Saturday, February 28, 2009

NSRI assists fishermen in Knysna

By Yamkela Xhaso
28 February

Yesterday in Knysna the National Sea Rescue Institute went to assist the fishing trawl called Umpho.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said they were 15 nautical miles off Knysna. Umpho had 8 crew on-board, reporting to have their fishing nets fouled in their motor propellor and although in no forthcoming danger, in calm sea conditions but they required assistance.

NSRI diver managed to rescue the vessel and the fishermen continued fishing.

Young girl found abandoned

By Yamkela Xhaso
28 February

A member of the public from Eersteriver came to the Mfuleni
Police Station on Wednesday the 25th of February to report that she found a little girl standing next to the road opposite the Delmont Farm turn-off on Strand Street.

The girl could only provide her name, and because of the time she was placed in the care of the lady on a form 4.

Police members went to the farms on Strand Road but could not find the parents .

She is between the ages of 3 to 5 year old girl, brown in complexion answers to the name, Estrelita. She is dressed in pink & white check shorts with yellow piping at the bottom seam, white halter-neck shirt with two green stripes at the bottom, light blue sandals, she has short curly hair.

Should any person recognize the child they are requested to
contact Captain Anneke van der Vyver of Mfuleni Police Service on 082 302 8118or 021-909 9318

Successful launch of housing scheme

By Cindy Witten
28 February 2009

The launch of the multi-million rand social housing project got off to a good start yesterday. The project will be financed by Provincial housing subsidies, National social housing subsidies and from loan funding.

The City of Cape Town says it has signed a five year Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with the Social Housing Company SOHCO, Communicare and the Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC).

“We have launched a project that will be worth 450 units, where people earning between R1500 to R7500 per month will be eligible for this. Besides having that earning income capacity, they too have to qualify for grants and subsidies which will make the process easier in terms of affordability,” said Shehaam Sims, Mayoral committee member for housing.

The housing department says that the City will assist in the development and management of these housing projects.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Community Information Network


# Camphill Village, West Coast is a community and residential facility for adults with intellectual disability and special needs. The NGO relies upon the support of the public attending our Monthly Market. All products (such as cheese, yoghurt, frozen yoghurt, rusks, breads, organic rye bread and biscuits, jams, chutneys and syrups) are made in their sheltered employment workshops, giving our residents with special needs a sense of dignity and purpose. The monthly market will be held on the first Sunday of every month – 1 March. Stalls will be open from 11am – 4pm. Entry is free. For more information call (021) 571 8600.

# The Farm Recreation Centre in Montrose Park offers aerobic and dance classes every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am. Classes will cost you R10 each month. For more information contact 078 249 6498.

# A free concert will be held at the Westridge Park on Sunday starting at 12pm. The concert is hosted by the City of Cape Town and the Department of Arts and Culture. There will be live music, a kiddies play area, food stalls and a craft market. For more information call Gislaine on (021) 448 8891.

# Friends of Central Library holds a book sale every Saturday from 9am till 2pm. For more information contact Pauline on 073 343 6481.

# The Homeless Peoples Sanctuary invites the unemployed and homeless to apply for sewing, candlemaking, soapmaking and lifeskills programmes at the Retreat community hall. For more information call Des on (021) 702 0462.

If you would like our community information network to announce your community notice, submit a paragraph detailing the information of your event or project. Send those details to or fax them to (021) 448 5451 or call us on (021) 448 5450. You can even send a sms to 32158. Don’t forget notices that can uplift the community will be broadcast free of charge.

City urges residents to cut down on water usage

By Cindy Witten
27 February 2009

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation department has urged residents in the areas of Kommetjie, Noordhoek, Scarborough, Ocean View and Masiphumelele to cut down on their water consumption.

Farouk Roberston, Communications officer for the department said they are experiencing some mechanical difficulties with one of the pipes which supplies water to the above mentioned areas.

“We would like to request that residents and water users cut down on their water consumption for the next 24 hours.” said Robertson.

“We only have one pump running to that area and we would like to ensure that the reservoir remains at a suitable level to be able to sustain the water supply to the area.”

Robertson says that the City apologises for any inconvenience experienced.

Two men arrested for murder of foreign national

By Mikhaila Crowie
27 February 2009

Members of the Bishop Lavis police arrested two men, in connection with the murder of a foreign national, who was gunned down last week.

The Tanzanian was shot in the chest after he tried to save his friends from being robbed at the Nyanga Home Affairs centre.

The suspects appeared in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court. Sergeant November Filander said the men were arrested at Montreal drive, Airport Industry.

“A sector commander was contacted by an informer about the whereabouts of the suspects during which the sector commander and the Bishop Lavis detectives acted on the information and arrested the two suspects from Nyanga aged 19 and 26 during a scuffle.”

SA’s Digital Migration plan acknowledged in the UK

By Mikhaila Crowie
27 February 2009

The South African government's efforts in driving the migration from analogue to digital television was for the first time acknowledged in London yesterday at the , inaugural Informa's Digital Switchover awards.

The country was runner-up in the category of "Best Digital Switchover Plan".

The award went to Finland, which has already completed analogue switch-off.

Department of Communications spokeperson, Joe Makhafola said the plan was regarded amongst the best in the developed world.

“The developed world acknowledged that we are a developed country. This shows a lot of confidence that the international arena has for South Africa with regards to the digital migration and we are confident that South Africa will migrate mostly from analogue to digital migration.”

TAC pickets over lack of ART

By Cindy Witten
27 February 2009

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) picketed outside the Free State Provincial Parliament in Bloemfontein today in protest against the ongoing failure of the Free State Department of Health to lift the moratorium on antiretroviral treatment.

The TAC says that since November last year the moratorium has been put in place, but some of the ART sites are still not initiating new patients onto drugs.

The TAC’s Sello Mokhalipi says that this is unacceptable because people are suffering as a result of this violation of their constitutional rights to health.

“We are passing the message that the issue of ARV’s should be considered as a very critical and crucial issue,” said Mokhalipi.

According to research done, the TAC estimates that in the Free State 30 people die everyday because of the province's failure to make ART available to all those in need.

Minister urges SA to spend wisely

By Mikhaila Crowie
27 February 2009

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has urged South Africans to spend more money on paying off bonds and home loans and less on luxuries.

Manuel has reiterated that the country is not in a recession despite several economists claiming the opposite.

The Finance Minister insists that the country must stick to the technical definition of the term recession.

His comments follow the release of inflation data this week that showed the Growth Domestic Product has shrunk by 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

MEC to launch Steenberg housing scheme

By Cindy Witten
27 February 2009

The first Social Housing project in the Province will be launched by MEC for housing Whitey Jacobs. With the launch of the Steenberg Social Housing scheme, the project is expected to provide housing for the communities of Steenberg and Retreat.

450 rental units will be built as part of the overall development structure for Retreat and Steenberg. This housing project caters for people earning between R3501 to R7500.

The Western Cape has a housing backlog that stands at about 410 000. The department of housing says that rental housing is seen as a viable alternative accommodation.

"In addressing the housing challenges in this province, we ought to be creative enough and ignore the concept of one size fits all. We ought to be aggressive in providing all different alternatives like rental, subsidy, and the gap market", says the housing MEC, Whitey Jacobs.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Final day for public to comment on liquor bylaw

By Cindy Witten
26 February 2009

The public has just one day, before the window period for comment on the draft liquor bylaw comes to a close tomorrow. The proposed law governs the trading days and hours of liquor sales in Cape Town.

This draft also follows the recent circulation of the Western Cape Liquor Act, which governs the sale, supply and regulation of alcohol throughout the province. City of Cape Town Councillor, Taki Amira has urged the public get involved.
“People please read it. We urge everyone to become involved. It is quite controversial,” said Amira.

E-mail you comments or suggestions to:
or fax: (021) 400 1465

Mechanical difficulties hampers water supply

By Mikhaila Crowie
26 February 2009

The City of Cape Town’s Water and Sanitation department has urged residents in the areas of Kommetjie, Noordhoek, Scarborough, Ocean View and Masiphumelele to cut down on their water consumption for the next 24 hours.

Farouk Roberston, Communications officer for the department said they are experiencing some mechanical difficulties with one of the pipes which supplies water to the areas mentioned above.

“We only have one pipe running through that area. We would like to assure that the reservoir remains at a suitable level to be able to supply water to the area.”

Robertson said their assistance would be greatly appreciated and would also like to apologise for any convenience.

Finance Minister says SA not in recession

By Mikhaila Crowie
25 February 2009

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel says South Africa is not in a recession, despite what some economists have said.

Manuel told a news programme that he realised that there were factors that made it seem as though South Africa was in a recession, but technically, the country was not.

Referring to Zimbabwe, Manuel said the Southern African Development Community was considering the investment of 2-billion US dollars into Zimbabwe's reconstruction.

New Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said 5-billion US dollars is needed to reconstruct the country.

Somerset West fire still raging

By Mikhaila Crowie
26 February 2009

A fire is still raging in Somerset West in Adventure Park.

City of Cape Town Fire Management says they hope the blaze will be extinguished by late afternoon.

Authorities say strong winds and hot weather conditions have been hampering efforts to put out the flames.

About seventy fire-fighters have been working in shifts to battle the blaze after it threatened two wine estates in the area.
Two helicopters have also been deployed to water bomb the area.

27-year-old arrested in Woodstock

By Mikhaila Crowie
26 February 2009

Woodstock police arrested a 27-year-old male suspect, after it was discovered he was in possession of drugs.

This comes after police members were out on patrol and noticed the suspect eluded from a drug house in Mountain road.

Sergeant Hilton Malila said the police followed the suspect until they finally caught up with him.

“During the search of the suspect we confiscated 7 plastic bank bags filled with tik-tik drugs worth an estimated street value of R5000.”

The 27-year-old suspect, who is currently in police custody, faces the charge of possession of drugs and will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court today.

High school violence on the increase

By Cindy Witten
26 February 2009

A high school learner has been admitted to hospital following a gruesome stabbing involving two learners at Florida Park High School in Gauteng.

This is one of many stabbing incidents to take place at schools in the country.

The South African Democratic teachers Union (SADTU) Chairperson Bongani Mcoyana says that while violence in schools across the country is on an increase, the union strongly condemns the attack.
“We need to indicate that violence in schools, is in almost all of our schools. As SADTU we condemn it in the strongest possible term,” said Mcoyana.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MEC Fransman welcomes budget allocation

By Yamkela Xhaso
25 February

Western Cape Health Minister Marius Fransman welcomed the Health Department’s budget allocation..

MEC Fransman said the 14, 5% increase will go a long way towards reducing the burden of disease in the province which includes TB, non-communicable diseases, injuries and HIV and AIDS.

The MEC announced that 9, 9 billion rand for 2009 - 2010 year will be spent to deal with health issues like infrastructure of healthcare and diseases facing the province.

Also that the Western Cape people will have much improved health access than before.

City receives lesser grant compared to cities of a similar size

By Cindy Witten
25 February 2009

Following the unveiling of the Provinces 2009 budget yesterday, Western Cape Finance and Economic Development MEC Garth Strachan announced that more than R17 billion would be allocated to key areas such as education, health and housing.

The City of Cape Town has been given an equitable grant allocation of R600 million, while cities such as Durban and Ekhuruleni, have each received a grant of R1 billion each.

Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Economic & Social Development and Tourism, Ian Neilson says that this is unfair.
“We believe that this is not fair. These are cities of similar size and the Cape Town citizens are paying national taxes and are therefore entitled to a fair allocation from the national fiscus,” he said.

Nielson says that the formula used by the National Treasury to allocate the grant is biased and that Cape Town is being “short-changed on its fair share of the national fiscus”.

Spend wisely or be punished

By Mikhaila Crowie
25 February 2009

Finance and Economic Development MEC, Garth Strachan, has warned that government departments who under or over-spend their budgets will be punished.

Yesterday, Strachan unveiled the Western Cape’s 2009 budget.
R17billion would be allocated to the key sectors of health, education and housing.

R10 billion rand of the R17 billion would be spent on the construction of two new hospitals.

More than R1billion was set aside for the building and maintenance of roads.
Despite the global financial crisis ,Strachan said government spending had to be done carefully.

He added over R400m had been saved by the province by doing away with ineffective programmes.

Cape fires could take days to extinguish

By Mikhaila Crowie
25 February 2009

Authorities expect that the fires raging around Somerset West could take up to three more days before it is extinguish.

The City of Cape Town Fire Management says helicopters could not be used to water-bomb the area, as dense smoke hindered the pilots’ view.

The veld fire also moved back over the mountain into the Grabouw area yesterday, putting more pressure on already exhausted fire-fighters.

Khayelitsha man arrested in the Southern Cape for dealing in drugs

By Cindy Witten
25 February 2009

A 29-year-old man from Khayelitsha was arrested for being in possession of cannabis. He appeared in the Prins Albert court in the Southen Cape on a charge of dealing in cannabis on Monday, but the case was postponed to the 2 March 2009. Until then, the accused will remain in police custody.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie says that the suspect was arrested on Thursday after members of the Prince Albert police stopped along Prince Albert Road to assist the accused, who’s Toyota – panel van had run out of diesel.

“In assisting the man, police members smelled cannabis and asked the driver to open the back of the van. They then discovered 43 bags of cannabis, weighing approximately 1.5 tons and a street value of R1.5 million rand,” said Pojie.
Police investigations discovered that the cannabis was meant for distribution in Cape Town and that the Toyota-van he was driving had been hired by the suspect to transport the merchandise in.
Police investigations continue.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bus company sends condolences to family

By Yamkela Xhaso
24 February

Golden Arrow has sent its condolences and sympathies to the family of Katrina Samuels from Mitchell’s Plain ,who died after the bus she was travelling in was petrol-bombed during a taxi strike.

Samuels was seven months pregnant when she gave birth to her child. The child died three hours later after birth and Samuels died two days later.

Vuyisile Mdoda, spokesperson of Golden Arrow Bus Company said that was a very turbulent time during the strikes. “We have been in contact with the family” and how the company can work during this time.

Nyanga Police spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi said a case of murder has been opened.

Fire fighters still working hard to control the blaze

By Yamkela Xhaso
24 February

Fire fighters have been kept busy over the past few weeks, as the hot weather and windy conditions have lead to the increase of fires.

City of Cape Town Chief fire Officer Ian Schnetler said early in the morning at about 1 am, the fire had spread to Kroonhoek Farm but fire services there prevented any properties from damage.

Schnetler said the current situation was that they were providing relief to fire victims and the fire spread toward the mountain in Grabouw.

“And we have ground crews and helicopter assisting the ground crews.”

At the time the fires were well contained if the weather holds up like it is.

Metro Police continue arresting drunk drivers

By Yamkela Xhaso
24 February

City of Cape Town Metro Police Department say they had a very busy weekend arresting drunk drivers.

Traffic spokesperson Nowellen Peterson said their offices were out in full force and were involved in four separate operations including Operation Coca which took place on Friday evening.

42 motorists were arrested for drunk and driving, 269 traffic were issued. A total of 169 fines were issued to unlicensed drivers and 59 fines were issued for unlicensed motor vehicles.

Two security guards wounded in cash-in-transit heist

By Cindy Witten
24 February 2009

Two security guards were approached by five men armed with assault rifles, during cash-in-transit at a shopping centre in Durbanville this morning.

“The suspects allegedly shot one security guard in his right shoulder and the other security guard sustained a grazed bullet to his face. The suspects took four cash boxes with an undisclosed amount of money and sped off in a black Opel Corsa bakkie with registration number CA 54477,” said Sergeant Laas Bezuidenhout from the Durbanville Police department.

“The Corsa bakkie was later found abandoned in Allison street, Kenridge. The suspects allegedly changed vehicles in Allison Street and left in a white panel van with registration number CF 110538.”

The security guards were taken to Louis Leipoldt Medi-Clinic for treatment and are currently in a stable condition.

Police have opened a case of armed robbery and attempted murder for investigation.

Bezuidenhout said that the suspects are still at large and urges anyone with information to contact the Durbanville Police station on (021) 970 3811/2.

Denosa condemns behaviour of TB patients

By Yamkela Xhaso
24 February

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa says it is concerned by the violent behaviour of Extreme Drug Resistant and Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis patients at the Jose Pearson TB hospital in Port Elizabeth.

Eastern Cape DENOSA Provincial Secretary Kholiswa Tota said they are also concerned about the safety and security of nurses, as they have witnessed violent incidents against them in the recent past.

Tota said this has been happening for quite some time that patients attack doctors, saying they want to go home. Last Friday the parents of the XRD6 kids threatened the doctor to grant their children permission to go to school. The parents even wanted to burn the doctor’s office.

Tota said “the department should be very firm” in dealing with this issue. The department must teach the patients about their own health and why must they be in hospital for a long time. “What is important is their health and the health of other people, if they are going to be released from the hospital they are going to infect other people”.

Eight arrested suspects to appear in court

By Mikhaila Crowie
24 February 2009

Eight male suspects, who were arrested yesterday and on Sunday, will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court soon to face charges of car hijacking, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of suspected stolen property and malicious damage to property.

Members of the South African Police Service Flying Squad were called out to a vehicle checkpoint on Sunday afternoon, to search a VW Polo Classic in Gugulethu.

The three occupants of the vehicle indicated that they would stop but sped off instead. Inspector Odwa Makupula said the car was chased until it crashed into a wall.

“One suspect was arrested on the scene and two others ran away.”

Makupula said the car was hijacked in Rondebosch last Saturday.

However yesterday police followed up on the information supplied by the arrested which lead to further arrests

Makupula said this information lead to the arrests of a further 7 people.

“The suspects are to be aged between 16-29 years and two other suspects are still outstanding.”

The search for these suspects continue.

Armed Robbery in Table View

By Mikhaila Crowie
24 February 2009

Police in Table View were called out to an armed robbery in Link Road, Parklands yesterday afternoon. The robbery occurred in front of a business premises.

The incident occurred after the owner of the business returned from a bank and parked his vehicle, a blue Opel Astra, in the parking area in front of his business.

The police however could not catch up with the two suspects, as they fled the scene in a Honda Ballade.

The suspects are still at large. Inspector Bernadine Steyn of the SA Police Service said a maroon Honda Ballade stooped next to the victim and one of the suspects approached the victim on foot.

“Two shots were fired allegedly after which the suspects took a bag containing an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene.”

Steyn said nobody sustained any injuries during the incident and the police have opened a case of Armed Robbery for investigation.

Anyone with information can contact Captain Grant La Mour at the Table View Police station on 021-521 3300.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Busy period for the City’s fire department

By Cindy Witten
23 February 2009

Fire fighters in the Western Cape have been kept busy over the past few weeks, as the hot weather and windy conditions have lead to the increase of fires.

The City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue service has warned that it is not likely that the fire season will come to an end any time soon.

The Bush Radio news team received reports from as far as Strand, saying that residents evacuated their homes due to the fires.

The City has advised residents to take extra safety precautions to protect their properties from the risk of fire. Ian Schnetler, the City’s Chief Fire Officer says that no fatalities have been reported, but two fire fighters have been injured.

“This morning fire fighters were injured, but it is not too serious. Rescuers have indicated that no property has been damaged yet.”

Vineyards on four farms, Erinvale, Lourensford, Vergelegen and Knorhoek, were reported to be burning but there was no threat to homes or people.

Earlier today a school and a number of homes had to be evacuated because of thick smoke in the area.

At least 120 personnel, volunteer fire fighters, reservists and helicopters were battling to bring the flames under control. The fires began last week and flared up out of control again early this morning.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Service has issued the following safety tips:

Prevent a fire in your home:

Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.

Avoid overloading electrical circuits.

Service your electrical components regularly and replace faulty ones.

Switch off all electrical appliances at the wall at night or when leaving your home.

When cooking, do not leave the pot on the stove unattended

Cut candles in half to prevent them from toppling over and use a candle holder.

Smoking in bed is dangerous

Protect your home from fire

(If you live near an open veld or on the urban fringe)
Maintain adequate fire breaks around your properties.

Form a safety zone around your house, using gravel or lawn that is kept short.

Keep your home and garden free of debris such as dead leaves, twigs or litter.

Clean debris from roof surfaces and gutters.

Avoid having trees and bushes next to the house, or creepers on the walls.

Remove dead branches from trees and bushes.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your house and /or have your garden hose rolled up and ready for use in the event of a fire.

Consider installing screens, shutters or heavy fire-resistant curtains

Store any firewood, gas, petrol or paint away from living areas.

Provide enough distance between dwellings for emergency access.

Where possible, have more than one exit from your dwelling.

Have an escape plan and make sure that the whole family knows the plan

Ensure that fire hydrants remain unobstructed, especially by parked vehicles

Ensure easy access and turning space for emergency vehicles.

Please also remember to not throw burning cigarette butts out of car windows.

Report all fires by dialling 107 from a landline or (021) 480 7700 from a cellphone.

Report any persons starting fires to Law Enforcement on (021) 596 1999.

Body of female found in Kuilsriver park

By Cindy Witten
23 February 2009

Yesterday morning the body of an 18-year-old female was discovered in a park in Eikendal in Kuilsiver. The woman’s ankles had been bound and she sustained multiple stab wounds.

Police have not confirmed whether the victim had been raped, but Kraaifontein Police Spokesperson Gerhard Niemand says that arrests have been made.
“At the moment we have arrested seven youths. We have been very successful. Three juveniles went to court this morning and the other four will appear in court tomorrow,” said Niemand.

Further investigations are underway.

Two constables arrested for being in possession of Dagga

By Yamkela Xhaso
23 February

Khayelitsha Police arrested two constables who were reported to be selling dagga.

Inspector Siphokazi Mawisa from Khayelitsha SAPS said that police had acted on information received from a community member that two SAPS members were selling dagga.

The constables were approached at FF Block, Town Two and “two parcels of dagga were found on their possession.

Mawisa said that the allegedly went to a house, searched it where they found dagga and used it for themselves.

Inspector Siphokazi Mawisa said the two Constables, aged 30 and 35 years old and both stationed at Khayelitsha Police station, will appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's court tomorrow on charges of Possession of Dagga, Housebreaking and Theft and Corruption.

Gugulethu police make 46 arrests over the weekend.

By Yamkela Xhaso
23 February

Forty-six people were arrested in Gugulethu this weekend. Police spokesperson Captain Elliot Sinyangana said due to number of police officials went out and flooded the streets of Gugulethu in the quest of crime combating.

Road blocks, stop and search operations were conducted. Sinyangana said this operation led to reduced number of crimes in the area.

He said that everyday there is always an operational plan put in place on weekends.

A 20yearr old was stopped by the police on routine duties on Friday, as he was walking along NY 6 in Gugulethu, after obtaining permission to search him they found five straws of tik and immediately placed under arrested.

Six males were arrested for being in possession of dagga over the weekend and these are different situations. Their age ranges from 17, to years 48 years arrested for possession of tik, while the 42year old arrested for possession of Mandrax.

Three males were arrested for being in possession of dangerous weapons and four males for drunken driving who were later released on police bail.

Most of those who were arrested over the weekend appeared in the Athlone Magistrates Court today.

300 000 applications received as World Cup tickets go on sale

By Mikhaila Crowie
23 February 2009

South African soccer lovers are gearing up for next year’s FIFA World Cup and the proof is definitely in the pudding. FIFA is said to be overwhelmed by the huge amount of applications they have received, just three days after the 2010 World Cup tickets went on sale.

On Friday at 1pm South African time, the World Cup tickets went online for sale.

This is the first of five ticketing phases. FIFA’s Delia Fischer said what they found most amazing was that they received application forms from 133 countries in 48 hours.

“The strongest number of applications came, not surprisingly from South Africa followed by Great Britain and very interestingly the USA, then Germany, Brazil, Australia and Mexico.”

Fischer also said they received applications from as far as Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and from Argentina.

“It is a strong indication and that’s why we urge South Africans to apply for these tickets as soon as possible so not to miss out a unique experience in June/July 2010.”

8 injured in head-on collision

By Mikhaila Crowie
23 February 2009

Eight drivers were injured while three drivers were seriously injured in a head-on collision in Eerste River yesterday afternoon.

A construction vehicle lost control and collided with an oncoming vehicle.

The City’s Traffic Spokesperson, Merle Lourens said the accident took place in Forest Drive.

Lourens said it is alleged that the driver of the construction vehicle had been travelling on the incorrect side of the road and in fact caused a head-on collision between the two.

The injured drivers were taken to Tygerberg Hospital and the passengers in the construction vehicle were treated for minor injuries.

Mineworker falls to his death

By Cindy Witten
23 February 2009

A mineworker working at Gold Fields’s Kloof Gold Mine in Carletonville fell to his death on Saturday morning.

According to reports, while changing a sheve wheel , the man, who is employed as a rigger assistant, leant against a hand rail that gave way and then fell down the shaft to his death.

The incident took place at Kloof Gold Mine's main shaft. While further investigations are underway, this is the 13 mine death recorded this year.

According to an issued press release sent by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), “NUM is very perturbed that while it was hoping that deaths will decrease further this year, the situation looks very unlikely with the current figures,” it said.

However, Corporate Affairs Manager at Gold Fields, Marritt Claassens says that the company is committed to eliminate accidents at mines.
“Since the beginning of the fiscal year (1 July 2008) 13 fatalities have been recorded at Gold Fields South African Operations. This is a significant improvement when compared to the period in the previous fiscal year,” said Claassens.

The National Union of Mineworkers calls on the Department of Minerals and Energy to strengthen its hand in ensuring the safety of mineworkers.

The UN Secretary General in Pretoria on Wednesday

By Mikhaila Crowie
23 February 2009

President Kgalema Motlanthe will host UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for political discussions at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday.

It will be the first visit to South Africa and the SADC region by Ban since he became Secretary-General of the UN.

he Department of Foreign Affairs says issues to be discussed by Motlanthe and Ban include Zimbabwe, the DRC, the Middle East situation, the global financial crisis and climate change.

The Secretary-General’s two-day visit to South Africa will also see him pay courtesy calls on Former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

Fire fighters battle Sir Lowry’s Pass fire

By Mikhaila Crowie
23 February 2009

Several people have been evacuated overnight as gale force winds fuelled a veldfire near the Sir Lowry’s Pass village, outside Somerset West.

Smoke spreading from the area has led to concerned residents as far away as Hout Bay calling the local fire services to find out what is going on.

About 30 fire engines and more than 50 fire fighters are battling to contain the blaze.

A helicopter has been called in to assist as the fire is rapidly spreading in the direction of the N2 highway.

The City’s Fire Chief Ian Schnetler said the fires were under control but picked up again yesterday.

DA says that the Western Cape ANC is in for an electoral defeat

By Cindy Witten
23 February 2009

In response to African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma’s confidence that the ANC will win the Western Cape in the general election, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says that the Western Cape ANC is “desperate and squirming”.

The DA’s Coenraad Bezuidenhout says that there is no way that the ANC will win the Province.
“ANC President Jacob Zuma’s statement, that the ANC in the Western Cape is assured of a victory, is not only wishful thinking, it is a deliberate untruth. The truth of the matter is that the ANC is up for an electoral defeat of note,” said Bezuidenhout.

The DA says that the ANC has turned to the use of “dirty electioneering tricks” and claim that ANC members have fiddled with DA posters as well as engaging in campaign sabotage.

“They are spreading deliberate untruths about the DA’s performance in the City of Cape Town government, which is incidentally the best run city in the country,” he said.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Woodstock police arrest eight suspects in Pine Road search

By Cindy Witten
22 February 2009

Following information of illegal activities taking place in the informal settlement on Pine road, Woodstock police conducted a search. The information was verified and police were able to obtain permission to corner off the road.

“Legal authorisation to execute the information obtained after police received information of wanted criminals that use this informal settlement as a hide out. It has been alleged that these criminals also use the premises for illegal drug trafficking,” said Woodstock Police Department’s Sergeant Hilton Malila.

Malila said that eight suspects were arrested. Seven of them were arrested on outstanding warrants of arrest, while the eighth suspect was arrested for being in position of marijuana.

“The eight suspects who were arrested are currently in police custody. They will all appear in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Monday,” he said.

South Africa provides training in Sudan

By Cindy Witten
22 February 2009

South African Foreign Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma entered discussions surrounding talks on strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and the Sudan at the Groote Schuur House in Cape Town.

“We had a very fruitful discussion. We discussed mainly, our bilateral cooperation and of course the situation in Sudan. We shared views on how to strengthen our bilateral relations,” said Dlamini Zuma.

South Africa is involved in a building project for Southern Sudan. The project was launched in 2005. Over 1000 officials received training in the fields of Legal Affairs and Mines and Energy in South Africa.
The South African Police Service is in the process of finalizing preparations for Sudanese Police to be trained.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kuilsriver sisters found unharmed

By Cindy Witten
21 February 2009

The two sisters from Kuilsriver who had been reported missing have been found.

13-year-old Jo-Ann Erasmus and her 15-year-old sister Chunelle were reported missing on February 17.

Dessie Regner from the Pink Ladies Organisation says that the two girls had decided to take a truck ride to visit their father in Villiersdorp, without informing anyone of their plans.

Regner says she is happy that the two girls are safe and sound.
“I’m just hoping that they have realised what they have done. A lot of resources go out when these teens run away,” she said.

City to engage in talks with taxi industry

By Mishkah Anthony
21 February 2009

City of Cape Town will be engaging with the taxi industry at an industry wide level through a series of monthly meetings.

Mayor Helen Zille says the City is committed to the successful implementation of the Integrated Rapid Transport System and engagement with the taxi industry is an important part of the way forward.

Zille says in a statement that the first of these meetings will be held on the 8th of next month. She says these monthly meetings will give everybody an opportunity for broad dialogue between the city and the industry.

City Spokeperson Elizabeth Thompson says after the meeting it is now clear the last weeks taxi violence was not entirely about the BRT system, but also divisions in the taxi body.

Friday, February 20, 2009

City launches an infant hearing screening programme

By Yamkela Xhaso
20 February

Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, Councillor Grant Haskin launched the Dr Toms Infant Hearing Screening Programme this morning, at the Ravensmead Clinic.

This initiative is a partnership between the City and Carel Do Toit Centre.

Doctor Ivan Broomfield from the City of Cape Town Health Department said the equipment of the facility was bought by City.

The equipment will be used in detecting early hearing problems for kids when they arrive in clinics.

SA and Mexico sign Memorandum of Understanding

By Mikhaila Crowie
20 February 2009

South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma met with her Mexican counterpart Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa yesterday to sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

This understanding is to establish a Bi-National Commission and an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income.

The meeting took place at Groote Schuur House and Dlamini Zuma said the discussion went quite well.

“First of all we were very happy to hear from our colleague that Mexico has taken a very conscious decision to co-operate and to work closely with African countries and of course South Africa has committed itself to work with Mexico and assist wherever we can in terms of Mexico achieving the objective of working closely with African countries.”

Espinosa said the signing of this agreement would strengthen the relationship between South Africa and Mexico.

“On the economic front we agreed to seek a better balance in our bilateral trade.”

Espinosa acknowledged that South Africa was one of Mexico’s most important trade partners.

“There is an area of opportunity to enhance our exchanges and in this regard both our governments will encourage reciprocal missions for business delegations.”

Three girls go missing

By Yamkela Xhaso

20 February

Kyla Joanne Mostert from Simonstown has been reported missing. Kylie went missing on the 18 of February 2009 when she left for school and never came back. She is believed to be with her 31 year old boyfriend Norman Carl Van Der Merwe who is said to be in big trouble. Kyla Joanne Mostert is a 16 year old white female, brown hair, green eyes and is average built. Dezzie Rechter from the Pink Ladies organisation says if anyone has information about her whereabouts, can call Captain Olivier from Simonstown Police on 021 786 8649 or 082 7786639.

Also Jo-Ann Erasmus and Chunelle Erasmus from Kuilsriver. The both left for school on the 17th of February 2009 but never came back. Dezzie from the Pink Ladies says if anyone has any information can call Inspector Smart from Kuilsriver police on 021 900 2800 or 071 958 9275

WC government to fund Cape Nature after veld fires

By Yamkela Xhaso
20 February

The Western Cape provincial government is going to supply emergency funding of more than 2,5 million rands to Cape Nature after a number of destructive wild fires destroying thousands of hectares last week.

MEC for local government, environmental affairs and developmental planning Pierre Uys said municipalities were under enormous pressure in the last financial year. Uys said that over a million rands will go to helicopters fighting fire.

“There are also two teams coming from the Free State working on fire teams that will take away the pressure and just give a bit of a breather to our own teams”

There is also 250 teams based in the Western Cape that are fighting fire and there is another R400 000 allocated for an investigation to get to the bottom of the origin of what causes these fire and how can we prevent and “play a much stronger role in taking precautions ”

There is also R1,7 million allocated to local government, which will include the City of Cape Town and fire district municipalities which Uys said they too went t on major constraints on their resources.

Uys said this will take them forward for at least until the end of March “when we enter our new financial year”

SA Celebrities urge youth to vote

By Mikhaila Crowie
20 February 2009

Swimming sensation Natalie du Toit and singer Danny K, have been recruited by the Independent Electoral Commission has to educate young people about the importance of voting.
The country prepares to go to the polls in April this year.

The IEC launched the Youth Ambassador’s For Electoral Democracy.

This initiative is aimed at getting young people excited about and interested in voting.

The IEC’s Kate Bapela said over 100 people were recruited as part of the new initiative.

Re-opening of Somerset testing Centre delayed

By Mishkah Anthony
20 February 2009

City of Cape Town’s Driving Licence Testing Centre in Somerset West was scheduled to re-open its doors to the public on 23 February 2009.

City Traffic Spokesperson Inez Lackay says, thieves vandalised the building when they stole electricity and telephone cables. The cables have been replaced and the centre is now awaiting the installation of the electronic booking system.

Due to these technical problems, the date for the re-opening will now be Monday, 2 March 2009.
This centre can only accommodate 60 driving licence appointments per day as only one electronic booking systems point will be installed.

Members of the public should also note that only driving licence appointments can be made at this centre.

The centre will only conduct tests for driving licences for light motor vehicles and motor cycles. No heavy duty motor vehicle driving licence or any learner’s licence tests will be conducted. It will also not be able to do driver’s card renewals.

It is important for would be drivers to note that, should they have drivers licence appointments at other testing centres, they will not be allowed to book at any other centre until the previous booking has been cancelled.

The system will automatically reject the booking. Another important fact to remember is that once a booking has been cancelled at another centre, it will only reflect on the system after three days

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2010 WC tickets on sale tomorrow

By Yamkela Xhaso
19 February

2010 FIFA World Cup tickets will go on sale tomorrow on FIFA’s website,, as well as through branches of First National Bank.

The sale starts online at 1pm and runs until the 31st of March.

Fans will however have several opportunities to buy tickets right up until the day of the World Cup final on 11 July 2010. South Africa has budgeted for a 60 percent sale of FIFA Soccer World Cup tickets.

Addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday, Local Organising Committee CEO Danny Jordaan conceded that it would be naïve to suggest that there will be no backlash as a result of the financial crisis that has spread round the globe.

Fifa’s Delia Fisher sais the tickets a divided into four categories.

“Category Four which are specifically reserved for South African residents which will start at R140 for group stages”

Fisher said that this category made sure that even those South African who could not be able to afford the tickets be able to contribute too.

“Category Three tickets which will cost about R560 for group matches, then category two R840 and category one R1 120”

Green Point roof structure completed

By Mikhaila Crowie
19 February 2009

Green Point stadium is another step closer to completion as the inner ring of the roof has been raised.

The process of raising the roof began last week Monday and was completed last night.

Mike Marsden, Executive Director responsible for the 2010 with the City of Cape Town, said the inner Tension Ring was installed by using hydraulic jacks that tightened the 72 cables connecting the inner and outer rings of the roof.

The City’s structural engineers monitored the process and expressed their satisfaction.

The next phase now is the positioning of steel trusses, the installation of the 9000 pieces that make up the glass roof and the attachment of a fabric membrane below the roof. The roof is schedule for completion in September.

Mayor to open Claremont Boulevard

By Yamkela Xhaso
19 February

Executive Mayor Helen Zille will officially open the R22 million Claremont Boulevard this afternoon.

The City signed a public private partnership deal with the Claremont Improvement District Company to improve the area’s business district.

Kylie Hatton from the city of Cape Town said In terms of the agreement, the City invested R38 million in constructing the Transport Interchange and CIDC paid R22 million for the construction of the Claremont Boulevard.

City unhappy with budget allocation

By Mishkah Anthony
19 February 2009

The City of Cape Town is considering challenging Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s lean budget allocation in the Constitutional Court.

That means that an expenditure cut as well as an increase in rates will be the city’s only way to make up a R100m shortfall.

Mayoral Committee Member for Finance Ian Nielson said Manuel’s proposed change would cripple the city’s funds.

“The national government has cut the City’s unconditional grant from the national fiscus, by an R100m a year, this means that we going to have to look very seriously at either increasing the rates or cutting the expenditure on important services delivery.”

Two arrested for drug dealing in Bishop Lavis

By Mikhaila Crowie
19 February 2009

Bishop Lavis Police arrested two men yesterday afternoon in Borchard Squary Road for dealing in dagga.

Police seized 21 sealed boxes containing dagga worth a street value of R920 000.

Sergeant November Filander said the two men were charged with dealing in drugs and are due to make a court appearance soon.

“Bishop Lavis police received information regarding suspicious parcels from a courier company in Airport Industry.”

Filander added that police conducted an observation on the suspicious parcels which led to the arrests of two men aged 49 and 32.

The men are from Delft and Nyanga respectively.

They were travelling in a white Hyundai ID truck.

DA councillor suspended over Delft invasions

By Mikhaila Crowie
19 February 2009

A Democratic Alliance councillor has been suspended for allegedly instigating one of the biggest home invasion in South African history.

Councillor Frank Martin has been suspended for his alleged involvement in the illegal invasion of about 1700 incomplete N2 gateway houses in Delft in December 2007.

The National Director General of Housing, Itumeleng Kotsoane says in a statement that the Cape Town City Council’s disciplinary committee suspended Martin.

Kotsoane says the monetary cost of the invasion which lasted for three months amounted to more than 40-million rand.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

COPE calls on Manuel to make good on his word

By Cindy Witten
18 February 2009

Following yesterdays announcement that the Atlantis Forge factory (a company that produces parts for heavy vehicles) would close, 400 workers from Atlantis are expected to lose their jobs.

This comes as a huge blow for the West Coast town already suffering from high rates of unemployment, crime and social problems.
“The community of Atlantis is already on its knees. They have the highest rate of unemployment in the metro, the highest incident of drug abuse and extremely high crime rate,” said Congress of the People NEC Simon Grindrod.
“The loss of another 400 jobs will be the beginning of the end for the community of Atlantis.”

Grindrod says that this is the perfect opportunity for Finance Minister Trevor Manual to act on promises made in his Budget Speech last week that Government would investigate options to protect South African jobs.
“We’re calling on Trevor Manuel now to keep his promise and to let us see these mechanisms he is talking about,” he said.

CREW begins 2009 recruiting process

By Cindy Witten
18 February 2009

For all of those children and teens who are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of radio, Bush Radio’s Children’s Radio Education Workshop (CREW) is busy with its 2009 recruitment process.

Since 1996, CREW has seen hundreds of young participants through educational workshops, teaching them everything they need to know about radio. CREW takes place at Bush Radio from 09:00 - 14:00 every Saturday, except on days when the participants have an outside broadcast or other excursions.

The criteria for those interested in this program, is that children must be between the ages of 6 – 18 years. No prior radio experience is necessary, as training will be provided.

Some of the skills taught through this programme include broadcasting, including writing, research and presentation skills. They learn technical skills and broadcast journalism skills, as well as life skills such as teamwork, critical thinking and political awareness through their interaction with each other and their listeners.

CREW is also recruiting volunteers over the age of 20 who will facilitate in the learning experience. One of the roles of a facilitator is to ensure that CREW runs smoothly.

CREW coordinator Nobukhosi Ngwenya says that she is looking forward to a great year and interacting with young people from in and around Cape Town.

“Besides obtaining broadcasting and training, they can look forward to producing their own programmes and features. The children will also visit various historical sights and work towards the annual international Media Kidocracy Konference (MKK),” Ngwenya.

For more information and application forms contact Nobukhosi (email: or telephone (021) 448 5450)

Application deadline: 24 February 2009

Police recover stolen goods in Thornton

By Yamkela Xhaso
18 February

Yesterday morning, the South African Police Service dog Unit patrolled Jan Smuts Drive near Pinelands when they were tipped of a stolen car in a house nearby.

Superintendent Andre Traut said the 34 year old suspect was arrested and police found 3 stolen car engines.

The stolen vehicle discovered was stolen earlier in Rondebosch. The police also found a room full of stolen goods, TVs, Cd players and radios.

The suspect will appear in the Goodwood Magistrates Court tomorrow on charges being in possession of stolen goods

IEC responds boldly to allegations by IFP

By Yamkela Xhaso
18 February

The Independent Electoral Commission has responded sharply to the allegations made by the Inkatha Freedom Party that some of its members were removed from the voters’ roll.

Chief Executive Officer of the IEC Patsy Tlakula said the IFP must provide details and names of the people who removed from voters’ roll.

“This is a matter that we are investigation as a commission”

Tlakula said, as the IEC they take this allegation very seriously and want to get to the bottom of the matter.

She added that it is technically impossible to remove a person from the voter’s roll, “when we register people we do not aske them about their political affiliation”

MEC clears up rumours about the closure of Woodstock health centre

By Cindy Witten
18 February 2009

MEC for Health in the Province, Marius Fransman has assured the public that the rumours being spread that the Western Cape Department of Health is planning to close down the Woodstock Community Health Centre are untrue.

Fransman says that the health centre in Woodstock is dilapidated and that the department is assessing the building.
“We need to strengthen health services in the Western Cape. We need to ensure that our 3.6 million people get quality health service, whether it is in Woodstock, Khayelitsha or in Bellville. In the Woodstock area, we are currently assessing that situation,” said Fransman.

Fransman added that the Woodstock Community Health Centre would relocate and be improved and expanded to accommodate the growing needs of the community if it came to that.

“There are buildings that are decapitated, which are not good anymore to deliver good health care. Woodstock is one of them, where we have decided to assess the infrastructural condition of the building and if needs be, we will either repair or suggest a replacement for the building,” Fransman said.

He said that it is his department’s responsibility to ensure that residents are provided with accessible and quality health care services.

Alcohol retailers angry over new bylaw

By Mishkah Anthony
18 February 2008

The City of Cape Town is facing strong opposition from alcohol retailers about its draft bylaw around liquor trading days and hours.

The council held public hearings on yesterday but business owners strongly resisting the draft proposals, calling it ridiculous and restrictive.

Representatives from different sectors such as liquor wholesalers and restaurant owners voiced their concerns over the laws and the general consensus was that the legislation was too restrictive.

The proposed trading hours for pubs and taverns are from 11:00 am to 21:00. Pub and tavern owners said their peak trading hours are usually after 21:00

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Majority of new registered voters were youth

By Yamkela Xhaso
17 February

At a media briefing today the Independent Electoral Commission has revealed that in the latest voter registration weekends, the one in November 2008 and February 2009, more than 70 percent of those registered were between the ages of 16 and 29 years old.

From the IEC were CEO Patsy Tlakula, Terry Tselane, Vannie van der Merwe , Mosotho Molepya deputy CEO and Steven Lantry.

From the political parties briefed were Miss Maunye, NF Mathibela and Windvoel Skosana from the ANC.

Steve Swart represented ACDP, Mark Lowe from DA Mrs I Mars from IFP and Mr Ms Mfundisis from UCDP.

Chairperson of the Electoral Committee Patrick Chauke thanked political parties for the vigorous campaigning. CEO of the IEC Patsy Tlakula said Gauteng had the largest number of voter registration turnout.

Tlakula said that in the past registration activity has been low in urban areas. Meanwhile North West was announced as the only province where more men registered than women.

Tlakula said this was good because it was worrying that men did not want to participate from elections. But after the final weekend registration 51 percent registered were men and 48 percent were women.

Most of the people who registered in that weekend were between the ages of 16 and 29 years that is 78 percent of the total number of voter registration.

Man amputates fingers while working on fishing vessel

By Cindy Witten
17 February 2009

While working in the nets over the side of the fishing vessel, Emerald Isle, a crew member severed two fingers on his right hand when his hand got caught in the winch.

Konrad van Tonder, of St Helena Bay, completely amputated his index finger, while his middle finger was partially amputated. The NSRI were alerted, launched a rescue craft near Cape Point and were able to safely escort van Tonder to Constantiaberg Medi-Clinic where he will receive plastic surgery.

“We had advised the crew onboard the fishing vessel how to pack the severed fingers, because they managed to recover them. When we got there, they (the fingers) were already in an ice water bath,” said NSRI Hout Bay station commander, Brad Geyser.

Geyser said that based on the medic’s evaluation, there is a good chance that the surgeon may be able to re-attach the fingers.

“At this point we are not sure of the outcome,” said Geyser.

Threats of taxi violence found to be false

By Cindy Witten
17 February 2009

After numerous e-mails made its way around, threatening taxi violence at taxi ranks across the City, today seems to be calm and business as usual.

South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Captain Billy Jones says that the e-mails were untrue.
“There were quite a few [e-mails] going around yesterday, but as indicated, it was just a hoax,” he said.

Quite on the contrary actually, as taxis have been transporting passengers all day with no incidents of violence reported.
“There have been no incidents today; there have been no taxi strikes,” said Jones.

“We have in any case deployed members from early this morning.”

Confusion over Woodstock evictions

By Mikhaila Crowie
17 February 2009

Over 50 people in Cornwall Street in Woodstock are under threat of evictions.

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction said the owner of flats in the street, and the City of Cape Town would like to demolish the buildings to build luxury flats in time for the 2010 World Cup.

Anti-Eviction Campaign, co-ordinator Willy Heyn said those resideing in the flats received an eviction order from the court, stating that they should vacate the premises on or before the 24th of this month.

“They just informed me on Saturday about the situation so it’s a little bit new for me.”
In response to the above statement, the City of Cape Town’s Charles Cooper said the City is not involved and are unaware of the situation.

SA Police Service on high alert

By Mikhaila Crowie
17 February 2009

South African Police officials say that they will remain on high alert in and around Cape Town for the rest of the day.

Officials were alerted following emails of an impending taxi strike today. Last week, taxi operators went on the rampage causing havoc for three days in the city.

A number of vehicles and buses have been destroyed and several people were injured.

Meanwhile City of Cape Town Mayor, Helen Zille has assured commuters there would not be a taxi strike this week.

Hoax e-mails have been circulating, warning commuters of an impending taxi strike. Many were left stranded by last week’s three day strike action in Cape Town.

Man killed in Philippi robbery

By Mishkah Anthony
17 February 2009

24 year old Tanzanian Mohammed Mango from Philippi was killed during a robbery in Montreal Drive, Airport Industry in Bishop Lavis.

The deceased and his friends were approached by five suspects at a bridge, crossing the N2 from Bishop Lavis to Nyanga in Montreal Drive, Airport Industry.

An alleged scuffle broke out between the deceased’s friends and the suspects who attempted to rob them.

Sergeant November Filander says, “the deceased attempted to assist his friends when the suspects fired a shot, fatally wounding the 24 year old male(Mohammed Mango).

“The suspects then fled the scene in the direction of Nyanga. The injured male died on the scene from a bullet wound to the left side of his chest. “

A case-docket of Murder and Robbery is being investigated. Anyone with information can contact the Bishop Lavis police station on (021) 935 9802 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Metro Police arrest five suspects

By Mishkah Anthony
16 February 2009

Immediate action by Metro police led to the arrest of five suspects on Saturday morning in Sea Point.

During routine patrols early on Saturday morning, Metro Police officers spotted a suspicious looking white minibus with tinted windows ignoring the stop sign at the intersection of Worcester and Beach Road, Sea Point.

The driver of the minibus ignored instructions to stop and sped off in the direction of the Eastern Boulevard. After a high speed chase ensued and the patrol vehicle catching up with the suspects in the minibus, the occupants threw a motor cycle out of the minibus.

Metro Police Spokesperson Nowellen Petersen says, “The motor cycle nearly collided with the patrol vehicle and the officers fired rubber rounds in an attempt to stop the vehicle”

Eventually the driver pulled over on the elevated freeway, where five occupants, including the driver, were arrested and taken to the Sea Point police station. Amongst those arrested were two under age children, one male and one female.

The suspects were charged with attempted murder, possession of a possible stolen motor cycle, reckless and negligent driving as well as resisting arrest.

It is alleged that two of the suspects are linked to other crimes involving the possession of narcotics and an unlicensed firearm as well as housebreaking.

Petersen adds that, “The Metro Police welcomes the arrests, particularly in the light of the current trend where motor cycles are being targeted. The arrest of the five suspects further shows that we as enforcement agencies cannot be too lenient when it comes to minor traffic offences, as in most cases they lead to more serious crime.”

Taxi Association calls for another strike

By Cindy Witten
16 February 2009

Bush Radio received a media release stating that taxi operators will be going forward with taxi strikes tomorrow after all.

According to the statement, the National Taxi Association (NTA), an unregistered body, sent an sms instructing taxi associates that no taxi may operate tomorrow.

“Unless the SAPS and the Provincial Transport Department act decisively to deal with NTA and to recommend negotiations with the official taxi bodies only, we must prepare ourselves for taxi violence worse than we have ever experienced.”

Commuters from areas including Milnerton, Tableview, Blouberg, Langa, Gugulethu, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Belville, Parow, Nyanga and the Southern Suburbs are warned to be cautious, as the strike is expected to get violent.

Rumours of taxi strikes make its way across Cape Town

By Cindy Witten
16 February 2009

Dozens of rumours about a possible continuation of the taxi strikes have been making its way across the City today. The City of Cape Town had received reports that taxi strikes would be taking place in Du Noon. This comes after last week’s three-day taxi strike in protest against the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

However, news from the Mayors office is that no such protests will be happening. According to an issued press release, Mayor Hellen Zille said “I have personally spoken to Mr Mata, Chair of the dissident National Taxi Association (NTA), and he has given me the assurance that there will be no violence tomorrow.”

Zille carried on to say that she will be meeting with Mata and the NTA on Wednesday to discuss their concerns. The Mayor hopes that the meeting will be productive and that they can come to an agreement in a peaceful manner.

Fired fighter stoned in Philippi

By Yamkela Xhaso
16 February

A fire-fighter was stoned in Philippi yesterday while attending to a shack fire in an informal settlement in the area.

Eighty shacks were destroyed and more than 300 people were left homeless.

Ian Schnetler from the City of Cape Town fire said there were about fifty individual units that were affected and residents tried to interfere with the fire-fighting operation.

The residents threw a brick at one of the fire-fighters and hit him which he sustained an injury in his lip.

Cyclist unsafe on City roads

By Mishkah Anthony
16 February 2009

A Cape Town professional cyclist says he fears for his life every time he trains on the road. Former Springbok cyclist Chris Willemse junior is worried after a fourth cyclist was killed in a short space of time in the Mother City.

Constantia businessman Colin van Schalkwyk was training for the Pick n Pay Cape Argus cycle tour when he was hit by a truck in Milnerton. The issue of cyclist safety has once again been raised ahead of this year’s cycle tour on the 8th of next month.

Meanwhile the City of Cape Town has said that, additional precautions will be taken to protect cyclists.
The City’s Pieter Cronje says the City appeals to road user to obey the traffic rules, to be considerate, to be tolerant, for cyclist ride defensively and be visible at all times.
“Motorist should understand the cyclist will always come off second.”

Suspect shot in Jewellery store robbery

By Cindy Witten
16 February 2009

Shoppers were in shock after hearing gunshots being fired near Checkers Hyper in N1 City Mall on Sunday afternoon.

Screams echoed through the mall for shop keepers to lock their doors and stay inside.

This after five men robbed Engelbreght Jewellers. Using a hammer and metal object the men broke through the display glass and stole jewellery and watches. The owner, who was in the back of the store, heard the commotion, came out, armed with a firearm then shot and injured one of the suspects.

“The five men then fled. No one was arrested and no one else was injured on the scene. They fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money,” said Goodwood Police Department’s Inspector Theunis.

While police investigations continue, anyone with information can contact the Goodwood police department on (021) 597 1760.

Jordan Lee-Jaars goes missing

By Yamkela Xhaso
16 February

A 2-year-old Jordan Lee-Jaars from plot 1588 Freedom Park, Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain has been reported missing.

Inspector Ian Williams of Mitchell’s Plain says Jordan –Lee has sort curly black hair a flat forehead, flat nose, thin face, sharp chin, thick lips, pointed ears, is fair of complexion with light brown eyes.

Jordan went missing on the 15th of February evening when her mother went to a shop left her sleeping. When she came back the child was missing and she heard rumours that the child was seen carried by an unknown man in a bicycle.

Jordan was wearing light blue top and short pants.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigating officer Detective Inspector Charles Julies at the Mitchells Plain Police on 073 804 2000 or 021 3701706.

Double booking causes backlog at testing centres

By Mikhaila Crowie
16 February 2009

The City of Cape Town’s traffic department has denied allegations that lack of skilled workers is the reason behind the backlogs in learners and drivers test centres.

The traffic department said it’s the high number of double booking is causing the backlog.

Inez Lakay, traffic department spokesperson, said people wait too long for learners and drivers appointment, because other people are making more than one appointment.

However with the new e-Natis system, double bookings will be a thing of the past.

“With the e-Natis system, if you made the booking once and you are on the system, you are not allowed to make another booking until your learners expires.”

Fire in Overberg destroy plantation

By Mikhaila Crowie
16 February 2009

The Overberg and Cape Town Fires Services have teamed up to extinguish a veld fire raging in the Grabouw Mountains.

The fire yesterday spread from the Grabouw side of the mountain, over into Sir Lowry’s Pass.

Two helicopters were called in to water bomb the area.

Fire-fighters battled to contain the blaze which was fanned by strong winds.

Cape Town Fire Services say thousands of bushes and trees have been destroyed.

Traffic officials have meanwhile urged motorists to use caution when driving along Sir Lowry’s Pass, as visibility in the area may be poor.

Meanwhile a fire fighter was stoned in Phillipi on Sunday while attending to a shack fire in an informal settlement in the area. Eighty shacks were gutted and more than 300 people were left homeless.

Cape Town Services said fire fighters occasionally reported being attacked while on duty.

Greenpoint Stadium on track

By Mishkah Anthony
16 February 2009

The City of Cape Town says the construction of the Greenpoint Stadium roof is behind schedule but is only expected to be complete by September.

The strong winds that lashed the City last week prevented engineers from raising the roof by Thursay last week.

The City says the glass roof would only be put into place once cabling was lifted to its correct height of 35 metres above pitch.

City Spokesperson Pieter Cronje says “the stadium is making good progress, and this is an important milestone for the stadium which is on track for completion for the 14 December this year.”

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Missing boy’s body washes up at Blue Waters

By Mishkah Anthony
15 February 2009

The body of a teenager, who was presumed to have drowned while swimming with friends at Strandfontein beach on Thursday, has washed up on the beach at Blue Waters along the False Bay coast yesterday.

Family members positively identified the body of 17 year old Justin Freeman from Ottery. Police also provided trauma counselling for family members.

The National Sea Rescue Institute Spokesperson Wally Panday says, “the body was found a few hundred metres, just passed Blue Waters towards Mnandi beach.”

The body was discovered by an early morning passer- by and Pandy says the “body is still intact”; it’s now being removered from the beach and taken to pathologists.

NSRI says while there is no evidence to support speculation suggesting that Justin had been attacked by a shark, sea rescue officials are warning bathers that shark sightings along the coastline have increased in recent weeks.

Police nab vault thieves

By Mishkah Anthony
15 February

Two men have been arrested in Mosselbay, in connection with an armed robbery in Cape Town.

Western Cape police say the men allegedly robbed a vault in Orange Street in Cape Town on Thursday. They gained entry by posing as clients who wanted to store items they collected. Once inside they held two guards at gunpoint and tied their hands behind their backs. The two men aged 32 and 38 fled with an undisclosed amount of cash and jewellery.

Cape Town and Mosselbay detectives followed up information and traced the men to a Colt bakkie at an Engen garage in Mosselbay. Police approached the vehicle and requested to search it yesterday.

They found a firearm in possession of one of the men and seized a suitcase containing an undisclosed amount of cash, Kruger rands and jewellery.

Party campaign weekend

By Mishkah Anthony
15 February 2008

This weekend seemed to have been chosen as the best time to campaign. This as political parties used the weekend to campaign for this year’s upcoming general elections.

President Kgalema Motlanthe has embarked on a two-day door-to-door campaign trail in the Free State where he heard first hand about the problems facing ordinary South Africans. Motlanthe, followed by a large group of ANC officials and councillors, spoke to residents in Thabong yesterday. Residents told the President that they are concerned about a shortage of housing and water supply in the area. Motlanthe is expected to continue his campaign trail in Kroonstad today.

While the Democratic Alliance says it will increase the number of police, provide better crime statistics, ensure quality education and provide prisoners with work-training should the party win the elections. Speaking at the party’s manifesto launch in Johannesburg yesterday, DA leader, Helen Zille said crime is out of control because most criminals know they can get away with it. Zille says the organisation's manifesto is unashamedly pro-poor. Zille also promised to bring back the Scorpions.

It seems the African Christian Democratic Party also found this weekend fitting to launch its election manifesto yesterday. The party said the manifesto aims to address critical challenges such as poverty, unemployment, education, housing, health, justice and crime.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sign of love?

Bush Radio intern Mishkah Anthony spotted this banner on the corner of Kotze and Victoria Road, near Mowbray. If you have any information about the Valentine's Day banner and its meaning, please contact the Bush Radio newsteam on 021 448 5450.

Cape fires under control

BY Mishkah Anthony
14 February 2009

More than 20 kilometres of bush and vegetation were destroyed in a fire in the Somerset West area.

Firefighters are close to extinguishing the blaze in the Hottentots Holland Mountains after nearly a week long battle. City of Cape Town Fire Chief Ian Shnetler says, “Fire threatened parts of the Lourens Farm property and Helderberg Nature Reserve, but we got it under control”.

Premier highlights local governments fight against poverty initiatives

By Cindy Witten
14 February 2009

Under the heading of “Intensifying the fight against poverty” in her State of the Province Address, Premier Lynne Brown highlighted some of the initiatives undertaken by local government. In 2004 the departments of education, health and agriculture started a project whereby food gardens were planted at schools across the province.

Brown said that so far, at least 278 food gardens had been planted by the beginning of the year. This initiative came about so that even the poorest of pupils attending no-fee schools would not have to go hungry.

MEC Cobus Dowry gave a vague response, and was of the opinion that Premier Brown delivered a good speech. He said that her address was balanced and touched on quite a few topics.
“She gave an actual report on what has happened over the last five years. She also concentrated on what is necessary to be done, in the future, after the elections and onwards,” he said.

Health MEC pleased with Brown’s address

By Cindy Witten
14 February 2009

Addressing the house at Provincial Parliament yesterday, Premier Lynne Brown touched on the issue of HIV and AIDS and how it affects communities in the province.

Brown says there is a growing number of child headed households, after parents die of the pandemic.
“Even in an imperfect world, children should be allowed to be children. They should have the freedom to enjoy the things that children have always enjoyed – such as the freedom to laugh and to play, and to be hugged and to hug,” she said.

Brown added that more needs to be done in the province and that between government and civil society we can make a difference to help better the lives of those affected by the AIDS virus.

Health MEC Marius Fransman says that Premier Brown’s speech had a positive input.
“It’s an input that says we are ready. Indeed this government has delivered to our people in the past five years, and will continue to deliver to the poorest of the poor, especially those in Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and in the rural areas,” said Fransman.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Brown’s focus on house and liquor bill

By Yamkela Xhaso
13 February

As Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown delivered her first State of the Province Address, some of the issues she discussed were the two most controversial issues in the province, the liquor bill and housing

On housing, Brown said even though it is a concern, “we should be proud of the fact that the province has given away more free houses than in any country.”

Brown said that ways must be found to work together better, quicker and more economically without forsaking quality. Brown said this is what they are doing in the N2 Gateway housing project.

On the liquor bill Brown said in her speech that most people do support the law on alcohol which cracks down on the illegal sale of alcohol.

The province received a number of protests from shebeen owners.

Brown said that she understands why they were protesting because the law would take away their sources of income but other alternatives are being addressed.

Hundred shacks burnt in Milnerton

By Yamkela Xhaso
13 February

About 500 people were left homeless after a shack fire destroyed their homes in Du Noon Milnerton yesterday.

It is reported that about 100 shacks were destroyed by fire which some say the fire was linked to the ongoing taxi violence. Inspector Daphne Dell from Milnerton SAPS said “the cause of the fire is not yet known”

Province in a good state

BY Mishkah Anthony
13 February 2009

Premier Lynne Brown started her first State of the Province Address by reflecting on the 15 years of democracy and what government has achieved. But also mentions that government cannot be blinded by their achievements but also remember the reality of improvised communities.

Premier Brown goes on to say that, "The City of Cape Town is not an island, nor is the Western Cape".

She referred to the recent taxi violence that occurred in the past week. Brown says the Province could have opted to play the game of politics and referred such problems to the City.
Browns says, "We realised that the Province, not the City, had the capacity to bring all the differences of opinion together. We took the lead in arranging mediation."

Brown says the Province invited the City to join in talks, so that together government could reach sustainable solutions. Brown even goes on to say that indeed, this kind of co-operative approach to governance has been the order of all Western Cape Provincial Government operations since she was sworn in as Premier almost seven months ago.

State of the Province Address by Western Cape Premier Lynne Brown - full text

13 February 2009
This speech does not contain extravagant promises. Nor does it suggest miracle cures for the difficult challenges we continue to face.
What it does contain is a pragmatic assessment of five years of progress as a province and a people; a report-back on our commitment to good governance; and a vision of a society with the capacity to embrace its diversity, to harness its collective energy for common good.

This speech asks: What kind of world did you dream of when we celebrated the birth of our nation’s freedom 15 years ago? To what extent have we succeeded in creating the just and integrated society that Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the Rainbow Nation?

Honourable Speaker, it is entirely fitting for us to reflect on the progress we have made.
We are proud of the number of houses we have built; the new schools and clinics; the water, electricity and sewerage connections; the nutrition programmes and the welfare net we have knitted.

But our pride does not blind us to the reality of the lives of our people. Our pride cannot blind us to the sprawling shack lands, or the fact that many of our children require nutrition programmes to avoid malnourishment – that babies born in the City of Cape Town die of diarrhoea.

Yes, our unemployment figure is the lowest in the country. But that fact is cold comfort to those without jobs, those without skills, those without hope.

We pride ourselves on the scenic splendour of our region, our biodiversity and the tourist numbers we attract. Who would not be proud of our wine industry, our sports prowess, our economic development, and our educational institutions?
But our pride cannot mask the fact that there is much more to be done – that we cannot work in silos and that together we can do more.

This is not political rhetoric, but a practical necessity. The City of Cape Town is not an island; nor is the Western Cape. Take the taxi unrest that unfolded in Cape Town this week. We could have played politics and referred the problem to the City. But we realised that the Province, not the City, had the capacity to bring all the differences of opinion together. We took the lead in arranging mediation. We invited the City to join these talks, so that we could reach sustainable solutions, together.

Indeed, this co-operative approach to governance has been a key pillar of all Western Cape Provincial Government operations since I was sworn in as Premier more than six months ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me give you some background.

In September last year, my team of MECs and I met to plot a new way forward. We emerged from our meeting with renewed vigour – and a four-pronged plan.

We said it made sense to exchange views and share ideas with other levels of government (local and national), and with people and organisations outside government. Engaging in social dialogue was the first leg of our plan.

We said we must intensify the war on poverty, because the gap between rich and poor was unsustainably high – this was the second leg of the plan.

We said that our people were justifiably upset about the high levels of crime. Intensifying the war on crime became the third leg of the plan – and the results of our efforts to create a safer Summer Season are there for all to see.

Finally, we agreed on the need to hasten the process of broad-based black economic empowerment, to find ways to extend the benefits of economic opportunities to more of our people.

Many people will point out that the "devil is in the detail." And they would be quite right, of course. Others will yawn and say:

"They’ve promised all this before." We understand the scepticism.
But we’re quite prepared that we should be ju dged on what we we’ve achieved.
Good Governance

Honourable Speaker, this government has not paid lip service to good governance. More than anything, what the people expect of their elected leadership is honesty and integrity. We have not been afraid to remedy those problems that were negatively affecting our capacity to govern effectively.

One of the first steps we took was to stop the Somerset Hospital Development Precinct proposal – deciding instead to start a completely new and transparent tender process. We believe we made the right decision. The original process was mired in controversy. The value of the land to the citizens of the Western Cape was too high to allow the development to proceed on those terms.

We’ve also had to deal with another difficult issue – the Erasmus Commission that was initiated to investigate allegations of illegal political activities in the City of Cape Town. In October last year, I ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the appointment of that commission, and its consequences. The investigation has been completed and I’ve been presented with a report. I am presently considering it.

Decisions on the findings in the report and government’s response to these will be made known in due course.

Speaker, this government believes the best people to articulate the aspirations of the youth are the youth themselves. But when issues relating to governance of the Western Cape Youth Commission came to light, we were duty bound to step in and investigate.

Also, towards the end of last year, after considering representations from a range of interested parties, I stopped a tender process that would have seen the Sea Point Pavilion being redeveloped.

And then there is Chapman’s Peak – the source of controversy among the people of the region since its development at the staggering cost of 40000 pounds about 90 years ago.

Over the past few weeks, much has been written and said about the general management of this spectacular mountain route, as well as the public-private partnership between the government and Entilini Concession (Pty) Ltd.

Yesterday, we announced the composition of a high-level team to investigate all matters (and I stress the word "all") pertaining to the long-term future of Chapman’s Peak Drive.
Some of these issues have caused us great pain. But I would like to assure the people of this province that this government will do the right thing.

If, at the conclusion of any of the investigations that are currently being carried out, we are required to take strong action we will not hesitate to do so.

Our achievements
Speaker, ladies and gentlemen – this administration is proud of what it has achieved in a very short time.

● I would like to begin with the new liquor legislation that was
signed into law in December last year. In our view, this piece of legislation, properly managed, will revolutionise our communities. We are convinced that the vast majority of our people agree with us – that laws relating to the sale of alcohol from illegal outlets are long overdue.
When police started cracking down on illegal outlets, we expected a cacophony of protests and threats from the owners of shebeens and taverns. We weren’t wrong. But we will not back down.
There is evidence that some of the worst crimes originate in the abuse of alcohol. Many women and children are the targets of savage attacks by drunken louts. Teenage binge drinkers undermine their school careers and life prospects. A disturbing number of parents spend far too great a portion of their weekly wages at shebeens, while their children go hungry. And the number of babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome is cause for grave concern.

We have faced the protesters, listened to their arguments, noted their issues – and shared their concerns relating to shebeen employees losing their jobs. The matter of alternative employment opportunities is presently being addressed.

● Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, the Western Cape’s 400,000 unit housing shortage is a cause for concern to us all.
But the massive backlog should not mask the fact that the Government of South Africa has built and given away more free houses than any other country on this earth, including China and India.
We are mindful that we will always have to find ways to work smarter, quicker and more economically – without forsaking quality. We are doing just that on the N2 Gateway.
The Western Cape was indeed fortunate to be able to host the N2 Gateway Pilot Project – a pioneering project to build integrated human settlements with improved housing options to the people. No longer does our housing policy say: One size fits all. We now build homes for different sized families, and families of different subsistence means.
In Delft, Auntie Katie Hoffman became the country’s first recipient of a new specification, two bed-roomed Breaking New Ground Home in June 2007.
In Delft, we are presently busy with the biggest single site housing development in South Africa – delivering homes, schools, food gardens, economic opportunities, access to public transport and jobs.

We have come up with an innovation known as the Vulnerability Index.
Our housing experts have drawn up a database of areas within informal settlements that are particularly prone to fires or floods – or, in many cases, both.
Our intentions initially have been to give priority to moving people living in these areas to new houses. We believe it is a great idea, but we are also very mindful of the need to refine it over the next few months.

People catch onto government’s intentions quite quickly – and we’ve come across instances where some families have deliberately built their houses on, say, a flood plain – in the hope of jumping the housing queue.

In addition to this, our Department of Local Government and Housing has formulated plans to build 20,000 houses on land that it currently owns.

Kuils River, Blue Downs, Eerste River, Kensington, Grassy Park and Woodstock – among other areas – have been earmarked for medium to high-density settlements, which will also include social and commercial facilities.

● Many people who lived through the 1970s and 1980s have painful
memories of riot police, with quirts, teargas and shotguns in hand, quelling anti-apartheid protests with brutality.
I’m pleased to report today that we’ve found a new role for many of the veterans of those turbulent times who are still employed by the SA Police Services.
They are currently being trained in the much more charming area of crowd control for the Cape Town arm of FIFA’s 2010 football World Cup extravaganza.
I mention this development because it is yet another reminder of how much we’ve changed as a province and as a country since the advent of democracy in 1994.

● Ladies and gentlemen, we’re moving ever closer to the start of the world’s greatest sporting extravaganza – the 2010 version of the FIFA World Cup.
Today, I would like to give the assurance that the Western Cape is on track. Infrastructure is being improved and roads are being built.
An intricate, beautifully designed roof of the stadium at Green Point is now being placed with absolute precision. Our stadium, which will host eight matches during the tournament, including a quarterfinal and a semi-final, will be completed by the end of October this year.
We’re busy upgrading the Philippi Stadium at a cost of R54-million as a "venue-specific" training site, in other words, as a practice venue for teams that will participate in the World Cup.
When it’s all over, we want the youth of the Cape Flats to enjoy the legacy of the World Cup, so we’re looking for partners to whom the stadium can be leased.

The Final Draw on 4 December this year at the Cape Town International Convention Centre is expected to attract a worldwide TV viewership of 700-million people.

Such global coverage, as well as small and m edium business opportunities, will prove a useful ally in our efforts to weather the financial turbulence in an uncertain world.

● Speaking of financial turbulence, I would now like to turn to our provincial economy – and the vexing question of whether we will be dragged into a deep recession by the economic meltdown in other parts of the world.

The consensus is that our economy won’t be bludgeoned to the same extent as economies in the USA, the UK, Japan, France, Germany and many other countries.
But we will not escape unscathed. The Western Cape will shed jobs – and its economic growth will drastically be curtailed.

We would like to assure the people of the province that this government would not sit on its hands – and watch as events unfold. Together with the Congress of SA Trade Unions, we have already formulated a plan that we will implement should our economy drift into recession.
We intend to save as many jobs as we can.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe there is a lot about which we – and the people of this province – should feel good.

New activists
Speaker, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on your arrival here this morning you would have been struck by the prominence of a single word that greeted you: Activist.
I hope you took up the offer of wearing one of the t-shirts on which the word appears. But beware; it comes with some responsibility. My call is for a new spirit of activism to permeate our society – an activism that says: I will work with government and the people to create a better world.

If we agree there remains much to be done, the obvious question is how do we do it? I think one of the mistakes we have made – as government, over the years – is to keep calling on the people to work with us, without necessarily creating easy and accessible platforms.

Yes, important Public Private Partnerships have been forged. Companies have developed social responsibility programmes. And we have a vibrant non-profit organisation sector in our province. But I suspect there are a whole lot of civic-minded individuals out there who would work with us if we made it simple for them to do so.

The reason that the people in mid-western towns of America come together to construct barns when they are needed is because the people are organised and accustomed to working together. I have no doubt that our people would help us build barns in the Western Cape, if we asked them to and were organised.

It is to this community spirit that I appeal today in my call for a Western Cape of activists. Let us identify worthy projects in our communities, across government departments, and fast track their implementation with the people.

The Housing Department has already experimented with so-called community builds; our national Minister of Housing is on record saying where communities are willing to help build their own homes government will organise expertise and materials to enable it.

The Public Works Department maintains our schools and clinics. Where communities are willing to assist in the upkeep of their facilities, this assistance should be harnessed and enabled. The same applies to landscaping, to planting of trees and grass and food gardens. There is so much we could do if we worked together.

Let us start today!

Instead of inviting you all to a gala dinner tonight, and instead of spending money on pageantry for this Opening of the Provincial Legislature, I am going to invite you to work with us on an activist project.

Provincial Departments have been challenged to come up with meaningful projects that are already in the pipeline, that we can fast track them together.
Certainly, as I stand here before you, I can see (in my mind’s eye) the faces of dozens of potential activists.

For instance, I know that there are thousands of boys and girls throughout the Western Cape, who would be thrilled beyond words, were they to be given a motivational talk – and perhaps even a few minutes of impromptu coa ching – by some of the Stormers rugby players.

As patron of the Western Province Rugby Union, I want to direct a sincere appeal to our stars: "Get involved, more often. Become activists."

Frankly, I would rather have Luke Watson acting as a real, live, "standing-right-next-to-you" role model for a promising young flanker from Manenberg or Gugulethu than vomiting on his Springbok jersey.

I know that players such as Jean de Villiers, Gcobani Bobo, Schalk Burger and Conrad Jantjies have the profiles to do the world of good in our townships.

Far too many boys and girls from poor communities turn to drugs and gangsterism as vehicles to escape horrendous home life. Others have had their lives turned around – and here former Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse comes to mind.

This is what I would like to see happen in our communities – someone who got the breaks and is sitting somewhere near the top offering a helping hand - or even a kick up the backside- to a fellow citizen in need of rescuing.

JP Duminy and Graeme Smith: You have made us so proud. Andre Petim, Brett Evans: Walk with us.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are also other types of activism initiated by government – that have worked very well.

I’m speaking about the Service Delivery Jamborees that we started rolling out about two years ago.

These are a one-stop-shop type of operation, where citizens access a range of services made available by government close to where they live.

Citizens gather in a central space, where they are able to have blood pressure and cholesterol checks, apply for identity documents or passports, access information on bursaries or starting a business, certify documents and apply for grants and pensions.

At last count, 16 Western Cape couples have used the services of Home Affairs at these jamborees to get married.

The jamboree project is aimed at expanding access to services and is underpinned by the principles of Batho Pele: We care. We serve. We belong.

Over the past two years, 98,231 citizens have accessed services at 31 service delivery jamborees. Nineteen more will be held at various locations over the next few weeks.
Still on the subject of activism, the Cape Access Project brings together a dedicated team of public servants with e-Community Forums, comprising community members.
The project consists of 13 Information Communication Technology (ICT) centres in places such as Elim, George, Oudtshoorn, Vanrhynsdorp and Genadendal.
These centres provide residents access to government information and are places where people get to know more about government tenders and bursary and training opportunities, among other things.

Protecting our legacy of 1994
As we close in on the 15th anniversary of democracy, it is opportune to recall the words of Nelson Mandela in his first State of the Nation address.

He said: "Our single most important challenge was to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual.

"Our definition of the freedom of the individual must be instructed by the fundamental objective to restore the human dignity of … every South African.

"This requires that we speak not only of political freedoms.

"My government’s commitment to create a people-centred society of liberty binds us to the pursuit of the goals of freedom from want, freedom from hunger, freedom from deprivation, freedom from ignorance, freedom from suppression and freedom from fear."
Honourable Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, we still have work to do.

Yes, we are widely regarded as one of the world’s top tourism destinations.
Yes, over the past five years, our provincial economy has consistently outperformed the national average.

Yes, our Grade 12 learners achieved a pass rate of 78.6 percent in 2008 – the highest in the country – and all our schools offering Grades 10 to 12 have computer laboratories.
Yes, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the country – 19.7 percent (as of September 2008), compared with the national average of
23.2 percent.

Yes, under the capable leadership of former Premier Ebrahim Rasool, we pioneered the rollout of anti-retroviral treatment and the introduction of the highly active ARVs from 2004. Consequently, in 2007/08, an estimated 62 percent of those who required ARVs were already receiving the treatment.

These are admirable achievements, but still some way off from where we really want to be. What these figures tell us is that we have laid a strong foundation on which to continue building.
We cannot – and will not – allow the rewards of democracy to pass our people by. It is imperative that we continue working to create hope and opportunities for those who currently have little or none.

Our message to those who have been pushed to the fringes of our society are: "For the sake of your children – and their children – do not give up now."

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, this government is a strong supporter of partnerships – between different levels of government … between government and business … between government and communities … and between government and individuals.

Many of my colleagues have (like me) lived in townships. We know what it’s like to be on a housing waiting list. We know what it’s like to live in overcrowded conditions. We’ve witnessed the effects of poverty and unemployment on family life. And we know what it’s like to agonize over the future of sons or daughters in areas ravaged by the activities of gangsters and the ready availability of drugs such as tik, heroin and cocaine.

We can identify with young families who, day after day, cling to the hope that, perhaps, tomorrow they will be able to move from their backyard structure or their shack in an informal settlement to a house they can call their own.

The possibility of owning a home, having a job or simply living a "normal" life sits at the heart of the existence of tens of thousands of residents of the Western Cape.
It is our job to bring these possibilities that they yearn for closer to reality.

And we will. And we are!

Building partnerships

One of the vehicles that we’ve devised and implemented to foster growth is the Social Transformation Programme (STP), an intervention rooted in our Provincial Growth and Development Strategy.

Key to the success of the programme is the concept of a "partnership" between government and representatives of the vulnerable communities.

The STP seeks to address poverty, social ills and the marginalisation of 27 of our most vulnerable communities by helping them to organise themselves.
We believe that communities themselves must play a leading role in determining the type of service delivery they get – and how this is implemented.

Reports from our monitoring and evaluation experts indicate that interaction between government and poor communities is already beginning to pay dividends.

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to stress here today that the ideal of this government is to go beyond the act of just supplying a family with a house or a grant.
We want to change the mindset of communities under threat.

We know that this may be asking a lot, but we want parents and their children to help break the spiral of poverty that has crushed the spirits of so many families.

What we can least afford as a province is to see, over a period of many years, generations of the same family – mother, father, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter – joining a housing waiting list.

We want to say to heads of households in our poorest communities (and we know that the majority of these are single-parent mothers): Make sure that your children go to school. Encourage them to study hard. Encourage them to dream big. And then help them to turn these dreams into reality – even if the only help that you can provide is a reassuring hug or the offer of a shoulder on which to cry.

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, like all developing countries, South Africa – including the region of the Western Cape province – has an abundance of unskilled workers, and an acute shortage of skilled workers.

In order to grow, in order to create jobs, in order to provide decent housing, the Western Cape needs engineers, doctors, teachers, quantity surveyors and artisans, among others.

In other words, it needs skilled people to help build a province of which we can all be proud.
We want to say to the children of Delft, Khayelitsha, Lavender Hill, Gugulethu and Philippi … to the children of Imizamo Yethu, Tafelsig, Bonteheuwel, Bridgetown and Masiphumelele … to the children of Zoar, Ladismith, Vanwyksdorp, Calitzdorp and Riversdale … to the children of Pacaltsdorp, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna and Oudtshoorn … to the children of Vredenburg, Vredendal, Hopefield, Malmesbury, Saldanha Bay and Riebeek-Kasteel … to the children of every town and village of our province.

We know your circumstances are difficult. We know that obstacles always appear to block your way.

But we believe that perseverance is always rewarded.

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, many years ago, the German pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote: "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." I agree.

For our Children

The question I would like to pose is: "Are we doing enough for our children?"
Not enough, I would suggest.

In December, we hosted a Christmas Party at Leeuwenhof for the old and the young of our province.

There, the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic was (again) driven home in a manner that beggared belief. A community activist from Langa spoke about the growing number of children running households in the township – because both parents had died of AIDS.
What she had to say was heart wrenching.

It’s not right that children who are barely in their teens should have to take the responsibility of being mother and father to younger siblings.

Even in an imperfect world, children should be allowed to be children.

They should have the freedom to enjoy the things that children have always enjoyed – such as the freedom to laugh and to play, and to be hugged and to hug.
In many instances, grandmothers have put up their hands and agreed to become mothers again – to their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
And I salute them for this.

But more needs to be done – and that is why I’m agitating so strongly for a spirit of activism to take root in the Western Cape. And that is why I will always listen closely and sympathetically to calls for the formation of partnerships between government and civil society.

Intensifying the fight against poverty

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to highlight some of the initiatives undertaken over the past five years – beginning with the fight against poverty.
This government has always believed that a good education is the key to breaking the shackles of poverty in countless downtrodden communities throughout the Western Cape.

There’s unanimity among us that it would be unforgivable for any government authority to allow even one child to drop out of school "because there was no money for fees".

In 2004, this province didn’t have a single "no-fee" school. In 2007/08, we had 653 schools (out of 1,452), with 346,139 learners benefiting from this new dispensation. In 2009, the figure had risen to 655 (also out of 1,452), with 344,481 beneficiaries. The Department’s projection for 2009/10 is 651 (out of 1,448) "no fee" schools, with 347,582 beneficiaries goes beyond the national target.

In 2004, the Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programme had fed 152,839 learners; by 2007, this figure had risen to 204,000 learners and last year, the programme had fed 293,534 learners.

In 2004, the Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programme fed 152,839 learners; by 2007, this figure had risen to 204,000 learners and last year, the progra mme had fed 293,534 learners.

In an excellent example of social dialogue (between our education, health and agriculture departments), a project to establish food gardens at schools throughout the province was launched – and quickly gathered momentum. By 2009, the total number of school food gardens had reached 278.

Between 2004 to January 2009, we built 50 schools, many of them in poor areas.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the apartheid era, black people were forced to live in townships without even the most basic of facilities.

The Western Cape Government has long expressed the view that facilities should be built in close proximity to the people. But it has only been in recent times that we’ve been able to give expression to this intention.

Two hospitals totalling close to R1-billion – in Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain – were recently given the go-ahead. Construction of the Khayelitsha Hospital has already started; tenders were recently evaluated for the building of the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital. Both hospitals are scheduled for completion in 2012.

I also have exciting news about Early Childhood Development (ECD). In 2004, there were 568 ECD sites; in 2008/09, this figure rose to 1,624.

The outbreak of xenophobia-related violence last year had displaced 19,500 people. The Department of Social Development provided humanitarian aid or emergency relief for the victims, at a cost of R21-million.

Between 2004/05 and 2008/09, the Department of Transport and Public Works had invested R3.4-billion on 34,233km of roads – for upgrading, rehabilitation, resealing, regravelling, and routine maintenance of roads.

The Department’s Expanded Public Works programme created 172,000 work opportunities by the end of December 2008.

The Department also runs a very successful bursary programme known as the Masakh’ iSizwe Centre of Excellence. In 2009, the Department increased this bursary awards programme for individuals studying scarce skills to 300. This is a bursary collaboration venture with the private sector and the higher education sector.

Since 1994, the Farmworkers Development Programme of the Department of Agriculture funded 68 projects at a cost of R12.3-million. More than 150,000 farm workers benefited from these projects.

In addition to this, over the past 12 months or so, the Department implemented 100 food security projects – and also developed a plan to upgrade and maintain existing food gardens.
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning is working with Cape Nature to implement a Poverty Alleviation programme that currently operates on three pillars – Working for Water, Working for Fire and Alien Vegetation eradication.

In 2008/09, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning installed 270 solar water geysers in Elsies River (100), Atlantis (160), and Nyanga (10). The Department also launched a Climate Change Strategy for the Western Cape.

In 2004/05, the Department of Local Government and Housing spent just over R590-million on housing; in 2008, this figure had shot up to R1.3-billion. Over the past five years, the Department built 72,729 houses at a cost of just over R3.95-billion. Over the same period, we serviced 84,526 sites.

Intensifying the fight against crime

Speaker, this government is determined to stamp out criminal activity in the Western Cape. Here are some of the anti-crime initiatives that have been launched by the Departments of Community Safety, Education, and the SA Police Services.

In a bid to stamp our vandalism, we installed CCTV in 60 high- risk schools.
In 2008, a campaign initiated by the Department of Education saw burglary and vandalism reduced by half during the end of the year holidays.

Between 2004 and 2008, incidents of contact crime decreased by 39,976 cases – from 131,217 in 2003/04 to 91,241 in 2007/08.

In 2004/05, there were 107 community policing forums and 16 sub-forums; in 2008/09, there were 192 community policing forum s and 45 sub-forums.

Before 2003, there were two Child Protection Units – in Goodwood and Mitchell’s Plain. Currently, there are 13 Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units serving all communities in the province.

The number of SAPS employees has increased by almost a thousand – from 19,434 to 20,244. Police Service points (police stations, satellite stations and contact points) had increased from 171 in 2004 to 181 in January 2009.

The police’s vehicle fleet had increased from 4,368 in 2004 to 5,839 in December 2008.
I would now like to touch on the issue of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.
Speeding up Broad-based black economic empowerment The Western Cape Government, through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, is establishing mutually beneficial relationships between Departments and medium-sized and large firms. The purpose of these relationships is to generate crossover opportunities for small suppliers, and skills development opportunities for workers.

This methodology will assist medium and large businesses meet their BBBEE scorecard requirements.

Between 2004 and 2008, the Department of Agriculture instituted a comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme. The programme consisted of 450 projects, had 20,701 beneficiaries and cost R120-million.

The Department supported 93,461 emerging farmers; of these, 11,815 were women, 37,408 were youth and 266 were people with disabilities. Many of these people were involved in the export market.

When the Department of Economic Development and Tourism started a new project in 2003, it was known as the Red Initiative, with "RED" being an acronym for "Real Enterprise Development". It has now become the RED Door programme.

Presently, we have 12 RED Door offices and 6 mobile RED Door vehicles spread across the province offering small businesses and cooperatives loans, skills training, business advice and financial help for them to obtain specialised advice.

We have spent R78-million on the RED Door and the mobile RED Door operation, with a focus on survivalist, micro and small businesses employing between one and 15 people.

In addition we have provided R23-million of direct financial support and R38-million of non-financial support to small business and cooperatives since 2004, bringing the total package of direct support to small businesses to close to R140-million.

At present, even after five years of existence, demand is so great that more than 1,100 citizens are coming through a RED Door every month.

Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest single achievement in the tourism industry has been the establishment of a single destination marketing organization that we market to the world as "Cape Town & The Western Cape".

Cape Town Routes Unlimited [CTRU] is the vehicle through which the Joint Marketing Initiative concept was realised. This was supported by all municipalities, all political parties, and many business and marketing organizations in 2003.

As you are aware, the concept of a single destination-marketing organisation has now come under threat. In mid-2008, the City of Cape Town took away half of the funding of CTRU.
This would have meant CRTU having to severely cut back its marketing activities in the year before the FIFA World Cup tickets were due to go on sale. We cut other programmes to make available an additional grant of R3.5-million in November to help it finance additional 2010 marketing programmes.

Since 2004, when CTRU opened its doors, the Western Cape Government has invested more than R90-million in the vehicle. It has a long list of achievements, the most notable of which is the fact that its conventions bureau submitted 83 detailed bids to host conferences in the Western Cape.

Collectively, the 41 successful bids had a combined impact of about R950-million on the Western Cape economy.

CTRU represented the Western Cape at 48 international shows, where it engaged directly with about 8,500 tour operators and supported 367 provincial events. It also tried (and by and large succeeding) to make the destination attractive to visitors and to support local economic development.

I have some good news – and puzzling news – about our trade and investment vehicle, Wesgro. Since 2004, it has facilitated and recruited R9.3-billion worth of investments into the Western Cape, exceeding the target it was set by more than R4.8-billion.

The newly established firms created more than 22,000 jobs in our economy. More than 85 percent of the business is within the jurisdiction of the City of Cape Town, making the City Council’s 2008 decision to cease funding Wesgro baffling, to say the least.

Nevertheless, in November, the Provincial Government put together an R5-million rescue package to keep the wheels of the organization turning.

I have been told that the latest investment facilitated by Wesgro in the last quarter of 2008 is worth an astounding R3-billion. The investor has asked us to keep details under wraps for another few weeks.

It was a relief that sanity prevailed this week; the City announced that it would continue to fund Wesgro.

Speaker, local economic development is hard and slow work. To create economic opportunity in rural and peri-urban areas, we have put in place an initiative called Die Plek Plan. Plek is a contraction of the words "Plaaslike" and "Ekonomiese."

Die Plek Plan works with B and C municipalities and communities to identify projects that can create economic opportunity.

These are then put through a rigorous evaluation process. And if they are found to be viable, we fund their development through the Rural Economic Assistance Fund [REAF] that has been capitalised to the tune of R20-million.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to tell you about our Micro-economic Development Strategy, - or MEDS as it is known in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

It is one of the crowning achievements of this government. It has given Government and the taxpayer the comfort of knowing that our interventions in the economy are always informed by quality and comprehensive evidence and analysis.

Based on this research and analysis, we have identified the oil and gas industry services and support, tourism, ICT, BPO and call centres, HRD and small business development as our highest priority sectors for development.

Increasing Social Dialogue

The Department of Local Government and Housing describes its Built Environment Support Programme as "perhaps the most critical lever for restructuring our urban areas".
Key to its Isidima Strategy is community participation in the development of human settlements.

Through this programme, the Department is providing intensive support to six leader municipalities – Knysna, George, Overstrand, Drakenstein, Stellenbosch and Saldanha Bay – to help them put credible plans in place for human settlements, sustainable economic development and housing delivery.

The six were chosen on grounds of economic potential and growth, and the extent of poverty in each of the respective areas. The programme came into existence via a partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

The Provincial Developmental Council is a forum in which government enters into dialogue with our social partners on issues of strategic importance for the province. Business, civil society and labour are represented on the Council.

The province also holds imbizos to interact with communities and listen to their problems and try to resolve them together.

Cabinet also interacts with business, labour and the higher education sector to discuss the development of the province.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport established a Western Cape Sports Forum consisting of 99 sports federations. It invested R61.884-million in a schools’ mass participation programme.

It also backed the "Stars in their Eyes" programme in which 80 football coaches w ere trained, and a "Legends in Sport" programme.

The Department has supported 654 cultural organizations during the past five years, from the established classical arts and cultural organizations, such as the Cape Town Opera, the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, Jazzart Dance Company and Cape Town Ballet to new organizations, in both the Cape Metro and other districts.

The Department has also made a major contribution towards cultural tourism and arts and culture festivals by contributing towards events such as Cape Town Jazz Festival, the KKNK, the Suidoosterfees, the Hermanus Whale Festival and the UDF celebrations in 2008, among others.

To provide communities in deep rural communities and farm communities that are currently deprived of an established library service, the Department developed a model by which two movable book trolleys (wheelie
wagons) are provided to these communities. At present, 34 communities make use of this facility.

Finally, Honourable Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, and perhaps most importantly, we acknowledged that the tit-for-tatting that characterised the relationship between the Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town for more than two years served no useful purpose. It diverted our attention from other, really important matters.

We committed ourselves to cooperation with municipalities, particularly those run by other political parties … to serious dialogue with the various communities of this province … and to an urgent resolution of those issues that were festering away and (let’s be honest about this) bedevilling the workings of our administration.

Rather than squabble, we said to politicians, councillors, communities and ordinary men- and women-in-the-street: "If we can work together, brick-by-brick and step-by-step, we will build a Western Cape that offers comfort, security and opportunities to all who live here."

The way forward

Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, this administration is about to complete its current term of office on the eve of an interesting period in the history of the Western Cape.

The countdown to what we all are referring to simply as "2010" is being chalked off at unbelievable speed. And all the time, predictions of a World Cup bonanza for South Africa’s top tourist destination abound.

Key to the Western Cape’s future prospects, though, is the period that will become known as "post-2010" – five … 10 years after the World Cup. It is then that the new face of the province will be defined – and, make no mistake, it will be a new face.

Many developments that will run its course during this period will be the progression of a process that started a long time ago.

Old challenges are likely to grow bigger post-2010, with just one example being an increased demand for decent housing, the consequence of a maturing population and a continuing influx of mainly poor people from other parts of the country.

Those who ignore the aspirations of the poor do so at their peril.

Matters such as climate change (and accompanying concerns relating to food security and possible job losses) will tax the resolve of the decision-makers.

The Western Cape remains a water-scarce province despite the good winter rains that the province has had for the last few years.

Municipalities in the Eden District in the South Cape were in the past few weeks considering proclaiming a drought disaster.

The more than 100 veld fires in and around Cape Town last week put enormous pressure on the city’s water resources, highlighting the need for great care in how we use water as a province.

And there will be mounting pressure to close the gap between the very poor and the very rich – or even between the very poor and the moderately well off.

This government believes that the programme of integrated human settlements should be stepped up and, indeed, expanded. Outstanding land restitution matters must be finalized as a matter of urgency.

Poor families must be given opportunities to live closer to essential facilities. Our cities and towns must be integrated – not only racially, but socially and functionally – people must be able to live close to public transport and places of economic opportunity and recreation; schools, clinics, libraries and playing fields must be within easy reach.

By its actions, government must convince the poor that they are part of South Africa. At the same time, it must be made clear that the Western Cape is not a last chance saloon for South Africans who have fundamental political difficulties about living in other parts of the country.
It would probably be an understatement to say that we live in interesting times.

But we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

Speaker, I’ve come to the part where I have to say thank you – and I have a long list of people to acknowledge.

Firstly, I want to thank my family, who are always there for me and believe me, it is not always easy being the family of the Premier.

I want to give special thanks to my dad, who some of you may know is ill and therefore not present today.

I also want to thank:
● The ANC for giving me the opportunity to lead this magnificent province;
● My Cabinet colleagues;
● The DG and my entire team in the Department of the Premier;
● The staff in my office;
● All Heads of Departments and the entire staff of the Provincial Government;
● The People of the Western Cape for helping us to help them;
● The Speaker and his team for their hard work, and
● The little people in my life who make it all worthwhile – Chandre, Keshia, Lyle, Mathew, Laylah, Taariq and Caitlyn;

I would like to end this address with a quote from our first President, Nelson Mandela.

"We are at the beginning of an arduous and protracted struggle for a better quality of life. In the course of this struggle, we shall have immediate successes; we shall have setbacks; but we shall certainly progress inch by inch towards our goal."

Our goal is to create a Western Cape united in a noble quest to provide a better life for all its citizens.

Thank you.

Ilmainen www-laskuri