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    A mom has laid a charge of crimen injuria after she was allegedly strip-searched by security guards at a Edgars store.

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    Cape Town - An Ottery mother has laid a charge of crimen injuria with police after she was left traumatised during an alleged strip-search by security guards at Edgars in Maynard Mall, Wynberg.

    Sharna Caledon bought a cellphone on December 12 and was on her way out of the store when metal detectors were triggered at the door.

    Caledon was asked to put her handbag and lunch bag through the metal detector, but they were not the cause of the trigger.

    “I was asked to walk through and the alarm sounded.”

    Security then told Caledon she had to be searched.

    “I refused to be searched and asked for management to be called. I asked the store manager to check their security camera.”

    But the mom was told there were no CCTV cameras inside the shop.

    “I asked for an immediate refund and didn’t want the phone any longer.”

    After the refund, Caledon said, she was escorted by three staff members, including security, to an office to be searched.

    “The security guard promptly – without warning – lifted both layers of my top. Her hands went around the inside strap of my bra, from the front to the back below my breast. I felt violated. A stranger was touching my body.”

    The mother of one was asked to remove her top, pants and shoes, leaving her in her underwear.

    Nothing was found.

    Caledon is now receiving counselling. She is also seeking legal advice.

    The company offered her R5 000 as a token of goodwill, she said.

    “This is why women don’t want to report matters of abuse or rape. They (Edgars) are now denying it even happened. At first they apologised for the incident, now they’re saying it never happened. It’s not about the money, it’s about being violated.”

    She added that she had opened a case of crimen injuria at the Wynberg police station.

    Requests for police comment went unanswered.

    Phenias Ncube, deputy director in the office of the Consumer Protector, said it was a criminal matter.

    Meanwhile, labour lawyer Michael Bagraim said it was a complete invasion of privacy and that no shop was allowed to strip-search anyone.

    “What stores are supposed to do is call the police, but they cannot strip-search.

    I am completely horrified and shocked that something like that happened, especially to a woman. She has rights and they have been violated. They need to explain themselves.”

    An Edcon spokesperson said a detailed investigation was concluded and that Caledon was not strip-searched.

    “Edgars has been communicating with Ms Caledon and has made an apology for her inconvenience. Edgars does on occasion offer a token of goodwill for any inconvenience experienced by customers.

    “In this case, R5 000 was offered to Ms Caledon, which was rejected. Ms Caledon has requested R350 000 and has advised her intention to take legal action, which Edgars will challenge.”

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    "We are calling on those smaller political parties who have been upset by five years of DA rule to throw their weight behind us."

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    Cape Town - The ANC has called on “smaller political parties” for support as it prepares to win back the DA-led province.

    “We do not want to see a situation where the vote is split anywhere,” ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman said at the party’s provincial headquarters in Thibault Square on Monday.

    “This is a clear battle between the ANC and the DA. We are calling on those smaller political parties who have been upset by five years of DA rule to throw their weight behind us. It is in all of our interests.”

    The ANC Western Cape is to launch its election campaign in Delft on January 18.

    Outlining the ANC’s strategy to beat the DA in the province, Fransman said the DA acted in the interests of “privilege” and “white elitism” and its rule had been a five-year “nightmare” for the poor.

    Fransman vowed that an ANC government would champion the cause of the poor. The party would address the problems of gender-based violence, the housing shortage, drugs, gangsterism, racial imbalances in education, and property ownership.

    ANC Western Cape secretary Songezo Mjongile said: “We have started 2014 on a high. The ANC has had overwhelming support, with many sectors in society approaching our offices and asking us to show leadership.”

    Asked to comment on the ANC’s call for support from other political parties, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) and Cope laughed off suggestions that they might consider a coalition or partnership with the ANC.

    “Fransman needs a political education,” said Nazier Paulsen, the EFF’s provincial convener.

    FF+ leader Pieter Mulder said: “It… is not in the interests of South Africa to strengthen the ANC. We have (formed) a coalition with the DA to ensure we keep the ANC out (of provincial government).”

     

    Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said his party had formed coalitions with the DA in the Western and Northern Capes because of the “strong position taken by both parties to deal decisively with rampant corruption and maladministration, among many of the failings of the (ANC)”.

    AgangSA spokesman Thabo Leshilo said that the party's aim was to put an end to “ANC government corruption that is robbing the country of its development potential”.

    “Helping a party that wants to undermine the constitution and do as it pleases to wrestle power in the Western Cape is not our idea of realigning South African politics. Thanks but no thanks. We will contest the Western Cape in our own right.”

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/14/14--01:29: Schools begin Xhosa project
  • The WCED has announced that 730 Grade 1 pupils will be part of its pilot project where Xhosa will be taught as a third additional language.

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    Cape Town - The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has announced that 730 Grade 1 pupils will be part of its pilot project this year where Xhosa will be taught as a third additional language.

    The Basic Education Department plans to introduce a third African language to the school curriculum incrementally from next year in Grade 1. To help with the feasibility test, it will pilot the project at 10 schools in each province.

    WCED spokesman Paddy Attwell said the department was finalising the appointment of five teachers to travel between 10 schools. He said each teacher would be responsible for two or three schools to provide lessons.

    The provincial department was tasked with identifying schools which would take part in the pilot. Last year it had invited schools in urban districts to apply to be part of the study and had asked district directors for their input on which schools should be chosen.

    In the pilot, which is set to be launched next month, 10 city schools would teach Xhosa for the first time in the Grade 1 class. Attwell said the schools would determine how they would accommodate the additional lessons and added that its introduction could mean an extension of the school day.

    “The WCED discussed plans with the 10 schools late last year.

    “Officials will meet the schools again on Friday, January 17, for further discussions,” he said.

    “The schools and the department are on track to implement the pilot, according to the project plan. Lessons are due to start as soon as possible after the appointment of the teachers, scheduled for February 1,” Attwell said.

    The schools to participate in the pilot are:

    * Zonnebloem Boys Primary

    * Montevideo Primary

    * Cecil Road Primary

    * Good Hope Seminary Junior

    * Vorentoe Primary

    * Belhar Primary

    * Simon’s Town Primary

    * West End Primary

    * Square Hill Primary

    * Kraaifontein AME Primary

    Schools have a collective group of Grade 1 classes ranging between 24 to 189 pupils.

    National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of SA president Basil Manuel said during a meeting with the department, it had welcomed the idea of African languages being recognised.

    But he said the organisation had also raised concerns on whether a third language was not “overkill” and the pilot with the Grade 1 class might be an “unrealistic measuring tool”.

    “Our concern is that it cannot be used as a yardstick to measure the success of the whole policy.

    “The foundation phase is different from other phases.

    “We as Naptosa don’t see any problems with the pilot project in Grade 1 in terms of teachers (being) stretched a little but we are concerned that there would be problems that arise in the secondary phase, where there would be a need for far more staffing,” Manuel said.

    xolani.koyana@inl.co.za

    CapeTimes


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    DA MP Pieter van Dalen has asked the Hawks to investigate Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

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    Cape Town - DA MP Pieter van Dalen has asked the Hawks to investigate Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson following the public protector’s probe into her department’s awarding of an R800 million tender to Sekunjalo Marine Services Consortium.

    Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in her report last month that Joemat-Pettersson had interfered with the investigation into the tender process and had tried to have the probe shut down.

    Van Dalen said this was in violation of section 11 of the Public Protector Act and constituted a criminal offence and also violated section 181 (4) of the constitution.

    Madonsela said in her report that a week before she was due to release her draft report, Joemat-Pettersson had tried to “incite” Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe to stop the investigation on the grounds that the investigation was “unnecessary”.

    Madonsela viewed the minister’s act as interfering with her investigation and an attempt to undermine the independence of two constitutional bodies. She said Joemat-Pettersson’s interference was at odds with the constitution, which held that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of Chapter 9 institutions.

    Van Dalen said on Monday that this was the second time Joemat-Pettersson had been found guilty of an offence by the public protector.

    “The last time she escaped with a mere slap on the wrist. This time she cannot be allowed to escape the consequences of her actions. I have therefore laid formal criminal charges against Joemat-Pettersson,” Van Dalen said.

    He also called on President Jacob Zuma to “take the necessary action in accordance with the findings of the public protector”.

    In her recommendations for remedial action Madonsela recommended that Zuma consider disciplinary action against Joemat-Pettersson for her “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in South Africa and alleged decimation of fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research”.

    The minister’s spokeswoman, Palesa Mokomele, said: “Any response to this issue will be made in court. We will respond then.”

    Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko confirmed that Van Dalen had approached the unit to investigate the matter and that it was looking into the information he had presented. No charge had been formulated yet. He said the procedure was that if the investigation uncovered any wrongdoing, a criminal case would be opened.

    Cape Times


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  • 01/14/14--03:22: ‘I buried my baby alive’
  • Zolani Malanga has told police that he cooked a meal for his son Zondre, before digging a hole under his bed inside his shack.

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    Cape Town - A father has admitted to cops that he buried his 14-month-old son alive.

    Zolani Malanga, 32, has told police that he cooked a meal for his son Zondre, before digging a hole under his bed inside his shack last Wednesday.

    When the little boy was done eating, Malanga allegedly put him in the hole, placed a pillow over him and began covering the child with sand.

    A relative rushed into the shack to find Malanga calmly lying on his bed.

    Within minutes, the dad dug up his own son from under his bed but the boy was already dead.

    The Bellville Magistrates’ Court heard the chilling revelation on Monday, prompting even hardened police officers to whisper: “That man is evil.”

    Malanga made his first court appearance on Monday where he faces a charge of murder for the death of Zondre Parks, his own son.

    He is expected to begin his bid for bail later this month.

    Prosecutors revealed Malanga admitted his crime to police in a statement last week, soon after his arrest on Thursday.

    Dressed in a hooded jacket and beige pants, Malanga appeared nervous as he stepped into the dock and kept his hands in his pockets.

    He listened attentively as State Prosecutor S Mhcana give a blow-by-blow account of how little Zondre’s life came to a tragic end inside his shack in Botterboom Street, Delft-South, last Wednesday.

    The suspect is alleged to have gone to Zondre’s mother’s home where he found the boy playing.

    “There were three children playing and one of them was his child, he took the child,” said the prosecutor.

    She told the court Malanga took the boy home and prepared him his final meal.

    “He cooked for the both of them,” she said.

    “He then moved his bed and began digging a hole. He took the child and while he was still alive, he placed him into the hole and put a pillow over him.

    “He buried the child alive.”

    Malanga then claims he moved his bed back into position to cover the buried boy and he lay down on the bed while his son breathed his last in a sandy grave beneath him.

    “When his uncle came [into the shack], he [Malanga] was lying on the bed,” Mhcana added.

    “He told his uncle that he had murdered the child.

    “And when he moved the bed and dug open the grave, by then the child was already dead.”

    It is estimated Zondre was buried for about 20 minutes before the relative entered the room and confronted Malanga.

    “When police found the child, he was dead,” Mhcana told the court.

    She stressed Malanga is facing a serious offence which should be heard in the Western Cape High Court. And that little Zondre’s post-mortem is still outstanding.

    “A profile of the accused has to be done. This will be in the High Court,” she added.

    Mhcana concluded by stating that Malanga had admitted guilt to police.

    “He confessed to police in a statement. The case will be remanded for bail information,” she said.

    Malanga was not asked to plead.

    But while Malanga awaits his fate, his former lover and Zondre’s mom Nadia Parks, 35, is battling to bury her son and come to terms with his death.

    “There has been no finance from his [Malanga’s] family to bury Zondre,” said the single mother of five.

    “Everything is still unclear... It cannot be true,” she said of Zondre’s shocking death.

    Nadia told the Daily Voice of how she ended her rocky relationship with Malanga on the morning before the tragedy happened.

    And how Malanga had collected Zondre for a visit to a nearby tuck shop but never returned.

    She explained that her other children are also struggling to come to terms with Zondre’s death.

    “My daughter Keron, 13, started high school today and she was so emotional, she couldn’t concentrate,” she said.

    “She always looked after Zondre when I had to go somewhere and they were very close.

    “My four-year-old son looks for his baby brother every morning because he used to wake Zondre up first.”

    Daily Voice


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    A man has died after being burnt in a shack fire in an informal settlement Masiphumelele, near Fish Hoek.

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    Cape Town - A man who was burnt in a shack fire in an informal settlement in Masiphumelele, near Fish Hoek, died on Tuesday, said the City of Cape Town.

    The fire destroyed 27 shacks and displaced 100 people early on Tuesday morning, the city's mayoral committee member for safety and security Jean-Pierre Smith said in a statement.

    A woman was treated for smoke inhalation.

    Cape Town residents were warned to be cautious over the next few days as the hot weather conditions could lead to runaway fires.

    Smith also called on residents to be vigilant when making fires, especially in high-risk areas such as informal settlements, because they might spread.

    The spread of fires was directly influenced by the materials used in the construction of the shacks and the distance between each shack, Smith said.

    He urged residents to use cooking and heating devices responsibly and not to use illegal electricity connections.

    Sapa


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    Western Cape top matriculants received cash prizes and special awards at a ceremony at the Western Cape premier's residence.

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    Cape Town - Scores of Western Cape matriculants received cash prizes and special awards at a ceremony at Western Cape premier Helen Zille's Leeuwenhof residence in Cape Town on Tuesday.

    Nicola Mire, of Rustenburg Girls' High School, was honoured with the top pupil prize after receiving nine distinctions.

    Mire said the only advice she had for aspiring top achievers was to “break all the rules” when it came to study strategies, and to “go with what works for you”.

    “I would speak to myself as if I'm reteaching the material, so that helped me a lot. You have to be patient with yourself,” she said.

    Mire said she intended to enrol at the University of Cape Town for a degree in occupational therapy.

    Siyanda Sityata, from G-section in Khayelitsha, would join Mire at UCT, where he would study towards his BCom Chartered Accounting degree.

    Sityata was one of three recipients of Western Cape education MEC Donald Grant's special awards for pupils who excelled despite facing tremendous hardship.

    The 17-year-old achieved five distinctions after enduring several muggings while attending after-school and Saturday classes to improve his marks.

    “It was very, very difficult, because I was scared of gangsters. There's gang violence in Khayelitsha, where I live, so they would fight and I would get robbed.... That was very heartbreaking,” Sityata said.

    Both Sityata's parents are cleaners.

    “What motivated me was wanting a better life for me and my family, because in my neighbourhood we were one of the poorest. Everyone was building up their houses, but ours is still the smallest.

    “I want to improve things at home and just bring pride to my parents,” he said.

    Sityata received an R8000 cash prize and a tablet - which he said would double as gifts for his 18th birthday on Friday.

    He encouraged pupils from his area not to lose hope in the face of increasing danger from gang violence.

    “Be determined... If you give it your all, you can never go wrong,” Sityata said.

    “Don't turn to crime. I knew my circumstances where everyone in the neighbourhood would get involved in gangs. I decided to leave my friends that started to get involved in gangsterism.”

    Sapa


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    A truck driver’s body was burnt beyond recognition in a crash which shut down the N1 outside Laingsburg for 10 hours overnight.

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    Cape Town - A truck driver’s body was burnt beyond recognition in a crash which shut down the N1 outside Laingsburg for 10 hours overnight.

    Traffic was backed up in both directions in the early hours of this morning as firefighters and rescue workers battled to bring the blaze under control while the driver’s body remained trapped inside the truck.

    Witnesses said two trucks were travelling in the direction of Beaufort West on the N1, when one tried to overtake the other.

    “This is not an official version of events, but it has been alleged by people on the scene that one truck clipped the trailer of the other as it was overtaking,” said provincial traffic spokesman Jacques Mostert.

    “This caused the driver of the truck being overtaken to lose control. A fire broke out and the driver’s body was burnt beyond recognition. There were major traffic delays, due to the road being closed for several hours.”

    Motorists reporting from the scene via social media said traffic was held up for hours. Mostert said there were no other fatalities or injuries.

    Cape Argus


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    It will be the clash of the red berets in Delft when the ANC launch their provincial election manifesto and Juju goes on a blitz tour.

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    Cape Town - It will be the clash of the red berets this weekend in the Western Cape.

    The ANC will launch it’s provincial election manifesto in Delft on Saturday while Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema will visit Delft and Blikkiesdorp on the same day.

    In KwaZulu-Natal last weekend, a group of ANC supporters attacked EFF members, including Malema, when they visited Nkandla to hand over a house to President Jacob Zuma’s neighbour. Supporters from both parties wear red berets while social media is abuzz with claims on who were first.

    It will be Malema’s first visit to the province since he established his party last year.

    EFF provincial convener Nazier Paulsen said on Tuesday that Malema will have a blitz tour of the West Coast, the Overberg and visit Mitchells Plain and Blikkiesdorp in Delft on Saturday. Asked if they knew about the ANC’s planned event Paulsen said it was “unfortunate”.

    ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman was unaware of Malema’s planned visit. “Malema is nothing more than just a copycat. We will have our launch and we are not interested in what this attention-seeker is doing.”

    Paulsen said the EFF may not have enough money to distribute enough red berets to all supporters.

    The EFF’s 15-member provincial command team and representatives from the six regions in the province met in Bonteheuwel last weekend.

    Paulsen said Malema asked to meet farmworkers and fishermen in the province. “We will visit communities in De Doorns and fishermen on the West Coast to talk about quotas and their rights. Our oceans will be one of the first resource we will nationalise after the elections.”

    The EFF said it aimed to get more than a million votes in the Western Cape alone during the elections..

    In 2009 the DA was the only party to get over a million votes, while the ANC received 620 918 votes in the Western Cape.

    cobus.coetzee@inl.co.za

     

    Cape Times


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    Western Cape schools were expecting at least 950 000 pupils to enrol on the first day of teaching, the Western Cape education department said.

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    Cape Town - Western Cape schools were expecting at least 950 000 pupils to enrol on the first day of teaching, the Western Cape education department said on Wednesday.

    So far no problems had been reported, but district offices were monitoring the situation, spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said.

    Officials were expecting late enrolment of pupils - an annual occurrence.

    “We cannot predict how many new learners will enter the system from other provinces or how many parents had to relocate to the Western Cape during the festive season,” Casey said.

    “District officials are out and about at schools and will deal with every learner on a case by case basis.”

    Casey said a smooth start to the academic year was expected, but some problems were anticipated.

    “We delivered all textbooks by the end of last year and finalised timetables. There's always hiccups in the system... and we'll deal with these as they come in,” she said.

    Education MEC Donald Grant visited Fairview Primary School, one of three newly constructed schools, to welcome Grade One pupils.

    “There were a few tears as parents dropped their little ones off for the first day of school,” Casey said.

    At St Cyprian's School in Cape Town there were very few tears when parents dropped their children off at “big school”.

    Some pre-school pupils were clinging to their parents, hesitant to let go.

    However, most of the parents said they were more nervous about letting go than their children were.

    Some youngsters were clearly shy and had to be coaxed into classrooms by their doting parents.

    One look at the school playground, however, had them running from their classrooms towards the sand pits and jungle gyms.

    Six-year-old Madison Eskinazi said she was excited at the prospect of starting her Grade One lessons.

    Madison's mom Sarhan Brophy-Eskinazi said she was a bit more nervous.

    “Madison was fine and very determined to carry her own bag which made me cry just a little bit,” Brophy-Eskinazi said.

    Six-year-old Julianna, who could not recall her last name, said she was not sad at all.

    “I'm happy and excited, but my two-year-old sister cried when I came to class,” she said. - Sapa


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    Education in SA is improving - and the Western Cape, which achieved nearly 20 000 Bachelor passes, is setting the standard, says the premier.

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    Cape Town - Education in South Africa is improving – and the Western Cape, which achieved nearly 20 000 Bachelor passes, is setting the standard, says Premier Helen Zille.

    Zille hosted the province’s top achieving matriculants and school principals at the premier’s official residence in Leeuwenhof on Tuesday where she handed out awards for academic excellence.

    She said the number of quality passes in the province had shown there was a significant improvement in the education system.

    “I really believe that education is turning around and is beginning to show the results of the turnaround countrywide. “And so, while there has been a lot of questioning of the matric results, I believe the turnaround has begun.

    “We in the Western Cape celebrate every educational improvement everywhere because it is good for South Africa. We do everything that we do because we want South Africa to succeed.”

    Zille said after a week of debates over the legitimacy of the matric results and criticism of the 30 percent pass mark, it was important to celebrate the pupils’ success.

    She urged matriculants to use their skills to improve the country.

    Matrics in the province achieved a pass rate of 85.1 percent, coming fourth out of the nine provinces.

    This was up from 82.8 percent in 2012.

    But the province had achieved the most Bachelor passes of all the provinces.

    Education MEC Donald Grant said on Tuesday pupils in the province had 19 477 Bachelor (university entrance) passes in 2013, up by 3 158 from 2012.

    “While we can be proud that over 40 percent of our candidates achieved access to bachelor degree study, we know we can improve this result even further. Since 2009, the total number of candidates qualifying for a bachelors has steadily increased year on year from 14 324 in 2009 to 19 477 in 2013,” he said.

    Grant said the class of 2013 had also achieved 22 208 distinctions, compared to the 19 264 of the previous year.

    In blistering hot conditions, the pupils from numerous schools in the province accepted awards in individual subjects and overall honours accompanied by prize money.

     

    Nicola Cilliers of Rustenburg High School for Girls in Rondebosch was honoured as the top achieving pupil in the province, while Lauren Gildenhuys from Wynberg Girls’ High School and Lauren Denny, also from Rustenburg, came second and third, respectively.

    Gerben Draaijer of Paul Roos Gimnasium achieved a 100 percent pass mark in physical science and accounting and was recognised as the best in the province in both subjects.

     

    Draaijer, 18, who will study towards a degree in actuarial science at Stellenbosch University, said going for jogs, cycling and taking many study breaks helped him while preparing for his final exams.

    Samuel Wolski from Diocesan College received an award for excellence in mathematics after obtaining a 100 percent mark.

    He said his formula was: “I just did the work.

    “That’s the difference between getting 98 percent and 100 percent.”

    Wolski urged the matrics of this year not to wait until the last minute before studying.

     

    He plans to study applied mathematics this year at UCT.

    xolani.koyana@inl.co.za

    francesca.villette@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Brooklyn residents have been expecting violence after the release of a 28s gang member from prison and fear retaliatory attacks after he was shot dead.

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    Cape Town - Residents in the Brooklyn area have been expecting violence after the release of a 28s gang member from prison and fear retaliatory attacks after the 29-year-old was shot dead on Monday.

    Gunmen in a car with tinted windows opened fire on Tino Jansen, 29, in Loanda Street in Brooklyn, killing him in a hail of bullets.

    Three other people, a 14-year-old girl, 16-year-old boy and 26-year-old man, were also wounded in the drive-by shooting.

    Police have not identified any suspects, and said their investigation was continuing.

    Residents from Loanda Street in Brooklyn said Jansen was a 28s gang member who was released from Pollsmoor on Monday and was out on bail in connection with a possession of drugs case.

    A community worker from Milnerton, who spoke on condition his name not be published, said that residents had been expecting violence once Jansen was released.

    He said now they also expected retaliatory attacks on Jansen’s rivals.

    The man said a fight over drug turf was behind the violence, since Jansen’s rival was using “very tradeable” property while he was in prison.

    He said they expected more violence this week.

    Karen Visagie, chairwoman of the Milnerton community policing forum, said the forum and neighbourhood watches would be monitoring the street closely.

    Visagie said they would raise awareness among residents encourage them to join the neighbourhood watches.

    “This will allow us to do more patrols and be more vigilant, and we will keep a closer watch on Loanda Street,” Visagie said.

    zara.nicholson@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Tears, cheers and tantrums greeted the start of the 2014 school year, as children across SA entered their classrooms.

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    Cape Town - There were tears, smiles, hugs and tantrums as parents parted from their children entering Grade R at Schotsche Kloof Primary School, in the Bo-Kaap, on Wednesday morning.

    After final goodbyes were said, a group of parents hovered nervously in the corridors as they eavesdropped on teacher Waseefa Johaar, who started the morning’s lesson.

    Some family members giggled at the wails coming from inside the classroom but Nadeema Karriem bit her lip in distress as Tauha, five, screamed blue murder.

    A teaching assistant had to take him to one side, while she tried to calm him down.

    “Shame, it is a big step for him,” said Karriem. “He never went to creche and was used to spending his mornings with me at home. That is why he’s so stressed out.”

    At the pre-primary class downstairs, there were similar scenes.

    Little Salman Jimale, four, cried and wriggled uncontrollably until he broke free from his teacher’s grasp and bolted for the door, where his mother caught him in her arms. She gave him a brief hug and then a stern talking to, before leading the boy back into the classroom.

    Other children pushed their parents away and asked to be left alone, so that they could start their year on their own.

    “He was just too excited,” said Nazreen Harris of her six-year-old son Abdul Mu-Izz, who started Grade 1 today.

    “He loves the new uniform and school shoes. He just jumped out of bed and hasn’t looked back this morning.”

    Millions of South African children kicked off the 2014 academic year on Wednesday morning, as inland and coastal schools reopened.

    In Midrand, Gauteng, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School.

    Motlanthe said the visit was intended to motivate teachers and congratulate them on a job well done, as the school was one of the top performers, despite being a no-fee institution.

    “We decided to come to this school to thank the principal and teachers for the job they are putting in and to encourage learners,” he said.

    Motshekga said it was all systems go for the new academic year and text books had been delivered. However she had got word that some schools in Limpopo and Mpumalanga had suffered storm damage.

    Locally, Western Cape MEC for Education Donald Grant visited Fairview Primary School, where teachers have worked hard in recent weeks to move classrooms from mobile units to permanent structures.

    “The staff have done an incredible job and it was a great to see the year getting off to smooth start,” said Grant.

    “All the name tags for the Grade R and Grade 1 classes were ready and there were all round pleasant and happy scenes.

    “In general, the school year got off without a hitch in the Western Cape.”

    Yet, the school year inevitably brought stress to some parents and children in the country who had not yet been placed in a school, due to late registrations.

    On Tuesday night, eTV news reported on shortfalls in school placements for pupils in Gauteng. Desperate parents arriving at schools at the last minute to register their kids is a challenge s experienced every year nationally and in the Western Cape.

    “Ninety-nine percent of our pupils are placed,” said Grant.

    “But there are always those parents who did not manage to register their children in time.”

    Grant advised schools to divert parents to the department’s district offices, where a list of vacancies is available. Alternatively, parents are encouraged to call the department’s call centre, where the vacancies for various districts can be accessed. The number to call is 0861 923 322.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A seven-year-old boy who was to start Grade 1 on Wednesday is in hospital after being shot while walking to school.

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    Cape Town - A seven-year-old boy who was to start Grade 1 on Wednesday is in hospital after being shot while walking to school.

    The boy and a 17-year-old were walking near Marion High School, next to Holy Trinity Primary in Elsies River at about 7.40am, when a “a taxi stopped and a gunman, known to police as a gang member, got out and opened fire”, said police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut.

    The Grade 1 pupil was shot in the hand and the teenager in the hip

    The teenager, who has also been admitted to hospital, was allegedly the intended target. 

    Traut said the seven-year-old was “at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

    Shortly after the incident the boy and the teenager were taken to Tygerberg Hospital.

    No arrests had been made by publication time on Wednesday.

    * Sapa reports that five children aged between eight and 12 were injured in a car crash in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday morning, paramedics said.

    The five were being transported to school on the back of a bakkie when its brakes apparently failed on Edendale Road, causing it to collide with a sedan, ER24 spokeswoman Luyanda Majija said.

    “The children were treated for minor injuries and transported to Medi-Clinic Pietermaritzburg and other hospitals for further care.”

    The drivers of the vehicles were not injured.

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The City of Cape Town has spent over R13 million on stolen or vandalised flush toilets in the past six months.

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    Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has spent over R13 million repairing stolen or vandalised flush toilets and standpipes in the past six months, it said on Wednesday.

    “The over R13 million spent has been on, among others, replacing and repairing stolen taps, broken taps, stolen handles, broken standpipes, stolen hand-basins, blocked toilets, and damaged toilet structures,” mayoral committee member for utility services Ernest Sonnenberg said in a statement.

    The repairs were done between July 1 and December 31 last year. Sonnenberg said the money could have been used to improve the water and sanitation conditions in the city's informal settlements.

    “When a few destructive individuals illegally and selfishly destroy city infrastructure, they not only place a huge demand on the department's budget which could be avoided, but most importantly, obstruct the provision of basic services to the broader community.”

    The city planned to install 1300 flush toilets in this financial year to the Imizamo Yethu, France, RR Section, Dunoon, Rasta Camp, and Lansdowne Road informal settlements.

    The number of toilets had risen from 14 591 in 2006 to more than 40 700, Sonnenberg said.

    In May, the city approached the Western Cape High Court after groups of people disrupted the servicing of container and portable flush toilets (PFTs) in informal settlements.

    At the time, former Sannicare janitors responsible for cleaning communal toilets blocked part of the N2 highway with burning tyres and dumped faeces on the road.

    Some residents of Barcelona and Kanana informal settlements apparently removed some of the container toilets from the neighbouring informal settlement, Europe, to close down the highway.

    An interim interdict was obtained against 89 former Sannicare employees and seven residents of Ward 40, associated with the ANC Youth League.

    The interim order prohibited the named individuals from interfering with service delivery, city staff, and property. A second protest took place in the vicinity about a week after the interdict was granted.

    In protests against rolling out the PFTs human waste was thrown on, among others, the steps of the Western Cape legislature and at provincial premier Helen Zille's convoy.

    Sapa


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    The year began traumatically for Principal Brett Frost when he was held up at gunpoint at the Greenwood Independent School.

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    Plettenberg Bay -

    The school year began traumatically for a Plettenberg Bay principal when he was held up at gunpoint in his office.

    Brett Frost, principal of Greenwood Independent School, declined to give details of the incident, saying it was still too soon, but he did confirm that “nobody was hurt, and no child was exposed to violence”.

    According to police spokeswoman Captain Bernadine Steyn, two armed men came into the reception area, then went into Frost’s office.

    They demanded cash from him at gunpoint, and he told them where it was kept.

    One of the men then went back into the reception area and took an undisclosed amount of cash from a desk.

    The men fled and no arrests have been made.

    Otto Olivier from Plett Security said his team responded to the armed robbery alarm.

    He said the robbers made off towards Kwanokuthula, and although security personnel patrolled the area, it was “to no avail as the thick bush area made it virtually impossible to spot anyone”.

    Olivier applauded the principal and staff for their handling of the situation.

    chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Jermaine Taylor, 6, was supposed to join his friends for the first day of school. Instead he spent the day in hospital.

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    Cape Town - Instead of joining his friends for the first day of school on Wednesday, six-year-old Jermaine Taylor spent the day in hospital after being shot in the arm.

    Jermaine was walking outside the gates of Matroos Holy Trinity RC Primary School in Elsies River when a gunman opened fire.

    He and another boy, aged 17, were hit in what police describe as a “gang-related” shooting.

    A few hours later, Jerome Taylor, Jermaine’s father, spoke to the Cape Argus from Tygerberg Hospital. His son, still wearing a bloodied school shirt, had just been discharged, with his left arm in a cast and his right hand in a bandage.

    Taylor’s shirt was also bloodied from having carried his son after the shooting. He recalls seeing the gunman shooting “wildly” and hearing about seven shots.

    “I thank God that the injuries weren’t more serious,” he said.

    “After the shots I heard screaming. It was my son and he was shouting ‘Eina! Eina!’ Then I saw the blood. As I ran up to him I honestly did not know what to expect. I knew the bullet had hit him, but I did not know where.”

    Taylor carried his son to the school’s reception area where a teacher administered first aid. A short while later, an ambulance took the boy to hospital.

    Deputy principal Jerome Pillay said the school community was traumatised by the shooting – the second to be witnessed by staff since the beginning of the week.

    On Monday, alleged gangsters were involved in a shoot-out on an open field near the school.

    Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Casey said that psychologists and the Safe Schools division had been dispatched to the school to assist with counselling and security arrangements. Police would also be at the school on Thursday.

    Renecia Piekaan, Jermaine’s Grade R teacher last year, described him as a gentle, sensitive and clever boy.

    “He likes drumming and plays in the church band,” his father said. “He also loves soccer and going to school.”

    But Taylor is afraid that his son might not want to return to school because of the trauma of the shooting. He bemoaned the escalation of gang fighting in Elsies River and called on the government to support community structures that were trying to broker peace.

    “What has become of a community when our children cannot walk safely to school?” he asked.

    “There are so many bullets flying around that we no longer know where to duck with our heads. Today, it was my child. Tomorrow, it will be someone else’s.”

    Police have arrested a 27-year-old Ravensmead man for the shooting. He is due to appear in court on Thursday.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A St George’s Grammar School teacher was robbed and then struck with an object that resembled a firearm in the computer lab.

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    Cape Town - A St George’s Grammar School teacher was threatened and robbed in a school computer lab on Wednesday as pupils and parents arrived for the first day of the school year.

    Principal Julian Cameron, who declined to identify the teacher beyond saying she was a specialist primary teacher, said the man struck her a sharp blow on the head with an object that resembled a firearm, and fled with some of her personal possessions. The teacher was left bleeding in the lab.

    The intruder was spotted by one of the school’s security guards, who tried to arrest him, but he threatened the guard with what the guard assumed was a firearm and fled.

    The intruder was spotted shortly afterwards at a nearby house in Mowbray, but by the time the police arrived he had gone. The school has given police security camera footage of the intruder. Police suspect the man’s weapon was not, in fact, a firearm.

    The teacher was treated in hospital and later discharged.

    “We are happy to report that she is at home and recovering,” said Cameron.

    He said that last year the school had been investigating improving security and access control: “This incident however has underlined the need to expedite these initiatives.”

    Cape Argus


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    The year got off to a rough start for Simon Estes Music School pupils when they arrived to discover the school had been closed.

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    Cape Town - The school year got off to a rough start for pupils at the Simon Estes Music School in Lansdowne when they arrived to discover the school had been closed.

    The private school’s trustees cited corruption and lack of funding as reasons for the closure. Now pupils face the year with no school to go to.

    Rumours of the trustees’ decision circulated on Monday and appeared on Facebook, but the school’s administration failed to inform pupils.

    On Wednesday, parents and pupils were shocked when the principal, George Damon, confirmed this to be true. He described the closure as “very heartbreaking”.

    “Throughout the year, we have had financial struggles. We even asked teachers to work for free (for three months), but of course they need to put food on the table. We’re still hoping they won’t desert the learners.”

    One pupil said last year’s matric pass rate was 30.6 percent.

    “What are we supposed to do as matrics? They should have notified us beforehand so we could make other plans,” said Nomakhwezi Mata. “We want to learn, we want to study.”

    Pupils and a parent said there had been poor administration over the years, and not a single parent meeting had been held last year.

    Xhosa teacher Thozama Yawa, right, said: “As educators we only heard about this on Monday and we were shocked at the discovery. Little did we know our December salary was going to be our last… ”

    The closure was confirmed by Paddy Attwell, the Western Cape Education Department’s spokesman, who said: “The trustees and owners of Simon Estes, an independent school, have written to the Western Cape Education Department indicating they have resolved to close the school with immediate effect.”

    The department had procedures to deal with situations like this.

    “It was a real shock,” said Michael Ndumndum, father of a pupil going into Grade 10.

    Ndumndum is part of a newly elected interim committee formed by the parents who said they had negotiated for the school to open as usual today until a clear solution could be found.

    dylan.oktober@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A Kensington woman, believed to be 30, killed her child and then committed suicide, Cape Town police have said.

    |||

    Cape Town - A woman drowned her seven-month-old son and then hanged herself in Kensington on Wednesday.

    Police confirmed the woman, believed to be 30, killed her child and then committed suicide. They said the incident occurred at about 3pm in Facreton Avenue, Kensington.

    A murder investigation had been opened. – Staff Reporter


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