Thursday, June 30, 2011

Armscor on airbus refund under the spotlight

Lusanda Bill
30 June 2011

Armscor chairperson Maomela Motau has defended Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in parliament today.

Motau told Parliament's joint standing committee on defence Lindiwe Sisulu, the Defence Minister, flew to France last week to force French company Airbus to repay the two-point-nine-billion-Rands it owes government.

This follows Sisulu’s cancelling in 2009 of a 47-billion-Rands contract with Airbus because the company had not delivered on time.

Airbus never paid back the two-point-nine-billion South Africa had already paid.

Kader Asmal remembered in Cape Town

Lusanda Bill
30 June 2011

ANC stalwart Kader Asmal was today remembered at an official memorial service at the Cape Town City Hall.

Many came to remember Asmal who has been described as a loving husband, father, grandfather, lawyer, academic, politician and champion of human rights and democracy.

The memorial service was attended by members of government including Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe, Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu, Planning Minister Trevor Manuel who was also the programme director, Mayor of Cape Town Patricia de Lille, Zanele Mbeki, and Western Cape provincial ANC chairperson Marius Fransman to name a few.

Tributes to Asmal were given by a friend from Ireland Mr Garry Kilgallen, Mr Pieter-Dirk Uys, Dr Cassius Lubisi and Judge Yvonne Mokgoro and many more.

His wife Louise Asmal paid tribute to his husband saying “its now our time to continue the work of fighting for human rights”.

Deputy President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe in his tribute said “Professor Kader Asmal lived his life to realise this system of thought that put much store by human rights, equality and dignity, in political, social and economic outlook.

Concern grows over debt crisis in Europe

Concern grows over debt crisis in Europe
By Khanyisa Tabata
30 June 2011

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus has warned that the global economy faces a significant risk from the sovereign debt crisis in some countries in Europe.

In a speech in Pretoria, Marcus said a debt default by Greece could lead to a systemic banking crisis in Europe.

Governors of the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank have also expressed their concern.

This evening, Marcus will host a cocktail party to mark the 90th anniversary of the Reserve Bank.

It is one of the few central banks in the world that has private shareholders.

Strict controls ensure that shareholders cannot influence the bank’s monetary policy or its daily operations.

Econometrix chief economist Azar Jammine says the central bank is held in high regard internationally

Johannesburg city manager disappointed about Auditor General report

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 June 2011

Johannesburg city manager Mavela Dlamini says they are deeply disappointed about Auditor General Terence Nombembe’s report on the city’s performance.

The negative finding is effectively a regression compared to previous years.

Dlamini says they have started working to ensure that the shortcomings don’t recur. The qualifications contained in the AG’s report refer mainly to billing issues.

Meanwhile, former acting director general in the Presidency Trevor Fowler was this morning elected Johannesburg’s new city manager.

He will take over from Dlamini in September. Fowler has the support of all parties in the council.

Eskom reacts to uproar over executives’ pay hikes

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 June 2011

Eskom has rejected accusations that its executives’ salary increases, amounting to 109-percent, are inappropriate.

It says the four executives whose pay packages are listed in its annual report joined Eskom very recently.

Their 2011 full year packages, therefore, compare to pro-rata payment during 2010.

According to Eskom the executives who were in place throughout 2010 and 2011 saw their pay packages increase by an average five-percent or less.

Taxi industry takes to the skies

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 June 2011

The taxi industry is looking at new ways to expand its mode of transport.

The South African National Taxi Council told potential investors at a meeting in Johannesburg that it will be launching a low cost airline.

The venture will officially be unveiled in September and the planes will take to the skies by November.

Santaco secretary general Phillip Taaibosch says this does not mean that they want to leave the taxi industry.

Santaco’s more than 180000 members transport about 16-million people daily.

Santaco Express will offer a daily flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Bhisho and back. Ticket prices, yet to be finalised, would include a taxi drop-off at airports.

Financial mismanagement crack down at local government level

Lusanda Bill
30 June 2011

The Cooperative Governance Department has announced plans to set up an inspectorate.

The inspectorate will focus on uprooting corruption and financial mismanagement in municipalities.

Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim says there is need to improve on transparency and tighten expenditure by local government authorizes.

Minister Carrim believes this has constantly contributed to financial irregularities.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

237 municipalities received clean audits

Lusanda Bill
29 June 2011

Auditor General Terence Nombembe announced today that only seven of the country’s 237municipalities received clean audits for the 2009/2010 financial year.

He told the National Press Club in Pretoria a total of 57 municipalities had improved audits compared to the previous financial year.

Those that received clean audit reports include the City of Cape Town and Gauteng.

Fifteen municipalities had audit reports that were worse than in the previous year.

Missing Child Alert: Mthandeni Raji

Urgent education interventions suggested

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 June 2011

An education expert says several interventions are needed to fix the education crisis.

This follows the shocking low levels of literacy and numeracy revealed in the Basic Education Department’s National Assessment.

Education consultant Alexander Pinnoch says urgent action is needed.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe interacted with young people in the East Cape today.

The event was hosted by Premier Noxolo Kiviet's office and the National Youth Development Agency.

At a gathering at the East London City Hall, Motlanthe concentrated on issues such as unemployment and skills development.

Several memorial services organised for Asmal

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 June 2011

Several memorial services have been organised to honour former Cabinet minister Kader Asmal.

The main service will be held in the Cape Town City Hall tomorrow.

The African National Congress will at six this afternoon celebrate Asmal’s contribution to the liberation struggle in the city’s Mowbray Town Hall.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality will be remembering Asmal tomorrow afternoon.

The service takes place in the Port Elizabeth City Hall.

Scores arrested after Eastern Cape vigilante attacks

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 June 2011

Eastern Cape police have put together an eight-member task team to investigate a spate of vigilante acts in which at least seven people have been killed.

In Flagstaff three suspected thieves were killed and a fourth seriously wounded by members of the Ndimakude community.

At least 20 people are behind bars following the attack.

In Port Elizabeth, four people were killed in separate necklacing incidents.

One suspect has been arrested.

Toddler killed by dogs

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 June 2011

Residents of Nyanga are demanding that all dogs be removed from the township after a three-year-old boy was killed by a pack of dogs.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut says the child was playing outside his home when he was attacked by the dogs.

Neighbours say it is not the first time that dogs have attacked kids in the area.

Unions agree that education is in crisis

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 June 2011

The National Professional Teachers' Association says the evidence is overwhelming that education is failing.

In a statement welcoming the release of the Basic Education Department's Annual National Assessment, Naptosa says it has been expressing concern for several years about the fact that many pupils in government schools cannot read or write.

The assessment shows shockingly low levels of literacy and numeracy.

In its reaction, the South African Democratic Teachers Union says a lot of work lies ahead.

According to Sadtu the dismal, yet sobering results will provide teachers with information to quickly diagnose a problem and implement targeted interventions.

French Finance Minister wins IMF top job

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 June 2011

France's Christine Lagarde has been named the first-ever woman to lead the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF board chose her over Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens.

Lagarde faces immediate crisis talks over Europe, and must overcome the legacy of former managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest on sexual assault charges.

She takes over as a worsening debt crisis in Greece is rattling financial markets worldwide.

Cosatu unimpressed with Zuma

Lusanda Bill
29 June 2011

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the union federation’s leadership is unimpressed with President Jacob Zuma’s lack of decisive action in dealing with the ANC Youth League.

Zuma received a frosty reception at the Cosatu central committee meeting in Midrand.

Vavi says this sends a clear message to the President.

He says Zuma needs to address the apparent lack of discipline within the League.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cope angered by Eskom pay rise

Lusanda Bill
28 June 2011

The Congress of the People has expressed its anger at Eskom executive committee members for collectively being paid 109-percent more than they were last year.

It was recently revealed in the power utility’s annual report that 18-point-five million-Rand was paid to committee members.

This was compared to last year’s less than nine-million.

Cope’s Phillip Dexter says the paying of very expensive bonuses to underperforming executives is unacceptable.

Government calls for developmental land reform

Lusanda Bill
28 June 2011

Government says the purpose of land reform is not just about the transfer of ownership.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwiti says land reform need to be executed in an orderly manner.

The Minister was speaking at news conference in Pretoria.

Otherwise the Minister added that the process will lead to thousands of workers in the agricultural sector losing their jobs.

Missing Child Alert: Andrew Oerson

Missing Child Alert: Farhay Adan

Eskom hefty executive increase figures under the spotlight

Lusanda Bill
28 June 2011

Eskom has defended payments that were issued to executives after the power utility’s annual report showed a 109-percent increase compared to last year.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe says the figure may be credited to the filling of executive positions which had been vacant.

A report revealed that 18-point-five-million-Rands were paid to executives this financial year.

Human resources head Bhabhalazi Bulunga who took home a 507-percent increase to just over three-million-Rands.

ANC Youth League comes under fire again at Cosatu conference

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 June 2011

The ANC Youth League has once again come under fire at the Cosatu central committee meeting that is currently underway in Midrand.

South African Communist Party general secretary, Blade Nzimande, says there is currently a vanguard of so-called “tenderpreneurs” within the ruling tripartite alliance.

He warned people to be aware of why the League was calling for nationalisation, saying their motivation was not to empower workers.

Nzimande likened the calls for nationalisation to actions taken by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany and the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Muammar Gaddafi’s government rejects arrest warrant

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 June 2011

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government has rejected an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Gamudi says the ICC has no jurisdiction in Libya.

The warrant, which was issued yesterday, obliges signatories of the Rome Treaty to arrest Gaddafi should he enter their country.

President Jacob Zuma has expressed his disappointment at the warrant, saying it goes against the work done by the African Union in bring stability to the country.

Calls for struggling ostrich industry to be declared a national disaster

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 June 2011

The provincial government of the Western Cape has called for the problems facing the ostrich industry to be officially recognised as a national disaster.

At least 23 000 ostriches have had to be killed since April following an outbreak of avian influenza.

Provincial spokesperson for the Agriculture Department, Wouter Kriel, says between 20 000 and 50 000 workers in the industry may lose their jobs.

He says a disaster declaration will free up relief money that can then be put back into the troubled industry.

Zuma disappointed over Gaddafi arrest warrant

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma has expressed his disappointment with the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Zuma says the decision is unfortunate in the light of the progress made by the African Union ad-hoc committee on Libya. Over the weekend, African leaders said Gaddafi had agreed to stay out of peace negotiations in a bid to end Libya's political crisis.

Despite Zuma’s assurances of progress, fears of a fully-fledged civil war are growing.

The Democratic Alliance has, meanwhile, welcomed the ICC warrants of arrest for Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and the country’s head of intelligence, Abdullah al-Sanussi.

DA spokesperson Stevens Mokgalapa calls on the African Union and the South African government to support the ICC’s decision, particularly as South Africa’s Constitution recognises the validity of international law.

Mokgalapa says South Africa cannot allow the dire humanitarian situation in Libya to deteriorate any further. Those responsible for the atrocities must be held to account.

Eskom salary increases expected to raise an outcry

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 June 2011

Salary increases for Eskom executive committee members are expected to cause a huge outcry after it was made known that members were paid 109 percent more than last year.

According to Eskom’s financial statements for the year ending March 31, 18-point-five million was paid to committee members compared to last year’s less than nine million rands.

The highest pay-out was made to Human Resources head Bhabhalazi Bulunga, who received an increase of 507 percent at three million compared to last year's 501-thousand rand.

CEO Brian Dames now earns nearly six million a year while finance director Paul O’Flaherty received an increase of 346 percent to earn just less than five million annually.

Food security concerns

Lusanda Bill
28 June 2011

South Africa took part in the International Food Challenge Conference that was held in Paris last week.

The meeting was attended by 120 agricultural and farmers’ organisations from seventy-five countries around the world.

Issues and challenges facing food security were discussed, and farmers presented their views on the matter.

Agri SA’s Johannes Möller says consumers will be affected by high food prices in the coming months.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Protection of Information Bill debate continues

Lusanda Bill
27 June 2011

Debate on the proposed Protection of Information Bill continues following allowance made last week by the ruling party.

The Bill deadline has been extended by three months.

The deadline has been moved several times under pressure from journalists, rights activists and legal experts.

Political analyst Harald Pakendorf says it has been a hard and long struggle by civil society to get the ANC to review their stance

Ruling tripartite alliance in crisis

Lusanda Bill
27 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma says the ruling tripartite alliance between the ANC, Cosatu and the SA Communist Party is in crisis.

He made the remarks while speaking at a Cosatu central committee meeting in Midrand today.

Zuma says the premature introduction of key debates and a general lack of discipline are damaging the alliance’s image.

The President reminded delegates at the meeting that the ANC has a tried and tested policy-making process that must be respected.

Gauteng’s upcoming e-tolling system not finalised

Lusanda Bill
27 June 2011

The Transport Department has denied reports that the proposed toll tariffs of Gauteng’s upcoming e-tolling system has been finalised.

Department director-general George Mahlalela says no decision has been made on the tariffs at this point.

Earlier reports said the tariff for light vehicles had been set at 66-cents-per-kilometre.

Mahlalela says government is doing everything in its power to resolve the issue with the best interests of commuters and road users in mind.

Nine people arrested for Mzawandile Petros housebreaking

Lusanda Bill
27 June 2011

Nine people have been arrested in connection with a burglary at the house of Gauteng police chief Mzawandile Petros’ house this weekend.

Police spokesperson Neville Malila says the suspects are aged between 21 and 39 and face charges of housebreaking, theft and possession of stolen property.

The suspects allegedly broke into Petros’ home on Friday night, while his wife was on the premises.

They reportedly fled when she activated the alarm.

Police maintain that the break in is in no way related to a burglary at the home of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, which also happened this weekend.

Eskom supports Greenpeace coal protest

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 June 2011

Eskom says they fully agree with the protest action taken by Greenpeace outside Megawatt Park in Sandton this morning.

Activists blocked the entrance to the Eskom headquarters with five-tonnes of coal.

The environmental group wants the power utility to stop construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station in Mpumalanga.

Eskom spokesperson, Hilary Joffe says they agree with Greenpeace’s concerns.

She says South Africa needs a secure and affordable supply of electricity in order to address the problem.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Africa says they want to publicly highlight the fact that coal is destroying the environment.

Thirty behind bars for drug possession

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 June 2011

Thirty people have been arrested for various offences ranging from possession of illegal narcotics to public drunkenness over the weekend.

Metro Police Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says one of the suspects was arrested in Korhaan Street, Rocklands after 13 packets of TIK and seven heroin straws were found in his possession.

“Officers arrested two suspects for possession of illegal narcotics during routine patrols in Milnerton, after one was found with Mandrax and the other with dagga.

“Another five suspects were arrested in the same area for public drunkenness and one suspect was arrested in Somerset Road, Sea Point for the same offence.

Faro added that while conducting stop and search operations in Mitchells Plain, Milnerton and Wynberg, officers issued 204 traffic fines and recorded six by-law offences.

Solo yachtsman missing off Eastern Cape

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 June 2011

The whereabouts of a solo yachtsman missing off the Eastern Cape coast was still not known by late yesterday evening.

The sailor sent out a request for assistance from his yacht, So Long, on Saturday afternoon.

He was reportedly having engine troubles and was facing rough seas near the Kei River Mouth, north-east of East London.

The National Sea Rescue Institute’s Craig Lambinon says continuous bad weather has hampered an extensive search

Zuma says Libya must plot own future

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma says the solution in Libya has to be political
and lies in the hands of the Libyan people.

Hosting a summit of the African Union panel on Libya in Pretoria, Zuma warned Nato that the UN resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya had not intended to authorise a campaign for regime change or what he described as “the political assassination" of Muammar Gaddafi.

Zuma says the military stalemate cannot be allowed to drag on - both because of its horrendous cost in civilian lives and the potential it has to destabilise the entire sub-region.

Meanwhile, the Libyan government yesterday renewed its offer to hold a vote on whether Gaddafi should stay in power. Observers say the proposal could widen differences inside Nato.

The three month military campaign has cost alliance members billions-of-dollars, has killed civilians, and has so far failed to topple Gaddafi.

Government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim told reporters in Tripoli they are proposing a period of national dialogue and an election overseen by the United Nations and the African Union.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cosatu says Swazi officials can’t be trusted with loan

Lusanda Bill
26 June 2011

Cosatu warns that the administration of Swaziland's King Mswati cannot be entrusted with the loan meant to rescue the country.

Spokesperson Bongani Masuku says the crisis was caused by years of extravagance, corruption and poor management.

He says the same people cannot be trusted with managing the loan meant to rescue the country.

The South African government has admitted that it has received a request for a loan, but would not confirm reports that the amount was 10-billion-Rands.

Kader Asmal cremated in Cape Town

Lusanda Bill
26 June 2011

ANC stalwart Kader Asmal was cremated in Maitland, Cape Town yesterday.

The service was conducted by the rector of the University of the Western Cape Brian O'Connor.

Asmal had been born into a Muslim family but his wife said he had stated before his death that he favoured cremation.

Muslim rites were performed before his cremation.

A public memorial service will be held at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday.

Robbers struck at the home of Jackie Selebi

Lusanda Bill
26 June 2011

Less than 24 hours after a break-in at Gauteng police commissioner Mzwandile Petros’ home in Bryanston, Johannesburg, robbers struck at the Pretoria home of former national commissioner Jackie Selebi.

No one was home during the break-in.

The robbers got away with electrical appliances and valuable coins after lifting the security gate.

Meanwhile, the head of Crime Line Yusuf Abramjee says there were two attempted burglaries at his Johannesburg home yesterday morning.

Abramjee says police acted swiftly but no arrests have yet been made.

11 people died in two separate accidents

Lusanda Bill
26 June 2011

Six people were killed when two vehicles collided on the N12 between Wolmaransstad and Klerksdorp in North West yesterday.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks says one of the cars burst into flames and the four occupants were burnt beyond recognition.

Two men in the other vehicle were also killed and another man was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.

The tragedy follows yesterday’s head-on collision in Pretoria East in which five people were killed and two others, including a five-year-old girl, were critically injured.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Libya on Zuma’s agenda

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma has welcomed Parliament's support for an extension of Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo's term in office on Friday.

The National Assembly on Friday passed the motion to support Zuma's earlier decision.

Justice Ngcobo was appointed in 2009 and would have been a Judge for fifteen years by August this year.

In terms of the law, this makes him eligable for discharge but Zuma has decided not to replace Ngcobo.

3-year-old Chante Christoffels has been found alive

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

The three-year-old girl who went missing a couple of weeks back in Bellville has been found alive.

Chante Christoffels was found playing alone in front of a flat of blocks in Voortrekker Road, Bellville this morning.

Police were alerted by community members.

The case of abduction is still being investigated and nobody has been arrested as yet.

Anyone with any information about the abduction can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111or the SMS Crime Line on 32211.

30 buses destroyed over high cost of tickets

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

The Putco Bus Company has revealed that around 30 buses were stoned on Thursday as commuters vented their anger over bad service and the high cost of tickets.

During a protest, three buses were also set on fire in Dobsonville, Soweto.

In Cape Town, train coaches were also set alight, costing Transnet millions-of-Rands.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele condemned the destruction, saying the cost to repair the damage could have been spent elsewhere.

Memorial services to be held for Kader Asmal

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

The Presidency has announced that a memorial service for late Cabinet minister Kader Asmal will take place on Thursday morning at the Cape Town City Hall.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will address the service.

Condolence books have been opened at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Tuynhuys and the Asmal home in Cape Town and also at the foreign mission in Dublin, Ireland and Trafalgar Square in London.

Asmal passed away at the age of 76 after a heart attack on Wednesday.

Thieves target Mzwandile Petros’s house

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

Gauteng police commissioner Mzwandile Petros home was burgled last night in Johannesburg.

Petros has refused to comment about the incident.

The commissioner’s wife heard the men breaking in at their Bryanston home and raised the alarm.

She apparently did not come into direct contact with them. Petros was not home at the time.

The thieves managed to steal a plasma screen television set before fleeing.

Farmers say they will not leave the country

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

In South African there has been an ongoing debate about nationalization, which the ANCYL is pushing for.

Free State Agriculture says there is no reason why farmers should leave the country.

Many farmers are scared for their lives after the ANCYL elective conference.

The organisation’s vice president, Dan Kriek says many farmers still feel that they can make a positive contribution.

Mthethwa says corruption undermines democracy

Lusanda Bill
25 June 2011

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has stressed that corruption undermines democratic processes in South Africa.

Mthethwa was addressing the South African Policing Union anti-corruption symposium in Midrand yesterday.

The Minister added that public officials who display unethical conduct erode public confidence in government processes and institutions.

He gave the assurance that an improved anti-corruption strategy in his department is focussing on prevention, detection, investigation and restorative actions.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Editors’ Forum meets with Collins Chabane

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 June 2011

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane has met with the South African National Editors’ Forum to discuss their concerns about government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi.

Sanef had requested the meeting, saying their relationship with Manyi had reached an impasse.

Chabane says it has now been agreed that both parties will treat each other with mutual respect and will strive to improve relations between government and the media.

Opposition parties welcome ANC’s change of heart on Info Bill

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 June 2011

Opposition parties and civil society groups have welcomed a series of concessions made by the ANC in the ongoing parliamentary discussions about the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

One of the concessions is that only organs of state involved in security and intelligence will be able to classify information.

The African Christian Democratic Party’s Steve Swart welcomed the progress but says the so-called Secrecy Bill is far from ready.

ANC parliamentarians have indicated they support drastically changing the bill.

ANC MP Llewellyn Landers' announcement was welcomed by opposition party colleagues, who praised the ruling party for listening and changing some of its positions.

Landers said it is a concern that the bill may be used to hide information.

DA wants to get to the bottom of baby deaths

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 June 2011

The Democratic Alliance wants a report on the competency of hospital CEOs to urgently be made public.

Spokesperson Mike Waters says this week’s tragic death of five babies at the Jubilee Hospital in Pretoria, allegedly due to faulty incubators, is the latest in a series of infant deaths in state hospitals.

According to Waters, the deaths have been attributed largely to poor management and insufficient resources. The DA has applied for access to the thus far confidential report compiled by the Development Bank of South Africa.

Seven behind bars for drug possession

Khanyisa Tabata
24 June 2011

City of Cape Town’s Metro Police have arrested seven people for being in possession of drugs and of illegal narcotics in Mitchelle’s Plain.

Metro Police Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says officers searched a house in Lentegeur after receiving tip-offs from members of the public and they found three males and one female using illegal narcotics.

She says all four suspects were arrested and taken to the Mitchell’s Plain Police Station.

“The same team arrested three suspects for possession of illegal narcotics during routine patrols in Beacon Valley and Westridge.

“We are very pleased that communities are starting to assist us by coming forward with information,” Faro.

Electronic monitoring could relieve prison overcrowding

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

Government may consider introducing alternative methods of incarceration for offenders.

The aim is to combat persistent overcrowding in prisons.

Correctional Services Commissioner Thomas Moyane says electronic monitoring is commonly used in developed countries.

It could soon be introduced here.

The country’s 234 prisons were built to accommodate around 90 000 inmates.

Currently 160 000 inmates are crowded into the jails.

Asmal granted official funeral

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma has granted former Cabinet minister Kader Asmal an Official Funeral Category 1.

The category is reserved for distinguished persons specifically designated by the President.

The country will observe national days of mourning from today until the evening of cremation, with all national flags flying at half-mast.

Further details of public memorial services are yet to be finalised.

Yesterday’s tributes to Asmal included one by U2 lead singer Bono.

He says while Asmal lived in Dublin, Ireland, in exile, his head and his heart remained in his beloved South Africa.

The singer remarks that long after the end of apartheid, Asmal remained restless with the pace of change.

Bono says even while battling cancer, he never once heard Asmal complain about his own failing health.

He was simply not interested in that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sonke Gender Justice Network Concerned about the timing of Malema’s apology

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 June 2011

The Sonke Gender Justice Network says it is concerned that it has taken Julius Malema 15-months to comply with an Equality Court ruling against him.

The ANC Youth League leader was ordered in March last year to apologise for statements he made regarding the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of raping her, and pay a fine of 50-thousand-Rands within one-month.

The Network said in a statement however that Malema’s apology is a victory for women’s rights.

Michelle Obama meets young people at UCT

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 June 2011

University of Cape Town Vice Chancellor Max Price says a visit by the United States First Lady Michelle Obama today will inspire school learners to aspire to a higher education.

The first lady today visited the university with the US ambassador to South Africa Donald Gipps, also in attendance was former UCT vice Chancellor Dr. Mamphela Ramphela who encouraged the youth to follow their dreams despite the odds.

The first lady also paid tribute to the late struggle icon Kader Asmal saying her country is mourning with South Africa.

“Let me first say my deepest condolences to the family of Kader Asmal and South Africa it is great loss for a country to lose two struggle icons in just a matter of weeks” said Mrs Obama.

She concluded by saying her highest priority when she travel is to meet young people and encourage them to do whatever the want to do in life.

The first lady met about 50 young people from different schools from disadvantaged areas in Cape Town she is expected to meet more of them at the Cape Town stadium this afternoon.

Asmal memorial services being arranged

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

Tributes keep pouring in for ANC stalwart and former Cabinet minister Kader Asmal after his death in Cape Town at the age of 76.

Several dignitaries, including Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Planning Minister Trevor Manuel visited the family home in Rosebank this morning to extend their sympathies.

Asmal spent many years in exile in Ireland and the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore also expressed his sadness over the great man’s passing.

United Stated ambassador Donald Gips says his country honours Asmal’s work fighting the injustice of apartheid and his role in building a democratic South Africa.

In Pretoria, Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa delivered Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s tribute.

She says Asmal was no armchair critic.

He contributed significantly to the development of South Africa’s Constitution, hailed as among the best in the world.The Asmal family has announced that they will honour his wish for a private cremation.

The Presidency is consulting with the family about public memorial services in his honour.

Sonke Gender Justice satisfied with Malema’s apology

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

The Sonke Gender Justice Network is satisfied with Julius Malema’s apology about his sexist remarks regarding President Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser.

The ANC Youth League president has admitted that he was wrong to say that he woman must have enjoyed herself with the president, who was later found not guilty.

The Network’s Mbuyiselo Botha says they hope the apology will raise awareness of gender issues.

Botha says this also proves that the rule of law is alive and well in South Africa.

Eastern Cape’s attracts nine investors

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

The Eastern Cape’s Coega and East London Industrial Development Zones have attracted nine investors who brought an estimated investment of R620 million during the 2010/2011 financial year.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies made the announcement during his budget vote.

Davies says the investments will support more than 4 500 construction jobs and a further 1 400 direct jobs.

He minister says while the industrial development zone model has potential, it needs to be improved and developed.

City encloses open toilets in Makhaza

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

More police have been deployed in Khayelitsha today.

This after Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille announced that city officials will start enclosing the controversial open toilets in Makhaza with concrete structures today.

Over a thousand open toilets were installed in the area in 2009.

The city was later accused of flouting residents' basic right to dignity.

Corrugated iron enclosures were broken down by angry residents.

Missing Person Alert:

Swaziland asks South Africa for a financial bailout

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

Swaziland has asked South Africa for a financial bailout as it risks running out of money.

International Relations and Cooperation head Jerry Matjila says the kingdom needs the money to pay its civil servants.

The South African government is considering the request as the country wants a stable continent, starting with its neighbours.

But the Democratic Alliance says Swaziland needs to first become democratic, respect human rights and allow free political activity.

King Mswati should also end his lavish lifestyle as a pre-condition for aid.

Six Struisbult Care Centre fire victims still need identification

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

The Ekurhuleni Municipality is appealing to the families of six women who died at the Struisbult Care Centre fire to come forward.

Only six of the 12 victims of the fire than broke out at the centre 11 days ago have been identified.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini says the Gauteng health department had implemented a DNA process to assist in identifying the women, but more help is needed.

Shock and sadness over Kader Asmal’s death

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 June 2011

Former Cabinet minister and ANC stalwart Kader Asmal has been hailed as a fearless intellectual who sacrificed for his country without trying to enrich himself.

Asmal died in a Cape Town hospital after a heart attack, aged 76.

President Jacob Zuma says Asmal will be remembered for his energy, forthrightness, efficiency and commitment to making the country a better place each day.

He will also always be remembered for his passion for human rights for all.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation expressed its deep sadness on behalf of its founder.

It describes Asmal as a lifelong fighter for freedom and justice.

The Foundations say Asmal’s voice will be missed.

The African National Congress calls Asmal one of its foremost intellectual giants.

DA leader Helen Zille says he represented the best of a generation of struggle heroes.

She also hailed him for leaving Parliament on principle, refusing to vote for the abolition of the Scorpions.

Asmal was the minister of water affairs and forestry from 1994, a member of the ANC's national executive committee, and education minister from 1999.

Asmal left Parliament in 2007 to take up a post at the University of the Western Cape where he was extraordinary professor in the faculty of law.

He leaves his wife Louise, two sons and two grandchildren.

The Presidency says funeral arrangements will be announced following consultation with the family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Veteran politician Kader Asmal dies aged 76

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 June 2011

The ANC has confirmed that Veteran ANC politician and former education minister, Kader Asmal has died at the age of 76.

Asmal served as minister of water affairs and forestry after the 1994 elections, as well as education minister from 1999.

He resigned from parliament in October 2007 in protest against the disbanding of the Scorpions crime unit.

Recently, he came out in opposition to the contentious protection of information bill, urging South Africans to reject the bill, warning that rushing it through Parliament would destroy trust in the democratic process.

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Body of a missing man found in Delft after two years

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 June 2011

A body of 36 year old man reported missing in October 2009 has been found in a shallow grave in Delft.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk says Devon Collins body was found by the SAPS Forensic Unit this morning.

“The discovery of the body comes after two years of intensive investigation. New information about his disappearance led to the discovery of his body in a wheelie rubbish bin.

“The cause of death is still to be determined but a murder docket is open for investigation and no arrest have been made yet,” said Van Wyk.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance and murder of Collins is requested to contact the investigating officer, Detective Constable John Philander at Delft SAPS on (021) 954 9000.

Info bill deadline could be extended again

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 June 2011

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga will tomorrow table a motion for the extension of the deadline for the work on the Protection of Information Bill.

Motshekga will propose that the ad hoc committee report on its task by the 23rd of September.

He says opposition parties have agreed to the extension. Motshekga says this will give parliamentarians time to consider the wide range of views expressed on the controversial measures during the public consultation process.

The Bill has been condemned as unconstitutional and flawed. The Congress of SA Trade Unions has threatened a Constitutional Court challenge should the bill be passed in its current form.

Michelle Obama inspires 75 young women

Lusanda Bill
22 June 2011

Visiting American First Lady Michelle Obama captured the hearts of the crowd at Soweto’s Regina Mundi Church when she hailed the women of South Africa this morning.

She addressed a conference attended by over 75 young women who are playing leadership roles across the continent.

Obama called Africa a vital partner in finding solutions to global challenges like creating jobs, promoting democracy and development.

She stressed the need for courage and hope.

Michelle Obama later laid a wreath at the Hector Pieterson memorial.

Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project report almost complete

Lusanda Bill
22 June 2011

The Transport Department says a report by the steering committee of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is almost complete.

After it is handed to Minister S’bu Ndebele, there will be another round of consultation with the stakeholders by the end of next month.

Minister Ndebele will then be in a position to make a final decision on e-tolling.

The minister suspended the toll tariffs following an outcry when the National Roads Agency announced in February that it wanted to charge 66-cents-per-kilometer at 42 electronic toll gates.

Parliament’s oversight model to be improved

Lusanda Bill
22 June 2011

National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu has hit out at absent MPs and ministers who do not reply to questions.

He plans to beef up Parliament's oversight model to keep ministers and departments in check.

Opposition parties also slammed the planned expansion of parliamentary offices and the building of a new debating chamber as unaffordable.

Sisulu delivered Parliament’s one-point-six-billion-Rands budget vote speech in the House.

Many schools in the country lack basic facilities

Lusanda Bill
22 June 2011

An infrastructure report published by the Department of Basic Education shows that more than three-and-a-half-thousand of the country’s public schools have no electricity.

Almost two-and-a-half-thousand have no water supply.

Almost a thousand of the just less than 25-thousand public schools have no toilets.

The Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal are the worst-off provinces for school infrastructure.

In some schools, 150 pupils are crammed into one classroom.

The department says the infrastructure backlog is being tackled through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative.

Nationalisation debate rages on

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 June 2011

Business Leadership SA has admitted that it could have been more proactive in the debate around nationalisation of the country's mines and banks.

Chief executive Michael Spicer says business has a responsibility in managing this debate.

This follows ANC Youth League leaders Julius Malema’s statement that the League is willing to go to war to have its nationalisation policy adopted.

BLSA chairperson Bobby Godsell stressed that business remained "unconvinced" that nationalisation was the way to go in addressing unemployment and poverty.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No progress made in recovering Anton Hammerl’s body

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 June 2011

No progress has been made in repatriating Anton Hammerl’s remains to South Africa.

This is according to family friend Bronwyn Friedlander, who lives in Britain.

Hammerl was shot in the Libyan desert in early April while working as a photo journalist in the country.

It was initially believed that he had been captured by soldiers loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, but it emerged six-weeks later that he had in fact been killed.

Friedlander says the Hammerl family realises that repatriating Anton’s body will not be an easy process.

Government’s plan to deal with acid mine drainage has some flaws

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 June 2011

Government is planning to deal with Gauteng’s acid mine drainage crisis by pumping the toxic water out of the mines and using lime to neutralise it.

The water, which will still have high sulphate levels after being neutralised, will then be discharged into rivers, but diluted with specially released fresh water.

But the department of water affairs’ deputy director Marius Keet told Parliament today that even this solution has its problems

Cele warns about bomb scares

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 June 2011

National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele says he is concerned about hoax bomb scares as well as the illegal use of explosives.

He has warned any person who maliciously creates a bomb scare will be prosecuted.

Police spokesperson Colonel Tummi Shai says police management is extremely concerned about the illegal use of explosives in the public domain.

She says this also gives rise to a number of hoax bomb scares which not only traumatised people, but also led to a waste of time and resources by police.

Cele says where illegal explosives are used to blow up automatic teller machines, police members’ lives are often endangered and this will not be tolerated.

21 boys removed from an illegal initiation school

Lusanda Bill
21 June 2011

Eastern Cape police have removed 21 boys from an illegal initiation school near Port St Johns.

The removal came after a headman reported the school.

The police then removed the boys who are aged between 13 and 15-years-old.

The boys are now being treated in a local hospital.

No one has been arrested so far, but police are investigating a charge relating to illegal circumcision.

Missing Adult Alert: Danuela Blagojevic

National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund rumours crashed

Lusanda Bill
21 June 2011

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has dispelled rumours that the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund is holding back billions in unspent funds.

Reports have said that up to six-billion-Rands could be unused.

Davies told a review meeting in Midrand that one-and-a-half-billion-Rand was available in the current financial year.

He added that other three-point-two-billion-Rands had already been approved and allocated.

Drugs confiscated by Metro Police

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 June 2011

Twelve people have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and five for being in possession illegal narcotics.

Metro Police Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says officers arrested seven suspects at a roadblock in Langa and another two in Diep River – all on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol

“Two suspects were arrested for possession of illegal narcotics and the following items were confiscated, 390 dagga ‘stoppe’, 89 TIK straws and R1454, 65 in cash.

“We also conducted joint vehicle and foot patrols with the South African Police Services in Fisantekraal, Durbanville where three people were arrested for dealing in dagga, and 72 dagga ‘stoppe’, three dagga parcels and R1478,95 in cash was confiscated, “ said Faro.

Hawks undertake to investigate new arms deal revelations

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 June 2011

The Democratic Alliance says the Hawks have undertaken to investigate new revelations of bribery in the multi-billion-Rands arms deal.

Defence spokesperson David Maynier says the head of the Hawks Anwar Dramat confirmed their intention in a letter.

The DA had written to Dramat requesting an investigation after defence company Saab admitted that its former partner BAE Systems had paid about R24 million to South African officials in the deal.

This related to the acquisition of 26 Gripen fighter jets from Saab/British Aerospace.

Business wants clarity on nationalization

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 June 2011

Business Unity South Africa says the current tone of the public debate around the nationalisation of land, banks and the mining industry weakens South Africa’s ability to attract the direct investment both local and foreign.

Busa says investment is required to grow South Africa’s economy and to create jobs.

The organisation says it has noted President Jacob Zuma’s repeated assurances that nationalisation is neither a policy of the government, nor that of the ruling party.

But it wants government to show much greater leadership to speedily bring certainty to the issue.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ANC distances itself from decision made at Youth League congress

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 June 2011

The ANC has distanced itself from decisions made at the recently-concluded ANC Youth League national congress.

The ruling party issued a statement this afternoon congratulating Julius Malema on his re-election as League president.

The ANC reiterated however that League’s resolutions do not alter policies being implemented at government level, nor will they have any bearing on the ANC’s national conference next year.

Public Protector lashes out for leaked report

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 June 2011

Public Protector has lashed out at the media for publishing a leaked copy of a report into the controversial police headquarters lease.

A Sunday yesterday revealed that the report was very critical of National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.

The Public Protector says the report was confidential and its release had undermined the fairness of the ongoing investigation into the one-billion-Rand deal.

Tokyo Sexwale tells media to fight on against so-called Secrecy Bill

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 June 2011

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has urged the South African media to continue their fight against the proposed Protection of Information Bill and Media Appeals Tribunal.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark Nelson Mandela Day in Johannesburg, Sexwale says the media should not be forced to tow the line.

Meanwhile the South African National Editors Forum member Raymond Louw says Nelson Mandela believed the press should be free from government intervention as they were the only ones who could hold those in power accountable.

Louw said at a launch in Houghton ahead of next month’s 2011 Nelson Mandela International Day that He said if Mandela had still been involved in politics, he would be opposed to the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

Sexwale said that people were not there to remember the man, but what he stood for, including press freedom.

A call for tolerance on this World Refugee Day

Lusanda Bill
20 June 2011

South Africans have been called to be tolerant towards refugees.

This is in line with World Refugee Day, which is today.

The South African Human Rights Commission says it sees the day as a chance for the South African government and governments across the world to reaffirm international agreements of refugee protection.

The Commission added that it is concerned many foreigners are met with mistrust in South Africa.

Nationalisation of mines to affect the economy

Lusanda Bill
20 June 2011

Standard Bank economist Johan Botha says the nationalisation of mines will have a negative effect on the economy.

This follows ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s stressing that nationalisation is an integral part of the League’s policy.

Malema made the comment at the ANC Youth League's elective conference which ended on Sunday.

Botha says the South African market is highly dependent on mining as one of the country’s main industries.

Debates still rife on the proposed Protection of Information Bill

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 June 2011

The Democratic Left Front says civic society should come up with several strategies to protect public interest against legislation like the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

Prominent media activist, Jane Duncan says there is a notable broader scheme by government to prioritise security matters in the country at the expense of access to information.

Meanwhile, access to information lobby group, the Right2Know Campaign says it continues to engage with government in an effort to get them to shift their stance on the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

Right2Know’s Jayshree Pather says an open flow of information is a clear sign of credible democracy.

Public Protector called to investigate South African-made arms in Libya

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 June 2011

Video footage of what are believed to be South African-made sniper rifles being used in Libya has been handed to the Public Protector for further investigation.

The footage, which was reportedly shot from a cellphone camera in the city of Misrata, shows a rebel fighter holding a rifle that was allegedly confiscated from a government soldier.

The Democratic Alliance says the video serves as proof that South Africa exported the rifles to Libya as part of a R68.9 million arms deal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

25 Injured as two taxis collide head on

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

25 people have been injured in a head on collision between two taxis on the Stellenbosch Arterial Road near Symphony Way in Belville.

ER24 spokesperson Vanessa Jackson says it is not clear as to why the accident occurred, but when paramedics arrived at the scene there were patients scattered around the two crushed vehicles.

“All 25 of the patients were assessed on scene for their various injuries, all of whom had sustained moderate injuries, and one man who had sustained serious injuries.

“A child was in one of the taxis, but was also fortunately not seriously injured,” said Jackson.

She added that all of the patients were taken to nearby provincial hospitals by various ambulances that were on scene.

Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll called 100-percent perfect

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 June 2011

The Zimbabwe government backed newspaper reports that the country's registrar-general as saying that there is no other country in the world with a voters' roll that is as 100-percent perfect as Zimbabwe's.

Tobaiwa Mude-de said Zimbabwe's electoral register had "nominal percentage error margins" and said his office was happy to allow critics to inspect the roll.

Critics have accused President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party of manipulating the list for political advantage and say it includes children and people who have long since died. Fathers day from Gerard.

Eastern Cape police investigate initiation death

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 June 2011

A young man has died in the Eastern Cape after an initiation ceremony.

Police spokesperson Mzukisi Fatyela says the 19-year-old apparently tried to make his way to hospital in Fort Gale, Mthatha, but passed away during the night.

His body was covered in bruises and scratches, indicating that he may have been assaulted. Members of the public found his body along a footpath.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Libyan rebels push on to Zlitan

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Libya's rebels have traded heavy artillery fire with Muammar Gaddafi's forces near the western city of Zlitan as they tried to take government-held territory east of the capital Tripoli.

Rebels reportedly fired artillery and rocket launchers.

Rebels said they aimed to hit Libyan tanks and munitions in Naimah, near Zlitan, but inexperience and indiscipline has plagued their campaign.

The rebels have announced they will not enter Zlitan for fear of antagonising tribal sensibilities, but they are recruiting there, and claim hundreds have rallied to their cause and left the city.

ANC Youth League spokesperson annoys President Jacob Zuma

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu would not comment today on reportedly annoying President Jacob Zuma at the league's elective conference earlier this week.

According to a report, Zuma broke off from his opening address to about five thousand people at the event in Johannesburg on Thursday, and rebuked Shivambu for talking loudly while he was speaking.

Asked for comment on the incident, Shivambu said he did not know anything about it – and then his telephone went dead. Attempts to raise him again failed.

Syrian forces kill 19 in biggest protests

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Human rights groups say at least 19 protesters have been killed by Syrian security forces in anti-government demonstrations following Friday prayers.

Despite the crackdowns that have forced thousands to flee across the Turkish border, tens of thousands rallied yesterday in demonstrations that the government seems unable to stop.

European powers, which had initiated a detente with Assad prior to the street protests to try to draw the Syrian leader away from Iran and also stabilise Lebanon, said Damascus should face tougher sanctions for the violence.

Tens of thousands of people rallied across the country, defying Assad's military crackdown and ignoring a pledge that his tycoon cousin Rami Makhlouf, a symbol of corruption, would renounce his business empire and channel his wealth to charity.

Authorities have blamed the violence on armed groups and Islamists, backed by foreign powers.

Man dies in East Rand accident

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

A man was killed and three others were critically injured when a bakkie and a light motor vehicle collided at the junction of Kelvin and C. R. Swart Streets in Edleen, Kempton Park, this morning.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks says both vehicles apparently entered the junction simultaneously, the light motor vehicle striking the bakkie on its side.

On colliding the bakkie veered from the road and skidded to a halt in a roadside lot. The driver died on the scene. Two passengers of the car were critically injured. They were rushed to hospital.

Frederick Chiluba dies

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 July 2011

Zambia's former president Frederick Chiluba, who ruled the country from 1991 to 2001, died at the age of 68 at his home early this morning. His spokesperson says Chiluba died shortly after midnight.

The embattled leader had been suffering from heart and kidney problems.

Hailed as a democrat for helping dismantle Kaunda's socialist single-party rule of 27 years, Chiluba was later charged with stealing nearly $500,000 of public funds.

He was acquitted of all charges in 2009, while two business executives accused with him were found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2007 a British judge ordered Chiluba to repay $58 million to compensate for money he was accused of stealing during his decade in office.

Lebogang Maile to stay with ANC Youth League

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Gauteng Arts MEC and youth league provincial chairperson
Lebogang Maile says he will stay on in the ANC Youth League.

Maile last night refused his nomination to run against Julius Malema, who will lead the League for another three years. Maile added that he would stay on in his provincial position.

He says he will not speak about his campaign to unseat Malema because he has to follow League protocol.

Cape Town policeman faces corruption charges

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Cape Town police have confirmed that a SAPS member has been arrested after allegedly trying to bribe a man involved in a drunk driving case.

The policeman apparently said he could make the case disappear for three thousand rands.

The 25-year-old Table View constable was caught at an eatery opposite the Bayside Mall around noon, when he handed the man the case docket, and was given the money in cash. The man went to the Hawks after being offered the bribe.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday.

ANC ward councillor arrested in Polokwane

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Limpopo police have confirmed that an ANC ward councillor has been arrested and charged with last week's attack on foreign nationals in Polokwane that left one Zimbabwean dead and many others displaced.

A spokesperson says the 29-year-old woman councillor and five other suspects were arrested in a pre-dawn operation.

They will appear in the Seshego Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of murder, public violence and arson.

The arrest has brought to seven the number of people arrested since violence erupted in the area on Monday.

DA leader Helen Zille to oppose Nelson Mandela Bay Metro budget

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says her party will oppose the budget for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

Zille was in the metro to thank supporters for the party's increased showing in the recent local government elections.

The African National Congress-led council is battling to pass a budget with opposition from the DA as well as the Ratepayers Association. Zille says this is an indication of the ANC's division in the metro.

Zille thanked supporters for taking the party to over 40 percent of the vote in the metro.

Malema re-elected ANC Youth Leader

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 June 2011

There was no challenge to Julius Malema’s nomination as leader of the ANC Youth League at the League’s national conference last night - leaving the post open for Malema for the next three years.

League Gauteng chairman Lebogang Maile declined nomination from the floor.

Maile left the conference surrounded by bodyguards to ensure no Malema supporters could get to him. He says the decision to decline nomination was a very tough one to take.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Arms deal bribery said to be part of business

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 June 2011

A military analyst says that in many parts of the world the only way to do business is through the paying of bribes.

This follows reports that Swedish defence group Saab has admitted to its involvement in payment of R24 million in bonuses and salaries to ensure the sale of 26 JAS Gripen fighter jets to South Africa.

Helmoed Heitman, a military analyst, says deals like this always involve some kind of bribe.

Meanwhile, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, who first blew the whistle on the deal in 1999, says Saab’s admission comes as no surprise.

She maintains that the South African offenders still need to be brought to book.

Allegations of vote buying at ANC Youth League congress

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 June 2011

Delegates at the ANC Youth League’s congress in Midrand are alleging that the two candidates for the presidency of the organisation have tried to buy votes from some of the 5 000 people attending the meeting.

Julius Malema is expected to retain his position as president, after gaining support from all the provinces ahead of the congress.

Gauteng League chairperson and the province's sport MEC Lebogang Maile is expected to be the only challenger for the post.

Delegates are expected to vote for the top office bearers this afternoon.

Zuma says transformation should not hurt economic growth

Lusanda Bill
17 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma says transformation had to be done in a way that ensured that other priorities like economic growth and production were not affected.

He was speaking at the Youth League conference in Midrand yesterday.

Zuma responded to repeated calls by Malema for the government to speedily impound land and nationalise mines.

Zuma told delegates that there are a number of programmes encouraging the participation of all South Africans.

Mopping up underway in areas affected by rain in Cape Town

Lusanda Bill
17 June 2011

Disaster management officials in Cape Town are busy today as they continue their mopping operations.

Cape Town had two days straight of heavy rains.

Areas such as Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, Phola Park, Heinz Park in Phillipi and Khayelitsha were affected.

Officials are still working to keep the storm water system free-flowing.

The public of Cape Town is been asked to not to dump rubbish into the storm water system.

Missing Children Found: Olwethu Pringana and Lusuku Naki

The two boys Olwethu Pringana and Lusuku Naki who we reported missing earlier today have been found.

Swedish group comes clean about arms deal bribes

Lusanda Bill
17 June 2011

Swedish defence group Saab has admitted that millions-of-Rands in bribes had been paid to clinch a South African contract for fighter jets.

The company cleared itself by saying former British partner BAE Systems had made the payments.

Saab says BAE had paid 24-million-Rands in the form of bonuses and salaries between 2003 and 2005 for the deal involving 26 JAS Gripen fighters.

A Swedish television channel reported that it had evidence that Saab had promised to pay Fana Hlongwane, then adviser to late defence minister Joe Modise, millions in bonuses if South Africa did not back out of the Gripen deal.

FF Plus calls the youth to take responsibility for their futures

Lusanda Bill
17 June 2011

Freedom Front plus held its Youth Conference in Roodepoort yesterday.

It has called on young people to take responsibility for their own future.

FF Plus Youth spokesperson Wouter Wessels appealed to the government to act carefully.

The party is concerned about the alleged non-performance of the National Youth Development Agency.

Malema criticises Cosatu

Lusanda Bill
17 June 2011

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema has launched an indirect attack on labour federation Cosatu.

Malema says those who call themselves vanguards of workers’ interests have now become entangled in governance and politics.

Malema told more than five-thousand delegates at a national elective conference in Midrand yesterday that the Youth League would now take over the mobilisation of workers.

He says they have been neglected by their supposed representatives.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crew released from hospital after rescue

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 June 2011

The four crew members of a capsized catamaran off the Southern Cape coast have all been released from hospital.

The National Sea Rescue Institute says the Gulliver was flipped over by bad weather yesterday afternoon about 12-nautical-miles from Cape Infanta.

The four were only brought safely back to shore nearly 12-hours after their ordeal began. NSRI vessels from Witsand had been used in the rescue operation.

The capsized yacht is believed to still be adrift and maritime warnings have been issued to boats in the area.

Julius Malema’s popularity made clear

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 June 2011

Calls for Julius Malema to be re-elected as president of the ANC Youth League have dominated the start of the organisation’s 24th National Congress at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand.

Andile Lundisa, the programme director for the first day of the four-day conference, asked delegates not to mention people’s names when singing but they continued to sing after he had left the podium.

At the congress Malema is being challenged by Lebogang Maile, the Gauteng provincial chairman.

Maile will go to the election as an underdog after he failed to get even a single province to endorse his candidacy.

Malema on the other hand was endorsed by all nine provinces including Maile's province.

Another post expected to be highly contested is the general secretary position.

KwaZulu-Natal ANCYL deputy chairman Sindiso Magaqa, and Eastern Cape ANCYL chairman Ayanda Matiti, are vying to replace outgoing incumbent, Vuyiswa Tulelo.

Political parties and trade unions air their views about Youth Day

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 June 2011

As Youth Day celebrations kick off today, the African National Congress says the heroes of the1976 Soweto uprising may have fallen, but should not be forgotten.

The ruling party says today they want to pay tribute to the late Oscar Pieterson, and the more than one-hundred students who died in the protests.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions says Youth Day should not only be used to commemorate the heroes of the uprising, but also to improve the lives and education opportunities of today's youth.

Cosatu warned that the country was sitting on a ticking time bomb of youth unemployment and poverty.

Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance’s Roy Jankielsohn says they will support any initiative to eradicate the challenges facing the youth.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Missing Child Alert:

Retailers’ business confidence levels declines

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 June 2011

Retailers’ business confidence levels declined notably during the second quarter of the year.

This is evident in the latest Ernst & Young / Bureau for Economic Research survey.

The percentage of retailers reporting that they are satisfied with prevailing business conditions dropped from 58 to 47 during the period, after peaking at a three year high of 63 during the last quarter of last year.

Because consumer demand has declined, most retailers have been unable to increase their selling prices.

State doctors demand protection

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 June 2011

Doctors converged on the Union Building in Pretoria today to tell government that they are risking their lives to save others.

They say the fatal stabbing of Dr Senzo Mkhize in the Middelburg Hospital in Mpumalanga earlier this month was the last straw.

The South African Medical Association’s Norman Mabasa told the media that they want to know why access to government offices is tightly controlled, but thugs are able to enter hospitals at any time.

Mabasa says one doctor’s life lost is one too many.

Union wants police day festivities scrapped

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 June 2011

The South African Policing Union wants the Auditor General to probe how two-thirds of the more than 36-million-Rands bill for this year's national police day celebration in Johannesburg was spent on entertainment, food and drinks.

Secretary general Oscar Skommere calls it wasteful expenditure and wants heads to roll.

The union also calls for the cancellation of national police day celebrations, saying the millions-of-Rands should rather be spent on delivering services to communities.

Man arrested for drug possession

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 June 2011

A 27 year old man has been arrested for being in possession of tik at the Cape Town International Airport.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk says the arrest follows after members profiled the suspect at the domestic arrival terminals on a flight, arriving from O.R. Tambo International Airport.

“The suspect’s luggage was searched during which, two cereal boxes containing four plastic bags of tik were found inside one of the suitcases, weighing 4kg, with an estimated street value of R1,1 million.

“The drugs were concealed amongst other grocery items and the man was arrested for dealing in drugs and is due to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Friday”, said Van Wyk.

Shiceka’s spending probed

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 June 2011

The Public Protector has begun investigating the alleged misuse of millions-of-Rands in state funds by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka.

Presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says the President will be guided in his decision by Thuli Madonsela's report.

Public Protector Spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said the investigation had been delayed by Shiceka's request for extensions.

"The Public Protector is currently evaluating the response and processing the investigation," Masibi said.

The investigation has apparently been delayed by Shiceka's request for extensions. The minister allegedly spent taxpayers' money on luxury hotels and first-class air tickets while visiting a jailed girlfriend in Switzerland.

Mopping operations in the EC underway

Lusanda Bill
15 June 2011

Following widespread flooding in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the Eastern Cape last week, everything is back to normal.

Municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron says mopping up operations are progressing well.

The flooding in the Eastern Cape resulted in two school girls losing their lives.

Baron says they are still assessing the damage to infrastructure.

Legislation on initiation schools urgently needed

Lusanda Bill
15 June 2011

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities says national legislation on initiation schools is urgently needed.

Spokesperson Matthew Gopane says provinces such as North West, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga still don't have the relevant legislation n place.

He added that laws are not helping prepare and assist in successful initiations.

Gopane says practises in initiation schools have to comply with the Constitution.

Missing Adult Alert: Clarence Jack

Aurora’s mine deaths a cause for concern

Lusanda Bill
15 June 2011

Solidarity is concerned about a series of deaths at Aurora’s mines.

Police have, after a massive search, found the body of a 30-year old man who fell to his death in the Ndlovu shaft at Grootvlei mine over the weekend.

According to Solidarity spokesperson Gideon du Plessis, the accident is the direct result of what he describes as “Aurora’s negligence”.

Du Plessis says they will take immediate steps to have the mine shafts closed.

Investor transport conference comes to an end

Lusanda Bill
15 June 2011

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says the frequent train accidents the country is seeing is proof that trains are becoming dangerously old.

But Ndebele adds that rail transport has to become the focus of public transport, meaning that an expensive upgrade is urgently needed.

The minister spoke at the international transport investor conference in Cape Town.

Transport spokesperson Logan Maistry explains why Ndebele said investors would have to help with the 30-billion-Rands needed for the upgrading of the country’s rail infrastructure over the next three years.

Some municipalities are losing ground

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma says audit reports show that some municipalities are regressing into even bigger financial and administrative problems.

Speaking during the budget vote of the Presidency in Parliament this afternoon, Zuma revealed that the finding of the Auditor General’s report for the 2010-2011 financial year indicate that of the 237 municipal audit reports currently available, only 57 showed some improvement. He wants immediate action on this problem.

Zuma added that government was seriously exploring the need to have a single election for national, provincial and local government.

He says in this way, the country will have one financial year, a single public service, a common five-year medium-term planning, as well as aligned human resource and budgeting frameworks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Police watchdog questioned about haste with Andries Tatane case

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 June 2011

A parliamentary committee has taken the Independent Complaints Directorate to task for the speed with which the police watchdog body investigated the killing of Ficksburg activist Andries Tatane.

The committee says many families in similar cases had been waiting for long periods without their cases being finalised.

Police are accused of killing Tatane during a protest march.

Committee chairperson Cindy Chikunga questioned whether pressure from the media came into play in the Tatane case.

EC Transport MEC commits R67 million to the re-launch of the Kei Rail passenger service

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 June 2011

Eastern Cape Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu has committed R67 million to the re-launch of the Kei Rail passenger service between East London and Mthatha.

Marawu says she is determined not to let the service at the Amabhele Station outside Stutterheim collapse.

The reintroduction of the service is a key part of government’s strategy to encourage rural development in the province.

The service is the first of many long-term initiatives aimed at improving rail services.

People advised not to play with flu

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 June 2011

The Department of Health has advised people who develop flu-like symptoms to consult a doctor.

This follows the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ announcement that more than 200 South Africans are being treated for swine flu.

Almost 130 of the patients are in Gauteng. But spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala stresses that the outbreak is not a pandemic like in 2009, when there was no vaccine.

In 2009, swine flu claimed the lives of more than 90 South Africans. Eight cases of mumps and six cases of swine flu were reported at The King's School, in Linbro Park, Johannesburg.

But only one Grade 7 girl, who had swine flu, was hospitalised last week.

All three Dewani accused expected to stand trial in August

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 June 2011

The National Prosecuting Authority is confident that two men accused of killing honeymoon tourist Anni Dewani last year, as well as her widower Shrien, suspected of having masterminded the killing, will all be in the same Cape Town dock on the 2nd of August.

Xolile Mngeni, who underwent a brain operation, is expected to be well enough to appear in court in August.

And the NPA says Dewani’s extradition proceedings from Britain should also have been concluded by then. The pair stand accused together with Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila says Mngeni would have recovered by August 2 and would stand trial together with his co-accused.

WC still using Drager breathalyser

Lusanda Bill
14 June 2011

Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle says suspected drunk drivers who have been tested with a Drager breathalyser will not be let off the hook that easy.

With the country’s forensic laboratories currently dysfunctional, the National Prosecuting Authority has decided to postpone such cases.

But Carlisle stresses that they remain on high alert to clamp down on drunken drivers.

The Western Cape has not stopped using the Drager breathalyser

Missing Child Alert: Koketso Sithole

Zuma expresses compassion with the Struisbult victims

Lusanda Bill
14 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma has expressed sympathy with the families of the 12 people killed in a fire at the Struisbult Care Centre in springs on the East Rand.

He commended the fire fighters and paramedics for their heroic efforts. Twenty-seven people were injured in the fire.

The centre accommodates up to 155 people.

All the surviving residents have been moved to places of safety in the Ekurhuleni area.

Judgment reserved in Reitz Four appeal

Lusanda Bill
14 June 2011

The Bloemfontein High Court has reserved judgement in the appeal hearing by the four former University of the Free State students.

The students humiliated five of its black workers.

The so-called Reitz Four want the high court to reduce their sentence of 20-thousand-Rands or 12 months in jail each.

The Reitz Four have pleaded guilty to a charge of crimen injuria last year.

Difficulty in identifying all of the Struisbult Care Centre deceased

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 June 2011

Officials at the Struisbult Care Centre in Springs are having trouble identifying six of the 12 people who died in a fire in the facility yesterday morning.

Gauteng Health MEC Ntombi Megwe says the identification process will take some time as all the patient records were lost in the blaze.

At least 27 other people were injured after a fire broke out at the centre.

The exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Ekurhuleni emergency services say the Centre was meant to have a fire safety check this month.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mail and Guardian stands by its latest controversial Zapiro cartoon

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 June 2011

The Mail and Guardian newspaper says it stands by its publication last week of another controversial cartoon by Zapiro.

The cartoon, which was published last Friday, features Lady Free Speech being held in position by the ANC’s Gwede Mantashe while President Jacob Zuma unzips his pants.

A dishevelled Lady Justice lies on the floor telling her sister to fight.

The ANC says it is currently seeking legal advice and is considering laying charges against the paper.

Editor Nic Dawes says they will not apologise nor retract the cartoon.

One of the Anni Dewani murder accused undergoes brain surgery

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 June 2011

One of the two men in custody for their alleged involvement in the murder of British tourist Anni Dewani has had surgery to remove a brain tumour.

The Wynberg Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town today officially heard of Xolile Mngeni’s medical condition.

His co-accused, Mziwadoda Qwabe, has been remanded into custody until the 2nd of August.

It is hoped that more information about Mngeni’s progress will be available then.

Meanwhile, extradition proceedings continue against Bristol businessman Shrien Dewani.

He stands accused of orchestrating his wife’s murder while the two were on honeymoon.

Dewani is currently in England and will appear in a London court on the 18th of July.

Former Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund head diamond trial postponed

By Khanyisa Tabata
13 June 2011

The trial of former Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund head Jeremy Ratcliffe has been postponed in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court due to a power failure.

Ratcliffe stands accused of possession of illegal diamonds, which were allegedly given to him by supermodel Naomi Campbell in 1997.

It is believed that she had received the diamonds as a gift from war crimes accused former Liberian leader Charles Taylor.

The Court apologised to Ratcliffe, saying it is often hit by power failures in winter. The trial will resume on Wednesday.

Missing Adult Alert: Jennifer Mars

Plans into a free trade area underway

Lusanda Bill
13 June 2011

Negotiations have officially been launched into a free trade area that will cover 26 countries from Cairo to Cape Town.

Leaders from three of Africa’s largest economic blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa and the East African Community, met yesterday in Sandton to begin discussions.

Once negotiations are complete, the envisioned free trade area will cover more than 700-million people.

President Jacob Zuma says the eventual aim is the economic unity of the whole continent.

Nationwide campaign to stop cop killings to be launched soon

Lusanda Bill
13 June 2011

At least 36 police members have been killed in the line of duty since the beginning of the year.

This includes the police sergeant who was shot and killed in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee says they are working closely with the police and will soon launch a nationwide campaign to put a stop to the killings.

Abramjee stressed that they cannot fight this curse alone.

12 die in blaze at a Gauteng home for the aged

Lusanda Bill
13 June 2011

Twelve people died and some 50 were injured in a fire at a care centre for the elderly and mentally handicapped in Springs in Gauteng early this morning.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks says when paramedics arrived at the Struisbult Care Centre shortly after midnight they found fire fighters from the Ekhurleni Metro Fire Department battling the blaze which had swept through a large portion of the single story structure.

The flames were quickly brought under control and the victims and survivors were pulled from the building by the rescue teams.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

Investigation underway into the fire of an ANC building

Lusanda Bill
13 June 2011

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is convinced that arson is behind the fire that damaged the party’s Pietermaritzburg office yesterday morning.

A group of ANC members had been holding a sit-in at the premises for the past 13 days, in protest against councillors allegedly imposed on the region.

They are also unhappy about the appointment of councillors accused of corruption.

One of the sit-in group's members Sibongile Mkhize claimed the intention with the fire was to destroy documents being kept in the room.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

African leaders meet in Sandton

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 June 2011

President Jacob Zuma says an African Free Trade Area, being discussed by 24 African leaders in Sandton today, will ensure that African countries trade with each other on better terms.

But he warns that removing barriers to intra-African trade will in themselves not lead to the realisation of the continent’s full potential for growth and development.

Zuma wants interventions to simultaneously be designed that will fully take advantage of more open regional markets.

Meanwhile, despite talks continuing until late into the night, Southern African leaders could not conclude their deliberations on Zimbabwe in Sandton.

The leaders are due to review a progress report by President Jacob Zuma, assigned by SADC to facilitate the inter-party talks in Zimbabwe.

International recognition for South African burns specialist

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 June 2011

A doctor from Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital Burns Unit will in September receive international recognition for her contribution to burns research.

Dr Elbie van der Merwe has won the biannual G Whitaker International Burns Prize.

She will receive the almost 200-thousand-Rands prize at the foundation's headquarters in Palermo, Italy.

Van der Merwe says while South Africa has some of the worst burn cases in the world, there is a lot that the country can do to prevent and treat the scourge.

Young Eastern Cape flood victims’ bodies found

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 June 2011

Eastern Cape police say the bodies of two schoolgirls swept away by raging water at Ndenxe village in Butterworth have been found.

A boy looking after cattle found the body of 20-year-old Ayakha Mliswa.

A 14-year-old girl was also found dead by hunters. She and her 13-year-old sister were swept away by the Ngobozi River in Tholeni village.

The search for the younger sister is continuing.

Three people in Lusikisiki and a 47-year-old man in Keiskammahoek also remain missing.

Children die in Port Elizabeth blaze

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 June 2011

Six people, including three children, have died in a shack fire in Bethelsdorp in the Eastern Cape.

Port Elizabeth police say the blaze is believed to have been caused by a lamp that had fallen over.

The children were aged three, four and nine.

Their father was injured when he tried in vain to save them.

Meanwhile, an accident on Benoni’s Atlas Road on the East Rand has claimed the lives of a man and a woman and left six other people critically injured.

Netcare 911 paramedics say two girls aged six and ten are among the people rushed to hospital after two cars crashed head-on.

Spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks says the force of impact saw occupants of both cars thrown from the wreckage.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bomb scare in Medupi power station

By Lelethu Mquqo
11 June 2011

Eskom’s new Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, had to be evacuated today following an anonymous bomb threat.

Police spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says at least six-thousand workers had to leave the site.

The police’s bomb unit and sniffer dogs are combing the site.

According to Mulaudzi, the threat had nothing to do with a strike by workers.

The site was also closed on the 10th of last month after workers damaged vehicles in protest over the employment of foreign staff.

Madiba hails dignified Ma Sisulu

By Lelethu Mquqo
11 June 2011

In a message delivered on his behalf by his wife Graҫa Machel, former president Nelson Mandela hailed Albertina Sisulu as one of the greatest South Africans ever.

Madiba, who was a close friend of the Sisulus and a colleague of Walter Sisulu, said Ma Albertina fought for liberation in a quiet, dignified way.

Thousands of people, including a host of dignitaries, are attending her official funeral in the Orlando Stadium in Soweto today.

Meanwhile, the Mandela family celebrated the life of Madiba’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani today.

She was killed a year ago in a car crash on the way home from a soccer World Cup evening concert in Soweto.

A special memorial stone for Zenani was unveiled in the Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg.

Before leaving for the Sisulu funeral, Zenani’s great-grandmother Winnie Madikizela-Mandela released white doves in her honour.

Floods claim lives

By Lelethu Mquqo
11 June 2011

Eastern Cape police say two girls drowned while trying to cross a river in Lusikisiki.

A third girl remains missing after yesterday’s tragedy. The girls were crossing the Xurana River when they were swept away.

In the Southern Cape, authorities have recovered the body of the 47-year-old Riversdale farm worker who was swept away by flood waters earlier this week.

Louw Korkee, his boss and a fellow worker became trapped on an island in the Wegwyser River two days ago.

The other two were airlifted while they tried to swim to safety.

ID commends Western Cape Disaster Management

By Lelethu Mquqo
11 June 2011

The Independent Democrats has commended the Western Cape Disaster Management structure and the Eden District disaster management team for their efforts during this week’s flood disaster in the Southern Cape.

The ID’s Rodney Lentit says backyard and shack dwellers in Pacaltsdorp in George, Powertown in Mossel Bay and in the Knysna area have been worst affected.

Lentit says if the need arises, the affected towns should be declared disaster areas.

Nation bids Ma Sisulu farewell

By Lelethu Mquqo
11 June 2011

Thousands of people have streamed to Soweto’s Orlando Stadium for the funeral of the late Mama Albertina Sisulu.

Government has laid on 500 buses and seven trains for mourners.

The South African National Taxi Council provided taxis to the funeral. The service will be addressed by President Jacob Zuma.

Ma Sisulu will be laid to rest in the Crouses Cemetry in Bosmont, next to her husband, Walter.

Meanwhile, a tearful Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu thanked South Africans for the outpouring of love and respect for his mother Albertina as the family arrived at the Orlando Stadium this morning.

Crowds singing hymns and struggle songs began gathering hours before the funeral at the 40 000 seat soccer stadium in Soweto.

The ANC says nothing has been left to chance during the funeral and the burial later, with the army providing additional security for the hundreds of high-profile guests.

DA oppose to government media control

Lusanda Bill
11 June 2011

The Democratic Alliance says government's plan to use advertising as a means of rewarding publications for favourable reporting is a gross abuse of power.

Government spokesperson, Jimmy Manyi, hinted at the plan Thursday.

This was after his department took control of government’s one-billion-Rand advertising budget.

The DA’s Natasha Michael says it is clear that the ruling party wants to turn the free media into a propaganda outlet.

Friday, June 10, 2011

United Transport and Allied Workers’ Union up in arms with Metrorail

Lusanda Bill
10 June 2011

The United Transport and Allied Workers’ Union says Metrorail is using its drivers as scapegoats.

Earlier this week, Metrorail fired one of its drivers after he was found guilty of causing 12-million-Rands-worth of damage earlier this year.

Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos says the company is shifting the focus away from its many failures.

De Vos says they will ensure that every driver accused of misconduct will be given a fair hearing.

Stakeholders surprised by Eskom restructuring

Lusanda Bill
10 June 2011

The Chamber of Mines has expressed surprise at the government's decision to appoint Zola Tsotsi as the new chairperson of Eskom.

The chamber says it is deeply concerned that the government was so keen to remove Eskom's current chair Mpho Makwana and Transnet chairperson Mafika Mkwanazi.

The National Union of Mineworkers is also upset about the restructuring at Eskom, without it being consulted.

General secretary Frans Baleni says they have always said nothing should be done about them, without them, and they are now drawing the line.

Donations needed in the Eastern Cape

Lusanda Bill
10 June 2011

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in the Eastern Cape has appealed for donations of blankets, mattresses and disposable nappies following widespread flooding.

The National Defence Force assisted with a medical relief effort at the Cambria Lodge in Baviaans Kloof.

Guests were cut off, but no one had to be evacuated.

In the southern and interior parts of the Western Cape, 41 schools had to be closed after being flooded or damaged.

Another 35 schools were disrupted because of high non-attendance.

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