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    Three men have been shot dead and a woman remains in a serious condition in hospital after a shooting in Belgravia Estate, Athlone.

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    Cape Town - Three men have been shot dead and a woman remains in a serious condition in hospital after a shooting in Belgravia, Cape Town, Western Cape police said on Wednesday.

    The shooting happened around 10.40pm on Tuesday,

    “We found four people had been shot. Two men died on the scene, the other two - a man and a woman - were taken to hospital,” Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

    The man later died in hospital.

    Police established that the three men were Tanzanian, while the woman was South African.

    “We are investigating a case of murder and attempted murder,” he said.

    No one had been arrested by 7.30pm on Wednesday.

    Sapa


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    More than R2 million worth of aid has been distributed to people affected by recent heavy rains in Cape Town, the city's disaster risk management centre said.

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    Cape Town - More than R2 million worth of aid has been distributed to people affected by recent heavy rains in Cape Town, the city's disaster risk management centre said on Wednesday.

    “Social relief aid in the form of blankets, hot meals, food parcels, flood kits and baby packs, were distributed among 12,560

    individuals of 2,781 households the past two days,” spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement.

    Areas affected are Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, Crossroads, Delft, Gordon's Bay, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein and Valhalla Park.

    “Further heavy rain is expected for the remainder of the week that will cause localised urban flooding across the Cape Peninsula and other parts of the Western Cape province.”

    Solomons-Johannes said this was likely to exacerbate the flood-risk on the Cape Flats, as the water-table was already saturated.

    Sapa


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    Double amputee Flippie Engelbrecht will be fitted with mechanical hands which he hopes will afford him some independence.

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    Cape Town - Double amputee Flippie Engelbrecht attached sticks to his forearms with elastic last week to imagine what it would feel like to have mechanical hands.

    Yesterday, a smiling Engelbrecht, who is blind, carefully felt the plastic fingers, strings and metal that will be turned into two mechanical Robohands for him later this week.

    The 19-year-old is set to receive the mechanical hands from non-profit organisation Robohand.

    Engelbrecht, who had both hands amputated after falling into a cooking fire in late 2009, met Robohand’s Richard van As in Hermanus on Tuesday to be measured for the customised mechanical devices.

    The plastic hands, which are attached to a moulded “glove” worn on the forearm and elbow, will be finished by tomorrow or Friday, when Engelbrecht will be able to try them out.

    “I feel very excited about the new hands,” he said.

    “I will be able to make my own food, pick up my own cup of coffee, go to the toilet and change the TV and my radio.”

    Van As, who has created more than 100 mechanical devices for amputees and people born without hands since early 2011, agreed to create and donate the hands after learning of Engelbrecht’s plight.

    He said he started building mechanical hands after losing four fingers on his right hand in an accident in 2011.

    “I was put in a position where I had no fingers and I decided to do something about it. When I cut my own fingers off, I thought I would make something good out of something bad.”

    In collaboration with his American colleague, Ivan Owen, Van As designed the mechanical hands, drawing on his experience as a carpenter.

    Yesterday, under the watchful eyes of Engelbrecht’s parents, Van As traced an outline of Engelbrecht’s forearms on paper, which he will use to create the plastic “glove” that will fit snugly on the youngster’s forearms.

    Once the moulds are complete Van As will attach a “mechanical hand” - printed on a 3D printer - to the glove.

    The device is anatomically-driven, said Van As, meaning Engelbrecht will control the hands by moving his arms.

    “When you move your elbow forward it moves a string that opens and closes the hand.”

    The devices do not use batteries or electronics.

    The materials for each Robohand cost R15 000, or R30 000 for two.

    The time it took to become accustomed to the devices varied from person to person, said Van As.

    “Right off the bat you get gross motor skills.

    “For the fine motor skills you have to teach yourself. Practice makes perfect.”

    He said Engelbrecht should be able to learn how to grip and pick up a cup soon, but would need practice to pick up something small, such as a toothpick.

    Carina Papenfus, of the farmworkers rights group the Freedom Trust, said a Hermanus occupational therapist had offered to help Engelbrecht learn to use the hands.

     

    The two Robertson farmers accused of assaulting the then 15-year-old Engelbrecht and his father Flip Engelbrecht in 2008 will appear in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on August 28 for a date to be set for the start of the case in the regional court.

    jan.cronje@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    "I know what it sounds like when a line is tapped. I'm convinced that my every conversation is being listened in on."

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    Cape Town - Suspended provincial community police forum chairman Hanif Loonat alleges that, instead of giving him a fair chance to defend himself, police have tapped his phones.

    “I know what it sounds like when a line is tapped. I’m convinced that my every conversation is being listened in on, but I don’t care because I have nothing to hide.

    “Everything I have said, I am willing to say in public,” Loonat said at a press conference on Thursday.

    Loonat again struck out at high-ranking police officers who he claims are targeting him because of his no-nonsense approach to exposing corruption in police ranks.

    In July, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer approved a letter telling Loonat of his suspension for “alleged misconduct” pertaining to statements made to the media earlier this year.

    In one instance, Loonat reportedly said there was wide-scale bribery of police by gangsters in Cape Town; in the other he slammed the Athlone police for “poor service delivery”.

    Subsequently he said he had been misquoted about police-gangster corruption, but stuck to his criticism of the Athlone police station.

    Loonat’s lawyer, Michael Bagraim, has apparently sent various requests to the office of Lamoer - asking for charges and documents pertaining to the case against Loonat.

    Without these documents, Bagraim says, there can be no meaningful investigation.

    Lamoer has not commented to the media on the suspension, saying that Loonat is still subject to an “internal investigation”.

    “What investigation?” asked Bagraim. “There can only be an investigation if Mr Loonat’s defence and version of events are included and available to investigators.

    “We have asked time and again, but we are yet to receive the charges or any documents. Nor has Loonat been approached by any investigator. We are in the dark.”

    On Thursday Loonat repeated his opinion that a personal vendetta, one which deputy provincial police commissioner Major-General Peter Jacobs had against him, was behind his suspension.

    Loonat admits to circulating an e-mail questioning Jacobs’s integrity after the latter failed to sign a document which would have seen an extension of term for the position of CPF provincial chairman. This, Loonat said, infuriated Jacobs. Loonat says that he has severed all ties with “corrupt elements” in the police’s top brass. However, he refuses to resign as CPF chairman before he is “vindicated”. To this end he welcomes a “full investigation” and the opportunity to state his case.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The man accused of raping two children in Ceres is spend another week behind bars after his case was postponed.

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    Cape Town - A large crowd of protesters gathered outside Ceres Magistrate’s Court on Friday, when a 25-year-old man accused of child rape appeared briefly - and was told he was to remain behind bars for another week.

    The man was remanded in custody until next Friday, for further investigation by police.

    The man was arrested by a team of detectives after an initial suspect was released after questioning.

    Two children, a seven-year-old boy and a four-month-old girl, were raped early on Saturday morning a fortnight ago. The pair were dragged about 100m away from their home, raped and left in the veld.

    The infant has since had reconstructive surgery at Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

    Cape Argus


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    About 600kg of spoiled food will be airlifted from the stranded cargo ship Kiani Satu.

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    Cape Town - About 600kg of spoiled food will be airlifted from the stranded cargo ship Kiani Satu on Friday, the Knysna municipality said.

    Joint operations centre spokeswoman Athane Scholtz said the food was no longer fit for consumption and would be disposed of under controlled waste removal procedures.

    The 168 metre bulk carrier ran aground at dawn last Thursday off Buffels Bay, forcing the captain and his 19-member crew to abandon ship. It developed mechanical problems in heavy seas while carrying 330 tons of fuel oil and 15,000 tons of rice.

    Scholtz said the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) had since managed to pivot the vessel 70 degrees, to face the sea.

    “The vessel is still structurally sound and the engineers do not foresee immediate structural problems. Unfortunately the vessel's stern side is still lodged on the sandbank and Samsa officials have decided to activate further steps to try to lighten the vessel.”

    There were no further reports of oil in the water and leaks from the ship.

    On Thursday, Samsa pumped the fuel oil from the ship's engine room to higher parts of the vessel.

    Samsa spokesman Captain Nigel Campbell said the safest way to remove more than 300 tonnes of fuel oil from the ship was to fly it off in plastic tanks.

    Scholtz said over 350 experts were working to address the oil spill, which affected the Goukamma nature reserve and marine protected area.

    “Preparations for a major clean up will only happen once the ship has been removed Ä once the full impact of the spill has been assessed and the ship is out of the area and no longer a spill risk.

    “This is to ensure minimum impact on the environment as continuous removal of little bits of oil is counterproductive and places unnecessary pressure on resources.”

    She expected clean-up operations to take several weeks.

    Precautionary measures were in place to protect estuaries at Goukamma, Swartvlei, and Knysna.

    Scholtz said 35 oiled penguins had been rescued, cleaned, and sent for rehabilitation. There were no reports of bird or animal deaths near the ship.

    The joint operation centre thanked the Garden Route and Western and Eastern Cape residents for their donations and offers of help.

    Sapa


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    An elderly man facing multiple counts of sexual offences involving young girls was refused bail by the Goodwood District Court.

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    Cape Town - An elderly man facing multiple counts of sexual offences involving young girls was refused bail by the Goodwood District Court, Cape Town, on Friday.

    The man, 77, would remain in custody until October 11 for further investigation. Magistrate Sean Lea said the State had a strong case, with more charges likely to be added to the current 22.

    He said the alleged victims, mostly from informal settlements near the man's Richwood home, were all from destitute backgrounds, lacking proper parental and material support.

    “They were extremely vulnerable to any form of material benefit,” said Lea.

    He said the investigation began when one of the man's neighbours reported seeing young girls entering the man's home at all hours for years.

    The man had made a bad impression during his testimony by trying to portray himself as a saviour to children, the magistrate said. The accused had made the “bold assertion” during proceedings that he would prove his innocence at his trial.

    In the court room were several long transparent plastic bags filled with pornographic DVDs, magazines, and a video of bestiality. The man said the purpose of the video was to educate children, when asked about it by prosecutor Mario September,

    “The ridiculousness of this statement speaks for itself,” Lea responded.

    He said the pornography confiscated in the accused's home included vibrators, which showed the State's prima facie case against the accused to be strong. The magistrate said the man had failed to satisfy the court that there were compelling and substantial circumstances to justify his release on bail.

    He had failed to prove that his release was in the interests of justice.

    Lea referred to the testimony of the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Johan Kotze, who stated the man had recently tested HIV-positive, and that he had infected one of his alleged victims.

    Despite the accused's affliction, he had engaged in casual sex in the form of one-night stands, Kotze had told the court.

    Being infected with HIV was not a compelling factor justifying the man's release on bail, as suggested by legal aid attorney Vernon Ebbersohn.

    Lea agreed with the prosecutor that the man's release would not only undermine the criminal justice system, but also public safety and the safety of his alleged victims.

    “If one considers how easy it would be for the accused to influence or intimidate the alleged victims, then there is not only a risk that he will do so if released on bail, but a reasonable probability,” he said.

    Sapa


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  • 08/17/13--03:59: Kiani Satu afloat
  • The cargoship that ran aground near Buffels Bay in Knysna is now afloat, says the SA Maritime Safety Authority.

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    Johannesburg -

    The cargoship that ran aground last week near Buffels Bay in Knysna is now afloat, the SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) said on Saturday.

    “At 11.20am today (Saturday) she came off. I am so excited I cannot think straight,” Samsa spokesman Captain Nigel Campbell said.

    The 168-metre bulk carrier, Kiani Satu, ran aground at dawn last Thursday forcing the captain and his 19-member crew to abandon ship. It developed mechanical problems in heavy seas while carrying 330 tons of fuel oil and 15,000 tons of rice.

    The vessel was moved 70 degrees towards the sea during the week. It had now come off the sandbank and was afloat away from the shore.

    Campbell said there were 12 salvage experts on the ship who were managing the boat amid the bad weather conditions.

    “The weather is abysmal,” Campbell said.

    “We are going to take her 10 miles (into the sea) and see from there what we do next. We have plan A, B, C and D.”

    On Friday, the Knysna municipality said it planned to airlift about 600kg of spoiled food off the ship.

    Joint operations centre spokeswoman Athane Scholtz said the food was no longer fit for consumption and would be disposed of under controlled waste removal procedures.

    On Thursday, Samsa pumped the fuel oil from the ship's engine room to higher parts of the vessel. There were no further reports of oil in the water and leaks from the ship.

    Campbell said at the time the safest way to remove more than 300 tons of fuel oil from the ship was to fly it off in plastic tanks.

    Scholtz said over 350 experts were working to address the oil spill, which affected the Goukamma nature reserve and marine protected area.

    “Preparations for a major clean up will only happen once the ship has been removed - once the full impact of the spill has been assessed and the ship is out of the area and no longer a spill risk.

    “This is to ensure minimum impact on the environment as continuous removal of little bits of oil is counterproductive and places unnecessary pressure on resources.”

    She expected clean-up operations to take several weeks.

    Precautionary measures were in place to protect estuaries at Goukamma, Swartvlei, and Knysna.

    Scholtz said 35 oiled penguins had been rescued, cleaned, and sent for rehabilitation. There were no reports of bird or animal deaths near the ship.

    The joint operation centre thanked the Garden Route and Western and Eastern Cape residents for their donations and offers of help. - Sapa


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    Dina Rodrigues, the woman jailed for life for masterminding the murder of Baby Jordan, has finally made a full confession.

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    Dina Rodrigues, the woman jailed for life for masterminding the shocking murder of six-month-old Baby Jordan in 2005, has finally made a full confession.

    Explosive details of the now 31-year-old’s inner turmoil reveal for the first time the reasons which saw her plan the death of Jordan Leigh Norton in the family’s Lansdowne home. They are laid out in court papers included in her application for special leave to appeal her life sentence.

    Rodrigues admits that now, with hindsight, she probably experienced “the unsophisticated emotions of an immature and inexperienced woman, adult in body but not in mind”.

    Infatuated with her then boyfriend Neil Wilson, who fathered Jordan during a previous relationship with Natasha Norton, Rodrigues became obsessed with getting the infant out of their lives, she claims in the papers.

    The case held South Africans captivated for two years, as the attractive young woman sat in the dock, smiling occasionally, but never speaking for herself. Her mother Mary was in the court daily to support her, while the Norton family filled the opposite benches.

    Rodrigues has been held in Worcester since June 2007.

    Her 24-page affidavit was filed at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) earlier this year. She alleged that her trial, particularly the sentencing, was “marred by irregularity” because, in her view, she did not receive the legal advice she should have.

    But she conceded that lawyers at the time may not have realised the extent of her emotional turmoil because she did not confide in them as much as she should have.

    Rodrigues was frank in the papers, saying the court was correct to convict her. But she asked the SCA to order that she be sentenced afresh.

     

    Her attempt failed on July 15, when Judges Robert Nugent and Malcolm Wallis dismissed the application.

    In her papers, she claims that although she was 24 at the time of the killing, she was “very immature”.

    “I had been protected and shielded throughout my life by my family, the members of which have a very old-fashioned attitude towards women in general, and unmarried daughters in particular. I had lived a sheltered life.

    “I worked and had always worked in a family business, under the benign authority of a family member, and had always lived at home with my parents, despite being more than old enough to have moved out years before.”

    Rodrigues continued that she had “little experience of life, and even less experience of relationships with men”.

    “The relationship which I had with Wilson was the first truly serious emotional and physical relationship in which I had ever been involved. I had never in my life before been obliged to cope with intense emotions such as those I experienced while involved with Wilson, whom I regarded as the person destined to share life with me as my partner,” said Rodrigues.

    “Although he was a month or two younger than I was, Wilson was already a worldly-wise, knowledgeable young man. He took the lead in our relationship in every way. He had a wide experience of women and was an experienced lover. I was (at the least) deeply infatuated with him, probably to an unhealthy extent. I believed that my feelings for him evidenced true love and I did not know, even now, if my belief was wrong,” she said.

    Rodrigues said she lied to her parents about their relationship and, when she went on holiday with him, she told them that she was going away with someone else.

    “By June 2005 our relationship was a number of months old and had become deeply intimate, both physically and emotionally. I believed that we were destined to be married. I could not imagine life without Wilson. ... I was happy until I heard of the existence of Wilson’s illegitimate child,” she said.

    She only knew Natasha Norton slightly, and while she suffered “some bouts of less-than-serious jealousy” about her previous relationship with Wilson, Rodrigues said she initially coped with her feelings.

    Her later discovery, however, that Wilson and Norton had a child “had a profound effect on me”.

    “In my efforts to seek ways to release myself from the emotional pain from which I often suffered, I began to plot the child’s demise in my imagination. I made broad hints to Wilson of my thoughts, thoughts which I now realise were sick in nature. I asked him how much he would ‘pay to get rid of the problem’, or words to that effect. I was so blinded by my own resentments that I misinterpreted his reaction, in particular his failure to condemn the sick thoughts which I was harbouring, as a form of agreement with and support of my desire to rid us of this obstacle to our happiness.”

    She came to “the unspeakable, cruel decision that the only way to solve our problem was to kill the child”, Rodrigues said, admitting to hiring someone to kill the baby.

    “I have never had conscious contact with criminals, let alone contact with assassins and I certainly did not know how to hire a killer. In my naivete, I decided to go to a nearby minibus taxi terminus to ask around for someone who would kill for payment, and did so. It now also seems unbelievable to me that I made the decision... Only an utter fool and a lunatic would go to a public place and openly seek a killer for hire,” she said.

    Baby Jordan was killed on June 15, 2005.

    Rodrigues said she told Wilson she had paid R10 000 to “make the problem go away”, and realised he was “deeply shocked” and “disturbed”.

    “Wilson’s reaction sobered me and served to bring me to my senses, although only to a limited extent. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise that the evil of what I had done had only begun to dawn on me at that point... “

    She was arrested and a decision was made to enter a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

    “I was advised that, despite my instructions, it was quite proper for my lawyers to conduct my defence on the basis that they test the strength of the State’s case. It was believed that the evidence of the State did not provide the basis for a verdict more serious than a finding that I instructed my co-accused to ‘interfere’ with the child in some or other way. I did not believe it could be proved by the State that I intended my accomplices to harm her physically. If my co-accused did not give evidence, I believed, the State would not be able to prove more than that I intended my accomplices only (for instance) to abduct the child,” she said.

    Rodrigues claims she had prepared to testify, but was advised by her defence lawyers not to take the stand because the State would not be able to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    Rodrigues was convicted of the murder in May 2007 along with Sipho Mfazwe, Mongezi Bobotyane, Zanethemba Gwada and Bonginkosi Sigenu.

    She said she was surprised she had been convicted.

    Before she was sentenced, she did not comply with the court’s request for a pre-sentencing report, saying she feared she would have to make the truth known, which would affect her chances of success on appeal.

    “It is only recently that I have been made aware that if I had made a clean breast of things before the trial court and the learned judge had, as a consequence, come to know of the uncontrollable emotional turmoil which had caused me to act in such an out-of-character manner, he might well have imposed a sentence of less than life imprisonment on me.

    “I am also now aware that, if a psychologist or similar expert had given evidence concerning my immaturity and the uncontrollable emotions which I had experienced before the murder in a pre-sentencing report, such as the one the learned judge sought, I might well have received a less harsh sentence,” she argued.

    Now that she had matured and received counselling in prison, the enormity of the crime she had committed and the consequences to those she hired, “has been brought home”. She now realised that the trial court was denied information which should have been placed before it.

    While she did not wish to shift the blame, she believed that she did not receive proper and informed advice.

    In, addition, she alleges that Judge Basheer Waglay should have imposed a sentence less than life imprisonment when he found that substantial and compelling circumstances were present.

    Approached for comment yesterday, Rodrigues’s former attorney, Tommy Vavatazanidis, said he had not seen her affidavit and so could not respond to the allegations.

    Her former advocate, John van der Berg, said: “How can I respond without breaching privilege? I can tell you that I consulted with her for around 50 hours and considered her well-prepared to testify. You can draw your own inferences from that.”

    He later added: “What she was advised is privileged. What I was instructed is also privileged, but is clear from the record.

    “I’m not at liberty to divulge what I advised her, or what I was instructed by her to do. I merely carried out instructions and the record shows what those must have been.” - Saturday Argus


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  • 08/18/13--03:36: Egypt: No to help from Tutu
  • Egypt has shot down a suggestion that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu intervene to stop the bloodshed.

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    Egypt, caught in the grip of raging civil conflict that has already claimed nearly a thousand lives in just four days, yesterday shot down a suggestion that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu intervene to stop the bloodshed, saying it doesn’t need South Africa’s “failed reconciliation process”.

    The proposal from former Western Cape premier and now South Africa’s ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool, got short shrift from the Egyptian foreign ministry, which expressed “surprise” at South Africa’s offer to “assist Egypt by sharing experiences and lessons from our own political transition, from apartheid rule to a democratic dispensation”.

    The proposal was made on Friday, when Rasool and Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, wrote in the Washington Post that Tutu and other international figures with “moral authority” should intervene urgently in Egypt.

    “Preventing Egypt from sliding into civil war is a global security issue, as young militants who a year ago trusted the ballot box could potentially turn into the next generation of extremists,” the pair wrote.

    “What’s urgently needed is a multi-pronged strategy involving people of moral authority and leaders from countries trusted by the Muslim Brotherhood, the military and secular and liberal groups who can help Egypt walk back from the brink of anarchy and its growing loss of life.”

    The two said an internationally constituted group of eminent people should “jump-start such an effort by brokering conditions for talks between all Egyptian players.”

    Other suggested members of the group include former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, Tunisia’s Renaissance Party leader Rachid Ghannouchi, former US national security adviser Jim Jones, former Irish president Mary Robinson, and veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi.

    But the Egyptian foreign ministry said it was surprised South Africa was “trying to export its failed reconciliation process that hasn’t achieved real co-existence”.

    The statement accused South Africa of having some of the highest rates of crime, corruption, poverty, unemployment and poor health in the world.

    Yesterday Tutu’s office said he was praying for the people of Egypt.

    “Archbishop Tutu has sent the proposal contained in the Washington Post to The Elders for their consideration,” spokesman Roger Friedman told Weekend Argus.

    Tutu is an honorary member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights.

    South Africa earlier issued a statement condemning the violence that has claimed some 800 lives in Egypt in recent days.

    Asked yesterday to comment on the Egyptian response, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman Clayson Monyela said they were not surprised.

    “The people who made those statements speak on behalf of the people in charge now. But the reality is that what happened in Egypt was a coup d’etat, and we remain opposed to unconstitutional changes in government.”

    Rasool and Moosa had called for the South African government and a range of other governments trusted by all parties in the conflict in Egypt to be involved in the initiative.

    “With the support of the AU, South Africa, Turkey and Qatar on the one hand, and the US, the EU and the Gulf Co-operation Council on the other, the group should immediately engage credible Egyptian leaders to facilitate breakthroughs, a task no one inside Egypt can accomplish now,” the pair wrote.

    Asked about Rasool’s suggestion, Monyela said South Africa supported the efforts of the AU, which had established a high-level panel on Egypt, led by former Malian president Alpha Oumar Konare, which was facilitating discussion. The group met in Addis Ababa last week. - The Weekend Argus


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    Salvage masters were aboard the stricken Kiani Satu, working to assess the damage after the vessel was freed from a sandbank.

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    Salvage masters were aboard the stricken Kiani Satu yesterday, working to assess the damage after the vessel was freed from a sandbank and towed out to sea, ending nine days of tireless work by hundreds of people.

    By about 3pm the ship was the desired 10 miles from shore off Buffels Bay in the Southern Cape – the required distance to signal that the danger was over.

    This was preceded by “a very dangerous stage”, when risks included the tow rope potentially snapping, the ship bottoming again in shallow water or, in the worst-case scenario, sinking, according to Captain Nigel Campbell, of the SA Maritime Safety Authority.

    Once the damage is assessed, Campbell and his team will decide on the next steps.

    “We’re celebrating, but we are not in the clear yet. The weather is abysmal,” he said late yesterday.

    The team has been battling insufficient swell – which hampered five attempts to refloat the German-owned vessel – since Tuesday.

    It was sixth time lucky yesterday, despite very rough sea conditions, strong winds and icy weather. At about 11.20am the 168 metre vessel began moving out to sea, followed by loud cheers from the 332-member team who have been working around the clock to salvage the ship.

    Massive waves battered the ship, with some breaking over it as it was being towed.

    “We decided to start towing yesterday morning when the swell increased, and she just started to move farther and farther away from the shore,” an elated Campbell said.

    The ship ran aground last Thursday after mechanical failure en route to Gabon.

    From Tuesday the crew started towing at every high tide, but small swells hampered efforts and they were only able to swing the vessel around so the bow was facing seawards. To lighten the load the salvage crew managed to airlift more than 600kg of spoiled food and more than eight tons of oil off the ship in plastic tanks on Friday.

    Now the clean-up crew will move in after more than 15 tons of oil and fuel leaked into the ocean through a crack in one of the ship’s damaged tanks. Although the layer of oil around the ship had been broken up, some washed up on a stretch of beach along the Goukamma Nature Reserve.

    Clean-up operations were expected to begin today, depending on weather conditions.

    By yesterday more than 35 oiled penguins had been rescued, cleaned and sent to rehabilitation centres in the Eastern and Western Cape. Joint Operations Centre spokesman Athane Scholtz said. Although the clean-up time was unclear, it could take weeks to complete. - Weekend Argus


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    Tens of thousands of Cape Town Peninsula residents have been forced to abandon their homes.

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    Tens of thousands of Peninsula residents have been forced to abandon their homes, with forecasts of a respite today and tomorrow offering little solace after the havoc wreaked in the past few days.

    More than 36 000 people have been left homeless as nearly 10 000 homes were flooded and countless informal houses and businesses damaged.

    Residents swarmed around mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday in Philippi, when she waded through water mixed with sewage and rubbish, inspecting some of the worst-hit parts of the city.

    At Kosovo, she and Disaster Risk Management officials and members of her mayoral committee who were accompanying her, struggled through knee-deep water during the inspection of affected homes yesterday.

    Kosovo is built on a flood plain and is at high risk of flooding during bad weather. And while residents have been lucky for the past three winters, they were caught off-guard by very heavy downpours on Friday night.

    Several homes were under water and residents could be seen packing up their belongings as they moved to stay with family and friends.

    Following the example of residents, De Lille resorted to using stones and plastic sheets as makeshift stepping stones to traverse the mud and waterlogged paths.

    Faeces, rubbish and even dead rats were floating in the larger puddles, which in many cases were turning into streams.

    Shacks erected in the heart of Kosovo township were worst affected and while De Lille tried her best to reach them, it proved impossible.

    “Sadly, because of its location on a water retention area, this outcome was almost predictable.

    “It’s heartbreaking to see people’s homes filled with water and their possessions floating all over, with garbage,” she said, adding that they were relocating those affected to one of 13 temporary relocation areas.

    The city had tried to move the people out of Kosovo for the past two years, but had met with resistance from the community.

    “Some stay for close proximity to work and family, but some political activists convinced the people to resist our relocation attempts and stay, despite the danger. It is reckless and irresponsible to manipulate people’s lives for political gain,” De Lille said.

    Throughout her inspection De Lille was mobbed by people who wanted to tell her of their plight.

    Kosovo resident Nomavo Ndupe said she was pleased to see De Lille, because “the city must see what we go through”.

    “It’s not just the water, but the sewage that flows into our homes. The children and old people get sick all the time,” she said.

    Residents were given loaves of bread before De Lille and her team moved on to Macassar, where residents of Kramat had stacked sandbags in front of their homes after a nearby river began overflowing.

    About 50 residents abandoned their flooded homes there on Thursday. They are being sheltered in the Macassar Community Hall.

    Veronica du Plessis said it was the second time her home had flooded in three years.

    “Last time we had no place to go and no one to help us, but this time we get meals and a place to keep our children safe,” she said.

    While the women looked after the children in the hall, the men took it in turns to keep watch over their flooded homes to keep looters away.

    On the other side of town, at the Klipfontein Mission Station along Lansdowne Road, residents protested and burnt tyres on Friday night over lack of proper stormwater drainage in the area.

    Residents Jessica and Peter Andries said their home was knee-deep in water.

    Jessica Andries said:

    “I have a five-year-old and a baby grandchild who had been living under these conditions for over a week. Nobody has been here to help drain this water.”

    Other residents complained about the threat of disease, sickness and sores.

    Henry Adriaanse, 57, said they had been living “worse than animals” for the past week.

    A fuming Patricia van Rensberg said they had given the city a memorandum demanding proper drainage.

    “The entire road next to our homes is flooded, and when the cars come past all that water splashes and runs down into our homes. No person should be allowed to live like this,” she said. - Weekend Argus


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    The Western Cape government will divert R6 million from its education department to pay for cops at schools.

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    Cape Town - The Western Cape government will divert R6 million from its education department to the City of Cape Town in an effort to curb gang-related violence in Manenberg.

    The announcement at the provincial legislature on Sunday by Premier Helen Zille and mayor Patricia de Lille follows the forced closure of 16 schools in the area last week due to gang activity and months of bloodshed which has led to several deaths and injuries.

    “In recent months, we have seen a spike in gang violence in many hotspot areas, particularly Manenberg, linked to the recent release of gang leaders. Many of those who have been killed have been innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire between rival gang members,” Zille and De Lille said in a joint statement.

    “It is clear that gang violence has reached a crisis point in Manenberg, which is now threatening education in the area.

    “After meeting these educators, both the city and the province have introduced a plan to ensure the safety of learners and educators so that teaching and learning can continue from tomorrow.”

    They said money would be diverted from other priorities in education.

    “The City of Cape Town, together with the Western Cape government, met residents in Manenberg on Thursday evening to discuss new steps that could be taken to meet the safety concerns of the educators of shut schools.”

    The R6m would be used to pay the salaries of metro police who would be stationed at the 16 schools.

    “They are seasonal trained casuals and contracted staff. The R6m is for their salaries,” said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

    Neighbourhood safety officers and school resource officers would also be deployed at seven schools – Sonderend Primary, Silverstream High, Edendale Primary, Downsville Primary, Manenberg High, Rio Grande Primary and Red River Primary.

    Since August 1, the city’s safety and security directorate has, in Manenberg:

    * Conducted 50 operations

    * Confiscated five guns and ammunition

    * Made 19 drug-related arrests.

    * Searched 80 premises.

    * Searched 33 vehicles.

    * Searched 613 people.

    * Made 15 non-drug related arrests.

    * Issued 621 traffic fines.

    Zille and De Lille said the provincial government and the city had limited powers in the fight against crime and violence but would continue to play their respective roles.

    “While we are doing everything possible to make communities safer through crime prevention programmes, we will never successfully tackle gang violence if the gang members responsible for violent acts and criminal behaviour are not brought to justice and put behind bars.

    “We also repeat our calls for President Jacob Zuma to authorise the employment of the SANDF in gang hotspot areas,” they said.

    De Lille said teachers had two main concerns – their safety when travelling to and from work and violence outside the school premises.

     

    Smith said officers would report for duty an hour before school starts and would stay an hour after school was out.

     

    Zille re-emphasised the province’s call to the national government for the army to be deployed to Manenberg.

    “It is a temporary peacekeeping measure. It will free the police to do what they are uniquely required to do – make arrests and compile investigations.

    “Until gangsters are locked away we can’t bring down the violence,” she said.

     

    zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    One of the Cape's most notorious crowbar gangs was snapped in the act seconds after they robbed a house.

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    Cape Town - One of the northern suburbs’ notorious crowbar gangs was snapped in the act seconds after they robbed a house in Sonstraal Heights last week.

    A photograph, taken by a CCTV camera at a home, supposedly shows four men making off with stolen goods in the yard just after the robbery. The photo was uploaded by a user on the Joostenbergvlakte community Facebook page.

    “It shows the unbelievable brazenness of these criminals. It is broad daylight and they are running around without even covering their faces,” said Curt Minnie, who’s an administrator to the online group and sent the photo to the Cape Argus.

    Uitzicht neighbourhood watch member Henry Kasner says that he was very familiar with this modus operandi.

    “These are professional criminals. They are experts in blending into their surroundings. They do not wear masks, they dress well and they drive fancy getaway cars. They don’t speed and calmly go about their business in the neighbourhood where they are burgling so as not to attract any attention,” he said.

    Kasner claims that the greater Bellville area had similar break-ins.

     

    “It is incredibly frequent and we know that there are a number of gangs operating, all using a similar tactic,” he said.

    It includes checking which houses are unoccupied, identifying a target which seems accessible and then using a crowbar to pry open the front door and security gate.

    There were about five gang members, with one usually being a getaway driver. The others go for a specific valuable item - one takes the television, another will rifle through the drawers in the bedroom looking for jewellery and another will pick up something else of value. It takes a matter of seconds, according to Kasner. So by the time armed response arrives after the alarm has been triggered, the thieves are long gone.

    “People often think that, because we don’t live in Joburg, we are relatively immune to crime of this magnitude. I think these types of break-ins have really shaken people up and the only way to combat it is to upgrade security in our neighbourhoods. People should seriously consider joining their local neighbourhood watches,” said Kasner.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said statistics on the prevalence of these “crowbar” break-ins would take time to source but he confirmed that police were investigating.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Flippie Engelbrecht, the blind teen amputee at the centre of an assault trial, has been fitted with a pair of “Robohands”.

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    Cape Town - The blind teen amputee at the centre of an assault trial has been fitted with a pair of “Robohands”.

    Flippie Engelbrecht, 19, lost his eyesight and developed epilepsy after he was allegedly assaulted by a farmer when he was 15.

    He later lost his hands after falling into a fire pit during an epileptic seizure.

    The creator of “Robohands”, Richard van As, completed the prostheses last week and Flippie received them on Friday.

    Van As, who makes prosthetic “Robohands” with the aid of a 3D printer, volunteered to make the hands after reading about Flippie’s ordeal in a local newspaper.

    The carpenter, who lives in Randburg, Joburg, started designing and building mechanical hands after losing four fingers in an accident in 2011.

    A five-year-old boy, who was born with a defective right hand, was the first to get a “Robohand” with five movable digits from Van As and his design partner, Ivan Owen, who lives in the US.

    Van As and Owen create hands for people unable to afford prosthetic limbs.

    Flippie’s new hands, which cost between R20 000 and R25 000 each, were created in a Hermanus workshop after Van As travelled from Joburg last week.

    Before the “Robohands” were created, Flippie’s brother’s arms, similar in length to his, were measured. Sticks were attached to Flippie’s forearms to prepare him for the new limbs.

    Earlier this month, Flippie’s father said he was exceptionally happy that his son would now be able to take care of himself.

    The farmer and manager accused of assaulting Flippie and his father, Flip Engelbrecht, a farm labourer, appeared briefly in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on July 31.

    Johnny Burger, the owner of Rietvallei Wine Estate, and farm manager Wilhelm “Dozi” Treurnicht face two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

    A third man has turned State witness and may receive indemnity from prosecution.

    The duo are expected back in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on August 28.

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 08/19/13--02:49: Flooding hits 36 000 in Cape
  • The City of Cape Town’s disaster response teams have assisted 36 000 people affected by flooding since last Monday.

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    Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s disaster response teams have assisted 36 000 people affected by flooding since last Monday. Macassar and Kosovo in Philippi have been identified as the worst affected.

    Many people on the Peninsula were affected by the wet and cold weather over the weekend.

    Mayor Patricia de Lille, along with members of her mayoral committee, and disaster risk management members visited the Kosovo informal settlement and Macassar.

    Disaster risk management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said 90 people had been displaced in Macassar and 30 of them slept in the community hall over the weekend.

    “The area where people are affected is agricultural land. In this area the community erected structures within the flood line.”

    He said flooding in the area was inevitable during winter and residents should take personal responsibility to safeguard their dwellings.

    In Sections A, B and C of Kosovo 225 households, with 300 people, were affected. The informal settlement lies on a wetland.

    During her visit to the area, De Lille gave instructions that the city departments should initiate immediate emergency measures, according to Solomons-Johannes.

    “The city’s disaster response teams provided hot meals, clothing and blankets to the people.

    The stormwater system was blocked due to the community dumping rubble and dirt that result in the blockage.”

    “The stormwater drain had been unblocked using a high-pressure vacuum. On Monday the city would start relocating families to dry areas close to Kosovo, he said.

    “Prior to the winter season initiatives and efforts were undertaken. However, due to political and community conflict, the process was stopped. The city will proceed with its intention to relocate the people to ensure that the affected households are provided with a safe environment.”

    The city hoped to have done so by Thursday or Friday, Solomons-Johannes said.

    Clear skies and warmer temperatures are predicted for Monday, but more rain is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

    The rest of the week will be partly cloudy and cold.

    yolisa.tswanya@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Two men died and another was injured after the car they were in crashed into a house in Mitchells Plain.

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    Cape Town - Two men died and another was injured after the car they were in crashed into a house in Mitchells Plain early on Saturday.

    The Honda Civic smashed through the outer vibracrete wall and into the living room of Carmen Janes’s house, on the corner of Capricorn Way and Park Avenue, Rocklands.

    Janes said she was woken up after hearing a loud bang and feeling her house vibrate just after 5am.

    “When I came to the living room, one of the people in the car was on the phone calling someone and telling them they were in an accident.

    “The car was on its side and the emergency response team had to cut open the roof to get them out. The two of them died on the scene and there was a lot of blood.”

    “There was just rubble and glass everywhere, the back walls of the house even shifted.

    “This is the second time this happened here. The first time we had wooden fencing and the car stopped just before the door.

    “One of our neighbours who was awake at the time said he never heard any brakes, just the loud bang. I remember just thinking if this car catches fire now… The disaster guy said we would have to demolish the walls and build them from scratch.”

    Janes said her insurance company supplied the plywood that is now closing the gaping hole, where the front door and windows used to be.

    She said at least five walls had to be rebuilt.

    “People race down this road all the time and I think if we had some speed bumps it would help.”

    Provincial EMS spokesman Darren Francis confirmed that two men, both 21, died on the scene and that another 21-year-old was taken to the Mitchells Plain Melomed hospital with minor injuries.”

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said a case of culpable homicide would be investigated and that anyone with information can contact Crime Stop on 086 001 0111 or investigating officer Sergeant Vuyani Claasen on 021 370 1738.

    yolisa.tswanya@inl.co.za and zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Two men accused of killing gay night-club owner Bruno Bronn need time to appoint new lawyers, the Western Cape High Court heard.

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    Cape Town - Two men accused of killing gay night-club owner Bruno Bronn need time to appoint new lawyers, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

    Lawyers Trevor Dykman and Marcello Stevens withdrew because of a lack of financial instructions from their clients John Frederick Coetzee and Fareez Allie.

    The matter was postponed for a week, until Monday, for legal representation.

    Coetzee and Allie, along with Achmat Toffa, are accused of killing Bronn, 50, in his Green Point home on February 7 last year.

    According to the indictment, he was strangled and died of suffocation.

    He owned the popular night-clubs Bronx and Navigaytion in Somerset Road, Green Point.

    The men face charges of premeditated murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Both charges carry life sentences.

    Their trial was to have started a month ago but was postponed to allow Toffa to get a lawyer.

    Coetzee, dressed in a tracksuit top and khaki pants, told Judge President John Hlophe that he was in a position to afford a private lawyer for the duration of the trial.

    Allie, in a smart white suit, told Hlophe he would approach Legal Aid later on Monday.

    Coetzee is out on bail of R20 000 and Allie of R5000.

    Toffa was granted bail in the matter, but remains in custody at Pollsmoor Prison on two unrelated charges. - Sapa


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    A car dealership in Athlone has been fire bombed - the second in the area to be attacked in three weeks.

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    Cape Town - A car dealership in Athlone was fire bombed on Sunday night - the second dealership in the area to come under attack in three weeks.

    Two cars at Auto Belgravia in Belgravia Road, one of which was a rare, imported 1997 Volvo S90, were seriously damaged in the fire. The damage was most severe on the front bumper and engine area of the vehicles. A third vehicle was slightly damaged in the bombing.

    On Monday morning, the dealership was open for business as staff waited for a police forensics team to arrive.

    An employee, who asked not to be named for work-related reasons, said damage assessments had not yet been done but added that the vehicles might have to be written off. The cars were valued at about R60 000 each.

    Auto Belgravia belongs to Naushaad Hoosain. He was not at the dealership on Monday morning but his receptionist said a nearby business owned by him, The Snack Box takeaways, had been burgled last night at about the same time as the bombing.

    Staff refused to give the Cape Argus Hoosain’s cellphone number.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property had been opened in connection with the fire at Auto Belgravia. No one had been injured in the attack and no arrests had been made, Van Wyk said.

    On July 24, another Athlone dealership, Velocity Motors on Klipfontein Road, was bombed.

    It is suspected that pipe bombs were used as there was significant shrapnel damage to a number of cars but little evidence of fire.

    The July bombing occurred shortly after a People Against Gangsterism And Drugs (Pagad) motorcade in the area, leading to speculation that the crime may be linked to the organisation.

    The Hawks are investigating and no arrests have been made.

    Niyaaz Janoodian, owner of Velocity Motors, said he expected to have CCTV footage of the bombing in the near future. He has agreed to make the footage public.

    Pagad’s Cassiem Parker has asked the media not to contact him for comment regarding illegal activities, saying the organisation was in no way involved in any crimes.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The Western Cape provincial government has budgeted R87m to fight drug and alcohol abuse, premier Helen Zille said.

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    Cape Town - The Western Cape provincial government has budgeted R87 million to fight drug and alcohol abuse, premier Helen Zille said on Monday.

    “Our commitment in this regard has led to a doubling of our annual budget for interventions to address substance abuse over the last four years, from just R42 million when we came into office in 2009, to R87 million this year,” she said.

    “This budget also includes increased allocation for public information provision and early intervention services to help prevent the onset of drug and alcohol abuse.”

    She said half a billion rand would be invested in the awareness and education programme over the next five years, should the Democratic Alliance remain in office.

    The provincial government was also in discussion with the health department and the Sultan Bahu treatment centre in Mitchell's Plain, with a view to establishing South Africa's first outpatient opiate replacement programme.

    “This initiative is aimed at addressing the harms associated with shifting trends toward heroin abuse in the province.”

    She said the province had made great strides in reducing drug and alcohol-related harms over the past four years.

    Sapa


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