Friday, September 30, 2011

Pietermaritzburg taxi driver charged with murder

Lusanda Bill
30 September 2011

The driver of a taxi that was involved in a deadly crash near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal earlier today has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

At least 14 people died when the taxi driver reportedly tried to overtake a long stream of traffic before hitting a truck.

Three other people were also seriously injured in the crash.

The driver, who is not yet allowed to be identified, survived the crash and will appear in court on Monday.

Fuel increase next week Wednesday

Lusanda Bill
30 September 2011

Struggling consumers are facing huge fuel price increases next week.

On Wednesday, the cost of 93-octane petrol will rise by 37-cents a litre, with 95-octane going up by 36-cents a litre.

Diesel prices will rise by 35-cents a litre, paraffin by 30-cents and LP gas by no less than 62-cents a kilogram.

The weaker Rand caused the increases, as it cancelled the decrease in the cost of crude oil. In addition, the margin on all grades of petrol will increase by four-cents a litre.

The Energy Department says the hike is necessary to cater for wage increases of nine-percent this year for service station industry staff.

Development trends in SA improving

Lusanda Bill
30 September 2011

The South African Institute of Race Relations’ latest Development Index shows that development trends in the country continue to improve.

A major contributor to the latest rise in the index came as a result of crime data, which showed a decrease in the levels of murders and other serious crimes.

Health indicators, such as life expectancy and child mortality, also improved.

The Institute mentions the rise in South Africa’s unemployment rates as the greatest disappointment.

New watch dog legislation to be introduced

Lusanda Bill
30 September

The SA Institute for Security Studies Johan Burger says the
apparent ineffectiveness of the Independent Complaints Directorate will be adequately addressed by new legislation.

It was revealed yesterday that more than 96-percent of the ICD’s disciplinary recommendations to the police have been ignored.

Burger says the new Independent Police Investigative Directorate should have sharper teeth.

The Deputy Police Minister, Maggie Sotyu, says the protection of civilians and the oversight on police actions will be significantly strengthened by the formation of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Accident leaves thirteen dead in Pietermaritzburg

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 September 2011

Thirteen people have been killed and seven were injured in a minibus taxi and a heavy goods truck collided on the New Greytown Road outside Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal this morning.

ER24 spokesperson Chris Botha says the cause of the accident and the series of events leading up to it remain unclear and will form the subject of a South African Police Force investigation.

“Information indicates that the minibus and the heavy goods truck collided head-on before both left the road and came to rest at the foot of an embankment.

“Thirteen occupants of the minibus were killed and the he injured were treated and stabilised at the scene and transported by ambulance to various state hospitals for the urgent care that they required,” said Botha.

Suspect appears in court for rape in Khayelitsha

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 September 2011

A 25 year old suspect, who was arrested in Khayelitsha on a charge of abduction, is now also facing several charges of rapes, which we believe he has perpetrated since April 2010 in the area.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut says the suspects made a court appearance in Khayelitsha this morning and remains in custody until November.

“On the 19th of September a young girl was seen in the company of a man, walking towards a bush in the area after that he was approached by community members, and he attempted to drag the young victim with him but fled the scene alone.

“Investigations led to his arrest the following day, and after his court appearance on the abduction case he remained in custody for further investigations,” said Traut.

Traut adds that further investigations into several rapes of young girls aged between two and nine years, as far back as early 2010, resulted in this man being regarded as a suspect.

Another rhino and calf killed

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 September 2011

Poachers have killed a rhino and a three-year-old calf on a private game farm in Brits in North West.

The police’s national wildlife crime unit says both animals had been shot in the head and had both horns sawn off.

Police were called in after the farm owner heard gunshots and the sound of a chainsaw early Wednesday evening.

Tracker dogs found the carcasses. Police have found some evidence which they hope will help them track the poachers.

Police accused of ignoring watchdog body

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 September 2011

The Democratic Alliance says the police watchdog needs sharper teeth.

It has been revealed in Parliament that the SA Police Service has ignored more than 96-percent of recommendations made by the Independent Complaints Directorate.

The DA’s Diane Kohler-Barnard says the level of criminality and misconduct in the SAPS is unacceptably high.

Meanwhile, the African Christian Democratic Party’s Steve Swart has expressed their disapproval of the Independent Complaints Directorate’s annual report.

Chikane, Taljaard short listed for IEC posts

Lusanda Bill
30 September 2011

Former Presidency head Frank Chikane and former Democratic Alliance MP Raenette Taljaard have made the Independent Electoral Commission’s shortlist.

On Tuesday, IEC officials headed by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng met to discuss the candidates.

His office said 10 people were selected and would be recommended to the National Assembly.

On October 19, three more posts will become vacant.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home Affairs receives a clean audit in 16 years

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

The Home Affairs Department has been given its first unqualified audit in 16 years.

Speaking to journalists in Pretoria, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the achievement was not a miracle.

Dlamini-Zuma said the clean audit was a result of consistent hard work.

She added that she hopes the clean audit will inspire her staff to continue improving service delivery within the department.

Police brutality remains a problem in SA

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

Police brutality still dominates the complaints that members of public bring to the Independent Complaints Directorate.

The ICD’s Francois Beukman revealed that in the year to March, 70-percent of the complaints related to assault and attempted murder.

The stats were released at the National Press Club in Pretoria.

Beukman also revealed that complaints of rape brought against police officers had almost doubled, with a 92-percent increase compared to the previous review.

Cosatu won’t accept strike damage responsibility

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

Cosatu says it may take further legal action after yesterday’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that trade unions are liable for damage caused during strikes.

The union’s Phindile Kunene says they do not condone violence or damage to property, and as such, should not be held responsible for the actions of a few individuals.

She says they are currently studying the judgement.

Cosatu won’t accept strike damage responsibility

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

Cosatu says it may take further legal action after yesterday’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that trade unions are liable for damage caused during strikes.

The union’s Phindile Kunene says they do not condone violence or damage to property, and as such, should not be held responsible for the actions of a few individuals.

She says they are currently studying the judgement.

Holomisa welcomes Zuma’s Eastern Cape intervention

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma is currently in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to assess local government service delivery in the King Sabata Municipality.

This is the main support base of the United Democratic Movement.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says he has written to the President appealing for serious intervention regarding the collapse of infrastructure in the province.

He says he is glad to see Zuma fulfilling his commitment.

SA to cough up to help euro zone

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 September 2011

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has revealed that South Africa could be paying what he described as “a couple of hundred-million-US-dollars” towards a rescue package for troubled euro zone countries.

Gordhan has just returned from the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington.

He told journalists that countries had agreed that the world was in the economic crisis together and that all members of the IMF would have to make a monetary contribution towards solving the problem.

Gordhan said that South Africans should be aware of the threats to the economy posed by the global crisis.

ANC MP rebuked for road rage attack on woman

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 September 2011

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga has expressed grave concern over a road rage incident in Port Elizabeth in which ANC Member of Parliament Litho Suka physically assaulted a woman in front of her two-year-old daughter.

Thirty-five-year-old Nolusindiso Mazantsi had apparently reversed into Suka’s car in KwaZakhele, leading to the attack.

Suka has since written to Motshekga, expressing deep regret for his conduct.

The Chief Whip says gender based violence is unacceptable, more so when committed by a public representative, and he will meet with Suka on the matter.

Two men hailed as heroes after saving man from shark attack

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 September 2011

Two men are being hailed as heroes following yesterday’s shark attack off Clovelly in Fish Hoek in False Bay.

Sixty-one-year-old Douglas Drysdale and 66-year-old Hugh Till were driving along the coastal road when they spotted 43-year-old Michael Cohen swimming right toward the approaching shark.

They raced to the beach but were too late as Cohen was already struggling in the water in a pool of blood. Despite the danger, Drysdale and Till managed to pull the badly mauled victim to safety through the surf.

The shark followed the men, but appeared to be confused by a seal that kept swimming between them and the shark. Cohen underwent urgent surgery after losing a lower leg in the attack.

Public Protector clears Police Minister of hotel accommodation wrongdoing

Lusanda Bill
29 September 2011

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has labelled Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s hotel accommodation expenditure as unreasonable.

This is after he stayed at two luxury hotels in Cape Town and Durban at a cost of 700-thousand-Rand.

However, speaking at the National Press Club in Pretoria, Madonsela added that there was no evidence to suggest that the Minister had influenced the accommodation arrangements.

She has recommended that the Public Service Department revise the Ministerial Handbook to set out clear standards on expenditure.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

UK signs Shrien Dewani’s extradition order

Lusanda Bill
28 September 2011

The National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga has today confirmed that the UK secretary of state Theresa May, has signed an extradition order for Shrien Dewani to be tried in South Africa.

Shrien Dewani allegedly orchestrated the murder of his wife Anni in Cape Town.

The British Home Office will send a copy of the extradition order to the High Commission for transmission to South Africa.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says Dewani now has 14 days within which to lodge a notice of appeal.

Jimmy Manyi guilty of conflict of interests

Lusanda Bill
28 September 2011

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found that the chief executive of the Government Communication and Information System Jimmy Manyi had conflicting interests.

This is when he served as director general of the Department of Labour, while at the same time being president of the Black Management Forum.

The Public Protector set out her finding to the National Press Club in Pretoria today.

Secondly Manyi is being accused of having conflicting interests in his title as both GCIS head and cabinet spokesperson, as well as being president of the BMF.

Madonsela has made recommendations to the Minister in the Presidency to take urgent steps

Shark attack at Fish Hoek beach

Lusanda Bill
28 September 2011

A young man has been mauled by a shark at Cape Town’s Fish Hoek beach.

One witness says the victim was swimming near Clovelly Corner, where the beach had been closed, while another says the man had been surfing.

A shark spotter had allegedly witnessed the attack before informing the emergency medical services of the incident.

Conflicting reports say his leg was taken off while others have it that his foot was so badly mauled that it will probably have to be amputated.

Five prison warders win an unfair dismissal suit

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 September 2011

Five dreadlocked prison warders have won an unfair dismissal suit against Correctional Services.

The men, three of whom followed the Rastafarian faith, argued in the Labour Appeal Court in Cape Town that the instruction to cut their dreadlocks off infringed on their rights to freedom.

All five worked as warders at Pollsmoor prison for between seven and 14 years before they were fired in 2007.

The department had claimed that the men had violated the dress code.

Political analysts say Mazibuko’s election is good for black voters

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 September 2011

A political analyst says DA spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko is not at risk of being rejected as privileged and out of touch with the majority of black people.

This follows Mazibuko’s announcement yesterday that she would run for the position of DA parliamentary leader next month.

Amanda Gouws of the University of Stellenbosch says it is essential for the DA to bring in a new generation of black voters.

According to Gouws, there is no doubt that Mazibuko will be able to deliver.

Electricity returns to parts of Cape Town

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 September 2011

Parts of Cape Town were left without power this morning due to a faulty Eskom power line leading into the city.

Eskom’s spokesperson Hilary Joffee says only parts of the Cape metropole had been affected and not the entire Western Cape.
Link“Technicians had been doing maintenance on the Muldersvlei/Acasia line when the disruption occurred.

“Electricity has now been restored to parts of Cape Town,” said Joffee.

15 injured in a taxi accident in Stellenbosch

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 September 2011

Fifteen people were left injured after being involved in a taxi accident on the R310 road in Stellenbosch.

ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser says events leading up to the collision are still unclear.

“When paramedics arrived on the scene they could see that the collision was severe with multiple scattered across the incident scene.

“Due the severity of the incident and the amount of casualties at the scene the ER24 Discovery Med copter was dispatched to the scene,” said Visser.

He adds that three occupants were found trapped under the wrecked minibus taxi with both of the legs of the taxi driver were entrapped under the vehicle.

“A pregnant female was entrapped under the vehicle. Both of the severely injured patients were extricated from under the vehicle before being transported to hospital,” said Visser.

Outrage over ANC’s Info Bill committees

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 September 2011

Opposition parties have slammed the ANC’s decision to form committees to take further submissions on the Protection of State Information Bill.

The DA calls it an unprecedented abuse of Parliamentary procedure and resources.

It says consultative caravans through the country are the time-honoured ANC method of manipulating public opinion and then presenting the pre-determined result as the voice of the people.

The ACDP has also slated the move as unprecedented and unacceptable.

Spokesperson Steve Swarts says the bill is before Parliament which consists of many political parties besides the ANC. Swarts says the absence of opposition parties brings the legitimacy of this whole process into question.

Institute for Security Studies warns against Weapons Bill over emphasis

Lusanda Bill
28 September 2011

The Institute for Security Studies says not too much emphasis should be placed on the draft Dangerous Weapons Bill.

He added that even though it is very much a work in progress.

Security analyst Johan Burger has alleviated concerns that the proposed bill will make it illegal for South Africans to carry anything that resembles a weapon including knives, pepper spray or even toy guns.

Burger says the bill will be open for discussion before officially being implemented.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Radio news presenter fired over offensive rant

Lusanda Bill
27 September 2011

A radio presenter for Eyewitness News has been fired after he swore repeatedly during a late night news bulletin.

Mark Esterhuysen repeatedly used the “f-word” during a rant at one-AM this morning.

Eyewitness News has since apologised to its listeners and has terminated Esterhuysen’s contract with immediate effect.

Esterhuysen said on this Twitter page that he has no regrets about the incident.

Durban climate change summit’s important mission

Lusanda Bill
27 September 2011

The head of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Analysis Policy Network Lindiwe Sibanda says the UN Climate Change summit, dubbed COP 17, later this year should demonstrate to the world how climate change is adversely affecting Africa’s population and posing a major threat to future generations.

She was addressing the National Press Club in Pretoria where she urged civil society to get actively involved in relevant matters in the run-up to the conference.

Sibanda added that it will be difficult for African countries to advance a unified front with regards to tackling climate change if proper discussions are not held before the United Nations COP17 summit in Durban, later this year.

She says experience from previous summits has shown that African countries stand divided on several issues.

Kenny Kunene’s mining rights cancelled

Lusanda Bill
27 September 2011

Mineral Resources has announced that businessman Kenny Kunene’s Central Rand Gold’s mining rights have been cancelled.

The mine did not deliver on promises, leading to Minister Susan Shabangu’s decision.

Her spokesperson Bheki Khumalo says the mine had promised to implement a work and social labour programme and to contribute to the socio-economic development of residents in the Johannesburg area.

Kunene, also known as the Sushi King, can appeal the cancellation.

Lindiwe Mazibuko confirms leadership bid

Lusanda Bill
27 September 2011

Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko has confirmed that she will stand for the post of parliamentary leader of the party in an internal election at the end of next month.

The 31-year-old Member of Parliament will oppose veteran MP and Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip.

Mazibuko has Wilmot James and Watty Watson as her running mates.

If she wins, she will be the DA's first black leader in Parliament. But she says there will still be plenty of room for white males in the party.

Two ANC committees to consider Info Bill comments

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 September 2011

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga has established an Information Bill Committee.

It will coordinate public engagement with representatives from civil society, non-governmental and community-based organisations and interested individuals on the draft bill.

Motshekga’s office says public meetings will be held in all the provinces to garner inputs on the so-called Secrecy Bill.

At the same time, the ANC Study Group on the Protection of State Information Bill will consider oral and written submission from interested parties in Parliament.

The ANC parliamentary caucus last month decided to withdraw the bill, pending further consultations.

Civil society groups said their vocal opposition to measures in the bill and a possible Constitutional Court challenge influenced the decision.

Mazibuko might announce her candidacy today

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 September 2011

Speculation is rife that member of Parliament Lindiwe Mazibuko will today announce her candidacy for the position of Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader.

The DA parliamentary caucus will elect a leader on the 27th of next month.

The incumbent Athol Trollip has held the party’s top parliamentary job since 2009.

Mazibuko, said to have the support of the younger generation and the backing of leader Helen Zille, was a DA media officer before she won a seat in parliament in the same year.

ANC supports new housing initiative

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 September 2011

The ANC has given its full support to the Each-One-Settle-One campaign by the Ministry and Department of Human Settlements.

Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu says the campaign is aimed at encouraging South Africans, irrespective of class and social standing, to help the Department deal with the huge housing backlog and its adverse socio-economic impact.

Mthembu says to achieve social cohesion, people of different races and classes need to stay together in settlements that are closer to their places of work, closer to the places where they pray, play, and learn.

He added that sustainable human settlements were at the core of building a truly non-racial, democratic, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

Police pledge near its mark

Lusanda Bill
27 September 2011

The Widows’ and Orphans’ Fund, which assists the families of police who are killed in the line of duty, is nearing its target for this year.

The target is two-point-one-million-Rand.

Crime Line SA and the Shout Foundation have stepped up their efforts to limit the impact of police deaths on families.

Crime Line’s Yusuf Abramjee is calling on South Africans to pledge money towards the fund.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some charges against Wouter Basson dropped

Lusanda Bill
26 September 2011

Some of the charges brought against the former head of the apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare programme, Wouter Basson, have been dropped.

This is after the Health Professions Council of SA resumed its probe into Basson.

This is despite his name being cleared by the Pretoria High Court more than nine-years ago.

The dropped charges relate to Basson accepting his appointment as head of the controversial programme in the 1980s.

Nehawu will strike until demands are met

Lusanda Bill
26 September 2011

Health worker union Nehawu expects other unions to join its strike.

Around two-thousand medical laboratory workers downed tools this morning.

The strike may delay sample tests and affect critical and lifesaving operations.

Union members have brought their increase demand down from 15- to nine-percent. They also want a two-thousand-300-Rands medical aid benefit.

National Health Laboratory Services is offering a six-and-a-half-percent increase and two-thousand-100-Rands for medical aid.

Pupil’s safety under the spotlight in Limpopo

Lusanda Bill
26 September 2011

Limpopo roads and transport MEC Pinky Kekana will meet bus operators and taxi associations to discuss the safety of pupils.

On Thursday, two bus accidents in Limpopo claimed the lives of at least 14 people, including six children.

Eighty-five people were injured.

The department is also implementing the national public transport enforcement programme, which emphasises checks for vehicle roadworthiness, driver fitness, load management and documentation.

South Africa strengthens ties with China

Lusanda Bill
26 September 2011

With China having become South Africa’s biggest trade partner since the end of 2009, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe departs for the People’s Republic of China today.

Vice President Xi Jinping has invited Motlanthe on the official visit.

South Africa’s manufacturing sector is under severe strain and Motlanthe is expected to encourage Chinese enterprises to increase investment in South Africa.

He will also encourage value-adding activities in closeness to the source of raw materials in order to stimulate job creation.

Missing Child Found: Eljanee Olivier

Eljanee was found last night.

She is safe and unharmed and back with her family.

Thank you to Sgt Robertson and Strandfontein SAPS and everyone who helped find her.

Missing Child Alert: Calvin Macadam

Call for newspapers to stop publishing matric results

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 September 2011

Young Communist League secretary Buti Manamela has called on the government to stop publishing matric results in newspapers.

He says the publication contributes to the high suicide rate among teenagers as pupils who fail suffer embarrassment and humiliation.

Manamela says it has even happened that young people have committed suicide because their names could not be found in newspapers, with it later emerging that they had actually passed.

The Young Communist League says passing or failing Grade 12 should not be the benchmark for passing or failing in life.

Eight arrested after protest in Cape Town

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 September 2011

Western Cape police say eight people were arrested after five structures were erected on an open field in Kraaifontein in Cape Town yesterday.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut says around a thousand residents gathered on the field and became aggressive when authorities removed the structures.

People threw stones and burnt tyres in protest. Traut says police used rubber bullets, gas cartridges and water cannon to disperse the crowd. Seven men and a woman were arrested for public violence and unlawful occupation of land.

Police instability feared following Cele rumours

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 September 2011

Opposition parties have welcomed reports that President Jacob Zuma could this week suspend National Commissioner Bheki Cele for his role in the police headquarters deals saga.

There have been calls for the same action to be taken against Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

The Congress of the People’s Mosiuoa Lekota says the President should have acted against Cele a long time ago.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Attempt to bribe Hawks boss backfires

Lusanda Bill
25 September 2011

A Durban businessman is expected to appear in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court tomorrow for allegedly trying to bribe the head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela has confirmed that the suspect, named by some sources as Thoshan Panday, is alleged to have tried to pay Johan Booysen two-million-Rands to obtain a sensitive document linked to a corruption investigation.

The police’s Colonel Navin Madhoe was arrested last week in connection with a suitcase containing over one-point-three-million-Rands which was dropped off into Booysen's car.

A further 700-thousand-Rand was expected to be paid later.

Home Affairs helps matrics with ID problems

Lusanda Bill
25 September 2011

Home Affairs has made a special 24-hour call centre available for matriculants who encounter problems with applications for identity documents.

Director general Mkuseli Apleni says they want to prevent problems ahead of the matric exams.

The move was prompted by complaints from the public.
Earlier this year, the government targeted over four-and-a-half-thousand schools across the country in its drive to ensure pupils 16 years and older had IDs.

Eight people burnt to death in another Limpopo crash

Lusanda Bill
25 September 2011

Limpopo police are trying to determine what caused the horror crash in which seven young people and an adult died in a head-on collision near Tzaneen late on Friday night.

Spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi says matrics from different schools had hired a minibus taxi to transport them from a party.

The taxi collided with a car on the R-36 and burst into flames, causing six of the eight pupils in the minibus to be burnt beyond recognition.

The other two were critically injured.

The taxi driver and an 18-year-old female passenger in the car were also killed.

The driver of the car, also an 18-year-old woman, survived.

King Goodwill Zwelithini brings back the Annual Reed Dance

Lusanda Bill
25 September 2011

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi says Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini’s re-instatement of the annual Reed Dance has slowed the advance of the Aids pandemic.

Buthelezi was speaking at the King Shaka Day celebrations in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal.

He said the nation owes Zwelithini a debt of gratitude for his initiative.

The festival sees hundreds of maidens presenting a reed, symbolising their purity, to the king.

Perlemoen smugglers behind bars

Lusanda Bill
25 September 2011

Nine alleged perlemoen smugglers will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The suspects were arrested in Milnerton when they were caught with perlemoen worth an estimated two-million-Rand.

Police acted on a tip-off and caught the men loading 610-kilograms of the endangered seafood onto a truck at a business in Killarney Gardens.

Spokesperson André Traut says they had apparently planned to take the load to Cape Town Harbour.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Langa Heritage Museum opened today

Lusanda Bill
24 September 2011

The Langa Heritage Museum was today opened by the Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

Before it became a museum it was an old pass court building and a post office.

Now it has been fixed and now houses local history pieces.

The Old Pass Court reportedly processed 60 migrant workers in one hour and was the gateway into the city for black migrant labourers.

The Langa Heritage Foundation’s Temba Nolutshungu said the museum must be more than a cultural space, but a teaching centre for the youth.

Johannesburg police hit drug dealers hard

Lusanda Bill
24 September 2011

National police Commissioner Bheki Cele has praised his officers for multiple successes against drug dealers and manufacturers.

Eight people have been arrested in Johannesburg for possession of drugs with an estimated street value of 14-million-Rands.

The arrests were made in three raids.

A month-long investigation led to a raid on a house in Parkmore, where an man and a woman was arrested.

In the south of the city, police arrested six people after a tip-off.

Further investigation led police to a drugs laboratory in downtown Johannesburg yesterday afternoon.

Hawks celebrate another drug bust

Lusanda Bill
24 September 2011

The Hawks are celebrating yet another drug busting success. Officers received a tip-off about a man who had smuggled drugs into South Africa via the Komatipoort border post to the East Rand.

The Hawks waited for the suspect, pulled him off the N-12 and searched his car.

Pure cocaine with an estimated street value of over a million-Rand was found hidden in the vehicle’s spare wheel.

The man, believed to be a Mozambican citizen, was arrested. Police will be stripping the car to search for more drugs.

Heritage Day celebrated across the country

Lusanda Bill
24 September 2011

Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe will deliver a keynote address at the National Heritage Day celebrations in Mpumalanga.

The theme for Heritage Month is "Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa”.

Many political leaders have encouraged people to celebrate their separate and collective heritage today in the spirit of nation building.

With World Cup and Currie Cup matches taking place all day and today also being National Braai Day, many braai fires will be lit across the country.

Friday, September 23, 2011

South Africa congratulates Zambia's new president

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 September 2011

South Africa has congratulated Zambia’s President Elect Michael Sata on his recent victory at the polls.

Sata narrowly beat incumbent President Rupiah Banda, who earlier conceded defeat with tears in his eyes.

The SA International Relations Department says they reiterate their commitment to continue working with the government and people of Zambia for the mutual benefit of both countries.

News agencies also reported some election-related violence and at least two people dead, before the results were declared by Zambia's Chief Justice Ernest Sakala.

No tax for health system - at this stage

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 September 2011

Home Affairs says it is not in a position to act on the visa application made by the Dalai Lama, unless it receives permission from the Department of International Relations.

Responding to inquires, Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni said his department was not handling the matter.

Apleni added that with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s previous visits to South Africa, what was then Foreign Affairs had made the decision.

Earlier this week, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Marius Fransman said the Dalai Lama’s visa application was a Home Affairs matter.

No tax for health system - at this stage

By Khanyisa Tabata
223 September 2011

The National Treasury is not planning to introduce a tax to fund the government's National Health Insurance system in the short term.

The Hospital Association of South Africa says deputy director-general of public finance Andrew Donaldson has indicated that considering South Africa's constrained fiscus, it would be difficult to raise additional taxes at this stage.

Donaldson says discussion papers will be released early next year before financing arrangements for healthcare will be changed.

Missing Child Alert: Safia Blankenberg

Fewer South Africans playing lotto

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 September 2011

A new National Lotteries Board survey shows that fewer South Africans are playing lottery games.

A national poll of two-and-a-half-thousand respondents found that there had been a substantial decline between 2003 and 2010, from 70-percent of the adult population, down to 40-percent.
In the survey, two-thirds of lottery players said they should have a say in who gets funding from lottery money, while close to 90-percent wanted charities to be beneficiaries.

Department of Basic Education ready for matric exams

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 September 2011

The Department of Basic Education says it is ready to administer credible National Senior Certificate examinations.

The matrics will start writing on the 24th of next month, with exams finishing on the 1st of December.

At a news conference in Pretoria, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said exam papers had been handed to provincial departments.

Those for learners with special needs will get to the provinces by the 7th of next month.

There are six-thousand-540 exam centres across the country for this year’s matric exams.

Cosatu accuses Reserve Bank of ignoring the poor

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 September 2011

Cosatu has slammed the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged as being out of synch with government’s commitment to make 2011 the year of job creation.

The union federation says many conservative governments around the world are slashing interest rates to save jobs.

It adds that the decision will make South African exports uncompetitive.

Cosatu accuses the central bank of being indifferent to the plight of the poor who are reeling under the pressure of sky-rocketing food, fuel and electricity prices.

Police chief has to motivate why he should not be suspended

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma has asked national Police Commissioner Bheki Cele to come up with reasons why he should not be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry into two police building leases.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj says Zuma is now studying Cele’s comprehensive representations.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had recommended that Zuma act against Cele in connection with irregularities concerning the leases.

Two Limpopo bus crashes claim 14 lives

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 September 2011

Two bus accidents in Limpopo yesterday claimed the lives of at least 14 people, including six children.

Eighty-five people were injured.

In yesterday afternoon’s crash, nine people died and five others were critically injured when a minibus taxi and a bus collided head-on on the R-510 in Northam.

Netcare 911’s Jeffrey Wicks says the driver and passengers of the bus escaped unhurt.

Early yesterday morning, six pre-school children and an adult were killed and 79 children and adults were hurt when their bus overturned near Thohoyandou.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nationwide crackdown on public transport continues

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 September 2011

More than 800 buses and minibus taxis have been taken off the roads since the beginning of the month.

This is after Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele called on traffic officials to stop and check all public transport vehicles following a series of horrific road accidents last month.

Department spokesperson Logan Maistry says more than 127-thousand vehicles have been checked so far. He says however that the public needs to assist.

Repo Rate remains unchanged at five-point-five percent

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 September 2011

The SA Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee has decided leave the Repo Rate unchanged at five-point-five-percent.

Sanlam group economist Jac Loubser earlier predicted the rate would remain fixed until 2013.

Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus made the announcement this afternoon, saying the MPC are monitoring the ongoing global financial crisis and will act accordingly if needs be.

Fuel price will go up in October 2011 while food prices will follow in an upward momentum.

She says maize and wheat prices continue to increase globally and would continue in an upward momentum because of the weaker exchange rate.

Concern over spike in teenage suicide

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 September 2011

Cabinet has expressed concern about the increase in suicide among young people.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini says an interdepartmental committee will be formed to tackle the problem.

The Eastern Cape education department revealed recently that on average, 16 school children committed suicide in the province every month in the first half of this year. No less than 109 pupils took their own lives last year.

By June this year, 96 learners had killed themselves.

Fears of more violence at notorious Pretoria flats

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 September 2011

The stand-off in Pretoria between police and residents of the notorious Schubart Park flats continues.

Residents are still not allowed into the dilapidated structures, but the municipality is yet to announce the way forward.

Media reports that security officers cordoning off the buildings have indicated that the municipality may evacuate the buildings for significant renovations.

But Tshwane spokesperson Console Tleane says the situation is being discussed at a high level municipal meeting currently underway.

Pre-school children killed in bus crash

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

Another bus tragedy has claimed the lives of children, this time in Limpopo.

Six pre-schoolers and an adult were killed early this morning when the bus taking them on an outing to the Pretoria Zoo overturned in Siloam near Thohoyandou.

The bus was transporting children and their parents from a crèche in Khakhu village.

Police spokesperson Ronnie van Niekerk says 76 others, including the driver, were rushed to various hospitals to be treated for their injuries.

Proposed cut in the speed limit will not make roads safer

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

Transport union Satawu says Minister Sibusiso Ndebele’s plan to reduce the maximum speed limit is a futile idea that will not make roads safer.

Ndebele said he intended asking Cabinet to cut the maximum speed limit from 120-kilometres-per-hour to 100-kilometres-per-hour, and referred to studies conducted in countries such as Australia.

Satawu says Ndebele should rather look at strengthening law enforcement, providing reliable and safe public transport, maintaining existing roads and clamping down on corrupt officials.

Missing Child Alert: Patricia Sithole

Shortage of good maths and science teachers a big problem

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

A new study has found that a shortage of good teachers, particularly in maths and science, is at the root of South Africa's underperforming education system.

The Centre for Development and Enterprise found that South Africa's maths and science results were at or near the bottom of the world class at the moment.

It says maths and science are essential for skilled jobs and economic growth and development, and producing good teachers in these subjects is central to this.

Meanwhile, school principals, learners and parents have been invited to use AfriForum Youth’s website to report complaints regarding grade 12 examination papers.

The organisation has already submitted grievances to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and has agreed to bring every additional complaint to the Minister’s attention.

Western Cape Transport MEC says speed limit reduction is not the answer

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 September 2011

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle says the only way to bring about a major reduction in road fatalities is to savagely punish the perpetrators of the carnage on South Africa’s roads.

Carlisle made the remarks in reaction to a recent suggestion by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele that the speed limit of highways be reduced.

Carlisle says the killers on the country’s roads are getting off scot-free, or with just a laughable fine. He says this cannot be allowed to continue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SA Reserve Bank expected to leave interest rate unchanged

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 September 2011

The South African Reserve Bank has no choice but to keep the Repo Rate unchanged at five-point-five-percent.

Efficient Group Economist Dawie Roodt made the remarks ahead of tomorrow’s Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee decision on the matter.

Roodt maintains that despite inflation slowly edging up, the central bank cannot increase interest rates due to the current fragility of the South African economy.

No word about Dalai Lama’s visa application

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 September 2011

There is still no official word from government on the status of the Dalai Lama’s visa application.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has invited the Tibetan spiritual leader to his 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town next month.

At a news conference in Parliament today, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Marius Fransman could not be drawn on the process, saying it was a Home Affairs matter.

But Fransman insisted that South Africa was not under pressure from a country like China not to grant the visa application.

Absa CEO optimistic about Africa

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 September 2011

Absa group CEO Maria Ramos says Africa and Asia can be the future of the global economy.

Speaking at a leadership summit in Johannesburg, Ramos said global economy was slowly shifting from Europe and North America to Africa and Asia.

One of the advantages Africa has over developed economies is its demographic transformation, with its rapid urbanisation, growing youth and rapid population growth.

Ramos says a growing population implies a greater demand for goods and services.

Missing Child Alert: Patricia Patty

Missing Child Found: Jessica Pekeur

Earlier in the week Bush Radio reported Jessica Pekeur missing, we have recieved information that she has been found and is safe back home.

ANC Youth League announces mass action plans

Lusanda Bill
21 September 2011

The ANC Youth League plans to take to the streets next month.

The Youth League will be demanding the nationalisation of mines and an equal share in the country's mineral resources.

Spokesperson Floyd Shivambu says the march, planned for the 27th and 28th of October, will start off at the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg, then continue to the JSE.

The League will also demand free education, jobs for young people and better housing and sanitation in informal settlements.

Gwede Mantashe warns of ANC divisions

Lusanda Bill
21 September 2011

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the party will celebrate its centenary next year more divided than it was in 2007, when former president Thabo Mbeki was unseated.

Mantashe is quoted as accusing some elements in the ANC as working for chaos and disorder.

He added that these conditions are good for what he refers to as disobedience.

In his report to the party's National Executive Committee, Mantashe also warns that the ANC Youth League's aggressive stance is damaging the ruling party’s public image.

20-million-700-thousand working days lost due to strikes

Lusanda Bill
21 September 2011

The Department of Labour has revealed that the almost 20-million-700-thousand working days were lost due to strikes last year

This was the highest work lost days on record.

The department says in its Annual Industrial Action Report for 2010 that the whole public service, as well as large employers in the private sector, had been affected by industrial action.

There were 74 work stoppages during the year, while the previous five years had averaged 71 strikes a year.

Public Works tender fraud valued at three billion rands uncovered

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde says that tenders to the value of R3 billion have been affected by irregularities in her department.

Because the investigation is ongoing, she cannot be certain that all the wrongdoings have been uncovered.

The Department of Public Works, in partnership with the Special Investigating Unit, is investigating the irregular awarding of the tenders in question.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde says criminal charges are likely to be brought against several officials and people outside the department.

SA recognises Libya’s new government

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

South Africa has followed the African Union’s example and has acknowledged that power has indeed changed hands in Libya.

Like the United Nations, South Africa now also recognises Libya's National Transitional Council as the government of Libya.

The AU and South Africa’s refusal to earlier recognise the NTC sparked speculation that African governments had been hamstrung by a sense of loyalty to Muammar Gaddafi in their response to the war in Libya.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi’s spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim has told journalists that 17 foreigners, who he referred to as “mercenaries”’, had been captured and were being questioned in Bani Walid.

Ibrahim says the men, including French and British nationals, will be shown publicly soon.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Monday that France had no mercenaries in Libya.

Damning allegations against Shrien Dewani

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 September 2011

Cape Town’s Wynberg Regional Court has heard that British businessman Shrien Dewani allegedly approached an airport shuttle operator at a Waterfront hotel to procure a hitman to have a woman killed.

A summary of substantial facts handed to the court suggest this happened soon after Dewani and his bride Anni arrived in Cape Town in November last year.

The summary formed part of an indictment which was handed to accused Xolile Mngeni and Mziwamadoda Qwabe.

They will go on trial in the Western Cape High Court early next year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

African Union officially recognises Libyan rebel council

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 September 2011

The African Union has officially announced its recognition of the rebel-led National Transition Council as the legitimate representatives of the people of Libya.

AU chairperson, Teodoro Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea, made the announcement in a statement on the eve of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Mbasogo says the AU stands ready to support the Libyan people as they rebuild towards an all-inclusive democratic country.

People who refuse to take part said to be biggest obstacle to Census 2011

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 September 2011

Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel says the greatest obstacles to Census 2011 are people who refuse to take part in the once-in-a-decade event.

Manuel told Parliament today that 156-thousand volunteers have been recruited as enumerators, supervisors and coordinators for this year’s count.

He urged South Africans to open their doors and allow themselves to be counted. The census kicks off in just 20 days.

The last census was conducted in 2001, with an undercount of 17 percent.

Anni Dewani murder accused declared fit to stand trial

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 September 2011

Xolile Mngeni has been declared fit to stand trial for the murder of British honeymooner Anni Dewani in Cape Town last year.

Mngeni recently underwent surgery for a malignant brain tumour and has also been receiving extensive chemotherapy for the past month.

The case against Mngeni and his three co-accused, including Dewani’s husband, Shrien, has been transferred to the Western Cape High Court. A pre-trial conference is expected to be held in February next year.

DA says Public Works Minister is trying to pass the buck

By Khanyisa Tabata

The Democratic Alliance says Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde is trying to pass the buck regarding recent revelations that her department is riddled with corruption.

The party’s John Steenhuisen says the Mahlangu-Nkabinde is also yet to answer for her involvement in a questionable lease agreement for the SA Police Services.

Steenhuisen says the Minister is too compromised herself to hold others to account for corruption.

DA says Info Bill postponement highlights ANC internal struggle

Lusanda Bill
20 September 2011

The Democratic Alliance says the African National Congress must consider adding a public interest defence into the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

The Bill was meant to go up for debate in Parliament today.

The ANC has put a hold on the Bill after pressure from the public; it will be looked at only at the end of the year.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip says the postponement shows that the ANC itself is struggling internally to justify the Bill’s passing.

Missing Child Alert: Jessica Pekeur

Missing Adult Alert: Margaret Anne Statton

Missing Adult Alert: Nopasika Ntubane

Possibility that Anni Dewani’s murder accused may not be fit to stand trial

Lusanda Bill
20 September 2011

One of the men accused of murdering British honeymooner Anni Dewani in Cape Town last year is due to appear in court today.

Xolile Mngeni is alleged to have fired the shot that killed Dewani.

He however recently underwent surgery for a brain tumour and may be declared unfit to stand trial.
Dewani’s husband, Shrien, stands accused of orchestrating the murder and is currently facing deportation from England.

Mngeni will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court later today.

Eskom says striking workers will face disciplinary hearings

Lusanda Bill
20 September 2011

Eskom says any of its employees who take part in a strike will face disciplinary action.

This follows threats from the National Union of Mineworkers that its members will not pitch up for work unless they are given a 13-percent wage increase.

Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe says electricity is an essential service and workers are therefore banned from striking.

Eskom has moved to implement a multi-year seven-percent increase.

Missing Child Alert: Plamed Nsatu

Missing Child Alert: Ayabonga Tshetsha

Missing Adult Alert: Yolandi Amtay

Woman caught with tik valued at more than two million rands

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 September 2011

Police in the Western Cape arrested a 30-year old woman for being in possession of tik with a street value of about R2.2 million.

Four plastic bags containing just more than eight kilograms of tik were confiscated on a passenger bus travelling towards Cape Town via Beaufort-West.

Police spokesperson, Malcolm Potjie says the woman will appear in the Beaufort-West Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

Potjie says the arrest of the woman is a step in the right direction in the attempt of stopping drug distribution in the Western Cape, especially amongst the youth.

Delay in voting on Information Bill widely welcomed

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 September 2011

The ANC has confirmed that today’s planned Parliamentary debate on the proposed Protection of Information Bill has been postponed indefinitely.

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga told a news conference in Cape Town that the Bill has been withdrawn for further consideration.

The National Editors Forum has joined the flood of support for the ANC’s decision to delay voting on the Protection of State Information Bill.

Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya says that despite improvements wrought during the parliamentary process, the bill remains deeply flawed.

He says a law worthy of the country’s democracy cannot criminalise the publication of information that reveals corruption, human rights abuses, or the abuse of state resources for political ends.

The African Christian Democratic Party meanwhile welcomed the announcement.

The party’s Steve Swarts says this will give the ANC time to further debate the controversial Bill internally.

ANC membership said to be up by some fifty percent

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 September 2011

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says the party’s membership has grown by almost 50-percent since its last conference in 2008.

According to Mantashe, the latest audited membership figure was 933 672.

At the Polokwane conference at which former president Thabo Mbeki was ousted, ANC membership stood at 621 000.

Mantashe conceded that the growth had created some problems as many of the new members still had to be educated about the ANC’s culture and tradition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fiancé of woman who was dragged under minibus taxi has been arrested

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 September 2011

The fiancé of the woman who was last week dragged underneath a minibus taxi in Johannesburg has been arrested for assault.

Lourens Grobler has been accused of hitting and choking taxi driver, Matome Thamage, following a motor accident.
Thamage himself faces charges of attempted murder after he allegedly sped off, dragging Kim McCusker for 700-metres underneath his taxi.

Thamage claims that he fled the scene as he had feared for his life.

Parliamentary debate on Protection of Information Bill called off

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 September 2011

A Parliamentary debate on the proposed Protection of Information Bill will not take place tomorrow as planned.

Weekend reports also said the Bill would be taken off the order paper in the National Assembly, following a decision taken by the ANC’s national executive committee.

Meanwhile, the Right2Know campaign says it has become increasingly apparent that South Africans from all walks of life have rejected the so-called Secrecy Bill.

The campaign’s national coordinator, Murray Hunter says it is important that democrats within the ANC are able to find their voices on the issue and ultimately do the right thing.

He says the Bill cannot be passed in its current form

ANC accuses editors of misinforming people about Protection of Information Bill

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 September 2011

The ANC has accused the South African National Editors’ Forum for exaggerating the implications of the proposed Protection of Information Bill.

Addressing a news conference in Johannesburg, ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe said many people have been misinformed about the Bill, which is due to go up for debate in Parliament tomorrow.

Mantashe warned that if the Bill is passed, then journalists will have no option but to comply. He says the Bill would not be used to target journalists or cover up corruption.

Mantashe says journalists are subject to the same rules and laws as any other citizen of South Africa.

Peaceful protest in Tembisa

Lusanda Bill
19 September 2011

A protest by residents of Tembisa on the East Rand has been largely peaceful.

Police say about a hundred people blocked a section of road in the township earlier.

The residents are calling for improvements to basic services.

Officials from the Ekurhuleni Municipality say the demonstration is illegal as no application to protest has been submitted by community leaders.

A Cape Town woman who was gang raped has died

Lusanda Bill
19 September 2011

The Cape Town woman who was gang-raped after responding to an online job advert last month has died.

A friend of the 38-year-old Roz van der Vyver reportedly confirmed her death last night.

Van der Vyver had alleged to have responded to an advert for casual work on the popular website Gumtree.

She was later drugged, robbed and raped and had been in a hospital intensive care unit since her ordeal.

Learner suicide rate highlights pressure on school children in the Eastern Cape

Lusanda Bill
19 September 2011

At least 96 school learners have committed suicide in the Eastern Cape since the beginning of this year.

This is according the provincial Education Department's biannual Learner Mortality Report.

The Department says the actual figure could be higher since they rely on reported incidents at provincial schools.

Spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani says there are several interventions in place to deal with the problem.

Education expert Alexander Pinnoch says the school system does put a lot of pressure on learners. She says however that there is never just one contributing factor

Ngcobo’s link to arms deal probe dismissed

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 September 2011

The Justice Department says reports that President Jacob Zuma favours former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo to head the commission of inquiry into the controversial arms deal are merely media speculation.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe's spokesperson Tlali Tlali says Zuma has given no such indication.

The President is in New York where he will address the General Assembly of the United Nations on Wednesday.

He is expected to announce the commission’s chairperson and the terms of reference on his return.

The Law Society has meanwhile welcomed Zuma's decision to appoint the commission of inquiry.

The Society says it agrees with the President that closure on the subject will be in the public interest.

It urged Zuma to appoint a formal commission of inquiry to ensure that it had the necessary powers, legal standing and funding to carry out the inquiry credibly, transparently and expeditiously.

ANC calls on Zille to resign

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 September 2011

The ANC in the Western Cape has called on Premier Helen Zille to resign following her promise last month that she would leave office if any wrongdoing was discovered in a communications tender questioned by the opposition.

ANC provincial leader Lynne Brown says the latest revelation in the deal is that Zille’s political advisor Ryan Coetzee was involved from the start.

Brown says the time has come for Zille to step down.

The Democratic Alliance has, meanwhile, decided to write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to request that she re-open the investigation into the Oilgate scandal.

This follows revelations in the weekend press that the late Sandile Majali had written a letter to the ANC just weeks before he died setting out the extent to which he had funded the ruling party.

Zille says Madonsela should also investigate why President Jacob Zuma took no action on the allegations, despite the letter being sent to his office, and despite the curious circumstances of Majali’s subsequent death.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lekota denies benefitting from arms deal

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 September 2011

Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota has denied ever benefitting from the arms deal during his tenure as defence minister.

His statement follows President Jacob Zuma's announcement of plans to appoint a commission of inquiry into the deal.

Lekota says he was not involved when the agreement was being negotiated and only came into government during the implementation phase.

The Cope leader adds that having not cleared his name in a court of law, Zuma now has a chance of doing so before the commission if he is innocent.

Vavi warns against waning ANC support

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 September 2011

Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi says the ANC will only have itself to blame should people turn their back on it in the next three years when the country celebrates 20-years into democracy.

Vavi addressed a meeting in Klerksdorp in North West.

He warns that people are increasingly becoming disillusioned because of the ruling party’s inability to transform the economy for the benefit of the poor and marginalised.

Sandile Ngcobo tipped to lead arms deal probe

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma is believed to favour former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo to head the commission of inquiry into the controversial arms deal.

Media reports this morning that Ngcobo was approached last week to head the commission.

Zuma is to address the General Assembly of the United Nations on Wednesday and is expected to announce Ngcobo's appointment and the term of reference of the commission on his return.

The President’s announcement of the commission took many by surprise last week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kasrils slams secrecy bill

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils says government is pushing through the Protection of Information Bill to spare itself embarrassment.

Kasrils addressed about two-thousand protestors who marched to Parliament today in protest against the provisions in the proposed so-called Secrecy Bill.

Kasrils, an ANC and SACP member, says government does not want the public to know who some amongst them were abusing tenders, contracts and taxpayers' money. The bill is set to go before the National Assembly next week.

Madagascar signs peace deal

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011

Madagascar's ousted president has agreed to a plan for restoring democracy that leaves the coup leader who toppled him in charge until elections are held within one year.

The proposal allows Marc Ravalomanana to return to Madagascar.

The plan was signed today in Antananarivo by President Andry Rajoelina and a representative of Ravalomanana, who has been living in South Africa since he was ousted in 2009.

The deal followed months-long negotiations by a Southern African Development Community team, led by Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Marius Fransman.

Vietnam joins the fight against rhino poaching

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011

Vietnamese officials are to visit South Africa later this month for talks on curbing rhino poaching.

Environmental Affairs says the visit will also focus on what can be done to curtail the illegal trade in rhino horn.

Spokesperson Albi Modise says the visit follows a trip to Vietnam by senior South African officials late last year.

Vietnamese residents are widely reported to be driving the demand for the horn, which is used, in powdered form, in various traditional medicines.

International Relations minister’s handbag a private affair

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011
The Department of International Relations says the content of Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane’s handbag is not up for discussion.

Her spokesperson Clayson Monyela was asked what the minister had in her handbag when she refused to have it scanned at an airport in Norway recently.

Nkoana-Mashabane’s refusal caused her to miss her scheduled commercial flight to Bulgaria, resulting is a private charter jet having to be hired at a cost of over 200-thousand- Rands.

Monyela says it was a matter of principle as diplomats are exempted from luggage searches.

Protest marches in Cape Town and Johannesburg

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011

Free speech and democracy advocates are marching in Cape Town to demand more changes to the proposed Protection of State Information Bill.

It is due for the vote in the National Assembly soon.

The editor’s forum, Sanef’s main concerns with the so-called Secrecy Bill are its lack of any public interest defence, heavy sentencing regime, broadness of application, and the shielding from scrutiny of the intelligence services.

Meanwhile, members of the National Union of Mineworkers will today march in Johannesburg to demand that Eskom stops its implementation of a seven-percent increase.

NUM has also rejected the company’s conversion of its pension fund to a provident fund.

They are demanding a minimum service level agreement and the improvement of the housing allowance. The march will start from the Mary Fitzgerald square.

Sanef threatens to take Secrecy Bill to court

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 September 2011

The National Editors’ Forum plans to take legal action, if necessary, to ensure that the Protection of State Information Bill complies with constitutional principles of free speech and open democracy.

The media body held its annual general meeting in Cape Town against the backdrop of the pending vote in the National Assembly on the so-called Secrecy Bill.

Sanef’s main concerns are the bill’s lack of any public interest defence, heavy sentencing regime, broadness of application, and the shielding from scrutiny of the intelligence services.

A massive march is planned in Cape Town today to show the broad public and interested groups’ opposition to the bill.

SOS says SABC can’t be bailed out until it learns to manage it’s finances

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 September 2011

The SABC should not be given additional funding until it is able to properly manage its finances.

This is according to Kate Skinner of the Save Our SABC coalition.

It recently emerged that the Special Investigating Unit has unearthed a series of dodgy financial deals within the SABC amounting to more than R1.4 -billion.

Skinner says it is true that the SABC needs funding to provide quality programming.

She maintains however that the public broadcaster simply can’t be trusted.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recycled walkways and benches for Mandela Bay

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 September 2011

With one of the longest recycled walkways in South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is joining the rest of the country in focussing on Recycling Day today.

Few residents realise that Port Elizabeth’s spectacular beach walkways were made possible after plastic material equivalent to more than 16-million-300-thousand empty two-litre bottles was recycled.

Municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron says benches made from recycled material have also been installed in parks throughout the municipality.

ANC disciplinary committee deny bid by Julius Malema to remove Derek Hanekom as chairperson

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 September 2011

The ANC’s disciplinary committee has denied a bid by Julius Malema to remove Derek Hanekom as chairperson of the committee.

The Youth League leader had argued that previous comments by Hanekom on land expropriation meant he could be prejudiced.

The panel said today it had withdrawn a second charge against Malema.

He had been accused of saying the hearing was only going ahead because of factional reasons.

The disciplinary committee will proceed today and tomorrow, with the intention of finalising its work next week.

Criminals block car locking systems

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 September 2011

There are increased reports around the country that criminal syndicates are using remote control devices to disrupt signals when drivers use their hand held car locking systems.

Pretoria police spokesperson Ann Poortman said they have made several arrests and confiscated some of the equipment.

But newcomers continue to operate in and around the city.

In light of the scourge, police are urging motorists to physically check whether their vehicles are locked before walking away.

Samwu wants Secrecy Bill scrapped

Lusanda Bill
16 September 2011

Municipal union Samwu is worried that the Protection of Information Bill will disadvantage whistle blowers and workers who are fighting corruption.

The bill is set to go before Parliament before being sent to President Jacob Zuma to be signed into law.

Samwu says it has long been fighting corruption at municipal level, and many of its leaders have been run down, victimised and even physically attacked.

The union wants the so-called Secrecy Bill to be blocked in the interest of enhancing service delivery.

Arms deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne will closely watch inquiry

Lusanda Bill
16 September 2011

Businessman Terry Crawford-Browne, believes his Constitutional Court challenge forced President Jacob Zuma to announce an inquiry.

Browne has for years been leading the fight to have alleged corruption in South Africa’s multi-billion-Rands arms deal investigated

Government has agreed to pay Crawford-Browne’s costs.

His legal counsel Paul Hoffman says they will closely watch the inquiry to ensure that there is no attempt to distort the truth.

Missing Child Alert: Emihle Gonga

Patricia de Lille wants a retired Constitutional Court judge to investigate arms deal

Lusanda Bill
16 September 2011

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille has called on President Jacob Zuma to appoint a retired Constitutional Court judge to investigate the arms deal.

De Lille originally blew the whistle on the controversial deal just over 12 years ago.

She says the process must now be carried out properly.

On Thursday President Zuma announced that he has decided to appoint a commission of enquiry into the arms deal.

16 000 mandrax tablets seized in PE

Lusanda Bill
16 September 2011

Eastern Cape police say around 16-thousand Mandrax tablets with a street value of one-million-Rands have been seized in Port Elizabeth.

The drugs were discovered after a house in New Brighton was raided.

Two women have since been arrested.

Police regard the find as a massive blow to drug dealers and runners in the area.

Case against suspected Thai rhino poaching kingpin postponed

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 September 2011

The case against a suspected rhino poaching kingpin has been postponed in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court.

Thai national Chumlong Lemtonthai appeared briefly in court yesterday.

He stands accused of organising a poaching syndicate that abused hunting permit loop holes by hiring prostitutes to pose as trophy hunters.

The State says they are still gathering evidence and may add another accused.

The case resumes on the 8th of November.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

President Jacob Zuma announces arms deal commission of enquiry

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma has announced that he will establish a commission of enquiry into the controversial arms deal.

New information concerning the allegedly corrupt deal is now emerging from Sweden and Germany.

The Constitutional Court is set to rule on the matter in early November.

ANC spokesperson Brian Sokutu says they welcome Zuma’s decision.

Opposition parties also welcomed the announcement.

The Democratic Alliance says it has been calling for such action for the last ten years.

Party leader Helen Zille says the public has the right to finally know the truth.

The Freedom Front Plus says the arms deal has tarnished the image of not only the SA National Defence Force, but of the entire country.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald says the commission should remain above suspicion and as such should be comprised of members of the judiciary.

Missing Child Alert: Jayde Wacker

A family of four killed in an accident near Pretoria

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 September 2011

A family of four, including two little children aged one and three, were killed when the car they were travelling in collided head-on with a bus on Moloto Road near in Pretoria this morning.

The bus smashed into a wall after the collision.

ER24’s Derrick Banks says a critically injured woman was rushed to hospital by helicopter where doctors are trying to save her partially severed legs.

Thirty-one other bus passengers are being treated for minor injuries.

Police Minister appeals Western Cape High Court ruling

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 September 2011

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has applied for leave to appeal last month’s Western Cape High Court ruling in favour of Fred van der Vyver.

The actuary instituted a R46 million civil claim against the Minister, saying he had been maliciously prosecuted by police detectives investigating the 2005 murder of his girlfriend, Inge Lotz.

A separate trial is expected to take place next year in order to decide how much of the claim Van der Vyver is entitled to.

Matrics encouraged to look at options other than university

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 September 2011

With matric exams just a month away, a Johannesburg businessman says learners need to realise that they have several options available once they finish school.

Paul Kent is managing director of independent credit card swipe machine distributor SureSwipe.

He says matrics seem hell-bent on getting into university despite the fact that trade skills are in higher demand.

Kent maintains that more emphasis needs to be put on apprenticeships.

Shocking corruption at the SABC

Lusanda Bill
15 September 2011

The Special Investigating Unit probing corruption at the SABC has identified 20 staff members who had personal interests in companies that conducted one-point-two-billion-rands worth of business with the broadcaster.

A first round SIU report says fraud, corruption and waste at the corporation reaches all the way to the top.

The wrongdoing involves the obtainment of services, theft of assets, payments to untrue companies.

It also involves replacement payments, fake claims and irregular appointments, promotions and pay hikes.

Spotlight on Clive Derby-Lewis’s hospital treatment

Lusanda Bill
15 September 2011

Correctional Services has dismissed reports that convicted murderer Clive Derby-Lewis is being refused urgent hospital treatment.

Spokesperson Sibongile Khumalo says Derby-Lewis went to a private facility last year and he still prefers to use a private surgeon.

The right-wing leader was convicted for his part in the killing of Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

Khumalo added that Derby-Lewis’ family signed a document agreeing to bear the costs involved in private healthcare.

AU welcomes commitment by Libya’s NTC

Lusanda Bill
15 September 2011

A top-level African Union team has welcomed the commitment by the leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council, to give priority to national unity.

The NTC has also promised to bring together all Libyan stakeholders, without any exception, to rebuild the country.

President Jacob Zuma hosted the meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council in Pretoria yesterday.

The AU has not yet recognised the NTC as the new government, insisting that the Gaddafi faction should form part of it.

Mantashe defends cadre deployment

Lusanda Bill
15 September 2011

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has defended the ruling party’s system of cadre deployment.

He told the National Teachers' Union's conference in KwaZulu-Natal that the process helps to give black people operational exposure as part of correcting imbalances created by apartheid.

Critics of cadre deployment say it appoints incompetent and unqualified people in critical positions.

Mantashe conceded that it was important that people met the basic requirements of their posts and performed well in the selection process.

ANC Youth League says Shoot the Boer ruling highlights judicial problems

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 September 2011

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema says the fact that the controversial Shoot the Boer song has been banned as hate speech shows that there is something wrong with South Africa’s judicial system.

The ruling was made in the South Gauteng High Court earlier this week by Judge Collin Lamont.

Malema told a news conference in Johannesburg today that the ruling showed that a minority group still controls every aspect of people’s lives.

The League says it intends to appeal the ruling and AfriForum, which brought the case to court in the first place, say they are ready to oppose them.

AfriForum chief executive, Kallie Kriel, says they are not only prepared to take the case to the Constitutional Court, but to the United Nations hate speech forum as well.

He says they have already won their two cases against Julius Malema and are sure to win again.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DA questions Co-operative Governance minister’s sick leave

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 September 2011

The DA wants to know why Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka is not back at work.

Shiceka was sent on sick leave in February for an undisclosed illness.

But he is quoted as saying he has been playing tennis and travelling overseas.

The Minister also says he is ready to return to work but can only do so when the Public Protector’s report on the allegations of misconduct against him is received.

The DA’s James Lorimer wants to know why this has become a condition of Shiceka’s return to work, while he is earning a salary of over R100 000 per month.

Missing Child Alert: Chad Forbes

Transport Department says crackdown on drunk drivers bearing fruit

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 September 2011

One year since Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele’s announcement of the new National Rolling Enforcement Plan, more than 18-thousand drunk drivers have been arrested and 50-thousand un-roadworthy vehicles have been removed from the country’s roads.

In addition, during the past two weeks just under 72-thousand public transport vehicles were stopped and checked.

He says last month more than 4,000 arrests were effected and 3,429 vehicles discontinued from use.

Yesterday Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle shut down TJ Motor Vehicle Testing Station, confiscating all the company's records for investigation.
He warns South Africans.

Ndebele says this is just the beginning and has warned motorist to obey road rules or pay the price.

New rumours about Madiba quashed

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 September 2011

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has once again had to give the assurance that former president Nelson Mandela is alive and well, despite rumours to the contrary on social media sites.

The Foundation denied negative rumours on Twitter. Mandela had been admitted to hospital in January after suffering an acute respiratory infection.

He has since recovered and is currently spending time at his home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape.

Up roar over junior doctor not being paid

Lusanda Bill
14 September 2011

The Junior Doctors’ Association of South Africa is shocked that a junior doctor doing her community service in a Mpumalanga Hospital has not been paid

The junior doctor has neither been appointed by the Health Department.

The doctor completed her community service in July this year.

Judasa’s Charlotte Mlangheni now wants the Mpumalanga MEC of Health to urgently intervene in the matter.

Public Protector satisfied with response to probes

Lusanda Bill
14 September 2011

Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde missed the 60-days deadline for her response to the Public Protector’s criticism of her handling of the police headquarters lease deal.

But Thuli Madonsela is satisfied with a progress report she received from state organs.

Madonsela’s spokesperson Kgalalelo Masisibi says the Presidency and the Department of Public Works has advised on the action they are taking to implement remedial action.

Masibi did not give more details.

ANCYL disciplinary hearings postponed again

Lusanda Bill
14 September 2011

The disciplinary hearings of Julius Malema and five other ANC Youth League leaders and office bearers have again been postponed.

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza says because of the unavailability of some of the parties, the hearings will now resume on Thursday.

The hearings are being held in Kibler Park, in the south of Johannesburg.

Five of the accused were supposed to give their final arguments to the disciplinary committee yesterday.

Zuma says he will never support a regime change in Botswana

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma says he will never support a regime change in Botswana, as was suggested by members of the ANC Youth League earlier this month.

Zuma told Parliament that government has elevated its relations with Botswana over the last year.

He maintains that relations between the two are set to go from strength to strength.

Meanwhile, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says South Africa is sticking to the African Union roadmap on the Libyan conflict.

She once again called for the speedy resolution of the armed conflict in the country.

The Minister says this can only be achieved through the establishment of an all-inclusive, democratic authority, elected by the majority of Libyans.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winnie Mandikizela-Mandela undergoes foot surgery

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 September 2011

The ANC has confirmed that apartheid struggle icon Winnie Mandikizela-Mandela has been admitted to hospital in Johannesburg.

Mandikizela-Mandela was checked in to the Brenthurst Clinic on Saturday after suffering pains in her ankle.

The 74-year-old underwent a minor foot operation and is currently under medical observation.

Taxi driver arrested for Lonehill accident

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 September 2011

A Johannesburg taxi driver has been arrested after speeding away from an accident scene in Lonehill this morning, dragging a woman underneath his vehicle for about 700-metres.

The 25-year-old Kim McCasker is so badly injured that her family plans to lay a charge of attempted murder.

The driver had collided with the advocate and her fiancée’s bakkie.

When McCasker tried to get information from the driver, he knocked her over, causing her to get caught under the taxi.

Bystanders eventually managed to stop the driver.

Garden route death bus testing station closed down

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 September 2011

The Knysna vehicle testing station which certified a bus involved in the Rheenendal accident in which 14 school children and the driver were killed last month has been shut down.

Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle says as part of an ongoing investigation, the owner of TJ Motor Vehicle Testing Station has been charged with corruption.

A team investigating the crash has found that the bus had a range of defects, despite having been given a roadworthy certificate.

Police not likely to enforce ban on struggle song

By Khanyisa Tabata
13 September 2011

It will be impractical to expect the police to actively enforce a ban on singing the controversial Shoot the Boer song.

Johan Burger of the SA Institute for Security Studies says law enforcers simply have more important things to do.

The South Gauteng High Court yesterday ruled that the song was hate speech and there was no justification for its singing.

Burger says only under certain conditions will police enforce the ruling.

Missing Adult Alert: Nolene Lizelle vd Westhuizen

Zuma explains Malema plans

By Khanyisa Tabata
13 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma says the ANC has to mould Julius Malema into a dynamic leader. In an interview at his Pretoria residence, Zuma said the aim was not to remove the Youth League leader from the party.

But he has to allow the ANC to help him become a good leader. Zuma stressed that Malema would have to watch his conduct if he wanted a future in the ruling party.

The disciplinary hearing of the leadership of the Youth League resumes this morning.

Meanwhile, the ANC has announced that it will appeal the decision by Judge Collin Lamont to ban the singing of the Shoot the Boer song.

Proponents of free speech have also slammed the ruling in the Equality Court which declared the song hate speech.

People who sing the song will be in contempt of court. AfriForum, which brought the case, plans to oppose the appeal.

Zuma takes Public Protector’s report seriously

Lusanda Bill
13 September 2011

President Jacob Zuma has done a lot of work in response to the Public Protector’s report on alleged maladministration with the leasing of headquarters for the police.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj says details can’t be disclosed at this stage without discriminating those affected by the report.

Maharaj gives the assurance that Zuma takes the report very seriously and will act on it.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela called on Zuma in July to take action against Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde on the matter.

ANCYL could appeal hate speech ruling

Lusanda Bill
13 September 2011

A political analyst says the ANC Youth League could possibly appeal the court ruling on Julius Malema’s singing of the controversial song, Shoot the Boer.

Political analyst Harald Pakendorf says it is too early to say if this is the final judgement.

Judge Collin Lamont made the ruling in the Equality Court yesterday, in a civil case brought by AfriForum.

Lamont also ordered the ANC Youth League leader to pay part of the costs of AfriForum, who brought the case against him.

More jobs lost in SA

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 September 2011

Another 49 306 jobs were lost last month making it the fourth consecutive monthly decline.

The Adcorp Employment Index, released today, also found that only government created jobs.

While overall employment declined by 2.1% in August, employment by government rose by a notable 6.2%.

Adcorp’s Loane Sharp says one of the prime reasons for the nation's dismal employment picture is that government is crowding out private sector participation in the economy.

Sharp says the production sector was the hardest hit.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mixed reactions to Shoot the Boer hate speech ruling

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 September 2011

AfriForum has expressed its satisfaction at today’s ruling that any singing of the controversial song, Shoot the Boer, amounts to hate speech.

Judge Collin Lamont made the ruling in the Equality Court today, in a civil case made by AfriForum against ANC Youth League Leader Julius Malema.

This was over Malema’s repeated singing of the song in public.

Lamont found that there can be no justification for singing the song, adding that it is both harmful and discriminatory.

AfriForum’s legal representative, Willie Spies, says the ruling is much more than just a victory for over Malema.

Meanwhile the ANC says they are appalled at the ruling.

The party said in a statement that the banning of the song was an attempt to rewrite South African history.

The party maintains that Shoot the Boer is a struggle song and is not specifically meant to incite violence against white farmers.

Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu says they will study the ruling and decide on whether to take further legal action to defend their heritage and traditions.

More than 100 people killed in Nairobi explosion

By Lelethu Mquqo
12 September 2011

More than 100 people have burned to death in a fire on a fuel pipeline in a slum area in the Kenyan capital.

Local media are reporting that a fuel pipeline in Nairobi’s Lunga Lunga industrial area started leaking and people crowded around to collect the fuel.

An explosion trapped many of the poor residents in the smoke and flames.

Emergency workers are struggling to rush more than 80 badly injured victims to hospital.

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