Friday, January 22, 2021

MINISTER JACKSON MTHEMBU SUCCUMBS TO COVID 19

The global pandemic – Covid-19 has claimed yet another life in the country, the honourable Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

It is confirmed that he died on Thursday morning due to covid-related illness. The President Cyril Ramaphosa issued a statement confirming the passing of the Minister and described him as an exemplary leader, an activist and life-long champion of freedom and democracy.

A week ago Minister tweeted that he was at a hospital in Tshwane to get medical attention for his abdominal pain.




Minister Mthembu was much loved and greatly respected. President Ramaphosa extended his greatest sympathies to the Minister’s family, colleagues and comrades so did other politicians and Political parties.

 






LALA NGOXOLO MTHEMBU, MVELASE. 


BY CHWAYITA HLANGWANA AND DANIELLE MENTOOR


Friday, January 15, 2021

Police use water cannon as SASSA recipients que at Belville office

Video footage of police using water cannons outside the Social Security Agency of South Africa (SASSA)office in Bellville on Friday, is being shared on social media.

SASSA grant recipients were queueing to have their temporary disability SASSA grants reinstated.

It's understood that police gave them one minute to social distance themselves.

police had told the growing group that only 110 people could be served, with wheelchaired-bound people served first.

Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu also climbed into the armoured vehicle and pleaded with them to socially distance.

The DA’s Western Cape Community Safety Spokesperson, Reagan Allen, called the incident as ‘deplorable’.

“The situation involving excessive use of police force at SASSA venues is deplorable – that the police have been instructed to use water cannons against vulnerable residents, many of whom are disabled persons, is an abuse of power. This once again shows the inefficacy in the use of policing resources. ‘’

 ‘’The reckless behaviour today is even more concerning when considering the high levels of crime in nearby communities.  Communities and individuals would feel safer if they are able to trust the South African Police Service and if resources are used in efficient and effective ways.” Allen added.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Schools to reopen mid-february

With the country experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, government has decided to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks, to 15 February 2021.

Addressing a media briefing on Friday in Pretoria, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Reginah Mhaule, said the decision to delay the opening of schools was made by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) in conjunction with the National Coronavirus Command Council and Cabinet.

This decision took into consideration the pressure experienced by the health system in the past few weeks, occasioned by increased COVID-19 infections, which has led to the second wave.

Private schools that have reopened already will need to postpone their reopening to a later date.

“This is done to provide relief to the health system which is already struggling to cope with the current demands. The new dates for the reopening of private schools will vary depending on the calendar that they follow,” the Deputy Minister said.

 

For public schools and private schools, which follow the same calendar, changes are as follows:

·        School Management Teams (SMTs) shall report for duty on Monday, 25 January 2021;

·        Teachers shall follow on Monday, 1 February 2021; and

·        Learners return on Monday, 15 February 2021.

 

The SMTs will go first to prepare for the return of teachers; and the teachers will prepare for the return of learners. 

“Schools will use the time to finalise outstanding matters, regarding admissions, especially the unplaced learners in certain cases.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Man dies after attempting to hijack a Porsche

A man allegedly attempting to hijack a Porsche Cayenne died in a shooting on Old Johannesburg Road near the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on Thursday.

The dead man is believed to be about 30 years old.

Police spokesperson Capt Augustinah Selepe said the police are investigating a case of murder and attempted hijacking.

“It is alleged five suspects driving a red Toyota double cab blocked a grey Porsche Cayenne. Suspects approached the driver of the Porsche and he immediately took out his firearm and shot one suspect. The other suspects drove off,” she said.

Selepe said the suspect’s firearm and ammunition were discovered on the scene. The firearm will be taken for ballistic tests to ascertain whether it was previously used in serious crimes.

ER24 spokesperson Ross Campbell said the man was declared dead on the scene by paramedics.

“ER24 paramedics, police and private security services arrived at the scene at 6.38pm. The man was found lying in the road in a very critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died.”


SUPPLIED: ER24


 

Done By: Mitchum George

City of Cape Town says it can't always 'protect' consumers from load shedding

Eskom implemented rolling blackouts on Thursday, saying Stage 2 load shedding will continue until Sunday.

In a statement, the power utility said load shedding was necessary due to loss of generation capacity overnight.

If your electricity is supplied by the City of Cape Town, you’ll only load shed on Stage 1. The municipality said this will continue until 18:00 on Friday.

It said that the uninterrupted round of Eskom load-shedding could make it difficult for the City to protect its customers fully or even from one stage of load-shedding.

‘’This is because there will be insufficient time to generate sufficient excess capacity from the City's Steenbras Hydro Pump Station at night, while at the same time also having to replenish necessary reserves.’’ it said on a social media post.

It added that ‘’due to the continuous day and night nature of Eskom's current load-shedding operation, the City says it is thus using the reserve capacity that it has to assist with a stage of load-shedding during the daytime only, where possible.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Increase in number of Western Cape learners who committed suicide

The number of learners who committed suicide at Western Cape schools, has increased five times since 2015, despite a slight dip in 2019.

According to the Western Cape Education Department, seventeen learners committed suicide in 2020. This is six pupils more than the previous year.


Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Total of WC learners who committed suicide

3

4

12

13

11

17

 

Head of Department, Debbie Schafer says:

‘’Psycho-social support interventions follow a three-fold approach based on the learner’s level of risk: high level interventions, with the cooperation of the provincial Department of Health, are targeted at learners who are at a high-risk, which is the suicidal stage. Followed by low-to-medium risk learners, who receive classroom and counselling support.’’

Learners can also contact our Safe Schools hotline for counselling support.

The DA’s Western Cape Education Spokesperson, Lorraine Botha, said the numbers beg a greater concern for the well-being of learners.

‘’We must commit greater attention to learner Mental Health issues, particularly due to the added pressures associated with Covid-19, including reduction of contact time and related anxiety on learners’ performance.’’

‘’As the DA in the Western Cape, we will monitor the well-being of learners as we still operate in uncertain times that impact our futures. We call on teachers and parents to exercise due cognisance toward the mental health of learners.’’ Botha added.

Learners are further encouraged to use the Safe Schools hotline at 0800 45 46 47 for counselling support.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Help find missing Kathleen Rossouw (15) from Nooitgedacht

Bishop Lavis police are asking the public to help find missing 15-year-old, Kathleen Rossouw, of Nooitgedacht.

It is alleged that Kathleen was last seen on 11 December 2020 at around 9a.m, when she left the house, without informing her foster mother of her plans for the day.

At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a green tracksuit pants, black t-shirt and a pair of Nike running shoes. 

Any person with information regarding her whereabouts is kindly requested to contact Warrant Officer, Joseph Swartbooi on 082 302 8437 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

PICTURED: SAPS - Kathleen Rossouw


Done By: Mitchum George

MJC dismisses claims being involved in after-hours or penalty fees being charged at the Mowbray Cemetery

The City of Cape Town said it had allocated extra space for 837 Muslim burials at Maitland cemetery after Klip Road cemetery in Grassy Park filled up.

In a statement, the municipality said it was working with the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) to increase burial capacity at the remaining 10 municipal cemeteries with a Muslim allotment. Cape Town also has private Muslim cemeteries.

“Currently, city cemeteries accommodate approximately 150 Muslim burials per month,” said the statement.

“Covid-19 has increased the number of janazahs [funerals] per month, which has caused space to fill quickly and has led to the city opening up more space for our Maitland cemetery.

“Until now, Klip Road cemetery has been the preferred burial site, but regrettably, the Muslim allotment at this site has been exhausted.

“While there is sufficient capacity at other cemeteries, the city has also created a new Muslim burial block at the Maitland cemetery that can accommodate a further 837 graves.”

This is in addition to burial blocks created for all denominations in 2020 as part of the Covid-19 response.

“The city is working with the MJC to ensure that burials happen timeously, with dignity and in line with the city's operations,” said the statement.

“To this end, we appeal to the Muslim community to please try to bury during working hours where possible and before sunset, in the interest of funeral-goers' safety, but also city staff.”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has dismissed claims that it is involved in after-hours or penalty fees being charged at the Mowbray Cemetery. This, after a video went viral on social media, showing a worker at the cemetery refusing entry to a group of men who allegedly arrived after the 4’o clock deadline, unless they pay a R500 fee. Second Deputy of the MJC, Sheikh Riyaad Fataar, says the MJC has no authority over the pricing structures, operating hours, and decisions made by the cemetery’s board, because they are private. 

Attached: MJC statement in response to Mowbray Cemetery video


Done By: Mitchum George

 

Vehicle licenses and license disc not included in expired grace period

The Department of Transport has clarified that the announcement of the extension of licenses did not include vehicle licenses and license disc.

The clarification comes after transport minister Fikile Mbalula erroneously posted the that these licences are included in the extension on social media.

In a 30 November Government Gazette, expiry was mentioned of all learner licenses, driver license cards, temporary driving license cards and professional driving permits that expired between 26 March and 31 December 2020. In the gazette, government extended a grace period that would see these documents would remain valid until 31 August 2021.

“License discs were not included. The extension was created to open up space for all types of license renewals, updates and makes at DLTCs responding to the backlog created by the lockdown period,” the department said in a statement.

The department has urged residents to use the extension to their advantage and either update or obtain their driving licence for the first time.

Furthermore, the department said that the extension period was created to cater to the backlog caused by the hard lockdown period.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Agriculture Professor Mohammad Karaan passed away

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, says she is greatly saddened to learn about Professor Mohammad Karaan’s passing.

Karaan is a former Dean of the Faculty of Agri-Sciences at Stellenbosch University and a champion of agriculture and rural development.

He served in the government’s National Planning Commission and was the Chairperson of the National Agricultural Marketing Council. He is also a former board member of the Land Bank and the Agricultural Research Council and most recently, a member of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.

“Prof Karaan’s passing is a massive loss for the country, at a time when we need leading development thinkers and practitioners like him the most, as the country begins to implement the Economic Recovery Plan,” said Minister Didiza.

“Chapter six of the National Development Plan was largely drawn from his vision for agricultural and rural development, which emphasised a need for public-private partnership approaches in agricultural development.”

Western Cape Agricultural MEC, Dr. Ivan Meyer, said Karaan brought people together.

‘’He was a bridge builder between government and the agriculture sector and brought people together. He was a great facilitator of dialogue and reason in the political economy of South Africa.  He understood the impact of policy uncertainty on the agricultural sector and offered pragmatic solutions.  Agriculture was his passion and his legacy will continue to inspire us. ‘’

‘’He also contributed to developing the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's approach to agri-processing, the design of halaal products, and the training required for farmers to access the halaal markets.’’ Meyer added.

 

PICTURED: (Prof.  Mohammad Karaan

Twitter via @AEASA_LEVSA)

Done By: Mitchum George

Police seeks 2 suspects who burgled a bicycle store in Sunningdale

Table View police, arrested a suspect and the recovery of a high-end bicycles valued at around R850 000.

On Wednesday, shortly after 9p.m, a security guard at a retail centre in Sunningdale, Blouberg was approached by three armed suspects, who took his cellphone and hand radio.

‘’They proceeded to burgle a bicycle shop by gaining access through a window which was smashed with a concrete slab. The suspects fled with a number of bicycles in a getaway vehicle.’’ Said the police’s Andrè Traut.

Traut added that the security guard managed to activate a panic button and within minutes the armed response officers arrived at the scene and the suspects fled.

Table View police was also alerted and soon joined the armed response officers in the apprehension of the fleeing suspects.

‘’Eventually, the robbers were cornered and stopped their vehicle and fled further on foot in different directions.  Police fired one shot and injured one of the suspects and arrested him.  His accomplices managed to escape and are being sought.’’ Said Andre Traut.

The injured suspect was taken to hospital for treatment, and will make his court appearance once he has been discharged. All the stolen bikes have been recovered.

The Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape Lt. Gen., Yolisa Matakata ,expressed her gratitude and applauded the armed response officers for their swift reaction and for alerting police.

She is urging anyone with information on the whereabouts of the other suspects to contact Table View police at 021 521 3300, or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Eskom implements Stage 2 load shedding until Sunday

Eskom has announced it will implement Stage 2 loadshedding from Thursday midday until Sunday evening.

This comes after two generation units at the Kusile Power Station tripped due to the failure of the main coal feed conveyor belts supplying coal to the units.

In a statement, the ailing power utility added that a unit each at the Kriel and Duvha tripped due to ‘unforeseen breakdowns’.

“We presently have four generation units whose return to service from planned maintenance has been delayed,” reads the statement.

The power utility said loadshedding was necessary due to loss of generation capacity overnight.

“Loadshedding is also required to manage the use of the emergency reserves, which will help us contain the stage of loadshedding required. The system remains vulnerable and unpredictable, should any further breakdowns occur, the stage of loadshedding may change at short notice,” said Eskom.

Currently, Eskom has 5 358MW on planned maintenance, while another 14 748MW of capacity is unavailable due to unplanned maintenance, breakdowns and the outage delays mentioned above.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town will ‘protect’ its customers from one stage – implementing Stage 1 load shedding from noon until midnight.

In a social media post, the municipality said it will update residents on a daily basis on whether it will continue load shedding on Stage 1.

Eskom urged consumers to use electricity sparingly, in order to help minimize loadshedding.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Hand in your illegal/unwanted firearm & ammunition without being persecuted

South Africans who own an illegal and unwanted firearms, firearm parts or ammunition, can surrender their equipment, without fear of being persecuted.

With only two weeks left, the South African Police Services (SAPS) said it is concerned that since the approval of the second amnesty period, about 23 000 firearms and close to 120 000 rounds of ammunition were surrendered, since August 2020.

‘’Of the firearms surrendered, 3 139 were voluntarily handed in by their legal owners while 20 260, for which licenses have expired were handed in. Subsequent to this, 23 724 rounds of ammunition were also voluntarily handed-over to police including, 96 057 rounds of ammunition that were surrendered by owners whose firearm licenses had expired.’’ said Police Colonel Athlenda Mathe.

The deadline for the firearm amnesty ends on 31 January 2021.

‘’Members of the public who are in possession of a firearm, firearm parts or ammunition are therefore urged to take advantage of this opportunity by handing in their firearms and ammunition either for destruction, or for re-licensing the specific firearm with a relevant competency at their nearest police station. This applies to estate firearms whose owners have died.’’

‘’In addition, this period allows members of the public with the opportunity to surrender firearms whose licenses had expired without fear that they will be charged for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition.’’ She added.

Mathe warned that those who are found to be in possession of illegal firearms, firearm parts and ammunition, after 31 January 2021, will face the full might of the law.

‘’It cannot be emphasized enough that as of 01 February 2021, those who are found to be in possession of illegal firearms, firearm parts and ammunition will be charged and processed accordingly.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Home Affairs will offer limited services during adjusted level 3 lockdown

Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, has announced that it will offer limited services under adjusted level 3 of the nationwide lockdown.

The minister was speaking during a media briefing by the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) on the newly amended regulations on Tuesday.

Motsoaledi revealed that since December the department, has been issuing a high number of death certificates. The figures, he cautioned, are set to spiral further by the end of January.

To remedy the situation, Home Affairs offices have extended their operating hours until 7pm.

“We will be extending operating hours to 7pm to accommodate those needing to register deaths and births. This will be available from now until 15 February,” he said.

In December, senior managers – including the Minister and his deputy, Njabulo Nzuza -  visited all provinces to monitor compliance with lockdown regulations.

During these visits, Motsoaledi said it became clear that while protocols were being observed inside the offices, it was the polar opposite in the queues outside, with the public disregarding even social distancing markings.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has decided to temporarily suspend certain activities and services.

“This is very unfortunate but we are forced by circumstances. We were guided by statistics. Of all the people who visit [our] offices, 29 % are people collecting smart IDs, 16% are applying afresh for smart IDs, 11% come to be issued birth, marriage and death certificates [while] 10% come to apply for temporary IDs,” he said.

The DHA has suspended the application for smart IDs, with the exception of matriculates applying for IDs.

Applications for passports (except for those permitted to travel in by the Disaster Management Act regulations), marriage registration and solemnisation of marriages are also suspended as is the collection of IDs.

 “I know this will be difficult but please bear with us as we save lives. Please don’t come to collect IDs unless you’re specifically invited to do so via SMS. We’ve decided to change the modality in which we operate, we are proposing that all births and deaths be registered at health facilities at which they took place,” he said.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Close to 7500 people arrested for not wearing masks

More than 20 000 people were arrested and/or fined for contravening the Disaster Management Act, since the start of the adjusted Level 3 Lockdown two weeks ago.

Police Minister, Bheki Cele says he is concerned that 7 455 citizens who were caught not wearing masks in public.

“These arrests were made despite people being told continuously to wear their masks. Wearing a mask is mandatory and people caught without one in public, are committing an offence. The wearing of masks is both for your safety and the safety of others around you.” says Lirandzu Themba, Police Ministry Spokesperson.

A further 834 people were arrested for the sale, dispensing, distribution and transporting of alcohol.

Cele has commended the majority of South Africans who are complying with the adjusted regulations.

“I want to stress the point that the law enforcement agencies do not enjoy making these arrests as these laws are there to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus that’s ravaging our country. However, officers of the SAPS are left with no choice but to act in the interest of saving lives. Therefore, I urge everyone who resides within our borders to respect the laws of this land. The regulations are among our arsenal against this deadly virus and failure to comply with them, certainly will result in more people being infected and more lives being lost.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

NCR urges consumers to spend and borrow wisely in 2021

The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has urged the public to start 2021 on a good note by spending and borrowing wisely.

In a statement, the NCR said some consumers are currently finding it difficult to meet their financial obligations such as school fees, school uniform, transport and rent, among others.

“It is that time of the year where some consumers will feel like ‘Januworry’ is three months long because of their financial situation. Consumers who might need to borrow money or take out credit should read and understand their credit agreements before signing,” said the regulator’s Acting Manager: Education and Communication Anne-Carien Du Plooy.

According to the National Credit Act (NCA), consumers have a right to receive information in a plain and understandable language and to receive reasons from the credit provider if their application is declined.

“If all registered credit providers decline your application, it means that there is a problem prompting a need to work on your finances as your financial woes might be bigger than you realise. This is the time to seek assistance by negotiating for lower instalments with your current credit providers, paying off and closing some accounts.”

This can be done through the downgrading of one’s lifestyle and also through budgeting when one can check what one can eliminate as well as what can be downgraded.

Du Plooy urged consumers to avoid unregistered credit providers such as “mashonisas/skoppers” to access credit as they will pay dearly at the end.

“Unregistered credit providers charge exorbitant interest rates and use other illegal collection mechanisms such as card retention. Consumers should not agree to pay an ‘upfront fee’,” warned Du Plooy.

The fee is charged mostly by unregistered or even fake credit providers before they give the consumer the money they are applying for.

The fee also has several names such as attorney’s fees, release fee and admin fee.

In terms of the National Credit Act, it is illegal for a credit provider to make a consumer pay them upfront.

“Consumers should not confuse this with a deposit as there is no deposit when taking out a loan. The bottom line though, is that the prospective credit provider will never give you the money you are requesting, they will suck you dry before they vanish. Know your rights and spare your money,” she said.

 

The NCR also shared the following tips with consumers:

·        Understand the cost of credit. The cost of credit includes interest rate, once off initiation fees, monthly service fees, credit life insurance, etc. To understand the cost of credit, consumers should be given a pre-agreement statement and quotation (valid for 5 business days). These should disclose all the costs involved in the credit agreement that a consumer signs.

·        Do not sign a blank credit agreement/document - read the content first, understand and ask relevant questions. You may sign ONLY when satisfied.

·        Be honest and truthful when applying. If you are dishonest about your monthly expenses when applying, you will lose the protection offered in the National Credit Act if you need to raise reckless lending in the future.

·        Borrow only when it is absolutely necessary to do so and avoid using credit for consumables such as groceries.

·        Understand credit life insurance - Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of the credit life insurance to avoid surprises when you mostly need the cover from the insurance. Credit life insurance can be a life saver when you cannot repay the debt for reasons such as loss of income, unemployment, disability etc.

·        Pay your debts on time - Paying late or not paying the full instalment will adversely/negatively affect your credit report and in turn your ability to qualify for credit in the future. If you think you cannot meet your monthly instalments, contact your credit providers immediately and try to re-arrange payments. Do not wait until you skip payments.

·        Check your credit report often- You are entitled to a free credit report once a year.


Done By: Mitchum George

Former Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Gerrit Van Rensburg, passes on

Former Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Gerrit Van Rensburg, has died.

Van Rensburg was the MEC from 2009, until his retirement in May 2014.

During his term, the provinicial Agriculture department received four unqualified audits, and was named by the Southern African Institute for Government Auditors as the best department in South Africa for Annual Reporting for three consecutive years.

‘’With his quiet, modest disposition, he distinguished himself as a true leader, a gentleman, a servant leader. He fully appreciated the role and contribution of the agri-worker.’’ said Western Cape Agriculture MEC, Dr. Ivan Meyer.

‘’With this sense of appreciation, he exponentially grew the Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year Competition.  He also recognised the advisory role that the Agri-Workers Prestige Forum could play in building agriculture in the Western Cape.’’ Added Meyer.

Head of the DA Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says the party is saddened by the passing.

‘’Gerrit will be missed by family, friends and colleagues and he will be remembered for his warmth, collegiality and love for his family. We wish his loved ones all the strength they need during this time of grief. May his soul rest in peace.’’

 

Done By: Mitchum George

ECD centres urged to adhere to COVID-19 protocols ahead of reopening

The Western Cape Social Development Department is urging all Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and partial care facilities to follow the respective COVID-19 health and safety protocols whilst re-opening.

‘’The regulations with regards to the adjusted level 3 lockdown do not mention the closure of ECD programmes and partial care facilities. As it stands, the regulations that apply, state that all ECD programmes and partial care facilities can open if the owner ensures that they are operating within the Covid-19 health and safety guidelines, as published by the Department of Health,’’ says Western Cape Social Development MEC, Sharna Fernandez.

“We urge all of those ECDs who are preparing and who have already re-opened, to abide by the ECD operating protocols and guidelines. These measures include extensive safety training for staff, daily screening and handwashing on arrival for both staff and children, staggered arrival times per age group, and age-appropriate education of children about COVID 19. ECD operators must prioritise the health and safety of the children in their care,’’ Fernandez added.

The Social Development MEC thanked ECD workers for a sterling job.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank every ECD practitioner across the province-who play such a crucial role in helping us ensure that our children are not only safe but, teach our children vital skills needed for the school years ahead. Let’s all commit to ensuring the safety of our children - 365 days a year!”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

''January dam levels are the best it has been for many years'', says MEC

The latest average dam levels in the Western Cape is 69.3%, compared to 71% the previous week. The total capacity of dams supplying the City of Cape Town decreased by approximately 1,7% in the last week, from 90,7% the previous week to 89,1%. At the same time last year, dam levels in the Cape Town metro were at 73,5%.

Daily water consumption for the same period increased to 793 million litres per day, compared to 754 million litres the week before.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, says the January numbers are the best it has been for many years.

“For the largest parts of the Western Cape, we are better off as we head into the new year than we have been in years before. However, sections of the Central Karoo continues to experience an unrelenting and harsh drought. The Gouritz River Catchment area that serves the region with water sees average dam levels of 23%, the lowest in the province.”

Bredell has called on consumers to continue using water sparingly.

“We want to thank the public for their ongoing efforts over the past year to use water responsibly, However, we should not ease up on our water savings efforts even in regions where the drought is broken. Optimization of our scarce resources remains critical in a province and a country that is largely semi-arid.”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Monday, January 11, 2021

Masiphumelele residents received temporary structures following ravaged fire

The first set of fire-affected residents in Masiphumelele received new temporary structures, on Sunday, with the most vulnerable prioritised.

The fire on 17 December 2020 razed more than 1 100 structures in the settlement.

The City of Cape Town’s Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi and Human Settlements MEC, Tertius Simmers have been working with National Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to ensure relief and aid are fast tracked to residents of Masiphumelele.

The area was declared a disaster area to enable resources to be allocated for the immediate relief and response to more than 5 000 residents affected by the fire.

In a joint statement, by MEC Tertius and Mayco member, Booi: ‘’An estimated R32 million had been made available to provide temporary structures, water and sanitation facilities to affected residents. Residents will also be accommodated on a nearby sports field. Between 30 and 50 temporary structures are expected to be erected each day. The most vulnerable, which includes the elderly and disabled, will be prioritised.’’

‘'I am pleased to see the progress in Masiphumelele to date, which could only be possible through the joint efforts of all three spheres of government, NGOs and the affected community. Residents that move into their temporary structures also receive a mattress, a food hamper, and some basic cooking and kitchen utensils through the joint efforts of all concerned and affected by this fire. As we continue to speedily work toward all affected Masiphumelele residents receiving temporary structures, we shall also work toward longer term solutions for the community,’’ said MEC Simmers.

The Housing Development Agency (HDA) will meet with the leadership on Tuesday to discuss medium to long-term solutions. A Project Steering Committee will thereafter be established.

‘’This is an enormous task and one that must be done with great urgency. If all goes according to plan, all of the temporary structures on the fire-affected site will be handed over by 22 February 2020.’’ said Councillor Booi.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Law enforcement officers stoned by community members in Khayelitsha

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement officers were stoned by community members in Khayelitsha, while trying to effect a drug-related arrest.

While on a stop-and-search patrol in SST Section, Khayelitsha, two Metro Police officers apprehended a suspect for the possession of Tik, on Sunday.

The suspect resisted arrest and called on community members for help. Some bystanders started pelting the officers with stones, with both sustaining minor injuries. The patrol vehicle was also damaged.

‘’The officers eventually arrested the suspect and managed to get him to the Harare police station, where he was charged with possession of drugs and a dangerous weapon, riotous behaviour, malicious damage to property and disobeying a lawful instruction.’’ said Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

‘’The increased hostility and violence directed at enforcement and rescue service staff is a grave concern to the City. The very people involved in this latest attack, some of whom filmed the altercation and threatened to post it to social media, are the very people who will need assistance tomorrow or next week, and also the very same people who complain about crime. Yet they see no problem with attacking and alienating the very people who risk their lives daily to create a safer environment for our communities,’’ Smith added.

 

 

Done By: Mitchum George

12-year-old boy killed after falling twelve storeys in Durban

A 12-year-old boy was killed on Monday morning, when he fell twelve storeys at a block of flats on Peter Mokaba Road in Morningside in Durban.

‘’Paramedics, arrived on the scene to find the child lying in the garden of the block of flats. Medics assessed the child and found that he had sustained numerous injuries with his vital signs rapidly diminishing,’’ said ER24’s Russell Meiring.

Meiring added that CPR and advanced life support interventions were immediately initiated in an effort to revive the patient.

‘’Unfortunately, after some time, no vital signs returned, and he was declared dead.’’

The details surrounding this incident are unknown, but local authorities were on the scene for further investigations.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the nation at 8pm

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20h00 this evening, on developments in relation to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The address follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.

President Ramaphosa also hosted a virtual engagement, yesterday between government and inter-faith leaders on the COVID-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy which is an inclusive national effort that enables adaptive responses to the shifting pandemic.

This engagement focused on the unfolding pandemic in the country and on the continent, including efforts to secure vaccines for all.

The last time the President addressed the nation was on 28 December 2020, where he announced a return to an adjusted Level 3 lockdown, as well as a new 9pm-6am curfew and another booze ban.

The Presidency announced that Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, tested positive for COVID-19.

Mthembu took the test earlier on Monday after showing some symptoms.

"As per the COVID-19 regulations, Minister Mthembu as well as those who have come in contact with him will immediately self-quarantine," the Presidency said through a statement.

Mthembu is the fourth member of the executive who has tested positive in the past week, along with Employment and Labour Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi, Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo, as well as governance's Obed Bapela.

"We once again urge all South Africans to play their part by continuing to regularly wash/sanitise their hands, properly wear a face mask and practice physical distancing at all times," said Mthembu said through the statement.

The Presidency said the minister remained in high spirits and wishes all those also fighting the coronavirus a speedy recovery.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Cocaine found hidden in a sock in a car's dashboard

Metro Police K9 Savage unit arrested a 30-year-old suspect on Monday, for being in possession of illegal drugs. The K9 Unit was on patrol in Edgemead when they pulled over a Toyota Corolla during a routine traffic stop, and found cocaine hidden in a sock in the dashboard.

‘’While engaging the driver, officers noticed that he seemed nervous, and requested to search the vehicle. (Metro Police K9) Savage (unit) led them to 50 units of cocaine and 5 units of heroin with a street value of nearly R30 000, hidden in a sock in the dashboard,’’ said Ruth Solomons, Metro Police Spokesperson.

The suspect faces charges for the illegal possession of drugs and dealing in drugs.

In a separate incident, a 35-year-old suspect was arrested on Friday after the K9 Savage unit found drugs hidden in the sound system of a vehicle in Goodwood.

Meanwhile, a 40-year-old motorist was arrested last Wednesday, after the K9 Savage unit sniffed out tik and mandrax to the value of nearly R120 000 during a vehicle stop on the N2, hidden in the door panels of the vehicle.

The suspect was detained at Gordan’s Bay Police Station.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

ICASA debunks myth between 5G & COVID-19

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has called on the public to disregard conspiracy theories linking the deployment of Fifth-Generation (5G) technologies and infrastructure to the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the authority said this narrative should be ignored as it was aimed at bringing instability and fear.

ICASA again debunked the conspiracy theories, which first came to light in April last year.

“The Authority would like to reiterate its position that the development of standards for International Mobile Telecommunication for 2020 (IMT-2020) and beyond (commercially known as 5G), is continuing at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); and that the administration, including ICASA, contribute and participates in these processes.’’

ICASA Chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng said the public should only rely on scientifically-based evidence and refrain from baseless theories.

“Some of the frequencies earmarked and trialled for 5G deployment by industry players were previously assigned to various operators in South Africa – way before the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in 2020. Such fake theories can only cause despair and unnecessary technophobia among South Africans and must be strongly condemned,” said Modimoeng.

The authority said South Africa adheres to the relevant standards prescribed by both the ITU and the World Health Organisation (WHO), with the former’s focus being primarily on the regulation of radio frequency electromagnetic field emissions.

ICASA confirmed that type-approved electronic communications facilities, provided in the country adhere to the prescribed standards and that there is no evidence that they pose any health risks to the country and/or its citizens.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Western Cape Government launches urgent court application against Kannaland council representatives for 'prejudicial and unlawful transactions'

The Western Cape Government is taking Kannaland Municipal Council representatives and senior officials to task for their attempts to push through a raft of new “political” staff appointments as well as other potentially prejudicial and unlawful transactions.

The towns of Ladysmith, Zoar, Van Wyksdorp and Calitzdorp fall under the municipality that is in the Central Karoo.

Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell says the appointment of political staff in the offices of the Speaker and Mayor, including an office manager, a driver, a clerk, a ‘political support’ officer and ‘support staff’ is ‘’particularly reprehensible for a small municipality in a financial crisis struggling to deliver services to the community and dealing with the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.’’

“There are ongoing efforts to push through a contract with a private entity for the provision of electricity and water services and infrastructure at a cost of hundreds of millions of rand that would bind the Municipality for more than 25 years. This when National and Provincial Treasury have advised the Municipality that they have not followed due process nor ensured that the process followed was fair, transparent, competitive and cost effective.   It appears that the project will come at a cost of R735 millon which is clearly not affordable when the municipality’s entire available operating budget for 2020/21 is R174 million,” says Bredell.

“The latest conduct of the municipality is not only unlawful, it also undermines the hard-won gains made by the Provincial Government in respect of improving the Municipality’s financial stability and sustainability since 2017. The financial recovery plan put in place for the Municipality, introduced a cost effective and cost saving staffing structure which is now being ignored. This smacks of jobs for pals and is simply unacceptable,” Bredell added.


Done By: Mitchum George

6000 mandrax tablets confiscated in George

A 35-year-old suspect will appear in the George Magistrates’ court on Monday, after George police confiscated 6 000 mandrax tablets with an estimated street value of R300 000.

‘’On Saturday, 09 January 2020 at about 11:40 members attached to the Provincial Detectives Narcotics Section responded to information on a motorcycle that was enroute from Cape Town with a consignment of drugs. The motorcyclist noticed the police members while entering George and turned in an attempt to evade arrest. A chase ensued and the vigilant members managed to stop the motorcycle at Knysna Road, George,’’ says Brigadier Novela Potelwa, Western Cape SAPS spokesperson.

In a separate incident, Manenberg Crime Prevention Unit conducted stop-and-search operation in the area on Friday. They approached a 25-year-old man and searched him, whereby they found him being in possession of mandrax, heroin and tik. The suspect was arrested for possession of drugs, he will appear in the Athlone Magistrates’ court on Monday.

Meanwhile, Elsies River police confiscated mandrax tablets and dagga weighing about 312grams at a house in Leonsdale on Friday.

‘’Police investigation continues to trace the suspect in this incident.’’ said Novela Potelwa.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Family attacked by a huge swarm of bees in Nelspruit

A couple, their two young daughters and their baby girl are all in a serious condition after a huge swarm of bees attacked and stung them hundreds of times on Sunday.

It is understood that the family were out enjoying an afternoon drive through the veld on a nature estate just south of Nelspruit, when they unfortunately drove over a bee's nest.

The bees swarmed and got into the vehicle through the open windows causing the family to panic and run.

‘’The oldest daughter, believed to be about 12-years-old, ran to a nearby farmhouse to get help whilst being continually stung. The Oom of the farmhouse apparently sprayed her with water and told her to jump in the pool before calling for help. He also then drove down to see if he could find the others but had to turn back because of the swarm of angry bees,’’ said ER24’s spokesperson, Ross Campbell.

‘’An ER24 paramedic arrived on the scene at 18:15. Suiting up in his fire gear, the two again tried to find the others. The father was heard screaming for help from a vlei where he had waded into the water with his toddler and baby in an attempt to escape the bees.’’ Campell added.

Paramedics managed to get close enough to grab the baby and toddler and race back to the farmhouse, handing them directly to the ambulance crew who rushed them through to the hospital.

‘’The oldest daughter had also by that time been taken through to hospital for further treatment. More ER24 paramedics had arrived on the scene and they returned to the vlei for the father and managed to find the mother who had run back to their car in all the panic.’’

The couple were treated for the hundreds of bee stings they had suffered and were transported through to join their daughters and receive further emergency care.

 

Done By: Mitchum George


Ilmainen www-laskuri