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  • 02/10/14--08:59: Bronx murder case postponed
  • The trial of three men accused of the murder of Bruno Bronn, owner of the gay night club, The Bronx, in the Cape Town CBD, has been postponed.

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    Cape Town - The trial of three men accused of the murder of Bruno Bronn, owner of the gay night club, The Bronx, in the Cape Town CBD, was postponed on Monday.

    The case in the Western Cape High Court against Johan Frederick Coetzer, 36, Fareez Allie, 29, and Achmat Toffa, 35, was postponed to Tuesday.

    A fourth suspect, Kurt Erispe, 32, has become a State witness.

    The trial had been scheduled to commence on Monday, but was postponed for reasons not explained in court.

    The three face charges of pre-meditated murder, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

    Both charges carry life sentences.

    All except Toffa are out on bail. Toffa was out on bail, but his bail was revoked for violating a bail condition that prohibited him from making contact with State witnesses.

    Bronn was found strangled at his Green Point home in February, 2012.

    On the robbery charge, they are alleged to have used a firearm to rob Bronn of his luxury car and other items, including a laptop.

    Sapa


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    The SA National Editors Forum expressed shock at the detention of a journalist by police in the Western Cape.

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    Cape Town - The SA National Editors Forum expressed shock on Monday at the detention of a journalist by police in the Western Cape.

    “This behaviour by officers of the SA Police Service is completely unacceptable,” Sanef media freedom committee chairman Adriaan Basson said in a statement.

    A Daily Sun journalist was detained by police at the Nyanga police station on Tuesday, the tabloid reported on Thursday.

    The reporter was taking pictures of police officers who were allegedly photographing a man seriously injured after he was beaten and set alight by angry residents in Philippi.

    According to the paper, the man was accused of breaking into a house and stealing appliances.

    The police officers were overheard saying they were planning to post the pictures on Facebook, the paper reported.

    The reporter was taken to a police station and said police tried to make him delete pictures and take away his camera.

    He was told he would be arrested for attempted murder. He was later released, according to the report.

    “Sandiso Phaliso's freedom of expression has been infringed by this incident, when he tried to expose officers neglecting their very basic duty of protecting communities,” Basson said.

    Police could not be reached for comment.

    Last week Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato said he had asked the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to probe police for detaining the journalist.

    At the time Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said he was not aware of Plato's letter.

    Sapa


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    A 21-year-old Cape Town man came home after a night out to discover his entire family had died in a fire.

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    Cape Town -

    A 21-year-old Lotus River man came home after a night out to find his entire family – parents, sister, brother and two-year-old nephew – had died in a fire early on Monday.

    When Jason Jacobs got home to Fifth Avenue he found three backyard structures had been razed. The occupants of two of the shacks escaped with their lives, but Jacobs’s family were all dead.

    They were his father, Peter Jacobs, 59, his mother Carmen Jacobs, 39; his brother Kirk Jacobs, 13; his sister Chandre Agulhas, 23; and his nephew Matthew Agulhas, 2.

    After the flames had died down, other relatives on the property found the body of young Kirk on his knees beside his bed, apparently in prayer.

    When the Cape Argus arrived at the site on Monday, Jason Jacobs, who had spent the night with friends, was there being consoled by relatives. He was too distraught to be interviewed.

    Other family members recounted the harrowing experience of hearing the family screaming inside the shack and pleading for help as the flames spread from the kitchen to the rest of the house.

    Peter Jacobs’s sister, Selena Jacobs, 52, who lives in the brick house on the property, was woken just after midnight by screams from the backyard. She ran outside to see the shacks on fire.

    Her brother and his family were pleading for help from behind the burglar bars of an open window at the far end of the shack. By that stage, the fire had spread from the kitchen, which had the only door to the outside, through the lounge and was moments away from engulfing the family in the bedroom.

    “It was terrible because there was nothing that any of us could do,” said Rogena Vergotine, Peter Jacobs’s niece.

    She said: “The structure was too strong for them to break out and they could not dash for the exit because the fire was between them and the kitchen door. The screams went on and became more and more desperate.

    “Suddenly it became very quiet inside the shack and we knew that it was over.”

    Surviving members of the family have taken some solace in the fact that 13-year-old Kirk was found on his knees beside the bed.

    “He was praying. For us it is a sign that he was near God at the time of his death,” Vergotine said.

    Monday’s vigil at the house gave family and friends the opportunity to reminisce about those who died.

    They were described as “pleasant”, “loving” and “close” with one another. Kirk had just started school at Zeekoevlei Secondary School. He was “obsessive” about soccer and had signed up for a rowing team.

    Toddler Matthew would have celebrated his third birthday on Friday. His mother Chandre, had been planning his party.

    Peter and Carmen were happily married and regularly took the family to visit their grandparents, Mariam and Suleiman Hendricks, in Elsies River for Sunday braais.

    Peter was a keen fisherman who liked to take the family on trips to Gordon’s Bay, his favourite angling spot.

    Community leader Vincent Carelse said the incident was more than just a family tragedy and should draw attention to the vulnerability of backyard dwellers and people living in shacks throughout the city.

    “It is too often we hear about these fires,” he said.

    “Today just shows how deadly they can be. It is a personal tragedy, but it is also a challenge to the government. People need houses and the rollout is happening too slowly.”

    City disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said that the cause of the fire remained unclear and was being investigated by police.

    “The disaster response teams and social workers are currently there offering trauma counselling as a result of the sad loss and providing social relief aid,” he said.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The Movement for Transformation in Media in SA has called for a probe into the transformation of Times Media Group.

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    Cape Town - The Movement for Transformation in Media in SA (MTMSA) has called for a probe into the transformation of Times Media Group (TMG).

    “We have seen a concerted effort by the largely white-owned and run media houses, in this case specifically the TMG, to discredit black business and political leaders in SA while at the same time ignoring the shortcomings of their white compatriots,” MTMSA wrote in a letter to the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which manages the government employees’ pension fund.

    Convener Wesley Douglas accused TMG publications of racially biased, skewed and negative reporting.

    In December, the MTMSA gatecrashed a protest by the Right2Know Campaign against the removal of Alide Dasnois as Cape Times editor.

     Independent Newspapers boss Dr Iqbal Survé has also accused rival TMG of a “dirty tricks” campaign to rob his group of revenue and readers.

    Survé has denied that Dasnois had been fired, saying she had been offered alternative positions in the company.

    Dasnois, however, has said she was offered a demotion and has taken the matter to the CCMA.

    In his letter to the PIC, Douglas said: “We have heard that TMG has established a slush fund to operate a ‘dirty tricks department’ with the express purpose of targeting its rival media operator, Independent Media SA, and its owner Dr Iqbal Survé.”

    He said as the PIC invested taxpayers’ money in TMG, this money was supporting publications “that clearly present SA as a failed state and that do not uphold the constitutional principles of equality and non-racialism in their business practices”.

    The government spent over R600 million in advertising in TMG publications.

    The PIC also held 25 percent equity in Independent Media.

    Douglas wrote: “We demand the transformation of the TMG so that more black editors, sub-editors, journalists and management staff of colour are appointed to represent the thinking of the black majority… rather than the empowered, racially advantaged few.”

    Douglas claimed that TMG and other media houses were working to discredit the ANC in the run-up to the general elections.

    The MTMSA therefore called on the PIC to investigate whether there were disparities between the salaries earned by TMG journalists of different races.

     

    TMG could not be reached for comment. – Sapa


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    ANC members chased Lindiwe Mazibuko out of Bredasdorp where she had gone to visit the spot where Anene Booysen was found.

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    Cape Town - ANC members chased Lindiwe Mazibuko, the DA’s parliamentary leader, out of Bredasdorp where she had gone on Monday to visit the spot where Anene Booysen’s body was found a year ago.

    The visit was part of a series of community visits she is making before President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address on Thursday.

    Mazibuko had intended to talk to residents about how the DA planned to fight violent crime, but after just 30 minutes people in the crowd started singing ANC struggle songs and told her to “hamba” and to “f*** off”.

    About a third of the crowd of 150 were wearing yellow ANC T-shirts.

    Police had to step in and escort Mazibuko to her vehicle while the ANC members surrounded them, shouting at her, with one even referring to her as “Satan”.

    As the DA car drove off, a DA supporter in the crowd was knocked down by Mazibuko’s vehicle, sustaining minor injuries. Mazibuko was in the passenger seat.

    ANC member Archibald Philiso said: “We are not here to cause trouble. We are here to fight the problem and the DA is that problem.

    “She came here a year late to pay her respects, only because the elections are coming up. Lindiwe is only a puppet in the DA’s political campaign. They can’t come here and do as they please. This area belongs to the ANC.”

    Mazibuko’s intended speech in Bredasdorp indicated that she had decided to visit the area “to see for myself what the true state of our nation is”.

    Her speech noted: “It has barely been one year since the body of Anene Booysen was found on this street. Raped, mutilated and brutally murdered, the torment that Anene endured in those final moments of her young life has haunted me and the rest of South Africa. They can never be forgotten.

    “The atrocities committed here are as terrible as those committed in cities, villages and towns across our country. Anene suffered a similar fate to thousands upon thousands of women in South Africa.”

    Sapa reports that Mazibuko’s spokeswoman Siviwe Gwarube said: “It was a very disappointing incident.” She said ANC members shouted and disrupted Mazibuko when she visited the spot where Booysen was found last year

    Mazibuko was not hurt.

    Booysen, 17, was raped and disembowelled. She died in Tygerberg Hospital on February 2.

    Her attacker, Johannes Kana, was sentenced to two life terms for the crime.

    ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu could not be reached for comment.

    dylan.oktober@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Gangsters used a sharpened toothbrush when threatening to rape an accused in the Rosemary Theron murder case.

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    Cape Town -

    Pollsmoor Prison gangsters used a sharpened toothbrush when threatening to rape Kyle Maspero, an accused in the Rosemary Theron murder case. This is according to Maspero’s affidavit, submitted to the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

    “Gang activity is endemic and the 26s, 27s and 28s are firmly entrenched. In fact, the beds are arranged in such a manner as to provide each ‘number’ with their own encampment.

    “Improvised weapons are common, violence is commonplace and as soon as a new inmate arrives, he is interrogated and beaten into submission by the resident gangsters in the cell.

    “You are also promptly robbed of your belongings and I personally was dispossessed of my shoes, T-shirt and hooded top,” Maspero’s affidavit said, referring to his time in a communal cell.

    Maspero, 18, on Monday appeared alone in the dock of the court to apply for bail.

    He is accused of murdering Clovelly mother Rosemary Theron, who was reported missing in March last year and whose body was found in a shallow grave in Strandfontein in October.

    Maspero is accused, along with Rosemary Theron’s daughter, Phoenix Racing Cloud Theron, 19, as well as Godfrey Scheepers, 20.

    About four months ago Scheepers was released on bail, while Theron has not applied to be released from custody.

    On Monday, during Maspero’s bail application, his legal representative, William de Grass, read out his affidavit.

    It said he was initially detained “in a communal, lice-infested cell” in Pollsmoor with about 60 other awaiting trial inmates. About half of the inmates were not gang members, who in prison were referred to as “Franse”.

    “We were compelled to sleep on the floor and would usually huddle together in order to avoid constant harassment from the ‘numbers’. Sexual assaults on inmates are not uncommon,” Maspero’s affidavit said.

    It said on his arrival, when warders had closed the cell door, three 26s gangsters had attacked him.

    He had managed to punch one on the nose and other “Franse” had helped Maspero.

    “One of my assailants, however, managed to stab me in the left shoulder with a makeshift knife during the mêlée. Needless to say, I remained in mortal danger as the ‘numbers’ were furious that I had escaped their clutches.

    “Later that night, the same gangsters woke me up with a sharpened toothbrush and threatened to rape me, prompting me to wake my fellow ‘Franse’, who drove them off. Once again, the gangsters retreated, threatening all manner of retribution,” Maspero’s affidavit said.

    He had later been moved to a single cell. Maspero said this was still dangerous because on January 23, as he was returning to his cell from a phone room, another inmate, a gang initiate known as Mad Max, attacked him with a sharpened piece of metal.

    Maspero’s affidavit gave a detailed account of his childhood. The youngest of three siblings, he was born in Knysna.

    Maspero’s affidavit said when he was a year old, his parents divorced and he briefly stayed with his mother in Knysna, but she could not care for him.

    He lived with his grandmother and was then returned to his mother, who suddenly died when Maspero was seven.

    The affidavit said he was then adopted by her boyfriend.

    When Maspero was nine he accidentally burned down their neighbour’s home and he was sent back to live with his grandmother.

    He eventually moved in with a family friend, Martin Hatchuel, in Knysna, who he regarded as a father figure.

    Maspero’s affidavit said he had been in a romantic relationship with Theron and followed her to Cape Town in 2009 and lived with Theron and her mother.

    On Christmas Day 2012, Maspero and Theron returned to Hatchuel in Knysna.

    However, the affidavit said Theron had prompted him to return with her to her mother’s Clovelly home.

    The bail application is expected to continue on February 18.

    caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Khayelitsha cops rarely responded to complainants in person, says prominent social activist Zackie Achmat.

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    Cape Town - Police in Khayelitsha rarely responded to complainants in person, and human rights NGOs are “always having to go to police”, says prominent social activist Zackie Achmat.

    On Monday, Achmat, who has a long history of run-ins with apartheid police and spoke of his experiences of police brutality, addressed the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.

    Achmat spoke in his capacity as the director of Ndifuna Ukwazi – one of a group of local NGOs that have rallied together to lodge complaints against the police – claiming that crime was rife and, because of police inefficiency, residents were forced to take the law into their own hands.

    The commission has been set up to probe allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in relations between the police and Khayelitsha residents.

    Achmat spoke passionately about the murders of lesbians Lorna Mlofana, Nandipha Makeke and Zoliswa Nokonyana, and the effect the murders had on their families.

    He slammed police for not taking some investigations seriously. Achmat also criticised the courts for failing the victims’ families, with some cases postponed between 15 and 50 times.

    “It’s always us that have to go to the police,” he said.

    It was rare that police would get back to complainants.

    The commission also heard from two retired police officers who highlighted a high absenteeism rate among officers, a lack of resources, staff shortages and the heavy case load handed to detectives.

    Glenn Schooling, a former deputy provincial commissioner of operations, and Martin Leamy, head of support services and an acting station commander who had both served more than 30 years, testified.

    Schooling said low morale was a big contributor to absenteeism figures and that absenteeism had a ripple effect on the number of vehicles that could be deployed because two officers were required per car.

    They also spoke of the attitude of some officers and how it contributed to problems within the service.

    “It comes down to taking responsibility for what you are doing. A lot of the time it comes down to the attitude of members. Attitude plays a big role in this,” said Schooling.

    “In all fairness, when you have to comply with instructions in a register you must do it.”

    Schooling said that every police station was required to conduct first- and second-level inspections.

    A report prepared by Schooling and Leamy said the basic command and control elements of first- and second-level inspections at Harare SAPS were not functioning effectively.

    They added that cumulatively it portrayed a “dysfunctional overall picture of the greater Khayelitsha area”.

    Commanders were therefore unable to have an informed and honest assessment of their stations.

    “There is, therefore, no opportunity to exercise effective command and control.”

    The report said that if the basic inspections were not run correctly, it would handicap police in carrying out their basic crime prevention duties.

    Commission chairwoman Kate O’Regan noted that she had seen a range of reports over the years identifying problems at the area’s police stations.

    “What doesn’t seem to be apparent is any actual action other than the reporting of problems,” she said.

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    A couple charged with child neglect for leaving their infant son unsupervised from 8am to 4pm will appear in court.

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    Cape Town - A couple charged with child neglect for leaving their infant son unsupervised for eight hours will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

    The woman, 23, and her Congolese partner, 25, allegedly left the baby boy unsupervised from 8am to 4pm at their house in Brooklyn on Sunday.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the baby was found lying alone on a bed.

    “The neighbours became suspicious as the baby cried non-stop. They alerted the police, who later managed to gain entry to the house where they found the baby on the parents’ bed.”

    Van Wyk added that the couple only returned to their residence at around 3am on Monday.

    “Maitland police want to send a stern warning to reckless parents to be responsible, caring parents.

    “If found reckless, they will feel the full might of the law.

    “Communities are urged to report any suspicious behaviour or activities in an attempt to protect our innocent children.”

    The baby was now staying at a place of safety, police said.

    Cape Argus


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    A crowd of 200 blockaded Vanguard Drive in Mitchells Plain with burning tyres after a second day of protests over services.

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    Cape Town - A crowd of 200 blockaded Vanguard Drive in Mitchells Plain with burning tyres late on Monday night after a second day of protests over services by Isiqalo residents.

    In the informal settlement earlier on Monday, three people were arrested in clashes with the police, where protesters caused traffic chaos along the busy road.

    At issue, residents say, is the need for formal houses, decent sanitation and electricity.

    A number of journalists, including a Cape Times team, were pelted with stones on Monday by people in a crowd hiding between shacks in the settlement.

    Police deployed a number of officers, two Nyalas and five other vehicles. Stun grenades were lobbed to disperse the crowd and a water cannon was used to douse fires in the road.

    Traffic lights on Vanguard Drive were damaged and motorists were diverted along the R300.

    Three people were arrested for public violence. Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said they would appear in court once they were charged.

    City traffic spokesman Richard Coleman said Morgenster Road also had to be closed to traffic.

    “Once the SAPS gives us the clearance that the area is safe, we will open the road again. About three roads were closed in the area and caused delays.”

    The roads were re-opened at 1pm on Monday.

    Isiqalo residents want the city council to provide better services.

    Situated on private land, the settlement is home to about 1 800 families. The city has provided several standpipes, about 100 chemical toilets and hundreds of portable toilets.

    “We want houses, electricity, running water and a decent living. We don’t want to use the portable toilets, and living in the shacks for so long is not comfortable,” resident Theresa Baatjies said.

    “We all have to make use of these taps and some people who live at the back of the area have to walk almost a kilometre to get water. I have to sit here and wash my clothes right next to the road.”

    Baatjies, who said she was unemployed, has beenliving in the settlement for three years.

    She complained that the city had not met the community. “It looks like they have thrown us away. We cannot afford to buy houses and we cannot rent. All we want is a bit of assistance from the city.”

    Natalie Bent, councillor for the area which includes Colorado Park and parts of Philippi, said a community meeting was been scheduled for May 2.

    “The community want more taps and toilets. I will have to meet with the mayor to see if we can have more toilets and taps because the decision doesn’t lie with me alone,” she said.

    jason.felix@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Officials and MPs are hard at work wrapping up Parliament’s work before the National Assembly is dissolved ahead of the May 7 elections.

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    Cape Town - Officials and MPs are hard at work wrapping up Parliament’s work before the National Assembly is dissolved ahead of the May 7 elections. But this week President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address will take centre stage.

    On the parliamentary to-do list is the finalisation of its new rules.

    The first review since 1994 has produced a set of draft rules for party political approval. Also in line is the passing of key legislation, including the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill which reopens the lodgement deadline for claims; several customs-related bills to tighten up labour and logistical issues; and the South African Language Practitioners’ Council Bill to protect and promote language practice and to accredit and regulate language practitioners.

    Committees are finishing their “legacy reports”, an account of their work over the past five years, which could also highlight issues for consideration by the incoming, post-election MPs.

    It is understood a team of senior parliamentary officials is finalising the orientation programme for the new crop of post-election MPs, and tying up the legal and administrative loose ends.

    Parliament’s spokesman, Luzuko Jacobs, confirmed on Monday these handover preparations and plans for the national legislature to celebrate its role in the country’s democracy, had been under way since late last year.

    “It’s an intricate process. It’s one of the biggest projects, this transition between parliaments. We have to plan for everything,” Jacobs said. “We are looking ahead…The new MPs should be able to hit the ground running.”

    The programme for incoming parliamentarians includes an introduction to the financial disclosure regi- men, orientation in and around Parliament and tech-training, as all MPs are issued with iPads to access the new internal information system.

    The rules review has been under way for over a year, in part to update the rules drafted by the first set of democratically elected MPs, but also following two Constitutional Court rulings which found parliamentary rules unconstitutional.

    Veteran IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini successfully challenged, in the Constitutional Court, the way the national legislature processed private members’ bills. Since the judgment, an interim process allows private member’s bills to be tabled in the National Assembly and then to be referred for processing in committee, rather than the previous situation when a committee first vetted a private member’s bills.

    Last August the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the DA for it to force Parliament to debate a motion of no confidence in the president, but found unconstitutional Parliament’s lack of clear rules on such motions of no confidence – and ordered Parliament to fix this defect.

    According to the constitution, the National Assembly is dissolved before elections, although it can be recalled should the need arise.

    The first sitting of the National Assembly must take place within 14 days of the election result being announced, according to Section 51 of the constitution, and is chaired by the Constitutional Court chief justice, who presides over the election of the Speaker and deputy Speaker as first order of the new Parliament.

    According to the current programme, Parliament rises on March 13, but this date is subject to change by the parliamentary programming committee, which may decide to extend the life to incorporate further parliamentary business.

    Cape Argus


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  • 02/11/14--01:19: Ex-Bok star out on a warning
  • Christian Stewart appeared briefly in the court on charges of assault for allegedly beating a man who is in a relationship with Stewart's ex-wife.

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    Cape Town - Former Springbok and Canada rugby player Christian Stewart appeared briefly in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of assault for allegedly beating a Hout Bay financial adviser who is in a relationship with Stewart’s ex-wife.

    National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila on Monday confirmed Stewart’s court appearance, adding that the matter had been postponed to February 24 for further investigation.

    “He is out on a warning and no conditions were attached to his release,” Ntabazalila said.

    The former Springbok handed himself over to authorities last Wednesday.

    The financial adviser, Alan Mewett, had laid a charge claiming he was beaten and kicked during an altercation with Stewart on February 2.

    After the incident, Mewett obtained an interim protection order from the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday, prohibiting Stewart from “making any physical contact; or intimidating, threatening, insulting or otherwise verbally abusing him”.

    Stewart’s lawyer, Derek Wille, earlier dismissed the allegations saying Stewart had acted in self-defence.

    warda.meyer@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A convicted murderer has testified how the planned burglary of holiday houses in in Velddrif ended in a homeowner being killed.

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    Cape Town -

    A convicted murderer has testified that his former co-accused planned the burglaries of holiday houses in a private nature reserve in Velddrif and that they had bludgeoned one homeowner to death after finding him home.

    Lusindiso Boosman was the first witness to testify for the State in the case against Sibusiso Ntetho, his housemate and friend of one year.

    Boosman testified that he and Ntetho were at home in St Helena Bay when Ntetho devised a plan to “go to townhouses. We went by foot, it took us about two hours to get there,” said Boosman, who is serving 23 years in jail for his role in the burglaries and in the murder of Alexander Otton.

    The State alleges the men entered the Flaminkevlei private nature reserve near Velddrif on October 21, 2012 with burglary their intention.

    Boosman testified that they first burgled a holiday house belonging to James Craven and stole speakers, a DVD player, CDs and a microwave oven. They hid the items in plastic bags in nearby bush intending to retrieve them later, Boosman said.

    They went to the house next door not knowing that Otton, 52, a Claremont asset manager, was asleep upstairs.

    “He was so surprised to see us. He jumped from the bed. We tried to hold him and tie him. But he refused, he fought, he was difficult. We ended up tying him,” Boosman testified.

    The men scoured the house, took a bag containing medical supplies; three bags with bottles of wine, electrical equipment, clothes, a cooler box, a toolbox and an iPhone. These items were also hidden in the bush, Boosman said. But while they were carrying the items from the house Ntetho told him that Otton was in the kitchen trying to untie himself.

    Boosman, carrying a stolen airgun, and Ntetho a log of braai wood, began beating Otton, striking his head and lower body repeatedly.

    On Monday, Ntetho pleaded not guilty to murdering Otton and breaking into his home, but admitted that he entered Craven’s house and stole his possessions.

    Judge Nape Dolamo accepted his guilty plea on that count and convicted him.

    The trial continues on Tuesday.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Sparks are set to fly in the provincial legislature as politicians scrutinise the R10.3bn spent on consultants over three years.

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    Cape Town - Sparks are set to fly in the provincial legislature next week as politicians scrutinise the Western Cape’s R10.3 billion spent on consultants over three years, “the highest of all the provinces”, according to the auditor-general.

    The DA has blamed the ANC for the spend, a charge the ANC rejected as “just pure nonsense”.

    The R10.3bn is outlined in a report by the AG tabled in the legislature last week which details the spend on consultants between April 2008 and March 2011.

    Representatives of the AG’s office in Pretoria are expected to fly to Cape Town to address MPLs, the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the legislature and provincial departments on February 20 on their findings.

    The AG’s report found:

    * Officials who appointed consultants through a limited bidding process did not always declare their conflicts of interest.

    * Contracts were sometimes open-ended in terms of time and costs.

    * Consultants’ work was not always monitored or evaluated.

    * Some contracts were regularly extended.

    * Financial and administrative controls over payments were sometimes inadequate.

    Premier Helen Zille questioned the timing of the AG’s report. She said 29 of the 31 contracts the AG audited were awarded before the DA took control of the provincial government in May 2009.

    Her response was included in the AG’s report.

    Scopa member Bokkie Geyer, DA MPL, said from the DA’s caucus it was important to note that these contracts were entered into when the ANC was in power in the province.

    “The ANC should remember that when they will bring it up in the meeting. The expenditure will be placed in front of their door,” Geyer said.

    ANC chief whip in the legislature Pierre Uys said his party had controlled the province until April 2009, when it lost the elections to the DA, and that by trying to finger his party the DA was being mischievous and indulging in dirty politics before the 2014 elections.

    “They were in charge for the bulk of the period. It is clear what they are trying to do and it is just pure nonsense. The DA is trying to deflect attention from the problems they have. They are playing politics before the elections and it will not work.

    “They must scrutinise themselves properly because it’s pure fabrication for them to now try and blame the ANC. If anything, all this will boomerang on the DA,” Uys said.

    Zille also took issue with the AG’s definition of “consultants”. “The audit has combined contractors, consultants and service providers who deliver capital infrastructure on the ground – like construction companies, architects and engineers are defined under the general term ‘consultant’,” Zille said.

    “This is open to misinterpretation.”

    But Scopa chairman Grant Haskin, ACDP MPL, said Zille had to acceptthe AG’s definition ofconsultants.

    “If you suddenly want to come and change the definition of consultants, you are changing the rules of the game,” he said.

    Haskin said MPLs from three standing committees including Scopa, health and transport and public works, will be present at the meeting.

    “We will question what led to this huge expenditure on consultants and what has happened since. “What did the province do to prevent this from happening again?” Haskin said.

    Leader of the Opposition Lynne Brown, ANC MPL, said the party’s caucus will discuss the report at a meeting on Thursday, before next week’s meeting.

    Cape Times


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    DA MP David Maynier has given the defence minister 10 days to reply to a parliamentary question about flights.

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    Cape Town -

    DA MP David Maynier is gatvol. And he vowed to publicly read out flight logs of former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu in the National Assembly if current Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula did not reply to the parliamentary question he asked more than a year ago.

    Maynier on Monday said he had had enough: “The minister (Mapisa-Nqakula) has a simple choice: reply to my parliamentary question in 10 working days or suffer the consequences in Parliament.

    “The information, which I will disclose, will clearly establish that Lindiwe Sisulu abused her position and treated the air force like her personal airborne taxi service,” he said.

    He had now resubmitted the parliamentary question.

    Maynier insisted Mapisa-Nqakula could not continue to cock a snook at Parliament.

    The minister’s reply remained outstanding despite two letters from National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu to the leader of government business at Parliament, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, to finalise the matter.

    Central to this controversy is the R40 million Maynier claims the former defence minister spent on over 200 Gulfstream charter flights.

    While Mapisa-Nqakula last year indicated 203 flights were made by her predecessor at an approximate cost of R200 000 each, this was not sufficient detail for Maynier.

    His parliamentary question asked for details of what flight was taken when, from where, to where and at what cost on what type of aircraft, chartered or not.

    Mapisa-Nqakula’s response on flight numbers and costs was also dismissed by Lindiwe Sisulu.

    She rejected the alleged costs and said she had taken only 35 flights.

    Mapisa-Nqakula’s reply was subsequently withdrawn from the parliamentary record.

    Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesman for Sisulu, who is now public service and administration minister, on Monday said there was nothing to add to the earlier statements.

    “We have said all we need to say already. There is no need to repeat ourselves. Maynier is a bored MP.”

    No comment was received from the Defence Department.

    According to Parliament, its records showed of the 336 parliamentary questions to ministers during last year, only one oral and 29 written questions failed to solicit a reply.

    During last year, the national legislature dealt with 3 207 written questions and 366 oral questions to the executive. Of the oral questions, President Jacob Zuma replied to all the 18 parliamentary questions put to him, while his deputy answered all his 12 questions, said Parliament.

    Political Bureau


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  • 02/11/14--02:46: Parliament cuts SONA costs
  • The cost of this year's first State Of The Nation address is R2m less than 2013, Parliament's acting secretary has said.

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    Cape Town - The cost of this year's first State Of The Nation address is R2 million less than last year, Parliament's acting secretary Baby Tyawa said on Tuesday.

    Responding to questions at a media briefing on the address, which President Jacob Zuma is set to deliver at 7pm on Thursday, she said the budgeted cost was R5.7m.

    “Spending [on it] is R2m less this year.”

    Earlier, National Council of Provinces Chairman Mninwa Mahlangu said Parliament had “definitely taken into account what Treasury said about tightening our belts”.

    He was referring to an announcement by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, made in his medium-term budget policy statement last year, of severe cuts to government perks.

    Mahlangu said there would be two State of the Nation Addresses this year.

    “In a general election year, like this one, there are two State of the Nation Adresses, one in February, and another one after the election and the establishment of a new Parliament.”

    The general election is set to take place on May 7.

    Responding to a question, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu said a date for the second address had not been set, but it would be shortly after the election.

    Mahlangu stressed that Thursday's event was not the opening of Parliament because the institution had resumed work last month, with a constituency period and an “intense” committee programme.

    The traditional banquet held on the day would this year be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and not in a tent, as was done last year.

    “It's cheaper at the convention centre than having tents,” Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo told reporters.

    Thursday's event will be a full ceremonial occasion. It will start at 4pm, with MPs, Cabinet ministers and guests arriving at Parliament's Poorthuys entrance.

    As in previous years, there will be processions of dignitaries, including members of the judiciary and provincial premiers, up Parliament Street to the National Assembly.

    Zuma will arrive in time to take the national salute at 6.55pm from a podium in front of the building. This will include a 21-gun salute and a fly-past by aircraft of the South African Air Force. The president's address will be broadcast live.

    On preparations at Parliament, Mahlangu said he could say with confidence that all was on track.

    Debate on what Zuma tells South Africa will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, with the president responding to this next Thursday (February 20). - Sapa


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    Two security guards were injured when gunmen opened fire during a cash-in-transit robbery outside a Cape Town bank.

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    Cape Town - Robbers armed with an assault rifle and hand guns attacked a cash-in-transit van in Belgravia this morning. Two security guards were shot and seriously injured.

    One of the suspects was wearing an orange Correctional Services prisoner’s uniform, said police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk. The robbers fled in a white BMW with Gauteng number plates. Van Wyk said an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

    Eyewitnesses said the robbers attacked the SBV security guards delivering the money in 7th Avenue in Belgravia from two angles.

    “Last year there was a similar robbery. But this time the gun that was used looked and sounded like a real machine gun,” said a woman who witnessed the incident.

    She asked not to be named.

    “There were a lot of people around, and everyone just dropped to the ground. But the security guards were very brave. They shot back and handled the situation professionally.”

    Mark Kirby, a 25-year-old level 3 first aider who volunteers with the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, was first on the scene to help the injured guards. “One of them was shot in the back of the head, but there was no exit wound… The patient was taken to hospital in a stable condition,” he said. Another guard was hospitalised with a gunshot to his neck. Kirby commended the police’s flying squad members who were on the scene in minutes.

    Cape Argus


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    A gangster who had been terrorising pupils and staff at a Parow school for weeks, has been arrested.

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    Cape Town - A gangster who had been terrorising pupils and staff at a Parow school for weeks, has been arrested.

    Police on Tuesday arrested the 28s gang member at Uitzig Secondary School.

    The 19-year-old was tied up and led from the school to a waiting police van. Dawie van Wyk, acting Community Policing Forum chairman for the area, said the man had been embroiled in fighting between the 28 and 26 gangs in the area.

    “It has been going on for months, and what really concerns us is the school has become a hotbed for assaults and drug use,” he said.

    “The school needs more resources to keep these elements off campus, because the fighting and gangsterism is really disruptive to learning. Two safety officers just isn’t enough.”

    It’s believed the man was arrested for trespassing.

    Rosie Smith, one of the school safety officers employed by the Department of Community Safety, said she received death threats on a weekly basis. Her job involves removing trespassers and gangsters from the school grounds – sometimes forcibly.

    The intruders bring drugs, mostly dagga, to deal to pupils during break.

    “At every break time there is a cloud of dagga smoke that comes from the ground’s far corner,” she said. “I have to remove these guys, otherwise there is fighting as well. It’s dangerous work, but I’m not really that scared because I know every one of them personally.”

    Charles Esau, a councillor for the area, suggested an urgent meeting should be set up between the school governing body and the principal.

    “Principals have the right to do random drug tests and this needs to be done to address gangsterism.”

    The school’s principal did not want to comment at the time of publication.

    Cape Argus


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    Bruno Bronn’s domestic worker was shocked to find his home in disarray, the morning after his alleged murder, the court heard.

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    Cape Town - Bruno Bronn’s domestic worker was shocked to find his home in disarray, the morning after his alleged murder, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

    At the time of his death, Bronn owned the gay night club, The Bronx, in the Cape Town CBD.

    Jakoba Marcus told the court the first thing she noticed on her arrival for work at his Sea Point home on February 7, 2012, was that his two dogs were on the veranda, instead of being inside with Bronn.

    Three men have pleaded not guilty before Western Cape Judge-President, John Hlophe, and assessor Jaco van Reenen, to charges of premeditated murder and aggravated armed robbery.

    They are Frederick Willem John Coetzer, Fareez Allie and Achmat Toffa.

    A fourth suspect, Kurt Erispe, has become a State witness, and will be indemnified against prosecution if he testifies truthfully and to the satisfaction of the court.

    Prosecutor, senior State advocate Carien Teunissen, told the court both charges carried prescribed sentences - life for premeditated murder and 15 years for the robbery.

    Although this had already been explained to them by the defence team, the judge insisted that it be explained to them again, for the record.

    Marcus told the court: “Usually, when I arrive for work, the deceased was still asleep, with the dogs lying with him on his bed.”

    She said she had a key for the front gate, and the front door was closed, but unlocked, to give her access to the house.

    She added: “When I went inside, I saw that the door to the pool outside was closed, and the curtains still drawn - both the door and the curtains were usually open to allow the dogs out to go to the toilet.

    “I opened the curtains, and then noticed that all the drawers in the lounge were open, and the house in disarray.

    “The deceased was neat and tidy, and I wondered why (it) was so mixed up from the night before.

    “I worked for him on Mondays and Fridays, and I had expected to find the house as I had left it the previous Friday.”

    She said she went to look for Bronn, thinking he was awake because the dogs were on the veranda.

    She said: “As I went to his bedroom, I passed his study and noticed that his laptop, which he kept on a glass table in the study, was missing.

    “I knocked on his bedroom, and called him by his name, but there was no answer.

    “I opened the door and saw that his bedroom was in disarray.

    “I got a fright and was immediately afraid and thought there had been a robbery.”

    She told the court how she had gone back to the veranda in a state of shock, wondering what to do.

    She first tried to alert the neighbours, but got no reply, and she then stopped a passing security patrol vehicle.

    She said she asked the driver to accompany her back into the house, to see where the deceased was.

    The security officer went into the room and said to her: “Madam, there is a man lying in the bedroom - I think he’s dead.”

    She then went into the bedroom herself, to make sure it was Bronn, she said.

    She said Coetzer worked for Bronn as a handyman, and had a key to the house.

    The trial continues.

    Sapa


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    Toyota written off after he was rear-ended by a police bakkie, now he sits without wheels.

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    Cape Town - The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but they don't turn at all when you're up against the police. This according to a Fish Hoek motorist who claims authorities have swept his case under the carpet after a police bakkie ploughed into the back of his Toyota Tazz.

    “They told me I wouldn’t get a cent,” said Bruce Schnugh, “and it seems they are sticking to that.”

    Schnugh, his fiancée, Tanya Perry, and two-year-old son, Ethan, were travelling along Kalk Bay’s Main Road on October 29.

    It was about 6.35am, and there were only a few cars on the road.

    “Just before the Dalebrook car park (opposite the church) I had to come to a stop because there were a couple of cars turning into the car park,” said Schnugh. He noticed the front end of a police bakkie looming in his rear view mirror.

    “I had just about enough time to brace my son against the impact before they hit us.”

    The force of the blow sent the hatchback careering forward, smashing into one of the queuing cars in front of it. It then bounced back, mounting the pavement before coming to a stop.

    The impact had caused the car to crumple so badly that the doors no longer opened, said Schnugh.

    “I started kicking at them to get out because I was worried my son had been injured… I looked over to see that the police had stopped, got out and were just kicking broken glass off the road.”

    It has been more than three months since the crash, but despite filing an accident report with the Muizenberg police station there has been no progress.

    In that time Schnugh was forced to sell his car.

    His Tazz was not insured and the the repair bill for the rear bumper alone came close to R30 000, almost eclipsing the value of the car.

    Combined with the towing costs and medical bills that followed the crash, the 30-year-old claimed the crash had cost him more than R50 000.

    “All I want is what I lost. I want a proper car again, something I can use to drive my family around, but I’m still sitting here with absolutely nothing because a pair of cops weren’t looking where they were going.”

    Police were asked for comment but indicated on Tuesday that they would release a full statement about the matter on Wednesday.

    Cape Argus


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  • 02/11/14--21:54: Robber cuts boy’s throat
  • A pupil at a top Cape high school is recovering after an attacker tried to rob him and then slit his throat.

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    Cape Town - A pupil at a top Cape high school is recovering after an attacker tried to rob him and then slit his throat.

    The Grade 10 Parel Vallei pupil needed 18 stitches and six internal stitches.

    Education MEC Donald Grant’s spokeswoman, Bronagh Casey, confirmed on Tuesday that “a Grade 10 learner was attacked on Monday afternoon after he was accosted by a man with a knife”.

    “He sustained injuries to his neck area and has received stitches. His parents have laid a charge with the police.”

    On Monday evening, Facebook images were posted showing the teen’s wound, followed by nearly a hundred comments expressing outrage.

    The post was later withdrawn – it is understood this was because the boy is a minor, and his identity needed to be protected.

    Neighbourhood watch spokeswoman in Somerset West reported: “I was informed… that a 15-year-old schoolboy from Parel Vallei High School was attacked this afternoon near the school in Adam Tas Road around 2.45pm.”

    The street is about 500m from the school gates.

    “The schoolboy, according to my report, was rushed to hospital where he apparently received 18 stitches plus six internal stitches.

    “I am sending this out as I am very concerned because many children from our area in Sector 1 walk to and from Parel Vallei school daily, often alone.

    “According to another neighbourhood watcher in our area, Parel Vallei school sent out a communication on Friday, February 7, to warn parents and children that two muggings had taken place near the school that morning – I am not sure if they managed to get away with cellphones and earpieces that young people use to listen to music.

    “Please alert your children and ask them to walk together and to report anything suspicious.

    “Perhaps some of the parents and patrollers in this area can keep an eye out at the start of the school day and at the end of the school day to look out for any suspicious characters,” she warned.

    Casey said the school had reported an increase in crime against pupils walking home from school over the past two weeks.

    “Pupils had been approached by strangers demanding their cellphones or possessions.

    “The school has reported these incidents to the police and has asked for increased visibility around the school community after school hours. The school has not had any threats within the school itself,” Casey said.

    A resident, Michael Day, an investigative author, wrote to the neighbourhood watch: “This schoolboy could so easily have been murdered; in fact the odds of him surviving such a brutal knife attack to the throat are quite small. It is actually quite hard for an attacker to miss the jugular, carotid or windpipe because these organs are so exposed and vulnerable to the blade.

    “Therefore, had the perpetrator’s knife severed his carotid artery, he would almost certainly have bled to death on the spot. And although there can be no doubt that the boy was lucky to survive, we must not allow his extreme good fortune to blind us from the seriousness of this assault,” Day warned.

    Police have confirmed the incident and are investigating.

    Cape Argus


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