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Sunday, July 31, 2011
ANC owes varsity R6m
By Khanyisa Tabata 31 July 2011
The University of Limpopo’s lawyers have confirmed that the ANC still owes it almost six-million-Rands for its elective conference held at the Polokwane venue in 2007.
A warrant of execution authorised by the South Gauteng High Court was served on the party recently. University spokesperson Kgalema Mohuba has, however, said that it would be irresponsible to involve the media in the matter.
Jacob Zuma was elected ANC leader at the conference, paving the way for him becoming the country’s President.
Mthethwa orders police to use their bullet proof vests
By Khanyisa Tabata 31 July 2011
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has denied that the force lacks enough bullet proof vests.
Following the killing of 56 police members so far this year, Mthethwa said it was essential for police to wear the vests and for them to receive more training to minimise deaths at the hands of armed criminals.
The Minister says the force has 200-thousand vests and station managers will be held responsible if members fail to wear them.
Unemployment Insurance Fund commissioner Boas Seruwe says the fund has posted a nine-billion-Rands surplus, exceeding its target by htree-billion-Rands.
Seruwe also told staff the fund had for the first time posted a clean audit.
He says the increase in the surplus was due to the tightening of enforcement and compliance activity by the Department of Labour, under which the UIF falls. More companies were now beginning to comply with the law.
ANC says no one complained about unconstitutional law before
By Khanyisa Tabata 30 July 2011
The ANC says it is perplexed that President Jacob Zuma's decision to extend the term of outgoing Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo was challenged in court when the terms of two previous chief justices had been extended using the same law.
Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu has expressed surprise that nobody raised any objections when the same piece of legislation was applied in the past.
The Constitutional Court yesterday found unconstitutional Section Eight (a) of the Judges Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, under which Zuma extended Ngcobo's term.
University of Pretoria responds to "Nazi" blog incident
Lusanda Bill 29 July 2011
The controversial “Nazi blog” posted by the University of Pretoria's TuksFM breakfast team on Wednesday is still in the spotlight.
After numerous attempts yesterday to get a comment from TuksFM station management, Bush Radio contacted the communications department of the University of Pretoria.
The University of Pretoria today has finally responded to the “Nazi post” with a statement saying “TuksFM confirms that there was never any malicious intent with the placing of the initial content on the blog, but UP finds it regrettable that the photographic pose that was proposed is one that offends many people”.
The statement also states that an explanation was given on air.
@Simonebiz: "That's seriously tasteless and offensive, what were they thinking"
@StephanieBe: "The DJ @ Tuks FM should be punished and a public apology should be issued.
@HagenEngler: " Nazism: The fun side? A hack? Or a super K*K idea?
Comments on Facebook:
"What goes on in these people's minds?????? Nazi'ing?????? Are they on crack? This coupled with the constant racist comments on sites like News 24 makes me wonder what South Africans are really like deep down? I just don't get it," said Bronwen Heather
David 'Jazz' Tyhala said: "I think that is so flipping shallow altho its a sort of a joke or marketing scheme to promote the web page, I think reverting back to racists politicians is not the way to portray your humour in this day n age of society, we hav enuf ish to worry abt. I think the students of tuks who are rational in mind should take matters further as this only portrays the ideology of the Nazi right wing movement."
Sean Jacobs, known as DollaBrand on Twitter, sent messages to several mainstream media houses and @City_Press responded by asking him to "get the debate going" by writing a piece about why he thought it wasn't funny.
Franz Kruger, Director of Wits Radio Academy, said if it's true that people have been asked to pose in a Nazi salute, it's inappropriate. He added that it is regrettable that people still need to take that direction in their broadcasting.
Repeated attempts by Bush Radio News to get comment from TUKs FM Station Manager, Loutjie van der Merwe, were unsuccessful.
A staff member at Tuks FM said van der Merwe was "unavailable for comment because he had to attend an unscheduled meeting with the university".
Petroleum strike intensifies as unions march on Sasol
By Khanyisa Tabata 27 July 2011
The petroleum industry strike is set to intensify this morning with unions preparing to march on Sasol’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Unions are calling for a nine-point-five-percent wage increase while employers have offered eight-percent.
The strike, which is now in its third week, has caused disruptions are hundreds of filling stations around the country. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have been hardest hit, with some fuel retailers still struggling with erratic supply.
Motorists in snow-hit areas warned to pack in emergency supplies
By Khanyisa Tabata 26 July 2011
Motorists have been advised to check with their points of destination regarding road closures.
The Automobile Association has received weather warnings for all provinces except Limpopo relating to heavy rain and snow.
The AA’s Gary Ronald says those venturing near the Drakensberg area, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal should drive with extreme caution and carry emergency supplies of water, food and blankets should they be snowed in.
Several major roads and highways across the country were closed because of widespread snowfall.
The weather service says snow is reported in Lesotho, the Drakensberg, the southern Free State, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.
The unusual weather forced authorities to close the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban. The N3 Toll Concession's Con Roux the highway was likely to remain closed for the whole.
Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi has been told not to comment on a report by the Public Protector.
Manyi told a news conference in Johannesburg yesterday that all questions about the damning report will now be answered by newly-appointed Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.
The report, which was released nearly two weeks ago, said President Jacob Zuma must take remedial action against National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
They were found guilty of maladministration in their handling of lease agreements for SA Police Service properties in Pretoria and Durban.
Neither the Minster nor Cele has responded to the report at this stage.
ANC Youth League says Julius Malema fraud allegations are racially motivated
By Lelethu Mquqo 25 July 2011
The ANC Youth League has come out in defence of its leader, Julius Malema, following reports over the weekend of alleged tender fraud.
The League’s deputy president, Ronald Lamola, says the allegations are racially motivated.
He told a news conference at Luthuli House in Johannesburg that they will not stand idly by while their leader is targeted
The League accused the media of being bribed by imperialists to join in their supposed bid to prevent the nationalisation of mines.
Responding to weekend reports about Julius Malema’s alleged involvement in tender fraud, Sindiso Magaqa, the League’s secretary general says the allegations are aimed at distracting the organisation from its work.
The suspect in Norway's twin attacks that killed at least 92 people, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, says the violence had been planned as early as 2009.
He admitted responsibility for the bombing and massacre and said that while the acts had been cruel, he had to go ahead and carry them out.
As harrowing testimony emerged from the summer camp where scores of youngsters were mown down, Norway was struggling to understand how a country famed as a beacon of peace could experience such bloodshed.
It is feared that the death toll could rise as a mini-submarine and scuba divers search the water around Utoeya Island where the shooting took place for four or five people who are still reported missing.
Norway’s Labour Youth vow to return to the island of Utoeya
By Lelethu Mquqo 23 July 2011
The leader of the youth wing of Norway's Labour party Eskil Perdersen says the massacre on the island of Utoeya, where at least 84 of its members were gunned down, will not silence the movement and they will return to the island.
The massacre took place yesterday when a man dressed in a police uniform opened fire on the 600 members attending the camp.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has sent condolences to Norway and condemned terrorism in the strongest terms.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions also sent their condolences, adding that there could never be any conceivable justification for the murder of innocent people.
The Department of International Relations and Co-Operation says no South Africans were among those killed.
Quality of education in South Africa under the spotlight
By Lelethu Mquqo 23 July 2011
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says the quality of education in South Africa leaves much room for improvement.
Addressing the World Congress of Education International in Cape Town, Motlanthe said access to education to the majority of the world's people trapped in miserable socio-economic conditions remained a key problem.
He added that the single most important test facing South Africa’s education system remained the achieving of quality education.
Norway is in shocked mourning after almost 90 people were killed in twin attacks in the capital Oslo and at a youth camp for members of the governing Labour party.
A 32-year-old Norwegian man is thought to have opened fire on teenagers at the youth camp on Utoya Island, shortly after detonating a huge explosion outside Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office in the capital. At least 80 people were killed on the island alone.
Many of the wounded are still being treated in hospital and it is feared that the death toll could rise.
The bomb blast caused immense damage in Oslo.
It was initially thought to have been terror attacks, with an Islamic group claiming responsibility.
But police have identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik. He was characterised by officials as a right-wing extremist.
Investigators are still probing terror as a possible motive because of Norway’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
Equal Education to demonstrate outside education international conference
By Khanyisa Tabata 22 July 2011
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille addressing an international education conference in Cape Town today.
Cosatu says Zille is unsuitable to speak at the conference because of the positions she holds.
Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich believes her presence will contaminate the conference with what he refers to as “greed and material obsession”.
Meanwhile Equal Education this afternoon is expected to demonstrate outside the Cape Town International Conversation Centre where International Education Confrerence will be taking place.
Equal Education’s Yoliswa Dwane says they will hand over the memorandum to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who will be addressing the delegates asking him to deliver on their demands which includes demands for school infrastructure standards.
Analysts say the three government ministers who have appealed a decision to let Wal-Mart buy a controlling stake in Massmart may be attempting to pressure the competition authorities to impose more conditions on the deal.
They add that it is unlikely that the 16-and-a-half-billion-Rands transaction could be unravelled.
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson want the merger to be reconsidered due to technical irregularities in certain documents.
Bheki Cele’s silence on report labelled an admission of guilt
By Khanyisa Tabata 21 July 2011
National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele’s failure to respond to last week’s damning report by the Public Protector is an admission of guilt.
This is according to Nantes Kelder, head of community safety at civil action group AfriForum.
Kelder says the public has a right to be informed about the allegations of maladministration laid on Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde regarding attempts to lease properties for the SA Police Service in Pretoria and Durban.
Neither Cele nor the Minister has issued a response.
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini raised an outcry regarding the Walmart-Massmart merger in a public hearing in Parliament today.
Dlamini put forward that more jobs will be destroyed than created by the American retail giant’s arrival in South Africa, warning Parliament that Walmart’s immense financial power and lucrative connections with cheap overseas suppliers will be unmatchable for local retailers and food producers.
Dlamini also made mention of Walmart’s bad track record of exploiting its workers, pointing out that employment is pointless if it does not provide an income sufficient for the worker to live by.
Dlamini asked what the point of cheaper products for consumers is, if they cannot afford them because they are unemployed.
National Police commissioner delays response to Public Protector report
By Lelethu Mquqo 20 July 2011
National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has cancelled a news conference tomorrow where he was due to respond to a damning report by the Public Protector.
This is the second time Cele has cancelled, and no reason has been offered.
The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in the report, which was released last week, that Cele was guilty of maladministration in his attempts to lease properties in Pretoria and Durban for the SA Police Services.
Several opposition political parties have called for Cele to step down.
Metrorail regional Manager Lindelo Matya says the company is not resting but working towards addressing commuters’ complaints voiced over the past few weeks.
Briefing journalist today Matya said that Metrorail is working together with the South African Police Services to try and combat issues relating to vandalism and damage to property.
He says the cause of delays and cancellations is vandalism and age related failures since some trains are old.
“Our analysis of customer concerns shows that while most train users understood the reason for the delays and cancellations, they were not informed on time or give alternative options.
“That is why we have decided to assist commuters by having station staff with loudhailers deployed at platforms during peak hours,” said Matya.
He also added that Metrorail will be starting a community programme that will raise awareness about the impacts of vandalism and the programme will start in Khayelitsha since everyday delays and cancellations are reported in that area.
“R60 million would is needed to fence railway tracks but some areas would require more money because people tend to take the fence for themselves.
“The province has indicated that they are willing to come on board and help us but what we still need to do is a plan for them explaining how the money will be used,” said Matya.
The London judge in the Shrien Dewani extradition hearing has ruled that the British businessman accused of having his wife murdered while on honeymoon in Cape Town is too ill to be at court.
Dewani’s legal team argued that it would be "positively inhuman" to keep him in the court room.
Dewani is said to be suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The court is expected to hear four days of evidence before deciding whether Dewani should be sent to South Africa to face trial
The South African Municipal Workers Union is consulting with its members on the possibility of a national strike within the coming week. Union leaders canvassed members yesterday on salary negotiations, corruption and the Municipal Systems Amendment Act.
Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema says the union wants an 18-percent salary hike while the employer, the South African Local Government Association, is offering six.
Meanwhile, marathon negotiations continued into the night in a bid to end the disruptive strike in the petroleum and pharmaceutical sector.
Employers’ latest wage hike offer stood at between eight- and 10-percent for the different salary scales, while unions were demanding 13-percent.
All parties said the fact that all the role players were around the negotiation table, was a positive sign.
President Jacob Zuma has led the country and the world in wishing Nelson Mandela a happy 93rd birthday.
With heartfelt messages streaming in from across the globe, Zuma has reminded South Africans that to celebrate Madiba’s life, each one of us should pledge to make the country a better place in every possible way.
Zuma says from the moment Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela strode out of prison on the 11th of February 1990, everyone knew that South Africa would be a different place. He adds that people across the world remain mesmerized by his wisdom, humility, patriotism and his capacity to forgive.
Nelson Mandela celebrations underway across the country
Lusanda Bill 17 July 2011
The Eastern Cape town of Qunu is abuzz with activity and excitement as it prepares for former president Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday celebrations.
Young and old alike are rolling up their sleeves to do their 67 minutes for the good of the community in line with Madiba’s ubuntu principles.
But it is not only in Mandela’s home town where things are happening in Mpumalanga, celebrities have given the Amakhaya Orphanage a facelift.
And in Pretoria a 13-year old boy has shown he's got what it takes to be a model citizen. He has mobilised parents and children from all over the capital to help out at the Tshwane Haven for abandoned babies.
Cosatu has demanded that President Jacob Zuma allay fears that the country is fast becoming, as the union federation puts it, “a corruption-ridden banana republic".
Spokesperson Patrick Craven says while Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale are conducting probes, allegations of corruption and the misuse of public funds are piling up.
Cosatu also welcomes Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that action needs to be taken against Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
This is for their role in the police headquarters lease deals.
Three people arrested for alleged tender fraud worth 32-million-Rands
By Khanyisa Tabata 15 July 2011
The Special Investigating Unit has arrested three people, including two former officials of the Ekurhuleni Municipality, on charges of 32-million-Rands-worth of tender fraud.
Nilesh Singh, Andrew Mphushomadi as well as Velero David, a local businessman, were released on 50-thousand-Rands bail each.
Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele welcomed the arrests, saying the municipality was no place for fraud, corruption and irregular expenditure. The case has been postponed until the 16th of next month.
Trade union Solidarity is adamant that an urgent marathon meeting must be held today to end the petrol strike.
According to Solidarity’s Dirk Herman, the public should no longer be held hostage by the industrial action.
Herman says South Africans are now caught up in the crisis due to hundreds of fuel stations running dry, adding that the situation is only getting worse.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry is so worried about the violence, damage to property and intimidation being experienced during the current wave of strike action, that it plans to raise the issue with the police, and if necessary, with National Commissioner Bheki Cele.
Chief executive Neren Rau is appealing to business owners to forward complaints to Sacci.
The African Christian Democratic Party has welcomed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report regarding attempts by the South African Police to lease a Durban property from business tycoon Roux Shabangu.
Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was found guilty of improper conduct concerning the deal.
The ACDP’s Steve Swarts says steps must be taken against the commissioner.
According to Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies, Cele’s fate now lies with President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma’s office says the President will comment on Madonsela’s report once he has studied it.
The report also recommends that Zuma should consider taking action against Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her role in the scandal.
Vice Squad together with the South African Police Services Human Trafficking Task Team conducted an integrated operation in a house used as a brothel in Marais Street, Goodwood.
Vice Squad spokesperson Media enquiries: Nathan Ladegourdie says the house was being run by the same two Chinese National women that were previously arrested by the Vice Squad on charges of human trafficking.
“Two other Chinese National women were inside the residence at the time of the operation. One was deported for being in the country illegally; the other woman requested assistance from the Vice Squad to help her get out of the environment, and she was taken to a place of safety.
“On a same day we conducted an operation on another residence in Wellington Street, Goodwood, where it was suspected that a brothel was being run,” said Ladegourdie
He added that brothels are high on the their priority list operations such as these will help curb these illegal activities.
The Democratic Alliance is calling for the dismissal of National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.
This after the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela today officially announced that attempts to lease a Durban property for the SA Police Service amounted to maladministration by Cele.
Madonsela recommended remedial action be taken against all those involved in the deal that would have cost the SAPS nearly one-point-two-billion-Rands over ten-years.
The DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard says President Jacob Zuma will be remiss of his sworn duty to uphold the law if he did not take action against Cele immediately.
Kohler Barnard says if these are not grounds for the National Police Commissioner’s dismissal, it is hard to imagine what is.
“As the accounting officer of the SAPS, Commissioner Cele holds ultimate responsibility for the financial decisions made by his department.
“The manner in which the SAPS lease deals in question were conducted indicates a total disregard, on the part of both Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, for the checks and balances designed to prevent the abuse of public funds,” said Kohler Barnard.
Motorists urged to be more considerate as fuel strike continues
By Khanyisa Tabata 14 July 2011
The South African Petroleum Retailers Association says refineries around the country continue to produce fuel. But Association director Peter Noke says the ongoing strike means the fuel is simply not getting delivered.
The pumps have run dry at more than 150 service stations in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Noke says the industry is under an enormous amount of strain at the moment and motorists need to be more considerate
Police's involvement in building leases was unlawful says public protector
By Khanyisa Tabata 14 July 2011
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says the police’s actions relating to the leasing of buildings in Durban were unlawful and improper. The public protector released the findings at a press conference in Pretoria this afternoon.
She said the lease agreements were a lot more expensive than they should have been and there was no reason why police should not have used an open tender process.
Madonsela said the market value of the building meant it should have been leased at R40 a square metre and not the R125 per square metre ultimately agreed on.
Madonsela said although National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele did not sign the agreements, the police's involvement was irregular.
She has also recommended that President Jacob Zuma take action against Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her involvement in the deals.
As more fuel stations run dry in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal due to industrial action, the National Employers’ Association and 21 other organisations have obtained a temporary court order preventing strikers from coming within 60-metres of their workplaces.
They may also not intimidate non-striking workers or damage property.
Strikers who defy the order could face charges under their employers’ disciplinary code and could be arrested.
Meanwhile, a decision will be made today about a possible strike by 200-thousand municipal workers in all nine provinces.
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union is meeting to analyse the demands tabled to the ANC and to see if any progress has been made. Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema.
Engen says its fuel stations in Gauteng are running dry because oil tankers are unable to leave some depots.
Spokesperson Tania Landsberg says some oil tanker drivers are on strike, while others have been intimidated. The affected depots are in Langlaagte, Alrode and Waltloo.
Landsberg says they are struggling to cope, despite contingency plans. The company is getting updates on the situation in coastal areas.
She says there have been no reports from Cape Town, but they are keeping a close eye on the situation. Landsberg said although contingency plans were in place across the country, there would be challenges.