Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Toxic Waste Dumped Off St. Helena Coast, Activists Express Frustration

 


Environmental activists are upset after more than 1,500 tons of toxic chemicals were dumped near St. Helena Bay.

The chemical dump came from the NS Qingdao carrier, a South Korean bulk ship on its way to the Marshall Islands. The ship was anchored in St. Helena Bay after the cargo on the ship released toxic fumes.

The cargo on the ship contained steel coils and fertilizers.

Activists from several environmental groups such as the Extinction Rebellion and The Green’s Connection said they were upset to learn the toxic waste dump was permitted by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

Following its anchoring in St. Helena Bay, the ship was issued an emergency dumping permit from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

SAMSA said the waste will end up in the bottom of the sea. The organization said they have been “working tirelessly around the clock to safely manage the unstable chemical cargo since the encounter with its bearer vessel, the NS Qingdao, in Durban last October.”

 “The vessel has no obvious structural damage, and she will return to the closest port after the dumping operation is complete and her cargo is stabilized,” SAMSA said. “An investigation will also be conducted to determine the reason for the cargo reaction.”

The dumping operation is expected to conclude by mid-March 2022.   

 

By Ben Rappaport

Labels: , , ,

Department of Basic education now impelled to publish matric results

 The High Court in Pretoria has granted AfriForum and others an urgent interdict forcing the Department of Basic Education to release the 2021 matric results on media platforms.

The application followed a decision of the department to depart from the norm by only issuing the results to pupils at schools where they wrote their matric exams.

Meanwhile more than 1.1 million learners will return to schools in the Western Cape on Wednesday. The Western Cape education department says despite over 32 000 late applications, the latest figures show that 451 Grade 1 and 2 450 Grade 8 learners are still unplaced.

Schafer appealed to parents to be patient as they process to put learners in schools.




by Everngelista Muza

CODETA leader found dead at Monwabisi beach

Harare police are probing a murder case after the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA) leader, Mzoxolo Dibela’s, body was found at the sand dunes at Monwabisi beach in Khayelitsha on Monday afternoon. He had sustained gunshot wounds to his head.

‘’Harare police attended a crime scene at Monwabisi beach yesterday, Monday (2022-01-17) at about 15:00. Upon arrival, they found the body of an unknown man next to the road who sustained gunshot wounds to his head. The victim were declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel. The motive for the attack is taxi related,’’ said Warrant Officer, Joseph Swartbooi.

‘’The unknown suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested. Harare police is investigating a murder. Anyone with information are urged to call Crime stop on 08600 10111,’’ added Swartbooi.

Dibela was also the Deputy Chairperson of SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) in the Western Cape.

The City of Cape Town’s mayco member for transport, Rob Quintas, condemned the killing.

‘’I also want to condemn this brutality in the strongest possible terms as this alleged hit may lead to renewed conflict between the minibus-taxi associations that operate across Cape Town. We are extremely concerned about the danger and disruption this may pose to commuters, operators, and all of those involved in the industry.’’

‘’I am pleading with all parties to remain calm, and to work together for the benefit of our commuters and those employed by the industry. I will be calling for a meeting between Codeta, the Mayor and the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works to see how we can assist,’’ added Quintas.

Quintas said that Dibela’s demise halts progress in signing a contract of the MyCiTi N2 Express service between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and the Cape Town CBD

‘’The operating contract with the N2 Company was to be signed this week. Due to this tragic event, we are now faced with huge uncertainty about the signing of this operating contract and the future of the N2 Express service.’’

Western Cape’s Transport and Public Works MEC, Daylinn Mitchell, described Dibela as a ’’firm leader who showed dedication to change the image of the minibus taxi industry.’’

Mitchell called on police and enforcement authorities to leave no stones unturned in finding the perpetrators

‘’I call on the SAPS and enforcement authorities to work around the clock to find Mr Dibela’s killers and bring them to book as soon as possible along with the perpetrators of other taxi related crimes.’’

‘’I extend my sincere condolences to Mr Dibela’s family, to the members of CODETA and to the colleagues in the broader taxi industry. May his soul Rest in Peace,’’ added Mitchell.

 

PICTURED: Mzoxolo Dibela (George Herald)


Done By: Mitchum George

 

Labels:

Suspected Parliament fire arsonist, Zandile Mafe, to appear in court

Suspected Parliament fire arsonist, Zandile Mafe, is challenging a court ruling on Tuesday that ordered him to go for mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for 30 days.

Currently, Mafe is facing a total of five charges, these include arson, terrorism and house breaking with the intent to steal in relation to the incident.

His defence team appeared before the Western Cape High Court on Saturday, where it was decided that their judicial review of his referral for mental observation would be heard this week.

Since his arrest on the day that the fire broke out at Parliament, Mafe has appeared before the Cape Town Magistrates Court a total of 2 times.




Mafe was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by District surgeon, Dr. Zelda van Tonder, and referred to Valkenber Psychiatric Hospital.

This weekend Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, explained why they’re challenging this decision.

Pending the outcome of Tuesday’s judicial review, Mafe’s bail application has been scheduled for Saturday.

By Danielle Mentoor

Labels: , ,

Vandalism and Theft Threaten Western Cape Railway Improvement Efforts

Photo via Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Twitter

During his visit to the Western Cape on Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula discussed the ways crime and vandalism are halting progress of Western Cape Metrorail projects.


Mbalula and the Department of Transport had several efforts in the works to improve railways systems. On Monday, however, the Transport Minister said rampant vandalism, like that on the northern line, threaten to halt critical infrastructure progress.


Mbalula said theft and vandalism of important operational infrastructure had forced the stoppage of the northern line.


Despite concerns about vandalism, Mbalula also expressed optimism about the progress of the ongoing goal to reopen the central line in Cape Town. He said he believes the line will be fully operational by July this year.


The central line has not been operational since October 2019.   


The purpose of Mbalula visit was to inspect the progress made by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) of an upgrade project to the northern line. PRASA has aimed to improve several railway stations throughout the Western Cape in anticipation of resuming service.


The upgrades were made possible by National Station Improvement Project (NSIP), which prioritizes minor station upgrades at small and medium-sized stations. Mbalula said PRASA committed to completing 39 station upgrades by the end of the fiscal year.


Upgrades include improvements to security, ticketing offices and overall passenger comfort in the station.


By Ben Rappaport

 

 


Labels: , , , , ,

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment to visit Kleinmond, following devastating fire

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Barbara Creecy will visit the Kleinmond area on Tuesday, following the fire which destroyed more than 5 000 hectares of vegetation and left one structure burnt. 

Last week, Creecy announced that in the interest of public accountability, the Director-General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has asked the Acting CEO of SANParks to undertake an assessment of the fire.

''The visit will give Minister Creecy a glimpse of the extent of the damages caused by the fire, while she awaits the report whose assessment, once processed, will be made public,'' it said in a statement.

The Department’s Working on Fire last week deployed ground and aerial resources to assist with suppression efforts of the fire in the area.  Working on Fire had deployed 196 firefighters and management and 18 vehicles, 9 aircrafts to help to assist fire authorities in the Overberg (Kleinmond) with fire suppression. A total of 134 additional fire fighters and management from local municipalities and agencies (Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature) were also deployed to supress the flames.

Creecy will meet the firefighters to personally thank them for their efforts. 

 

PICTURE: GovZA

Done By: Mitchum George

Monday, January 17, 2022

Nehawu workers wants safety guaranteed before returning to work

The Parliament fire has turned into a labour issue as National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members started protesting because of safety concerns when returning back to work.

The employees gathered on Monday outside of Parliament to voice their concerns. The union members are requesting written agreements guaranteeing their safety when they return back to work.





Parliament’s management has told members of parliament that it had implemented and signed off on governance documents and is currently working on an action plan to ensure the precinct adheres to safety protocols.

Parliament’s Nehawu branch secretary Temba Gubula has reiterated that members would not be reporting for duty if they have not received written safety guarantee.

Parliament said that health and safety awareness training for staff members have been conducted and that the development of safe work procedures were ongoing.

They have also confirmed that the fire drill was done with the NCOP before the COVID-19 outbreak.

By Danielle Mentoor

Labels: ,

Western Cape dam levels at 78.1%

The latest average dam levels in the Western Cape stands at 78.1%. Last week dam levels in the province was 79.7%.

According to the latest data as supplied by the Department of Water and Sanitation, this is significantly better than the same time last year, when the average provincial dam level stood at 67.7%. Dams supplying the City of Cape Town decreased by 1.6% from last week’s 92.3%. The metro’s dams were 87% full at the same time last year.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, says dam levels still look good for this time of year in the Western Cape’s hot summer season.

“The good rainfall received during the winter months are still evident in our dams throughout the Province. We are now heading into the second half of summer, and this is the time of the year when we start asking if our reserves will last until the next rain season in the coming winter. At this stage there is no reason for concern, but at the same time we cannot get complacent, and I urge you to continue using water as a scarce and precious resource.”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

More than 6 000 arrested in Cape Town over festive period

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement agencies arrested more than 6 000 suspects over the festive period.

Of these, 1 203 were arrested on a range of charges including drunk driving, possession of drugs, firearms and ammunition, dangerous weapons, contact and property crimes, among others; 229 drivers who were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

The City’s Traffic Service also took 4 997 motorists into custody for outstanding warrants.

In the first two weeks of January 2022, the Law Enforcement Department has made a further 224 arrests, and issued 10 190 fines. During this period, officers confiscated at least seven firearms.

‘’’These statistics tell only one side of the story. Apart from the enforcement actions that result in arrests or confiscations, our staff also engage in public education and awareness, and are deployed specifically to save residents from harm. Our Disaster Management Department also worked tirelessly on the beaches and other public spaces to promote safety, ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocols and recently they also resumed their Firewise campaign,’’ said the City’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

‘’It really is a mammoth undertaking, and I applaud each and every service member for their contribution, but also our external partners like the CIDs, the SAPS, the Neighbourhood Watches and the Department of Community Safety,’’ added  Smith.

Between the Law Enforcement and Metro Police Departments, they confiscated at least 22 firearms, 147 rounds of ammunition and 21 imitation firearms.

The City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre fielded 49 735 calls in December 2021. Of these, 8 143 were calls for medical assistance, and 1 479 were trauma-related calls.

 

PICTURE: CoCT

Done By: Mitchum George

Arson accused Suspect tests positive for Covid 19

The alleged Parliament arsonist has tested positive for COVID-19.

 Zandile Mafe is curently at Valkenberg Hospital for 30 days of psychiatric evalution.

 His lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, maintains that the application came as a surprise.

He also questioned the fairness of the medical certificate finding signs of paranoid schizophrenia.

 Godla will represent Mafe tomorrow to argue that the move to put him under psychiatric evaluation was unlawful.

If successful, Mafe will be moved from Valkenberg Hospital to Pollsmoor Prison ahead of a postponed bail application over the weekend. 

Done by Lizeka Tsotetsi

Education official express concern as the date to re-open schools nears

The Department of Basic Education is facing a legal challenge over its decision not to publish the latest matric results on public platforms.

Last week, the department wrote a letter to media houses informing them that the move was in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia), which came into effect in July last year. The format of the results was changed in recent years to exclude the names of matriculants - only their exam numbers were listed.

The Western Cape Education Department also stated that 575 grade 1 and 3,014 grade 8 learners are still unplaced and over 32,000 late applications were submitted. Equal Education Law Centre EELC said they came accross “unlawful practice” of some schools insisting that parents pay a registration fee for their children to be admitted.

With two days before public schools in coastal provinces reopen, some education officials are worried about the wellbeing of learners. In the Eastern Cape, flooding has wrought havoc across parts of the province. Many children from displaced families have been left without schooling supplies or clothes. 

Meanwhile in the Western Cape, Education MEC Debbie Schafer fears the recent extension of the state of disaster will further affect pupils.


by Everngelista Muza

Elderly man found dead at Witsand beach

A man died at Witsand beach in the Western Cape on Sunday. According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), emergency services were called to the beach in the afternoon after the body of a man was found in the water.

Medics tried to revive him before he was declared dead on scene. The case was handed over to the police for investigation.

Meanwhile, search efforts continued for a teenager who was reported missing at sea at a Blythedale beach, north of Durban, on Saturday evening. The search is expected to continue on Monday morning.


by Everngelista Muza

Transport Minister conducting oversight visit at Cape town train station

The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula is conducting an oversight visit of the Cape Town Northern Line and the Western Cape Rail Management and Traffic Control Centre in Bellville on Monday.

He will be looking at the progress made in the station upgrade project after PRASA has embarked on a series of station improvements in anticipation of service resumption.

He will also be looking at the annual delivery plan of the the National Station Improvement Project (NSIP) meant to address minor station upgrades and lasting improvements to railway stations. This is due to PRASA’s ongoing efforts to recover vandalized stations, revitalize the rail service and improve customer experience.


by Everngelista Muza

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Mop-up operations are underway following Highlands fire

Mop-up operations are underway following the Overberg fire that burnt for 4 days in Kleinmond

More than 5 400 hectares of fynbos and pine plantations were burned, one building was destroyed and preliminary agricultural damages include 10ha of commercial fynbos.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, says they are probing the cause of the fire and will do an estimate of the total damages and costs accrued during the operation.

‘’We were extremely fortunate this time that no human life was lost, which is always the number one priority during these operations, and monitoring will continue for the next few weeks as some areas of dense alien vegetation will continue to smolder.’’

Bredell said the number one cause of wildfires are human and has urged residents to be responsible and careful when dealing with fires.

“It would be sad to know that all the resources, time, money and risk to personnel, as well as the destruction of thousands of hectares of land could have been prevented through different human behaviour,” he said.

The public can call 112 toll-free on any cell phone and request a free connection to the local fire services to report any possible veld fires. 

 

PICTURE: Overstrand Muncipality

Done By: Mitchum George

Two arrested for Goodwood business robbery

Goodwood police arrested two suspects on a charge of business robbery in the area on Wednesday morning. Armed suspects held the owners of a shop situated in Voortrekker Road at gunpoint at around 08:20.

‘’One of the suspects fled when they were disturbed by someone who made alarm, but was apprehended by the public.  SAPS members attached to Goodwood police arrived on the scene and arrested a second suspect,’’ said Colonel Andrè Traut.

‘’There was however reason to believe that a third suspect was still trapped in the shop and the Special Task Force was summoned to the scene. After the building was tactically penetrated, it was established that the two suspects were alone,’’ added Traut.

The police spokesperson said that the firearm used by the suspects was discovered hidden inside the shop and seized.

Two male suspects aged 35 and 29  are expected to make their court appearance in Goodwood once they have been charged.

 

PICTURE: SAPS

Done By: Mitchum George

R5 000 reward offered that leads to youths arrest for stoning a Cape train

The City of Cape Town is offering a R5 000 reward for information that leads to the positive identification and arrest of those responsible for the stoning of a brand new train set

Metrorail’s Nani Zenani said youths stoned the train at Steenberg Station on its way to Fish Hoek Station.  The incident occurred last Tuesday. The stone caused damage to the side window of the driver's cabin which will now have to be replaced. Repair costs are estimated to be around R20 000.

Metrorail has since opened a case of malicious damage to property

Metrorail is appealing to local parents, local leadership and local authorities to protect the people's asset.

‘’Metrorail is in the process of reinstating service across all its lines.  Extensive repair works have been done to various Metrorail assets due to vandalism.  The stoning of trains adds another layer of difficulty in delivering services and is therefore intolerable to Metrorail,’’ said Zenani.

Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis described the incident as ‘unacceptable’.

‘’Damage to critical infrastructure is completely unacceptable, even if it is perpetrated by youth who think that stoning trains is “fun”.For too long, a well-functioning rail service has been absent from our city and millions of Capetonians suffer as a result. Capetonians end up having to spend more of their income on other forms of public transport, and take longer to get to work and back home.’’

‘’We cannot allow a few individuals who wish to damage and steal public infrastructure to rob us all of the resources we need to improve our lives,’’ Hill-Lewis added.

Anyone with information on the incident can contact Metrorail on 0800 21 00 81

 

Done By: Mitchum George

WCED pleased with overall Pupil Placements for the New Academic year

Despite receiving over 32,000 late school applications and counting, the Western Cape Education Department said that it had worked hard to place as many pupils as possible ahead of the 2022 academic year.

the department's Bronagh Hammond said that At the end of December 2021, there were approximately 600 grade ones and 3,200 Grade 8s who still needed to be placed in the Western Cape and that they have since made progress, reducing these figures further during the holiday period but also having to deal with new and late applications daily and the closure of schools

Hammond added that they were in a much better position this year.

As they had approximately 13,000 grade ones and grade 8s that had yet to be placed ,she thanked parents for their patience during this process, and said that her Department want to show that they will continue to work hard to place all learners as soon as possible. 

Done by Lizeka Tsotetsi

Western Cape's SOPA2022 to be held in Velddrif

The Western Cape’s State of the Province Address (SOPA) for 2022 will be held at the Velddrif Town Hall, in Velddrif in the West Coast, on Tuesday, 15 February 2022.

The Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP), Masizole Mnqasela, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Members of the WCPP will the following day, debate on the State of the Province Address.

The State of the Province Address is a speech made by the Premier or provincial head. The event usually marks the official opening of the Provincial Parliament. The speech is delivered in front of members of the provincial executive, including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Secretary.

Last year’s SOPA was held in Genadendal.

The SOPA programme is yet to be released, but Premier Alan Winde said unemployment will be on top of his agenda

‘’That is why our focus must now turn to fight the second pandemic of unemployment, which continues unabated. It needs to be fought with the same passion, courage and innovation so that we roll back poverty, hunger and crime in the Western Cape. This will be my top priority in the year ahead, and I look forward to reflecting on this in my speech.’’

‘’I would like to thank the community of Velddrif in the Bergrivier Municipality for hosting us this year, and I look forward to engaging with you around the speech so that your views and your expectations for the year ahead are incorporated into our government’s plans,’’ Winde added.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Beware of fake electricity officials roaming Cape Town

Capetonians must be aware of scammers posing as electricity officials to gain access to their homes.

In recent weeks, scammers attempted to gain access to residents’ homes in the Bellville, Athlone and Strand areas

The City of Cape Town urged residents to be on alert for any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood.

‘’Once given access to your home, the scammers steal your personal items and in most cases, target the elderly. We remind residents that the Electricity Generation and Distribution Department is not carrying out surveys and when the City needs to do checks on electricity meters, officials will make an appointment with the resident.’’

The City said that municipal workers and contractors must carry a work order number specific to that dwelling and a City-issued identification card. Residents should ask to check the official identification card before allowing anyone onto their property.

‘’Remember that the identification card must display the City logo, the name and surname of the staff member or mandated contractor, and must contain an embedded photo of the staff member or mandated contractor. Any suspicious behaviour must be reported to the City’s law enforcement agencies or the City’s Fraud Hotline on 0800 323 130 or to the South African Police Service (SAPS),’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Beverley van Reenen.

 

The municipality asked residents to report suspicious behaviour to the City’s law enforcement agencies or to the South African Police Service (SAPS)

Members of the public can verify whether visitors to their home are employed by the City by:

·        Phoning the Call Centre on 0860 103 089 to confirm whether work is being carried out in their area

·        Informing the official that they will allow them entry only once the Call Centre has verified their identity

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Rotational Learning to continue in the 2022 Academic year

Schools that were using the rotational learning timetable in 2021 will continue to do so in the 2022 academic year, according to the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga. Rotational learning works by learners being divided into groups and they attend school on different days.

Motshekga was speaking at a media briefing where she detailed the department’s reopening readiness plan for schools on Tuesday.

She revealed that her department is exploring possibilities to return schooling to normal, however they need to do so responsibly; and to this end, they rely entirely on the advice of public health experts, through the Ministerial Advisory Committee, the National Coronavirus Command Council, and Cabinet


 Done by Lizeka Tsotetsi

 

Cape Town officials confiscates more than 9 300 bottles of alcohol during festive season

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement officers confiscating 9 384 bottles of alcohol during the 2021/2022 festive period, which amounts to 5 324 litres, between 16 December 2021 and 9 January 2022.

Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said that Capetonians turned a deaf ear, despite being told not to bring alcohol to public facilities.

‘’The amount of alcohol confiscated since mid-December shows that there are still too many residents who do not adhere to the rules – or do not care about endangering the lives of others. We have seen that the use of alcohol while driving often results in accidents and serious injuries to innocent passengers.’’

Smith was referring to an incident that occurred on Friday, whereby children were injured when a driver, with no driver license, and under the influence of alcohol, collided with another vehicle in Muizenberg.

‘’No one should have to be subjected to this, but children in particular, need us to step up on their behalf. Don’t allow your children to get into a vehicle with someone who is not fit to be behind the wheel. The consequences can be fatal, but even just being hurt in a motor vehicle accident is hugely traumatic,’’ added Smith.

In the past week, the City’s Metro Police, and Cape town traffic Services arrested seven and 28 suspects, respectively, for driving under the influence of alcohol.

 

PICTURE; PEXELS

Done By: Mitchum George

Monday, January 10, 2022

Three drown as thousands flock to Cape beaches over the weekend

Thousands of residents and visitors flocked to Cape Town’s beaches and pools this past weekend, as temperatures in the Mother City were sweltering.

The fun in the sun however did not come without incidents.

Three lives to fatal drownings were lost on Saturday, while 134 lives were saved.

Mayco member for community services and health, Patricia van der Ross said the fatal drownings took place outside of designated bathing areas at unguarded beaches or beyond the hours when lifeguards were on duty, at Clovelly, Monwabisi East and Strand.

A 46-year-old man from Ocean View drowned at Glencairn Beach.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a trainee crew member, who lives across the road from the beach and was at the beach at the time, had launched into the water with an NSRI pink rescue buoy, stationed at that beach, after being alerted to a commotion where bystanders were pointing towards a man being swept out to sea in rip currents.

Then Western Cape police have opened an inquest docket after a lifeless body of a man washed onto the far East section of the beach at Monwabisi on Saturday afternoon.

‘’City of Cape Town lifeguards, on duty at Monwabisi Main Beach, were alerted by eye-witnesses, and lifeguards performed CPR on the 37-year-old man from Mfuleni. Following extensive CPR efforts the man was declared deceased,’’ said NSRI in a statement.

In a separate incident, a 60-year-old has died in Strand.

NSRI said a Gordons Bay coxswain, who lives in a block of apartments in Strand, was alerted by the caretaker who had noticed the lifeless body of a man floating in the apartment block swimming pool, on Saturday morning.

‘’The NSRI member rescued the man from the swimming pool and initiated CPR efforts. After all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted sadly he was declared deceased,.’’

NSRI suspects that the man may have suffered a medical condition while swimming in the pool. Police have opened an inquest docket for investigation.

 In addition, a total of 127 help-outs were recorded by City lifeguards on duty. These are rescues where a potential drowning was avoided and are in addition to the countless preventative actions taken by the lifeguards prior to a rescue being required, but also the additional rescues performed by voluntary lifeguards on duty at the 15 lifesaving clubs around the coast.

Further to these help-outs, a total of six non-fatal drownings that resulted in successful rescues by City lifeguards were recorded.

Van der Ross said that additional first aid cases, including dislocations, seizures, facial injuries and minor cuts and bruises, were also attended to by lifeguards.

‘’I am proud of the massive effort put in by all our services over the weekend and I especially want to celebrate the commitment of our lifeguards. Saturday was one of the busiest beach days in the last few years and our staff have certainly stepped up.’’

 

Visitors to the beaches are reminded to obey the four golden rules:

·        Do not drink and swim

·        Do not leave children unsupervised

·        Be aware of rip currents

·        Swim only between the red and yellow flags, where lifeguards are present

 

PICTURE: @thehumansnarrative

Done By: Mitchum George

Nine apprehended in Cape Town for possession of protected plants

Nine suspects are expected to appear in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court soon after they were found to be in possession of protected plants.

According to the Northern Cape’s provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Kock, police members from the Springbok and Kuilsriver Stock Theft and Endangered Species Units (STESU) successfully conducted a joint buy and bust operation.

He said the operation took place last week Thursday, in Elsies River in the Western Cape and that Police confiscated 3 500 Conophytum Achabense plants worth approximately R200 000 and Conophytum Fredericea plants with an estimated street value of R150 000.

Police also confiscated a VW Polo, an Opel Kadett and five cell phones that were allegedly utilised in the commission of these crimes

PICTURE: SAPS


Done by Lizeka Tsotetsi


 

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Firefighters battling a blaze in Highlands, Overberg

Firefighters are battling a blaze in Highlands in the Overberg region, which is burning towards Kleinmond.

According to the NGO, Working on Fire, two helicopters are water bombing the flames.

‘’The six inbound teams are from Robertson, Paarl, Somerset, and three from Grabouw. Three Working on Fire aerial resources that consist of a spotter plane that is performing the air traffic control function for the two choppers who are water bombing the flames.’’

‘’Our resources are assisting the Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality, Provincial Disaster Management, Cape Nature, and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment.’’

Spokesperson, Limakatso Khalianyane, said that teams battled the blaze since Saturday, but stopped working because of poor lighting.

‘’Yesterday (Saturday), WOF dispatched four teams and four aerial resources that flew for seven hours and were stood down because it was getting darker.’’

Khalianyane said the fire is burning actively high in the mountain and between the mountain and the R-44 in the direction of Arrabella.

‘’Early this morning the fire line moved down to Kleinmond - Heuningkloof & -Klip - (Western top) and structural protection was required. No damage to homes and no structures lost.  Currently, the fire is burning actively high in the mountain and between the mountain and the R44 direction Arrabella.’’

‘’During the night resources from the City of Cape Town joined the fight. The aerial resources are already deployed to assist with our suppression efforts,’’ added Khalianyane

 

SUPPLIED - WoF: Walkerbay team working on the line on Saturday

Done By: Mitchum George

WC Community Safety MEC calls on SAPS, IPID, to ensure that Picketberg suspects face full might of the law

The Western Cape’s Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz, visited the family of Natasha Booise who was allegedly gunned down by her boyfriend, on 2 January.

According to reports, Booise was gunned down by the suspect while she was walking in Piketberg with family and friends, including her nine-year-old son who had witnessed her killing.

The suspect, an off-duty police officer, is presently in custody on charges of murder, attempted murder and discharging a firearm in a public area.

IPID is probing the matter. The suspect is set to apply for bail on 13 January.

Furthermore, the MEC also visited the family of a nine-year-old girl who was raped by a 29-year-old suspect.

The suspect allegedly raped the nine-year-old victim on a farm outside Piketberg on Christmas Eve.

Fritz has called on SAPS, including IPID, to ensure that the suspects in these cases face the full might of the law.

“The news of what these victims, and the broader community of Piketberg, have had to go through over the festive season, comes as a cold reminder of the reality of gender-based violence under which many of the women and children in our communities have to live.’’

‘’We make this call on the SAPS, including IPID, to ensure that the suspects in these cases face the full might of the law, so that justice is served and the message that there are consequences for actions is sent out and heard by all would-be criminals. We will never accept the actions of these monsters as a normal part of our society. As a society, we are outraged, and we reject their behaviour,” Fritz added.

Fritz condemned the incident and has called on communities to stand together to prevent such heinous crimes

‘’These two cases specifically show the kind of trauma exacted upon our young children. Ms. Booise’s young son witnessed his mother being gunned down in broad daylight. And in the other case: the trauma of being raped at the age of nine. That little girl is starting Grade 3 this year. We fight for them. We fight for our children, so that they can have a healthy childhood and upbringing. We must work towards families and communities in which our children are safe. We must stand together for our children.”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Friday, January 07, 2022

Tap water safe to drink, says City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has reassured residents who have detected an "earthy" flavour to their tap water that it remains safe to drink.

According to the City, the water is compliant with SANS-2-4-1 standards.

In a statement, the municipality said that  there were currently high levels of geosmin in the raw water supply from the Theewaterskloof Dam.

This was affecting the taste and smell of the water supplied from the Faure and Blackheath water treatment plants to various areas across Cape Town, primarily the central and southern regions.

‘’It must be emphasised that geosmin poses no threat to human health. It is a naturally occurring organic compound and is responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot and the scent that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell. The compound is sometimes present in water, particularly during periods of hot weather, and even minute concentrations of a few parts per trillion can be detected by the human palate.’’

It warned however, that it may take some time for the taste and smell of the water to normalise.

‘’The City is monitoring the situation as part of the water treatment process, which is currently enhanced by the dosing of powdered activated carbon during this process to reduce the effect of the geosmin.’’

 

PICTURE: Pexels

Done By: Mitchum George

SONA2021 to be held at Cape Town’s City Hall

The 2021 State of the Nation Address will be held at Cape Town’s City Hall

This follows the devastating fire at Parliament that destroyed parts of the National Assembly (NA) and sections of the Old Assembly Chamber.

‘’The Presiding Officers of Parliament met this (Friday) morning to consider various reports on options available for business continuity for Parliament's work, including the hosting of the State of the Nation Address (SONA)… we made a solemn undertaking that, despite the devastation of the disaster, we will not allow a situation where Parliament’s work is derailed or disrupted in any manner,’’ said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his address on 10 February at 19:00.

The Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town offered the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the City Council Chambers and the City Hall for this SONA as possible venues.

‘’The extensive damage has necessitated the institution to find an alternative venue off-site to host this important event in the parliamentary calendar and the country,’’ said Mothapo.

Out of the three, the Presiding Officers decided that the City Hall was a suitable venue.

‘’The City Hall was considered a suitable venue technically in terms of infrastructure and its capacity. It is also a befitting place considering its historical significance which is embedded in the minds and hearts of South Africans,’’ he said.

 ‘’We have ensured that this decision to host the SONA outside the Chamber of the NA, is taken in compliance with the Joint Rules of Parliament that determine where a Joint Sitting may be held,’’ Mothapo added.

 

PICTURED: Parliament

Done By: Mitchum George

Fire broke out at Cape's Justice and Constitutional Development Department

Cape Town Central police are probing a case of arson after a fire was reported at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development building, on Friday.

Its understood the wooden door leading to the stairwell running alongside the building was set alight.

The police’s Wesley Twigg said no one was arrested regarding the fire in Queen Victoria Street.

‘’The investigation in to the matter continues. Anyone with any information about this incident can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Post-incident report released on the fire that engulfed Parliament

The City of Cape Town’s Fire Department released its post-incident report on the fire that engulfed Parliament.

The fire occurred on Sunday and took two days to be contained.

The post-incident report of the Parliament fire finds that the sprinkler system was not serviced since 2017

This, despite, Public Works & infrastructure Minister, Patricia De Lille’s statement to Parliament that the sprinkler system was fully functional in October 2021

The report found that the sprinkler control valve set on the southern façade of the Old Assembly building had not activated; Sprinklers did not activate; the sprinklers were last serviced last in 2017, with service scheduled for February 2020; the emergency staircases were poorly ventilated with minimal natural vents encountered to the outside; no mechanical venting of the staircases was observed

It also found that wall panelling and décor materials presented additional fire loading throughout the building.

"During my walk around of the affected areas I found that the National Assembly sprinkler valve was not serviced. [The] service date was in 2017 and this needs to be done every three years and the valve appeared to be closed.  If properly serviced, this valve should have been locked with a chain in an open position and a block plan would have been available showing [the] system layout. The lifts continued to operate, despite a "break glass" unit at one lift being activated," said Station Commander JJ Williams.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, said he received the post-incident report, adding that it was handed over to Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

"The report is a useful insight into what firefighters saw on the ground. But this report does not substitute a full professional forensic investigation into the cause of the fire and whether any system failures exacerbated the spread," he said.

‘’In the interests of transparency, and following great public interest, we release it publicly without any additional comment. It reflects the observations of professionals, but does not in any way constitute or substitute for a full forensic investigation conducted by professional fire investigators. This report has already been sent to the Speaker of Parliament,’’ Hill-Lewis added.

 

COURTESY: City of Cape Town

Done By: Mitchum George

4 arrested for cable theft in Goodwood

Four suspects were arrested in Goodwood on Thursday for being in possession of stolen cables

According to the Acting Spokesperson for Metrorail in the Western Cape, Nana Zenani, PRASA Security Personnel noticed a suspect pulling electrical cables next to an informal settlement, near Monte Vista

The staff drove along the N1 from Belville to Cape Town opposite Monte Vista.

COURTESY: Metrorail


‘’The Security team stopped on the side of the road and approached the suspect. The suspect proceeded to dump the cable in attempt to get rid of the evidence and ran away crossing over N1 freeway. The Security team proceeded to investigate the scene of the crime and found an additional four more suspects in the act of illegally digging and pulling Metrorail cables from the ground.’’

COURTESY: Metrorail


Zenani added that one of the suspects jumped the wall and fled while the other three suspects were caught, with 5 meters of cable and digging tools.

‘’While the security team was awaiting back-up from the team deployed at Monte Vista, they received word that the Goodwood Neighborhood Watch and Byers Security (a private company) had apprehended the one suspect who had previously escaped. PRASA Security found the members of the Goodwood Neighbourhood watch already at the police station with the suspect unharmed. Four suspects were taken to the Goodwood Police Station,’’ Zenani added.

COURTESY: Metrorail


The four suspects detained at Goodwood Police Station were charged for tampering, damaging, as well as the destruction of essential infrastructure.

COURTESY: Metrorail


Regional Manager, Richard Walker, condemned the incident.

“Metrorail manages passenger rail on behalf of the people of the Western Cape. They pay for and own the service through their hard-earned taxes and therefore we must as Metrorail deliver a quality service. Our efforts however are being destroyed daily by the senseless attack not only on our Rail Operations electrical lines and infrastructure, but all users of high voltage electricity such as Transnet and the City of Cape Town.’’

Walker commended those who were involved in apprehending the suspects

“Although the joint arrests and apprehensions were not planned, it worked perfectly. The criminals learnt a big lesson that PRASA Security, Railway Police, Private Security and most especially, our Neighbourhood Watch groups and communities will not allow the senseless destruction and criminality against rail infrastructure. That the rule of law and order will prevail.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George


Ilmainen www-laskuri