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    Lindiwe Mazibuko "got it completely wrong" with regards to the DA's stance on equity legislation, says Helen Zille.


    Cape Town - DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko “got it completely wrong” with regards to the party’s stance on economic equality legislation, says party leader Helen Zille.

    Zille described the public policy spat a “plane crash”.

    Zille, speaking at the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday, said: “There was absolutely no excuse for the DA supporting Verwoerdian measures like that.” This was why the party needed to reject the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Bill and the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.

    The DA this week tried unsuccessfully to effect amendments to the Employment Equity Bill in a National Council of Provinces (NCOP) committee and save face after it voted for it in the National Assembly only to see MPs rebuked by Zille.

    Asked whether the internal fallout had made her rethink vague plans to step down as party leader in 2015 and possibly hand the reins to Mazibuko, she answered: “As soon as somebody else can do this job better than me, I will leave and I will do something else for the cause.”

    Ultimately, the revised legislative regime would impose “rigid racial-based quotas”, she said.

    Coercive equity quotas were a Verwoerdian wrong the DA should not and would not support.

    Zille was trying to clear up the DA’s public policy spat on economic equality legislation, which she has termed a “plane crash” and which has pitted her against Mazibuko and the caucus.

    “When we mess up, I’m the first to say, ‘sorry, that was a mistake; we will rectify it for these reasons’,” Zille told the press club.

    Zille steered the DA into a legislative U-turn after it voted in favour of the bills in the National Assembly and told Sapa of Mazibuko’s support for the measures: “She got it completely wrong.”

    On Thursday, Zille set out a highly nuanced position on affirmative action, saying the party, in the words of one of its billboard slogans, “supports BEE that creates jobs, not billionaires”.

    Zille said this was why the party initially voted in favour of the BBBEE bill – it created incentives for employing previously disadvantaged individuals but did not resort to coercive measures that would scare off investors.

    It changed its stance and took a stand against it in the NCOP because, she said, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies reneged on assurances on the code of good practice attached to the bill.

    One of the most objectionable provisions in the code in her opinion was the threshold for determining the extent to which a beneficiary could profit from share transfers.

    Instead of dropping the threshold to R10 million, as Davies had promised DA MPs, it was raised to R50m.

    The increase made the bill a recipe for entrenching “race-based crony enrichment”.

    When the bill was sent back to the National Assembly this week because the NCOP had made changes, the DA voted against it.

    On the equity bill, Zille said, the DA’s true position was always abundantly clear, despite how MPs voted.

    It would not support any law that sought to impose race quotas through “draconian penalties” imposed by unelected officials.

    The press club gathering took place at the elite Kelvin Grove Club in DA heartland and Zille took care to explain the party’s shift from liberal individualism to a more “substantive” approach that allowed for affirmative action.

    “We believe it is also part of the state’s role to provide a ladder and for some people the rungs of that ladder have to be closer because they don’t start at the same place… we are trying to reconcile that with our other fundamental beliefs.”

    Zille insisted that there was no “flip-flop” within her party on employment equity, despite the confusion that saw her pitted against her caucus.

    The DA’s economic plan was the fastest route to broad-based black economic empowerment, as it would enable the country to create 5.8 million new jobs and decrease unemployment by 11 percent by 2025.

    Cape Argus

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    Police and the SPCA are on high alert after a tip-off led to the rescue of puppies on a well-known smuggling route.


    Cape Town - The pups were found crammed into milk crates on the back of a truck. Scared, thirsty and hungry, the trio of dogs recovered on Thursday are suspected to be the latest additions to 262 dogs rescued from a national smuggling ring since last year.

    According to sources, the dogs were on their way to Angola where they would probably have spent their brief lives in breeding pens and being blooded and eventually killed in fighting pits.

    The National Animal Welfare Task Team, established to bring down an elusive dog smuggling cartel that has reportedly been operating in South Africa for more than a decade, said that with the help of the public it was closing in on some of the ring’s biggest players.

    Thursday’s rescue followed an anonymous tip-off that two trucks in Stellenbosch were transporting stolen dogs out of the country.

    Police intercepted the first truck on the Klapmuts Road and found the three pups, aged about seven months, inside.

    The driver was arrested on charges of transporting animals across provincial borders without a permit, animal abuse and neglect.

    Animal rights activist Mariette Hopley said the driver claimed he was travelling to Mpumalanga, but if one of the dogs - none of which were microchipped - is found to be stolen, he could face far more serious charges.

    SPCA senior inspector Moyo Ndukwana said it was too soon to link the driver to the dog smuggling ring.

    “But we know the role players in the cartel, so once we conduct an investigation we will be able to put the pieces together.”

    Ndukwana said the investigation would be difficult because none of the dogs had been microchipped.

    Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said the area where the truck had been pulled over was a well-known smuggling route.

    The other truck, believed to have nine dogs aboard, has so far eluded police.

    For task team leader Hopley, a former major in the SA Air Force who flew to Iraq in 2003 to rescue animals at the war-torn Baghdad Zoo, missing the truck is frustrating.

    She has seen the how smugglers transport dogs, from locking them into tiny boxes to tying them to the roof of trucks, and even shoving them into glove compartments.

    They are often found starved, thirsty and lying in their own excrement.

    “They don’t feed them, they don’t give them water. They just don’t care,” Hopley said.

    Officials have been alerted to the missing truck along all the major dog smuggling routes - which include the N7 that leads to the Namibian border, the N1 and N12 leading to Mpumalanga.

    Hopley has called on people to look out for the truck, a grey 11-ton Volvo.

    “And if you see any truck driver loading or unloading dogs in crates you should alert us. We will find this truck.”

    The SPCA has aided the task team in numerous operations in the past, from actively confiscating the animals to providing shelter and food.

    Hopley said only one of the recovered dogs had been sterilised.

    “He also had a bump on his head, which could have been from a scuffle. All the signs point towards the fact that he was stolen.”

    In the past, smugglers have brazenly stolen purebred dogs from homes. Hopley estimated that over 120 000 pups had been smuggled to Angola since the cartel began operating in South Africa.

    The most wanted dogs are German shepherds, Rottweilers, pitbulls and boerboels. The three pups recovered on Thursday were all of mixed breeds.

    Hopley said South African dogs were generally in high demand because smugglers believed they were healthy and more aggressive.

    “The dogs we picked up on Friday are muscular and are mixed-breeds of popular fighting dogs. They definitely look like they were going to be fighters.”

    Dog fighting in Angola was a lucrative industry, with bets as high as R80 000 being placed regularly, said the task team.

    Dogs can fetch over R25 000, while puppies can go for R10 000 or more.

    But Hopley said the task team was closing in on the “big guys”.

    With the help of public tip-offs, smugglers were being intercepted soon after setting off.

    She has called on people to be vigilant and keep their eyes open for trucks and bakkies transporting large numbers of dogs.

    “And if you see a purebred dog tied up on its own you should also be concerned. Many smugglers leave them like that to be collected by transporters later.”

    * Owners whose dogs have been stolen, can check the National Animal Welfare Task Team’s Facebook page to see if their dog has been found.

    Since last year, 12 dogs have been reunited with their owners while most of the remaining 250 other dogs have been adopted.

    If you suspect that your dog has been stolen, or if you have any information that might assist the task team with their operations, contact Mariette Hopley on 083 254 5523, or during office hours on 021 531 7815, e-mail


    Smugglers ‘targeting dog shows’

    Dog smuggling syndicates are now attending dog shows to pick their next targets.

    The Cape Rottweiler Club is on high alert, and has warned owners intending to show their dogs not to disclose any personal details such as their home address.

    These details have also been removed from show catalogues.

    “We were told these guys are now following people home,” said club secretary Tamirinda Schreuder.

    The club is no stranger to the syndicate’s activity. Last year, club chairman Osman Damon awoke to find a hole in his fence and two of his seven pure-bred Rottweilers missing.

    His dogs were later found among 30 dogs rescued from the Angolan border in August last year.

    While his dog Bonnee survived the trip, their older Rottweiler Nero died after being starved by smugglers.

    Bonnee was reunited with her owners just a few days after she was found.

    “I don’t know who is happier, her or me,” said Damon at the time.

    Cape Argus

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    DA leader Helen Zille and her right-hand man, Wilmot James, have hit back at critics who attacked the DA’s leadership.


    Cape Town - DA leader Helen Zille and her right-hand man, federal chairman Wilmot James, have hit back in the battle for the soul of the DA, attacking critics who accuse the party of having abandoned its liberal roots.

    In separate forums on Thursday, Zille and James labelled former DA leader Tony Leon and commentator RW Johnson “rank conservatives” who spoke “nonsense”.

    Leon, a former DA leader, on Thursday dismissed as “nonsense” claims that he was a rank conservative. He said it was “profoundly illiberal” to label and question the motives of those who held different views.

    Johnson failed to respond to calls and an e-mail for comment.

    The two men recently launched an assault on Zille’s leadership after the party supported the Employment Equity Amendment Bill in Parliament.

    Zille subsequently said this had occurred in error.

    Leon and Johnson said the party was “messy”, lacked policy direction and had drifted away from its liberal traditions in the quest for the black vote.

    The two publicly accused the DA of pretending to be a non-racial party while supporting a law which sought to propagate racial classification at the expense of whites, coloureds and Indians.

    Johnson was unforgiving even after Zille’s U-turn.

    Writing in Politicsweb this week, he said: “Helen Zille did a 180 degree return and said that the party should not have supported the bill… by then, however, the damage was long done… In the sort of party that the DA - or the old Progs - used to be, both these bills would have been thrown out in two seconds flat because it represented the very antithesis of liberal thought.”

    In a article sent to the Cape Times on Thursday, James said the statements by Leon and Johnson were “naive” because South Africa’s “unspeakable poverty” required that every possible avenue be found to create opportunities and jobs for the poor.

    He added their views were also “shallow” because liberalism was not simply about fairness and justice in the distribution of public office, assets and jobs.

    “The failure to embrace distributional justice disqualifies the commentators as liberals. They are in fact rank conservatives who would like nothing better than to keep things precisely as they are,” said James.

    “There is wistfulness in Tony Leon’s efforts to reinvent the environment that propels him.”

    Zille said on Thursday she wouldn’t use Johnson as a character reference because she thought very little of him.

    “I do not take Bill Johnson seriously. He writes well but he panel-beats facts to fit his theories. So I take it with a pinch of salt,” she said.

    Zille said while it was a mistake to support the bill, it was “nonsense” for him to suggest this meant the DA under her leadership was rudderless.

    “That is also nonsense. One mistake, although major, does not mean the DA is rudderless.

    “It is pure mythology that our predecessor parties embodied liberal purity from which we are now departing.”

    Asked why Leon and Johnson were attacking her leadership, Zille’s responded: “Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine. The comedian Anne Hirsch calls it FOBLO: “fear of being left out”.

    Leon said James was blaming and characterising others for his “unfortunate error”, because he was both the DA’s parliamentary caucus chairman and party policy chairman when the Employment Equity Amendment Bill was embraced.

    “I presume that Dr James is not suggesting that Ms Zille is conservative or anti-redress?

    “Setting up your own skittles in order to knock them down is easy, as is stigma-labelling,” he added.

    Cape Times

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    The grandmother of the baby found inside a toilet bowl says she will not put her only grandchild up for adoption.


    Cape Town - The grandmother of the infant found inside a toilet bowl says she will not put her only grandchild up for adoption.

    The 51-year-old granny says she will take care of her tiny grandson.

    “The baby is not up for adoption. This is my only grandchild,” she tells the Daily Voice.

    “I can’t just give him away like that. “I will take him and I will raise him because he is our child.”

    On Tuesday, police found the baby face-down inside a toilet after his mother gave birth and left him abandoned.

    The baby was found nearly three hours after the mother gave birth.

    The young woman, who works as a domestic worker in Newfields, denied giving birth when she was confronted by her employers and hospital staff.

    The little boy’s worried granny, who is from Kimberly in the Northern Cape, burst into tears when she heard her daughter had been arrested for concealment of birth.

    She says she didn’t know police took her daughter into custody hours after giving birth.

    “In all the years she has been away from home I have never had any problems with her,” she says.

    “I don’t want to speak in her favour, but I get the feeling she was scared to tell people she is pregnant.

    “Maybe she felt the pain and wanted to use the toilet when the baby came out.

    “I hope they (police) don’t punish her for this.”

    The granny says the birth of her grandson came as a surprise but she is happy.

    “I don’t know what to feel,” the granny says.

    “I was really shocked when her employers called and told me she had a baby.

    “But I am happy for the little one and that he is safe - even if he came unexpected.”

    The woman says she does not know if her daughter was in a relationship with anyone before she moved to Cape Town. She says the family is worried about her daughter and has not yet thought of a name for the newborn.

    “I didn’t have a chance to think about a name yet,” she explains.

    “I am just worried about her.”

    Late on Thursday night, cops confirmed the mother had not yet been charged and she was still in hospital.

    Daily Voice

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    The Bawsi Agricultural Workers Union of SA intends on striking at the Le Roux Group farms in the Boland.


    Cape Town - The Bawsi Agricultural Workers Union of South Africa (Bawusa) is to ignore a court order and intends striking at the Le Roux Group farms in the Boland from Friday.

    This comes days after a Labour Court ruling that barred union officials from the farms after the court determined that strikes, which started last week, were unprotected.

    On Thursday Nosey Pieterse, Bawusa’s general secretary, said the grievances of workers (some of whom are Bawusa members) on Le Roux farms remained.

    He said another 48-hour strike notice had been issued to the farms’ management on Wednesday, warning that strikes would resume.

    Bawusa’s chief complaint is that the Le Roux Group increased deductions on the wages of farmworkers to mitigate against the impact of a higher minimum wage.

    In February, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced that the minimum wage for the sector would be raised from R69 a day to R105.

    On Monday, strikers set fire to a truck and burnt fields on Sandrivier - one of the Le Roux farms outside Wellington.

    Twelve strikers were arrested on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

    The incident also prompted the Le Roux Group management to lodge an urgent interdict against Bawusa and Pieterse with the Labour Court.

    “We have heard from Pieterse of Bawusa’s intention to instigate another strike. The union, however, needs to be reminded of the Labour Court ruling and ensure that they stay within the law. If they ignore the ruling, we trust that the law will take its course,” said Stephan Strauss, Sandrivier’s manager, on Thursday.

    Strauss added that he did not get a feeling from his workers that there was trouble brewing. “But one cannot say for certain. We remain vigilant,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the 12 people arrested on Monday have appeared in the Wellington Magistrate’s Court. Eight of them have received bail and four remain in custody. The case has been postponed to Monday.

    Cape Argus

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    Name-calling, heckling and snide remarks seemed to be the order of the day as the Western Cape Legislature met this week.


    Cape Town - If the raucous debate, name-calling, heckling and snide remarks in the Western Cape Legislature about party election nomination lists are anything to go by, we have entered the pre-election “silly season”.

    Erratic outbursts, interjections and objections, and allegations of stealing from the poor were some of the ingredients that defined the sitting of the legislature on Thursday.

    During the four-hour session, epithets were hurled at the DA, mostly by ANC chief whip Pierre Uys, including “the directionless DA is like a beached whale that goes from bad to worse”.

    There was also “the split personality DA is in shameful disarray”, “schizophrenic DA”, and “psychopathic DA”.

    The ANC was accused of stealing from the poor in the Oudtshoorn municipality where the ANC-dominated council is still clinging to power despite an earlier by-election shifting the majority to the DA.

    Even Local Government MEC Anton Bredell got rowdy, going as far as to say the municipality’s lawyer “should be struck from the roll”.

    The ANC’s Max Ozinsky asked whether Bredell was allowed to question the bona fides of an officer of the court. Speaker Richard Majola said the MEC had expressed himself in Afrikaans and he would need to read the transcripts before ruling.

    Transport MEC Robin Carlisle was particularly loud, accusing the ANC of stealing from the poor.

    Lynne Brown (ANC) interjected, but Carlisle said he was merely explaining “that the Speaker in Oudtshoorn is stealing his salary from the poor”.

    Brown hit back, wanting to know if the same could not be said of Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, if he did not build the number of houses he was supposed to build.

    Later, Bredell accused Uys of conniving with ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman during the ANC’s recent nomination list processes to ensure branches in the stronghold of the ANC’s Mcebisi Skwatsha could not vote.

    The heckling continued throughout the debate on the socio-economic state since the DA has been in power, with both sides accusing the other of lying to the public.

    Cape Argus

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    Staff at a Cape Winelands petrol station were given counselling after a pre-dawn raid by ATM bombers.


    Cape Town - Workers at a Cape Winelands petrol station were given counselling on Thursday after a pre-dawn raid by ATM bombers.

    The attack was at a Shell petrol station and shop on the R102 in Firgrove, a hamlet between Somerset West, Macassar and Eerste River.

    The drama unfolded shortly after 3.30am when the robbers shot their way into the shop before blowing up the ATM outside.

    Workers in the garage shop first heard a man trying to open the door, then kicking it.

    A security guard inside approached the locked door and was about to open it - believing the man was a potential customer - when the man drew a gun. The guard and two cashiers fled to the back of the shop - two into a storeroom, which they locked, and the guard into a bathroom.

    But the would-be bombers shot the front glass door’s locks open to get inside.

    Kicking at the door, they demanded workers open the doors they had locked, but they refused.

    Outside, petrol attendants were being held up at gunpoint while the robbers primed their explosives.

    Workers, who were too scared to be named, said they heard a massive bang, which shook the building, but remained behind the locked doors. The robbers fled, with cash but on Thursday it was not yet known how much.

    Traumatised workers were being counselled on the scene, while investigators from the Hawks, the Directorate of Priority Crime Inve tigation, combed the scene.

    There was a gaping hole in the building, where the ATM had been.

    Dineo Pooe, media relations manager for Shell, confirmed the attack, but did not wish to confirm any details.

    The police confirmed the ATM “was damaged by an explosive device”.

    Anyone with information can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

    Cape Argus

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    Western Cape farmworkers and their families will soon have easier access to affordable health care.


    Cape Town - More than a thousand farmworker families will soon have easier access to affordable health care with the launch of the Owethu primary health-care clinic stationed at Villiera wine farm in Stellenbosch.

    Surrounded by nature and grapevines as far as the eye can see, the facility includes medical and dental care, oncology treatment, basic healthcare education and a pharmacy.

    David Grier, managing trustee of the Cipla Foundation, the social enterprise division of pharmaceutical company Cipla Medpro, which has been behind the project, said it took four years and cost R2.2 million to get to this phase.

    “Usually they (farmworkers) would travel four to five hours to a clinic in Bloekombos or Stellenbosch and it would take them another five hours to travel back. We are trying to give them what they deserve.”

    Fifteen farms in surrounding areas have around 800 to 1 000 families who will benefit from the service.

    The facility which is being launched in partnership with NGO, The Pebbles Project, will officially open in January.

    Grier, who is also an adventurer, said the idea came to mind after several trips running through Tanzania, China and Madagascar where it was difficult to find basic health care.

    “I was constantly getting sick and needing vaccinations and thought how I could help to find basic medical care.”

    Owethu, meaning “ours”, is dedicated to improving the delivery and access of primary health care in rural communities, and by doing so, lessening the burden on South Africa’s public health-care system, he said.

    “Our aim is to roll this out to the rest of Africa. If there is no space to build a hospital, this could be used.

    “There are enough medical personnel but there is not enough infrastructure in Africa.”

    The clinic, which is made of modular pods, can be deployed anywhere and would comprise four permanent staff, a clinical nursing sister, an assistant nurse, oral hygienist and volunteer doctors, dentists and oncologists.

    He added that all medical treatment would be affordable to those in the communities and cost less than that of private health care.

    Paul Miller, chief executive of Cipla Medpro, said South Africa’s rural primary health-care system was in need of major resource assistance.

    “This is an initiative that will change the rural primary health-care industry in the country, and possibly even on the continent.

    “The fact that the unit makes use of interlocking pods means that it can be deployed anywhere, whether that is in rural South Africa, or anywhere in Africa.

    “It makes use of an entire sophisticated turnkey solution, and can exist independently, in a self-sustainable manner,” said Miller.

    Cape Argus

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    Fisherman were in shock as cops dragged a car from their favourite fishing hole.


    Cape Town - Fisherman were in shock as cops dragged a car from their favourite fishing hole.

    The two say they came across the submerged car at about 6.20am on Thursday in the Breede River, just outside Robertson.

    “They [robbers] must know this area, otherwise how would the car end up here,” says Pieter.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk says the car was stolen during an armed robbery in Montagu.

    “The complainant was at home when he was attacked by three unidentified men,” Van Wyk says.

    The men were armed with a gun and a knife.

    The victim was then robbed of cash and his cellphone before the attackers made him drive to his business, where they stole more money from a safe.

    “They then drove him back to his home in Montagu where they locked him up in a room,” he says.

    The attackers then fled the scene in the man’s Volkswagen Polo.

    Van Wyk says cases of armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle are being investigated. No arrests have been made.

    Daily Voice

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    A warrant of arrest was authorised for a woman accused of hacking the internet system of Parliament's operations officer.


    Cape Town - A warrant of arrest was authorised in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, Cape Town, on Friday for a woman accused of hacking the internet system of Parliament's operations officer.

    Cleopatra Mosana failed to appear in court. The warrant would be issued if she failed to appear by December 11, a court official said.

    Mosana faces 33 charges of violating legislation involving the protection of internet-related communications.

    In September, prosecutor Juan Agulhas told the court her lawyer, Greg Duncan, asked that Mosana be excused from attending the November proceedings, as she now lived in Centurion, Pretoria.

    According to the charge sheet, Mosana allegedly hacked Tango Lamani's internet system between April and June 2011.

    According to the charge sheet Lamani had confidential and sensitive information, as well as personal information, on his parliamentary computer.

    Hacking describes the gaining of access via the internet into another system, without the permission of the other system's owner.

    According to the charge sheet, Parliament's IT department informed Lamani that his system had been hacked. Mosana was at that stage in the employ of home affairs in Cape Town, where one of the “infringing” computers was located.


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    Patients at a hospital in Somerset West, Cape Town, were evacuated after a nearby river burst its banks.


    Cape Town - Patients at a hospital in Somerset West, Cape Town, were evacuated after a nearby river burst its banks, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.

    NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said rescue teams were called out at 9.30pm on Friday to evacuate the Vergelegen Mediclinic. Persistent rain had caused the Lourensford River to burst its banks. NSRI teams were called from other towns and brought sea rescue vehicles and jet-ski's.

    Photos on social media site Twitter showed nurses pushing stretchers down a hospital corridor through water knee-deep. By 2.30am on Saturday, most patients and staff had been evacuated.

    Lambinon said the NSRI also rescued nine people near Hottentots Holland High School. They were safely transported from the roofs of their flooded homes to higher ground.

    “During the operation (the) NSRI witnessed major flooding of residential and business areas of the Somerset West area and flooding of roads with some areas where even street stop signs were buried under water,” Lambinon said.

    Disaster risk management officials were providing shelter for those affected, restoring electricity, draining water systems and assessing damage to buildings and roads.

    The provincial health emergency medical services team was helping with the treatment and wellbeing of the evacuated hospital patients and those caught in car accidents due to flooding. “NSRI remain on high alert around the Western and Southern Cape to assist the emergency services in affected areas as the severe weather front moves East,” Lambinon said.

    On Friday, disaster management centre director Schalk Carstens said the province was on high alert for heavy rainfall at the weekend. The SA Weather Service said heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding was expected on Friday night and Saturday.

    The areas at risk were the southern parts of the West Coast, western parts of the central Karoo, the Cape Metropole, Overberg, Cape Winelands and Eden districts. Lambinon urged people to stay away from the sea because of rough conditions.

    “The approaching full moon spring tide is also now in effect, coupled with the rough sea conditions. This means extremely strong rip currents and rough, high seas will be experienced over the coming days and shoreline anglers and bathers are also urged to exercise extreme caution, along with the boaters and paddlers, around the coast.” - Sapa

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    Cape Town rescue services are even deploying rubber ducks to reach certain homes.


    Cape Town - Somerset West and Strand were worst affected by flash flooding in the Western Cape on Friday, as emergency services remained on high alert, with weather forecasters saying Cape Town should expect pouring rain throughout Saturday.


    Streets were turned into torrents as a flash flood half-swallowed Main Road in Somerset West late Friday afternoon in the worst flooding seen in the area in years.

    The heavens opened shortly after 4.30pm, accompanied by booming thunder and flashes of lightning. By 9pm the Lourens River had burst its banks, and flood water had risen to almost a metre on some roads in the eastern suburbs of the town.


    Desperate women were seen battling to chop holes in brick walls in a bid to release water building up inside their homes.


    At Vergelegen MediClinic, some wards had to be evacuated as the water rose, and civil protection agencies blocked off roads across the suburbs as water levels rose bonnet-high in places. Weekend Argus reporters saw at least a dozen houses knee-deep in water.

    Shortly after 9pm, Rescue Services were deploying rubber ducks to reach certain homes.


    The strain on stormwater pipes and drains was evident as manhole covers began popping under the strain. In the streets, dozens of cars’ engines gave up, leaving commuters stranded and drivers swerved to avoid collisions.

    Several pedestrians trying to cross roads were knocked over by the force of the water generated by passing cars.


    In Bizweni Avenue, a narrow irrigation canal running from the historic wine farms further up the valley, burst its banks and flooded a house. Members of the Hodge family tried to stem the tide with frantic bailing, but were soon overwhelmed.

    Claire Hodge, of the company A Vintage Affair, told Weekend Argus on Friday night: “Our entire house is around 25cm under water … every room in the house, every corridor, every cupboard is shin-deep in rainwater. And it’s still rising …”

    A nearby resident stood surveying a flooded garden and street: “This is not floodwater from a burst river, this is solely from the sky, and solely in the past hour.”

    Closer to the False Bay coast, African adventurer Riaan Manser said from his 4x4 in Beach Road, Strand: “People are flooded inside their cars, people are trapped in their cars in their garages. Their cars are waterlogged, soaking their engines, but the drivers can’t get out – they can’t open their doors. They’ve just given up…”

    He said Beach Road was closed. “I’ve been here for 18 years and I’ve never seen anything like this. We are so lucky tonight wasn’t spring tide too – it would have been even worse.”

    At the Post Office in Somerset West, commuters tried to reach the nearby taxi rank to get home, but some were too afraid to cross the turbulent, muddy waters.

    Late on Friday the South African Weather Service’s Cape Town office said there was a 100 percent chance of rain on Saturday, which was expected to spread to the southern Cape.

    The city, meanwhile, said it was deploying response teams and engineering crews to assess water levels, according to Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Disaster Risk Management spokesperson. - Weekend Argus

    l To report flooding, blocked drains and service disruptions, call 0860 103 089 or SMS to 31373. For road closures, contact the city’s Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63, and for emergencies, dial 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

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    Areas at risk are South coast, George, Riversdale, Hermanus and Oudtshoorn, says forecaster.


    Cape Town - More rain was expected in parts of the Western Cape on Saturday, the SA Weather Service said.

    “Areas at risk, which will be affected the most, were the South coastal areas, George, Riversdale, Hermanus and Oudtshoorn,” forecaster Ransby Bulo said.

    He said the rain would continue into Sunday.

    Provincial disaster management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said systems were in place to ensure people were protected from floods.

    “An area survey will be carried out to determine the (current) extent of flooding,” she said.

    Powell said a disaster response team was conducting a continuous assessment and taking extra measures to restore electricity and ensure draining water systems were functional.

    Persistent rain had caused the Lourensford River to burst its banks.

    She said 70 residents from Kays Caravan Park were placed at the Garden Village hall and 129 patients were evacuated at the Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West on Friday night and taken to neighbouring hospitals.

    Earlier, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said members brought sea rescue vehicles and jet-ski's to rescue the patients.

    Photos on social media site Twitter showed nurses pushing stretchers down a hospital corridor through water knee-deep.

    NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said that by 2.30am on Saturday, most patients and staff had been evacuated.

    Provincial department of transport spokesman Al-Ameen Kafaar said Chapman's Peak drive in Cape Town was closed until further notice.

    “A maintenance team is busy clearing up the debris on the road.” - Sapa

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  • 11/17/13--00:06: Woman dies in W Cape floods
  • A woman died and another was missing as floods ravaged across the Western Cape, say police.


    Johannesburg -

    A woman died and another was missing as floods ravaged across the Western Cape, police said on Saturday.

    Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana said the two women tried to cross a bridge when their car was swept away in Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch on Friday.

    “The ladies were on their way to church when the heavy waters swayed their car into the river.”

    He said the deceased was found on Saturday.

    “Divers have temporarily stopped searching for the other woman due to the heavy rain, but they will continue as soon as the water subsides,” Kinana said.

    Earlier, provincial disaster management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell, said 70 residents from Kays Caravan Park were placed at the Garden Village hall and 129 patients were evacuated at the Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West on Friday night due to flooding.

    The patients were taken to neighbouring hospitals.

    The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said rescue equipment has been brought in to assist.

    Photos on social media site Twitter showed nurses pushing stretchers down a hospital corridor filled with water.

    NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said most patients and staff had been evacuated.

    The SA Weather Service said more rain was expected in parts of the Western Cape.

    Areas that are at risk are the South coastal areas, George, Riversdale, Hermanus and Oudtshoorn.

    The rain is expected to continue into Sunday.

    Provincial disaster management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell said systems were in place to ensure people were protected from floods. - Sapa

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    Supporters of DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, have hit back to defend her.


    Cape Town - Supporters of DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, have hit back to defend her, saying Parliament under her leadership has never been more relevant, despite the party’s recent flip-flop over its support for the Employment Equity Bill.

    This emerged this week, as the factional battles for the soul of the DA hit a crescendo ahead of the party’s policy conference due to take place in Cape Town next weekend.

    Last week, party leader Helen Zille apologised for the party’s support for the bill and Mazibuko reshuffled her cabinet, moving trade and industry spokesman Sej Motau to economic development.

    Yesterday, DA MP Tim Harris defended Mazibuko’s track record in Parliament, downplaying the blunder over the party’s support for the bill.

    “We made a mistake on a particular bill… but it was a very mature and constructive discussion in caucus,” he said, adding that the decision to vote for the bill was made with consensus from “99 percent” of MPs.

    “We support properly broad-based redress,” he said.

    He said Mazibuko was currently overhauling the party’s systems in Parliament so there would be no similar mistakes.

    “It’s the strongest group of MPs we’ve ever had. We have almost completed the process of overhauling all our policies and they are innovative and fresh,” he said, responding to criticism that its MPs are weak.

    “You can’t write off Lindiwe’s entire legacy because of one mistake.”

    Zille said yesterday that next Saturday’s policy conference would provide “policy certainty”.

    “Wilmot James is drawing up the agenda in his capacity as the National Chairperson,” she said.

    The DA leader said that the party had for at least 10 years supported broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE).

    “Our slogan is ‘We support BBBEE that creates jobs, not a few billionaires’. That was and remains our position,” she said.

    On the issue of stepping down as party leader, she said the next party congress would be in 2015 and if it decided “someone else should take my place then, they will replace me”.


    She declined to respond to criticism by former DA leaders and insiders that the quality of DA MPs had declined, asking what “yardstick was used” to make those comments.

    Zille said the party was not struggling to strike a balance between attracting black voters and maintaining its traditional support.

    Of her relationship with Mazibuko, Zille said: “We are a team and our relationship is sound.”

    Meanwhile DA MP Masizole Mnqasela told Weekend Argus the party was at “a crossroads” and would have to use its coming policy conference to give policy certainty.

    “As an organisation we are at a crossroads. We have got to be clear about where we stand. We want the majority of black people to sing our songs without doubt,” Mnqasela said.

    “There is nothing that should confuse us when we are talking about redress,” he added. - Sunday Argus

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    An ANC march expected to draw thousands of people in Mitchells Plain turned out to be a damp squib.


    Cape Town - An ANC march expected to draw thousands of people in Mitchells Plain turned out to be a damp squib, when rain kept all but about 60 people away.


    The group had planned to march from the Rocklands Civic Centre to the Mitchells Plain town centre, but at 10.30am ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman announced the march would not go ahead.

    Instead, Fransman and Cosatu’s Western Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich, who were due to lead the march, led a convoy of vehicles on a visit to residents in the informal settlement.


    Before the group left, Fransman and Ehrenreich told the small group from the back of an ANC truck that thousands of people had been adversely affected by the weather.

    “We are calling on people to donate blankets, food and clothes to the people of Mitchells Plain,” Fransman said.

    Ehrenreich accused the DA-controlled provincial government of neglecting areas such as Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Manenberg and Langa, and “maintaining the privileges of apartheid” in areas such as Constantia, Milnerton and Bloubergstrand.

    “We serve notice on the DA: ‘You’ve neglected our people for too long. This is a move to get you out of the province and the city’,” he said.


    The convoy of vehicles stopped at seven shacks opposite the Kapteinsklip Station, where members of the ANC group spoke to some residents.

    But one resident, 22-year-old Revaughn Bandle, who said he was a supporter of the Dagga Party, was not impressed.

    “I’m in shock from these cars arriving here. I was still sleeping when they arrived. If people come here, I feel something will happen. But then they just stand there and pose for pictures for the news-papers.”

    He said his belongings had been confiscated several times by law enforcement officers. - Sunday Argus

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  • 11/17/13--01:42: EFF to picket Malema trial
  • Up to 3 000 EFF supporters are expected outside a Limpopo court were the party’s leader will be appearing.


    Polokwane - The prosecution will call 60 witnesses in the fraud and corruption trial of Julius Malema, scheduled to start in the Limpopo Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

    And while the Economic Freedom Fighters leader is in the dock, his supporters will gather outside the court.

    The party has reportedly been given permission for only 20 people to picket outside the court, but up to 3 000 supporters were expected, according to the party’s deputy provincial co-ordinator, Jossie Buthane.

    Malema and his business partner, Lesiba Gwangwa, along with Kagisho Dichabe, Helen Moreroa and Makgetsi Manthatha, are accused of fraudulently securing a R52 million Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport contract in 2009 to run its project management unit.

    The five face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

    Malema is out on R10 000 bail, while his co-accused were each released on R40 000 bail.

    Their trial is scheduled to run for the next two weeks, until November 29.

    National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said he felt a week would not be enough for 60 witnesses.

    The witness list included officials from the Limpopo government and expert witnesses, he said. The State would only receive a witness list from the defence at the close of the State’s case.

    Media requests to televise the trial meant there would also be preliminary issues, Mncube added.

    “There is no indication that things will not go according to plan,” he said, adding that the authority would not deal with security issues, which were the responsibility of the Justice Department and the court manager.

    Buthane told the Weekend Argus sister title The Sunday Independent: “We have given them notice to picket. We are not disrespecting that, but we are all going to be there.”

    - Sunday Argus

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    A huge mudslide led to families from an entire apartment block along Chapman's Peak Drive being evacuated.


    Cape Town - A huge mudslide led to families from an entire apartment block along Chapman’s Peak Drive being evacuated, while many other beachfront homes and roads on the Atlantic Seaboard were left damaged and submerged.


    Alerted by a knock on her balcony door, Caroline Hulton, 68, woke up to find her entire flat swamped by mud and murky water.

    Having arrived on holiday from England only on Friday, she was staying at 1 Chapman’s Peak Drive. She grabbed some belongings she’d just unpacked, and left.


    The mudslide hit the retaining wall behind the

    block of luxury apartments, and she said a security guard had climbed on to her balcony to wake her.


    “It was horrible… my apartment is completely destroyed,” Hulton said.

    Another resident in the block, Robyn Wilmink, said she thought a fire had broken out. “I woke up around 3am and smelled something funny, like a woody smell. I thought it was a fire but when I looked outside there was like three feet of mud pressing against our wall, which had also damaged the car park and the gate.”

    Rescue teams from the NSRI, Disaster Management, the Hout Bay Neighbour-hood Watch and the Community Emergency Response Team evacuated the entire block of flats as a safety precaution.


    Precariously perched on a rock close to the centre of the mudslide, Graham Haywood waited anxiously for his 82-year-old father Ronald Haywood, who has Parkinson’s disease, to be brought out.

    “It looks like a war zone,” he remarked, looking at a Ford Ranger bakkie lodged deep in the mud. The vehicle had been hit by a tree.


    Meanwhile, traffic headed for Hout Bay on Victoria Road was redirected back to Camps Bay, after a burst pipe resulted in the road caving in near Bakoven.

    Hout Bay resident Oliver Dods had been sitting in his car waiting for the water to subside, when he saw the road cave in and a parked Jeep go over the edge.


    “It was just after 1am. I was on my way to town to fetch my daughter from work. The Jeep was parked on the pavement and the road just collapsed and it fell into the hole. I thought the car had blown up because the electricity box next to the car blew up,” he said.

    Water could be seen streaming down into beachfront homes below the section of the missing road, and the power box was destroyed.


    A large boulder had also landed on the road just after the Twelve Apostles, further blocking the road.


    Chapman’s Peak Drive remained closed to traffic at the time of going to press last night. - Sunday Argus

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    Somerset West residents came out in droves to help as hospital patients at Vergelegen MediClinic were evacuated.


    Somerset West residents came out in droves to help as hospital patients at Vergelegen MediClinic were evacuated in an eight-hour rescue mission in which everyone was moved to alternative hospitals as the floodwater had staff standing in almost knee-deep water.

    “It was stressful for patients, but no one’s condition was compromised,” Dr Wayne Smith, Western Cape head of disaster medicine who co-ordinated the evacuation, told Weekend Argus yesterday.

    Pictures show staff in ankle- to knee-deep water treating patients lined up in the corridors on their beds before the massive rescue operation, which began at about 9pm on Friday and ended only at 4am yesterday.

    The hospital will remain closed to patients while the scale of the damage is assessed, according to Biren Valodia, the chief marketing officer for the MediClinic group in South Africa. He told Weekend Argus that 127 patients were evacuated and taken to other MediClinic hospitals at Cape Gate, Stellenbosch, Panorama and Cape Town.

    Patients deemed by their doctors healthy enough for discharge were sent home.

    Smith said he was called on Friday evening about the potential flood threat to the clinic. But by 9pm the threat had turned into the shocking reality that a full-scale evacuation was necessary.

    The majority of the patients were moved to other hospitals in private transport, but those who were less stable, including those who were stretcher-bound and in intensive care, were moved by ambulances.

    Smith said although space was made in state hospitals, most of the patients were taken to other private healthcare facilities. The evacuation team moved as many patients as possible to hospitals appropriate to their condition in the greater Cape Town area .

    Valodia said he arrived at the hospital once the evacuation had started after struggling to get there due to severe flooding on the Somerset West Main Road. He finally arrived to find the entire hospital flooded, including the intensive care unit and emergency area.

    By yesterday afternoon the floors were still wet, but the level of water had dropped significantly, he said.

    All doctors with patients who had to be moved from Vergelegen MediClinic were in touch with their patients yesterday and continuing to assist with treatment. Valodia confirmed that all evacuated patients were unharmed and all were in stable condition.

    Over the next few days the level of damage would be assessed, he said, but until then it was impossible to determine the cost of the damage or guess when the hospital would be able to reopen.

    “Obviously our objective is to become operational again as soon as possible,” Valodia said.

    The building and all equipment needed to be assessed and equipment might need to be replaced, although it was impossible to say how much had been ruined.

    Smith described the evacuation as a “very unfortunate incident”, but said all concerned had definitely managed to turn around what was potentially a major disaster.

    “It was stressful for patients, but it was handled very professionally and no one’s condition was compromised,” he said.

    Valodia said it was touching how many people from the community came out to help in any way they could.

    “People really wanted to help,” he said. “I’d really like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the community.”

    Clean-up operations were already under way yesterday afternoon, involving MediClinic’s technical team and the municipality. - Sunday Argus

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  • 11/17/13--21:43: Church group’s horror find
  • Church members who went looking for Nozipho Gxagxisa found her body in the seat of a car submerged in a river.


    Cape Town -

    At least three people were killed in a stormy weekend which wreaked havoc across the province, leaving a quarter of the Overberg District Municipality inaccessible by car, scores of roads flooded and fruit crops ruined.

    Residents and emergency personnel were on Sunday still trying to deal with the aftermath as the foul weather shifted inland, with a hail storm in the Koue Bokkeveld area devastating fruit crops.

    “Some farms estimate up to 80 percent of their crops are lost,” Wouter Kriel, agriculture and rural development ministry spokesman, said.

    A number of stretches, including Chapman’s Peak Drive where there was a mudslide, are set to remain closed on Monday. The storm thrashed the Western Cape on Friday and Saturday causing mayhem. The Vergelegen Medi-Clinic in Somerset West, a police station, caravan park and old age home were among the buildings and areas that were evacuated as floodwaters rose.

    A baby was born at the clinic during the storm and was then transferred to another hospital with its mother. The city said about 18 000 residents, in areas including Hout Bay, Philippi, Gugulethu and Fish Hoek, had been flooded between Friday and Saturday and the severe weather resulted in power outages and landslides along mountainous areas.

    Just before noon on Sunday, a church group which conducted its own search found the body of Nozipho Gxagxisa, a teacher and gospel singer from Kuils River. Gxagxisa and a friend, Lizeka Mceko, got trapped in a car trying to cross a bridge in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve picnic area late Friday. Both were members of the Christian Fellowship Centre in Khayelitsha and were en route to a church conference on the reserve.

    The body of Mceko, a hospital worker from Khayelitsha, was recovered on Saturday from the driver’s seat of the car which had been submerged in the river, a branch of the Eerste River.

    ”We started our search at about 9am and waded through the water for about three hours before we got Nozipho’s body,” a rescuer, Sandile Bulani, said.


    “We all had sticks which we used to poke the ground for any bodies. The water was extremely cold and dangerous for us because we are not professionals. It was really sad for us to be doing all the searching and seeing her cold body,” Bulani said.

    When they had found their

    friend’s body, the police and ambulance arrived. A relative, Primrose Jongile, of Gxagxasi broke down in tears.

    The third fatality was a 28-year-old man who drowned while trying to cross the Breede River, Reinard Geldenhuys, the Overberg District Municipality’s head of fire and disaster management, said.

    Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana did not have details on this incident.

    Geldenhuys said in one of the rescue operations, a hiker had been missing on the Potberg Mountains during the storm on Saturday, but she was found late that night and had “suffered a little from exposure”.

    Education MEC Donald Grant’s spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said all its districts were on high alert and the focus was on getting matrics to their exam venues on Monday in spite of road closures.

    Casey said if any pupils were unable to access their examination centres, they would be accommodated at alternative centres or arrangements would be made with emergency services to help them where necessary. Areas of concern included Barrydale, Hermanus and Stanford.

    The Helderstroom Prison in Caledon had been cut off by flood waters. Geldenhuys said the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was transporting emergency personnel across the water in rubber ducks.

    Altogether, the NSRI said on Sunday that in total, 80 ferry trips were made to assist people to cross the flooded Riviersonderend River. This included prison warders, 70 wedding guests, a group of 10 who had attended a christening, and a warden’s pregnant wife who needed to get to hospital.

    Late on Friday, the Vergelegen Medi-Clinic in Somerset West, the hardest hit area, flooded and had to be evacuated in a major operation that spanned seven hours and which involved services including the NSRI, the city’s Disaster Risk Management and province’s Emergency Medical Services.

    On Sunday, Biren Valodia, Medi-Clinic Southern Africa spokesman, said 127 patients had been evacuated from the clinic, which would remained closed until further notice.

    A provincial government press release said the privately-run Stone Haven Old Age Home and a caravan park in Somerset West had also been among the facilities evacuated.


    * 18 000 flooded

    * 127 patients evacuated from Vergelegen Medi-Clinic

    * Dozens of trees blown over

    * A quarter of the Overberg is inaccessible

    * Franschhoek police station is flooded and Helderstroom Prison is cut off

    Cape Times

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