Thursday, November 30, 2023

Record temperatures broken in parts of SA

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) says records were broken in both the maximum and minimum temperatures in the month of November.

This as the weather service issued an alert of heartwave conditions in the north-eastern parts of the country from Sunday, 19 November 2023, to Tuesday, 28 November 2023.

Hot to very hot conditions were experienced in most parts of the country, with isolated areas having extremely hot conditions for several days in a row.

SAWS said hot conditions reached their peak on Monday, when extremely hot conditions were experienced in large parts of the Northern Cape, extending to adjacent areas of North West and the Free State experienced extremely hot conditions due to a surface high pressure system that was assisted by convergence aloft.

‘’Preliminary data indicates new temperature records for November over the Northern Cape, Free State and North West provinces. More than 10 stations recorded the highest temperature records on the 27th , with the Automatic Weather Station at Augrabies Falls recording the highest maximum temperature of 46,7°C, breaking its previous record of 46,2°C (2019-11-28).’’

‘’It must be noted that the highest maximum temperature record for Augrabies Falls remains at 48,6°C, measured on 2016-01-05, and the 46,7°C is the new record for the month of November,’’ said SAWS in a statement.

COURTESY: SAWS


The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in an El Niño state and according to the latest predictions is expected to persist through most of the summer months.

ENSO’s typical impact on Southern Africa is in favour of generally drier and warmer conditions during the spring and summer months from October to March. However, current global forecasts indicate a great deal of uncertainty for the typical drier conditions that South Africa experiences during typical El Niño seasons, over the eastern parts of the country.

‘’Weather extremes will continue to occur from time to time during the summer season as much as drier conditions are expected. Caution is advised at this point, as the El Niño effect might still manifest its influence in the next few months and change the outlook of the rainfall forecast for mid- and late summer.’’

SAWS warned that minimum and maximum temperatures are expected to be mostly above-normal countrywide for the forecast period.

Meanwhile, the temperatures in the Western Cape have reached the upper-30s, on Thursday. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has asked the public to be extra cautious when in the water.

‘’Don’t venture too deep into the water. We are appealing to the parents to ensure that their children has responsible adult supervision around all water – inland water ways, along the coast,’’ advised Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesperson.

‘’Only swim at beaches, protected by lifeguards. Swim along the safe demarcated swimming zones, using red and yellow flags. With inland water ways – even your swimming pools at home, should have a safety cloth around it,’’ he added.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Man drowns at at Saunders Beach, Bantry Bay

A 34-year-old man has drowned at Saunders Beach in Bantry Bay.

PHOTO: NSRI


The National Sea Rescue Institute’s Craig Lambinon said rescue teams responded to reports of a drowning in progress at 19:30 on Wednesday evening.

‘’ Police have opened an inquest docket following a drowning accident at Saunders Beach, Bantry Bay. On arrival on the scene a local man, believed to be 34 years old, in a critical condition from injuries sustained in what appears to be a drowning accident, was treated by paramedics.’’

‘’A bystander doctor and rescue services assisted. Sadly, despite extensive efforts to save the mans life, the man was declared deceased,’’ added Lambinon.

 

Done By: Esobusi Mkangelwa

Court interdict granted as construction of two schools commences to build two schools in Wallacedene

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the City of Cape Town has welcomed the Western Cape’s High Court decision to grant them an interim interdict to end the intimidation, criminal damage, and disruption of the construction of two schools on a portion of the Blueridge Sports Grounds, in Wallacedene, Kraaifontein.

The development of the land was granted as the high demand for schools continues to grow in the province.

PHOTO - Kerry Mauchline (WCED)


Education MEC, David Maynier, alleges that construction at the site has been repeatedly disrupted by a group of individuals, some of whom are allegedly members of or affiliated to the Oostenberg Football Club.

‘’These individuals have engaged in unlawful acts of damage to property, harassment, and intimidation, which has prevented a school from being lawfully constructed on the property,’’ said Maynier.

The plan for the property includes a primary school and a high school, which the WCED says, will cater for 2 240 learners once completed.

Maynier said the schools form part of the WCED’s Rapid School Build, which aims to build safe, beautiful schools in areas where there is high demand for placement. 

In addition, the City of Cape Town plans to upgrade four soccer fields at the Sports Grounds, with the addition of floodlights, changing rooms and a multi-purpose sports hall that will be utilised by both the schools and the public.

‘’The order interdicts the Oostenberg Football Association, all members and persons who associate with it and its aims, and those whose identities are not yet known, from unlawful acts including blocking access to the site, damaging equipment and facilities, trespassing, intimidation, harassment, assault, incitement of unlawful and disruptive conduct, and incitement of violence,’’ said David Maynier, Western Cape Education MEC

“We cannot allow a small group of individuals to unlawfully prevent us from building schools that are desperately needed and wanted by the community. Children have a constitutional right to basic education, and this group is taking that right away from over 2 000 learners for whom place is urgently needed. We will not allow this group to hold our children’s future hostage.”

PHOTO - Kerry Mauchline (WCED): Western Cape Education MEC, David Maynier


Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, welcomed the issuing of the interdict.

“We welcome the High Court’s granting of this order protecting the critical construction work underway to ensure a quality education for learners. We are pleased that the rights of learners were upheld by the court as a result of this joint application by the Western Cape Government and City. We will ensure that law enforcement will monitor the area to enforce the order.”

 

Done by: Mitchum George

WCGov declared an intergovernmental dispute with national government over budget cuts

The Western Cape Government has declared an intergovernmental dispute with national government.

The dispute relates to the public-sector wage bill, which was implemented after the Western Cape Provincial Parliament approved the annual budget, leading to in-year budget cuts.

Western Cape Finance & Economic Opportunities MEC, Mirelle Wenger, said the shortfall amounts to R1,1 billion.

According to Wenger, schools, clinics, hospitals and roads will be heavingly impacted

“Our national budget process has completely collapsed. There is no certainty over the next three years of the MTEF, and now, there is no certainty in the current financial year, with cuts being made in an unprecedented way, in-year. The failings of the national budget process mean that we aren’t budgeting for three years, we aren’t even budgeting for one year anymore. We are working on pay-as-you-go budgeting.”

“Through this action, we are trying to avoid dramatic reductions in service delivery spending in order to cater for the wage liability. We have tried to engage with national government to avoid this situation, to no avail. And for this reason, we have taken the difficult but necessary step of declaring an intergovernmental dispute,’’ she added.

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, says this problem will not just affect the Western Cape, but other provinces as well.

“From the start of this process it was evident we could not afford this wage deal and all warning signs of the irrationality of the agreement were seemingly ignored. This is an issue that affects all provinces and every government department. What is desperately needed is prudent fiscal consolidation, management, and discipline. This appears to be lacking in national government.’’

ARCHIVE: Premier Alan Winde being interviewed at Bush Radio


 “Our highest priority is protecting our citizens from the eventual impact of this nonsensical approach to managing the country’s finances. We will do everything we can to keep providing the best possible services for our residents even in the face of this calamity,’’ added Winde.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Motorist allegedly killed by law enforcement officer in New Crossroads

Western Cape police are investigating a murder after a law enforcement official allegedly shot and killed a motorist in New Crossroads, over the weekend.

It is believed that the motorist was driving under the influence of alcohol and then collided with the officer’s vehicle. An altercation then ensued between the two and the officer discharged rubber bullets.

PICTURE: Pixabay


The police’s Wesley Twigg said the suspect succumbed to his injuries.

‘’Gugulethu police are investigating an inquest following an incident in which a driver was pulled over by Law Enforcement suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol on Sunday,’’ said Sergeant Wesley Twigg.

“An altercation between the suspect and the officers ensued in which a rubber bullet was discharged and the driver was injured and admitted to hospital where he later died. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation,” he added.

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement spokesperson, Inspector Wayne Dyason confirmed the incident

“A motorist collided with a Law Enforcement vehicle in New Crossroads on Sunday, November 26. Officers arrested the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.

“While trying to effect the arrest, the suspect became riotous and attacked one of the officers, attempting to disarm him. He ignored warnings to stop, and one of the officers then discharged a rubber round, hitting the suspect in the abdomen. He was transported to a local health facility, where he was later declared deceased,’’ he added.

Dyason explained the matter is under investigation by SAPS, adding the officer has been placed on administrative duty.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

UWC student accused of stabbing his wife referred to Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for mental evaluation

A University of the Western Cape student, accused of stabbing his wife has been referred to Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for mental evaluation.

The man, who was studying at the university, was examined by a district surgeon before appearing in the Bellville magistrate’s court, on Monday.

At a previous appearance, the suspects legal aid attorney asked if his client could undergo a medical assessment as he did not understand what was happening.

 “A district surgeon examined [him] this morning and recommended for him to be sent for a 30-day psychiatric evaluation at Valkenberg psychiatric hospital. He will remain in custody while waiting for a space at the facility,” said Eric Ntabazalila, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Provincial government sets aside R16m for upcoming fire season

The Western Cape Government says it has budgeted R16m for the upcoming fire season in the province. This is R1.5 million more last year’s fire season.

The Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell, on Tuesday, launched the provincial fire readiness initiative in Stellenbosch.

Bredell said a busy fire season is expected, as the long and wet winter season has caused vigorous vegetation growth over large parts of the province.

He added that dense vegetation, together with hot, dry, and windy summer weather, creates favourable conditions for wildfires.

ARCHIVE: Bush Radio


According to statistics from the department, 7 215 wildfires were experienced, from the previous summer season.

“We have aerial and ground support tenders in place. For this season we have 4 helicopters on tender, and access to another 4 if needed. We also have 4 bomber planes and 8 spotter aircraft at our disposal,’’ said Anton Bredell, Western Cape’s Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC.

Bredell urged the public in doing their part to prevent wildfires.

“Fires due to natural causes, such as lightning strikes or rockfalls, account for less than 3% of all wildfires. The other 97% is caused either intentionally, 25%, or through negligence, 72%. These statistics show the huge role ordinary citizens can play to protect not only our natural environment, but also our personal safety and infrastructure, from runaway wildfires.”

 “Experience over many years has taught us that the faster the initial response, the better our chances are of successfully controlling a fire before it spirals out of control,’’ he added.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Fourth suspect arrested for murder of Loysio Nkohla Mabandla

The Hawks are making good progress in connection with the murder of activist, Loysio Nkohla Mabandla, as a fourth suspect has been arrested.

Mabandla was killed in a hail of bullets at Philippi railway station in April 2023. It is believed that Mabandla was targeted for his role in talks to clear Metrorail's Central Line, where families had built their homes.

PHOTO: Loyiso Nkohla Mabandla


The Hawks’ Siyabulela Vukubi said officers arrested the 41-year-old suspect on Monday, and will appear in an East London court on Tuesday.

‘’The suspect was traced and apprehended in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape where he was appearing in court for an unrelated matter. The suspect is expected to appear in transit in the East London Magistrate's Court on 28 November 2023 thereafter he will appear in the Athlone Magistrate's Court on 01 December 2023 where he will be joining his co- accused Mziyanda Mdlungu,’’ said Lieutenant Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi.

The suspect, now identified as Mzubanzi Luyanda Chulayo, has since appeared in court. The Hawks previously requested the help of the public to help trace Chulayo.

PHOTO - Hawks:  Mzubanzi Luyanda Chulayo


Bush Radio News previously reported that a second suspect, Mziyanda Mdlungu, intends to apply for bail on 1 December when he reappears at the Athlone Magistrate's Court. A third suspect - a 39-year-old man - who was supposed to appear in the East London Magistrates Court on 17 November 2023, was found dead in the holding cells, after suffering from a heart attac.

The case against the first suspect, 38-year-old Zukisa Tshabile, has been postponed for further investigation, to 15 February 2024. Tshabile decided to abandon his bail application.


Done By: Mitchum George


*THIS BLOG WAS UPDATED ON 28 NOVEMBER 2023, AS THE SUSPECT, MZUBANZI CHULAYO APPEARED IN COURT.

Hawks needs help finding person of interest of murder of activist, Loyiso Nkohla Mabandla

The Hawks are requesting the assistance of the public in tracing a person, who might be linked to the murder of activist, Loyiso Nkohla Mabandla.

The suspect, Mzubanzi Luyanda Chulayo, was identified as the fourth suspect in the murder case. He also goes by the names Maya or Sgwili.

WANTED: Mzubanzi Luyanda Chulayo


Mabandla was killed in a hail of bullets at Philippi railway station in April 2023. It is believed that Mabandla was targeted for his role in talks to clear Metrorail's Central Line, where families had built their homes.

Hawks' spokesperson, Zinzi Hani, requested anyone that knows the whereabouts of Chulayo to contact the Investigating Officer Sergeant SZ Hlatshaneni at 082 479 6265.

Hani assured that information received will be treated as confidential.

Meanwhile, a second suspect, Mziyanda Mdlungu, intends to apply for bail on 1 December when he reappears at the Athlone Magistrate's Court. A third suspect - a 39-year-old man - who was supposed to appear in the East London Magistrates Court on 17 November 2023, was found dead in the holding cells.

The Hawks said no foul play is suspected as it is confirmed that he died of heart attack, the day he supposed to appear in court. Police watchdog, IPID, took over the case.

The case against the first suspect, 38-year-old Zukisa Tshabile, has been postponed for further investigation, to 15 February 2024. Tshabile decided to abandon his bail application.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Hawks needs help tracing suspect involved in police murder

The Hawks is requesting the assistance of the public in tracing a person only known as Adriano.

PHOTO SUPPLIED: Adriano


It is believed that he is a suspect in a murder investigation that occurred in Noord Street, Eerste Rivier on 12 August 2023 where a police official was shot and killed. 

The Hawks have since been probing the case and they request anyone who might shed some light on the whereabouts of Adriano, to kindly contact the Investigating Officer Sgt Botha at 082 850 9754. 

Warrant Officer Zinzi Hani assured those that information received will be treated as confidential.


Done By: Mitchum George

Truck driver arrested for transporting two tonnes of cannabis between Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka

A truck driver was arrested on the N1 between Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka, on Saturday, after he was caught transporting cannabis worth R16 million.

PHOTO SUPPLIED


The Western Cape's Mobility MEC, Ricardo Mackenzie, said Provincial Traffic Officers stopped a heavy motor vehicle for a routine inspection as part of their patrol duties.

"While inspecting the two trailers of the truck, the officers detected 40 bags of compressed cannabis weighing two tonnes and with an estimated value of R16 million. The driver was arrested and detained at the Laingsburg South African Police Service (SAPS) station."

The drug bust comes just a week after officers intercepted a cannabis shipment worth R7 million on the N1 in Worcester, following a tip-off.

PHOTO SUPPLIED


“I am thrilled with the results achieved by our Provincial Traffic Law Enforcement, who actively contribute to the safety of residents and visitors in our province. I encourage all road users to support the dedicated teams working hard to keep you safe, especially as we head into the Festive Season,” said Ricardo Mackenzie, Western Cape's Mobility MEC.

The Western Cape's Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, applauded the drug bust.

"I congratulate and salute these officers on their significant haul. Drugs are a leading cause in the violence and murders plaguing our province. By intercepting contraband shipments on our roads, it means that they do not enter our communities. Those involved in this illicit industry must continuously be disrupted. I urge our communities to continue to inform all law enforcement agencies, including traffic and SAPS, about where illicit items are and when there are plans to transport them to different locations. This enables us to remove them from our society and make our province safer.”

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Monday, November 27, 2023

Help find missing Devan Ricardo Speelman

Kuils River detectives seek the assistance of the public to help trace missing Devan Ricardo Speelman, who was last seen, last Monday.

The police’s Anelisiwe Manyana said the 22-year-old left his residence without informing anyone.

‘’He is said to be mentally challenged. At the time of disappearance he was wearing a black hoody jacket, white t-shirt, black shorts and a pair of sleeping sandals,’’ said Anelisiwe Manyana, SAPS spokesperson.

 

PHOTO - SAPS: Devan Ricardo Speelman

 

Anyone who can assist with information that will lead to Speelman’s safe return is kindly requested to contact the investigating officer detective Teketa on 073 658 4664/ Lena Eiman 073969 9700 or alternatively contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

CoCT concerned about pedestrian accidents in the metro

The City of Cape Town says it is concerned about the number of incidents reported in the metro for pedestrian accidents.

According to the City, this past weekend, the Public Emergency Communication Centre recorded 82 road accidents, and 28 of these involved pedestrians, which is seven more than the previous weekend

PICTURE: Pixabay


Recently, the Centre also reported a 25% increase in pedestrian accidents year-on-year.

In August, the City's enforcement agencies recorded nearly 200 offences of pedestrians illegally utilising the N2, and vehicles illegally stopping to drop, or pick up passengers.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, said in the first three weeks of November, the Traffic Service has issued 283 fines for pedestrians utilising the freeway.

‘’The accident statistics, but also the number of complaints received about jaywalking, especially on the freeways, are cause for concern. Not only do pedestrians gamble with their own lives by walking in areas meant for motorised transport, but they are also putting the lives of vehicle occupants at risk, should a collision occur. And, while some are legitimate pedestrians walking from A to B, the reality is that criminal elements also loiter on the roadways, to target motorists.’’

 

Done By: Esona Mfazwe

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Safety measures in place ahead of CoCT's annual Festive Lights Switch-On event

The City of Cape Town has put safety measures in place ahead of its flagship Festive Lights Switch-On event on Sunday.

PICTURE: CoCT


Award-winning Cassper Nyovest and Amapiano artist, Focalistict, will lead an exciting line-up of entertainers to perform in front of an anticipated 80 000 plus crowd on the Grand Parade.

The event will also include performances from rapper and social media influencer Ricky Vani Frontline, SAMA award-winning singer Matthew Mole, rock 'n roll Afrikaans band RAAF, Hanover Park's cultural singing troupe, the Tjommies, and local songbird, Whitney April among others.

With huge crowds expected to descend on the Grand Parade, Darling Street and Adderley Street to catch a glimpse of the performances as well as the beautiful lights, the City will be putting safety measures in place to protect all those in the event footprint.

MMC for Safety & Security, JP Smith, said its Safety and Security Directorate personnel including metro police, traffic services, law enforcement and disaster management volunteers will work closely with the South African Police Services as well as private security.

‘’The Festive Lights Switch-On is a family-friendly event that has been a staple of Cape Town's events calendar for the last 20 years. It's an occasion where residents, visitors, families and friends can get together to enjoy live music and be mesmerised by the glamour of the festive lights. Our responsibility is to ensure that measures are in place so that those who attend, can enjoy the festivities without any impediments. We implore the public to please abide by the rules and requirements. Our personnel on the ground will not hesitate to act against any antisocial behaviour,' said JP Smith, the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

Smith said any weapons, alcohol, drugs and other illegal substances at the event, will not be tolerated.

‘’Patrons will be searched at all entrance chutes and festival attendees found in possession of any prohibited items will be turned away. Prohibited items include weapons, alcohol, drugs, glass, hookah pipes, fireworks, umbrellas and gazebos, gas spray cans or any other corrosive materials.’’

 

The City says it will partner with the KID SMART Project to provide a more sophisticated monitoring system to help reunite any lost children with their parents.

‘’Children will be kitted out with a temporary "SMART" bracelet on arrival at the event, with contact details of their parents.  This is not compulsory but parents and guardians are encouraged to make use of the services. A Lost and Found area will be located in the City Hall on Corporation Street.’’

There will be water points demarcated in the event footprint including four on the Grand Parade, one on Upper Adderley Street and one on Lower Adderley Street. The kiosks on the Grand Parade will also be trading on the day, serving food, snacks and soft drinks.

With the concert event scheduled to start at 16:00 and finish at 22:00, MyCiTi will have a late night service to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain during the event, with the last departure at 23:15 from the Civic Centre station. Residents and visitors are advised that as a result of the event, there will be road closures for set up on Saturday 25 November 2023 and event day 26 November 2023.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Suspect(s) still at large following murder of Tableview captain

Residents have been urged to come forward with any information that could lead to the successful arrest, following the murder of a police officer.

Sunday marks a week since the murder of Captain Linda Buqa.

54-year-old Buqa who was attached to Tableview police station was shot in the Site 5 informal settlement, by yet-to-be arrested suspects who later fled with the policeman’s firearm.

The latest crime statistics, for the second quarter of 2023 (July – September 2023), shows that seven police officers were killed in the Western Cape.

Western Cape’s Police Commissioner, Thembisile Patekile and Western Cape’s Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, attended Buqa’s memorial service on Friday

Allen condemned the killing.

‘’Attacks on police or any other law enforcement officers will never be condoned nor are they welcomed. No officer or any person for that matter deserves to be murdered. I maintain that a killing on a police or any other law enforcement officer should be regarded as an attack on the state and the relevant charges should take effect,’’ said Reagen Allen, Western Cape’s Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC.

The Hawks has since taken over the investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111

 

Done By: Mitchum George

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Metro police arrest suspect for the possession of a firearm

City of Cape Town Metro Police officers arrested a 35-year-old suspect for the possession of a firearm and ammunition on Thursday morning.

The officers were doing patrols with their law enforcement colleagues when they noticed the male along Eleventh Avenue.

The suspect attempted to run away while the officers were asking him questions.

According to the City of Cape Town Metro Police spokesperson, Superintendent Ruth Solomons, the officers found a firearm and seven rounds of ammunition in his possession.

“At around 04h00 officers on patrol with the Law Enforcement counter parts notices a suspicious male walking around in 11th Avenue. They stopped and requested permission to conduct a search, while interviewing the individual he attempted to run away. Officers gave chase and found a 7.65mm pistol and seven rounds of live ammunition in his possession. A 35-year-old suspect was detained at Steenberg SAPS. This is the 9 illegal firearm that the officers have recovered in the last three weeks, they also recovered a firearm while arresting two suspected hijackers in Phillipi East during this period”, she added.

                                            

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Investigating Directorate confident that Eskom corruption case will be re-enrolled

 The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate is confident that the corruption case involving former Eskom Acting Chief Executive Officer, Matshela Koko, will be re-enrolled.

Koko and 18 co-accused are facing charges of fraud and corruption relating to the multi-billion rand contract that Eskom entered with a Swiss company in 2015.

The Middleburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Mpumalanga struck the case off the roll on Tuesday after the state requested a four-month postponement to finalise evidence.

The court considered the request an unreasonable delay in the completion of the investigation.

The ID’s spokesperson, Sindisiwe Seboka, says they will re-apply for re-enrollment as soon as the outstanding aspects of the investigation are completed.

NPA ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka highlighted that the court’s decision “is not tantamount to an acquittal or withdrawal of the charges”.

“The delays were not anticipated at the time of the arrest of the accused; due to the complex nature of the case, the extent and the sheer volume, and the digital nature, of the evidence seized, in particular subsequent to the arrest and enrolment. Work on the compilation of the outstanding reports is ongoing.  The ID will re-apply for the matter to be re-enrolled within a reasonable period of time, and as soon as the outstanding aspects of the investigation have been completed,” she said.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Extraordinary Civil Society Summit

 PHOTO: #Nonprofit
 

Kagiso Trust collaborated with the Social Justice Assembly to hold the Extraordinary Civil Society Summit. This event take place from 22-24 November and it is will benefit from the research and studies conducted by various civil society organizations to assess the status of the NGO sector.

One of the topics the summit focuses on is Social compacts Lisa Seftel, Nedlac Executive Director; spoke on social compacts in place to resolve the challenges faced by the country.

Seftel said Nedlac facilitated a number of national initiatives that can be labeled as social compacts. These include the Presidential Job Summit, the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, the Social Compact to Support Eskom, and the Response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Social partners agreed on 77 different actions that would retain and create jobs under Presidential Job Summit. However, the job targets were not met, but a number of restrictions on job creation were identified and worked on,” said Lisa Seftel.

South Africa faced an economic crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic, and the government and social partners agreed on the key economic recovery measures. However, the roles and responsibilities of different social partners in implementing the ERRP were not clear.

A social compact to support Eskom was initiated in 2019 when the country faced an energy crisis. The aim of the compact was for the government to commit to improve Eskom, stop corruption, make it easier for the private sector to supplement generation capacity, and initiate a just transition process.

According to Lisa Seftel, an implementation plan was developed, and Nedlac structures were set up to track implementation and coordinate areas of collaboration. The envisaged deal did not happen; however, transparency and engagement led to an understanding of the nature of the Eskom crisis and its links to the energy crisis.

Seftel said during the pandemic, a Nedlac COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team met regularly to respond, mobilize, give feedback, exercise oversight, and co-create mechanisms with a high consensus in respect of non-pharmaceutical interventions and lockdown regulations.

 PHOTO: Bush Radio


Done by: Esona Mfazwe

Friday, November 17, 2023

IN DEPTH:1 572 registration stations in WC open for registration weekend

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape says it is ready to assist eligible voters to register on 18 and 19 November 2023, as part of the IEC’s registration weekend.

IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer, Michael Hendrickse, said all of its 1 572 registration stations across the province will be open from 8am until 5pm on both days.

Of the 1 572 voting stations, 29 are temporary structures and 687 are schools. The other stations include community halls or libraries and church buildings.

Hendrickse briefed the media at the IEC’s Western Cape office in Belville, on Thursday.

‘’The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Western Cape is calling on all eligible citizens who are not registered to vote, to register over the weekend of 18 & 19 November at their voting station. The IEC is also inviting voters who are already registered but have changed their residential addresses, to re-register in order to be allocated to the correct segment of the Voters’ Roll. It is also important that every registered voter check their details to ensure that their current address is correctly reflected and that they know where their voting station is, as in some cases, the venues have changed. This will ensure that all eligible voters are able to vote in the upcoming National and Provincial Elections in 2024 (NPE 2024).’’

SCREENSHOT: IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer, Michael Hendrickse, briefing media t IEC HQ in Belville


There are, as of 12 November 2023, more than 3.1 million (3 128 995) registered voters in the Western Cape, with 61% of eligible voters (18 years and older) who are registered in the Western Cape.

Hendrickse specifically urged the youth to register this weekend. According to statistics from the IEC, just over 406 000 voters who are younger than 30 years old.

‘’The IEC has placed particular emphasis on getting the youth to register.  We also need to place this Registration Weekend in context – it is not something done in isolation of the ongoing registration and outreach activities of the IEC. Our Outreach campaign has been rolling out with various stakeholders on an ongoing basis, and has recently been ramped up with the employment of additional staff,’’ said Michael Hendrickse, IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer.

‘’As part of a national initiative, the IEC in the province embarked on the School Democracy Project in partnership with WCED to engage, educate, and encourage learners to understand the importance of voting in a representative democracy and to register them at the schools or show them how to use the IEC online registration platform. On overage we do around 200 school visits each year to conduct Civic and Democracy Education, Voter Registration, assist with Representative Council of Learners (RCL) elections and leadership workshops.’’

 ‘’The IEC also has a Tertiary Institution Campaign which was launched at a provincial level at the Bellville campus of CPUT University earlier this year. Through the campaign, IEC officials have attended campuses of the universities and TVET Colleges in the province and have conducted workshops, voter registration and participated in seminars on campuses,’’ added Hendrickse.  

COURTESY: IEC

 

He said that the IEC has also engaged citizens at Thusong Centres, SASSA points, at taxi ranks, schools, clinics, old age homes, youth centres. ‘’Unfortunately, we do not always have access to gated communities, in which case we will leave behind information,’’ said Michael Hendrickse, IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer.

IEC officials is expected to visit the 34 correctional facilities in the Western Cape in January 2024 to conduct voter education, and then to register eligible prisoners.

4 698 staff have been recruited at voting stations across the province for registration weekend. Of these, 2 707 are unemployed, 2 096 are under the age of 35 years while the majority of the staff (3646) are female, and 63 persons are disabled. In the run up to the elections, the IEC in the province said they have also temporarily employed additional 236 Outreach staff across municipalities to increase its reach.

Hendrickse assured that load shedding will not be of concern, as 3 144 Voter Management Devices (VMDs) used to register voters, will be deployed across the Western Cape. The VMD is a portable tablet device with the latest App Upgrades and batteries charged – a fully charged VMD can operate offline for approx. 72 hours.

PHOTO: IEC


IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer, Michael Hendrickse, urged citizens to check their registration status, saying this registration weekend should not be taken for granted.

‘’I would like to emphasise that it is of utmost importance for eligible citizens in the province to take this first registration weekend very serious. Our country is a representative democracy which means that citizens are required to register to be eligible to vote for their preferred representative(s) in NPE 2024.  The simple fact is that if one is not registered, you cannot vote – in fact you do not even have the option to vote or not to vote if you are not registered.’’

‘’There is a saying that bad representatives are elected by good citizens who do not vote. The only way to hold representatives accountable in a representative democracy is through the power of the vote at election time –it is an opportunity to look at the track records of parties and candidates, to assess the feasibility of their plans and to call them out on their promises,’’ he added. 

‘’Whether one is registering for the first time, or updating their details, the process is very easy and paperless. The voter just simply brings either her/his/their green barcoded ID book or smartcard ID, or a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (TIC) and provide their address to the IEC Officer at the registration station. When the details of the voter are captured and processed, she/he/they will receive an SMS within 24 hours confirming the status of the registration.’’

Citizens can also register online on the IEC’s website www.elections.za

Hendrickse said that should one be unable to register or update your IEC details, this Registration Weekend, citizens can register at the local offices of the IEC during office hours.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

IN DEPTH: IEC says it's all systems go for registration weekend

The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa says it’s all systems go for the voter registration weekend that takes place on the 18th and 19th of November 2023.



Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo, along with his counterparts briefed the media at the IEC’s headquarters in Centurion, Pretoria on Wednesday.

This is the IEC’s first voter registration campaign ahead of the 2024 general elections.

‘’Over two days, on 18 and 19 November, we will welcome eligible citizens at 23 296 registration stations across our great land. Registration stations will operate between 08h00 and 17h00 on both days,’’ said Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo.

‘’Opening of all registration stations this weekend provides equal opportunity to all South Africans to access the voter registration process. Registration weekends as a modality of registration provides us by far the greatest registration yield in comparison with other methods. Therefore, we approach this weekend with a measure of expectation that this weekend will once again provide us significant registration activity,’’ he added.

Mamabola says of the 62 million people living in South Africa, 39.7 million are of voting age population, adding that its voters’ roll currently stands at 26.2 million, representing 66%.

He said of the 23 296 voting stations across the country, 62% are schools, 9.7% are places of worship, and the balance of 28% includes community halls, and other municipal infrastructure.

‘’There are a further 959 temporary voting stations across the country… The institutionalisation of temporary stations ensures that the electoral services reach communities which would otherwise not have the services available. They are, therefore, an important mechanism of extending franchise rights to all eligible citizens,’’ said Mamabolo.

Mamabolo said over 50,000 of the IEC staff are unemployed persons.

“69,718 staff have been recruited and trained for this registration weekend. Out of these appointed staff, 53,028 are female, and 16,690 are male. In addition, 35,640 registration staff are under the age of 35, whilst 26,475 are between the ages of 36 and 50. The balance of 7603 are 50 years are older. Crucially 50 213 of the total staff compliment are unemployed persons.’’

The Chief Commisioner said the Voter Management Devices are the mainstay technology of the delivery registration processes. The VMDs has been introduced in 2021 and has gone significant improvements.

He added that the operation processes has been advanced

‘’Three business applications will be running on the devices during these weekend. These are the staff attendance register, voting station monitoring and voter registration applications. The devices are designed to operate online via an Access Point Network (APN). However, all three applications have been coded to operate offline in a number of instances including when there is insufficient connection with the central database. The migration between the online and offline modes of the devices will happen without operator intervention,’’ said Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

‘’A dry-run was conducted on 28 October to assess the functionality of the devices as well as the infrastructure that underpins its functionality. Again, optimisations have been effected in the light of the insights arising from the dry-run exercise.’’

‘’The delivery of essential voter registration materials, including VMDs, stationery packs, arrow signs, and document storage boxes, have been provisioned and delivery completed across all provinces. Importantly, the registration process does not require the completion of forms at the station and therefore limited time will be spent at the station for actual registration.  The voters’ roll, as it existed in October 2023, has been printed and delivered to municipalities. Approximately 260 tons of equipment and material has been handled through our logistics value chain,’’ he added.

 Mamabolo says since July 2021, 1.1 million people has registered using its online portal. 52% were registerd in the past 11 months. New registrations are 40.6% of the total online registration activity. The IEC Head says Women mostly registered online at 56%, Youth under the age of 29, indicate a strong usage level at 49.6%.

Last weekend, and including this weekend, the Department of Home Affairs extended its operating hours, from 8am to 5p.m, to allow citizens to collect their IDs and passports.

Mamabolo says that security will be beefed up, should there be any disruptions, but he does not forsee it

‘’Within the auspices of NATJOINTS, there is a priority committee that was established, and the responsibility is to see the process from beginning to end. The plans that has been agreed, we hope there will not be any disruptions’’

COURTESY: IEC


In terms of connectivity, and the IEC head says the Voting Management Devices does operate offline.

‘’We are working with partners to ensure that the infrastructure we require to make processes seamless is effective. Should there be any disruption to the connectivity, it will operate offline. When we are offline, we will not cease operation, so the VMD will continue to operate in an offline, at a point it will transmit the information when we are back online.’’

Mamabolo says load shedding remains a concern

‘’Load shedding is a always an issue of concern as it operates business operations, but we will not be so much reliant on energy supply, as the VMD will carry us through when it is fully charged.’’

IEC head, Sy Mamabolo says there are 4 000 democracy facilitators on the ground in SA, to engage communities about the upcoming elections, on what is needed for registration weekend, etc.

In an unrelated matter, and Mamabolo says the IEC has agreed on a recruitment and selection criteria of political parties. This comes after allegations from the EFF and ATM, that federation union, SADTU are working with the IEC, which is associated with the ANC.

‘’The IEC has no policy to hire SADTU. The IEC has agreed a recruitment and selection criteria with political parties. All staff working at the registration weekend, has been taken to local party liaison, so if they do have a problem, they can raise an objection, and if they succeed, the person will be removed. There’s also a modicum of management experience within the ages of a voting station, because you can’t have unemployed people at a voting station without management experience.’’

Mamabolo says there will be another voting registration weekend, but citizens shouldn’t wait until the next one.

‘’The commission will have another, but this one should be as successful as should be. There will be a registration weekend of embassy’s to give citizens abroad, but beyond that there will eb an online facility to those abroad.’’

IEC head, Sy Mambolo, says the IEC hopes to register at least an additional of a million people this weekend.

‘’We got to be realistic, because our regiostration process is voluntary, so we hope to see one people to register to vote.’’

On getting the youth to vote, Mamabolo says they have reached out to various organisations to educate young people on the importance of voting

‘’We have been working hard to lieu people and getting them to register to vote. We went to schools, tertiary institutions, etc. to engage young ones about civic and democracy education.’’

Chief Electoral Officer Sy Mamabolo, urged South Africans to register for the upcoming registration weekend, if they have not done so already, or perhaps update their details.

‘’Only those who are on the voters’ roll can have a say in the electoral outcomes next year. Even if you have not as yet decided to vote, it is still important to be on the voters’ roll because your choice can only be recorded if you are registered. The Commission also encourages registered voters to check the correctness of their details by visiting registration stations over the weekend.’’

ARCHIVE: Goucher College’s Eric Singer speaking with a Bush Radio intern


To register as a voter, you must be a South African citizen, be 16 years or older, and have a valid South African identity document.

To find your voting station, visit the Electoral Commission’s website, www.elections.org.za, or call our helpline on 0800 11 8000. The webchat on our Voter Portal has received considerable number of visitors, closely followed by our WhatsApp chats. Join the community of citizens who can get voter registration and other election information by WhatsApping “hi” to 060 088 0000. It’s your democracy; own it!

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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