Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Police study footage of Youth League violence

By Lelethu Mquqo
31 August 2011

No one has been arrested yet in connection with yesterday’s violence when supporters of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema clashed with police at Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

The police’s Lungelo Dlamini says they are studying video footage to try and identify culprits.

A police member had to have stitches after being hit by a rock.

At least seven journalists had objects thrown at them, while some female journalists were groped and sexually threatened.

Only a handful of young people have gathered today as Malema’s disciplinary hearing resumed.

Drastic action after spate of bus and taxi fatalities

By Lelethu Mquqo
31 August 2011

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has instructed law enforcement agencies to stop and check every bus and taxi on South Africa’s roads with immediate effect.

At least 76 people have been killed this month in eight separate public transport vehicle crashes.

Accidents have been rife in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga.

Ndebele says the situation is out of hand and operators can expect tough action.

Roads around Luthuli House cordoned off again

By Lelethu Mquqo
31 August 2011

Police are swiftly moving in to barricade off some streets around Luthuli House in Johannesburg.

The streets were re-opened to traffic this morning following yesterday’s chaotic protests during Julius Malema’s disciplinary hearing.

Most of the ANC Youth League supporters refused to speak to the media.

During yesterday’s mayhem the situation deteriorated so much that the ruling party announced that today’s hearing would be moved to an undisclosed location outside the city.

The ANC surprised many by later reversing the decision.

Political analyst Harald Pakendorf does not regard the about face as a victory for the Youth League, but rather a sign of weak leadership on the part of the senior body.

Another fatal bus crash

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 August 2011

Another bus crash has claimed the lives of 11 people, including a child. Eastern Cape traffic spokesperson Tshepo Machea says the accident happened early this morning on the R-61 between Aberdeen and Beaufort West.

Thirty-eight people were injured, with 11 critical patients being transferred to a Port Elizabeth hospital.

The bus was transporting passengers to Cape Town. It is believed that a tyre burst, causing the driver to lose control.

Yesterday, five people were killed when a bus rolled down an embankment in Hammanskraal outside Pretoria.

About 50 people were injured in the accident. The bus, certified to carry 60 passengers, is said to have been carrying more than 80.

The Mungezwa Bus Company's coach was travelling from Johannesburg to Harare.

ANC not intimidated by protests

By Khanyisa Tabata
31 August 2011

The ANC says the decision to move its Youth League’s disciplinary hearings to an undisclosed venue outside Johannesburg does not mean that it had been intimidated by the riot and protests that hit the streets around Luthuli House yesterday.

The move was made due to the negative impact the process had on ordinary South Africans and businesses in the CBD.

The ANC’s Jackson Mthembu apologised for the closure of many businesses, including banks, near the ANC headquarters and for the inconvenience suffered by ordinary South Africans.

The Congress of the People Youth Movement is one of the organisations that strongly condemned the violence and public disorder caused by Julius Malema’s supporters.

Youth Movement spokesperson Marius Redelinghuys says any leadership that claims to have authority over its members must be held accountable for their actions.

Western Cape MEC for Agriculture takes action about a Human Rights Watch report.

By Lelethu Mquqo
31 August 2011

Allegations in a Human Rights Watch report last week, that Western Cape farmers are paying workers with alcohol, have forced provincial MEC for Agriculture, Gerrit van Rensburg, to take action.

Van Rensburg says this is a practice that should not be taking place anywhere in South Africa.

He added that just joining civil society organisations on farm inspections will not help solve the problem.

Department spokesperson, Wouter Kriel says MEC van Rensburg says this is a practise that belongs in the past and should not be practiced anywhere.

He urged anyone who is aware of this practice to please report it to the police.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Students protesters brought to Luthuli House against their will

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 August 2011

The Congress of South African Students says a large number of protesters outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg, were there against their will.

Cosas president Bongani Mani says ANC Youth League leaders arranged for the students to be pulled from their schools and bussed into the city centre.

This, as Youth League president Julius Malema appeared before an ANC disciplinary committee on various charges of misconduct.

Mani says the students had been intimidated to attend.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe condemned the violence, saying those who arranged for the gathering must be held accountable.

The Youth League also issued a statement condemning the violence and calling for its members to exercise discipline and restraint.

Several journalists and one police member were reportedly injured after they were attacked by protesters with stones.

Teaching disrupted at Cosmo City Secondary School

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 August 2011

Teaching was again disrupted today at Cosmo City Secondary School in the north-west of Johannesburg.

Riots yesterday landed two pupils and a police officer in hospital.

The Gauteng education department has placed the school under administration.

Pupils demand that the principal be fired as they claim they do not have textbooks.

In addition they say their principal hires substandard teachers and that they have not been allowed into their computer lab since the beginning of the year.

Police member wounded in Youth League protest

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 August 2011

A police member has been admitted to hospital after being wounded by a stone-throwing protester outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg.

Youth League members continue to demonstrate in solidarity with Julius Malema, who is facing disciplinary procedures.

Police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini says security measures have been beefed up.

They are prepared to handle any eventuality as students and scholars join the protesters.

ANC Youth League refuses to accept responsibility for riot

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 August 2011

ANC Youth League spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy says the protestors who burnt t-shirts and posters with President Jacob Zuma’s image outside Luthuli House this morning are not Youth League members.

Moonsamy distanced the League from the young people who rioted in Johannesburg, saying the League loves the ANC.

Police and journalists were pelted with rocks and bottles, prompting the police to respond with tear gas, rubber bullets and water canon.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has blamed those who organised the protest for the chaos and trashing of streets.

Mantashe says Youth League leader Julius Malema’s disciplinary hearing is proceeding as planned despite the mayhem.

Meanwhile Cosatu has strongly condemned what it describes as “the hooligan behaviour of some of the protesters”.

The union federation says the burning of symbols of the ANC and images of Zuma and Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande demonstrates their contempt for the organisation they claim to be members of.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven says the ANC must be free to conduct its disciplinary hearings without being intimidated by such disloyal and provocative acts.

Great White Shark warning issued along False Bay coastline

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 August 2011

The National Sea Rescue Institute has warned swimmers and surfers of increased White Shark activity in-shore along False Bay coastline.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says sharks move from Seal Island to closer to the coast at this time of the year in search of food.

“The major increase in activity appears to be between Macassar and Strandfontein, but sharks have also been noticed at Fish Hoek.

“Swimmers along the popular beaches between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek should be on the look-out for shark spotter signals,” said Lambinon.

He added that bathers along the popular bathing and surfing beaches between Muizenberg and Fish Hoek should adhere to the shark spotter’s sirens and leave the water when the sirens are activated.

T-shirts with Zuma’s image set alight

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 August 2011

Supporters of Julius Malema have burnt t-shirts and flags with images of President Jacob Zuma before the start of the ANC Youth League leader’s disciplinary hearing in Johannesburg this morning.

While young protestors clashed with police, journalists and camera crews were also targeted and pelted with rocks and bottles.

Police responded with teargas and water canon and also reportedly fired rubber bullets at the crowd.

While Malema said three years ago that he would kill for Zuma, his supporters this morning said they would die for him.

Some said should he be expelled or suspended, they would leave the ANC with him.

DA insists on scrutiny of Zuma’s family’s deals

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 August 2011

The Democratic Alliance wants a full inquiry into Zuma’s family deals following reports that members have benefited from business contracts with the state since the President assumed office.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip says the aim is not to prejudice Zuma’s family or anyone affiliated to him.

Trollip says the inquiry should ensure that constitutional provisions of individual rights and freedoms are entrenched.

The Presidency issued a statement in response yesterday reiterating that Zuma makes his annual declaration of interests to the Secretary of Cabinet.

This includes the interests of his spouses and dependants.

The Presidency has stressed that the properties and assets of Zuma’s adult children need not be declared and are not his responsibility or liability.

Malema’s political future in the balance

By Khanyisa Tabata
30 August 2011

Julius Malema says although he has never had a personal relationship with President Jacob Zuma and does not want one, there is no bad blood between them.

The ANC Youth League leader spoke to reporters ahead of his disciplinary hearing at Luthuli House in Johannesburg today. Malema revealed that senior advocate and ANC member Patric Mtshaulana will represent him at the hearing.

A group of supporters held a night vigil at the nearby Beyers Naudé Square last night, but the thousands of young people who were expected to support Malema, did not pitch up.

Both Zuma and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, will be out of the country during this week’s hearings of the Youth League’s top structure.

Zuma is on a state visit to Norway, while Motlanthe departs today on a working visit to Guinea Bissau. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe is acting president.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe is expected to lead the hearing.

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development commends legal practitioners in the Western Cape

By Lelethu Mquqo
30 August 2011

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has commended legal practitioners in the Western Cape for providing legal advice to more than 400 people free-of-charge.

Legal assistance was given to poor communities over a two-day period last week.

This formed part of the Department’s Access to Justice Week.

Meanwhile, Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng’s nomination for the position of Chief Justice is being handled in the proper way.

This is according to North West University law expert Lourens du Plessis.

He maintains that it is a good thing that the nomination is being discussed at all levels, regardless of the fact that the Cape Bar Council and the Johannesburg Bar Council have rejected it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

ANC Youth League calls for restraint by protesting members

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 August 2011

The ANC Youth League has called on its members to exercise restraint should they choose to gather outside the disciplinary hearing of Julius Malema in Johannesburg tomorrow.

League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, who has been called to appear alongside Malema, says protesters must show maximum discipline outside Luthuli House.

The pair has been accused of various charges, including misconduct and bringing the ANC into disrepute.

SA Local Government Association refuses to budge on municipal wage offer

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 August 2011

The SA Local Government Association has refused to budge from its original offer of a 6.8% wage increase for municipal workers.

This is despite the fact that unions lowered their demand from 18-percent to 10% the end of last week.

As a result, no agreement has been reached between Salga and the SA Municipal Workers’ Union.

Salga spokesperson, Mzwanele Yalwa, says a three-year wage agreement will now be implemented, despite union objections.

Samwu spokesperson, Mario Jacobs says the strike has been suspended but this does not mean that negotiations are closed.

Top Pretoria advocates face disbarment

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 August 2011

A week-long hearing has started in the North Gauteng High Court which could see some of Pretoria’s top advocates disbarred.

The group of 13 had been suspended from practising for up to six months over an alleged fee scandal involving the bankrupt Road Accident Fund.

They are accused of costing the fund millions by charging two clients a full day’s fees when they consulted with both on the same day.

The General Council of the Bar feels the advocates’ punishment is too light and is seeking the disbarring order.

Police member and suspect shot dead in Eastern Cape

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 August 2011

Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Celiwe Binta has expressed her shock and sadness at the killing of a police officer.

Warrant officer Zamekile Mngeniso was shot dead in an encounter with criminals in Maclear yesterday.

Mngeniso and two colleagues followed up information about a wanted criminal when a shoot-out ensued.

A suspect was also shot dead and two others were arrested. Mngeniso is the third police members killed in the line of duty in the Eastern Cape this year.

Tension rises as Youth League hearing looms

By Lelethu Mquqo
29 August 2011

A political analyst says the disciplinary action against ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema will only be successful if it has the unanimous backing of the top players in the ANC.

Malema has been charged with misconduct, along with several other League officials, and will appear before a disciplinary committee tomorrow.

Susan Booysen of the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management says the expected Youth League mobilisation against the hearing could be problematic for the ANC.

Roads around Luthuli House in Johannesburg have already been closed as Youth League supporters start gathering for a night vigil in support of their leaders.

Tutu invites Dalai Lama to birthday bash

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 August 2011

Another row is brewing over a planned visit to South Africa by the Dalai Lama.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has invited the Tibetan spiritual leader to attend his 80th birthday party in Cape Town on the 7th of October.

But the South African government has in the past been reluctant to give the Buddhist leader a visa for fear of offending its ally the Chinese government.

China regards the Dalai Lama as a subversive because he campaigns for political autonomy for Tibet.

Confusion over trashing of Sun City hotel room

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 August 2011

The Sports Ministry has denied allegations that its staff trashed a luxury hotel suite booked in the name of President Jacob Zuma at an awards ceremony at Sun City last week.

The Democratic Alliance’s Donald Lee is, however, demanding an explanation from Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula as to why 60-thousand-Rands was spent on a suite for its staff.

Lee says the minister openly announced that the awards would not come cheap because they needed to be spectacular.

The Sports Ministry insists that the reports are “wild allegations” and “pure lies”.

Spokesperson Paena Galane says no one in the ministry had booked any room at Sun City during the awards ceremony. Galane adds that the allegation that 60-thousand-Rands a night room had been booked for Zuma is, as he puts it, “evil”.

Johannesburg prepares for Youth League protests

By Khanyisa Tabata
29 Augusy 2011

Johannesburg Metro Police plan to deploy a huge contingent of members around Luthuli House from this evening in preparation for Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu’s appearance before an ANC disciplinary committee.

It is understood that more than 20 buses have been arranged to ferry young people to Johannesburg from around the country.

They plan to stage an unprecedented protest outside the ANC headquarters in support of the Youth League leaders. Some supporters want to hold a night vigil there this evening.

Meanwhile, the SA Communist Party has welcomed the move by the ANC to, as secretary general Blade Nzimande put it, “reaffirm respect for organisational democracy and discipline".

Speaking to journalists in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, Nzimande said they were not referring to any individual, merely welcoming the reaffirmation. ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela last week openly declared her support for Malema, calling him “my grandson”.

When asked about his rebelliousness, she said he was a rebel who was on a learning curve and would be a great leader in the future.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

ANC Youth League members called to come out in numbers

Lusanda Bill
28 August 2011

ANC Youth League leaders across the country have called on members of the organisation to come out in their droves in support of Julius Malema.

Preparations are underway for protests to be held in the Johannesburg city centre tomorrow.

This is in response to the misconduct charges put on Malema and several other League officials by the ANC.

Malema’s disciplinary hearing will take place on Tuesday.

An accident has claimed the lives of three people

Lusanda Bill
28 August 2011

Three people have died and another left critically injured.

This after the vehicle they were travelling in smashed into a tree in Pretoria East earlier this morning.

The cause of the accident is not clear at this stage.

Emergency personnel from the City of Tshwane had to use the Jaws of Life to free the injured man.

He has been transported to Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

Muammar Gaddafi believed to have fled Libya

Lusanda Bill
28 August 2011

Six armoured light vehicles have been seen crossing the border from Libya to Algeria this weekend.

This has fuelled speculation that Muammar Gaddafi and his family have finally fled the war-torn country.

Arab news agencies say several high-ranking Libyan government officials may have also been travelling with the convoy.

Algerian authorities have not yet commented on the reports.

Doctors’ associations warn against fake doctors

Lusanda Bill
28 August 2011

The Junior Doctors Association and the South African Medical Association have welcomed Johannesburg Metro Police’s arrest of a bogus doctor who promised to enlarge men’s private parts.

The two associations say it is distressing that there are more bogus doctors on a rampage in many parts of the country such.

Bogus doctors have been identified in places such as Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal.

They warn that legitimate doctors often have to deal with the repercussions of quackery inflicted on unsuspecting and often desperate civilians.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Estate Agency Affairs Board chairperson investigated

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has temporarily removed the chairperson of the Estate Agency Affairs Board Thami Bolani as a board member.

The step follows allegations that Bolani had contravened the conditions of his appointment with an alleged conflict of interest.

Davies has ordered an independent forensic investigation, with which Bolani has undertaken to cooperate.

The minister says the Estate Agency Affairs Board will continue to function as usual.

Western powers attacked

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

Former president Thabo Mbeki has attacked Western powers.

He says Western powers are determined to bring about regime change in Libya, regardless of the cost to that country.

In a speech to students at Stellenbosch University, Mbeki accused major Western powers of intervening in Libya to advance what he described as “their selfish interests".

He added that they had used the United Nations Security Council and a resolution to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya to achieve their aims.

New wage offer made by Telkom

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

Unions at Telkom are considering a new wage offer made by the employer at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Telkom is now offering a six-and-a-half-percent increase this year and inflation plus one-percent next year.

It will also increase employees’ profit sharing to 18-percent.

While union are still demanding an increase of between seven-and-a-half- and eight-percent, they are looking at Telkom’s new offer, after which they say a complete mandating process will follow.

Libyan rebels not recognised as the new government by the AU

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

President Jacob Zuma says the African Union will not yet recognise Libyan rebels as the new government of Libya.

Zuma called for an immediate ceasefire and said Tripoli was not yet under full rebel control.

He spoke as AU leaders met in the Ethiopian capital to discuss what action they should take regarding Libya.

The rebels have already been recognised as the legitimate authority by most of the world.

Malema vows to stay loyal to the ANC

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

Julius Malema says the ANC Youth League leadership is ready to face its disciplinary hearing next week.

Addressing a Young Women’s Assembly in Centurion last night, Malema said he would remain a loyal member of the ANC.

He added that even if a charge that he had violated the party’s constitution should lead to him being stripped of his membership.

The Youth League leader says he does not need permission to be loyal to the ANC, but he will accept whatever decision the organisation takes.

Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill under inspection

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

The Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill has come under inspection in Parliament.

The Justice Portfolio committee is finding ways to change circumstances in which police officials may use deadly force.

Constitutional Law expert Pierre de Vos told the committee that the common law section 49 says police officers or anyone else in the society has all the power to defend themselves against attack by criminals and by anyone else.

He added that the amendments were not necessary.

Unlicensed driver caught with 17 kids in un-roadworthy car

Lusanda Bill
27 August 2011

Cape Town traffic officers prevented what could have been another school transport tragedy.

Traffic officers stopped a car in Khayelitsha yesterday carrying 17 children aged between two and five to a crèche.

The 20-year-old driver did not have a valid driver’s licence and the car was found to be un-roadworthy.

Traffic officers transported all 17 the children to the crèche after arresting the driver.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Death toll rises in Abuja suicide blast

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 August 201

The death toll from a suicide bomb blast at offices of the United Nations in Abuja, Nigeria, has risen to 18. At least 400 people are believed to work in the building.

Local police official, Mike Zuokumor, told AFP that the suicide bomber used a light vehicle to crash through two security barriers before slamming into the side of the building and detonating the explosives.

Rescue operations continue and the death toll is expected to rise.

ANC slams Cosatu for attack on Gordhan

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 August 2011

The ANC has slammed Cosatu for calling Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan “reactionary” and “part of a right-wing lobby” for calling for a review of labour laws in order to address youth unemployment.

The ANC’s Jackson Mthembu says instead of labelling an experienced, progressive comrade, Cosatu should have come up with a workable solution to the vexing problem.

In defending Gordhan, the ANC accuses its alliance partner of being disrespectful and contemptuous.

Mthembu says Gordhan is merely asking all of us how we can ensure that the youth who have no work experience, can access such experience and what the labour cost of accessing such experience in order to become employable.

Public office bearers may get 5% hike

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 August 2011

The Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers has announced a five-percent increase for all public office bearers, including President Jacob Zuma.

At a news conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the Commission’s chairperson Judge Willie Seriti said the annual adjustments have already been recommended to the President, and would be published in the Government Gazette next week.

Seriti said the basis for the percentage increase was informed by Consumer Price Index trends, affordability, national market trends including the private and public sector, and consultation with relevant parties.

Derby-Lewis denied parole

By Khanyisa Tabata
26 August 2011

Right-winger Clive Derby-Lewis, who is behind bars for his part in the murder of SA Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani, has been denied parole.

Correctional Services MinisterNosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says Derby-Lewis’ parole application was denied because the Hani family had not been consulted before the recommendation for parole was made.

Derby-Lewis and Polish immigrant Janus Walusz are serving life sentences Hani’s murder in 1993. His legal team said earlier he was being treated for prostate and skin cancer.

He confessed to his role in the assassination to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but was not granted amnesty.

The department was not immediately available for comment.

Unfrozen Libyan funds earmarked for humanitarian relief

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 August 2011

The government says it agreed to the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee releasing almost 11-billion-Rands of Libyan assets.

This after the United State withdrew any reference to the country’s National Transitional Council in its request for the unfreezing.

South Africa had held up the release for more than two weeks as the proposal had suggested that the Security Council had recognised Libya’s National Transitional Council, while neither the United Nations nor the African Union had made such a determination.

South Africa hopes the funds will be used directly for the benefit of the people of Libya.

Eastern Cape public servants barred from government contracts

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 August 2011

Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet has announced that public servants will no longer be allowed to trade with the government.

The decision was taken at a provincial lekgotla in East London.

Kiviet says the practice opens government to corrupt tendencies.

The lekgotla also welcomed the provincial executive council's allocation of about R56 million to employ maths and science teachers.

Kiviet says this will create stability and improve education in the province.

Efforts to boost land redistribution

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 August 2011

Cosatu supports the need to change the Constitution to boost land redistribution, but the union federation is opposed to expropriation without compensation.

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini says the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle has not worked, making an amendment to the Constitution to address the property clause necessary.

The ANC Youth League wants land to be expropriated without compensation.

The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that compensation does not necessarily have to be finalised before land can be expropriated.

It said this would put undue pressure on the state.

But the Court stressed that compensation had to be paid as soon as was reasonably possible after expropriation.

Eviction following expropriation cannot take place without agreement between the parties.

If there is no agreement, this must be reached under court supervision.

South Africa wants inclusive government in Libya

By Lelethu Mquqo
26 August 2011

The government wants elements of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime to be included in the reconstruction of Libya.

International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela says this was confirmed during this week’s Cabinet meeting.

Monyela says the stance is consistent with the African Union's road map for peace in Libya.

The South African government expects an interim government or authority to take over after the fall of Gaddafi’s government.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee has approved a US proposal to unfreeze $1.5 billion of Libyan assets to be used to provide critical humanitarian and other assistance to the Libyan people.

South Africa had been blocking the move for more than two weeks because it said channelling the money through the rebel government could imply recognition of the National Transitional Council.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Government thanks South Africans for saving electricity

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 August 2011

Government has thanked South Africans for saving electricity in winter when the demand was at its highest.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba however appealed for the redoubling of efforts to increase energy efficiency at all levels.

The Minister and Eskom’s chief executive, Brian Dames, addressed the media in Cape Town on the state of electricity in the country.

Gigaba warned that while the load shedding of 2008 had been averted, it was no secret that the country’s electricity supply and demand was delicately balanced.

Forensic experts investigate schoolbus tragedy

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 August 2011

Forensic experts have reconstructed the scene of yesterday’s schoolbus accident near Knysna in the Southern Cape in an attempt to determine the possible cause of the tragedy.

Fourteen young children and the driver were killed when the bus plunged into a river on a road between the town and Sedgefield. They were on their way to Rheenendal Primary School.

Police have confirmed that all the victims were positively identified and that pathologists have started to conduct autopsies to ascertain the exact cause of death.

The driver was 65-year-old Colin Pyle, while the children were all between six and 17 years of age.

Motlanthe calls for an investigation into Nato commanders by the ICC

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 August 2011

The United States and South Africa have locked horns at the UN Security Council over a US bid to unfreeze over 10-billion-Rands of Libyan assets to provide humanitarian aid.

South Africa insisted that the Council wait for the African Union to decide whether to recognise the Libyan National Transitional Council before approving the US move.

President Jacob Zuma left for Ethiopia today to attend tomorrow’s AU meeting in Addis Ababa.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has, meanwhile, urged the International Criminal Court to investigate Nato commanders for possible crimes against humanity during the organisation's bombing operations in Libya.

Agri-SA’s hate speech case against Sexwale dismissed

By Khanyisa Tabata
28 August 2011

The Human Rights Commission has dismissed a hate speech complaint against Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

Agricultural organisation Agri-SA had complained about comments Sexwale made in 2009 in which he said the growing number of squatter camps in South Africa had been caused by people kicked out by what he described as “very, very evil farmers”.

The HCR found that Sexwale was merely expressing an opinion and that it did not amount to hate speech.

Samwu considers revised pay offer

By Khanyisa Tabata
25 August 2011

The South African Municipal Workers Union says they are quite hopeful that government will give in to their new 10-percent wage demand.

They initially wanted an 18-percent raise. The South African Local Government Association is, however, still sticking to its six-point-eight-percent offer.

Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema says this is unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Samwu chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal John Dlamini has dismissed suggestions that union members were engaged in acts of sabotage during the strike, challenging anyone with such evidence to hand it over to the police.

ANC Youth League pleads for withdrawal of charges

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 August 2011

The ANC Youth League in Gauteng is pleading with the ANC to withdraw all disciplinary charges against the League's leadership.

The party’s national disciplinary committee has charged four more Youth League leaders, in addition to president Julius Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, for calling for regime change in Botswana.

In a statement issued in Shivambu’s name, the League’s Gauteng branch says it believes the matter stems from differing views on a political opinion and not because of ill-discipline.

Train and bus set alight in Cape Town

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 August 2011

Metrorail in Cape Town says R9.5 million’ damage was caused when three train coaches caught fire at Nolungile station in Khayelitsha early this morning.

Metrorail’s regional manager Lindelo Matya says indications are that the fire was deliberately started as three men were seen running away shortly after the incident.

Matya stresses that no amount of dissatisfaction with the service should lead to the destruction of the already limited capacity.

Meanwhile, it is alleged that striking municipal workers set a Golden Arrow bus alight at the old Harare terminus in Khayelitsha this morning.

The bus was petrol bombed, apparently to prevent passengers from making use of the service boarding.

No injuries were reported in both incidents.

Drastic drop in municipal workers’ wage demands

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 August 2011

Striking municipal workers have dropped their demand for an 18-percent salary increase to 10%.

SA Municipal Worker's Union general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapho says the change in demand will only affect the percentage and not their demand for a R2 000 across-the-board payment.

The decreased demand was decided on when representatives from the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union joined Samwu in negotiations with employer body South African Local Government Association yesterday.

Employers are believed to be sticking to their 6% offer.

South Africans urged to take advantage of free legal assistance this week

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 August 2011

South Africans are being urged to take full advantage of free legal assistance being offered at the country's courts and Legal Aid Centres this week.

This forms part of the Department of Justice's Access to Justice Week programme in partnership with the South African Women Lawyers' Association.

The Association's Nolukhanyiso Gcilitshana says the annual campaign is aimed at providing legal advice mainly to people from disadvantaged communities.

Some of the issues being dealt with are domestic violence, maintenance, divorce and criminal matters.

Zuma deeply shocked by school bus tragedy

By Lelethu Mquqo
25 August 2011

President Jacob Zuma has described yesterday’s Garden Route school bus accident in which 14 primary school children and the driver died as “tragic beyond words”.

Zuma has expressed his deepest sympathy with the bereaved families, the surviving learners and teachers at Rheedendal Primary School and the entire community.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has added his condolences.

One mother lost all three her children when the bus plunged into the river at Kasat-se-drif near Knysna after heavy rain on Tuesday night.

Officials say at least 60 people have been killed in six separate crashes, all involving public transport vehicles in four provinces so far this month.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation has sent an accident investigation team and reconstruction specialists to assist in the investigation into yesterday’s crash.

Southern Cape police spokesperson Malcolm Potjie says all the children who were supposed to be on the bus have now been accounted for.

Potjie says the names of the deceased will be released later today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Investigation into deadly Knysna school bus crash begins

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 August 2011

The Western Cape Education Department says it has begun its investigation into the Rheenendal Primary School bus accident. At least fourteen learners, as well as the driver of the bus, have been confirmed dead.

Dozens of others were left injured. The bus reportedly plunged off a low-water bridge near Knysna, earlier this morning.

The Department said in a statement that questions will be asked as to why a 32-seater bus was being used to transport the learners today, when an agreement was in place for a 67-seater bus to be used.

They say however that learner transport buses are tested for roadworthiness every six-months.

Garden Route farming community in mourning

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 August 2011

The bodies of at least 14 school children have been recovered from a river outside Knysna after a school bus plunged from a low-water bridge this morning.

The driver of the bus also died, while scores of kids were injured. The children are all from a small Garden Route farming community and are pupils at the Rheenendal Primary School.

ER 24’s André Visser says a total of 42 children were treated and transferred to different government hospitals.

Meanwhile Transport Minister Sbusiso Ndebele says they want to convey condolences to the families and colleagues of those killed, and wish the injured a speedy recovery.

Ndebele said The Road Traffic Management Corporation has dispatched an independent team of accident investigation and reconstruction specialists to assist in the investigation of this crash.

Garden Route school bus death toll now 15

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 August 2011

The children involved in this morning’s fatal school bus accident on the Garden Route are from the Rheenendal Primary School near Knysna.

At least 15 people, including the driver, have been confirmed dead.

The bus plunged off a low-water bridge into a river, injuring scores of children under the age of 12. It appears that the bus’ brakes failed.

Police divers are currently searching for more bodies. A team of school psychologists and social workers are providing counselling for learners, parents and staff.

Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle has called the incident “an unspeakable tragedy and a bitter blow”.

It happened on the eve of the commemoration of the Blackheath taxi crash in Cape Town that killed 10 school children on a railway crossing last year.

ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser says a large bus filled with school children all aged between 7 and 16 had allegedly lost control before leaving the road and entering a deep river.

At least 11 school children killed in bus accident

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 August 2011

At least 11 children have died in this morning’s school bus accident between Knysna and Sedgefield in the Southern Cape.

Paramedics say the driver was also killed in the tragedy. Scores of injured children, all believed to be under 12, have been rushed to hospital.

The accident happened on a bridge between the two Garden Route towns.

The bus ended up in the river and there are fears that more children could be trapped in the wreckage.

Outrage over attack on photographer

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 August 2011

A photographer from Beeld newspaper was assaulted by Unisa security guards at the University of South Africa’s Sunnyside Campus in Pretoria.

He was investigating complaints about a bad smell at a campus building.

The security guard had earlier refused to grant reporter Alet Rademeyer and photographer Craig Nieuwenhuizen access to the Es'kia Mphahlele building.

Yusuf Abramjee from the National Press Club says these actions are unacceptable.

Despair over Eastern Cape education

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 August 2011

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will ask President Jacob Zuma to intervene in the education crisis in the Eastern Cape.

A task team of five senior ministers appointed by government to turn around the troubled provincial department has met with so much resistance that the President will now have to be informed about the impasse.

The myriad of problems include the termination of temporary educators' contracts, suspension of scholar transport and school feeding programmes and poor financial management.

More trouble for the ANC Youth League

By Lelethu Mquqo
24 August 2011

Four more top ANC Youth League officials have reportedly been charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute.

They are understood to be the League’s deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi and treasurer general Pule Mabe.

They are believed to have also been accused of violating the ANC constitution by calling for regime change in Botswana.

The senior party announced last week that League president Julius Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu would appear before a disciplinary committee next week.

Human rights on wine farms

By Khanyisa Tabata
24 August 2011

Agri South Africa has rejected Human Rights Watch’s report on human rights conditions in the county’s fruit and wine industries as being one-sided, malicious and unfair.

Agri SA’s president, Johannes Möller, is now questioning whether the research methods used were credible. He says all deciduous fruit export farms are certified as required by the international retail trade.

According to Möller, it is highly unlikely that the allegations contained in the report are a true reflection of current circumstances on farms in the Western Cape.

The ANC in the Western Cape reacted by slamming the Province’s DA government for failing people who live and work on farms.

The Western Cape MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Gerrit van Rensburg, says he plans to meet with representatives of Human Rights Watch.

He says he is very concerned about some of the findings and that they need to be investigated as a matter of urgency.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Libyan rebels launch massive offensive against Gaddafi

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 August 2011

Libyan rebels launched a massive offensive against Muammar Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli as his son refuted reports of his own arrest.

According to the BBC, the rebels had warned earlier they would soon mount an attack, backed by captured tanks, on the compound in the centre of the capital.

The sound of the fighting in the capital has become more intense than at any other time since rebels surged into Tripoli three days ago, and thick smoke is billowing out of the complex.

Earlier, South African based defence analyst Helmoed Heitman said Gaddafi and his regime were on their way out. He said that there could be no reverse of the situation in which the forces loyal to Gaddafi now find themselves.

Heitman says the real question now is not what happens to Gaddafi, but rather what happens to the country.

Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma says many lives could have been saved if the African Union had been allowed to carry out its initiatives in Libya.

He spoke at a news conference at Tuynhuys after a meeting with Ghana's visiting President John Atta Mills.

Zuma said those who have the power to bomb other countries undermined the AU's efforts and initiatives to handle the situation in Libya

ANC takes tough stance on ill discipline

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 August 2011

The ANC’s National Executive Committee has decided that every member of the party must act against incidents of ill discipline.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says that if this is not done, then the party will lose the respect it has earned over nearly the last 100-years.

This comes just days after the party’s National Disciplinary Committee charged Youth League leader Julius Malema, and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, with misconduct.

They stand accused of a number of violations, including bringing the party into disrepute. The pair will face a disciplinary hearing next week.

He added that the ANC would lose the respect it has earned in the Southern African Development Community and on the African continent, if it does not act now.

Four arrested after explosives were found at an ATM

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 August 2011

Four people have been arrested in George by the Hawk’s Organized Crime Unit after explosives were found at an ATM.

Police spokesperson Captain Bernadine Steyn says a security company attended a complaint at a takeaway shop in Mayixhale Street, Kwanongaba, after an alarm was activated and on arrival they noticed suspicious lose wires at an ATM inside the shop, and notified the police.

“A packet of commercial explosives was found on the floor in front of the ATM and on further investigation we found a device attached to more commercial explosives inside the ATM and the device was not discharged.

On the scene it was established that entry was gained through the roof of the shop.

“After a careful investigation by the Hawks four suspects were arrested early the next morning at a house in Thembalethu,” said Steyn.

She added that a Toyota Tazz allegedly used by the suspects was also found not far from the house. During the search they found more commercial explosives.

Steyn says the four men aged between 27 and 37, all from Johannesburg are expected to appear in the George Magistrates’ Court today on charges relating to the illegal possession of explosives.

“It will also be investigated if the suspects could be linked to more cases of ATM bombings in the Western Cape as well as other areas countrywide,” said Steyn.

Africa's pioneering radio station struggling to survive

Tough times: Africa's oldest community radio station project is struggling to survive

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 August 2011

The Mother of Community radio stations in Africa is on the verge of shutting down.

Bush Radio, which is the oldest community radio project in Africa, celebrated 16 years of being legally on air in August 2011 on the frequency 89.5 FM.

Unfortunately, the station is on the brink of closure due to financial struggles according to a post on the radio station's blog.

Unless Bush Radio finds a substantial amount of money to cover rent, transmission and other running costs, it will shut down.

The station owes the owner of their building they currently use as a station an amount of R300 000.

According to the station’s Managing Director, Ms Brenda Leonard, the landlord has given the station until the 31 August 2011 to come with a concrete proposal on how they are going to raise the money.

“We are asking our listeners, friends, supporters and former interns or staff to make a donation so that Bush Radio can continue with its operations. Any donation, however big or small, is welcome”, Leonard said. (see Request for Support letter)

From the coverage of breaking stories, national, world news and politics, Bush Radio has been a pioneer.

As a community radio station, Bush Radio has represented and stood as the mouth piece of the community, tackling issues that affect different communities around the country particularly in the Western Cape.

Leonard says, “Besides being the pioneer for community radio in South Africa, Bush Radio adds value to the broadcast spectrum through its up to date community news, analytical coverage of current affairs and its coverage of all community activities. Bush Radio, in a nutshell, gives value and support to the local events and community initiatives that strengthens our democracy.”

Donations can be deposited into:

Name of Account : Bush Radio
Name of bank : Standard Bank
Branch name : Mowbray
Branch code : 02-4909
Account number : 07 122 0194
Swift code (for foreign transfers): SBZA ZA JJ
Address: 37 – 39 Main Road, Mowbray, South Africa, 7705

For more information, contact Bush Radio on +27 21 – 448 5450.

Finance Ministers says banks must be more inclusive

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 August 2011

Banks need to address the problem of lack of access suffered by the majority of South Africans.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told the Banking Association of SA’s annual banking summit that he wants 70-percent of the population using banking services by 2013.

Gordhan says excessive bank charges are also cause for concern but added that the banking sector was moving in the right direction.

Gordhan encouraged banks to be more supportive of small and medium businesses.

He said more resources should be directed to this sector to promote entrepreneurship and to ensure small and medium businesses made a more meaningful contribution to the economy.

Municipal strike falls flat in certain parts of the country

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 August 2011

An ongoing strike by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union appears to have fallen flat in certain parts of the country.

Municipalities in Gauteng and the Western Cape have reported minimal disruptions, despite the fact that the strike is now in its second week.

Samwu members have accused the union’s executive committee of poor leadership.

Questions have also been asked about R6 million that are allegedly missing from the Samwu coffers.

The union maintains that they are suffering no such internal problems and that the strike is gaining momentum.

ANC moves forward on Protection of Information Bill

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 August 2011

The ANC has bowed to public pressure and opted not to pass the controversial Protection of Information Bill without first defining the term, “national security”.

The new definition has been taken from a proposal by media lawyer Dario Milo.

It states that national security is the protection of the people of South Africa and the territorial integrity of the Republic against the threat of the use of force, war, terrorism, espionage, violence and sabotage.

Opposition parties have unanimously welcomed the move.

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro beefs up security after threats on non-strikers

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 August 2011

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in Port Elizabeth will tighten security today after threats were made against non-striking members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union.

This as about 90-percent of Samwu-affiliated workers in the Metro continued to ignore the strike, which has now entered its second week.

Municipality spokesperson, Kupido Baron says acts of intimidation have also been reported at a local clinic.

Baron says they heard reports that some patients were chased out of the clinic by striking workers.

Public Protector kicks off investigation into Western Cape tender

By Lelethu Mquqo
23 August 2011

The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has decided to investigate allegations of tender fraud in the Western Cape.

Her spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi says a team has been appointed to come up with an investigation plan.

The allegations relate to a communications tender, worth between R50 and R70 million, which was awarded to advertising agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille welcomed the investigation.

Zille says she has nothing to hide and will resign from her position if the tender allocation process is found to have been corrupt.

City makes headway on clearing refuse backlog caused by municipal workers strike

By Khanyisa Tabata
23 August 2011

The city of Cape Town says is making headways on clearing refuse backlog caused by municipal workers over the past week.

City spokesperson Kylie Hatton says the city has been able to mitigate the effect on service delivery through the co ntingency plans that have been in place all week.

“Less than 8% of refuse remains uncollected from last week's collection schedule.

“The City will follow the same refuse collection plan as it did last week. If refuse is not collected by 21:00 on the scheduled collection day this week, residents should please move their bins back inside their properties and place them out, together with any accumulation of bagged refuse, the following week on the scheduled day”, said Hatton.

Residents have been urged to assist the City during this time by not dumping waste and by not letting wet waste accumulate if not collected.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Libyan rebel soldiers urged to not take the law into their own hands

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 August 2011

The head of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Mustafa Jalil, has called on rebel fighters to respect the law and the lives of others.

Jalil told a news conference in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi that all Libyans must exercise self-restraint, and not resort to taking the law into their own hands.

This after rebel forces took control of the capital, Tripoli, last night. The whereabouts of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are still not known.

Western leaders have however welcomed the rebel military advance, reiterating their calls for Gaddafi to step down.

Fighting continues in Tripoli while International Criminal Court calls for Muammar Gaddafi’s son to stand trial

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 August 2011

Fighting continues in the Libyan capital of Tripoli today despite celebrations by rebel soldiers. Rebels attacked the city last night and reportedly met with little resistance.

The BBC says however that soldiers loyal to Muammar Gaddafi continue to fight in a last ditch effort to hold parts of the city.

Western leaders have welcomed the rebel advances, calling once more for Gaddafi to step down from power.

China says it will recognise whichever government the Libyan people choose.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court is calling for Gaddafi’s son to stand trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Saif al-Islam was captured by rebel forces during the attack last night.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, says the 39-year-old is responsible for the murder of hundreds of anti-government protesters earlier this year.

50 day countdown to Census 2011 begins

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 August 2011

President Jacob Zuma today launched the 50-day countdown to Census 2011.

It has been 10-years since the last census was conducted, back when the country’s population sat at 44-point-eight-million people.

Addressing journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Zuma urged everyone in South Africa to cooperate with census officials when they begin the process on the 10th of October.

Meanwhile, special arrangements have been made to ensure that the Springboks will be able to take part in the census.

The team will be in New Zealand at the time, playing in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, says Statistics South Africa will make contact with the team as everyone needs to be counted…

Another union joins the strike

By Khanyisa Tabata
22 August 2011

Strike by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union today enters its second week.

Samwu says the nationwide strike, which has been marred by incidents of violence, intimidation and looting, will be intensified.

The City of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in Port Elizabeth have both obtained court interdicts against the union in an effort to get workers to comply with picketing rules.

Meanwhile members of the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union say the impact of a national municipal strike will start to be felt in earnest this week.

Imatu spokesperson Simon Riekert they have deployed their members in Eastern Cape, Bloemfontein, Ethekwini and this week they will be able to deploy members in some metro’s including the Western Cape.

South African military planes reportedly seen in Tripoli

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 August 2011

Two South African military planes were reportedly spotted at Tripoli’s main airport last night, sparking speculation that Muammar Gaddafi may be preparing to flee Libya after a rule of 42-years.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to address the media today.

With rebels having taken over Green Square in Tripoli, US President Barack Obama has said Gaddafi's rule was showing signs of collapse and called on the Libyan leader to relinquish power to avoid further casualties.

Britain has also called on Gaddafi to surrender.

Madonsela still to decide on investigating a communications tender in the Western Cape

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 August 2011

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will decide this week whether to investigate a communications tender in the Western Cape.

Her spokesperson Kgalelo Masibi says the tender awarded to agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris for the development of a brand and communications strategy for the provincial government is under assessment.

Premier Helen Zille says someone with an axe to grind had used a Sunday newspaper to try and create a scandal over the communications tender, which she describes as transparent and fair.

Zille last week said if corruption was found in her office she would resign.

Youth League plans to confront ANC on Malema

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 August 2011

The ANC Youth League has requested an urgent meeting with the leadership of the senior party to discuss the action being taken against Julius Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu.

The League’s national executive committee met yesterday and re-affirmed its total support for its leadership.

The League says in a statement it is convinced that the issues contained in the charges brought by the senior leadership led by President Jacob Zuma are political issues, which require discussion.

The ANC on Friday served formal disciplinary charges on Malema and Shivambu.

They have been charged with various violations of the party’s constitution.

Rebel forces take over Tripoli

By Lelethu Mquqo
22 August 2011

Libya’s capital Tripoli fell to rebel forces this morning as Muammar Gaddafi’s heir Saif al-Islam was captured.

Opposition fighters surged into the symbolic Green Square in the heart of the capital.

In angry audio messages broadcast as rebels swarmed into his capital, Gaddafi, who said he was still in Tripoli, urged Libyans to rise up and "purge" the city of what he called "rats and traitors".

But rebel fighters advancing on three fronts appeared to meet very little resistance and thousands of residents poured onto the streets to celebrate what appeared to be the end of the Gaddafi regime.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mbeki says conflict in Libya could have been stopped sooner

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 August 2011

Former president Thabo Mbeki says the conflict in Libya could have been stopped much sooner if the Western world had listened to African leaders.

Mbeki told an Africa Arise summit in Bloemfontein the African Union had a peace plan, which the Libyan government had accepted.

But the continent's leaders were overruled by major powers, who decided on a no-fly zone over the country.

Libyans will eventually sit down and decide their own future, Mbeki added, but by then scores would have died.

Soccer star arrested for speeding

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 August 2011

A Platinum Stars soccer player will appear in the Brits Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

The player was arrested for allegedly clocking 195-klometres-per-hour on the N4 Bakwena Platinum Highway outside the North West town.

The 26-year-old is out on bail of R1 500.

A truck driver was arrested for speeding, drunken driving and bribery on the same highway yesterday.

A traffic officer refused a R500 bribe after issuing the driver a R2 000 fine for alleged drunk driving.

Israel apologises to Egypt

Lelethu Mquqo
21 August 2011

Israel has apologised to Egypt for the deaths of three Egyptian soldiers during a cross-border clash with Palestinian militants.

The apology came hours after Cairo threatened to withdraw its ambassador.

Israel has blamed Palestinians from Gaza who came through Egypt's Sinai desert for killing eight Israelis after they crossed the border.

The violence is testing Israel's landmark 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, already strained by the fall of long time autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.

Malawi’s cabinet sacked

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 August 2011

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has sacked his 42-member cabinet.

Mutharika has since taken over all portfolios weeks after deadly anti-government riots killed 19 people.

No reason was given for the sacking of the cabinet which Mutharika appointed in 2009 soon after his re-election.

Mutharika is under fire over chronic fuel and foreign exchange shortages and is also accused of infringing democratic freedoms.

Trouble on four fronts for Malema

By Lelethu Mquqo
21 August 2011

The Hawks have confirmed that they are investigating Julius Malema for fraud and corruption.

AfriForum opened a case against the ANC Youth League leader last month after it was reported that he had a trust fund used to house deposits from business people.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela says the police unit decided to conduct the investigation just over a week ago.

Malema is already facing disciplinary action by the ANC.

In another move which might sink Malema's political aspirations, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will investigate the awarding of tenders by the Limpopo government to On-Point Engineering, a company linked to the Youth League leader.

The Revenue Service is also said to be investigating Malema’s tax matters.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gift of the Givers praise South Africans’ generosity

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

Aid agency Gift of the Givers is bowled over by the generosity of South Africans.

It was the first African agency and the only agency in the world to fly six planes into Mogadishu in a two-week period, delivering 112-tons of aid.

South Africans then contributed another whopping 560-ton of supplies to Somalia in five days.

Less than 48-hours after a ship departed with that aid, GOTG now has another 600-tons of supplies in their warehouses.

The latest batch will be shipped out via a new route past Mombassa to Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Cosatu fumes about Gauteng toll roads

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

Cosatu is angered by what it regards as the lack of consultation about the Gauteng toll roads.

The union federation has slammed Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele for saying that the system is a done deal and will be implemented.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven says Ndebele promised in May that there would be “extensive consultation” before any final decision is made.

Cosatu is taking the issue to Nedlac for the necessary deliberations.

Electricity upgrade for Tembisa

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

The Ekurhuleni municipality has admitted that electricity problems are causing frustrations in its Tembisa Township on Gauteng’s East Rand.

This follows a violent protest in which residents clashed with police yesterday morning.

Mayoral committee member Aubrey Nxumalo says over R130-million will be spent to overhaul the electricity metering system in the area.

The project is expected to get underway within the next few weeks.

Eight people die in road accidents

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

Six people were killed and a woman was critically injured when three cars collided on the R-512 near Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg yesterday evening.

One of the cars had apparently pushed into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with another car.

The third vehicle was unable to avoid slamming into the first two vehicles.

Netcare 911’s Jeff Wicks says the critically injured woman had to be airlifted to hospital.

In the Free State, two bakkies collided head-on on the Henneman Road near Welkom, leaving two women dead and a man seriously injured.

The women were apparently killed on impact.

The man sustained head and spine injuries and was rushed to hospital.

Some deaths not properly registered

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

The Home Affairs Department says the deaths of some people are not being properly registered as several businesses have discovered ways to cash in on the death registration process.

Addressing a news conference in Pretoria, Deputy Director General Vusi Mkhize says several undertakers have formed syndicates with Home Affairs staff and are taking advantage of grieving families.

Mkhize says it is not a legal requirement to register deaths through any funeral undertaker.

Malema and Shivambu to face the music at month-end

By Lelethu Mquqo
20 August 2011

The African National Congress has confirmed that the disciplinary hearings of Youth League president Julius Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu will take place on the last two days of this month.

National disciplinary chairperson Derek Hanekom says Malema and Shivambu will be charged individually.

Unlike during his previous disciplinary hearing, when Malema pleaded guilty to charges relating to a public attack on President Jacob Zuma brought by secretary general Gwede Mantashe, the party’s whole top brass laid the charges this time.

They are Zuma and Mantashe, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, deputy secretary general Thandi Modise, treasurer general Mathews Phosa and chairperson Baleka Mbete.

Shivambu has responded by saying neither he nor Malema would be commenting on the matter at all.

In its response, the DA Youth says while it notes the decision to charge Malema with misconduct for his utterances on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ANC, it is a pity that the urgency does not stretch to the multi-million-Rands corruption allegations against him.

DA Youth leader Makashule Gana says the public cares more about Malema's enrichment than internal ANC factional battles.

Friday, August 19, 2011

SA Municipal workers hand over demands to Johannesburg mayor

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union has handed over a list of demands to Johannesburg mayor, Parks Tau. Around 300 union members marched to the offices of the SA Local Government Association in Braamfontein earlier today.

Tau told protesters that Salga is still open to negotiation, despite only offering the union a six-percent wage increase. Samwu is calling for an 18-percent increase.

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town and the SA Police Services have declined an application by Samwu to hold a protest march on Monday.

This is after the march was deemed a threat to safety and security following acts of violence, intimidation and looting earlier this week. Only about 15-percent of the City’s municipal work force did not pitch up for work today.

ANC Youth League spokesperson also charged with misconduct

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu will also face disciplinary action alongside Julius Malema.

The pair has been accused of various violations, including bringing the ANC into disrepute. The party says a date for the disciplinary hearings has not yet been scheduled.

Meanwhile, AfriForum has welcomed the announcement.

The civil action group has however raised its concerns that disciplinary action was not taken against Malema over his continued utterances against minority groups. AfriForum’s Ernst Roets explains.

Speculation about Malema’s possible suspension

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

The disciplinary hearing Julius Malema has to face soon could lead to his suspension from the ANC. The Youth League leader was found guilty last year on a charge relating to a public attack on President Jacob Zuma.

The ANC national disciplinary committee said at the time that should Malema be found guilty of provoking serious divisions or a break-down of unity in the organisation within the next two years, his membership of the ANC would be suspended.

The ANC today charged Malema with various transgressions, including sowing divisions in the party.

ANC Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu has also been charged, along with league president Julius Malema,

ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said Shivambu had also been served with a charge sheet on Friday. The charges also related to bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions.

Shivambu could not immediately be reached for comment.

Malema charged for misconduct

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

The ANC says it has served charges this morning on Julius Malema, president of its youth wing.

In a statement the party said Comrade Julius Malema has been charged with various violations of the ANC constitution, including bringing the ANC into disrepute through his utterances and statements on Botswana and sowing divisions in the ranks of the African National Congress.

The ANC says the disciplinary matter concerning Malema is now in the hands of the ANC National Disciplinary Committee, will henceforth deal with the date, venue and time of the hearing.

The youth league leader will be entitled to be represented by a member of the ANC whose membership is in good standing.

Protest closes Tembisa roads

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

East Rand police have warned motorists to avoid Tembisa near Kempton Park, where angry protestors have barricaded roads. Residents are reported to be angry over electricity and other service delivery issues.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Mveli Nhlapo says all the major roads leading to the township were blocked off this morning. Metro police are on the scene to contain the situation.

Yesterday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited three schools in Tembisa. She blamed parents and teachers for primary school children’s bad performance.

Motshega says teachers are not focused on their job and many parents are not interested in their children's education.

Motshekga visited the schools following the disappointing results in the annual national assessment of pupil performance.

Madikizela-Mandela to lead eradication of informal settlements

By Khanyisa Tabata
19 August 2011

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has announced that ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will lead a government task team to advise on the eradication of informal settlements.

Sexwale will announce the team that will help her next week. Madikizela-Mandela and Sexwale visited a women’s building project in Brandfort in the Free State as part of Women’s Month.

It is expected that the team will look at all aspects of housing development, including sanitation.

The project was an annual initiative to commemorate the 1956 women's march to the Union Buildings against apartheid pass laws.

Bank client robberies on the rise

Lusanda Bill
19 August 2011

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre says robberies against people withdrawing large amounts of money are on the rise.

Criminals are believed to be working in groups, with some members acting as spotters in search of victims.

Crime Line’s Yusuf Abramjee says this year alone there have been almost 800 of these incidents across the country.

Abramjee added that people need to be more vigilant when withdrawing large amounts of money.

4 police members suspended for helping Bongani Moyo escape

Lusanda Bill
19 August 2011

Four police members have been suspended following the escape of dangerous bank robber Bongani Moyo from the Pretoria Magistrate's Court last week.

He remains on the run.

Police allege that two investigating officers and two police members based at the court ignored regulations.

Reports say Moyo simply walked out of the court building as he had not been handcuffed or escorted.

ANCYL seeking economic freedom

Lusanda Bill
19 August 2011

The ANC Youth League is planning mass marches to the JSE, the Chamber of Mines and the Union Buildings.

This is part of ANC Youth League call for economic freedom.

The League’s national working committee has also resolved to continue lobbying for the nationalisation of mines and for land expropriation without compensation.

Following a meeting of the NWC, spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said the League would mobilise all young people, the unemployed youth and informal settlement dwellers to fight against economic oppression.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele says freeways are not free

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 August 2011

Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele says freeways are not free. Ndebele told journalists at a news conference in Cape Town that if motorists want to use freeways, then they must be prepared to pay for them.

This follows an outcry in recent months over the proposed tolling of highways around Gauteng, and most recently on roads leading into Cape Town.

Ndebele says people must pay if they want improved infrastructure.

Ndebele said the "user-pay principle" was accepted throughout the world, but in South Africa people were willingly prepared to pay only in the telecommunications sector.

Cabinet approved revised tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project earlier in August.

The rates are 24 cents a kilometre for motorcycles, 40c/km for light motor vehicles and 200c/km for longer vehicles. Qualifying taxis and commuter buses are exempt.

Further questioning of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng’s Chief Justice nomination

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 August 2011

The Centre for Human Rights, at the law faculty of the University of Pretoria, has added its criticism to the recent nomination of Judge Mogoeng Mogoeng for the position of Chief Justice.

The Centre’s Frans Viljoen says a number of more suitably qualified candidates seem to have been overlooked, mostly notably current Deputy Chief Justice, Dikgang Moseneke.

Viljoen says Mogoeng is one of the four most junior members of the Constitutional Court following his appointment there in 2009.

Fake Springbok rugby jerseys worth R43 - million found by police

Lusanda Bill
18 August 2011

Customs and police officials have seized a large delivery of suspected fake Springbok rugby jerseys and other clothing with an estimated retail value of more than 43-million-Rands.

More than 66-thousand Springbok jerseys were among the sports goods seized in Cleveland, Johannesburg.

The jerseys were already tagged for a leading sports clothing outlet, and were priced at just under 600-Rands each.

A suspect has been arrested.

Another union joins municipal workers’ strike

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 August 2011

The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union will tomorrow join an ongoing strike by the SA Municipal Workers’ Union.

Imatu’s Simon Riekert says they are late in joining the industrial action, as they had to wait for members to vote on a wage offer of six-point-eight-percent.

He says they have rejected the offer and remain firm on their demand for an 18-percent increase. Riekert says Imatu members have been cautioned not to resort to violence and intimidation.

Meanwhile, Samwu has condemned the use of police against strikers in Cape Town. Western Cape provincial secretary, Andre Adams, says the use of state machinery to undermine workers’ rights is deplorable.

A number of strikers have been arrested since Monday, for allegedly participating in unlawful protest action.

The labour court granted an interdict against striking municipal workers, preventing them from intimidating non-striking employees or carrying weapons.

The City of Cape Town brought the interdict yesterday after employees affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers' Union embarked on violent protests on Monday.

The court order requires Samwu to take steps to prevent a repeat of such incidents.

Namibia’s president discloses alleged SADC corruption

By Khanyisa Tabata
18 August 2011

Management and staff of the Southern African Development Community have made allegations of corruption and ismanagement of resources in the body’s executive secretariat at its headquarters in Botswana.

The disclosure was made by the outgoing SADC chairperson President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia at a summit in Luanda, Angola.

Pohamba says the allegations have been referred to the new chairperson of SADC’s ministers’ council, Angola’s Ana Dias Lourenço.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has taken over from Pohamba as South Africa assumes the leadership of the SADC Politics, Defence and Security Troika.

City of Cape Town is seeking a court interdict against Samwu

By Lelethu Mquqo
18 August 2011

The City of Cape Town is seeking a court interdict against Samwu following a wave of strike violence on Monday.

Reports say services at several public clinics were disrupted by incidents of intimidation.

Workers also went on a rampage in the city centre, and in several other areas, blocking municipal office gates with building rubble and burning tires.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union has been calling for an 18% wage increase and began a nationwide strike on Monday.

Telkom and Post Office workers to take to the streets

Lusanda Bill
18 August 2011

Telkom and Post Office workers will take to the streets if their demands are not met.

The mass action is planned for next month.

The Communication Workers Union says a notice of strike action will be served later this month.

Telkom has offered workers a five-percent wage increase, but the union is demanding 11-percent. CWU deputy president Clyde Mervin.

Motlanthe slams corruption as a cancerous deadly disease

Lusanda Bill
18 August 2011

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has hit out at corruption.

Motlanthe describe corruption as “a cancerous deadly disease threatening the soul of our democracy”.

Speaking at the annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, Motlanthe said fighting corruption was a life-and-death-matter on which our future depends.

He suggested that it might be necessary to introduce subjects related to ethics in schools to make people understand the devastation it causes.

Presidency finds chief justice debate shameful

Lusanda Bill
18 August 2011

The Presidency says it welcomes the debate regarding the nomination of Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for the position of chief justice.

The Presidency added that the debate should not disgrace Mogoeng’s integrity or the dignity of the judiciary.

Spokesperson Mac Maharaj says there are disappointing inaccuracies and distortions in the response to Magoeng’s nomination.

Maharaj says the debate must be balanced and within the rules of common decency.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Strikers cause havoc in Pretoria and Durban

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 August 2011

Bus services in Pretoria have been suspended with immediate effect.

This, after three Tshwane Metro buses were severely damaged by striking municipal workers.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union has been calling for an 18% wage increase and began a nationwide strike on Monday.

The Metro’s Pieter de Necker says they have been forced to suspend the buses out of fear for the safety of passengers and non-striking staff.

Meanwhile, in Durban, striking workers set fire to rubbish bins in the city centre.

Reports say police were quick to douse the flames with water cannons.

A march by municipal workers to the Durban City Hall was characterised by the destruction of bins along the route.

Shops in the area remained closed today after reports of looting during a march in Cape Town yesterday.

Cosatu urges ethical strike behaviour

By Khanyisa Tabata
17 August 2011

Cosatu has appealed for the ethical handling of the Samwu strike by workers and employers.

The union federation has urged workers not to intimidate those who exercise their right not to strike.

But it also wants employers, especially mayors and municipal managers, not to whip up emotions against striking workers.

Cosatu says all actions have to be within the bounds of the law.

Meanwhile SA Municipal Workers' Union says they will bring Johannesburg CBD to a standstill this week.

Gauteng provincial secretary Ntsikelelo Klaas said they expect the town to be at a stand still.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has asked Cosatu’s provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich to support her in claming for damages caused by the workers yesterday in the city centre.

De Lille said her administration respects the right of workers to strike as a fundamental labour right in a democracy.

Telkom wage offer rejected by Solidarity

Lusanda Bill
17 August 2011

Trade union Solidarity was confident that a suitable wage agreement would be reached.

This is during their dispute meeting with Telkom on Tuesday.

The union has, however, rejected the telecommunications giant’s official and final offer of a five-percent raise.

Solidarity’s Ilze Niewoudt says they are sticking to their 10-percent demand.

Samwu strike condemned by Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille

Lusanda Bill
17 August 2011

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has strongly condemned yesterday’s reckless behaviour by striking municipal workers.

Protestors became violent, looting and starting fires.

Street vendors’ stalls were also overturned. De Lille says this undermines the principle of labour organisation and the dignity of many members of the workforce.

The city will be claiming damages from Samwu.

Twin plane crash victims honoured

Lusanda Bill
17 August 2011

The names have been released of the 13 people killed when two aircraft crashed in Limpopo on Sunday.

A tribute to the victims was held at the Durban Wings Club at Virginia Airport yesterday evening.

A traditional bell was rung, followed by a minute’s silence.

The two aircraft had been heading for the Rand Airport in Germiston, Gauteng when contact with them was lost.

An investigation is underway.

Students sign a petition to protect Afrikaans students’ rights

By Lelethu Mquqo
17 August 2011

Several students added their signatures to a petition on the protection of Afrikaans students’ rights at the University of Pretoria.

This was in support to a campaign held by the AfriForum Youth.

The petition was signed onto the graffiti wall of the University, after the management refused to be handed the forms in public.

Nikke Strydom, chairperson of AfriForum Youth at the institution, says mother-tongue education is under serious threat and that the manifesto of student’s rights is a watered-down document.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Majority of municipal workers refuse to strike

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 August 2011

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union has admitted that member turnout in the ongoing strike has not been as high as expected in some parts of the country.

About 150 000 municipal workers were due to down tools from yesterday, but more than 80% of them reported for duty in Gauteng, as well as 90% in the Western Cape.

Meanwhile, striking municipal workers went on the rampage in the Cape Town city centre earlier today, setting fire to overturned rubbish bins and throwing bottles in the streets.

Reports say angry protesters also started looting from shops as they moved through the city.

Samwu spokesperson for the Western Cape, Mario Jacobs, says union marshals were out in force to ensure that the protest was as peaceful as possible.

DA lashes out at Public Works Minister

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 August 2011

The Democratic Alliance has lashed out at Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her notable absence from a Parliamentary portfolio committee meeting earlier today.

The Minister had been due to account for her role in a recent scandal surrounding the rental of properties for the SAPS in Pretoria and Durban.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde is yet to respond to a report into the scandal by the Public Protector, which was released last month.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen, says the Minister clearly has something to hide.

DA lashes out at Public Works Minister

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 August 2011

The Democratic Alliance has lashed out at Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for her notable absence from a Parliamentary portfolio committee meeting earlier today.

The Minister had been due to account for her role in a recent scandal surrounding the rental of properties for the SAPS in Pretoria and Durban.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde is yet to respond to a report into the scandal by the Public Protector, which was released last month.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen, says the Minister clearly has something to hide.

Six men injured in accident on N1 highway near Kraaifontein

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 August 2011

Six men aged between 30 and 40 have sustained various injuries after their car collided with a bridge on the N1 highway near Kraaifontein.

The six men were travelling in a blue Mazda when they collided with a barrier next to the highway.

When ER24 paramedics arrived at the scene they found 5 of the men outside of the vehicle and one was still trapped in the wrecked vehicle.

The man trapped in the car sustained a severe head injury as well as suspected back and neck injuries.

The patient was then airlifted to Tygerberg hospital for further medical care.

The 5 other men were treated at the scene for multiple lacerations and suspected back and neck injuries by ER24 paramedics and the Provincial Department of Health: Emergency Medical Services.

Local law enforcement authorities who attended the scene will be investigating the incident further.

Cosatu calls for investigation into DA tender irregularities

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 August 2011

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called on the Public Protector to conduct a detailed investigation of Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s office.

This follows allegations over the weekend of tender irregularities. The DA has welcomed any investigation into the matter.

The provincial branch of the ANC has called for the head of the DA's chief strategist, Ryan Coetzee, alleging that he influenced the awarding the tenders, worth millions of Rands.

Political analyst Harald Pakendorf says the DA has responded very quickly to the allegations.

Light aircraft wreckage found south-west of Tzaneen

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 August 2011

The wreckage of two light aircraft that went missing on Sunday between Limpopo and Gauteng has now been found south-west of Tzaneen.

The exact location of the crash site has not yet been revealed but Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smit says rescue teams are on the scene.

The two Albatross aircraft disappeared after an air show. At least 13 people are believed to have been on board the planes, including several children.

Both planes were discovered by a police helicopter, after weather allowed for search and rescue efforts to continue.

Municipal union bosses say strike will intensify

By Khanyisa Tabata
16 August 2011

Municipal union bosses say a nationwide strike will intensify despite an apparent boycott to the industrial action by union members yesterday.

At least 85-percent of municipal workers turned up for work in Gauteng yesterday, ignoring the call for a strike, citing corruption within the union as the main cause of their apathy.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union is calling for an 18-percent or two-thousand-Rand wage increase. The SA Local Government Association has so far only offered them six-percent.

Three Eastern Cape labour officials suspended

Lusanda Bill
16 August 2011

Three labour officials from the Eastern Cape provincial office have been suspended for allegedly processing fake Unemployment Insurance Fund applications.

Photocopy identity documents and banking details, and false claims by ghost employers, are some of the risks that the Fund face in dealing with fake claims.

Labour department Director General Nkosinathi Nhleko said through the helpline people are able to report issues.

Nhleko added that by people reporting issues such as fraud it allows the department to follow through on issues.

The matter was handed to the police for further investigation.

Shack fire deaths a concern in the Western Cape

Lusanda Bill
16 August 2011

The Fire and Rescue Service in Cape Town have stated that more can be done to prevent shack fires.

This follows the death of four people in a shack fire in Philippi on Monday.

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service's Theo Layne said various campaigns have been put in place to educate people about the dangers of shack fires.

The death toll of shack fire this year now stands at 54.

The DA will be making submissions to the Presidential Review Committee

By Lelethu Mquqo
16 August 2011

The Democratic Alliance will be making submissions to the Presidential Review Committee concerning top executives’ pay packages at Eskom and Transnet.

According to the DA’s Pieter van Dalen, Eskom’s executive directors received more than three-point-five-million-Rands in bonus payouts in the past year.

This is on top of their normal salaries of almost seven-million-Rands.

Transnet’s top management received 63-point-6-million-Rands in bonuses.

Van Dalen says these bonuses are not really linked to improved outcomes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Public Enterprises Minister says nationalization is not necessary

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 August 2011

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba says the nationalisation of mines is not the solution to South Africa’s economic transformation challenges.

In an interview in Pretoria, Gigaba emphasised that nationalisation poses a number the risks.

Gigaba says he believes all the concerns raised about the South African economy can be dealt without resorting to nationalisation

Meanwhile, Gigaba says black-owned enterprises remain sidelined in getting support and work contracts, even from the government.

On the sidelines of an engagement with the Black Firms Forum, Gigaba says he hopes the trends will now change as government wants to work with the previously marginalized communities and award them lucrative contracts.

Fred van der Vyver wins malicious prosecution case against Police Minister

By Lelethu Mquqo
15 August 2011

Fred van der Vyver has won his civil claim against the Police Minister in the Western Cape High Court.

Van der Vyver claims he was maliciously prosecuted by police investigators when he was accused of murdering his girlfriend, Inge Lotz, in Stellenbosch, in 2005.

He was acquitted of the charges but has since sued the Minister for 46-million-Rands.

A separate trial will be held next year to decide how much money he is entitled to.

City officials say strike contingency plans are in place

By Khanyisa Tabata
15 August 2011

The City of Cape Town says contingency plans have been put in place to minimise disruptions caused by a nationwide municipal workers’ strike.

Refuse collection in the southern parts of the city went ahead this morning, but rubbish has already begun to pile up in parts of the city centre.

City spokesperson Kylie Hatton they will monitor refuse collection throughout the day and report to residents if they pick up major disruptions.

Meanwhile, in Pretoria, bus drivers and workers in the Transport Department reported for duty as per usual.

The Tshwane Metro’s Pieter de Necker says they had prepared themselves for the suspension of all bus services. He says that so far, buses are operating normally.

Helen Zille to take Sunday paper to the Press Ombudsman

Lusanda Bill
15 August 2011

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has denied a Sunday newspaper report that her office awarded a communications tender worth one-billion-Rands to an advertising agency without following proper procedures.

Zille intends laying a complaint against the Sunday Times with the Press Ombudsman.

Zille added that they chose deliberately not to present the facts as presented to them.

The paper reported that the tender for the contract had not been publicly advertised or placed on the government tender bulletin, as is required by Treasury Regulations.

More concerns raised over NHI

Lusanda Bill
15 August 2011

Government's release of the green paper on the National Health Insurance plan for public comment has been generally welcomed.

The NHI is expected to be rolled out in April next year as a pilot project for the next five years.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa is, however, concerned that South Africans will not be able to bear the financial cost of the scheme.

Fedusa's Dennis George says the quality of the public services; the hospitals are in serious problems when it comes to service delivery.

A search for two missing aircrafts continues today

Lusanda Bill
15 August 2011

The aerial search for two aircraft that went missing after an air show in Limpopo was resumed this morning.

The aircraft had been heading for the Rand Airport in Germiston, Gauteng when contact with them was lost. Aeronautical Search and Rescue South Africa says a ground search continued throughout the night.

Reports say one of the aircraft was carrying two children between the ages of eight and 15.

Other reports say there were 12 people on board one of the planes.

Steady progress being made on Cape Flats water maintenance - CoCT

The City of Cape Town says steady progress has been made across the five sites where the municipality’s 72-hour water shutdown on the Cape ...