape Town Human Settlements illegal occupation Housing Lindiwe Sisulu Mercedes Besent Almost 1 500 low cost houses were illegally occupied at various housing projects in eight provinces between 2012 and 2015.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has revealed this in a written reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary question.
Limpopo Province accounted for the highest number of illegal occupation of houses that occurred during the two previous financial years, standing at over 1 200.

During the 2013/2014 financial year, 893 houses were occupied illegally in Limpopo. The remaining invasions occurred at a minimal scale in seven other provinces.

Gauteng had the second highest number with 78 houses that were occupied illegally.

Sisulu says more than 30 illegal occupants were evicted successfully in KwaZulu-Natal while 20 invaders moved out voluntarily at Leratong Park in Galeshewe in Kimberley.

Sisulu also revealed that Mpumalanga is currently the only province that has reported about 104 illegal occupation of houses that took place in 2015.

EFF to continue occupying vacant houses in Cape Town
SABC News 14 September 2015

The EFF says about 100 people are currently occupying ten houses and plots.(SABC)

Residents of Mfuleni in Cape Town and the local Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) branch say they will continue to occupy vacant houses and land until they are allocated some.

The two groups invaded land at a new development last night.

The EFF says about 100 people are currently occupying ten houses and plots.

“There are about more than 200 plots here that have been here since last year but the ward councillor here doesn't supply, or doesn’t give these plots to the community members,” EFF spokesperson, Songeze Phahlindlela.

Phahlindlela adds community members “have decided that they must occupy them, because now they are renting as the backyarders from the plot owners, whereas there are free plots here.”

March for fish factory jobs
IOL News 12 September 2015

Cape Town - The Food and Allied Workers Union has slammed a “small clique of rich whites” for endangering the future of Hout Bay’s Fish Meal factory which faces closure over its smell.

Carrying signs including “Defend Fish Processing” and “Don’t Take Our Jobs”, about 220 people from the union and Hout Bay Civic Association marched through the city centre on Friday, to deliver memorandums to the City of Cape Town and Oceana management demanding the factory stay open.

The factory, established in 1958, employs 98 people, mainly from Hout Bay’s Hangberg and ImizamoYethu.

The Oceana Group, which owns the factory, announced last month that after years of complaints over the smell, it was considering moving to the West Coast town of St Helena Bay. No decision has yet been taken.

Oceana said the plant had been losing money since it decided three years ago to cut production by 40 percent, to placate residents.

Outside the Civic Centre, where Mayor Patricia de Lille has her offices, Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said it was wrong that poor residents should suffer because a “tiny minority” of wealthy residents did not like the smell.

“They can leave Hout Bay and go and find fresh air somewhere else,” he said, to applause from marchers.

“We have been there since 1958, and many of them have just arrived.”

Masemola said while the smell could be “irritating” it was not harmful.

A group called Fresh Air For Hout Bay, which has campaigned against the smell, has denied it wanted the factory to close.

In a statement the group said it had “never advocated the closure of the fishmeal factory, but rather, we have advocated for the elimination of the smell”.

Masemola alleged, however, the real motive behind the complaints was to get rid of Hout Bay’s poor community.

“The rich want to enjoy the land without the poor,” he said. Speaking of a plan mooted by some to turn the site into a Waterfront-type development, Masemola said the idea was a non-starter, and the union rejected it with “contempt”.

In a memorandum addressed to De Lille, Fawu called on the city to “refuse to bow to the pressure of a small clique” who wanted to turn the town into an “enclave for their exclusive use”. It gave the city seven days to respond.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Cape Town’s manager for special projects and community engagement, said the city did not have the authority to close the factory or keep it open, since Oceana was a private company.

Solomons-Johannes said De Lille, who is overseas, had “given an order” that the city engage with the Oceana Group, the Western Cape government and Wesgro – the province’s trade and investment promotion agency – to see what compromise can be reached to keep it open. He did not give further details.

The marchers then continued to the head offices of The Oceana Group where they handed over a memorandum to the chief executive Francois Kuttel.

Kuttel said negotiations were ongoing.

Angry Tshwane commuters damage buses
The Tembisan 11 September 2015

Four Tshwane metro buses were left damaged on Thursday after angry commuters pelted them with stones.

Metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said bus services were delayed as a result of a bus strike in the city, Rekord North reported.

The disgruntled commuters, angry about the strike, reportedly threw stones at the buses.

“The buses have been withdrawn as we are worried about the safety of passengers, the drivers and property,” added Mashigo.

On Wednesday, SA municipal Worker’s Union (Samwu) affiliated drivers abandoned their evening shifts, leaving commuters stranded on several routes while some drivers affiliated to other unions failed to show up for work altogether, Mashigo said.

“The management of Tshwane bus services is hoping to engage Samwu representatives to try and get reasons for the stoppage and resolve the issues,” added Mashigo.

Last month, an unconfirmed number of people were arrested in connection with arson attacks in which four GO George buses were torched in Thembalethu, George, in the Western Cape.

The buses were torched across the town allegedly by disgruntled taxi drivers who blocked off roads leading to Thembalethu.

It is alleged some taxi drivers and operators in Thembalethu and surrounding areas were unhappy with the agreement that preceded the roll out of the buses and vowed to not allow the bus service to operate in the area.

Minister of transport and public works Donald Grant condemned the attacks, as they threatened the provision of safe and reliable public transport as well as the safety of commuters.

UKZN Pmb protest action resumes
SouthLands Sun17 September 2015

Students are involved in violent protest action against the proposed increase in registration and residence fees for 2016.
14 hours ago
The bus that was set alight during protest action at the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus on Tuesday night.
The bus that was set alight during protest action at the UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus on Tuesday night. Protest action at the UKZN Pmb campus has erupted again.

Alan Paton Road has been closed, students are protesting on the streets, armed with broomsticks, table legs and other items.

A car has also been set alight in the vicinity of the Sidewalk Shopping Centre, Scottsville.

Yesterday a bus was set alight on the campus.

Police and university security are out in full force. If you are there, have video or pictures from the protest action, email us at

UKZN embarks on criminal investigation after violent student strike
Berea Mail 17 September 2015

Police and UKZN’S Risk Management are on high alert at Howard College after student protests spread to the campus last night.

A large contingent of SAPS, Public Order Police and Risk Management Services are on high alert at UKZN's Howard College campus as student protests continue.

A large contingent of SAPS, Public Order Police and Risk Management Services are on high alert at UKZN's Howard College campus as student protests continue. UKZN student protests continued to spread across campuses, on Monday night and Tuesday morning putting Public Order Police, the University’s Risk Management Services and SAPS on high alert and showing a large presence on campus.

At a media briefing this week, the university revealed that a full investigation into the acts of misconduct and violence is underway. “Video footage and photography taken will form part and parcel of the investigation. All perpetrators found to have been involved will face the full might of the University’s disciplinary codes and where necessary, the law. One arrest to this end has already been affected,” Lesiba Seshoka the executive director of Corporate Relations at UKZN said.

Authorities will remain on campus and monitor the situation on all campuses.

While students were still confused about whether to stay on campus or return home to continue studying, many arrived on Tuesday morning to discover tests and some lectures had been cancelled.

Athi Gcingca a first year music student, told Berea Mail, although the campus seemed quiet, he had it on good authority that the protests were far from over. “Around six or seven last night, some students were kicked out of the library. I do believe we as students are unreasonable when cars are torched and the property is damaged, but I think its the only way students feel our voices can be heard.”

Athi admitted he did not fully understand the reason for the protest, “From what I gather, each year the school plans to exclude some students from registering next year.”

A couple of second year students who wished to remain anonymous said the reason for the protests were “most probably about loans or fees.”

“It’s scary,” said another first year student, who opted to go home when she heard protesting students close by.

Meanwhile, students supporting the protests said, “They (protests) started at Edgewood, Westville and now here. They are raising the registration fee and won’t allow us to register if you have unpaid fees. There is also a robot system for academic performance they are bringing in, its unfair,” the young student said.

Judy Rawlins, a second year student said the protests were very important. “As a student from a disadvantaged family, I’m struggling to study. This year I did not get financial aid so was lucky I managed to increase my credit but if they stop that, I don’t know. I’m very nervous because I might not be able to continue due to financial crisis. Many of my friends had to drop out after first year due to financial crisis,” she said.

Two second year students who were standing outside campus told Berea Mail they were waiting to get fetched as one of their tests was cancelled. “I just feel safer to leave. They are not very violent, just basically protesting singing and toyi-toying around campus but not burning anything so far. They were only getting aggressive when other students were taking pictures and videos on their cellphones,” one said.

In light of the violent student protest action, University Management suspended all academic programmes on all campuses on Wednesday. “This is regrettable so close to the end of the academic year, but will hopefully create the space to restore the necessary calmness to our academic environment. University management is currently engaging members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) to understand the causes of the unrest and to address the student grievances. Management remains committed to a process of consultation and dialogue with students,” Seshoka added.

Protests close UKZN for the week
IOL News 17 September 2015

Durban - The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been closed after further protests by students on Wednesday night at the university’s Pietermaritzburg campus. The demands of the students remain unclear and the university has not yet clarified what has triggered the protests.

University spokesman Lesiba Seshoko confirmed that a decision was taken last night by the university’s management to close the university for two more days. This means students will only return to the university on September 29 after the spring recess, which starts at the end of this week.

Details surrounding the protests at the university’s Pietermaritzburg campus were sketchy and could not immediately be confirmed. There were unconfirmed reports that a vehicle was tipped over and that a security guard had to be taken to hospital after he was assaulted by students. Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said: “A case of public violence was opened at Alexandra Road after campus property and two vehicles were damaged last night. No arrest has been made at this stage.” He could not immediately confirm the assault on the security guard.

The university has been wracked by violence since the beginning of the week, with the first protests breaking out at its Westville campus on Sunday night, when two cars were burnt and an office building was petrol bombed. The demands of the students are unclear and the university has not clarified what demands it has received from the students.

The ANC Youth League in a statement claimed that the university had terminated what is known as the Registration Appeals Committee (RAC) process. This process allows students owing the institution to enter into an agreement with the institution to pay their debts in instalments whilst continuing with their studies. However, the university has claimed that it has received no formal complaints or demands.

UKZN takes tough stance
IOL News 16 September 2015

Durban - The vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Albert van Jaarsveld, said on Tuesday that the students responsible for violence and damage at the Westville campus would be dealt with harshly.

“A full investigation into the acts of misconduct and violence is under way. Video footage and photographs taken will form part of the investigation. All perpetrators will face the full might of the university’s disciplinary codes and, where necessary, the law.

The costs had not been finalised, as insurance assessors had just carried out an assessment.

Van Jaarsveld said they were engaging with bodies representing the students internally, as well as with external organisations at provincial level.

There remained a strong police and private security presence at the Westville campus on Tuesday.

Upping the minimum average mark required from students to qualify for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and planning to increase a registration fee were the two main issues which triggered the violent protest at the Westville campus.

Van Jaarsveld confirmed that the university had revised an average mark students had to attain. He also confirmed that the university was planning to increase a registration fee, which was paid as a deposit at the beginning of each semester for semester students, and the start of the year for annual students. Previously, students had to have a 50% mark, but the institution had upped it to 70%. The registration fee was R3 500 and they had planned to increase it to R5 000.

The university’s chief financial officer, Bulelani Mahlangu, said requiring 70% from students was meant to encourage academic excellence. He said there were students who worked hard and attained good marks but were “unfortunately” excluded from programmes because they could not afford tuition fees and they would not have been awarded financial aid.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme allocated bulk funding to the institution and the university would administer and allocate this to students.

“The funding is very limited and a decision was taken. We considered that 70% is a reasonable attempt by the students.

Van Jaarsveld claimed the university’s registration fee was by far the lowest compared with other universities in the country. He said this was not an overnight decision but had been communicated with various stakeholders.

On Tuesday, protests spread to Pietermaritzburg and to the Howard College Campus.

On Tuesday night, the university said all academic programmes on all campuses had been suspended.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said two suspects, aged 21 and 24, had been arrested in connection with the damage at the Westville campus.

“The two will appear tomorrow (on Wednesday) in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court. Westville police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property and public violence,” he said.

One UKZN protester arrested
IOL News 15 September 2015

Durban – One person has been arrested following the violence that resulted in the closure of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westvile campus.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, the vice chancellor of the university, made the announcement at a press conference at the university on Tuesday afternoon.

He said that while the university supported the right of students to protest, it could not support the wanton destruction of property.

The protests erupted at the campus on Sunday night where the main administration block was set alight. Protests continued through to Monday morning with the police’s Public Order Policing unit being deployed.

Two cars were also torched and numerous tyres were set alight and staff arriving for work in the morning found the entrances blocked by protesters.

“We are appalled at the destruction from the behaviour that played itself out on Sunday evening,” said Van Jaarsveld.

He said a full investigation was underway with video footage and photographs being analysed to determine who was involved.

He said it was still too early to determine the cost of the damage caused by the protests.

He did not provide any details about the person who was arrest and comment was not immediately obtainable from the police.

He said the university management had been in communication with a number of student groupings, but that it was not clear what was behind the protests.

He said he had regretted closing the campus for two days, but hoped that the academic program would resume on Wednesday without any problems.

“Acts of violence are simply not tolerable,” he said.

He said contrary to any reports there was no discussion to increase fees and that the only discussion was to increase the once off admin fee upon registration from R3500 to R5000. But this had not yet been decided by the university’s council.

In Pietermaritzburg, the higher education minister Mduduzi Manana condemned the student actions.

Speaking at the launch of a youth project the province’s capital city, he said: “”We are very disappointed in the manner in which the students have decided to vent their frustration, we see this as unscientific to destroy university infrastructure, we advise the institution to take action against students who have engaged in such conduct.”

He said violence would result in society not taking the students’ grievances seriously.

“We condemn any form of violent protest, the concerns can be resolved through discussions between the management and student representatives, there is no indication that by destroying property your problems can suddenly be resolved,” he said.

UKZN students and police square off
IOL News 16 September 2015

Durban - Within hours of the University of KwaZulu-Natal saying it would use its full might to clamp down on rioting students, and suspended all lectures, violence erupted on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Police squared off with a large group of unruly students at the Scottsville campus last night.

Rubber bullets were eventually fired to disperse the throng that attacked police with stones and bottles.

Fire Department officials were also at the scene after a bus parked on the campus was set alight.

Several buildings on the main campus in Alan Paton Road were damaged after students threw rocks at the windows. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

Meanwhile, student leaders said they would not negotiate until the Westville SRC president, Lukhanyo Mtshingana - who they say was arrested on Monday - was released.

His detention could not be confirmed.

The protests in Westville - condemned by other student organisations - led to the torching of the university’s risk management services building, two cars being set alight and the stoning of an administration building - one that is occupied by vice-chancellor, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld.

The police had charged two students, aged 21 and 24, with malicious damage to property and public violence and said they were expected to appear in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Van Jaarsveld met students at Howard College on Tuesday and said he was still grappling with what the grievances were because there were many issues raised.

He said it was possible that political positioning was taking place among student leaders before the SRC elections next month.

He said a full-scale investigation, aided by video and photographic footage, was under way, and said the university would not be afraid to pursue disciplinary action against students.

The students are demanding the university scrap a new policy designed to award National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding to the best performing students first.

The university wants to award funding to those students who pass with 70% first, and to tweak the criteria which call for students to pass with 50%.

The university’s chief financial officer, Bulelani Mahlangu, said too many students, who were performing well, were frozen out after the NSFAS budget was depleted.

* On Wednesday EFF deputy leader, Floyd Shivambu, was to address an EFF-aligned student organisation at the Mangosuthu University of Technology at lunch time, as part of the SRC election campaign.

The ANC-aligned SA Students Congress disrupted EFF leader Julius Malema’s visits to tertiary institutions in Durban last year.

UKZN students torch cars
Students are on strike at the Westville campus.

Berea Mail 14 September 2015

There have been numerous reports of protest action taking place at the UKZN Westville campus since the early hours of this morning (14 September).

At this stage it is not clear what the motive behind the strike is, which is especially unusual at this time of year. Some sources say that the protest actually began last night, and that not only were vehicles burnt, but property has also been destroyed.

A reporter is at the scene and there will be more updates to follow.

Nyanga: Taxi driver killed en route to work
News 24 11 September 2015

Cape Town - A taxi driver was shot dead in Nyanga, Cape Town, on Monday morning, Western Cape police said.

The 39-year-old man from Zwelitsha was apparently shot while on his way to work, said Captain Frederick van Wyk.

Witnesses heard gun shots at around 06.15.

Van Wyk said the man was apparently robbed of his firearm. The motive for the shooting was unknown. No arrests had been made.

The shooting occurred at the same time as a violent protest in the area, in which seven buses were set alight and four were badly damaged.

Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke said 11 bus drivers were pulled from their vehicles and assaulted.

It was believed the crowd could be protesting taxi drivers.

Dyke said it was impossible to run bus services in Nyanga at present. The company was instead operating from Borchards Quarry and the Manenberg police station.

Politically motivated

Earlier, Van Wyk said the public order policing unit and fire brigade were on the scene.

Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant and mayor Patricia de Lille condemned the violence.

De Lille said there had also been sporadic stoning incidents in Nyanga and Philippi, traffic disruptions along the N2 highway, and tyres set alight on the corner of Vanguard and Oliver Tambo drives.

The city had temporarily withdrawn some of its staff from the area because of threats of violence.

"Today’s attacks on public transport infrastructure are clearly well-orchestrated and driven by the desire to make the city ungovernable."

De Lille said it was "clear" these actions were politically motivated and part of a campaign to make the city ungovernable ahead of the 2016 local government elections.

She said the city would monitor the situation closely and help to contain the situation in conjunction with the police.

Ventersdorp, Potch violence condemned
IOL News 12 September 2015

Potchefstroom - The Democratic Alliance in North West on Saturday condemned the looting of buildings and violence during protests this week, but will continue its High Court action to oppose the Tlokwe local municipality merger with the Ventersdorp local municipality.

“The vandalism and arson of the Venterdorp local municipal buildings last night [on Friday] is a horrible result of the ANC government's neglect and contempt for residents' views, which are opposed to the merger of Tlokwe municipality and Ventersdorp municipality,” DA spokeswoman Juanita Terblanche said in a statement.

This follows the burning of a municipal building in Ventersdorp and the blocking of roads with burning tyres and other objects by protesters opposing the merger.

Terblanche said the government and the Demarcation Board had long given up listening to Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp residents, who clearly feared the amalgamation, but had no say in this critical decision.

Participatory democracy and the values of people-centred government had been destroyed by the ANC in the North West, she said. “The DA is concerned that the Tlokwe municipality/ Ventersdorp merger shows signs of mimicking the Khutsong and Matateile cross-border protests, where the government only really listened to grievances after resident had to turn violent to stop it. Today the ANC forces communities to turn violent before government listens.

“The ANC cannot shift the blame for the Ventersdorp violence to anyone but themselves. The DA is opposing this merger in the High Court, but never through violence on the streets,” Terblanche said.

The ANC's disregard for community voices and reckless comments by ANC officials had sparked the turmoil.

The violence started after comments by ANC provincial secretary Dakota Legoete, who during a radio debate with the DA on Thursday evening about the amalgamation, said “people can march, do whatever they want to; it will not bring them anything, it will not change the ANC's viewpoint”.

“These words were the last straw for an ignored community and they sparked protests and disruptions currently ongoing in Ikageng, Potchefstroom, and Ventersdorp,” she said.

In a “fair society” the DA government would have taken the community views as paramount and would have given a fair hearing to the community most affected.

“We sympathise with residents who are ignored by the ANC who wants to push the merger through before the 2016 elections. They know their days as the governing party in the Tlokwe municipality are numbered.”

It is not in the nature of the DA to participate in destructive protests and the party would continue to fight the amalgamation in court. The DA would bring this case before the High Court in Pretoria on September 29, Terblanche said.

Provincial community safety and transport management MEC Gaoage Molapisi has strongly condemned the violent action.

Molapisi said in a statement destroying public and private property was criminal and those found responsible would be jailed.

“South Africa is a democratic country where people have rights, and these rights are enshrined in the Constitution. People have the right to gather and march, but their rights are not above any other rights.”

There was no right in the Constitution that granted anyone permission to burn and destroy essential amenities, such as schools, libraries, police stations, or government buildings.

“They cannot pick and chose which rights suite them. If you transgress the Constitution you must face the full might of the law,” said Molapisi.

He said when the protesters had applied for the march, they had said it was going to be a peaceful march and the leaders would control the march, assisted by marshals, and “more often that does not become the case”.

What happened in Potchefstroom and Ventersdorp was a case in point.

“As government we are not going to fold our arms and say it is happening. We are going to apply the law and police must do their work without exception and those responsible must be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.

Many times the suspects were granted free bail or released on warning and this did not deter them from repeating the crime.

“All these acts of hooliganism and crime must be investigated; our courts must set an example. Those who have burned the municipal building in Ventersdorp are in serious trouble as they should be charged with arson and the charge for arson is a serious one.

“Communities and councillors must assist the police with giving information because they know and have seen the perpetrators. We must all condemn these barbaric acts because they derail progress and development. I want to see people arrested and these must not take long,” Molapisi said.

He further appealed to the general public not to engage in unlawful acts.

Members of the public experiencing any act of criminality were advised to contact the department’s call centre on 0800-204-992.

Ventersdorp 'too rural' for Ikageng residents
News 24 11 September 2015

Potchefstroom - Protesting residents from the Ikageng township near Potchefstroom claimed they would suffer from poor service delivery if they are forced to merge with the Ventersdorp municipality, police said on Friday.

About 8 000 Ikageng locals embarked on a protest in the early hours of Friday morning, said Captain Paul Ramaloko.

"They say Ventersdorp is too rural and they will be disadvantaged when it comes to receiving services," Ramaloko said.

Some of the protesters violently prevented one resident from going to work. "They stabbed one guy who was heading to work," said Ramaloko, adding that the man was in hospital. He was unsure about his current condition.

The protesters went on the rampage. They burnt tyres and damaged several spaza shops in the area. Ramaloko said it was not immediately clear whether the affected shops belonged to foreign nationals.

At about 14:15, Ramaloko said the situation was "still tense" but that scores of public order policing officials were on the scene.

The police officers had made a number of arrests since the protests started on Friday morning.

Earlier, SAfm reported that a journalist's vehicle was torched by protesters. Ramaloko could not immediately confirm the incident.

A riot has broken out at the Northbury Park High School.
Berea Mail 11 September 2015

Northbury Park school pupils on the road outside their school this morning. Pupils are involved in a riot at the school. A riot has broken out at the Northbury Park High School, Bombay Heights, with gunshots being fired and roads leading into and around the school cordoned off.

It is not clear as yet as to why the rioting is taking place.

The pupils have not been in classes since this morning.

Police and members of the Combined Action Project Team have been dispatched.

Public Eye reporters are en route and we will update you from the scene.

Unhappy youth burn tribal office
IOL News 10 September 2015

Rustenburg - Disgruntled youth in Ramokokastad near Mogwase in the North West, who were demanding jobs, burnt down a tribal office on Thursday.

“Tree branches were put in the office and [they] set it alight. The situation is tense,” said Charles Makinita, chairperson of a committee of unemployed people in the area.

He said youth from Morogong, Bojating, Phalane and Phadi took to the streets on Wednesday as they demanded to be employed at mines operating in their areas.

The group vandalised the office and locked it, and demanded that North West premier Supra Mahumapelo be summoned to Ramokokastad to listen to their concerns.

“The police fired rubber bullets and some of us were arrested,” said Makinita.

The Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) in the North West said it was concerned with the high increase in protests that were taking place in the province.

“Whilst all citizens have a right to air their views on various issues, Cosatu North West is worried about the use of violent protests to address genuine community issues,” said provincial secretary Solly Phetoe.

“Cosatu North West is perturbed by damages to public properties such as schools, libraries and halls which must be fully utilised by children for extra mural activities in communities.”

He added that there was a trend developing whereby criminal activities were being disguised as service delivery protests.

Phetoe said Cosatu supported the community’s demands for genuine service delivery. He said these concerns must be attended to by both government and minerals sector in areas where communities were not benefiting from mining companies’ operations.

Three killed over tribal petition
IOL News 9 September 2015

Johannesburg - A man is expected to appear in the Eerstehoek Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for allegedly shooting and killing three men who were part of crowd that handed over a petition against him in Embhuleni, Mpumalanga.

Police spokesman Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the three men were part of the delegates from the Aarhemburg community who went to the Embhuleni tribal authority on Tuesday to hand over a petition.

“It is reported that when they arrived at the tribal authority, they came across the suspect whom the petition was against. The petition contained information that the implicated man must not be appointed as a traditional leader,” he said.

“The suspect allegedly addressed them in a very harsh way, warning them that he hoped his name had nothing to do with their petition as he had heard there was a plot to remove him. They ignored him and continued to hand over the petition to the secretary of the tribal authority. The suspect then grabbed it and tore it into pieces.”

The delegation decided to leave the tribal offices and go to the police station to ask for help regarding the matter when the man drew a firearm and started shooting at them before they could leave the premises.

“Some of the community members fled the scene and their lives were spared to tell the tale. The three men, Jabulani Nkosi, 45, David Mkhaliphi, 46 and Themba Nkosi, 43, were certified dead at the scene. After the incident, the suspect handed himself over to the police with the 9mm pistol he had used,” Mohlala said.

The 40-year-old man would face three counts of murder.

Residents air grievances over crime
IOL News 10 September 2015

Cape Town - Imizamo Yethu residents came out in force on Wednesday to pose questions to the deputy minister of police, Makhotso Sotyu, and provincial police management.

The area has been ravaged by violence and crime recently, which led residents to march to the police station to hand over a memorandum of grievances.

Ocean View residents were also represented by community leaders after they too marched to their police station to express their dissatisfaction over crime.

Ncedo Ndongeni, of Imizamo Yethu, said crime had increased in their community.

“Just recently a member in our congregation was robbed by someone who was dressed as a police officer, and we are supposed to trust police. If the robber was not a police officer how did he manage to get police uniform?” she asked.

Fellow resident Yanga Gxathisa said illegal shebeens were the source of crime.

“Shebeens here operate 24 hours and the owners sell alcohol to underage youths who commit all sorts of crimes when they are drunk.”

Nontembiso Madikane, from Masiphumelele, said: “Ocean View police are no help to us because when we report a crime they never pitch. We know we don’t have enough police officers to be all over the place, but the least they could do is show their faces, even if it’s after the crime.”

Sotyu said the complaints made by the communities were genuine.

“It’s obvious that we need to get a satellite station in this area and in that regard the City of Cape Town has identified land for us to have one.

“We must recognise that crime prevention will be effective if our communities are mobilised and organised, to make it difficult for criminals to reside in our midst. We must then start with the overhauling of our own family relations to effect an active citizenry against crime, abuse and violence.”

But resident Miriam Mdoda, from Imizamo Yethu, said all they heard from Sotyu were promises. “It’s good that they came and listened to our problems, but now it’s up to them to do something about it. And we as a community will do our part to work with the police.”

Illegal marchers demand permanent EPWP jobs
Cape Times 10 September 2015

PEOPLE and members of the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) marched to the Civic Centre yesterday demanding that the City employ expanded public works programme (EPWP) workers permanently.

Samwu provincial secretary Mikel Khumalo said mayor Patricia de Lille had agreed that EPWP workers would be permanently employed when posts became vacant, but City spokesperson Priya Reddy denied this.

“We signed an agreement with mayor De Lille but her departments are undermining her. We believe the nature of these jobs is not projects,” said Khumalo.

“There are services that should be provided on an ongoing basis and the nature of the work is permanent.”

Khumalo said the City’s decision to roll out major tenders to private companies had undermined prior agreements.

About 300 people took part in the illegal march.

EPWP worker Xolani Qakamfana said representatives of the workers had a scheduled meeting with De Lille yesterday and the rest of the workers decided to picket outside the Civic Centre while the meeting was ongoing.

“Unfortunately, we were told that the mayor is overseas and the meeting could not take place,” said Qakamfana.

He said in June De Lille had agreed that EPWP workers would be employed permanently, “but we realised that there have been 100 vacant posts that were filled since that meeting, and none of the EPWP workers were included”.

“The people have come to show their frustration because the mayor made a promise and she has not adhered to it,” said Qakamfana.

But the City says employing EPWP workers permanently is impossible because there is a national policy stating that the EPWP workers should work for a period of time and then give other unemployed individuals the opportunity of employment.

Reddy said: “At no point during our extensive negotiations with Samwu over the last three months has the City agreed to make EPWP workers fulltime staff members.”

Reddy said there was a national agreement between the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), government, unions and the private sector that EPWP jobs were temporary jobs. “That is the way it is all over the country and Cape Town is no different.”

Reddy said the EPWP programme in the City alone had resulted in an excess of 40 000 temporary work opportunities in the last financial year.

DA marches against police killings
IOL News 7 September 2015

JOBURG – The DA took a bold step by holding a silent march to the Johannesburg Central Police Station in protest to the recent spate of police killings.

The Democratic Alliance led a silent march to Johannesburg Central Police Station to protest police killings.

The Democratic Alliance led a silent march to Johannesburg Central Police Station to protest police killings.

DA Gauteng shadow MEC for Safety and Security, Kate Lorimer MPL, and wards 60 and 123 DA councillor Percy Koji, led the march.

Koji said recent statistics revealed that a policeman was killed at least twice a week. He said, “Our officers are in a constant fight against crime and as recent reports have shown, they are now also losing their lives in the process of restoring order. We need to work hand in hand with our men and women in blue and restore their roles as community protectors, as without their interaction we are a helpless society.”

Koji also appealed to all community members to assist the police in fighting crime instead of killing one another, including police.

“We should stay away from alleging that community members are killing the police. The criminal element within the community is killing the police,” he said.

Koji added that 55 police officers have been killed this year alone, which is an increase from last years’ 47 police deaths.

“One lost life is too many, we can’t afford to lose any more lives at this stage,” he said. The councillor also stated that from 1994 to 2014 there had been a loss of 2 915 police lives whilst on duty. He said the numbers were too high to comprehend.

Koji said there was a need to ensure that the community provides all the necessary support and also work with police as opposed to working against them. He also emphasised that South Africa belonged to all who live in it and people have to continue building a rainbow nation and preserve and protect fellow brothers and sister s in blue.

Save our future! say marching Taal-Net students
Kempton Express 4 September 2015

Taal-Net students march around Kempton CBD in a campaign against drug abuse

EMPD's Community Safety Department was also there to safely accompany the students and their teachers on their march.
EMPD's Community Safety Department was also there to safely accompany the students and their teachers on their march. “SAVE our future, say no to drugs!”

The message was heard loud and clear by community members when students from Taal-Net Group of Schools took a strong stance against drug abuse on Tuesday morning.

The school’s students, along with their teachers, school principal and staff members marched around Kempton CBD.

Their campaign was clear – they want to stop drug abuse and young children getting involved in drugs.

“We’ve seen stories in news reports on television where children as young as 10 are found in drug dens and it is absolutely shocking. That’s part of why we’ve decided to march today, so the kids can send a message directly to the streets where some of the perpetrators who sell these drugs to children are,” said deputy principal Davis Biza.

Officers from the EMPD’s Community Safety Department were also there to safely accompany the students and the teachers on their march.

The school’s principal, Sheperd Mudimu, expressed that while they haven’t experienced any cases where learners of their own were involved in drugs, it’s still an important societal issue they as a school can’t ignore.

“Reasons for children getting involved in drugs vary so much, including peer pressure, the neighbourhoods they live in as well as a general breakdown of strong family structures. For us as a school, marching like this to spread awareness and to reach as many people as possible has had a positive outcome, because we grabbed the attention of many people in the streets and hopefully our message went across effectively,” Mudimu said with a smile.

Ekurhuleni Pride movement defies the cold
Kempton Express 9 September 2015

‘This march is to show people that we are proud to be who we are’

THE Ekurhuleni LGBTI community walked the streets of Germiston with placards of messages of pride, in an effort to spark the debate about LGBTI issues in the communities.

THE Ekurhuleni LGBTI community walked the streets of Germiston with placards of messages of pride, in an effort to spark the debate about LGBTI issues in the communities. “COME rain or sunshine, nothing will stop the Ekurhuleni Pride movement.”

That was the spirit on Saturday at the Ekurhuleni Pride March where the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Intersexual (LGBTI) community braved the cold and rainy weather to take to the streets in a bid to highlight the societal issues they face.

The LGBTI Ekurhuleni Pride March was initiated following discussions with the Member of Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, Clr Makhosazana Mabaso, last year where it was decided that the City of Ekurhuleni will support and partner with the LGBTI community.

“This march is to show people that we are proud to be who we are. As we walk with pride let us walk in solidarity and commemorate the lives of those who died in the hands of criminals who do not understand what you are all about,” said Mabaso at the march.

The march kicked off at the Golden Walk Mall and ended at the Germiston Lake where the activists converged for the formal proceedings. Representatives from POWA, SAPS and the Department of Justice educated those present about their human rights and that, before the law, everyone is equal.

A proud African lesbian woman, Refilwe Lentsitse, explained what the march meant to her, saying: “This is more than a march, this is the platform where we express ourselves. This is a place where I can freely say I am what am, whether I was born this way or changed to this way, I am lesbian and no one can change that.”

Amongst the guest speakers was “celebrity gay” Bujy Bikwa and Snowy Mamba, who is in the process of transitioning into a woman. The guest speakers urged the LGBTI community to unite and respect themselves so that the world can respect them too.

Though this was a first for the Ekurhuleni LGBTI community, a few expressed that this is just a tip of the iceberg and that more needs to be done by the municipality.

“There are so many more things that we want the municipality to assist us with said,” said Noluvuyo Lata. “The issue of correctional rape should be looked into deeper than just a man raping a woman; it is a hate crime based on a lack of knowledge. There is something wrong with that person and that is where the municipality needs to intervene,” she added.

Amidst the pop-up poetry sessions and entertainment, the LGBTI community was encouraged to regularly go for health screenings and be responsible by protecting themselves and their loved ones against illnesses.

'Don’t send our kids back to Roodepoort’
IOL News 9 September 2015

No arrests for Lethabong looting
IOL News 9 September 2015

Police step in to restore order during a service delivery protest. File picture: Brenton Geach
Rustenburg – No arrests had yet been made following looting of foreign-owned shops in Lethabong near Rustenburg, North West police said on Wednesday.

“The police have interviewed shop owners. They are following leads and arrests are imminent,” said police spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko.

On Tuesday night a group of teenagers looted shops owned by foreign nationals. This followed a meeting at which it was alleged a resolution was taken to shut down the township on Wednesday, in a bid to force the Rustenburg local municipality to speed up the process of allocating residential sites in Lethabong. They also wanted the municipality to attend to a sewerage spill they alleged had been leaking for over six months in Chesampama.

Ramaloko said at least four shops had been looted.

The police had managed to restore order and no incidents were reported on Wednesday.

Although the situation was calm on Wednesday night, rocks were still blocking the road preventing buses from getting into Chesampama and Soviet 1 areas.

Rubber bullets used as looters strike
IOL News 9 September 2015

Lethabong, North West - Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of teenagers who were looting foreign-owned shops in Lethabong, near Rustenburg, on Tuesday night.

A gang of about 50 teenagers moved from one section of the township to another, looting shops before running away when a lone police Nyala arrived at the scene.

“Come on, the corner shop,” the group shouted, attacking a foreign shop in Slovo section.

The looters fled empty-handed when police moved in.

However, at least three shops were looted.

“We want money,” one youth told the African News Agency.

“These shops are expensive and they do not give us credit, that is why we loot them,” he said.

The group started blocking roads in the township with rocks and other objects following a meeting in which a resolution was apparently taken to block all entrances on Wednesday morning to prevent people from going to work or school.

Residents were demanding that the Rustenburg municipality speed up the allocation of residential sites and attend to a sewerage spill in Chesampa which had been running for more than six months.

On Monday afternoon, the group had blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks, but the police managed to stop the planned protest.

Johannesburg - Problems at Roodepoort Primary School seem far from over, with parents divided over whether the school should be reopened.

On Tuesday, a group of parents, whose children have been attending school in Lufhereng, marched to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s office.

They complained that the mediation team Makhura had set up to try to resolve the disputes didn’t consult them before deciding to reopen the school.

About 830 pupils have been attending Lufhereng Primary and were taught by the principal, her two deputies and a few teachers.

Other teachers reported to the district office, while about 300 pupils reported to a hall and churches in Davidsonville. This was because their parents had defied the Education Department’s decision to close the school.

Roodepoort Primary reopened on Wednesday after it was shut last month because of a dispute regarding principal Nomathemba Molefe’s appointment. Some of the parents had objected, accusing the school of mismanaging funds, among other allegations. This is despite the fact that two independent audit reports had cleared her of any wrongdoing.

The decision to reopen the school was made after a recommendation on Friday by the mediation team.

On Tuesday, however, some parents said they were worried about their children’s safety.

They said their children had settled into their new school and didn’t want to go back to Davidsonville.

Among the protesting parents was Ola Seichokelo, who said: “Our children are going to go back to that school and experience racism again. They are happier in the new school. Going back to that school will be traumatic.”

Parent Nancy Mofokeng said she was worried that the situation at the school could flare up again in a few weeks. The school has been shut three times this year.

“We have to do what’s best for our children, and that is for them to stay in Lufhereng. How are we going to know that the children will be safe? People have thrown petrol bombs at the school already. How is the premier going to keep our children safe?” Mofokeng asked.

The parents demanded to see the premier but were informed that he was unavailable. Instead, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi held a meeting with a few of their leaders.

He persuaded them to go to the Roodepoort Civic Centre for a community meeting.

Late on Tuesday, however, attempts to reopen the school hit another snag.

While Lesufi and the mediation team held a meeting with parents, a crowd of parents opposed to the move descended on the school and tried to disrupt the meeting.

They made their demands known in songs and chants: “Lufhereng! Lufhereng!” they chanted, vowing to stop Roodepoort Primary from reopening.

However, according to reports on Wednesay morning, schooling has resumed.

Violent protest enters second week at Angloplats in Limpopo
The New Age 8 September 2015

The violent protest by residents of Mapela against Angloplats outside Mokopane, Limpopo, has entered its second week. The residents are demanding jobs and development projects from Angloplats to assist the community.

Running battles continue, roads around the mine are blocked leading to disruption of schools around the area. The residents also want the mine to reverse its decision to relocate a high school to a neighbouring village to make way for mine expansion.

Mine management says transport is provided, but parents say it's too expensive. The mine says negotiations with communities are continuing to resolve the matter.

Meanwhile, Economic Freedom Fighter leader in the Limpopo Legislature, Josie Buthane, and three other residents appeared in the Mahweleng Magistrate's Court. They were arrested for public violence last Friday and released on a warning.

The case will resumes on the 30th of September .

Schools, businesses to re-open in Vuwani
The New Age 14 September 2015

Schools and businesses in Vuwani in Limpopo are expected to re-open Monday after weeks of shutdown.

This follows Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to the area Sunday.

Residents staged violent protests against re-demarcation in the Vhembe district.

They want the Municipal Demarcation Board to reverse the decision which could see Vuwani merged with other areas like Malamulele, to form a new municipality.

Ramaphosa met with them and promised to investigate their concerns.

However Ramaphosa says government does not have an immediate answer to a call by the protesting residents of Vuwani to have the decision by the Demarcation Board reversed.

Residents have asked the Deputy President to investigate the municipal demarcation board's decision to have some parts of Vuwani merged with Malamulele to form a new municipality.

They believe that the decision was politically motivated. The residents say they will plunge the area into chaos again if their demands are not met.

Situation remains calm at Vuwani
SABC News 8 September 2015

Limpopo Vuwani Service delivery protest Livhuwani Matsila Witness Tiva The situation is calm at Vuwani in Limpopo where residents are protesting against a decision to include their area into a newly demarcated municipality.

It seems residents headed traditional leaders' calls for them to stop violence.

The violent strike has seen schooling and provision of services brought to a halt.

Traditional leaders’ spokesperson Livhuwani Matsila says, "We are happy that our people have listened to us to end violence, especially violence against civilians or members of the public."

"We will encourage them to continue to protest peacefully. We are aware that there was a clash with the police last night which resulted in the protesters getting hold of a service pistol from a member of the SAPS. We immediately asked them to return the pistol of which they did (and) we are very happy that the headed our call.”

Birchwood protesters arrested following apparent rampage
Boksburg Advertiser 8 September 2015

The second day of the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre workers protest ended on a sour note for them.

According to Lieut Juanita Coetzer, Boksburg North SAPS spokesperson, a number of protesters were arrested on Tuesday, September 8.

“One stung grenade and smoke grenade were used to disperse the crowd,” said Coetzer.

“No one was injured.”

This is after the crowd apparently started to display a violent and uncontrollable behaviour during the protest.

She was, however, unable to confirm if rubber bullets were fired.

One witness told the Advertiser at the scene that the “strikers were out of hand and had started to break the windows of passing cars”.
No comment has been received from Birchwood.

Protesters burn buses, police station
MSN News 8 Se3ptember 2015

Protesters in Lephalale, Limpopo went on the rampage on Monday night as they blockaded roads and burnt down a number of buses, a municipal office and a satellite police station.

According to reports, the protesters are allegedly former construction workers at the nearby Medupi power station.

The reasons for the protest are as yet not known but police have increased their presence in the area to prevent further protests.

Eskom said in an SABC report that the protests had not affected operations at Medupi.

Mpumalanga residents protest
IOL News 8 September 2015

Johannesburg - Residents of Pienaar in Mpumalanga blocked roads and protested against a construction company they accused of not employing local people, police said on Tuesday.

“They placed obstacles such as rocks and tree stumps on the road next to the police station on Tuesday morning. They accused a company constructing a road in the area of not employing enough local people,” said police spokesman Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

He added that there were no reports of destruction to property.
No arrests have been made.

Pupils vandalise school in report row
IOL News 6 September 2015

An Overport principal’s car was trashed, and school property was damaged, when Grade 12 pupils went on the rampage because they were not given their reports on Friday afternoon.

The principal of Sparks Estate Secondary School, Rose Fredricks, was at the centre of the riot. Pupils said she had not released their reports because their parents had not paid fees. As a result, they were unable to submit their university applications in time.

Police arrested a 19-year-old matric pupil who threw bricks at officers and their vehicles. He is due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

The pupils said they would continue their protest until they were given their reports.

A Grade 12 pupil said the student body had issued a memorandum last month asking the school for midyear reports and for applications forms to be signed.

The deputy principal had signed the memorandum in the principal’s absence on August 3.

“They did sign the application forms but refused to give us our reports. We decided to speak to the school after our life orientation paper on Friday. When we got no joy, we decided to trash the school. If we do not reach a resolution, we will continue with what we started.

“We have a right to our education. It is not our fault if we cannot afford to pay our school fees.”

Another pupil said she did not condone the vandalism. “This has been going on since Tuesday. I’ve heard from some they will not stop until the matter is resolved.”

A parent, who did not want to be named, said the pupils’ behaviour was “barbaric”.

“They are endangering lives. I do not think it’s fair to other pupils. I fear for my child’s life.”

The Department of Education criticised the pupils’ behaviour but spokesman Sihle Mlotshwa said principals were not allowed to withhold reports.

“As much as we condemn the actions of the pupils, our position is principals must not withhold reports if school fees are not paid.

“Parents are the ones who pay the fees, not pupils. Children should not be punished.”

He added that principals who refused to give out reports should be reported to the department.

Fredricks did not want to comment on the matter.

Vigil after fourth murder in two months
IOL News 7 September 2015

Cape Town - More than 1 000 people came together to hold a vigil in Strandfontein at the weekend after the murder of a fourth man in the area in just over two months.

Lyle Eyden, 25, became the latest resident to be murdered in there when he was stabbed to death in the early hours of Saturday.

Eyden’s murder follows that of Brandon Thomas a week ago, and Sedick Isaacs and Chad Baron just over two months ago.

Police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said Eyden was stabbed once in the chest close to his home in Pilot Way.

“Circumstances surrounding a stabbing incident on Saturday at about 2.30am, when a 25-year-old man was stabbed once in the upper body in Pilot Way, are under investigation. A murder case was opened for investigation. No arrests have been made,” Van Wyk said.

Eyden’s mother, Melanie, attended a vigil for the four men in Pilot Way on Saturday night, but was too distraught to speak to the Cape Times on Sunday.

Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Sandy Schuter said the vigil had been organised by CPF members, street committees and the neighbourhood watch.

“I am glad we had such a great response, especially from the residents. The idea is to encourage the community to stand together to show the criminals that we are serious about fighting crime.

“The residents of Strandfontein are being held hostage by drug addicts and thieves who will resort to murder to get their next fix.

“Together we must break free of this and let the criminals know there’s no place for them here,” she said.

Schuter said there were concerns that criminals from other areas were coming into Strandfontein to commit crime.

“This is not always the case because the perpetrators arrested for recent murders were Strandfontein residents. Our own children are killing our children,” she said.

Schuter also lauded police, saying they were doing an excellent job despite a lack of resources.

Latiefa Kamish, 57, mother of Isaacs, 37, who was strangled to death in July, said residents were now living in fear.

“It was never like this. You could walk around freely and sleep with your doors open. It’s getting out of hand now,” she said.

Mitchells Plain and Strandfontein Cluster CPF chairperson Hanif Loonat said: “I applaud the Strandfontein CPF for mobilising the people on such short notice.

“Residents are asking for nothing more than peace and safety for their loved ones. Is this asking too much from our government? I don’t think so.”

Meanwhile, Van Wyk said a 42-year-old man was shot dead in Lentegeur at 8pm on Saturday.

He said Mitchells Plain Cluster police arrested 433 suspects last week for various crimes in the area.

A rapist’s lawyer is a rapist’
IOL News 4 September 2015

Cape Town - A women’s rights activist has threatened to beat up the lawyer of a convicted child rapist, claiming lawyers “encourage sex attacks”.

Ludwe Nkomo, of Ilitha Labantu, said the next time he sees the lawyer of paedophile Achmat Benting, he will “strip naked” so he can be raped.

The Khayelitsha organisation came out to protest at the sentencing proceedings of Benting at the Mitchells Plain Regional Court on Thursday.

However, they were left disappointed when the matter was postponed once again.

Benting’s lawyer, William Booth, was not present and his representative Anthony Benito told the court Booth would only be available in October.

But an irritated Magistrate Ivan Munnik would have none of this, and insisted that the matter be finalised later this month.

Women's rights activist Ludwe Nkomo has threatened to beat up the lawyer of convicted child rapist Achmat Benting.

Munnik then set sentencing for September 28.

Benting, 60, was in May already found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting his neighbour’s children – aged between seven and 14 – inside his Beacon Valley home between 2010 and 2012.

Benting sexually groomed his victims by giving them money and showering them with gifts.

After court proceedings, the victims’ families along with members of Ilitha Labantu chanted outside the court.

They swooped on Benito while he was walking to his car, ringing a bell in his ears and shoving their banners in his face.

“Down with Achmat Benting, down!” the worked up crowd shouted.

An unperturbed Benito got into his car and lit up a cigarette.

A fuming Ludwe said it was wrong for lawyers to represent rapists.

Ludwe said: “A lawyer who comes to court to represent a rapist, is a rapist.

“The problem with these lawyers is that they are championing that rape must continue.”

Ludwe then threatened violence the next time Benting’s lawyers came to court.

“On the day of sentencing we will block off the road and we will wait and beat him and show him our anger and the police can come and arrest us,” he said.

“Even after the sentencing, I will walk after him and strip naked here in the street so he can rape me.”

Another activist, Noluthukela Lizwe, said the justice system is too soft on rapists: “The law must let the women decide what must happen to rapists, then there will be no more rapists, we will cut their penises bit by bit.”
Daily Voice

Samwu backs Vat Alles protest
IOL News 7 September 2015

Pretoria -The Tshwane workers under the Vat Alles programme who staged a violent protest in Soshanguve last week were well within their rights.

This is according to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), which expressed its support for the workers who burnt four vehicles belonging to the City of Tshwane and barricaded roads.

Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi would on Monday meet the workers in Soshanguve to listen to their grievances, said spokesman Papikie Mohale.

Workers went on strike over the non-payment of their stipends and demanded to be permanently employed by the city.

They smashed office windows with stones and damaged two other vehicles, in addition to those they had already set alight.

Their anger was directed at executive mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, whom they accused of having failed to keep his promise to make sure they were paid their outstanding monthly stipends.

Mohale said the workers’ demands were legitimate and should be addressed immediately. The treatment of the workers by the municipality was tantamount to unfair labour practice, he said.

The DA in the capital, meanwhile, said the Vat Alles programme had been beset by problems since its launch in 2012.

The party’s spokesman for economic development, Cilliers Brink, said the Vat Alles programme had been a reward and recruitment scheme.

“DA councillors constantly receive reports of Vat Alles and other jobs only being open to those who can flash ANC membership cards,” he said.

The ANC condemned the violent behaviour of those who masterminded the protest, calling it counter-revolutionary.

ANC Tshwane regional spokes-man Teboho Joala said the perpetrators of the protest masqueraded as champions of the interests of the party’s members. The ANC unequivocally distanced itself from such acts, he said.

He said the majority of the Vat Alles workers who wanted to return to work were being intimidated by counter-revolutionary forces.

Joala said the municipality had made significant strides to reduce unemployment through the Vat Alles programme.

He encouraged young people to take advantage of programmes such as Vat Alles that provide job opportunities as well as skills development.

“While the leadership of the ANC acknowledges some of the challenges and the competing expectations of our people and the rights of citizens to voice their concerns, there’s no justification whatsoever for communities to destroy government and private property,” he said.

Those who plot to perpetrate violence should face the full might of the law, he warned.

Ramokgopa’s spokesman, Blessing Manale, said Vat Alles workers weren’t paid their stipends because they had not worked.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Matthews Nkoadi said a case of public violence has been opened against the perpetrators.

No arrests have yet been made, but the investigation was ongoing, he said.

However, it was reported at the weekend that some of the Vat Alles members involved in the violence last week had been arrested.

The Pretoria News was not able to independently confirm this.

Vat Alles goes on the rampage
IOL News 4 September 2015

Pretoria - Early risers in Soshanguve were greeted by high flames, dark smoke and the smell of burning rubber in Block F on Thursday as fire engulfed City of Tshwane vehicles, resulting in damage estimated at hundreds of thousands of rand.

Four bakkies and a water tanker were burnt to ashes by hundreds of rampaging municipal employees who have been at loggerheads with the city for more than a week.

And as the fire engulfed the vehicles, the workers, employed under the Vat Alles programme, angrily threw stones, smashing the windows of two other bakkies. Missiles also rained down on the municipal building, as the workers smashed office windows with stones and damaged furniture. Computers, desks and chairs were wrecked and then the workers turned to the streets. One uprooted a road sign and hurled it into the fire.

Johannes Mokgaole, a security guard at the municipal offices, said a mob stormed in on the area in the morning minutes after he had reported for duty. He said he was chased from the gate, where he worked. But when he saw the group starting to pelt the parked vehicles with stones, he became terrified.

“I had to run for my life,” he said. Together with other municipal workers who had already reported for duty, he was forced by protesters to stay on the premises.

By 6.30am, the road near the council offices was a sea of flames from burning tyres. It was also barricaded with rocks, bricks and tree branches. Clouds of dark smoke billowed out of the burning vehicles. Part of the fence erected around the premises was pulled down by the mob.

Motorists driving past in the morning had to dodge burning tyres and rocks scattered on the road. Residents nearer to the scene looked on as the enraged workers threw rocks and chanted Struggle songs. Three metro police officers remained in two vehicles parked about 300m away from the scene.

The violence was a culmination of the anger that had been building up in the past week, which saw the workers holding gatherings to discuss their problems.

Last Thursday they failed to disrupt a council sitting, while meetings had been held in various regions before the workers eventually went on the rampage. They also threatened to take the fight to Bronkhorstspruit.

Their anger was directed at Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, whom they accused of having failed to keep his promise to make sure workers were paid their outstanding monthly stipends.

Ramokgopa’s spokesman Blessing Manale said Vat Alles staff weren’t paid their stipends, because they hadn’t worked.

Workers said they were angered by SMSes from the city informing them that they would not receive payments.

Manale disputed that there had been any notice of work termination served to workers.

He said Vat Alles employees conducted violent protests, while demanding to be absorbed as permanent council staff.

They also demanded their stipends that had been docked as a result of their absenteeism from work over the last two months.

Police spokesman Warrant Officer Matthews Nkoadi said a case of public violence had been opened against protesters.

Manale said Ramokgopa had assigned MMC George Matjila to engage with the group as the political champion of the Vat Alles programme.

He added that instigators of Thursday’s protest were identified and served with letters of suspension.

Vat Alles project was launched by Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa in Hammanskraal in August 2012.

The project is in line with national government initiatives aimed at creating job opportunities through the expanded public works programme. During its launch it was announced that the project would employ more than 3 000 community members from Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, Centurion, Soshanguve, Metsweding, Hammanskraal, Winterveld and the inner city. The city had set aside about R60 million for the project and beneficiaries receive monthly stipends. Workers have duties ranging from general litter picking, the maintenance of cemeteries, shopping centres and open spaces, the clearance of illegal dumping and basic maintenance.

Vuwani business area cordoned off
SABC News 3 September 2015

Some residents were pelting vehicles with stones and barricading roads. (SABC)

Limpopo Vuwani Looting Property Pravin Gordhan Nyiketani Baloyi Malamulele Municipal Demarcation Board LGE 2016 The business area of Vuwani in Limpopo has been cordoned off with razor fence so as to prevent looting and further destruction of property in the troubled area.

Police say three more shops have been looted at three different villages.

On Wednesday, Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan met with the traditional leaders and community structures from Vuwani.

Upon receiving the news that the meeting did not reverse the Municipal Demarcation Board's decision to merge Vuwani into a new municipality which would also include Malamulele, some residents started pelting vehicles with stones and barricading roads.

Deputy Provincial Commissioner Nyiketani Baloyi says they are deploying more police to the volatile area.

“The situation in Vuwani has worsened overnight and we have therefore deployed more police to the area. Residents have gone on the rampage and have destroyed private property. They have also barricaded roads and this is making it very difficult to access problem areas. We are working with other governmental departments and law enforcement agencies to bring the current situation under control.”

Mpumalanga Municipality slams Mbuzini protest
SABC News 3 September 2015

Residents of Mbuzini in the Nkomazi municipality in Mpumalanga have barricaded the main road into the area demanding a proper road infrastructure. (SABC)

Mpumalanga Nkomazi Mbuzini Service delivery protest Selvy Mohlala Cyril Repinga The Nkomazi Local Municipality in Mpumalanga has condemned a protest by Mbuzini community members.

The municipality's spokesperson Cyril Repinga, says they have engaged the community in several meetings about the road infrastructure.

Repinga says the community has been informed that they are busy with development of road infrastructure in the area.

He says they have been budgeted for in the next coming financial year.

“We have met the Mbuzini community on two occasions to brief them on the status quo, particular on the projects that the municipality has put in place for that particular village. It is very unfortunate that today there are people who are blockading the road saying that they do not want that particular road to be built there. We informed the community that in the next financial year, in that particular section called Debele, they will get their own internal road but for this financial year we have budgeted for another section within the same vicinity of Mbuzini”, says Repinga.

motorists urged to use alternative routes

Residents of Mbuzini barricaded the main road into the area demanding a proper road infrastructure.

Police Spokesperson Selvy Mohlala has warned motorists to use alternative routes.

Mohlala says the police are monitoring the situation.

“They are complaining about a road that is supposed to be constructed in one of the villages of the area called Debele where it has been taken to the news village, and we have advised motorists to delay their plans if they are going to Mbuzini because it might be dangerous. However our members are on patrol there, we are monitoring the situation we hope that the road will be opened very soon”, says Mohlala.

Roads closed, shops looted in protest
IOL News 1 September 2015

Limpopo - Roads in Vuwani, Limpopo, remained closed on Tuesday and businesses were looted overnight as residents continued to protest against planned inclusion into a newly demarcated Malamulele Municipality.

Limpopo police spokesman Elijah Malatji said a total shutdown in the area saw schools and businesses closing down as the protests turned violent.

“Last night [Monday] several businesses were looted and some burnt down. These include two hardware stores, two bar lounges and a butchery,” Malatji said on Tuesday.

“A 29-year-old male was arrested overnight after he was found carrying stolen alcohol.”

He added that there was no public transport in or out of the area as roads were barricaded with tyres and rocks.

On Monday police fired rubber bullets to disperse crowds who demanded that President Jacob Zuma intervene and accede to their demand to be excluded from Malamulele municipality.

The Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) announced in July that Malamulele would get its own new municipality, to be known as Malamulele-Vuwani Municipality. The board decided to incorporate Vuwani into the new municipality.

This comes after years of protest by Malamulele residents who demanded their own municipality, and to be separated from the Thulamela Municipality, which they accused of ignoring their plight for services.

However, Vuwani residents resisted being part of Malamulele, citing possible delay in service delivery. The residents demanded that Vuwani remain under the Makhado Municipality.

City condemns vandalism in service delivery protest
Berea Mail 2 September 2015

While the City condemns the vandalism of municipal property during protests, officials have met with the community of the Kennedy Road informal settlement to address their concerns.

ETHEKWINI Municipality responded to angry Kennedy Road informal settlement dwellers who staged a service delivery protest on the N2 Umgeni Road interchange on Monday morning.

Protesters blocked the road, burning, tyres and wood from about 6.30am which severely impacted on morning traffic. The group of about 50 men also allegedly threw stones at police, before they were cleared from the scene.

According to Phiwokwakhe Mchunu, acting chairman of the Development Committee protestors were tired of the municipality giving them empty promises. “The municipality has made promises about houses all the time but they see nothing. The people are tired and are doing this because they see no change in service delivery with housing, electricity and toilets,” he said.

A municipal truck was allegedly set on fire close to Ethekwini College and two large containers were also moved from the informal settlement towards the road by angry protestors.

According to EThekwini Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa the demands of the community are linked to a fire which occurred last year, affecting more than 700 dwellings.

Whilst temporary accommodation was provided for more than 520 families affected by that fire, Mthethwa said space constraints on the site led to approximately 180 families having to remain in the community hall.

“EThekwini municipality is working with the Provincial Department of Human Settlements to assist families with materials to re-build their dwellings. The material will be distributed as soon as the rightful recipients have been verified. The local committee is busy checking against the list of people affected by the fire,” Mthethwa explained.

A representative from the Mayor’s office met with the community on Monday evening to address their concerns. Phiwokwakhe Mchunu, acting chairman of the Development Committee based in Kennedy Road said the community was glad the municipality was “starting to follow through on their promises.” “They came this morning with building material and the people are satisfied at the moment,” he added.

The City said it condemned the vandalism of Municipal property and other Municipal assets during protests. “The Kennedy Road community is urged to table their concerns through appropriate channels, such as communicating with their ward councillor, so that their concerns can be addressed amicably without resorting to violence.”

Vat Alles workers to forfeit wages
IOL News 2 September 2015

Pretoria - Municipal workers at the City of Tshwane, who made futile attempts to disrupt a council meeting at the Sammy Marks Chamber last week, won’t receive the unpaid monthly stipends that propelled them to protest.

Mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said the principle of no work no pay would apply to contract workers.

Workers, hired under the programme called Vat Alles, downed tools after they had not received their monthly stipends on August 26.

The programme is a national initiative which forms part of the extended public works programme.

Workers are responsible for picking up litter, grass cutting, removal of illegal posters, and clearing of illegal dumping sites, among other duties.

It was not the first time the municipality had failed to pay them on time.

Workers said they protested after their plea to mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa fell on deaf ears.

Manale said: “The programme is a short-term relief which pays beneficiaries stipends for work done. If a beneficiary is not at work, then the no work no pay rule applies as stated in their employment contracts.

“The group that protested last week was not at work, therefore there is no stipend due to them.

“Workers were not paid because they were not at work,” he said.

There had been numerous complaints that the unavailability of workers had affected service delivery such as the fixing of leaking taps.

According to Manale, service delivery was partially affected only in Region One which includes Winterveld, Rosslyn, Theresa Park and Pretoria North.

He said: “The city was using permanent employees to bridge the gap.”

Students threaten to shut down Unisa
IOL News 1 September 2015

Durban - Students from Unisa have threatened to shut down the institution if their demands for the immediate reopening of 18 recently closed exam centres and the removal of a newly introduced acceptance fee are not met.

Ten of the exam venues were in KwaZulu-Natal.

By Monday, protest action had already started at the KwaZulu-Natal campus, where students, led by the national and regional student representative councils, demonstrated their unhappiness.

Local students also said they did not have enough study space and claimed assignments were being lost.

The Unisa SRC’s national secretary-general, Buyisile Njokeni, said the 10 exam centres to be shut included those in Umlazi, Nkandla, Mtubatuba and Mount Edgecombe.

He said the closures forced students to relocate to other exam venues at short notice.

Njokeni said he had visited the affected KwaZulu-Natal venues and all appeared to be of a good standard.

In June, hundreds of Unisa students in Durban demanded to be allowed to rewrite exams after being pelted with stones while they sat their exams.

Students writing a variety of subjects were attacked by about 40 other students at an exam venue near the Moses Mabhida Stadium. The attacking students had demanded to be allowed to write their papers despite being late, and the police were called in to restore order.

Students said they were late because the exam venues nearest to them had been shut.

Unisa spokesman Martin Ramotshela said exam venues in KZN, Cape Town and East London would be “changing”.

He did not respond to questions on how many exam venues in Kwazulu-Natal were to be closed, and in which areas they were located.

Nationally, Unisa leases 390 exam venues from landlords. But Ramotshela said the SRC had been informed of changes to the KwaZulu-Natal exam venues early last month, and the rest of its students would be notified well ahead of the start of the October exams.

Campuses in the Eastern Cape and Cape Town were preparing to start demonstrating on Tuesday.

“Comrades in Tshwane, Limpopo and Mpumalanga are preparing to join us as soon as they have to,” Njokweni said.

He said that one bone of contention was the failure by the Unisa management to consult the student body, which was the mass stakeholder when making decisions that had the potential to affect them.

The university of distance education closed 18 exam centres between May and August and effectively closed off access to thousands of students in KZN, the Eastern Cape and Cape Town, he said.

Most of the walk-in venues were within easy reach for students in locations and townships and saved many people the burden of travelling to the city.

“They would now be required to take two or three taxis to town to write their exams at a huge cost to them,” Njokweni said.

Ramotshela said there were appropriate modes of communication through which they should have aired their grievances. He said that the university used external service providers to identify and source exam venues, which were secured through lease agreements. There were 390 Unisa exam centres nationally and 600 internationally.

“When a venue changes it is generally the result of a lease having expired, not being renewed or unavailability, the need to move to a different venue due to unsatisfactory service delivery or other rational business reasons.”

Unease after farm college protests
IOL News 3 September 2015

Cape Town - Altercations broke out between students as tensions remained high at Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

A black student was involved in a fistfight with his white peer. And a student claimed that a lecturer slapped her.

The unease followed protests by Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC) members against the college’s language policy this week, even though an interdict was obtained against further protest action.

The students are protesting against what they call the racist language policy that allows lectures to be presented in Afrikaans.

As black EFFSC members sang Struggle songs while marching on campus, white students kept a close eye with some driving their cars through the group of protesters, forcing them to disperse.

Liphelo Mpumlwana, who alleged that a lecturer smacked her on Tuesday, said she had “dropped out” of college five years ago after she felt her rights were being violated at the college.

“I dropped out in 2010 because I felt I was discriminated against. However, I felt I had started with my degree and thus came back to finish, only to find the same still happening. We got frustrated because we are being taught in Afrikaans, which is why we decided to protest.”

She said it was difficult to find an internship and a part-time job because the internships from surrounding farms were advertised in Afrikaans making them difficult to understand.

First year student Thandeka Maseti said she struggled in lectures. “A lecturer would instruct us in English for the first 10 minutes, and then switch to Afrikaans.

“By the time they go back to English, you forgot what he said when he started.

“Lectures become very confusing and this semester I have more modules and I’m afraid I will fail.”

Leana van Eeeden, who walked out of a test, said the “singing might have made her fail the test”. “I couldn’t concentrate on the test because of the singing and the protesters were banging on the door.

“It’s unacceptable what they are doing and I don’t think they are going to get what they want. Instead, we are all falling behind in our studies.”

Elsenburg spokeswoman Petro van Rhyn confirmed that an urgent temporary interdict was secured from the Western Cape High Court.

“The purpose of the interdict is to prevent all students and non-students from participating in violent protest action and the disruption of college activities. We are duty bound to ensure a safe learning environment for all learners and staff.”

Elsenburg racism row heats up
IOL News 1 September 2015

Cape Town – Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training on Tuesday echoed statements made by Stellenbosch University that agricultural school Elsenburg was not within the tertiary institution’s jurisdiction.

“I don’t know how we are going to get this across to the students but they must know that Elsenburg is not within your jurisdiction and if you address the racism there then you are interfering,” said committee chair Yvonne Phosa.

The management of Stellenbosch University along with various stakeholders including the SRC and the university’s council met with the committee on Tuesday to respond to racism at the institution as alleged by 34 students and one staff member in the documentary, “Luister”.

The matter of racism at Elsenburg Agricultural College was brought up in Lusiter by interviewees and, according to Stellenbosch University’s Rector Wim de Villiers, the perception was created that the university was in control of the agricultural school.

It was, however, confirmed by both the university and the committee that Elsenberg was a Western Cape government institution and thus the university could not intervene.

“However, we will fight racism wherever it is,” said De Villiers.

Meanwhile, students at Elsenburg Agricultural College were on Tuesday attacked by what appeared to be a group of student protestors, some dressed in Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) regalia.

Protests against the college’s language policy began on Monday but turned violent on Tuesday morning.

Allegations that the attackers were members of the EFF were circulating on social media on Tuesday with the Democratic Alliance’s national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme - who was present at the committee sitting - saying the violence and disruption was what the EFF was about.

A screenshot had also been posted on Twitter by Eikestadnuus which allegedly showed a member of Open Stellenbosch waving a sjambok at an Elsenburg student. The Open Stellenbosch member was the opening interviewee in Luister.

Ijeoma Opara, speaking on behalf of Open Stellenbosch, confirmed that the male student was indeed a member of the movement.

“We stand in solidarity with the students of Elsenburg and their experiences,” said Opara.

She could not, however, provide further comment at the time of writing as she did not know the full story of what had occurred at Elsenburg.

Maties march as rector is grilled
IOL News 2 September 2015

Cape Town - As the management of Stellenbosch University (SU) ensured MPs of the institution’s commitment to transformation on Tuesday, hundreds of students took to the streets in a march against “apartheid culture” at the university.

Students from universities across the province gathered at Rooiplein, Stellenbosch, before marching through the town singing songs and brandishing banners with messages that read, “Open up your ancient gates”.

The march was organised by Open Stellenbosch, the movement behind the recently released “Luister” documentary.

The chairman of the SU branch of the South African Student Congress, Chumile Samson, said he chose to do his honours in International Studies at the university so he could be part of the change in policy.

“South Africa as a whole is against this and it is important for all students to come together as we would all like to see change.

“We would like to see complete change at Stellenbosch University, we want a complete revolution here.”

Copy of ct Stellenbosch_1687 done
Stellenbosch, UCT and UWC students marched through the streets of Stellenbosch University calling for a change in the institutions language policy. Picture: Bheki Radebe

Samson added that the university needs to realise that it was not a “Europe in South Africa”.

Third year student Nwabisa Janda said those who wanted the language policy to be changed were being unfair to other students. “There are hardly Afrikaans textbooks for the Afrikaans kids, and what about the students that are Sotho or Pedi? Most students are here from Joburg and other places that have different languages. We are all struggling.”

Janda, who studies accounting at the institution, said there are interpreters in the Afrikaans lectures but they “are not great”, but said she was there to learn. She and her friend, Nolwazi Mthimkhulu, rely on “self-study” to pass.

“You are given the option when you come here if you want to be in an Afrikaans or English class, but in third year there is no option. You know that English and Afrikaans are the only options before you sign anything to be students here,” Mthimkhulu said.

“It’s not about being black or being white. I have to self-study, because I know what I am here for.”

Students from UCT also joined in the march that saw about 500 students calling for a change in Stellenbosch University’s language policy and general transformation at all universities. Third year UCT Political Science student Athenkosi Manikavana said she supported the Stellenbosch students in trying to change the language policy.

IOL blade & wim done
Minister of Higher Education Dr Blade Nzimande and the rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University, Professor Wim de Villiers, at the National Assemblys higher education and training committee. Picture: Tracey Adams

“I think it is unfair that one student pays the same amount as other students who speak Afrikaans but doesn’t understand it; that means that that student has to work twice as hard.”

Manikavana said it was “painful” to watch the documentary and said she hoped change would come fast.

Earlier in the day, the university’s management appeared before the National Assembly’s higher education committee where it explained its transformation plans and its response to the documentary.

Vice-chancellor and rector Professor Wim de Villiers said he had found the documentary “very disturbing”.

“Hearing these narratives of racism and dehumanisation is really painful to me as a vice-chancellor.

“I’m not going to defend the indefensible.”

He said the university had acted when incidents of racism were reported and earlier this year terminated the services of a lecturer who had sent a racist SMS.

“Transformation is a top priority for us.”

He said there were, however, some issues that had to be pointed out.

This included that some of the cases featured in the video related to the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute, which did not fall under the auspices of Stellenbosch University.

“There is a perception in the video and on social media that Stellenbosch University management refuses to listen. This is simply not true.”

He said Open Stellenbosch had refused to acknowledge legitimate university structures.

“It has ignored repeated invitations from management and myself to engage.”

He said the university had irrevocably moved from being a historically white, formerly Afrikaans institution to a multilingual non-racial national and international asset.

The institution is implementing a policy which would afford English and Afrikaans equal status.

It is also establishing a transformation office, which will guide and co-ordinate transformation processes on campuses.

De Villiers admitted that while the university was doing “a great deal” to promote integration and mutual understanding, “we need to open Stellenbosch University even more”.

“We are on a journey of transformation. It’s incomplete, it’s imperfect but we are steadfast and committed.”

Currently, 62.2 percent of the university’s student population is white, 17.8 percent coloured, 17. 4 percent black and 2.6 percent Indian. It is projected that by 2019, 56.2 percent will be white, 22 percent coloured, 19.5 percent black and 2.3 percent Indian.

In terms of academic staff, 73 percent are white, 17 percent black, coloured or Indian while 10 percent were classified as international.

“I’m fully aware that it is inadequate for us to have 17 percent of our staff as black, coloured and Indian.

“However, we share this issue with all the South African higher education institutions,” said De Villiers, adding that there were already a number of initiatives to try and address this issue.

Professor Nico Koopman, acting vice-rector: social impact, transformation and personnel, said the university had already started to make appointments for a fully staffed office for transformation.

“Their task is to co-ordinate transformation processes on campuses, to stimulate it, guide it, offer consultation and to monitor and assess it and propose intervention when required.”

De Villiers said there had been a decision by the council in late November last year to move to an equal footing for English and Afrikaans as languages of tuition and this policy was now being implemented.

“I’m not denying that there are problems with implementation and task teams are investigating this. There is an open|invitation to all to raise problems.”

Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande said he intended to convene a seminar on language in higher education before the end of the year.

“I want to factor it into the funding formula for universities that certain monies cannot be used for anything else other than to promote multilingualism and to implement the language policy.”

He said he had met with some of the former Afrikaans universities earlier this year.

“The reality is that we’ve been getting particular kinds of complaints from some of the former Afrikaans universities.”

This included issues of language and “the institutional culture that many black|students feel they can’t be a part of”.

He said part of the problem was that there were “very conservative interests around Stellenbosch University that are resisting transformation”.

“The journey of transformation needs to be radicalised. It cannot be that in South Africa today you still have a university with the majority (being) white students.”

Backyarders protest turns violent
IOL News 2 September 2015

Cape Town - A sleepless night on the floor in a two-bedroom house she shares with nine of her family members led Nontando Bambani to participate in a violent protest in Langa on Tuesday.

Bambani was one of 100 backyarders who vented their anger, demanding that they should be beneficiaries in a new housing project in Langa.

On Tuesday, the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, said they would not be “bullied by thugs” that have no regard for the best interests of the broader community of Langa.

She claimed the protesters were a group of youths. However, the Cape Times noticed that Tuesday’s protesters were mostly adult men and women.

People have been protesting since last Monday. Langa backyarders have burnt tyres and thrown rubbish in Bhunga Avenue, blocking several roads hoping that the City would include them on the list of beneficiaries for 463 houses being built in the area.

On Tuesday an office of the City’s disaster risk management was damaged by the protesters and three people were arrested for public violence.

Construction and allocation to beneficiaries was suspended due to the ongoing protest.

Bambani, 46, who lives with her two children and seven relatives, said she had hoped she would own one of the two-bedroom houses which also has a lounge, kitchen and bathroom.

She said her dreams were dashed when the City did not include backyarders on the beneficiary list.

She described her current living conditions as unbearable, tough and a humiliation.

“There is no privacy. Women and men have to undress in full view of each other, it’s pathetic.”

She said she has been on the housing database demand since 1999 and she has been bypassed in the last three housing developments in Langa.

“Patience has not taken me anywhere and this time I am not backing down until I am recognised as someone who deserves a house.”

Vusumzi Mandindi, spokesperson for Sivukile Sonele, the organisation representing the backyarders, said backyarders protested only after the City failed to honour a meeting on Monday afternoon, where it was expected that an amicable solution would be reached.

“People want answers when they would be allocated houses,” said Mandindi.

Van Minnen said the allocation of the houses had been done in accordance with the national subsidy criteria, adding the 463 units is the first phase of more than 1 300 units to be built in the next five years. Backyarders will be accommodated in the project’s second phase.

She said the protest would have continued irrespective of the City’s attendance at Monday’s meeting.

“The City received an invitation at short notice,” said Van Minnen, adding that the City had notified the national human settlement department that the City would not be able to attend.

“The City requested (the protesters’) concerns to be sent in writing. The City has engaged in an open, transparent and bona fide manner,” she said. Police spokesperson Noloyiso Qwexana confirmed the three arrests

‘Luister’ painful to watch - Maties rector
IOL News 1 September 2015

Cape Town - The path to a transformed Stellenbosch University was far from finished, nor was it without its fallibilities, rector and vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers told Parliament's portfolio committee on higher education and training on Tuesday.

“Our journey is imperfect, incomplete but we remain steadfast,” said De Villiers.

De Villiers, along with the rest of Stellenbosch University's management were called before the Portfolio Committee to respond to allegations of racism made in an online documentary called “Luister” recently.

The 35-minute video has been trending on social media since its release last month.

“I watched 'Luister' with my wife... it was uncomfortable and upsetting,” said De Villiers. “I do not enjoy knowing that students - my students - are suffering. It is painful.”

The student movement, Open Stellenbosch, was first to post the film online. It documented 34 students and a staff member's accounts of racism on campus. De Villiers said he would not “attempt to defend the indefensible”.

“It's wrong. Racism, discrimination, human rights violations, exclusion and marginalisation are wrong,” he said.

However, De Villiers pointed out certain “nuances” omitted from “Luister” and in the dialogue that followed thereafter. Among these, De Villiers said clarification on off-campus incidents had not been made and that Elsenburg, a campus mentioned in the documentary, was in fact not part of Stellenbosch University.

He added that Open Stellenbosch refused to engage with the university and its structures and processes. De Villiers said despite this, the university was committed to travelling the path set by late rector, Professor Russel Botman. Part of this was exceeding the Department of Higher Education's projected student enrollment for 2019.

The department projected that white students would make up 56.2 per cent whereas De Villiers said they were aiming for a majority black, coloured, and Indian student body come 2020. He added that transforming Stellenbosch University academic staff was their biggest challenge but that a “Strategic Personnel Fund” would help contribute to change.

De Villiers also stated the university was sorry for its contribution to apartheid but was now focussed on progressing the ideals of democracy. “We are not quite there but we have come a long way,” he said. “Change is always difficult and I am of the thinking that if change is not uncomfortable... well, then you aren't doing it right.”

Stefan Lang, the outgoing SRC chairman, having to rush through his address in order to provide committee members the chance to respond to the university’s presentation, said the SRC was focussed on celebrating diversity.

“Our vision is to create a welcoming ethos and anything that is against that must be removed,” he said.

He said that the university could not collectively be called racist.

“Stellenbosch is not racist but we do have racists,” Lang said.

Lang said that although racism was “unequivocally” present at the university, it was “hidden in the corners”.

He added that the university community needed to work together to tackle discrimination.

Incoming SRC chairman Axolile Qina echoed Lang’s final call to action, saying it would be the essence of the new SRC’s term.

He added that it was time the university celebrated its commonality, that was its humanity.

George taxi operators in hot water
IOL News 31 August 2015

Cape Town - The operating licences of 26 taxis aligned to Uncedo George Taxi Association face possible cancellation, the provincial transport department said.

The Western Cape Provincial Regulatory Entity will hold a second round of hearings to consider the possible cancellation, following violent protests in George, almost two weeks ago.

Roads were barricaded, buses set alight and nine suspects arrested, who will appear in court on Monday on charges of public violence and damage to property.

Following a postponement last week, the George municipality on Sunday added 35 minibuses to the Go George service.

Chantel Edwards-Klose, spokesperson for the George municipality, said this move meant the Go George operation would be able to provide a better service for up to 11 000 passengers for the area.

She said although bus services resumed without glitches or interruptions, two routes were not operating due to concerns about the safety of passengers and staff until it was clear that the situation had improved.

Edwards-Klose said the public had been invited to send photographs and videos taken during the recent protest action that might be useful in prosecuting the perpetrators.

The conflict arose after taxi operators claimed that the compensation given to them in 2013 for handing over their operating licences was too low.

The service was suspended for three days after four buses were set alight.

Byron la Hoe, spokesperson for the provincial department of Transport and Public Works, said various government agencies were engaged in investigations into the violence and traffic disruption, using CCTV footage and other evidence.

He confirmed that members of the public had been requested to submit videos and photographs of the protest to help identify suspects.

“Any form of violence is strongly condemned, and compliance with legal prescripts and operating-licence conditions is not negotiable,” said La Hoe.

“Operators who are found guilty of inciting violence or wilfully damaging property run the risk of having their operating licences cancelled.

“Registered operators who are not considered fit and proper to provide public-transport services run the risk of having their registration certificates cancelled,” he further said, adding that a hearing would be held soon to determine whether to revoke the licences or not.

George United Taxi Drivers spokesperson Cornelius Esau said the impounding and possible cancellation of the taxi licences would not stop the taxi industry from wanting the transport department to review negotiations about the implementation of the Go George bus service.

“They will not stop us. This is harassment. We are quite saddened by the transport department’s actions.

“There have been no meetings with us to find a solution on this matter.

“We have heard from media reports that a task team was formed, but how come they form a task team without us being represented?” said Esau.

“The implementation of Go George buses was not in the best interest of the taxi industry.

“When we disagree with them, they threaten us. We are in the process of getting the national Transport minister to intervene.”

Blame game after TUT violence
IOL News 28 August 2015

Pretoria - EFF students at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and their South African Student Congress (Sasco) counterparts have continued to blame each other for the violence that erupted on the campus on Wednesday.

The university, meanwhile, said it strongly condemned the violent clashes, which it said followed an unsanctioned visit to the campus by EFF leader Julius Malema.

The blame game and intense rivalry continued to simmer on Thursday while voting for the new student representative council (SRC) went ahead smoothly.

Seven political parties are contesting the elections, with the ANC and EFF being the main contenders.

Preliminary results are due this morning, after which parties with anything to contest had until the start of next week to lodge their protests. The final outcome will be made public by next Wednesday.

Leaders of the EFF and Sasco spoke about the events of Wednesday afternoon when a vicious fight broke out during a visit by Malema, leaving some students injured.

They blamed each other for having started the fight in which fists were flying, while stones, bricks and other missiles were hurled.

“We had to defend ourselves and fought as we retreated, or we would have been badly injured,” Sasco deputy chairman Monkie Maluleka said. He said Sasco members had been going around campus, lobbying and canvassing the student body to vote in the elections.

Malema was on campus on an unsanctioned visit to rally EFF members to come out in their numbers to vote in the election.

Chaos broke out when Sasco members approached the Fountains Area where the rally was held, disrupting Malema’s speech. Missiles were thrown, and in response Malema encouraged his members to retaliate.

And attack they did, driving Sasco members back and into the safety of their stronghold, Building 31.

“Our members felt intimidated when Sasco advanced into our space, and when they started attacking us we had to defend ourselves as we retreated,” said Thuto Nthulenyane, the EFF’s TUT secretary general.

He said they had been listening to their leader in the privacy of their chosen space at Fountains Area. “There was no reason for Sasco to be there. This is our area. We never go near Building 31 because that is where they are based.”

Nthulenyane admitted that the order to attack was not the best.

“But under those circumstances, there was no other course of action; we were under attack and had to protect ourselves or be killed.”

Both parties confidently spoke about winning the elections and grabbing most of the 12 available seats. “We will get no less than eight this year because students are confident in us and know we always deliver on all their needs,” said Maluleka.

Nthulenyane said students across all campuses of the university had expressed confidence in the party and what it had to offer.

“We are the new kid on the block and we have so much potential and that has appealed to students all over,” he said.

TUT spokeswoman Willa de Ruyter said: “We have a contingency plan in place to deal with any eventualities during the election period. The university strongly condemned the violent clashes,” she said.

Pretoria News

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