Monday, April 30, 2007

EMS shortage critical for 2010

By Chanel September
30 April 2007

Plans set by the local health department to double the number of Emergency Medical Service officials for the 2010 World Cup is dire.

According to reports hundreds of EMS officials will be needed to adequately, serve the city during 2010.

In terms of the health department’s service plan, 700 ambulance workers will be needed in the metro area alone. However currently there are only 400 ambulance workers of which 100 were employed by the city in the past year.

According to a weekend paper, possible reasons for the shortage are the minimum age requirement for a professional ambulance driver being 21 and the months of training needed to qualify as an EMS official.

Western Cape EMS Director Cleeve Robertson says, “We are just more than 50% staffed and the recruitment of EMS workers is not going very well”.

Because of the shortage there are only 35 ambulances on the road, when the city possesses a fleet of 45.

Mass strike action planned for May

By George Luanja
30 April 2007

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) has welcomed the decision of its sister union the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) to join it in a nationwide strike by the end of May this year.

The two unions have resolved to demonstrate about the growing anger of public service workers against what they call their employers’ ideological fixation with CPIX policy which they say can only pin worker's wages down.

The unions say they will refuse to work by embarking on an indefinite strike until such time when their employers offer a living wage for all workers.

The unions have also called upon all public service unions to remain united in their collective demands and join them in the rolling mass action leading up to the strike in May.

Among their demands, the unions want a 12 percent wage increase, vacant posts to be filled, staffing levels to be increased, and a review of medical aid and housing benefits.

Public hearings on provincial budget postponed

By Samuel Ndhlovu
30 April 2007

The Western Cape Provincial Parliament has postponed to a later date meetings where the public have been given an opportunity to give inputs on the provincial budget.

In a statement Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Yousuf Gabru says that the decision to postpone the date follows the provincial school holiday being observed today.

The second round of budget meetings by standing committees of the provincial parliament on finance and economic development and the rules committee will take place next week.

The meeting on the provincial department of economic development and tourism will be held on Monday 7th May at 17h00, the budget of the provincial parliament itself on Tuesday 8th May at 09h30 and the provincial treasury on 8th May at 11h30 respectively.

All meetings will take place in the parliament chamber on the 6th floor of the provincial building at 7 Wale Street, Cape Town.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Another cold front predicted for the city

By Chanel September
29 April 2007

After two days of severe downpours, the Cape Town Weather Office says another cold front could be headed for city.

The second cold front is expected to hit the city on Monday morning.

Cape Town Weather Service’s Stella Nake says, “We are only expecting a few light showers in the southern part of the peninsula. Nothing major is expected as compared to Thursday and Friday“.

She added that “the rain predicted is just for tomorrow as the rest of the week should be clear“.

According to reports city municipal workers and disaster management members had to clear away the rock falls and mudslides left behind from the cold front that hit the city on Friday.

Wilfred Solomons of Disaster Management says, “The city's Disaster and Risk Management team and local authorities have been placed on full alert around the clock, after receiving warnings of severe weather for the rest of the long weekend”.

Any flooding, damage and other service disruptions can be reported to the operations centre at 0860 103 054.

City shack fires claim four lives

By Chanel September
29 April 2007

Four people have lost their lives in three separate shack fires across the city.

All three shack fires occurred last night.

In Site B, Khayelitsha one man died and in Zola Asanda Village near Strand it was reported that another man died.

Meanwhile in Bloekoms Bos, situated between Kraafontien and Kuilsriver, a couple died when their shack reportedly set alight, causing another two shack dwellers also to burn down. No injuries have been reported.

The City’s Disaster Risk Management Spokesperson Wilfread Solomons says, “We appeal to all people who are residing in informal shacks to take the necessary precautions when making use of open flames. He urged that they be not left unattended”.

Cape Flats man gunned down

By Chanel September
29 April 2007

A 30-year-old man was shot dead by unknown gun man last night in Main Road, Delft.

According to police, the Khayelitsha man was sitting in a parked vehicle talking to a friend when he was approached by the man on foot.

Police spokesperson Siphokazi Mawisa says, “The suspect fired several shots at the victim wounding him in the face, he died on the scene. The suspect fled on foot and is still at large”.

Police are investigating a case of murder. The motive for the shooting is still unknown, but all possibilities are be investigated.

Anyone with information can contact Delft Police Station on 021 954 9000.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Constable robbed and wounded in shoot out

By Chanel September
28 April 2007

An Observatory police constable has been shot and robbed of his service pistol in a shoot out that occurred yesterday morning.

According to reports the drama unfolded when two officers were patrolling the streets and noticed a bakkie towing a Volkswagen Golf.

One of the officers approached the man in the Golf and the other followed the bakkie.

Police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn says “a scuffle broke out between the officer and the man in the Golf, during which his firearm was stolen. A shoot-out then ensued between the suspect and police”.

She added that “the constable was wounded in the leg and is in a stable condition in hospital”.

Police have opened a case of attempted murder.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Monday, April 30.

Cape hit by yet another taxi shooting

By Chanel September
28 April 2007

The current spate of taxi drivers being shot in Cape Town has increased; with another driver being shot in what police believe is a taxi-related shooting.

The incident which took place on Friday evening occurred in Main Road, Delft.

According to police, a group of unknown men fired several shots to the taxi, injuring the driver and a passenger.

Police spokesperson Siphokazi Mawisa says “a 25 year old male sustained a gun shot wound to his shoulder while another male, in his late twenties, sustained gun shot wound to his left leg. Both males were taken to a nearby hospital and are in a stable condition”.

She added that “the suspects fled the scene and are still at large”.

Police are investigating a case of attempted murder.

The latest shootings follow after a similar incident in Philippi East on Thursday night, when a man was shot dead and two others wounded.

The motives for all the incidents, as well as whether they were linked, are being investigated.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Resident's fight against drug dealers

By Tando Mfengwana
28 April 2007

Mitchells Plain residents have joined police in combating drug dealing in the area. In past weeks residents have marched to tik dealers homes and demanded they stop dealing in drugs.

A daily newspaper reports that in Woodlands, two dealers promised to stop peddling, while the owner of another house threw out tenants he said were using the house for illegal doings.

Mitchells Plain police commissioner Jeremy Vearey said there has been an increase in crime awareness in the township, since he took charge a month ago.

Residents confront drug dealers and police disclose the addresses of homes where police have seized drugs.

Vearey says that recent media reports about the name and shame campaign gave the wrong impression and that people were being branded.

He said that the campaign was about visible policing and that there has not being a single act of vigilantism.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Baloyi yet to pay Fidentia loan

By Tando Mfengwana
27 April 2007

Businesswoman Danisa Baloyi has at least two weeks left to repay R8 million loan from financial services company Fidentia Holdings.

It is reported that Fidentia curator Dines Gihwala confirmed that Baloyi is still to repay the loan.

The loan had a 90 day repayment deadlines and was called by Gihwala on February 15.

Moneyweb reports that Gihwala is in negotiations with Baloyi’s lawyers concerning repayment of the loan.

Baloyi served as the director for Fidentia and as a trustee of the Living Hands Umbrella Trust.

Boy killed in his sleep

By Tando Mfengwana
27 April 2007

A boy was shot dead in his sleep allegedly by a man who had a quarrel with his brother; in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

Two other boys were injured during the incident at a homestead in Nxaxo location near Centane in the old Transkei.

Police spokesperson Captain Jackson Manatha says that the angry man came to his elder brother’s homestead looked through the window and fired several shots at the boys while they sleep.

The boys were actually not his brother’s, but visiting neighbourhood children.

Ten-year-old Ndayi Nande died on the scene. His 13-year-old brother Sinesipho and 16-year-old, Thembela Sobanti were injured.

The two wounded boys are currently in an East London private hospital.

Police found three 9mm bullet cases on the scene.

Police have opened a case of murder and two attempted, and the suspect is still at large.

DA questions the preparedness on the XDR-TB outbreak in the Western Cape

By Odettte Ismail
27 April 2007

The DA is questioning whether the Western Cape is prepared to deal with Extreme Drug Resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), after four TB related deaths in the province could be attributed to the dangerous strain.

Anroux Marais, the DA’s provincial spokesperson for Health says that the “26 people who have been diagnosed with the disease, is only the tip of the iceberg.”

She acknowledges that it is difficult to diagnose the XDR-TB and says that the shortage of nurses adds to the problem. “It is only a matter of time before the true state of affairs is revealed, and by then it may be too late.”

They have called on the provincial Minister of health Mr Pierre Uys to assure the public that they are prepared for a possible outbreak.
The minister’s spokesperson Herman van der Westhuizen said they were unable to comment at the time.

Two taxi-related shooting incidents in Philippi

By Tando Mfengwana
27 April 2007

A 39-year-old man from Khayelitsha was shot dead whilst sitting behind the wheel of his taxi when an unknown vehicle drove past him, last night.

Several shots were fired, one of which hit him in the head. The assailants’s sped off and are still at large.

The deceased passed away on the scene.

Police spokesperson Billy Jones says in another incident two boys aged seven and eight, were wounded by stray bullets when occupants of an unknown vehicle opened fired at a taxi driver in from Philippi-East.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Billy Jones says a 28-year-old man was also sitting behind the wheel of his taxi, and he was shot and wounded in his leg and arm at the intersection of Stock and Lansdowne roads.

The boys were passengers in a passing car. The suspects also sped off and are still at large.

The motives for the incidents, as well as whether the two incidents were linked, are being investigated.

Anyone with information cab contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Western Cape Officials to celebrate Freedom Day

By Ashley Wichman
26 April 2007

Government officials are taking part in Freedom Day celebrations tomorrow, 27 April. The national holiday marks 13 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

Premier Ebrahim Rasool will deliver an address at 11:35 a.m. tomorrow at the Robinvale Sports Ground in Atlantis. He will also pay visit to government projects in the city.

Cape Town residents are encouraged to celebrate with Mayor Helen Zille at Chavonnes Battery in Clock Tower Square at the V&A Waterfront.

The area will boom in celebration as members of the Cannon Association of South Africa fire a series of old cannons across the peninsula. The first cannon will fire at 10:00 am at the False Bay Yacht Club in Simon’s Town and the last will fire in the City Bowl just before noon.

Once the last cannons have fired, the South African National Defence Force volunteer reserve will respond with the firing of guns by the Cape Field Artillery. The mayor will acknowledge the salute by firing an authentic small cannon.

Afterwards, city residents are encouraged to join her for a Freedom Day toast to celebrate the momentous occasion.

The public is being warned that the event will be noisy.

Councillor Draws Attention to Non-paying Customers

By Ashley Wichman
26 April 2007

Ward Councillor Ian Iversen publicized his visits to 15 non-paying residential and business customers this morning in Ward 59, Rondebosch and Newlands.

The visits were designed to call attention to the customers who failed to comply with the city’s warnings that water and electricity would be cut if they did not pay their bills.

“These are people that made no effort to come to forward to the city council to make arrangements to pay off their debt or settle in full,” said Iversen.

Water was cut off at commercial properties and residential customers faced water restrictions.

Iversen said he wanted to visits to send a message of equality to Cape Town.

“You are not exempt from action just because of where you live,” said Iversen.

Probe into mooonlighting EMS workers

By Chanel September
26 April 2007

The Western Cape Health Department is to investigate allegations of emergency medical workers getting financial bonuses.

It is believed that EMS workers are receiving money from undertakers, in exchange for information on accidents and deaths.

The probe, which focuses, on EMS workers moonlighting has surfaced after a Parow family discovered that their son's body had been lying in a funeral parlour for more than five months.

Department spokesperson Faiza Steyn says that, “an investigation is currently under way with EMS just being one of the components of the investigation”.

She added that if anything were found during the investigation, disciplinary action would be taken against the guilty parties.

According to reports there have been numerous emergency medical workers moonlighting as undertakers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

City to host growth and development summit

By Chanel September
25 April 2007

The City of Cape Town is set to host, a Growth and Development Summit this morning which forms part of the city’s plan to grow the economy.

Some 75 delegates will attend, representing the City, Provincial Government, Business and Civil Society.

Director for Economic and Human Development Zolile Siswana says, “The initiative aims to develop and communicate its vision In order to achieve an increased growth in partnership with all its stakeholders”.

He added that the Premier Ebrahim Rasool and Mayor Helen Zille are some of the guests who will be addressing the Summit.

Other matters to be addressed include Business and Education, followed by a round of table discussions.

Grassy Park residents fed-up with selling of drugs in the community

By Tarryn Le Chat
25 April 2007

The community of Grassy Park is fed up with events in which drugs, such as ‘tik’ and heroine, are being sold to children by an alleged police officer in the area.

The alleged policeperson has lived in Grassy Park for the past eight years.

Philip Bam, chairperson of the Logra Civic and CPF, says that the policeperson was arrested on three different occasions for alleged drug-related offences and recently for allegedly intimidating a neighbour.

“The community of Grassy Park has had enough. No action has been taken against him either by the criminal justice point of view or from the departmental point of view. He remains a free man”, says Bam.

Residents have voiced their disgust and have made a plea for all drug lords to leave the area so that their children can have a safe and secure future.

In an effort to curb the ‘evil-doers’ in the community, Bam says the people of Grassy Park will march on 1 May, to deliver an ultimatum to all shebeens and drug lords.

The community has adopted a memorandum against the amendments of the Land Use Planning ordinance that would legalise shebeens.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Four arrest after Platteberg Bay robbery

By Tando Mfengwana
24 April 2007

Four men will appear in the Plettenberg Bay magistrate’s court after allegedly robbing a man yesterday afternoon.

Michael Lond, 71, was approached by two men looking for work, at his house at the Pladda Drive in Plettenberg Bay.

According to police one of the suspects pretended to be looking for work while the other three took cover, and then forcibly opened the door.

The suspects, after gaining entry, stole a laptop and cellphone and fled the scene with the goods worth almost R15 000.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie says that Lond gave a clear description of the assailants, police managed to apprehend them soon after the incident.

Police recovered the stolen items and they will appear in court tomorrow.

Pojie says that they are investigating the possibility that the two might be involved in other burglaries in the area.

Buckle up and keep children safe-Red Cross Hospital

By Odette Ismail
24 April 2007

The Red Cross Children’s hospital say they will promote the use of seatbelts and child car safety belts due to an average of 20 children being injured in accidents every month.

Nelmarie du Toit is the Child Accident Prevention Foundation spokesperson for the hospital, which is a unit that is part of the Red Cross Hospital. She says that roughly 80% of the children who come to the hospital were not buckled up, which could have prevented most of the injuries.

Du Toit says they will use this week to campaign for motorists to buckle up children, who are especially vulnerable in motor vehicle accidents. “It only takes a few seconds to buckle up in any case, says du Toit, and as health professionals we need to set an example so that is why we are promoting this.”

She adds that drivers are overstepping the law if a child younger than 14 years old is travelling in a car equipped with safety belts and seatbelts, without being buckled up.

The hospital will go to approximately 30 to 40 schools this week to promote the importance of buckling up while driving in a car.

City puts in place measures to curb fire-outbreaks

By Nadia Samie
24 April 2007

In anticipation of the upsurge in fires in informal settlements as the weather in Cape Town cools down, the City has put in place measures to regulate possible outbreaks.

In a bid to curb fires in informal settlements specifically, the Fire and Rescue Services will regularly visit high-risk areas to provide advice and fire prevention material to communities.

Newly appointed City Fire Chief, Ian Schnetler says that, together with Disaster Risk Management, the Fire and Rescue Service is identifying members within communities and training them in the basic aspects of first aid and fire fighting methods to assist in the initial stages of fire-fighting.

In addition, a firefighting project called Operation Firewatch was launched earlier this month that incorporates the use of hi-tech computer systems and rapid aerial response.

Each year, thousands of families are left homeless by run-away shack fires in some of Cape Town’s most impoverished areas.

Unions up in arms over 6% increase

By Chanel September
24 April 2007

A proposed new wage increase offer of 6% has been slammed by teacher unions, as they demand an increase of 12%.

According to reports, if the settlement is not reached within the next few weeks, unions will have the right to call for mass action, bringing an estimated 1500 schools in the Western Cape to a standstill.

Earlier this month teachers in the province threatened to strike if their wage agreements were not met by next month.

Head of the National Professional Teachers Union Dave Balt says, “we are disappointed at the state’s offer of only 6%, and are not willing to settle for anything less than a two-figure increase”.

He added that, “that they would also want to interact with the National Minister of Eduation Naledi Pandor on the issue”.

Provincial secretary of the SA Democratic Teachers Union Jonovan Rustin told a daily paper that, “the wage offer was pathetic as the state is offering only half of what we are demanding”.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Police officer arrested for stolen cash

By Tando Mfengwana
23 April 2007

A Manenberg police officer was arrested yesterday, after money went missing during a search operation in Bontebok road, Eastridge, yesterday.

Police spokesperson Billy Jones says that police were carrying out a search warrant specifically targeted at illegal drug activity.

During the search no one was arrested nor was there any items seized.

The female owner of the property, later told police that cash to the amount of R6 200 was missing from a cupboard following the search.

The police commander instructed that the relevant members who were tasked to search the premises and their vehicles be searched.

The money was found in the officer’s vehicle and he was subsequently arrested.

The 28-year-old is due to appear at the Mitchell’s Plain magistrate’s court today on a charge of theft.

DA says Radebe must stop fooling the public around eNatis

By Odette Ismail
23 April 2007

The DA has come out against Transport Minister Jeff Radebe saying he must desist himself from self-gratification that his new electronic National Traffic information system (eNatis) has problems.

Stuart Farrow of the DA says that reports have shown that after eNatis was given an ‘all clear’ from the minister last week, the system is still not fully operational.

A Tshwane metro police spokesperson Superintendent Alta Fourie is quoted in a statement saying that the system kept shutting down on Thursday. Fourie says that in certain testing and licensing stations, passwords had been reportedly changed without public notice. It is believed that this caused a lot of frustration and anger

Farrow says that the system is to help improve client services, but says this is not happening.

The DA appeals to the minister to properly inform the public about the logistics around the new system. Farrow also says that the success of the implementation of eNatis depends on proper communication between the relevant stakeholders.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Protest to take place at District Six

By Odette Ismail
22 April 2004

The Western Cape Anti Eviction Campaign will today hold a protest in District Six around the last remaining 17 households.

The protest will take form of a human chain around the last houses left and many former residents are expected to attend the meeting today.

According to a statement the current residents of the District Six area are all pensioners. Ashraf Cassiem of the Wsetern Cape AEC confirmed that the eldest lady living in District Six was 92 years old. " and she has been living there for 92 years." , says Cassiem.

These people have been living there for years now, but will face being evicted from their homes soon.

The Western Cape Anti Eviction and members of the community has however pushed for an auction to be stopped, but they fear that the residents still might have to face possibilities of eviction

The protest will take place between 12:00 and 14:00 today at Pontac Street, District Six, Cape Town.

Cassiem says that the residents have appealed to everyone and not just former residents to join them in the protest today as they march against the landowner's aim to evict these residents.

NSRI saves the lives of two Johannesburg men

By Odette Ismail
22 April 2007

Lifeguards Africa had alerted yesterday that they needed assistance after two Johannesburg men nearly drowned in the surf in Durban.

At 11h48, the National Ports Authority activated the Vodacom Netcare 911 and Surf Rescue helicopter and NSRI Durnab to assist Lifeguards Africa who had dispatched lifeguards into the surf.

This came after a reported drowning was in progress in front of the ATKV, near Winkel Spruit, near Karridene.

Emergency services responded saw that the 2 lifeguards were using Malibu Rescue Boards to rescue two Johannesburg men aged 48 and 28.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says in a statement that, “Both men were assessed by Netcare 911 paramedics and were found to be in need of no medical assistance.”

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cape Town fire services caught up in veld fire

By Odette Ismail
21 April 2007

The fire brigade has reported that at eleven-o-clock this morning they had been called out to the Phillipi area as grass had been set a light in a veld.

Fire services according to a spokesperson had to send out more people bringing to a total number of 20 people on the scene, to put out the fire.

Two fire trucks and 33water tenders were used during the process. It is confirmed that no-one has been harmed or injured and no property had been damaged.

Fire control staff says they speculate that it might have been a person drooping a lit cigarette but this is not confirmed.

Police arrest two of Bellville Magistrate's court escapees

By Odette Ismail
21 April 2007

Police has arrested two of six suspects who escaped from the Bellville Magistrate's court on Wednesday afternoon.

Police arrested 23-year-old Warren Williams at a house in Delft on the Cape Flats. Fellow escapee Ashley Daniels was arrested earlier in Belhar.

Police caught Ashley Daniels at a house in Libertas Street, Belhar. Vicoleen Abrahams and Ashley Daniels were in custody at the time when they escaped.

The two men were allegedly walking on the R300 and approached another two males. The suspects robbed the complainants of their clothing at gunpoint. Police arrested them shortly after the incident.

Police launched a massive man-hunt search for six awaiting trial last week when they escaped from court. According to police, a male inspector and female inspector accompanied the suspects from one court cell to the next when they were assaulted by the suspects. They managed to escape on foot.

Meanwhile Shuridini Arhmes and Faizel Shaboedine were also in custody at the time of their escape for an alleged Housebreaking and theft. This took place in Heathrow Steet, Delft on Monday.

The other escapee, Ismail Paulsen faces charges of rape.

Freedom Day to be celebrated on Devil's Peak

By Tarryn Le Chat
21 April 2007

This year people of all ages from Cape Town will head to the mountains to celebrate Freedom Day on April 27.

Large SA flags will be waved from the very top of Devil’s Peak. Everyone in the vicinity is requested to turn their eyes to the mountain at 12:00 and to take a moment to acknowledge the cause for which it is being done.

South Africa will be celebrating 13 years of freedom and democracy, however, the country is still faced with many difficult challenges.

The challenges are not beyond the nation’s combined abilities to address.

The event serves to bring the issues to surface so people of South Africa can come together and overcome these struggles that children are facing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Residents angry after MEC fails to pitch up

By Chanel September
20 April 2007

Joe Slovo residents are once again up in arms after they stormed out of a community meeting, to discuss the second phase of the controversial N2 Gateway.

The angry residents walked out of the Langa Sports Complex last night after they found out that Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi would not be attending the meeting.

According to reports residents waited for more than an hour before the announcement was made.

Residents wanted to make their voices heard to the MEC about the problem of adequate housing in the province.

Dyantyi’s spokesperson Vusi Tshose says "the MEC was on his way to the meeting but urgently had to attend a family crisis”.

Tshose added “the meeting would be rescheduled, but a specific date could not be given”.

Last week Dyantyi met with the residents of the N2 gateway where they had the opportunity to list their grievances to the MEC.

Greenpoint stadium is City's biggest capital project

By Tarryn Le Chat
20 April 2007

The 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament is the single biggest event that will help trigger major infrastructure investments in Cape Town.

According to City manager, Achmat Ebrahim, said that the stadium at Green Point and supporting infrastructure for 2010 is the single biggest capital project Cape Town has ever undertaken.

Ebrahim says Cape Town has doubled in size during the past 20 years. With its 3.2 million residents occupying an area of 2 500 per square kilometre, and with 22 000 staff members and a R20 billion budget, the City of cape Town is today the second largest metropolitan authority in South Africa.

Despite a 4% annual increase in Gross Geographic Product (GGP), poverty, unemployment, drug-related crime and HIV prevalence in Cape Town have increased, whilst public transport has deteriorated.

The IDP and draft budget are now the subject of public participation. Once approved at the end of May, these will take effect on 1 July 2007.

The City of Cape Town is striving to achieve a GGP of between 6% and 8%.

SAPS to launch management programme for women

By Tando Mfengwana
20 April 2007

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape has developed a management programme for women.

Glen May, Director of the Carrier Management for Province of the WC SAPS, said that “reflecting on our employment equity targets, we saw that we need a special effort to address factors that hinders women from accessing leadership positions in SAPS.”

SAPS Media Centre director Novela Potelwa, says 20 female officers have been selected to participate in the four-month long programme.

May said, “Besides the academic side of it, we have also identified internal mentors that will assist with the practical applications of the competencies acquired at the course to apply that to the workplace.”

The officers will be trained in Personal management, General Management, Financial management and Strategic Management at the University of Stellenbosch’s School of Public Development and Planning.

May added that they identified "four external mentors who are successful business women and their role is to act as role models, reflecting on their own experiences and values with the officers.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder, Visits Bush Radio

Transcript of interview with Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales who visited Bush Radio during his stay in Cape Town.

The interview was recorded in for the programme Sakhisizwe and aired on the 19th April 2007.

Wales visited the station as part of a tour conducted for him by Bush Radio Managing Director, Zane Ibrahim.

What is a Wiki?

A wiki is basically an internet website that anyone can come and add information to and edit and change. So really it’s a community built resource for people to share knowledge.

Why did you decide to call it Wikipedia?

There’s a Hawaiian word ‘wiki wiki’ which means quick. It’s a quick way for people to collaborate without elaborate software mechanisms. The idea of Wikipedia is to have a quickly written encyclopaedia. So that’s the root of the name.

Where did the idea to start it come from?

The original concept of a free encyclopaedia came from the idea of watching free software. There’s a whole bunch of people on the internet who’ve been writing software, web server software, web browsers, a whole operating system called Linux that competes with Microsoft Windows, basically doing it under a free license so people can share it and copy it and do whatever they want with it. I saw the movement on the internet to create a completely free operating system and I thought, this is actually working, there must be a way to bring more people into doing this kind of cooperation and it doesn’t have to just be about software it can be about anything people want to try to build together.

If this is free, where do you get the money to run it?

Wikipedia is run by the Wikimedia foundation, which is a non-profit organization. We exist completely on donations, and actually most of the money we get comes from the general public, small donations from all over the world. Last year we had donations from 50 different countries. Since we are such a volunteer effort, we only have a very small number of staff. There are only seven full time positions at the foundation. The vast majority of the work is done by people who just have a passion for it and are volunteers working for the internet.

The information that is available on Wikipedia, where do you get it?

It’s written, directly written, by all the volunteers. We have thousands of peoples in 125 different languages or more, who are doing research, editing articles, adding new information, updating things all of the time. We take great pride in the fact that we wrote it all ourselves.

People can edit some information, who can edit it?

Anyone can go and edit almost every single page in Wikipedia. Anyone can just come and hit the edit link, make a change, save it and it goes live immediately. Which is pretty surprising, because it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Because the community has the tools they need to roll things back to a previous version, or if someone’s misbehaving we can block them temporarily, it actually works out pretty well.

There’s some debate around the “exclusionary” nature of the Wikipedia editing. What’s your take on this?

It isn’t very exclusionary, I mean, anyone who has access to a computer anyway can jump online and make a change immediately. And so we try to be as inclusive as possible and really be open to newcomers and really welcome input from anyone who is trying to do something constructive.

You’ve been quoted as saying that students should not quote Wikipedia in projects. What do say to people who question the reliability of Wikipedia’s information?

The main thing about this is that of course students shouldn’t really be quoting from even a traditional encyclopaedia, particularly college students. That really isn’t the right role for an encyclopaedia in the research process. But there’s an additional element too, Wikipedia is edited live, and so we know that the average quality across the board is quite high, but for any particular article at any particular moment, someone might have just messed it up just before you got there. So you do have to treat it with a little bit of caution, and really to check other sources if you really need the information to be reliable. Of course for a lot of purposes that people need you just need the broad background, you’re not going to find something too crazy, you just get the broad background information, if there is couple of small errors here and there. People find it very useful.

How does Wikia fit in?

Wikia is my new project, this is a new company completely separate that I founded. Basically to take the idea of Wikipedia, which is the encyclopaedia, and now say, gee, we see that this works, let’s let everyone else build the rest of the library, the magazine rack; let’s really take this whole community generated content revolution to the next step, so people can do stuff that’s not necessarily neutral, so people are doing political sites, people are doing humour, people can do all kinds of things. Whereas Wikipedia really sticks to being an encyclopaedia. The other big project that Wikia is working on is a search engine. People know of Yahoo! and Google and places where you can go and search for things on the internet. But they keep it very secret as how they do their work, how do they decide which sites to show you and which they don’t. I want to bring a little bit of the Wikipedia style openness and transparency and freely licensed software, all that to the search industry. So that’s a lot of fun, it’s got a lot of attention, and we are just getting started on that project.

The issue of languages, you can find it in various languages. Are there plans to get more?

Yeah, absolutely. Our goal has always been stated as we want to have a free encyclopaedia for every single person on the planet in their own language. We want to have a really good encyclopaedia in every language that has at least one million native speakers. That’s the base line that I look at for important languages. Right now we have about 128 languages that have at least 1,000 articles. But we’ve got another 100 or so started that are still quite small. We’re very eager to have more work in all of the languages of the world. It’s a little difficult because a lot of the languages that are smaller languages, that we are trying to reach, there aren’t a lot of people online yet. If people don’t have access to the internet its hard for us to help them, it’s hard for us to do something for them. But what I’m seeing is, there are about 1 billion people online now. In the next 5-10 years we’re going to see the next billion people online. That’s already going to begin to have a big impact in terms of having enough people to form a critical mass. You know, you can have a really big Wikipedia project with just a couple hundred core volunteers. That’s what they have in German, which is the second largest. We’re always looking at how we can reach out to people and bring more people in the project. That’s part of the reason I travel the world a lot of the time to kind of reach out to people and say, if you have the opportunity to help us, we’d love the help.

How do people get their languages on Wikipedia?

You can contact through the website, you just come and send an email or just leave a notice on a page. There is a page on Wikipedia that is all about new languages. Someone would take a look at your request and then they would create that language and then the first thing you’d be asked to do is to help us translate the software. You don’t have to be a programmer to do that, if you have English and another language, its just things like where it says ‘click here to edit’ you have to put that in your language, like the homepage, things like that, basically translate that, then translate some of the help pages to sort of explain to people how to edit and things like that. Try to reach out. Then people just start in writing an article about their language, their people, their country, and sort of email different people to kind of help people get involved. Sometimes it is a little slow and lonely getting started, that’s why I always say, once we have 1,000 articles that’s when I consider it really started. Because then at 1,000 articles, normally there are 5-10 regulars, they’ve made friends with each other, they are thinking about how to reach out to more people, but we are really eager to get people involved who speak languages we don’t have yet.

You are here as a guest speaker at the Digital Freedom Expo, can you tell us more about it?

It’s at the University of Western Cape, and there’s a group here in South Africa, ICommons, the headquarters of ICommons is here, this is a group that really tries to promote the idea of sharing online, free licensing, free culture, so they organized the whole thing. They invited me; they invited Larry Lessig, the head of the creative comments movement, actually one of the founders of the Apache web server project. All the people who come from the non-proprietary software and culture space to try to get this group together to kind of talk about and present these ideas and get them out there.

International Telecommunications Union suggest that there were approximately 3,6 million Internet users in South Africa in 2004. Our population is over 40 million. How do you think this expo will help the majority of South Africans who are not online?

A big part of what we are trying to do is make all that kind of technology more accessible. If you are having to use a computer that runs Microsoft Windows, you’ve got maybe a $100 extra cost that you’ve got to pay for the software. So we would encourage people to say ‘well don’t use that, that's too expensive and it's not that good anyway, use Linux, it’s free.” There’s actually a project here, Mark Shuttleworth here in South Africa is creating a version of Linux called Ubuntu, which is easy for people to use. It’s this idea of "lets make it easy for people to use and but let’s also make it free." So we want to get those kinds of ideas out there and the other thing is, it's thinking more long term. When people come online, it’s great if they can come online and use the internet in English, but people also really want things in their own language. The people who start a new language on Wikipedia, they may be starting when most of the people who speak their language are not online yet, but they are putting down a base line of something that other people will find interesting, and attractive, and worthwhile to go online for, and sort of get them involved in this global conversation.

What are some of the threats to digital freedom?

I think one of the big threats to digital freedom is these ideas of digital rights management, where everything online would be completely, very tightly locked down and controlled through some encryption technology so you can’t copy your music to something else or you can’t share something with a friend. Another big threat is the patent system, which has completely broken globally, particularly around software. You have threats where the most trivial sort of ideas are patented, and somebody will come to someone like Wikipedia and threaten to shut us down if we don’t pay them a lot of money, when, well, their idea is really nothing. So there’s a lot of people in the community who are trying to fight this by documenting where a lot of ideas come from. A lot of times people may get an idea just sort of bubbling up from the culture on the internet, then patent it as if they invented it, even though there is people who’ve done it before. It’s really hard to fight that if they’ve got money, and lawyers, and it's just like a bunch of stuff on the internet. There is nobody organized to do that. There is a guy, Eben Moglin, who does a lot of work, he is a very well known lawyer in the US who is really trying to say ‘look, you just can’t patent something because you found it on the internet. Right, you’ve got to appreciate that most of the great ideas on the internet are just kind of bubbling up from lots and lots of different people. It’s actually healthier for free speech, healthier for democracy, for sharing knowledge, if instead of having a patent system where people lock things up we say, "let’s not have software patents, it doesn’t help the industry at all, let’s keep it open." That’s one of the biggest threats that I worry about.

When you look at South Africa as a developing country – how have we progressed in digital technology compared to some of the countries you have visited?

So that’s something I unfortunately don’t know a whole lot about, that’s actually one of the reasons why I came here to Bush Radio. Later someone’s going to take me on a tour of the city, we're going to see some things that you wouldn’t normally see. I really feel that as part of my work, I really need to have an understanding of that. I want to help, I can’t do anything myself, it’s all about the community. But if I can help my community understand better what people’s needs are, then we can all work together on it. Hopefully I’ll find out today what the status is.

As an Internet entrepreneur, what advice do you have for the young entrepreneurs out there?

I think for me, it’s a lot about having fun. If you’ve gotten something you think would be an interesting and fun way to live your life and you can find a way to make a living doing it, then that’s really the best. I think a lot of people who want to be entrepreneurs, they would be people like me: I just don’t feel I’m suited for a normal job. I just can’t go to work every day and do something. You really have to find some spark or something that makes you passionate, it could be something really quite simple, if you are starting a restaurant or something, and say "that would be fun for me." If it isn’t fun, then you won’t be able to push through the difficult moments. That’s the only thing that I can recommend.


Wikipedia Founder To Speak At Expo

By Ashley Wichman
19 April 2007

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be speaking at Africa’s first Digital Freedom Expo, held today and tomorrow at the University of Western Cape.

The expo will gather people who work in the free online content industry to discuss and present ideas as well as promote the use of free software.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopaedia which currently has about 128 languages that have at least 1,000 articles, according to Wales. The goal for the website is to have articles in every language that has at least one million native speakers.

Wales said that he welcomes newcomers and would like to see Wikipedia’s articles and language offerings expand.

“The people who start a new language on Wikipedia, they may be starting when most of the people who speak their language are not online yet, but they are putting down a base line of something that other people will find interesting, and attractive, and worthwhile to go online for, and will get them involved in this global conversation,” said Wales.

Wales has also founded Wikia, a company that is currently expanding to work on free access programs in other areas of the internet.

“The big project that Wikia is working on is a search engine,” said Wales. “People know of Yahoo! and Google and places where you can search for things on the internet. But they keep it very secret as to how they do their work, how they decide which sites to show you and which they don’t. I want to bring a little bit of the Wikipedia style openness and transparency and freely licensed software to the search industry. That’s a lot of fun, it’s got a lot of attention, and we are just getting started on that project.”

Part of his first trip to South Africa is to see the state of technology in the country, according to Wales. He said that stopping at Bush Radio was among the things on his agenda that would allow a global community to be built.

“I want to help, but I can’t do anything myself. It’s all about the community. But if I can help my community understand better what people’s needs are, then we can all work together on it.”

Awaiting trial prisoners escape from court

By Chanel September
19 April 2007

A massive police man hunt is currently underway after six prisoners awaiting trial, escaped from the Bellville Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon.

The drama unfolded after an inspector and constable accompanied the suspects from one court cell to another. The suspects then allegedly assaulted the inspector and fled on foot.

Police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn says “the inspector was taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention after which he was released”.

She added that “the suspects are still at large”.

The six suspects and their crimes include Vicoleen Abrahams and Ashley Daniels, armed robbery; Sharudin Ahmes and Faizel Shaboedine, housebreaking and theft; Ismail Paulse, rape and Warren Williams theft.

The escapees are all considered to be dangerous.

Steyn says "we request the public not to apprehend them but instead to contact their nearest police station or Crime Stop on 08600 10 111”.

Over 3000 benefited from City's housing project

By Tarryn Le Chat
19 April 2007

During the past financial year, the Cape Metropole beneficiaries has received 3 000 houses from the City of Cape Town.

The various units form part of a total of 66 housing projects managed by the Council’s Directorate of Integrated Human Settlements. It is financed in terms of the national housing subsidy programme.

The beneficiaries – Mfuleni, Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Nyanga – have received in total 793 homes. Mfuleni has received 506 homes, whilst Langa, Gugulethu and Nyanga have had 287 hostel units being converted.

The best progress recorded has been Kuyasa Town 3 in Khayelitsha with 1 014 PHP houses under construction.

According to their statement, various other places have also benefited from the housing projects, such as Witsand, Brown Farm, Mamre and Wallacedene.

According to mayoral committee member for housing, Dan Plato, a new structure plan is being prepared for the Pelican Park development of 3 300 units. It will consist of a mix of ‘gap’ housing with potential for cross-subsidisation of RDP houses.

Blacks not benefiting from tourism

By Odette Ismail
19 April 2007

Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk on Tuesday announced that black South Africans are not benefiting in the country due to the influx of so many tourists coming into the country.

Van Schalkwyk was speaking at the opening of the First Tourism Black Economic Empowerment Charter Council Conference in Johannesburg.

The Cape Argus reported that he told delegates he regrets saying that there is a long way to go in terms of saying that the tourism industry had set an example for the country when it came to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE).

He went on to say that these problems arise in unlisted companies and small-end businesses where figures of BEE employment do not reflect the required percentage.

Schalkwyk says that statistics reveal that out of six provinces, the average of only 15.6% of over 300 bed and breakfast operations were owned by black operators.

Shocking results also found that out of 90 hotels, 4.4% of these hotels are owned by black people and you would just find that 1% of professional caterers are black.

The minister says that the majority of the country’s population did not benefit from South Africa’s tourism boom in the last few years.

Hostage drama at Adderley street

By Tando Mfengwana
19 April 2007

Parts of Adderley Street in Cape Town were cordoned off, as a hostage drama unfolded in the offices of the Human Rights Commission on Thursday.

Eyewitnesses said the man, about 50-years-old, had taken hostage a top official at the HRC offices in the ABSA building.

Ebrahim Ajaam of SA Law School, which is above the 7th floor, said “an elderly guy came in with a short gun to the Human Rights Commission, he had some gripe with them and he held the manager on the inside, there were shorts fired inside.”

It is believed that there was a dispute about pension.

Jacqueline Christenson also from SA Law School said they were “on the lift when we heard shots being fired.”

“He was there last week and he went there today, they sent him from one floor to another and then he came back with a short-gun.”

Imran Raas said, “we were down stairs and I heard people talking about a hostage drama on the seventh floor, so I went up to take a look. When I got there, a guy came up with a gun and he told me to go away.”

No one was hurt during the incident and police managed to take the suspect into custody.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mathe's health in a bad state

By Odette Ismail
18 April 2007

The health of Annanias Mathe, the former escapee of the C-Max prison in Pretoria, is in a bad condition.

It is believed that Mathe known as the most dangerous criminal in South Africa, is in a wheelchair and very ill.

According to reports, Mathe has fluid on his lungs and has shed quite a few kilograms.

Mathe faces 51 charges, he is being charged with attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, vehicle theft and house breaking.

However he is expected to appear in court later this month.

In last year December just hours after he was arrested, he also experienced health problems. When police arrested Mathe they wounded him. He then had to go for an urgent operation as his blood pressure was reportedly low.

Communities come out in numbers to meet local government

By Nadia Samie
18 April 2007

The Hanover Park Civic Centre was filled to capacity on Tuesday as the venue played host to the Hanover Park leg of the Western Cape Imbizo Focus Week, under the theme: "Social Mobilization for Development and Safer Communities".
About 700 residents turned out for the meeting with Premier Ebrahim Rasool.

Some of the issues raised include: the state of the Hanover Park hospital, water cut-offs and unemployment. Drug-use and drug dealing featured prominently – a resident, Fatima Adonis, spoke of her concern for children whose parents were using drugs. Community members were particularly outraged at the high level of tik use in communities. Housing was also a recurrent theme, as was the overcrowding faced by the schools in the area.

Proposals put to Rasool by the Hanover Park residents included: writing off of debt for the poor and the indigent, provision of grants for youth between the ages of 15 and 18 years and the building of a police station in Hanover Park.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening at the Anglican Church in Manenberg, about 500 people gathered to meet with Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi, Transport MEC Marius Fransman, Education MEC Cameron Dugmore and Environment Planning and Economical Development MEC Tasneem Essop.

"We need communities with an organized structure like the Proudly Manenberg structure that can work with government," Rasool said, before dashing to the next imbizo in Mitchell's Plain.

At the same time at the Westridge Civic Centre, around 700 people turned out to air their views. Crime, drugs, gangsterism, employment, housing and grants were some of the issues that featured prominently. Sitting on the podium with the premier was Social Services MEC Kholeka Mqulwana, Health MEC Pierre Uys, Community Safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane and several senior officials.

On Wednesday, the Sports Complex in Gugulethu will be the venue, and at the same time an imbizo will be held at the Oudtshoorn Town Hall. Both start at 7pm.

On Thursday, Imbizo Focus Week will come to an end with the final meeting at the Retreat Civic Centre.

New strategy to curb the city's sewage overflows

By Chanel September
18 April 2007

An innovative strategy using mobile and fixed power generation plants are to be implemented, to help curb possible sewage overflows.

According to a report of the Utility Services Portfolio Committee there are 501 pump stations in the metropole.

Of these, 376 are used to pump sewage while others are used to pump portable water in higher lying areas.

Over the past eight months 33 of the sewage pump stations failed, this due to local power failures.

Chairperson of the Utility Services Portfolio Committee, Clive Justus says in a statement “the city has considered installing standby generators at all sewage pump stations”.

He added that “this would come at a cost of R30 million; however the perfect functionality of the strategy could not be guareenteed”.

Appeal refused in FNB dispute

By Tarryn Le Chat
18 April 2007

First National Bank will be petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) following its decision to refuse leave to appeal in FNB’s dispute with the National Lotteries Board around the legality of its Million-a-Month Account (MAMA).

The Pretoria High Court denied FNB leave to appeal a December 2006 judgement that the million-a-month account savings product was in contravention of the Lotteries Act.

According to their statement, FNB will petition the SCA as it strongly believes that another court could arrive at a different decision.

The MAMA monthly draws will continue after the petition has been lodged and no funds or deposits are under threat.

The report states that FNB has paid out over R35 million since the launch of MAMA product in January 2005, plus 1.8 million eBucks as part of stimulating a savings culture in South Africa.

More arrest in Lansdowne cash heist probe

By Tando Mfengwana
18 April 2007

The two guards, who were apprehended in Delft on Monday on their alleged involvement in a cash in-transit heist, are the same ones that were robbed in Lansdowne on Monday.

Police investigations led to the arrest of a 24-year-old male suspect in Delft, on Tuesday morning.

A stolen blue Mazda Bantam bakkie was, with other expensive items were confiscated on the scene.

Police spokesperson Captain Elliot Sinyangana says the suspect is facing charges of armed robbery and being in possession of a stolen vehicle.

Police have not confirmed the amount of money that was stolen from the scene.

At least six armed men are believed to have been involved in the cash van heist on Seventh Avenue, Lansdowne.

Four suspects have been arrested and the other two suspects are still at large.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Three arrested after cash van heist

By Tando Mfengwana
17 April 2007

Police arrested three men at a house in Delft after a Coin cash-in-transit van was robbed yesterday.

The suspects allegedly robbed the van on Monday at about 12:55 at Seventh Avenue in Lansdowne. It has been reported that the perpetrators had taken nine boxes containing an undisclosed amount of money.

Police confiscated the money at the house, where two Coin Security Guards, aged 29 and 34 respectively, with a 31-year-old man were apprehended.

Police Spokesperson Captain Elliot Sinyangana said the suspects will appear at the Wynberg Magistrate court on the 27/04/19.

Community Information Network

By Tarryn Le Chat
17 April 2007

# Youth for understanding south Africa (YFU), an international student exchange programme, Is looking for host families who are willing to host for 35 high school pupils from around the world for a year. They come from Chile, Austria, Estonia and Finland, among other lands. You can email or call Pietie Badenhort or Tebogo Mokgejane on 021 946 3773 for details.

# Dementia SA has support groups and offers professional advice for people dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Email accounts or call 021 421 0077 or fax 021 418 2772 for details.

# The South african Riding for the Disabled Association (Sarda) will have a car boot sale, at the Sarda Centre, Brommersvlei Road Constantia on Saturday April 21 from 10am to 1pm. The cost is R25 for traders and browswers enter free. Contact Elaine on 072 330 9193.

# Unemployed people aged 22 years and older can apply for the Lora Community skills Training Centre’s courses in basic plumbing, basic electrical and welding courses which cost R50. Apply with your South african ID book at Logra, between 9am and 12:30pm, corner of first and Klip roads, Grassy Park. Call 021 706 7161 for more information.

# Stikland Hospital presents monthly talks on mental health as an outreach to the community and the next one takes place on Thursday April 19 from 6pm unitl 7pm. The topic is panic atttacks and the talk will take place in the auditorium in the nursing college of the hospital. Call Madeleine swart at 021 940 4591 or 082 434 7377.

# The Heathfield Voluntrey Workers will present a Kareoke/dance on Friday May the 4th from 7:30pm to 1am at the Square Hill community hall on the corner of Caoncert Boulevard and Allenby Drive in Retreat. Entry is R25. You can call Garret Braaf on 021 712 2397 or 072 418 8322 for details.

If you have any information for the CIN team please feel free to send us an email to you can also contact us on 021 448 5450 or fax us on 021 448 5451 if you have misssed any of the numbers mentioned.

Reaction to Krugersdorp gang violence incident

By Odette Ismail
17 April 2007

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has reacted with great dismay after the alleged gang violence incident in Krugersdorp prison over the weekend.

This comes after six warders appeared in court in connection with the deaths of three inmates.

Manelisa Wolela spokesperson for correctional services told reporters that the three men have been released on bail of R1000 each. They are to appear in court again next month.

It is believed that the men have been suspended and the length of the suspension depends on the outcome of court and internal proceedings.

The men allegedly assaulted prisoners on Saturday night after a gang fight, they were taken to hospital but died soon afterwards.

POPCRU says they condemn such behaviour in the strongest sense.

Pat Ntsobi, national spokesperson for POPCRU says that overcrowding in prisons is making it difficult for officials to provide strict security.

“It is about time that government should pay particular attention to overcrowding, security and staffing in prisons, says Ntsobi.

Ntsobi says that they are certain that if the situation is probed, the same issues raised by them will be pointed out. “Inmates are in prison for rehabilitation not to be killed, says Ntsombi.”

Duo to remain under police custody

By Chanel September
17 April 2007

A request to transfer the two men accused of murdering a Woodstock police officer, was refused by a Cape High Court Magistrate yesterday.

Magistrate Jashtree Steyn ruled that the two would remain in custody at the Bellville South Police Station after there was an appeal to transfer the men to Pollsmoor Prison.

He remanded them until April 23.

The twosome aged 25 and 22 were arrested after Inspector Lourens le Roux was shot and killed outside the Woodstock Police Station last week.

Prosecutor Junatia Swartz told a daily paper that information still had to be gathered pertaining to bail.

She added that there are numerous other cases pending against the two.

Trade unions take on security companies

By Tarryn Le Chat
17 April 2007

Global security company, Group Four Securicor which has already attracted a lot of international criticism for its poor treatment of workers will find itself in worse trouble after a group of eminent persons made their findings about them after a visit to Southern Africa.

SATAWU, COSATU and the international delegation will hold a joint press conference at the Parktonian hotel in Johannesburg today at 11.30am.

According to their statement, a statement of their findings will be read, accompanied by a course of action to be taken both by our fellow trade unions as well as our international counterparts.

The forum will also be used to formally introduce the Legal Fnd for abused African workers.

The international delegation will compromise of academics from the London School of Economics as well as trade union leaders from the US and the UK as well as other social groupings from Europe and the America.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Men sought for Muizenberg murder

By Tando Mfengwana
16 April 2007

Police are searching for a man who is believed to be involved in the murder of a motorist on a beach near Muizenberg on March 30.

The motorist and five friends where parked along Baden Powell Drive when three men approached.

The three men ordered them to get out of the car, the driver was alleged stabbed several times after he resisted.

The three suspects search the others and robbed them of their cellphones, jewellery and cash.

They escaped with the victims silver Jetta.

Police found the car in the possession of a man who was caught driving the car without its number plates.

Investigation officer Detective Constable John Engelbrecht said they are looking for Selwyn Davids.

It is reported that Davids is also wanted by the Mitchells Plain police on other charges.

Muizenberg police are requesting anyone with information to contact Constable Engelbrecht on 083 974 9107 or call crime stop on 0860 10111.

Shack fires reduced due to firefighting project

By Chanel September
16 April 2007

A groundbreaking firefighting project has been launched in Cape Town.

Operation Firewatch is making a difference, as since its implementation there has been a decrease in the number of shacks destroyed during the day.

Fires are identified though strategically placed cameras that send live images to a centralised computer-monitoring centre.

A fixed-wing bomber aircraft and helicopter then drops Class A1 foam to contain and cool the fire.

The cameras are monitored around the clock at the Goodwood Fire Control centre making fire dispatchers able to send aerial and ground fire crews, to shack fires across the city.

Cape Town's acting fire chief Sebastian Martin told a weekend paper it is difficult to pinpoint how many houses Operation Firewatch had already affected, but he was certain that thousands had been saved by the use of helicopters.

Khayelitsha residents want housing crisis resolved

By Nadia Samie
15 April 2007

Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool, joined by MECs Tasneem Essop, Leonard Ramatlakane and Whitey Jacobs attended an imbizo at the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha on Sunday.

Some of the issues raised by the approximately 600 residents who attended include: housing, the high level of unemployment, a lack of skills training in the townships and youth at risk.

Addressing the meeting, Rasool spoke about a number of interventions to combat the problems raised, adding that by the end of 2007 the provincial government would be ready to confirm the building of two new primary schools in the area, as well as a new high school and a specialised mathematics, science and technology school in Khayelitsha.

On the issue of crime, Rasool said the bulk of police money would be focused on the 15 problem areas that have been identified. He was referring to the 15 areas that were highlighted in his State of the Province Address in February. He added that meetings had already been held with Community Safety MEC Ramatlakane and the provincial police department to discuss the progress in implementation of crime prevention strategies. The Premier conceded that, while crime has come down in the area, it is still not at a satisfactory level.

Reflecting on the progress made since the last imbizo which President Thabo Mbeki had held in 2005 in Khayelitsha, Rasool said: “I want to say to you that when we were here the last time for an imbizo it was with the president and the whole hall was full and you were complaining about many things that were going wrong. That year you were complaining about people not getting pensions and grants, this year there’s no complaints and it says to me that we have listened to you and we have sorted out pensions and grants and very few people are not getting it in Khayelitsha. That year you told the president that there were not enough police. Today, many people were thanking the police,” Rasool said.

Thus far, some of the benefits of the 2010 World Cup to Khayelitsha have included planning for a 4 kilometer extension to the railway line, railway police to make trains safer and camera’s at the train stations.

Rasool also urged communities to work together with neighbouring areas such as Mitchell’s Plain in order to fast-track development initiatives.

"We want the residents of Khayelitsha and the Khayelitsha Development Forum to hold hands with the people of Mitchell’s Plain to make sure that we all develop together, not to have all the resources going into one area not another so that the resources are distributed equally and then we can all develop together."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cape Town B-Boys jet to Paris for B-Boy World Cup

By Chanel September
15 April 2007

Break dancers from across Cape Town gathered at Ratanga Junction on Saturday to battle it out for the South Africa Hip Hop Cup.

However it was Cape Town’s top four hip hop break dancers that walked away with the title.

The wining B-Boys Charl, Mr Miagi, Sam and Brandon will represent South Africa in Paris at the World B-Boy Cup, along with last years winners, B-Boy brothers Dunane and Jed Lawrence .

The team will consist of a six person team and will be required to complete a seven minute set, two at a time.

Lawrence says “they held the event to recruit new group members, but to also give people from all backgrounds a chance to showcase their talent”.

He added that “hip hop is overgrown in South Africa but in some ways also still underground”.

The boys leave for Paris in June as the competition kicks of on the 30.

ANC coucillor Joka - gunned down

By Chanel September
15 April 2007

ANC councillor and SA National Civic Organisation’s executive member, Mteteleli Joka was gunned down in Gugulethu last night.

The 41-year-old Joka was walking home when shots was fired at him by people on foot.

The killing appears to be an assassination.

According to reports it is determined that allegations of infighting within Sanco could have sparked the shooting.

Provincial spokesperson for the ANC Garth Strachan says “the ANC condemns the killing of councillor Joka”.

Strachan added that “this killing and the killing of the police officer in Woodstock reaffirms that we need to mobilise communities”.

He called on the community of Gugulethu to come forward with any information that could help bring the culprits to book.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Residents of the Western Cape urged to make their voices heard

By Chanel September
14 April 2007

A call has been made to all residents of the Western Cape to take a firm stand against drugs and crime.

This call forms part of local government’s iZimbizo week which focuses on the problems and concerns of 15 areas in the province.

Premier Ebrahim Rasool says “we urge communities to take a firm stand and join forces with police and government”.

He added that “our communities are affected by drugs, crime and gangs on a daily basis and this forms part of governments plan to fight the problems”

The Premier, provincial ministers and government officials will embark on two iZimbizo’s over the weekend.

The residents of Nyanga had their opportunity to air their views today but all residents living in Khayelitsha can meet with the Premier tomorrow, April the 15 at the, O.R. Tambo Hall in Mew Way, Khayelitsha.

Enviromental association's urgent interdict on Green Point Stadium fails

By Tando Mfengwana
14 April 2007

Premier Ebrahim Rasool has hailed the failed court bid to stop progress on Green Point Stadium.

The Cape Town Environmental Protection Associations asked the Cape High Court for an urgent interdict against the Stadiums demolition.

The association’s lawyers, city and provincial representatives and Fifa’s local organising committee met a judge in the chambers on Friday afternoon.

In a statement Rasool said he is confident that their planning processes were thorough, and that the association’s case will be refuted in court.

He said the city was well on its way to hosting the semi-final on a new Green Point Stadium in 2010.

SA "golden boys" sacked from home team

By Chanel September
14 April 2007

Three of the four members of the South African men’s relay team, that ensured a gold medal for South Africa at the 2004 Athens Olympics, has been dumped from the national swimming squad.

Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns and Darian Townsend have all been sacked from the squad, for failing to turn up at the national swimming championships in Durban.

The championships took place this past week.

Swimming South Africa confirmed that the three will not be considered for the national swimming squad, this according to The Week End Argus.

This will also prevent the South African swimmers from competing in the Fina World Cup.

According to Schoeman a lack of funds prevented him from attending the competition, but Jace Nadioo SSA president says the same restrictions will be applied to others who don’t turn up for the Durban event.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cop killer suspects arrested

By Odette Ismail
13 April 2007

Police last night arrested two suspects believed to have shot and killed a Woodstock police officer while sitting in his car outside of Woodstock police station.

Two suspects will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of murdering Detective Inspector Lourens le Roux.

According to police, le Roux had just parked his vehicle outside the police station when the suspects stopped next to him in a red BMW and fired shots wounding him in the head and stomach.

Police spokesperson Captain Randall Stoffels says after a massive search for the suspects who fled the scene, two males in their early twenties were caught in Mitchell’s Plain yesterday evening after the vehicle was found abandoned in the area.

The motive for the killing is still unknown, according to reports police have denied rumours that the policeman was shot due to him working on a sensitive murder case.

Woodstock residents were still gathering in the area yesterday evening where le Roux had been shot, saying that they would miss him dearly as he was a good policeman.

He leaves behind his wife and two teenage daughters who are deeply traumatised by the whole incident.

New website to track crime trends

By Tando Mfengwana
13 April 2007

The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention has launched a new website, which will provide available data on crime trends in the Country.

The website will combine victim data and police statistics on crime, mapping crime trends around the country.

Patrick Burton, CJCP research director told a daily paper, that the mapping tool will bring together data on which trends can be mapped and easily identified over a certain time period.

The website provides a breakdown of crime trends in two categories, murder and housebreaking.

The data has not been analysed yet, it has only been pre-packaged.

Burton said that there is the intention to analyse the data, but at the moment they want people to analyse it themselves.

The website can be found on

iZimbizo kicks off in Paarl

By Nadia Samie
13 April 2007

The Western Cape Provincial government met with the Paarl community on Thursday evening, successfully kicking off a week-long series of iZimbizo.

Chaired by MEC for Agriculture Cobus Dowry, the imbizo – in the Cape Winelands/Drakenstein municipality – was attended by Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool as well as Draakenstein Mayor Charmaine Manuel and the mayor of the Cape Winelands District, Alderman Clarence Johnson.

About 750 residents and community leaders from the areas of Wellington, Paarl East, Gouda, Hermon and Mbekweni showed up at the imbizo to raise questions around housing, education and health. Many question put to the Premier, the MEC and the two mayors' focused on the theme for the iZimbizo week, which is: "Social Mobilization for Development and Safer Communities".

Many residents also expressed concern about the high-level of tik abuse in the area, with many saying that they are fed up with the many drug houses in the vicinity. The quality of policing also came under the spotlight in the crammed Hogenote Community Hall.

The premier spoke about the importance of creating partnerships between government and communities, in order to turn around the scourge of drug abuse and drug-fuelled crime. He said that on the one hand, communities complain that government is not doing enough, while on the other, communities are probably not doing enough themselves to rid there surroundings of negative elements.

The Proudly Mannenberg campaign was cited as a shining example of how the various sectors of society and government can work together to build safer communities for all those who live in the Western Cape. The Premier put out a challenge for the Paarl community to do the same.

The imbizo kicked off at 19h30 and – in high spirits – continued until 23h00.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cosatu to picket against R500 bail of alleged perpetrators

By Tarryn Le Chat
12 April 2007

The Congess of South African Trade Unions in the Free State and Northern Cape provinces will be picketing in front of the Fouriesburg Magistrates Court today.

The union is demanding that a heavier penalty be imposed against perpetrators who allegedly tied up two girls three weeks ago.

The perpetrators had been given a R500 bail.

Cosatu believes that it is a disgrace and shame to the people of the Free State and the country.

The demonstration will start from 9am till 1pm and it will be attended by members of the tripartite alliance and the community of Fouriesburg.

Premier to hold Izimbizo around the province

By Tando Mfengwana
11 April 2007

Western Cape Premier, Ebrahim Rasool is hosting Izimbizo’s around the Western Cape to listen and address concerns of communities from the 12 till 19 April.

This years theme for the Izimbizo is "Social Mobilization for Development and Safer Communities"

The Premier will attend the following areas, Elsies River/Bishop Lavis, Hanover Park, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Paarl and Philippi.

This is part of the National Imbizo focus Week where gatherings take place countrywide, with society engaging the elected government on issues affecting their lives.

Tomorrow the premier will be at the Hugenote Community Hall in Paarl at 19h00 and at the Zolani centre in Nyanga on the 14th of April at 11h00, along with other government officials.

Rasool identified 15 high-priority areas that called for action against crime in his state of the province address and these areas will form the core of the Imbizo week.

The Premier strongly encourages all people to go to the Imbizo's in their area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Breadasdorp teenager's body found

By Chanel September
11 April 2007

A two day search for the missing teenager from Breadasdorp has drawn to a close.

Ashlin Ekseen’s body was found by police divers at Arniston beach not too far from where she went missing over the Easter weekend.

The 13-year-old girl who attends Albert Myburgh Secondary School, went missing on Sunday after a family outing to the beach.

It is believed that Ashlin was swept out to the sea by a rip current while swimming with her 17-year-old sister Allison.

Reports of no lifeguards present at the time surfaced, as her family and holidaymakers search in vain to find her in the sea.

National Sea Rescue Spokesperson, Craig Lambinon says “local divers spotted the girl’s body during an on-going grid pattern dive search”.

Solidarity to host conference on crime against children

By Ashley Wichman
11 April 2007

Trade union Solidarity’s Helping Hand Fund is hosting a conference tomorrow to discuss crime against children in South Africa and the murder of Sheldean Human.

Deputy General Secretary for Solidarity, Dirk Hermann, said that the emotion, protests, and action surrounding Sheldean’s murder needs to be taken further.

“We want to look more in depth at crimes against children. We hope that this conference will help. If we can only help one child through this conference, it will be great,” said Hermann.

A report will be discussed that looks at various elements in the Sheldean case study in order to address greater problems of crime against children, according to Hermann.

The report found that more than three children are murdered every day in South Africa, and a child is raped every 24 minutes.

The conference will take place tomorrow afternoon on Thursday at Tuinrand Primary School, Pretoria Gardens.

Attacked five-year-old boy recovering in hospital

By Odette Ismail
11 April 2007

The five-year old Delft boy who was hit on the head with a golf club by suspected drug dealers is recovering in hospital.

Personnel at the Tygerberg Hospital, where Vincent van Nel is recuperating confirmed that he had surgery on his head, but says he is doing well and has been discharged to a ward.

The boy had been in his home over the weekend after his father allegedly sent the suspects to the house to get money for the drugs he bought.

Grace van Nel, the boy’s mother told Die Burger that she often had to give money to her husband to support his drug habit.

Vincent’s aunt was caught in the middle of a brawl between the men and Grace’s son. She is believed to have been struck in the chest.

Police spokesperson Billy Jones says that a 54-year-old suspect has been arrested yesterday afternoon.

Local high school takes part in global project

By Tarryn Le Chat
11 April 2007

A high school in Gugulethu has taken part in a global project which aims to provide pupils in poor communities with the latest in what technology has to offer.

The project had been launched in 2004 at a World Economic Forum annual meeting.

The main aim is to enable affordable internet access and computing capability for 50% of the world’s population by the year 2015.

Nelson Mandela High School in Gugulethu in one of seven schools in South Africa earmarked for the project.

When the new term begins next week, they will have access to a fully fitted computer centre with hi-tech electronic devices.

According to reports, the deputy principal, Owen Molakeng, says it will be the first time that pupils will use the internet. Teachers will also be using the computers for activities and lesson planning.

After hours, the computers will be made available to members of the community.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Warning for child maintenance defaulters

By Tando Mfengwana
10 April 2007

The Independent Democrats has launched a campaign aimed at ensuring that fathers who don’t pay maintenance, be held accountable, at the Mitchells Plain Police Station.

ID spokesperson Florence Batyi who launched her campaign today, is said to have already sent around 25 men to jail for failure to pay maintenance.

She says the reason she chose the Mitchells Plain area is because there is that “it’s such a big place and there such a lot of maintenance defaulters.”

Batyi is using court records to get police to arrest men who don’t pay up their maintenance, and the campaign is expected to continue to the Wynberg magistrate’s court on Thursday.

She gave a stern warning to defaulters and said “I want to say to the men out there, enough is enough.”

Teachers threaten to strike if demands not met

By Chanel September
10 April 2007

Teachers from schools in the Western Cape have threatened to strike, if wage demands agreements are not met by next month.

Teacher unions and government have been in talks for weeks to resolve the dispute between the parties.

The South African Democratic Teachers Union’s wage negotiator, Shireen Pardesi says that government is refusing to meet the union’s demand of 12 %.Instead they offered 5.3% increase.

According to reports government is also pushing for a multiterm agreement, which would mean unions will be able to negotiate for an increase until 2011.

Pardesi says that they will not planning to back down until their demands are met.

She added that talks are being held this week in an effort to reach an agreement as meetings have been scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Table Mountain muggings on the down low

By Odette Ismail
09 April 2007

There has reportedly been no report of any muggings on Table Mountain over the Easter weekend.

Volunteers of the Table Mountain Safety Action Group (TSMAG) told the daily paper that they were deployed along necessary routes since Thursday.

Volunteers went on bicycles yesterday to do a test run fro next weekend.

This was the first run for the TSMAG, in which they are promoting a safer environment for locals and tourists in the mountain after number of muggings took place.

Ray Chaplin spokesperson for TSMAG says, "The Table Mountain Safety Action Group, as mandated by Table Mountain National Park, is actively looking for suspected criminals and potential victims .The volunteers undertake patrols and observation, as well as education of the public."

Chaplin also confirms that people are more aware now and he noticed that people come in groups rather than walking alone.

Permanent signs of dangers may also be erected to warn hikers. Chaplin says he would like to involve the informal car guards to be on alert for criminals as he wants this initiative to be wider than just public involvement.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Grassy Park residents up in arms over policeman's drug charges dropped

By Odette Ismail
09 April 2007

The Grassy Park community have threatened to take the law into the own hands after a policeman accused of dealing with drugs had his charges dropped.

Police arrested detective Reginald Daniels at his home in Grassy Park during a raid in December. They found 31 packets of tik at his house.

In February Daniels was allegedly found in possession of drugs while on bail, according to the Cape Times.

However Daniels told the Wynberg Magistrates Court that police allegedly planted the drugs and this charge was dropped.

Communities are believed to be frustrated as they feel the justice system is failing them. Some even feel like taking the law into their own hands.

Daniels is currently back at work and his case is still pending.

Easter fires leave one dead and 800 homeless

By Odette Ismail
09 April 2007

A blazing shack fire in Borcherds Quarrie near the N2 yesterday left one man dead and roughly eight people homeless.

Johan Minnie, spokesperson for Cape Town disaster management, told a daily paper that, in Kraaifontein 25 people were left homeless after a fire damaged two buildings and shacks in an informal settlement.

The 800 people who were left homeless after four Easter Weekend fires had their communities hand over food and clothing to them.

No injuries or deaths however were reported in these fires which were in Khayelitsha, Fish Hoek and Milnerton, but 200 dwellings were reportedly destroyed.

Then on Friday the Table Mountain National Park staff started a fire as part of a controlled burn to remove all fynbos. Strong winds and high temperatures caused the fire to become more intense, however no large animals were injured in the process.

It is believed that the fire does not cause any ecological damage but is indeed good for the area.

Phillip Prins, the park’s fire manager told reporters that in a few months’ new flowers and shoots will pop up. The reason for the old veld being burnt was to make way for new veld which is better for grazing.

Youth drowns off Arniston Beach

By Odette Ismail
09 April 2007

A twelve-year-old Bredarsdorp girl is presumed to have drowned yesterday afternoon when she was swept out to sea by rip currents in Arniston Beach.

Emergency services in Arniston were activated following reports that three people drowned off the beach.

The National Sea Rescue Institute Agulhus (NSRI) launched their rescue craft, the Vodacom Netcare 911 helicopter as well as the Overberg Fire and Rescue helicopter.

Craig Lambinon of the NRSI says, on arrival on the scene they discovered that the 12-year-old was swept away. Her 17-year-old sister tried to help her but was also dragged in to the sea, however she made it back safely to shore.

It is believed that a local fisherman also tried to help rescue the girl, but couldn’t get her, as the girl disappeared in the current.

Police divers are still looking for her. A full -scale air, sea and shore search has been launched, but ‘The youth is presumed drowned.’

FPB overzealous - DA

By Tando Mfengwana
09 April 2007

The Democratic Alliance says that compliance officers of the Film and Publications Board are removing materials from shelves of DVD stores in absence of any evidence.

DA spokesperson Sandy Kalyan says that Compliance officers in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal should stick to their core mandate and not become police officers.

She said that compliance officer’s modus operandi should be checked, because some DVD outlets may have to shut down and many people will loose their jobs.

The FPB’s mandate is to classify material for the protection of children from potentially disturbing and harmful materials within films, videos, games and publications.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

90 die in 70 accidents during Easter

By Tando Mfengwana
08 April 2007

The department of Transport said that 90 people have been killed on South African roads during the Easter Weekend.

Independent Online reports that the deaths were recorded in 70 accidents around the country during that period.

Department spokesperson Ntau Letebele says that 17 of the dead were drivers, 38 were passengers and 35 pedestrians.

He said that use of alcohol was the main cause of these accidents.

Letebele said statistics show that drunk drivers forget to dim their headlights for oncoming traffic, changing speed and lanes for no obvious reasons and ignoring stop signs.

Other attributes were that drunk drivers tend to drive on shoulder lane or towards the centre lane.

Drivers are warned to be vigilant and exercise care when driving.

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