Thursday, January 31, 2008

Study reveals alarming dropout rates at tertiary institutions

By Celeste Ganga
31 January 2008

According to a recent study conducted by the Human Science Research Council using approximately 34 000 students, 20 000 of them dropped out of their courses, with only 14 000 graduating.

The study showed that in some cases only 15% of students starting a course actually complete it, an alarming number that has driven universities such as TSIBA in the Western Cape to investigate the reasons for students leaving and possible solutions to increase the number of students completing their studies.

Socio-economic circumstances were revealed by the study as a reason for students dropping out, irrespective of the burden of study fees.

“Whilst we run an institution for students at no cost to them, our drop-out rates are similar to the national norm. A reason that is often given by our students is that they should rather be getting a job and earning an income for their families instead of studying for four years,” says Managing Director of TSIBA, Leigh Meinert.

The survey revealed that most leavers left at the end of their first year or midway through their second year. Lack of finance emerged from the data as the major obstacle for completion of studies, particularly amongst students where the household income ranges between R400 and R1600.

Happy Valley to receive its first crèche

By Rhodé Marshall
31 January 2008

50 Toddlers of Happy Valley are going to be the lucky recipients of the informal settlement’s first crèche. The crèche is going to be opened on February 12 by the City of Cape Town.

The Happy Feet crèche is going to be inside a donated Wendy house and is positioned inside a safely fenced property.

“The créche is going to be staffed by four early childhood educators who have received training from the City of Cape Town.

Hundreds of Happy Valley residents work in the Blackheath industrial area and the need arose for a safe haven to house their preschool children while their parents are at work,” says Councillor Pieter van Dalen.

Van Dalen says the city believes that the education of children from an early stage could empower them to become great leaders as Happy Valley is described as a high crime rate area which includes social crimes like child rape, teen pregnancies and HIV/AIDS and TB infections.

ANC calls on DA councillor to be dismissed

Anele Siwa
31 January 2008

The ANC has condemned the act of DA councillor Frank Martins and calls for his urgent removal from office as councillor.

ANC’s Garth Strachan says it is an undoubted fact that Martins played an active role in the illegal occupation of houses.

“Councillor Martin has incited ordinary people to break the law by invoking the worst sort of racist emotions surrounding the allocation of houses,” says Mcebisi Skwatsha, ANC Provincial Secretary.

According to Skwatsha the DA's silence on a subject as serious as this one amounts to condemnation of his actions.

This matter dates back on December last year when residents of Delft –Symphony illegally occupied houses in Delft and that has resulted in councillor martins being arrested with three Anti-Eviction activists.

“Helen Zille and the DA should take steps to remove him as a councillor without delay,” he added.

“Housing and land are super-charged emotive issues. Left to reckless elements, who wish to use the issue to build electoral support in a particular community, it can open a veritable Pandora's Box of problems with national implications for reconciliation and nation building,” says Skwatsha.

According Skwatsha his party will also refer the matter of Councillor Martin's remark to the Human Rights Commission.

Meanwhile the spokesperson for the Executive Mayor of Cape Town Robert Macdonald says the investigation is in the court dealing with the matter at the moment.

“The ANC’s call is inappropriate and it’s not something from the Mayor to pronounce it,” says Macdonald.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Decomposed body found in Kensington

By Celeste Ganga
30 January 2008

On Tuesday afternoon the decomposed body of a 39 year-old man was found in a house in Meryland Street, Kensington.

“His family requested the Kensington Police to accompany them to the deceased, Paul de Lange's home after he had not been seen by neighbours last week. He was found in his bedroom on the floor,” says Inspector Bernadine Steyn.

She adds that it seems that entry to the house was gained through a front window that was removed. The house was ransacked and at this stage it is not known whether anything was taken from the house.

“An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Police are investigating a case of murder,'' says Steyn.

Anyone with information should contact Investigating Officer, Alfonso Pypers at the Kensington Police Station on 021 594 7020 or call crime-stop on 08600-10111.

In a separate incident in Franschoek, a decomposed body of a woman presumed to be about 60 years old, was found in her house in Van Wijk Street.

According to Steyn, Jana de Korte was found by her neighbours in the garage on the floor. It seems that the deceased sustained wounds to her head, possibly inflicted by a blunt object. She was last seen on Thursday afternoon (24 January 2008).

“It seems that entry to the house was gained through an open bedroom window at the back of the house. The house was ransacked and at this stage it seems that a laptop is missing. We are still in the process of determining whether anything else was taken from the house. We are investigating a case of murder,” adds Steyn.

Anyone with information can contact the Investigating Officer, Inspector Reinhardt Prins at the Franshoek Police station on (021) 876 8061.

Three suspects were arrested on Wednesday. They will appear in the Paarl Magistrates court on Thursday for murder and rape.

A follow-up investigation confirmed that the deceased was in fact 81 years-old.

Three rescued by NSRI on West Coast

By Celeste Ganga
30 January 2008

On Tuesday the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) received a call off-shore of the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate reporting two kite-surfers in difficulty. NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says that shortly thereafter they were informed that a wind-surfer was also in difficulty in the same area.

“On arrival on scene all men were found safely on the beach. It turned out that the two kite boarders (both from Table View) had managed to paddle to shore, but left their kite sails at sea. An Austrian on holiday in South Africa, wind-surfing in the same area, came across the two kite sails at sea,” says Lambinon.

He says the Austrian tied the sails to his wind surfer and tried to get to shore, but he kept falling over. The Austrian then swam to shore and managed to bring the sails along with him.

“The two kite-surfers re-united with their kite sails once the wind-surfer got a shore. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident and no further assistance was required on scene,” says Lambinon.

Paarl residents get back land lost during Apartheid

By Rhodé Marshall
30 January 2008

Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman says that the eight year wait for land restitution by 400 Paarl residents who were forcibly removed from their property under the Apartheid government is almost over.

The land was turned into two hockey fields for the 148-year-old La Rochelle Girls High School.

This week a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by the Hockey Field Claimants (acting on the behalf of the residents), the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works, provincial Department of Education, National Department of Land Affairs and the Drakenstein Municipality.

“I’m thrilled, it’s an historic occasion. What we’re talking about here is prime land, more than two hectares in extent, in the centre of the city centre. Its estimated value is R10 million,” says MEC Fransman.

Green Point Visitor Centre closed

By Anele Siwa
30 January 2008

The Green Point Stadium Visitor Centre has been temporal closed since yesterday, 29 January until 11 of February 2008.

“This is due to the construction of a viewing deck off the main auditorium that will allow visitors a full view of the construction of the new stadium,” says Silvana Dantu director of the centre.

Dantu says to be able to do that they needed couple of days.

“Our visitors are going to benefit from this viewing deck enormously,” she elaborated.

Green Point Stadium is one of the South Africa stadiums which are re-constructed to be used during 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Mitchell’s plain eviction case postponed

By Tina George
30 January 2008

Approximately 100 residents from Freedom Park, Tafelsig marched to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, to protest against the forced removal of informal shack-dwellers.

This follows after the shack-dwellers received an eviction notice three weeks ago that they had to appear in court on the 30, January 2008.

In support of the evictions residents marched from 112 Tafelberg Road to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court.

“They say that they cannot help the people who live in shacks yet the people have been living there for over 10 years,” says spokesperson of the Tafelsig People’s Forum, Sharifa Abraham.

Abraham added that there are empty houses in the area; however the council does not want to allocate these houses to the families.

According to Abraham two families have been told to move out of their shacks.

“I am five months pregnant and I have two children. My shack is only one that’s still standing on Freedom Park. Most of the people in our section were accommodated for but they didn’t give me any house and I don’t have anywhere else to go with my children,” says one of the shack-dwellers, Nuraan Abrahams.

Abrahams does not know why she is the only one to not have received a house.

“Apparently it’s under investigation, I have contacted the Mayor three months ago and she appointed the project manager and I was handed a letter stating that I was one of 93 families that was under investigation.

“We will be looking at legal advice for our people at the ANC office,” says spokesperson for the Tafelsig Forum, Sharifa Abraham.

The court case has been postponed until 14, February 2008.

Dyantyi meets Mfuleni residents

By Rhodé Marshall
30 January 2008

On Wednesday evening Richard Dyantyi, MEC for Local Government and Housing in the Western Cape is going to meet with residents and leaders of Bhekela in Mfuleni to speak of decisions to be taken by the leadership of the affected communities and the Province regarding relocation.

The community of Mfuleni and the MEC had a number of meetings trying to resolve the relocation debacle as the community of Mfuleni decided not to let families relocate from disaster affected areas in Khayelitsha to Berndale.

“The meeting is to discuss who should be relocated from the flood affected areas,” says spokesperson for the MEC Vusi Tshose.

Tshose says more than 1800 families from the TR section who find themselves living under the unsafe and difficult conditions along the railway line and the flooded areas had to relocate to Berndale in December last year already.

“Residents of Mfuleni were not happy because they wanted to be included in the plans of possibly relocating residents to Berndale land. The MEC and the department will work tirelessly in ensuring that the people who are living under the inhuman conditions are getting the priority they deserve from the provincial government,” says Tshose.

The meeting is taking place tonight at Nyameko Primary School – on the corners of Tokwana and Pokwana Streets, Extension 4 – Mfuleni at 6pm.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Solidarity wants Eskom crisis declared a disaster

By Anele Siwa
29 January 2008

The trade union Solidarity will hand a request to President Thabo Mbeki today asking him to pronounce the Eskom crisis a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

“This request comes after the collapse of our country's mining industry on Friday when gold and platinum mines (were) paralysed by the electricity crisis,” says Jaco Kleynhans.

According to Kleynhans this Act allows a disaster to be confirmed where damage to property and infrastructure and social disorder are bigger than the capacity of a community to cope with its results, when using its own resources.

“We believe its not possible for normal South Africans to deal with the situation any more, people are losing their jobs and income,” says Kleynhans.

Last week the government urged the South African public to see the problem as a national challenge, and not as Eskom's problem alone.

Attempts to get hold of Department of Minerals and Energy have failed.

'SAMWU strike not hampering service delivery' - City

By Celeste Ganga
29 January 2008

The City of Cape Town reports that there were no disruptions of any municipal services during the first day of strike action by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) which started on Monday.

"Attendance statistics indicate that of the City’s workforce of 22 557 employees, 550 were absent without authority. However, not all of those absent without authority can assume to be participating in the SAMWU strike," says the City’s Charles Cooper.

Access to the Civic Centre will be restricted during the strike. Only those with specific Council business or having a prior arrangement with a specific official will be able to gain access. The City thus apologises for the inconvenience.

“Residents must place their wheelie bins on the pavement on collection day. If the bin is not collected by the normal time, do not take it back onto your property — leave it until 7PM if need be,” says Cooper.

He adds that if the bin is not collected, residents should report it the next morning to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089.

SAMWU has been given permission to march on the Thursday (31 January 2008) from Keizergracht in District Six to the Civic Centre to hand over a memorandum and then to return to the starting point.

Power schedules - to cable thieves advantage

By Rhodé Marshall
29 January 2008

The City of Cape Town’s Cable Theft task team says that thieves are taking advantage of scheduled power cuts to steal increasing amounts of copper cable because they are able to know when and where power cuts are going to occur.

“We’ve seen a move recently that the thieves actually target the bigger cables that carries more voltage. These are cables that are usually life threatening to steal,” says Pieter van Dalen – chairperson of the task team.

Van Dalen says the task team has made 106 arrests in the last six months. Just last week they recovered 102kg of stolen copper cable from a scrapyard in Lansdowne.

“When the power is off, thieves cash in on it and target those cables. The copper cables are thick and they get more money for shorter pieces of cable,” says van Dalen.

Anyone who wishes to report cable theft can call the City of Cape Town’s 24-hour toll-free number 0800 222 771.

Mitchell’s Plain residents to march against evictions

By Tina George
29 January 2008

One hundred residents from Freedom Park, Tafelsig will march to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court on Wednesday 30th January following pending evictions.

This comes after four families in the area are said to be evicted soon.

“They say that they cannot help the people who live in shacks yet the people have been living there for over 10 years,” says spokesperson of the Tafelsig People’s Forum Sharia Abraham.

Abraham added that there are empty houses in the area however the council does not want to allocate these houses to the families.

”Each family has about three children and some are pregnant, if they want to put them out then we will take action,” says Abraham.

The residents will be marching from 112 Tafelberg Road to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court.

Diamond Eagles fly high

By Tina George
28 January 2008

This weekend the Gestetner Diamond Eagles recovered their standing as SA’s four day champion franchise when none of their contenders seized to bag a clean victory in the final round of the Super sport series.

“They finished the first class season well clear of their opponents as they were the only franchise to win five out ten matches outright,” says Cricket South Africa spokesperson, Michael Owen Smith.

The leading challengers were Chevrolet Warriors 2nd, Nashua Cobras 3rd and Nashua Dolphins 4th. All managed three straight victories while the Nashua Dolphins at fifth place only won once and the bizhub Highveld Lions stayed in last place.

“Dillon du Preez took over as lead individual wicket-taker beating Cape Cobra’s Monde Zondeki by one in his total of 54,” says Owen-Smith.

Other lead wicket-takers were Johan Louw of the Nashua Dolphins at 41 and Lonwabo Tsotsobe of the Warriors at 39.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tributes for SADTU stalwart

By Chanel September
28 January 2008

Tributes have been pouring in for the deputy general-secretary of South African Democratic Teachers’ Union, Don Pasquallie.

Pasquallie, his brother Alfredo and three other men died in a car accident early on Sunday morning in Napier, near Bredasdorp.

Sadtu has conveyed their condolences to the family of Pasquallie, calling him a stalwart in the union. That has made a huge impact on education in this country.

Pasquallie served SADTU in various positions for the last 15 years including Branch Chairperson, National Negotiator, Provincial Secretary and National Deputy General Secretary.

"He was a fine servant of the workers and the trade union movement. He gained enormous respect for his hard work and dedication for large role in the last year’s public servants strike,” says Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

“Education Mininster, Naledi Pandor says that she is deeply saddened by Don Pasquallie’s death. He was a highly respected unionist and leader whose career spans in the most important years of transformation in education,” says National Education spokesperson Lunga Nqugelele.

“We are shocked and saddened by the death of Pasquallie. He is a great loss to the working class struggle,” says Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo.

Meanwhile a memorial service is currently underway for the unionist. Pasquallie is survived by his wife Gerna and three daughters Garcia, Bianca and Carla.

Athlone Man dies during shoot-out

By Tina George
28 January 2008

A Athlone man was fatally wounded and another injured during a shooting incident in the area on Sunday evening.

According to police this follows after an unknown vehicle drove pass and fired several shots at the two men while they were stationed in their green Mercedes Benz.

“The driver, Ebrahim Hardien, sustained gunshot wounds to his head, chest and back and died on the scene while the other passenger was wounded in the head and back,” says police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn.

The 25-year-old male passenger was taken to a nearby hospital and is in a stable condition.

“The incident is believed to be gang-related and a case of murder and attempted murder has been opened for investigation," says Steyn.

The suspects fled the scene in a black vehicle and are still at large.

Anyone with information can contact the investigating officer, Inspector Mark Vermeulen at the Athlone Police Station on (021) 697 9200.

Southern Africa Trust says countries can control flood risks

By Rhodé Marshall
28 January 2008

The Southern Africa Trust says food production in South Africa has largely been affected by floods and droughts – as parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been flooded over the last few weeks.

The trust has released a brief named Building Bridges Out of Poverty which states that South African Development Community (SADC) countries should develop networks of water storage and distribution infrastructure so that there can be enough water between seasons which could help alleviate flood risks.

According to the policy most countries in the SADC region are too dependent on rain to water its agriculture.

“Southern Africa needs to invest in the management and development of water resources, including irrigation infrastructure technologies and efficient use of limited water resources,” says the Regional integration advisor at the Southern Africa Trust, Dr. Themba Mhlongo.

Mhlongo says the inadequate control of water is one of the key factors limiting competitiveness of agriculture in Southern Africa.

Fisantkraal residents left homeless after fire

By Chanel September
28 January 2008

Three hundred people have been left homeless after a blaze occurred at Fisantkraal Informal Settlement near Durbanville.

The fire started just after six-o-clock on Sunday evening. Officials say approximately 60 shacks were destroyed in the fire. Nine fire engines were dispatched to the scene fire fighters struggled for more than two hours to control the blaze.

The cause of the blaze is still unknown.”Disaster relief has been provided to all the residents affected by the fire. Building kits will also be distributed later today,” says disaster management spokesperson, Greg Pillay.

“The victims are at present be housed a in a church hall close to the settlement,” says Pillay.

Meanwhile in Ocean View and Scarborough firefighters tried to control a blaze where a vegetation fire had been raging for two days.

Six houses and a number of informal dwellings were destroyed in the blaze.

Three men rescued after being swept out to sea

By Celeste Ganga
28 January 2008

On Sunday afternoon the National Sea Rescue Institute –Gordons Bay, responded to Pringle Bay where three men were reported to be swept out to sea on a small inflatable dinghy.

“Shortly into the search, they were found approximately 2 nautical miles off shore and 5 nautical miles across from where they launched. They had no safety equipment on board other than a cellphone that aided us in finding them,” says NSRI spokesperson, Craig Lambinon.

Lambinon adds that the NSRI is encouraging anyone launching any kind of craft to go out to sea to carry all safety equipment that is necessary. These would include a whistle, signalling mirror, red distress flares, communication devices, a VHF radio and a cellphone.

“Always wear a life jacket and let a responsible person know where you going, what time you going and what time you are expected back,” stresses Lambinon.

Municipal workers to strike

By Rhodé Marshall
28 January 2008

The City of Cape Town says that they are making plans to ensure that disruptions are to a minimum as the municipal strike is to commence as of this week.

“The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has informed the city that it will start its strike action this week, we are not quite sure what it entails but they have applied for a march on Thursday and we are also expecting picketing,” says City of Cape Town spokesperson Charles Cooper.

Cooper says that the City respects the workers right to strike but that they will ensure that essential services are not interrupted. The strike is because the workers are not happy with the City’s organisational realignment of their staff.

“All staff who are classed as essential workers are not allowed to go out on strike, like the Metro Police, law enforcement, health services, electricity and water and sanitation.

Residents must place their wheelie bins on the pavement on collection day. If the bin is not collected by the normal time do not take it back onto your property – leave it until 19:00,” says Cooper.

The City says if the bins are not collected by the above mentioned time, residents should report it in the morning to the City’s Call Centre on 0860 103 089.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Security guard beats man to death

By Rhodé Marshall
27 January 2008

Police say that a 46-year-old man was beaten to death by a security guard in Ocean View after the two had an argument.

The 29-year-old security guard who is from Phillipi took a piece of wood and hit Ivan Delcarme on the head after Delcarme went to withdraw money at an ATM.

“The security guard approached Delcarme and the two exchanged heated words before the security guard beat him. Delcarme was taken to hospital where he later died,” says police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn.

Steyn adds that when the deceased’s brother confronted the guard – asking him why the attack had taken place, he then assaulted the brother.

“The brother sustained injuries to the head and arm and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was later discharged. The security guard has been arrested,” says Steyn.

A furious crowd of about 1000 residents gathered outside the shop where the security guard worked, damaging the shop and throwing police with stones. A police constable was hit on the head and was treated at a hospital. Police had to fire rubber bullets into the crowd as an attempt to disperse them.

"The suspect was arrested on the scene and is expected to appear in the Simons Town Magistrates court on Monday," said Steyn.

ANC National Treasurer addresses Phillipi crowd

By Rhodé Marshall
27 January 2008

National Treasurer General of the African National Congress (ANC) – Matthew Phosa is going to address an ANC gathering in Phillipi on Sunday as part of the ruling party’s 96th Anniversary celebrations. The rally was held at Intsebenziswano Senior Secondary School inPhillipi.

Mcebisi Skwatsha who is the ANC’s Provincial Secretary said in a statement that this is the first time since the Polokwane Conference that an office bearer of the ANC is going to address a Western Cape crowd.

“Matthew Phosa and other speakers will reflect on the critical challenges facing the ANC and its allies in the province and nationally. This will include decisions of the recent January 8th statement and the National Executive Committee meeting,” said Skwatsha.

At the rally Phosa told hundreds of ANC members who gathered at the school not to get tired of saying the word 'unity' and that the Polokwane conference has come and gone - leaving the party united once again.

Teachers union says it condemns violence at schools

By Rhodé Marshall
27 January 2008

The National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa's (NAPTOSA) Western Cape branch says that it denounces the stabbing incident that took place this week at Masibambisane High School in Delft.

The union feels that it is unacceptable that teaching and learning is disrupted and a school community traumatised by people who invade school premises.

“As NAPTOSA we are concerned that the security at the school in Delft has been bridged and we are concerned for the safety of learners and educators,” says NAPTOSA Provincial Chairperson Waheeb Gasant.

Gasant says that NAPTOSA appreciates the input of the MEC for Education Cameron Dugmore who he says is keeping a close eye on the situation at the school.

“We wish the school well and we look with confidence that WCED (Western Cape Education Department) will up security at the school,” said Gasant.

This all comes after a 15-year-old boy who attends Masibambisane High School was stabbed in the back by men believed to be gangsters who entered the school to rob learners of their valuables. The young boy then retaliated by stabbing his attacker who then later died.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Police clamp down on car thieves

By Tina George
26 January 2008

Three arrests have been made following two separate incidents of a hi-jacked vehicle along with other stolen vehicles in Murton road, Rylands on Thursday evening.

According to police they received a tracker signal of a hi-jacked vehicle from Table View.

Upon investigation police searched the premises of the owner and recovered the hi-jacked vehicle along with other vehicles and stolen parts.

“A Toyota Tazz, Toyota Venture, White Mazda Sting, five Toyota engines together with other car accessories were found,” says Police spokesperson, Elliot Sinyangana.

Meanwhile a male and a female were arrested in Melo Street, Athlone for being in possession of a stolen White Volkswagen Jetta on Friday morning.

The suspects are due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s court on Monday 28 January.

Anyone with information can contact Inspector Fransisco Ely/Randall Wagner at 021 697 9238 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

Notorious Hospital Bend gets an upgrade

By Rhodé Marshall
26 January 2008

Construction at the N2/Settlers Freeway close to Hospital Bend next to Groote Schuur Hospital is about to commence. The upgrade is due to begin on 4 February this year and is believed to be completed by March 2010.

Hospital Bend is a common scene of vehicle accidents and it experiences very high traffic volumes. The road is to be altered as a way to increase capacity for both the public and general transport. It is said that this will improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

“Transformation will be achieved by adding a third lane to the existing two lanes and one of the bridges will be widened and also a new bridge will be built to take traffic from the hospital side onto the left lane,” says Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater - Councillor Elizabeth Thompson.

The City of Cape Town says that it will inform road users and the public at large on a regular basis if there are going to be any road closures or any other disruptions.

“I would like to advise people to be patient especially the motorists. I’m asking people to be patient while we doing this because the benefit will be much more effective than what is currently happening,” says Thompson.

Ill man rescued from fishing boat

By Rhodé Marshall
26 January 2008

On Wednesday the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) sprang into action following a request for medical assistance when a crew member of a fishing trawler was reported to have been suffering from epileptic seizures while at sea close to Knysna.

“We launched our rescue craft Alex Blaikie to rendezvous with The Bounty who were heading towards Knysna. An ER-24 ambulance was dispatched to stand-by at our NSRI rescue base,” says NSRI Knysna Station Commander Rein Hofmeyr.

Hofmeyr added that the man who is in his early 40’s believed to be from Mossel Bay was stabilised and then taken to hospital where he is now in a stable condition.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A 65 year-old man goes missing

By Celeste Ganga
25 January 2008

A 65 year-old man from Durbanville has been reported missing. Peter James Catto was last seen driving a white Ford Bantam bakkie, registration number CY 197656.

Catto went missing on Monday at approximately 13h00. At the time he was doing deliveries to his clients in the Southern Suburbs. He delivered stationery to a school in Muizenberg and then left to return to the office, which is run from his home in Uitzicht, Durbanville. He usually uses the main roads through Steenberg.

He is 1,79m tall, is of medium built and has short grey hair. He has blue eyes, as well as a scar running down from his breastbone to stomach. He has a tan mark on his ring finger.

Anyone who knows of his whereabouts is requested to contact Inspector Matayana from the Kraaifontein SAPS on 021 980 5500.

(Case number: OB 3019/01/2008)
pictured (right): Peter Catto

Power outages at its worst

By Anele Siwa
25 January 2008

The continuous and disruptive load-shedding currently experienced by South Africans is taking its toll on employees of some Cape Town companies as they have to start their day earlier than usual, or end later than their normal shift.

“To prevent any time lost to blackouts, the management and staff agreed that they needed to start work at 6am,” says Eunice Moise production Forman at Donaldson Filtration Company.

According to Moise, Donaldson Filtration has provided a taxi to fetch each staff member at 3am, so that they can begin work at 6am.

Moise says load-shedding also has a negative effect on the company’s production.

Meanwhile Lundi Masiza a driver at Ice for Africa Cape in Epping says the situation does affect them, but they are still working their normal shifts.

“In our area this power outage starts around 2pm till 4pm so at that time we are almost done for the day,” says Masiza.

Is it becoming too expensive to live?

By Celeste Ganga
25 January 2008

For the past few months South Africans have experienced an increase in food and fuel prices – the latest of which is an increase in the bread price and proposed increases in hospital tariffs. These are clear signs that the cost of living is indeed rising. It would seem as though it’s becoming more and more expensive to live.

One single mother of two teenage daughters and a son, says that she is barely surviving, as the cost of the bare necessities are constantly rising.

“I’m currently working two jobs and doing some part-time work to get in some extra money. The cost of living is so high, it's school fees, stationery and clothes,” the woman, wishing to remain anonymous, told Bush Radio.

An economist at the Bureau for Economic Research, Hugo Pienaar says that the reason we are experiencing these sharp increases is due to the increase in the inflation rate.

“The official inflation rate in South Africa has been picking up for quite some time. And that has mainly been driven by higher international oil prices which has had a negative impact on South Africa’s petrol price and also very sharp increases in not only local, but also international food prices,” says Pienaar.

He says that the food and the transport component within the inflation basket have quite a substantial weighting. Therefore, if those prices go up sharply, then it normally has a negative impact on the overall inflation basket.

The single mother of three says that her financial situation has gotten worse, when compared to about three years ago: “Everything has just gone up in price. I think the more you earn, the more you pay out. Everything that I have to pay for, it is times-three for me. I don’t drive with my car anymore because petrol is so expensive. Now I have to not only think of my daughter’s travelling costs to school and back home, but also my travelling costs for work,” she says, adding that there have been times in the past when her daughter had to stay out of school because the family had no money for public transport.

Economist Pienaar warns that South Africans may still be seeing more increases in the near future.

“Eskom has already announced that in order to fund large infrastructure spending programmes, they going to have to increase electricity tariffs by about 14% this year,” he says. This has disgruntled already angry residents, who are contending with constant, rolling and unpredictable power outages accross the country.

SA mines hardest hit by blackouts

By Tina George
25 January 2008

The mining industry in South Africa considers today to be a dark Friday as the country’s largest gold and platinum producers came to a standstill.

This comes after three of the largest gold producers, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony along with Anglo Platinum have had to suspend underground operations due to a major powercut.

“It is indeed a state of emergency as production losses run into millions of rands,” says Deputy General Secretary of Solidarity, Dirk Hermann.

Eskom instructed mines to effect a daily electricity saving of 10% to 15% with a monthly saving of 60%.

Hermann added that it is not known when the mines will be able to proceed under operation as it seems as the problem might take up to a month.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Missing Kazakstan national sought by police

By Chanel September
24 January 2008

Cape Town Police is seeking the assistance of the public to trace 20 –year-old Kazakstan national.

Alexandr Sergeyevich Kunitsyn was last seen on Tuesday January, 22 when he arrived at Cape Town International Airport from Kazakstan.

“He was dressed in a blue jean, white T-shirt with red stripes and grey jacket with a red cap with blond hair. Alexandr is approximately 1,85 meter tall,” says police spokesperson Andre Traut.

Anyone with information can contact Inspector Herman van Deventer on 021 4678002 or Crime Stop on 086001011.

City’s Youth Environmental School gets wise on wetlands

By Celeste Ganga
24 January 2008

The City of Cape Town’s Youth Environmental School (YES), co-ordinated by the Environmental Resource Management Department, will be hosting a Wetlands Awareness Programme from 28 January to 8 February.

“The programme will be run in celebration of World Wetlands Day that takes place on 2 February 2008. The theme of the day is ‘Healthy Wetlands, Healthy people,” says Environmental Education coordinator at the City of Cape Town, Lindie Buirski.

She goes on to explain that the aim of the programme is to make people more aware of the dire straits that wetlands are in, “especially for school children to become more aware of wetlands, the dangers that they in and (how) to help conserve wetlands,” adds Buirski.

These programmes have been running on an annual basis for the past nine years.

Hi-jacked vehicle leads to arrests

By Tina George
24 January 2008

Three arrests have been made following two separate incidents of a hi-jacked vehicle along with other stolen vehicles in Murton road, Rylands on Thursday evening.

According to police they received a tracker signal of a hi-jacked vehicle from Table View. Upon investigation police searched the premises of the owner and recovered the hi-jacked vehicle along with other vehicles and stolen parts.

“A Toyota Tazz, Toyota Venture, White Mazda Sting, five Toyota engines together with other car accessories were found,” says Police spokesperson, Elliot Sinyangana.

Meanwhile a male and a female were arrested in Melo Street, Athlone for being in possession of a stolen White Volkswagen Jetta on Friday morning.

The suspects are due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s court on Monday 28 January.

Anyone with information can contact Inspector Fransisco Ely/Randall Wagner at 021 697 9238 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

'No more corruption and long queues at driver testing centres'

By Rhodé Marshall
24 January 2008

The Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works says that it is about to launch an Electronic Licence Booking System (ELBS) along with a number of other interventions in order to stop corruption at Drivers Licence Testing Centres and step up service delivery to thousands of hopeful drivers.

“The system is presently being tested at the Lingelethu West testing centre in Khayelitsha and will be tested from 1 February at the Knysna testing centre in the Southern Cape. If the initial response is anything to go buy, we’ll soon be rolling it out to testing centres in the rest of the province,” says Transport and Public Works for the Western Cape Minister Marius Fransman.

It is believed that the success of the system will see a decrease in the waiting period for learners and that the waiting period for driving licences will be cut to between six to eight weeks.

“In most of our investigations into irregularities at Driving Licence Testing Centres – we found that the manual register had been manipulated by corrupt officials to force desperate members of the public to pay for early appointments,” says Fransman.

The electronic licence booking system will have the following principles:

· The applicant has to apply in person at the testing centre where their name will be scheduled electronically

· Only one appointment per applicant is allowed

· No learners or drivers licence test will be allowed without a registered appointment

· Information about the examiner of driving licences who will conduct the test will not be available to the applicant (and vice versa)

· Testing centre managers will be able to draw reports in order to manage and monitor appointment processes

· Block bookings will not be possible for anonymous applicants or driving schools; and

· Scheduled test times and dates will be visible to the Inspector of testing centres, the Compliance of Monitoring Unit of the Department of Transport and Public Works and the Special Investigating Unit – assigned to prevent and investigate fraud and corruption

“4.2 million fruitless expenditure of taxpayers money”- ID

By Tina George
24 January 2008

The Independent Democrats call on the City of Cape Town to urgently reinstate the suspended metro police officers for better use in the communities as their absence on roads and communities are having a negative impact on safety and law enforcement.

This comes after more than 100 metro police members were suspended for collective industrial action which disrupted the city.

The party feels that the R4.2 million spent on the salaries of the officers is a waste.

“It is a fruitless expenditure of taxpayers’ money and it’s ridiculous that the public must continue to pay for the delays in the disciplinary processes,” says ID Western Cape Provincial Secretary, Rodney Lentit.

According to the city they are aware that this is very serious as they are an essential service and as a result instituted a collective disciplinary process which some members agreed to and others not.

“The matter went to the labour court for an application to stop this process, the court granted an interdict and we are awaiting the ruling of the court,” says City of Cape Town spokesperson, Pieter Cronje.

Cronje added that they are in the hands of the court and are not in a position to reinstate the members despite the costs that it incurs.

“We cannot reinstate them. There is the possibility of interference and intimidation and these members once back at work will also have to be reissued with cars and firearms, the very tools of the trade that were abused in the course of the process,” says Cronje.

Shack fire kills mother and children

By Tina George
24 January 2008

On Wednesday a mother and two children were found burnt to death in a shack in Sweethome Farms, Nyaynga.

According to police a 36 year-old mother along with her two children aged 5 and 1 were found burnt lying face down in the shack.

“The cause of the fire is still unknown but we are investigating, “says Police spokesperson, Captain Nomboloxo Sitshitshi.

Anyone with information can contact the Nyanga police station at 021 380 3336.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nine suspects arrested for taxi owner's murder

By Rhodé Marshall
23 January 2008

Nyanga police have successfully arrested nine suspects who were allegedly involved in the murder of Crossroads taxi owner Thando Makanda.

Last week Makanda was found dead in his car in Brown’s Farm, Phillipi. It is believed the men left the scene in a white VW Polo.

“After an intensive investigation on the matter it was established that the Polo was hijacked at Gugulethu on 14 January. Two taxi owners were arrested and seven other suspects who are implicated in the commission of the crime,” says police spokesperson Elliot Siyangana.

One of the taxi owners that were arrested by police was driving his BMW – with parts of the vehicle believed to have been hijacked from another BMW at the Caltex garage in Luzuko.

“A cellphone which was left by the owner of the BMW during the hijacking process was also recovered in the suspects’ vehicle. (The) grey BMW vehicle that was hijacked from Luzuko was recovered last night,” says Siyangana.

The vehicle used as the escape car during the murder of the taxi owner was also recovered on Tuesday evening. The suspects were arrested in Nkanini, Kosovo, Brown’s Farm, Nyanga and Delft.

The suspects face charges on two counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm and two counts of hijacking.

They are all due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate Court on Friday 25 January.

Scorpions' heavy weight arrested

Anele Siwa
23 January 2008

A Scorpions cop has found himself behind bars, after being arrested in Woodstock for drunk driving with one of Cape Town's most notorious gangsters on Tuesday afternoon.

“Police pulled-off a road blue VW Polo with three occupants inside. It was spotted speeding off at the premises when police were there to arrest a specific suspect on a warrant of arrest,” says police spokesperson Eliot Sinyangana.

According to Independent Online the person’s name is Ivor Powell - who worked on the initial stages of the Scorpions' investigation into National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

During his arrested he was with fugitive and alleged Americans gang boss Igshaan Davids.

On Wednesday morning Powel appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court where he has been granted R1 000 bail.

This incident follows the arrest of Gauteng Scorpions boss Gerrie Nel whose corruption charges were withdrawn in the Pretoria magistrate's court.

Attempts to get comments from Adrian Mopp, Western Cape Scopions boss have failed.

Sewer spillages a major health hazard

By Tina George
23 January 2008

Hundreds of residents in various communities are being exposed to severe health risks due to sewage spillages.

This comes after the illegal dumping of rubble was found in Terminus Road, Nyanga.

Officials found two large rocks in the 450mm diameter pipeline blocking the system, causing a spillage in the area.

“Residents of Cape Town should please not dump concrete blocks, carcasses of animals or any waste down the manhole covers into the sewage system,” says utilities portfolio councillor, Clive Justus.

“Any blockage backs up the sewage resulting in overflows into the community causing a major health hazard,” says Justus.

Residents are urged to report any incidents of illegal dumping to Metro Police on (021) 596 1999. Meanwhile blockages of sewers, leaking taps and burst water pipes can be reported to the City Council’s all-hours water call centre on 0860 103 054.

'Tough action taken against bread retails' - SABS

By Chanel September
23 January 2008

The South African Bureau of Standards will be taking harsh action against retailers who are found guilty in violating the legal requirement for producing bread.

This comes after the bureau was flooded with calls from consumers after an article was published in a daily newspaper, showing inconsistency in the price and the average weight of loaves of bread.

According to the Trade Metrology Act labeling requirements for packaged products and general requirements for sale of goods is subject to legal metrology control.

In terms of the act a 700g loaf of baked bread by a bakery other than the store bakery must weight between 665g and 770g.

“We will intensify its inspection of bakeries and will take legal action against those found to be in violation of the legal requirements, as these amounts to fraud and misleading consumers,” says SABS spokesperson Jaco Marneweck.

“By doing the inspection we are ensuring that all consumers get their monies worth when buying bread,” says Marneweck.

'Correct emergency procedures were followed' -Cableway

By Celeste Ganga
23 January 2008

The Table Mountain Cableway Company has reassured visitors the correct emergency procedures were followed on Monday night when an Eskom power outage resulted in people being stranded on the cable cars.

“It’s important to note that when people’s lives are not in danger, we don’t rush such a situation. Safety is paramount and we first needed to ensure that all safety procedures were in place before we completed the 15 trips that it took to get everyone off the mountain.” says CEO of Cableway, Sabine Lehmann.

She explains that the only people whose lives were at risk, were those who ignored instructions from the cabin master and leapt from the cable car to the landing dock at the top cable station.

The cableway has been operating safely for the past 78 years receiving more than 18 million visitors to date.

"Monday night’s operation, in which cableway safely took 900 people down the mountain, was testament of the effectiveness of the cableway’s safety procedures,” says Lehmann.

Health facilities advised to be ready for blackouts

By Tina George
23 January 2008

The first meeting of the Policy Committee of the National Health Council of the year was held by the Minister and MECs for Health in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni on Monday.

Various health issues, including draft priorities for 2008 were discussed.

“Challenges posed by the ongoing electricity load-shedding in the delivery of health services in the country were reflected on,” says Department of Health spokesperson, Sibani Mgadi.

The NHC advised health facility managers to ensure that hospital services are not excessively affected especially in critical clinical areas where patient life-support medical equipment is installed.

The heads of provincial health departments are asked to ensure that all hospitals and health facilities are equipped with stand-by generators.

Mgadi added that these generators should be well maintained and should have the necessary capacity to generate power needed to ensure that life-supporting equipment can provide continuous support to patients.

Provinces are requested to conduct audits of all health facilities and compile status reports.

“Each province where stand-by generators have either not been installed or are not in good condition to meet the needs of patient life-support systems should be reported to the health department,” says Mgadi.

Power outages causes farmers to take strain

By Rhodé Marshall
23 January 2008

As power outages continue to sweep the country – huge strain has been placed on farmers in the Western Cape.

Agri-Western Cape says that it is going to meet with Eskom to discuss the effect the ongoing blackouts has on farmers.

A number of farmers have been unhappy about the losses they have had due to the forced blackouts over the last few weeks. The farmers say in addition they have to spend thousands of Rands to buy generators.

Agri-Western Cape says they will find ways to solve the problem as this is the most important time of the year on the calendar of agriculture.

Numsa concerned about Electricity problem

By Celeste Ganga
23 January 2008

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is seriously concerned about the countrywide electricity problem that has resulted in “awful” load shedding.

“Numsa is calling on Eskom’s top management to meet with the organised unions involved as a matter of urgency and to reflect on challenges and possible solutions to the energy predicament,” says Numsa’s Bafana Ndebele.

He adds that the union has many issues it wants to raise with Eskom management which affects the interests of members and civil society organisations.

“We reject claims that the devastating power cuts were caused by skills shortage alone, disregarding the unsystematic re-commissioning of mothball power stations,” says Ndebele.

Ndebele says that Numsa members in the production line have expressed their preparedness to contribute in the development of a national rescue plan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Power cuts – due to chaos or skills shortage?

By Rhodé Marshall and Celeste Ganga
22 January 2008

With the recent spate of power cuts across the country there has been a debate on what has caused the problem.

Trade union Solidarity believes that the problems at Eskom are caused by maintenance problems. According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the reason for these problems is due to a skills shortage.

“All the facts on ground level show that Eskom cannot do the maintenance work at the power stations quickly enough because there aren’t sufficient technically trained workers to do that,” explains Kleynhans.

Kleynhans adds that Eskom should do enough to recruit skilled workers, train their own people and in turn solve the power problems.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) responded to the statements made by Solidarity saying that the power cuts are not because of a skills shortage because this has always been a problem.

“There is a general problem of skills shortage in the country, not necessarily limited to Eskom. You (Solidarity) must be careful when you talk about skills shortage – you mustn’t create an impression that where the blacks are in a majority there is speaks of an enormous lack of skills and incompetence,” says NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni.

Reward for infomation on bus shoot-out

By Chanel September
22 January 2008

A reward of R100 000 has been offered to anyone who comes forward with information, that could lead to the arrest of three men involved in an armed robbery.

Golden Arrow has offered the reward after Trevor Pearson (41) of Tafelsig, was shot dead last week while travelling in the bus on his way home from work.

Pearson was shot in the chest and later died in hospital. Another passenger was robbed of R23 000 in cash and cheques.

According to police one of the three suspects was from Kenilworth and was in the bus communicating with other people in the bus believed to be his colleagues.

After the shoot-out the robbers got off the bus in Heinz Park and fled in a white BMW with a blue bonnet.

Police are investigating a case of murder and robbery.

Tourists left stranded after blackout

By Anele Siwa
22 January 2008

Eskom's rolling blackouts left tourists visiting one of Cape Town’s most popular attractions in total darkness on Monday evening.

Officials say 37 people were left in the dark while visiting the cable cars on Table Mountain. Meanwhile a further 500were stranded at the top.

"Power to the mountain had been cut at 7.49pm. It is believed that the guiding mechanism that normally guides the cable cars into the docking stations to move out of position and this prevented docking cars from moving properly," says spokesperson for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, Collete van Aswegen.

"The first priority was to get people out of the cable car so that our technical staff could then access a car mechanism that has stark," says van Aswegen.

"It took the technical team 20 minutes to repair the problem. This is for the first time in the history of cableway we have this kind incident," she added.

Meanwhile the Wilderness Search and Rescue have responded to two incidents on Table Mountain.

"One was German tourist who died while walking on his own from Lion's Head," says spoksperson Craig Celayden.

According to Celayden while they were trying to recover the victims they became involved in the incident at Table Mountain Cableway Company after blackouts disrupted the mechanism of cable cars.

"The trapped people were slightly panicking first, when the power came back they were worried that they were not moving down," says Celayden.

City of Cape Town sells Atlantis industrial land

By Rhodé Marshall
22 January 2007

The City of Cape Town says that Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille and Mayoral Committee member for Economic Social Development and Tourism Simon Grindrod are going to sign lease and sale agreements with 13 qualifying bidders for 16 industrial lands in Atlantis on Tuesday.

The City says in a statement that the Atlantis Land is going to be sold to people within the private sector and that the City will be receiving R26 million from the sale of those properties.

The idea behind selling the land is to push economic growth and create jobs for people in the immediate community and surrounds.

The City says they are optimistic about the venture as Atlantis is a community that suffers from high rates of unemployment.

Proteas squad name unchanged

By Tina George
22 January 2008

South African cricket selectors have announced an unchanged Protea squad of 15 for the second and third matches in the five-match limited overs series against West Indies.

The next match is a day-night game at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday and the following at Sahara Oval St. George’s on Sunday .

Selection Chief Joubert Strydom says that Proteas captain Graeme Smith has shown encouraging improvement overnight to his knee injury and is likely to be fit to start Friday’s match.

Strydom adds that normally they would prefer to have a slightly smaller squad but that they have a number of injuries in the squad in addition to Smith’s injury and feel it is sensible to have the additional depth.

Proteas squad include the likes of AB de Villiers , Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kalis, Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Department deploys additional nurses

By Chanel September
21 January 2008

The national health department has deployed additional nurses in a bid to strengthen health care services in the country.

With many nurses commencing to their posts by the end of this month, the supply of the extra 2000 nurses has been made obtainable to unreserved areas.

The added nursing staff up for placement has been made available through the launch of a community services programme. Nurses have been allocated to the following provinces:

  • Eastern Cape (237)
  • Free State (72)
  • Gauteng (591)
  • Kwazulu – Natal (226)
  • Limpopo (206)
  • Mpumalanga (86)
  • Northern Cape (11)
  • North West (184)
  • Western Cape (272)

"The department has also made provision for a possible health care shortage by opening more nursing colleges around the country," says health department spokesperson Bhungani Mzolo.

"We identified a need to increase the production of nurses. The strategy to reopen nursing colleges, coupled with improving salaries is all done to attract nurses and nurse educators back into the profession," says Mzolo.

Belhar councillor accused of defrauding homeless people

By Rhodé Marshall
20 January 2007

Belhar DA ward councillor Willie Jaftha has been accused of asking people for money to ensure that they receive a house in the Delft Symphony area.

It is alleged that when community members — who are in need of homes — would speak to Jaftha, he would ask them for R1500 in cash to ensure that they receive a home regardless of whether they are on the housing waiting list or not.

A woman who asked not to be named said that she has spoken to various people who have given money to Councillor Jaftha, in exchange for what they believed to be a home or a higher spot on the housing waiting list.

"A family who does have a home gave Jaftha R1500 and she is now living in Delft Symphony, I'm not even sure if she ever was on the waiting list. Here I have been waiting for 13 years along with my children, then young people who have no children get the luxury of having a home."

Asked about the allegations, Jaftha denied that he had ever asked people for money to push their names up the list or give them homes, saying that he is willing to go live on radio to refute the claims and discuss the issue with his accusers.

“I would like the people to come forward and bring proof of it so that I can take them to court immediately,” says Jaftha.

Annie* who has been a backyard dweller for years says that she was told by Councillor Jaftha that he would help her get a house if she gave him a fee.

The backyard dwellers say that after Jaftha was confronted by angry community members, he changed his story and is now claiming ignorance.

"When I wanted to give him the money he acted as if we never had the conversation, as if I imagined it or as if he was caught out," says Annie.

Jaftha said that he would like the people making the allegations to say into which account they paid the money into, or show if they have receipts as proof of payment.

Jaftha added that, at a meeting, Thubelisha Homes had told members of the community waiting to receive houses that they had to pay an amount into Thubelisha’s account, and he was not sure whether that had confused people in the community.

*The community members have requested anonymity for fear of losing their places on the housing list.


By Tina George
21 January 2008

# St Luke’s Hospice needs volunteers to assist with their annual street collection on Saturday March1. Call Debbie Clark on 021 797 5335.

# David Kramer’s new production The Kramer Petersen Songbook has been extended to Friday January 25 due to an increased demand for tickets. The production is a celebration of the musicals and songs Kramer created with Taliep Petersen over a period of 20 years. Performances take place from Mondays to Fridays at 8pm and on Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm with the final performances on Friday January 25 at 6pm and 9pm. Tickets cost from R65 to R105 with discounts for Senior citizens and block bookings of 10 or more. Booking can be made through Computicket or call 083 915 8000.

#The Western Cape biopolar support group holds meetings on every first Tuesday of the month at Claro Clinic, N1 City at 7:30 pm, and at Crescent Clinic, Claremont every third Tuesday of the month at 7:45pm. Entry is free. Call Jay on 072 424 1812 or Michelle on 082 4243 1812.

# Applications to the Logra community skills training centre are open. If you are 22 years and older and unemployed, you can apply for basic plumbing, electrical and welding courses from Monday to Friday between 9am and 12:30 pm. The cost is R50 and your ID will be required. Contact 021 706 7161 for more details.

#The Sky Tonight, an in-depth look at the current night sky, is presented at the planetarium on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm. No bookings are required. For enquiries phone 021 481 3900.
If you have any information for the CIN team regarding events happening in you community, please feel free to contact us on 021 4485450 or fax us on 021 448 5451. Alternatively you can email us on If you have missed any of the numbers mentioned you can give us a call.

'Withholding reports is against policy' - WCED

By Tina George
21 January 2008

The Western Cape Education Department is disturbed at the widespread reports of teachers and principals withholding reports.

“We have full sympathy and empathy with principals because there are many negligent parents who simply just don’t care about paying school fees,” says WCED spokesperson, Gert Witbooi.

However the department wants to implore on principals that they should resist from prejudicing against learners.

“There are mechanisms in terms of the law defaulting parents where they can take legal steps against parents who default on their responsibilities especially those who can afford to pay but simply don’t bother,” says Witbooi.

Witbooi added that they cannot discriminate against the learner because of the irresponsibility of the adult.

The department will be investigating any report of schools withholding reports.

“Child cannot be expelled for bad behaviour” - WCED

By Tina George
21 January 2008

Ten learners, said to be troublesome, were accepted back into school after the intervention of the Western Cape Education Department at South Peninsula High school. This, after they were asked not to return to the school, allegedly on the basis of misbehaviour.

“The school has no right to exclude learners from the school, a child cannot be expelled based on minor misdemeanours such as talking in the classroom. Those issues could have been solved at the school as it’s a classroom management issue where you those cases cannot be reported to the school governing body,” says Deputy Director General of Institutional Development and Coordination at the WCED, Sindi Shaya.

When brought to the attention of the principal of the school he said that he was aware of the procedures but that he was trying to send a wake up call to those parents who didn’t respond to his numerous accounts of contact.

“We do empathise with principals but they should also tow the line in acting within human rights culture within our schools that culture being that you cannot take a learner out of the class without going through the disciplinary process,” says Shaya.

Shaya added that if the school as a whole needs workshops on behaviour problems then the district office in Mitchell’s plain will offer such assistance.

“Schools differ in terms of their code of conduct, what is considered as serious misdemeanours may be considered as a minor elsewhere so I advise them to amend the code of conduct to keep up with the times and the growing issues and challenges that the school is facing in terms of (the) discipline of learners,” says Shaya.

Body of Danish tourist found

By Anele Siwa
21 January 2008

On Sunday the body of 71-year-old Preben Povlsen, a Danish national, was found in a busy area near the road at Eerste Steen in Blaawberg.

“Further investigation into the discovery show(s) that the body is that of Povlsen,” says police spokesperson Inspector Andre Trout,

According to Trout the cause of his death will only be known after a post-mortem has been conducted.

“A 35-year-old man who has been arrested on Saturday will appear in the Strand Magistrates Court today. The two females arrested on Sunday will make a court appearance in the same court on Tuesday,” he added.

Trout says after the positive identification of the body, the charge of abduction has been changed to one of murder.

Municipal workers strike postponed to next week

By Celeste Ganga
21 January 2008

The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has informed the City of Cape Town that its strike action, initially expected to take place this week, will now commence from 28 January 2008.

“Although we did announce that there would be industrial action possibly from today, SAMWU has advised the City that it will only engage in industrial action as from next Monday,” says Charles Cooper of the City of Cape Town.

According to Cooper, SAMWU’s reasons for postponing the strike is that they need more time to organise their members and they need more time to meet with the City.

SAMWU is set to down tools in an effort to show their unhappiness in the restructuring of the city. The union was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suspects arrested as search for missing tourist continues

By Tina George
20 January 2008

Three suspects have been arrested following the abduction of 71 year-old Danish tourist, Preben Povlsen who went missing in Gordon’s Bay last week Monday.

“A 35 year-old male was arrested yesterday and two females aged 30 and 39 were arrested early Sunday morning at their Gordons’ Bay residence,” says police spokesperson Andre Traut.

Povlsen a Canadian national was last seen leaving his house in Chapmen Drive Gordon’s Bay on Monday morning.

According to police the blue Mazda 323 (Registration number CEY 29239) in which Povlsen was last seen leaving his home in was found in Gugulethu.

The search for the 71 year-old continues.

“He is bald, has blue-grey eyes and was last seen dressed in a khaki short, white t-shirt and white takkies,” says Traut.

All suspects are detained on a charge of abduction.

Cosatu protests against bread price increase

By Tina George
20 January 2008

The Congress of South African Trade Unions will be having a protest at Parliament on Sunday along with a number of other organisations against the bread price increase.

The union is demanding that governments set the price of bread at an affordable level and minimise the sale of it to the poorer communities.

“The cost should be no more than R4,50 a loaf of bread as it costs less than R4,00 to produce a loaf of bread,” says Cosatu spokesperson, Tony Erenreich.

A memorandum will be handed over to the government and Tiger Brands who Cosatu feels has been responsible for the increase in the bread price.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Newfields Village residents to take action against CT Community Housing Company

By Celeste Ganga
19 January 2008

The Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign is planning more protest action against the Cape Town Community Housing Company.

“The residents from Newfields Village and nine other villages of ‘low cost housing’ built by the Cape Town Community Housing Company already campaigned for years to force the government to allocate R46 million to repair the defects in their houses,” says Chairperson of the Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign, Gary Hartzenberg.

He goes on to say that some of their grievances included: crumbling walls, leaks and cracks. Hartzenberg adds that the campaign included a massive and long running rent boycott.

“The Company agreed in writing with the community that the workers employed to fix the defects would be 50% contract workers and 50% workers hired from the community. They (Company) said that these will be labourers only - artisans will be hired from other companies” explains Hartzenberg.

The Cape Town Housing Company was not available for comment at the time the article was published.

City to ease strike action

By Tina George
19 December 2008

The City of Cape Town will be curbing the strike action that the South African Municipal Workers’ Union will take as from Monday 21 January.

SAMWU will down tools in an effort to show their unhappiness in the restructuring of the city.

“We have activated our strike management team and contingency plans have been put into place to ensure that service delivery will continue uninterrupted to the residents of Cape Town,” says City spokesperson, Charles Cooper.

Cooper adds that the city respects the union’s right to strike but believe that service delivery to residents must not suffer as a result of this.

The city requests that as respect to daily waste removal residents should leave their waste bins out as per usual.

“If we do not collect it at the normal time then please phone our general call centre and report it, number is on the normal monthly account,” says Cooper.

Golden Arrow bus robbery leaves man dead

By Tina George
19 December 2008

An Eastridge man was fatally wounded after a robbery took place on a Golden Arrow bus departing from Kenilworth centre to Lost City Micthell’s plain yesterday afternoon.

According to police one of the three suspects was from Kenilworth and was in the bus communicating with other people in the bus believed to be his colleagues.

“The other two suspects later got on the bus at Lansdowne road near the power station each carrying a firearm while the other had a knife,” says Police captain Nomboxolo Tshitshi.

The 41 year old male passenger from Eastridge Mitchells’ plain was shot dead and a cash amounting to R23 000 was stolen.

Tshitshi added that the suspects fled the scene in a white BMW.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Survey reveals bumper summer season

By Chanel September
18 January 2008

A survey conducted by the City of Cape Town revealed that the summer festive season has been a bumper one, with thousands of tourists flocking to the city.

“A snap accommodation survey conducted by the City’s Tourism Department indicates a positive growth in occupancies," says mayco member for economic development and tourism, Simon Grindrod.

It is estimated three million international and domestic visitors made their way to the region this year.

According to the survey, occupancy figures for establishments with 10 or more rooms, increased by nearly 12 % on last year.

“We are proud of the achievements of the tourism sector over the festive season. The fact that we had no serious visitor safety incidents is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all role-players involved,” says Grindrod.

Grindrod added that Cape Town remains a world class destination which prides itself on creating wonderful experiences for overseas and local visitors.

Two die in separate shooting incidents

By Chanel September
18 January 2008

A 56-year-old businessman has died after a robbery occurred on Thursday, at a wood supply company in Fitzmaures Street, Epping.

Phil Warwood was returning from a nearby bank when a vehicle with three occupants pulled up.

According to officials two of the three occupants then approached owner (Warwood) and allegedly assaulted him. The suspects robbed Warwood of an undisclosed amount of money.

“The victim followed the suspects back to the vehicle and tried to open one of its doors. One of the suspects allegedly fired one shot fatally wounding the Warwood in the head,” says police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn.

“The suspects are still at large and the investigation continues. Police are investigating a case of murder and armed robbery,” says Steyn.

Meanwhile in a separate incident

Police have found the body of a 51-year old man at his Crawford home on Thursday.

Police believe that Theodore Manuel was murdered. He was last seen alive on Monday. Concerned neighbours alerted police to attend to Manuel’s house.

Police spokesperson, Billy Jones says the deceased was found lying on the floor in his bedroom.

“At this stage we cannot confirm the cause of his death, but the motive appears to be robbery as his family have confirmed a number of items missing from his house,” says Jones.

Anyone with information on the Warwood case can contact Inspector Izak Lottering at the Elsies River Police Station on (012) 933 0302. If you have any information in the Manuel case can contact CrimeStop on 08600 10 111.

Less disasters, emergencies in City this Festive Season

By Rhodé Marshall
18 January 2008

Cape Town has shown a substantial decrease in the number of emergency and disaster related incidents over the past festive season, the City of Cape Town says.

Fire incidents were almost halved from 806 in 2006 to 467 in 2007. According to Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security Councillor Dumisani Ximbi – when all the fire incidents of the last festive season is compared to that of 2005 the number dropped by 60 percent.

“The fire season is far from over but the City’s proactive initiatives thus far have proved successful. The tough stance and heavy fines imposed by the Fire Amendment By-Law seemed to help curb the incidences of vehicle occupants tossing cigarette butts and burning matches,” says Ximbi.

He says that the City of Cape Town would like to thank the public for their co-operation and caution during the holiday season.

In December/January only three veld fires occurred at Soetwater, Macassar and Redhill – in these instances the fires were extinguished. The City says that there was a notable decline in the number of fires at informal settlements.

Hout Bay shack dwellers plan resistance to forced removal

By Celeste Ganga
18 January 2008

About 75 shack dwellers and one family living in a house in a section of Hangberg in Hout Bay, Cape Town are facing eviction from their land by South African Sea Products.

“The community is angered and intends to resist the forced removal because they say that some of the land belongs to the City and not to South African Sea Products, so the company does not have the right to evict them” says Chairperson of the Hangberg Solution Seekers Association (a community organisation), Michelle Yon.

She adds that most of the residents work in Hout Bay as fishermen and some work as casuals at the company itself. Yon goes on to say that they will not allow South African Sea Products to forcibly remove them without alternative accommodation being provided.

“The community tried already to buy the hostel themselves to set up a low cost housing project and were under the impression that the company would still sell it to them,” explains Yon.

The community will appear in the Cape High Court on Tuesday (29 January 2008) to oppose the eviction order. They will be assisted by the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Attempts to get hold of South African Sea Products were unsuccessful.

IEC commissioner accused of fraud was granted R20k bail

The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) Nomsa Masuku has been granted R20,000 bail following her appearance in court on a charge of fra...