Wednesday, November 30, 2005

South African opera star shot dead

South African opera star Deon van der Walt has been shot dead, apparently by his father who then committed suicide. Their bodies were found on their wine estate near Paarl yesterday afternoon. 47-year-old Van der Walt was shot in the chest and his 78-year-old father Sarel had a single shot to the head. A revolver was found next to him. According to police spokesperson Randall Stoffels their bodies were found by Van der Walt's mother, Sheila, after returning to the Veenwouden estate. Multi-award winner Van der Walt was counted among the leading tenors in the world and performed at all the major opera houses.

Zuma not to comment on rape allegations

Former deputy president Jacob Zuma will make no further comment on rape allegations against him before a decision on whether to prosecute him has been made. Yesterday, Zuma confirmed he was facing rape allegations. His lawyer, Michael Hulley, said he had been told authorities needed more time to investigate the rape allegations. Hulley said such an approach was in keeping with the integrity with which the police dealt with the investigation, in contrast with that of some media organisations. Reuters reports that the allegations, first published in newspapers earlier this month and denied by Zuma, laid bare divisions in the ANC and intensified debate on who will succeed President Thabo Mbeki and when.

City opens a new clinic

The City of Cape Town officially opened a clinic worth 2.5 million rand in Claremont on Tuesday. The Claremont Clinic located in Old Stanhope Road now replaces the Station Road Clinic that has been demolished to make way for the taxi facility. Frank van der Velde from the City of the Cape Town says the facility is part of the Claremont Transport Interchange and the Claremont Boulevard Project, which is proposed to be constructed in partnership between the City and the Claremont Improvement District Company. Van der Velde says the new clinic incorporates a building which existed on the site, a newly constructed wing, nine consulting rooms, ample parking and landscaping.

Knysna murders linked to syndicate

Police have confirmed that that three murders committed in Knysna over the past two months were carried out by the same syndicate. Police spokesperson Eddie Cronje says the suspects have been identified and they will be arrested soon. The body of 19-year-old Jessica Wheeler was found in a church yard on October 13. Her mouth was filled with soil. On November 10 the body of 20-year-old Victoria Stadler was found in bushes in a similar position as Jessica’s. On that same day, a man was reported missing in the same area. The unidentified man was found strangled not far from his home.

Springbok captain suspended for six weeks

Springbok captain John Smit has been suspended for six weeks for his elbow to the throat of French lock Jerome Thion in Saturday’s match against France. The incident happened in the first half of the match, and left Thion hospitalised for four days with a broken larynx. Smit was cited by Independent Citing Commissioner David Gray of New Zealand after the match. His suspension will commence on 14 January next year, the opening day of the new season in South Africa. The suspension, against which Smit has the right of appeal, was handed down by Denis Wheelahan of Australia at a disciplinary hearing in Paris on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Local school to remain open

Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore altered his decision about the closure of Avonwood Primary School in Elsies River. The school will be kept open for the next twelve months, when the situation will be reviewed again.The decision comes after COSATU and the community pressurised the department into rethinking its settlement. COSATU regional Secretary Tony Ehrenreich has thanked the minister. He also called on other schools who feel that the Department has given them a raw deal to demand that they also be kept open for the next 12 months at least.

Daily paper suspends two senior staffers

Staff reporter

A Cape Town daily newspaper has allegedly suspended two senior staff members, pending an internal investigation. While the Cape Argus editor, Ivan Fynn, confirmed the suspension on Monday, he refused to name the two staff members. Die Burger newspaper has, however, reported that the staff members political editor Joseph Aranes, and senior political writer Ashley Smith. According to the report, they are alleged to have been on the payroll of western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool.

ANC Youth League re-affirms support for Zuma as ANC president

The ANC Youth League has reaffirmed its support for former deputy president Jacob Zuma to become the leader of the party. In a statement, the ANCYL says it will continue to drum up support for the beleaguered Zuma, as there is no reason for them to change their stance on the succession debate. This follows statements by the South African Communist Party and Cosatu claiming they never previously called for Zuma to be president of the ANC. Youth league president Fikile Mbalalu says although Zuma faces a corruption trial and allegations of rape, he should be considered innocent until proven otherwise in court.

Identity theft expected to rise

The Consumer Profile Bureau warns that criminals are going to have a bumper season this year by stealing identities. Business Report quotes CPB managing director Fred Steffers as saying identity theft is expected to reach record proportions over the Christmas season, as identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. Together with other white-collar crimes it siphons off more than 40-billion rand a year from the economy. Steffers says their system shows that there are substantially higher numbers of identity theft and resultant frauds that are committed with stolen documents. He advises that the less information one carries the less one has to lose to criminals on the prowl.

Monday, November 28, 2005

More delays expected at Cape Town International Airport

Further delays are expected at Cape Town International Airport today, following extensive delays due to runway problems yesterday. All domestic and international flights were delayed for several hours because of technical problems on the runway, and there will be further delays today as airline staff battle to deal with the passenger backlog. According to the Cape Times, a spokesperson for the Airport Company of SA spokesperson Deidre Hendricks says the damage to the runway was caused by environmental factors, but there have been reports that the runway was damaged by a cargo plane.

Government reconsidering the amount of provinces

Government has confirmed that the possibility of reducing the number of provinces to ensure better delivery is being considered. Bheki Nkonyane, spokesperson for Provincial and Local government minister Sydney Mufamadi says the issue is under discussion, but adds that the matter is a long-term consideration which needs extensive consultation. The issue was apparently raised at a meeting between Mufamadi and provincial MEC’s last week. Deputy president Pumzile Mhlambo-Ngcuka also told a Sunday newspaper that government might reconsider having nine provinces.

Police not security gaurds, says Selebi

Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi says his officers will not be turned into what he termed shopping mall guards despite the recent spate of robberies in Gauteng. In an interview with City Press, Selebi urged mall owners to secure their properties against robbers. In one of the most recent incidents, a policeman was killed when police exchanged fire with robbers in a mall in Rosebank on Friday. Robbers also targeted a mall in Fourways. Selebi told the newspaper that it was impossible for the police to guard every shop in the area but would diligently investigate each incident.

City lends support to shark spotting

The city of Cape Town will give support of four hundred thousand rands to the Shark Spotting and Warning Programmes at Muizenberg Pavilion on Tuesday, November 29. The Mayoral Committee Member responsible for Planning & Environment Councillor Carol Beerwinkel, will hand over a cheque to fund the Shark Spotting and Warning Programmes. She will also announce the City of Cape Town’s intensified efforts on shark safety. Spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, Gregg Oelofse explains.

Zuma to hear this week if he will face rape charges

Observers expect more political upheavals this week as former deputy president Jacob Zuma waits to hear whether he is to be charged for rape. There appears to be a clear switch in the strong support that Zuma has been enjoying since being sacked by President Thabo Mbeki. The South African Communist Party indicated at the weekend that while it still supported Zuma in what it terms the difficult time he is facing, he is not their candidate to succeed Mbeki. SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin told the media yesterday that the party had not discussed the alleged rape charges against Zuma, but that the SACP had expressed its deep concern at the escalation of violence against the vulnerable members of our society.

WHO apologises for failing HIV treatment targets

The World Health Organisation has apologised for missing its target to get 3 million people in poor countries on life-saving AIDS drugs by the end of 2005. Dr Jim Yong Kim, the director of the WHO's HIV/AIDS department, admits that the organisation has not moved fast enough to meet the ambitious target. Acording to Reuters, the aim was to provide three million people with treatment but by June only one million people were receiving ARV treatment. Kim says the project can be considered a success as more people now have access to life-saving drugs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Arrest made in 1979 rape case

A suspected rapist from Camps Bay has been arrested after a rape incident that occurred in January 1979, after police profiled fingerprints in their criminal record centre. The prints matched those of the man, who is now aged 49. A 19-year-old girl was raped in her Highlevel Road flat in Sea Point. The case was under investigation, but the identity of the male suspect remained a mystery. Police spokesperson Superintendent Billy Jones says the complainant is keen to testify against the suspect, and has no intention of withdrawing the case.

Township fire claims 200 homes

About 200 shacks have been destroyed in a fire that ripped through the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon. The cause of the blaze has not been established yet. Spokesperson Johan Minnie said no deaths or injuries have been reported. Temporary accommodation has been provided for those who lost their homes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Waterfront workers continue with strike action

V & A Waterfront workers are continuing with their strike action on Tuesday after negotiations failed to yield satisfactory results over the weekend. The workers have vowed to continue with the action until their demands are met. Four strikers arrested on Friday appeared in court on Monday on charges of public violence. Shop steward, Vincent Erasmus says that the management is not willing to negotiate a better offer.

Local artist assaulted in Italy

A South African artist has been assaulted and seriously injured in a small town in northern Italy. 27-year-old conceptual artist Ed Young is due to undergo surgery on his leg in an Italian hospital tomorrow. Die Burger quotes Young’s mother Elize as saying two Italian men overpowered her son shortly after he had sent an e-mail from an internet cafe and drawing money at an ATM in Ceunen. She says one of the attackers, who fled initially, returned to assault her son further because he was an unwelcome tourist. Young became famous after selling Cape Town pub owner Bruce Gordon as a work of art.

Inflation to peak next year

South Africa's inflation is expected to peak at slightly above five-point-five percent in the first half of next year but will stay within its target range. Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni told a forum in Johannesburg that lifting exchange controls could lead to more capital inflows, and he saw more exchange rate stability going forward. Reuters quotes Mboweni as saying more rand stability can be expected. He says South Africa's real interest rate is not prohibitive and that money supply and credit growth are not worrying. According to Mboweni the country's economy could grow faster with microeconomic reforms.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Automated airport baggage machines coming soon

Airports Company South Africa, or ACSA, has installed automated baggage machines at the country’s airports in a bid to eliminate theft. The state-owned firm has installed equipment that scans, sorts and then delivers baggage to the right flights, limiting human contact with passanger luggage. According to Business Day, ACSA decided on the system after a number of airlines and customers complained about bags that had been tampered with or stolen. The majority of thefts occur at Johannesburg International Airport, but similar safety measures have already been introduced at Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Pipe bomb attack in Mitchell's Plain

By Nadia Samie

A pipe-bomb attack occurred in Mitchell’s Plain on Thursday night. The device was thrown onto the roof of the house in Northwest Street, Rocklands, near Merrydall and Caravell Roads. Residents allege that the house is that of a known drug dealer, but police would not confirm this. The occupants of the house are said to have been asleep at the time of the attack. The roof structure of the house was damaged and police recovered the remains of the explosive device on the scene. It has been sent for forensic testing. Police spokesperson Captain Randall Stoffels says that the motive for the attack is unknown and the case is being investigated.

Teacher shortage by 2008

A study by the Educator Labour Relations Council has raised serious concerns of a severe shortage of teachers by 2008. The study, conducted in conjunction with the Human Sciences Research Council, found low job satisfaction and a lack of career advancement are the main reasons for teachers leaving the profession in search of other opportunities. It discovered that teachers are unhappy with working conditions, and many suffer from high stress levels due to problems with administration and the current education system. The research also found that HIV and Aids contributed to the declining number of teachers, with 12-point-7 percent of teachers currently infected with the virus. HSRC spokesperson, Professor Karl Peltzer, elaborates…

Final weekend for voter registration

The Independent Electoral Commission has urged all potential voters to take advantage of the final voter registration drive over this weekend. Chairperson Brigalia Bam says with the announcement that the elections will be held on the first of March next year that, the IEC is ready to handle more than 20 million potential voters. Addressing the National Press Club in Pretotia, Bam said that logistical preparations for the elections include the printing of ballot papers and getting nominations lists from political parties. Bam assured the public that security would be tight at all the 18 thousand 730 polling stations across the country.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Police seek assistance with murder case

By Nadia Samie

Police are seeking the public’s assistance with a murder investigation. Late Wednesday afternoon police found the body of a 55 year old female with stab wounds to her head and neck, lying at the entrance to the lounge. On further investigation, police found the 85 year old mother with a serious stab wound to the head on the lounge floor. She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and is currently in critical condition. A male in his twenties was allegedly seen running from the scene of the crime. Police spokesperson Randall Stoffell’s says the motive for the murder is not yet known. Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigating officer, Inspector Steven Young on 021 - 710 7300 or Crime Stop on 0860010111.

Teachers not spending enough time doing their jobs

South African teachers are spending only three-point-two hours a day on their core task of teaching. The Herald Online says a Human Sciences Research Council report with this finding was made public today. It states that policy determines that educators should spend 64 to 79 percent of the 35-hour week on teaching, but the average time teachers actually devote to teaching is 46 per cent. The study has found that teachers spend less time teaching as the week progresses, with very little education occurring on Fridays. Teachers in urban areas spend more time on teaching and administration than rural teachers.

Veld fire causes another power cut in Cape Town

A veld fire appears to have caused the power outage that affected Cape Town this afternoon. A much larger blackout last week was apparently caused when one of the generators at Koeberg shut down, but Eskom says initial reports indicate that a fire near one of its substations caused today’s cuts. Eskom spokesperson Marcelle Adams said that it appeared that a fire at the Droërivier-Muldersvlei substation in the Western Cape caused a disruption to power lines. Adams says technicians are busy restoring power to affected areas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Anti-rape picket outside Parliament

By Nadia Samie

Activist group Rape Crisis embarked on a lunchtime picket at the gates of Parliament on Wednesday. The picketers are campaigning for a Sexual Offences Act that includes a new definition of rape that observes sexual violation of men and boys and a national policy framework in order to ensure inter-sector co-operation and coordination in the management of sexual offences, amongst other issues. The picket is part of the Justice Denied campaign. Rape Crisis is accusing the government of using 1957 legislation, no and slow arrests missing dockets and corrupt officials. They say survivors are silenced in court. About 150 supporters attended the picket. Gassan Solomon, a member of Parliament, came out to collect the memorandum. Solomon said that pressure is now on the government to perform.

eTV to appear before committee

By Busisiwe Mtabane
Parliament will be taking steps to force eTV to appear before a committee and explain its role in the reckless distribution of pornography. This comes after the privately owned broadcaster repeatedly ignored invitations to attend meetings organised by Parliament’s Home Affairs Portfolio Committee. Three cellphone operators and the SABC appeared before the committee yesterday to clarify their role in the increasing accessibility of pornography to children.

Prisoners build churches for the community

By Busisiwe Mtabane
About forty prisoners on parole from the Mitchell’s Plain Correctional Services department office have helped to build two churches on the Cape Flats this year. The programme is part of their community service and is supervised by the correctional services. It was started by the Mitchell’s Plain office two years ago. The next big project for the parolees is to help clear the Bush of Evil in Delft, where several bodies have been discovered this year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Education in the Western Cape gets a boost

Western Cape education is set for a major change, with 68 public schools being transformed into "speciality" schools focusing on maths, science and technology, business management or arts and culture. The provincial plan, which comes into effect next year, aims at giving poorer children access to focused training in specific fields. The Cape Argus reports that Premier Ebrahim Rasool says the speciality schools will be spread across the province. Fifty of the new schools will focus on maths, science and technology with ten focusing on arts and culture, while eight will concentrate on business management.

Police seek armed robbery suspects

Police are investigating cases of Armed Robbery and Attempted Murder and are appealing for public’s assistance in finding the suspects. This comes after three armed men allegedly robbed Corners Fisheries in Mountain Road Airport Industrial on Monday afternoon. Police spokesperson Debby Pheiffer says the suspects fled on foot and are still at large

Winnie Mandela accuses Italy of Racism

Former South African first lady Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and her delegation were apparently held in custody for 45 minutes for no apparent reason at Rome's Fumicione Airport last Thursday. Speaking to Beeld at Johannesburg International Airport after her return from Rome, she said it was ironic that during her visit to address a conference on human rights, she had been the victim of blatant racism. She said it was shocking that a First World country like Italy could be guilty of violating human rights through racism. Madikizela-Mandela said all their documents were in order and the Italian authorities still have given no reason why they were held.

Monday, November 14, 2005

World Diabetes Day - November 14

The 14th of November has been recognised as World Diabetes Day. Western Cape Health MEC, Pierre Uys, has stressed that eight out of every 100 people in SA have diabetes, but there are probably many people who do not even know they are sufferers. Statistics indicate that at least fifty percent of all people, who have diabetes, are not aware of it. Health MEC Uys said the aim of his department is to get volunteers to help out at least 50% of all clinics.The volunteers will help with the introduction to special lifestyles and eating habits.
Minister Uys also announced that the 19th World Diabetics Conference would be held in Cape Town next year.

Lekoto ready to go home

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota has improved to such an extent following his heart attack in Cape Town last week that he has been moved to Two Military Hospital in Wynberg. Lekota received treatment in the intensive care unit at the Gatesville Hospital in Athlone following his heart attack. Lekota’s spokesperson is reported as saying the minister’s health was not at risk any more and that he wanted to go home. Lekota would need about three weeks to regain his health completely. An acting minister will not be appointed despite the fact that Lekota will miss a crucial ANC National Executive Committee meeting later this week.

Zuma's future hangs in the balance

Former deputy president Jacob Zuma’s legal team is expected to make a decision soon on whether the Sunday Times is to be sued over a report that a claim of rape had been laid against Zuma. Attorney Michael Hulley told The Witness on Sunday the matter was under discussion at the moment. The Sunday Times reported that Zuma had been accused of raping a woman guest at his Johannesburg home last Wednesday. Apparently semen found on the victim's underwear had been taken for DNA testing. The Sunday Tribune, on the other hand, reported that the woman had denied that she had ever laid a charge. People close to Zuma say the claim is a cruel disinformation campaign.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Major announcement expected from De Beers

The world's biggest diamond producer, De Beers, is to make an announcement this morning about a change of ownership of its South African business. According to an invitation to a news conference in Johannesburg, the announcement concerns the most significant change of ownership of De Beers Consolidated Mines since its formation in 1888. It is expected that a major black economic empowerment deal is on the cards. Mining Minister Lindiwe Hendricks is also due to attend the news conference.

Black investors buy into Sun City

The owners of gambling resort Sun City - which became a symbol of apartheid-era repression - is seeking to bury its past by drafting in black shareholders. Reuters quotes Sun International as saying it has agreed to sell a seven percent stake to a consortium of black investors called Dinokana Investments Ltd, led by investment firm Lereko Investments, and Sun International staff and community groups. The deal is worth 604-million rand. Lereko is led by former North West province premier Popo Molefe and former Tourism Minister Valli Moosa.

Popcru concerned over prison drama escape

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union has once again expressed its concern about security in prisons following the foiled escape attempt at the Zonderwater prison near Cullinan on Sunday Evening. Five inmates held prison officials hostage for several hours while trying to escape, before police regained control of the situation. One of the inmates was killed in the rescue, with another wounded. Popcru says the incident confirms that a shortage of prison staff could lead to more escape attempts.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Two in court over church murder

Two men are to appear in court today for the murder of the janitor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Paarl in the Boland whose tortured body was found in a storage room at the church. Fifty-three-year-old Charles Jacobs had two stabs wounds in his stomach and a pair of shorts had been pulled over his head. His hands were tied behind his back. Police would not elaborate on the murder but family members say Satanists appear to have been involved. The word Satun was written in Jacobs’ blood on the floor of the building. Apparently the murdered man had been arranged to look like Jesus Christ on the cross.

Police break up ANC protest

Staff reporter

Members of the City Police broke up an ANC protest at Gugulethu Sports Complex yesterday. Protestors gathered at the sports complex, where the parties provincial general council meeting was being held to show that they are unhappy with their party’s leadership. COSATU provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, is now demanding an investigation into who deployed the City Police to break up the protest. City Police commander, Bongani Jones, says that they were deployed because the protest was being held illegally on council property. Police used pepper spray on the crowd and detained six people. Ehrenreich says that instruments of the state are being used for party political reasons.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cape Town family in shock after hostage ordeal

Four members of a Cape Town family are being treated for shock after they were held hostage in their home on Wednesday morning. A 17-year old youth armed with a fishing knife arrived at the family’s home early on Wednesday morning, and demanded money from the homeowner. The youth then apparently locked the door and forced the family into a room at knifepoint. Neighbors alerted the police, who arrived at the scene and convinced the youth to surrender. According to reports, the suspect, who is apparently known to the family, will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate Court on Friday.

SA creates 30 thousand jobs per month - report

A report by the United Associations of South Africa trade union has found that employment in South Africa is growing at around 30-thousand jobs a month. Mike Schussler, who researched the South African Employment Report, says the formal labour market may already exceed nine million people. Schussler says that 360-thousand new jobs need to be created each year to absorb new entrants into the employment market, and adds that if 240-thousand jobs are created each year the country will halve its current unemployment figure by 2014.

Fires still rampant in Southern and Eastern Cape

Devastating veld fires were still rampant in large areas of the Eastern and Southern Cape last night, and it is reported that a farm worker burnt to death when he was trapped in a fire near Jeffrey’s Bay. Firefighters were battling to get to all the fires, which have already destroyed several buildings – including houses - and about 15-thousand hectares of forestry. Working on Fire spokesperson Val Charlton said in the Witfontein area near George, teams had doused 20 fires in one day. However, at least 15 fires were burning out of control in the Southern and Western Cape yesterday. Several people had to be evacuated near the Van Stadens River Bridge. Meanwhile the N2 highway, which was closed to traffic earlier yesterday, had been reopened.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005



Tune in for Bush Radio’s news and current affairs show, Newsline, at 7PM on Thursday, or catch the re-run on Friday at 8pm. This week the team explores:

  • Uproar surrounding Grade 9 assessments (produced by Nadia Samie)

  • Principals, teachers, parents and pupils in the Western Cape are up in arms after the national education department bungled the delivery of test papers to certain schools. We find out why...

  • The mini budget (produced by Megan Hartogh)
  • Finance Minister Trevor Manuel recently released his mini budget. Newsline explores its contents.

  • Firearms (produced by Bronwen Dyke)
  • Many people have died as the result of gunshot wounds in South Africa. Tune into Newsline to find out all you need to know about the scourge of our society that is gun violence.

  • Water Restrictions (produced by Lunga Guza)

  • Catch the update on the reduced water restrictions in the province.

  • Street Children (produced by Nadia Samie and Lunga Guza)
  • Street children in Cape Town come under the spotlight. What is the City of Cape
    Town doing to help?

    Don't miss it!

    Hundreds of shacks destroyed in Khayelitsha blaze

    Fire fighters battled to extinguish a huge blaze amongst shacks in Khayelitsha yesterday, in which one man died. Between 250 and 300 shacks have been destroyed by the blaze at V-Section in Site B informal settlement, leaving hundreds of people homeless for the night. City of Cape town officials assisted in organising community halls and churches as well as blankets and meals for the night. It is not yet clear what caused the fire, and details of the damage are only expected to emerge at first light this morning. Disaster Management Spokesperson Johan Minnie says a fire fighter and a member of the public were hospitalised for smoke inhalation. Meanwhile rainy weather has moved in over the Cape Peninsula.


    If you can assist the people of Khayelitsha who have been left homeless by the fire, please call us here at Bush Radio. You can also come and drop off non-perishable food, clothing and blankets. Bush Radio will deliver it to the people of Khayelitsha.
    You will find us here:
    330 Victoria Road
    Salt River
    (tel) +27 21 448 5450
    We welcome your contribution. Every bit will make a difference.

    Steady progress being made on Cape Flats water maintenance - CoCT

    The City of Cape Town says steady progress has been made across the five sites where the municipality’s 72-hour water shutdown on the Cape ...