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    The City of Cape Town has two strategies which can bolster social and economic development, mayor Patricia de Lille said.

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    Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has two strategies which can bolster social and economic development, mayor Patricia de Lille said on Thursday.

    “We are faced with a public policy issue: a structure of local government that needs to adapt to cater for the social and economic needs of a great many more people than it was designed for,” she said.

    The economic growth and social development strategies had been developed to address these needs and should be viewed as “two sides of the same coin”.

    “You cannot speak of creating a city of opportunity for everyone if you have not planned for the needs of the most vulnerable. And you cannot hope to permanently lift people out of poverty if you do not attract job-creating industries and businesses that provide the prospect of employment.”

    The social development strategy sought to provide jobs for people who were excluded or at risk of exclusion from the economy. Its other aim was to build safe households and communities.

    The economic growth strategy proposed institutional and regulatory changes that enabled the city to be globally competitive but environmentally sustainable.

    “It identifies how we leverage our trade and sector development functions to maximum advantage with the right provision of infrastructure,” De Lille said.

    She said these two reports were complemented by a range of policies the city council was considering. - Sapa


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    Equal Education has become a force to be reckoned with as it campaigns to improve schooling for all pupils in SA.

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    Cape Town - Five hundred broken windows at a Khayelitsha school and conversations between a handful of old friends, political activists and academics, about the problems in education.

    These were what led to the formation of organisation Equal Education, which has become a force to be reckoned with as it campaigns to improve schooling for all pupils in South Africa.

    The organisation started out about five and a half years ago as the Applied Education Research Organisation (Aero). It began with the intention of researching what the problems were in education before it would start the work which would bring about systemic change in the education system, as the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) had done for health.

    But far more quickly than planned, it moved into organising campaigns which led to real change in children’s lives.

    Chairwoman Yoliswa Dwane, 31, who started working with the organisation in 2008 soon after completing her media and law degree from UCT, said: “We acknowledged no one knows how to change education systems, but we could learn from TAC’s mistakes and campaigns.”

    As it forced change in schools, Equal Education attracted attention, with authorities sitting up and taking notice. Educationist Graeme Bloch recently accompanied Equal Education on a tour of dilapidated Eastern Cape schools. “I think that they are brilliant. I think that they have a youth base is brilliant.”

    He said the organisation’s one shortcoming was that it was Cape Town-based and needed to do more to spread across the country. “Their real success is to put the issue of norms and standards and libraries on the agenda.”

    In 2008, Dwane was recruited with Doron Isaacs, another UCT graduate, who continued to work with the organisation as its deputy general secretary.

    Some of the big names involved with Equal Education’s beginnings included Zackie Achmat, who had founded the TAC, Crain Soudien, who was deputy vice-chancellor at UCT in charge of transformation and social responsiveness, Mary Metcalfe, who had been Education MEC in Gauteng and director-general of the Department of Higher Education and Training, and Paula Ensor, who was dean of humanities at UCT.

    “Zackie also had a lot of experience with post-apartheid activism work. He built, with others, the TAC, which after six years… grew into a big organisation which was able to win big cases. Some of them had deep-down knowledge of the education system,” she said, speaking to the Cape Times at Equal Education’s offices in Khayelitsha.

    Dwane said it was decided that an organisation needed to be built which would understand the issues in education and campaign using political action to bring about change.

    They got to work in the TAC’s offices in Cape Town, with Dwane in charge of collating news stories about education. “No one was really holding the government to account. Academics and researchers were writing about it but weren’t being forceful about it.”

    What followed was a whirlwind of admin work – registering the organisation, speaking to donors, getting permission to go into schools and starting a magazine called Equal Education. “For the first few months we were sitting in schools, observing what was going on. We still wanted to learn more, so we invited people from different universities to come and speak to us.”

    UCT School of Education’s Pam Christie said at the seminars: “It’s not radical enough. It’s no different. You need to take a radical step now.”

    Dwane said: “Immediately afterwards, we decided we were going to be Equal Education. And we had to fast-track our programme of action.” At a meeting in Khayelitsha, pupils were given disposable cameras and asked to photograph the problems at their schools. One, Zukiswa Vuka, came back with a photo which showed more than 500 broken windows at Luhlaza Secondary School.

    “We decided that the Luhlaza campaign was the one we were going to take up. We have not run a campaign by ourselves before, so we just ran that campaign. We went to the principals, the teachers.” Equal Education asked Education MEC Yusuf Gabru for R7 000 to put towards fixing the windows. He gave them R671 000.

    Dwane said of Equal Education’s first campaign and first year: “It was a good campaign because it showed that ordinary people would make a difference. When you win a campaign, you build power. The morale of the people went up and we were able to build more power.”

    Equal Education then ran a number of other, equally successful, projects against late-coming and mud schools, and calling for each school to have a library, among others.

    About three years ago, Equal Education began a campaign which called for the Department of Basic Education to publish minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure, which could be used to hold the department accountable for inadequate schools. These were yet to be finalised.

    Dwane said Equal Education’s success was due to its being run by young people whom its members could look up to. “If we have a poster, we will easily pull 3 000 people. Apart from our core members, we have thousands of supporters in Khayelitsha.”

    Equal Education currently had about 40 staff members. It had established relationships with a number of large, international companies which funded its work.

    Next up for Equal Education was a look at teacher training and development, Dwane said.

    Milestones:

    * Broken windows at Luhlaza High in Khayelitsha were repaired.

    * Campaign for school libraries.

    * The Bookery, a depot where books were donated and sorted before being taken to schools. More than 20 school libraries had been opened.

    * Lodged a complaint with the ASA against a radio advertisement promoting Smart Kids Brain Boost, which claimed to help children get to the top of their class.

    * Campaign for minimum norms and standards for school infrastructure.

    * Involved in protests against the closure of 27 Western Cape schools last year.

    * Harmony High Court case, which is to determine whether school governing bodies can suspend pregnant pupils.

    * Moshesh Senior Secondary court case about poor learning conditions at the school. The case is to be heard in the Bhisho High Court on June 18.

    * Publishes research about education being essential but not an essential service.

    * Rivonia Primary court case about who had the power to decide on how many pupils a school should admit.

    * Taking Free State Education Department and Leseding Technical High to court for dragging a pupil who had dreadlocks out of class. The high court ordered that the pupil be allowed back in class.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Sentencing of a woman convicted of stealing R4.5 million from her employer to give her family "a better life" has been postponed.

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    Johannesburg - Sentencing of a bookkeeper convicted of stealing R4.5 million from her employer was postponed in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.

    Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg put off the matter to July 25 after a request by the defence.

    Tania Rose Corker, 36, was found guilty of channelling amounts of her employer's money into her own bank account for over three years. They money was meant for payment of Value Added Tax and other taxes to the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

    As a result her employer, Trilink Dynamics, owes Sars millions of rand in unpaid taxes.

    Company chief executive Anthony Korevaar told the court he was negotiating a compromise with the revenue collector. He told the court Sars had rejected his first compromise offer, and he was busy negotiating a second one.

    “If the second offer is rejected as well, the company faces liquidation, which would leave the 350 staff members without jobs,” he told the court.

    Gary Jansen, for Corker, asked the court for a postponement until the company reached an agreement with Sars.

    Jansen said the outcome of the negotiations with Sars would influence the sentence to be imposed on Corker.

    “My client faces a heavier sentence if her actions cause job losses for the 350 people, than if Korevaar’s second compromise offer is accepted, and the staff is able to keep their jobs,” he said.

    Prosecutor Jacques Smith opposed the postponement on the grounds that the case was to have been finalised on Thursday.

    He feared Jansen might delay the proceedings yet again, when the hearing resumed in July, with a request for another postponement.

    Smith said it was likely to take Sars several weeks to consider the second compromise.

    Sonnenberg said the sentence ultimately imposed on Corker had to be “blended with mercy”.

    She said the court needed to know the result of the second offer, to help her arrive at a balanced sentence.

    “It would impact on the sentence if the second compromise was rejected as well, and forced the company into liquidation, leaving hundreds of staff jobless,” she said.

    Corker, who earned a R21 000 salary a month as Trilink’s bookkeeper, told the court she lived comfortably on her salary, and that she stole the money “for a better life” for her husband and children.

    She told the court she had used the money for holidays, luxury cars and private schooling for their children. - Sapa


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    Cavendish Square shopping mall was evacuated because of a fire in its airconditioning system.

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    Cape Town - Cavendish Square shopping mall was evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of a fire in its airconditioning system, Cape Town fire and rescue service said.

    “Smoke came out by the (airconditioning) ducting of Mugg & Bean (restaurant) and as a precautionary measure the entire building was evacuated,” spokesman Theo Lane said.

    The damage was limited to the airconditioning system and minor smoke damage in some shops.

    The fire service was called out around 4.40pm and the fire was extinguished by 6.30pm, he said.

    After the fire was put out, the shopping centre had to be aired to allow the smoke to clear before people could go back inside.

    No injuries or incidents of smoke inhalation were reported. - Sapa


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    While the medical fraternity mourned Dr Louis Heyns, a top team of cops sought to understand why he was killed.

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    Cape Town - While the Cape medical fraternity mourned the murder of Dr Louis Heyns on Thursday, a top team of police investigators sought to understand why he was killed.

    The Stellenbosch University medical professor’s body was removed from a shallow pit in a dune, where it had been covered with only a sprinkling of sand, in the forest of milkwood trees between the beach and Beach Road in Strand.

    Three Malmesbury men have been arrested.

    Among the questions asked by residents and friends on Thursday were:

    * Was Heyns hijacked, and killed for his car, a dark grey Peugeot 308?

    * If so, where was he hijacked? If at the Strand beachfront, what was he doing there?

    * If he was not attacked at the Strand beachfront, why would his hijackers have driven to a brightly lit main road, then dragged him for 50m to the dunes under the potential gaze of residents of dozens of flats, given that spotlights line the Strand beachfront?

    * How did he die?

    On Thursday night, detectives were continuing their investigation in Malmesbury, where Heyns’s car was traced to a chop shop, and at other sites, gathering crucial evidence against the three suspects.

    Heyns’s wife, Dalene, his daughter, Eldalè Swart, and his sons, Charl and Daneale, were informed of the discovery of his body shortly after 8am on Thursday.

    He had last been seen on Wednesday, May 22, when he had dinner with his brother Christo in Somerset West.

    Christo Heyns said Heyns had left about 8.30pm, saying he had to get home to Welgelegen in Parow as he had to prepare for a lecture he was giving the following day.

     

    Dalene Heyns, Heyns’s wife of 33 years, told the Weekend Argus that when he hadn’t arrived home by midnight, she sent him an SMS.

    As a paediatrician, Heyns often worked late, but he let her know by SMS when he was on his way home, she said.

    He hadn’t responded an hour later, and she sent him another SMS, saying: “I’m getting very worried now.”

    There was still no answer, so she phoned him, but his cellphone had been switched off.

    Dalene Heyns said she had then contacted other relatives, and they reported him missing at the Parow police station.

    The search initially focused on the area between Somerset West and Heyns’s home, and possible alternative routes.

    His brother Christo said: “We knew that to go home he’d have to take the N2, the R300 and then the N1. But we found nothing.”

    Instead, it was in the town of Malmesbury, late on Wednesday night, that a police team swooped on three suspects.

    Detectives, including Warrant Officer Hannes Niemand from Somerset West, were backed up by members of the police’s hostage negotiating unit and the Tactical Response Unit.

    Police spokesman FC van Wyk said: “Police officers worked around the clock and traced the dark grey Peugeot vehicle belonging to Dr Heyns to a chop shop in Malmesbury. They arrested three suspects from Malmesbury aged 32, 37 and 43.”

     

    The Cape Argus was told the trio would appear in court on Monday. The police are allowed to hold suspects for 48 hours before they have to appear in court.

    Cape Argus


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  • 05/31/13--01:13: Cape Town in for wet spell
  • Cape Town is in for a heavy downpour, with warnings that a cold front will bring with it strong winds, high seas and even snow.

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    Cape Town - Cape Town is in for its heaviest downpour of the year so far on Saturday - with warnings that a well-developed cold front will also bring with it “strong, damaging” winds, high seas and snow in some parts.

    The Cape Town Weather Office has issued warnings that the cold front will reach the city by Saturday afternoon, continuing on Sunday and Monday. The mercury is set to hover in the mid-teens for the next few days.

    Heavy rain is expected in greater Cape Town, the West Coast, Cape Winelands and Overberg districts on Sunday and Monday. Cape Town can expect above 50mm rain from on Saturday evening, UCT’s Climate Systems Analysis Group forecasts.

    Residents will have to hold on to their hats as well. Strong and gale-force winds are expected all over the Cape on Sunday, with stronger winds around Cape Columbine and Plettenberg Bay.

    Surfers and boaters should expect very rough seas, with wave heights from four to six metres expected from Alexander Bay to Plettenberg Bay from Sunday through Tuesday.

    The NSRI urged boaters, fishermen, paddlers, and surfers to heed all weather warnings and be well prepared for the stormy weather over the coming days.

    Snowfall was expected on the western areas of the Western Cape and southern high ground of the Northern Cape on Sunday evening and Monday.

    Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director for safety and security, said the city would be operating according to its winter readiness plan.

    There will be teams on standby to monitor flooded areas across the city. The disaster management centre will be operating around the clock.

    The city announced this week it was allocating nearly R170 million to clear drains in high-risk flood areas, as well as other maintenance.

    Nine high-risk areas have been identified, including informal settlements in Fisantekraal, Philippi, Gugulethu and Strand.

    * Report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions to the city’s customer contact centre at 086 0103 089. For all life- and property- threatening situations call 107 or 021 480 7700.

    alison.decker@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    For one DA councillor, the City of Cape Town's budget debate must have seemed like the ideal time to play Solitaire.

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    Cape Town - Deciding how to spend the City of Cape Town’s R31 billion purse is not fun and games, but for DA councillor Suzette Little, Wednesday’s lengthy budget debate must have seemed like the ideal time to play Solitaire.

    Now she could face disciplinary action for playing the game on her laptop during a council meeting.

    Speaker Dirk Smit confirmed on Thursday that he would investigate the matter to determine whether Little was in contravention of the code of conduct or rules of council. If any transgression was found, the matter would be referred to the disciplinary committee, said Smit.

    As councillors engaged in a heated debate on the city’s 2013 budget, the mayoral committee member for social and early childhood development took the opportunity to play card games on her laptop. Unfortunately, she was in full view of the public gallery. ANC councillor Koos Bredenhand alerted other councillors to Little’s faux pas.

    As word spread that the councillor’s close scrutiny of her computer screen was to shuffle the cards of her game, and not to follow the budget debate, the city’s media team sprung into action.

    They furiously SMSed councillors in the chamber to advise Little to stop playing, which she immediately did. Within seconds, the cards had been replaced by the columns of the city’s budget.

    Although playing computer games is not explicitly outlawed during council meetings under the city’s Rules of Council document, according to section 3 – conduct at meetings – the Speaker must:

    * Maintain order during meetings.

    * Ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct for Councillors at meetings.

    * Ensure that meetings are conducted in accordance with these rules of order.

    * Ensure that any person refusing to comply with his/her ruling leaves the meeting place immediately.

    * Ensure that members conduct themselves in a dignified and orderly manner.

    Under the heading “Interpretation of Rules”, it said: “The ruling of the Speaker in regard to the application or interpretation of these rules and other procedural matters not dealt with in the Rules of Order is, once he/she has given his/her reasons, final and binding.

    anel.lewis@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Two men accused of stabbing a teenager to death inside his home will go on trial in the Cape High Court in August.

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    Cape Town - Two men accused of stabbing a 16-year-old boy to death inside his Eerste River home will go on trial in the Western Cape High Court in August.

    Donovan Rich, 37, and his stepson, Abdullah Cassiem-Londt, 23, have been charged with murdering Trevor Maritz during the 2011 school holidays. Cassiem-Londt had often slept over at Maritz’s Somerset Heights home in Kleinvlei.

    It is the State’s case that the men entered Maritz’s home on July 8, 2011, and stabbed him a number of times. There was no forced entry to the house, and both men’s fingerprints were found.

    According to the indictment, the men are accused of acting in common purpose when they allegedly killed Maritz and face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment for murder.

    They also face a further 15 years in jail for aggravated robbery.

    On the morning of the murder, Maritz’s mother, Thelma, went to work, leaving him asleep at home.

    According to the case’s summary of facts: “During the day no one heard or saw Trevor though attempts were made to contact him.

    “When his mother returned home Trevor did not respond to knocking on the door. She looked through the windows and observed the state of the house and called the police.” Police found the teenager’s body in his bedroom.

    Four DVD players, jewellery, a pink GHD hair-straightener, reading glasses and a backpack were stolen from the house.

    Prosecutor Firzana Valley-Omar told the court on Thursday that the matter had been set down for Rich to apply for bail, but that he had decided against it.

    He will now remain in custody for the duration of the trial.

    Cassiem-Londt, who is out on bail of R500, did not turn up in court on Thursday.

    A warrant for his arrest was issued but held over until his next scheduled appearance on June 13.

    Thirty-nine witnesses are set to testify in the trial which is due to be held from August 26 to September 19.

    But the men will first appear in the high court for a pre-trial hearing next Friday before they plead to the charges.

    Outside court, Thelma Maritz said the past two years had been difficult for her.

    She had decided to move house, despite mixed emotions.

    The house held so many happy memories, but it was also a constant reminder of her son’s brutal death.

    Cape Argus


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    The crime-prevention group Nicro says awaiting-trial prisoners could be released and remotely monitored through electronic tags.

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    Cape Town - Awaiting-trial prisoners could be safely released and remotely monitored by the use of electronic tags and even mini-breathalysers to check they had not been drinking, the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) said on Thursday.

    Nicro said its locally designed Remand Revolution System could help combat chronic over-crowding in prisons, by keeping tabs on “low-risk” awaiting-trial suspects who had been released until their trial dates. The system would allow officials to know where a suspect was at all times, by using a tamper-proof ankle bracelet, said Nicro’s Glen Jordan.

    “We have an over-arching problem with overcrowding in prisons… We can use technology to solve it.”

    The bracelet has a small battery that lasts 12 months.

    Nicro said it would cost about R4 000 a month to electronically tag a suspect - half of the R9 000 it costs to keep a detainee in prison for a month.

    Using a combination of cellphone and satellite technology, the bracelet sends a constant signal to a command centre, that shows the suspect’s whereabouts.

    Unlike similar tagging schemes used overseas, Jordan said, suspects would be given cellphones by Nicro.

    Officials would always be able to reach them, and they would be able to contact a support group.

    A pocket-sized breathalyser could also be provided, to make sure the suspect did not abuse alcohol before the court date. Jordan said the system’s technology had been patented and the patent was owned by Nicro.

    Cape Times


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    Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says industrial users of electricity in Atlantis will be exempt from price hikes in July.

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    Cape Town - In a bid to attract investors to Atlantis, industrial users of electricity will be exempt from price hikes when tariffs go up on 1 July.

    Mayor Patricia de Lille on Thursday promised that these tariffs would be capped, regardless of the decision by the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) on the proposed tariff subsidy.

    “This will reduce the overhead costs and encourage investment in this region.”

    She said Atlantis, an area that was “very depressed”, should benefit from the city’s pilot incentive scheme.

    She planned to “share the good news” with residents during a public meeting in Atlantis on Sunday.

    The promised reprieve to industrial users comes despite a warning from the economic, environmental and spatial planning directorate that applying different tariffs for different groups could be considered “inequitable”.

    It said if Nersa rejected the proposed reduced electricity tariff, and the city still offered it as as incentive, there could be legal sanction. Any tariff subsidy should be subject to Nersa approval, the directorate advised.

    De Lille said the city would also waive its development facilitation fee in the Atlantis area to draw investors.

    This fee is paid when a development will have an impact on council services such as roads, stormwater systems, water and sewerage.

    But the proposed scheme does not come without its caveats.

    The economic directorate said the scheme should not jeopardise the city’s financial sustainability in general. It should also be made clear that the scheme applies to only a limited area and for a specific reason..

    Cape Argus


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    A surprise visit to the Hanover Park Community Health Centre revealed that patients were still fed up over poor management.

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    Cape town - A surprise visit to the Hanover Park Community Health Centre on Thursday revealed that patients were still fed up over poor management of the facility’s pharmacy.

    On Tuesday the Cape Argus reported that patients who visited the clinic to collect medication for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, sometimes spent almost 12 hours in queues only to leave without their prescription.

    Western Cape Department of Health spokesman Mark van der Heever accompanied the Cape Argus to the facility on Thursday.

    Almost all of the wooden benches in the pharmacy’s small waiting room were lined with people. However Roland Halford, who was there to collect his diabetes medication, noted that it was not a busy day.

    “Come here on Mondays and Tuesdays, then the queue is all the way outside and around the building.”

    The Hanover Park resident said he arrived at the clinic at 5.30am for a doctor’s appointment and had been waiting for his medication since the pharmacy opened at 9am. “I’ve been here for three hours.”

    But this wait paled in comparison with previous visits. He has sometimes had to queue for almost eight hours.

    “I’m diabetic so I’m scared to eat before I get my pills. So I must wait here and I start to feel dizzy and sick the longer I must wait.”

    He said the problem was a badly-managed pharmacy, with staff starting too late and closing too early.

    “And then they go on lunch and tea breaks, and we must sit and wait because nobody is at the window.”

    Other patients had similar experiences.

    Faghma Sharman added that while elsewhere in the hospital everything moved smoothly, she always ran into problems at the pharmacy. “Sometimes they don’t even have stock.

    So I wait and wait, I don’t get anything.”

    The Hanover Park resident said that she had been forced to queue three times to collect last month’s prescription.

    On the other hand Christine Leeman, 59, said the clinic was her favourite section of the facility.

    Leeman, an asthmatic, has travelled from Malmesbury for 20 years just to collect her prescription.

    “They attend to me quickly, and you get what you came for… They are definitely the best.”

    But even Leeman admitted that, on occasion, she had to spend “a lot of time” queuing at the pharmacy.

    “It doesn’t bother me, I’m patient.”

    In the two hours that the Cape Argus spent at the clinic, the queue started visibly thinning out.

    Three of seven people the Cape Argus interviewed had received their medication by the end of the visit.

    Felencia Kammies, who was collecting medication for her son Matteo, 3, said she spent just under two hours in the queue.

    Sharman spent around three hours on the wooden benches before her prescription was ready.

    Van der Heever said most of the patients who were interviewed were collecting chronic medication and were therefore not emergency cases.

    Delays were often the result of the pharmacist checking the accuracy of pre-packed chronic medication. “This sometimes takes longer than anticipated.”

    He said the facility was looking at ways to reduce the waiting times.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The Home Affairs Department has vowed to act against heavy-handed guards at its refugee reception centre in Cape Town.

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    Cape Town - The Department of Home Affairs is to announce next week what action it will take against corrupt officials and heavy-handed guards at its refugee reception centre on the Foreshore.

    “There have been allegations of corruption by some of (our) staff and members of the company responsible for security at the centre,” provincial manager Yusuf Simons said on Thursday.

    He would not give details.

    Simons said that the deputy home affairs minister, Fatima Chohan, had been briefed.

    He was approached on Thursday about the abuse of refugees at the centre and the continual long queues which led to a violent clash on Tuesday between the police and refugees, some of whom had waited days to renew asylum permits. Rubber bullets were fired when the police dispersed a group that hurled stones at staff and guards at the centre. The confrontation followed Cape Argus photographer Thomas Holder being assaulted by a guard when he took pictures of refugees being hosed with water on a cold Monday.

    Simons explained that the long wait was mainly due to the small space the refugee reception centre occupied in Customs House on the Foreshore. The centre had been located in Customs House in 1998 and since then had had to move several times. Court action by business owners had forced the centre to move from space it rented in Nyanga and later Maitland, he said.

    The Maitland centre was about 2 500m2 - big enough to accommodate 600 people seated in a hall and a covered standing area for another 300 people. Space used at Customs House could accommodate about 150 people, Simons said.

    “We have smaller space for about the same number of people. On any day we have about 1 000 people waiting. Part of the problem is that 99 percent of the people did not enter the country through a Cape Town port of entry,” he said.

    A long queue of refugees again battled the wet and cold weather on Thursday at the centre.

    “I really feel for them,” said Ugandan refugee Ssimbwa Peter, who works in the Eastern Cape.

    He waited four days, sleeping on the streets before his permit was renewed on Tuesday.

    “The last time I came to Cape Town to renew my permit everything went fine. I came by bus in the morning, waited and got my documents, and by evening I was back on the bus. I don’t know why things have changed,” Peter said.

    Cape Times


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    Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the government is revising the National Key Points Act and assessing the list of sites.

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    Cape Town - The government is revising the controversial National Key Points Act and auditing the list of sites covered by the apartheid-era legislation, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on Thursday.

    Delivering his budget vote speech in Parliament, Mthethwa said a draft National Key Points Bill had been developed in 2007 and had reached the National Economic Development and Labour Council before “certain issues” stopped its progress.

    He said he had earlier this year asked his legal team to “to begin the process of refining” the bill so it could be introduced to Parliament.

    The existing act, used with other laws to cloak the activities of the apartheid security establishment in secrecy, was being re-aligned with the constitution and other legislation.

    At the same time, Mthethwa said, he had appointed an advisory committee to help “in evaluating, auditing and assessing the desirability of all national key points” to decide how they should be aligned to constitutional prescripts.

    It would be led by advocate Hamilton Maenetje as an external legal counsel, a representative from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Civilian Secretariat for Police.

    The government invoked the National Key Points Act earlier this year when it chose to keep under wraps a report on its investigation into the R206 million spent on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

    Deputy Public Works minister Jeremy Cronin has described the act as a “dastardly” piece of legislation that was probably unconstitutional.

    Parliament has provisionally scheduled a debate on the matter for next month, and Mthethwa’s move will place him in a stronger position to fend off the opposition when he responds as the minister in charge of the legislation.

    He expected the revised bill to be introduced to Parliament before the end of this financial year.

    Murray Hunter of the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) said it was “a draconian secrecy law that has been used and abused undermine the rights of ordinary people”. If Mthethwa was committed to undoing the “many years of damage, going all the way back to apartheid years”, he should release the list of national key points and of strategic installations.

    It emerged in the wake of the Gupta scandal that Waterkloof Air Force Base was not, as claimed, a national key point falling under the police department, but a strategic installation, which falls under the military.

    R2K had been calling for the list to be released since last year and had even launched a request for it under the Promotion of Access to Information Act, “so far to no avail”.

    “We accept the need for a limited degree of secrecy for national security reasons, but what we have here is an unjust secrecy law,” Hunter said.

    “If the act is to be reviewed, it is crucial that there is full public participation to prevent abuses of power and the exclusion of critical voices - and there can be no meaningful public engagement until SAPS provides the information that civil society has called for.”

    The DA, which called for the parliamentary debate on the act, dismissed the possibility of the new legislation reaching Parliament before next year’s elections. The police portfolio committee was “so far behind in legislation” it could not process bill this year, said DA spokeswoman on police Dianne Kohler Barnard.

    Mthethwa was merely trying to cover himself after the Nkandla spending had been exposed. The fact that apartheid legislation had been used to hide the spending was the issue and Mthethwa had made the announcement in anticipation of the debate.

    craig.dodds@inl.co.za

    Political Bureau


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    One in three prisoners in SA are awaiting-trial detainees, and, if "low-risk" they could be electronically tagged and released.

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    Cape Town - One in three prisoners in South Africa are awaiting-trial detainees, and, if “low-risk”, they should be electronically tagged and released to decrease overcrowding in prisons, the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) said on Thursday.

    According to the latest government statistics, there are 152 000 prisoners in South Africa. About 45 000 - or 30 percent - are awaiting-trial detainees.

    Nicro, a non-governmental organisation that helps prisoners, was presenting its new Remand Revolution System to correctional services and judicial inspectorate officials at Pollsmoor prison. The system tracks people with an ankle bracelet. Nicro said the system, which has been successfully field-tested, will be able to track the movements of awaiting-trial prisoners or parolees by using cellphone and satellite technology.

    Awaiting-trail prisoners have either been denied bail, or have been kept in prison because they couldn’t pay bail. Nicro said on Thursday the initiative could apply to prisoners who have been given bail, but could not afford to pay.

    “In our view, a large number of people currently awaiting trial can be classed as low-risk offenders,” said Soraya Solomon, Nicro’s chief executive officer. “(They) would be better served in a supportive, community-based rehabilitation programme rather than the prison system.”

    Nicro’s Glen Jordan, who helped develop the initiative, said in addition to tracking movements, it would offer detainees group therapy and help enrol them in skills development programmes.

    The initiative received praise from Correctional Services officials on Thursday. “Our debate shouldn’t be whether it will happen or not, but how do we make it happen faster,” said Delekile Klaas, the Western Cape Commissioner for the Department of Correctional Services.

    He said overcrowding in prisons made one of the department’s main tasks - prisoner rehabilitation - more difficult. Security personnel struggled to control the large numbers of prisoners in the system, he added, leaving little time for rehabilitation efforts.

    “If we don’t change the offenders’ behaviour… (prisons) will be universities of crime,” he added.

    If the number of awaiting-trial prisoners decreased due to electronic tagging, it would be easier for prison staff to devote more time to rehabilitating sentenced prisoners, said Klaas.

    He added the initiative could also be extended to prisoners who had been sentenced to less than three months of prison. “We must now sell (the initiative) to the judges and the magistrates,” added Klaas.

    Judge Vuka Tshabalala, chief inspecting judge in the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services, said existing legislation allowed awaiting-trial detainees to be released under the supervision of a probation official.

    But he noted that magistrates were reluctant to release suspects on probation.

    He said Nicro would have to convince them that the “requirements for proper monitoring” were water-tight.

    Jordan said he hoped to start an official pilot project with a handful of prisoners, preferably from a Western Cape prison, in the coming months.

    jan.cronje@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    The provincial government has lost its court bid to bar seven community leaders from interfering with a housing project in Delft.

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    Cape Town - The provincial government has lost its court bid to bar seven community leaders from interfering with a housing project in Delft.

    It sought an interim interdict against the seven, alleging that they were central to organising a series of protests - some of which turned violent - at the site of the Delft Symphony 3 and 5 Housing Project between March 11 and 22, and that they caused the unrest.

    The construction site was, at times, temporarily shut down and there had also been damage to the site.

    But the Western Cape government’s application was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

    Acting Judge Michael Wragge found that it was up to the applicants (in this case, the provincial government), to demonstrate that the seven - cited as Zwelohlanga Ndiki, Xolani Thomose, Vuyisile Goqoza, Nomthulizi Meyeki, Loyiso Mtana, Siviwe Nondomga and Mncedisi Kolisi - had committed acts that interfered with its rights, or that it had a well-grounded apprehension that they might do so.

    He said that the community leaders’ advocate, Michael Bishop, had argued that there was no evidence that his clients had committed or encouraged violent or destructive acts.

    “I agree… I am driven to the conclusion that, far from inciting the crowd, the respondents… took steps to pacify and disperse the crowd,” said Acting Judge Wragge.

    According to his judgment, work on the project started shortly after the contract was signed with Group 5 Motlekar Cape Joint Venture - though, the award of this tender is subject to a judicial review that is still pending in the high court - in February.

    Unrest had first broken out on the site on March 11.

    Other incidents also occurred up until March 22, when a security company was hired to secure the site. Since then, there had been no further protests and the contractor had resumed its building operations. While certain of the seven community leaders had been present at certain of the protests, they had told the crowd to leave the site.

    On March 13, after a meeting with the local councillor failed to take place, several of the community leaders had requested the crowd to go home.

    After one of them was arrested the following day - and advised by the police that he had been arrested for vandalising the councillor’s house the previous night - he discovered that despite his pleas for the crowd to go home, the community had embarked on a protest without them because they knew that their leaders would try to stop them.

    Acting Judge Wragge also awarded legal costs to four of the seven.

    leila.samodien@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Mogamat Armien Salie meticulously planned to rob and murder a Claremont woman - down to what he would steal from her, the court heard.

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    Cape Town - Mogamat Armien Salie meticulously planned to rob and murder a Claremont woman - down to what he would steal from her, the Western Cape High Court has heard.

    “Why did he go to the scene with a knife? Why did he wear gloves? Why did he take the property of someone who knows him?”

    These were among the questions prosecutor Evadne Kortje put to the court on Thursday in closing arguments.

    There were gaps in the story about what took place at the home of Anzunette du Plessis on October 4 and many of the questions would remain unanswered, she said. This was because Salie had not taken the witness stand.

    The State contends that the murder was premeditated - but Salie’s defence counsel, Ken Klopper, said there was no direct evidence of planning or premeditation.

    Du Plessis was stabbed and her throat slit while the nanny was out taking her daughter, now three years old, for a walk.

    Her fiancé was at work and her colleague, who worked with her on the property, had not come in because of car trouble.

    Kortje told the court Salie had “meticulously” planned which items he would take from the house.

    He and his father had previously carried out maintenance work and alterations at the house.

    The house was not messy, Kortje said. The cupboards were not untidy, as if someone had been looking for items.

    “He shopped with his eyes beforehand,” said Kortje.

    No fingerprints had been found, which indicated that he had worn gloves.

    Salie had also come to the house with a knife, she alleged, and had had “full intention of using it”.

    “It was thought out by the accused beforehand. Why go to the scene when the nanny went to the park and leave before she got back? With all due respect, that was done to perfection,” she said.

    Klopper, however, said that Salie had admitted to killing Du Plessis “in a brutal way”.

    The only aspect that remained to be decided was the issue of premeditation, which he described as a “degree of murder”.

    In arguing that the murder hadn’t been planned, Klopper said it had been carried out in an “inept” manner. It had been “messy” and Salie’s clothes were full of blood.

    He had taken several items, which he’d had to transport in a bin, and later a trolley. This was asking to be stopped by the police - just as Salie had been.

    Another point of contention was Salie’s reason for going to Du Plessis’s house. In his confession he said he had gone to check the roof, which he and his father had fixed. In his plea explanation, he said he’d gone because Du Plessis owed him money for extra work done.

    Judgment is to be handed down on June 10.

    leila.samodien@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    The DA has taken over the Oudtshoorn municipality after a motion of no-confidence was passed in ANC representatives.

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    Cape Town - The DA has taken over the Western Cape's Oudtshoorn municipality after a motion of no-confidence was passed in ANC representatives on Friday, the party said.

    Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the party led the motion against the mayor, deputy mayor and speaker. Five of 11 African National Congress councillors, and councillors from the Congress of the People, voted with the DA.

    A DA mayor, deputy mayor and speaker were then elected.

    After the council meeting, the five ANC members resigned and joined the DA, Maimane said.

    “The ANC councillors were clear regarding the reasons for their resignation. They are fed up with the bad service delivery, mismanagement and maladministration within the ANC-led municipality,” he said.

    ANC provincial chair Marius Fransman could not immediately be reached for comment.

    SABC news reported that ANC mayor Gordon April and four other ANC members walked out of the meeting “after a heated exchange of words”. The council meeting proceeded without them.

    Outside the council chambers, April reportedly claimed the meeting was illegal. However, the new leadership said it had proof that the high court had found other, similar, meetings lawful. - Sapa


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    A DA “take-over” of the ANC-led Oudtshoorn municipal council after a motion of no-confidence is illegal, the municipality said.

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    Cape Town - A DA “take-over” of the ANC-led Oudtshoorn municipal council after a motion of no-confidence is illegal, the Western Cape municipality said on Friday.

    “The lawful council of Oudtshoorn is continuing the duties entrusted to it by the people of Oudtshoorn and continues to govern the greater Oudtshoorn,” speaker John Stoffels said in a statement.

    “The administration is at full strength and continuing its duties unabatedly (sic).”

    Earlier in the day, the Democratic Alliance announced it was taking over the African National Congress-run municipality after a motion of no-confidence was passed in the ruling party's representatives.

    Stoffels said the council would take the matter to court.

    “The necessary legal action is already in progress and council will ensure that all costs relating to the legal action will be recovered from the rogue councillors in their personal capacities.”

    DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said the party led the motion against the mayor, deputy mayor and speaker.

    Five of 11 ANC councillors and Congress of the People councillors voted with the DA, following which a DA mayor, deputy mayor and speaker were elected.

    After the council meeting, the five ANC members resigned and joined the DA, Maimane had said.

    “The ANC councillors were clear regarding the reasons for their resignation. They are fed up with the bad service delivery, mismanagement and maladministration within the ANC-led municipality,” he said.

    ANC provincial chair Marius Fransman could not immediately be reached for comment.

    SABC news reported that ANC mayor Gordon April and four other ANC members walked out of the meeting “after a heated exchange of words” and that the council meeting proceeded without them.

    Outside the council chambers, April reportedly claimed the meeting was illegal, however, the new leadership said it had proof that the high court had found other, similar, meetings lawful. - Sapa


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    Police say they bust a gang suspected of the little-known smishing, a form of fraud using SMSes and e-mails in identity and card theft.

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    Cape Town - Police say they have bust a gang in Maitland suspected of the little-known smishing, a form of fraud using SMSes and e-mails in identity and card theft.

    Five suspects are to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

    The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (Safps) said a number of major credit providers reported a total of 14 320 cases of fraud last year.

    The Maitland suspects, aged between 26 and 32, were arrested on Wednesday after a tip-off about suspicious activity at a house in Kings Road, Brooklyn.

    They allegedly sent SMSes and e-mails requesting payment details, using letterheads of a different companies. Police spokesman FC van Wyk said that when officers arrived the suspects tried to get rid of evidence by throwing cellphones out of a window.

    “Two laptops, 16 cellphones and various documents with ID numbers and bank details belonging to different people were confiscated from the house. On further investigation of the laptops, police found letterheads of different companies and organisations, as well as proof of payment e-mails on them,” he said.

    Carol McLoughlin, Safps executive director, said “a significant 23 percent” of the 14 320 cases reported last year were victims of impersonation.

    She said corruption and lack of education made people vulnerable to fraud.

    South African Banking Risk Information Centre spokesman Bongani Diako said identity and card theft were still on the increase, despite prevention and awareness campaigns.

    “Smishing, which is a form of fraud using SMSes and e-mails, is not as common as the increasing rate of fraud on the internet. Identity and card theft is still a big problem in the banking industry. But the public don’t understand the scale of how this can affect them,” he said.

    Diako said credit card fraud was one of the main reasons for the banking industry’s financial losses.

    Consumers have been warned to:

    * Be alert when using ATMs.

    * Put passwords on all your accounts and do not use easy words such as your mother’s maiden name.

    * Not carry your birth certificate, identity book or passport unless necessary.

    * Not give personal information when someone you don’t know calls. If they tell you they are a credit supplier with whom you have an account, call them back at that company’s number.

    To report incidents of card or identity fraud, contact the Safps helpline at 0860 101 248, Crime Stop confidentially at 08600 1011 or SMS Crimeline at 32211.

    barbara.maregele@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    For the second consecutive weekend Capetonians have been warned to brace themselves for heavy rain and icy temperatures.

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    Cape Town - For the second consecutive weekend Capetonians have been warned to brace themselves for heavy rain, icy temperatures and gale-force winds as a well-developed cold front arrives in the Mother City.

     The Cape Town Weather Office said the cold front was expected to hit the city on Saturday, with significant rainfal continuing into on Sunday and Monday.

     A 100 percent chance of continuous slight or moderate rain has been predicted over Cape Town, Strand and Kommetjie, all of which can expect heavier rain on Saturday afternoon.

    Forecasts are for about 50mm of rain in the city before on Saturday night.

    Temperatures stay low too, at between 12ºC and 16ºC in most areas, with strong and gale-force winds predicted for the city centre and Cape Point.

     Heavy rain is also expected over the West Coast, Cape Winelands and Overberg districts.

    High seas, with waves as high as 9m, are expected from Alexander Bay to Plettenberg Bay, continuing until Tuesday.

    The NSRI has urged boaters, fishermen, paddlers and surfers to heed all weather warnings.

    There will be a 30 percent chance of rain in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

    Richard Bosman, the city’s executive director for safety and security, said the authorities would be operating in terms of their winter readiness plan. Teams would be on standby to monitor flooded areas, and the disaster management centre would be operating around the clock.

    Nine high-risk areas had been identified, including informal settlements in Fisantekraal, Philippi, Gugulethu and Strand.

    The city announced this week it was allocating nearly R170 million to clear drains in high-risk flood areas, as well as to other maintenance.

    * Report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions to the city’s customer care contact centre at 086 010 3089. For all life- and property-threatening situations, call 107 or 021 480 7700.

    Weekend Argus


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