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  • 09/26/13--05:47: Cape Town ticks off tuk-tuks
  • Tuk-tuks offering free rides along the Atlantic Seaboard and in the city centre are operating illegally, says the City of Cape Town.

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    Cape Town - Tuk-tuks offering free rides along the Atlantic Seaboard and in the city centre are operating illegally, says the City of Cape Town.

    “They are providing a courtesy service and if the vehicle fleet exceeds two vehicles they need an operating licence for each vehicle,” said Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for Transport Cape Town.

    He said traffic services had been told to be on the look-out for unauthorised vehicles.

    To date, only one operating licence for one tuk-tuk had been issued in Cape Town, to Guerilla-IMC, the company affiliated with Monarch Tuksi.

    However, there had been recent reports of tuk-tuks operating on various routes throughout the city.

    Heather Tager, of the Sea Point Community Police Forum, said she had seen them operating from the Adelphi Centre. When she enquired about how much it would cost to ride on one, she was told it was a free service.

    Tuk-tuks have also been spotted in Camps Bay, where they have reportedly been rented to tourists for the day if they have a valid scooter licence.

    The Monarch Tuksi Company, which owns 20 three-wheelers, circumvented the licence issue by offering passengers “shares” in the company so it would not be deemed as public transport.

    Owner Daniel Clarence said the vehicles were “out and about” but only for marketing purposes. “Each vehicle is given a set route of 3km back and forth - six in total - which they drive along daily. If they are approached by a member of the public who wants a ride, they will oblige free of charge provided the individual is travelling along those routes.”

    Someone wanting to go elsewhere would have to wait for one of the licensed tuk-tuks, he said.

    He said a courtesy service was provided by or on behalf of an organisation such as a hotel, which was not an operator. He had two vehicles stationed at guesthouses for this purpose.

    He confirmed that only one of the company’s vehicles was licensed. “The rest of our fleet are purely mobile advertising boards.”

    However, Herron said advertising for gain was considered the same as transporting a passenger for gain, and the company would still need operating licences for these vehicles.

    Clarence said: “I will put it on record that if this is an issue with the city, I will immediately prevent the vehicles from carrying passengers, bar the one licensed and two at the guesthouses.”

    Beverley Schafer, ward councillor for the Atlantic Seaboard, said: “We welcome the innovation and idea to provide a service to tourists and locals, but it’s not legal at the moment. What happens if something goes wrong?”

    The National Land Transport Act defines a tuk-tuk as a three-wheeled motor vehicle device that can carry up to three passengers, including the driver. Companies that offer any form of public transport must apply to a provincial regulatory entity for a licence. This licence will only be granted if there is provision in the local authority’s transport plan for the mode of transport.

    The city’s current transport plan did not make provision for a tuk-tuk service. In response to a growing interest in this form of transport, the city proposed some amendments to its transport plan in April.

    These included the following conditions and guidelines for their operation: to serve as a short-distance mode of transport over a distance of not more than 3km; to remain within the following areas: Waterfront/Sea Point/Bantry Bay, the CBD if not in conflict with sedan taxis, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek/Simon’s Town; a specified start and end point of its route; children younger than 13 to be accompanied by an adult; all trips to be prebooked with the operator and for the base facilities to be privately owned or leased by the tuk-tuk operator.

    However, Herron said these amendments had not been finalised as the Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle had queries about the conditions.

    The transport plan, known as the Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plan, was also still out for public comment.

    “At a recent meeting with the MEC we discussed the tuk-tuks and agreed on the way forward. I expect the amendments we approved will take effect soon.”

    He said this would be finalised before the start of the peak tourism season.

    Herron said that until these were approved, the operation of tuk-tuks in the city, barring the one vehicle that already had a licence, was illegal.

    “While we think they provide a great service, they should wait for the permits to be issued,” said Schafer.

    After the tuk-tuks made their first appearance in the city last year, there were about 80 applications for licences to operate similar vehicles. The province only issued one licence, and without the city’s support.

    Paul Browning, an independent transport analyst, said tuk-tuks running as a small operation were quite successful.

    They were ideally meant to provide a last-mile service, especially from transport interchanges. But if the number of vehicles increased, there could be pressure on firms to deviate from their routes in a bid to secure more customers. This could possibly lead to turf wars with taxis.

    Quick, cheap and efficient travel

    The Cape Argus arranged a trip on a Monarch “Tuksi” with a single phone call.

    Half an hour later driver Tony de Wet met us in upper Long Street and said he was flexible in terms of where we wanted to go.

    He said tourists could rent the tuk-tuk and drive it themselves if they had a motorcycle licence, but requesting a driver didn’t cost extra.

    To the sounds of Bob Marley’s greatest hits, De Wet, 59, drove us over Kloofnek, through Camps Bay, via Bantry Bay and Sea Point Promenade and back to Long Street. He stopped along the way, pointing out the sites and casually chatting about them.

    “I’m from Cape Town and now I can honestly say I have the best job in the city! With the breeze through my hair, I get to meet people from different walks of life. It’s also a beautiful city and I get to listen to good music all day,” he said.

    “We have had some problems with the city and licensing. But the owner is meeting with them and hopefully by the festive season we’ll have our entire fleet out and taking tourists around.”

    Although the tuk-tuk could “easily” be pushed to 80km/h, De Wet said most tourists preferred to go at a more relaxed speed - “to take photos and so on”.

    The drive did not feel unsafe, and the passenger seat at the back is fitted with two seat belts.

    De Wet said the vehicles were light on fuel and offered commuters a cheaper option than a taxi.

    He acknowledged that only one of the tuk-tuks (out of a fleet of 20) could legally take passengers. “The other ones you see are only used for advertising and promotions.”

    Monarch’s tuk-tuks are imported from India, where they are the preferred means of public transport in many cities.

    History of the tuk-tuk

    The tuk-tuk, invented in Japan, is popular throughout Asia and India.

    Also known as an auto rickshaw, these vehicles offer a cheaper alternative to driving short distances, especially in cities with heavy traffic congestion.

    These three-wheelers can be seen in several African countries, such as Kenya, Egypt and Mozambique.

    They are popular with tourists and passengers wanting to nip somewhere without having to walk.

    Gauteng has a few tuk-tuk operators and there are plans to start a service in Tshwane.

    Companies in Gauteng must also apply to the Provincial Regulatory Entity for an operating licence.

    anel.lewis@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The City of Cape Town must pay a Kraaifontein man R25 871 in damages for a sewage spill, the Public Protector has ordered.

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    Cape Town - The City of Cape Town must apologise to a Kraaifontein man and pay him R25 871 in damages for a sewage spill, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has ordered.

    Ivan Kumwenda’s house and its contents were damaged when a sewerage pipe burst outside his property on December 2, 2010. After the city fixed the pipe, Kumwenda asked it to compensate him for the damage, but the city refused, according to Madonsela’s ruling on Wednesday.

    She said the city’s response to her provisional report had been defensive. The city had argued that the sewage spill had occurred because of a blocked drain.

    “The city’s repudiation of the complainant’s claim for damages was unjustified in the circumstances and is accordingly improper,” Madonsela’s report says.

    The city must give Kumwenda a written apology, pay him damages and monitor whether problems with drains outside his home had been solved, Madonsela said.

    Cape Times


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    Another cold front is expected to hit the Mother City, bringing rain and strong winds to the peninsula.

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    Cape Town - Another cold front is expected to reach the Mother City by Thursday night, says the South African Weather Service.

    “A fairly strong cold front is expected to make landfall in the evening and then should spread into the interior of the Western Cape,” said Kate Turner, forecaster at the South African Weather Service.

    The cold front should extend to Alexander Bay and the Northern Cape. Gale-force winds are expected on Thursday night and seas above 6m are predicted for Friday.

    Light snowfalls are expected in the western parts of the Western Cape. Table Mountain should remain snow-free, said Turner. Rain is predicted for Friday but should clear up by Saturday afternoon.

    High pressure behind the cold front will mean warm dry air from the interior will move off the coast, bringing the berg wind effect along coastal areas on Monday with temperatures reaching a maximum of 28ºC, Turner said.

    shireen.mukadam@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A Cape Town mother has accused two city health facilities of negligence after she and her newborn were hospitalised.

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    Cape Town - A Belhar mother has accused two city health facilities of negligence after she and her newborn baby had to be admitted to hospital.

    Lejuan Le-Fleur, 20, said not only were staff at Tygerberg Hospital negligent by leaving a hand-towel-sized gauze swab in her womb after she gave birth in August, but staff at Chestnut Clinic in Belhar were also negligent by giving her two-week-old infant an inoculation meant for older babies.

    Her baby, Carla-Joy, was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital after she had “a seizure” a few days after she had been given several vaccines.

    The vaccines, which are meant to be given at six weeks, included oral rotavirus and polio drops and three injections that prevent infections, including hepatitis B and pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis and tetanus.

    The mother claims that a day after her baby had been admitted, she too was admitted to the same hospital after developing an infection from the dressing, which had been left in her womb for three weeks.

    Tygerberg Hospital neither denied nor admitted the allegations, with the provincial Health Department spokeswoman, Faiza Steyn, saying the hospital management was investigating the matter.

    The City of Cape Town head of health, Dr Zandile Mahlangu, said the immunisation that was given by the city clinic at an incorrect age was “deeply regrettable and (is a) very rare occurrence”.

    But Le-Fleur is livid, saying that nurses continued to ignore her symptoms of infection despite her reporting it more than once.

    When she complained of sharp abdominal pains, a foul smell and a pale face, staff at the Bishop Lavis Maternity and Obstetrics Unit nurses allegedly said it was not serious.

    “They just gave me more salt and a Betadine solution (an antiseptic) and said I must go home and wash with the salt water. I did all of that, but the pain wouldn’t go away.

    “I knew something was definitely wrong… I was getting paler by the day and the abdominal pain was intensifying.

    “I went to Tygerberg, and nurses there also said there was nothing wrong,” she said.

    Only after she became weak while looking after her baby at Tygerberg did a paediatrician notice how ill she was and referred her back to the maternity unit. After medical examinations the dressing was removed.

    sipokazi.fokazi@inl.co.za’

    Cape Argus


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    The City of Cape Town and Lifesaving Western Province are shifting the blame after two pupils drowned at Camps Bay.

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    Cape Town - No lifeguards were on duty at Camps Bay beach when two teenagers drowned on Wednesday - and the tragedy might have been avoided if the City of Cape Town had signed a contract for lifeguards to patrol during school holidays, says the chairman of Lifesaving Western Province.

    Martin Williams said the city’s director of sport, recreation and amenities, Gert Bam, had failed to renew a contract that would have made sure lifeguards were on the scene to rescue the 16-year-old boys who were visiting Cape Town with their school from North West.

    “Guards are not critical at this stage,” Bam told CapeTalk just hours before the two boys drowned on Wednesday. According to CapeTalk, he added that “because of the weather at this time of year it’s not financially prudent to have lifeguards on duty during the week”.

    For the past six years, an agreement between the City of Cape Town and Lifesaving Western Province has provided a stipend for professional lifeguards to cover popular beaches during school holidays.

    Without lifeguards on the beach, it was up to a heroic bystander to rescue a 15-year-old pupil on Wednesday.

    The agreement terminated in April and, due to legal delays, the city has not yet re-signed it.

    “Had the contract been ready and signed, we would have had professional lifeguards on all beaches during this holiday,” Williams said.

    Bam acknowledged to the Cape Argus on Thursday that there had been a delay in signing the contract.

    “The agreement for the 2013/14 season has not yet been signed as we are receiving legal opinions in order to ensure that the city and Lifesaving Western Province are not exposed to legal risk,” he said. “We are working hard to have this legal deadlock resolved before the onset of the summer holidays.”

    Bam does not have plans to ensure that lifeguards are immediately stationed at beaches for the remainder of the holiday. “Because lifesaving is voluntary, it is expected that the life-saving clubs would provide voluntary services as they normally do.”

    However, Williams said the voluntary period for lifesaving clubs began in November. The agreement with the city previously allowed professional, paid lifeguards to operate outside the voluntary time, such as during the September holidays.

    “It’s devastating to us that this terrible accident happened,” Williams said. “This whole thing would have been avoidable had our guards been there.”

    Williams said that even in winter, Camps Bay beach was often used by foreigners and inland visitors who were unfamiliar with the ocean and were not put off by cold weather.

    The boys, aged 16, were from the North West and were poor swimmers. They entered the water in an attempt to rescue the 15-year-old, who was struggling against a rip current.

    The 15-year-old was rescued by a bystander, while the two older boys were caught in the current and disappeared in the surf.

    The teenagers were on a school tour to Cape Town. They attended RB Dithupe Intermediate School in Zeerust.

    A massive rescue effort was launched, but no sign of the two missing boys has been found. Police divers called off their search due to rough sea conditions, but shore patrols are continuing.

    The school tour group returned to Camps Bay beach for a memorial service before leaving for North West on Thursday afternoon.

    About 60 children and teachers comforted each other on the beach.

    Craig Lambinon of the NSRI addressed them, as well as Faith Sijula from the education department, Captain Delicia Isaacs from the Camps Bay police station, and Warrant Officer Sutton, who heads the police dive unit.

    They sang the favourite songs of their drowned friends and tossed flowers into the waves before beginning the bus trip home.

    The rescuer, on holiday from Johannesburg, jumped into the water with a surfboard when he heard the commotion on the shoreline.

    “I just knew that I had to keep calm,” he said. “The boy was very weak and couldn’t hold on to the surfboard or to me, so I ended up carrying him.”

    The 15-year-old was shivering but could still speak.

    “The current was very strong. He did very well to keep his head above water for as long as he did,” said the man.

    “When I went into the sea I was afraid I would be coming back with a corpse.”

    The bystander wanted the parents of the drowned boys to know that nothing more could have been done to save them.

    “Those children are heroes,” he said. “It was instinctive for them to jump in to save somebody, it was the ultimate sacrifice really.”

    The bystander was the only person to follow the boys into the “wild” and “aggressive” surf.

    “I was angry about that, to be honest,” he said. “There was a crowd of people and all of them stood and watched from the sidelines when there were three kids in the water desperate for help.”

    The bystander spoke to the boy he rescued in hospital. “He didn’t remember the event, which shows the level of trauma he was under, but he did remember my voice. That was touching.”

    The RB Dithupe school board has instructed its teachers not to speak to the media, and no names have been released, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut.

     

    What to do when someone is trapped in a rip current:

    Rip currents have claimed four lives in seven emergencies nationwide this week, the NSRI’s Andrew Ingram said.

    Rip currents are misunderstood, tricky to spot and almost impossible to escape. They are rivers of water washing out to sea - sometimes gently, and sometimes at speeds of up to 2m/second.

    “They can be a hugely powerful river that’s absolutely impossible to swim against,” Ingram said.

    Recognising a rip is tough, but there are some telltale signs. A differently coloured zone of water, a break in wave patterns or debris moving out to sea all suggest a strong current.

    If you are caught in a rip current, step one is to stay calm. “Panic will kill you, not the rip current,” Ingram said. If you are a strong swimmer, head left or right of the current - don’t try to swim against it.

    If you’re not confident in the water, concentrate on floating and let the current take you out. It’ll soon slack, and then you can make your way back to shore or wait for lifesavers to reach you.

    If you see someone in a rip current, don’t go into the water to help them. Instead, phone 10177 for help.

    For more information visit www.nsri.org.za

    chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

    Cadet News Agency

    Cape Argus


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    Education MEC Donald Grant is hoping to reduce the number of underperforming high schools in the Western Cape this year.

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    Cape Town - Education MEC Donald Grant is hoping to reduce the number of underperforming high schools in the Western Cape from 26 to 12 or less this year.

    Addressing journalists at a spring school in Crawford, Grant said: I’m going to stick my neck out now, and I reckon we’ll be down to 12 or less underperforming schools from 26, gauged on my visits to those schools, chatting to the learners at those schools, teachers and tutors.”

    High schools are classified as underperforming if they achieve a matric pass rate of below 60 percent.

    The number of underperforming high schools in the province has decreased from 85 in 2009 to 76 in 2010, 30 in 2011 and 26 last year.

    Grant said the provincial government’s target was to have zero underperforming schools by the end of 2014.

    His spokeswoman, Bronagh Casey, said this year’s plan to reduce underperforming schools had been more focused.

    Each education district developed an improvement plan.

    An analysis of the 2012 National Senior Certificate results was conducted and discussed with each of the schools. The Grade 11 results of the class of 2013 were also analysed and a plan for each school was then developed.

    Other measures included a telematics programme through which lessons presented by expert teachers were broadcast to several schools, tutoring for pupils over weekends and holidays.

    Matric pupils have only one month left to prepare for the National Senior Certificate exams, which start on October 28.

    Grant said the province wanted “as far as possible” to achieve more than 40 000 passes.

    Last year the province achieved a record number of 36 992 passes.

    “I want as many learners to pass as possible. I will look at the quality of the passes as well, the number of distinctions, the number taking mathematics, science, technology, accounting, economics - the gateway subjects to grow the economy.”

    He said the number of candidates achieving passes which would give them access to Bachelor degree studies was also “a big deal”.

    “That signifies real opportunity.”

    Grant said that from next year the focus would shift to the 96 primary schools that have been classified as underperforming.

    ilse.fredericks@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    When Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela cut the blue ribbon, Johnny Williams’s dream of becoming a home owner came true.

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    Cape Town - When Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela cut the blue ribbon on Thursday, Johnny Williams’s dream of becoming a homeowner came true.

    Williams, his wife, Eunice, and their son, Joshua, were one of nine families who moved into their housing unit in the Fountain Head complex in what the province boasts is one of Cape Town’s most affordable housing projects.

    The project is part of the appropriately named Nuwe Begin housing development in Eersterivier - a three-way partnership between the government, financial institutions and new homeowners.

    The MEC said this model was the future for housing in South Africa. “We need everyone playing a part.”

    He criticised the “politically correct model of the state acting as Father Christmas and handing out houses”, saying this was not sustainable.

    The Williams couple, from Beaufort West, moved to Cape Town four years ago and rented a flat in Brackenfell.

    “I didn’t think it was possible to own a house in Cape Town on my salary,” said Williams, who works as a police official at the Cape Town harbour.

    It was his dream to be a homeowner. “This is fitting our budget. We can pay for this house,” said Williams.

    The government subsidises the home, making it possible for low-income families to access bonds so they can own their own homes.

    Eunice, who is unemployed, said their one-year-old son, Joshua, now has his own bedroom. The house has two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open-plan kitchen and living-room area.

    Joy Joel, the Williams’s new neighbour, received her keys on August 1 and moved into her first home on Women’s Day. “I am very excited. It’s the first house I have ever owned. It’s quite a milestone,” said Joel, a 34-year-old single mother.

    Madikizela said the delivery of the first units of the Nuwe Begin housing development was important because it was an example of the integration of people from different socio-economic classes.

    “The people here are the heartbeat of the economy. They are getting houses through partnerships between the department, financial institutions and themselves.” Madikizela said the Nuwe Begin housing project would see 591 homes built in the next year.

    Forty-four units have been completed so far.

    shireen.mukadam@inl.co.za

    Cadet News Agency

    Cape Argus


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    Two out of every five ANC branches in Cape Town are excluded from selecting the party’s candidates for next year’s elections.

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    Cape Town -

    Two out of every five ANC branches in Cape Town are excluded from selecting the party’s candidates for next year’s provincial and national elections.

    In other regions in the province, less than half of branches are in good standing and will attend next month’s provincial list conference.

    ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile confirmed on Thursday that 65 out of 111 branches in its Dullah Omar region were in good standing and would be allowed to send delegates and make nominations in the run-up to the conference.

    The party conducted an audit of all 360 branches in the province, but only 189 branches were in good standing and had 100 or more members to qualify for the nomination process.

    To date, names such as former churchman turned businessman Chris Nissen, the provincial head of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Hishaam Mohamed, and farm strike leader Nosey Pieterse were among those on nomination lists as candidates to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature.

    Desmond Stevens, acting deputy director-general for fisheries in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, has also been mentioned by some branches.

    The Cape Times understands Marius Fransman tops most nomination lists for the province, while most branches included names of supporters of both Fransman and ANC heavyweight Mcebisi Skwatsha. A number of ANC members said it’s expected that Skwatsha, along with former ANC premier Lynne Brown, will join the national Parliament next year.

    Both declined to comment on the nominations on Thursday.

    Branches only have until Monday to call meetings and send their nominations to the provincial ANC offices.

    Only half of the 189 branches had held meetings by the beginning of this week.

    The province’s biggest branch in Cape Town, ward 40 in Gugulethu, is to meet on Saturday to decide who to nominate.

    The branch has 1 496 members and will send 19 delegates to the list conference.

    This is the branch in which former ANC councillor Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla have large support. The second-largest branch in Cape Town is in Khayelitsha, ward 87.

    Mjongile said some regions like the southern Cape had fewer branches because of infighting among the regional executive committees (REC).

    The ANC’s provincial executive committee stripped the southern Cape REC of all its powers last month and appointed ANC deputy provincial secretary Maurencia Gillion to assist. From this region, 40 of the 77 branches will attend the conference in Cape Town on October 19.

    cobus.coetzee@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Two men wanted in connection with a murder in Cape Town have been arrested while allegedly trying to flee to the Eastern Cape.

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    Cape Town - Two men wanted in connection with a murder in Milnerton have been arrested near Beaufort West while allegedly fleeing to the Eastern Cape.

    Mkhulua Madolo, 27, and Mathemba Matshikiza, 32, are expected to appear in the Cape Town Regional Court on Monday for allegedly murdering Nyameko Sigidi, 24.

    Police Captain Bernadine Steyn said Sigidi was murdered on Monday at about 10.30pm.

    “An argument between the deceased and the two suspects occurred on the corner of Montague Drive and Chain Avenue in Milnerton. “During the argument, one of the suspects allegedly took out a firearm and shot the deceased,” she said.

    Madolo and Matshikiza were arrested on Tuesday at about 5.30am on the R61 between Beaufort West and Aberdeen in a white Quantum minibus taxi.

    A firearm and 40 rounds of ammunition were found in the vehicle’s engine compartment.

    The men are also due to appear in the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

    The firearm will go for ballistic testing to determine whether it could be linked to other crimes, including the Milnerton murder.

    Meanwhile, police have released the identikits of two men wanted for the attempted rape of a Maitland pupil last month.

    Anyone with information can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

    In Delft, the Bellville Vehicle Identification and Safeguarding Section, National Intervention Unit and Cyber Crime Support Unit arrested two fraudsters on Thursday.

    Police received information that two men were allegedly manufacturing fraudulent vehicle registration documents, licence discs and matric certificates.

    A 23-year-old man from Zimbabwe and a 34-year-old South African woman were arrested at about 6am at a house in Ndjalaboom Road, Delft.

    Computers, multi-function printers, memory sticks, DVDs, money and many illegal documents were found at the home.

    The two are due to appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

    Cadet News Agency

    Cape Argus


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    A Cape Town bookkeeper who admitted she defrauded the Southern Africa PGA Tour of over R455 000 has escaped jail time.

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    Cape Town - A local bookkeeper who admitted in court that she had defrauded the Southern Africa PGA Tour of more than R455 000 has escaped jail time after she entered into a plea and sentence agreement with the State.

    The tour, which runs events on local golfing’s Sunshine Tour, has its head offices in Somerset West.

    The tour comprises three local money-spinners - the SA Open, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Joburg Open, which are co-sanctioned with the European Tour.

    Michelle Louter, 47, of Gordon’s Bay, pleaded guilty to 123 counts of fraud, involving R455 054, in the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday.

    Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg sentenced Louter to eight years’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years, on condition she was not again convicted of a similar offence.

    Louter will also spend two years under house arrest in Gordon’s Bay and can only leave during working hours, to do community service, to go to church or mosque and to attend treatment or rehabilitation programmes. As part of the plea agreement, Louter has to repay the money to compensate her former employer.

    A bulk amount totalling R160 000 was to be paid before the end of the year - R40 000 by midnight on Thursday night and a further R120 000 by the end of December.

    Louter also has to repay the remainder - R295 054.70 - in 58 monthly instalments of R5 000.

    She admitted that she had committed the fraud between April 2003 and April 2010 while she worked as a bookkeeper.

    The court heard that she handled the electronic capture and payments of invoices and had access to various bank accounts belonging to the company.

    Payments made were captured by Louter and were authorised by two signatories - Louter and the financial manager.

    If the financial manager was absent, and the chief executive was unable to authorise payments, log-in details were given to Louter to effect the payments.

    The financial manager post was often vacant and on occasions when the financial manager was absent from office, Louter authorised payments herself, but diverted the money to her own bank account.

    According to court papers, Louter said she used the money for day-to-day expenses and did not live a lavish lifestyle.

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The struggle to save the Sea Point Pavilion from commercial development is over, but a hotel on the beachfront is still on the cards.

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    Cape Town - The 15-year struggle to save the Sea Point Pavilion from commercial development may be over, but there’s still disagreement about how the proposed 52-bedroom hotel on the beachfront ever got on to the council’s planning agenda.

    The City of Cape Town on Thursday agreed the land would remain zoned as public open space and would not be available for commercial development.

    Atlantic Seaboard ward councillor Beverley Schafer said the council’s decision brought to an end the “intense battle” that cost civic group Seafront for All (Seafa) R3 million in legal fees. But she said the proposed development had been an example of ANC cronyism and possible corruption.

    She said the council decision brought to an end “the sad chapter where the ANC-run City of Cape Town, including the ANC-led provincial government at the time, tried to sell off the crown jewels of this city, which included Big Bay and the three erven on Sea Point Pavilion”.

    The aspirant developer, On Track Developments, never had a signed lease with the city, there was no development agreement or Environmental Impact Assessment in place. Furthermore the company was liquidated in June, adding impetus to the city’s decision not to proceed with the land use application.

    She alluded to the “dubious processes” followed by then Environmental Affairs MEC Tasneem Essop, who authorised the development in 2004.

    There were about 100 appeals against her decision, but in 2007, the development was given the go ahead with a number of conditions.

    There was also a conflict of interest, as one of the companies involved in the scoping report, Commlife, would have handled the letting of the development’s retail premises and would therefore have benefited from the project.

    But ANC councillor Jeremiah Thuynsma said while the ANC may have been in power at the time, the proposal for the development of the pavilion came from a Sea Point councillor.

    “On Track was unfortunately black. If a white company had won the tender, it would not have had the same problems.”

    He said the city was not doing enough for the people of Tramway Road who wanted to return to their land in Sea Point.

    Mayor Patricia de Lille refused to be drawn into a racial debate on the issue. She said the site had long been used as an interactive public open space and the council’s recommendation would ensure it was not developed in future.

    anel.lewis@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Rashied Staggie spent another day in his cell as prison officials considered job offers made to the former gang leader.

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    Cape Town - Former gang boss Rashied Staggie has not yet made the move from criminal to janitor.

    Despite widespread reports that the former Hard Livings gang leader had started his new career on Thursday, the Department of Correctional Services said Staggie spent another day in his cell.

    And he might have to stay there until at least Monday, while the department considers various job offers.

    It has been four days since the gangster was released on day parole from Pollsmoor Prison, after being moved to the facility from the Brandvlei Correctional Centre in Worcester.

    But Staggie had only been outside for two hours during that time when his first and only day out was cut short due to an absence of job offers.

    Staggie has served 10 years of a 15-year sentence for ordering the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl and later for a string of robberies.

    However, he was granted day parole on May 21 in front of a board in Worcester.

    The parole conditions require Staggie to have a job, and he will only be allowed to leave during the day to work before returning to the Tokai facility at night.

    Until now, job offers have been few and far between.

    On Wednesday, gangster-turned pastor Ivan Waldeck said he had sent a job offer to the department for Staggie to work as a cleaner at his firm, Ukonwaba Investments.

    Waldeck’s previous offer had been for Staggie to work as a motivational speaker, but that was scrapped after the department said it was not a suitable “6am-to-6pm” job.

    Waldeck said Staggie was meant to begin working on Thursday.

    However, Correctional Services deputy commissioner James Smalberger said this what not the case.

    “There has been no formal process yet.”

    The offer will first have to be reviewed and Staggie must also attend a job interview for the position.

    “This is not going to happen this week. It is most likely he will be able to start working next week,” he said.

    The department said on Thursday it would no longer be taking part in a “running commentary” on Staggie’s job hunt and would officially announce when Staggie found employment.

    Staggie is currently being kept at the day parole facility at Pollsmoor Prison.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A slightly amended liquor by-law has been released for public comment in Cape Town.

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    Cape Town -

    A slightly amended liquor by-law has been released for public comment in Cape Town.

    The new by-law allows off-site consumption establishments to apply to trade on Sundays and until 8pm, rather than 6pm.

    It also allows on-site consumption establishments to apply to trade until 4am if they had been able to trade until 2am.

    City of Cape Town councillors agreed with the changes to the by-law and that it should be released for public comment.

    Councillor Taki Amira said the previous by-law had received some negative feedback about the trading hours of off-site consumption establishments, and so it had been opened for public participation.

    “This by-law is basically the old one with a number of amendments giving strength to enforcement, which was lacking in the previous one, and also allowing for Sunday trading and for the extension of off-consumption to 8pm.”

    He said the new by-law, named Draft by-law Control of Undertakings that Sell Liquor to the Public 2013, would be open for public comment on October 1 for 30 days

    Mayor Patricia de Lille recommended that the council support the draft by-law and that it be authorised for public participation.

    According to the by-law, its aim was to “aid in the reduction of alcohol-related harms and associated social costs”.

    The city’s Liquor Trading Days and Hours by-law had come into effect on April 1 last year, but it was recommended that some aspects be reconsidered. Public participation was held in April and May this year and these responses were analysed.

    It was found that more than 90 percent of respondents were in favour of extended trading hours and trading on Sundays.

    The first round of public participation revealed that the majority of respondents felt that off-licences should trade until 8pm and that would have a positive effect on neighbourhoods.

    The previous by-law had only emphasised hours and days of trade, while this newer version sought to improve the city’s efficiency in managing the sale of alcohol.

    The new by-law required the display of hours of trade and zoning certificates.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Crime in the Cape Town CBD is on the decrease thanks to the prompt response of Central City Improvement Distric units.

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    Cape Town - Crime in the CBD, including chain snatching, theft out of vehicles and ATM fraud, is on the decrease –thanks to the prompt response of Central City Improvement Distric units.

    The CCID is a private-public partnership formed with property owners in the area.

    Speaking at the CCID’s annual general meeting, chairman Rob Kane said its officers had an average response time of less than five minutes.

    “The CCID’s unit is still the number one respondent on the scene for the city’s own Cyclops camera surveillance unit,” said Kane.

    He added that the city’s urban management reported considerable success in preventative measures when identifying adolescent day strollers and new children coming into the city centre. This included mothers who used children to beg.

    “A substantial reduction in litter, waste and illegal dumping were also reported, as well as efficient and ongoing cleaning of stormwater drains in the CBD. The area saw no flooding once again (for the seventh year in a row) as a result of blocked drains.

    “This made the CBD one of the few areas in Cape Town to be spared this potentially disastrous annual winter occurrence during the heavy rainfall months,” said Kane.

    Against its running budget of R38 million for the year under review, Kane said the CCID provided services in an area with “a total municipal value of R23 billion, that generated R216m in rates over the year, all within the CCID boundaries of 1.6km2”.

    The partnership, which deploys a 600-strong task force across the CBD, celebrated its 13th year in operation on Tuesday.

    Kane said its major achievements included a LED street lighting pilot project on Greenmarket Square, its involvement in the CBD’s first researched and consolidated systemic roll-out of 140 new motorcycles, and 42 new disabled parking bays.

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    “Zille last took questions on September 12, she has more interest in the National Assembly and other provinces than leading this one.”

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    Cape Town - Opposition parties in the Western Cape legislature are fuming after Western Cape Premier Helen Zille indicated that she would be missing this month’s sitting on Thursday.

    The ANC accused Zille of being an absent premier who continually ducked and dived to avoid answering questions in the legislature.

    The outraged ANC chief whip in the Western Cape legislature, Pierre Uys, said that MPLs had been told Zille would again not be present in the legislature to answer questions.

    Uys said it was becoming more apparent that the legislature wasn’t one of the premier’s priorities.

    “Zille last took questions on September 12… she has more interest in the National Assembly and other provinces than leading this one.”

    Uys remarked that the last time Zille had to take questions, last month, “she opted to attend, among other (things), a South African Institute of Race Relations discussion in Gauteng”.

    “Either she does not want to answer to the legislature or she can’t and therefore runs away. It is unacceptable that she treats with disdain this legislature who elected her and where the constitution says she must account.”

    Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, said Uys was being disingenuous, as he was well aware that this would be only the second time this year that the premier would miss facing questions without notice.

    “The first time was because she was attending the President’s Co-ordinating Council on October 17, which all premiers have to attend. Second, he omits the fact that the provincial parliament had some constituency weeks in the two-month intervening period during which the House did not sit,” Mbhele added.

    But Cope’s Mbulelo Ncedana agreed with ANC’s sentiments, saying to his party’s surprise and disappointment, Zille would not be present for the next two sittings.

    Ncedana asked how it was possible that Zille could arrange other meetings when there was going to be a sitting of the House.

    “We fully concur with the ANC. For us it works better to question the premier face to face because then you can have follow-up questions.”

    The provincial leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, Grant Haskin, said that he too was disappointed that the premier would not be present.

    “These are necessary components of parliamentary work, which we had very few of in this last period. There’s one more formal sitting next month, and (Zille) is not going to be at any of them.”

    Haskin said the questions to the premier without notice was an ideal opportunity to get responses on current and urgent things.

    He added that the DA was quick to criticise President Jacob Zuma when he did not attend sittings.

    “It’s disappointing and does not help our work.”

    warda.meyer@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Eleven Cape schools will include the teaching of Xhosa First Additional language into their Grade 1 curriculum next year.

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    Cape Town - Eleven Cape Town schools will include the teaching of Xhosa First Additional language into their Grade 1 curriculum as part of a pilot study next year.

    This ahead of the planned introduction of a third, African language to the school curriculum incrementally from 2015 in Grade 1 until 2026.

    The Western Cape Education Department had invited schools in urban districts to apply to be part of the study and had asked district directors for their input on which schools should be chosen, said spokesman Paddy Attwell.

    He said the department had considered a number of factors when considering which schools should be involved.

    “They included proximity, to make it easier for itinerant teachers to visit schools, school performance, their ability to cope with the pilot project, and the composition of the learner population.”

    Attwell said five additional teachers would be appointed who would travel between the 11 participating schools.

    He said schools would determine how they would accommodate the additional lessons. “Options include extending the school day and adjusting their current timetables. Key subjects must continue to receive the specified teaching times.”

    Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Wednesday she had released the Incremental Introduction of African Languages in South African Schools draft policy for public comment.

    She had also approved the pilot study to test the implementation of African language teaching. “The pilot study will be conducted during the period, January 1 until December 31, 2014, in a minimum of 10 selected schools per province in all nine provinces,” read her notice in the Government Gazette.

    A statement released by the Department of Basic Education said the pilot would “inform the feasibility of the extended school day, teacher provisioning models and support, and resources to support teaching and learning”.

    The study would focus on:

    * Promotion and development of the nine previously marginalised African languages to ensure that non-English and non-Afrikaans home language speakers attending schools where neither English nor Afrikaans is the language of learning and teaching are able to rely on their own language proficiency during their assessments.

    * Establishment of additive multilingualism as an approach to language in education in South African schools, with the view to exposing all non-African language speakers to African languages.

    The Cape Times reported on details of the draft policy earlier this year, including that school days were set to be lengthened by up to an hour each day. Each day would be between 24 minutes and an hour longer for pupils.

    * The deadline for submitting a comment is February 12.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    The Cape High Court heard that the company awarded the decommissioning of Athlone Power Station was the only responsive tender.

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    Cape Town - Despite alleged irregularities in awarding the tender for the decommissioning of Athlone Power Station to Aurecon, the company would have won the contract regardless as it was the only responsive tender, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

    In its responding papers, Aurecon has submitted that the city’s officials were solely responsible for the alleged irregularities in the tender process.

    The city is asking the court to set aside its decision to award the R9.7 million (excluding VAT) tender to Aurecon.

    This comes after the ANC last year cried foul over the tender process, saying Aurecon had an unfair advantage over other bidders as it had done a pre-feasibility study for the scope of work for the project prior to the decommissioning tender being awarded.

    The city initiated an investigation which was done by Ernst and Young.

    The city’s advocate, Ismail Jamie SC, said prior to the investigation’s report, the city did not have any indication of irregularities. The city had to ensure its processes were fair and transparent, and that in this case it hadn’t been.

    This left the city with no choice but to ask the court to set aside its own decision to award the contract to Aurecon.

    The city is arguing that Aurecon should not have won the tender because of a number of transgressions in the tender awarding process which resulted in the company being afforded an unfair advantage over other bidders.

    Aurecon denies that it had an unfair advantage as no other bidders complained.

    In Aurecon’s court documents, it stated it was apparent from two affidavits deposed to by the chairman of the bid adjudication committee that the committee would have awarded the tender to Aurecon even if they were aware of alleged irregularities committed by city officials, because Aurecon’s tender was the only responsive one.

    Tenders were analysed and considered by the bid evaluation committee which found all tenders, except Aurecon’s, non-responsive as other bidders failed to comply with eligibility criteria related to “key personnel” for the project.

    The committee then recommended that Aurecon’s tender, the only responsive one, be accepted.

    Aurecon is asking that the city’s application to set aside the decision be dismissed with costs.

    In turn, they are asking the court to order that they were not precluded from bidding for the tender.

    Aurecon also submits that if the court is of the view that the irregularities are reviewable, that they are not responsible for the alleged irregularities committed by the bid evaluation committee.

    Aurecon further stated that it would be unfair to penalise them for such irregularities because no other bids were eligible for acceptance. It would not be in the city’s best interest to have the decision set aside as this would mean that the city would have to go out to tender again for the project, which will result in further delays.

    The Athlone towers were demolished in August 2010 and the tender for decommissioning awarded in October 2011.

    The city would answer any questions on their plans for the site.

    Mayco member for finance Ian Neilson said the city did not want to pre-empt the court’s judgment and would respond in detail once it received the judgment.

    On site, the rubble has been cleared and the area levelled.

    Judge James Yekiso reserved judgment.

    zara.nicholson@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    The body of prostitute Hiltina Alexander was covered with leaves and marks, a detective told the Western Cape High Court.

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    Cape Town - The body of prostitute Hiltina Alexander was covered with leaves and marks, a detective told the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

    Constable Angus James was called as a detective to the scene, next to the N7 highway in Philadelphia, near Atlantis, on May 19, 2008.

    He was testifying in the trial of Johannes Christiaan de Jager, 48, who has pleaded not guilty to raping and killing the 18-year-old.

    James said the body was unidentified until the fingerprints were scanned, which led the police to Alexander's family.

    At the scene, he pointed out key points to the photographer, who then removed the leaves covering her body to take a proper picture.

    James attended the post mortem a day later.

    “She 1/8the pathologist 3/8 started the post mortem, showing me the marks on the body, cutting open the body, showing me the injuries the deceased sustained,” he told the court.

    He said the pathologist took a photo of Alexander's pants next to a forensic bag and sealed them up.

    “She handed it to me in case there is maybe semen in the bag, because it seemed the lady was raped, according to her explanation.”

    He said the pathologist completed a sexual assault evidence collection kit, which commonly includes pubic hair and nail clippings for the purposes of DNA collection.

    “She cut the body, collected fluids and put it in the sex kit,” James said.

    From there, he took the bag with the pants in it and the sexual assault kit to the charge office in Philadelphia.

    He then went on leave and handed over the case to another police officer for investigation.

    Sakkie Maartens, for De Jager, told the police officer he had consulted farmers in the area and had found that the Van Schoorsdrift road was well-known for its prostitutes.

    He asked whether James was aware of this.

    “Yes, we have a problem with prostitutes,” James replied.

    He was excused from the stand.

    De Jager has also been charged with killing Charmaine Mare, 18, who spent her holiday with him and his girlfriend in Kraaifontein, Cape Town, in January this year.

    In a plea explanation on Wednesday, he said he grabbed Mare's arm because they were late and she slipped on a bath mat and fell. She did not regain consciousness.

    He said he panicked and decided to hide her body in a drain outside the house.

    He pleaded guilty to cutting off her lower legs and forearms to allow the body to fit into the drain, and also to taking her corpse to a field in Kraaifontein that Sunday, where he set it alight. Passers-by found her torso on January 14.

    He admitted there was no legal excuse for dismembering the body and that he knew at all times it was unlawful and punishable.

    He also pleaded guilty to stealing her cellphone rather than assaulting and robbing her of it, as stated in the charge sheet.

    The trial resumes on Monday.

    Sapa


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    A recruitment company is fraudulently using the Western Cape government's name to recruit aspiring traffic officers.

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    Cape Town - A recruitment company is fraudulently using the Western Cape government's name to recruit aspiring traffic officers, an official said on Thursday.

    Provincial community safety department head Gilbert Lawrence said the company invited candidates to submit their CVs and pay R150.

    “The public is warned to be alert as the department will use its own website or place the recruitment advert in the relevant media, to invite prospective applicants to apply,” said Lawrence.

    “This process will take place at no charge.”

    The matter had been reported to the police.

    Sapa


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    Cape Town's disaster response centre is preparing for the possibility of flash floods in the next two days.

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    Cape Town - Cape Town's disaster response centre is preparing for the possibility of flash floods in the next two days, it said on Thursday.

    “The City of Cape Town's disaster risk management centre is on alert following reports of heavy rainfall over the next two days, which could lead to flash floods,” spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement.

    He said the SA Weather Services had warned of heavy rainfall of up to 50mm and a cold front in many parts of the Western Cape from Friday afternoon until Saturday.

    There was a possibility that the heavy rainfall could result in flash flooding in the Cape metropole, southern parts of the West Coast district, western parts of the Central Karoo, the Overberg, Cape Winelands, and Eden district.

    “In addition, gale-force easterly/south-easterly winds (65 to 70 km/h) are expected from Table Bay to Cape Agulhas and off-shore of the South Coast tomorrow (Friday) afternoon and Saturday,” he said.

    The centre was deploying disaster response teams and engineering crews to assess the levels of the water across Cape Town to ensure the necessary action be taken to safeguard life and property.

    Sapa


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