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    Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says her call for charges against strikers to be dropped was justified.

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    Cape Town - Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson remained unapologetic on Monday about controversial remarks she made to striking Western Cape farmworkers.

    Replying in writing to a parliamentary question, Joemat-Pettersson said her call for all criminal charges against the striking workers to be dropped was justified.

    “Each and every criminal case or charge that was laid against a farm worker must be withdrawn,” she was quoted as saying while addressing thousands of workers in De Doorns last month.

    Several workers were arrested during the violent strike.

    Democratic Alliance MP Debbie Schafer asked Joemat-Pettersson on what grounds she thought farmworkers should not be arrested and prosecuted for criminal actions.

    On Monday, she replied that in some cases protest action would include behaviour which could be seen as “lawless”.

    “This however does not make such behaviour illegal. I would not want to see farm workers victimised or arrested for such behaviour, even where it may appear to be lawless, and my comments were made in this light.”

    Joemat-Pettersson then drew a distinction between the terms “lawless” and “illegal”, which are synonyms.

    “Where an action is illegal, and the culprits can be identified, the necessary steps must be taken by the police.”

    She said she would be sticking to her guns on the issue.

    “Exhibiting lawless behaviour is not a criminal offence, although certain actions may be,” said Joemat-Pettersson. - Sapa


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    Confusion was deliberately created by J Arthur Brown to solicit investments in his network of illegal pyramid schemes, the court has heard.

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    Cape Town -

    Confusion was deliberately created by alleged embezzler J Arthur Brown to solicit investments in his network of illegal pyramid schemes, the Western Cape High Court on Monday.

    “(Brown) orchestrated a huge exercise of inflated assets, the back-dating of documents and asset-swop agreements in an effort to defeat the attempts of the Financial Services Board to investigate and uncover the true picture,” prosecutor Jannie van Vuuren said.

    “This smoke-and-mirror play was designed to play for time, and stall the uncovering of fraud, in an attempt to escape responsibility for his actions.”

    Brown faces four counts of fraud, two of corruption, two of theft and one of money laundering.

    In pyramid schemes, unsuspecting investors are falsely promised unrealistically high returns on their investments. However, the monies are not invested and the returns are paid from other investments.

    The fraud charges involve the four entities Fundi Projects, Antheru Trust, the state-owned Transport, Education and Training Authority (Teta) and Matco.

    Fundi Projects invested R9 million with Fidentia.

    It is alleged that Brown falsely informed Fundi that the investment would give Fundi a monthly income, capital guarantees, and growth that would enable Fundi to fulfil its obligations to the Zambian company, Nitrogen Chemicals.

    It is alleged that Brown used some of the R9 million as a deposit for a beach property for himself and his family and that Fidentia was unable to repay the investment when called upon to do so.

    It is alleged that Brown solicited a R200 million investment from Teta by giving chief executive Piet Bothma a R6 million bribe.

    Brown allegedly used more than R3 million of the Teta money for the purchase of four luxury 4x4 vehicles for himself and his co-directors, and he used Teta money to buy two more beach properties for himself and his family.

    He allegedly also solicited a R44 million five-year investment from the Antheru Trust.

    Brown used the Antheru, Teta and other investments monies to repay investment capital, and make interest payments to Antheru investors.

    Matco controlled a trust that had more than R1.2 billion in pension and provident funds under administration and investment with Old Mutual on behalf of beneficiaries.

    Matco also had R70 million available in its current bank account for the payment of monthly beneficiary-related obligations.

    It is alleged that Brown acquired Matco but orchestrated the transaction so as to gain full control of the company before full payment of the purchase price.

    Brown allegedly stole the R70 million to finance the balance of the Matco purchase price.

    “He in fact used Matco's own money, to buy Matco,” Van Vuuren alleged in court.

    Brown also allegedly produced Standard Bank “Letters of Comfort”, to give the Matco Board the false impression that Fidentia had the funds and meant to purchase the company.

    Once in control of Matco, Brown allegedly ordered the transfer of the R1.13 billion beneficiary funds, invested with the Old Mutual, to Fidentia.

    It is alleged that Brown attempted to obtain R150 million from the Old Mutual, but the Old Mutual declined due to improper authorisation from Matco.

    It is alleged that these funds were nevertheless systematically depleted, and that only R500 million remained as potentially recoverable at the time that the FSB stopped the Brown operations.

    On the theft count, the State alleges that Fidentia bought the company Infinity, and that Brown stole R5 million from Infinity, to pay Fidentia salaries.

    On the second theft count, Brown is alleged to have stolen R12.6 million of Antheru funds for the purchase of an Eastern Cape farm, Thaba Manzi.

    The two corruption counts relate to the alleged R6 million bribe given to Bothma for the R200 million investment in Fidentia.

    The money-laundering charge relates to amounts totalling R93 802 652, that formed the proceeds of Brown's alleged unlawful activities. - Sapa


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    MEC Robin Carlisle says accident rate on Western Cape roads highest in three years.

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    Fifty-nine people have died on Western Cape roads since the beginning of December.

    Speaking at the launch of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation’s annual free testing period on Monday, transport MEC Robin Carlisle Carlisle said: “In the first nine days of December, 59 people were killed on Western Cape roads. This is far in excess of last year, and the worst fatality rate we have had in three years.”

    Carlisle added that the carnage happened in spite of extensive measures put in place on roads over the festive season.

    He said that sleepy motorists in the Western Cape would have their car keys confiscated for four hours in a move to lower accidents caused by fatigue.

    Based on the opinion of traffic officers, drivers who were tired would be asked to park in a safe area and their keys kept from them. Once the four hours had elapsed, their keys would be returned so they could resume their journey.

    This measure would be implemented only if there was not another licensed and capable person in the vehicle to take over the driving.

    “A fatigued driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.”

    Carlisle said the National Road Traffic Act empowered officers to stop people from driving if they were incapable at the time, either physically or mentally.

    In an attempt to reduce road carnage over the festive season, long-distance taxis and other vehicles will be given free safety tests as part of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation’s annual free testing period.

    The testing period allows for long-distance travellers to go to the participating AVTS testing stations for a safety check, which includes checking the vehicle’s brakes, suspension and headlights.

    AVTS managing director Ferose Oaten said it was a privilege for the company to be a part of the free safety inspections.

    She said the free vehicle checks would run until Friday. These were not roadworthy tests but safety checks that served as an early warning to operators and drivers.

    SAFER VEHICLES

    Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron was confident that the checks could reduce road crashes.

    “If we can combine the law and safer vehicles we will make a greater impact on carnage over the festive season as we will have safer vehicles on the roads,” Herron said.

    Meanwhile at the Joe Gqabi interchange, in Philippi, long-distance taxi driver Thabo Toana said he had not heard about the free vehicle testing and that his vehicle had last been tested six months ago.

    He said he was preparing to leave on Tuesday and had 20 passengers booked in his Iveco van.

    Toana was one of many taxi drivers and travellers preparing to hit the road and visit other parts of South Africa. He added that it got very busy around December 15.

    “This weekend will be really busy, but I have a second driver with me so when I get tired he starts to drive,” Toana said. - Cape Argus

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    The fractious relationship between police and Netreg residents was dealt another blow when cops allegedly killed a man.

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    Cape Town - The fractious relationship between police and residents of Netreg, Bonteheuwel, was dealt another blow on Sunday when police allegedly killed a man on one of the area’s main roads.

     The incident followed an attack by residents on two police officers who were responding to a crime scene.

     This comes against the backdrop of an inquiry into the breakdown of relations between police and the community in Khayelitsha.

     On Monday, residents rallied behind the slain man’s family, who have vowed not to rest until the police officer who allegedly killed their only son is tried, convicted and put behind bars.

     Jerome Brown, 36, was shot in the face at close range on Sunday afternoon, allegedly by a police officer, close to the home where he lived with his mother.

     His family has claimed that he was an innocent victim and posed no threat to police at the time of the shooting.

     Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut has confirmed that the incident was the subject of an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to determine the circumstances which led to his death. This was also confirmed by Ipid.

     Brown’s sister, Mushfieqah Ismail, said on Monday: “I will co-operate with the Ipid during the investigation, but don’t for a moment think I am leaving it there. I don’t know how these things work, but I will consult a lawyer, and my family and I will not rest until we see that man [who fired the shot] behind bars.”

     A friend of Brown who witnessed his death and who asked not to be named, said she “will never forget” the face of the man who fired. She said she would testify in court.

     Yesterday, police revealed the circumstances of the shooting.

     “[On Sunday] at approximately 5.30pm, two SAPS members attached to the Bishop Lavis police station came under attack in the Kreefgat area of Netreg when they responded to a complaint of a shooting in progress in the area. Upon arrival, the police members were approached by a riotous group of people who smashed their vehicles windows and assaulted the members while they were trapped inside the vehicle. Attempts to disarm the members failed… in the process a shot was discharged from one of the official’s firearms. During the incident, 34-year-old Jerome Brown was fatally wounded.”

     Residents at the scene before and during the shooting corroborated this order of events. They said two unknown men from outside the community started firing shots on Netreg Road at about 4.40pm on Sunday.

    “When police arrived on the scene about an hour later the community turned on them. We have had many promises from the police that they will protect our children from these gangsters that come from outside,” said Jackline Brown, Brown’s sister.

     “This was the theme of a meeting [with police] where the whole community was present a few weeks ago. People are fed up with their slow response time. By the time they got here the suspects were long gone. Instead of arresting the real trouble makers, the police harass our community. That is one of the reasons they were attacked,” she said.

     Police condemned the assault on the officers.

     “Both members who were attacked were admitted to hospital and are recovering. Additional resources were deployed to the area to restore order,” Traut said. “No one has been arrested in connection with the attack on our members. However, investigations will continue. We will not allow violence to be perpetrated against police officers. Every endeavour will be made to bring those responsible to book.”

     He said the incident was a “deliberate attempt from individuals in the community to intimidate the SAPS and to protect gang members who are keeping communities hostage”.

     But Brown’s mother, Fathima Williams, and various witnesses interviewed by the Cape Argus said Brown posed no threat to police.

     “He had been drinking from the night before,” Williams said. “He was unarmed and very, very drunk when he walked over to the scene where people were attacking the officers. The police even called him over to talk to him moments before he was shot.”

     Williams sat next to her son’s body for hours while forensics officers collected evidence on the scene.

     A witness said Brown had been shot at point-blank range.

     Brown was released after 16 years in jail in March this year. He had since started a job as an electrician.

     “We were all so happy that he would be with us for Christmas for the first time since he was a teenager, but he was the most excited of all,” said Williams.

     Ismail viewed her brother’s body in the morgue on Monday. “He had been shot through the eye. There were still white spots where the gunpowder had discoloured his face,” she said.

     Netreg ward councillor Nas Abrahams was told about the incidents shortly before being contacted by the Cape Argus. “I’m in no position to comment. I would first have to find out what happened,” he said.

     Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer condemned the attack on the police officers.

     Regarding allegations of slow police response, he said: “What kind of society do we live in where people use violence to voice their concerns about service delivery from police?

     “There are many channels to escalate their concerns. One of them would be to take it up directly with my office.”

     daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

     Cape Argus


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    Two Cape Town cops have done an epic road trip highlighting gender-based violence.

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    Two police officers, Brigadier André Lincoln, 51, and Warrant Officer Andries Douglas, 44, returned to Cape Town on Sunday after a 14-day motorcycle trip around the Western Cape to raise awareness about gender-based violence.

    The riders are members of Men for Change, a forum in the SAPS that focuses on issues such as domestic violence, police killings and wellness programmes.

    They visited rural areas that included Murraysburg, Vredendal, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, Beaufort West and George, stopping at each town's police station to run community workshops on domestic violence.

    Lincoln said Cape Town suburb Mitchells Plain had the most reported cases of gender-based violence.

    “We acknowledge that there are some perpetrators within our ranks, so we stopped at each cluster to encourage our colleagues to make a change and strive towards being examples to their communities,” he said.

    He said they had run a 'successful campaign' and were planning to do it again, on a bigger scale, in 2013.

    “Child abuse is heartbreaking and unacceptable.”

    With our support groups we hope to change the mindsets of known abusers and turn them into individuals who will be able to protect their families instead of inflicting pain,” he said.

    Lincoln and Douglas ended their epic road trip at the police's provincial event to mark the end of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children at Stephen Reagan Sports Complex in Mitchells Plain.

    Speaking at the event, provincial police commissionner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer said 97 sexual abuse cases have been reported in the Western Cape during the past week - most of them against children, some as young as four.

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    A woman who allegedly faked her son’s kidnapping to get money out of her friends, lied with ease the State has argued.

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    Cape Town - A Hout Bay woman who is alleged to have faked her son’s kidnapping to get money out of her friends, lied with ease when she defrauded about R4 million from people close to her, the State has argued.

    Prosecutor Derrick Vogel told the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court on Monday that Kateryna Karpovska lied and manipulated people to benefit herself financially.

    During his closing address, Vogel said Magistrate Amrith Chabilall should consider whether Karpovska was honest and trustworthy.

    Karpovska, 39, from the Ukraine, is on trial on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act.

    One of the counts relates to Karpovska defrauding seven American friends.

    Around 11pm on September 2, 2009 Karpovska allegedly e-mailed one of her friends saying that her son had been kidnapped and the ransom demanded was $2 million (R16m).

    She claimed that she had raised most of the money but still needed $143 000.

    Her friends agreed to help her and supplied the money. About R1m was paid into Karpovska’s bank account and she then told them that her son was returned to her.

    Vogel argued that Karpovska had no problem lying to her American friends about the kidnapping, about certain documentation and about the fact that she was out of the country when she was in fact in Cape Town.

    Karpovska admitted that she lied about her son’s kidnapping but said she was forced to do so.

    She also testified earlier that she was handcuffed and held against her will by her ex-boyfriend and two other complainants, and that he demanded she get the money one way or the other.

    Her lawyer, Pieter du Toit argued that the onus was on the State to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

    Du Toit also said Karpovska wrote in an e-mail that she wanted to loan the money from her American friends and would repay them.

    Du Toit said Karpovska entered into a loan agreement with them, adding that they had not invested the money with her.

    The other charges against Karpovska relates to her acting as a financial advisor and committing fraud by depositing investments into her personal account.

    Karpovska, however, denies the allegations, saying that the first complainant was her ex-boyfriend and that after their relationship soured, he opened a case against her.

    Between May 2008 and May 2009 R4m was allegedly paid into Karpovska’s Absa bank account “for her personal benefit”.

    But Karpovska says that she and her ex-boyfriend spent the money together and that money owed to the two other complainants was repaid. Judgment was expected on January 23.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Although Florence Sotomela, a teacher’s assistant from Khayelitsha lost everything in a shack fire, she went to work the next day.

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    Cape Town - Although Florence Sotomela, a teacher’s assistant from Site B, Khayelitsha, lost everything in a shack fire, she got up and went to work the next day. All she had left were the clothes on her back.

    “I was too heartbroken to do anything else. I did the only thing I could that would help me cope - I went to work,” Sotomela, 30, said.

    “After the fire I went over to my older sister’s place in Town Two, Khayelitsha, and she let me stay with her and lent me a pair of jeans to wear to work.”

    Sotomela said she had been a backyarder in Site B for the past two years in a shack she shared with her 10-year-old son, Sipho, and her younger sister, Sinazo.

    The fire broke out last Wednesday, the day she and her colleagues at Herzlia Constantia Primary and Pre-Primary School had their end-of-year function.

    “I got off the taxi and saw a lot of smoke... by the time I got to my street I saw that the flames were coming from our yard. Everything was in flames... I just stood there. It was like all the energy was being drained from me,” she said.

    “After firefighters put out the fire, we went to go stay with my older sister and I haven’t been back [to Site B] since.”

    Sotomela said the cause of the fire was still unknown.

    Jos Horwitz, principal at Herzlia Constantia, said the school had not expected Sotomela to be at work after what had happened to her home.

    Horwitz said Sotomela had walked in on Thursday morning and started crying. The school had decided to appeal to teachers and parents to assist her.

    Horwitz said that although it was school holidays, there had received a good response from parents after e-mails were sent out.

    “People have already donated two beds, some food and clothing and we are still getting more things,” she said.

    Horwitz said Sotomela had been working at the school for two years and had started out as a cleaner.

    “But she is so good with children, especially the young ones, that we made her one of our teacher’s assistants.

    “How brave, how resilient is this amazing woman as she set out for school the following day?” Horwitz said.

    Sotomela said she was all the more sad because the clothing she had bought for her son to wear over the Christmas holidays were also lost in the fire.

    She would also not be able to go to the Eastern Cape to see her extended family this year.

    neo.maditla@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA will hear the merits of a 1998 hate speech complaint against Radio 786.

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    Cape Town - The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA will hear the merits of a 1998 hate speech complaint against Radio 786 this week, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said on Tuesday.

    “The crucial question of where the dividing line lies between freedom of expression and prohibited hate speech will be debated before the broadcasting complaints and compliance committee,” spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said.

    The hearing was the culmination of 14 years of court action and public hearings dating back to a broadcast on the Cape Town Muslim community station in May 1998.

    The matter twice reached the Constitutional Court.

    On May 8, 1998, the radio station broadcast a programme entitled “Zionism and the state of Israel - an in-depth analysis”.

    Zeifert said the programme featured an interview with the United Kingdom academic Yakub Zaki.

    He apparently alleged, among other things, that “Jews plotted to bring about such historical calamities as the two World Wars, the Russian Revolution and various periods of global economic turmoil”.

    “The SAJBD will argue that in broadcasting this programme, Radio 786 was guilty of contravening the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, the relevant section of which prohibits the advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm,” said Zeifert

    The hearing was open to the public.

    It would begin at 9.30am at the Pepper Club Hotel in Cape Town, and would end on Friday.

    Sapa


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    Ncebakazi Bili’s family has told how she was stabbed five times in their home, allegedly by her jealous lover.

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    Cape Town - An eight months pregnant pupil was brutally stabbed to death, allegedly by her lover as she sat listening to gospel music.

    Not even the matriculant’s relatives, who were in the house at the time of the brutal attack, could save her or her unborn child.

    Ncebakazi Bili, 20, was stabbed five times allegedly by her jealous lover as she sat in her Samora Machel home on Saturday afternoon.

    The suspect, whose identity is known to the Daily Voice, is believed to be the father of her child.

    The 23-year-old has since been arrested and is expected to appear in Athlone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday on a double murder charge.

    The Grade 12 learner’s sister Nandipha Bili, 18, says the trouble started when the suspect saw her sister’s ex-boyfriend talking to one of her brothers.

    “After seeing Ncebakazi’s ex-boyfriend talking to one of my brothers, he became jealous,” said Nandipha.

    She said her sister’s lover confronted her and they had an argument after which he left the house. But he returned minutes later.

    “He came inside our home and attacked her,” said Nandipha. “We thought he was hitting her with a fist.

    “But there was blood coming and she was screaming in pain as he continued stabbing her.

    “She was eight months pregnant and due in January,” Nandipha added.

    The family said Ncebakazi had tried to flee from the house but she collapsed outside. Minutes later she was dead.

    By this time the suspect had tried to escape from the scene. But he was cornered by residents and beaten up before being handed over to the police.

    The victim’s father Samuel Ngxaka, 57, told the Daily Voice that his daughter had been looking forward to giving birth and then continuing with her studies later.

    “I will never be the same again,” said a heartbroken Samuel. “This boy has robbed us of our hope. She was pregnant and due in January.”

    Samuel also said that Ncebakazi was a mother figure in the house after he lost his wife in 2010.

    “My wife died in 2010 and she has been the one taking care of everything including her younger sister,” he explained.

    “I am so devastated and don’t know what more must I do.”

    Nyanga police spokeswoman Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi told the Daily Voice that a 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder.

    “He is charged for double murder,” Sitshitshi said.

    Daily Voice


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    A man has been found murdered at his farm, a little over a month after the rape and murder of his partner.

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    Cape Town - In a crime described as “shocking, scary and cruel” by neighbours, a man has been found murdered at his farm in Philippi, a little over a month after the rape and murder of his partner at the same location.

    Farmer Arnold Schultz, 68, was found dead by police at Die Erf farm, off Vanguard Drive, after worried family members had reported him missing on Saturday afternoon. Schultz’s partner, Hester Koch, 62, was murdered on the farm last month.

    “[Schultz was found] in one of the sheds, with blood stains and covered with a towel. [He had been] stabbed with an unknown sharp object. Circumstances and suspects are unknown at this stage,” said police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.

    Neighbours and friends of Schultz described the latest murder as “shocking, scary and cruel”.

    The two neighbours interviewed by the Cape Argus asked not to be named.

    “He was an amputee, and disabled as such. He had no chance to defend himself,” said one of the men.

    “After what happened to Hester I had warned him to keep the doors locked, I had asked him whether he didn’t want to move out or have someone live with him for a while. He kept saying that he was okay.”

    At the time of Koch’s death it was alleged that the perpetrators were people who had been “saved” from a life on the street.

    They had apparently been living on Die Erf with Schultz and Koch at the time of Koch’s murder.

    Relations between the boarders and the couple apparently soured when Koch asked them to leave, about a week before the murder.

    During the attack on Koch, Schultz was bound with his neck ties.

    The attackers ransacked the house for about 45 minutes, before stealing Schultz’s bakkie.

    Four men were arrested for the murder and have appeared in court.

    “I spoke to Arnie on Thursday, he had spent the last two days in court,” another neighbour said.

    Tensions between the four accused and Schultz had apparently been high last week.

    After one of the suspects gave evidence, Schultz told his neighbour that he had tried to attack them with his crutch.

    “The most sinister detail is that Arnold told me that one of the accused turned around, said something to a person in the gallery and then turned to Arnold.

    “Arnold told me that the man smiled at him and blew him a kiss,” said the neighbour.

    * Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Accountant Graham Maddock gave a technical testimony in the Fidentia embezzlement case in the Western Cape High Court.

    |||

    Cape Town -

    Accountant Graham Maddock gave a technical testimony on Tuesday in the Fidentia embezzlement case in the Western Cape High Court.

    Prosecutor Jannie van Vuuren led Maddock through reams of financial documents, reflecting investment funds received by Fidentia.

    Judge Anton Veldhuizen, seemingly exasperated, questioned the necessity of the process and lamented that the process could take days.

    Van Vuuren replied that it was important for the State to lead evidence about documents that either Maddock or former chief executive of the Fidentia group J Arthur Brown had known about.

    Van Vuuren told the court the fact that Brown was conducting his defence himself placed the State in a difficult situation.

    “As the prosecutor, I have also to look after the interests of Brown, even as the accused,” he added.

    This prompted the judge to say to Brown: “There you have it... even the State is looking after you, whether you like it or not.”

    Brown pleaded not guilty to four counts of fraud, two of corruption, two of theft and one of money laundering.

    The proceedings lasted until the morning's tea adjournment, and were then postponed to Thursday, when Maddock is to resume his testimony.

    Brown on two occasions objected to the “inferences being drawn” by Van Vuuren, as Van Vuuren led Maddock through the documents.

    Brown said the inferences were factually incorrect, but the judge asked Brown to rather deal with them during cross-examination. - Sapa


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  • 12/11/12--23:15: What Tutu told Manuel
  • You don’t belong in this government, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has told Trevor Manuel.

    |||

    Cape Town - You don’t belong in this government, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has told Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

    In front of a close group of friends and Struggle stalwarts in an intimate ceremony to honour the late Kader Asmal, an emotional Tutu pleaded with Manuel to tell his “boss” President Jacob Zuma that he would pray for him.

    Tutu was speaking at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden at an unveiling of a bench and tree planting in memory of Asmal on Saturday.

     Guests at the low-key event included the Asmal family, former ANC MP and minister Alec Erwin, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, anti-apartheid activists Amy Thornton, Moira Levy and Farieda Omar, and Guy Preston, who worked as Asmal’s adviser during his tenure as minister of both Water Affairs and Education, and Brendan McMahon, Irish ambassador to South Africa.

    Tutu, sitting on a chair in the gardens, was reluctant to speak at first, according to a video of the event shown to the Cape Times on Tuesday.

    He quietly paid tribute to Asmal but later grew animated and told the gathering what he had earlier whispered in Manuel’s ear.

    “I said to Trevor, ‘You don’t belong in this government’.”

    Speaking days before the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung, in the wake of revelations of poor maths and literacy results in the Annual National Assessment and of the cost of Zuma’s Nkandla compound, Tutu said: “I’ve never been so close to tears. I can’t believe that this is true. That we are where we are. I mean, things are revealed and it’s as if someone said ‘And so what?’. We go on like nothing has happened. What the heck.”

    Tutu said he often asked how it was possible that people could sit by as these things happened without taking action.

    “What has happened to us? I mean, what has happened to us that we can just go on going on? Who in their right minds could have approved the expenditure of more than R200 million? And to do it in that area, where you have this nice place standing up and just around there the squalor and poverty. What is the matter with us?”

    Tutu raised concerns about the state of education, the 30 percent matric pass rate, the failure to deliver textbooks to pupils in Limpopo and test results of just 13 percent for Grade 9 maths.

    “Thirty percent. Thirty percent. And we sit here, and we are, ‘No it’s okay, 30 percent, those children have passed’. And then when we are assessed by the world we are surprised that we are right at the bottom. Thirteen percent. Our children can’t get even 13 percent in mathematics.”

    Tutu, who retired from public life more than two years ago, turned to Manuel and pleaded with him to send a message to Zuma at the Mangaung conference, which begins on Sunday.

    “Trevor, you tell your boss that this old man who said he was retired… there’s at least one thing that I can do which doesn’t need anybody’s permission.

    “I am going to pray. You tell him that this old man is now going to pray like he prayed for the Nats.”

    Tutu ended his impromptu plea by adding quietly: “Kader, Desmond Tutu promises that he is going to pray. Thank you for the gift that you gave to our country.”

    Tutu, who was awarded the Unesco/Bilbao Human Rights Prize for his work as a champion of human rights this week, slumped back into the chair and could be seen cradling his head in his hands.

    Earlier Manuel had addressed the gathering by reminding Asmal’s friends of their shared values which had brought them together in the fight against apartheid.

    “If we don’t have those values, if we don’t fight for those values, we will flounder. The call on us is a call to those values we share so deeply.”

    * See the full video later on http://www.facebook.com/CapeTimes.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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  • 12/12/12--00:37: A fresh start after prison
  • At the gates of Pollsmoor Prison is a sign that reads: “Welcome to Pollsmoor - A place for new beginnings”.

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    Cape Town - At the gates of Pollsmoor Prison is a sign that reads: “Welcome to Pollsmoor - A place for new beginnings”. And it has been exactly that for Antonichia Ehlers, a reformed drug addict seeking a new beginning on her road to recovery.

    Ehlers, who has been taking various types of drugs for half her life, has been clean for more than two years and is set to be released next year.

    On Tuesday, the 28-year-old sat calmly as she told her story in a meeting room at the prison’s Females Centre of Excellence.

    A “zombie tattoo” of tribal patterns and her name are visible on her left arm - a design she says she made herself because it was “cool” when she served a sentence for murder as a juvenile.

    Ehlers first came to Pollsmoor when she was 18. She was convicted of murder and served a six-year sentence.

    At the time she was already enslaved to drug addiction.

    Dagga, mandrax and tik - Ehlers had done it all, using all types of drugs at the same time.

    “I was heavy on drugs. I started doing drugs from when I was 13,” she said.

    Ehlers said the drugs had made her aggressive during her teenage years, while she lived with her mother in George.

    She first became hooked because drugs were available and she “liked the feeling” and the “satisfaction” she got from the drugs.

    She used money that her mother had given her and any cash she could source from home.

    She sold things and stole money to buy drugs. Ehlers also sold drugs for a while.

    She continued using drugs when she was pregnant and today she sees the consequences her actions have had on her 12-year-old son, saying “he is a little slow at school”.

    After she was incarcerated the first time she stayed with her aunt in Mitchells Plain for two years. There, she was ridiculed for being a “tronk voël” ( a jail bird), which set her off on a another drug binge.

    “My uncle triggered me. He said you’re a tronk voël… that triggered me and I went heavy on drugs. I lost it outside,” she said.

    Her mother wanted her to go to rehab but she told her mother that she wanted to go back to prison where someone “would listen” to her.

    “My mother thought I was making a joke when I wanted to go back to prison.”

    Ehlers was again incarcerated and has spent the last two and half years in prison serving a seven-year sentence for three assault cases.

    She has also not seen her son in two years.

    Ehlers embraced the rehab programme and initially had to detox, taking tablets to avoid cramps.

    There she also met a spiritual counsellor, sister Jenny Clayton, who changed her life.

    “This time sister Jenny got through to me… She’s like a mother to me. I can talk anything to her, she doesn’t judge me.”

    Ehlers was dealt another blow when her friend, who was addicted to tik and raped, was killed in prison earlier this year.

    “When I got the message that she was killed, I realised that I don’t want to live like that,” she said.

    She was never forced to go to counselling.

    Since Ehler has been in prison she has not been on any drugs. Today she has her confidence back.

    “I can speak to people. I’m not so aggressive anymore… I’m a totally different person.”

    Ehlers is currently doing a chef’s course and has “plans to take it further”. During the day she busies herself with her courses, metal work or welding and her education.

    “I run up and down in prison I do my course, I do positive stuff to keep me busy.”

    Her mother comes to visit once in while. “She knows everything I’m busy with, the positive stuff. I have a relationship with her now I didn’t have before.”

    When asked whether she thought she would relapse, she said: “I don’t want to go back to that life. I sit in my room and see how I was… I don’t want to go back, otherwise I’m going to die…I should have been dead already.”

    When her rehabilitation in prison is over she will go to an Observatory home called Beautiful Essence where ex-offenders are housed and supported.

    “They will walk the road with me,” she said.

    Ehler was placed in the Restorative Justice programme along with about 30 other women offenders according to the head of the centre, Lindiwe Jonas.

    She said they have had many success stories as a result of the programme which is why they opened the Beautiful Essence centre for ex-offenders.

    “Others find employment and others come back to give their testimonies,” she said.

    Ehlers said drugs like dagga or tik were easily available in prison, but that it was up to the individual whether or not they choose to use the drugs.

    “People get stuff like that in prison. It’s free…The wardens are against that stuff they try to get it out of prison, but it’s hard.”

    Eventually she wants to start her own business.

    Today, Ehlers is not afraid to tell her story hoping that someone else can learn from her experiences.

    The most difficult part of her incarceration has been missing her family.

    However, she prefers serving her time in Pollsmoor because of the rehabilitation courses on offer.

    She does not want to go back to George when she is released.

    “I don’t want to go back. I want to start a new life,” she said.

    Her advice to people was to stay away from drugs: “It can change your whole life, I lost my whole life because of drugs.”

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/12/12--00:38: Faulty pet trackers recalled
  • Thousands of Back Home Biotec microchips – used for tracking pets – have been recalled after a “functionality issue” was detected.

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    Cape Town -

    Thousands of Back Home Biotec microchips – used for tracking pets – have been recalled after a “functionality issue” was detected with some of the microchips issued since June 2010.

    Harry Edwards, Companion Animal Range manager at Virbac SA, the local distributors of the microchips, said the problem was detected in February this year and that during a trial in Europe it was decided that there should be a worldwide recall of the product.

    He said that this particular batch – with the prefix 9000880 and the prefix 9000088 up to 900008800259208 – of microchips were not readable by scanners.

    “We don’t know exactly what the problem is, it’s an international problem… it seems that moisture was getting into the chips. But we do not know which ones are faulty, that is why they have all been recalled,” Edwards said on Tuesday.

    He said that local pet owners who had bought their microchips within the specified period had already been notified to take their pets to their vets to have the microchips replaced for free.

    He said the microchips cost between R150 and R300 depending on the vet and that it was not yet possible to determine how many had been recalled in South Africa as people were still being encouraged to bring in their pets.

    In a media statement sent shortly after the recall, Virbac said: “[We have] already taken steps to improve the design of the chips, and adjust the manufacturing process to enhance the technology in the microchip itself. Therefore the company is confident that all Back Home chips supplied from April 2012 onwards will be unaffected by this issue.”

    Banie Penzhorn, managing director of the SA Veterinary Association, said the association was aware of the recall and that the company had communicated directly with clients. Penzhorn said the faulty microchips would not harm pets.

    “Microchip implants are well tolerated by animals. Malfunctioning of the microchip itself will not be detrimental to the health of the animal,” he said.

    neo.maditla@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/12/12--00:54: UCT’s R1 000 fee scheme
  • Students from poor families can expect to pay as little as R1 000 a year to study at UCT from next year.

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    Cape Town -

    Students from poor families can expect to pay as little as R1 000 a year to study at UCT from next year, the university has announced.

    On average, a typical year of study at UCT, including fees, accommodation, books, food and sundries, will cost a student R80 000 a year.

    UCT vice-chancellor Dr Max Price on Tuesday revealed details of a new financial aid policy that the university hoped would make attendance affordable for all.

    The new policy will apply to South African undergraduate students who have been accepted on academic grounds and are eligible for financial assistance.

    The university said that with the financial aid available, UCT was probably more affordable than any other institution for a student from a poor background.

    “What we can say now is that no one will be turned away for financial reasons,” Price said.

    About R441 million in financial aid will be available to eligible UCT students, and will be sourced from UCT’s coffers, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), corporations and other sources.

    In terms of the new policy, the university will cover almost the entire cost of study for students with an annual family income of up to R50 000.

    The family would be expected to make a small contribution, depending on their specific annual income.

    Families earning up to R50 000 a year could pay as little R1 000 a year and financial aid would cover the remaining R79 000. A means test would be applied.

    Those with a slightly higher annual family income (but less than R230 000) would be expected to pay a slightly higher contribution.

    Families with an annual income of about R100 000 could pay about R10 000 and the financial aid portion would be R70 000.

    Price said the university would also extend the range of people eligible for financial aid. Not all students qualify for NSFAS assistance yet still find university study unaffordable.

    In terms of the new policy, a student with an annual family income of between R230 000 and R480 000 could apply for a UCT bursary. These bursaries could cover up to 50 percent of the fee for a family with an income below R330 000 and up to 40 percent for a family with an income between R330 000 and R430 000.

    These students would also be eligible to apply for loans to cover a further R25 000, subject to meeting the requirements.

    Price said the third key element of the new policy was that the contribution made by students receiving financial aid would remain constant.

    “Students who are on financial aid will not pay any more than they did the previous year.”

    The closing date for financial aid applications for the 2013 academic year was October 31, but has been extended to January 15.

    ilse.fredericks@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The family of a Philippi farmer are battling to come to terms with the “horrific” scene that greeted them on Saturday afternoon.

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    Cape Town -

    The family of murdered Philippi farmer Arnold Schultz, 68, are battling to come to terms with the “horrific” scene that greeted them on Saturday afternoon when Schultz’s body was found with multiple stab wounds in his backyard.

    Schultz’s partner, Hester Koch, 62, was strangled to death and sexually assaulted on the same farm a month ago, allegedly by a couple she had “rescued” from the streets and offered accommodation to in a shack on the property.

    Koch had asked the couple, who lived with their two children, to move out a week before she was murdered.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said that when police arrived at Schultz’s Die Erf Farm in Philippi they found him in a shed in his backyard covered with a blood-stained towel. He had several stab wounds.

    Koch

    was found last month with a pillow case over her head and a belt around her neck.

    Unaware of what was happening to his partner at the time, Schultz, who was an amputee, remained in bed. The farm was also ransacked.

    Four suspects, including the couple, were arrested two days after the murder. They appeared in court last week.

    “It’s too hard to comprehend, we are still grieving over Koch’s death… we haven’t had time to recover. It’s a horrific thing to happen… it doesn’t seem real,” said Suzette Sithole, Schultz’s daughter.

    Koch’s granddaughter, Jade White, 24, of Eerste River, said she was “baffled” as to why Schultz wasn’t placed in a witness protection programme. “He was the only witness to the murder. He should have been under police protection,” she said.

    White said that she suspected Koch’s killers were part of a gang. She said Schultz told her that one of the suspects had threatened him during the court hearing last week.

    Van Wyk said the circumstances and suspects were still unknown at this stage. There have been no arrests.

    Sithole, 39, described Schultz as a “kind heart” who loved joking and laughing.

    She said that she had last seen Schultz on Friday when they had lunch with other family members.

    She said the family became worried when they were unable to reach Schultz on the phone on Saturday morning.

    “When we got there, he wasn’t in the house. We went around the back and found him lying on the ground… we called the police. I can’t describe how we found him… it’s too horrendous,” said Sithole.

    nontando.mposo@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


    0 0

    The young man who allegedly stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen, killing her, has been charged.

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    Cape Town - The young man who allegedly stabbed his pregnant girlfriend in the abdomen, killing her, has been charged with assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm for the assault on his unborn baby.

    In addition, Avukile Njanya has been charged with murder after he allegedly stabbed Ncebakazi Bili, 20, five times in the abdomen and chest at the weekend.

    Bili, from Samora Machel, Philippi, was eight months pregnant and had just completed her matric exams when she was killed.

    Njanya made his first appearance in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with Saturday’s incident.

    Njanya, 21, was arrested on Sunday after eyewitnesses saw him stab Bili.

    On Monday, after speaking to residents, the Cape Argus reported that Njanya was believed to have stabbed Bili in an apparent jealous rage.

    As Njanya entered the dock on Tuesday, the public gallery gasped when they saw his swollen face, blue eyes and fresh stitches covering open wounds on his left cheek and forehead. Njanya was wearing a blood-stained purple jersey.

    State prosecutor Mulatedzi Netshimbupfe told the court that Njanya was charged with his girlfriend’s murder and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm because the foetus was unborn.

    Njanya had allegedly stabbed Bili because she was sitting with her ex-boyfriend, Netshimbupfe said.

    “That’s what caused the accused to stab her,” he added.

    After the stabbing, community members attacked Njanya. His family later took him to hospital, but Bili died before she could be admitted.

    Magistrate Keith le Keur explained Njanya’s rights to him, and, after a short pause, Njanya said he wanted to speak to his family before he made a decision on whether to appoint a private lawyer or a Legal Aid lawyer.

    Netshimbupfe asked that the case be postponed for one week so that Njanya’s criminal profile could be established.

    Only then could the prosecution say whether it was opposing bail. Njanya is due in court on Tuesday.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


    0 0

    A Cape architect who designed an art gallery incorporating a 115-year-old shack has won the Global Building of the Year award.

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    Cape Town -

    A Cape Town architect who designed an art gallery incorporating a 115-year-old shack as part of its modern look has won the 2012 Global Building of the Year award at the first Icon awards ceremony for architecture in London.

    Jo Noero, of Noero Architects, who is also a professor of architecture at UCT, designed the art gallery located in the Port Elizabeth township of New Brighton.

    “No one has tried to preserve a shack in the way in which we have chosen… It feels great to have a building that I have designed awarded this kind of honour,” Noero said.

    “The art gallery is special from the point of view that it is one of the first art galleries to be built in a township in South Africa. Also it will be used mainly to support township artists as well as visiting exhibitions.

    “The gallery is entirely naturally ventilated and lit. It wraps around a restored shack, which is over 115 years old, to form the entrance courtyard.”

    The art gallery was very well built and finished and sought in its design and construction to show that the townships could have buildings of value constructed in their midst, Noero said.

    “Also the intention is that it will be the best-equipped gallery in town and will attract people from all walks of life who would not normally travel to a township to view art.” Noero said they had decided to incorporate the shack into their design because “it is a historical artefact and represents in its material quality the way in which people lived under apartheid”.

    “I felt it was absolutely essential that it should be kept,” he said. “However I did not want to restore it to its original state – that would have faked it to me. I wanted it to remain in its existing state which is what we have done with the help of Dr Stephen Townsend, a noted heritage architect.”

    Noero said the shack would be renovated on a regular basis so that its appearance changed over time just as its appearance had changed over the last 115 years.

    “In this way it becomes a living monument rather than some kind of fossilised relic from the past which has needed to be carefully restored to its original pristine state,” he said.

    “I felt that if this was done it would not be able to tell the kinds of stories of occupation that make up its history.” Noero explained that the art gallery was part of a larger collection of buildings which formed part of a competition won in 1998.

    “The competition was to design a new cultural centre for the city of Port Elizabeth in Red Location, New Brighton,” he said.

    “In 2005 the first building was completed which was the Red Location Museum of Struggle. This building received a number of international awards including the Lubetkin Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2006 for the best building in the world outside the EU.”

    The museum was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice architecture Biennale.

    “The new art gallery and the library and archive buildings were completed in 2011. The Icon award was for the art gallery. All the buildings are unique in the sense that they make up a collection of buildings in what is essentially a shack settlement that is not found anywhere else in South Africa.”

    The project is 50 percent complete and 220 subsidy houses will also be built as part of it. They are expected to be completed in 2014.

    neo.maditla@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


    0 0

    Cops have made the decision to charge Michael Cooper with his mother's murder, despite her body not being found.

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    Cape Town - Police have made the dramatic decision to charge Michael Cooper with his mother Stella’s murder, despite her body not being found.

    The Daily Voice exclusively revealed last month that Cooper allegedly confessed to strangling his mother, stuffing her body in his bedroom cupboard and then dumping her in a wheelie-bin.

    Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that Michael appeared briefly in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court earlier this month on a murder charge.

    The murder charge has been added to his charge sheet when he appears in court on January 17, 2013.

    Cooper was already at Pollsmoor Prison, charged with theft, when he allegedly confessed to his uncle Stanley Adams that he killed Stella.

    The 63-year-old disappeared on October 13. Michael had allegedly told family that his mother had gone away for the weekend.

    Cooper also intially told police his mother, 62, had left with friends in a blue VW Golf.

    Stella’s eldest son, Emmanuel, and his girlfriend, Mymoena Stremmers, also share the family home.

    Cooper reportedly told his brother to wait until Wednesday before reporting Stella missing.

    On Wednesday, October 17, Grassy Park cops opened a missing persons docket. Soon after that the Michael was again arrested for theft, but he lied to police and gave them a false name.

    Cooper’s uncle told the Daily Voice that while he was in jail his nephew had confessed in writing to strangling Stella.

    The uncle said that Cooper claimed he stuffed his mother’s body in the bedroom cupboard before dumping her in a wheelie bin.

    “Michael locked his bedroom door and for days no one was allowed anywhere near his room,” Mymoena told Daily Voice at the time.

    Cops scoured the Grassy Park home and found traces of blood in the cupboard and wheelie bin.

    Stella’s body has still not been found.

    In a desperate search to find his sister’s remains, Stanley Adams was seen digging in the backyard on Saturday.

    Neighbours say Stella’s brothers Stanley and Sam showed up with spades and dug up most of the ground around the house.

    Forensic teams have scoured the house, taken Michael’s bedroom cupboard apart and have removed the wheelie bin for analysis.

    Stella’s neighbour and close friend Charmaine Heuvel says she has little hope of ever attending her funeral service.

    Charmaine was the last person to see Stella that Saturday afternoon when she disappeared.

    “Stella was here and she was looking well. [Earlier] that week she was in great pain and had been rushed to hospital because of her gout,” she says.

    The much-loved Grassy Park mother’s legs were bandaged and she was using a walking stick the day she disappeared.

    Charmaine tells the Daily Voice: “When Michael came out of Pollsmoor, Stella became very stressed.”

    Cooper was released on parole but was still under house arrest.

    Charmaine says Stella told her that he was angry because she had sold part of the family property that belonged to him.

    When Stella’s husband James Cooper passed away nine years ago, his will stated his two sons Michael and Emmanuel share ownership of the extensive property.

    “Stella had sold Michael’s piece of the land to her sister and this upset him. It was the cause of a lot of arguments,” she says.

    “Even when Stella was very sick and in bed for days, Michael would shout at his mother that she’s lazy.”

    Stella’s friends say there are many unanswered questions about her disappearance.

     

    *This article was published in the Daily Voice


    0 0
  • 12/12/12--09:50: Cops shoot armed attacker
  • A man was shot dead by police after he wounded a police officer who wanted to search him in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town.

    |||

    Bonteheuwel, Cape Town -

    A man was shot dead by police after he wounded a police officer who wanted to search him in Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, on Wednesday morning, the IPID said.

    Two constables were patrolling the Bishop Lavis area when they spotted a man walking in the streets, said Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini.

    “The man allegedly drew a firearm with which he shot one of the constables who were trying to search him in the neck,” said Dlamini.

    The other constable allegedly retaliated by shooting the man in the right shoulder and nose. Paramedics declared the man dead at the scene.

    A 9mm Beretta with its serial number filed-off and 15 live rounds were found in the man's possesion.

    The wounded constable was taken to the Tygerberg hospital. Dlamini could not immediately provide details of the constable's condition.

    No arrests were made. The IPID was investigating a case of murder. - Sapa


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