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    The basic education minister will announce the national and provincial results for the matric class of 2013on Monday.

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    Cape Town - The anxious wait is almost over for the matric class of 2013.

    Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will announce the national and provincial results on Monday.

    School and individual results for the 576 490 full-time and 130 646 part-time registered matrics will be available on Tuesday.

    Western Cape matrics will be able to view their results at their schools from midday on Tuesday, says Penny Vinjevold, head of education in the province.

    “The WCED has applied rigorous standards to marking the exams,” Vinjevold said. “We are confident that the results will be a true and accurate reflection of the abilities of our candidates.”

    The provincial education department will hold an awards ceremony for the province’s top schools and pupils on January 14.

    The WCED set their target at 40 000 passes for this matric class – a stretch from last year’s 36 992. But Vinjevold firmly placed the measure of success on the actual number of passes rather than the percentage pass rate.

    “You can improve a pass rate by encouraging your weakest candidates to drop out of school,” she said. “We actively discourage this practice. We are committed to supporting our weakest learners and to ensuring that as many candidates as possible are given every opportunity to write matric.”

    Writing in the Sunday Times on Sunday, Professor Jonathan Jansen, rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, said pass rates were not the progress indicators they were cracked up to be. He called the announcement of pass rates an “orgy of self-congratulation”.

    He pointed out that pass rates were calculated “at a base of 30 percent in some subjects and 40 percent in others” – a far cry from the 50 percent by which academic work was judged in most other contexts.

    Jansen also described a “culling process that left behind about half a million students who started in Grade 1 and did not make it to Grade 12”, and the rising number of pupils doing maths literacy instead of pure maths. The public must bear these factors in mind when celebrating higher pass rates, Jansen warned.

    Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has called on matrics to celebrate – and commiserate – responsibly.

    Richard Bosman, executive director for safety and security, said: “We understand that this is a watershed moment for many of our young people, but with the celebrations comes responsibility. One life lost is one too many and I’d like to appeal to matriculants to consider this when hitting the streets with their friends to celebrate their passage into the next phase of their young adult lives.”

     

    Where to get your results

    * Candidates can see their results at their school or exam centre from midday tomorrow.

    * They can also view their results on the Department of Basic Education’s website (www.education.gov.za) from 6am tomorrow.

    * Candidates can receive their results by SMS tomorrow by registering with SABC Education. To register, SMS the candidate’s ID number and exam number to 35658 (SMSes cost R3).

    * Get a hard copy of individual results in the Cape Argus first thing on Wednesday morning.

     

     

    chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/06/14--01:33: Fishermen pray for lifeline
  • Fishermen turned to a higher power to save them from a government they say has decimated the traditional linefish industry.

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    Cape Town - The Western Cape’s fishermen turned to a higher power on Sunday, praying to God to save them from a government they accuse of having decimated the traditional linefish industry “with the stroke of a pen”.

    At an emotional prayer service in Hout Bay on Sunday, pastor Norman Frost accused the government of being “unrighteous and unjust” by denying hundreds of fishermen fishing rights.

    “Jesus picked fishermen to be his disciples. And so too you are the children of God. What has been done to you is not your fault. It is the government that is forcing people into situations where they have no option but to poach,” he said.

    Fishermen and their families held hands, some weeping.

    The service came a week after the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) announced new long-term fishing rights in eight fishing sectors.

    Of the 303 permit holders in 2013, only 115 were granted the right to carry on with their operations. The previous rights were extended in 2005 and expired on New Year’s Eve.

    “What the government does not understand is that this is not just a livelihood, it is a way of life,” said Anton Mangiagalli, 45, a second-generation Hout Bay fisherman who caught his first snoek at the age of four. Mangiagalli’s application for new long-term rights was denied.

    “We know no other way to live. It affects our families and the families of our crew in the deepest way. I have not slept all week, I’m in a state of utter disbelief.”

    As a pastor laid his hands on Mangiagalli, his daughter, Megan, 10, started sobbing uncontrollably.

    “She came to me and asked: ‘Daddy, will I be able to carry on with my singing lessons?’ I honestly could not answer her, our futures are uncertain,” said Mangiagalli later.

    The fishermen’s representative organisation, the SA Commercial Linefish Association (Sacla), was preparing to have discussions with Daff tomorrow.

    Sacla chairman Wally Croombe said: “After months of slighting fishermen, this is the first time the department has shown a willingness to sit down and to talk. This is massively encouraging and means the fishermen do not have to take to protest action.”

    At two Sacla meetings last week – one in Cape Town and one on the West Coast – angry fishermen threatened to poach in defiance of the rights allocation, to close roads and to picket the department’s offices.

    Croombe admitted the negotiations with the department weren’t going to be easy.

    Even the best-case scenario would see many established fishermen remain without rights. Sacla wants Daff to re-evaluate the awarding of rights to 100 new entrants, some of whom do not own boats and have little history or experience in the industry.

    Pieter van Dalen, the DA’s spokesman for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said he was not convinced the matter would be resolved through meetings with the department.

    “We remain hopeful that this can be resolved diplomatically, but I suspect this will end up in the High Court,” Van Dalen said.

    The fishermen have already started pooling money for an urgent interdict application in the Western Cape High Court should negotiations with Daff fail.

    Mangiagalli has threatened that “uncontrollable” protests would erupt if there was no positive feedback from Daff by Wednesday.

    “The department has always underestimated us, but they do not know what we are capable of. We do not want to lose the support of the public, but there is no telling what will happen if the department continues to deny us our rights. We were born with fishing in our blood, so this is not something small to us. People are very emotional, but we are willing to wait for the negotiations to come.”

     

    Although Daff’s deputy director-general Desmond Stevens has consistently defended the rights allocation process, he said he was willing to engage with the fishermen towards finding a solution to the impasse.

    “I just want to warn fishermen not to listen to people who are trying to portray the department in a bad light for political reasons,” he said.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Police have called on Mitchells Plain residents to help them find a robber who held a paramedic at gunpoint and stole medical equipment.

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    Cape Town - Police have called on residents in Mitchells Plain to help them find a robber who held a paramedic at gunpoint and stole medical equipment.

    The incident is the fourth involving medics in Mitchells Plain since June.

    In 2012, there were at least 10 incidents. The Western Cape Department of Health said staff had been told that their personal safety was a primary concern, and if they felt unsafe they could leave or ask for a police escort.

    The latest incident took place on Thursday.

    Police spokesman Andre Traut said the paramedic, 23, was in Keeromsberg Street in Tafelsig at 5.40am to attend to a patient when he was held up.

    He said the paramedic had returned to the ambulance to fetch his medical bag when the robber, wearing brown three-quarter pants and a green T-shirt, took the bag, which contained medical equipment.

    The robber then fled.

    “The metro ambulance service and all other essential services are providing a crucial and life-saving service to our community,” Traut said.

    “The community must take responsibility and ensure that all paramedics deliver their service in a safe and secure environment.

    “We are calling on all the community structures and street committees to assist the SAPS in apprehending the suspect.”

    On Sunday, Mitchells Plain Community Police Forum spokesman Abie Isaacs condemned the robbery.

    “We’ve been asking the community in that part of the area to come forward with information,” Isaacs said.

    He said it was “saddening” that essential services were being viewed as “soft targets”.

    He urged medics to be vigilant.

    He said he hoped the community police forum would build closer relations with paramedics as he did not want the situation to reach the point where emergency teams would have to find a police escort before responding to an emergency.

    Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokesman Robert Daniels said he was not aware of the Tafelsig incident.

    The paramedic who was robbed might have been from a private company, Daniels added.

    He said if EMS personnel thought it was unsafe to enter a specific area, they could ask for a police escort.

    Daniels said it was rare that paramedics would not enter an area or would have to leave it because it was too dangerous and there was no police escort available.

    Last year, the Western Cape Department of Health said areas in which there was concern for the safety of paramedics included Delft, Elsies River, Manenberg, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill.

    Anyone with information about the latest incident in Tafelsig should contact Warrant Officer Trevor Nash at083 226 2004 or CrimeStop at 08600 10111.

    caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Sindiswa Sitshikisa is recovering in hospital. Her head cross-hatched by 42 stitches knitting together eight deep gouges.

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    Cape Town - Sindiswa Sitshikisa is lucky to be alive. The 35-year-old Philippi woman is recovering in Groote Schuur Hospital’s trauma unit, her swollen and bruised head cross-hatched by 42 stitches knitting together eight deep gouges. There are two more lacerations on her battered lower limbs.

    Her movements are slow and she has little hearing in her left ear, due to a bruised ear drum.

    Sitshikisa has no recollection of the savage axe attack in Philippi on Friday evening at the hands of a man she barely knew.

    A neighbour who was first on the scene said she thought Sitshikisa was dead, as the blows from the axe kept raining down on her head.

    The neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she heard Sitshikisa desperately screaming for help while she was being attacked at the man’s home.

    “It started off as a fight. I then heard the man shout ‘Ponso, Ponso (possibly a nickname), what are you here for?’. She did not reply, but kept crying. I then called out to my eldest son to go and look at what was happening there,” the neighbour said.

    The man was still hitting Sitshikisa with the axe, but they could not get into the house because the security gate was locked.

    “We screamed for him to stop, but he wouldn’t.”

    She said the man only stopped attacking Sitshikisa, whose body lay in a pool of blood, when police arrived.

    The neighbour said Sitshikisa and the man were naked. There was an unused condom on the ground.

    Speaking to the Cape Argus from her hospital bed on Sunday, Sitshikisa said the man was from her area, but she barely knew him and could not understand why he had attacked her. She could also not recall the circumstances of the evening, how she had ended up at his home or how she had landed up in hospital.

    “I am in a great deal of pain and I am still numb. I don’t know why he would hit me like this. He was not my friend – we just spoke briefly,” Sitshikisa said.

    Sitshikisa’s cousin, Mphakamisi Mkencele, said they had heard about the incident on Saturday morning and had started a frantic search for her.

    Mkencele said his family had been unable to determine which hospital Sitshikisa had been taken to until later in the day.

    Lulama Mame, a member of the area’s street committee, said neighbours wanted to burn the man’s house to the ground.

    Mame said an “agreement” had been reached between the community, the suspect’s family and the Sitshikisa family.

    “If she had died, it would have been the responsibility of the man who attacked her to pay for her funeral costs. But if she remained in a bad condition, the perpetrator’s family would allow Sitshikisa’s family to sell the man’s house to provide for her son,” Mame said.

    Mkencele confirmed this agreement on Sunday night.

    Lisa Vetten, of the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, said the agreement was not legal.

    She added that often in such cases the victim was not consulted.

    “It’s not in the community’s powers to do so. This is an ongoing problem in South Africa, where the community is increasingly taking power into their own hands,” Vetten said.

    Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said the suspect had been arrested.

    zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A diver taking part in a trip to a shipwreck died after becoming trapped in the ship’s engine room.

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    Cape Town - A diver taking part in a trip to a shipwreck died after becoming trapped in the ship’s engine room.

    The 56-year-old man from Constantia went diving in a group of seven at the MV Rockeater shipwreck off Smitswinkel Bay near Cape Point on Saturday.

    The wreck is one of five that make up an artificial reef.

    The divers launched their boat at Miller’s Point and dived 34m down to the wreck.

    According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the divers said the man went down for a second dive, but failed to resurface. They raised the alarm.

    A search party went to look for him and resumed the search on Sunday.

    The search was carried out by NSRI Simon’s Town, the Skymed helicopter, police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

    Police dive scene co-ordinator Douglas Jones and his diving team found the man’s body in the engine room of the wreck at midday on Sunday.

    “After the ship sank, passageways were cut in it, carving ways for fish and for human exploration. The diver somehow managed to get lost in the pathways and wound up in the old engine room at the back of the ship,” said Jones.

    The ship was scuttled in 1972 and has become a popular diving spot. EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said the wreck was so huge it was searched one section at a time.

    francesca.villette@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    A row has erupted in the wake of the Kaapse Klopse carnival, turning the traditional street spectacle into a political spat.

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    Cape Town - A row has erupted in the wake of Saturday’s Kaapse Klopse carnival, turning the traditional street spectacle into a political spat.

    The glitter had barely been swept from the streets on Sunday when twin press releases were issued – one from the City of Cape Town and the other from the Kaapse Klopse – levelling scathing criticism at one another over the Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade.

    Councillor Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, accused Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Marius Fransman, and Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile of telling thousands of Capetonians and visitors at the Grand Parade that it was the ANC that “saved” this year’s Minstrels event.

    He said the party also illegally distributed pamphlets during the parade declaring the ANC had made the 2013/14 Minstrels Carnival possible.

    Pascoe accused the minstrels of “cheap political point-scoring”, while the minstrels’ statement said that Pascoe’s “echoes of sour grapes”.

    Pascoe’s statement slammed the involvement of the ANC, saying the parade “was never intended to be a political platform”.

    He said that instead of

    celebrating “our rich cultural heritage”, Fransman and Mashatile chose to score “cheap political points”.

    The minstrels responded in a joint statement issued by Ghaliep Essop, media liaison for the Kaapse Klopse Karnaval Association, and Kevin Momberg, chief executive of the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival Association.

    “Councillor Grant Pascoe suffers from self-inflicted ills as the team he leads in the city has repeatedly shot itself in the foot and is obsessed with conspiracy theories and unhealthy suspicions.”

    In an interview, Essop said the city’s comments had given a bitter aftertaste to a great event.

    “We just feel disgusted. They want to rubbish an event that we thought was brilliant.”

    Instead of the carnival being organised by the City of Cape Town, Essop said the minstrels wanted full control, which they were granted in part by the involvement of national government.

    “It was the best Tweede Nuwe Jaar that we’ve ever had, because we owned the process,” Essop said. “What the city wants to do is invite us to the minstrel event. How can that be when it is our event? We are the experts and we know best because it’s our culture.”

    But Pascoe said the city had last month reached an amicable agreement with minstrel associations on the running of the carnival. The associations were going to participate in event management this year, then take greater control over the parade next year. He said the city had contributed R3.5 million towards the carnival in the form of traffic control, safety and security, law enforcement and cleaning.

    But the minstrel troupes felt the city officials were cramping the style of the cultural celebration.

    “The minstrels repeatedly cautioned the city officials of trying too hard to constrict a cultural and heritage occasion that is community driven. We are fed up with the mess the City has made of negotiations and the attempts to hold the thousands of participants at ransom with a spoilsport attitude,” their statement concluded.

    Cape Argus


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    It was a short flight over the Breede River, a flight the pilot looked forward. But when he set off in a single-engine S6 Taildragger, it turned out to be his last.

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    Cape Town - It was a short flight over the Breede River, a flight the pilot looked forward to during his lengthy spells working overseas as a commercial diver.

    But when Joost Bonekampset off in a single-engine S6 Taildragger on Saturday, it turned out to be his last.

    It is still unclear what caused the 45-year-old to crash the two-seater aircraft near an airstrip beside the Breede River between Cape Infanta and Swellendam.

    But for friends of the Worcester man, one thing is certain, his sudden death is a tragedy.

    “He was well-loved, a long-running member of our club,” said Marius Heyneman, the chairman of the Swellengrebel Flying Club. “It’s extremely sad.”

    It was a windy day when Bonekamp set off from the Swellendam airfield. The plan was to drop off his friend on a dirt strip at Infanta and then go back home to his wife.

    The landing was reportedly challenging, but the pilot managed to land safely at his destination. However, he ran into trouble on his return trip.

    Eyewitness reports online describe how the pilot was flying too low and taking chances until his “luck eventually ran out”.

    “His stunts sadly included so much low flying that a witness said he had to lower his fishing rod on a boat on the river to let him safely continue his shoot ups,” wrote iGunship on the FlyAfrica forums.

    But Heyneman said it appeared that Bonekamp had crashed soon after take-off.

    “Look, this is pure speculation, but it was a choppy day out there and chances are he got caught in a downwind on his way up. I’m sure it was not a mechanical failure.”

    Lourens Enslin, the pilot’s friend and co-owner of the crashed plane, said his friend had probably been unsettled by the rough landing in Infanta.

    “When taking off, the wind was gusting and after take-off he turned downwind towards the river.

    The aircraft stalled and spun in. He died instantly.

    “The aircraft is damaged beyond repair.”

    Based on other reports, the National Sea Rescue Institute also concluded that it appeared that the pilot had crashed just moments after take-off.

    The institute, Western Cape EMS and municipal fire and rescue services learnt of the crash at around 1.15pm.

    Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon said rescuers pulled Bonekamp’s body from the crumpled wreckage. The Civil Aviation Authority has already been at the accident site to start its investigation.

    Enslin said Bonekamp left a wife and daughter.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/06/14--02:22: 20 drown in WCape
  • "We put up flags at certain areas to notify the public that the water is safe from riptides but some still go and swim outside the safe zone."

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    Cape Town - This year’s holiday season has been one of the deadliest around the Western Cape coastline, with about 20 drownings in December.

     

    Lee Croeser, 23, club captain of the False Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, who is based at Sunrise Beach in Muizenberg, said this had been one of their worst and most taxing summers yet in terms of incidents, with most involving riptides.

    “We had 15 rescues on Boxing Day alone and another 10 on New Year’s Day. I myself had five to six rescues, so we were kept busy a lot.”

    Croeser said the biggest challenge had been the large influx of visitors to the beaches and the lack of knowledge some of them had of the tides.

    A number of people had visited beaches drunk, which caused a lot of problems as individuals would become unruly and would not listen to lifeguards. Croeser added that some beachgoers refused to swim in designated safe swimming zones.

    “We put up flags at certain areas to notify the public that the water is safe from riptides but some still go and swim outside the safe zone,” said Croeser.

     

    Chairman of Western Province Lifesaving Martin Williams said that during the holiday season, especially with the large number of public holidays, there was often a strain on lifeguard resources.

    “Under normal circumstances we do have enough lifeguards, but then there are extreme situations in the holidays where we can have up to 150 000 people on our beaches, and then there are never enough lifeguards and it can be overwhelming.”

    Williams said that although lifeguards (with the exception of volunteers) were reasonably compensated by the City of Cape Town through the peak season from the beginning of October to April, there was sometimes a demand for higher wages as he said that “it is not the easiest job”.

    “We would like provision of permanent facilities and shelters for lifeguards, as some of them sit in inclement weather and are open to the elements. We are in constant discussion with the City of Cape Town and the Ratepayers Association.”

    Croeser’s advice to the public was: “Listen to lifeguards. Some people complain that we are aggressive sometimes, but we are just doing our jobs to protect you.”

    Meanwhile the body of the diver who went missing off the coast of Smitswinkel Bay on Saturday was found inside a shipwreck late on Sunday afternoon.

    The 56-year-old and a group of friends had been diving at the MV Rock Eater wreck near the Cape Point beach. The bulky wreck – dug into the seabed almost 34m underwater – is one of the biggest along the Cape’s coast, much larger than the nearby wrecked fishing boats of Orotava and Princess Elizabeth.

    National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon said that when the diver’s friends resurfaced, he was not with them.

     

    Rescue efforts were called off on Saturday evening and teams resumed their searched on Sunday morning.

     

    warren.fortune@inl.co.za

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/06/14--02:41: First beaten, then killed
  • The family of a well-known Gugulethu tavern owner, who allegedly killed his wife, claim the man beat her 2 weeks before.

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    Cape Town - The family of a well-known Gugulethu tavern owner, who allegedly killed his wife last Sunday, claim the man beat her two weeks before.

    Thembile Vokozela, 47, commonly known as “Morris”, is in police custody for allegedly killing his wife, Ntombekhaya Vokozela, pictured, at their NY 48 home in Gugulethu.

    She was the mother of three children.

    Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut confirmed that the body of the 42-year-old woman had been found.

     

    He said a man believed to be the suspect was found unconscious in the home.

    “We suspect he made an attempt to commit suicide.”

    The family said that Vokozela had overdosed on pills and was rushed to hospital. After treatment, he was taken to Pollsmoor Prison where he was awaiting his bail hearing on January 17.

    Grace Gontsi, the mother of the dead woman, told the Cape Argus that her daughter had laid a charge of domestic violence against Vokozela two weeks before her death.

    Soon after she had gone to the police station, Gontsi said, Vokozela had kicked down her door looking for his daughter.

    On Thursday, Vokozela’s son Thembisile Vokozela, 25, went to the Gugulethu police station with his grandmother to seek a protection order against his father, fearing for their safety.

    “My younger siblings are scared and so is my mom’s side of the family,” he said, adding that although he was not afraid of his father, he wanted his family protected.

    Thembisile Vokozela said he was still shocked by the tragedy. He said his mother had been very kind.

     

    He said he believed that putting his father behind bars was the best thing for his family.

    Gontsi said she hoped that Vokozela rotted in jail.

    “I want him to serve the rest of his life in prison. He is a risk around people,” she said.

    zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The man whose body was found in the Rockeater wreck has been identified.

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    The man whose body was found in the Rockeater wreck after he went missing was identified as James McGee, Western Cape police said on Monday.

    “The deceased is 56-year-old James McGee from Constantia, Cape Town,” said Captain FC van Wyk.

    McGee went missing on Saturday while on a 34-metre recreational dive with friends at Smitswinkel Bay.

    It is suspected that he remained at the Rockeater wreck after being separated from the other divers he was with.

    National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesman Craig Lambinon said the Rockeater was a diamond prospecting vessel equipped with a rock drill for exploration and rock sample prospecting.

    “The drill was removed prior to the vessel being scuttled in Smitswinkel Bay in 1972.”

    The man's body was found on Sunday during a dive search co-ordinated by police divers including fire and rescue and the Western Cape emergency management services divers. -Sapa


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    Residents who were left homeless after a fire last month have been rehoused.

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    Cape Town - Residents of Agstelaan informal settlement in Valhalla Park who were left homeless after a fire in the area last month have been rehoused, the City of Cape Town said on Monday.

    “The primary beneficiaries have all been accommodated according to a formal layout that will ultimately house all 600 families in the informal settlement,” Cape Town's disaster risk management centre spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said in a statement.

    The layout plan was developed according to the city's Upgrading of Informal Settlement Programme (UISP).

    The programme will see each family getting access to piped water, flush toilets, prepaid electricity and wheelie bin services, Solomons-Johannes said.

    Construction should begin in October. The families were currently placed on their allocated sites with temporary water standpipes and portable flush toilets. Electricity was due to be installed shortly, he said.

    “The other families in the informal settlements who have not been affected by the fire will also be relocated to their improved housing sites.”

    Solomons-Johannes said 276 primary beneficiaries and 13 backyard dwellers in the informal settlement had been assisted, including five backyard dwellers in the formal area.

    The formal houses that were affected were being dealt with by their respective insurance companies.

    On December 23 more than 1500 people were left destitute when a fire ripped through the informal settlement. Residents staged a protest on Boxing Day.

    Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement at the time that a housing database was being used to provide housing opportunities for any particular group.

    De Lille said the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) would also visit the site to do biometric verification of all grant beneficiaries and that the city was working with the department of home affairs to facilitate the reissuing of identity documents lost in the fire. -Sapa


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    Western Cape matrics have achieved an all-time high pass rate since the start of the National Senior Certificate in 2008.

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    Cape Town - Western Cape matrics have achieved an all-time high pass rate since the start of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) in 2008, exceeding all records and improving in all key areas of success.

    Matrics in the province achieved a pass rate of 85.1 percent, up 2.3 percentage points from 82.8 percent in 2012.

    Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on Monday a national pass rate of 78.2 percent, up 4.3 percentage points from 73.9 percent in 2012.

    The Western Cape slipped from its position as the second-best province to take the fourth spot behind Free State with 87.4 percent, North West with 87.2 percent and Gauteng with 87 percent.

    Gauteng was last year’s best-performing province.

    Motshekga said these results had exceeded atargeted 75 percent pass rate by 2014.

    She pointed to a number of improvements, including the number of pupils who passed with access to bachelor degree study, as an indication of the success and quality of the system.

    This had increased to 20.6 percent of pupils last year.

    Motshekga congratulated the Class of 2013 as being “the best class since the advent of democracy”.

    The records broken by Western Cape matrics included increased number of passes, increased number of candidates able to study at a university, improved numbers passing maths and science, and a decrease in the number of underperforming schools.

    Education MEC Donald Grant said he was especially delighted to have exceeded the 2014 target of 40 000 passes as this indicated more pupils were able to write and pass the exam.

    “We are very pleased that we exceeded our stretch target of 40 000 passes and that the pass rate increased while the number of candidates grew so significantly.”

    Grant said this was the “highest number of passes ever achieved in the province since the inception of the NSC.

    “Altogether, this year’s performance by the Western Cape Class of 2013 was a ‘class act’ and I am extremely proud of what they have achieved.

    “I congratulate the candidates, educators, principals and district officials for a job well done.”

    He said the Western Cape could be proud of its “credible and quality result” as it was the only province to test the competency of matric markers.

    “We are confident that in the Western Cape there will continue to yield sustainable and credible improvements in the quality and quantity of passes in the years to come.”

    Grant acknowledged there remained much to be done.

    “We will continue to look at how we can best support our schools and learners and achieve lasting systemic improvements as per our strategic objectives.”

    President Jacob Zuma congratulated the Class of 2013 for their achievements, calling them “the best matric class since 1994”.

    “Education will take this country to prosperity… We are therefore pleased to note this consistently upward trend in the matric results.”

    The DA questioned the credibility of the results.

    “Using the pass rate as the main yardstick… is simply not a credible measure of the quality of education. This is a view shared by more and more education policy experts in our country.

    “The problem with focusing on the pass rate is that it does not take into consideration the number of students who drop out of the system before they write the NSC examinations,” said Annette Lovemore, the DA’s basic education spokeswoman.

    * Matrics will be able to get their results from their schools at noon on Tuesday. The Cape Times will publish a full list of results on Wednesday.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    The SA Navy continued its rescue mission in search of stricken crews on the Cape2Rio yacht race in the Atlantic Ocean.

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    Cape Town - The SA Navy on Tuesday continued its rescue mission in search of stricken crews on the Cape2Rio yacht race in the Atlantic Ocean north-west of Cape Town after tragedy struck on the first night out of port.

    The fleet set sail at 2pm on Saturday, but by Sunday morning many in the 35-strong fleet had run into violent seas with 50-knot winds and 6m to 8m swells.

    By Sunday night, a death had been reported aboard Bille, a 54-foot Angolan entrant that had a broken mast. Crew were injured and António Bartolomeu was swept overboard. Despite his crew’s success in recovering him from the icy ocean, he later died aboard the vessel.

    The SAS Isandlwana steamed out of the Port of Cape Town shortly afterwards, with the Royal Cape Yacht Club’s general manager, Marcus Reuter, on board.

    By mid-morning on Monday, the navy had found Bille in rough seas and poor visibility over 100 nautical miles off the African coastline.

    “All crew have now been transferred to SAS Islandwana,” race chairman Ray Matthews reported.

    The skipper had broken ribs and one crew member had suffered lacerations. “Both have been tended to by a medical doctor and all are stable and now sleeping. The navy managed to clear all damaged rigging and have left the vessel to return to later.”

    The navy then set out to find Ava.

    For 24 hours, the crew’s family had been fearing the worst.

    Three generations of Capetonians were aboard the smallest yacht in the fleet, a 31-footer – Colin Horton, 78, a semi-retired toolmaker from Betty’s Bay, his daughter, Belinda, 48, the skipper, and her son, Francois, 25, a crewman – along with the fourth man on board, Ken Botwood, 70, of Table View.

    At 4.18pm on Sunday, an Electronic Position Indication Radio Beacon was activated from Ava and a communications black-out followed.

    Nearly 18 hours later, Lesley Christie of Fish Hoek – daughter of Colin Horton and Belinda’s sister – was still waiting for news since authorities had first warned her that Ava was in trouble.

    “I stayed up all night, monitoring the tracking system – their last electronic ping was on Sunday evening at about 5pm,” she explained on Monday.

    Hours of frantic phone calls followed as the vessel’s tracker suggested the craft was adrift, or going round in circles.

    “Everything had turned turtle. I even thought their satellite could have been floating in the water, with God-only-knows-what having happened to the crew…” she said.

    When she finally received good news from the navy, she said: “It’s an incredible relief. We feared the absolute worst.”

    A spokeswoman for Greenpeace, under whose flag the vessel is sailing, reported: “Ava found by SA Navy battered and battery-less and shipping much water but no leaks – all on board okay and firmly on course for Rio.

    “Colin won’t have any electrical power for electronic navigation equipment but he’ll navigate by the stars.”

    Next, the navy went in search of Isla.

    “Isla reported late last night they were taking on water in the engine compartment and had an electrical fire. They have had a container vessel, Bosun, standing by for assistance since early this morning. All is under control and, although they originally took the decision to sail back to port, Smit Madura is now on station with the yacht to possibly tow them back to port,” Matthews reported.

    There were a further seven vessels that were also in trouble.

    * The NSRI’s Station 3 was on Monday en route to tow Black Cat back to shore. She had no steerage because of a broken rudder. The ship arrived back in Cape Town early on Monday night.

    * Indaba was on its way back to port with an injured crew member.

    * Peekay was safely in harbour at Saldanha Bay’s Yachtport.

    * DoDo, Avocet and Avanti were all shorebound.

    * Tranquillo was able to receive calls only, not send messages. The crew and vessel were believed well.

    Matthews said Bille’s sponsor had commissioned a vessel to tow it back to port and heaped praise on the navy, the NSRI and the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

    Cape Argus


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    A Cape Muslim cleric was allegedly assaulted in a mosque and forcibly removed from the premises by worshippers.

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    Cape Town - A city Muslim cleric was allegedly assaulted while conducting a funeral prayer in a Strand mosque and forcibly removed from the premises by worshippers.

    Sheikh Nazeem Safodien said he was left with a bruised body after being manhandled by a group of men at the Gustrouw Road mosque on December 27.

    The incident was allegedly instigated by the mosque’s imam, Ghoesyn Rhoda, but Rhoda has denied that Safodien was assaulted.

    “I was in terrible physical and emotional pain, the way those people handled me. They dragged me from pillar to post, insulted me in public, threatening me that if I don’t leave they will physically hurt me, and (they) accused me of talking lies in letters to the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC),” Safodien said.

    Safodien said he took part in late evening prayers, which Rhoda had led.

    “After the completion of the evening salaah, we moved forward carrying the deceased to the front to perform the salaah of Janaazah (funeral prayer) on the deceased female. I was appointed by the deceased’s family to lead and perform the burial at home, the mosque and the graveyard.

    “Ghoesyn Rhoda stood up where he led the ishaa prayer, shouting at me and telling me in front of all the people: ‘Jy Nazeem, jy kan nie ons masiet salaah nie. Dis ons masiet en jy’s nie welkom hier nie. Gaan uit (You Nazeem cannot pray in our mosque. This is our mosque and you are not welcome here. Get out).’”

    Safodien said men grabbed him by the neck and arms and dragged him to the back of the mosque. One put his arm under his chin, and he was pushed against a shoe rack.

    He said it was not the first time he had been prevented by Rhoda from performing funeral prayers.

    The first time, Safodien said, the MJC had been called in to mediate. He said he filed a criminal complaint against Rhoda, who allegedly instigated the assault.

    Rhoda said Safodien was not attacked, but had been told he was not welcome in the mosque and should leave.

    “Due to circumstances in our town, he was told that he wasn’t welcome in our mosque. When he was told to leave, he was the one who started the fracas.”

    Asked to explain the circumstances, Rhoda said he would elaborate on Tuesday.

    xolani.koyana@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Nine people have been killed in a crash involving a truck and a taxi outside Worcester, emergency medical services said.

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    Cape Town - Nine people have been killed and four seriously injured in an accident involving a truck and a minibus taxi on the N1 highway outside Worcester, Cape Town emergency medical services said on Tuesday.

    "A truck was parked on the shoulder of the road when it was hit from behind by the taxi," spokesman Robert Daniels said.

    He said it was not clear if the truck had just parked or if it had broken down.

    The accident forced emergency services to close the road for at least three hours as they worked to clear the scene. - Sapa


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    Karin van Wyk did not think she had done particularly well in her final exams and so was very surprised when she was asked to attend the announcement of the matric results.

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    Cape Town - Karin van Wyk did not think she had done particularly well in her final exams and so was very surprised when she was asked to attend Monday’s announcement of the matric results.

    Karin, who is visually impaired and attended Pioneer School in Worcester, said all she had been told was that she was “one of the top achievers in one of the categories”.

    BeforeMonday night’s announcement she said, “They wouldn’t tell us anything.”

    Karin was one of a select group of pupils from across the country who had been invited to attend Monday’s event.

    She first heard about her upcoming trip last Friday.

    “My school’s principal called my mother,” said Karen.

    “She also got a call from the Department of Basic Education.”

    Van Wyk flew to Joburg on Monday morning and was expected to return on Tuesday morning.

    Van Wyk, who has been blind since birth, having been born with a condition which affected her retinas, said she would never have expected to attend the results release.

    “I really didn’t think I would do this well.”

    She said her parents, who had travelled with her to be at the announcement of the results, had also not expected the phone call.

    “They were just as surprised as I was.”

    Van Wyk was thankful to the Pioneer School which had assisted her in achieving such good results.

    “They have been very supportive. They have been encouraging. They helped us a lot with extra classes.”

    She said she looked forward to sharing the news of her achievement with her teachers.

    Van Wyk said she planned to take a gap year, but would like to take time to complete marketing and computer courses.

    “Then I can really decide what I want to study at university,” she said.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Navy team manages to reach crew of stricken yacht in dangerous operation.

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    The captain of the navy frigate which rescued the stricken Angolan yacht Bille, and entrant in the Cape2Rio race, has spoken of the divers’ courage during the dramatic rescue.

    The SAS Isandlwana arrived in the port of Cape Town this morning with six crew members and the body of the sailor Antonio Bartolomeu.

    The Angolan consul, members of the crew’s family and the Angolan sailing team were ushered aboard the vessel, docked at East Pier at the V&A Waterfront, by the SA Navy’s rear admiral Philip Schoultz.

    At 10.10am, Bartolomeu’s body was ceremoniously walked off the navy vessel with the SA naval officers bidding him farewell in formal salute.

    Onboard the vessel a short while later, Isandlwana’s commanding officer, Captain Musa Nkomonde, told of how they had reached Bille by radio at about 4am, around 100 nautical miles north-west of Cape Town.

    “We had to wait for sunrise and then for the sea to subside but it remained marginal. The swell was 5m to 6m high, and it was going to be a dangerous operation, but we decided to go for it.

    The ship’s senior diver, Petty Officer Godfrey Ditsheto, was in charge onboard a 6m high-powered semi-rigid inflatable rescue craft, which sped to the yacht Bille.

    Upon arrival, they found that Bartolomeu had been hit by the snapped mast and his body lay tangled in the rigging which hung over the side of the yacht.

    In violent seas, Ditsheto and his navy divers transferred three pairs of survivors onto the rescue craft and then back to the mother ship.

    On each occasion, the rescue craft had to be winched back up onto the frigate. Captain Nkomonde turned the frigate against the direction of the massive swell to create a few moments of calm on the leeside of the vessel, into which the rescue craft was dropped, before speeding off to get the next pair of survivors.

    “The most dangerous thing for the survivors was hypothermia during the previous night – most of them could hardly move,” Ditsheto said.

    “I had to keep them calm, as well as my own divers – some of them were juniors.”

    Finally, on the fourth trip, the crew had managed to cut away the rigging with Bartolomeu’s body in it and take it back to the frigate.

    At the time of publication today, two vessels from the stricken Cape2Rio fleet had returned to Saldanha, three to Cape Town, one was under tow by a salvage vessel, three were sailing back – damaged but under their own steam, making a total of 10 out of 35, including Bille.

    Cape Argus


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    Twisted metal and bodies strewn across the road was the scene medics found near De Doorns where guards died in a crash.

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    By Francesca Villette, Xolani Koyana and Jason Felix

     

    Cape Town - Twisted metal of a minibus taxi ripped apart, and bodies strewn across the road was the scene medics found on the N1 near De Doorns where nine security guards died in a horror crash early on Tuesday.

    Authorities said nine others had been injured when the taxi crashed into a stationary truck.

    Seven of the guards, who were all on their way home after having worked the night shift, died on impact.

    “Two died while being extricated from the wreckage. Nine injured men were taken to the Worcester Hospital,” EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said.

    Hospital spokeswoman Jo-Anne Otto said eight had been treated for lacerations and later discharged.

    “Another man, who had serious head injuries, was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital where he is in a critical condition,” she said.

    Eight of the guards who died were identified as Prieska Nkabi, Mziwakhiwe Ngxingweni, Alfred Sobuza, Priscilla Esterhuizen, Fundile Gladile, Ishmael Phamoli, Joseph Rasemeni and Moses Masimini.

     

    They were employed by Vizual Security, contracted to provide services at the Golden Valley Casino in Worcester.

    Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said a culpable homicide case had been opened. The truck driver, Blessing Mapfumo, 35, from Pietermaritzburg, described the moment he felt the taxi crash into his truck.

    “I parked on the side of the road and slept there last night. I heard a bang at the back of my truck. When I looked to see what it was, I was frightened. I saw dead people and got back into my truck. I just sat there for a few minutes. I couldn’t move. I phoned my boss to tell him what happened,” Mapfumo said.

    He was transporting wine from Robertson to Durban.

    “One man was hanging upside down from the side of the taxi. His feet up in the air, head on the ground. This scene will haunt me forever,” he said.

    A survivor, Jonas Bafasi, said: “The road was open and there was no rain, but the driver was driving fast. When we came to hospital later, I asked God why he didn’t take me, but he told me it wasn’t my time.”

    Sobuza, 45, was the father of four. Pastor Benjamin Mema, of the Holy Spirit Zion Apostolic Church in De Doorns, who preached with Sobuza for seven years, delivered the news to his family. “His face was scratched and bruised. That is not how I want to remember my friend,” he said.

    Sobuza’s wife, Nothulisi Sobuza, heard from a colleague that there had been an accident involving her husband. “He was the head of our household. I don’t know how we will cope without him,” she said.

    Another truck driver, Michael Adams, 48, from Atlantis, was transporting food from Montague Gardens to East London when he stopped at the scene.

    “It looked like a scene from a horror movie. It was impossible to differentiate between male and female. The bodies were scattered,” he said.

    Transport MEC Robin Carlisle’s spokesman Siphesihle Dube said the taxi crashed into the stationary truck, which had been standing on a yellow line. “Preliminary reports indicate that poor visibility due to very bad weather, as well as speed may have been contributing factors, but the SAPS is investigating. We will be keeping a very close eye on the investigation into the senseless death of so many. We also extend our deepest condolences to their families,” Dube said.

    Vizual Security spokeswoman Wendy Struyweg said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life of our colleagues… Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

    francesca.villette@inl.co.za

    xolani.koyana@inl.co.za

    jason.felix@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Helen Zille has called the huge jump in matric passes in Mpuma and North West "unrealistic" and wants an audit.

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    Cape Town - The dramatic surge in the number of candidates who passed their matric exams in Mpumalanga and the North West has been labelled questionable and unrealistic by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

    The DA leader has called for an independent audit of the results.

    This follows the announcement of the 2013 results on Monday, at which Minister for Basic Education Angie Motshekga lauded the class of 2013 for achieving the highest pass rate since 1994 – which shot up to 78.2 percent from 2012’s 73.9 percent.

    The Western Cape achieved a pass rate of 85.1 percent, but the country’s usual top performer slipped to fourth.

    The North West leapt by an astounding 7.7 percentage points to rank second at 87.2 percent and the Free State jumped 6.3 percentage points to claim top spot as South Africa’s most successful provincial matric class.

    Mpumalanga came in below the Western Cape but jumped 7.6 percentage points to 77.6 percent.

    Zille has attacked the credibility of these results.

    “The credibility of the 2013 results has already been called into question by a number of educational experts, who pointed out that the results are too far a departure from the trends over the last several years.”

    Some of the increases “in one year are near impossible to achieve in one school, let alone across an entire province”.

    Robert Prince, UCT’s director of the Alternative Admissions Research Project, agreed that the sharp increase in passing matrics was a cause for concern.

    “There is this constant push and drive within the department and schools to improve this number every year, and the question is: at what cost?”

    Zille also complained that outside of the Western Cape, matric markers were not tested for their competence, subject knowledge or ability to interpret answers that were phrased differently from the exam memorandum.

    Umalusi is the organisation that gave the green light to release the results. Its chairman, Sizwe Mabizela, expressed concern last week that the appointment of markers in some provinces was subject to political and union pressure.

    Zille said: “This is completely unacceptable and undermines public confidence in the marking process.”

    The DA leader also said it was clear that many schools were actively trying to work weaker students out of their system. “This practice of ‘culling’ academically weak students is reflected in the extraordinarily high dropout rates between Grade 10 and Grade 12 in some provinces.”

    But the ANC has told the Western Cape Department of Education to “pull up its socks”.

    The party’s Western Cape leader, Marius Fransman, said he was disappointed to note the province had slipped and could not make it among the first three provinces in the country.

    “The Western Cape is still plagued by the highest dropout figure in the country and the DA failed to produce a provincial plan to ensure, especially rural learners, stay in school longer in order to improve their lives too.”

    Education analyst Graeme Bloch agreed that the retention rate was a problem, with more than 50 percent of pupils dropping out of school before they wrote the matric exams. But he said this was a national issue.

    The probe into the matric results – if it takes place – will not be limited to just a few provinces, but will be a nationwide endeavour and will open up the Western Cape to the same scrutiny.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Rescuers and police were still searching for two missing women who had been caught in the strong current of the Breede River.

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    Cape Town - People were caught in rushing rivers, streams overflowed and roads were blocked off by scattered debris as parts of the Western Cape were inundated with up to 110mm of torrential rainfall.

    With the storm set to continue throughout on Tuesday night, rescuers and police were still searching for two missing women who had been caught in the strong current of the Breede River.

    The women and three others had decided to take refuge underneath a bridge over the Hoops River in Robertson. But the group was swept away by a surge in the riverwater early on Tuesday morning.

    While three people were successfully fished from the water by Western Cape Emergency Medical Services, the two women were still missing at the time of going to print.

    The rain continued to wreak more havoc in the countryside. Houses in Zwelentemba and Avian Park, both in the Breede Valley Municipal area, were flooded after hours of rainfall.

    In the Langeberg Municipality, causeways were closed off after they were flooded by the overflowing Hoops and Keisie Rivers.

    Residents of the Buffelsjagsrivier informal settlement and the Bontebok National Park in Swellendam were evacuated on Monday evening as a precautionary measure – the park was still closed on Tuesday.

    In Robertson, the town’s roads were flooded after the area experienced more than 110mm of rainfall.

    The R60 between the rural town and Ashton was also temporarily closed as traffic officials removed debris from the road.

    “It was quite something,” said commuter Geoff Bird. “The rain was really coming down, and there were all these plants and rocks washed across the road into Ashton.”

    Bird encountered the roadblock en route from Oudtshoorn to Cape Town on Tuesday morning. Most of his drive was spent under thick gray clouds, the countryside around him obscured by a wall of heavy rain.

    “Visibility was at best 30m, it was scary stuff,” he said. “The roads were waterlogged, and I could feel my car struggling to grip onto the road when I drove through the deeper puddles. But there were still guys speeding all around me.”

    With more rain forecast throughout the week, Agri Wes-Cape chief executive Carl Opperman has warned farmers to prepare for floods.

    He said the heavy rainfall, which is unusual for January – a month usually known for drought and fires – could not have come at a worse time as many farmers were harvesting their crops.

    “While we have had no reports of flood damage, too much rain could cause the fruit to take up too much water and burst.”

    Farmers have been advised to move stock from the low-lying areas and move equipment away from the rivers.

    “It could be rough, but it is still better than dealing with fires or drought. Once the rain is gone we can go back to business as usual,” said Opperman.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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