Friday, January 21, 2022

Two Elsies river police help deliver baby

Two police officers attached to the Elsies River police station helped bring news life into this world, after responding to a call about a woman in labour on Thursday.

According to provincial police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, Constable Lucinda Raffie and her partner, Sergeant Gert Swart, attended to the complaint in Tiara Way in Leonsdale.

On arrival they saw a man and woman outside on lookout for the ambulance. The police members advised the woman to go inside and make herself comfortable

Not long after when the woman indicated she was about to give birth and officers Raffie and Swart immediately reached for their gloves.

Within a split second, the baby was delivered and landed in the capable hands of Constable Raffie.

“Guided by advice from the medical personnel via cellular telephone, she managed to hand over a healthy baby boy to the medical personnel upon their arrival,” Swartbooi said.


PICTURE: SAPS




by Everngelista Muza

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MyCiti bus N2 express to start operating again next month

 The MyCiTi N2 express service will be returning next month, this comes after the city signed a new operating contract with the N2 company. The more than 6 000 commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha will soon start benefitting from the service once the buses are back on the road.

In a statement on Thursday, mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis described the signing of the contract as a critical milestone and the impact cannot be overstated.

"The Urban Mobility directorate is also assessing all the bus shelters along the four routes in Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha for urgent maintenance and repairs to make sure they're in order working order," Quintas said.

The operating service halted in 2019 after the previous contract lapsed and Dan Plato administration failed to negotiate a new deal.

Although earlier in January the city’s efforts to restart the express bus route was shaken after one of the taxi bosses who was a signatory to the agreement was shot dead. 

On Tuesday, the City, along with taxi bosses, were scheduled to sign an agreement that would enable the MyCiTi N2 Express buses to operate on the Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain routes.

The process allowed the City to enter into a contract with the N2 Express Joint Venture (JV) Vehicle Operating Company which operated the MyCiTi N2 Express since its inception in July 2014.

 


by Everngelista Muza

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Western Cape Highest Bachelor Pass Rate, Matric Results Show

 

Photo via Western Cape Department of Education

The minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, announced the 2021 Matric results yesterday. The country received a national pass rate of 76.4 percent, which is 0.2 percent higher than in 2020.

Students throughout the country headed back to the classroom this week to return to their studies following festive season break, after last night, they now know what they will be aspiring toward.

Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga announced an improved pass rate from the previous year. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, students around the country showed steadfast dedication to their studies.

The results show more than 256,000 students received a bachelor’s pass meaning they will be able to enter one of the country’s universities. Motshekga said the accomplishments of this year’s class were inspiring because of the changes they had to endure.

Students improved in all categories this year with improvements in the bachelor’s passes, diploma passes and high certificate passes. The country also saw a major increase in the number of students who took their exams. That number increased by 23.6 percent from the previous year.

Motshekga also called out the commitment of the basic education department to providing inclusive curriculum for special education learners. This year saw more than 80 percent of those students pass.

More than 800 special needs students received bachelor’s passes for this term.

While student success nationally was encouraging, even more impressive were the statistics for learners here in the Western Cape.

The Western Cape saw 81.2 percent of its learners pass, which was 5 points higher than the national average. Brent Walters is the western cape head of education. He said the class of 2021 exceeded his expectations.

The pass rate from the class of 2021 was a 1.3 percent improvement from the previous year. The Western Cape also had the highest bachelor pass rate in the country at 45.3 percent. Western Cape minister of education Debbie Schafer said these learners deserve to be celebrated.

Schafer said this class has paved the way for future successes and created big shoes to fill for the class of 2022.

In her announcement last night, Motshekga also recognized no fee schools for their stellar achievements. In 2005, just 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees came from no fee schools. This year, more than 60 percent of bachelor’s degrees were from no fee schools.

While figures about special needs education and no fee school results show progress when it comes to equity, Motshekga said the country still has a long way to go. She said the country needs to make a further effort to improve female participation in education, access to schools and lifting up struggling learners.

The minister said those challenges will be a main focus of next year’s class, but for now there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future.

By Ben Rappaport 


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Thursday, January 20, 2022

New COVID-19 Vaccine Facility in Cape Town Pledges One Billion Vaccines for Africa

Phot via Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town will soon be home to a mass vaccination site for COVID-19 thanks to the donations of biotech billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong. The NantSA founder pledged to produce one billion vaccines for the African continent by 2025. 

The first round of vaccines from the new Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The center will officially open later this year as the largest genomics facility on the continent.  

The new facility is expected to cost around R3 billion.

Soon-Shiong along with President Cyril Ramaphosa, launched the Coalition to Accelerate Africa's Access to Advanced Healthcare (AAH) on Wednesday. The coalition and NantSA aims to improve domestic production of a variety of vaccines including tuberculosis, HIV, cancer and COVID-19. 

At the ceremonial opening of the clinic, Ramaphosa said he hopes the facility will help propel the Western Cape and all of South Africa into a new era of biotech advancements and innovations. 

The launch of the center comes after it was announced in September that NantSA signed a collaboration agreement with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to improve COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in the region. 

Soon-Shiong has donated money to biotech development centers in the past including the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation. The billionaire's support also supported institutes for infectious disease research at University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University.  

Ramaphosa said the new facility is exciting because it will allow Africa to no longer rely on western nations for vaccines or scientific knowledge.  

By Ben Rappaport

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Five bodies discovered at the Eldorado Park believed to be cable thieves

 The Eldorado Park area remains tense after the discovery of five bodies on Wednesday along the Golden Highway. The bodies were discovered with gunshot wounds beside the Golden Highway on Wednesday near an informal settlement called Lapland.

 This incident follows an attack at the Pikitup dumping site nearby that left five security guards dead and two others injured.

Residents believe that the killing were linked to copper cable theft as one of the accused was found with a shovel. Gauteng Commissioner Elias Mawela said that he had received intelligence that the criminals behind the murder of the five people discovered in Lapland may be living in this informal settlement. He said that the murders seemed to have been committed as part of some kind of a turf war between gangs that steal copper cables and sell them.

A firearm was found on Thursday near the location where the bodies were discovered. No arrests have yet to be made.



by Everngelista Muza


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There's concerns over the low number of people arrested for taxi violence cases, including extortion and intimidation

DA in the Western Cape are wondering why there is low conviction rates in taxi violence-related cases and is calling on the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority to brief the standing committee on the issue.

According Transport and Public Works, Ricardo Mackenzie, out of the 651 reported taxi-related crimes between January 1, 2018 and July 27, 2021, only 168 had resulted in arrests, of which half had made it to the court roll.

Mackenzie further noted that only nine cases resulted in convictions, resulting in a conviction rate of 5.3%. In the July unrest last year 86 people were killed in the taxi-related violence, with 66 attempted murders cases and 63 taxi-related crimes, including intimidation, extortion, conspiracy to commit murder and the possession of firearms, had been reported.

Meanwhile taxi boss, Mzoxolo Dibela, one of the leaders of the Codeta taxi association and Santaco council in the Western Cape was found on shot dead at the Monwabisi Beach near Khayelitsha on Monday.


image: voice of the cape

by Everngelista Muza

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Department of Human Settlements Visit Several Housing Projects Throughout Western Cape, Plan for Further Community Engagement

 

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers and Neville Chainee meet in Langa to discuss the status of current housing projects.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, several members from the local and national departments of human settlements visited sites throughout the Western Cape to inspect the progress made on various housing projects.

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements Tertuis Simmers, hosted the National Minister and Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi and Pamela Tshwete. They visited several sites of housing projects including Boys Town and Joe Slovo, which are both part of the N2 Gateway Project.  

The N2 Gateway Project has been ongoing since 2005, its ultimate aim is to build 25,000 homes in townships throughout the Western Cape. However, it has faced opposition from many shack dwellers who say the government homes will displace them.

On Wednesday, the South African Deputy Directors General of Human Settlements Planning and Strategy, Neville Chainee, said while the government has made progress in building houses, those homes have not been upkept.

“There’s a lot of sewage problems and electricity issues,” Chainee said. “It’s not being maintained at the rate it should be.”



To qualify for the homes built in these projects, tenants must earn at least R3,500 per year. Chainee said most of the people living in these homes earn more than that.

“The people here wanted these units to be made available for title deeds and they believe they should earn title deeds to them,” Chainee said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues that still haven’t been addressed with these units.”

Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, Tertuis Simmers, said the purpose of their visits to the housing projects was to see first-hand what those issues are and attempt to work toward innovative solutions.

“We showed the good and the not so good of human settlements with these visits,” Simmers said.

Simmers said they witnessed the harms of environmental harms like land slipping in Mossel Bay and also gave title deeds to mostly elderly people during these visits. He said he believed the visits engaged in difficult conversations.

The Department of Human Settlements has had several challenges from community members who argue they are being displaced. Simmers said these dissidents were harming their communities because they are preventing the government from helping them.

Simmers said the department is going to appoint an independent facilitator to quell the civil unrest and move forwards with the government’s solution of building housing.

“We can’t let the community dynamics be a hindrance for us moving forward,” Simmers said.

One of the main challenges from the community has been from the youth demanding housing from the government. In October, several youth activists protested outside the provincial Democratic Alliance Offices demanding proper services from their government.

Earlier this week, the national housing minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, said young adults need to wait their turn in line and keep their energy on school.

Simmers said the department remains committed to community engagement. In the Western Cape, Simmers said his top priorities are creating affordable housing and engaging the private sector to build more homes.  


By Ben Rappaport and Danielle Mentoor

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer visits Perivale primary school

Western Cape Minister of Education Debbie Schafer visited Perivale primary school on Wednesday to welcome students back to the classroom.

After more than a year of no school due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.1 million students across the Western Cape headed back to the classroom on Wednesday. At Perivale, they were greeted by their principal, teachers, friends and the provincial minister of education Debbie Schafer.

In her greeting to students she stressed the importance of reading as an academic focus for this year and encouraged students to read twenty minutes per day.

Schafer said the department of education has worked tirelessly to ensure they were ready for the proper return to the classroom.

According to WCED, there are still more than 400 unplaced students in Grade 1 and more than 2400 in Grade 8. The department said it working hard to ensure placement comes as soon as possible.

Schafer urged parents of unplaced learners to keep their phones handy so as not to miss calls from school officials.

Despite the high number of unplaced learners, Schafer said she believed the number was an improvement given the more than 32,000 late applications.

For parents who have not yet applied for their children to be placed in school, they can contact the Western Cape Education department district offices so they can be added to the placement list. 

Schafer said the issue of unplaced students is a persistent problem across the country. She said it is difficult to navigate the intersections of education and policy because it often involves bureaucracy and constantly changing plans.

The Western Cape does have a 10-year plan in place to build more schools based on identified growth areas, but Schafer said even that is not set in stone because it does not account for change over time or unpredictable events, like a pandemic.

The pandemic forced the Western Cape to divert nearly 450 million rand to fill pandemic needs. That’s money that could’ve been going to classrooms or new school construction.

Schafer said she intends to lobby the national government for more funding. She said another effort to help mend the unplaced student issue, the provincial education department is trying to make the registration process easier and more accessible by reaching out to families and moving the process online.

The effort to make space for unplaced learners, however, also creates another issue: overcrowding. Shafer said solving that mostly comes down to funding.

Schafer said she will continue to push for more students to get back in the classrooms on a non-rotational basis despite the pandemic because she said she believes the effects of not having students in the classroom was creating lasting harmful effects.








Pictures: MEC Schafer at Perivale Primary

By Ben Rappaport and Danielle Mentoor

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Alleged parliament arsonist to be removed from mental hospital immediately

Zandile chrismas Mafe was admitted to the facility last Thursday after a district surgeon diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and recommended that he be admitted for a 30-day mental assessment.

This comes after the 49-year-old man was accused of setting Parliament alight earlier this year and faces a slew of charges, including that of arson and terrorism.

However on Tuesday his lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu, questioned how the State could charge him with terrorism and at the same time question his state of mental health.

In their appeal case Judge President John Hlophe ruled Mafe should be released from the Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital first thing on Wednesday this morning. His bail hearing will be heard at the Cape Town Regional Court on Saturday subject to further consultation between the parties.




by Everngelista Muza



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Four injured during cash in transit heist in Cape town

A gang of men robbed a cash van on a highway in Cape Town on Tuesday, several videos have been doing the rounds on social media of the robbery that took place between the N1 and N7 national roads.

According to Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda "It [was] reported that a Jeep which was driving along the N7 stopped abruptly in the middle of the road, causing a light delivery vehicle to collide with the cash van. The suspects are alleged to have used explosives to blow the safe open. One vehicle is reported to have caught fire during the robbery,"

He said members of the police's National Intervention Unit responded to the incident, and a shootout ensued between the police officers and the robbers.

One suspect sustained a gunshot wound to his buttock, another had sustained a gunshot wound to his right thigh while the other suspect got injured during the blast. A security guard was also assessed and found to have suffered a minor abrasion to his head.

One vehicle is reported to have caught fire during the robbery.

Four suspects were arrested while others are still at large and will soon appear at the Goodwood magistrate court.




by Everngelista Muza

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Toxic Waste Dumped Off St. Helena Coast, Activists Express Frustration

 


Environmental activists are upset after more than 1,500 tons of toxic chemicals were dumped near St. Helena Bay.

The chemical dump came from the NS Qingdao carrier, a South Korean bulk ship on its way to the Marshall Islands. The ship was anchored in St. Helena Bay after the cargo on the ship released toxic fumes.

The cargo on the ship contained steel coils and fertilizers.

Activists from several environmental groups such as the Extinction Rebellion and The Green’s Connection said they were upset to learn the toxic waste dump was permitted by the South African Maritime Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

Following its anchoring in St. Helena Bay, the ship was issued an emergency dumping permit from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

SAMSA said the waste will end up in the bottom of the sea. The organization said they have been “working tirelessly around the clock to safely manage the unstable chemical cargo since the encounter with its bearer vessel, the NS Qingdao, in Durban last October.”

 “The vessel has no obvious structural damage, and she will return to the closest port after the dumping operation is complete and her cargo is stabilized,” SAMSA said. “An investigation will also be conducted to determine the reason for the cargo reaction.”

The dumping operation is expected to conclude by mid-March 2022.   

 

By Ben Rappaport

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Department of Basic education now impelled to publish matric results

 The High Court in Pretoria has granted AfriForum and others an urgent interdict forcing the Department of Basic Education to release the 2021 matric results on media platforms.

The application followed a decision of the department to depart from the norm by only issuing the results to pupils at schools where they wrote their matric exams.

Meanwhile more than 1.1 million learners will return to schools in the Western Cape on Wednesday. The Western Cape education department says despite over 32 000 late applications, the latest figures show that 451 Grade 1 and 2 450 Grade 8 learners are still unplaced.

Schafer appealed to parents to be patient as they process to put learners in schools.




by Everngelista Muza

CODETA leader found dead at Monwabisi beach

Harare police are probing a murder case after the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (CODETA) leader, Mzoxolo Dibela’s, body was found at the sand dunes at Monwabisi beach in Khayelitsha on Monday afternoon. He had sustained gunshot wounds to his head.

‘’Harare police attended a crime scene at Monwabisi beach yesterday, Monday (2022-01-17) at about 15:00. Upon arrival, they found the body of an unknown man next to the road who sustained gunshot wounds to his head. The victim were declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel. The motive for the attack is taxi related,’’ said Warrant Officer, Joseph Swartbooi.

‘’The unknown suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested. Harare police is investigating a murder. Anyone with information are urged to call Crime stop on 08600 10111,’’ added Swartbooi.

Dibela was also the Deputy Chairperson of SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) in the Western Cape.

The City of Cape Town’s mayco member for transport, Rob Quintas, condemned the killing.

‘’I also want to condemn this brutality in the strongest possible terms as this alleged hit may lead to renewed conflict between the minibus-taxi associations that operate across Cape Town. We are extremely concerned about the danger and disruption this may pose to commuters, operators, and all of those involved in the industry.’’

‘’I am pleading with all parties to remain calm, and to work together for the benefit of our commuters and those employed by the industry. I will be calling for a meeting between Codeta, the Mayor and the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works to see how we can assist,’’ added Quintas.

Quintas said that Dibela’s demise halts progress in signing a contract of the MyCiTi N2 Express service between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and the Cape Town CBD

‘’The operating contract with the N2 Company was to be signed this week. Due to this tragic event, we are now faced with huge uncertainty about the signing of this operating contract and the future of the N2 Express service.’’

Western Cape’s Transport and Public Works MEC, Daylinn Mitchell, described Dibela as a ’’firm leader who showed dedication to change the image of the minibus taxi industry.’’

Mitchell called on police and enforcement authorities to leave no stones unturned in finding the perpetrators

‘’I call on the SAPS and enforcement authorities to work around the clock to find Mr Dibela’s killers and bring them to book as soon as possible along with the perpetrators of other taxi related crimes.’’

‘’I extend my sincere condolences to Mr Dibela’s family, to the members of CODETA and to the colleagues in the broader taxi industry. May his soul Rest in Peace,’’ added Mitchell.

 

PICTURED: Mzoxolo Dibela (George Herald)


Done By: Mitchum George

 

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Suspected Parliament fire arsonist, Zandile Mafe, to appear in court

Suspected Parliament fire arsonist, Zandile Mafe, is challenging a court ruling on Tuesday that ordered him to go for mental observation at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital for 30 days.

Currently, Mafe is facing a total of five charges, these include arson, terrorism and house breaking with the intent to steal in relation to the incident.

His defence team appeared before the Western Cape High Court on Saturday, where it was decided that their judicial review of his referral for mental observation would be heard this week.

Since his arrest on the day that the fire broke out at Parliament, Mafe has appeared before the Cape Town Magistrates Court a total of 2 times.




Mafe was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by District surgeon, Dr. Zelda van Tonder, and referred to Valkenber Psychiatric Hospital.

This weekend Mafe’s lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, explained why they’re challenging this decision.

Pending the outcome of Tuesday’s judicial review, Mafe’s bail application has been scheduled for Saturday.

By Danielle Mentoor

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Vandalism and Theft Threaten Western Cape Railway Improvement Efforts

Photo via Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Twitter

During his visit to the Western Cape on Monday, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula discussed the ways crime and vandalism are halting progress of Western Cape Metrorail projects.


Mbalula and the Department of Transport had several efforts in the works to improve railways systems. On Monday, however, the Transport Minister said rampant vandalism, like that on the northern line, threaten to halt critical infrastructure progress.


Mbalula said theft and vandalism of important operational infrastructure had forced the stoppage of the northern line.


Despite concerns about vandalism, Mbalula also expressed optimism about the progress of the ongoing goal to reopen the central line in Cape Town. He said he believes the line will be fully operational by July this year.


The central line has not been operational since October 2019.   


The purpose of Mbalula visit was to inspect the progress made by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) of an upgrade project to the northern line. PRASA has aimed to improve several railway stations throughout the Western Cape in anticipation of resuming service.


The upgrades were made possible by National Station Improvement Project (NSIP), which prioritizes minor station upgrades at small and medium-sized stations. Mbalula said PRASA committed to completing 39 station upgrades by the end of the fiscal year.


Upgrades include improvements to security, ticketing offices and overall passenger comfort in the station.


By Ben Rappaport

 

 


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Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment to visit Kleinmond, following devastating fire

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Barbara Creecy will visit the Kleinmond area on Tuesday, following the fire which destroyed more than 5 000 hectares of vegetation and left one structure burnt. 

Last week, Creecy announced that in the interest of public accountability, the Director-General of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has asked the Acting CEO of SANParks to undertake an assessment of the fire.

''The visit will give Minister Creecy a glimpse of the extent of the damages caused by the fire, while she awaits the report whose assessment, once processed, will be made public,'' it said in a statement.

The Department’s Working on Fire last week deployed ground and aerial resources to assist with suppression efforts of the fire in the area.  Working on Fire had deployed 196 firefighters and management and 18 vehicles, 9 aircrafts to help to assist fire authorities in the Overberg (Kleinmond) with fire suppression. A total of 134 additional fire fighters and management from local municipalities and agencies (Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature) were also deployed to supress the flames.

Creecy will meet the firefighters to personally thank them for their efforts. 

 

PICTURE: GovZA

Done By: Mitchum George

Monday, January 17, 2022

Nehawu workers wants safety guaranteed before returning to work

The Parliament fire has turned into a labour issue as National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) members started protesting because of safety concerns when returning back to work.

The employees gathered on Monday outside of Parliament to voice their concerns. The union members are requesting written agreements guaranteeing their safety when they return back to work.





Parliament’s management has told members of parliament that it had implemented and signed off on governance documents and is currently working on an action plan to ensure the precinct adheres to safety protocols.

Parliament’s Nehawu branch secretary Temba Gubula has reiterated that members would not be reporting for duty if they have not received written safety guarantee.

Parliament said that health and safety awareness training for staff members have been conducted and that the development of safe work procedures were ongoing.

They have also confirmed that the fire drill was done with the NCOP before the COVID-19 outbreak.

By Danielle Mentoor

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Western Cape dam levels at 78.1%

The latest average dam levels in the Western Cape stands at 78.1%. Last week dam levels in the province was 79.7%.

According to the latest data as supplied by the Department of Water and Sanitation, this is significantly better than the same time last year, when the average provincial dam level stood at 67.7%. Dams supplying the City of Cape Town decreased by 1.6% from last week’s 92.3%. The metro’s dams were 87% full at the same time last year.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, says dam levels still look good for this time of year in the Western Cape’s hot summer season.

“The good rainfall received during the winter months are still evident in our dams throughout the Province. We are now heading into the second half of summer, and this is the time of the year when we start asking if our reserves will last until the next rain season in the coming winter. At this stage there is no reason for concern, but at the same time we cannot get complacent, and I urge you to continue using water as a scarce and precious resource.”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

More than 6 000 arrested in Cape Town over festive period

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement agencies arrested more than 6 000 suspects over the festive period.

Of these, 1 203 were arrested on a range of charges including drunk driving, possession of drugs, firearms and ammunition, dangerous weapons, contact and property crimes, among others; 229 drivers who were found to be under the influence of alcohol.

The City’s Traffic Service also took 4 997 motorists into custody for outstanding warrants.

In the first two weeks of January 2022, the Law Enforcement Department has made a further 224 arrests, and issued 10 190 fines. During this period, officers confiscated at least seven firearms.

‘’’These statistics tell only one side of the story. Apart from the enforcement actions that result in arrests or confiscations, our staff also engage in public education and awareness, and are deployed specifically to save residents from harm. Our Disaster Management Department also worked tirelessly on the beaches and other public spaces to promote safety, ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocols and recently they also resumed their Firewise campaign,’’ said the City’s Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.

‘’It really is a mammoth undertaking, and I applaud each and every service member for their contribution, but also our external partners like the CIDs, the SAPS, the Neighbourhood Watches and the Department of Community Safety,’’ added  Smith.

Between the Law Enforcement and Metro Police Departments, they confiscated at least 22 firearms, 147 rounds of ammunition and 21 imitation firearms.

The City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre fielded 49 735 calls in December 2021. Of these, 8 143 were calls for medical assistance, and 1 479 were trauma-related calls.

 

PICTURE: CoCT

Done By: Mitchum George

Arson accused Suspect tests positive for Covid 19

The alleged Parliament arsonist has tested positive for COVID-19.

 Zandile Mafe is curently at Valkenberg Hospital for 30 days of psychiatric evalution.

 His lawyer, Luvuyo Godla, maintains that the application came as a surprise.

He also questioned the fairness of the medical certificate finding signs of paranoid schizophrenia.

 Godla will represent Mafe tomorrow to argue that the move to put him under psychiatric evaluation was unlawful.

If successful, Mafe will be moved from Valkenberg Hospital to Pollsmoor Prison ahead of a postponed bail application over the weekend. 

Done by Lizeka Tsotetsi

Education official express concern as the date to re-open schools nears

The Department of Basic Education is facing a legal challenge over its decision not to publish the latest matric results on public platforms.

Last week, the department wrote a letter to media houses informing them that the move was in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act (Popia), which came into effect in July last year. The format of the results was changed in recent years to exclude the names of matriculants - only their exam numbers were listed.

The Western Cape Education Department also stated that 575 grade 1 and 3,014 grade 8 learners are still unplaced and over 32,000 late applications were submitted. Equal Education Law Centre EELC said they came accross “unlawful practice” of some schools insisting that parents pay a registration fee for their children to be admitted.

With two days before public schools in coastal provinces reopen, some education officials are worried about the wellbeing of learners. In the Eastern Cape, flooding has wrought havoc across parts of the province. Many children from displaced families have been left without schooling supplies or clothes. 

Meanwhile in the Western Cape, Education MEC Debbie Schafer fears the recent extension of the state of disaster will further affect pupils.


by Everngelista Muza

Elderly man found dead at Witsand beach

A man died at Witsand beach in the Western Cape on Sunday. According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), emergency services were called to the beach in the afternoon after the body of a man was found in the water.

Medics tried to revive him before he was declared dead on scene. The case was handed over to the police for investigation.

Meanwhile, search efforts continued for a teenager who was reported missing at sea at a Blythedale beach, north of Durban, on Saturday evening. The search is expected to continue on Monday morning.


by Everngelista Muza

Transport Minister conducting oversight visit at Cape town train station

The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula is conducting an oversight visit of the Cape Town Northern Line and the Western Cape Rail Management and Traffic Control Centre in Bellville on Monday.

He will be looking at the progress made in the station upgrade project after PRASA has embarked on a series of station improvements in anticipation of service resumption.

He will also be looking at the annual delivery plan of the the National Station Improvement Project (NSIP) meant to address minor station upgrades and lasting improvements to railway stations. This is due to PRASA’s ongoing efforts to recover vandalized stations, revitalize the rail service and improve customer experience.


by Everngelista Muza

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Mop-up operations are underway following Highlands fire

Mop-up operations are underway following the Overberg fire that burnt for 4 days in Kleinmond

More than 5 400 hectares of fynbos and pine plantations were burned, one building was destroyed and preliminary agricultural damages include 10ha of commercial fynbos.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, says they are probing the cause of the fire and will do an estimate of the total damages and costs accrued during the operation.

‘’We were extremely fortunate this time that no human life was lost, which is always the number one priority during these operations, and monitoring will continue for the next few weeks as some areas of dense alien vegetation will continue to smolder.’’

Bredell said the number one cause of wildfires are human and has urged residents to be responsible and careful when dealing with fires.

“It would be sad to know that all the resources, time, money and risk to personnel, as well as the destruction of thousands of hectares of land could have been prevented through different human behaviour,” he said.

The public can call 112 toll-free on any cell phone and request a free connection to the local fire services to report any possible veld fires. 

 

PICTURE: Overstrand Muncipality

Done By: Mitchum George

Two arrested for Goodwood business robbery

Goodwood police arrested two suspects on a charge of business robbery in the area on Wednesday morning. Armed suspects held the owners of a shop situated in Voortrekker Road at gunpoint at around 08:20.

‘’One of the suspects fled when they were disturbed by someone who made alarm, but was apprehended by the public.  SAPS members attached to Goodwood police arrived on the scene and arrested a second suspect,’’ said Colonel Andrè Traut.

‘’There was however reason to believe that a third suspect was still trapped in the shop and the Special Task Force was summoned to the scene. After the building was tactically penetrated, it was established that the two suspects were alone,’’ added Traut.

The police spokesperson said that the firearm used by the suspects was discovered hidden inside the shop and seized.

Two male suspects aged 35 and 29  are expected to make their court appearance in Goodwood once they have been charged.

 

PICTURE: SAPS

Done By: Mitchum George

R5 000 reward offered that leads to youths arrest for stoning a Cape train

The City of Cape Town is offering a R5 000 reward for information that leads to the positive identification and arrest of those responsible for the stoning of a brand new train set

Metrorail’s Nani Zenani said youths stoned the train at Steenberg Station on its way to Fish Hoek Station.  The incident occurred last Tuesday. The stone caused damage to the side window of the driver's cabin which will now have to be replaced. Repair costs are estimated to be around R20 000.

Metrorail has since opened a case of malicious damage to property

Metrorail is appealing to local parents, local leadership and local authorities to protect the people's asset.

‘’Metrorail is in the process of reinstating service across all its lines.  Extensive repair works have been done to various Metrorail assets due to vandalism.  The stoning of trains adds another layer of difficulty in delivering services and is therefore intolerable to Metrorail,’’ said Zenani.

Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis described the incident as ‘unacceptable’.

‘’Damage to critical infrastructure is completely unacceptable, even if it is perpetrated by youth who think that stoning trains is “fun”.For too long, a well-functioning rail service has been absent from our city and millions of Capetonians suffer as a result. Capetonians end up having to spend more of their income on other forms of public transport, and take longer to get to work and back home.’’

‘’We cannot allow a few individuals who wish to damage and steal public infrastructure to rob us all of the resources we need to improve our lives,’’ Hill-Lewis added.

Anyone with information on the incident can contact Metrorail on 0800 21 00 81

 

Done By: Mitchum George


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