Sunday, February 28, 2010

Presidency refutes reports of Duarte’s resignation

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

Following media reports that it’s Chief Operations Officer Jessie Duarte has resigned, the Presidency has slammed the allegations.

In a statement the Presidency says that Duarte has not resigned in fact she will be Acting Director-General this week in the absence of Vusi Mavimbela who is going to the United Kingdom as part of the president’s delegation.

On allegations that there is bad blood running between Duarte and head of Zuma’s private office Lakela Kaunda, the Presidency slammed the reports saying it vehemently rejects the reports of any conflict or tension between the two of them.

“They work well together and support each other positively and constructively. Any reports to the contrary are complete fabrications,” the statement said.

Nzimande calls for unity behind anti-corruption in the public service

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

Briefing the media following their central-committee meeting in Johannesburg, SACP Secretary General Blade Nzimande said the Tripartite Alliance must unite against corruption in the public and private sectors.

Nzimande shared these sentiment after the controversy surrounding ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and the tenders awarded to some of the companies he was a director of.

Nzimande, a cabinet member responsible for higher education and training, said the tender process must be more transparent.

Meanwhile Cosatu today said it wants to take a lead by encouraging all its leaders to undergo a life style audit.

Earlier in the month the labour federation called for all ministers to undergo a lifestyle audit following Malema’s lavish lifestyle.

It was reported Malema’s companies had been awarded more than 20 contracts, worth millions of rand.

Reports says a provincial leader in Gauteng said alliance party leaders should volunteer for a life style audit, as well as those from opposition parties.

DA and SADTU's war on education continues

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

The war between the official opposition the Democratic Alliance and the South African Democratic Teachers Union continues as the party calls on the union to a public debate about creating a quality education system.

The party says improving education is South Africa’s biggest challenge, and Sadtu’s role is the biggest stumbling block our country faces in doing this.

DA shadow minister on basic education Junita Kloppers-Lourens says she wants the union to publicly justify their attitude and approach.

“Despite the fact that Sadtu has committed itself to excellence, the organisation continues to behave as if schools are the personal fiefdoms of their members,” said Kloppers-Lourens.

Kloppers-Lourens mentioned that week the DA visited the Emmang Mmogo High School in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, which obtained a 38% pass rate last year.

“Despite having made a prior arrangement to visit the school, we were blocked at a locked gate by both the regional director and the principal.

It became evident through discussions that a reign of terror is carried out by local Sadtu members and that,” she said.

She also revealed her party continuously receives letters from frustrated teachers and principals who have been forced to wait for appointments or act in temporary posts for months on end, as a result of Sadtu’s involvement in politicising educational appointments.

Kloppers-Lourens accused the union to be responsible for creating an environment in which teachers are not prepared to walk the extra mile.

“This union does not understand or accept that in education the interests of the learners should come first, and that the future of a country lies with its children,” Kloppers-Lourens concluded.

Yesterday DA leader Helen Zille lashed out at Sadtu, an ANC alliance partner, during the party’s education seminar in Mpumalanga.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga last week blamed poor school results on the lack of discipline among teachers.

Attempts to reach the union for comment proved unsuccessful.

Tsunami hits Japan

28 FEBRUARY 2010

Foreign reports say a tsunami measuring more than one metre high has hit Japan's northern Pacific coast, nearly 24 hours after the powerful earthquake in Chile.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from coastal amid predictions that waves up to three metres high could strike.

Other Pacific nations have been hit by waves, but in most areas the danger is thought to have passed.

In Chile, the town of Talcahuano was badly damaged by a tsunami while five people were killed on the Juan Fernandez Islands.

Earlier reports said the death toll in the devastating eight-point-nine earthquake that struck Chile yesterday has risen to more than 300 and it is believed that some two million people have been affected by the massive quake.

The quake triggered a tsunami that has been sweeping across the Pacific, although waves were not as high as predicted.

Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma has conveyed South Africa’s condolences to the people of Chile.

The International Relations and Cooperation department has not yet been informed of any South African citizens who have been affected by the events in Chile.

A spokesperson says the department should be contacted if there are South Africans who may have family members in Chile.


Agreement penned to allow Africans to partake in soccer tournament

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

It has been reported that a special agreement is being drafted to enable soccer fans from neighbouring countries to be part of this year’s Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

Football governing body FIFA’s general secretary Jerome Valcke, says consultations are underway with the relevant stakeholders.

He said this is to ensure that the tournament, the first in Africa, should be in a unique way African.

Valcke made the remarks at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo’s capital where a delegation of local an international media inspected the infrastructure and the province’s state of preparedness.

Reports from the media tour say that the mayor of Polokwane Thabo Makunyane says the Limpopo province has constructed a number of facilities.

These facilities include the new 45-thousand-seater stadium and a five-star hotel.

It is also reported that the public transport system is also being upgraded.

Zuma’s senior staffer resigns

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

Sunday publications has revealed that Chief operations officer in President Jacob Zuma’s office, Jessie Duarte has resigned.

This follows according to reports that contention among Zuma's most senior officials threaten to cripple the Presidency.

Reports further say Duarte informed ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe of her decision in an emotional e-mail on Thursday.

She cited, among other things, a smear campaign, rumour mongering and gossip as reasons for her decision.

Duarte will inform Zuma about her decision as soon the President who’s due to leave for UK tomorrow, is available.

Presidency spokesman Vusi Mona said they had not received any official resignation from Duarte.

The former journalist said that if the ANC's headquarters had received such notice, it would be best for them to comment.

Fire leaves 50 residents stranded

By Ofentse Mokae
28 February 2010

A fire in Site C Khayelitsha has left about 50 residents stranded.

The blaze began in one shack and spread to 30 others at Vukani Street in Site C in the early hours of this morning.

Officials from the City of Cape Town say the cause of the fire is being investigated.

The city’s Disaster Management Services spokesman Wilfred Solomons Johannes said humanitarian assistance is being offered to residents affected by the incident.

“Our teams are on the scene giving assistance to those affected, in terms of warm meals, blankets and clothes and later we will later during the day issue building materials to help reconstruct dwellings,” Johannes said.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hundreds of millions in accommodation and travelling expenses

By Ofentse Mokae
27 February 2010

It has been revealed that the International Relations and Co-operation department has a bill of more than R400 million on travelling and accommodation.

The department’s spokesman Saul Molobi confirmed to the media that his department spent R426-million on travelling, accommodation and catering from March 2008 to September 2009, but put this down to the nature of its work.

The employee of the former foreign affairs department said the money was spent solemnly in carrying out the mandate of the department.

He mentioned that in Shangui a cup of tea will go for a whooping R69 .

Molobi said that their department cannot be treated like the ordinary departments due to the nature of its work.
It emerged in a national financial publication that national government departments ran up bills of more than R3 billion luxury travel, restaurants and accommodation over 19 months, this is despite despite the Presidency’s call on cutting measures

Three die and three others injured in road accident

By Ofentse Mokae
27 February 2010

A road accident on the Strandfontein Road in Phillipi has claimed the lives of three men and injured three others in the early hours of this morning.

Provincial officials confirmed that a VW Polo collided head on with a bakkie, which rolled and crashed into another car.

All three occupants of the bakkie were killed on impact.

Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

Drugs worth R5 million confiscated at airport

By Ofentse Mokae
27 February 2010

Police based at the Cape Town International Airport confiscated drugs worth R5-million in a passenger’s luggage yesterday afternoon.

Police spokesman Superintendent Billy Jones says their suspicions were raised by the actions of a man who arrived on a flight from Johannesburg.

“The 28 year man who is from Lower Crossroads, in Philippi had seven plastic bags containing 14 kg of Methamphetamine, commonly known as Tik to the value of R5-million hidden between the clothes in his suitcase,” Jones said

Jones says the suspect is currently in police custody.

He will appear in the Bellville Magistrates’ Court on Monday on a charge of dealing in drugs.

Soccer union displeased with bribe allegations

By Ofentse Mokae
27 February 2010

The South African Football Players Union says it is disturbed following accusations levelled against its members by club bosses that they took bribes to throw games.

The union says in the first instance it was Maritzburg United who accused Dikuli Bageta of deliberately missing a penalty against Mpumalanga Black Aces and now is Thanda Royal Zulu who are doing the same Esau Mtsweni.

“It is very unprofessional that these clubs are blaming our members for taking bribes which is totally nonsense,” the union said in a statement.

The union says they are not going to allow individuals to damage the excellent work the players are doing by coming up with unfounded allegations.

“As SAFPU, we urge the PSL to investigate this bribery allegation thoroughly and charge the culprits, in this instance the bosses who are corrupt,” added the statement.

Police probe death of six

Khanyisa Tabata
27 February 2010

Eastern Cape police have opened an inquest docket following the deaths of a family of six at Jece village in Tsolo yesterday.

Spokesperson Mzukisi Fatyela says the six were in a hut when they were struck by lightning.

Fatyela says five others were taken to hospital for treatment.

The family that passed away included a couple aged 45 and 40 years old and their four sons aged 19, 16, 14 and 13 years repectively.

Fatyela says that at moment the situation is tense as family members, relatives and neighbours gather to mourn the sudden and shocking death.

Two arrested for robbery

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 February 2010

Two people have been arrested for hijacking and robbery in Bishop Lavis.

Police spokesperson Captain Marie Louw says, the complainant and her daughter were hijacked in front of her home in Montana, Bishop Lavis by three armed unidentified males.

“The suspects fled with the complainant wallet, cell phones, bank cards and a Silver-grey Toyota Corolla.

Two police members on patrol spotted the hijacked vehicle in Lansdowne Road and gave chase.

"They managed to stop the vehicle and arrested the driver, as well as a second suspect, who had a firearm in his possession,” said Louw.

Friday, February 26, 2010

102 school children packed into 18 seater bus

By Nomava Nobumba
26 February 2010

A bus driver is behind bars after he was caught driving an unlicensed vehicle, carrying an overload and driving without license.

The 49 year old driver from Belhar was arrested in Highlands Drive, Mitchell’s Plain on Wednesday, after his bus was stopped by City Traffic Services.

The 18 seater bus was carrying 102 school children aged between 5 and 13 years old.

Spokesperson Merle Laurens says the learners were sitting on the passage and on each other’s laps.

Laurens adds the bus was had a false licence disc and number plates belonging to another bus permitted to carry 29 passengers.

“The structure of the bus had been drastically altered, with wooden benches fitted to the interior to increase seating capacity. The load-sensor valves had been disconnected, rendering only the front brakes operational. The safety-glass windows of the bus had also been removed and replaced with Perspex,” said Laurence.

Laurens says the suspect is facing charges of driving without a Road Transportation Permit, passenger overload, driving without a licence, driving without a professional driving permit and driving with a false clearance certificate and number plates.

The owner of the bus was subsequently charged with permitting an unlicensed driver to drive a bus.

Laurens says he will also be facing further charges of fraud and negligence related to the Child Protection Act.

The bus has been impounded and will undergo a roadworthy examination.

Suspect wanted for theft

By Kim Saulse
26 February 2010

A teenage suspect is wanted by police for theft committed last month in the central business district .

The suspect has been described as dark skinned, 1.8 meters tall and of slender build. He is believed t be between 16 and 19 years old.

Anyone with information that may lead to his arrest is asked to contact Detective Constable Fredericks on 021 467 8149 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

Drugs valued at R350 000 seized in Woodstock

By Kim Saulse
26 February 2010

Drugs with an estimated street value of R350 000 was seized in Woodstock yesterday.

Inspector Ian Williams said a kilogram of heroin was confiscated in Victoria Street in the area.

A 27 year old man was arrested and is in police custody.

The suspect will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Williams added that the arrest forms part of the police’s ongoing efforts to combat illegal drug activity.

Thousand drivers tested at Shadow Centre for drunk driving

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 February 2010

The City of Cape Town Traffic Services says over one thousands drivers have been tested at the Shadow Centre, the new drunk driving war room sponsored by South African Breweries.

Cape Town Traffic Services Chief Inspector Merle Lourens says Traffic Services, along with other law enforcement units, have stepped up their enforcement strategies across the city by holding regular roadblocks and integrated operations to curb drunken driving.

“The safety of law-abiding citizens who are often innocent victims remains a concern and Traffic Services will continue to adopt a zero-tolerance approach.

“The consumption of alcohol, often coupled with speed, inevitably leads to accidents, injury or death. We are completely committed to this campaign against drunk drivers. It cannot be said enough: driving a vehicle whilst intoxicated can have fatal consequences, but initiatives such as the Shadow Centre will help to curb the number of accidents,” said Chief Inspector Merle Lourens.

Lourens added that since the launch in December 2009 of the centre 1033 drivers have been tested for drunk driving.

Security guard fatally wounded in an armed robbery

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 February 2010

A security guard has been shot and killed during an armed robbery at a supermarket in Samora Machel.
Police spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi says eight men entered the Spar in Samora Machel, holding the staff at gunpoint.

“The suspects fired a series of shots, hitting the security guard as he took cover behind the counter. He later died as a result of his injuries.

“The robbers escaped with two bags of cash containing an undisclosed amount of money. We have opened a case of murder and business robbery,” said Sitshitshi.

Police request anyone that may have any information that can assist with the investigation can contact the Nyanga police station on 021 380 3320 or crime stop on 08600 10 111

Community organisation takes a stand against crime, corruption

By Kim Saulse
26 February 2010

A group of picketers from the community based organisation, the Universal Civics of South Africa, are making their way to parliament as they take a stand against exploitation of the poor, corruption, crime, education and poor service delivery.

National Co-ordinator of UCOSA, Berthel Cordon, says members will hand a memorandum to the President's office and the Justice department. Cordon says their organisation hopes for an effective response from the relevant role players within seven days.

"We are expecting an outcome in seven days, and if there's no response, we will mobilise our unit's everyday," said Berthel.

Suspect arrested for murder of a policeman

By Nomava Nobumba
26 February 2010

A 20 year old man from Khayelitsha has been arrested early this morning for the murder of a policeman.

37 year old Landsdown police constable, Mthunzi Fipaza was shot and killed in an alleged ambush by three men yesterday afternoon in Khayelitsha.

Constable Fipaza and his colleague were on their way home, driving a police vehicle on Mew way off-ramp. They witnessed an armed robbery in progress.

Police’s November Filander says the officers immediately stopped and went to assist the victim.

The suspects then ran in the direction of Ikwezi Park, Khayelitsha where they jumped over a fence with the Constable Fipaza giving chase on foot.

Filander says in Ikwezi Park the three suspects split up and led the officer into an alleged ambush.

“They shot him from different directions in a passage between the shacks.

He was fatally wounded and also robbed of his service pistol,” said Filander.

Filander says the suspect will appear soon in court.

Police refused to divulge any information regarding the suspect’s arrest.

“At this stage we cannot say where he will appear and he was arrested in Khayelitsha due to the investigation that is still in progress.

Another two suspects are still at large.

Duo in the dock for drug possession

By Nomava Nobumba
26 February 2010

Two men were arrested in Mitchell’s Plain last night for being in possession of drugs.

Patrolling police members apprehended the two in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain.
Police say the pair was looking suspicious inside their vehicle and they decided to follow them into Rover Street.

Police’s Captain Rewynne Muller says the suspects tried to jump out of the vehicle but they manage to apprehend them.

“We searched the vehicle and we discovered mandrax tablets, a plastic bag of Tik and a licensed firearm in the suspect’s possession," said Muller.

The two will appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate Court on changes of drug possession.

Security gaurd killed during armed robbery

By Kim Saulse
26 February 2010

An armed robbery at a shop in Oliver Tambo Drive in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain left a security guard fatally wounded yesterday.

ER24 spokesperson Tristan Wadeley says upon arrival of paramedics, they found the security lying face down in a pool of blood.

“He was declared dead on arrival,” said Wadeley.

Wadeley says the shop assistants received trauma counseling.

Police are investigating the circumstances around the shooting.

New CEO welcomed by DA

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 February 2010

The Democratic Alliance has welcomed the appointment of Siza Mzimela as the new CEO of South African Airways.

DA’s Manie van Dyk says Mzimela would do well to continue to the job of damage control done by former acting CEO Chris Smyth..

“The appointment of Ms. Mzimela, who has vast experience in aviation, represents a welcome departure from the cadre deployment policy exercised by the ANC government, which in the past has resulted in the appointment of leadership to SOEs with no real experience and expertise in the sector that they have been placed in.

“For example, the former CEO of SAA, Khaya Ngqula, who had no experience in aviation, led SAA to a loss of R16.6-billion in six years and state bailouts totaling R16.8-billion,” said van Dyk.

FEDUSA meets Paarl Print representatives

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 February 2010

Representatives of the Federation of Unions of South Africa the South African Typographical Union and Paarl Media met on in Paarl to discuss the requirement to make available the comprehensive findings of the specialists who investigated the fire that occurred at Paarl Print on 17 April 2009.

The meeting follows the intervention of the Department of Labour who earlier this week announced that they will investigate the matter further. Labour spokesperson Temba Gabula said on Tuesday that the main objection is to get to the bottom of this and to find the person who was responsible for that unfortunate incident and that person must be held accountable.

Paarl Print has, on several occasions, publically committed to determine the origin, cause and spread of the fire with the primary aim to ensure that a similar event does not reoccur.

Paarl Print spokesperson Nelia Burger says the company is committed to participating in the inquiry held by the Department of Labour, which commences on 1 March 2010 in Paarl. Paarl Print agreed with representatives of FEDUSA and SATU the importance of ensuring that the specialists involved in the investigation are available to testify at the inquiry as well as submit a detailed record of their findings as evidence.

FEDUSA’s Dennis George says they are appreciate the commitment of Paarl Print and its shareholders for the financial support afforded to the families of the persons who lost their lives in the fire.

“Paarl Print reacted immediately to assist families a by making a payment of R10 000 to each family and by contributing a further R10 000 to each of the deceaseds’ families to carry funeral costs.

“A Third Party Fund was established immediately after the fire, to allow members of the public to contribute financially to assist the affected families and the individuals injured in the fire. The Third Party Fund of approximately R1.4 million has already been paid out in full in the form of payments to the families of the deceased as well as employees that were hospitalised,” said George.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bread price fixing fine could soar

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2010

The Competition Commission has lodged an appeal against the Competition Tribunal’s ruling on the penalty imposed on Pioneer Foods for its involvement in the bread cartel.

It is unhappy that the Tribunal’s penalty of 10-percent was imposed on the company’s baking division’s turnover for 2006, rather than its group turnover.

Should the penalty be calculated on the group turnover, it will increase from just under 200-million-Rands to approximately one-and-a-half-billion-Rands.

Two children hospitalised after an accident

By Nomava Nobumba
25 February 2010

Traffic authorities are appealing to motorists to exercise caution when they approach the hospital bend outgoing due to an accident that just occurred behind Groote Schuur Hospital.

The accident involves a Toyota Venture which was carrying 16 school children.

Two of the children and a driver have been injured and taken to Red Cross Children’s hospital, Somerset West and Hanover Park Day hospital.

Disaster Risk Management’s Wilfred Johannes Solomon says they are experiencing a tailback of traffic up and on, till the V&A Waterfront entrance.

Fifty one year old stabbed in Table View

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2010

A fifty one year old man is in a stable condition after he was stabbed in his driveway in Table View.

ER 24 Spokesperson Tristan Wadeley says when paramedics arrived on the scene they found the patient seated up against a wall, with his neighbours applying pressure to his wounds to control the bleeding.

“The patient was taken to Milnerton Medi-Clinic in a stable condition.

“Robbery is believed to be the motive for the stabbing but police are investigating the incident,” said Wadeley.

South Africa to host healthy lifestyles day

By Ofentse Mokae
25 February 2010

Following the proposal of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Health, cabinet has approved that the country host the official launch of the Southern African Development Community Lifestyles Day.

The Healthy Lifestyle day which will be observed tomorrow will provide an excellent platform for the youth to draw a link between physical activity, fitness and high performance, the minister in the presidency Collins Chabane said today.

Chabane who was briefing the media today in parliament following cabinet’s meeting yesterday, said the day will also educate the adult population on the benefits of physical fitness for their well being.

The official event will take place on Friday and Saturday in the Western Cape.

“The launch of the Lifestyle Day will include a 5-kilometre walk, which will include ministers and other dignitaries from other countries on the continent,” Chabane said.

He however refused to be drawn on the lifestyle audits announced by Finance minister Pravin Gordhan, saying the matter did not form part of the agenda in yesterday’s cabinet meeting.

Asked about the “intelligence report” mentioned earlier to the media by ANCYL President Julius Malema, Chabane said the matter will be dealt with by the relevant statutory bodies.

The lifestyle audits are said to be performed on senior government officials as well as high profile political leaders, while the ‘intelligence report” is said to have names of senior ANC leaders, most who backed Zuma to his ascension to the Presidency, to be audited by SARS and to be probed of any corruption or tender irregularities.

This followed widespread media reports that Malema had benefited extensively in multi-million government tenders, particularly from cash strapped municipalities in Limpopo through his companies.

Malema has strongly denied these allegations.

Government welcomes NERSA's decision

By Nomava Nobumba
25 February 2010

Government has welcomed the decision of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) to allow Eskom to increase electricity tariffs by about 25 percent for the next three years.

Speaking at parliament today, Minister of Energy Dipou Peters said government respects the independence of the regulator.

Peters added that the energy has a vital role in the countries economy.

“Without energy security, we cannot achieve the levels of economic activity that are necessary to create new jobs,” she said.

The minister said the government has also introduced solar water heaters which can reduce the usage of electricity.

“Solar water heaters will be issued to communities. The concern about the adverse impact of rising electricity tariffs on the poor will be counteracted by decline in monthly electricity bills.

Peters has also urged the public use energy more efficient.

“The more you use the more you will pay,” warned the minister

NERSA has announced yesterday their decision on the electricity tariff for the period of three years by 25 percent per annum, starting from July 01, 2010.

Five year old killed in hit-and-run in Rocklands

By Kim Saulse
25 February 2010

Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide after a five year old girl was fatally struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Spine and Merrydale Road in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain yesterday.

“Inspector Ian Williams says the girl had been crossing the road, when she was hit. It is alleged that the vehicle had stopped but then drove off without attending to the victim,” said Williams.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact the investigation officer, Detective Inspector Robert Hendricks of Mitchells Plain police station on 073 677 8908 or (021) 370 1706.

11 injured in taxi accident

By Kim Saulse
25 February 2010

Eleven people, injured in two separate taxi accidents this morning, have been hospitalised.

The first incident left four people moderately injured as the taxi they were traveling in overturned on Jip de Hager Road in Welgemoed.

In the second incident in Milnerton, a taxi collided into the side of another vehicle.

ER24 spokesperson Tristan Wadeley says six patients from the taxi and one patient from the car were taken to hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

Eight year old girl found unharmed

By Kim Saulse
25 February 2010

8 year old Keonie Klein from Robertson, who had been missing for three weeks, was found safe in a shack last night in Zwelentemba in Worcester.

The arrest came after a member of the public recognised her father’s partner, 36 year old Gerty Hendricks, on a flyer that was distributed in the community, and alerted police.

She was arrested on kidnapping charges.

Medical examinations revealed that the girl was unharmed.

The suspect will appear in the Robertson Magistrate’s Court soon.

Murder accused sought by Cape Town police

By Nomava Nobumba
25 February 2010

Cape Town police are seeking public assistance in tracing Edy Abybbakar, who has been charged with murder.

It is alleged the Kenyan citizen brutally assaulted 26 year old Siyabalela Mbewu, in the early hours of December 08, 2009 in a nightclub, Midnight Groove.
Mbewu died few days later due to his injuries.

Police say Abybbakar was arrested shortly after the incident, but skipped bail and failed to appear in court during December. A warrant for his arrest was subsequently issued.

Anyone who knows Abybbakar's whereabouts is requested to contact the investigating officer, Inspector Shaun Bardien on 082 9222 606.

Cape Town’s innovative green approach to feeding crisis in schools

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2010

The City of Cape Town is to launch a Food Gardens programme at Silversands Primary School in Silversands.

Councilor Frank Martin says a Food Tent is a makeshift greenhouse made out of shade cloth and in the shape of a tunnel.

“It houses 330 nursery bags in which vegetables are grown. An adapted hydroponics technique is used and all that the beneficiary needs to do is water twice a day with the nutrients provided.

“A Food Tent can be erected in 45 minutes. This revolutionary, make-shift greenhouse increases the production of fruit and vegetables significantly. They can be harvested every six weeks, feeding approximately 50 people per month," said Martin.

Food Tent installations also make fantastic, fun, inexpensive, easy-to-do community projects and volunteerism packages. Food Tents are proving to be extremely popular as a solution to the lack of food security in South Africa.

Martin added that this partnership to set up these Food Tents in Ward 19 shows that the City of Cape Town is serious about its commitment to community development through these holistic greening programmes and environmental education.

Woman arrested for kidnapping of new born

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 February 2010

A 34 year old woman has been arrested on charges of kidnapping a new born baby in Worcester Hospital on Monday.

Police spokesperson Captain Moloi says the police received information about the suspicious woman with a new born baby at Caledon.

“Mrs Annie Lavelot reported that her new born baby was stolen at Worcester Hospital by an unidentified lady.

“The police followed up the information received and led them to the address where the baby was found at Uitsig, Caledon," said Moloi.

A 34 year old woman was arrested on kidnapping charges.The baby is unharmed and healthy.

She was reunited with her parents, the suspect will appear in Worcester court tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mixed re-actions on electricity tariff increases

By Ofentse Mokae
24 February 2010

Following NERSA's announcement this morning to allow Eskom an average increase in tariffs of 25-percent per year over the next three years, many organisations met the decision with mixed sentiments.

The African National Congress congratulated the energy regulator for not conceding to Eskom’s full application of three 35-percent increases.

However its alliance partner the SACP said the decision is a shattering betrayal to the country’s poor people who bear the brunt of the “pursuance of a neo-liberal economic regime” that did not encourage increased state investment where it mattered the most.

“That the majority of our people are expected to pay for the blunders of the elite is indeed very sad, government ignored well timed and considered advice to invest in the infrastructure development projects of Eskom and it is incorrect to continue to punish the poor for this,” the party said.

The ACDP MP and spokesperson on economic matters, Steve Swart said today he was disappointed by the increase which, although lower than expected, will still have a huge impact on consumers.

“The ACDP is disappointed at the NERSA tariff increase of 24,8%, which, whilst being more realistic than Eskom’s call for a 35% hike, will still have a huge impact on consumers,” Swart said.

Numsa added fuel to the burning fire saying: “these increases will jeopardize the developmental agenda as encapsulated in the ANC Elections Manifesto with its major priority focus of creating decent work and sustainable livelihoods”.

NERSA chairperson Cecilia Khuzwayo this morning said, due process were followed in inviting comment at public hearings before the decision was made to allow Eskom an average increase in tariffs of 25-percent per year over the next three years.

Eskom had first asked for three increases of 45-percent each, and then lowered their application to 35-percent.

New education bill to empower the province welcomed

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2010

Western Cape Education Minister Donald Grant today welcomed cabinet’s decision to approve the Departments request to publish the draft Western Cape Provincial School Education Amendment Bill for public comment.

Grant’s spokesperson Bronagh Casey says the following were granted by the cabinet to allow a greater focus on the provision of a quality basic Education to the learners of the Western Cape:

Bring the Western Cape Provincial School Education Act, 1997, in line with the current education landscape,
Expand the power of the Provincial Minister responsible for Education to determine provincial education policy and the power to the Head of the Western Cape Education Department to make certain rules.
Authorize the Provincial Minister to prescribe certain norms and standards regarding basic infrastructure and capacity in public schools, amongst others.

Casey says the province is leading the way for the rest of the country in implementing innovative and practical steps to improve education outcomes.

She says the bill is a critical element of this process.

“It is ultimately aimed at ensuring that the rights of learners are made of paramount importance and creating greater levels of accountability in the system for educators and officials.”

“The act Grant said that he was confident that the public consultation process will see a rigorous debate on aspects of this bill and looked forward to engaging in a debate with all affected parties on the important issues contained in the amendment bill.

“Once finalized, this process will lead to an exciting new chapter in the provision of education in this province, Casey said”

COSATU says tariff hike is “unacceptable”

By Kim Saulse
24 February 2010

The Congress of South African Trade Unions says the approved tariff increases for Eskom is unacceptable and four times the current rate of inflation.

COSATU has condemned the price hike of 25% for 2010 /2011 and 26% for 2012, saying the poor will be the hardest hit in a time when they are struggling with other rising costs.

National spokesperson for COSATU, Patrick Craven says the economy will also be hit with a rise in inflation, which will
jeopardise the chances of an economic upswing.

Craven said many businesses that are already struggling to survive may be forced to close down or even retrench workers because of the huge price increase in one of their most regular costs.

Craven says COSATU will continue to oppose the increase and engage with their Alliance partners and Nedlac.

“If we cannot resolve this issue through discussion, we won’t hesitate taking action on the street to express our disgust and anger on the attack on the standard of living and prospect of economic growth,” said Craven.

Two arrested for abduction of 14 year old girl

By Kim Saulse
24 February 2010

Two suspects have been arrested for the abduction of a 14 year old girl in Kuils River.

It is alleged that the teenager was abducted by two men two weeks ago.

Extensive investigation by the detective constable led to the arrest of the suspects.

This weekend an identity parade was held where the suspects were identified by the girl.

The two men appeared in the Blue Down’s Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The case has been postponed for a week for bail applications.

The girl, who was accompanied by her mother throughout court proceedings, has received trauma counseling.

Decomposed body found in Philippi

By Nomava Nobumba
24 February 2009

A Vredendal Farm worker in Weltevreden Way, Phillippi made a gruesome discovery this morning.

The body of a one year old baby girl was found already decomposed in an open field in the area.

Police spokesperson Inspector Ian Williams says the incident can be linked to the murder case that was investigated by police last year.

“In December, the case of murder was opened in Philippi police station after allegations were made. The body was never found,” said Williams.

Williams urges anyone who can assist on their investigation to contact the investigating officer, Inspector Tommy Prinsloo of the Phillipi police at 021 690 1500 or 084 6570152.

SADTU and DA at logger heads

By Ofentse Mokae
24 February 2010

The South African Democratic Teacher’s Union has lashed out at the Democratic Alliance following the opposition party’s call for the union’s president to resign citing poor performance at his school.

The union accuses the DA of pursuing political provocation.

This follows after the party called for SADTU President Thobile Ntola to resign from his position at SADTU and devote himself to improving the education system at his school which has a pass rate of 29.3%.

“Given this abysmal pass rate, the DA calls on him to resign,” the party’s shadow deputy minister on basic education James Lorimer said.

Lorimer alleged that Chubekile Secondary School in the Eastern Cape where Ntola is principal and science teacher, produced 43 matric candidates for 2009 and only 12 of these learners passed, a “significant” drop from an 85% pass rate in 2005.

However the teacher union, an ally of the ruling ANC, argues that sine Ntola joined the school in 2000, the results were as low as 20% but they celebrate that by 2005 the pass rate was at 85%.

“President Ntola is and will remain committed to quality education and Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign,” the union said in a statement.

The union says had Ntola not been seconded, the DA would still be blaming him for being between the school and the union, adding that being seconded, he is automatically substituted at his school.

The DA had earlier claimed that SADTU’s past record of defiance in the face of any attempt to instill a culture of quality education in schools has been hampering education for decades, and none of the four education ministers the country had since the arrival of democracy in 1994, had been able to take on the union successfully.

“The DA does not believe that SADTU is sincere in its commitment to the social contract to improve education, because within a month of signing this commitment it had already threatened to go on strike over a DA application to have teaching declared an essential service,” Lorimer added.

Meanwhile Sadtu says the DA has no interest in education but everything to do with politics and is using education to get back at us because of our stance and support for the ANC.

“Since the DA has declared war on us, we are ready to fight,” the union concluded.

Suspect held for car theft

By Nomava Nobumba
24 February 2009

One suspect is held in police custody for charges of reckless, negligent driving and theft of motor vehicle.

A complainant,41 year old female approached the police in Greenwich Street, Diepriver yesterday morning after she witness her car beeing stolen.

Shortly thereafter police members spotted the vehicle with two occupants. A car chase ensued.

At the corners of Rosmead and Wetton Street in Wynberg the vehicle turned right into the oncoming traffic where it collided with a truck, lost control and hit a curb.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Venter says the two suspects jumped out of the vehicle and ran towards the racecourse behind the BP garage where police members apprehended one suspect.

The other suspect is still at large. No shots were fired.

Two arrested in Bonteheuwel for drug possession

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 February 2010

Two people have been arrested in Bonteheuwel for being in possession of narcotics, whilst another person was arrested for assault and the possession of a dangerous weapon.

Metro Police Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says police received tip-offs of drug dealing and other illegal activities, such as stolen goods that are kept at certain houses, in the Bonteheuwel area

Faro said:“A person who attempted to attack one of our members with a knife was arrested in Jakkalsvlei Road. He was charged with assault and the possession of a dangerous weapon. We will not tolerate any attacks on our members and we want to warn the public that we regard this as a serious offence and will act against anyone who is guilty of such an offence.”

“We also arrested two people for being in possession of stolen property and we also confiscated a Samsung Computer monitor, two cellphones, two car audio tape, sixty dagga stoppes and twenty seven packets of tik, said Faro.

Six suspects arrested for fraud in Philippi-East

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 February 2010

Six suspects have been arrested in Philippi-East for fraudulent activities in the area.

Police spokesperson Inspector Nondumiso Paul says police received information, that there were six suspects who were involved in fraudulent transactions in various banks.

“Follow-up information by the Philippi-East Police led to the arrest of the six suspects. It is alleged that the two suspects were inside the bank busy making withdrawals. They were arrested as they came out of the bank.

“The other three suspects were hiding outside the bank. They fled the scene when they spotted the police. Further investigation later led to the arrest of these three suspects. Upon further investigation it was discovered that they made a deposit of an undisclosed amount into a Pharmacy Store account,” said Inspector Paul.

Paul added that it was later discovered that the money that was deposited by the suspects didn’t show in the victim’s bank account, some of the suspects have still got pending cases against them such as Murder, Armed Robbery, Robbery and Assaults.

The suspects will appear in the Athlone Magistrates Court today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two taxi drivers arrested for intimidation in Vrygrond

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 February 2010

Two taxi drivers have been arrested and one bystander early this morning in the Vrygrond area, after 30 taxi drivers intimidated two Metro Police Officers. Metro Polie Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says officers pulled over taxis that were operating in the area without valid permits

“As they were issuing fines, other taxi drivers surrounded them and the situation became volatile. Assistance was called for and when re-enforcements arrived on the scene, the taxi drivers fled towards the Vrygrond area.

“The Metro Police Officers gave chase and two of the men were arrested for intimidation, after they were positively identified as those being part of the group. One bystander was arrested for riotous behaviour,” Said Faro.

Faro added that the situation is currently under control, but we will maintain a high visibility and presence in the area.

Mixed re-actions as economy shows signs of picking up

By Ofentse Mokae
23 February 2010

Most economists have been surprised following the announcement by Statistics South Africa that the gross domestic product grew by three-point-two-percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Most of them forecast growth of about two-and-a-half-percent.

This has led to optimism that the economic turn will be much faster than expected.

Some economists now expect annual GDP growth of over three-percent at the end of this year.

However some in the organised labour industry have expressed certain concerns with regards to the announcement.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa today says even though the GDP shows growth from various industries, the Federation is still very concerned that close to 900 00 jobs were lost last year as a direct result from the global economic crisis.

“Even though we are seeing an uncertain growth pattern of the economy we are concerned that those workers who have lost their jobs will not regain their jobs as the economy grows,” said general secretary Dennis George.

George says FEDUSA certainly welcomes the growth but says government now needs to take a firm stance on job creation as indicated in the National Budget by Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Police asks for public assistance

By Nomava Nobumba
23 February 2010

Durbanville police is requesting the assistance of the public in finding three armed robbery suspects.

Police say in the early hours of this morning, the shop owner of Dulces coffee shop was opening the shop when the suspects approached her. One armed with a firearm and the other two with knifes.

“They threatened and assaulted her with the back of the firearm over the head, then forced her to open the safe and took R 8. 000 in cash,” said Sergeant Bernice Laäs-Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout says before they left, a shot was fired in the air to threaten the victim.

The suspects fled in an unknown direction.

Anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects is ask to contact Detective Constable Ngwenya on 021 970 5600.

Minister takes residents to court

By Nomava Nobumba
23 February 2010

The Western Cape Housing Department is taking Delft residents to court after they fail to vacate the under construction area, which is the part of the N2 Gateway Project.

Departmental spokesperson Zalisile Mbali says after comprehensive consultations and negotiations with the residents, Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela last week, applied for an eviction order from the Western Cape High Court.

About 1800 families were ordered to move to the Temporary Relocation Area and 63 have refused to relocate.

Mbali says the opposing residents are delaying the construction process which is the part of the N2 Gateway Project.

“The contractor is refusing to continue with construction on this site on account of the health and safety risks presented to the 63 households who are refusing to vacate,” he said.

Mbali adds that his department is not abandoning the residents at all.

“These 63 households have been offered alternative TRAs which are between 500 and 700 meters from the current one and, thus, relocation will cause no disruption whatsoever to the work opportunities, amenities, schools and other facilities they are currently using.

Residents will be served today with notices and the matter will be heard on the 5th of next month in the Western Cape High Court.

Eight year old girl reported missing

By Kim Saulse
23 February 2010

Eight year old Keonie Klein from Robertson in the Western Cape has been reported missing.

According to the Pink Ladies Organisation’s Dessie Rechner, the little girl has been missing since the 10th of February.

She was allegedly abducted by Gertie Louw, her father’s partner.

Keonie has been described as slim built and red haired. She was wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans and blue sneakers. Keonie has no scars.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Inspector Doe on 082 522 3208 or the Pink Ladies on 0722147439.

Mine workers to protest poor housing facilities

By Ofentse Mokae
23 February 2010

It is expected later this afternoon that about two thousand mine workers will gather at Western chrome mine in Mooinooi, between Brits and Rustenburg to present a memorandum of demands to management.

The Natiounal Union of Mineworkers says their members will present their demands which include amongst other things: Decent accommodation and that the company should review its housing policy; that miners and smelters should negotiate around one negotiation table.

“We are tired over a plethora of issues chief amongst them is the issue of housing. We cannot live in residences that are reminiscent to pig stables any more, we need change and that change must happen now” says Mandlenkosi Tyesi in a statement.

Tyesi the unions Branch Secretary at Western Chrome says the are marching to present a memorandum as a warning to say if our demands are not attended to, then we may have no option but to seriously consider strike action.

Learners licences validity extended to 24 months

By Kim Saulse
23 February 2010

The validity of learner’s licences has been extended to 24 months.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele revealed the extension in two notices published in the Government Gazette.

Driving licence testing centres will now also be operational on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ndebele is quoted as saying the measures will contribute towards improving service delivery with regards to driving licences and will help reduce the application backlog.


Police commits suicide in Pinelands

By Nomava Nobumba
23 February 2010

A 31 year old policeman shot and killed himself in full view of his colleagues in Thornton, Pinelands early this morning.

Pinelands police were called to a block of flats where the constable was involved in an argument with his girlfriend.

Upon police arrival, the constable was standing outside the flats with a pistol in his hand.

Police’s November Filander says despite desperate efforts to get him to surrender the weapon, he suddenly fired two shots into the air and then turned the gun on himself.

“He shot himself on the head and died on the scene,” said Filander.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

Man falls to his death

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 February 2010

A man died after he fell from the sixth floor of a building in Wynberg.

Er24 spokesperson Tristan Wadeley says the man believed to be around the age of 50 years old, died after allegedly falling from the sixth floor of a building in Piers Street in Wynberg.

“The man had sustained severe trauma and was dead on arrival of emergency services.

“A security guard claimed that the man had fallen from the sixth floor of the building, although it is not clear how he fell,” said Wadeley.

Wadeley added that police and the fire department were also in attendance.

Paarl Print incident probe by Labour Department

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 February 2010

The Department of Labour will conduct a formal public inquiry into the tragic fire incident which killed 13 employees at Paarl Print on 17 April 2009.

Departmental spokesperson Temba Gubula says after all other avenues have been exhausted, the matter now constitutes a formal inquiry in terms of Section 32 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“The investigation will take form of a public participation where everyone who was involved in the fire will participate. Legal representative from workers side, employer’s side and the Department of Labours side will present evidence.

“The main objection is to get to the bottom of this and to find the person who was responsible for that unfortunate incident and that person must be held accountable,” said Temba Gubula.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Number of drowned children rise to three

By Ofentse Mokae
22 February 2010

Police in the Southern Cape have reported that the number of children drowned over the weekend has risen to three.

The children who drowned at the Dias beach in Mossel Bay yesterday were initially reported as Nkululeka Xaka aged 11, and nine-year-old Siphamandla Vukubi.

This morning their friend 11-year-old Bulelani Nkasayi was found at the beach.

The children drowned when a group of children from the Kwanonqaba township were swimming.

Another two boys were rushed to hospital.

Meanwhile in nearby Sedgefield, police are offering a considerable reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspects who attacked an 80-year-old woman in her bed in the Southern Cape town early this morning.

Margareth Ross is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed several times.

The suspects got away with jewellery and her cellphone.

Malema slams media

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2010

African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema says he has since 2008 stopped being an active director of all the companies he had previously been involved in.

At a news conference in Johannesburg, Malema slammed reports about his lifestyle, saying he would take legal action newspaper.

Denying that he had ever bought a house cash, Malema said the reports had put himself and his family at risk.

Meanwhile, AfriForum Youth has asked the Public Protector to investigate tenders awarded to Malema’s company SGL Engineering Projects.

The South African Revenue Service has also been asked to do a lifestyle audit of the Youth League leader.

AfriForum Youth’s Ernst Roets accuses Malema of exploiting the poor to gain political influence, while enriching himself with service delivery projects.

Dagga worth R1.6 million seized in S.Cape

By Kim Saulse
22 February 2010

Two men from Cape Town have been arrested by Southern Cape police for being in possession of dagga worth almost R2 million.

The duo, from Crossroads and Phillipi, were arrested on the N12 highway between Oudtshoorn and De Rust during a roadblock.

The two were travelling towards Oudtshoorn.

They appeared in court today.

SA Agulhas touches home base after 14 months

By Kim Saulse
23 February 2010

The SA Agulhas, with the Sanae 48 team on board will return to local shores tomorrow morning after a 14 month mission.

A moment of silence and prayer will be observed in memory of 25 year old team member Johann Jamneck.

Jamneck, a meteorologist, died during a rescue exercise at the South African Antarctic Station in October last year.

Azapo calls for government tender process to be reviewed

By Ofentse Mokae
22 February 2010

The Azanian People’s Organisation has called for a total review of government tendering process.

The party says this is sequel to corruption that is associated with such awards.

The party says in a statement, politicians and government officials are the main benefactors of such tenders as service delivery takes a second place.

The call comes in wake of revelations about ANC Youth League President Julius Malema’s multi-million business deals he has made with various municipalities in the Limpopo province.

His party the ANC, the mother body of the league, has come to Malema’s defence saying there should not be any problem with Malema’s business ventures with government as he is not an MP or a government employee.

Azapo says in most cases, companies that are awarded tenders do not have requisite skills and capacity to deliver on the task that they are charged with while on the other hand, and there is no discernible attempt on the part of the government to recoup monies lost due to lack of service delivery by such companies.

“It is therefore no wonder that people such as Julius Malema and Siphiwe Nyanda are today millionaires and benefactors of government tenders. It is because there are no checks and balances in place to guide who can apply for government tenders,” said the party.

Combating drug related offences is our priority- says Metro Police

By Nomava Nobumba
22 February 2010

‘Operation Razor’ carried out by Metro Police officers across the city, over the weekend saw 35 people being put behind bars for charges ranging from drunk and driving, drug possession and robbery.

Metro Police Deputy Chief Yolanda Faro says their members were deployed across the city to ensure the success of this operation on combating drug-related crime and drunken driving offences.

Of the 35 people arrested, Faro says 18 were for drunken driving, 12 for drug-related offences, two for robbery, one for dealing in liquor and two for riotous behaviour.

The suspects were arrested inHanover Park, Kleinvle, Scottsdene, Claremont, Fish Hoek and Sea Point.

On the corners of Vanguard Drive and the N2 two suspects were arrested for being in possession of drugs.

This is after they were spotted by members of the Metro Police’s Camera Response Unit, looking suspicious, standing behind an electricity box.

“Four packets of TIK were found on the female whilst the male had Mandrax powder in his possession,” said Faro.

Faro adds that the scourge of drugs is negatively impacting the communities and it is breaking down the social fabric of society.

“Therefore the combating of drug-related offences is very high on our priority list,” reiterated Faro.

Confiscated drugs over this weekend were 42 units of heroin, 51 stoppe dagga, 75 units of TIK and 34 Mandrax tablets.

Pensioner stabbed during robbery

By Nomava Nobumba
22 February 2010

An 80 year old woman was taken to hospital after being stabbed in her home during an alleged robbery in Sedgefield, in the Southern Cape this morning.

ER24 spokesperson Tristan Wadeley says when the ER24 crew arrived on scene, they found the woman lying in her bed with multiple stab wounds.

“She was stabilised on the scene before being transported to Knysna Private Hospital in a serious but stable condition,” said Wadeley.

The incident is being investigated by police.

Two bodies found behind primary school

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2010

Two unidentified bodies have been discovered with gunshot wounds behind a primary school in Kalksteenfontein.

Police spokesperson Captain Marie Louw says police were notified by passersby.One of the two bodies was wearing a green top, with both dressed in black jeans.

“A sports jacket with colours black/ white and red was also laying near the crime scene. Both deceased seems to be in their early twenties.

“The circumstance surrounding this double murder is still unclear,” said Captain Louw.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or reported somebody as missing with the above mentioned clothing description can contact the Bishop Lavis Investigation officer, Detective Constable Luzuko Ngwenze at 083 976 7491 or (021) 935 9802/3.

Bafana Bafana wages must be paid says DA

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 February 2010

The Democratic Alliance has lashed out at the South African Football Association over concern that SAFA has yet to pay match fees to our national football team following the international friendly against Zimbabwe in Durban last month.

DA’s Donald Lee this matter warrants an immediate and unequivocal resolution from SAFA. Players' wages must be paid this week.

“It would be entirely reprehensible for SAFA to start to create chaos and uncertainty in Bafana Bafana's ranks just months before their most important tournament ever.

“While we appreciate that CEO Leslie Sedibe has barely been in the job a month, there can be no excuse for failing to pay players' wages, especially in an organisation that generated R32-million profit last year,” said Donald Lee.

Lee added that this is not the first time that SAFA has made a significant profit in a financial year and then failed to make good on its commitments. Clearly this situation must not be allowed to repeat itself, particularly with the morale of our national football team ahead of the 2010 World Cup at stake.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hundreds welcome Makhathini's remains

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

The remains of ANC stalwart Johnny Makhathini were welcomed by hundreds of people at Durban International Airport last night.

Makhathini's remains were exhumed in Zambia yesterday morning by a government delegation led by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Makhathini died in exile on December 3, 1988 and his remains will be reburied on the 27th of this month in Pietermaritzburg.

Addressing about 200 people who welcomed Makhathini's remains by singing liberation songs, Mkhize described Makhathini as a real freedom fighter.

Makhathini's wife, Valerie, and his daughter, Nandi, who live in Atlanta in America, were also in Zambia to witness the exhumation.

Malema’s lifestyle remains under scrutiny

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

The furore surrounding ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema’s lifestyle just will not go away and it has now been reported that he is being bankrolled by lucrative government contracts awarded to his companies.

Media cites official tender and government documents that show that Malema's companies were awarded more than 20 contracts, each worth between 500-thousand rands and 39-million rands between 2007 and 2008.

Apparently one of the companies, a small engineering firm, profited from more than 130-million rands worth of tenders in just two years.

Meanwhile ID President Patricia de Lille has called on the South African Revenue Service to tell the public if Julius Malema has paid his taxes.

‘It is very difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt when he has already lied about what he earns - saying he was a middle income earner - and also about the fact that likes so many other ANC leaders, he has made millions from Government tenders.

“The ID Leader says she is sure ‘this information that has been released about Malema is part of the wider battle between the South African Communist Party and the ANCYL and I am also sure that in the next week or so there will be more revelations about the business interests of other leaders and their wives,” said Patricia de Lille.

Proteas win toss, elect to field

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

Jacques Kallis has taken over the captaincy of the Proteas in the absence of Graeme Smith who is suffering from a finger injury.

Kallis called correctly at the toss this morning in Japir and has sent the Indians in to bat in the first one-day game. Herschelle Gibbs will open the batting with Alviro Petersen when the Proteas do bat.

Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has passed a fitness test and is back behind the wickets.

Things began well for South Africa today when one of the best batsmen in the world Sachin Tendulkar was run out by Hershelle Gibbs who is considered to be one of the best fielders.

However, the Indians kept the score going along nicely at between five and six an over and after 16 overs had scored 96 for the loss of two wickets with danger man Virender Sehwag also being run out.

After 38 overs India is on 211 for 5.

Concern expressed over fuel levy

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

The MEC responsible for agriculture in the Western Cape Gerrit van Rensburg says he is concerned about the raised fuel levy announced in the budget speech.

Van Rensburg says his main concern is the effect the levy will have on the shelf price of food, as fuel costs play a major role in distribution.

He says fuel and electricity are major input costs for farmers and any increase in these costs has a negative effect on profitability.

The fuel levy sees a general increase of 17 cents per litre to help finance the new petroleum pipeline between Durban and Gauteng.

Illegal miners surface in Free State

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

Seventy illegal miners have surfaced in the Free State under an amnesty period from Harmony gold mines.

The mining company granted the miners amnesty from arrest, should they surface yesterday or today.

Harmony says it also prevented its workers from taking food underground, to prevent them from selling it to illegal miners. It is unknown how many illegal miners are still underground.

Harmony’s Marian van der Walt said, all that the amnesty means is that these guys would now be allowed to come to surface. They won’t be arrested. They will have to surrender any material and any money

Cope to serve motion of no confidence in Zuma

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

The leader of Cope Mosiuoa Lekota says his party will serve a motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma in Parliament next week.

He says Zuma has caused the country enough embarrassment after recent reports that he fathered a child outside marriage.

Lekota has also called for a full investigation into ANC Youth League President Julius Malema's financial affairs.
Media reports have it that Malema lives an extravagant lifestyle despite his monthly salary of 20-thousand rands.

Two boys and a man drowned at Mossel Bay

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 February 2010

The National Sea Rescue Institute says two boys and a man drowned at Mossel Bay in the Southern Cape yesterday.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says the Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services and the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter were activated following reports of a group of children and an adult being swept out to sea.

“A group of surfers that had taken part in a “Waves Surf school” surfing competition had noticed 3 children and an adult being swept out to sea at Diaz Beach, moments after the surfing competition had ended.

“A surfer grabbed his surfboard and paddled out and managed to rescue the adult and one of the children. Both of these victims were treated by Metro paramedics for near drowning symptoms and they are both in stable but serious conditions after being transported to hospital by a Metro ambulance.

Lambinon added that the remaining two children were found floating face down in the water by surfers and these two surfers brought the two children ashore where Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation efforts were initiated on both children by Metro paramedics but after all efforts to resuscitate the children were exhausted on-scene they were both declared dead by Metro paramedics.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

City reassures ratepayers that property valuations are fair

By Khanyisa Tabata

20 February 2010

The City of Cape Town has assured ratepayers that the process of valuing their properties is fair and equitable.

Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson, says that the process of setting rates has not yet begun, and is an entirely separate process to that of valuing properties.

“The rates process is set within a national framework set by national government. Property owners will only know their new rates bills in May.

“There are many scenarios that may impact on the differences between prior values and new values, such as additions, land status changes, conservative or excessive prior values,” said Ian Neilson.

An increase in a property value on its own does not necessarily imply an increase in one’s rates bill. A 60-day inspection and objection period will take place from February 22 to 30 April 2010.

Mpumalanga police confirm existence of hit-list

By Khanyisa Tabata

20 February 2010

Mpumalanga's Premier David Mabuza has confirmed that police are in possession of a so-called hit list targeting prominent people in the province.

The confirmation follows media reports that the names of several local politicians, businessmen and journalists are on the hit list.

According to Mabuza, the list has been submitted by an anonymous person and has been taken to the police.

He says they want to establish the facts about the list because there could be someone who wants to confuse people. Mabuza added that the police will give more clarity later.

No freedom choice for fishers says DA

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 February 2010

The Democratic Alliance says the majority of perlemoen fishers are up in arms about plans to prevent them from selling their catches to buyers of their choice.

The party says while the conditional re-opening of perlemoen harvesting is welcomed, the fact that government is allowing a monopoly in the industry is causing concern.

Government last year banned all perlemoen harvesting, leaving hundreds of legal fishers unemployed. But it recently announced that the ban will be reversed.

DA member of Parliament Gareth Morgan says the single buyer system is not a good idea.

Government urged to spend budget locally

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 February 2010

The Federation of Unions of South Africa says government should be spending its budget locally and not pay other countries to manufacture goods that can be locally produced.

Commenting on the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies’ Industrial Policy Action Plan, Fedusa said there was not enough focus on the development of the services sector - a vital component of the country’s economy.

Fedusa’s general secretary Dennis George says government should start spending locally in a bid to create jobs.

“With the World Cup coming to the country this year government has to put something to the local market.

“Even the buses that are going to be used during the World Cup are being imported, what we are saying as Fedusa is that those busses could have been manufactured now they are imported form Brazil we are creating jobs there,” said Dennis George.

South African born boy found guilty of murder in New Zealand

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 February 2010

A teenager who murdered his schoolmate in New Zealand has been identified as a South African. Theo Kriel was only 14 when he killed 15-year-old Liberty Templeman.

Kriel was found guilty of the murder by a judge in the Whangarei High Court yesterday.

His identity was kept secret from the time of his arrest over 15 months ago until a judge ruled that it was in the public interest to name him.

Templeman’s body was found face down in a stream in an abandoned orchard in The Bay of Islands in 2008, a day after she went missing. Kriel admits he killed her, but says he did not mean to do it.

Police minister visits Khayelitsha

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 February 2010

The day after a 33-year-old Khayelitsha police constable shot and killed himself in Site C, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is visiting the Cape Town Township.

Police spokesperson Inspector November Filander says it is alleged that the deceased, who was driving alone and dressed in full police uniform, was on his way to work in a marked police vehicle.

“The police vehicle was driving along a white Condor with four occupants on Lansdowne road, Khayelitsha when both vehicles suddenly collided on their sides.

“When both vehicles came to a halt the police constables suddenly pull out his 9 mm service pistol and fatally shot himself in his head,” said Inspector Filander.

The circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of the Khayelitsha police constable is being investigated

Five suspects arrested in motor theft related incidents

By Ofentse Mokae
20 February 2010

Police say they have arrested five people in separate incidents through their Vehicle Identification and Safeguarding Section in Bellville South.

On Thursday several arrests were made in connection with theft of motor vehicles during a tracing operation in Mitchells Plain, Athlone and Mfuleni areas.

Four suspects were arrested in three separate incidents of theft of motor vehicles.

One of the suspects will also be charged with Car Jacking.

Meanwhile in a separate incident yesterday a male security guard was arrested after he was found with spanners that was allegedly taken from vehicles that was impounded at the police station in Bellville.

The suspect was on duty at the time of the incident.

All five suspects will appear in Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Monday, motor theft and related charges.

Khayelitsha residents to engage Police minister

By Ofentse Mokae
20 February 2010

Residents of Khayelitsha will be afforded the rare opportunity to interact and express their concerns on crime in their community with Police minister Nathi Mthethwa today.

The meeting expected to take place at the Eyethu Multipurpose Community Centre in F Section will also allow the minister to engage residents in finding common solutions on issues relating to crime and proliferation of firearms.

This forms part t of the current Firearms Amnesty which ends on 11th April 2010.

In a statement the police ministry says the war against crime will be won in partnership with communities.

“It is apparent to all of us that the police alone cannot win the fight against crime. Criminals do not live in isolation from communities, thus a need to deepen our partnership with communities is essential,” the statement said.

The ministry says the minister will further use the engagement to deepening the interaction with police, communities, civil society, business, faith-based organizations, CPFs and the different spheres of government.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Plans to demolish cooling towers confirmed

By Ofentse Mokae
19 February 2010

Plans by the City of Cape Town to demolish the Athlone cooling towers have been confirmed.

The city’s Mayco member for Utility services Clive Justus says this will take place as soon as possible.

This follows damage to the site during the early hours of last Sunday when stabilising rings around one of the towers fell to the ground.

“These rings had been fitted as an additional safety feature almost 20 years prior. Part of the N2 was temporarily closed while structural engineers assessed the damage and risk to passing traffic,” says the city in a statement.

The city says a report from engineers has been studied and it has been decided to proceed with demolition of the two cooling towers.

Alderman Justus says the City has since received a report from the consulting and structural engineers.

“The report has been studied and it has been decided to proceed with the demolition of the two cooling towers as soon as possible,” Justus says.

The towers are considered to pose safety risks as it is possible that one or both of the towers could collapse in high winds.

The city says it is thus strongly recommended that both towers be demolished before winter’s North Westerly winds start to blow.

However public participation will be facilitated as the towers have become sentimental to city residents and are affectionately known as, ‘The two ladies of Athlone’.

The demolition will be commissioned through the City’s Supply Chain Management Department in conjunction with the Electricity Department.

Alderman Justus says that a detailed plan involving all Traffic and Emergency Services is being prepared, and surrounding roads including the N2 and Jan Smuts Drive are likely to be closed for a short period during the actual demolition.

The demolition is planned to be completed before the FIFA 2010 World Cup begins.

Victim ducked, and accomplice killed

By Nomava Nobumba
19 February 2010

Nyanga police is investigating a case of murder after a robbery shot dead his accomplice in Samora Machel yesterday.

Police say a 16 year old suspect mistakenly shot his friend instead of a woman they tried to rob.

“It is alleged the suspect tried to shoot the woman but she ducked and instead hit his accomplice,” said Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi.

Sitshitshi says the suspect is at large, but known to police.

Its Soweto derby again

By Nomava Nobumba
18 February 2010

Soweto giants will clash again tomorrow in their Absa Premiership match, with Orlando Pirates host their arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs at Orlando Stadium.

When these two locked horns earlier in the 2009/10 PSL season they played to a goalless draw in front of thousands of screaming fans, who all left the stadium disappointed and who will not want to see a similar result come Saturday.

The Amakhosi will certainly be the more confident of the two teams coming into this match following the fact that they were leading 1-0 in their midweek encounter against Mpumalanga Black Aces before the match was called off due to bad weather.

That game will now take place on Wednesday, March 24.

Pirates, on the other hand, had no such luck in their midweek encounter which saw them totally outplayed by Maritzburg United.

The Buccaneers defence was woeful and they ended up losing the game 2-1 after conceding two goals in the first half.

At present, two points and one place separate the two Soweto rivals on the league table.

Chiefs are in third place with 42 points while the Buccaneers are in fourth spot with 42 points. The Amakhosi do, however, have a game in hand.

The kick-off is at half past three in the afternoon.

Mixed re-actions towards Zille’s state of the province address

By Ofentse Mokae
19 February 2010

Opposition parties have reacted with mixed emotions to the State of the Province address delivered this morning by Premier Helen Zille at the packed provincial parliament chambers in Wale Street in Cape Town.

The African National Congress the official opposition in the province says the address lacked substance as well as credibility. Chief whip for the party Pierre Uys says Zille’s speech lacked accountability and showed no leadership.

“Well we believe it was very weak it showed no leadership at all, the issues that were reffered back to the past were not really saying what they achieved,” Uys said.

He said as far the targets made by the premier; he says they are not sure whether the party plans to create an impression they are going to achieve “unrealistic target”.

The Congress of the People says they satisfied by the address as they did not have much expectation but says there are loop holes in Zille’s address.

Party leader in the legislature as well as in the province Mbulelo Ncedana says they are not totally disappointed.

“Well we are not disappointed by what the premier had said in what we already indicated yesterday we are not expecting anything new, we expected at least an account on what she promised last year,” said Ncedana.

Meanwhile the African Christian Democratic Party says represented only by Pauline Cupido says they congratulate Zille on her address, but complaint the quality of housing in the city as well as in the province.

“We are concerned about the quality of housing, the DA government in the city and also in the province have not provided a satisfactory delivery on housing,” Cupido

Malema wants mass support

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 February 2010

Julius Malema says the African National Congress Youth League does not want President Jacob Zuma or any other leader’s support in its nationalisation struggle.

What it wants is the support of the masses.

At a memorial lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand commemorating former president Nelson Mandela's release from prison 20 years ago, Malema said if the masses said the Youth League was correct, it would march on.

Malema is determined to influence ANC branches to make nationalisation party policy, which would then filter into the government.

He was addressing a packed hall where he was received with applause and enthusiastic song and dance.

It has been reported that ahead of Malema's address, the audience watched a video clip of an interview with Nelson Mandela, filmed shortly after his release from prison.

Mentally disturb man goes missing

By Nomava Nobumba
19 February 2010

A case of missing person has been opened at Kuilsriver police station after an elderly man went missing in the area.

62 year old Jacobus Hendrick Smith disappeared on Monday.

The organisation helps to find missing persons, Pink Ladies spokesperson Dessie Rechner says the man who is mentally disturbed went missing from a psychiatric hospital in Kuilsriver.

Rechner says they also received information that he has relatives in Lambertsbaai.

Anyone who knows his whereabouts can contact Kuilsriver police station on 021 906 0800 or the Pink Ladies Organisation on 072 214 7439.

State of the Province Address by

Helen Zille Premier of the Western Cape

Honourable Speaker
Cabinet colleagues

The honourable Leaders of the Opposition of both the Western Cape Legislature and the National Assembly, who are present today Members of the Diplomatic Corps Leaders of political parties Honourable members of the national and provincial parliaments Leaders of local government Director-General and Heads of Department Religious leaders Community leaders Colleagues and friends Citizens of the Western Cape

Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to report back on the work of this government since it took office in May last year.

In this, my second State of the Province address, I will, as is customary, assess the challenges we face. And, I will explain how this government will meet these challenges in the years ahead.

When I delivered my inaugural State of the Province address nine months ago, I said that our immediate priority was to get the substance of government right. I said that we were ready to get down to disciplined, deadline-driven work.

And this is what we have done. It has been a crucial gestation period. We have used it to devise and begin implementing far-reaching plans that we believe will improve the lives of the people of this province, step-by-step.

Visible change may be gradual, but it will come and it will be fundamental. This is the approach we adopted in the City of Cape Town when we took office in 2006.

At first, there was no discernible difference. But, as the impact of our principles, policies and projects began to be felt, the difference became marked.

As Peter Bruce of Business Day wrote recently in that newspaper:

"As most ANC-run cities broadly subside and most DA-run ones broadly prosper, the political effect becomes a little like compound interest. You don't notice it at first but after a while it really begins to matter. A lot. It's about doing your job - everyone doing their jobs
- properly."

I am not going to give a political speech here today. I use this quote merely because it best sums up our approach to government, an approach that implements policies that advance our vision of an open, opportunity society for all.

Central to this vision, which I will expand upon later, is appointing officials on the basis of their fitness for the intended purpose, not their political connections.

We have seen how cadre deployment destroys the ability of government to deliver. It is the root cause of the failed state. We will not take that route.

We want the Western Cape to succeed because we want South Africa to succeed. We want South Africans to understand that by the choices they make, they can shape our country's future for better or for worse.

Already, we are working with other provinces and sharing best practice. We also have excellent inter-governmental relations with some Ministries in the national government.

At the national cabinet lekgotlas which I attend, I have been pleasantly surprised at the extent to which I can advance policy alternatives, and that there is mutual respect between spheres of government. It is even more gratifying to see how many of our policy proposals have been adopted by the national government, and how our constitution's vision of co-operative governance can work.

But that does not mean we view ourselves as an administrative arm of the national government. We have a mandate from the people of this province, and we will work to fulfill their mandate. We have set our own tough targets on the basis of this mandate, which happen to align reasonably well within the national framework. We are happy to be evaluated and measured by the relevant national departments against the targets we have set.

Our mandate from the citizens of this province is to build
an open,
opportunity society for all in the Western Cape. It is worth repeating here what we mean.

The open society is one based on constitutionalism and the rule of law, where individuals are guaranteed rights and where independent institutions protect these rights, and limit and disperse political power.

In the open society, there is transparency and accountability, assisted by a free press and a robust civil society.

The opportunity society is one where every person is given the chance and the wherewithal to improve their own circumstances, whatever their circumstances may be.

In the opportunity society, the state has a duty to do for people what they cannot be expected to do for themselves.

In the opportunity society, those who take responsibility for their lives and use their chances flourish. They understand that taking control of their own lives is infinitely preferable to a lifetime of dependency on the state.

South Africa is not yet an open, opportunity society. It is not yet an open society because power abuse still goes unchecked and unpunished.
Some people think they are above the law. We are not yet an opportunity society because too many people remain trapped in a cycle of poverty, with few realistic prospects, relying on state grants to survive.

Speaker, the strategic objectives I will outline today, taken together, are designed to build an open, opportunity society for all in this province.

In some cases, we have already announced specific plans and are starting to implement them as part of each department's Annual Performance Plan. In other cases, the plans still need fine-tuning.

We knew when we assumed office nine months ago that turning this province around would take more than a vision or a philosophical framework.

It would take an unrelenting focus on the task at hand. It would require a provincial administration with the institutional capacity and resources, both human and financial, to deliver.

In June last year we began a modernisation process to overhaul the functioning of government to increase service delivery capacity and financial efficiency.

We wanted to bring the administration on par with international best practice and ensure each department, directorate and sub-directorate understood its purpose, and was fit to fulfill it.

As we have discussed these steps in the House before I will not repeat them today.

Suffice to say that modernisation is designed to ensure co-ordination, monitoring, evaluation and accountability. And I have learnt over the years that project management (where the buck stops with a single
individual) is particularly important when alignment is required between departments.

Our project-based approach has been incorporated into the IT-based project management system or 'dashboard' which gives the Premier and each Cabinet Minister access to management information on every major project in the province, so that we can hold the right people to account, and so that we, ultimately, can be held to account.

This is important for effective performance management and for clean, transparent governance.

The system will be made available to all provincial staff to improve co-ordination across departments. It will also be accessible to municipalities and via the internet to improve co-ordination of intergovernmental projects.

Eventually, once we have our full strategic plan in place, we will make our dashboards accessible to view on the internet. This will take accountable governance to new levels. Any local community, or individual, can then keep track of the projects affecting them.

The modernisation process is part of one of the ten key strategic objectives for this government, namely: clean value-driven and responsive government.

Speaker, if we are to expand opportunities for more and more people, we have to do more with less.

In the last nine months, we have saved many millions of rands just by cutting out luxuries, such as new ministerial vehi cles and lavish parties. These savings have been ploughed back into projects that will actually deliver services.

In the next three years, over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, we have identified efficiency savings to the value of R2.1 billion.

We are also currently in the process of reviewing public entities such as Wesgro, Cape Nature and Cape Town Routes Unlimited to evaluate whether these entities are fulfilling their legislative mandate, whether they are still relevant to our policy approach and whether they justify the R1.5 billion earmarked for them over the next five years.

Most importantly, we are putting practical steps in place to tackle corruption head-on.

We inherited a forensic investigation unit that was drastically under-capacitated. To remedy this, we have brought in more seasoned investigators to handle the case-load. And, in the next financial year, we will invest six times more in training, outsourcing and equipment for the unit. We are determined to beat corruption.

There were 81 forensic audits registered last year alone. Where there was prima facie evidence of misconduct or corruption, officials were suspended and independent investigators appointed to test evidence and guide further action. In some cases, the matters were referred to the police.

While we believe in dealing quickly and decisively with corruption, we prefer to stop it before it occurs.

To this end, we will shortly table draft legislation, the Business Interests of Employees Bill, which will prohibit employees of the provincial government conducting business with government, except in strictly defined and transparent circumstances. Tender rigging and conflicts of interest are one of the primary sources of corruption in all provinces, as Minister Gordhan again emphasized in his budget speech on Wednesday.

Speaker, besides making the Western Cape the national benchmark for good governance, we want to make the Western Cape the place in South Africa to do business. Attracting and retaining our capital and skills is essential for growth, which in turn is essential to create sustainable jobs.

This goal is captured in another of our strategic objectives: maximising economic growth, job creation and sustainability.

Provincial governments, and national governments for that matter, do not grow the economy or create jobs. Businesses do that. But governments can provide an enabling environment, or a disabling environment, which either encourages or discourages growth.

We intend to do the former.

There are limits to what provincial governments can do in this regard. We cannot, for example, change the inflexible labour legislation that severely inhibits job creation.

However, there are a number of innovations we can make which will create the kind of enabling environment that allows businesses, entrepreneurs and job-seekers to succeed.

Agriculture, which brings in 40% of all export revenue and employs 200 000 people, is integral to maximizing economic growth and creating jobs in the province.

We will help shield farmers and farm workers from the negative impact of climate change by investigating ways to mitigate its effects. Over the next five years, we aim to increase agricultural production through research and financial support to farmers and assisting farmers to access domestic and international markets. To encourage more people to take up farming, we will continue to offer training and financial support to students who study agriculture. This sector is of cardinal importance to the welfare of our people.

Central to unlocking and creating wealth in the province is the regeneration of the Cape Town CBD. This will be one of the province's mega-projects. In the next five years, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, Transnet and the national Department of Public Works, we will expand the central city through new infrastructure. This will accelerate growth, attract investment and generate more jobs and business opportunities.

We will
also attract and retain investment by leveraging a portion of the R85 billion of assets owned by the province to create public-private partnerships.

We are currently reviewing the regulatory environment and the cost of doing business in the province. Our aim is to cut red tape by 20% in the next five years to encourage more companies to do business in the province. Dr Johann Rupert, at his inauguration as chancellor of Stellenbosch University last night, spoke about his experience of being able to set up a company in less than 3 weeks in some parts of the world. Those are the places we must learn to compete with if we want to attract investment.

Speaker, this year presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to market our province to the world.

Since the final draw of the FIFA World Cup in Cape Town in December last year and the handover of Cape Town stadium, there should be no more doubt that we will pull off a world class event.

We must prove the Afro-pessimists wrong.

We must not only ensure that the tournament exceeds all expectations, but that its benefits spread to poorer communities. For example, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and I launched, in Khayelitsha recently, the first of twenty Football for Hope Centres which prepare young people for adulthood with life skills, HIV/Aids counselling and healthy sporting activities.

We have done a lot of work to market the city and province as a value-for-money, exciting and reliable destination for tourism, trade and investment. Our challenge now is to avoid having this hard work undone by greed in the months leading up to the tournament.

I am pleased that many accommodation owners, airlines and tour operators have reduced their initial high prices. But there are still many who view the World Cup as a chance to make big bucks. This is short-sighted and damaging to the tourist industry in the long run.

Besides attracting investment, we must do all we can to attract, retain and develop skills. Already, in partnership with the private sector, we are implementing a state-subsidised "on the job" training programme which aims to place 40 000 young people on internship and mentorship programmes by 2014.

But any plan to develop skills will only succeed if we can produce enough school-leavers who can read, write and calculate at the required level to enter the economy.

At the moment, the school system is not working. The grade 12 pass rate in the Western Cape, while higher than other provinces, has dropped by ten percentage points since 2004 to 76%.

In 2009, the percentage of Grade 3 learners in the province with adequate literacy skills was 53%, and for numeracy only 35%. Only 14% of grade 6 learners have the required numeracy skills.

We cannot go on like this.

Quality education is the cornerstone of the opportunity society. Expanding access to a quality education for all is the best affirmative action there is.

This is why education is my top priority in the province. In November last year we announced our strategic plan to improve education outcomes. It sets bold targets for improvements in literacy and numeracy, grade 12 results and measures to improve the results of under-performing schools.

This year, we want to reverse the decline in the grade 12 pass rate.
We have set the seemingly impossible target of 80% -- an increase of almost five percentage points, a jump that has never been achieved before. It will be extremely difficult, we have set the benchmark very high, but we have to make an extreme effort in these extreme circumstances.

By 2019, we are aiming for a grade 12 pass rate of 87%, literacy levels of 90% and numeracy levels of 80%. In the next five years we aim to reduce the number of underperforming high schools from 85 to zero.

These are what you call stretch targets, given where we are starting from. But unless we get education right, the vision of the opportunity society FOR ALL is worthless.

How do we plan to achieve these targets?

We must sta
rt with the crucial first three years of schooling, the foundation phase.

We are regularly conducting independent diagnostic tests to measure the literacy and numeracy of all grade 3, 6 and 9 learners which enables us to identify where the problems are and what remedial action is required.

Literacy and numeracy tests were, in fact, first introduced by the previous DA provincial government. We are pleased that the tests are set to become part of national education policy as announced both by President Zuma in this State of the Nation address, and by Minister Pravin Gordhan in his budget speech. (We warmly welcome this growing trend of the National government taking over DA policies).

Speaker, we realise that policy-making and target-setting on their own will not achieve results. We know that turning our education system around depends on every principal, teacher, official, parent and pupil in our province.

Parents have a particular role to play - many children from disadvantaged backgrounds do succeed against the odds because of a stable and supportive home environment. But, while we cannot make parents accountable for their children's performance, we can certainly ensure that principals and teachers are.

As announced at the end of last year, we are in the process of directly linking the performance contracts of principals and officials to learner outcomes. And we are aiming to go further than this.

Later this month, a draft bill to amend the Western Cape Education Act will be sent to Cabinet for approval. This legislation will, amongst other things, give provincial government greater powers to conduct school inspections and to directly assess teacher performance in the classroom, where it counts.

Another prong of our education plan is to address the infrastructure backlogs that result in school overcrowding and a lack of learner resources.

Soon, tenders will be advertised to build 12 new schools and 200 new classrooms at 50 schools, starting in 2011. A priority list for the allocation of 126 additional mobile classrooms to help alleviate overcrowding will be finalised by the end of February, with delivery of the new classrooms to begin in March.

An important part of this infrastructure plan is to create four Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM centres of excellence, advancing the vision that we started under the brief DA tenure of 1999 to 2001. We are incorporating the Cape Academy in Tokai and the Centre of Science and Technology in Khayelitsha into the STEM programme and we will establish two new STEM centres in disadvantaged communities.

These schools will be managed along the lines of a public benefit school. They will remain state schools, but have greater freedom and autonomy, amongst other things, to reward teachers for good performance and remove teachers who don't perform.

This initiative underscores our entire approach to education. We believe that the better a school's performance, measured by the literacy and numeracy of their pupils, the less the state should interfere.

Accordingly, we have informed the principals of the 167 schools that achieved a 90% or more grade 12 pass rate last year that we will not bother them unless they request assistance. I would like to thank these outstanding teachers and principals, they deliver greater value for money, in my view, than any other category of professional in the country. They don't need interference from officials.

We prefer to focus maximum attention and resources on schools and learners that under-perform, establish the reasons, and help them overcome them.

We are also placing special emphasis on providing better educational opportunities to learners with special needs. This means, in some cases, integrating classes. We will do so by increasing the number of full-service schools from 68 to 100 by the end of next year.

But our 73 dedicated "special needs" schools remain integral to our plan and we will draw on their expertise
to assist non-special needs
schools. 48 additional staff posts, including therapists, psychologists and learning support teachers have already been allocated for this purpose.

The province is also leading the development of a draft curriculum for sign language. This curriculum will be piloted for Grades 1-9 in 2010, with work underway on the draft curriculum for Grades 10-12.

None of the components of our education plan will succeed without the full support of learners, parents, educators, school governing bodies and the trade unions. I appeal to all of these role-players to work as a team to turn around education in our country. None of us, anywhere in South Africa, can be confident of the future if we cannot get education right.

Speaker, learners and teachers cannot get to school on time if their buses, trains and taxis are unreliable or if roads are congested.

We cannot boost economic growth and create jobs unless every citizen of the Western Cape has access to safe and efficient transport and every business can transport their goods reliably.

We cannot build an opportunity society unless we increase access to safe and efficient transport.

For some commuters, public transport is prohibitively expensive and inconvenient because the various modes are not integrated. Others don't use public transport because they don't feel safe on our trains, buses and taxis. Congestion, mainly because of private vehicle usage in Cape Town, is costing us millions in inefficiencies. And cars are the biggest source of air pollution in the province.

The response to beat congestion in the past was to build more lanes and roads. But international experience has shown that building new roads and adding new lanes simply encourages more cars.

We are changing this.

We are not going to build any new major roads for the next four years. Funds earmarked for new roads will instead be invested in public transport.

If we can roll back the infrastructure backlog and make public transport safer, more efficient and cheaper, we will get people out of their cars and onto trains and buses. By 2014, we want to see a significant shift from private to public transport, and from road to rail freight.

We also want to cut road deaths by half in the next five years. This will be helped, in part, by a shift from private to public transport.

To help us reach this target we have launched the Safely Home campaign in partnership with the City of Cape Town to reduce speeding and drunken driving, which together result in 80 percent of deaths on our roads.

As part of this initiative, we created the SHADOW centre which is equipped to accurately measure the concentration of alcohol in a driver's breath through a single sample.

In December, 114 suspected drunk drivers were tested at the SHADOW centre. 101 tested positive, some of whom were 7 times over the legal limit. Thirteen of these were off-duty SAPS members; one was a lawyer and another was a magistrate.

It is a matter of concern that, due to backlogs and inefficiencies in the criminal justice system, not one of the 1 000 cases opened as a result of the SHADOW tests have been heard in court. We are currently in discussion with the National Prosecuting Authority to expedite this process.

We are determined that those who risk others' lives are punished appropriately for their actions.

Our zero tolerance approach to drinking and driving is matched by our approach to perpetrators of taxi violence. When a rival taxi driver was murdered by a member of the Vrygrond Taxi Group this month, Minister Carlisle immediately suspended all negotiations with the association and put a moratorium on applications for licences from its members until the area had been free of violence for six weeks.

The latest violence will cause Minister Carlisle to harden his position. We cannot concede at gunpoint. That is the law of the jungle.

Speaker, you cannot build an open, opportunity society if citizens live in fear of crimina ls and gangsters which is why one of our ten strategic objectives is to reduce violent crime in the Western Cape.

We are limited in what we can achieve in this regard because policing is the preserve of the National Police Commissioner and national Minister of Police. Our role in the province is to monitor police performance and optimize civilian oversight of the police.

In the past, for what I believe are political reasons, the province has not taken its oversight role as seriously as it should have. It may also be related to the absence of any clear provincial legislation pertaining to oversight of the police.

This is why we are currently considering the enactment of provincial legislation to regulate oversight of the police service in the province, as contemplated in section 67 (1) of the provincial constitution.

This will introduce legally-binding mechanisms for police oversight which could include an intergovernmental forum on oversight to meet once a month, monthly reporting by the police service on performance and the achievement of targets, random inspections to evaluate the functioning of the police services, regular reporting and analysis of crime statistics as well as mechanisms to investigate police inefficiency and abuse of power.

These measures, taken together, will introduce a far more effective and rigorous schema for police oversight and enable us to measure the performance of police against the crime reduction targets set out in the Annual Police Plan.

Speaker, in the open, opportunity society law enforcement agencies must protect innocent citizens against power abuse. Unfortunately, in our society, there are some cases where the police themselves are accessories to power abuse.

When we assumed office nine months ago, one of the first things we did was to instruct the VIP Protection Services to desist from using blue lights and sirens on ministerial vehicles unless in exceptional circumstances, very narrowly defined. We did this because we don't believe that politicians should have special rights and privileges that other citizens don't have. We share the public's disgust at being forced off the road by blue light bullies escorting self-important politicians.

This week, we again saw an example of this abuse. On Tuesday, Chumani Maxwele was detained overnight and interrogated by the President's VIP protection officers, who allegedly put a bag over his head, after he gestured at the President's convoy.

We are not a police state. We are a constitutional democracy. We will therefore introduce legislation, in terms of our constitutional competencies for provincial roads and traffic, as well as road traffic regulation, to prevent any politician - from any sphere of government
- using blue-light convoys and sirens in the Western Cape, unless a genuine emergency arises.

And being late for a meeting does not constitute an emergency.

Speaker, we are acutely aware of the divisions in our province. Violent crime, income disparities, lingering racial tension and flare-ups of xenophobic violence all expose our threadbare social fabric.

One of our strategic objectives for the next five years is to improve social cohesion in our province. By this we mean a state of affairs where citizens live together harmoniously, where they feel a common sense of belonging and participate in the civic and social life of their communities.

As government, our role is limited in this regard. But we must do everything we can to incentivise socially cohesive behaviour and to inculcate values that bind us together.

We have to start with the children of this province. So we are doubling the opportunities for learners, particularly in rural areas, to participate in after-school sports and other activities. We are paying special attention to child poverty through well packaged programmes including early-childhood development, after school care, and nutrition intervention. And we are in the process of developing a comprehensive range
of services aimed at strengthening families.

To this end, I recently appointed a person in my office to co-ordinate projects aimed at improving the well-being of young people and women in the province. I will make a full announcement on her specific role and responsibilities in due course.

Speaker, drunk driving accidents, violence associated with intoxication, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and mental and physical disease caused by drug and alcohol abuse are taking a devastating toll on our citizens. They are also costing the provincial government more than R6 billion a year in health, policing, emergency and criminal justice services. In the last seven years, drug-related crime in the Western Cape increased by 150%.

The provincial government currently spends about R100 million per year on initiatives to address substance abuse, but the actual outcomes of these projects are not measured, and the quality of services not properly monitored. There are also serious gaps in our services, and a general lack of capacity to meet the growing need.

I am pleased to announce today that we are in the final development stage of a comprehensive drug and alcohol abuse strategy for the province which will be driven from my office. It will co-ordinate all interventions and ensure alignment across departments. Projects that are duplicated in different departments will be linked, and projects that are not delivering will be reviewed.

As part of this strategy, we will build the capacity of addiction recovery and after-care services, which are currently almost non-existent. This is critical to save funds on repeated intensive treatment for relapsed cases.

To reduce the onset of drug and alcohol abuse amongst the youth, we will place a greater emphasis on detecting early experimentation with drugs - and preventing addiction - by increasing the number of social workers and psychological counsellors in our schools.

We will also introduce random testing in schools. I have little doubt that the calamitous plunge of grade 12 results in some schools will be found to be directly linked to the escalation of drug abuse, often starting in primary school.

We will establish networks between our drug treatment service providers and key points - such as, courts, police stations, hospitals and clinics - where people using drugs can be identified and referred for treatment.

Speaker, it is a priority of this government to do all it can to support effective community-based organisations in this field and all other areas of social development work. If we are to succeed in our goals, we need to have every social partner on board. But we must develop a culture of mutual trust, respect and accountability.

We will not, for example, allow ourselves to be abused by so-called 'non-profit' organisations or NPOs that do less for the poor and marginalised than they do for themselves.

We recently conducted an audit of the 1 800 NPOs that we are in partnership with to determine which service providers are providing the best quality of service to the people of the Western Cape.

We discovered that a good number were doing excellent work but still receiving the same amount of funds they were three years ago, while others were doing very little but still getting paid.

As a result of our audit, there may be fewer NPOs and NGOs funded by the department in the coming financial year. But this does not mean that we are turning our back on organisations that add value.

We will continue to fund service providers, and increase funding in some cases, for those institutions that deliver and whose services most closely correspond with the strategic objectives of the province.

One example of a successful ongoing social partnership is that between the Western Cape, local NGOs, and the Global AIDS Fund to dispense anti-retroviral (ARV) medication.

This year we will accelerate ARV provision from 68 000 people to over 90 000 with an increased roll-out in years to come. In April, w e will commence with a new policy to offer treatment to people whose CD4 count has dropped below 350 instead of the current 200.

We will also place renewed emphasis on HIV/Aids prevention programmes to reach our target of reducing prevalence from 16% to 8% by 2014. We aim to offer HIV testing to all adults and adolescents in health facilities and children in pediatric facilities.

Combating HIV/Aids falls within our strategic objective of maximising health outcomes in the province.

Speaker, we must be honest that, although the Western Cape offers the best public healthcare in the country, there is still much to be done before all our citizens have access to quality healthcare.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our many excellent doctors and nurses who operate under difficult conditions. We are currently devising ways to retain their services by making the Western Cape Health Department a more rewarding work environment. We will also be appointing some 500 additional healthcare professionals within the next year to alleviate staff shortages.

Speaker, our health services are buckling under increased demand as a result of in-migration, we have an R800 million maintenance backlog and we need around R6 billion for new infrastructure. Funds allocated for health services in the Western Cape have historically been inadequate to meet the needs and expectations of the people who use them, many of whom have come from other provinces to receive better care.

To counter the funding shortfall, we are exploring the viability of public-private partnerships for the building and expansion of healthcare facilities. We have, for example, identified the rebuilding of the Tygerberg Hospital as a potential mega-project to be built in partnership with the private sector. It will be the first of its kind in South Africa.

Despite severe funding constraints, we must extend quality healthcare to those who need it most. We started construction on the new Mitchells Plain hospital in January this year and the new Khayelitsha hospital is on track for completion by 2013. Three rural hospitals and more new clinics are in the pipeline.

We are also developing a plan to eradicate the R800 million maintenance backlog within 36 months. Minister Botha will be making an announcement on this in due course.

Speaker, another area where we face severe financial and other constraints is housing. As part of our strategic objective plan to develop integrated human settlements we are looking at a number of innovative ways to provide more people with access to shelter and basic services than ever before.

There are number of constraints to housing delivery in the province. I will list them briefly. One is that demand drastically outstrips supply. The current backlog of 500 000 households is growing year-on-year due to in-migration and barriers to delivery.

Another is that onerous planning legislation is hampering delivery to the point of paralysis in some cases.

We are also constrained by a lack of funding for housing from the national government and a scarcity of well-located housing land in the province.

If we carry on like this, the housing backlog will double in the next thirty years.

Since we have been in office, we have cultivated good relations with the City of Cape Town and the national Department of Housing - the lack of which have compromised delivery in the past.

All three spheres of government are working together to re-conceptualise the next phase of the N2 Gateway in a way that avoids the previous policy mistakes we in the City of Cape Town warned about. This co-operation cannot happen if the national government cuts off funding for the project, and seeks to pass on the cost to the ratepayers of the City.

We are also working with the City and the national Housing Development Agency (HDA) on an integrated plan to develop Joe Slovo phase 2 which will not require mass evictions, despite the court order that was obtained for this purpo se by the previous government.

But this improvement in intergovernmental relations will only take us so far. The truth is that the current main mode of housing delivery simply cannot address the current and future need for housing in the province.

Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my address, we believe in expanding opportunities to as many people as possible and allowing them to take responsibility for maximising those opportunities.

This shapes our approach to housing just as it does every other policy area. When resources are as scarce as ours are, it is fairer to do something for many rather than a lot for very few. The latter approach encourages abuse and corruption and leaves most people with nothing.

We will therefore increase our focus on the provision of serviced sites.

We are introducing a municipal database support programme to ensure that accurate data is captured onto the national Housing Subsidy System for verification. This will enable us to develop a standardised, transparent and fair selection process of beneficiaries to be applied across the province.

As I mentioned earlier, besides the financial constraints on housing delivery, there is a scarcity of well-located land for housing. New housing developments tend to be built away from economic opportunities and social amenities, reinforcing the impact of apartheid-era spatial planning.

To tackle this, we are lobbying national departments and state owned enterprises to make land available for human settlement development in our province. We are also developing clear guidelines which set out the minimum densities for low-cost and GAP housing projects.

Speaker, we simply have to build upwards if we are to prevent more urban sprawl and bring people closer to economic opportunities. By 2014, we aim to triple the average density of housing projects on well-located land to 90 units per hectare. This is also crucial to secure the viability of public transport systems.

There are a number of other components to our strategic plan for housing, which I will leave for the Minister to announce in his budget vote.

I will say one thing about the onerous red tape and planning legislation that can stall housing projects for years. Many of the regulations, such as the Environmental (and other) Impact Assessments, fall under national legislation which is why I have presented them as part of a package to President Zuma requesting their review.

Others, such as the Land Use Planning Ordinance, are provincial laws. We are currently in the process of reviewing all provincial spatial planning legislation with the aim of consolidating all of it into one Act that simplifies and clarifies roles and responsibilities regarding land use planning.

We are also seriously exploring the viability of alternative building materials and methods for house construction. Some of these alternatives are much cheaper than conventional brick and mortar to build and maintain. They are also more environmentally sustainable. By 2014, we aim to increase the percentage of units built using energy-efficient methods and materials, from 10% to 40%.

This brings me to another of our ten strategic objectives: optimising resource efficiency and sustainability.

We know that if we are to compete globally, we need to make more efficient use of our resources.

As more and more people migrate to the Western Cape, so our carbon footprint increases. Currently, 95% of the energy generated in the province is generated by burning fossil fuels. If we do nothing, greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 20% in the next decade.

We cannot go on like this. We have to take proactive steps to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

I have already mentioned our commitment to green low cost housing programmes. This will form part of a broader renewable energy programme including the harnessing of wind and solar power as well as generating energy from alternative sources such as sewerage sludge, biogas and agricultural w aste.

Climate change and in-migration to the province mean that there is less water for more people. So, as part of our commitment to resource sustainability, we are making water management a special focus area.

We are currently in the development phase of a provincial integrated water resource management plan which will improve catchment management and make the province more water efficient through the recycling and reuse of wastewater.

Speaker, all of the policy programmes and interventions I have mentioned today contribute to the final strategic objective of poverty reduction and alleviation.

This is our single biggest challenge and underpins all we do. Let me summarise our approach.

To alleviate poverty in the short term:

We must provide as many people as we can with basic services, access to clean water, sanitation and electricity. We must find a range of ways to deliver sustainable housing opportunities.

We must encourage entrepreneurship and self-sustainable income-generating projects that give people the opportunity to break the cycle of dependency on the state.

We must increase access to quality healthcare and antiretroviral medication.

We must ensure that the funds directed to our social partners are used to improve people's lives.

To reduce poverty in the long term:

We must create an enabling environment for job-creating economic growth and ensure the skills we produce are matched to the needs of the economy.

This includes combating social ills such as crime, which scares off investors, and substance abuse, which renders many people irresponsible and unemployable.

We must fight corruption which makes poor people poorer.

And, above all, we must focus on getting our education system right so that the children of this province can prosper in the future, whatever their circumstances in the present.

But, as Minister Pravin Gordhan made so abundantly clear in his budget address this week, it is up to the people themselves to make use of their opportunities. We have to become a country of self-motivated agents shaping the future, not passive victims of the past.

Speaker, it is an understatement to say that we have a lot of work to do to achieve all our strategic objectives in the next five years.

In some areas, we are already implementing our plans. In others, we are still finalising our plans.

But the show is on the road.

Within five years we will have tangible results to show for our efforts. We will be much closer to creating the open, opportunity society that the people of the Western Cape voted for.

I have no doubt we will make mistakes along the way. When we do, you can be sure they will be pointed out to us. When we genuinely err, we will admit it, take remedial action and plot a new course.

But we will, at all times, be honest with the citizens of the Western Cape. If we do not meet the targets we have set for ourselves, we won't try and spin the statistics, shift the goal posts or blame others.

We understand that integrity is the most powerful asset of any government. And we know that once the people of this province lose faith in you, your days are numbered.

This is how it should be. The politicians should be scared of the people, not the other way around.

This is why the Western Cape is at the vanguard of democracy in South Africa. It is why this province, under this government, will one day be a beacon of hope for every South African.

I would like to end with a sincere thank you to the people who have worked so hard during the past year to bring us to this point, which is a great advance from where we were when I stood here last year. The Acting DG, Mr Brent Gerber, the senior management team, and particularly the outstanding professionals in my office.

And the last word always goes to the team - and yes it now is a team
- who nurture me in my new home environment. My husband and all of you who are here today: thank you very much for your unfailing support and commit ment to this office, to which I hope to do justice.

I thank you.

Ilmainen www-laskuri