Thursday, January 27, 2022

WC Transport MEC asks Transport minister for an extension of all license grace period

The Western Cape’s Transport & Public Works MEC, Daylinn Mitchell, says he has written to Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, to request a further extension to the validity period of learners’ licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits.

In August 2021, Mbalula announced an extension of all licences that expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, to 31 March 2022,

‘’In order to give motorists a fair opportunity to renew their licences, while we are rolling out a number of measures to improve efficiencies and resolve challenges, we have decided to extend further the grace period for the renewal of licences,’’ Mbalula said at the time.

Mitchell said that he suggested to Mbalula that an extension should be applicable until at least 31 December 2022, citing the current backlog in the production of driving licence cards.

‘’I also asked Minister Mbalula to confirm the veracity of some media reports stating the said backlog to be in the region of 400 000 and the time needed to rectify the situation.’’

 ‘’I took cognisance of the letters issued by the Acting Head of the Driving Licence Card Account Entity, Mr Sandiso Thutshini, issued on 25 November 2021 and 09 December 2021 respectively. However, these letters did not provide any specific information around the backlog such as an age analysis and the extent of the backlog as the letters did not provide any definition plan of action to normalise the situation,’’ added Mitchell.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Wednesday that South Africa’s only driving licence card machine has been fixed and is now back in operation. The machine used in the production of the cards broke down in November 2021 and was sent abroad for repairs, leaving approximately half a million South African motorists stuck with expired driving licence cards.

‘’The news that the card machine has been repaired and is operating again is positive, but in order to enable my Department to communicate accurate information to its stakeholders, I asked Minister Mbalula to supply the missing information and all the details that will assist this cause as a matter of urgency,’’ said Mitchell.

 

PICTURED: MEC Mitchell at Bush Radio

Done By: Mitchum George

CoCT sees spike in electricity infrastructure in Paarden Eiland

The City of Cape Town says it has seen a spike in electricity infrastructure, specifically in the Paarden Eiland area, in recent months.

The municipality says this is impacting the reliability and security of the electricity supply to residents of the city.

‘’Criminals have unlawfully accessed multiple substations in the Paarden Eiland area in recent months, causing substantial infrastructure damage at a significant cost to the City. The City is spending millions of rands each year to repair and replace vital electricity infrastructure as a result of theft and vandalism,’’ said the City’s Mayco Member for Energy & Climate Change, Beverley van Reenen

Van Reenen condemned the incident and called on residents to report such incidents to SAPS

‘’We absolutely condemn these acts and are committed to improving the security at our infrastructure. Patrols to the area will be increased and additional fencing installed at the affected substations. The incidences of vandalism have increased dramatically since the national Covid-19 lockdown started. Vandalism has a direct impact on law-abiding customers who are suffering supply loss as a result. These illegal actions directly impact service delivery to residents, and help is needed from residents across Cape Town to stop the scourge.’’

‘’We appeal to residents to assist us by reporting any suspicious activities near electricity infrastructure to both the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the City so that we can bring an end to infrastructure theft and vandalism. The City does deploy security and monitor hotspot areas where possible but we rely on our communities to alert us and to help us protect community infrastructure,’’ added van Reenen.

Residents can give anonymous tip offs if they are aware of illegal activity, such as illegal connections or unlawful occupations, that are taking place; that has happened or is still to happen. Please call 112 from a cell phone (toll free) and 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 for emergencies. Alternatively, contact the South African Police Service (SAPS) hotline on 08600 10 111

 

PICTURE: City of Cape Town

Done By: Mitchum George

African Swine Fever detected in George

The Western Cape Agriculture Department confirmed that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in Thembalethu, George in the Southern Cape. ASF was also detected in KwaNonqaba outside Mossel Bay earlier in January.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products; furthermore, transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus.

The Western Cape’s State Veterinary Services has served a quarantine notice on pig farmers in the area.

The quarantine notice urges community members and pig farmers not to remove any pigs or pig products from the area to prevent further spreading of the disease.

Agricultural MEC, Dr. Ivan Meyer urged pig farmers to practise good biosecurity measures to ensure animal health and safety.

"Farmers must practise good hygiene management practices on their farms to minimise the risk of disease introduction or spread of the disease through good biosecurity measures."

Provincial Head of Veterinary Services, Dr. Gininda Msiza says the only avenue available to protect pigs is by establishing a set of measures to reduce the risk of further spreading the disease.

"Carcasses should be disposed of safely, pigs should be confined to prevent roaming and potentially the pick-up and spread of the disease. Hands, shoes, clothing, and equipment must be sanitised before and after contact with pigs, and meat products should be thoroughly cooked before being fed to pigs."

Meyer thanked those farmers who take the necessary precautions in mitigating the spread of ASF

"I want to thank those affected farmers for minimising the possible negative impact on trade within the region and sensitising pig farmers in other parts of the Southern Cape. This will help to limit the spread of disease."

"My department will continue to monitor the situation. In addition, our State Veterinary Services will provide the necessary advisory services to prevent the further spread of the disease," added Meyer.

PICTURE: The Pig Site


Done By: Mitchum George

DBE said they were lobbying for schools to return to full operation

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that they were lobbying for schools to return to full operation. She said the department has outlined ways in which the education sector will rebound after being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic for about two years. Motshekga said that the three-day national event brings together provincial education departments, teacher unions and school governing bodies.

Meanwhile protest action in the North West has resulted in about 5,000 pupils missing three days of class time in the Ledig area near Sun City. The provincial Education Department has issued a warning to both pupils and teachers to report back to school on Thursday.

A community shutdown and March impacted two secondary schools and five primary schools in the area. The department is accusing the residents of using children as human shields while venting their anger. Spokesperson Elias Malindi said that the department managed to secure an interdict to force the pupils back into the classroom.



by Everngelista Muza

Labels: , , ,

Treasury puts Final Stamp of Approval on 2021 Tax Acts

The South African National Treasury has officially approved the 2021 Tax Acts after a series of amendments were approved by the department. 

The 2021 Tax Acts is a series of legislative actions aimed at improving the treasuries collection of taxes and improving tax rates for the population. The string of acts includes the 2021 Rates Act, the Taxation Laws Amendment Act (TLAA) and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act.

The legislation also provides emergency authorities to the treasury to deal with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Changes brought by the Tax Acts include increases to the taxes on alcohol and tobacco, which the treasury said would help increase national tax revenues. 

The document was officially published Thursday 27 January following the final approval last week 10 January. 

For more information about the 2021 Tax Acts and its amendments visit treasury.co.za

By Ben Rappaport

      

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Skeleton of teenage male found in Bredasdorp

 Western Cape Police is seeking help from the public to try and identify a male skeleton aged between 16 and 18 years found near Otterbaai close to Waenhuiskrans.

Police Spokesperson, captain FC Van Wyk said that Bredasdorp police responded to a complaint on 30th December 2021 near Otterbaai. At the scene, police found what is believed to be human remains. Members of SAPS Forensic was called to inspect the situation an ultimately started leading the investigation.

Credit: Getty Images


“It was confirmed that the remains were in fact a human skeleton of a man estimated between the ages of 16 and 18 who was buried approximately one year ago,” Van Wyk said.

Police are urging anyone with information of any missing person who falls within this description to urgently contact the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Lionel October on 079 894 0033 or alternatively call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

By Danielle Mentoor

Labels: , ,

ANC Calls Out WCED Debbie Schafer for 'Undermining' Standing Committee on Education

Members of the ANC raised concerns about the start of the 2022 school year and called out Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer for her failure to address the unplaced learners problem.

Western Cape Member Executive Council Khalid Sayed released a statement on behalf of the African National Congress on Wednesday. He said the ANC believed Schafer was undermining the authority of the Standing Committee on Education by leaving early from meetings and issuing late apologies. 

"It is a cause for serious concern that MEC Debbie Schafer is continuing with her practice of undermining the committee meetings," Sayed's statement said.  "The ANC calls on the MEC to desist from this untoward conduct and respect the committee and its responsibilities." 

The ANC said Schafer left a meeting four hours early this week and they felt disrespected by the her behavior.

It has been a week since schools began in the Western Cape and 4,675 learners remain unplaced. 

Placement of these learners will become clearer following the release of the SNAP Survey results, which come after the 10th day of classes. The survey gives a complete count of learners and personnel and provides details about the equipment and resources of a given school.

The ANC said the unplaced learner issue must be urgently addressed. The party said it believes the situation is exacerbated by the Western Cape Education Department for not creating more mobile classrooms available.

There were 34 mobile classroom units completed as of January 17.

By Ben Rappaport

 

Labels: , , ,

Duo arrested for stolen copper cables in Paarl

Two men will appear in the Paarl Magistrates court soon, after police arrested them on Wednesday, for destroying the rail infrastructure.

The police’s FC Van Wyk said that members of the Flying Squad were part of an intelligence driven operation at around 05:00 when they spotted a white delivery vehicle in Groot Drakenstein, Paarl East.

PICTURE: SAPS


‘’A police chase ensued after which the vehicle was stopped next to the railway station in Brackenfell. Upon inspection members confiscated copper cables with an estimated street value of R36 000,’’ said van Wyk.

PICTURE: SAPS


The duo, aged, 25 and 26 were arrested and detained on a charge of possession of stolen property.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

34 Western Cape schools burgled, vandalised over festive period

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) said that 34 schools were burgled or vandalised over the December 2021/January 2022 school holidays.

Education MEC, Debbie Schäfer says 41 incidents of burglary and vandalism were reported over the festive period. The majority of the incidents were minor in nature, with just two major incidents being reported. 38 minor incidents were reported, as well as one with negligible damage.

‘’This is a significant decrease in comparison to the 59 incidents reported during the December 2020/January 2021 holidays (bearing in mind that the 2020/21 holiday was much longer), but nonetheless remains a serious concern,’’ said Schäfer

Items stolen included IT and audio-visual equipment, electrical cables and fixtures, fencing, water pipes and ablution fixtures, air-conditioning units, gas tanks, stationery, kitchen equipment, Covid-19 safety supplies, bicycles, and workshop tools.

Schäfer says there were also incidents of vandalism, particularly the smashing of windows, as well as damage to school buildings during burglaries.

The MEC added that the total cost of repairs and replacing stolen property is still being calculated.

‘’The WCED provided holiday security to 477 schools over the December/January holiday, but in some instances, even security guards and cameras did not thwart determined criminals.’’

Schäfer urged the public to report any suspicious activity in the vicinity of schools to SAPS on 08600 10 111or the Safe Schools hotline on 0800 45 46 47

‘’I immediately. Please do not underestimate your ability to assist the police to interrupt, investigate and apprehend the perpetrators of these criminal actions by being the eyes and ears on the ground. Even the smallest piece of information can be key.’’

‘’Someone, somewhere knows the perpetrators, and we urge them to do the right thing and report any information that could assist in these criminals being caught and punished,’’ added Schäfer

 


PICTURE: iStock

Done By: Mitchum George

Labels: ,

CoCT spent R42 million irregularly at its controversial Strandfontein camp for homeless people

The City of Cape Town has spent R42 million irregularly at its controversial Strandfontein camp for homeless people

This was revealed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report on Tuesday, after President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds across all spheres of government.

The President gave the commitment that if the SIU found evidence that a criminal offence had been committed, it was obliged to refer such evidence to the National Prosecuting Authority.

This report says the city of Cape Town failed to follow a proper procurement process

‘’The investigation in respect of the procurement process followed by the CoCT in respect of the award of the contract to Downings in relation to the supply of tents, toilets etc. and the conduct of officials concerned has been finalised. The investigation into this aspect determined that the procurement process followed by the CoCT in sourcing the various items and services required from Downings was irregular and as such falls to be set aside,’’ said the report.

‘’The CoCT failed to test the market in circumstances where it was obliged to do so, but merely accepted the quotation submitted by the service provider concerned. As such, the procurement process was not fair, transparent, equitable or cost-effective. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that the failure by the CoCT to follow a proper procurement process resulted in the incurrence of irregular expenditure in the amount of R42 293 285. Moreover, the service provider profited excessively to the detriment of the CoCT,’’ the report revealed.

The Good Party’s Brett Herron says the camp was condemned unsuitable for human habitation in July 2020 That was just 6 weeks after it was established to house people during the hard lockdown

He says the city spent R53 million on the camp, meaning that 80% was irregular expenditure

Herron has called for an investigation when Local Government, Environmental & Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, who admitted that there was no tender process for the cost incurred

Herron wants consequences taken for all those involved

‘’Now there should be consequences. The DA must demonstrate the accountability and good governance it claims. Heads should roll. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis needs to fire the Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, who set up the camp using his Disaster Risk Management department and who championed the camp as the solution for homeless people.

‘’The City Manager and Chief Financial Officer need to be reported to Council and they need to be investigated for their role in approving an obviously excessive amount for tent hire and failing to use a tender process,’’ added Herron.

Herron wants further investigation to be taken in this matter

‘’The fact that the City proceeded with the hire is suspicious and requires further investigation – in particular whether the DA or any person received any benefit from the “excessive” profits. Quite obviously R53 million could have provided permanent facilities to assist homeless people with a pathway away from living on the streets.’’

The SIU has investigated 5,467 contracts awarded to 3,066 service providers with a total value of R14.3 billion. Investigations have been finalised with respect to 4,549 contracts, of which 2,803 contracts were found to be irregular. This amounts to 62% of the finalised investigations.

 

SCREENSHOT: SIU Report

Done By: Mitchum George

Police probe into mother of one shot "execution style" in Langa

A 37-year-old Langa woman was gunned down execution-style by two suspects on Sunday afternoon.

Abongile Mabusela, a mother of two, allegedly sustained two gunshot wounds to the head. According to police she was shot in her flat while her one-year-old child played only meters away.

According to witnesses, the woman had been getting continuous calls from the suspect(s) while attending church, leading her to leave the service early.

Neighbours claimed they heard the gunshot going off the first time and assumed an electricity box had exploded. They rushed to the scene when the second shot went off and found Mabusela in a pool of blood on the couch, still alive.

Unfortunately she was declared dead on scene by medical personnel. The suspect/s fled the scene and are yet to be arrested.



image: Facebook: keeptheenergy


by Everngelista Muza

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

15 year old boy stabs friends mother to death

A 34-year-old woman was allegedly stabbed to death by a 15 year old suspect Tshakhuma Diambele village in Limpopo. SAPS provincial spokesperson in Limpopo, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the woman was killed on Monday afternoon.

 The deceased, identified as Phathutshedzo Nemalumani, was found lying in a pool of blood in the house by her son, also aged 15, who was from school. The suspect, who was also present in the house, allegedly started chasing the deceased’s son out of the premises,” Mojapelo said.

Police said the neighbors heard the frantic screams by Nemulumani’s son, who was being pursued by the 15-year-old attacker, alerted neighbors who came to his rescue. According to police after reprimanding the suspect it not yet clear how the suspect gained entry to the house or what the motive is.

Last week, 18 year old Khodani Takalani, was arrested for the murder of his teenage girlfriend before he was granted bail of R3 000 by the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court.




by Everngelista Muza

 

Labels: , , , , ,

Six People Dead Following Stampede at Africa Cup of Nations

Photo via Agence France-Presse

At least six people are reported dead following a stampede after a football game in Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations. 

People were attempting to watch Cameroon host Comoros in the continental tournament at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde. 

Regional governor, Naseri Paul Biya, said there could be more casualties in the coming days. There are currently 40 injured from the stampede with several in critical condition. 

Officials said the nearby hospital will not be capable of treating all injured persons. They said those who cannot be treated in Yaounde will be transported to a specialized hospital.  

Officials said about 50,000 people had tried to attend the match.

The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 but it was not meant to be more than 80% full due to COVID restrictions.

Witnesses to the event said the stampede occurred when stadium staff closed the gates of the venue and stopped allowing people inside. 

Cameroon was supposed to host the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, but it was awarded to Egypt after concerns about safety and preparedness. Olembe Stadium was one of the venues under scrutiny at that time. 

By Ben Rappaport 

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 24, 2022

WC Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC, Anroux Marais, as acting Community Safety MEC, following Fritz' suspension

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde has appointed Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC, Anroux Marais, as the acting MEC of Community Safety.

In a statement, Winde said that Marais will ensure that the Department of Community Safety continues to ‘’respond to communities’ safety needs and to drive our important safety priorities.’’

The decision comes after Fritz was suspended following serious allegations made against him.

‘’I know there have been many questions raised around the nature of the allegations which resulted in the suspension of Minister Fritz. It is always my preference to be open and transparent with residents of the province and the media. In this case, however, noting specific requests by the complainants for confidentiality, the seriousness of the allegations made and the rights of all parties to a fair and unprejudiced investigation into the veracity of the claims made, I may not do so at this stage,’’ said Winde.

Premier Winde assured citizens that he is treating this matter in a serious manner.

 ‘’Finally, I have noted many rumours and reports by individuals who wish to politicise this matter. I will not play politics with the wellbeing of people and would like to urge anyone who views this matter as a political football to show restraint, especially in consideration of the requests made by the complainants and the rights of all to a fair process.,’’ added winde.

Furthermore, Fritz stepped down as Western Cape Provincial Leader, until the completion of the investigation into allegations levelled against him.

‘’Mr Fritz will provide his full cooperation and has stepped down to allow the investigation to proceed unhindered,’’ said Jaco Londt, DA Western Cape Provincial Chairperson.

Deputy Leader, Tertuis Simmers, will be Acting Leader for the time being.

 


Done By: Mitchum George

Hundreds of successful rescue operations at beaches over the past weekend following blazing heat

Over the weekend temperatures soared, with Cape Town residents flocking to the beaches and swimming pools to cool off.  Rescue services found themselves busy a man was reported to be missing near a beach in False Bay, while a teenager had to be resuscitated at a beach in Melkbosstrand.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Craig Lambinon said the organisation reported a drowning at Strand Beach.

One man was recovered from the water lifeless, GB Med ambulance services assisted lifeguards at the scene but sadly after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted he was declared deceased.

Meanwhile a 16 year old teenager was resuscitated before being transported to hospital in a critical condition. A further nine non-fatal drowning accidents and hundreds of successful rescues were carried out by lifeguards at beaches around the coast over the past weekend.

As the South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecasts further warm weather to persist around parts of the country, the NSRI continues to appeal to the public to be safe in and around water.


By Evergelista Muza

Jacqueline Mpontsana alleged murderer arrested

Western Cape police arrested the man who allegedly murdered Jacqueline Mpontsana by setting her alight during a domestic dispute in September 2021.

Lwazi Sibindana, was arrested in Khayelitsha last week.

Mpontsana worked for the Western Cape’s Community Safety in the Directorate: Monitoring & Evaluation. Part of her responsibilities was to assess police stations for compliance in terms of the Domestic Violence Act.

Before his suspension Fritz released a statement saying, “we have been robbed of a mother, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend and a colleague in the most cruel fashion. Nothing can be done to bring Jacque back. But we are grateful for this breakthrough: that progress has been made and that a suspect has been arrested. At one level, justice does offer some consolation.”

“I am advised by my HOD, Adv. Yashina Pillay, that the suspect has been arrested in Khayelitsha and will be processed accordingly. Adv. Pillay has instructed our Court Watching Brief to obtain further information and to monitor the case going forward,” added Fritz.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Labels: ,

Mitchell's Plain SAPS officer receiving medical attention, after ''out of character'' peformance

Western Cape police says professionals from the SAPS Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) unit are working with medical practitioners from a local medical facility where a Mitchell’s Plain SAPS employee was admitted on Thursday.

In a video that’s gone viral on social media, the police official can been seen attacking his colleagues as they tried to apprehend him on at the Town Centre bus terminus on Thursday.

Officers, who in the video are seen getting hurt by the man, had to resort to using pepper spray on him then he fell to the ground.

‘’He is currently undergoing observation at a local facility with the necessary support availed to him and his family,’’ said Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

Potelwa urged those who has the video to not distribute it, and not to make speculate the cause of the man’s behaviour.

‘’A plea is hereby made to social media users to refrain from speculating on the underlying causes of the incident that manifested in scenes that were captured in several videos currently in circulation. While the incident played out in a public space, the circulation of video footage captured on the scene is considered inappropriate. We urge those in possession of the videos to refrain from disseminating the material.’’

‘’Details and the nature of the SAPS employee’s condition cannot be divulged out of respect for his dignity.’’ Potelwa added.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Winde Suspends Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz; Reasons Remain Unclear

Photo via Mossel Bay Advertiser 

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde suspended his Community Safety Member of the Executive Council (MEC) Albert Fritz on Sunday for "serious allegations."

Winde said he received conduct allegations against Fritz this week, causing him to take action against the MEC. 

It remains unclear what those allegations were. 

"I have summoned the MEC and informed him of these allegations, as well as my decision to suspend him with immediate effect, which he has accepted," Winde said in a statement Sunday. "I have initiated a full investigation, which must proceed on an unhindered basis. Minister Fritz has offered his full cooperation in this investigation."

Member of the GOOD Party, Brett Herron said the public deserved to know further reasoning behind the suspension.

Winde said he would provide updates in a timely fashion.

Monday morning, the African National Congress (ANC) released a statement demanding further explanation for Frtiz's suspension. 

“We demand a full an immediate explanation of the allegations against MEC Fritz," said the Leader of the Opposition, Cameron Dugmore, in a statement. "In the interest of transparency, open governance, and his responsibility to the people of the province, we demand the Premier comes clean and plays open cards with us.  We don’t want to speculate on the reasons, we want the truth, and we want it now.”

The ANC said they believed the failure to provide reasoning for the suspension was an indication something was "seriously wrong." 

By Ben Rappaport 

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 21, 2022

Two Elsies river police help deliver baby

Two police officers attached to the Elsies River police station helped bring news life into this world, after responding to a call about a woman in labour on Thursday.

According to provincial police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, Constable Lucinda Raffie and her partner, Sergeant Gert Swart, attended to the complaint in Tiara Way in Leonsdale.

On arrival they saw a man and woman outside on lookout for the ambulance. The police members advised the woman to go inside and make herself comfortable

Not long after when the woman indicated she was about to give birth and officers Raffie and Swart immediately reached for their gloves.

Within a split second, the baby was delivered and landed in the capable hands of Constable Raffie.

“Guided by advice from the medical personnel via cellular telephone, she managed to hand over a healthy baby boy to the medical personnel upon their arrival,” Swartbooi said.


PICTURE: SAPS




by Everngelista Muza

Labels: , , , ,

MyCiti bus N2 express to start operating again next month

 The MyCiTi N2 express service will be returning next month, this comes after the city signed a new operating contract with the N2 company. The more than 6 000 commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha will soon start benefitting from the service once the buses are back on the road.

In a statement on Thursday, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis described the signing of the contract as a critical milestone and the impact cannot be overstated.

"The Urban Mobility directorate is also assessing all the bus shelters along the four routes in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha for urgent maintenance and repairs to make sure they're in order working order," Quintas said.

The operating service halted in 2019 after the previous contract lapsed and Dan Plato administration failed to negotiate a new deal.

Although earlier in January the city’s efforts to restart the express bus route was shaken after one of the taxi bosses who was a signatory to the agreement was shot dead. 

On Tuesday, the City, along with taxi bosses, were scheduled to sign an agreement that would enable the MyCiTi N2 Express buses to operate on the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain routes.

The process allowed the City to enter into a contract with the N2 Express Joint Venture (JV) Vehicle Operating Company which operated the MyCiTi N2 Express since its inception in July 2014.

 


by Everngelista Muza

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Western Cape Highest Bachelor Pass Rate, Matric Results Show

 

Photo via Western Cape Department of Education

The minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, announced the 2021 Matric results yesterday. The country received a national pass rate of 76.4 percent, which is 0.2 percent higher than in 2020.

Students throughout the country headed back to the classroom this week to return to their studies following festive season break, after last night, they now know what they will be aspiring toward.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga announced an improved pass rate from the previous year. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, students around the country showed steadfast dedication to their studies.

The results show more than 256,000 students received a bachelor’s pass meaning they will be able to enter one of the country’s universities. Motshekga said the accomplishments of this year’s class were inspiring because of the changes they had to endure.

Students improved in all categories this year with improvements in the bachelor’s passes, diploma passes and high certificate passes. The country also saw a major increase in the number of students who took their exams. That number increased by 23.6 percent from the previous year.

Motshekga also called out the commitment of the basic education department to providing inclusive curriculum for special education learners. This year saw more than 80 percent of those students pass.

More than 800 special needs students received bachelor’s passes for this term.

While student success nationally was encouraging, even more impressive were the statistics for learners here in the Western Cape.

The Western Cape saw 81.2 percent of its learners pass, which was 5 points higher than the national average. Brent Walters is the western cape head of education. He said the class of 2021 exceeded his expectations.

The pass rate from the class of 2021 was a 1.3 percent improvement from the previous year. The Western Cape also had the highest bachelor pass rate in the country at 45.3 percent. Western Cape minister of education Debbie Schafer said these learners deserve to be celebrated.

Schafer said this class has paved the way for future successes and created big shoes to fill for the class of 2022.

In her announcement last night, Motshekga also recognized no fee schools for their stellar achievements. In 2005, just 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees came from no fee schools. This year, more than 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees were from no fee schools.

While figures about special needs education and no fee school results show progress when it comes to equity, Motshekga said the country still has a long way to go. She said the country needs to make a further effort to improve female participation in education, access to schools and lifting up struggling learners.

The minister said those challenges will be a main focus of next year’s class, but for now there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future.

By Ben Rappaport 


Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, January 20, 2022

New COVID-19 Vaccine Facility in Cape Town Pledges One Billion Vaccines for Africa

Phot via Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town will soon be home to a mass vaccination site for COVID-19 thanks to the donations of biotech billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong. The NantSA founder pledged to produce one billion vaccines for the African continent by 2025. 

The first round of vaccines from the new Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The center will officially open later this year as the largest genomics facility on the continent.  

The new facility is expected to cost around R3 billion.

Soon-Shiong along with President Cyril Ramaphosa, launched the Coalition to Accelerate Africa's Access to Advanced Healthcare (AAH) on Wednesday. The coalition and NantSA aims to improve domestic production of a variety of vaccines including tuberculosis, HIV, cancer and COVID-19. 

At the ceremonial opening of the clinic, Ramaphosa said he hopes the facility will help propel the Western Cape and all of South Africa into a new era of biotech advancements and innovations. 

The launch of the center comes after it was announced in September that NantSA signed a collaboration agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to improve COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the region. 

Soon-Shiong has donated money to biotech development centers in the past including the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation. The billionaire's support also supported institutes for infectious disease research at University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University.  

Ramaphosa said the new facility is exciting because it will allow Africa to no longer rely on western nations for vaccines or scientific knowledge.  

By Ben Rappaport

Labels: , , , ,

Five bodies discovered at the Eldorado Park believed to be cable thieves

 The Eldorado Park area remains tense after the discovery of five bodies on Wednesday along the Golden Highway. The bodies were discovered with gunshot wounds beside the Golden Highway on Wednesday near an informal settlement called Lapland.

 This incident follows an attack at the Pikitup dumping site nearby that left five security guards dead and two others injured.

Residents believe that the killing were linked to copper cable theft as one of the accused was found with a shovel. Gauteng Commissioner Elias Mawela said that he had received intelligence that the criminals behind the murder of the five people discovered in Lapland may be living in this informal settlement. He said that the murders seemed to have been committed as part of some kind of a turf war between gangs that steal copper cables and sell them.

A firearm was found on Thursday near the location where the bodies were discovered. No arrests have yet to be made.



by Everngelista Muza


Labels: , , , , ,

There's concerns over the low number of people arrested for taxi violence cases, including extortion and intimidation

DA in the Western Cape are wondering why there is low conviction rates in taxi violence-related cases and is calling on the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority to brief the standing committee on the issue.

According Transport and Public Works, Ricardo Mackenzie, out of the 651 reported taxi-related crimes between January 1, 2018 and July 27, 2021, only 168 had resulted in arrests, of which half had made it to the court roll.

Mackenzie further noted that only nine cases resulted in convictions, resulting in a conviction rate of 5.3%. In the July unrest last year 86 people were killed in the taxi-related violence, with 66 attempted murders cases and 63 taxi-related crimes, including intimidation, extortion, conspiracy to commit murder and the possession of firearms, had been reported.

Meanwhile taxi boss, Mzoxolo Dibela, one of the leaders of the Codeta taxi association and Santaco council in the Western Cape was found on shot dead at the Monwabisi Beach near Khayelitsha on Monday.


image: voice of the cape

by Everngelista Muza

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Department of Human Settlements Visit Several Housing Projects Throughout Western Cape, Plan for Further Community Engagement

 

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers and Neville Chainee meet in Langa to discuss the status of current housing projects.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, several members from the local and national departments of human settlements visited sites throughout the Western Cape to inspect the progress made on various housing projects.

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers, hosted the National Minister and Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi and Pamela Tshwete. They visited several sites of housing projects including Boys Town and Joe Slovo, which are both part of the N2 Gateway Project.  

The N2 Gateway Project has been ongoing since 2005, its ultimate aim is to build 25,000 homes in townships throughout the Western Cape. However, it has faced opposition from many shack dwellers who say the government homes will displace them.

On Wednesday, the South African Deputy Directors General of Human Settlements Planning and Strategy, Neville Chainee, said while the government has made progress in building houses, those homes have not been upkept.

“There’s a lot of sewage problems and electricity issues,” Chainee said. “It’s not being maintained at the rate it should be.”



To qualify for the homes built in these projects, tenants must earn at least R3,500 per year. Chainee said most of the people living in these homes earn more than that.

“The people here wanted these units to be made available for title deeds and they believe they should earn title deeds to them,” Chainee said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues that still haven’t been addressed with these units.”

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers, said the purpose of their visits to the housing projects was to see first-hand what those issues are and attempt to work toward innovative solutions.

“We showed the good and the not so good of human settlements with these visits,” Simmers said.

Simmers said they witnessed the harms of environmental harms like land slipping in Mossel Bay and also gave title deeds to mostly elderly people during these visits. He said he believed the visits engaged in difficult conversations.

The Department of Human Settlements has had several challenges from community members who argue they are being displaced. Simmers said these dissidents were harming their communities because they are preventing the government from helping them.

Simmers said the department is going to appoint an independent facilitator to quell the civil unrest and move forwards with the government’s solution of building housing.

“We can’t let the community dynamics be a hindrance for us moving forward,” Simmers said.

One of the main challenges from the community has been from the youth demanding housing from the government. In October, several youth activists protested outside the provincial Democratic Alliance Offices demanding proper services from their government.

Earlier this week, the national housing minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, said young adults need to wait their turn in line and keep their energy on school.

Simmers said the department remains committed to community engagement. In the Western Cape, Simmers said his top priorities are creating affordable housing and engaging the private sector to build more homes.  


By Ben Rappaport and Danielle Mentoor

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer visits Perivale primary school

Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer visited Perivale primary school on Wednesday to welcome students back to the classroom.

After more than a year of no school due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.1 million students across the Western Cape headed back to the classroom on Wednesday. At Perivale, they were greeted by their principal, teachers, friends and the provincial minister of education Debbie Schafer.

In her greeting to students she stressed the importance of reading as an academic focus for this year and encouraged students to read twenty minutes per day.

Schafer said the department of education has worked tirelessly to ensure they were ready for the proper return to the classroom.

According to WCED, there are still more than 400 unplaced students in Grade 1 and more than 2400 in Grade 8. The department said it working hard to ensure placement comes as soon as possible.

Schafer urged parents of unplaced learners to keep their phones handy so as not to miss calls from school officials.

Despite the high number of unplaced learners, Schafer said she believed the number was an improvement given the more than 32,000 late applications.

For parents who have not yet applied for their children to be placed in school, they can contact the Western Cape Education department district offices so they can be added to the placement list. 

Schafer said the issue of unplaced students is a persistent problem across the country. She said it is difficult to navigate the intersections of education and policy because it often involves bureaucracy and constantly changing plans.

The Western Cape does have a 10-year plan in place to build more schools based on identified growth areas, but Schafer said even that is not set in stone because it does not account for change over time or unpredictable events, like a pandemic.

The pandemic forced the Western Cape to divert nearly 450 million rand to fill pandemic needs. That’s money that could’ve been going to classrooms or new school construction.

Schafer said she intends to lobby the national government for more funding. She said another effort to help mend the unplaced student issue, the provincial education department is trying to make the registration process easier and more accessible by reaching out to families and moving the process online.

The effort to make space for unplaced learners, however, also creates another issue: overcrowding. Shafer said solving that mostly comes down to funding.

Schafer said she will continue to push for more students to get back in the classrooms on a non-rotational basis despite the pandemic because she said she believes the effects of not having students in the classroom was creating lasting harmful effects.








Pictures: MEC Schafer at Perivale Primary

By Ben Rappaport and Danielle Mentoor

Labels: , ,


Ilmainen www-laskuri