Sunday, July 31, 2011

ANC owes varsity R6m

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 July 2011

The University of Limpopo’s lawyers have confirmed that the ANC still owes it almost six-million-Rands for its elective conference held at the Polokwane venue in 2007.

A warrant of execution authorised by the South Gauteng High Court was served on the party recently. University spokesperson Kgalema Mohuba has, however, said that it would be irresponsible to involve the media in the matter.

Jacob Zuma was elected ANC leader at the conference, paving the way for him becoming the country’s President.

Mthethwa orders police to use their bullet proof vests

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 July 2011

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has denied that the force lacks enough bullet proof vests.

Following the killing of 56 police members so far this year, Mthethwa said it was essential for police to wear the vests and for them to receive more training to minimise deaths at the hands of armed criminals.

The Minister says the force has 200-thousand vests and station managers will be held responsible if members fail to wear them.

Hawks working on arms deal probe

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 July 2011

The Hawks plan to speak to European investigators to establish whether criminal charges should be brought against any South Africans regarding the multi-billion-Rands arms deal.

Media reports that the possible re-opening of the probe could expose those who took bribes to prosecution.

The head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations Anwar Dramat wrote to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts about the matter last week.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has called Dramat’s decision “brave and correct”.

Cricket SA’s management woes continue

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 July 2011

Cricket South Africa will seek legal advice on a breach of company policy allegedly by its chief executive Gerald Majola.

The federation's president Mtutuzeli Nyoka made the announcement in Johannesburg after a board discussion on the recommendations in a report by accountancy firm KPMG.

The report found that no money was missing, but that the federation’s remuneration and travel policy needed to be reviewed.

Nyoka claimed that 68-million-Rand had gone missing from a CSA bank account, but the federation said the money was held as running costs of the 2009 IPL and Champions League.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Short-term courses to be launched for Africa’s thought leaders

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

Former president Thabo Mbeki will launch short-term courses for students who want to become thought leaders.

The Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute says the courses will begin with an orientation week at the University of South Africa from Monday.

Over 150 registered students will be able to interact with Mbeki during orientation week. Several Unisa lecturers will be teaching the courses.

Study units will include Africa’s renewal and decision-making and conflict management in the African context.

Unenemployed Insurance Fund posts huge surplus

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

Unemployment Insurance Fund commissioner Boas Seruwe says the fund has posted a nine-billion-Rands surplus, exceeding its target by htree-billion-Rands.

Seruwe also told staff the fund had for the first time posted a clean audit.

He says the increase in the surplus was due to the tightening of enforcement and compliance activity by the Department of Labour, under which the UIF falls. More companies were now beginning to comply with the law.

Fire in Johannesburg informal settlement a major challenge

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

The Johannesburg Emergency Management Services says the shack fire in the Slovo Park informal settlement that left hundreds homeless last night proved to be a major challenge for them.

Some 100 shacks were destroyed in the blaze, leaving many people to face the freezing cold conditions out in the open.

Spokesperson for the fire fighters Percy Morokane says they had to keep going to the nearest bus depot 500 metres away to fill up with water as there were no hydrants in the settlement.

He added that a strong wind accelerated the spread of the fire and added to the misery of the residents who lost their homes.

Wage negotiations to start next week

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

Trade union Solidarity says wage negotiations between trade unions and Telkom could resume as early as next week.

The telecommunications giant has made an urgent request to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to schedule the dispute meeting for next week.

A wage agreement was supposed to come into effect on the 1st of April. Unions have rejected Telkom’s final five-percent increase offer, which followed an earlier offer of just four-and-a-half-percent.

Vereeniging warrant officer behind bars for corruption

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

In a joint operation with the Johannesburg Crime Intelligence unit, the Independent Complaints Directorate yesterday arrested a Vereeniging based warrant officer for corruption.

The 46-year-old allegedly promised to make a rape docket disappear after the suspect was coerced into paying a bribe of three-thousand-Rands.

He was arrested in Sebokeng following an entrapment operation. The warrant officer will appear in court on Monday.

ANC says no one complained about unconstitutional law before

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

The ANC says it is perplexed that President Jacob Zuma's decision to extend the term of outgoing Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo was challenged in court when the terms of two previous chief justices had been extended using the same law.

Spokesperson Jackson Mthembu has expressed surprise that nobody raised any objections when the same piece of legislation was applied in the past.

The Constitutional Court yesterday found unconstitutional Section Eight (a) of the Judges Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, under which Zuma extended Ngcobo's term.

Johannesburg fire leaves hundreds destitute in sub-zero temperatures

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 July 2011

Hundreds of people have been left homeless on a bitterly cold night after a fire tore through approximately 300 shacks at the Slovo Park informal settlement in Johannesburg.

One man was seriously injured but Netcare 911’s Jeff Wicks says it is still unclear whether anyone was killed. Johannesburg disaster relief moved the destitute people into a nearby school and church.

Wicks says the shelters were so densely packed that residents were able to run across the roofs to escape the flames.

FF Plus wants to look at Malema family trust financial statements

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 July 2011

The Freedom Front Plus wants to have a look at the financial statements of Julius Malema’s family trust fund.

The party’s Anton Alberts says they have put through an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Reports last week said Malema was fraudulently using the trust to fund his lavish lifestyle.

The ANC Youth League leader has vehemently denied the allegations, saying the fund has been used for many charitable causes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Presidency accepts and respects ConCourt ruling

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 July 2011

The Presidency says it accepts and respects an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.

The court’s nine judges unanimously agreed that President Jacob Zuma had acted unconstitutionally in his unilateral decision to extend the term of office of Chief Justice Sandile Ncgobo.

Spokesperson for the Presidency, Mac Maharaj, says they will now study the ruling to see what remedial action the ConCourt has issued to Parliament.

Meanwhile the African Christian Democratic Party has welcomed the ruling, saying it highlights the independence of the Judiciary.

The party’s Steve Swart says the ruling shows that even decisions made by the President can be questioned by civil society.

Three weeks since the Public Protector’s report on SAPS properties

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 July 2011

It has been more than three-weeks since the Public Protector’s damning report into the rental of properties in Pretoria and Durban for the SA Police Services.

Neither the National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, nor Public Works Minister Gwen Shabangu-Nkabinde, who were both named in the report, have commented.

Political analyst Harald Pakendorf says President Jacob Zuma still has 44-days in which to react and make a decision.

He says the way in which Zuma handles the matter will be a defining moment in the fight against corruption, and the credibility of the government.

University of Pretoria responds to "Nazi" blog incident

Lusanda Bill
29 July 2011

The controversial “Nazi blog” posted by the University of Pretoria's TuksFM breakfast team on Wednesday is still in the spotlight.

After numerous attempts yesterday to get a comment from TuksFM station management, Bush Radio contacted the communications department of the University of Pretoria.

The University of Pretoria today has finally responded to the “Nazi post” with a statement saying “TuksFM confirms that there was never any malicious intent with the placing of the initial content on the blog, but UP finds it regrettable that the photographic pose that was proposed is one that offends many people”.

The statement also states that an explanation was given on air.

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ConCourt says President Jacob Zuma acted unconstitutionally

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 July 2011

Nine judges at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg have unanimously decided that President Jacob Zuma acted unconstitutionally when he extended the term of office of Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke read out the ruling this morning, saying the unilateral extension was invalid.

Ngcobo earlier this week withdrew his acceptance of the offer and will step down from the position on the 14th of next month.

President Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe have also been ordered to pay the legal costs of the organisations that brought the case to court.

AfriForum welcomes the sentencing of Potgieter murders

Lusanda Bill
29 July 2011

AfriForum has welcomed the sentencing of the six men found guilty of killing the Potgieter family on their Free State farm in December last year.

Two of the accused received three life sentences each.

One received a life sentence, two received sentences of 30 years and one received a seven-year sentence.

AfriForum’s Nantes Kelder, head of community safety, says the sentences will not bring the Potgieter family back, but sends a strong message to criminals.

Calls to stop cop killings

Lusanda Bill
29 July 2011

The Federation of Unions of South Africa is calling for an end to police killings in the country after three police officers were murdered in three days.

So far 54 police members have been killed this year alone.

Fedusa’s deputy general secretary Krister Janse van Rensburg is calling for better training, awareness and protection for police.

He says the men and women in blue should be protected at all times.

Lead SA is raising money for the families of South African Police Services members killed in the line of duty.

So far R500, 000 has bee raised.

Farmers to be assisted to cull their ostriches

Lusanda Bill
29 July 2011

With more than 31-thousand ostriches culled in the Western Cape so far due to the avian flu outbreak, farmers are now battling to get their healthy birds sold.

Millions-of-Rands have been made available to compensate farmers whose birds had to been destroyed.

The Western Cape Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg is now working on ways to assist farmers who do not have to cull their ostriches, but still have to feed them with no income.

Department spokesperson Wouter Kriel says this is not just a Western Cape problem but a nationwide problem.

Coal strike continues while fuel strike ends

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 July 2011

Talks to end an ongoing strike in the coal mining sector have come to a standstill.

The National Union of Mineworkers says they have received a new wage offer from the Chamber of Mines on behalf of mining companies, but could not disclose the figure.

More than 150 000 coal miners around the country downed tools last weekend.

Meanwhile, unions in the petroleum and chemical industry have called off their nearly three-week-long strike.

Solidarity says they have accepted a revised wage offer from employers of an 8.5% increase.

Workers in the lower income bracket will receive a ten-percent increase.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Potgieter murderers given heavy prison sentences by the Free State High Court

By lelthu Mquqo
28 July 2011

Two of the men accused of murdering the Potgieter family on their Free State farm last year have been given three life sentences each.

Tshekolo Letlala and Telleko Seekoei stood accused in the Free State High Court of murdering Attie Potgieter, his wife Wilma and their two-year-old daughter, Wilmien, last December.

One of the Potgieter’s employees, Vusi Khumalo, has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murders, while two other accused have been given 30-years each.

A sixth suspect in the case, farm worker Klaas Mofokeng, was sentenced to seven years for robbing the family.

He had not been linked to the murders.

One metre of snow recorded in several Free State towns

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 July 2011

Snow continued to fall heavily in several parts of the country yesterday, including around Harrismith and Warden in the Free State.

Reports say the snow reached a depth of one metre in some places and is still causing havoc on the roads.

The snow-hit N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban has been mostly opened this morning, except for a section that remains closed due to ice on the road.

Netcare 911’s Chris Botha says they haven’t had any calls reporting accidents in KwaZulu-Natal at the moment.

Missing Child Alert: Fiona Titus

Missing Adult Alert: Duncan Allan

Gerrie Jansen van Rensburg Found

Bush Radio reported that Gerrie Jansen van Rensburg was missing, he has since been found this morning alive. It has been reported that he was found bound in his car Watloo.

More aid given to the people of Somalia

Lusanda Bill
28 July 2011

South African disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers has increased its aid to millions of people starving in Somalia.

This follows an appeal by the United Nations for more assistance.

The organisation has so far given five-million-Rands worth of supplies.

Gift of the Givers’ Imtiaz Sooliman says a team of specialists is also being dispatched to the drought stricken region.

Process to appoint a new Chief Justice is underway

Lusanda Bill
28 July 2011

The Presidency says the process to appoint a new Chief Justice is already underway.

This after Sandile Ngcobo withdrew his acceptance to stay in the position yesterday despite an extension of his term of office.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj says there are several possible candidates for the position.

He added that the President must be given time to apply his mind to the matter.

Does the Nazi salute have a 'fun side'?

by Lusanda Bill
28 July 2011

The breakfast team of TUKs FM, the University of Pretoria's campus radio station, published a controversial blog post yesterday urging everyone to "do the Nazi".

The blog post defines the "Nazi" as the "act of displaying oneself in random places in a standing position while your right hand is in the air and your left hand makes a fake moustache".

The post was also accompanied by several images of students and Adolf Hitler doing the Nazi salute.

The post has since been removed by the station. Bush Radio Programme Integrator Adrian Louw took a screenshot, which was viewed 580 times.

Social networking sites have been abuzz since yesterday. Several comments to the screenshot were posted by Twitter users.

@blindcripple: " f*****s at TUKs FM were trying to be funny."

@Simonebiz: "That's seriously tasteless and offensive, what were they thinking"

@StephanieBe: "The DJ @ Tuks FM should be punished and a public apology should be issued.

@HagenEngler: " Nazism: The fun side? A hack? Or a super K*K idea?

Comments on Facebook:

"What goes on in these people's minds?????? Nazi'ing?????? Are they on crack? This coupled with the constant racist comments on sites like News 24 makes me wonder what South Africans are really like deep down? I just don't get it," said Bronwen Heather

David 'Jazz' Tyhala said: "I think that is so flipping shallow altho its a sort of a joke or marketing scheme to promote the web page, I think reverting back to racists politicians is not the way to portray your humour in this day n age of society, we hav enuf ish to worry abt. I think the students of tuks who are rational in mind should take matters further as this only portrays the ideology of the Nazi right wing movement."

Sean Jacobs, known as DollaBrand on Twitter, sent messages to several mainstream media houses and @City_Press responded by asking him to "get the debate going" by writing a piece about why he thought it wasn't funny.

Franz Kruger, Director of Wits Radio Academy, said if it's true that people have been asked to pose in a Nazi salute, it's inappropriate. He added that it is regrettable that people still need to take that direction in their broadcasting.

Repeated attempts by Bush Radio News to get comment from TUKs FM Station Manager, Loutjie van der Merwe, were unsuccessful.

A staff member at Tuks FM said van der Merwe was "unavailable for comment because he had to attend an unscheduled meeting with the university".

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Missing Adult Alert: Gerrie Jansen van Rensburg

Registration backlog at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission

Lusanda Bill
28 July 2011

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies say his department has noted the public’s concern regarding the registrations backlog at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

Davies has, however, asked that the new commissioner Astrid Ludin be given a chance to clear the backlog by the end of next month.

The department says since May this year, when the CIPC replaced its troubled predecessor, there has been a massive increase in company registrations.

Davies has full confidence that Ludin and her team will soon ensure a smooth process of company registrations.

Opposition parties say Chief Justice’s departure could have been avoided

By Lelethu Mquqo
28 July 2011

Opposition parties have come out in unison, saying Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo’s refusal to accept an extension of his term of office could have been avoided.

The Inkatha Freedom Party says they had earlier raised the issue about how the way in which President Jacob Zuma sought to extend Ngcobo’s term was unconstitutional.

The party praised Ngcobo for his integrity, saying he was living proof that the upholding of the South African Constitution must be put before all personal gain.

The Democratic Alliance has meanwhile laid the blame on Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

The party says Radebe acted at an unforgivably slow pace on the matter, adding that the Judiciary will now suffer a grave loss as a result.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ANC has condemned the recent remarks by political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 July 2011

The ANC has condemned the recent remarks by political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, the former President’s brother, saying they are disrespectful and disingenuous.

The party said in a statement that Mbeki has betrayed the beliefs of his late father, struggle icon Govan Mbeki, and become nothing more than a voice for the opposition.

Mbeki was earlier quoted as saying that the ANC was not the future of South Africa and that the country’s economy was heading off a cliff.

The ANC says Mbeki clearly regards the 64-percent of South Africans, who voted for the party in the 2011 local government elections, as fools.

Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo withdraws from office term extension

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 July 2011

Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo has withdrawn his acceptance of an extension on his term of office, which expires in the middle of next month.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has officially notified President Jacob Zuma, who will now need to go through the process of appointing someone else into the position.

Ngcobo says he made the decision in order to protect the integrity of the Judiciary.

Perlemoen poaching suspects arrested

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 July 2011

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has carried out an anti-abalone poaching operation at Robben Island. Officials arrested three suspects and confiscated their boats.

Two others reportedly disappeared into the water and remain at large.

Department spokesperson, Heindrich Wyngaard says officials from the Monitoring, Compliance and Surveillance unit of the Fisheries branch spotted an inflatable boat at 03:00 off Robben Island.

He says police divers were called in to search for perlemoen which may have been poached but then left in the water by the suspects, as well as the two divers who remained in the water.

250-thousand gold miners set to down tolls

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 July

The National Union of Mineworkers says they have served gold mining companies with notice of a strike, starting from tomorrow.

The union’s Lesiba Seshoka says some 250-thousand miners will down tools if their demands for a 14-percent wage increase are not met.

About 150-thousand miners in the coal sector already went on strike on Sunday evening, prompting fears that power utility Eskom may not be able to keep the lights on this winter.

Petroleum strike intensifies as unions march on Sasol

By Khanyisa Tabata
27 July 2011

The petroleum industry strike is set to intensify this morning with unions preparing to march on Sasol’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

Unions are calling for a nine-point-five-percent wage increase while employers have offered eight-percent.

The strike, which is now in its third week, has caused disruptions are hundreds of filling stations around the country. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have been hardest hit, with some fuel retailers still struggling with erratic supply.

Poverty in the Eastern Cape labelled as a national disaster

Lusanda Bill
27 July 2011

A report by the Human Sciences Research Council states that the Eastern Cape remains trapped in structural poverty that negatively affects the province’s health and socio-economic profile.

The poverty in the Eastern Cape has also been labelled as a national disaster.

The report by the Human Sciences Research Council recommends that that the provincial government should institute measures to retain skilled persons.

It also recommends that practical programme of access to, and efficient use of, land and other natural resources.

Ranger arrested in Kruger National Park for rhino poaching

Lusanda Bill
28 July 2011

A ranger has been arrested in the Kruger National Park.

He was arrested for being suspected of rhino poaching chargers at the Kruger Park.

His arrest is linked to previous rhino poaching incidents in the Park.

According to SanParks spokesperson Wanda Mkutshulwa the suspect will appear in the White River Court today.

A man dies after a balcony wall collapses

Lusanda Bill
27 July 2011

A young man was killed and another critically injured when they fell from a sixth floor balcony at a complex in Johannesburg in the early hours of this morning.

The men apparently fell when the balcony wall they were leaning against collapsed.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Jeff Wicks says the men landed on top of each other on the concrete below.

The man who hit the ground first died on the scene while the other suffered fractured ribs and severe spinal trauma.

Hawks confirm receiving corruption complaint against Julius Malema

By Lelethu Mquqo
27 July 2011

The Hawks have confirmed receiving a corruption complaint against ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema from AfriForum.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela says the relevant person at the specialised crime-fighting unit will look at the complaint and make a decision on if there are grounds to open an investigation.

Reports over the weekend claim Malema has been using a family trust to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Malema himself has not responded but the Youth League yesterday said the allegations were racially motivated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snowfall cuts off towns and forces long-distance train service cancellations

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 July 2011

Overnight snowfalls blanketed several parts of the country with the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal being hardest hit by the extreme cold.

Temperatures in the town of Barkly East, just south of Lesotho, reached a low of zero-point-four-degrees.

The owner of the Old Mill Inn, Mark Dewitt, says they were effectively cut off from the world by the snow.

He says however that things seem to be clearing up a bit.

Meanwhile the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa says long-distance train services have had to be cancelled today because of the bad weather.

Spokesperson Leonard Potgieter says trains between Johannesburg, Durban and East London will not run until further notice.

He says all the passengers currently using the trains will be taken care of and provided with food and drinks until services have been restored.

Analyst warns that South Africa’s economy is in serious trouble

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 July 2011

Moeletsi Mbeki, the former President’s brother, says South Africa is cheerfully heading off a cliff.

Addressing the Cape Town Press Club, Mbeki says South Africa’s manufactured exports, and mining and agricultural products are all declining.

He says South Africa will soon be so de-industrialised that it will be living off its mineral wealth only, a situation that existed before World War One.

Among the solutions that he suggested are that the public education system be overhauled, power supply and the railways be partially privatised, and BEE scrapped.

He also says the country should invest more of its GDP and consume less.

Bulk tanker ship runs aground near Durban

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 July 2011

A dramatic sea rescue has taken place off the East Coast after a ship ran aground near Durban.

The National Sea Rescue Institute says all 15 crew members of the Phoenix have been airlifted to safety by three helicopters.

The NSRI had been alerted last night that the crew was battling strong sea swells near Salt Rock and were struggling to keep her off-shore by her own motor power.

The 164-metre bulk tanker ran aground today and a decision was taken to evacuate the crew.

Efforts to salvage the vessel have already begun.

Motorists in snow-hit areas warned to pack in emergency supplies

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 July 2011

Motorists have been advised to check with their points of destination regarding road closures.

The Automobile Association has received weather warnings for all provinces except Limpopo relating to heavy rain and snow.

The AA’s Gary Ronald says those venturing near the Drakensberg area, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal should drive with extreme caution and carry emergency supplies of water, food and blankets should they be snowed in.

Several major roads and highways across the country were closed because of widespread snowfall.

The weather service says snow is reported in Lesotho, the Drakensberg, the southern Free State, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.

The unusual weather forced authorities to close the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban. The N3 Toll Concession's Con Roux the highway was likely to remain closed for the whole.

ANC refuses to comment on tender fraud allegations laid on Julius Malema

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 July 2011

The ANC says it will not comment on the tender fraud allegations that were laid against Youth League leader Julius Malema over the weekend.

The League yesterday denied the allegations, saying their leader was the victim of a racially motivated campaign aimed at discrediting his reputation.

Malema has been accused of using a family trust, funded by private companies and individuals in exchange for government tenders, to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

Coal bosses receiving huge increases

Lusanda Bill
26 July 2011

Trade Union Solidarity says it decided to join the coal sector strike after it came to light that executive officers in the sector received increases of up to 93-percent.

Wage negotiations deadlocked on Friday.

Employers in the coal sector made a final wage offer of eight-point-five-percent for category four employees and a seven-percent increase for employees on other job levels.

Solidarity’s Moira Kloppers says big increases are needed to retain skilled employees in the country.

Two men shot dead by police

Lusanda Bill
26 July 2011

Johannesburg police have shot dead two men who allegedly tried to rob a house in Mondeor yesterday.

Their four alleged accomplices managed to escape.

The gang broke into a home in Glenvista and tied up a couple and their three children at gun-point.

Police were alerted, causing the suspects to flee without stealing anything.

When the police confronted men acting suspiciously, they pointed a firearm at the members, leading to two of them being shot dead.

Jimmy Manyi remains quiet on controversial report

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 July 2011

Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi has been told not to comment on a report by the Public Protector.

Manyi told a news conference in Johannesburg yesterday that all questions about the damning report will now be answered by newly-appointed Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.

The report, which was released nearly two weeks ago, said President Jacob Zuma must take remedial action against National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

They were found guilty of maladministration in their handling of lease agreements for SA Police Service properties in Pretoria and Durban.

Neither the Minster nor Cele has responded to the report at this stage.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ANC Youth League says Julius Malema fraud allegations are racially motivated

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 July 2011

The ANC Youth League has come out in defence of its leader, Julius Malema, following reports over the weekend of alleged tender fraud.

The League’s deputy president, Ronald Lamola, says the allegations are racially motivated.

He told a news conference at Luthuli House in Johannesburg that they will not stand idly by while their leader is targeted

The League accused the media of being bribed by imperialists to join in their supposed bid to prevent the nationalisation of mines.

Responding to weekend reports about Julius Malema’s alleged involvement in tender fraud, Sindiso Magaqa, the League’s secretary general says the allegations are aimed at distracting the organisation from its work.

Criminal psychologist says violent computer games linked to real world violence

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 July 2011

A criminal psychology expert at the University of Pretoria says there is a definite link between violent computer games and the carrying out of acts of violence.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout spoke to us regarding a massacre in Norway over the weekend that left 93 people dead and nearly a hundred others injured.

Anders Breivik, the self-confessed killer, claims to have played several games while he was planning the attacks over the last few years.

These included Modern Warfare, Dragon Age and World of Warcraft.

Hearings into the Protection of Informational Bill resume in Parliament

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 July 2011

The hearings into the proposed Protection of Information Bill have resumed in Parliament.

The chairperson of the ad hoc committee dealing with the Bill, Cecil Burgess, says they will not be able to satisfy everyone.

He says the so-called Secrecy Bill has been misrepresented, adding that it is meant to help fight against corruption in the public sector.

Activists claim the Bill, in its current form, seriously infringes on South Africa’s basic media freedoms.

Coal miners’ strike may affect Eskom power supply

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 July 2011

A coal miners’ strike that started last night could affect Eskom’s ability to provide power this winter if it continues for too long.

About 150-thousand people affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers walked off their jobs this weekend, demanding a 14-percent wage increase.

Mining companies have offered between seven- and eight-point-five-percent. Econometrix’ Dawie Roodt says the strike will only be manageable in the short-term.

Heavy snowfall chills Eastern Cape

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 July 2011

Heavy snowfall in parts of the Eastern Cape has resulted in the closure of at least two mountain passes as extremely low temperatures hit the province.

The N6 road at the Penhoek Pass between Queenstown and Jamestown and the Nico Malan Pass between Seymour and Whittlesea have been closed.

Snow also resulted in slippery conditions on the R56 between Mount Fletcher and Matatiele in the north of the province.

Several accidents have been reported due to snow fall on the R61 between Queenstown and Cofimvaba. Cathcart and Dordrecht residents also reported heavy snowfalls since Sunday night.

Two police members are suspected of arming ATM bombers

Lusanda Bill
25 July 2011

Two police members, believed to have provided weapons to the notorious gang responsible for a spate of ATM bombings in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, have been arrested.

This brings to five the number of suspects behind bars.

Spokesperson Neville Malila expressed the police’s shock at the possibility that two of their own, stationed in Soweto and at Protea Glen, could be involved.

They were nabbed just hours after police arrested the alleged shooter of 33-year-old police officer, Constable Busisiwe Mehlwana, during an ATM bombing in, Soweto.

Coal sector strike begins

Lusanda Bill
25 July 2011

More than 150-thousand workers in the coal mining industry have downed tools as of yesterday evening.

This after wage negotiations deadlocked between the National Union of Mineworkers and mining companies.

The union is calling for a 14-percent wage increase while employers have offered between seven- and eight-and-a-half-percent.

Num general secretary Lesiba Seshoka says they remain open to talks.

Malema under fire

Lusanda Bill
25 July 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called for an investigation into the financial affairs of Julius Malema.

Cosatu says the ANC’s committee on ethics and members’ interests; the South African Revenue Service and the Hawks should look into the Youth League president’s dealings.

The trade union federation wants a possible tax evasion investigation, as well as a lifestyle audit.

Civil rights group AfriForum has, meanwhile, laid corruption charges against Malema at the Brooklyn Police Station in Pretoria.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norway violence planned as long ago as 2009

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 July 2011

The suspect in Norway's twin attacks that killed at least 92 people, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, says the violence had been planned as early as 2009.

He admitted responsibility for the bombing and massacre and said that while the acts had been cruel, he had to go ahead and carry them out.

As harrowing testimony emerged from the summer camp where scores of youngsters were mown down, Norway was struggling to understand how a country famed as a beacon of peace could experience such bloodshed.

It is feared that the death toll could rise as a mini-submarine and scuba divers search the water around Utoeya Island where the shooting took place for four or five people who are still reported missing.

AfriForum will lay a charge of corruption against Malema

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 July 2011

AfriForum has announced that it will lay a charge of corruption against Julius Malema today.

He will be charged in accordance with the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activies Act.

The charge arises from revelations in the media of alleged donations that Julius Malema received from business people.

This after City Press reported that Malema had received a R1.2 million rand car as a gift from a construction company.

The paper says the boss of the company, Matome Hlabioa, admits they have scored R200 million in state contracts in Limpopo.

Hlabioa added that he had given Malema luxury cars on previous occasions as well.

He also said he was a key funder of the league’s recent elective conference.

Malema said to have a secret trust fund

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 July 2011

The newspaper City Press won an interdict against ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema yesterday allowing it to publish facts about Malema’s finances.

The newspaper published that a secret family trust could be how Malema is bankrolling his lavish lifestyle.

Malema is the sole trustee of the Ratanang Family Trust, named after Malema’s five-year-old son.

It was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria on May 13, 2008.

Bitterly cold conditions forecast for most of the country

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 July 2011

The Weather Service has issued a warning of very cold conditions over the Western and Eastern Cape with snow falls over the central areas a strong possibility.

The cold front responsible for these winter conditions is expected to hit the Cape today.

Spokesperson Puseletso Mofokeng says heavy rain falls can also be expected along the Cape south coast.

The front will move over Lesotho, the southern Drakensberg and Free State tomorrow.

Mofokeng had a special warning of extremely cold conditions over Gauteng on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Norway’s Labour Youth vow to return to the island of Utoeya

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 July 2011

The leader of the youth wing of Norway's Labour party Eskil Perdersen says the massacre on the island of Utoeya, where at least 84 of its members were gunned down, will not silence the movement and they will return to the island.

The massacre took place yesterday when a man dressed in a police uniform opened fire on the 600 members attending the camp.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has sent condolences to Norway and condemned terrorism in the strongest terms.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions also sent their condolences, adding that there could never be any conceivable justification for the murder of innocent people.

The Department of International Relations and Co-Operation says no South Africans were among those killed.

New South African polar research vessel named

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 July 2011

The new South African Antarctic polar research and supply vessel has been named and christened in Rauma, Finland.

Environmental Affairs says the step represents a major investment and signals the country’s commitment to contribute to the understanding of the earth.

The SA Agulhas Two will support research on natural processes, measure the impact of pollution and document biodiversity.

Through the research, scientists on the ship will hopefully help identify threats that arise from the ocean through climate change.

Quality of education in South Africa under the spotlight

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 July 2011

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says the quality of education in South Africa leaves much room for improvement.

Addressing the World Congress of Education International in Cape Town, Motlanthe said access to education to the majority of the world's people trapped in miserable socio-economic conditions remained a key problem.

He added that the single most important test facing South Africa’s education system remained the achieving of quality education.

Norway in shock after deadly double attack

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 July 2011

Norway is in shocked mourning after almost 90 people were killed in twin attacks in the capital Oslo and at a youth camp for members of the governing Labour party.

A 32-year-old Norwegian man is thought to have opened fire on teenagers at the youth camp on Utoya Island, shortly after detonating a huge explosion outside Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office in the capital. At least 80 people were killed on the island alone.

Many of the wounded are still being treated in hospital and it is feared that the death toll could rise.

The bomb blast caused immense damage in Oslo.

It was initially thought to have been terror attacks, with an Islamic group claiming responsibility.

But police have identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik. He was characterised by officials as a right-wing extremist.

Investigators are still probing terror as a possible motive because of Norway’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

AfriForum says South Africans should not keep quiet about crime

Lusanda Bill
23 July 2011

AfriForum says the crime situation in the country cannot be solved by keeping silent, but rather by effective policing.

AfriForum reacted to comments made by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane on Thursday.

Mokonyane said South Africans should keep quiet about crime when speaking to tourists.

AfriForum’s Nantes Kelder says the public should not be held responsible for the negative impact of crime in the country.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Drugs found in one of the vehicles involved in deadly Paarl crash

Lusanda Bill
22 July 2011

Police have found containers of drugs in one of the vehicles involved in today’s horror crash outside the Huguenot tunnel, near Paarl, in the Western Cape.

Three people burnt to death and another 28 were injured, including several children.

A light motor vehicle and a minibus were involved in a head-on collision today.

Police spokesperson, Andre Traut says they found dagga in one of the vehicles.

3 killed and 28 injured in Paarl crash

Michelle Avenant
22 July 2011

A head-on collision in Paarl this morning left 3 people dead and 28 injured, reported the Western Cape Traffic Department.

Provincial Traffic Department head Kenny Africa said the collision, between a Mercedes taxi and a Golf, occurred on the toll road between the toll plaza and the Huguenot tunnel.

Africa went on to explain that 3 of the Golf passengers burnt to death, and some of the injured taxi passengers are believed to be children and babies.

Further details of the crash are yet to emerge.

Mineworkers to strike for 16% increase

Michelle Avenant
22 July 2011

The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) are dissatisfied with Eskom’s offered pay rises of 7 percent.

This offer has been upped from an earlier 5.5%, but the Union demanded a rise of 16 percent.

“Next week there will be no talks. We will meet the week after to take the discussion forward,” said Num spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka.

The Chamber of Mines announced that members of Solidarity and the Num will start a strike on Sunday evening.

Chamber spokesperson Francis Barker confirmed notice of the strike.

Seshoka said that the union would go ahead with the strike, as Wednesday’s wage negotiations had deadlocked.

Economists issue warning over Massmart deal hearings

Lusanda Bill
22 July 2011

An economist has warned that Cabinet is putting South Africa’s foreign investment image in serious danger.

This follows the holding of public hearings into the Walmart-Massmart deal.

Government has lodged an application aimed at reassessing the Competition Tribunal’s approval of the merger, pointing to flaws in the relevant documentation.

Efficient group economist, Dawie Roodt says politicians are making a huge mistake

De Beers workers downed tools

Lusanda Bill
22 July 2011

Workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers are now downing tools at diamond producer De Beers.

The union is calling for a 15-percent wage increase while De Beers has offered seven-point-five-percent and a one-off payment of two-thousand-500-Rands.

Num spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka says they are monitoring the strike.

Seshoka says they remain hopeful that their actions will bring operations at the company to a standstill.

Equal Education to demonstrate outside education international conference

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 July 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille addressing an international education conference in Cape Town today.

Cosatu says Zille is unsuitable to speak at the conference because of the positions she holds.

Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich believes her presence will contaminate the conference with what he refers to as “greed and material obsession”.

Meanwhile Equal Education this afternoon is expected to demonstrate outside the Cape Town International Conversation Centre where International Education Confrerence will be taking place.

Equal Education’s Yoliswa Dwane says they will hand over the memorandum to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe who will be addressing the delegates asking him to deliver on their demands which includes demands for school infrastructure standards.

Massmart deal unlikely to be unravelled

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 June 2011

Analysts say the three government ministers who have appealed a decision to let Wal-Mart buy a controlling stake in Massmart may be attempting to pressure the competition authorities to impose more conditions on the deal.

They add that it is unlikely that the 16-and-a-half-billion-Rands transaction could be unravelled.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson want the merger to be reconsidered due to technical irregularities in certain documents.

Three South Africans missing in Namibia’s Fish River Canyon

Lusanda Bill
22 July 2011

Three South Africans have been reported missing after being separated from their group while hiking in the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia.

The group of nine people, including two guides, had entered the area last week Wednesday and were due back at the beginning of this week.

It is believed that they became separated after they took different routes around a giant boulder.

The trio have been identified as Ricky and Sandra Harmse and Rene Booyse.

A rescue helicopter was only sent out earlier yesterday in search of them.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Repo rate remains unchanged at 5.5 percent

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

The South African Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee has decided to leave the repo rate unchanged at five-point-five-percent.

Sarb Governor Gill Marcus made the announcement this afternoon,

Marcus said they will remain watchful regarding the effects of inflation on the economy.

Business Unity South Africa welcomed the announcement, saying it was better to adopt a wait-and-see approach to the current economic climate.

DA disapproves intervention by government into Walmart-Massmart deal

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

The Democratic Alliance says the intervention by Cabinet into the Walmart-Massmart deal is as good as obstruction of foreign investment.

The party’s Kobus Marais maintains that the holding of public hearings into the deal, despite it already being approved by the Competition Tribunal, sets a dangerous example.

He says Walmart should be welcomed to South Africa with open arms.

He added that the investment will create opportunities for the country to gain access to new markets.

Home Affairs to continue operations against illegal immigrant labour

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that it will continue holding sting operations around the country aimed at cracking down on the employment of illegal immigrants.

Addressing a news conference in Pretoria, deputy director-general Jackie Mackay dismissed allegations that they are targeting particular companies.

The Department has also rubbished allegations that it is selectively targeting undocumented black Africans for deportation.

Mackay added that anyone found to be in the country illegally will be deported, regardless of race and nationality

Eastern Cape tackling scholar transport crisis

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

The provincial government in the Eastern Cape is finally tackling a scholar transport crisis after bus services were suspended at the beginning of the year due to maladministration.

Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu recently signed an 18-month contract with bus and taxi operators to improve the problem.

Provincial department spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca says however that more children are arriving at pick-up points than expected.

He says only certain learners will benefit from the service.

Fuel strike continues as union rejects wage offer

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union has rejected an eight- to ten-percent wage offer by employers in the fuel industry.

The union’s John Appolis says the nearly two-week-long strike will continue until they reach an agreement.

Ceppwawu has been calling for a 13-percent increase and will meet again with employers tomorrow.

Solidarity workers have returned to work today.

Bheki Cele’s silence on report labelled an admission of guilt

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 July 2011

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele’s failure to respond to last week’s damning report by the Public Protector is an admission of guilt.

This is according to Nantes Kelder, head of community safety at civil action group AfriForum.

Kelder says the public has a right to be informed about the allegations of maladministration laid on Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde regarding attempts to lease properties for the SA Police Service in Pretoria and Durban.

Neither Cele nor the Minister has issued a response.

Inflation not expected to lead to interest rate hike

By Khanyisa Tabata
21 July 2011

Most economists expect the Reserve Bank to keep the repo rate steady at five-point-five-percent today.

This is despite Statistics SA’s announcement yesterday that the Consumer Price index had risen to five-percent last month.

Experts say above-inflation wage settlements, electricity tariff hikes and higher food prices are likely to push inflation up even higher in the coming months.

The expectation is nevertheless that the Monetary Policy Committee will try to support economic recovery with its rates announcement this afternoon.

Gauteng’s planned electronic highway tolling system defended

Lusanda Bill
21 July 2011

Head of the SA National Roads Agency Limited Nazir Alli says Gauteng’s planned electronic highway tolling system will benefit motorists.

Alli defended the controversial system.

He says very little is being mentioned about the benefit to motorists, including better roads that will cause less wear and tear on vehicles.

Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele is currently reviewing a proposal on the toll tariffs and has appointed a task team to look at the costs of the system.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Malema fights back

Lusanda Bill
20 July 2011

Julius Malema has hit back at the Democratic Alliance for calling on the South African Revenue Service to conduct a lifestyle audit against his income.

The ANC Youth League leader told an emotionally charged news conference at Luthuli House in Johannesburg today that he will not apologise for his lifestyle and has not done anything wrong.

Malema accused media organisations, businesses and opposition parties of hatching up a plan to discredit him.

This was in his bid to bring about the nationalization.

Missing Adult Alert: Duncan Allan

Cosatu puts the squeeze on Walmart deal

By Michelle Avenant
20 July 2011

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini raised an outcry regarding the Walmart-Massmart merger in a public hearing in Parliament today.

Dlamini put forward that more jobs will be destroyed than created by the American retail giant’s arrival in South Africa, warning Parliament that Walmart’s immense financial power and lucrative connections with cheap overseas suppliers will be unmatchable for local retailers and food producers.

Dlamini also made mention of Walmart’s bad track record of exploiting its workers, pointing out that employment is pointless if it does not provide an income sufficient for the worker to live by.

Dlamini asked what the point of cheaper products for consumers is, if they cannot afford them because they are unemployed.

Cope deputy president's assets attached

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 July 2011

Assets belonging to former Congress of the People deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa have been attached by the sheriff of the court.

Reports say furniture from Shilowa’s Roodepoort home, including a fridge, lounge suites and a washing machine will be sold off to pay legal costs of R72 000.

The costs were incurred by Shilowa in his battle with Mosiuoa Lekota for leadership of Cope.

Shilowa’s spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, says the legal costs have been paid and Shilowa’s property must be returned.

National Police commissioner delays response to Public Protector report

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 July 2011

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele has cancelled a news conference tomorrow where he was due to respond to a damning report by the Public Protector.

This is the second time Cele has cancelled, and no reason has been offered.

The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in the report, which was released last week, that Cele was guilty of maladministration in his attempts to lease properties in Pretoria and Durban for the SA Police Services.

Several opposition political parties have called for Cele to step down.

Police members among perlemoen poaching suspects

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 July 2011

Twenty-two people, including three police members, have been arrested on charges of poaching and perlemoen trading.

This follows a lengthy investigation by the Hawks and Marine and Coastal Management in the Western Cape.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela says the syndicate has been active since July 1998.

It has reportedly been operating in the Western Cape, Gauteng, the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Police forced to protect fuel delivery drivers

By Khanyisa Tabata
20 July 2011

The Petroleum Industry Association says police protection for their drivers is ensuring the safe delivery of fuel.

Executive director Avhapfani Tshifularo admits, however, that intimidation of non-striking workers remains an issue and continues to impact on deliveries.

Despite the protracted strike, refineries are still operating at normal level. Sapia is waiting to hear from unions on the latest wage offer tabled by the petroleum companies.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Service and Administration has warned the Independent Labour Caucus to stop issuing statements to the media about public sector wage negotiations.

This follows a revelation by the 10 unions in the caucus that government had made an informal offer of a six-point-eight-percent increase and that progress in the negotiations was slow.

The department’s Khumbula Ndaba says unions and the government had agreed not to speak to the media about the process.

Fuel unions urged to accept new wage offer

Lusanda Bill
20 July 2011

Petroleum industry unions have been urged by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to accept a wage offer of eight- to ten-percent.

Employers made the offer following hours of negotiations late last night.

Unions have rejected the offer, holding firm on their demand for 11- to 13-percent.

Oliphant says the strike is having a negative effect on the economy and must be resolved as a matter of urgency.

Magnus Malan to be laid to rest in Cape Town on Saturday

Lusanda Bill
20 July 2011

A funeral service for apartheid-era Defence Minister Magnus Malan will be held in Cape Town on Saturday.

His ashes will be placed in the memorial garden at the Voortrekker Monument at a later stage.

Malan passed away in his sleep yesterday morning.

He had been Defence Minister from 1980 to 1991.

He is survived by his wife of 49-years, Margot, as well as three children and nine grandchildren.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New law on the cards to curb drunken driving

Lusanda Bill
19 July 2011

A new law that will make it illegal to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol is in the final stages of development.

Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele confirmed that the law is on the cards because motorists continue to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

Ndebele says he hopes the law will come into effect sometime next year.

He added that he wants a zero-tolerance attitude to be adopted when it comes to drinking and driving.

Public hearings into Walmart-Massmart deal kick off at Parliament

Lusanda Bill
19 July 2011

Hearings into the 51-percent of achievement South African retail group, Massmart, by American counterpart, Walmart, have begun.

Parliament’s Economic Development Committee called for the public hearings despite the deal being approved by the Competition Tribunal earlier this year.

The achievement has been met with mixed reactions.

Some unions are saying Walmart has a history of breaking labour laws around the world and business experts say it will help the South African economy.

Metrorail responds to customer concerns

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 July 2011

Metrorail regional Manager Lindelo Matya says the company is not resting but working towards addressing commuters’ complaints voiced over the past few weeks.

Briefing journalist today Matya said that Metrorail is working together with the South African Police Services to try and combat issues relating to vandalism and damage to property.

He says the cause of delays and cancellations is vandalism and age related failures since some trains are old.

“Our analysis of customer concerns shows that while most train users understood the reason for the delays and cancellations, they were not informed on time or give alternative options.

“That is why we have decided to assist commuters by having station staff with loudhailers deployed at platforms during peak hours,” said Matya.

He also added that Metrorail will be starting a community programme that will raise awareness about the impacts of vandalism and the programme will start in Khayelitsha since everyday delays and cancellations are reported in that area.

“R60 million would is needed to fence railway tracks but some areas would require more money because people tend to take the fence for themselves.

“The province has indicated that they are willing to come on board and help us but what we still need to do is a plan for them explaining how the money will be used,” said Matya.

Death toll rises in Limpopo N1 bus crash

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 July 2011

The death toll from yesterday’s horrific bus crash in Limpopo has now risen to 14.

Police say 47 people were injured when the bus crashed on the N1 highway near Makhado, formerly Louis Trichardt.

Spokesperson Maano Sadike says 13 people died on the scene and another died in hospital a few hours later.

It is believed that the driver of the bus, which was on its way to Malawi, lost control when the brakes failed.

Meanwhile,a 6 year old boy is in critical condition after being struck by a taxi in on Lavis Drive.

ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser says the boy was not accompanied by anyone during the time of the accident.

Visser says when paramedics arrived on the scene they found the boy dressed in his school uniform on the sidewalk of the road.

Samwu to announce on strike tomorrow

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 July 2011

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union says it is still consulting with members on if a nationwide strike will take place.

Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema says an announcement on the final decision will be made tomorrow.

He says they remain firm on their demand for a 14% wage increase.

Samwu are also opposed to the Municipal Systems Act, which effectively bans office-bearers in political parties from holding top municipal positions.

Six arrested in Pretoria for defacing signs on Nelson Mandela Drive

By Lelethu Mquqo
19 July 2011

Six people have been arrested in Pretoria after they were caught changing the names of signs on Nelson Mandela Drive to Clive Derby Lewis.

The men were caught by police on CCTV cameras on Sunday night.

The six are due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court today on charges of malicious damage to property.

Derby-Lewis is one of the two men who were convicted of killing Communist Party leader Chris Hani in 1993.

Mandela Day inspires Mitchell’s Plain learners

By Michelle Avenant
19 July 2011

Mandela Day has inspired Cape Town residents to take initiative in revamping their schools.

Parents and learners at Beacon Hill High School in Mitchell’s Plain were joined by ANC member Trevor Manuel on Monday as they re-painted classrooms and extended the school’s vegetable garden.

Manuel later told a local newspaper that he was impressed by the students’ desire to celebrate Mandela’s birthday in true Madiba spirit.

He encouraged the learners to get their communities involved in further cleaning up their schools.

Come Saturday, the learners at Beacon Hill will be painting the school’s roof and removing the last of the graffiti from its walls.

The Representative Council of Learners has declared 2011 to be Nelson Mandela Year for Beacon Hill High School.

In 2012, Nelson Mandela Year will be declared elsewhere and it will be another school’s turn to be rejuvenated.

Dewani excused from extradition proceedings

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 July 2011

The London judge in the Shrien Dewani extradition hearing has ruled that the British businessman accused of having his wife murdered while on honeymoon in Cape Town is too ill to be at court.

Dewani’s legal team argued that it would be "positively inhuman" to keep him in the court room.

Dewani is said to be suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The court is expected to hear four days of evidence before deciding whether Dewani should be sent to South Africa to face trial

Municipal workers want 18-percent increase

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 July 2011

The South African Municipal Workers Union is consulting with its members on the possibility of a national strike within the coming week. Union leaders canvassed members yesterday on salary negotiations, corruption and the Municipal Systems Amendment Act.

Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema says the union wants an 18-percent salary hike while the employer, the South African Local Government Association, is offering six.

Meanwhile, marathon negotiations continued into the night in a bid to end the disruptive strike in the petroleum and pharmaceutical sector.

Employers’ latest wage hike offer stood at between eight- and 10-percent for the different salary scales, while unions were demanding 13-percent.

All parties said the fact that all the role players were around the negotiation table, was a positive sign.

Numsa satisfied with wage offer despite Eastern Cape objections

Lusanda Bill
19 July 2011

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa says their branches in eight out of the nine provinces have accepted a 10-percent wage increase from employers.

Union members will soon return to work following a two-week-long strike in the engineering sector.

Numsa’s Irvin Jim says branches in the Eastern Cape are still not happy with the offer.

They had originally called for a 13-percent increase.

Jim says however that a majority decision will be made and Numsa is satisfied with the offer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bheki Cele to respond to a report by the Public Protector

Lusanda Bill
18 July 2011

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele is due to respond tomorrow to last week’s damning report by the Public Protector.

In the report that Thuli Mandonsela presented, Cele was found to be guilty of maladministration in his handling of a lease agreement for the SA Police Service offices in Durban.

Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde was also named in the report, and is also yet to respond.

Madonsela has called on the SAPS and President Jacob Zuma to take counter-active action against the two.

David Cameron and Jacob Zuma disagree on how to handle Libyan situation

Lusanda Bill
18 July 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to South Africa has not helped to settle significant differences between the African Union and the European Union on the situation in Libya.

The troubled North African country took centre stage when Cameron and President Jacob Zuma addressed a joint news conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Meanwhile, President Zuma sang a different tune, insisting there should be general dialogue.

He says the African Union expects discussions to reveal why Muammar Gaddafi must leave and what happens to him afterwards.

Bus services might be suspended in Gauteng

Lusanda Bill
18 July 2011

The South African Bus Operators’ Association says public transport services across Gauteng are now being affected by the ongoing petroleum industry strike.

Spokesperson Eric Cornelius says delays to fuel deliveries are having a negative impact on their ability to provide bus services to the public.

He says services may have to be suspended if the strike continues.

More than 70-thousand workers in the industry downed tools last week.

They are calling for a six-thousand-Rand minimum wage and a 40-hour work week.

Sheryl Cwele takes KwaZulu-Natal municipality to court over salary dispute

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 July 2011

Convicted drug trafficker Sheryl Cwele has taken the Hibuscus Coast Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to court for not paying her salary.

Cwele, who is the wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, is currently appealing a 12-year prison sentence after being found guilty of drug trafficking in May.

She was suspended without pay from her position at the Municipality shortly thereafter.

Municipal manager Sbu Mkhize says a disciplinary hearing against Cwele has been held, but the outcome is yet to be announced.

Apartheid-era Defence Minister Magnus Malan dies

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 July 2011

Apartheid-era Defence Minister Magnus Malan has died.

Malan’s family says the 79-year-old died peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of this morning.

He had been chief of the SA Defence Force in 1976 and Defence Minister from 1980 to 1991.

He is survived by his wife of 49-years, Margrietha Johanna van der Walt, three children and nine grandchildren.

More workers join petroleum strike

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 July 2011

Workers in the steel and engineering sector have ended their two-week strike, having accepted a wage increase of between eight- and 10-percent for different categories of employees.

Union members had initially demanded a 13-percent increase, while employers had offered seven-percent. Numsa says workers will be returning to work in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, strike action in the chemical and energy sector is expected to intensify as members of trade union Solidarity join the industrial action today.

The strike will mainly affect Sasol and PetroSA plants. Solidarity spokesperson Dirk Hermann says he hopes the pressure will lead to a quick settlement.

An icon honoured

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 July 2011

President Jacob Zuma has led the country and the world in wishing Nelson Mandela a happy 93rd birthday.

With heartfelt messages streaming in from across the globe, Zuma has reminded South Africans that to celebrate Madiba’s life, each one of us should pledge to make the country a better place in every possible way.

Zuma says from the moment Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela strode out of prison on the 11th of February 1990, everyone knew that South Africa would be a different place. He adds that people across the world remain mesmerized by his wisdom, humility, patriotism and his capacity to forgive.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A bus accident leaves 12 people dead

Lusanda Bill
17 July 2011

Twelve Malawian nationals were killed and 49 others were injured when the bus they were travelling in overturned on the N1 near Limpopo.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele conveyed his condolences to the families of the 12 people killed.

A team has been assigned to help in the investigation of the bus accident.

It has been reported that the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle when the brakes failed.

Pretoria accident leaves two people dead

Lusanda Bill
17 July 2011

An accident in Pretoria this morning has left two people died and two other people sustained serious injuries.

It is believed that the two had pushed their vehicle, which had broken down, into the road.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said, “Paramedics arrived on the scene and found two men with fatal injuries and two others still inside of the vehicle with multiple serious injuries.”

The two people who sustained injuries were immediately rushed to the Pretoria District Hospital

A safety strategy to fight rural crime introduced

Lusanda Bill
17 July 2011

Agri SA has thrown its weight behind a new nationwide safety strategy aimed at fighting rural crime.

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele unveiled the new plan on Friday and it sees officers being given equipment, vehicles and in some cases helicopters to address rural crime.

Earlier this year, Stellenbosch farmer Alberto Costa was murdered during an armed robbery at his home on Cloetesville.

Cele said livestock theft is high on their rural crime fighting agenda.

Nelson Mandela celebrations underway across the country

Lusanda Bill
17 July 2011

The Eastern Cape town of Qunu is abuzz with activity and excitement as it prepares for former president Nelson Mandela’s 93rd birthday celebrations.

Young and old alike are rolling up their sleeves to do their 67 minutes for the good of the community in line with Madiba’s ubuntu principles.

But it is not only in Mandela’s home town where things are happening in Mpumalanga, celebrities have given the Amakhaya Orphanage a facelift.

And in Pretoria a 13-year old boy has shown he's got what it takes to be a model citizen. He has mobilised parents and children from all over the capital to help out at the Tshwane Haven for abandoned babies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scientific research to be conducted into traditional medicines

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

The Traditional Healers' Organisation has welcomed government's initiative of conducting scientific research into traditional medicines.

An African Traditional Medicines and Intellectual Property Workshop was held in Pretoria this week.

Traditional healers say they want to be involved when the research is conducted.

They say everyone will benefit if traditional medicines are well profiled and recognised.

Research has shown that the majority of South Africans consult traditional healers.

More than a thousand drunk drive fines issued in Gauteng

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

More than 10-million vehicles and drivers have been checked and over four-and-a-half-million fines issued for various traffic offences over the past eight months across the country.

The Transport Department says last month’s arrests include more than one-and-a-half-thousand drivers nabbed for drunk driving.

Almost a thousand of them have been arrested in Gauteng.

Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has pleaded with road users to exercise extra caution as schools re-open next week.

Fire leaves two people dead in Cape Town

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

A fire in Cape Town claimed the lives of two people and left three people injured including a child.

The fire occurred on Friday night at 46 Voortrekker Road in Kraaifontein.

Fire Services spokesperson Theo Layne said the cause of the fire is still unknown.

Investigations are still underway.

Cosatu demands action against corruption

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

Cosatu has demanded that President Jacob Zuma allay fears that the country is fast becoming, as the union federation puts it, “a corruption-ridden banana republic".

Spokesperson Patrick Craven says while Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale are conducting probes, allegations of corruption and the misuse of public funds are piling up.

Cosatu also welcomes Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendation that action needs to be taken against Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

This is for their role in the police headquarters lease deals.

Petroleum strike drags on

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

Motorists can expect more frustrations after union Ceppwawu refused to meet employers today to discuss an end to the strike affecting fuel deliveries.

The petroleum industry says the union with the majority of members on strike is only prepared to return to negotiations on Monday.

Three other unions - Solidarity, Sacwu and Giwusa have agreed to talk about a solution to the current stalemate in wage negotiations.

Experts have expressed concern about the mounting effects of the strike on the country’s economy.

Zuma to meet British Prime Minister and Tanzania President

Lusanda Bill
16 July 2011

President Jacob Zuma has a busy week ahead of him with both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete touching down in South Africa on Monday.

Cameron’s working visit follows Zuma’s successful state visit to the UK last year.

The Prime Minister will explore commercial opportunities and see how best to support the Africa Free Trade Initiative.

Kikwete’s two-day visit will include programmes in Pretoria and Cape Town.

He and Zuma will seek to tighten cooperation in areas such as trade, energy, agriculture, transport, science and technology, water and mining.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fuel industry negotiations postponed till next week

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

Negotiations between striking petroleum workers’ unions and industry employers have been postponed till next week.

About 70-thousand workers downed tools on Monday, demanding a minimum salary of six-thousand-Rands and a 40-hour week.

At least 250 service stations in Gauteng have already run dry and KwaZulu-Natal is also reported to have been affected.

Three people arrested for alleged tender fraud worth 32-million-Rands

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

The Special Investigating Unit has arrested three people, including two former officials of the Ekurhuleni Municipality, on charges of 32-million-Rands-worth of tender fraud.

Nilesh Singh, Andrew Mphushomadi as well as Velero David, a local businessman, were released on 50-thousand-Rands bail each.

Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele welcomed the arrests, saying the municipality was no place for fraud, corruption and irregular expenditure. The case has been postponed until the 16th of next month.

Numsa denies steel strike over

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has angrily refuted reports that its two-week strike has been called off.

The Steel and Engineering Industry Federation said this morning that an agreement in principle to end the strike had been reached last night.

Numsa admits that a settlement offer has been received, but says it still has to consult its members. It will make an announcement on Sunday.

Public Works Minister not going to public protector’s report as she is in mourning

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde says she can’t respond to a report in which her conduct is criticised as she is mourning the passing of her brother earlier this week.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has recommended that President Jacob Zuma should act against Mahlangu-Nkabinde for failing to co-operate with her probe into two controversial building leases.

The Minister says she will respond as soon as possible.

No end to fuel crisis in sight

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

The Fuel Retailers’ Association is warning that fuel shortages will continue over the weekend.

Panicked motorists have been driving around in the early hours of the morning, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, in the hope of finding a service station that has had a delivery.

Long queues are evident at several petrol stations, with attendants merely turning motorists away at others. The taxi industry is also warning of major disruptions if their members can’t fill up.

Independent assessor to investigate the cash crisis at WSU

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 July 2011

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande will appoint an independent assessor to investigate the cash crisis at the Eastern Cape’s Walter Sisulu University.

Stakeholders want the merger that led to the establishment of the institution to be reversed.

The university has about 24 000 students at campuses in Mthatha, East London, Berlin, Queenstown and Butterworth.

A suitable assessor has not yet been identified.

Call for criminal investigation into police lease deals

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 July 2011

Observers are calling for an independent body to investigate the scourge of corruption in government.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos says the Hawks is not the ideal body to investigate someone like Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, as the unit reports to him.

This follows Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings on Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde handling of two police headquarters lease deals worth billions.

Calls have been made for a criminal investigation into who profited from the deals.

Metalworkers’ strike said to be resolved

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 July 2011

The Steel and Engineering Industry Federation says an announcement will soon be made that the two-week metalworkers strike has come to an end.

According to Seifsa, an agreement in principle was reached last night with the National Union of Metalworkers.

Numsa is expected to report back to members over the weekend. Talks with other unions are continuing today.

Workers are expected to be back at work early next week.

Meanwhile, the Municipal Workers’ Union says strike action by its 200 000 members remains a possibility, but industrial action will not start on Monday.

Samwu leaders met with President Jacob Zuma earlier this week to discuss their unhappiness about the fact that he had signed the Municipal Systems Bill into law.

They say the bill lessens their bargaining power.

Leaders will now discuss the outcome of the talks with members.

Strikers said to be holding SA hostage

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 July 2011

Trade union Solidarity is adamant that an urgent marathon meeting must be held today to end the petrol strike.

According to Solidarity’s Dirk Herman, the public should no longer be held hostage by the industrial action.

Herman says South Africans are now caught up in the crisis due to hundreds of fuel stations running dry, adding that the situation is only getting worse.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry is so worried about the violence, damage to property and intimidation being experienced during the current wave of strike action, that it plans to raise the issue with the police, and if necessary, with National Commissioner Bheki Cele.

Chief executive Neren Rau is appealing to business owners to forward complaints to Sacci.

All eyes on Zuma following protector’s findings

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 July 2011

The African Christian Democratic Party has welcomed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report regarding attempts by the South African Police to lease a Durban property from business tycoon Roux Shabangu.

Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was found guilty of improper conduct concerning the deal.

The ACDP’s Steve Swarts says steps must be taken against the commissioner.

According to Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies, Cele’s fate now lies with President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma’s office says the President will comment on Madonsela’s report once he has studied it.

The report also recommends that Zuma should consider taking action against Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her role in the scandal.

Two arrested for running a brothel in Goodwood

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 July 2011

Vice Squad together with the South African Police Services Human Trafficking Task Team conducted an integrated operation in a house used as a brothel in Marais Street, Goodwood.

Vice Squad spokesperson Media enquiries: Nathan Ladegourdie says the house was being run by the same two Chinese National women that were previously arrested by the Vice Squad on charges of human trafficking.

“Two other Chinese National women were inside the residence at the time of the operation. One was deported for being in the country illegally; the other woman requested assistance from the Vice Squad to help her get out of the environment, and she was taken to a place of safety.

“On a same day we conducted an operation on another residence in Wellington Street, Goodwood, where it was suspected that a brothel was being run,” said Ladegourdie

He added that brothels are high on the their priority list operations such as these will help curb these illegal activities.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

DA calls for Cele to be sacked over Durban lease

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

The Democratic Alliance is calling for the dismissal of National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.

This after the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela today officially announced that attempts to lease a Durban property for the SA Police Service amounted to maladministration by Cele.

Madonsela recommended remedial action be taken against all those involved in the deal that would have cost the SAPS nearly one-point-two-billion-Rands over ten-years.

The DA’s Dianne Kohler Barnard says President Jacob Zuma will be remiss of his sworn duty to uphold the law if he did not take action against Cele immediately.

Kohler Barnard says if these are not grounds for the National Police Commissioner’s dismissal, it is hard to imagine what is.

“As the accounting officer of the SAPS, Commissioner Cele holds ultimate responsibility for the financial decisions made by his department.

“The manner in which the SAPS lease deals in question were conducted indicates a total disregard, on the part of both Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, for the checks and balances designed to prevent the abuse of public funds,” said Kohler Barnard.

Date set for Andries Tatane murder trial

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

A date has been set for the Andries Tatane murder trial. Eight police members are facing various charges in connection with Tatane’s death during a service delivery protest in the Free State in April.

News footage showed Tatane, a resident of Ficksburg, being severely beaten by police before he was shot in the chest at close range.

The accused appeared briefly in the Ficksburg Regional Court today, where the trial was set down for November.

Motorists urged to be more considerate as fuel strike continues

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

The South African Petroleum Retailers Association says refineries around the country continue to produce fuel. But Association director Peter Noke says the ongoing strike means the fuel is simply not getting delivered.

The pumps have run dry at more than 150 service stations in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Noke says the industry is under an enormous amount of strain at the moment and motorists need to be more considerate

Police's involvement in building leases was unlawful says public protector

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says the police’s actions relating to the leasing of buildings in Durban were unlawful and improper.
The public protector released the findings at a press conference in Pretoria this afternoon.

She said the lease agreements were a lot more expensive than they should have been and there was no reason why police should not have used an open tender process.

Madonsela said the market value of the building meant it should have been leased at R40 a square metre and not the R125 per square metre ultimately agreed on.

Madonsela said although National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele did not sign the agreements, the police's involvement was irregular.

She has also recommended that President Jacob Zuma take action against Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her involvement in the deals.

Lotteries Board slammed for funding Cosatu celebrations

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

The DA wants Auditor General Terence Nombembe to investigate the National Lotteries Board’s awarding of one-million-Rands to Cosatu.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has conceded that the money was paid to help fund the union federation’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

The DA’s Jacques Smalle slams as unacceptable the fact that funds supposed to benefit needy causes are being used to finance tripartite alliance events.

Fuel association reports to government on crisis

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

Panic buying of fuel is not helping the tenuous supply situation - especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Fuel Retailers’ Association’s Reggie Sibiya has confirmed that hundreds of service stations have run out, while many are not reporting their situation for fear of intimidation.

Sibiya says they will be meeting daily with government from now on to report on the situation. He adds that the countrywide strike has caused businesses and the economy to bleed.

Employers turn to courts to prevent strike mayhem

By Khanyisa Tabata
14 July 2011

As more fuel stations run dry in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal due to industrial action, the National Employers’ Association and 21 other organisations have obtained a temporary court order preventing strikers from coming within 60-metres of their workplaces.

They may also not intimidate non-striking workers or damage property.

Strikers who defy the order could face charges under their employers’ disciplinary code and could be arrested.

Meanwhile, a decision will be made today about a possible strike by 200-thousand municipal workers in all nine provinces.

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union is meeting to analyse the demands tabled to the ANC and to see if any progress has been made. Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema.

Shivambu apologises for foul language

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 July 2011

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu has admitted that his engagement this week with a News24 journalist in which he repeatedly used the f-word to dismiss an enquiry was unfortunate.

In a statement, Shivambu promises that it will never happen again.

He also stresses that the incident does not represent the attitude of the League to the media in general.

But he includes an attack on what he refers to as the “right-wing, Afrikaans media”, accusing them of employing “disgustingly provocative methods” in their enquiries.

Protest closes Cape Town highway

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 July 2011

Protest action has led to the closure of the N-2 highway in to Cape Town this morning.

It is not yet clear whether the burning tyres placed on the highway near Nyanga are linked to service delivery complaints or the current spate of strikes.

The protest caused a huge traffic obstruction.

Police and traffic law enforcement members are trying to remove the barricades.

Motorists have been advised to make use of alternative routes.

Labour Minister urges strike settlements

By Lelethu Mquqo
14 July 2011

Labour Minister Mildred Olifant says those involved in wage talks should find resolutions quickly.

She says prolonged strikes are not in the public interest.

The industrial action by workers in the petroleum industry has prevented fuel delivery trucks from leaving a number of depots in the country.

Meanwhile, at least 16 Engen service stations in Johannesburg have already run out of fuel.

Engen’s Tania Landsberg says supply trucks have been unable to leave fuel depots.

She says there have also been reports of intimidation in some areas.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gauteng motorists hit hard as fuel pumps run dry

By Khanyisa Tabata
13 July 2011

At least 16 Engen service stations in Johannesburg have already run out of fuel. Dry pumps have also been reported at two stations in Pretoria and one in Durban.

Engen has been the only company to release details about affected pumps, with Shell and BP remaining quiet on the matter.

Head of the Fuel Retailers’ Association, Reggie Sibiya, says the ongoing petroleum workers’ strike has had a negative impact on overnight deliveries around the country.

The strike seems to have had little effect however, on stations in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile at least six-thousand petroleum workers affiliated to Solidarity will also down tools.

The union’s Dirk Hermann says this is in response to information that the executive directors of Sasol earned 81-percent more over the last financial year.

Hermann says this figure is between 13 and 21 times more than the current inflation rate. Sasol says it is not yet able comment and will release a statement shortly.

Fuel problems mount in Gauteng

By Khanyisa Tabata
13 July 2011

Engen says its fuel stations in Gauteng are running dry because oil tankers are unable to leave some depots.

Spokesperson Tania Landsberg says some oil tanker drivers are on strike, while others have been intimidated. The affected depots are in Langlaagte, Alrode and Waltloo.

Landsberg says they are struggling to cope, despite contingency plans. The company is getting updates on the situation in coastal areas.

She says there have been no reports from Cape Town, but they are keeping a close eye on the situation. Landsberg said although contingency plans were in place across the country, there would be challenges.

Fire people died in a fire in Johannesburg

Lusanda Bill
13 July 2011

A Johannesburg father lost his wife and four young children in a house fire in Ormonde today.

The city’s emergency services say the bodies of the 31-year-old mother and her children, aged six-months and two-, three- and four-years, were found in the kitchen of the two-bedroom house.

The father desperately tried to pour water on the flames, but could not save his family.

The fire was apparently caused by a heater in the children’s bedroom.

Eastern Cape looking forward to school transport again

Lusanda Bill
13 July 2011

The Eastern Cape transport department has taken over the province’s scholar transport programme.

This follows claims of mismanagement and fraud.

Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu says the poorest of the poor will get preference, with particular focus on pupils from farm and rural schools.

Thousands of Eastern Cape pupils have had to walk to school this year after the education department suspended its transport programme due to financial constraints.

SA faces a major inequality crisis

Lusanda Bill
13 July 2011

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has warned that South Africa is facing a major crisis because of the inequalities that are growing every day.

At a rally in Durban, Vavi said South Africa was ranked the number one country in the world in terms of inequalities.

He added that workers were not enjoying the fruits of democracy.

He added that this was because of the crisis of unemployment, with 36-percent of people unable to find job opportunities.

Gwede Mantashe denies cabinet reshuffle reports

Lusanda Bill
13 July 2011

ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe has denied that Cabinet is about to be overhauled.

Speaking at the University of the Witwatersrand, Mantashe reacted to reports that President Jacob Zuma was considering a Cabinet reshuffle.

This is in the run-up to the ANC’s national conference next year, where he will be seeking re-election.

Speculation was that Zuma hoped to appease a powerful faction in the party linked to the ANC Youth League through the shuffle.

Missing Adult Alert: Anilien Candis

Missing Adult Alert: Cobus Coetzee

Missing Adult Alert: Themba Thango

Criminals said to abuse service delivery protests

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 July 2011

The Gauteng community safety department says criminals are operating under the guise of service delivery protests.

According to the department, criminal elements are involved in the planning of these protests, including undermining and attacking elected public representatives and their property.

The department has held talks with security experts over violent protests.

A spokesperson says while people have a constitutional right to gather, government cannot sit back when this right is abused.

ANC unhappy with Shivambu’s foul language

By Lelethu Mquqo
13 July 2011

ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete has slammed as “unacceptable” the fact that ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu swore at a journalist who requested an interview with Julius Malema.

At a media briefing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, Mbete says no one speaking on behalf of the ANC should use swear words to get their point across.

This follows Shivambu’s repeated use of the f-word in dismissing a Beeld journalist’s request.

It is not yet clear whether the ANC plans to censure Shivambu.

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