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    Khayelitsha residents have come to rely on taxi drivers rather than police officers to break up gang fights in the area, a local woman said.

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    Cape Town - Khayelitsha residents have come to rely on taxi drivers rather than police officers to break up gang fights in the area, a local woman said in Cape Town on Friday.

    Testifying in the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into alleged police inefficiency in the area, Nokuzola Mcaphancapha said she had lost faith in the police to protect her and her children from violent gangsters.

    Her area, Harare, and the high school children living there were automatically associated with the “Vuras” gang, while the “Vatos” gang was active in nearby Kuyasa.

    When the gangs disagreed, violence spilled out onto the streets, forcing parents to hide their children who often got caught in fights.

    Mcaphancapha said her children often missed school, especially on Fridays, when panga-wielding boys roamed the streets of the township. Police often did not arrive in time, or when they did arrive they did little to calm tensions.

    “We do have those taxi men, because they go straight to the guys 1/8gangsters 3/8,” Mcaphancapha said.

    “The boys know the police cannot shoot them... because their hands are tied. They know the taxi men will do something.”

    She added that all it took was a phone call to the taxi associations, who would send drivers to the area to break up fights, adding the service was “free of charge”.

    During cross examination by lawyer Thabani Masuku, for the police, Mcaphancapha agreed that the parents of the boys who participated in gang activities could do more to steer their children away from crime. She however doubted the police would make a difference.

    The taxi drivers, however, were able to deal with the problem.

    “They (taxi associations) know the (gang) bosses in Kuyasa, they know the (gang) bosses in Harare. There will be no fights without the approval of the bosses. They talk to the (gang) bosses and discipline them and the followers become less aggressive?” Masuku asked.

    “Yes,” Mcaphancapha said.

    She said police would sometimes lock the boys up overnight and release them a day or two later to continue terrorising residents.

    The taxi associations' interventions were often more effective and longer-lasting, she said.

    “It makes a difference,” Mcaphancapha told commissioners.

    The commission, headed by retired Constitutional Court judge Kate O'Regan and advocate Vusi Pikoli, was set up after complaints by local civic organisations and NGOs that increased cases of mob justice were due to police inefficiency.

    The commission was initially delayed after objections by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. In October last year Mthethwa lost his Constitutional Court bid to have the commission scrapped.

    Friday marked the end of the commission's second week.

    Sapa


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    Honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani may soon be in South Africa to stand trial, and the State is "delighted".

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    Cape Town - Hailing the news that honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani could be put on a plane back to South Africa within as little as three weeks after losing his latest UK battle against extradition, the family of victim Anni Dewani say they won’t give up their fight for justice – “even if we have to fight for 50 years more”.

    Dewani was not in court to hear Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas’s ruling in London on Friday, remaining in hospital in Bristol where he is being treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Now, said South African Justice Department spokesman advocate Mthunzi Mhaga on Friday night, all stakeholders, including Correctional Services, the Health Department and the National Prosecuting Authority, must get together to discuss the next step.

     

    “The conditions have to be in writing and must stipulate that if (Dewani) is found to be mentally unfit here, then he must be returned to the UK and not detained in a psychiatric hospital here,” Mhaga explained.

    It was too early to say exactly what the course of events would be when Dewani finally arrived here, because many discussions still had to take place.

    What he could say was that when Dewani arrived, “there will be an arrangement, for a fact, that will cater for his condition”.

    Friday’s ruling, expected since the extradition application was initiated in January 2011, was that Dewani was subject to the Extradition Act, and that it would not be “unjust or oppressive” to send him if the South African government agreed he could return to Britain if he was unfit to plead before a trial. The South African government now has three weeks to agree to the High Court’s proposal, but its lawyer in court, Ben Watson, said he “anticipated” it would consent.

    Despite the ruling, Dewani could still challenge on Friday’s decision in the UK’s Supreme Court, but no application has been made. He has long argued he is too ill to return.

    The three-year battle is aimed at seeing Dewani face charges of being involved in the murder of his new bride Anni, 28, on November 13, 2010. It is alleged that Dewani, 33, paid men to hijack and then kill Anni in Gugulethu while on honeymoon, which he denies.

    On Friday night Anni’s uncle, Ashok Hindocha, said from Sweden they were satisfied with the judgment, but remained aware that justice may still be some way off.

    But they needed to “know what happened so we can move on in our lives, so we can start the mourning process”. While they were happy the case had taken a “huge, huge” step forward, there had been many hurdles during the past three years.

     

    “We feel that finally the British justice system has made the right decision. We are thankful for that and we hope no other appeals come through, and Shrien Dewani flies to South Africa and is found to be fit to plead so we can move on,” Hindocha said.

    “We have full faith in the South African medical system and justice system,” he added, saying the family would definitely travel to the Western Cape for any trial.

    Mark van der Heever, deputy director of communications for the Western Cape Health Department, said last night he was unable to release any information on Dewani, except to say the department and its facilities would be ready to receive him.

    In his judgment on Friday, Lord Thomas said it might be “unjust and oppressive” to send him back to South Africa if there was no prospect of his health improving, and being fit for trial in the Western Cape.

    However, if the South African government gave an undertaking that he would be returned “within a year, or other stated reasonable period” if a trial is unlikely, it would not be “unjust or oppressive”.

     

    He added: “The death of the appellant’s wife Anni occurred over three years ago. The interests of justice, including the interests of her family who, like other families of murdered persons, wish to see a trial take place as soon as is practicable, require expedition and there should be no further delay, provided that proper protection is afforded to the appellant…”

    Watson said he was “delighted” by the ruling, but conceded that Dewani could still appeal. He added: “I have to speak to the South African government, but in the next 14 days I anticipate that they will be able to give an undertaking.”

    In his statement, Mhaga explained the High Court had ruled that Dewani could be extradited here to stand trial, on condition that South Africa provided an undertaking to the UK that Dewani would be returned if he was found to be unfit to be tried here.

     

    “The High Court ruling sets out in clear terms the conditions upon which it is prepared to sanction Mr Dewani’s return to (South Africa) to stand trial,” the statement continued.

    The government would “study the judgment and liaise with the necessary stakeholders to ensure it complies with the directive of the court”.

    Mhaga said they had consistently expressed the desire to have Dewani returned to stand trial since the beginning of 2011.

    “That desire has not abated and (South Africa) will obviously do everything in its power to ensure compliance with the High Court’s judgment,” he added.

    With administrative requirements, the government has 21 days to deliver its assurance. It is unclear who will judge whether Dewani is fit or unfit to stand trial in South Africa, but Watson said it would probably be decided by the South African courts.

    Unusually, Anni’s parents, Vinod and Nilam Hindocha, were not in court to hear the judgment. Anni’s first cousin, Amit Karia, said news of the hearing came too late for them to make the trip to London from Sweden.

     

    So far, three men have been convicted over Anni Dewani’s death here, including their driver on the night, Zola Tongo, who was jailed for 18 years.

    Weekend Argus


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    A Cape Town fishing boat crew got a bit more up close and personal than they liked with a four-metre great white shark.

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    Cape Town - A local fishing boat crew got a bit more up close and personal than they liked with a four-metre great white shark on Saturday, after it launched itself on to their vessel off Strandfontein Beach, then rolled back into the sea – leaving them open-mouthed.

    It was all too quick for any of the crew to collect themselves to take a picture of this toothy encounter, but on Saturday afternoon skipper Peter Swart, 58, was still shaken.

    The Kalk Bay fisherman said he’d never seen anything like it in his 41 years at sea.

    He and seven fishermen were aboard his 10m boat about two kilometres off the coast of Strandfontein on Saturday when the shark paid them a visit. He said they must have been in about 12m of water when the shark breached, landing on the cabin of his boat.

    “The whole thing took about two seconds,” said Swart.

    “The shark came straight out of the water. In my personal opinion I think the shark went for my friend’s child.” As the shark appeared, his friend had instinctively pulled back his 10-year-old son.

    “The shark hit the top of the cabin. It then fell back on to the boat near where I was sitting. I thought the boat was going to break in two.”

    The fishermen said they had noticed an “abnormal” number of sharks around the boat earlier.

    They were all thanking their lucky stars that they’d escaped unscathed.

    “I would have been crushed by the shark if I hadn’t dived into the cabin when it landed.”

    jan.cronje@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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  • 02/02/14--04:59: Mecca pilgrims scammed
  • Hajj Watch announced that they had uncovered an allegedly fraudulent scheme promising discounted pilgrimages to Mecca.

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    Cape Town - Hajj Watch announced on Saturday it had uncovered an allegedly fraudulent scheme promising discounted pilgrimages to Mecca, which has left more than 100 people stranded.

    A case of fraud has been opened with the police after 42 of the pilgrims decided to take legal action. Sars is also due to investigate.

    Hajj Watch, a national hajj advocacy group, revealed the details in Crawford on Saturday following an investigation into what it said was an elaborate scheme by a well-known Mitchells Plain foundation.

    The scam was exposed on December 24 when more than 100 people about to embark on umrah, the Islamic minor pilgrimage, were forced to either pay up from their own pockets or cancel their trips when it emerged that the foundation had failed to pay the travel services provider LAMY SA.

    Following the botch-up, the pilgrims called Hajj Watch.

    Jakes Rawat, spokesman for Hajj Watch, said the organisation found that LAMY had been offering services to the value of R15 000 per pilgrim, while the foundation had been asking for sometimes as little as a third of that from the pilgrims.

    And although the foundation allegedly received R2.6 million from the pilgrims in a scam likened to a Ponzi scheme, it allegedly paid over only R1.6m to LAMY for the trips.

    “Hajj Watch believes that the low-cost pilgrimage offered was an elaborate Ponzi scheme. The (foundation) raises funds through a hajj and umrah savings plan, benefactors and public donations.

    “While some people can attest to good services received from them, the majority were disappointed as they had to pay more, while others lost their money,” said Rawat.

    He said 42 of the pilgrims had already started legal proceedings and that they also expected Sars to intervene.

    During its investigation, Hajj Watch said it interviewed representatives of the organisations involved.

    While LAMY SA was forthcoming with information, the foundation representative had failed to answer several key questions, or provide financial statements.

    The foundation’s representative did not attend on Saturday’s press conference. Weekend Argus could not reach him for comment later.

    Some of the pilgrims said the man had told them he was owed money by LAMY, and would pay them back once he recovered it.

    Sheikh Faaiz Toufie said LAMY SA had unintentionally been complicit in the scheme by failing to check the credentials of the foundation, and operating without a written agreement. “Since the outcome of this investigation… we have come to accept our unwitting role in this scam.”

    kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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    A year on, the tavern where Anene Booysen was last seen alive continues to be a haven for youngsters, writes Janis Kinnear.

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    Cape Town - Copious amounts of alcohol, thumping music and free entry – a year on, the tavern where Anene Booysen was last seen alive continues to be a haven for youngsters who flock there, seemingly unperturbed by the savage rape and murder that rocked the town.

    Despite obvious signs for the “attention of all youngsters” that entry will be denied without an ID, the bar – previously Kallies Pub, now David’s Sports Bar and Pub – doesn’t appear to enforce the age limit seriously.

    Weekend Argus visited on Friday night and it seems to serve as a tavern and a club. Liquor is sold in the front section, to be consumed there or off the premises, while the middle section offers seating at tables and chairs, which overlook a dance area.

    Many of the patrons didn’t look anywhere near 18, but what was evident was that security there certainly has been beefed up.

    Officials were at the ready

    to move in when patrons broke glasses or became unruly – and on Friday night at least two brawls broke out.

    Leaving the venue, a girl, who looked around Booysen’s age when she was murdered last year, stood a few metres away, alone in the dark.

    She appeared to be waiting, staring at the door.

    Booysen was just 17 on that Friday evening of February 1 last year when she last visited the pub, totally unaware that her young life was about to be cut brutally short.

    From witness accounts, she had left during the early morning hours with convicted killer and rapist Johannes Kana, 22, still carrying a glass in her hand.

    But the grisly events which followed, after the pair were last seen walking towards Asla Site B, sent shockwaves around South Africa and the world, prompting calls for someone to finally do something about the escalating scourge of rape and murder.

    On February 2 the teenager was found by a security guard at a construction site, conscious but in agony.

    With a vicious tear between her vagina and anus, and intestines protruding after being disembowelled, Booysen was rushed to a local hospital.

    Despite the consequences of her gruesome assault, she reportedly uttered the name of her attacker, alleging he had not been alone.

    But by the afternoon, she had succumbed to her injuries and died in Tygerberg Hospital.

    Yesterday residents approached by the Weekend Argus seemed reluctant to speak about the incident, only saying it had shocked the community and Booysen’s attack was hard to forget.

    The cross at her gravesite, on the slopes of the Overberg, had received a new coat of silver paint. A heart bouquet, its flowers no longer in evidence, remained slung around the wooden cross.

    An array of coloured plastic flowers adorned the heap of rocks beneath which Anene was laid to rest.

    “I go to the grave regularly. We were there last Sunday when we sprayed the cross silver. I’ve told people to stop offering donations for a grave stone... I want to pay for it myself,” a still shaken Corlia Olivier, Booysen’s foster mother, told Weekend Argus.

    At her home in the informal settlement Tussen Treine the first notable reminder of Booysen is a framed poem, written about her shocking demise by a school pupil from De Heide Primary School.

    Of the attention paid to Booysen’s rape and murder, Olivier said: “It will never stop.”

    Olivier said she had no ill feelings towards Kana, who she had never met before the court proceedings. She only wished he “had opened his mouth”.

    “I wish he had just come to me and said he’s sorry.”

    She believes she did all she could to try and get Booysen home that fateful night.

    “There are few parents who would make the effort to go fetch their kids, but she refused to come, and look what happened.”

    While she had no other items by which to remember Booysen, the girl’s aunt, Elsabe Sheldon, lovingly cherishes two glass bottles encasing water and blue plastic flowers which were a gift from her niece.

    She recalled that Booysen was only four when she and her brother Ryno, now 23, came to live with Olivier. At 15, in Grade 7, Booysen was forced to drop out of school to go to work.

    “Anene was still childlike and wasn’t developed to the level of a girl her age. She still loved playing with dolls,” Sheldon recalled.

    Of Kana’s conviction – he was sentenced to two life terms – Sheldon said while she believed he deserved punishment for raping and assaulting Booysen, she was “unhappy” that he was found guilty of her murder.

    “Kana is nothing to me, but I feel like he was threatened or forced to take the fall for her murder.”

    She said she would support a petition under way for leave to appeal against Kana’s sentence, which was handed down last November in the Swellendam Magistrate’s Court.

    Waiting for her lift, the aunt said she was part of the local neighbourhood watch, formed last March to safeguard other youngsters after Booysen’s death.

    “It’s the one positive which came out of her death. We found that children who were underage had been allowed to drink at Kallies Pub and then, after meeting with the owner, people must now show their IDs to prove they are 18,” Sheldon said.

    Patrols start at 8pm and continue until 3am.

    “Ever since we started doing rounds it’s been fairly quiet in terms of violent crime,” she said, adding that the safety group often confiscated sharp objects, including knives and screwdrivers from mostly “drunk or high” youngsters.

    “I’m so concerned about the safety of our children, and the police’s hands are often cut off and there is only so much we can do. Discipline starts at home and you as a parent much enforce it and take charge of your children’s behaviour.”

    She blames alcohol and drug abuse, not only in the poverty-stricken area, but all over the country, as the drivers of sexual violence and crime.

    janis.kinnear@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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    The prison term handed to a taxi driver and his tout who went on a rape and robbery spree was small comfort to their victims.

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    Cape Town -

    The 22-year prison terms handed to a taxi driver and his tout who went on a rape and robbery spree was small comfort to victims who had to wait nearly seven years for the case to be finalised.

    The mother of one of the victims – who has since died in a car accident – was visibly upset when magistrate Lulumile Mdoda sentenced taxi driver Peter Andrews, 33, and his assistant, Tony Myburgh, 31, on Friday.

    “No! It’s not fair. It’s not enough,” the Salt River mother shouted as she stormed out of the Cape Town Regional Court on Friday.

    Crying uncontrollably, she said: “Life. I wanted life (imprisonment).”

    She said it was tough to come to terms with what had happened, the fact that her daughter was dead, and that she had to take care of her three children.

    A rape survivor who was at court for the two-day sentencing proceedings said she was happy the case was over.

    “I waited for this day for almost seven years. I can move on now,” she said.

    She was the men’s last victim. After they raped her and dropped her off, she took down the registration number of the taxi and notified the police.

    The men were arrested that day – June 25, 2007 – and had been held in custody since then. This was the oldest case in the Western Cape in which the perpetrators had been in custody.

    For 12 days in June 2007, the men had randomly targeted commuters who boarded their taxi en route from Bellville to Cape Town. In some instances, they drove off the specified routes and parked at secluded areas – including a cemetery, Goodwood Sports Ground and the shooting range on De Waal Drive – to rape and rob their victims.

    In handing down the sentence, magistrate Mdoda imposed the minimum sentence of 15 years in jail for each of the counts of aggravated robbery, as well as 10 years in custody for the attempted rape charges of which they were convicted.

    However, the men escaped a life sentence for the instances in which both of them raped the women. This was classified as gang rape, and carried a minimum penalty of life in prison.

    Mdoda saw fit to deviate from the prescribed minimum because he said there were exceptional and compelling circumstances for doing so.

    These included that the men had been in jail for nearly seven years, that they were first offenders, and that none of the rape victims had been seriously injured.

    “But the psychological trauma is understandable and will remain with them for a long time,” Mdoda said.

    He also could not rule out that the use of drugs might have affected their actions.

    “Despite this, the rape convictions remain extremely serious. They deserve a long term of imprisonment.”

    The men were sentenced to 22 years in jail for each of the six counts of rape they were convicted of, 15 years for each of the six counts of aggravated robbery between them, and six months for each of the two counts of theft.

    Myburgh received an additional three years for indecent assault, and Andrews a further 10 years for each of the two counts of attempted rape against him.

    The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A man working on a crane to hang flags for the State of the Nation address died when the cage he was standing in collapsed.

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    Cape Town -

    A man working on a crane to hang flags advertising next week’s State of the Nation address died when the cage he was standing in collapsed, tossing him head-first into the street, on Sunday.

    Police confirmed that the 31-year-old man, believed to be an employee of private company City Flag, died when the top of the crane gave way beneath him.

    “A crane collapsed. Police are investigating,” said police spokesman Thembinkosi Kinana.

    He said the man’s name would be withheld until his relatives had been told. It was unclear who had contracted City Flags to hang the flags advertising President Jacob Zuma’s speech.

    A witness, Patrick Mosariri, who said he was on his way to work at a nearby restaurant when he heard something falling.

    “I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. I had just passed him and shortly after that he was on the ground, dead. It happened so fast he didn’t even scream,” Mosariri said.

    “He fell on his face. There was blood all over him and I don’t think he could have survived. It was my first time seeing something like that. I am still shocked because it’s rare things like this happen.”

    Auguston Nthehe, who also heard the cage fall, said: “I was here when they arrived and started putting up flags.

    “I heard something breaking, but I did not know what it is. I never thought it was a person falling.”

    The man was covered while the police inspected the scene and waited for pathologists to collect the body.

    A City Flag representative at the scene refused to be identified and would not comment.

    siyavuya.mzantsi@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Acclaimed artist and photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa stomped a Woodstock sex worker to death, The State alleges.

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    Cape Town -

    Internationally acclaimed artist and photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa allegedly trampled a Woodstock sex worker to death.

    Mthethwa, 52, of Devil’s Peak appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

    Prosecutor Johan Swart told the court the murder case was ready to be transferred to the Western Cape High Court for trial.

    Mthethwa has not yet pleaded to the charge.

    The State alleges in its indictment that Mthethwa killed Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo, 23, by “kicking and stomping her body repeatedly with booted foot” on April 14 last year.

    It is alleged that Kumalo, also known as Ntombi Khunlo, was standing in Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock in the early hours when a black Porsche 911 Carrera 2 SA coupe stopped close to her.

    “The driver of the motor vehicle exited the vehicle, walked to the deceased (Kumalo) and attacked her by repeatedly kicking and stomping (on) her…” the summary of facts reads.

    The incident was captured by CCTV cameras in Ravenscraig Road.

    The State also alleged that Mthethwa was assisted by an unknown woman who searched Kumalo during the attack.

    Mthethwa then allegedly drove off in his Porsche which had a distinctive registration number: 991 Z-WP.

    Records from a tracking device fitted to the Porsche show that the vehicle left Mthethwa’s home in Ben Avenue, Devil’s Peak in the early hours of the day Kumalo was killed, was driven to Ravenscraig Road and then back to Devil’s Peak.

    According to the post-mortem, the cause of Kumalo’s death was “blunt trauma injury to the trunk of her body”.

    Mthethwa is well known for his portraits of impoverished shack-dwellers and cane workers in Kwazulu-Natal.

    He obtained a fine arts degree from the University of Cape Town in 1985 and later a Masters in fine arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, according to his bail affidavit.

    Mthethwa, who is on bail of R100 000, is due to appear in the High Court for a pre-trial hearing on April 25.

    The trial is expected to run from June 2 to 26. William Booth, for Mthethwa, said the dates had not been arranged with him and that he had another trial scheduled in Port Nolloth for the first week of June.

    He added however, that he would address his concerns with the judge presiding over the pre-trial conference.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    An official has denied that “a government event” honouring the late struggle stalwart Johnny Issel was more like an ANC event.

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    Cape Town -

    Officially billed by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department as an event in the run-up to President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address on February 13, Sunday’s memorial lecture honouring the late struggle stalwart Johnny Issel resembled an ANC event.

    Just about everyone among the 1 600 people present wore a yellow T-shirt featuring Zuma’s face, under the logo of the government’s food security programme “Fetsa Tlata”, or End Hunger.

    The back of this T-shirt features the government coat of arms, and the words “We have a good story to tell” alongside “Together we have made South Africa a better place”.

    A handful wore black T-shirts featuring the face of Issel, a founder of the United Democratic Front and member of uMkhonto we Sizwe, who died aged 64 in January 2011.

    Songs in honour of Zuma were heard as groups arrived at the Swartklip Sports Complex in Mitchells Plain.

    Security was provided by military veterans, who an official said were employed by the department for anti-poaching operations.

    They also formed a guard of honour during proceedings, and at one stage several of them joined attendees in a spirited toyi-toyi in front of the stage.

    Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director-general Desmond Stevens denied that Sunday’s memorial lecture could be regarded as a party political event. “It is absolutely not an ANC event,” he said, adding the T-shirts in question bore “no ANC regalia.”

    Stevens added the lecture was “a government event” to recognise Issel’s contribution and activism in farming and fishing communities.

    With elections looming in around three months’ time, two complaints by opposition parties over the ANC allegedly blurring boundaries between party and state have been submitted to the Public Protector.

    In September the DA complained that Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini distributed food parcels before a crucial by-election in Tlokwe, when the ANC sought to regain control of the municipality from the DA.

    In January AgangSA laid a complaint after the Social Security Agency of South Africa (Sassa) reportedly funded 1 400 mattresses distributed to fire victims at Valhalla Park informal settlement.

    The memorial lecture speeches on Sunday focused on gains made in South Africa over the past 20 years.

    “We had a dream. Today we have an opportunity to make the dream come true… We have come a long way,” said Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

    Her cabinet colleague and keynote speaker, Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom, also the ANC national executive committee convenor for the Western Cape, said:

    “South Africa is a very different place from what it was 20 years ago and the lives of the majority of South Africans have improved, significantly, in many ways. While we are firmly on the journey towards full emancipation, we are acutely aware of the many challenges that remain,” said Hanekom.

    “If Comrade Johnny (Issel) was still with us, he would have been constantly prodding us to do more, to do better and to never rest until the dream of a non-racial, non-sexist society is fully realised, and to be restless in our sleep for as long as (there) is still injustice, inequality and poverty.”

    Political Bureau


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    It’s “all systems go” for a protest march to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s offices.

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    Cape Town -

    It’s “all systems go” for a protest march to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s offices on Wednesday, ANC Western Cape secretary Songezo Mjongile says.

    The march would be to demand housing and better services, and for an end to evictions, he said on Sunday and added that about 2 000 people would take part in the protest.

    Despite not yet having received confirmation from the city on its application to march, Mjongile said they would go ahead.

    “We have made an application to the city to march and we don’t expect it to be unsuccessful. As far as I’m concerned, we have met all the requirements. It’s all systems go for the ANC.”

    Mjongile said the ANC would transport marchers in from various communities.

    “The people affected by issues of poor housing and decent service delivery will get chance to voice their frustration. It’s time things change,” he said.

    When asked whether the march was in retaliation to the DA’s planned march to Luthuli House on Tuesday, Mjongile denied the suggestion, saying the demonstration was part of an ongoing petition for the DA-run Western Cape provincial government to take better care of the poor.

    “Our application to march came before the news of the DA’s march to Luthuli,” he said.

    Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele, said the the DA welcomed the march if it stayed peaceful.

    “We will be at the office to receive the memorandum handed over by the ANC,” said Mbhele.

    Mbhele said the march was clearly an attempt to garner votes.

    Majole denied this, saying: “We are are here to represent the poor.”

    Cape Times


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    Dan Plato has called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to stop delaying the provision of police resources to the Cape.

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    Cape Town - Western Cape MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato has called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to stop delaying the provision of police resources to the province, where crime levels have increased drastically in the past five years.

    The province has the highest number of understaffed police stations and the largest personnel shortages overall. Police reservist numbers have also dwindled, with 22 159 paid reservists being used in 2008, compared with only 2 759 in 2012 – an 88 percent decline. Plato said this was a result of restrictions imposed by the minister of police.

    “Last year, the provincial SAPS, because of restrictions on the recruitment of new reservists due to an almost five-year ‘moratorium’ on reservists by the national minister while finalising a new policy, simply aimed to maintain the same reservist work hours of the previous year. The result, however, was 1 100 fewer reservists on our streets, with a net decrease in 82 000 police hours last year,” said Plato.

    He said the drastic drop in police numbers had been accompanied by an increase in crime levels, especially in high-risk areas like the Cape Flats.

    “In our communities, there is a lack of police visibility, and not enough manpower, and this is where the government is letting them down.

    “Since the exit of our reservists, we have seen a spike of violence almost immediately.

    “Our provincial SAPS cannot do its job without sufficient resources. The longer the national minister waits, the worse off the people of this province will be, and the more vulnerable are our existing officers.”

    According to Plato, Mthethwa told to the National Assembly last year that the Western Cape SAPS had a shortage of 1 012 members, which accounted for 61 percent of the national shortage.

    Mthethwa had also said 128 of the 150 stations in the province were understaffed, with a net gain of only 681 officers in the preceding four years. “No funding was made available for 2013/14 for the Western Cape by the national SAPS, so no additional posts could be allocated. This is concerning when provinces such as the Free State, according to the minister, have 920 surplus members,” Plato said.

    The number of attempted murders increased from 1 776 in 2008 to 3 280 last year, while the number of burglaries in residential areas increased from 42 000 in 2008 to 49 599 last year.

    Plato said the increase in these crimes was mainly because of the decrease in the number of reservists, who played a back-up role.

    “The national government has spent a great deal of time tweaking policies on police reservists, with the aim of improving this function. But these changes have made it far more difficult for someone to become a reservist.

    “I regularly encounter former reservists who have offered their services to the SAPS, only to be turned down. I also encounter members of the public who tell me that they want to train to become reservists, but have been prevented from doing so.”

    Warrant Officer Keith Chandler, the reservist co-ordinator at the Diep River police station, said the lack of reservists was directly linked to rising levels of crime. It had been four years since the last intake.

    The police minister’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, complained that they had not seen the contents of the letter because of when it was delivered – over the weekend – and said they had not been given enough time to respond. He slammed Plato, saying he wanted to be a “pop idol”.

    “We have noted this disturbing pop idol trend that letters get delivered on Friday when there is nobody to respond and then holding a press conference on a Sunday. This is very unfortunate,” said Mnisi.

    warren.fortune@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


    0 0

    "It didn't happen in a week, I can assure you. Since 2010 I have been talking to Dr Ramphele about this."

    |||

     

    Johannesburg - An agreement between AgangSA leader Mamphela Ramphele and the DA for her to stand as the party's presidential candidate was not rushed, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Monday.

    “It was a risk and in politics one has to be prepared to take calculated risks,” she said in Johannesburg.

    “We worked very hard to get this together over a very long period of time. It didn't happen in a week, I can assure you. Since 2010 I have been talking to Dr Ramphele about this.

    The DA announced on Sunday that Ramphele had reneged on her agreement with the party to be its presidential candidate. Zille accused Ramphele of playing a game of cat and mouse.

    She said on Monday the DA would “cut its losses and move on”.

    “The (DA)'s federal executive thought it was a risk worth taking,” Zille said.

    “I am the leader (of the DA). I have to take responsibility,” she added.

    On Tuesday, Zille announced that Ramphele would stand as the DA's presidential candidate in the upcoming general elections. However, confusion arose on Friday over Ramphele's joining the DA.

    According to a joint statement issued by Ramphele and Zille on Friday, the Agang SA founder would be welcomed into the DA at a press conference in Johannesburg on Monday.

    But then Ramphele uploaded a message onto Agang SA's website.

    “You may have by now seen 'joint' statements issued by the Democratic Alliance in which it is claimed that I will be accepting DA membership on Monday,” Ramphele said.

    “This is not true. Nor did I agree to any such statement.” - Sapa


    0 0

    Gun-toting robbers stormed a social grants collection centre in Athlone and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    |||

    Cape Town - Gun-toting robbers stormed a social grants collection centre in Athlone on Saturday morning and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    Police are searching for three men who fled the scene in a blue Volkswagen Golf. Shots were fired in the parking lot of the Gatesville shopping centre shortly after the robbery but police did not elaborate on this.

    “One of the men remained at the door whilst two went up to the cash office and found one female staffer who they threatened with a firearm and demanded money,” police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said.

    Dozens of social grant beneficiaries were reporting to the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) “merchant” at Shoprite. Reports indicates beneficiaries, some of them pensioners, chased after the robbers - fearing their monthly grants were being stolen.

    Sassa spokeswoman Shivani Wahab said the pay-out of social grants would not be affected.

    Cape Argus


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    Suspended Cosatu boss Zwelenzima Vavi wants to testify at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry following a relative's murder in the area.

    |||

    Cape Town - Suspended Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelenzima Vavi wants to testify at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry following a relative's murder in the area recently.

    He said on Monday he would try to get on the commission's list of witnesses.

    Vavi was speaking to reporters before attending the eighth day of oral hearings by the commission, which is mandated to investigate allegations of police inefficiency in the area.

    He said he attended the funeral service of his sister's murdered granddaughter in Khayelitsha on Sunday.

    Busiswa Sizaba, believed to be about 25 years of age, was found dead on a street in Harare, Khayelitsha, about two weeks ago.

    “Tuesday, the police arrive to say your granddaughter was found dead somewhere... in Khayelitsha on the Friday. When they arrive it's on the fifth day since she has died basically,” Vavi said, describing how his sister was informed of her grandchild's death.

    Family members then went to Busiswa's boyfriend's house in a bid to find out how she died.

    “They found this place, a backyard shack. They found a person - the person is known... he is known to be the king of the reign of terror basically in the community,” Vavi said.

    “When they arrive, there is blood all over in the shack and clearly the story now changes from somebody who was picked up in the street to somebody who was probably murdered in the shack and got thrown out in the streets...”

    Questioned by Vavi's relatives, the boyfriend said he was traumatised by the death and had therefore not thought about informing the family or police.

    “The police have been investigating this guy (who is) clearly now a murder suspect. Nothing has happened (and) it's now the end of the second week since that murder has happened,” Vavi said.

    “The guy is still roaming the streets,” he said.

    This was but one example of why residents did not trust the police to enforce the law.

    “They (residents) fear the skollies. They have no confidence in the police.

    “They love the taxi drivers because they mete out the street justice to these guys who impose this reign of terror.”

    Vavi's own family members were becoming impatient with police inaction and thought they had little alternative but to approach taxi drivers to help them.

    “(There is) no confidence, (a) breakdown of trust and helplessness and you have to resort to either join these taxi drivers and beat these guys up or you fear them (thugs), full stop. There is no other option,” Vavi said.

    The commission - headed by Judge Kate O'Regan - was established by Western Cape premier Helen Zille to probe accusations by civil society formations that police inaction was leading to an increase in mob justice killings.

    The commission was delayed for some time when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa tried to have it scrapped.

    Mthethwa lost his legal bid to stop the commission in the Constitutional Court in October last year.

    Sapa


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    Khayelitsha residents hero-worshipped taxi drivers for meting out street justice to dangerous criminals, suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.

    |||

    Cape Town - Khayelitsha residents hero-worshipped taxi drivers for meting out street justice to dangerous criminals, suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Monday.

    Vavi put in an appearance at the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry's hearings in Cape Town where he wanted to testify about the recent murder of a relative.

    Vavi's request was denied, but he was told he would be allowed to hand in an affidavit detailing the murder of his sister's granddaughter, Busiswa Sizaba. He told reporters at the eighth day of oral hearings by the commission, which is investigating alleged police inefficiency in the area, that he attended Sizaba's funeral service on Sunday.

    Sizaba, believed to be about 25-years old, was found dead on a street in Harare, Khayelitsha, about two weeks ago.

    “Tuesday, the police arrived to say your granddaughter was found dead somewhere... in Khayelitsha on the Friday. When they arrive it's on the fifth day since she has died basically,” Vavi said, describing how his sister was informed of her grandchild's death.

    Relatives then went to Busiswa's boyfriend's house in a bid to find out how she died.

    “They found this place, a backyard shack. They found a person, the person is known... he is known to be the king of the reign of terror basically in the community,” Vavi said.

    “When they arrive, there is blood all over in the shack and clearly the story now changes from somebody who was picked up in the street to somebody who was probably murdered in the shack and got thrown out in the streets.”

    Questioned by Vavi's relatives, the boyfriend said he was traumatised by the death and had therefore not thought about informing the family or police.

    “The police have been investigating this guy (who is) clearly now a murder suspect. Nothing has happened (and) it's now the end of the second week since that murder has happened. The guy is still roaming the streets,” he said.

    This was but one example of why residents did not trust the police to enforce the law.

    “They (residents) fear the skollies (criminals). They have no confidence in the police. They love the taxi drivers because they mete out the street justice to these guys who impose this reign of terror.”

    Vavi's own family members were becoming impatient with police inaction and thought they had little alternative but to approach taxi drivers to help them. There was no confidence, and a breakdown of trust.

    “You have to resort to either join these taxi drivers and beat these guys up or you fear them, full stop. There is no other option,” Vavi said.

    Asked what he expected from the commission, Vavi said he wanted a list of recommendations which would benefit the criminal justice system across the country.

    “To me this is about South Africa, justice in the country as a whole. What comes out here is hopefully recommendations that are comprehensive, that can be looked up as a mirror not by the people of Khayelitsha, but by South African society as a whole,” he said.

    Vavi hoped the commission would benefit the government, the police, unions, civil society organisations, and normal citizens.

    “Police stations here, I can tell you they reflect the situations everywhere. These police vans are not working, the police are absent, the policeman has just killed the wife, the community has stoned the police station. They are angry that somebody's body has not been moved for hours after they have been killed. It's the same story everywhere.”

    The commission, headed by retired Constitutional Court judge Kate O'Regan, was established by Western Cape premier Helen Zille to probe accusations by civil society that police inaction was leading to an increase in mob justice killings.

    The commission was delayed for some time when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa tried to have it scrapped. Mthethwa lost his legal bid to stop the commission in the Constitutional Court in October last year.

    Sapa


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    Zwelinzima Vavi says he is not happy with Khayelitsha police's investigation into the murder of a young relative.

    |||

    Cape Town -

    Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has backed Khayelitsha residents’ frustration with policing in the area, and described his own family’s heartbreak after a young relative was murdered.

    Vavi supplied the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry with an affidavit on Monday, saying police had waited five days before breaking the news of the death of his sister’s granddaughter to the family.

    Vavi addressed crowds of reporters and Khayelitsha residents at Khayelitsha’s Look-out Hill where the hearings into police inefficiency are being held.

    “I know exactly how the people of Khayelitsha feel and I congratulate them on taking a stand. Yesterday, I was at the funeral of my sister’s granddaughter where my family was put through the same police inefficiency that you went through.”

    Busisa Siziba, 25, was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend, and found lying in the streets of Harare on January 17.

    Vavi said: “The incident happened on January 17, but police only came to report the death to my sister five days later.”

    Welcoming the commission, Vavi said: “If these kind of incidents are happening in Khayelitsha, one can only imagine what is happening in the rural areas where police visibility is rare. Our justice system is collapsing, but what do you expect when a businessperson is a commissioner?”

    Lizard Vavi, Vavi’s nephew and Siziba’s uncle, said when the family went to the boyfriend’s shack after getting the news of Siziba’s death, they found it covered in blood spatters.

    Lizard said police were dragging their feet and failing to conduct a full investigation. “It’s been weeks but no one has come back to us on anything. Last Thursday, we went back to Harare police station to find out what is happening and we were told the investigating officer was on leave until Monday.”

     

    Earlier at the commission, Vavi spoke about people losing faith in the police and opting to give power to taxi drivers.

    “You have to resort to either join these taxi drivers and beat these guys up or you fear them, full stop. There is no other option.”

    Nokhanyo Siziba, Busisa’s mother, said her daughter’s death had broken her heart.

    The 25-year-old was the eldest of two girls. “I’m hurt. Yes she was rebellious but I’m still deeply saddened.” The family said they would not have any closure until someone was held accountable for Siziba’s death.

    zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Murder suspect Shrien Dewani has two more legal avenues if he wants to pursue an appeal against his extradition.

    |||

    Cape Town -

    Murder suspect Shrien Dewani has two more legal avenues to pursue if he wants to pursue his appeal against a UK court’s decision for him to be extradited to South Africa.

    On Friday, the UK High Court ruled that Dewani may return to this country if South African authorities agreed that if he did come back, but was found to be unfit for trial, he could be sent back to the UK.

    Dewani is accused of masterminding the murder of his wife, Anni, in Khayelitsha on November 13, 2010 and is the only one of four suspects who has not been sentenced.

    In July, a British court dismissed an initial appeal by Dewani, based on mental health grounds, against an extradition order. He appealed again and this resulted in Friday’s ruling. However, it did not mean Dewani would definitely be extradited.

    On Monday, Justice Department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said Dewani had two weeks to apply for leave to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. “If he fails at UK Supreme Court he can still approach the European Court for Human Rights, but only on human rights grounds .”

    On Monday, Anni’s uncle Ashok Hindocha said he did not see a reason for Dewani to appeal.

     

    caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    A vehicle transporting 25 kids suffered a tyre burst, forcing the driver to lose control before the packed vehicle rolled.

    |||

    Cape Town - A vehicle transporting 25 schoolchildren rolled along a busy Cape Town road.

    By late on Monday night, one child was in serious condition and being treated in hospital.

    The incident happened along Bottelary Road near Kraaifontein on Monday afternoon.

    The children were being transported home from St Vincent Primary School in Stellenbosch when the tragedy struck.

    It is believed the Hyundai light delivery vehicle they were travelling in suffered a double tyre burst, forcing the driver to lose control before the packed vehicle rolled and came to a stand still on a field alongside the road.

    When the Daily Voice arrived at the scene, several children were still being treated by paramedics for minor injuries.

    Robert Daniels, communications officer for the provincial health department’s Emergency Medical Services, said that the incident occurred at about 3.30pm.

    “At 3.30pm this (Monday) afternoon on Bottelary Road, the driver of a bakkie carrying 25 primary schoolchildren lost control of the vehicle as it rolled, injuring 10 children as well as the driver,” said Daniels.

    “One child who was seriously injured was rushed to Tygerberg Hospital while the rest were taken to Kraaifontein Community Health Centre.”

    At the scene, 49-year-old Christopher Stevens, who lives nearby, said he watched in horror as the vehicle rolled.

    “I saw it all happen. I first heard two bangs, like gunfire, then I just saw dust,” Christopher said.

    “The children flew through the windows like rags.

    “I ran to the scene and the driver was still trapped behind the steering wheel.

    “The bigger schoolkids helped me get the driver out from behind the wheel.”

    Christopher added: “He [driver] had a head wound and it was bleeding a lot,” he explained.

    “The small children were crying terribly. It is just fortunate no one died.”

    Daily Voice


    0 0

    The three men accused of murdering Bronx nightclub owner Bruno Bronn are set to go on trial after several postponements.

    |||

    Cape Town -

    The three men accused of murdering Bronx nightclub owner Bruno Bronn are to go on trial before Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe on Wednesday.

    The trial arising from Bronn’s February 2012 murder was to have begun on Monday, but could not as a lawyer for one of the accused, Fareez Allie, was caught up in another matter.

    Allie, Johan Coetzer and Achmat Toffa have been charged with murder and aggravated robbery.

    Bronn was found dead in his Green Point home. He had been strangled.

    The matter has been postponed several times for various reasons, among them that Toffa changed lawyers three times.

    First, he could no longer afford a private lawyer, then a Legal Aid lawyer withdrew for health reasons. The third lawyer withdrew without giving reasons in open court.

    “It’s high time that this matter gets under way,” Judge Hlophe said during the men’s last court appearance in October.

    On Monday, prosecutor Carine Teunissen said the case could not go ahead and asked that the case begin on Wednesday.

    Coetzer is out on bail of R20 000 and Allie on R5 000.

    Toffa’s bail of R15 000 was withdrawn because he failed to adhere to almost all of his bail conditions, which included reporting to the police daily and remaining under house arrest.

    He is being held at Pollsmoor Prison.

    A fourth man, Kurt Erispe, who was initially charged alongside the trio, has turned State witness.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Two men allegedly terrorised patients at doctors’ surgeries across Cape Town for about 9 years before the law caught up with them.

    |||

    Cape Town -

    Robbery syndicate members who pretended to be sick to hold up surgeries across Cape Town, went on a crime spree lasting nearly a decade, papers before the Western Cape High Court show.

    The State alleges that

    Mbulelo Mark Mgujulwa, 35, and Thabiso Steven Lebitsa, 33, terrorised patients at doctors’ surgeries across the city for about nine years before the law caught up with them. The men, from Gugulethu, appeared briefly in the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

    It is the State’s case that the men operated within a syndicate that committed robberies and stole jewellery, laptops, cellphones and cash.

    They mainly targeted doctors’ surgeries, but had also robbed shops and a cleaning company, all in Gugulethu, Wynberg, Claremont, Newlands, Rondebosch, Diep River, Kuils River and Bellville between 2001 and 2010.

    The State alleges that the robberies were carefully planned and executed.

    The modus operandi involved looking around a targeted business before arriving on foot to rob the business, staff, patients and customers. Sometimes they tied people up.

    They would then force staff, patients and customers to hand over car keys. All the stolen vehicles were found abandoned.

    “They were armed and extremely dangerous. One member accompanied by another would pretend that they required medical assistance or in the case of the cleaning agency, employment.

    “While the ‘sick’ member waited in the reception area, the other one would ask to use the toilet. The only inference is that the intention was to evaluate the amount of people on the premises and possible threats to their plans,” the State’s summary reads.

    The prosecution plans to prove that the men were “callous” and threatened victims at gunpoint and tied them up.

    When police searched Mgujulwa’s house they found an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Cellphone records, fingerprints and identity parades have linked the men to the crimes.

    The men have been charged with 20 counts including racketeering, aggravated robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

    The men are expected to go on trial on May 5.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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