Monday, March 31, 2008

Concern over rise in food prices continues

By Celeste Ganga
31 March 2008

It’s been reported that consumers have expressed their concern at the high cost of food prices. This comes as food prices across the world are on the increase.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has been quoted saying it’s unlikely that prices will ever return to where they were in the past. Even tougher times lie ahead with a probable rise in food, fuel and electricity prices.

Some economists say the fact that there are more people living in urban areas means that we are dependent on a few people to produce food. Another increase in food prices is said to be that agricultural products are now being used for energy as well.

Two teens in court for raping 31-year-old woman

By Rhodé Marshall
31 March 2008

Two teenagers in Prince Albert are appearing in the magistrate’s court on Monday for the rape of a 31-year-old woman. The men are aged 16 and 18 years.

“The incident occurred at 23:00 Friday night. Apparently the victim was alone at home when the incident took place,” says police spokesperson Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe.

He says the door of the unknown woman’s house was not locked. “Apparently somebody entered at the door and raped her, assaulting her at the same time.”

According to Mangqwengqwe the victim was unable to see who her attackers were but reported the incident to the police.

After several leads the police were able to arrest the two teenagers who are applying for bail.

Community Information Network

By Ilhaam Hoosain
31 March 2008

The Western Province Blood Transfusion Service is appealing to Capetonians to help alleviate pressure on the province’s blood supply by attending donation clinics. Any healthy person, especially those belonging to the O blood group, who would like to donate can go to the WPBTS Donor Centre at 22 Long Street, Cape Town or call WPBTS on 021 507 6300/6364.

Cape Town Child Welfare is seeking people, preferably under the age of 45, to become adoptive or emergency parents. Any stay at home mothers, with slightly older children of their own, should consider this way of making invaluable, but temporary contribution in a baby’s life. For more information contact Anne Bruce or Mandy Frieslich on 021 790 2300.

Looking to lose a few kilos a fun and easy way then this is the answer. There will be Taebo classes every Monday at the Salt River Community Hall. The cost of the classes is only R10 and it will be from 17:30 to 18:30 in the evening. Everyone is welcome so for more information contact Nawaal at 021 447 8894.

Latin ballroom dancing classes takes place every Thursday at fogeys Railway House upstairs station building main road in Muizenberg. This is an ideal opportunity to learn the great classic latin ballroom steps in a really great environment. Entrance is free, for more information you can call 021 788 3252 or email

FOCAL (Friends of Central Library) will hold a book sale at the library in the City Hall, Darling Street, every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Donations are accepted – any books, hard cover or paper back including fiction, non-fiction and text books are welcome. Records are also accepted. For more information contact Pauline on 021 930 2752 or 073 343 6481.

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

More toll roads on the cards for SA

By Ilhaam Hoosain
31 March 2008

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has announced its intention to declare portions of some of the country's major national roads as continuous toll roads. According to a daily newspaper the construction of the plazas should start in two years if all goes as planned.

A revised environmental assessment giving the go-ahead for the toll roads has been signed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

The N1 and N2 will each have three toll plazas if Sanral has its way. The first toll plaza on the N2 will be close to the R300 intersection, the second one before Firgrove at Somerset West and the third near Bot River.

According to the newspaper the actual tolls have not yet been decided, but it currently costs R21 for a light motor vehicle to use the Huguenot Tunnel. The heaviest vehicles pay R132 one way.

On Friday the DA came out heavily against toll roads, saying the poorest of the poor would be the most affected. DA spokesperson Robin Carlisle says that these toll roads will hit the poor coming from areas such as Blue Downs, Delft, Mitchell's Plain and Khayelitsha every working day.

The provincial government and the six municipalities affected by the toll roads have 60 days to comment.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

South Africa shine in Chennai

By Ilhaam Hoosain
30 March 2008

The Proteas have had many heady moments over the past six months. They have won both Test and ODI series in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

South Africa performed well at Chennai on Saturday on the fourth day of the Future Cup Test series against India.

The team started the day with their backs to the wall. India still had nine first innings wickets intact, including Virender Sehwag with an unbeaten triple century, and needed only a further 72 runs to go past the Proteas first innings total of 540.

By the close of Saturday the Proteas had taken nine wickets for 159 runs to restrict India to a manageable first innings lead of 87 runs and had then made 131 runs of their own in their second attempt at bat for the loss of Graeme Smith’s wicket for an overall lead of 44 runs.

92 people homeless in Langa after shack fire

By Ilhaam Hoosain
30 March 2008

92 people on the Cape Flats have lost their homes after a fire in Langa.

Disaster Risk Management says a blaze in Zone 17 early this morning razed about 30 wood-and-iron structures to the ground.

There were no injuries or fatalities and the displaced people are being accommodated in a nearby community centre and also by friends and family.

“This morning at 1 o’clock there was a shack fire. 92 people were involved.

“We have provided the victims with assistance and a NGO assisted with food parcels and distribution of blankets,” says DRM’s Greg Pillay.

He goes on to say that there are people there to clean up the area to enable the survivors to rebuild their homes.

MDC leading in urban areas in early results

By Ilhaam Hoosain
30 March 2008

Movement for Democratic Change has taken the lead in its traditional urban power bases in Harare and Bulawayo and early indications from the Zimabawean general elections this is according to the SABC.

They go on to report that some polling stations have already started displaying results but counting is still underway.MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, appears confident to make a clean sweep ahead of both President Robert Mugabe and independent candidate, Simba Makoni.

Meanwhile it’s also been reported that Cosatu has reacted cautiously to early results from yesterday's elections in Zimbabwe. Ahead of the crucial poll, Cosatu and the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions maintained that there were serious flaws in the electoral process.

On Saturday the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the number of people turned away from polling stations was too high and could dent the credibility of the vote.

Mitchells Plain gets jazzed up

By Ilhaam Hoosain
30 March 2008

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has ended, but the jazz continues when The Manhattans perform at a free concert in Mitchells Plain on Sunday.

This being an initiative of the provincial government and the national department of arts and culture to get young people to live motivated lives free of drugs, gangs and alcohol.

Local guitar legend Jimmy Dludlu, South African favourites Hip Hop Pantsula and Zola, as well as contemporary jazz pioneers Najee will also be performing.

What’s in store for 2009

“We are already planning for 2009. We are obviously looking at a bumper line-up.

“One of the artists I work on every year is Carlos Santana. We have been talking to him and it’s just a matter of agreeing on a fee. And when I say we talk to him, I mean we talk management we don’t talk to him directly so it’s a bit difficult to get a very good deal,” says Director of the Jazz Festival, Rashied Lombard.

He goes on to say that the only way they can do it is if they can play two concerts with him in Cape Town, one before at a lower price for the masses and then at the festival.

He added that Santana can play in another two or three cities in South Africa to make it economically viable because he is an extremely expensive artist.

The concert starts at 10am at the Swartklip sports complex in Tafelsig.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Elections running smoothly for Zimbabwe

By Ilhaam Hoosain
29 March 2008

Many Zimbabweans say they are most encouraged by the peaceful environment that characterises today's elections.

According to a SABC report the 2005 elections were marred by political violence which led to the arrest of senior leadership of the opposition MDC.Both international observers and the opposition condemned the outcome said it was flawed.

90 000 polling officers at almost nine thousand voting stations countrywide has been deployed by the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC).

the ZEC says that 7pm will mark the close of all voting stations but those already in the queue at closing time will not be denied the opportunity to cast their votes.

9th CT International Jazz Festival ends

By Ilhaam Hoosain and Rhodé Marshall
29 March 2008

Today marks the end of the 9th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

What is set to be a great crowd drawer is Brazilian artist, Sergio Mendez.

Mendez told a group of artists that although he moved to America in the 1960’s he tries to promote Brazilian music as much as he can.

He alos added that he looks forward to his performance tonight, to show South African crowds how music in Africa influences his Brazilian sound.

Bush Radio also spoke to vocalist and acoustic guitarist, Oliver Mtukudzi from Zimbabwe who is scheduled to perform at the Kippies stage.

With the Zimbabwean elections just getting started, Oliver’s message to Zimbabweans is that they should vote wisely.

He added that people are at the forefront of his inspiration when it comes to his composition.

He says that that it good to be an African, because as an African one has to understand who you are, and you have to be yourself.

Jimmy Dludlu’s message

“It’s an honour for me to be at this festival on the ninth year and I’m looking forward to it. I am here to share my music with all the South African,” says acclaimed guitarist Jimmy Dludu.

Saturday night sold out

Director of the Cape Town Jazz Festival, Rashied Lombard says that they are quite excited that Saturday night is totally sold out.

“It has gone very well. The fact that it’s sold out it means we got the right programme again.
We got the rights mix of music, jazz and jazz related music and of course we’ve got a huge contingency coming from outside of Cape Town,” says Lombard.

Next fuel hike to hit consumers hard

By Ilhaam Hoosain
29 March 2008

The South African Petroleum Industry says another petrol hike is in store for consumers next month.

But Price and Taxation Adviser at the SAPI, Avhapfani Tshifularo told the media that it will probably not be as high as next week's whopping increase of 68 cents a litre.

The Department of Minerals and Energy confirmed the increase yesterday.

According to reports it is also confirmed a colossal hike of R1.30 in the retail price of diesel and an increase of R1.57 for paraffin.

Tshifularo says that we should still have another increase but probably not as huge as what we have seen in the past two months. For a liter of paraffin it is R10.18. That is just the wholesale price, so he says he is sure the price of diesel in most places are already over R10.

Solidarity ask government to reduce fuel tax

By Henry Booysen
28 March 2008

Trade Union Solidarity asked government yesterday whether government won’t consider in reducing fuel taxes, after it was reported this week that the price of petrol would increase once again.

Jaco Kleynhans Solidarity spokesperson says that the increasing petrol taxes would make it difficult for ordinary South Africans to meet budgets as more money would then be spent on petrol.

“There is a real risk that people may lose their houses and cars because of the effect on their household budgets,” says Kleynhans.

It is believed that the price of petrol would incresase by between 66c and 68c per litre and the price of diesel by R1.30 per litre.

“Interest rate increases over the past year mean that thousands of families will be unable to meet their house and car payments from April,” he said.

Friday, March 28, 2008

NSRI appeals to parents and children to be water safe

By Celeste Ganga
28 March 2008

The National Sea Rescue Institute is appealing to parents to make certain that their children have adult supervision when going swimming in any of South Africa’s waters. This includes the ocean, dams, rivers, lakes and swimming pools.

“We are also appealing to the children themselves, who go swimming, to make sure that they have responsible adult supervision – especially when going swimming while their parents are at work, and that their own safety should always be on top of their mind,” says NSRI Chief Executive, Ian Wienburg.

He adds that accidental drowning of children under the age of 14 remains one of the highest causes of death in South Africa according to a statistics survey conducted by the Medical Research Council.

“Many of these drowning accidents could have been prevented with a simple safety mindset and the NSRI’s Water Wise project (teaching children about water safety) is a step towards increasing water safety amongst the youth in South Africa but the issue of child safety starts at home and in our schools with parents and teachers alike assuring that responsible adult supervision is a must for children making use of water for recreation and that safety around water is always top of mind,” says Wienburg.

Teachers salary increase agreement to be signed

By Henry Booysen
28 March 2008

The Occupational Specific Dispensation for teachers is to be signed on Wednesday 2 April by all teacher unions after a long wait.

President of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) Dave Balt says the signing of the document would be the start of negotiations, proposals and counter-proposals which has been continuing from September 2007.

“Teachers certainly stand to benefit with the back pay coming, with everything increasing, the signing of the document is extremely welcome,” says Balt.

The signing of the document would mean that the teacher salary structure would take a new form and would increase in general.

Easter weekend road stats released

By Nadia Samie
28 March 2008

National tranport minister Jeff Radebe yesterday released the anticipated Easter Weekend traffic report to the nation. Overall, there was a decrease in the number of deaths on South African roads during the busy long weekend.

The number of fatalities over Easter 2008 decreased by 76 lives, that’s 23.82 percent. In 2007, 319 people died on our roads over the long Easter weekend. This year, to 243 people lost their lives. While there is a slight improvement, critics say that it is nothing to celebrate, as the procedure of gathering these numbers does not include people who may die a day later in hospital. It only tallies those lives that are lost on the scene of an accident.

In the Western Cape 61 drivers were arrested for drinking and driving.

Radebe thanked law enforcement agencies and emergency management services personnel who had put in many hours to help save lives on the country’s road network over the Easter Weekend. He also thanked motorists and pedestrians for their improved road behaviour this year.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Injured seaman dies aboard ship

By Celeste Ganga
27 March 2008

On Wednesday night the National Sea Rescue Institute responded to Saldanha Bay to assist two seamen aboard the ship -Panama. Both sustained injuries from unknown causes and one died.

“On arrival onto the vessel, one of the patients was found to be in a critical condition and all efforts to resuscitate him were exhausted on the scene, but he died,” says NSRI spokesperson, Craig Lambinon.

He adds that the police are investigating the cause of the incident. Lambinon says efforts will be made to get the body of the man off the ship.

Dugmore calls for probe into appointment of teachers

By Celeste Ganga
27 March 2008

Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore has called for an investigation into the procedure of appointing teachers. This comes after a teacher –who was employed at a school whilst he was on parole for attempted rape- raped one of his colleagues.

“This also comes after a caretaker was recently convicted of raping a then seven year-old girl. He has been imprisoned for life for this offence. This is extremely worrying given the fact that even last year another teacher, convicted of a sexual offence was appointed,” says Department spokesperson Gert Witbooi.

Witbooi adds that this is why the MEC has now called for a probe into the appointment procedures of teachers to thighten up on some of the loose ends. “We must make sure that those we appoint to work with our children and teachers, don not poise a danger to our school communities”.

Post-mortem reveals Ivan Toms died of Meningitis

By Celeste Ganga
27 March 2008

According to a post-mortem released on Wednesday the cause of former Health Director in the City of Cape Town Ivan Toms death was meningitis.

Toms was found dead on Tuesday in his Mowbray home. Police searched the house after Toms failed to turn up for a regular management meeting.

It’s reported that he will be buried next week Friday.

Soccer clinics for enthusiastic youths

By Ilhaam Hoosain
27 March 2008

Ajax Cape Town will be hosting Holiday Coaching clinics for young, enthusiastic soccer lovers at Ikamva in Parow.

Ajax Public Relations Officer Shoes Mekoeto says that every school holidays they host football clinics for all football beginners from the age of 6 till 14-years-old.“Six till ten is group one which will be from the 31st of March to the 1st April 2008 the starting time is 9 o’clock until 3 o’clock".

"The second age group of the coaching clinic from the age ten to 14, which dates from the 2nd till the 3rd April also the same time 9 till 3 o’clock,” says Moketo.

The cost of the coaching clinic is R200 and all participants must bring their own boots and shin guards.Lunch, refreshments and a goodie-bag will be provided.

For more information contact Ajax offices on (021) 930 6001 alternatively e-mail them on

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Body of mineworker exhumed as mine fatalities keep rising

By Henry Booysen
26 March 2008

The body of a mine worker has been dug up after being trapped for twenty days at the Golfield’s Beatrix mine after a ground fall.

“NUM condemns these senseless deaths and while we are relieved that the body of a mineworker has been exhumed at Beatrix, we condemn the manner in which rescue teams are being remunerated,” says Secretary of Health and Safety of the National Union of Mineworkers, Eric Gcilitshana.

After the death of the mineworker further deaths took place at Oryx, Paardekraal Cementation, Northam Platinum, Eagle Granite, Middleburg Mine, and Corobrick. These deaths totalled to nine in two weeks.

NUM has passed it condolences to the families of the deceased in this time.

Decomposed body found in Calitzdorp

By Ilhaam Hoosain
26 March 2008

A decomposed body of a 28-year-old woman was found in Calitzdorp on Sunday and police are investigating a case of murder. According to police spokesperson Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe- Johanna Moses's body was found partially decomposed a week after she disappeared.The body was found in an open field between St Helena and Bergsig in Calitzdorp.

Mangqwengqwe says Moses was last seen on March 15 by friends at St Helena before she left for her Bergsig home. He adds her family only reported her missing on Friday, and police immediately embarked on an extensive search. They visited her relatives on surrounding farms, but with no results.

Mangqwengqwe says that two local residents who had assisted the police with the search had found the body just after 9am on Sunday. According to a daily newspaper, Mangqwengqwe said police had made an urgent appeal to the public not to delay in reporting missing persons. No arrests have yet been made yet.

Anyone with information can contact the Calitzdorp police on 044 213 3320 or Crime Stop on 0860 010 111.

Cause of Nyanga blaze still unknown

By Celeste Ganga
26 March 2008

The cause of the shack fire that took place in KTC Nyanga in the early hours of Tuesday morning, killing four and leaving almost 500 people homeless- is still unknown.

However a newspaper reports that a resident- who left beer brewing unattended on open flames overnight- is suspected of having caused the fire that swept through the informal settlement.

“Following the fire yesterday (Tuesday) Disaster Management supplied the necessary disaster relief to the victims. Building material will be provided to the people to re-erect their structures,” says Disaster Risk Managemnet’s Wilfred Solomons.

He adds that majority of the people did not sleep in the community hall provided for emergency shelter. “They were living with family and friends to protect their personal belongings”.

The police have opened an inquest docket into the matter.

Proteas off to a good start

By Ilhaam Hoosain
26 March 2008

Captain Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie gave South Africa solid start in the opening test against India on Wednesday.

After they had won the toss and elected to bat Smith and McKenzie both struck fifties to 109 without loss.

The pair continued on from where they had an aggressive start which left the Indian bowlers dripping.McKenzie was 54 not out and Smith a further run behind on 53.

The 32-year-old McKenzie batted authoritatively and hit 11 fours before lunch.

Both teams want victory in the three-test series to get a chance to remove Australia from their number one test ranking.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Director of city health found dead in his home

By Nadia Samie
25 March 2008

Cape Town’s Director of City Health, Dr Ivan Toms was found dead in his Mowbray home on Tuesday morning.

Police spokesperson Inspector Billy Jones says there is no sign of forced entry or robbery at the Strubbens Street home. The discovery was made by members of the city's VIP Protection Unit and the Mowbray police at about 9:30AM. This after Dr Toms’ colleagues became concerned about him when he did not pitch up for for an important meeting on Tuesday.

Toms' body was found in his bed, clad in a blue T-shirt. There were no signs of injury to his body nor were there signs of breaking and entering on the property. Foul play is not suspected, police say. An inquest docket has been opened for investigation at the Mowbray police station.

In a statement the Western Cape Health MEC Pierre Uys says:
"Public Healthcare had a great champion in Dr Toms. He will always be remembered for the enormous contribution he made to healthcare in our province and country. He was a member of both the Western Cape Health Council and the Aids Council in which he made played a significant role. Dr Toms also worked tirelessly to improve the quality of the personal primary healthcare services provided by the City of Cape Town."

Dr Toms was born in Cape Town in 1953. He was awarded the The Order of the Baobab in Bronze from the state president in 2006 for what was described as his, “outstanding contribution to the struggle against Apartheid and sexual discrimination.”

According to the presidency's website, Dr Toms completed his medical degree at the University of Cape Town in 1976. This was followed by a year-long medical internship at Kimberley Hospital. In 1978, Toms was conscripted to serve in the South African Defence Force (SADF) and later became active in the End Conscription Campaign.

He worked as a doctor for over a decade in the Crossroads squatter camp in the Cape Flats. At one point he was the only doctor seeing to over 60 000 patients.

Dr Toms was last seen alive by his neighbours on Thursday. He leaves behind a brother who resides in Australia.

Picture credit:

City to improve Bellville Public Transport Interchange

By Henry Booysen
25 March 2008

The City of Cape Town’s Bellville sub council is setting up a multi-disciplinary task team to fight the battle against crime, grime, traffic congestion and the presence of 600 illegal taxis at the Bellville public transport interchange.

Councillor Glen Kleinsmith the sub council chairperson says the task team was set up after numerous complaints from local residents and businesses asking for monitoring at the interchange.

“It carries far more taxi traffic than the deck at the Cape Town station and has become notorious in the past few years for conflict within the taxi industry that has claimed many lives,” says Kleinsmith.

Kleinsmith elaborates that the task team will work with the South African Police Service and will reduce tensions on the volatile Delft and Kraaifontein routes.

Nyanga shack fire leaves 4 dead

By Celeste Ganga
25 March 2008

In the early hours of Tuesday morning a shack fire ripped through the informal settlement of KTC in Nyanga. The fire claimed four lives and more than 100 shacks were destroyed.

“At this stage we cannot confirm how many people were affected. However Disaster Management with the assistance of the Housing Department is reregistering the people,” says Disaster Risk Management’s Wilfred Solomons.

Solomons adds that two adults and two children were killed in the fire. He says the cause of the fire is still unknown and police are investigating.

Meanwhile a Councillor in the area, Gladstone Ntamo says when he arrived on scene fire fighters were hard at work trying to control the blaze. “It was not easy for them (fire fighters) to stop the fire because of the wind. People tried to move some of their things, but most of their things were destroyed by the fire”.

Housing department hosts Governance summer school

By Tina George
25 March 2008

The Governance Summer School hosted by the Western Cape Department for Local Government and Housing is currently underway until March 28.

According to Local Government and Housing spokesperson, Vusi Thsose, the MEC for Local Government and Housing, Richard Dyanti has invited the three partner departments in housing.

“The theme is 'Leadership for Accelerated Delivery and Development' and the school will aim to bring together political and administrative leadership in local government and housing,” says Tshose.

Tshose added that the departments are from the Northern and Eastern Cape. They will be concentrating on all the recourses as well experiences that they have on dealing with housing related matters.

Strong winds keep people off beach

25 March 2008
By Ilhaam Hoosain

A local yacht struggled to get into Port because the motor had to fight against a 50 knot gusting South Easterly wind.

The Table Bay National Sea Rescue Institute then launched for rescue, but the yacht (Wind Chime) was already four nautical miles off the breakwater, when they called for assistance and by the time the NSRI reached them they had been swept eight nautical miles out to sea.

“She was towed safely with her crew on board, into the port of Table Bay, the Royal Yacht Club,” says NSRI’s Craig Lambinon.


“Over the weekend a relatively strong wind yesterday appeared to have kept most people off the beach,” says Lambinon.

He goes onto say that it was a relatively quiet weekend with no incidents in the Western Cape or the country.

“On Sunday a few incidents in Durban, where a twelve year old male went missing, a 15-year-old male was confirmed dead, following a drowning accident and a female believed to be in her early twenties is in a stable conditions in hospital, following a drowning accident occurred,” says Lambinon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

NSRI rescues 3 from capsized boat

By Rhodé Marshall
23 March 2008

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Port Elizabeth says on Saturday morning they received a call from a man who said his boat had capsized.

“He phoned saying he had his 16-year-old son and a 15-year-old male family friend on board. They were all clinging to the upturn hull of the 5 metre boat,” says NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

Lambinon says when the NSRI arrived on the scene, Pieter Barnard and the two teenagers were rescued out of the water and placed on the rescue craft.

“Paramedics treated all three for hypothermia but they required no further assistance. Their boat was recovered and brought back to the harbour and Pieter says he is investigating the cause of the capsizing,” he adds.

Koeberg unit expected back on line next week

By Rhodé Marshall
23 March 2008

The National power utility Eskom says the Koeberg unit that has been off line since Friday morning will only be back on line next week.Unit 1 at Koeberg was shut down for maintenance and was promised to be in working order by Saturday.

“We are still able to meet electricity demand, which is normally lower during weekends,” says Eskom’s Andrew Etzinger

He added that the system is however still vulnerable, so consumers are urged to continue using electricity sparingly.

Fires in informal settlements leave 20 families homeless

By Rhodé Marshall
23 March 2008

Two separate fires on the Cape Flats has left more than 20 families homeless this morning.

Five shacks were gutted in Freedom Farm near the airport industrial and 15 shacks in Phillippi.

Cape Town Disaster Management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes says the fires occurred overnight at the two informal settlements.

“Disaster Management is on sight currently, providing the affected people with the necessary disaster relieve. We can confirm that no one was injured in the fire,” says Johannes.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage and authorities are investigating.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No power cuts expected over Easter weekend

By Rhodé Marshall
22 March 2008

This past week power outages swept through the country leaving many South Africans destitute, but Eskom says it expects power supply to remain steady over the long weekend.

Eskom spokesperson Erica Johnson told the media that the national power utility does not expect any loadshedding as the demand for electricity is generally low over holidays.

She said the two generators that had tripped during the week were running as normal by Friday morning but that a generator at the Koeberg power station was taken offline for maintenance.

This power station is expected to be in working order by Saturday.

Holiday travellers lose their lives

By Rhodé Marshall
22 March 2008

With the holidays just getting started 19 people lost their lives on South African roads within the first few hours.

Western Cape traffic officials say motorists should be patient, especially those that are traveling on the N2 highway past Somerset West. They say that area usually has a high pick up of traffic volumes.

All the province's traffic officials are scheduled to work in order to maintain law and order on Western Cape routes during the long weekend.The Arrive Alive campaign which was launched on Wednesday, aims to reduce the death toll on the roads this Easter.Last year, 67 people were killed on the province's roads during the Easter period.

Family member arrested for murder of Retreat girl

By Rhodé Marshall
22 March 2008

Police say a 46-year-old family member of Moenieba Kruger has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Police spokesperson Billy Jones says the 13-year-old girl’s body was found on Thursday evening in her family home in Retreat after her throat had been slit.

“Her body was found by her mother inside one of the bedrooms of their home. Detectives have confirmed that she was found with a deep cut wound to her throat and they have opened a murder case docket,” says Jones.

He says along with the investigation on the murder scene it has been found that the suspect is in deed the 46-year-old man that was arrested at 8pm Friday evening in Delft.

“We will further investigate whether there was any other offences as we are still waiting for the post mortem report to establish whether any sexual offences was committed,” explains Jones.

Earlier reports by the media alleged that Moenieba’s father is responsible for her death after he was apparently on the run after her murder.

Jones was unable to confirm this. “We cannot confirm in relation to this as court procedures do not allow that. Only after the person has appeared in court we can confirm their names or whether is any close relation.”

The suspect will appear in the Wynberg Magistrates court on Tuesday facing charges of murder.

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism happy with the courts decision

By Rhodé Marshall
22 March 2008

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism says that they are happy with the courts decision to dismiss an application by a group of Abalone rights holders.

The group wanted to overturn the decision taken to suspend fishing in the commercial abalone fishery.

In a statement sent by the department it states that the group was ordered by the Cape High Court to pay the legal fees of Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk.

In 2007 the department was supported by cabinet to suspend wild abalone commercial fishing as an attempt to preserve the species.

“We remain of the view that the abalone resource is in a crisis due to ecological changes and poaching. As stated previously, the closure of the abalone fishery is the right thing to do.There is also broad acknowledgement that the resource is in a crisis," says Department spokesperson Mava Scott.

Scott adds that suspending fishing is difficult as this has an influence on the livelihood of many people and families in the industry.

“We are unfortunately at a point where the commercial harvesting of wild abalone can no longer be justified because the stock has declined to such an extent that the resource is threatened with commercial extinctions.”

Friday, March 21, 2008

Traffic measures already in place for Easter weekend

By Celeste Ganga
21 March 2008

According to Cape Town’s traffic spokesperson Searle Johannes, the City’s Easter traffic plans have already kicked in as there has been an influx of people leaving and entering the City.

“The measures that we’ve taken is to have more traffic officers on the road, we also envisage having more roadblocks and we are going to concentrate on things such as moving violations, drunken driving and speeding,” says Johannes.

Johannes advises motorists to ensure that they have a valid drivers’ licence card with them at all times.

“If you are going to undertake long journeys, make sure you rest every 200 kilometres or every two hours. You need a 15 to 20 minute break just to refresh yourself,” explains Johannes.

The traffic department urges motorists to drive carefully.

MEC opens Easter Sport and Cultural Festivals

By Rhodé Marshall
21 March 2008

A group of sportsmen and women along with the community of Delft gathered to participate in the Easter Sport and Cultural Festivals on Friday.

The Festival was held in Gugulethu last year but the Department of Cultural affairs and Sport says this year it was decided to expand the festival to Manenberg, Heideveld, Caledon, Worcester, Vredenberg, Beaufort West and Plettenberg Bay where activities will be held.

Attending the event is the MEC for Cultural affairs and Sport, Whitey Jacobs. He says at the beginning of the year his department worked with schools in Delft – that being the reason that the festivities kicked off there.

“We are having different communities involved in the project but Delft has been identified as a site for the festivals the reason being that at the beginning of the year we did some work with schools around Delft and we then thought it would be proper to have Delft as our main area of focus,” says the MEC.

Jacobs says the aim of the programme is engage young people and renew the culture of participating in the culture of their community and also take part in sport.

“We want to identify talent and developing it and to encourage our youngsters to participate in sporting activities. Hence you would find various sporting codes being played at the festivals so that you give them opportunities to choose which is the best code of sport that they would like to participate in,” says Jacobs.

It commences on Friday and ends Monday.

SAHRC says SA has a long way to go

By Rhodé Marshall
21 March 2008

On this day, 48 years ago on 21 March 1960, 300 demonstrators lead by the Pan Africanist Congress took to the streets of Sharpeville to hand over their passes at the police station in defiance of the pass laws.

The police then opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people and injuring 180. Today a different kind of defiance takes place as events of racism and brutality from one South African to another increase by the day.

Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Jody Kollapen says South Africa still has a long way to go before things like racism and discrimination is eradicated.

“What we have in South Africa was put in place 350 years ago. Since then we have institutionalised discrimination and racism over a long period of time.

“It would not be so easy to get rid of it simply by passing laws. Some people prefer to hang onto the past and to try and think that they can live out the past with all their prejudices,” says Kollapen.

Kollapen says the events that took place in Sharpeville were just in act of South Africans who were tired of being victimised under the unjust Apartheid laws.

“I think it began a development of a new phase in our struggle that led to our ultimate liberation in 1994, so I think it (Sharpeville Massacre) was quite a turning point,” Kollapen said.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

NSRI rescues Croatian officer

By Henry Booysen
20 March 2008

The National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa has this morning with the assistance if the South African Air Force 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter rescued a 27 year old Croatian 3rd Officer from the 335 metre Oil Tanker Overseas Chris.

The Croatian Mark Predovan who had been suffering from ongoing back pain was rescued form the Tanker which was sailing from Angola to China.

“On arrival at the vessel the helicopter landed on the deck, the patient was transferred into the helicopter and into the care of a Netcare 911 paramedic, brought to Air Force Base Ysterplaat where he was transported further to the Christiaan Barnaard Memorial Hospital in a stable and satisfactory condition,” says NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

At the time of rescue the ship was 124 nautical miles off the West Coast and the ships master was requested to sail towards Cape Town for an early morning evacuation to take place.

Preparations for CT Stadium on Track

By Ilhaam Hoosain
20 March 2008

According to the City of Cape Town the Green Point stadium construction and preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is on track .

The building contractors WBHO and Murray and Roberts experienced labour disputes with workers over transport arrangements and saw workers down tools in 2007.

Building Construction and Allied Workers Union and the National Union of Mineworkers were in meetings with the construction companies which led to an agreement late last year.

Civic Centre on Hertzog Boulevard, close to Cape Town station was agreed upon as the pick-up point.

Cape Town is the preferred candidate for the hosting of the Final Draw in December 2009.

“Only one year since we started the stadium is now a third complete. We’ve got more than 2000 workers on sight, working very hard to make the deadlines and we are on track to meet the deadlines which are namely to complete the stadium by the middle of December 2009, which is six months ahead of the 2010 World Cup event,” says the City of Cape Town’s, Pieter Cronje.

He goes on to say that things are going smoothly not only with the stadium but also with the preparations. They are now going into operational planning around volunteer safety and security and there are transport upgrades for rail, road and also air connections that will be used as public transport for 2010.

“We have not had industrial action on the sight for a very long time. We only lost six and half days through labour disputes in the past 365 days of construction,” says Cronje.

Langeveldt gets replaced by Zondeki

By Ilhaam Hoosain
20 March 2008

Fast bowler Monde Zondeki has been called up to replace Charl Langeveldt in the South African Test squad to tour India.

The 25-year-old is the leading wicket-taker in South African first-class cricket this season with 62 wickets taken at an average of 19.16.

One of his best performances was when he took six five-wicket hauls and one of 10 wickets in a match.

He has also played five Test matches and toured Australia with the South African ODI squad.

“Monde has shown outstanding form this season to establish himself as the leading bowler in the domestic game. His form for the South African A side has also been outstanding,” says selection convener Joubert Strydom.

He added that Zondeki has made a good recovery from the injury that sidelined him for part of the MTN Domestic Championship campaign and is back to full match fitness.

Zondeki said he was overjoyed to hear of his selection. “It is nice to be rewarded for all the hard work I have put in this season.I wasn’t expecting it quite yet but I will grab every opportunity that I get,” he commented.

He goes on to say that he toured Sri Lanka in 2005, so he does have some experience of the conditions on the sub-continent.

Langeveldt was withdrawn from the touring team at his own request.

The Proteas leave for India on Friday and the first Test starts at Chennai Wednesday the 26th of March 2008.


'City fails to spend millions on Cape Flats projects’ - Fransman

By Celeste Ganga
20 March 2008

The Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman has expressed anger at the City of Cape Town for being “anti-poor” after it surfaced that since the 2002/03 financial year, the City has failed to spend millions of rands that were meant for public transport infrastructure on the Cape Flats.

A statement released by the Department stated that the MEC said an overwhelmingly high percentage of an amount of R137.7-million that had been transferred from the Province to the City had been earmarked for projects in places such as Nyanga, Gugulethu, Athlone and Mitchells Plain. But only about 60 percent of the total amount had allegedly been spent.

“I’m deeply concerned – and angry about this. There seems to be a far too blasé attitude in some quarters in the City when it comes to service delivery for the poor. The City is claiming to have spent 91 percent of its total funding, but my Department is still waiting for it to provide us with updated progress reports,” said the statement.

Fransman will be writing a letter to Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille regarding the issue. He warned that if the Mayor doesn’t act speedily, he will have no choice but to withdraw any future funding to the City.

Robert McDonald spokesperson for the Mayor denies such claims and says that the MEC is misleading the public.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Road safety campaign launched ahead of Easter Weekend

By Ilhaam Hoosain
19 March 2008

The Transport and Public Works MEC Marius Fransman and Community Safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane launched the Western Cape Arrive Alive Safer Easter Season 2008 on Wednesday.
“We know that this period is one of those busy periods on our calendar,” says Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for MEC Fransman.

He added that the project launches on the same day as the tragic accident that claimed two lives on the N1 during morning rush hour, when a truck over turned and landed on top of a car.

“As government we want to send our condolences to the families of the two ladies. But what we want to say is that we will be increasing our vigilance on the roads, starting today,” says Ntabzalila.

Both departments are appealing to motorists who are driving this weekend not to speed and to stay within the speed limits, wear seatbelts and make sure that cars are roadworthy before heading out.

Langa to host Easter Rugby Festival

By Celeste Ganga
19 March 2008

Cape Town’s Langa Rugby Club, together with SA Rugby, will be hosting an Easter Rugby Festival from 22-24 March. SA Rugby has been running this event for the past four years.

“Traditional Easter Rugby festivals have been in existence for a number of years. We have been revolving around the country. Last year we were in Soweto, now we are in Langa,” says Manager of the Club Rugby Union for SA Rugby, Xhanti Lamani.

The event will feature 16 senior teams from around the country.

“These teams range from Cape Town, Orkney, Umtata, Port Elizabeth, Port St Johns, East London and Welkom. Almost throughout the country,” explains Lamani.

Prizes include money and equipment.

“Our clubs are in need of equipment, so we are assisting in that regard,” he adds.

Lamani says the significance of this year’s tournament is the corporate sponsors who have come on-board to assist.

Two die as truck overturns

By Henry Booysen
19 March 2008

Two women have been killed when a truck flattened the vehicle in which they were driving, on the N1 highway travelling towards the Cape Town CBD.

The truck overturned after it took the M5 slipway too fast, causing its load to shift.

“We can confirm that two females have been killed in the incident,” said Cape Town Traffic Services spokesperson Searle Johannes.

The incident which took place at about 06:15 this morning has caused huge traffic delays within the city, leading to motorists having to take alternative routes.

“We have removed the container which was under the truck from the road and are trying to clear the N1,” said Johannes.

The container which flattened the car was carrying wine for export.

Search continues after red distress flare sighting

By Ilhaam Hoosain
19 March 2008

NSRI Hout Bay, Simonstown and Table Bay launched a search at 21h30 Tuesday evening, following reports of two red distress flares fired which were six minutes apart.

The flare was sighted approximately 15 nautical miles South West of Cape Point.

“The search has continued through out the night, nothing has been found yet and an air force 35 squadron Dakota joined the search at first light this morning, to help to rule out that there are people or vessels in distress,” says NSRI’s Craig Lambinon.

NSRI Simonstown Station Commander Darren Zimmerman said that during the search his crew came across a piece of unidentified debris floating in the water and both rescue craft honed in on that area and NSRI Table Bays rescue craft requested to join the search and MRCC activated the SA Air Force Dakota to be in the search area before sunrise to commence an aerial search from first light.

The search has thus far, despite 3 rescue craft and the Air Force Dakota engaged in the search, revealed no sign of a vessel in distress and no reports of any overdue vessel have been reported.

The piece of debris sighted by the rescuers appears to be unrelated to the search.

The NSRI request anyone that can assist with information leading to determining the origin of the red distress flare activation or anyone suspecting a vessel to be overdue to contact the National Ports Authority Sea Rescue Emergency number at (021) 4493500.

SA celebrates Human Rights Day

By Rhodé Marshall
19 March 2008

On 21 March 1960, 300 demonstrators lead by the Pan Africanist Congress took to the streets of Sharpeville to hand over their passes at the police station in defiance of the pass laws.

The police then opened fire on the crowd, killing 69 people and injuring 180.

Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Jody Kollapen says there are various things about the day that stands out for him.

“It was a peaceful demonstration and no-one can dispute at that as there was no violence on the part of the demonstrators and what they had gone to do there.

“It was something that today everyone in South Africa can agree was valid. They went to protest against the law that requires them to carry passes,” says Kollapen.

Kollapen says the consequence of their demonstration the many of the protesters were shot in the back.

“That in a sense epitomise the kind of terror of apartheid where South Africans try to convince the government to change and the government responding with violence,” explains Kollapen.

Kollapen says the violence of the South African government made it impossible for citizens not to act forcefully.

“We saw the beginning of an arms struggle and we saw a further crackdown by government. But I think it began a development of a new phase in our struggle that led to our ultimate liberation in 1994.”

Residents warned against fake City officials

By Celeste Ganga
19 March 2008

The City of Cape Town is concerned about a recent incident where about four men, pretending to be City officials, gained access to a house in Mannenberg saying that they were there to look at a geyser blanket.

“They were wearing clothes similar to those worn by the electricity department’s workers. Now, this has happened in the past, and we are sure it will happen again,” says the City’s Charles Cooper.

Cooper adds that the City is therefore calling on all residents to take extreme caution when allowing people into their homes that claim to be from the City’s electricity or water services, and even from Eskom or Telkom.

“Times are dangerous — do not simply let people in. In the case of City workers, we will most of the time phone before hand and make an appointment; you will know that somebody from the City is coming to see you. You’ll also know if you phone to perhaps complain about an electricity or a water problem,” says Cooper.

He explains that if you didn’t phone the City and someone does pitch up, you should be extremely suspicious. Cooper says that City officials who do arrive will have identity cards with him or her with their picture on it, however he says this should not be taken as the only proof that they work for the City.

“They should have documents with them pertaining to your house. If you phoned in, you will be given a reference number and they should be able to quote that reference number to you,” adds Cooper.

Report any suspicious activity to your local police station.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Parliament launches Women’s league

By Rhodé Marshall
18 March 2008

Parliament has launched a ‘Multiparty Women’s Caucus’ which consists of the female members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

In a statement released by Parliament it says that the women’s league is aimed at highlighting women’s perspectives while looking for ways to influence discussion of women's issues within Parliament.

The Multiparty Women’s Caucus operates as an advisory representing the interests and concerns of women in Parliament.

The league will be expected to report on their activities to Parliament and will be allowed to submit reports and proposals to the relevant parliamentary forums.

Cape Flats schools receive new sports facilities

By Ilhaam Hoosain
18 March 2008

MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport Whitey Jacobs will hand over new sports facilities to three Cape Flats schools before the end March.

Zisukhanya High in Samora and Luzuko Primary in Gugulethu have received upgraded rugby and soccer fields, while Manenberg High school will boast a newly-constructed multi-purpose court.

The multi-purpose court will be used for netball, volleyball, basketball and tennis while the rugby and soccer fields will cater for other athletics codes.

Elandsrivier and Maxonia primary schools in the Overberg region also received newly upgraded multi-purpose courts on Friday 14 March, during a formal function attended by the farming, education and sport community of the region.

After the provision of the new sports fields, Zisukhanyo and Luzuko will be able to use standard facilities for the first time. The facilities will also benefit other schools in the cluster.

The cluster system is a strategic intervention that was introduced three years ago where schools in a particular area or close proximity share facilities.

Western Cape learners introduced to agriculture

By Celeste Ganga
18 March 2008

The Western Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the local Education Department will be hosting its annual school visits to Elsenburg Farm on 18 and 19 March, to give learners exposure to animal farming activities and to make them aware of services rendered by the Agriculture Department.

“It’s a wonderful experience for these learners, who in many instances for the first time in their lives, get exposed to farming activities. Not only do they visit the college and training facilities there – but they also visit our experimental farm,” says spokesperson for the Agriculture Department, Allie van Jaarsveld.

"The aim of this is to expose learners, especially those who grow up in urban areas, to agriculture. So it’s a wonderful experience, where from a young age we want to introduce learners to agriculture and all the possibilities and the various careers they can follow," he says.

Education Minister launches campaign in Bonteheuwel

By Rhodé Marshall
18 March 2008

The National Minister of Education Naledi Pandor is to launch the Foundations for Learning Campaign at the EA Janari School in Bonteheuwel on Tuesday.

Spokesperson for the Minister, Lunga Ngqengelele says the objective of the campaign is to provide both teachers and schools with a clear direction regarding the learning outcomes.

“The campaign also aims to ensure support is available to schools to ensure the achievement of expected levels of proficiency in reading, writing and numeracy at all levels of the system,” says Ngqengelele.

He says the campaign will focus on primary schools, but that the education department intends to ensure that all schools reach high academic achievements.

“It’s a four year campaign which will culminate with the national evaluation at the end of 2011 to assess the literacy and numeracy levels of learners and the overall impact of the campaign,” says Ngqengelele.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pics: Premier honours public service excellence

The Premier of the Western Cape Ebrahim Rasool on Friday honoured excellence in Western Cape Government projects. The projects are based in the different government departments such as health, education, agriculture and transport.
The 'Premier’s Service Excellence Awards' is an annual event and is the result of a process which saw a record number of entrants in 2007. The Awards, are in its third year and encourage service excellence within the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and serves as a benchmark for civil servants across the province.
Bush Radio broadcasted from the event.

Pics by: Anele Siwa

New Eskom penalty price

By Ilhaam Hoosain
17 March 2008

From the 1st of May, South African consumers are in for new electricity penalties when government implements its plans which to allegedly penalise wealthier and heavier domestic users of power who fail to comply with energy savings warnings.

It has also been alleged that Eskom will target its customers in the upper income bracket - people living in wealthier suburbs with homes that have good quality lighting, a geyser, under floor heating, electrical gadgets and a swimming pool.

Cosatu’s Patrick Craven responded to the alleged penalties saying that less fortunate people will also need to play their part in saving electricity.

Domestic dwellers in comfortable suburbs will be asked to cut their energy consumption by 10 percent or pay a penalty which will be measured daily.

“We fully accept that we have to find ways to save electricity, given the crisis. We are particularly concerned that this must be done in a fair way and we (are) concerned that poor consumers, some that have only recently been connected to electricity may be the worst hit by any attempt to increase the tariffs,” says Craven.

He adds that South Africans must make sure minimum requirements that every household needs are guaranteed and that no one should lose out.

Presently customers are paying 40 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) for energy but its been reported that when the new tariff structure gets implemented, heavy users would pay as much as R1,50 per kWh during peak periods. The recent price penalty shock comes after Eskom got the go ahead by government to raise its tariffs by 14, 2 percent this year.

“Cosatu still feels that the bulk of the cost of the crisis should be borne by the business sector because they are by far the biggest users of electricity,” says Craven.

He goes on to say that they are not saying households don’t have a role to play, as he thinks it will be unrealistic to expect householders (who use very small amounts of electricity anyway) to make major savings.

Electricity levy announced by the Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel will also be accepted by consumers to raise funds for Eskom's expansion programme.

Dutch run Two Oceans Marathon for Mitchells Plain schools

By Rhodé Marshall
17 March 2008

A group from the Netherlands are putting on their running shoes in a bid to raise funds for two primary schools in Mitchells Plain. The tourists of approximately 30 people are to take part in the Two Oceans Marathon on Saturday.

The fundraiser is a project by Run4Schools (R4S) which is a Dutch foundation that has taken Alpine Primary and Northwood Primary under its wings. The foundation assists the schools with finances for their after school sports programmes.

“The group is based on volunteers, people from all walks of life. What they are doing is looking at ways to raise funds for the schools, so that we can buy equipment and support the schools,” says R4S Co-ordinator Alicia Campbell.

She says they direct their sports days as a tool for social upliftment for communities such as Mitchells Plain and that some of the Dutch taking part in the race are not athletes.

“The initiative is absolutely brilliant for people (the Dutch) who don’t know us at all, that have no idea of what happens in the communities of Mitchells Plain, Cape Town or South Africa,” says Campbell.

Elderly couple beaten to death

By Ilhaam Hoosain
17 March 2008

At noon yesterday, a family member visited the home of the elderly couple, but found them beaten to death in their Somerset West home.

“The family member found the sliding door open and phoned the police,” says polices’ André Trout.

“The police made the discovery of the body of Anita Joubert (age 75) in the main bedroom and her husband Stephanis (age 77) was found in the on suite,” says Trout.

He was still alive and admitted to a local hospital and died due to his head injuries.

The police believe the motive for the murder was a housebreak in, as household goods were piled up but not removed from the scene.

Any person with information is kindly requested to contact crime stop at 08600 10111

Shared Service Centre worth R100 million launched in Athlone

By Celeste Ganga
17 March 2008

On Monday Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works Marius Fransman launched the construction of a R100 million Shared Service Centre in Athlone.

According to a statement by the Department, the Centre is set to mark the beginning of a new era on how government uses infrastructure development to benefit poor communities beyond just the creation of job opportunities.

“The Centre will be a one-stop facility for application of operating licences for buses, taxis etc. More importantly, for the first time in the history of government construction, labour and material supplies will be sourced from six communities within the 5km radius of the building,” says the Departments’ Eric Ntabazalila.

He adds that unemployed people from Langa, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel, Silvertown, Heideveld and Mannenberg will get first preference in employment and earn more than R19 million in salaries and wages over the next 15 months.

“Material supplies will also be sourced within the 5km radius targeting mainly small businesses in the various areas,” says Ntabazalila.

The construction site is situated next to Vangate Mall.

Lotz Family summons Fred van der Vyver

By Henry Booysen
17 March 2008

Jaunita and Jan Lotz, parents to the murdered Inge Lotz whose body was found in her flat in Stellenbosch is suing Fred van der Vyver for civil damages caused as a consequence of van der Vyver’s alleged killing of their daughter.

On Friday 14th march the summons was served to van der Vyver by the Sherrif of the court.

“The criminal trial may be over, but the law has not finished with Fred van der Vyver. The Lotz family believes there is sufficient credible factual evidence to establish that he was murdered,” says spokesperson of the Lots family Dani Cohen.

Fred van der Vyver is being sued for R4 million -by Prof. and Mrs. Lotz on the grounds of causing severe shock and psychological injury.

Mitchells Plain raids supported

By Henry Booysen
17 March 2008

Western Cape MEC for Safety and Security Leonard Ramatlakane has supported the drug raids that took place at the Mitchells Plain town centre last week.

At the centre 13 people were arrested for suspicion of being illegal immigrants while another nine were arrested for being in possession of drugs.

MEC for Safety and Security in the Western Cape Leonard Ramatlakane said that the operation was not from an instruction but rather the police who have gathered and received intelligence about illegal activities taking place at the Mitchells Plain town centre.

“The business people stated it publicly that the situation cannot continue any longer with the illegal trading in stolen goods drug dealers using unregulated traders to sell drugs from their stalls,” says Ramatlakane.

During the raids police seized tik, cocaine, mandrax and dagga as well as a large consignment of stolen goods. Many outlets within the centre have been closed down due to the suspicion of trading stolen goods.

The MEC has praised the communities and businesses for working with the police to make the operation a success.
After the operation took place, reports of police brutality had surfaced and the MEC said that his department regrets the alleged accusations and does not encourage such actions.

Demand for credit stays high despite success of Credit Act

By Celeste Ganga
17 March 2008

With an increase in the interest rate and the increase of retail goods, new credit applicants may find themselves financially unfit to qualify for credit. Since the implementation of the National Credit Act those who apply for credit are thoroughly screened for credit worthiness. Despite this, the demand for credit is still high.

“Since the new Credit Act, first time credit applicants have more obstacles to cross in lieu of the requirements needed to qualify for credit, and yet, almost forty percent of credit applications to the companies we work with are submitted by credit cadets per month,” says Simon Trupp of PIC Solutions – a credit and risk management company for the retail industry.

He adds that retail trades are an important indication of the demand for credit and this is likely to transfer into inflation. Unfortunately it’s expected that consumers will be heavily affected by the recent power shortages, petrol and interest hikes and may resort to their credit cards as a short term solution.

“In a world where plastic is the main means of payment, retail and credit cards have the advantage of offering consumers convenience. However it’s been the case that consumers use their credit cards to spend money that they don’t have resulting in chronic debt,” says Trupp.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Boat capsizes at Kommetjie

By Celeste Ganga
16 March 2008

On Saturday the National Sea Rescue Institutes Kommetjie branch was activated following a report to the Table Mountain National Parks of a 3.5 meter snoek boat that capsized 800 meters off-shore of the Kommetjie slip way.

“Initial reports suggested that there were six people involved in the accident of which two were reportedly missing in 50 knot South Easterly winds and 2.5 meter swells,” says NSRI helicopter duty commander, Ian Klopper.

Klopper adds that on arrival on scene, a private boat was in the process of launching, this boat rescued all the crewmen. The boat brought all those on the snoek boat to shore where two of them were treated for hypothermia and one for a suspected heart condition.

The capsized boat appears to have sunk.

New tobacco legislation needs proper consultation- Tobacco Institute of SA

By Celeste Ganga
16 March 2008

The Tobacco Institute of South Africa has been quoted on numerous occasions saying that they don’t have any problems with the new tobacco regulations. They do however disagree with the hastiness of the Health Department to implement the Tobacco Control Amendment Bill.

“The latest effort by the department to rush a Bill which is controversial and will have far reaching implications with other stakeholders, we do have a problem with,” says Francois van der Merwe, Chairman and CEO of the Tobacco Institute of South Africa.

He adds that they (the Tobacco Institute) are doing everything in their power to get the decision turned around. “There needs to be a proper process, this Bill needs to be referred back to the Department for them to engage with the industry to iron out the contentious issues and bring it back to Parliament,” says van der Merwe.

According to van der Merwe, if the above mentioned is not done- a mockery will be made of the country’s democracy and the Health Portfolio Committee in Parliament’s time would be wasted.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shack fire leaves 28 people destitute

By Celeste Ganga
15 March 2008

On Friday night 16 shacks were destroyed by fire in Browns Farm informal settlement, Philippi.

“The fire left 28 people displaced. Relief is provided with HCI, and the City's Housing Department has issued out starter kits to the families that have been in displaced, “says Disaster Risk Management’s Charlotte Powell.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Free eye testing to speed up driving licence applications

By Celeste Ganga
15 March 2008

The City of Cape Town traffic services has moved swiftly to implement an initiative by the National Department of Transport that will provide free eye testing to applicants for driving licences.

A statement released by the City says that after having an eye test at any optometrist, the applicant (provided that their vision meets the requirements of the National Road Traffic Act) will have his/her results noted on an official document-known as the “Purple Form” which is then handed in along with the licence application form, at the driving licence testing centre.

Driving licences can now be renewed at the new Ottery Driving Licence Testing Centre. It’s situated on the corner of Old Ottery and New Strandfontein Roads.

The Centre is open Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:30 and on Saturdays from 08:00 to 11:00. For more information contact the Centre on 021 710 8303

Police close Cape Taxi Rank

By Henry Booysen
15 March 2008

Police have closed a taxi rank in Gugulethu yesterday after two taxi drivers were assaulted at the rank causing a tense situation.

The situation which occurred at the Eyona Taxi rank has not been made know yet.

The chairperson of the Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association has confirmed that a meeting was scheduled with members of the taxi rank, but did not want to divulge any information.

He elaborated that the taxi drivers who were assaulted were unhappy because the closing of the rank meant their colleagues could not operate.

Police spokesperson Bernadine Steyn says no charges have yet been laid.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Proteas No 1 in ODI rankings

By Ilhaam Hoosain
14 March 2008

Dhaka - South Africa are at the top of the log in the ODI rankings after surpassing Australia, by beating Bangladesh 3-0 in the One Day International series on Friday.

In Captain Graeme Smith 94 balls he hit three fours and three sixes to get 68, surpassing 5 000 runs in one-dayers after reaching the same mark during the South Africans' 2-0 win in the preceding two-Test series this is according to a daily newspaper.

Smith, who reached his 36th half-century and ended off the match with a huge six.

Bangladesh who have suffered their 14th one-day international defeat in a row, with their last win being against South Africa in a World Cup super eight match last year.

Bangladesh final score was 143 all out, after 42.5 overs.

South Africa made 147, with only three wickets taken in 34.2 overs.

South Africa head to India next for a three-Test series starting on 26th March and Bangladesh will host Ireland for a one-day series.

City contractor nailed for cable theft

By Rhodé Marshall
14 March 2008

Cape Town’s cable theft task team better known as the Copperheads have caught an electrical contractor, employed by the City of Cape Town stealing copper cables early Friday morning.

Head of the Copperheads, Pieter van Dalen says the task team received a tip-off that copper cables were being stripped in Gumtree Way, Steenberg.

“Upon their arrival the team found seven people in the act of stripping brand new copper cabling. One of the cable drum(s) worth about R100 000 had already been stripped while the other half was still intact.

“We were shocked to discover that the perpetrators included an electrical contractor employed by the city and six of his employees,” says van Dalen.

The seven men were arrested on the spot for theft and for being in possession of stolen property. All City property found in the possession of the contractor was confiscated and will now be used as evidence in the pending court case.

Any suspicious activity involving the theft of cables can be reported by calling the toll free Cable Theft hot line on 0800 222 771.

Parliament debates strategies to end global poverty

By Henry Booysen
14 March 2008

Members of Parliament are debating different ways to empower women with skills and education in order to eradicate poverty.

This falls in line with the 118th Inter-Parliamentary Union which is to be held in April. At the Union, Millenium Development Goals (MDG) of eradicating extreme hunger and poverty will be tried to be achieved by 2015.

Issues such as the illiteracy were discussed by members of parliament and concerns that were raised was that illiteracy does not only have negative effects on and individual alone but on families and society.

“This debate will form part of the MDG as it is everyone’s problem to put an to end global poverty and similar issues in society,” says Vuyelwa Qinka-Vika from Parliament South Africa.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union which will be hosted by South Africa will take place form the 10th – 18th April 2008 and the theme will be Pushing back the frontiers of poverty.

Five in court for stolen statues

By Ilhaam Hoosain
14 March 2008

In the Athlone magistrate's court five men have appeared on charges of theft, a week after the disappearance of the life-size bronze statues of struggle heroes Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch.

According to a daily newspaper one of the five accused, Moegamat Ely, handed himself over to the police on Wednesday after being sought for several days by, after they questioned 10 suspects following the theft.

Hendrik Simon, Sedick Clarke, Alfonso Langeveldt and Yusuf Moses and Ely were neighbours from Oleander Street in Bonteheuwel.

The five were remanded until their next court appearance on March 20 when they are expected to apply for bail.

Pieter van Dalen claims that the people who steal copper are working for a syndicate and says that the syndicate king pin rents out horse carts and old bakkies. The horse carts are loaned for R100 a day and the bakkies for R250.

“People don’t have jobs and they are tik addicts, and they take the car in the day and they know they have to pay that money, so they need to steal something or get scrap to pay that vehicle at the end of the day. I think it was a combination of monetary motivation and then the drug issue,” explains van Dalen.

Who was Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch?

Umkhonto we Sizwe "Spear of the Nation," was the active military wing of the African National Congress in co-operation with the South African Communist Party in their fight against the South African apartheid government.

Subsequently classified as a terrorist organisation by the South African government and media, Umkhonto we Sizwe was banned.

Shirley Gunn from the Human Rights Media Centre says Williams and Waterwitch were part of the milatary group.

“The night that they fell, that was Robbie’s first operation and Coline had a few under her belt. She was Robbie’s commander and it’s still a little bit of a mystery as to how the device detonated and they died. The bottom line is that they died in the line of duty,” says Gunn.

Gunn explains how the events unfolded

“They convened in a park, (and) met their immediate commander, they were prepared and ready. And the next thing we heard over the radio was that they died next to the toilets.”

Toll free number provided for queries or reports

Van dalen says members of the community can call 0800 222 771 to report cable theft in their area.

Vandalism continues in Cape Flats schools

By Rhodé Marshall
14 March 2008

Vandalism in schools has become quite a profound and increasing problem which is haunting schools on the Cape Flats. Just on Monday Beacon Hill Secondary in Mitchells Plain was once again targeted by a group in the area.

“Perpetrators were caught after consecutive break-ins, we were lucky to catch the two in one of the labs and they were in possession of a ‘tik-lolly’ and what they call a dagga pyp. On that occasion we were lucky, we got the cops in and they got locked up,” says school Principal Gordon Prins.

He says the unfortunate part of the story is that one of the vandals was a grade 8 student from the school. Vandals entered the Home Economics class through the ceiling and took out the geyser leaving the classroom flooded with water.

At Spine View Primary in Rocklands – Principal Ehon Terrblanche says that his school is targeted by vandals in the area at night, over weekends and during the school holidays.

“I’ve been asking the Western Cape Education Department to secure safety measures at the school in particular providing securities, but the response that I get from the department is that there is no money available for extra personal to do that kind of work,” Terrblanche.

When questioned on the concerns principals have at schools like Spine View Primary and Beacon Hill Secondary, about having to deal with vandalism on their own without assistance from the Department - the Western Cape MEC for Education Cameron Dugmore differed with the unfortunate experiences the principals’ encounter.

“We provide with the Department of Community Safety the Bambanani safety volunteers, but also our schools in all of these communities are assisted with alarm systems and armed response facilities in the high risk schools. Those funds are provided by the department itself in the schools that find themselves in a high risk situation” says Dugmore.

Naptosa disappointed in levels of violence in SA schools

By Henry Booysen
14 March 2008

The National Professional Teachers Organisation has expressed its disappointment in the escalating levels of violence in South African schools.

This follows after an investigation done by the Human Rights Commission indicated that the violence in South African schools are spiralling out of control.

The President of NAPTOSA Dave Balt said that it has come to that time where everyone needs to work together in order to correct those things that can be corrected.

“NAPTOSA believe strongly the fact that we believe that parents, the community, the school governing body, teachers and learners must combine and try to correct this tragic situation,” said Balt.

The organisation has thanked the Human Rights Commission for their findings in the investigation and supports the recommendations that will be followed.

“We welcome the findings as it really highlights the serious conditions in our schools at the moment,” he said.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Harris might be permanent member for ODI squad

By Ilhaam Hoosain
13 March 2008

Paul Harris has staked a strong claim to become a permanent member of South Africa’s Standard Bank ODI squad.

The team is starting to focus on the ICC Champions Trophy scheduled for Pakistan in September and the next ICC World Cup, also scheduled for the sub-continent in 2011.

One of several positives that the Proteas can take out of their successful ODI campaign against Bangladesh is Harris’ debut in this form of the game.

“There is no doubt that Harry is one of the most under-rated spin bowlers in world cricket,” commented national coach Mickey Arthur.

“If one accepts that Murali is in reality a wrist spinner, then Harry is as good as any finger spinner in world cricket,” he added.

He goes on to say that the Bangladesh batsmen have been stunned to see just how good he is.

South Africa’s policy of playing two specialist spin bowlers have taken pressure off Graeme Smith. He does not have to worry about the bowlers getting through their overs in the fixed time with the threat of a suspension hanging over the captain’s head.

‘Water Week’ activities in March

By Rhodé Marshall
13 March 2008

The City of Cape Town says that the month of March is going to be devoted to events and activities, in celebration of Water Week. National Water Week is to commence March 17 - 23 under the theme “Water, sustaining life, enabling growth”.

Director for Water and Sanitation, Sipho Mosai says that Water Month provides the city with an opportunity to highlight its commitment to improve services and reduce water losses.

“We want to provide Cape Town residents with the opportunity to learn more about water and energy saving devices and innovations,” says Mosai.

Mosai says from March 17 – 20, awareness and education presentations on how to use water efficiently will held in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu and Langa.

“Car wash facilities and hairdressing salons will be visited and water saving equipment will be distributed. A holiday club event for 400 learners from Mitchells Plain schools will be held from March 25 – 28 to complete the month,” he said.

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