Thursday, February 29, 2024

Western Cape calls for cooperation to solve Knysna service delivery problems

The Western Cape Government has called for cooperation between all spheres of government to resolve the service delivery crisis in Knysna.

It is reported that the municipality has experienced several service delivery challenges recently that include lack of water delivery and refuse removal.

The provincial government says the Knysna Municipality must take responsibility for the service delivery failures.

Premier Alan Winde says must work with the province to resolve the challenges.

“If the municipality does not adopt this recovery plan, the WCG will consider initiating an intervention in the municipality under section 139 of the Constitution, but our fervent hope is that the municipality works with us. I am particularly concerned about the potential disaster that is developing around safe drinking water, sewage and refuse management,” said Premier Winde.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Gather necessary documents as applications for WCED's 2025 school year opens soon

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has announced that applications for the 2025 school year, will open within 10 days time.

MEC David Maynier says this first admission window for this year, caters for applications for Grade 1 and 8 only. He says applications for Grade 1 and 8 open at 00h01 on 11 March 2024 and close at 23h59 on 12 April 2024.

Maynier appealed to all parents and guardians with children entering Grade 1 and Grade 8 next year to start gathering and certifying the necessary documentation required for their applications, so that they are ready to apply when the admissions window opens.

COURTESY: WCED


The following certified documents will be required for all applications:

• The last official school Report Card

• Proof of identity:

o ID, Birth certificate, or passport of the learner,

o In the case of a foreign learner: a passport, or a study permit or proof of

application for a study permit, or a copy of the parent’s Asylum seeker or Refugee Permit

o OR A police affidavit if these documents are not available

• Immunisation card (Road to Health Chart) [Primary Schools only]

• Proof of Residence (Rates account, Lease agreement, an affidavit confirming residence)

‘’Getting the necessary certified documentation together in advance will make the online application process a lot easier. Once you have them in your possession, it takes roughly 15 minutes to apply and load the documents online,’’ David Maynier, Western Cape Education MEC.

‘’You can certify copies of your documents at any police station or post office. Keep these copies together, as you will need to submit the hard copies later this year to the final school your child is accepted to,’’ he added.

The MEC says sites will be made available for those parents and guardians who do not have access to internet facilities or need assistance applying online.

‘’We have arranged pop-up admission sites at over 120 sites which includes shopping malls, schools and other facilities, in all 8 education districts. Diarise the dates for the most convenient facility to utilise near you!’’

‘’We would like as many parents and guardians as possible to apply on time so that we can use this data to plan ahead and further improve the placement process in our province,’’ added Maynier.

Maynier welcomed National Treasury’s decision to provisionally allocate R2.549 billion to its Rapid School Build programme.

‘’This provisional allocation over three financial years is a massive vote of confidence by National Treasury for our Rapid School Build programme and will be used to build new schools that will expand the number of school places available in the Western Cape.’’

In a query from Bush Radio News, the WCED says 226 Grade 1 and 8 learners still needs to be placed for the current 2024 school year.

Giving a breakdown, spokesperson Kerry Mauchline, says 128 are late applications (before end 2023), 84 applied extremely late (since 1 Jan 2024), and 14 applied on time


Done By: Mitchum George

A rare day to commemorate people living with rare diseases

Of the 400 million people globally, about 4 million South Africans are living with a condition that affects a minority of people within the general population.

This figures comes after Thursday marks Rare Disease Day. Ironically, in 2024, it is celebrated on 29 February, the rarest day on the calendar.

PHOTO: RareDisease.org


Rare diseases in Africa are receiving a welcome boost for 2024, with the establishment of an Africa/Europe Cluster of Research Excellence called “Genomics for Health in Africa", a project that will provide medical genetic testing (used in the diagnosis of most rare diseases) to various African countries that have had little or no access to it until now.

“The project aspires to leverage the African genome and bring precision medicine to the multitude of undiagnosed people living with rare diseases in Africa," says geneticist, Prof Shahida Moosa, who heads the Rare Disease Genomics Research Group at Stellenbosch University.

The rare diseases and familial cancers arm of the Genomics for Health in Africa project will see a team of Stellenbosch University researchers led by Moosa, collaborate with research partners in Africa and Europe to not only bring medical genetic testing to a number of African countries, but will also build medical genetic and genomics capacity on the continent.

According to Dr. Moosa, this research conglomerate is made up of members of The African Research Universities Alliance and its European counterpart, The Guild, and brings together partners from across the rare diseases, cancer and infectious diseases fields – all which can benefit from increased access to genomics.

“Worldwide an estimated 400 million people are living with rare diseases, of which 100 million are in Africa. Unfortunately, access to genetic testing is not equitable. There are facilities in the United States and Europe where a baby will be diagnosed with a rare disease within hours of birth. In other parts of the world, including Africa, people live and suffer for decades before a diagnosis is made, if it's made at all," explains Moosa, who is also the head of Medical Genetics at Tygerberg Hospital and directs sub-Saharan Africa's only Undiagnosed Disease Programme (UDP).

 

Up to 80% of all rare diseases have a genetic basis and require genetic testing to make an accurate diagnosis.

“For the undiagnosed patients living with rare diseases in Africa, the first step is to give them access to genetic testing to get a diagnosis. Then we can start tailoring the treatment and identify the support they need locally in their hospitals, homes and communities," explains Moosa.

In South Africa, an estimated one in every 15 people are affected by rare diseases, which means just over 4 million South Africans are living with a condition that affects a minority of people within the general population. There are about 7 000 known rare diseases in South Africa, with children being the worst affected.

“The long-term project for us is to bring genomics into more mainstream public health, so it not only informs the treatment and management of rare diseases, but also things like cancer, infectious diseases and pharmacogenetics, where we do genetic testing to determine which drugs will be most effective in individual patients," says Moosa.

She explains that this type of precision medicine not only benefits patients, as treatment is often more effective and less invasive, it also benefits the health system through cost saving by avoiding unnecessary testing, treatment, and hospitalisation. Undiagnosed patients with rare diseases often spend years going from doctor to doctor and test after test, in search of a diagnosis, or relief of their symptoms. This puts of strain on the health system both in terms of money and human resources. Genetic testing (whole exome sequencing), which costs in the region of R10 000, can potentially circumvents hundreds of thousands of rands in unnecessary procedures.

“Testing itself is accessible and we are working on bringing the price down so that it also becomes affordable," says Moosa. “At the moment it is mostly done on a research basis, but if we can provide proof of concept, there will be adoption of the new technology at a price point that governments can invest in, because it does save costs.

“The motto of the Undiagnosed Disease Programme and the research group is 'Until every African with a rare disease is diagnosed'. The Genomics for Health in Africa projects set the stage to achieve just that!"

 

Done By: Mitchum George

 

 

Manufacturers of peanut butter urged to test products

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has urged all manufacturers of peanut butter to start testing their products to determine whether they meet the acceptable levels of aflatoxin.

PICTURE: Pixabay


This comes after various retail stores recalled peanut butter products for having elevated levels of aflatoxin, which may be harmful to humans.

Some of the products recalled were from Pick n Pay No-Name and Eden All Natural peanut butter. Woolworths recently recalled their peanut butter ice cream. Eat Naked also recalled various products including their Peanut Butter Sachet, Peanut Butter Seeded, Dark Chocolate Peanut Cup, and Peanut Butter jar.

‘’Following several suppliers who recalled various peanut butter products, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) calls on all manufacturers of peanut butter, peanut butter-based products and products with peanuts (including but not limited to chocolates, sweets, cookies, ice cream, and peanut butter spreads) to immediately investigate their products. This is to determine whether their products meet the acceptable levels of aflatoxin, set out in Regulation 2(a) of Regulation 1145 of the Foodstuff, Cosmetics, and Disinfectants Act,’’ said Thezi Mabuza, Acting National Consumer Commissioner.

Mabuza says the Commission is concerned by this high rate of recalls.

“To understand this challenge better, the Commission has issued a notice in terms of Section 60 (2) (a) of the CPA to manufacturers and suppliers of peanut butter. The Notice requires suppliers to immediately conduct an urgent investigation, test their products for Aflatoxin, and present their results to the Commission within 14 days of receiving the Notice. Suppliers are also required to submit their Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point Certificates.’’

In addition to this, the NCC extends the same call to other suppliers of products with peanuts, to also investigate and submit their results to the NCC. While investigating their products, manufacturers, importers, and retailers are urged to take immediate corrective measures where their products are found to be unsafe. These include removing the products from the shelves following the NCC’s product recall protocols, informing relevant regulators in the space, as well as notifying consumers,’’ she added.

Suppliers/ manufacturers must submit the results via email to Peanutbutter@thencc.org.za.

The risk of consuming products with higher than acceptable levels of aflatoxin may lead to health complications like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Mabuza urged South African consumers who have the recalled products to immediately stop consuming these products and return the products to a point of purchase for a full refund, with or without proof of purchase.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

City of Cape Town lends helping hand to finding missing Joshlin Smith

Saldahna Bay Mayor, Andrè Truter, has requested assistance from the City of Cape Town, as he believes more resources are needed to trace six-year-old, Joshlin Smith. Thursday marks the tenth day the girl disappeared.

PICTURED: Joshlin Smith


This comes after the South African Police Service (SAPS) who announced that efforts to find the girl has been scaled down.

“We furthermore appeal to residents of the surrounding towns and neighbourhoods not to flock to Saldanha to offer their ‘help’ to search for the missing Joshlin. Door-to-door searches were conducted and concluded on Saturday and the investigating team will still respond to substantial and constructive information received,’’ said Lt. Col. Malcolm Pojie.

In a Facebook post, on Wednesday night, Truter disagreed with SAPS and says efforts needs to be stepped up.

‘’I have always supported the Rule of Law and by definition, SAPS. Having said that, I do not support a scaling down of resources, in fact if anything, we need to step it up! This motivated me to contact Western Cape Government Premier Alan Winde and seek support. I do realise that SAPS decision may be motivated by available funding, but for us as Local Government in Saldanha Bay Municipality, the tracing of little Joslin is of paramount importance!!,’’ said Andrè Truter, Saldahna Bay Mayor.

Truter says he held a meeting with Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis as well as MMC for Safety & Security, JP Smith.

‘’As a result of this meeting I drafted an official request to the City of Cape Town to assist with manpower and resources to assist in the search for Joslin. In particular I requested Investigators, Canine Unit, Water Wing, Drone Unit and Professional Search and Rescue volunteers. I am pleased to report that this request was immediately approved by the City of Cape Town.  ‘’

‘’I have and will continue to state that our single focus is finding Joslin and #KeepHopeAlive. Nothing has changed. We remain resolute and focused. We will offer all the assistance we possibly can. We continue to call on the community to come forward with information that may lead to Joslin being found. We will protect your identity. We can do this as a community, together!!,’’ added Truter.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis described Joshlin’s disappearance as ‘’extremely painful and distressing.’’ Smith says the teams dispatched to Saldanha have extensive experience in assisting SAPS, as well as search and rescue expertise.

‘’We know these officers will bring valuable skills to the search effort. We initiated workstreams between municipalities to ensure that we are able to respond when called upon,’’ said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

Western Cape Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, says communication and the CPFs will continue.

‘’Any information about potential unrest in that area can be addresses. The West Coast also has a Public Order Policing unit, and that particular unit is also on standby. Our appeal is do not interfere with investigations, SAPS, but rather work with SAPS and other stakeholders, so that we can ultimately ensure that comfort is brought to that family and community.’’

 

Done by: Mitchum George

Eskom improves the infrastructure for Central Karoo’s electricity

Eskom says it is improving the electricity infrastructure in the Central Karoo in the Western Cape.

According to the power utility, the electricity will be supplied to towns including Sutherland, Roggeveld, Laingsburg, LadIsmith, and Prince Albert.

This comes after a powerful storm that shut electricity for up to two weeks in some areas and damaged vital infrastructure.

According to Mbulelo Yedwa, the general manager of the Cape Coastal Cluster, Eskom will keep making investments in electrical infrastructure and putting policies in place to lessen the effects of extreme weather events

“In addition to the restoration of supply, Eskom’s technical teams have been working diligently working to create an additional alternative supply to ensure a contingency in future, this contingency will be in full operation by the end of this week”, said general manager of the Cape Coastal Cluster Mbulelo Yedwa

 

Done by: Esobusi Mkangelwa

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Reward offered after City staff gets attacked at Phillipi construction site

The City of Cape Town reminded residents that a reward is still being offered for information that will assist with the arrest and successful prosecution of those involved, after a security guard and a K9 patrol dog were attacked, last Tuesday, at a construction site, in Philippi.

Mayco Member for Urban Mobility, Rob Quintas, said the incident occurred on site, on the intersection of Duinefontein Road and Govan Mbeki Road at around 11:20.

‘’At least five shots were fired at the security guard and the K9 while doing patrols on top of the railway bridge. The incident has been reported to the South African Police Service's organised crime unit who is working closely with the City's project management team.’’

At the time, Quintas said the guard was taken to hospital, and the K9 also received veterinary treatment.

‘’These attacks are unacceptable and undermine the City's efforts to deliver much-needed services to communities. The attack happened where our Urban Mobility Directorate is busy with construction work related to the roll-out of the second phase of the MyCiTi bus service in the metro south -east. Over the past few weeks, the contractor has been receiving threats from those wanting to control the subcontracting of services. I want to make it very clear that the City will not allow this thuggery, neither will we succumb to those demanding so-called protection money,’’ said Rob Quintas, Mayco Member for Urban Mobility.

‘’We cannot make more information public, save to say that the security guard is recovering. The K9 was hit by two bullets and is not out of danger yet. I am pleading with the local community to please support us in our efforts to bring these criminals to book. We offer rewards for information that will lead to the arrest of those involved. Extortion is destroying livelihoods, City community projects and the wellbeing of us all,’’ he added.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Boy injured following explosion at a house in Mitchell's Plain

A 6-year-old boy from Mitchell’s Plain has been injured, after glass pieces hit his leg and head, following an explosion at his home on Tuesday night.



According to police, the man of the house says he was with his family at his Bentley Street, Beacon Valley, residence, when they heard a big explosive on his roof, at around 21:00

‘’This explosive damaged the roof and the inside of the house including glass sliding door.  It also injured his 6-year-old child left leg and the head. The motive for this incident is believed to be gang related. The suspect/s are yet to be arrested,’’ said Captain FC van Wyk.

Mitchells Plain police registered an attempted murder case. Anyone with any information about this shooting incident can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

Men shooting in the air leaves WC MEC outraged

The Western Cape’s Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, has expressed outrage over a viral video showing civilians shooting in the air, at a funeral of an alleged gangster. The incident is, what is understood, to have taken place on Sunday morning at Joe Slovo informal settlement in Milnerton.

VIDEO SUPPLIED


Police confirmed that it identified two persons of interest

‘’Be advised that this office became aware of the cellphone footages that has been doing the rounds on social media… No cases, injuries or damages were reported Two persons of interest were identified, the matter is receiving attention,’’ said Western Cape police.

SCREENSHOT


Allen however believes everyone in the video, should be taken in for questioning.

‘’It is incomprehensible that a caliber of weapons would be in their hands or they would be so brazen to shoot in this manner. This is utter nonsense and this matter has to be attended to.’’

‘’I have been informed that police identified persons of interest, but I wish to point out to SAPS that every single person in that video has to, at a bare minimum, be brought in for questioning, whilst those with weapons should immediately be arrested and should be determined if they are licensed, and if those handling those weapons are the license holders. This is not a lawless province or city, and it will not have individuals or groups operate outside the confines of the law.’’

The MEC reminded residents that up to R5 000 reward is offered for anyone who reports an illegal firearm.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

IEC ready for 2024 general elections

It’s all systems go for the 2024 general elections. The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Monday, provided feedback on its state of readiness ahead of the elections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced 29 May as the day for the national and provincial elections. Voter registration was officially closed on Friday. Government has gazetted and proclaimed the election date and declared it a public holiday.

ARCHIVE: Mkhuseli Veto


The Electoral Commission published the provisional voters’ roll for inspection. Chief electoral officer, Sy Mamabolo, explained that an Election Timetable was published following consultation with the National Political Liaison Committee.

‘’The timetable is the motive force in the intensive preparations for the delivery of the 2024 general elections. The timetable outlines all the key cut-off-times and dates for the performance of salient electoral activities. The timetable contains crucial performance dates for election contestants as well as the broad voting public.  As regards the voting public, the focal point is accessing the voting process through special arrangements including dates for applications for special votes and notifications to vote outside of voting stations of registration.’’

‘’As it pertains to contestants, the timetable is equally crucial in that it contains key dates to be complied with relating to the nomination of candidates and the payment of prescribed deposits,’’ said Mamabolo.

He said voter verifications as well as other validations are currently underway to ensure that there is compliance with the provisions of the law in respect of eligibility to vote.

‘’An electronic version of the voters’ roll will be made available at all offices of the Commission for inspection purposes. Those who wish to object to the inclusion or exclusion of a voter on the voters’ roll must do so by 4 March 2024. The objections received on or before 4 March 2024 will be considered, investigated and determined by the Commission by 11 March 2024.’’

‘’It is important to remind role-players that objections to the voters’ roll are governed by the law. As such, both the procedural as well as the substantive requirements of Section 15 of the Electoral Act must be satisfied when lodging an objection. The pertinent aspects in this regard, include outlining the relief sought and establishing the basis for such relief as well as serving the objection on the person against whom the objection is raised.’’

‘’Following the determination of voters’ roll objections, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) will certify the voters’ roll on 12 March 2024.  Electronic copies of the certified voters’ roll will be made available to contestants and a printed copy will be prepared for use in voting stations on Election Day,’’ he added.

Mamabolo said this year’s election introduces novel experiences for the voters such as a third ballot in the National and Provincial Elections as well as the participation of independent candidates for the very first time.

For purposes of candidate nomination, he said the Commission promotes the use of the online Candidate Nomination (CNS) platform.

‘’It is convenient and facilitates compliance with the requirements of the law as it provides a compliance dashboard for users. Furthermore, the online platform generates pro-forma invoices and a payment gateway for the payment of prescribed deposits.’’

‘’All independent candidates and political parties who intend to contest this general election must submit nomination requirements by 17:00 on 8 March 2024. The Electoral Commission will, after verifying the submitted nomination documents, issue notices on non-compliance where such are warranted. These notices will be issued on 18 March 2024 and those issued with such notices must rectify non-compliance by 20 March 2024.’’

‘’In previous elections, there were candidates who were nominated by more than one political party.  The law now obliges the Electoral Commission to notify affected parties and offer them an opportunity to either remove the said candidate and substitute or confirm their continued candidature. These notifications will be issued on 22 March 2024 and political parties have until 25 March 2024 to submit requests for removal, substitution or confirmation of candidature.’’

‘’Our electoral scheme acknowledges that it is a matter of immense national importance for the citizens to know who the nominated candidates are. The publication of the provisional lists of candidates goes to the heart of the vote based on informed choices. Therefore, the provisional lists of candidates will be published for inspection on 26 and 27 March.’’

‘’Interested parties may object against certain prospective candidates who are nominated. Such objections must be lodged with the Commission on 27 March 2024. The Commission will decide on these objections on 28 March 2024.  Any person or political party or entity that is not satisfied with decision of the Commission may approach the Electoral Court to appeal the objection decision. The Electoral Court’s appeals must be lodged by 02 April 2024. The Electoral Court will determine appeals relating to candidates on 9 April 2024,’’ says Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

Mamabolo says the Electoral Commission will publish the final lists of candidates on 10 April and certificates of candidature will be issued to certified candidates, two days thereafter. The conclusion of the candidate nomination process, says the IEC head, will set in motion the ballot paper printing project.

He says the official list of the 23 292 voting stations to be used in these elections will be availed for inspection from 12 April 2024. This list, he says, will include the addresses of voting stations as well as the stopping times of the 33 mobile voting stations.

ARCHIVE: Mkhuseli Veto


With regards to special votes, and those who are infirm and confined and, thus, unable to reach voting stations, must apply to be visited for a special vote at home.

‘’On the other hand, those who will not be in their voting districts on 29 May 2024 may apply for a special vote to cast ballots ahead of Election Day. Both home visits and voting station based special votes will happen on two days, 27 and 28 May 2024. The applications for special votes will close on 3 May 2024,’’ said Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.

Those who intend to vote outside of the country and who are registered on a specific country’s segment of the voters’ roll, do not have to give notice to the CEO that they will be voting in that country.

‘’The law assumes that they will be voting at the diplomatic mission of registration. Those registered elsewhere including locally registered voters who intend to vote at a particular diplomatic mission outside the country, must give notice to the CEO of their intention to vote in that country. The notice to vote out of country may be submitted as of today until 22 April 2024. An online notification facility (VEC10) is available on the Electoral Commission’s website.’’

‘’Special voting at the diplomatic missions will happen either Friday, 17 May 2024, or Saturday, 18 May 2024.  The exact date for each diplomatic mission will be determined considering the host’s country dominant religious and cultural practices,’’ he added.

The Electoral Commission re-emphasised that voters must vote where they are registered. However, in the event a voter intends to be in a different voting district on voting day, Electoral head, Sy Mamabolo says such a voter must notify the Commission of their intended absence from their voting district and the voting station where they wish to cast the vote.

‘’A notification portal will soon be launched for this purpose. Notifications in this regard will close on 17 May 2024. The Electoral Commission reiterates its willingness and ability to deliver this mammoth national project. The publication of the timetable and the cut-off-dates it entails serve as an impetus for the intensification of the preparations. All staff of the Electoral Commission stand ready to fulfil their tasks and thus ensure that it meets its constitutional duties pertaining to the 2024 general elections,’’ concluded Sy Mamabolo, Chief Electoral Officer.


For Bush Radio News, I’m Mitchum George

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

City logs number of worrying calls of assault, over the weekend

The City of Cape Town has raised concern about the number of calls its  Public Emergency Communication Centre received this past weekend.

Of the 1 995 calls recorded during the past weekend, 822 were medical related, which include a staggering 154 assault cases. Call agents also dealt with 66 domestic violence cases, 52 motor vehicle and 20 pedestrian vehicle accidents.

SUPPLIED


Mayoral Committee Member for Safety & Security, JP Smith, says this is the highest number of assault cases logged in the past month of which 16 were gunshot related.

‘’The number of assault cases recorded by our Public Emergency Communication Centre is worrying. Although we expect an increase of assault cases during month-end weekends, the steep increase should be noted and is a concern. It's an indication of the level of violence in communities often triggered by alcohol abuse, gender based violence and lack of respect. This behaviour often spills over to more serious crimes, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding and theft.’’

‘’We also note the increase in domestic violence cases which has an extremely negative effect on households, especially those with innocent children. Our officers can only act if they are informed about these cases and we request residents to report any incident that poses a threat to families and the community,’’ added Smith.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Search for Joshlin Smith continues, as mayor urges residents to deter from misinformation

Saldanha Bay Mayor, Andrè Truter has urged people to refrain from spreading misinformation regarding the disappearance of Joshlin Smith. Tuesday marked the eighth day that the six-year-old went missing.

PHOTO - SAPS: Joshlin Smith


Truter took to his Facebook page on Tuesday, to express his dissatisfaction over fake news being spread, surrounding the girl’s disappearance.

‘’It is early morning and I, like most of you are tired. I am tired because of a lack of rest. I am tired of people, that are not even from Saldanha Bay Municipality, causing confusion, misinformation, trauma and ultimately also vigilante actions. I have news for you, you will be held accountable, but I leave that to SAPS. ‘’

‘’The sad news is two fold. One, Joslin have still not been found. Two, the danger here is that the focus is no longer on finding little Joslin, but rather sideshows. Well no more!! Our function is to support the TEAM of Detectives that are working 24/7 on this, not to waste their time and lead them on wild goose chase! Let's stop asking questions or raise opinions, let start focusing on discovering hard evidence that will lead to the finding of Joslin,’’ read the post.

He urged people to not send police on a wild goose chase and waste resources.

‘’Let's give ANY information to the Detectives to test, not to social media! All we do when we do that is to warn any criminal elements of exactly what and where the investigation is at. We could even be drawing attention away from them that allows them to make a new move. Let me finish off by saying, our focus going forward is on the finding of Joslin,’’ said Executive Mayor Andrè Truter.

According to the Saldahna Bay municipality, a R20 000 reward is being offered for Joslin’s safe return.

 


Done by: Mitchum George

Expect three ballot papers when you go vote in May

For the first time in South Africa’s history, there will be three ballot papers at voting stations, when South Africans head to the polls on 29 May 2024.

In previous elections, there were only two ballots - a National Ballot for the National Assembly (Parliament), and a Provincial Ballot for the Provincial Legislature of the province.

The third ballot is for the regional seats reserved for each of the regions in the National Assembly.

COURTESY: IEC


IEC Western Cape Electoral Officer, Michael Hendrickse, explained that because a region refers to the same territorial area as a province, the terms “regional” and “provincial” are simply to distinguish between the seats reserved for that region in Parliament (regional seats) and seats in the Provincial Legislatures of that province (provincial seats ).

‘’In our case, voters in the Western Cape will therefore receive at their voting stations: A National Ballot – this ballot is the same for the whole country where you vote for a political party only; A Western Cape Regional Ballot - this a vote for an independent or party to fill the regional seats reserved in Parliament for the Western Cape; A Western Cape Provincial Ballot - this is a vote for an independent or party for the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.’’

This follows a changed to the Electoral Amendment Act, to include independent candidates who run for office as a member of parliament.

“It’s a significant milestone in the evolution of our democracy and at its core seeks to expand electoral participation. For example, the Western Cape will specifically be represented in the National Assembly through the regional seats.”

Hendrickse further elaborated on how the 400 seats in the National Assembly are divided.

‘’200 are reserved for the regional seats. Each province thus gets a number of regional seats based on the number of voters in that province. Independents and parties contest for these seats. The remaining 200 seats in the National Assembly is filled by national PR lists of political parties only, as independents are already catered for on the regional ballot(s).’’

“Having knowledge of what to expect at the voting booth will eliminate confusion and will make for a more seamless voting process,” added Michael Hendrickse, IEC Western Cape Provincial Electoral Officer .

 

Done by: Mitchum George

More than R500k's worth of crayfish seized in Elsies River

A man was recently arrested for illegally possessing crayfish worth more than half a million rand, in Elsies River.

COURTESY: WC Mobility Department


The Western Cape’s Mobility MEC, Ricardo Mackenzie, says Provincial Traffic Services detected and seized a shipment of 5 705 crayfish tails and 31 live crayfish worth over R500 000, last Tuesday.

COURTESY: WC Mobility Department


‘’While en route to the N7, our Provincial Traffic officers stopped a vehicle without a licence disc for a routine traffic check. The officers noticed several black bags on the back seat and that the driver appeared to be nervous. Upon further inspection, the illegal shipment was discovered.’’

‘’The driver of the vehicle was arrested for possession of the crayfish and taken to Elsies River SAPS. This is yet another demonstration of the relentless efforts of our Provincial Traffic officers – patrolling 24 hours a day, seven days a week – to make our province safer,’’ added Mackenzie.

COURTESY: WC Mobility Department


Done By: Alungile Njemla

The Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court sentenced the municipality’s former deputy mayor for sexual assault.

The Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court has sentenced the former Deputy Mayor at the Oudtshoorn Municipality, Mlandeli Nyuka, to five-years imprisonment for sexual assault.

The National Prosecuting Authority says this is the second time Nyuka has been convicted and sentenced for sexual assault. Nyuka denied the allegations against him and alleged that the victim offered sexual favors to him in exchange for everything he did for her.

The court found that Nyuka had fabricated his evidence and abused his position of power to obtain sexual favours.

The former deputy mayor of the Oudtshoorn Municipality, Mlandeli Nyuka, has been found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to five years in prison by the Oudtshoorn Magistrate's Court.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Nyuka has been found guilty and given a sentence for sexual assault twice already.
Nyuka refuted the accusations made against him, claiming that in return for all that he did for the victim, she offered him sexual favors.
The court determined that Nyuka had falsified his testimony and exploited his authority to get favors for sex.

“During cross-examination, he alleged she offered him sexual favours in exchange for everything he did for her. He could not satisfactorily explain why this version was not put to her, but only proffered during the defence’s case.

“She denied his allegations and testified that she always supported him in party matters,” said the National Prosecuting Authority.

 

Done by: Esobusi Mkangelwa

Monday, February 26, 2024

Minister Ramokgopa says the generation fleet’s performance is improving

The Minister of Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, says there is some improvement in the performance of the generation fleet.

Ramokgopa was briefing the media on the country’s energy action plan on Monday.

He stated that the improvement is due to the reduction in the intensity and frequency of loadshedding and the positive Energy Availability Factor trajectory.

The minister revealed that the country’s average dropped from around 17-thousand megawatts to 14-thousand megawatts.

He said they are set to continue focusing on sustaining this trajectory.

“Having sufficiently replenished emergency reserves over the weekend, Stage 2 load shedding will continue to be implemented until Monday 16:00. (Previously communicated that Stage 3 load shedding will be implemented at 4pm today until 5am)” 

Ramokgopa said the highest level of planned maintenance was performed between December 2023 and January 2024, reaching an average of 18% of the generation capacity.

“Although heightened maintenance negated the EAF, the deliberate spike in planned maintenance is aimed at improving the reliability of the generation fleet to deliver long-term benefits and ensure the security of energy supply,” he said.

 

Done by: Alungile Njemla

Elsiesriver CPF against extended liquor trading hours

Elsies River Community Police Forum (CPF) says it is against a popular retail store wanting to extend its liquor operating hours.

Shoprite Liquor has filed an application where it wants to extend trading hours at Avonwood Square Mall in Elsies River, by two hours to 8p.m from Monday to Saturday and close at 6p.m on Sundays.

PHOTO - Google Maps: Johan Loubsher


According to the latest crime statistics between October and December 2023, liquor outlets contributed to 138 cases of assault caused by grievous bodily harm in the province.

Elsies River CPF Chairperson, Hamish Arries, shared his dissatisfaction to this decision, saying alcohol consumption is already a contributor to crime in the area.

‘’With this Liquor outlet open for longer hours especially after dark we anticipate an increase in liquor related crime such as public violence, domestic violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The South African Police Services has a Victim Empowerment Helpdesk as part of the Social Crime Prevention program, Many of the cases reported with regards to family violence  involve alcohol abuse which is a huge contributor to social violence in our area.’’

‘’Later trading hours will increase pedestrian traffic at night, especially pedestrians under the influence who contribute enormously to the high death toll on our roads. Motorists having access to alcohol later in the evening will also exacerbate our high number of Alcohol related road accidents involving motor vehicles,’’ added Arries.

He says extending the liquor trading hours will add a greater burden to an already under resourced police team.

‘’The mall is in a crime hotspot renowned for gang activity. Police are already having their hands full keeping crime at the Avonwood Mall under control, longer trading hours will place an even greater burden on their already limited resources creating a situation where crime in the vicinity of the mall will increase.’’

‘’The Avonwood Square Mall is next to the Rapha Pentecostal Church and opposite Balvenie Primary School, both these venues have events in the evening and longer liquor trading hours will see an increase in intoxicated individuals interfering in school and church events,’’ added Arries.

He urged community members to submit their comment on the application, before the deadline on Tuesday.
‘’We cannot turn a blind eye on what’s happening. We appeal to the places of worship and the school around the mall, to follow suit, because we have spoken on their behalf, but we would like them to do the same,’’ said Hamish Arries, Elsies River CPF Chairperson.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

Pro-Palestine protesters denied access at Canal Walk

Management of shopping complex, Canal Walk, says it supports the public’s right to a peaceful protest.

This comes after a viral video shows Canal Walk management on Saturday using security personnel to block two pro-Palestinian protesters from protesting at the mall, as the Israeli attacks in Gaza continues.

SCREENSHOT


In the video, a woman protester can be heard saying her and her partner were protesting for about a month at the mall, but was denied entry over the weekend. It’s understood one of the stores they are boycotting are Cape Union Mart.

‘’In recent weeks, we started identifying the potential risk of conflict. To ensure the safety and security of our shoppers, tenants, staff, and protestors, a decision was taken to request any protestors to make use of the dedicated area on the premises, which has been previously used by the protestors. As a business, Canal Walk maintains a non-political and non-religious stance,’’ Canal Walk said in a statement.

‘’The safety and security of our shoppers, tenants, staff as well as those protesting on-site remain our number one priority,’’ it added.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

There's a reduction in the number of hours South Africans experienced load shedding - Ramokgopa

There has been a reduction in the number of hours South Africans experienced load shedding.

This was said by Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, who was updating the nation on Monday on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan.

‘’Load shedding has been reduced by some 600 hours during the December and January 2023/24 period as compared to the previous year.’’

COURTESY - @GovernmentZA: Electricity Minister, Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa


He said a further 3510MW of capacity has been clawed back into the system over the past year as a result of interventions at power stations.

“Over the period…of January 2023 to January 2024, we have been able to get back 3510MW as a result of interventions. These interventions are not complete. There’s still additional work that we must do at Tutuka [Power Station]. There's additional work that continues to be done at Kendal, Matla and the other power stations.

“If you were to take December of 2022 to February of 2023 and then you take the period of December 2023 to February 2024…the period of the year that was, we have experienced load shedding of about 1800 hours. When you see the period a year later…we have had about 1200 hours of load shedding. Essentially, we have been able to reduce the hours of load shedding by about 600 hours. We are going in the right direction,” added Ramagopa.

Despite improvements, the Minister insisted that load shedding – in any form – remains “unacceptable”.

“We are going in the right direction. Ultimately, we want to go into a situation where I’m able to stand before the public and say we have not experienced any hours of load shedding. Load shedding in its totality is unacceptable.

“But we have come to a situation where it has become a daily occurrence so gradually, we want to reduce that intensity of load shedding.”

 

Done by: Mitchum George

WC MEC appeals to citizens to report illegal activities, as LEAP officers arrests more than 1 100 suspects for various crimes

The Western Cape Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, has appealed to citizens of the province, to report illegal activities, for a ‘safer Western Cape’.

This comes after Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers arrested more than 1 100 suspects, for various crimes, in January.

LEAP officers work alongside other law enforcement agencies, such as City of Cape Town, Metro Police and SAPS. Officers are deployed in crime hotspot areas in the metro, including, Delft, Gugulethu, Harare, Khayelitsha Mitchells Plain, and Nyanga, amongst others

Of the 1 103 suspects arrested, 694 were for being in possession of drugs.

COURTESY: WCG


 Officers also confiscated 17 firearms.

COURTESY: WCG


The Western Cape Government aims to halve the murder rate by 2029

 “The increase in the provincial murder rate as per the third quarter crime statistics for the 2023/24 financial year, clearly demonstrates the important role LEAP must play in combatting this trend. This is part of the reason why the WCG initiated the provincial safety plan in 2019 and activated LEAP in 2020. Our aim is to halve the murder rate by 2029,’’ said Reagen Allen, Western Cape Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC.

‘’An independent report, by the Institute of Security Studies, already indicates that between the four provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape, - the Western Cape is the only province that has shown a decrease in the murder rate the last five years. Thanks to the dedicated work of our LEAP officers, I know that this trend will continue with the overall murder rate continuing to decrease in the next five years,’’ he added.

“I want to assure our residents that we will continue our efforts to make this the safest province in the country, as every person in the Western Cape should live in a safe and dignified environment. I urge all our residents to continue working with our LEAP officers so that we do not allow any criminal to get away with their illegal activities,” concluded Allen.

 

Done by: Mitchum George

Friday, February 23, 2024

Woolworths recalls its peanut butter ice cream

Retail group Woolworths has recalled its peanut butter ice cream with immediate effect, citing possible health risks.

COURTESY: Woolworths


The group's decision comes just weeks after the National Consumer Commission issued a recall of various peanut butter brands from circulation. The peanut putter brands include Dischem’s Lifestyle, Wazoogles Superfoods, Pick n Pay’s No Name Brand, and Eden All Natural.

The recall came after the manufacturer informed the commission of higher than legally acceptable levels of Aflatoxin, which is unsafe for human consumption.

In a statement released on Friday, Woolworths said only the peanut butter ice cream is being recalled.

"All other Woolworths products containing peanut butter, including our range of Peanut Butter, remains 100% safe for consumption."

The group said the peanut butter was tested for Aflatoxin and found to be safe for consumption.

"Aflatoxins is naturally occurring and must be consumed in very high quantities to be toxic to humans.  Since the initial recalls were announced by others in the industry, Woolworths has systematically assessed all secondary products that contain peanut butter, such as biscuits, sauces, pretzels, energy bars and ice cream,’’ it said in a statement.

"This was done as a precautionary measure to ensure all our products meet our stringent quality standards. As a result of this process it was found that Woolworths Peanut Butter Ice Cream contains Aflatoxin levels that exceed the legal limit, we are therefore removing it from shelves," it added.

Customers who have bought the product may return it to their local store for a full refund.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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 ...