Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mbeki turned down a billion to help fight crime

By Yamkela Xhaso
31 May

The South African government under then president Thabo Mbeki rejected an offer of one billion rands billion from a leading South African businessman to help fight serious crime.

The same offer, to pour money into helicopters, computers and hi-tech equipment, is to be made to President Jacob Zuma, who has spoken out strongly on the need to fight crime.

The ex offer to Mbeki and now to Zuma comes from one of South Africa's most successful tycoons, Douw Steyn.

He has revealed to a leading newspaper that Mbeki refused his offer, saying South Africa did not have a problem with crime.

Scientist had no other choice but to euthanise whales

By Yamkela Xhaso
31 May

Scientists and Cape Town officials had to make the difficult decision to put down 52 of the 55 whales that stranded themselves at Kommetjie on the southern Cape Peninsula coast yesterday.

Nearly a thousand volunteers flocked to the beach and at times the situation became hectic.

At least one woman was injured when she was pinned between a whale and the rocks.

Everything possible was done to save the animals but eventually the decision had to be taken to put them down.

There were several young whales among the group.

The animals would turn back to the shore as fast as they were returned to the water.

Some of them died in the process and the rest became so exhausted they could not swim. Scientists will study the carcasses to try and find out the cause of the disaster.

City to build 1 200 houses in Wallacedene

By Yamkela Xhaso
31 May

Over the coming months, a total of 1 177 low cost houses are to be built as part of a City of Cape Town project at Wallacedene, near Kraaifontein.

This follows the final transfer of funds from the Western Cape Provincial Administration and the completion of approvals by the National Housing Building Regulations Council.

Herman Steyn from the City of Cape Town said the houses will “have two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room”.

Klaus Jonker has been reported missing

By Yamkela Xhaso
31 May

Klaus Jonker has been reported missing. Klaus is a 48 year old man who last seen at the Stellenbosch De Speel Wine Estate yesterday afternoon.

Dezzie Rechner from the Pink Ladies Organisation said his blue Toyota Yaris which he hired is missing. The numbers of car are XCG 291 EC and he is believed to be around the Eerste Rivier area.

“Any body in that area and its surroundings, please lookout for that car”

Anyone who has information about his whereabouts can contact Constable Cherrie Williams on 082 5126 880 or 021 809 5015.

ANC concerned about Western Cape

By Yamkela Xhaso
31 May

The national executive committee of the African National Congress is worried about its branches in the Western Cape and North West.

After the NEC’s two-monthly meeting, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said a team would visit these two provinces and the Eastern Cape before the end of July.

He added that it will make appropriate recommendations” to the next NEC meeting.

The party also wants to strengthen its relationship with the media in an attempt to turn what it views as the “hostile stance” of the media to a healthy critical one.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pilot whales stranded at Kommetjie

By Yamkela Xhaso
30 May

The National Sea Rescue says fifty-five Pilot whales have beached at Kommetjie and more are still coming.

Spokesperson Craig Lambinon says efforts are underway to get them out to sea as well as to find out what caused the mass stranding.

Lambinon says volunteers from four NSRI stations and marine scientists are on the scene.

Lambinon says the whales started coming onto land this morning and are being kept alive with water.

Captain van Wyk has urged people to stay away from the place for their safety.

Police arrest Phillipi armed robbery suspects

By Yamkela Xhaso
30 May

Cape Town police have arrested four suspected robbers and recovered six cash boxes during a robbery at a food store in Stock Road, Phillippi East.

Security guards were about to make a cash pick-up at the store, when six armed men overpowered and robbed them.

The suspects fled with the cash-boxes in a silver Ford Ranger which was later found abandoned.

The robbers then hijacked another vehicle and police gave chase. A shoot-out ensued and the suspects fled on foot between the informal houses.

Police followed up information and managed to trace four of the suspect to a house where they managed to change vehicles again. Police managed to apprehend the suspects on the N2 near Borches Quarry in Nyanga.

Captain Frederick Van Wyk says the arrested suspects will appear in the Phillipi Magistrates Court on Monday.

“The suspects face charges of Attempted Murder, Armed Robbery, Hijacking and Possession of unlicensed firearms”

Eskom to shut down unit Koeberg Unit One

By Yamkela Xhaso
30 May

Unit One at Eskom’s Koeberg Power Station will be shut down early today for maintenance.

The utility says the unit will be unavailable to generate electricity for a minimum of three weeks.

Eskom says it is confident that the supply of electricity to the Western Cape and South Africa in general will not be affected by the shut down.

Eskom says the power loss will be taken up by other power stations. It is for the second time the Unit One at Koeberg has been shut down this year.

Good and bad for motorist

By Mandisi Tyulu
30 May 2009

The Energy Department says the price of petrol will rise by 16-cents a litre on Wednesday.

But the diesel price will drop by between 12-point-nine and 13-point-nine-cents, depending on the sulphur content.

Illuminating paraffin will also drop by nine-cents a litre.

Spokesperson Bheki Khumalo says the drop in the diesel price is a result of the global financial crisis because the demand for diesel is low in Europe.

Chairman of the African Union Commission celebrates Africa day in SA

By Cindy Witten
30 May 2009

Yesterday International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoane Mashabane met with the chairman of the African Union Commission Mr Jean Ping at the Esellen Park in Kempton Park.

Ping said that he was delighted to he South Africa, adding that it was an offer to be in the country to celebrate Africa day. Ping says that it was the first time they had met and that they spoke about issues facing Africa.

“We had a fruitful exchange of views on all the problems here on the continent,” said Ping.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Zille declares her respect for Zuma

By Cindy Witten
29 May 2009

It has been reported that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has declared her respect for Jacob Zuma’s position as President.

Going against the will of the African National Congress, Zille opened the Western Cape legislature this morning. Zille, who attended a three-day national Cabinet lekgotla in Pretoria this week, said she had been encouraged by the amiable and professional working relationship displayed. She added that she leant a great deal.

Zille says she got the sense that Zuma was sincere when he invited South Africans to participate in democratic debate to air their respective views.

Male suspect arrested for illegal fire arm

By Mandisi Tyulu
29 May 2009

During the early hours of the morning the police received information about an unlicensed firearm at a house in Greenpoint, Khayelitsha.

Captain Anneke van der Vyver says they searched the premises and found an Uzi Handgun with magazine. Police established that the firearm was reported as stolen in November 2005 in Bothasig.

A 23 year old suspect was arrested for the possession on an unlicensed firearm.

The suspect is currently in police detention and will appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court on Monday on possession of unlicensed firearm charges.

2010 Soccer World Cup individual tickets not available

By Sasha Forbes
29 May 2009

Due to the incredible demand for individual match tickets. It is no longer possible within the current sales phase to purchase match tickets for games taking place in Cape Town, Nelspruit and Tshwane.

Individual match tickets for the Opening Match, the two Semi-Finals, and the Final are also currently unavailable. However, it is possible to acquire a ticket for the Opening Match, a Semi-Final and the Final by purchasing a Team Specific Ticket Series – 7.

FIFA’s Delia Fischer said that this is fixed; which means that if the team of your choice is eliminated from the competition, you will follow the victor all the way to the Final Match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

“This means if you apply for Bafana Bafana and they lose in the quarter finals, then you follow the winner of the quarter final match. Then from the quarter final to the semi-final and then to the final,” said Fischer





FRIDAY 29 MAY 2009 - 11H00

Honourable Speaker
Cabinet colleagues
Leader of the Opposition
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Leaders of political parties
Honourable Members
Leaders of local government
Director-General and Heads of Department
Religious leaders
Community leaders
Colleagues and friends
Citizens of the Western Cape

Welcome to the opening of the fourth democratically elected Western Cape Provincial Parliament.

I am mindful of the context in which I stand here today. We have a public mandate following a change of government in an election. The very fact that a government has changed hands peacefully through the ballot box is excellent news for South Africa. It means we are in the process of consolidating democracy, which requires not only the holding of regular elections, but also the ability of citizens to change their government through their vote. Too many emerging democracies have faltered at this crucial pass. Our recent election is a cause of optimism that we will not join the ranks of failed transitions.

On this side of the House, Speaker, we recognise that our province remains deeply divided, and we are profoundly aware of our responsibilities in this context. All of us, on both sides of this House, should be. This government remains committed to our election promise of one nation, with one future, but this should never imply a one-party state. I will do my very best to be a Premier for all the people.

By the same token, Jacob Zuma is the President of all South Africans. Every one of us here, in the government and in the opposition, acknowledges his position with respect. I repeat my commitment to abide by the principles of co-operative governance, as required by the constitution.

In this connection, some questions have been raised about why we are opening the Provincial Parliament today, ahead of the State of the Nation address next week.

The answer is simple: this date was set a while back to fit the timetable originally submitted to the Provincial Parliament by the National Parliament, which scheduled the President's State of the Nation address for 22 May. Our sitting was then scheduled for today, 29 May. Even then, there were concerns that this was cutting things fine because the budget must be passed by the end of June. Before that, it must go through the various portfolio committees so that we can align it with the priority objectives of this new government. When the national Parliament postponed the State of the Nation address by almost two weeks, it created a very difficult scheduling situation for the Province. If our sitting today had been postponed, it would have left only two weeks to get through all the work of the portfolio committees. This was insufficient for the task required. So the Provincial Parliament stuck to the original schedule. It is as simple as that. I have personally explained this situation to President Zuma and he understands the pressing work schedule involved. It is now time to move beyond the endless debates on style and symbolism, and get down to disciplined deadline-driven work. There is no public fanfare associated with this sitting. There is too much work to do. When we start getting the substance right, some of the symbolism can follow.

The description of the speech given at the opening of a Parliamentary sitting as the “State of the Province” address is a relatively recent development, and I think a misnomer. I want to use this opportunity to look forward to the enormous challenges we face. We have been in government for just over three weeks now, and we are in the process of doing a comprehensive situation analysis in each department, as the basis on which to build our detailed work programme going forward. This will unfold as work-in-progress over the next six months.

I have also just returned from a three-day national Cabinet Lekgotla, which was a new and interesting experience. I learnt a great deal, and I was in fact encouraged by the congenial and professional working relationship. I expressed some distinct differences of opinion on key issues, and I got the sense that the President had meant what he said in his inauguration speech when he invited South Africans to participate in democratic debate and air different views.

The tone at the Lekgotla stood in stark contrast to the ongoing slander emanating from the ANCYL and the MKMVA. I notice that the honourable Skwatsha and Ozinsky are getting the same treatment. According to these two organizations, the DA committed the cardinal sin of winning; while the ANC committed the cardinal sin of losing.

Just a week prior to the national Lekgotla, we had held our provincial Lekgotla. It is for the President to translate the themes of the national Lekgotla into his State of the Nation address next week. It is good to know that some of the main themes of the provincial Lekgotla will fit well into the emerging national framework. There are obviously some key differences in strategy, but in my view these are compatible within the framework of co-operative governance.

At our provincial Lekgotla last week, we resolved to align our work to our overriding objective of combating poverty and promoting opportunities for all, through policies that encourage sustained economic growth; that attract, develop and retain skills and capital; and that drive infrastructure development.

Every other key policy and strategy must be tested against this objective.

We believe the state has a crucial role to play in socio-economic
development. We are not free market fundamentalists. By the same token we do not believe that a state, with limited capacity, should over-reach itself.

If you analyse each of this provincial government's ten departments, it will be clear that if we just do our basic jobs properly, without any corruption; if we develop a functional public transport system; if we enable people live in a safer environment; if we deliver decent accessible health care; ensure that many more of our learners can read, write and calculate at the required level and are equipped with values-based life skills; if we provide increasing numbers of housing opportunities, and produce enough food -- taken together these things will make an enormous progressive difference, step by step, in the lives of many people during our five year term. And we will create a climate of public confidence, which is the catalyst for economic growth. The challenge is to keep going in the right direction.

But we must be honest with ourselves: Just getting more of the basics right will be an enormous challenge in the current economic climate, which is now officially a recession. We must resolve to turn this crisis into an opportunity and change the way we do things.

We will better achieve most things in partnerships with other key stakeholders, than we can alone.

The key to growth and development is identifying which roles are best fulfilled by the state, and which should be left to the private sector and civil society in its myriad manifestations, from universities to NGOs. Our job is to create synergies.

Partnerships are not confined to organizations, institutions and businesses. Every citizen must regard him or herself as an active partner in their own development and that of our country, using each opportunity to become the best they can be, and fulfill their social duties. This is how development happens. The constitution establishes the essential balance between rights and responsibilities upfront, even before it gets to the Bill of Rights. We must not allow the constitutional imperative of individual responsibility to lapse by default. Apart from accepting our own responsibilities as a government, we will emphasise, in particular, the responsibilities of parents. Parental - and especially paternal - responsibility must become engrained in our national culture. Unless it does, our development as a society will remain a pipe-dream. This will be the underlying goal of our social development strategies and projects.

Another element of our constitution that we should not allow to erode through lack of use, is the set of powers envisaged for provincial Parliaments and governments.

Our constitution devolves significant powers to provinces. They are distinct spheres of government, that can develop their own policies, programmes, and projects -- and legislate for them -- within the national framework. Provinces are not merely administrative arms of the central government. The constitution is also clear that if provinces lack the capacity to fulfil their functions adequately, the national government is compelled to build their capacity to do so, not remove and centralize their functions.

The Western Cape provincial government has the capacity to fulfil its function and turn its electoral mandate into a legislative programme. We will do so within the constitution, and adhering to the principles of co-operative governance with other spheres at all times. Indeed the very concept of co-operative governance implies that provinces are governments and not merely administrative arms of the central state.

This does not mean that we wish to be separate from the rest of the country, nor that we want to secede, nor that we hark back to a discriminatory past. On the contrary. It means that we are at the leading edge of democracy and that we are giving life to the significant federal components within our constitution, in the interests of all South Africans.

During a conversation with President Zuma yesterday, I asked him to regard the Western Cape as an opportunity, and not as a threat. I told him that we would always act in good faith and in the interests of all our people when we propose alternative approaches to solve some of our country's most pressing problems. I said that we need the space to implement them. No single party has the monopoly on wisdom and solutions. It is in everyone’s interests to establish which policy interventions work. This applies particularly to the raft of policy proposals to increase jobs for unskilled workers in the short term -- while undertaking the long and arduous task of improving education and increasing our skills base so that we can take our place within the global knowledge economy.

We need to show that investment friendly policies offer real and better opportunities for the unemployed. The poor already know this. That is why they are moving here in such significant numbers. In the City of Cape Town over the past three years, we focused our attention on "infrastructure led economic growth" a policy that has helped to attract R43 billion of investment into the metro region. The infrastructure and built environment programmes implemented have proved to be a lifeline during this recession. It makes sense to continue the thrust, at a provincial level, towards “infrastructure-led economic growth”. We could do so much more if we are given the space to free ourselves from cumbersome legislation and excessive regulation and to implement policies such as Special Economic Zones (or what we call Job Zones) and to give first time workers the chance they need to become economically productive. Investors are not enemies of the poor. And a growing middle class is essential to provide the resources, the capital and skills to fight poverty. In fact, this is what most middle class Capetonians want. They realize we are in this ship called South Africa together, and if it goes down, we all go down with it.

That is why it was so disappointing to learn that a resource, central to addressing many of our crises, was removed from the province on the day before the election. I am referring to the transfer of over 1000 hectares of Public Works land to the newly established National Housing Development Agency on 21 April. We regard this as a cynical move that treats public resources as party political tools. The loss of this land severely limits our delivery options, especially in housing. It was our plan to grant the City of Cape Town housing accreditation, together with land, because the City is by far the most efficient housing delivery agency.

We are all too aware of what happened to Thubelisha Homes, the national government's housing company, which gained access to the City's prime housing land for the N2 Gateway project and went bankrupt in the course of its stalled delivery programme. It is essential that we do not compound this failure. We are at risk of doing so, having been stripped of the land that would have enabled us to choose an alternative course. Much of the transferred land is now also earmarked for the N2 Gateway Project, with its poor track record.

In addition to this, we are investigating attempts to transfer a further 400 hectares of prime housing land shortly before the election. This land, which is former Housing Board land, should have been transferred to the City of Cape Town in terms of the National Housing Act (1997). Instead the Province allegedly sought to make it available to the National Housing Development agency as well. The Minister of Housing, Bonginkosi Madikizela, will brief the media on Monday, when he has collated all the details. While the ANC ran the Province, it always denied the City access to this land - which the municipality needed for many purposes including flood relief. It is essential for a provincial government to have access to a resource so crucial to delivery. We are still establishing exactly what has occurred and what remedies are available.

Speaker, as we begin the work of implementing our policies across the Province, our departments will, in the weeks ahead, unpack the details of their respective priorities and short term projects. I am sceptical of gimmicks, such as 100-day deliverables, especially if they distract attention from the longer term systemic improvements that are so urgently required, but that only produce results over time.

Today I will briefly outline some of the key priorities that we have identified for each department.

We must start by ensuring that all departments function according to international best practice in respect of financial and human resource management.

Our first analysis of the Provincial Government’s finances, assets and spending patterns has convinced us that we are not taking over a thriving enterprise.

Poor financial management across various departments has seriously undermined their capacity to deliver on their core mandates.

Earlier this year, in her State of the Province Speech, former Premier Brown stated that new hospitals were to be constructed in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, scheduled for completion by 2012. Now we have found that there is only money for one hospital. The former administration prioritized Khayelitsha.

In the Department of Transport and Public Works, there is a looming shortfall of R100 million for bus subsidies.

And our contingency reserves are insufficient to deal with emergencies or disasters.

We have found, in many cases, that departments have not been using public resources to maximum public benefit. Last year’s Erasmus Commission is but one example. Hundreds of millions have been spent on jamborees, marketing strategies and a host of consultants whose added value is not immediately apparent.

The budget that we will fine-tune in the weeks ahead, cuts R426 million of this kind of ‘fat’ from the Medium Term Expenditure Framework across all departments, and we must still trim a lot more.

Several departments are in deep financial trouble as a result of past practices, and do not have funds to fill staff vacancies at the delivery-end of government, like nurses and teachers. All of this has been concealed by the secrecy applied to tender processes, and often shockingly weak controls on spending.

To address these problems, we intend to bring in a new regime of tighter financial controls, and open all tender processes to the media and public as far as possible. At the very least we intend to make it compulsory that all information on successful bids be made available on the websites of all departments and provincial entities, or preferably on a central provincial website within the Cape Gateway portal. This must include the contract number and description; name(s) of the successful bidder(s), the contract price(s), brands, delivery basis and where applicable, preferences claimed. However, I would like to see the actual committees opened up as well, wherever legally possible. This is what we did in Cape Town and it worked very well to combat corruption, and reduce the number of time consuming appeals against tender decisions.

In addition to these reforms, we will also carry out audits of suspect tenders, suspect leases, financial inefficiency and misuse of discretionary spending. Provincial Treasury has already launched an investigation, in co-operation with the Auditor General, into questionable financial practices within the Departments of Local Government and Housing, and Transport and Public Works, particularly around the hiring of consultants. Of approximately R380 million spent on consultants by the Provincial Government in 2008/09, nearly R200 million has been spent in these two departments.

The audit will, amongst other things, include a review of tender processes and compliance with legislation, weigh up possible conflict of interest between consultants and the department, offer training and transfer of skills around financial management, implement tighter performance management and closer monitoring of value for money.

I have urged the Ministers to look for similar problem areas in their departments and, where appropriate, execute audits and financial reforms. If necessary, we will bring in external auditors to assist, as the City of Cape Town did three years ago. That exercise resulted in the sequestration of several senior officials, including the former City Manager, and a number of criminal cases. It also resulted in significant improvements. The City’s Supply Chain Management Department became the first in South African local government to qualify for recognition in terms of the rigorous ISO 9001 international quality management standards -- and the time taken to finalise tenders was halved.

We intend to bring clean governance to this administration, and make sure that taxpayers are getting value for money. We will ensure that assets and property are managed in the public, and not the party interest. Our goal in the medium term is to raise the entire provincial government (including its entities, and municipalities) to at least level 4 out of 6 on the National Treasury/Auditor-General financial capability measure of financial governance (a ‘good’ rating). This shows just how weak the present system is.

The financial difficulties facing this administration are exacerbated by the fact that our revenue base, together with that of National and Local Government, is shrinking with the contracting economy. National government has had to reduce our share of the national funding allocation by R684 million over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, and our asset financing has been reduced by a further R222 million for the period. This means we will have to do much more with nearly R900 million less over the next three years.

Speaker, the second key area that we need to address across the entire Provincial Administration, is to ensure our staff management systems work properly. This has become a top-heavy organization, with too many administrators, and not enough staff delivering services. We are seeking expert advice to assess whether our staffing structure is designed to achieve our functions.

I note that there have been efforts in recent years to improve performance management. We will step this up, starting with the basics, like time and attendance registers, which currently are not being implemented consistently (if at all). We will also overhaul management systems.

We are already in the process of introducing a provincial version of the same IT-based ‘dashboard’ management system that has proven to be such a valuable tool in the City of Cape Town. This will monitor the performance of each Minister, Department head, and manager. It provides high level data that measures outputs against clear targets, and allows managers to drill down for more detail against each performance indicator on every project.

It is critical that we have proper data to monitor our performance accurately, without media spin. Otherwise we cannot assess where we are falling short, or rectify problems early. We have to be honest with ourselves about what we are really achieving.

In analyzing former State of the Province speeches we found several examples of impressive sounding statistics, which on closer analysis turned out to be less than accurate.

In a recent speech, the figures for housing delivery, for example, describe a housing budget which grew from about R500 million to over R1 billion in four years delivering 45 114 houses, 53 877 serviced sites, and 37 334 “emergency accommodations”. At national level, these figures were then added together and announced as over 100,000 housing opportunities for the province. But this was not so. Most of the 45 000 houses were built on the 53 000 serviced sites. That means about a total of around 12 000 real housing opportunities were delivered per year. And most of these were delivered by the City of Cape Town, which receives 70% of the Provincial housing budget, not the Provincial Government administration itself. If you produce spin statistics you only end up fooling yourself and falling short.

In reviewing our staff and performance management, we will therefore focus on getting functional information systems in place, getting the right people in the right places to do the job, and ensure that they are held accountable for delivery.

We also intend to foster professionalism in the public service. As we start an investigation into the prima facie evidence in the Erasmus Commission Report, we must re-emphasise the importance of officials respecting the distinction between the party and the state. Officials must implement the policies of the governing party, within the constitution and the law, without becoming embroiled in party political agendas.

Speaker, I will now turn to a brief survey of some of the priorities in the various departments of this administration.

In relation to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, we will be aligning our budgets with those of local governments, especially the City of Cape Town. And I will be asking our Minister and his Head of Department to engage with their national counterparts on the formula under which we receive our equitable share of national revenue, in particular to test whether that formula is in fact being worked out on the basis of sound information. We need national spending to address the developmental patterns in this country optimally, in the interests of all provinces.

In Economic Development we will focus on assisting and facilitating enterprise in the region, and ensure, as far as possible, that government helps and does not hinder investment. We aim to improve the global competitiveness of the Western Cape region by identifying and tackling constraints to investment, marketing the destination, cutting red tape, encouraging a fair business environment, and promoting the participation of citizens in the economy, particularly small and emerging enterprises. We already know, from the research done for the Micro Economic Development Strategy, what some of the key strategic growth areas for the region are: services for the oil and gas industry, tourism, information communication technology (ICT), business process outsourcing (BPO), call centres, human resource development, and small business development. There are other exciting possibilities in newly emerging fields such as Agri-processing, a field in which the Western Cape could emerge as a leading international player. We will continue, in the years ahead, to nurture these sectors by encouraging industrial clusters and providing appropriate infrastructure where possible. Some of our short term initiatives to further assist investment will include introducing a quarterly Western Cape pulse-taking and forecasting bulletin for investors and a user-friendly citizens’ guide to economic opportunities in top industries in the region. We will also get to work on resolving the current complications around the new provincial Liquor Act, and then implement it.

In terms of entities under the Department’s watch, we will review the efficacy of WESGRO and CTRU. To support entrepreneurial and business skills development, we will launch a pilot project for subsidized one year internships for 250 participants. We will be carrying out a similar project for tourism, in the form of an induction programme for 1000 participants, which will result in a short-list of 100 candidates for a comprehensive tourism business training course. And, to further encourage tourism in the Southern regions of the province, we will find innovative ways to get the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe (the last scheduled steam-train in the world) back on track. We will do so by involving business in investment for the train and other tourism related attractions in the area.

In terms of education, our focus must be on equipping our citizens with the skills they need so that more and more can compete in the global knowledge economy. This starts with literacy and numeracy. Reading, writing and calculating are the gateway skills for all others. Although we fare better than other provinces we have a long way to go to be international competitive.

Our key priorities in the medium to long term will therefore be, to develop and implement turn-around strategies for the 74 dysfunctional schools in this Province; to ensure quality instruction in literacy and numeracy at primary schools; to expand early childhood development so that more learners enter school with adequate cognitive and motor skills; to increase the number of learners in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM); to emphasise vocational skills training in the curriculum; to improve school infrastructure and resources, and, to strengthen school discipline and safety.

We want to see the 5 ‘T’s implemented in all of our schools: Time on task, dedicated and well prepared Teachers, good Textbooks for each subject, Technology for curriculum delivery, and the regular Testing of learners. And we want to develop an ethos of respect, courtesy, integrity, pride and discipline in each classroom. These are essential to learning.

In the Department of Health, there will be a focus on rationalizing the use of available resources to achieve maximum efficiency and make more funds available for our core services. Our current health services are buckling under demand, not only from residents of this province, but also from surrounding regions where health services are failing. This is especially challenging for the Western Cape because patients from other provinces often come here for expensive specialised services not available elsewhere. The national division of revenue is disadvantaging the Western Cape – 26% of the formula for national revenue allocation to provinces is based on patient numbers, but in the Western Cape, in the area of specialized services, 2% of patients take up around 20% of the funds.

This is of particular concern given that we currently have an R800 million maintenance backlog and need R5.8 billion to meet the demand for new infrastructure. The Mitchells Plain Hospital is one of many projects that is desperately needed, but is currently without allocated funding.

We will therefore increase the total budget allocation for infrastructure, and embark on a review of property use by the department in order to maximize efficiency. We must release any latent capital tied up in under-utilized fixed assets that can fund infrastructure development. We will also seek out public-private partnerships and joint ventures that will help meet demand. In the short term, there are a number of projects that we can drive, including the procurement of new ambulances, new helicopters, and new beds for patients. The Department will implement the new Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) for health workers in this province, in line with the OSD models accepted, as soon as we get a firm guarantee by the National Departments of Health, Public Service and Administration and National Treasury that the province will be reimbursed. Minister Botha will provide details of these and further initiatives in the weeks ahead.

Turning to Social Development, we will ensure that this Department is promoting access to opportunity for citizens through socio-economic support services. We intend to review the constitutional mandates guiding this Department, and measure the extent to which they are being implemented. We will also assess whether the approximately 1800 Non-Profit Organisations we are funding are adding sufficient sustainable value, and ensure that there is a functional system to monitor their performance. We must find ways to introduce the principles of social entrepreneurship rather than fostering dependence. There are some exciting new partnership prospects in this regard.

In the shorter term, we will inject R18 million into the budget to improve conditions of service for social workers, whose scarce skills are especially important for Early Childhood Development, victims of crime and violence, and assisting school pupils with emotional and learning problems.

In terms of addressing Substance Abuse, which currently falls under this department, we must bring all Provincial management and monitoring structures into line with the National Drug Master Plan (2006-2011), so that they can align properly with other spheres of government. Substance abuse is our most serious social problem in the Western Cape. An adequate response involves co-ordination between many departments. We will set up these mechanisms in the Department of the Premier to ensure that all our strategies are aligned to deal with this scourge.

This week saw a flare-up of vigilantism in response to drug dealing, and we can expect more of this kind of thing if we do not act decisively in this matter. Let us not end up, as we so often have in the past, applying police resources to pursue frustrated community members while the real criminals continue to ply their trade. We must work effectively within the law against criminals who are adept at covering their tracks. This can take inordinate amounts of time, as we found in our on-going eviction of drug dealers from Council housing in the City. The newly established dog unit, working in co-operation with the SAPS, the metro police, and neighbourhood watches, should enable us to make greater progress.

Apprehending drug dealers is one of a number of high priorities for the Department of Community Safety. Substance abuse, murder and crime in general, are serious disincentives to capital and skills, and directly ruin the lives of a growing number of our citizens. In terms of the Constitution, the Provincial Government has an oversight function in relation to the South African Police Service, although it is the National Commissioner who hires, fires and deploys the provincial SAPS leadership.

We have the function of monitoring the performance of the police, setting priorities for the region, and appointing commissions of enquiry into problem areas in policing, such as endemic corruption. We will first assess the situation properly before making any announcements. As we enter the first year of office, our priorities will include conducting research for evidence based policing policy and strategy, and strengthening co-ordination between the Metro Police and SAPS, especially around support for neighbourhood watches and substance abuse enforcement.

We will start work on these priorities by piloting a region-by-region safety barometer for communities, and carry out a full evaluation of strategies currently being implemented, including the Gang Framework Strategy. Following the previous example of the Multi-Party Government of Cape Town, we are also going to implement a strong civilian oversight programme for the SAPS to improve accountability of the police in the Western Cape’s main centres.

The Department of Community Safety is also responsible for traffic enforcement, together with municipalities. We are going to tighten up co-ordination of road safety initiatives with local governments, by, among others, implementing an integrated winter traffic enforcement plan. And to build staff capacity in the traffic services, we will establish a consolidated traffic training operation in the province.

In terms of housing, the biggest barrier is a shortage of suitable land. We will embark on an urgent land audit. Minister Madikizela has already met with the City of Cape Town to begin the process of transferring land to the City for flood relief and to insist with roll-over in situ upgrading of flooded settlements. In this spirit, we have also started the process of giving the City of Cape Town housing accreditation, up to level 3, so that it can take charge of housing delivery in the metro region. At the same time, we are going to assemble an intergovernmental project approval task team to cut red tape, which is also a major source of delays in housing delivery.

To improve the sustainability of housing projects, and give communities more options for housing, we will increase funding for the People’s Housing Process. This allows beneficiaries on the housing waiting lists to add their own funds to subsidized housing projects, and so increase the quality of their houses.

And, in order to address the critical conditions in informal settlements, we will develop a Province-wide plan for in-situ upgrading. We cannot deal with the scale of our provincial backlog using only conventional methods.

A similar principle of working with local government, and, where possible, devolving functions, will inform the approach of the Department of Transport and Public Works. The Integrated Rapid Transport system in Cape Town will be one of the most important public investments for facilitating regional economic growth, improving access, reducing congestion and freeing high-rise developments from Transport Impact assessment restrictions. We will therefore stop the Province’s previous duplication of functions and unnecessary interference with the City of Cape Town, and instead focus on synergy between the two. We want a public transport system that is more regulated, formalized and co-ordinated. We will continue our negotiations with the taxi industry in good faith but we will not tolerate lawlessness.

Mr Speaker, agriculture is another critical area for economic growth and sustainable rural development. The Western Cape farming sector and its related industries has suffered over the past decade, but is recovering, especially in the area of wine farming and wine tourism. In this regard, Minister Van Rensburg and his Department has set out a number of priorities aimed at further strengthening agriculture and related rural industries. Beneficiation of food products for the modern consumer is a major new international growth area, and one the Western Cape is well positioned to compete in.

We therefore intend to encourage the development of scarce farming and farm engineering skills in our province’s next generation of learners. We will introduce incentives for school leavers to pursue studies and careers in agriculture and related industries, including bursaries, and support for post graduates.

We will actively support and encourage market access for emerging farmers, and play an advocacy role in terms of international trade issues. And we will improve rural infrastructure and services in order to facilitate farming logistics as far as possible.

The first task of the Department of Local Government, Planning and Development will be to build better intergovernmental relations with municipalities. The Department’s mandate is to support local governments, not unnecessarily interfere in their functions.

In relation to planning, we will be reviewing outdated legislation, especially the Land Use Planning Ordinance (LUPO), in order to streamline planning processes in the various municipalities. LUPO predates the Constitution, and duplicates a range of municipal planning processes at Provincial level, with no apparent benefit. The red tape this creates holds up investment, and is contrary to our objective of creating jobs and building the economy. At the same time, of course, we also need to plan for sustainable human and rural settlements. We must get the balance right between the natural environment and the needs of economic growth. An important intervention, in the medium to long term, will be to find ways to allow cities like Cape Town and George to expand vertically, instead of extending urban sprawl. In the short term, Minister Bredell will be setting up a development and facilitation unit to assist municipalities with planning applications, and to look at unfunded mandates that negatively impact on municipal finances.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has set out several key priorities to ensure that our amenities are functioning optimally, and serving the public properly. This includes a review of Museum legislation, the extension of rural library services (wheelie wagons), and the improvement of library IT systems, especially increased internet access to facilitate IT skills among young people.

Minister Jenner will also work to encourage the development of sports clubs and school leagues, which will offer our youth the opportunity to get involved in constructive after-school activities. Part of this side of the Department’s work will be to implement a 2010 Social Legacy programme to ensure that the benefits of hosting this event will be spread across as many communities as possible.

The Department of the Premier will work together with Minister Jenner’s department in coordinating 2010-related projects. If we get 2010 right, it will be our best opportunity since 1994 to dispel Afro-pessimism, and increase investor interest in the sub-continent. This region has already benefited from R12 billion in public sector investment, which has led private sector investment. The lead agent for 2010 in this region is the City of Cape Town, in its capacity as a Host City. The Province will support Cape Town and provincial towns that will be used as possible base camps or supporter bases. We will also work together on public transport for the entire event footprint, as well as safety and security, and the facilitation of economic opportunities.

Another important development in the Department of the Premier will be the establishment of a legal ‘resource’ unit for local government, comprising qualified experts in municipal law. Its role will be to assist municipalities with advice on drafting of by-laws and other issues, and repeal outdated Provincial Ordinances currently constraining local government functions. It will also seek to bring clarity on roles of the different spheres of government. In some regions, for example, Provincial government, District Municipalities and Local Municipalities overlap, and there is uncertainty over who is responsible for roads and other infrastructure. This leads to some areas falling through the cracks of service delivery.

In the Department of the Premier, I intend to implement the Provincial Constitution’s provision for appointing a children’s commissioner, with a support unit to address priority issues facing children and their mothers in the province. This includes the failure of many fathers to pay maintenance, the escalating crisis of teenage pregnancies (which destroy the opportunities of young girls), and the horrifying incidence of sexual abuse and statutory rape.

The Premier’s Department will also take responsibility for strategic partnerships that require the integrated involvement of various departments and other partners to achieve a co-ordinated result. This would include partnerships to promote community involvement in safety initiatives, countering substance abuse, effective public participation in decision making, and many others.

This brings me to the end of my overview of departments. To conclude, we are going back to basics, applying principles of good management and best practice to everything we do, so that we do the right things, within budget and on time. We will apply the “fitness-for-purpose” principles to appointing staff. Where programmes are working, we will retain them.

The following two years will be difficult as we chart the waters of an international recession. At times like these, it is essential to maintain stability, foster confidence, and avoid actions and statements that exacerbate perceived risks.

If we use this period to get all the basics of good, clean, accountable governance in place, we will have firm foundations on which to build when the upswing eventually happens. If we learn to align all our plans and actions behind the key goal of creating jobs and fighting poverty, we will have made good use of our lean years. We all know that a nation’s conduct in the fat years, induce the lean years and vice versa. Let us learn to live within our means, and use these means to create real opportunities for all.

This government commits itself to building a better province in the interests of a better future, in a better country, for all.

City to spend 415 million rands

By Mandisi Tyulu
29 May 2009

The City of Cape Town plans to spend R415 million to further develop its infrastructure for solid waste management in the coming financial year. Part of the plan is to replace 25 vehicles, which includes 20 compactor trucks, in its refuse removal fleet at a cost of R40 million.

“These trucks have a limited life span as the wear and tear is much higher due to the continuous stop and start during the waste collection process, as well as Cape Town’s hilly topography,” says Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.

The average age of the City’s compactor fleet is nine years. The City has 165 compactor vehicles, servicing the metropole from Atlantis on the West Coast to Gordon’s Bay in the east and down to Simon’s Town in the south. Some disposal equipment is 16 years and older, whilst the municipality’s vehicle replacements plan provides for replenishment every seven years.

“Cape Town’s 3,2 million residents currently generate a massive 4 600 tons of rubbish per day. With the current growth in waste generation, this will translate into a mountain of 1.8 million tons of rubbish in the next year; all to be collected, transported, minimised and disposed of over an area covering 2 487 square kilometres.

“One way of extending the life span of these specialised vehicles is to shorten the distances to disposal sites. The City is therefore building two integrated waste transfer stations in Kraaifontein and Bellville which will reduce the distance between collection and disposal. On completion, these stations will be able to process 3 840 tons of refuse per day,” says Ald Justus.

The City also employs 21 community-based contractors to provide an integrated refuse collection and cleaning service in all informal areas. A dedicated contract monitoring unit has been established to oversee these contractors. Additionally, the City has outsourced almost 25% of formal residential areas to private contractors, where a separate collection of recyclables Think Twice project is provided additional to the refuse collection service.

SAPS warn of smash and grabs

Cindy Witten
29 May 2009

Police have warned of smash and grabs during peak hour traffic. This after two incidents of smash and grabs took place on the N2 highway, R300 on-ramp.

Police spokesperson Captain Joe Wilson says that criminals target the most vulnerable drivers.
“The guys tend to choose vulnerable victims and then normally smash and grab,” said Wilson.

He says that the suspects smash the car windows and take whatever is lying on the seat.

“We really want to inform the public that they need to be aware,” he said.

Suspects arrested for illegal fire arms

By Mandisi Tyulu
29 May 2009

In the second incident another firearm was recovered on the same day at approximately, when police spotted two suspicious men walking along the railway line in Y Block, Khayelitsha.

Captain Anneke van der Vyver says as they approached them they saw one throwing something down on the ground. The members managed to apprehend the suspect, aged 18 years.

On further investigation, they found a 6.35 pistol. Police established that the firearm was reported as stolen in 1966 in Secunda, says Van der Vyver.

The members arrested the suspect for possession of unlicensed firearm.

Police arrested three suspects for unlicensed

By Mandisi Tyulu
29 May 2009

The members from Khayelitsha Site B Police Station, managed to execute successful arrests and recover 3 unlicensed firearms at different addresses within 24 hours.

Captain Anneke van der Vyver says police received information about illegal activities at a house in Idada Street, Site C. On Wednesday at approximately 09:15 police searched the house and confiscated a Norinco pistol with magazine and one round, hidden under the bed.

Three suspects, of which two being females aged 25 and 29 and a male suspect aged 35 were arrested for the possession of an unlicensed firearm, says Captain Van der Vyver.

“It was later established that the firearm has indeed been reported stolen in Khayelitsha during July 2001.’’

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One person dies in car accident

By Sasha Forbes
28 May 2009

One person died and another five people sustained serious and moderate injuries when two vehicles allegedly collided head-on in Plantation Road, near Klip Road, in Grassy Park late this morning.

ER24’s Emergency Media & Client Liaison for the Western Cape, Tristan Wadeley said the driver of a Hyundai Elantra, was dead on arrival of emergency services after his vehicle and a Toyota Conquest, carrying five people, hit head-on.

“Of the five patients from the Conquest, two patients sustained serious injuries, with the other three patients sustaining moderate injuries. The patients were taken by ambulances to various surrounding hospitals for further treatment,” said Wadeley

The exact events were unclear on the scene but SAPS were in attendance and are investigating the accident.

Former police member guilty of murdering kids

By Mandisi Tyulu
28 May 2009

Former Cape Town police member has been found guilty of killing his three children.

Marius van der Westhuizen confessed in the Western Cape High Court to shooting his three sleeping children in their Brackenfell home in July 2006.

Eighteen-months-old Antoinette, five-year-old Marius and 16-year-old Bianca were killed in front of their mother.

Van der Westhuizen claimed he had suffered from depression and post- traumatic stress disorder.

But Judge Willem Louw found that he had known what he was doing was wrong.

Producer Price Index slows to 2.9 percent

By Mandisi Tyulu
28 May 2009

The Producer Price Index for April slowed to 2.9 percent, from 5.3 percent in March, Statistics South Africa reported on Thursday.
Nedbank economist Carmen Altenkirch said that the market was expecting the PPI to come in at 2.5 percent.

“The main reason for the 2.9 percent drop is because of a decline in electricity prices and agricultural prices month on month falling sharply,” said Ms Altenkirch. According to Stats SA, the price indices for other manufacturers decreased by -02. percentage points, agricultural products -0.2 e percentage points and electricity is at -0.1 percentage point.

She however added that it was surprising to see that prices for metal products increased as commodity prices were declining.

According to Stats SA, the price indices for metal products increased by 0.2 of a percentage point.

The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to make its decision on interest rates this afternoon.

Ms Altenkirch predicted that the Bank will cut interest rates. This follows from data released on Tuesday that the country was now in a recession. South Africa's Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2009 contracted by an annualised 6.4 percent. The contraction is the second in a row since the last quarter of 2008 that contracted by 1.8 percent. According to economists, two consecutive quarters of negative growth means an economy is technically in recession.

Five people injured in taxi accident

By Sasha Forbes
28 May 2009

Five people were injured in a taxi accident this morning at the intersection of Bottelary Road and Botfontein Road in Kraaifontein.

ER24’s Emergency Media & Client Liaison for the Western Cape Tristan Wadeley said that the five people sustained minor injuries and were taken to various nearby hospitals.

“It is alleged that the taxi was traveling along Bottelary Road in the direction of Stellenbosch, when the Sentra pulled out from Botfontein Road, which resulted in the taxi colliding into the side of the Sentra,” said Wadeley

The South African Police Service, Fire Department, ER24, Metro EMS and Baycare were all in attendance.

Western Cape has highest rate of missing children, says Missing children SA

By Cindy Witten
28 May 2009

The Western Cape has the highest rate of children who registered missing in all of South Africa, says Missing Children South Africa. This is quite a concern.

In line with International day for missing children, celebrated on Monday, Judy Botes from Missing Children SA has urged parents to report their children missing to the South Africa Police Service immediately.
“It’s very important not to wait 24 hours – like they say. You should report your child missing immediately. The first 72 hours are the most crucial hours for us to find a child,” said Botes.

Botes says that the organisation will do all things possible to help to find the missing child, but added that certain procedures must be followed.

“Get a case number from the South African Police Services and with a case number, contact Missing Children South Africa,” she said.

MKMVA criticises Zille’s all-male cabinet

By Cindy Witten
28 May 2009

It seems as though Premier Helen Zille will never hear enough criticism from opposition parties about her all-male appointed cabinet.

Yesterday the Umkontho We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) marched to Provincial Parliament demanding that Zille dissolve her cabinet.

The associations National Chairperson, Kebby Maphatsoe says that Zillle has every right to choose her own cabinet, but that certain points should be taken into consideration.
“A cabinet must reflect what South Africa is made up of. You cannot have a male dominated cabinet. We’ve got women, who are the majority in the country,” said Maphatsoe.

“Clearly she is saying that we do not have competent women,” he said.

Police urging the public to assist solve Khayelitsha murder

By Mandisi Tyulu
28 May 2009

Police are requesting anyone to come forward with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects involved in an attack which took place on the 26th of May 2009.

Captain Anneke van der Vyver says the incident occurred during the early hours of Wednesday morning at approximately 06:30, a police patrol vehicle found a man lying on the pavement in Alliam Drive, T Block, with a stab wound to the chest.

On further investigation it became known that the man, 32 year old Mana Mtala, a resident from Khayelitsha, must have been on his way to work when the incident occurred, says Captain van der Vyver.

“The motive for the attack is unknown at this stage as he had all his personal belongings, being his cell phone and his money at time his body was found.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident is requested to contact the Investigating Officer, Cst Fabion Paulse, Detective Service, and Khayelitsha on 079 880 9858.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UDM concern about South Africa’s economy

By Mandisi Tyulu
27 May 2009

The United Democratic Movement says it is deeply concerned about the state of the economy.

UDM president Bantu Holomisa says the Reserve Bank should cut interest rates drastically to kick-start the economy. He says high interest rates are frustrating attempts to create jobs.

Holomisa has called for a national economic indaba to develop a strategy that has the support and approval of all South Africans.

The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy committee will make an interest rate announcement tomorrow afternoon.

MKMVA marches to Provincial Parliament

By Cindy Witten
and Mandisi Tyulu
27 May 2009

Military veterans and supporters of Umkhonto We Sizwe gathered outside the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town this morning, before embarking on a protest march to Provincial Parliament.

While singing struggle songs and chanting through the CBD, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) demanded that Premier Hellen Zille apologise to President Jacob Zuma for disrespectful comments made.

Fatty Booi, National organiser for the MKMVA says it is a disgrace that Zille openly disrespected Zuma. He says that by insulting the President, she offends the entire nation.
Amongst other things, the MKMVA were protesting against Zille’s all-male appointed cabinet.

The association’s Themibnkosi Sako said that they will not allow Zille to run the Province as she pleases.
“The Western Cape is not a federal state of South Africa,” he said. “Today marks the beginning of a systematic move to remove Zille.”

SARS to extend working ahead of deadline

By Yamkela Xhaso
27 May

The South African Revenue Service is extending its business hours at all its branches to assist with the increase in employers submitting their payroll records ahead of the 30 May deadline.

From today, SARS branches will remain open until six in the afternoon daily and from eight to one on Saturday.

With just three days to go to the deadline, SARS had by yesterday only received about half of the Pay As You Earn reconciliations it is expecting.

African National Congress slams miners deaths

By Mandisi Tyulu
27 March 2009

The African National Congress today supported the call by the Congress of South African Trade Unions for the Department of Minerals to conduct a full enquiry into all mine accidents.

The ANC says the death of nine mineworkers last week raises questions about the state of safety in some mines.

Spokesperson Jessie Duarte says captains of mining houses cannot pride themselves on making huge profits if the safety of workers is not their first priority.

MKMVA march to Premiers Office

Mk veterans marching to premiers officer
By Sasha Forbes
27 May 2009

Ukhonto Wesizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members today made their way to the office of the Premier of the Western Cape Helen Zille in order to hand over a memorandum, regarding her appointment of an all male cabinet and the statements she made about South African President Jacob Zuma.

Bush Radio’s Cindy Witten is at the march and says that ANC leader in the Western Cape Mcebisi Skwatsha reiterated that Cape Town is not a separate country within South Africa.

She also said that the MKMVA are waiting to hand over the memorandum to Premier Hellen Zille, however she says at this point it does not seem that Zille will be the one accepting the document after the Bonginkosi Madikizela MEC for Housing came out.

According to reports Skwatsha says the only other person they will speak to is Democratic Alliance leader in the Province Theuns Botha.

Nadal on the verge of setting a world record

By Yamkela Xhaso
27 May

World number one Rafael Nadal will set a record for the number of successive matches won at the Roland Garros if he beats Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili in the second round today.

If he wins his 30th consecutive match, Nadal would surpass Chris Evert's record of 29 which was set between 1974 and 1981.

Nadal is looking for a record fifth successive crown at the clay court grand slam, is scheduled to play last on Suzanne Lenglen Court.

Numsa demands economic development

By Yamkela Xhaso
27 May

The National Union of Metalworkers plans to march to the Reserve Bank to protest against the capitalist system.

Numsa is demanding a radical cutting of interest rates, regulation of banks and the scrapping of inflation targeting.

The trade union wants the Reserve Bank to prioritise employment, growth and sustainable development.

It says the demands were made in the middle of increasing retrenchments, temporary lay offs, falling wages and sky rocketing bank charges and interest rates.

Western Cape to make advance payments to doctors

By Sasha Forbes
27 May 2009

Western Cape Health MEC Theuns Botha said that the province is prepared to make advance payments to doctors and other health professionals who were hit by delays in implementing a new pay deal.

However Botha said that this will only happen on condition that the funds were guaranteed by the national departments of health, and public service and administration, as well as by the national Treasury.

Botha says this is an attempt to address the dire financial situation members of the medical profession find themselves in.

Denosa congratulates Doctor Semete

By Yamkela Xhaso
27 May

The Democratic Nursing Organisation has congratulated Dr. Tumi Semete on winning the global health contest, sponsored by Bill Gates, for pursuing life-saving breakthroughs.

Semete, a researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Cape Town, won a grant for a proposal to use cutting edge technology to save the lives of tuberculosis patients who forget to take their pills.

Asanda Fongqo from Denosa says Semete’s work is of great importance as South Africa is not doing well in curbing TB.

“Hence we are confident that the research that Semete will be embarking on will assist those patients who forget to take their medication”

Fongqo added that they are committed to create awareness to nurses and communities that they are spearheading the multi-drug resistant TB program that is facilitated by the International Council of Nurses.

“We are therefore looking forward to further interact with people like Dr Semete in the fight against TB”

Cosatu sees a “massive national crisis”

By Mandisi Tyulu
27 May 2009

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has described the recession as a “massive national crisis” which requires an immediate response to defend jobs and livelihoods.

Cosatu spokesperson says the measures must include the avoidance of retrenchments, and cut in the repo rate of at least 200 basis points to stimulate investment and demand and emergency measures to protect the most vulnerable industries.

The trade union federation also wants a radically expanded public works programme to provide work for the growing number of unemployed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Botha proposes that provincial health implement OSD

By Cindy Witten
26 May 2009

Public health practitioners in the province play such a vital role within society, yet they feel undervalued because of their inadequate salaries. Because of this, the Western Cape minister of Health, Theuns Botha has proposed that the provincial Department of Health implement the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD).

The Provincial Health Department says implementation of the said OSD’s would be in line with a directive awaited from the National Minister of the Department of Public Service and Administration, Richard Baloyi, and in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Act.

In an issued statement Botha is quoted as saying, “It is extremely frustrating that in terms of an agreement reached in the Bargaining Council promises that were made to these health practitioners a year ago have not been implemented to date. The new Western Cape cabinet felt that we had to take tangible steps to assist personnel who are devoted to the cause of caring for the sick.”

The Western Cape, provincial government has offered to implement the OSD and to make interim forward payments, provided that the respective National Departments of Health and Public Service and Administration guarantee the repayment of the money, before the end of the financial year.

“This would assist to more speedily resolve an uncomfortable situation which is affecting staff morale and service delivery,” he said.

South Africa's GDP drops by 6.4% in first quarter

By Mandisi Tyulu
26 May 2009

South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2009 contracted by an annualized 6.4 percent, Statistics South Africa announced on Tuesday. The contraction is the second in a row since the last quarter of 2008 that contracted by 1.8 percent.

According to economists, two consecutive quarters of negative growth means an economy is technically in recession.

“The seasonally adjusted real GDP at market prices for the first quarter of 2009 decreased by an annualized rate of 6.4 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.

“This is the first instance of two consecutive quarters of negative growth since the fourth quarter of 1992,” said Stats SA as the world is experiencing the pinch of the global financial crisis.

The sectors that led to a reduced GDP figure in the first quarter were the manufacturing industry (-3.3 percentage points), mining and quarrying (-1.7 percent), finance, real estate and business services industry (-0.5 percent).

According to Stats SA, executive manager of national accounts Joe De Beer said the mining sector recorded the second lowest level since the second quarter of 1967 at 31.9 percent.

However general government services contributed to positive growth in the economy at 0.5 percentage points. This was followed by the construction industry at 0.4 percent and personal services at 0.2 percentage points.

The figures come two days before the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announcement on interest rates.

The MPC has already cut rates four times since December, by a cumulative 350 basis points, in an effort to fight off a recession.

Traffic Services try and eradicate drag racing

By Sasha Forbes
26 May 2009

Cape Town’s City Traffic Services who are continuing efforts to ensure road safety and eradicate drag racing, held successful operations in the past week in selected hotspot areas.

Assistant Media Liaison for Traffic Services Mogammat Mustapha says their main objective is to ensure road safety and to ensure to get rid of drag racers.

“We doing road blockades in certain hotspot areas for example the Klipfontein Road area and in the Bellville South area, which is known for the drag racing,” said Mustapha

General enforcement and blitz will be held on regular bases in these areas.

President Zuma picks his advisors

President Zuma and daughter Duduzile during opening of parliament last year.

By Mandisi Tyulu
26 May 2009

President Jacob Zuma has picked the officials who will aid and advise him in the decisions he will make during his term of office.
Charles Nqakula is to be Zuma’s Political adviser, Mandisi Mpahlwa was appointed as Economic Adviser, Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu will be the President’s International Relations Adviser and Advocate Bonisiwe Makhene is to be the president’s Legal Adviser.

Ayanda Dlodlo has been appointed as Parliamentary Counsellor to the President. Former Defence Minister, Nqakula’s previous experience also includes a stint as Parliamentary Counsellor to former President Thabo Mbeki.

After serving as Minister of Trade and Industry under Mbeki and as Deputy Minister of Finance from 1999 to 2004, Mr Mpahlwa comes with many years of experience which he can draw on in his new role.

Dlodlo, who is a Member of Parliament, also sits on the African National Congress’ National Executive Committee. The party won in the 2009 General Election.

Former Ambassador to Brazil, Lindiwe Zulu joined Albert Luthuli House as spokesperson leading up the April elections.

Adv Bonisiwe was previously Deputy Chief State Law Adviser in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

“The advisers bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Presidency and will add much value to the President's determination to bring about faster change and improved service delivery,” said, the Presidency.

The new appointments will fall under the Policy Coordination and Advisory Services arm of the Presidency, which was one of three support structures. The other two structures of the Presidency are the Cabinet Office and the Legal and Executive Services

Home Affairs Minister addresses media

By Sasha Forbes
26 May 2009

SA Home Affairs' Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma yesterday briefed the media at the Court Classique Hotel in Pretoria about how everyone needs to work together if they want the Department of Home Affairs to be one that offers excellent service.

Dlamini Zuma said in her briefing that it will have to be a national effort if they want to succeed.

“People must be proud of their identities and of their citizenship and they must make sure that the integrity of our documents is not undermined and that they look after their ID’s,” said Dlamini Zuma

The minister also told the media that she understands that there are also internal factors that need to be looked at; such as the capacity within in Home Affairs and also not only the amount of people but also their training background.

SA offers condolences to people of South Korea

By Cindy Witten
26 May 2009

The South African government has expressed its sincere condolences to the South Korean Nation following the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun. Moo-hyun served as President of the Republic of Korea from 2003-2008.

“The thoughts and prayers of President Jacob Zuma, the government and the people of South Africa are with the Korean nation during this time of mourning,” she said.

Foreign Affairs’ Nomfanelo Kota says that South Africa’s bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea expanded remarkably during the time Moo-hyun served as president.

Cape Town residents prepare for new property evaluations

By Mandisi Tyulu
26 May 2009

The City of Cape Town has announced that it is preparing for the next general valuation of all properties in the metropolitan area.

Director of property evaluation Chris Gavor say the proposed date of the new valuation is the first of July this year. This will mean that the evaluation must reflect the market value of properties as at that date.

“The market value of a property is defined as the amount the property would have realised if sold on the date of evaluation in the open market.”

The general evaluation established this year will be implemented on the first of July 2010.

Repairs to Beach Road Sea Wall and Bikini Beach completed

By Mandisi Tyulu
26 May 2009

The beach road in Strand is once again open to the public as the storm-damaged sea wall and road that has been repaired.

On 29 and 30 August last year, a storm and high seas caused a section of the sea wall in Beach Road to collapse, damaging the road, footways and underground services behind the wall. This section was then closed for repairs.

Councillor Elizabeth Thompson, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads & Storm water, said I am very happy that we now have a wall that will not only withstand high tides, but also aesthetically enhances the area.”

This section of road is vulnerable, particularly during spring tides because it is so close to the high water mark, said Thompson.

In Gordon’s Bay adjacent Bikini Beach, sections of the retaining wall were washed away by the same storm.

This has also been repaired by the City’s Transport, Roads & Storm water Directorate. The total cost of the project is R5.55 million.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Minister to take housing challenges head on

By Mandisi Tyulu
25 May 2009

The new Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale is wasting no time in hitting the ground running.

If government’s fight against poverty was to be symbolized as a spear - then the Department of Human Settlements would be at the sharp end of that spear, says Mr Sexwale, who is confident that obstacles hindering the delivery of houses to the poor can be overcome over the next five years.

Sexwale said when we talk about creating human settlements, and refer in broad terms to waging a war on poverty, then that really ought to be there.

This follows the minister meeting with housing MECs from all nine provinces to discuss the way forward and to identify key strategies to be used in fighting the housing backlog in the country.

Pinelands home of elderly man burgled

By Cindy Witten
25 May 2009

This morning the Pinelands home of a 68-year-old man was broken into.

The disabled man was woken when a suspect broke into the house through the upstairs window. The suspect assaulted the man with crutches in his face and chest.

He then phoned an accomplice who assisted him in robbing the victim of a 9mm firearm as well as valuables to the estimated value of R480 000.

Pinelands police spokesperson, Inspector Leslie Adams says that a unique hand crafted set of knives was among the stolen items.
“The knives have the inscription F.Le Grage. They are hand made and if sold, the public can assist us. If sold anywhere in the area of Cape Town, they can contact Pinelands SAPS, Constable Cecil Delport on (021) 506 2118,” said Adams.

“We would appreciate the assistance of the public,” he said.
Police say a case of house robbery was registered and is being investigated.

Three arrested over death of traffic officer

By Yamkela Xhaso
25 May

Police have arrested three suspects over the weekend in connection with the murder of a traffic officer on Friday.

The officer was shot and killed between Kruis and Botfontein Road in Kraaifontein.

Inspector Erica Crous of Brackenfell SAPS said the three have been charged with armed robbery and murder.

“The suspects will appear in Bluedowns court today”

Further investigations indicate that the vehicle they were travelling in was stolen in Mfuleni on Thursday and was put in fake number plate

43 people arrested for drunk driving

By Cindy Witten
25 May 2009

A total of 43 drivers were arrested for drunk driving in Khayelitsha and Gordons Bay at the weekend. Metro Police set up vehicle check points that targeted drunk drivers.

22 of the 43 drivers were arrested in Gordon’s Bay, while 21 warrants of arrest were issued in Khayelitsha. Over 300 traffic fines were issued during routine patrols in the central city at the weekend. The total included 112 fines for unlicensed drivers as well as 76 for unlicensed vehicles.

“We will continue to takes steps against those who are breaking the law, particularly drunk drivers, as we cannot afford to compromise the safety of other law abiding road users,” said Metro Police Communication Officer Nosiseko Samuel Ntshanka.

The Metro Police say they will continue with regular high visibility patrols, roadblocks and vehicle check points throughout the city.

City warns of Low water pressure in Belhar

By Mandisi Tyulu
25 May 2009

The City of Cape Town's Water and Sanitation Department says it will be installing a pressure management system on the water supply network feeding the Belhar area on Wednesday, 27 May 2009.

Spokesperson for the department Farouk Robertson says this forms part of the City's water demand management strategy whereby it aims to reduce the pressure in the water supply lines to acceptable levels in order to increase the lifespan of the water reticulation network and to reduce water wastage resulting from pipe bursts caused by the high pressures in the system.

“In order to do the installation of the pressure management system, a short section of the water main will be isolated.”

The water supply to the area will be re-routed for a period of 20 hours and this will result in a large section of Belhar experiencing low water pressure, says Robertson.

“The work will commence at 22:00 on 26 May and is expected to be completed by 18:00 on 27 May 2009.”

When the water flow is restored there might be a brief period when the water is slightly discoloured, added Robertson.

Residents must ensure that their taps are properly closed during this period. The City regrets any inconvenience caused.

Lions’ Coach is impressed by the Bulls weekend performance

By Yamkela Xhaso
25 May

British and Irish Lions Ian McGeechan has warned his team that they are going to face the toughest challenge in their history.

He said as the team were leaving from Heathrow, South African rugby was in very good shape and they had stability in their coaching team.

McGeechan said he had watched the Bulls beat the Crusaders in the semi-finals of the Super 14 and he was impressed with their performance.

Yet he also said he was also extremely positive about the work his own players had put in during their training week.

33-year-old man shot and killed

By Sasha Forbes
25 May 2009

A 33 year old man from Elsiesriver was shot and killed during a shooting incident in St Clarke Street in Elsiesriver by two unknown men yesterday.

SAPS spokesperson Captain Peer Jordaan said the deceased was chased by two unknown suspects who fired several shots at him.

“The man collapsed in a yard in St Clarke Street and died on the scene with a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest,” said Captain Jordaan

A Case of murder was opened and anyone with information regarding the shooting incident can phone the Elsiesriver police station at (021) 933 0300 or the police Crime Stop Number at 08600 10111.

Missing persons alert

By Cindy Witten
25 May 2009
While the search for missing 10-year-old Montesha Kekana continues, police have arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with the case.
Kekana went missing from Iraq informal settlement in Saldanha Bay on Friday.
She was last seen walking with the 32-year-old man. He will appear in court the Vredenburg Magistrate's Court soon.

AEC turns to Cape High Court for interdict

By Cindy Witten
25 May 2009

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) is expected to appear at the Cape High Court this morning, where they will apply for (what the call) an “urgent interdict against unlawful and criminal evictions by the City of Cape Town in the case of Macassar Village”.

The AEC says that since being evicted from their previous dwelling, homeless Macassar Village residents have been staying on a vacant piece of land owned by the City.

“Land is the building block of any healthy and sustainable community,” said the AEC.
The AEC says that they will fight for their livelihoods which have been denied to them.

Male suspect arrested for stolen goods

By Mandisi Tyulu
25 May 2009

Last night at about 23:00 while police were on patrol, they saw man carrying kitchen stuff and appliances in New Crossroads.

Captain Elliot Sinyangana says police stop the man to establish the ownership of the items and he could not respond police arrested him.

Captain Sinyangana says this follows the launch of the initiative that says reject and report stolen goods.

The man is due to appear on Monday in the Athlone Magistrate Court on charges of stolen good

Female suspect arrested for child abandonment

By Mandisi Tyulu
25 May 2009

Yesterday while police were performing their duties, they were summoned by a certain man, who complained that his sister left a 1 year old baby abandoned.

Captain Elliot Sinyangana says the police responded and she was later arrested for child abandonment.

She will appear in the Athlone Magistrate Court on Monday on charges of child neglect.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Search for West Coast girl continues

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

West Coast police are continuing the search for a 10-year-old girl who went missing in Saldanha Bay last week.

A 32-year-old man who was last seen with 10-year-old Montesha Kekana will appear in court tomorrow in connection with her disappearance.

Montesha’s shoes were found in his possession. A sea and shore search for Montesha is continuing at Tabak Bay.

She and the suspect were last seen walking from her home in the Iraq informal settlement towards the bay.

Hamilton hopes to keep championship title

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

Lewis Hamilton says his hopes of keeping his championship title ended during qualifying for today’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Hamilton finished 16th in qualifying after sliding into the Mirabeau corner 11 minutes into the first qualifying session.

But he was demoted to last on the grid because his McLaren needed a new gearbox after the accident.

A dejected Hamilton is already 32 points behind leader Jenson Button who took pole

Tambo legacy live on as statuettes were unveiled

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

The son of late struggle stalwarts Oliver and Adelaide Tambo has expressed gratitude that his parent’s legacy has continued to live on and that their fight for freedom was still acknowledged by the African National Congress.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe unveiled the busts of the two ANC veterans at the official residence of the deputy president in Pretoria on Saturday.

Motlanthe complemented the Tambo’s for their selfless devotion to the liberation struggle saying South African history would be incomplete without them.

The couple’s son, Dali Tambo, said his parents would be proud of the current leadership governing the country. This is one of the highest honours bestowed by government

Expensive Cuban cigars found in former MEC office

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

It has been reported that expensive Cuban cigars were found in a former MEC's office, it is alleged that people who were paid up to 100-thousand-rands a month to allegedly "do nothing" and unapproved expenses.

These are reported to be some of the latest scandals threatening the African National Congress after the Democratic Alliance took over the provincial government in the Western Cape.

Weekend’s media reports say that it has been learnt that several new MEC’s in the Western Cape are investigating suspect transactions in their departments.

Nyanga resident’s angered by high levels of crime

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

Yesterday the residents of Nyanga, on the Cape Flats, were taking part in a protest outside their local police station against the high level of crime in the area while accusing police of failing to do their jobs.

The demonstrators accused police of failing to arrest people who they claim were involved in numerous criminal activities in the area.

Last week two residents were attacked by people known to the community but no one has been arrested.

The protestors, including mothers carrying their babies on their backs, said that the area was riddled with a large number of illegal weapons which were being used in various crimes.

Disgruntled resident carried placards that read ‘We want safe streets’ and ‘We want to be safe in our homes’ will hand over their memorandum of grievances to the police on Saturday.

Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi says the residents must come on Monday and see the station commander as well as the commisioner in order to raise their concerns.

Three suspects arrested for house robbery in Rondebosch

By Mandisi Tyulu
24 May 2009

Yesterday in Rondebosch police arrested three suspects for house robbery at a house in Rondebosch.

Inspector November Filander says two armed men entered a victim’s house in Lancaster Street, Rondebosch where they robbed him of his safe and valuable items.

“The suspects then fled with the victims navy blue Polo vehicle and collided with two stationed security company vehicles.”

Filander says several shots were fired by the suspects at the security, who returned fire. The two suspects fled on foot after which police pursued them on foot.

“The police arrested two of the suspects and confiscated two firearms.”

The third suspect was found hiding in the boot of the polo vehicle, belonging to the suspects who were parked nearby the victim’s house, said Filander.

The three suspects aged between 20 and 30 from Gugulethu will soon appear in the Wynberg Magistrate court on charges of house robbery, pointing of firearm, damage of property and possession of illegal firearms & ammunition.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Zuma congratulates Malawian president

By Mandisi Tyulu
23 May 2009

President Jacob Zuma has congratulated Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika on winning a second five-year term.

Mutharika was sworn in last night after a landslide election victory.

Former president Bakili Muluzi was barred by the constitution from running for office again and instead backed veteran opposition leader John Tembo.

Foreign observers say Tuesday’s poll was generally well run.

Zuma says South Africa looks forward to strengthening its relations with Malawi.

Khayelitsha residents benefit from R120 million urban upgrading programme

By Mandisi Tyulu
23 May 2009

Today Harare residents in Khayelitsha will have much to celebrate when two new community buildings, a park and a sports complex are opened with a festival in attendance will be Executive Mayor Dan Plato and the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille.

Manager of Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading, Alastair Graham says this is the historic moment in the history of khayelitsha and Harare.

Graham says these facilities will be used for community building and other activieties.

Operation prosper a success

By Mandisi Tyulu
23 May 2009

A one-day operation was conducted on Friday in several suburbs in the Paarl Cluster including Paarl East, Wellington, Mbekweni, Malmesbury, Philadelphia and Riebeek West.

Inspector November Filander says the operation, in conjunction with the SARS custom services, metro police, provincial traffic police and other law enforcement agencies, started at 07:00 until 17:00.

Filander says the police air wing unit was also on standby for assistance if needed. The aim of the operation was to address priority crimes and road safety. Roadblocks and vehicle Control points were carried out on oncoming and outgoing routes.

“During the operation ninety two traffic fines were issued to the value of about R70 900-00.”

“One hundred and ninety seven people were searched and six hundred and twenty one vehicles were searched.”

The attitude of the public was very positive during the operation and we would like to thank them for the co-operation we received, said Filander.

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