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    Medical authorities are formally investigating a Cape doctor after a city man received "stem cell" transplant surgery.

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    Cape Town - Medical authorities are formally investigating a Cape doctor after a city man received “stem-cell” transplant surgery.

    Tommie Prins, 32, from Robertson, told the Cape Argus he was “honoured” to be the first known patient to receive the transplant in South Africa in an operation in October.

    Prins told how his life had changed - seemingly for ever - while on a seaside holiday on the Garden Route six years ago. He had plunged into the ocean to swim and hit a sandbank. He had broken his neck and been a quadriplegic since.

    Now, since operations by Paarl-based neurosurgeon Adriaan Liebenberg on October 10 and 24, a seemingly miraculous recovery had begun, Prins said.

    “I have gone from a ‘complete injury’ to an ‘incomplete injury’, meaning I have some movement now, and am very optimistic.

    “Every day there are new muscle groups which wake up. We can see flexes in muscles which wouldn’t move before.

    “I can move my right wrist already, and my left wrist is slowly coming along. My bicep muscle can contract voluntarily.”

    “It inspires me, motivates me to exercise harder every day,” Prins said.

    The hospital group and the neurosurgeon told the Cape Argus they had received full formal permission to perform the operation. But now the Society of Neuro-Surgeons of SA (SNSA) has lodged a formal letter of concern with the Health Professions Council of SA and with Liebenberg.

    The society’s president, Sameer Nadvi, wrote: “Although you are not a member of SNSA, we… voice our concerns regarding recent media reports that you have been performing Stem Cell Therapy (SCT) in patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).

    “As you are no doubt aware, in the current neurosurgical literature, there is no… proof that any form of Cellular Therapy definitely improves outcomes of human Spinal Cord Injury.”

    Nadvi went on to “respectfully” ask Liebenberg to reconsider performing such therapies - because of the “vulnerability of desperate SCI patients, the high costs involved, the lack of scientific evidence in clinical improvement to humans and the ethical and legal issues surrounding SCT”.

    Furthermore, the association warned Liebenberg he had to follow the council’s “General Ethical Guidelines for Biotechnology Research”, which were “fairly rigorous”.

    The council confirmed a standard investigation was under way.

    Cape Argus


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    Police are investigating the murder of a 42-year-old Khayelitsha woman who was gunned down in her home.

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    Cape Town - Police are investigating the murder of a 42-year-old Khayelitsha woman who was gunned down in her home.

    The mother of four was shot dead in front of her children on Thursday.

    At around 10am, while the woman was taking a bath in her home in Mzali Crescent, there was a knock at the door.

    According to police, the woman’s daughter answered the door and an armed man entered the house.

    The gunman shot the woman and her children fled.

    Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said: “The suspect asked them where their mother was, and then the witness heard a gunshot going off. “When she went to the bathroom, she found the victim on the floor.”

    Police found the woman’s body in the bathroom with a gunshot wound. The young children reportedly ran to neighbours, seeking safety. The suspect was seen jumping over a fence and running in the direction of Mew Way.

    Van Wyk said three men had been taken in for questioning on Thursday afternoon.

    “Preliminary investigation led police to three suspects,” Van Wyk said.

     

    Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

    Daily Voice


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  • 12/15/12--02:54: Gang bosses held over drugs
  • The alleged leaders of two of Cape Town’s most notorious gangs are set to spend the long weekend behind bars after being arrested for alleged possession of a small amount of drugs.

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    The alleged leaders of two of Cape Town’s most notorious gangs are set to spend the long weekend behind bars after being arrested for alleged possession of a small amount of drugs.

    The arrests of the two, alleged Americans gang leader Igshaan Davids, alias “Sanie American”, along with the alleged leader of the Wonder Kids gang, Christopher “Ougat” Patterson, was confirmed yesterday by police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk.

    He said they were arrested at about 7.20pm on Thursday, after 50 Mandrax tablets and 2.5 grams of tik were found inside a home belonging to Davids in Kensington. Four others were arrested with the two alleged gang leaders.

    Van Wyk said all six would remain in custody in the cells of various police stations until their court appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

    Davids and Patterson have become friends recently after becoming involved in the management of a successful soccer competition run on a field in 14th Street in Kensington on Sundays.

    It allows young men from the area – known as Davids’s territory, as well as from Factreton, known as Patterson’s turf, to join teams and compete on the field.

    Both Davids and Patterson recently claimed to Weekend Argus that gang violence has dropped considerably since the two made peace, with former gangsters now playing sport together.

    Davids has also been quoted as saying he has stopped his gang activities, and is now involved in the construction business.

    But the country’s police have accused Davids of building an empire over the past three decades as a high-flying crime lord, supported by thousands of gang members while running a major drug syndicate on the Cape Flats.


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    Volunteers and staff worked hard to raise the spirits of the young patients over the festive season.

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    Christmas isn’t really fun when you’re sick, but at Red Cross Children’s Hospital volunteers and staff work hard to raise the spirits of the young patients over the festive season.

     

    On Thursday the hospital held its annual Christmas party and parade for about 300 outpatient children, with Father Christmas, Snow White and a host of other characters raising the excitement levels to fever pitch.

     

    Outpatients and some of the children from the wards, many wearing bandages, plasters, drips and drains, were treated to ice-cream, popcorn and entertainment.

    Inside the hospital, Father Christmas and his wife Mother Christmas made their way around the wards, delivering presents to all the children.

    A second, secret Father Christmas is also used to make the delivery go quicker, but hospital staff make sure the two are never spotted together, using carollers to distract the children.

    In Ward E1, the ear, nose and throat and cardiac ward, children broke into shy smiles as they received their presents.

    Sandisiwe Bonani, 10, a cardiac patient who arrived from the Eastern Cape on Wednesday night, had a butterfly painted on her face.

     

    She quietly opened her gift, which contained a shiny handbag, pink beaded jewellery and some pencils.

    Hospital spokeswoman, Lauren O’Connor-May, said the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust collected toys throughout the year. This year they had received large donations from Charly’s Bakery and Syntell.

    “We sort the toys by age and gender, and put them into bags. Then, on the day, we get the numbers of children and we send the toys up. As far as the children are concerned, they came from Father Christmas.”

    “The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association, an NGO based at the hospital, accepts, sorts and distributes donations in kind on the hospital’s behalf.

    “The Friends will be open during office hours, until December 21,” she said.

    Anyone who wants to donate after hours or after December 21 can contact the matron on duty.

    “This would be the only way that people can get involved during this time.

    “During the festive season the volunteer programmes de-escalate, along with the rest of the hospital, and only reopen for new registrations next month,” she said.

    Tygerberg Children’s Hospital held its Christmas party last week. Spokeswoman for the hospital, Laticia Pienaar, said there were no special plans for Christmas Day. - Sunday Argus


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    Western Cape transport MEC to give two motorists a big prize for good road behaviour.

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    Western Cape MEC for transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle launched a campaign that will see two randomly selected motorists winning R25 000 each for good behaviour on the roads.

    Carlisle, who was speaking at a press conference at his office yesterday, said the “Safely Home Road Safety Reward” campaign would run throughout the festive season and that motorists, including bus and taxi drivers, needed to remain fine-free in order to qualify.

    He said: “All motorists in the province are automatically entered into the draw and winners will be drawn from those who meet set criteria and ensure that their details on the National Traffic Information System (eNatis) are correct and up to date.”

    He said that in order to be eligible, drivers needed to ensure that they did not speed, drink and drive or use cellphones while driving. They should also be mindful of pedestrians and ensure that they (and passengers) were buckled up.

    Some of the terms for the reward were that:

    - The vehicle must be licensed in the Western Cape.

    - The driver of the vehicle must not have any outstanding licence fees at the date of the draw.

    - Drivers of government-owned vehicles would not be eligible for the draw.

    - The driver must be a South African citizen and have a valid driver’s and, if applicable, a valid operating licence.

    - No Western Cape government employees or any persons related to such employees will be eligible for a prize.

    Carlisle said the type of driving they wanted to discourage was displayed by a driver from Maseru, Lesotho, who was arrested for driving a grey Mercedes Benz at 146km/h in an 80km/h zone on the Laingsburg – Leeu Gamka stretch of road on Friday ”This reckless and irresponsible driver was travelling with his wife and child in the vehicle,” said Carlisle, adding that the man had spent the entire long weekend in jail.

    The campaign was aimed at encouraging those drivers with good records, instead of only focusing on the ones who did not obey the rules of the road.

    Carlisle said there would be two draws to determine the winner, the first one would be on Monday while the second would be early next year. -Cape Argus


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    December figures so far alarming, but just consider how few actually buckle up.

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    There have been 89 deaths on the province’s roads since the start of December – a 35 percent increase from last year where 66 people had died, according to MEC for Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle.

    Carlisle said yesterday that of the 89 fatalities, 37 had been passengers, 31 pedestrians, 16 drivers, three motorcyclists and two cyclists.

    He said that police conducting roadblocks throughout the province had found that 65 percent of drivers were not buckled up, while 83 percent of back seat passengers were also not buckled up.

    Carlisle said: “These figures are very alarming. Last year, at this time, 17 passengers had been killed on our roads compared to 37 this year, a very worrying 122 percent increase.

    “Lives are now being lost on our roads at a rate of five people a day, and will continue to do so if some drivers persist with treating the rules of the road with such serious disregard, and fail to buckle themselves and their increasingly vulnerable passengers up.”

    He said that two people died in a head-on collision on the N1 near Laingsburg while a pedestrian was knocked over and died in Pacaltsdorp yesterday morning.

    Carlisle said they would continue with their controversial “fatigue management programme” where they pulled drivers off the road and forced them to rest if traffic officers thought they (drivers) were fatigued.

    “We will happily face any court cases in this regard,” he said. He knew it was difficult to measure how fatigued people were but that traffic officers “will have to make a judgement”.

    “I know there has been a lot of controversy around this point but I know if we didn’t pursue this point, they’d be a lot more people dead,” Carlisle said.

    Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said they had stopped nearly 800 cars since December 6 and 57 people had been asked to park their cars for at least two hours to recover. Africa said: “There was not even one of them (drivers) that resisted. People are glad we are doing this.”

    He explained that they had started applying the programme more widely after their success with taxis.

    He said that since they began forcing taxi drivers, especially long-distance taxis, to rest for at least two hours before continuing their journey “we have managed to stop 17 220 vehicles and 2 571 taxis have been parked”. -Cape Argus


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  • 12/17/12--23:41: 320 displaced in Cape fires
  • About 320 people were displaced after 80 shacks were destroyed in two fires in Cape Town, the city's fire and rescue services said.

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    Cape Town - About 320 people were displaced after 80 shacks were destroyed in two different fires in Cape Town, the city's fire and rescue services said.

    Spokesman Theo Lane said the first started in Section 6, California informal settlement at 7pm on Monday night.

    “About 60 shacks burnt down and 200 people were displaced. No injuries were reported,” he said.

    “The fire was caused by a cooking stove left unattended. It overheated and ignited personal effects and then spread to other shacks.”

    Lane said the second fire started at 12.15am on Tuesday morning in 8th Avenue informal settlement.

    About 20 shacks were burnt down and 120 people were left displaced.

    “No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is unknown at this stage,” said Lane.

    Both fires were extinguished, he added. - Sapa


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  • 12/18/12--03:30: Manuel to beef up Cape ANC?
  • Trevor Manuel could play a significant contributing role in the ANC’s bid to reclaim the Western Cape, officials say.

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    Cape Town - Senior officials in the ANC’s provincial office say Trevor Manuel has the potential to play a significant contributing role in the party’s bid to reclaim the Western Cape in 2014.

    This comes in the wake of Manuel’s announcement on Saturday that he would decline a nomination to the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC).

    Cobus Grobler, media liaison for the ANC in the province, would not comment on whether Manuel is a likely candidate to lead the party going into the 2014 elections. He agreed that Manuel could.

    “Manuel and Marius Fransman (the current chairman of the Western Cape’s ANC) are close friends with a long history together in the party’s Mitchells Plain office. I do not foresee a situation where they will become adversaries,” he said.

    “If Manuel was to commit to the election campaign, it will substantially increase our firepower. To incorporate someone with his expertise and stature would be no mean feat. Apart from just that, he resonates well with the people of the Western Cape.”

    Fransman has also declined a seat on the NEC, saying that he does not want to divert his attention from reclaiming the Western Cape in 2014.

    “Whilst it would undoubtedly be an immense honour to serve on the NEC, it is in the best strategic interest of the ANC Western Cape that as chairperson I rather remain fully committed to intensifying our programme in the province, which includes unifying and rebuilding our movement,” he said in a statement on Monday.

    On Tuesday morning, he added: “My national and international duties already take up a lot of my time; to further split my responsibilities is not what I want to do.

    “Reclaiming the Western Cape, which is socially and politically the most complex province in South Africa, is not a provincial matter.

    “It should be high on the national agenda, and that is the message that I and a number of delegates want to convey at Mangaung.”

    Fransman said Manuel would be welcomed as a role-player in the party’s election campaign.

    “He is an individual who has stood the test of time in the ANC. In so doing, he has become a household name nationally, internationally and in the Western Cape. Manuel has all the elements to help us. My leadership style has been to open up the ANC and to embrace the capacities and the capabilities of other comrades,” he said.

    Manuel’s office could not be reached for comment this morning.

    He has, however, not given any indication that he will play an active role in the ANC’s bid to win elections in the province come 2014.

    In an interview with WhatsUpANC, Manuel said he had been a member of the NEC for 21 years and the time had come for him to move aside and allow younger people to step up.

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/18/12--03:30: Twins stabbed to death
  • Two two-year-old sisters were brutally stabbed to death – allegedly by their mom’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend.

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    Cape Town - These beautiful two-year-old sisters were brutally stabbed to death – allegedly by their mom’s drug-addicted ex-boyfriend.

    Rainetha and Rainecia Neelse died in the arms of their mother Reinette Neelse, who was also seriously injured during the frenzied attack.

    Cops have arrested the alleged killer.

    He will appear in court on Tuesday charged with the horrific double murders.

    Reinette, 25, on Monday night gave a harrowing detailed account of the events that led to her daughters’ slaughter.

    The bloody nightmare unfolded on Friday morning when the 30-year-old suspect attacked his ex-girlfriend, two days after they split, with a knife.

    “He wouldn’t allow my children Rainetha and Rainecia to come near me. He held onto me tightly the whole time,” Reinette said.

    The man then walked up and down in the streets of Uitsig, Caledon, while allegedly holding a knife to Reinette’s throat.

    Eventually she convinced him to take her and the children to their aunt Anette Adonis’ home in Kolgans Street.

    When they got to the house, Reinette tried to calm him down while Anette played with the kids outside.

    At one point Anette ran into the road and stopped a police van and begged for help.

    But for some reason the officer did not take the alleged knifeman into custody.

    “If they had taken him, those children would still be alive,” Anette claimed.

    Things then went from bad to worse.

    Fearing for her life, Reinette tried to reach out to her terrified daughters.

    But her enraged ex grabbed Rainecia.

    “When I begged him to give her to me, he threw Rainecia and as I turned around to lock her up in the bathroom, he threw a glass at my head,” saidReinette.

    He then grabbed the little girl and allegedly stabbed Reinette in the head with a piece of the broken glass.

    Then he allegedly butchered the two-year-old girl in front of her mother.

    “He stabbed Rainecia in the head, her throat and finally in her tummy,” Reinette claimed as tears streamed down her face.

    “I wanted to die because I knew she wasn’t going to make it, but then I thought of Rainetha playing outside.”

    The man then allegedly locked the badly-injured mother and daughter in the house while he ran out.

    While trying to stop the blood gushing from Rainecia’s wounds, Reinette had to watch in horror as he allegedly stabbed her other daughter several times.

    “He stabbed Rainetha in her head, walked away, then went back to stab her in her heart and when she fell forward, he stabbed her in her back,” Reinette said.

    The man then allegedly threw a speaker box on the tiny girl’s head.

    He then ran into the road and jumped on the bakkie of a woman selling meat in the area.

    “He hung on to the bakkie like Spiderman and tried to stab holes in the windscreen,” said neighbour and eyewitness Ivy Tobias.

    Reinette managed to escape from the house.

    She asked a neighbour to drive her to hospital with her bleeding babies in her arms.

    “They were both still alive but Rainecia died as I got into the ambulance, when we got into it on our way to the hospital,” said Reinette.

    Rainetha also died from her terrible wounds a short time later.

    Reinette says she was later told that her ex-boyfriend was allegedly high on tik.

    “He loved my children and treated them like his own so I don’t know how he could do this,” Reinette explained.

    “I will never forgive him. I hate him.”

    Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk has confirmed that cops are investigating the double murder as well as a charge of attempted murder.

    “The suspect was arrested near the scene. He will appear at the Caledon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning,” he says.

    *This article was published in the Daily Voice


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    A R10m pilot project in the Western Cape will offer new hope for pupils who have repeatedly failed Grade 9.

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    Cape Town - A project that will offer new hope for pupils who have repeatedly failed Grade 9 and could be at risk of dropping out of school has been designed by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).

    Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said pupils would normally have to pass Grade 9 to transfer to further education and training (FET) colleges, but the pilot project would cater for pupils who have not met this requirement.

    “The WCED will invest about R10 million in 2013 in a pilot project to provide occupational courses at FET colleges for learners wanting to take this option,” Casey said.

    The WCED has partnered with FET colleges, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), adult education and training centres, and the Department of Labour on the project.

    “The partners plan to provide technical qualifications that could lead to further studies at FET colleges or to employment,” Casey said.

    Casey said 695 Grade 9 pupils who are 18 years and older were screened for the project by the Department of Labour.

    The WCED matched 416 of these pupils to six FET colleges across the province.

    “The WCED will work with FET colleges and SETAs to develop a range of programmes. The programmes will include a bridging course to improve literacy and numeracy skills and theoretical, practical and experiential learning,” Casey said.

    She said the partners planned to include a minimum work placement period of six months.

    The WCED would ask parents and pupils to sign agreements if they wished to participate. The pupils would be able to enrol for the pilot at FET colleges on January 21.

    Casey said the department would subsidise each pupil, including transport, and would organise further information sessions for parents and pupils in January to ensure that they are fully informed about the project.

    “The project offers new hope for learners and a pathway out of poverty and unemployment, while providing scarce skills needed by the economy,” she said.

    In June, the Cape Argus reported about the province’s high Grade 9 failure rate and that schools and the WCED were trying to tackle this problem.

    At the end of last year, 28 percent of the province’s Grade 9 pupils failed, the highest failure rate of all grades. - Cape Argus


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    Police are seeking information relating to several shooting incidents in Cape Town over the weekend.

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    Cape Town - Two people have been shot and killed and two more injured in separate shootings in Cape Town at the weekend.

    In Valhalla Park, the body of a 29-year-old man was found on the corner of Stone and Long Streets early on Monday, said provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut.

    Unconfirmed reports indicate that one of the men who were shot was a relative of notorious druglord Colin Stanfield.

    Stanfield died of cancer in 2004. He was jailed in 2002 for tax evasion and was released when he was given a few months to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

    A witness, who did not want to be named, said the man who was shot was a well-loved barber in the area and was not a gangster.

    She said she watched as the man’s mother closed her son’s eyes as he lay bleeding in front of his house on Monday. The road was cordoned off and several women stood weeping next to the yellow police tape used to cordon off the scene.

    “We saw him yesterday…

    He was such a nice person,” the witness said.

    In a separate shooting incident in Kleinvlei on Sunday, a 39-year-old man was also killed.

    The shooting happened around 10.20pm in Wildebees Street, said Traut.

    A woman was also hit and wounded during the shooting.

    She was taken to hospital.

    The circumstances are being investigated, but no arrests had been made, Traut said.

    On Monady, a 19-year-old man was found lying wounded in an open field in Valhalla Park. He was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound to his back.

    An eyewitness saw three men fleeing the scene shortly after the shooting.

    Meanwhile, on Friday, a 34-year-old man was gunned down in Mitchells Plain while walking with a friend.

    The men were approached by two men who opened fire at them. The man was found afterwards with multiple bullet wounds, lying in the yard of a nearby house.

    Anyone with information should contact Detective Warrant Officer Dedrick April on 084 516 7263.

    Cape Argus


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    A full bench of the Western Cape High Court has began hearing argument in a court bid to halt the closure of 18 schools.

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    Cape Town - A full bench of the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday began hearing argument in a court bid to halt the closure of 18 schools on the Cape Flats and further afield.

    The schools, their governing bodies and the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) are seeking an interdict against provincial education MEC Donald Grant and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to prevent the schools being shut down on December 31.

    The hearing opened with Judge Dennis Davis demanding a response from the applicants' lawyer, Norman Arendse, to arguments from the department's counsel that he did not have formal instructions from all the school governing bodies to oppose the planned closure.

    Grant's lawyer said no affidavit had been received from Tonka Bosman school near Somerset-West.

    Arendse said the governing bodies of all schools were in accord that he should bring the application, but conceded that there were not written minutes from all governing bodies confirming this.

    Judge Siraj Desai questioned whether it was appropriate on the part of the defence to “resort to that kind of technicality in a case of this magnitude”.

    He said he would not refuse to hear the case on those grounds and if necessary, the case would be briefly postponed to allow Arendse to get the necessary written authorisation.

    The steps to the court and the public gallery were packed with parents whose children attend the schools, with one woman holding a placard reading “No to forced removals”.

    The court is expected to deliver its ruling on Wednesday.

    The application seeks to prevent Grant or the department from closing or merging the schools and moving pupils, teachers, and resources.

    It also asks for subsidies and salaries to be paid in the interim and that the department be forbidden from interfering in school operations.

    Grant announced in October that, after careful consideration, the schools would be closed because of low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers.

    Beauvallon Secondary School principal Henry Hockey, in an affidavit on behalf of all applicants, said the closures were unlawful and unconstitutional. - Sapa


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  • 12/18/12--07:17: Cop in court for rape
  • Robertson - A Western Cape policeman accused of raping a 65-year-old woman appeared in the Robertson Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate said.

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    Robertson - A Western Cape policeman accused of raping a 65-year-old woman appeared in the Robertson Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate said.

    Spokesman Moses Dlamini said the 37-year-old sergeant, based at the McGregor police station, would be back in court on December 24

    for a bail application. He remained in custody.

    The sergeant apparently took the woman in his car to a graveyard in the area where the crime was committed on Saturday night while he was off duty.

    He was arrested at his home on Sunday after the woman reported the matter to the police.

    Dlamini said the man's private vehicle was seized for forensic investigation. - Sapa


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  • 12/18/12--13:30: 2012 in court cases
  • Recapping most intriguing and extensively covered criminal trials of the year

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    High Profile

    The trial relating to the murder of UK honeymoon bride Anni Dewani has been one of the most gripping court stories of the year, intriguing people around the world.

    Dewani’s murder two years ago struck a chord with many, and the trial of gunman Xolile Mngeni received extensive local and international coverage.

    Scores of people filled the public gallery every day of the trial.

    While Mngeni was sentenced to life imprisonment for Dewani’s murder, shuttle taxi driver Zola Tongo and their accomplice Mziwamadoda Qwabe received 18 and 25 years respectively after they struck a plea deal with the State.

    All eyes are now on Dewani’s husband, Shrien, who the State alleges masterminded the killing for R15 000. His extradition hearing is expected to start in the UK on June 1.

    Thandi Maqubela

    Another high-profile case heard in the Western Cape High Court was that of Thandi Maqubela, who, with co-accused Vela Mabena, is alleged to have killed her husband, Patrick, an acting judge on the Western Cape High Court Bench, in 2009. The trial continues in February.

    ‘Jub Jub’ Maarohanye

    Musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye and his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, were found guilty of murdering four youngsters and driving under the influence of alcohol and contraband - they were each given a 25 year sentence.

    Family members of the dead were outraged, saying they did not feel the sentence was harsh enough.

    J Arthur Brown

    The multibillion-rand fraud trial of former Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown finally got under way in the Western Cape High Court this year.

    Brown is at the centre of one of the decade’s biggest fraud scandals. He allegedly embezzled R1.5 billion from entities including the pension funds of windows and orphans. After changing lawyers multiple times, Brown finally represented himself in court and pleaded not guilty to nine counts, including four of fraud, corruption and theft. He was arrested in 2007.

    Shumsheer Singh Gumman

    Australian chartered accountant Shumsheer Singh Ghumman – dubbed the “Dewani copycat” because he came to South Africa to hire someone to kill his love interest’s father – was sentenced to an effective nine years in jail by the Cape Town Regional Court. His plan was foiled when alleged hit man Siyabulela Yalezo did not go ahead with the plan and came clean to his target, Philip Rhind.

    jan johannes schietekat

    Serial sex pest Jan Johannes Schietekat, 62, was sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Cape Town Regional Court for raping a Fish Hoek woman in full view of her two-year-old son on the Bloubergstrand beachfront.

    Schietekat, who had 11 previous convictions – eight of them for sex offences – told the court he thought the woman was a prostitute, but magistrate Michelle Adams didn’t buy his story and convicted him of rape and sexual assault.

    Johannes Kleinhans

    Another sex offender, Johannes Kleinhans, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting teenage girls and paying them to pose seductively while he took pictures of them.

    But his guilty plea was overturned and a full trial went ahead. Magistrate Amanda von Leeve later formally convicted him of 95 counts, including the indecent assault of three girls and the illegal possession of child pornography. Sentencing proceedings are due to start on January 17.

    Sisa Nonama

    The trial into the deadly bus crash on the Hex River Pass in De Doorns two years ago is expected to start next year. Sisa Nonama, who pleaded guilty to 23 counts of culpable homicide, is to be sentenced on January 30.

    Another case set to continue early next year is the drunk driving case of 2005 Idols winner Karen Kortje. She is due back in court in April.

    Bruno Bronn

    Five men accused of murdering Bronx nightclub owner Bruno Bronn are due to go on trial in the High Court on February 18.

    John Frederick Coetzer, Fareez Allie, Achmat Toffa and Kurt Erispe have been charged with strangling Bronn to death in February. His body was found inside his Green Point home on February 7.

    Olwyn Cowley

    A group of men accused of murdering Olwyn Cowley, 21, in the so-called “Gumtree murder” are due back in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court early next year. Soegbodien Abvajee, once one of the Cape’s most wanted men, is one of the four men alleged to have killed Cowley for his BMW 325ti on August 30. They have not yet been asked to plead to the charges.

    Jason van Antwerpen

    Another peculiar case to hit the courts is that of businessman Jason van Antwerpen, who allegedly donned a mask and burgled the Shimansky store at the V&A Waterfront, stealing jewels worth R1.6 million. A trial date in his aggravated robbery case is expected to be set on January 18.

    Najwa Petersen

    Convicted killer Najwa Petersen’s siblings – accused of fraud and tax violations related to their fruit company, Dirk Fruit – have indicated they want to enter into a plea agreement with the State in January.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    The Argus


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    The closure of 20 schools across the Western Cape has failed the children of SA, says Judge Siraj Desai.

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    Cape Town - The closure of 20 schools across the Western Cape has failed the children of South Africa, Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai remarked during an interim interdict application to halt the closures.

    The governing bodies of 18 schools and the SA Democratic Teachers Union have turned to the High Court to seek an urgent interdict to stop the closure of 18 schools, prevent the department from moving or transferring their pupils and teachers and from moving any of their movable property.

    Education MEC Donald Grant and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) are opposing the application.

    Initially, Grant announced that 27 schools would be closed but a decision was taken to keep seven schools open.

    Eighteen of the 20 remaining schools took the matter to court on Tuesday. A full bench of the High Court comprising of Judge Desai, Judge Dennis Davis and Judge Elizabeth Baartman is hearing the application.

    “We failed our learners first when we fired our teachers in 1994, then we closed our FET colleges. Are we going to fail our learners further?” Judge Desai asked during arguments in support of the interdict on Tuesday.

    Judge Desai commented that the “mass” school closures – executed within six months – were done in “undue haste”. He referred to other school closures, which took up to five years for the process to be finalised, and questioned why the closures could not be “measured”.

    The court heard that the process started in April this year when departmental officials recommended to Grant which schools should be closed. The following month, the MEC submitted letters to the schools notifying them they had been identified for closure. In October, the final closure was announced.

    Advocate Normal Arendse SC for the schools, said the schools that were up for closure were the “heart” of the small communities in which they were situated. Just four of the schools were in urban areas and the remainder were in rural areas and were between 32 and 64 years old.

    While advocate Edward Fagen, for the department and the MEC, has not yet been given an opportunity to argue, Grant said in court papers that he had made all his decisions with restraint and was confident they were in the best interest of the pupils.

    But Judge Davis said he failed to understand whether the decision to close the schools was in the children’s best interest.

    Arendse argued on Tuesday that fair processes were not carried out when public hearings on the closures were held. He said the same officials who recommended the closure of the schools presided over the hearings.

    “These officials are from the same district so they already formed an opinion (on whether the school should be closed).”

    Meanwhile parents, principals and children from the affected communities as well as individuals and groups opposed to the closures protested outside the court on Tuesday morning.

    “WCED abandon plan to close schools” and “Keep our schools open”, stated some of their posters.

    The group sang freedom songs on the steps of the court before court proceedings started.

    Fagen is expected to argue on Wednesday. – Additional reporting Ilse Fredericks - Cape Argus


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    City of Cape Town officials have declared a Table View structure a problem building after the body of a man was found.

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    Cape Town - A man’s body has been found during an inspection at a problem building in Table View. The building now faces court action by the City of Cape Town.

    The mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said after numerous complaints from neighbours and about a year of non-compliance by the owners, a Mr and Mrs Dlamini, the city officially declared the premises in Lincoln Crescent a problem building.

    The list of illegal activities included renovations without the council’s permission, no working toilet, operating an unsealed sewage discharge pipe, not complying with environmental and planning laws and operating an unlicensed laundry business.

    Smith said if the Dlaminis did not co-operate or pay a R10 000 fine, the building would become the first test case in terms of the problem building by-law.

    “We’re trying the very first prosecution in terms of the problem building by-law,” he said.

    Meanwhile police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed that the body found was believed to be that of a Tanzanian national in his late 30s.

    He said traces of an illegal substance, believed to be heroin, were found on the scene and in the man’s system.

    Traut said the foreign national was allegedly employed as a security guard at the building site. An inquest docket has been opened to determine the cause of death. - Cape Argus


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  • 12/19/12--00:17: Heat is on in the Cape
  • As temperatures soared to 40ºC in Vredendal, children sought some relief from the heat in rivers and pools.

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    Western Cape - It’s 9.15am and the temperature has already hit the mid-30s in Vredendal. James van Rooyen waits patiently outside one of only two public swimming pools in a 40km radius. He is first in line.

    Pool supervisor Dennis Petersen arrives at work, and let’s the eager boy in, even though the pool only opens at 10am. James is happy to help Petersen turn on the sprinklers and prepare for the deluge of people seeking relief from the heat.

    By 11am, the mercury has risen to 37°C. The pool is packed. More than 200 people make their way down to the pool by 2pm, when the temperature has soared to 40°C.

    It’s so hot, some believe it is possible to fry an egg on the bonnet of a car that has been standing outside all day.

    Oom Jaco offers his white Toyota bakkie. Dansil Cloete, who works at a car dealership, tries. His first attempt flops horribly. The second time, everyone loses interest when the egg is still raw after five minutes.

    Perhaps it wasn’t that hot after all.

    For the rest of the town – those not down at the pool – it’s business as usual.

    Many brave the heat to do Christmas shopping. And immediately after, flood drive-throughs – nobody wants to leave the comfort of air conditioning – to buy ice-cream.

    On the outskirts of the town, a large group of boys – mostly the children of farmworkers – are coming back from a swim in the Olifants River. But, by 4pm, Madeleen Lukas, 11, and her friend Annelien Beukes, 7, are going there for the first time for the day.

    They don’t have the R5 needed to gain entry to the pool. The two girls play by themselves in the shallow part of the river. Madeleen insists that it’s safe for them to do so.

    She’ll swim by the river until her mother finishes work at 6pm. Her grandmother, Martha, says come rain or shine, the farmworkers must be at work.

    By 5pm, the temperature seems to have cooled considerably. Locals say this is by no means the hottest day they’ve had.

    According to weather services, the heatwave is expected to continue in the area. Petersen is bracing himself. Crowds of over 300 people have been known to descend on the pool. - Cape Argus


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    The man accused of killing twins Rainetha and Rainecia Neelse was once cellmates with their father.

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    Cape Town - Heinrich “Junior” Siegels, 30, is accused of stabbing two-year-old twins Rainetha and Rainecia Neelse to death with a broken glass.

    The attack happened in front of the doomed tots’ traumatised mom Reinette Neelse, 25, who was injured in the slaughter.

    And in a shocking twist, the Daily Voice can reveal that Siegels and the slain kids’ father were once cellmates.

    The grieving young dad says he never expected to see his former jail buddy behind bars for the alleged double murder of his two-year-old twin daughters.

    Ricardo Beukes, 25, was not allowed in court to see his daughters’ alleged killer face to face.

    A large contingency of police officers formed a barrier in front of the container used as temporary courtroom at the Caledon Police Station on Tuesday to keep a crowd of angry residents away from the double murder suspect.

    Dressed in a dark hooded top and light pants, Siegels appeared emotionless as he was led to makeshift court.

    Visible on his left hand is a tattoo that reads: “If you hate me, kill me.”

    Even the media was prohibited from entering the small court room where the suspect made a brief appearance before Magistrate Juanita Lambert on two charges of murder as well as a charge of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

    “It’s for your own safety. What if he goes psycho in court?” said one cop referring to the barring.

    This disappointed the large crowd who had gathered since early morning to catch a glimpse of Siegels.

    “What did those innocent children do to you? “You deserve to die” and “Gee hom vir ons” shouted the angry crowd as Siegels was quickly led past them.

    Meanwhile, the twins’ father said he never expected that his former jail buddy could do such a thing.

    “He was in jail for rapes, drug cases and assaults over the years,” Ricardo explained.

    “But despite this, he was rustig [calm] and I never thought he would be the sort to do something like this.”

    He said he was happy when he heard that his ex-girlfriend Reinette Neelse, 25, was dating Siegels and even told him to take good care of Reinette and the twins, Rainecia and Rainetha.

    “Even though he used drugs, I never feared for their lives because he took good care of them,” said the young dad.

    But now he only wants Siegels to suffer the same fate as his daughters.

    “A person who could kill two innocent children so brutally has no conscience and doesn’t deserve to live,” said Ricardo.

    “He took my defenceless daughters’ lives and he deserves the same fate so that it can serve as a warning to other people making themselves guilty of similar crimes.”

    After the court case, more than 300 residents, some of whom had gathered at the court since early morning for a glimpse of the alleged killer, marched to a suspected drug dealer for whom Siegels had allegedly sold drugs.

    The community demanded that the alleged drug dealer move out of the Bloukraan Street, Uitsig, home he has been renting.

    The cops kept a close eye on the crowd as the alleged drug dealer was forced to remove his possessions from the small RDP house.

    He had to park his bakkie a street away while he cleared out the house.

    “We’ve had enough of murders and other crimes due to drugs being sold in our community,” the crowd shouted.

    “We won’t allow Uitsig to become like Hanover Park or Lavender Hill where drug dealers and gangsters rule the area.”

    “We are here to force drug dealers to move out to ensure the safety and future of our children,” said community leader Jacques Brinkhuys.

    Another resident, 52, who wishes to remain anonymous, says they will now target all other drug houses .

    “From now on we don’t want any drug dealers or anybody accused of murder to get bail,” the 52-year-old mom said.

    “They should rot in jail because they are destroying our youth.”

    *This article was published in the Daily Voice


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    Former army officers have been deployed by Metrorail to boost safety measures aboard trains this festive season.

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    Cape Town - Former army officers have been deployed by Metrorail to boost safety measures aboard trains this festive season.

    Yesterday, some commuters were puzzled when ticket verifiers dressed in army uniforms boarded trains.

    The move to include ex-army officials during the holiday season was a “strategic” move, said Metrorail regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz.

    “We wanted to ensure that our customers, our employees and our assets are secured,” he said.

    About 280 ex-soldiers, former non-statutory Apla and MK combatants have joined the ranks of Metrorail’s protection services. Swartz said they were deployed to key points and were set to become a permanent feature.

    Despite constant calls for the army to be deployed in gang hot spots and, more recently, to quell the unrest during farm protests, premier Helen Zille’s spokesman Zak Mbhele said the use of ex-army officials on the trains was welcome.

    “A boost to law enforcement and visible patrolling capacity is always welcome, especially over the festive and tourist season, provided it’s within the law and regulations,” Mbhele said.

    janis.kinnear@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The prime suspect in the murder of a woman in Woodstock appears to have escaped from police custody.

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    Cape Town - The prime suspect in the murder of a woman in Woodstock appears to have escaped from police custody.

    On November 22, Veronic Dickson, 27, was found dead with multiple stab wounds at her home in Roodebloem Road.

    Investigations led police to a house in Surrey Estate, Athlone, where they arrested 28-year-old Denzil Adams for the murder.

    On December 3, Adams, pictured, made a brief court appearance in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

    The case was later postponed to December 11, and he was due to undergo psychiatric evaluation in the interim.

    But Adams failed to appear in court, while in custody at one of the institutions of correctional services.

    A probe of the non-attendance at court started, and the investigation officer found that he had disappeared on the morning of December 11, while on his way to court.

    Police have not revealed details of Adams’s “disappearance”, saying only that the circumstances were still under investigation.

    Police said Adams was from Taurus Avenue in Surrey Estate.

    “He is about 1.7m tall, slender build, black hair, with a mushroom haircut and has knife-cut wound on his hands.”

    Police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander said Adams was dangerous and people should not confront him but alert the police if they saw him.

    If anyone has details about Adams’s whereabouts they should contact the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Warren Smit, at 021 486 2876 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

    Dickson recently moved from Gansbaai to Cape Town to look for work and was due to have started working at a shopping mall at the beginning of next month.

    Witnesses at the scene said Dickson’s body was found by a woman with whom she shared the house.

    The motive for her murder is not known.

    Cape Argus


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