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    There is hope for Ziyaad George, 6, to run and play again after he was injured in gang crossfire in Hanover Park last month.

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    Cape Town - Ther is hope for Ziyaad George, 6, to run and play again after he was injured in gang crossfire in Hanover Park last month.

    A bullet passed through Ziyaad’s left arm and left side and stopped at his spinal chord.

    The little boy was playing outside his home in Lomond Court on a Sunday morning when the incident happened.

    He was discharged yesterday from hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation centre.

    His mother, Fazlin George, said he is doing very well: “He talks a lot and laughs a lot and is doing very well. Red Cross is a very good hospital.”

    George added that Ziyaad would be receiving physiotherapy every day to help his left leg, which he has not been able to move since the shooting.

    “He can at least move his toes and doctors say that it’s a good sign and that he would be able to walk; that’s why he needs to go for rehabilitation at the Western Province Rehabilitation Centre,” she said.

    The unemployed mother said it would be difficult to visit Ziyaad every day because travelling to Mitchells Plain and back would be very costly.

    “He is happy when I am around, but it will be difficult to visit him. His father and I are unemployed.”

    George added that Ziyaad did not talk about the shooting at all.

    “For now he just seems happy and maybe he will talk about it later.”

    Lauren O’Connor-May, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s communications officer, said it was too soon to tell though how much mobility Ziyaad would have.

    “The six-year-old gunshot victim has been discharged to a rehabilitation centre.

    “He is in a stable condition,” O’Connor-May said. “It is too soon to tell how much mobility the boy will have once the swelling subsides.

    “The bullet caused partial neurological damage and there is still a lot of swelling around the boy’s spinal cord.”

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Dozens of parents and teachers banged on court furniture and chanted the words “not without a fight” in the Western Cape High Court.

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    Cape Town - Dozens of parents and teachers banged on court furniture and chanted the words “not without a fight” in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

    The group is trying to halt the closure of 18 schools in the province.

    The schools, their governing bodies and the SA 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 on December 31.

    Those seated in the public gallery started singing and chanting after advocates met with Judges Siraj Desai, Dennis Davis and Elizabeth Baartman in chambers. It was unclear what they talked about.

    The applicants maintain the planned closures are unlawful and unconstitutional.

    Eduardo Fagan, for Grant, said the decision to close the schools was done in accordance with education policy and guidelines.

    Fagan said it was not the court's job to determine policy.

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

    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. - Sapa


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    The closure of four Western Cape schools will be stopped if certain conditions are met, the Western Cape High Court heard.

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    Cape Town - The closure of four Western Cape schools will be stopped if certain conditions are met, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

    Eduard Fagan, for premier Helen Zille, said the province would keep the Beauvallon, ValPark, Protea and Lavis Drive schools open pending the outcome of a final review being expedited in court.

    The announcement came as an application for an urgent interdict against the decision to close 18 schools in the province was being heard.

    Western Cape MEC Donald Grant cited low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers as reasons for his decision to close the schools.

    Parents and teachers from affected schools are challenging the decision, saying it is unlawful and unconstitutional.

    Judge Siraj Desai on Wednesday questioned the late timing of the premier's announcement, branding it “absolute gamesmanship”.

    “I resent this court being used for political gamesmanship,” he said.

    Desai adjourned the court for five minutes so Fagan could explain Zille's decision to him and fellow judges.

    The court proceeded with the application for an interim interdict against the closure of the other 14 schools being heard.

    Dozens of parents and teachers packed the courtroom. - Sapa


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    The Western Cape High Court will deliver judgment on Friday on an urgent interdict to halt the closure of 18 schools in the province.

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    Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court will deliver judgment on Friday on an urgent interdict to halt the closure of 18 schools in the province.

    “We will make an order at 10am of Friday,” Judge Siraj Desai said on Thursday.

    Desai's announcement came after Western Cape premier Helen Zille made a last-minute undertaking to keep four of the schools open, pending the outcome of a final review being expedited in court.

    The decision was however rejected by Norman Arendse, acting for parents and teachers of the affected schools.

    “We don't accept that just four schools must remain open,” Arendse told the court.

    Earlier, Eduard Fagan, acting for the premier, said Zille would keep the Beauvallon, ValPark, Protea and Lavis Drive schools open.

    The schools are all situated in urban areas, where opposition to the closures are strongest.

    Western Cape MEC Donald Grant maintained low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers were lawful reasons for his decision.

    Parents and teachers from affected schools differ, saying the move is unlawful.

    They contend their children will have to travel long distances, or through gang-ridden areas to get to class.

    Desai questioned the late timing of the premier's announcement, branding it “absolute gamesmanship”.

    “Can you accept that the courtroom is not a playground for politicians?,” Desai asked Fagan.

    Fagan would not comment on whether Zille's decision was politically motivated.

    He denied the premier made a concession, insisting it was an “undertaking”.

    Parents and teachers gathered inside the courtroom said they believed the only reason the premier gave the undertaking, was because the four schools were situated in Democratic Alliance strongholds. - Sapa


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    Mayoral committee member JP Smith joins officers as they clamp down on traffic offenders.

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    The simple act of crossing a solid white line on Cape Town’s Hospital Bend soon had the driver of white Isuzu bakkie looking frazzled when he was pursued by a convoy of Ghost Squad traffic officers.

    On Wednesday, as the team of Highway Ghost Squad members - one of four components of the Ghost Squad Unit - set out for their daily patrols, the Isuzu driver’s transgression was the first they spotted.

    In the high-performance Ghost Squad car, officer John Bezuidenhout used his loudhailer to tell the driver to pull over on the yellow demarcated area. The confused driver, who had two passengers in the vehicle, used his left-turn indicator despite being told to pull off to the right.

    “He’s clearly nervous,” quipped mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, who was accompanying the officers.

    The driver pulled up on the painted island where Bezuidenhout noticed that he was also not wearing a seatbelt.

    Bezuidenhout then issued a summons to the driver for disobeying and crossing a “channelising” or solid white line, for not wearing a seat belt and for driving with only a learner’s licence without having a qualified driver in the vehicle.

    The Highway Ghost Squad team concentrates particularly on moving violations, keeping a lookout for offenders in traffic and focusing on aggressive driver behaviour and driving that puts others at risk.

    Smith said the N2 and the R300 in particular were notorious for driving offences in the past, and he emphasised concerns about speeding.

    According to figures provided by the mortuary, there have been 33 fatalities on roads in the city since the start of the holiday season, Smith said.

    Back on the road with the squad, the radio crackled an alert to the officers, calling them to an accident scene on the M5.

    Squad members raced through the traffic with sirens blaring. Some drivers heeded the sirens and pulled over while other drivers appeared dazed and confused about the direction of the sirens and remained stationary.

    When the officers arrived at the accident scene, they were given a thumbs-up by unit head Maxine Jordaan. Officers helped to keep traffic in check at the accident scene where a motorcyclist was lying on the ground.

    Smith called on motorists to “help keep the stats down”, saying “wear a safety belt, don’t speed, don’t drink and drive” was a simple mantra that could save lives. Many road blocks were planned for this season, he added.

    “We really want people to be scared. They must be generally panicked about drinking and driving,” he said. - Cape Argus

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    Nevertheless, authorities vow to continue focus on speedsters after 43 die in 13 days.

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    The main cause of road fatalities on Western Cape roads over the past few weeks has been fatigue, say traffic authorities.

    Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said on Wednesday 43 people had died on the province’s roads since 6 December, the day they launched their festive season campaign.

    Africa said there had been six major accidents since then.

    “This morning just after 7am outside Velddrif a 22-year-old male motorcyclist was stopped and warned for driving negligently. A while after he was stopped he lost control of his motorbike,” said Africa.

    He added that traffic officials have been conducting speed trapping every day on Western Cape roads.

    The speeds of 67 473 vehicles were tested and 5722 motorists were prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit.

    On Tuesday the highest recorded speeds were 170km/h in a 120km/h zone and 166km/h in a 100km/h zone.

    “We will continue speed trapping throughout the province, day and night; we will not tolerate excessive speed on our roads. Those speedsters will be dealt with; we will stop and arrest them.”

    He added that fatigue played a major role in most accidents.

    “Last Thursday evening was the most gruesome accident, between Worcester and De Doorns, involving a minibus and passenger bus which collided. Two passengers of the bus were burnt beyond recognition.”

    Africa said authorities have been conducting alcohol blitzes in addition to their fatigue management programme.

    “From Friday up to Monday we arrested 39 drunken drivers and one for reckless driving. They did not adhere to the rules of the road and spent the night behind bars.

    “In the early hours of Tuesday morning we also concentrated on special operation long-distance passenger buses, stopping several buses. We will continue with these operations throughout the festive season and will have spot checks on all national roads.”

    He added that those motorists who seemed fatigued would be stopped and prohibited from driving.

    “When we find a person who is not fit to drive, the keys will be taken and the car parked at a safe place for two to three hours,” Africa said.

    Earlier this week, the Cape Argus reported that there have been 89 deaths on the province’s roads since the start of December - a 35 percent increase from 2011 when 66 people had died, according to MEC for transport and public works Robin Carlisle.

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

    Carlisle added that 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 drivers were fatigued.

    On Tuesday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation said more than 600 people have been killed in crashes across South Africa since the beginning of December. The corporation said there had been 564 incidents resulting in 676 deaths from 1-18 December. - Cape Argus

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  • 12/19/12--21:43: The Houdini of Pollsmoor
  • An alleged killer, deemed by to be extremely dangerous, is on the loose after he escaped while being transported to court.

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    Cape Town - An alleged killer, deemed by the police to be extremely dangerous and volatile, is on the loose after he mysteriously escaped while being transported from Pollsmoor Prison to court.

    The man’s own family and friends of his alleged victim are now fearing for their lives.

    Denzil Adams of Surrey Estate is the prime suspect in the murder of Veronic Dickson last month.

    Dickson’s body was found in the Roodebloem Road, Woodstock home of a family friend where she’d been staying while finding her feet after her recent move to Cape Town. She had been stabbed, strangled and mutilated.

    On the day of the murder, November 22, 28-year-old Adams was questioned by the police. He had cuts on his hand which the police now believe were self-inflicted.

    On December 4, Adams was arrested.

     

    Adams appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on December 6. His case was postponed by the magistrate so he could undergo psychiatric evaluation.

    He was due to appear in court again on December 11. However, when the transport from Pollsmoor Prison arrived at the court on that day, Adams was not among the detainees.

    The police told Dickson’s family and friends, who had gathered outside the court, that Adams had in all likelihood refused to get into the truck at the prison.

    It was only the following day, when an investigating officer phoned Pollsmoor in an attempt to set up an appointment with Adams that the police realised he had gone.

    Phone calls, CCTV footage and statements from police officers established that Adams had left Pollsmoor’s maximum security section as one in a group of 63 detainees. Yet, when the police did a head count of detainees entering the vehicle, the count was 62. Why the disparity had not been immediately identified and reported is unclear.

    Carla Williams, spokeswoman for the Department of Correctional Services, confirmed that Adams’s court date was on December 11 and said he had been released into the custody of the police on that day. “He never returned (to prison) from court,” she said.

    Details of how Adams had managed to “disappear” are now the subject of an internal police investigation.

    “It is absolutely perplexing. I mean, here we’re talking about a guy who has (previously) never been arrested, convicted or never spent a single night in a holding cell or jail. That he managed to escape from one of the most securely guarded facilities in the country is almost beyond belief,” the source said.

    There was a suspicion that Adams somehow managed to climb underneath the prison truck and cling to the chassis before dropping off when the vehicle stopped at a stop street on the way to court.

    “His escape is incredibly disappointing. It has partially undone an incredible amount of hard investigative work which was needed to secure his arrest,” the source said.

    It was known that it could have taken up to eight months before a psychiatrist could evaluate Adams at Valkenberg Hospital, the source added. “During that time he would have been remanded in custody, where he couldn’t harm anyone.”

    The Roodebloem Road family, where Dickson was a boarder, are now living in fear of their lives.

    “We put up a Christmas tree to try and get some festive cheer going, but the reality is that I can’t sleep. I am lying awake listening to every sound,” said Dickson’s landlady, who asked not to be named. “The moment my daughter heard the news of the escape she became ill, her muscles went into spasm from stress.”

    That fear extends to the Gansbaai area, where Dickson lived before moving to Cape Town and where her family still is.

    “We are afraid, we are frustrated and we are very disappointed that he managed to escape from custody. I can’t be certain whether or not he’ll rock up on our doorstep,” said Karin Dickson, Veronic’s mother.

    Adams’s family – his wife and two children – have gone into hiding. His wife, Monique Adams, initially indicated that she wanted police protection, but she’s reportedly since stopped returning calls and messages left by the investigating officer.

    The landlady said Dickson’s murder had occurred a week after Monique had apparently informed Adams that she intended leaving him.

    SMSes sent to the landlady appeared to suggest that Monique had feared for the lives of herself and her children even before Adams’s arrest on December 4.

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

    He described him as being about 1.7m tall, of slender build with black hair in a mushroom cut and with knife cuts on his hands.

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

    * Neither Monique nor Adams’s sister, Keisha Adams, answered calls or responded to SMSes asking for comment.

    Cape Argus


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    Judge Siraj Desai has lambasted Helen Zille and Education MEC Donald Grant for using his court for “political gamesmanship”.

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    Cape Town - Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai has lambasted Premier Helen Zille and Education MEC Donald Grant for using his court for “political gamesmanship”.

    This comes after Zille and Grant said they would keep four urban schools open if certain conditions were met.

    Eduard Fagan, for Zille and the education department, said the province would keep four schools open pending the outcome of a final review being expedited in court.

    Judge Desai asked why the decision had not been taken earlier, since the court had been sitting for two days.

    Judges Desai, Dennis Davis and Elizabeth Baartman were hearing an application for an urgent interdict by 18 of the 20 schools up for closure by December 31.

    “I resent that my courtroom is used for political gamesmanship. This could have been done earlier. This courtroom isn’t the playground for politicians and the cost implications come in after that,” Judge Desai said and people in the packed public gallery responded loudly.

    Dozens of teachers and parents of the affected schools cheered when Judge Desai addressed Fagan.

    An advisor handed Fagan a note indicating that Zille and Grant agreed to keep four schools - Beauvallon Secondary, Lavisrylaan, Valpark and Protea primary schools - open pending the finalisation of the review process.

    This means the judges have to decide whether an interdict should be granted regarding 13 schools as advocate Norman Arendse SC, for the schools, conceded that they did not have proper instructions for one of the remaining schools.

    Judge Desai took the department to task. Before Fagan could properly begin his argument, Judge Desai said: “You don’t close a school because it is limping. You assist it.”

    Judge Desai also attacked the poor consultation procedure that took place when departmental officials conducted public hearings on the closures. The proceedings were mechanically recorded and then supplied to Grant.

    Judge Desai asked Fagan whether the department’s approach summarised as “Sê ma wat julle wil en ons sal doen wat ons wil (say what you want and we will do what we want)” was appropriate.

    Fagan said that submission was never made and that consultation was not a legislative requirement.

    Fagan argued that two reasons for the closures were dwindling pupil numbers and the fact that pupils do not benefit from multi-grade teaching.

    But Judge Desai interjected again: “Multi-grade schools are not ideal but some of our greatest thinkers of our time come from multi-grade schools.”

    Judge Desai suggested the decision to close the schools was done in haste - in six months.

    “Why the haste? Why not close schools in Wynberg or Rondebosch? Why in rural areas?”

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A second passenger involved in a crash at the V&A Waterfront 10 days ago, in which a 19-year-old lost her life, has also died.

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    Cape Town - A second passenger involved in the horror crash at the V&A Waterfront 10 days ago, in which a 19-year-old lost her life, has also died.

    Georgina Moreland was killed in the early hours of December 9, when the car she was in smashed into a tree in Dock Road.

    Provincial police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander confirmed on Wednesday that a second passenger, 22-year-old Rohan Roodt, had died in hospital on Tuesday “after he did not recover from his injuries”.

    Filander said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated. The driver was also reported to have been seriously hurt.

    It is believed that the dead were part of a group of friends that had been out for the night.

    The collision occurred at about 2.40am in Dock Road at the V&A Waterfront close to the One&Only hotel.

    Moreland’s mother and sister have been struggling to come to terms with the loss.

    Moreland matriculated with six distinctions at St Cyprians High School, enjoyed horse riding and was popular socially, her family said.

    Moreland’s mother, Louise Raynor, said she was angry with the driver.

    Moreland was set to travel from the Waterfront to Camps Bay with a friend but opted to go in the BMW instead, said Raynor.

    “She definitely got in because of the fancy car,” said Raynor.

    Raynor said she rang her daughter’s cellphone soon after 5am on December 9 when she had not returned home.

    A police officer answered her daughter’s phone and she thought “the children were in trouble”.

    Moreland had a private cremation last Wednesday, but hundreds of her friends had gathered at Llandudno beach where they sang songs to remember her.

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A Cape Town woman laid a charge of common assault against a security guard after he is alleged to have manhandled her.

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    Cape Town - A Scottsville woman laid a charge of common assault against a security guard after he is alleged to have manhandled her.

    The woman claims the guard demanded she move her car from a parking bay he claimed was a loading zone at a Parow shopping complex.

    During a Christmas shopping trip on Friday afternoon, Matty Lucks, 55, decided to visit a linen store at Svenprop Park.

    Lucks parked her car in the only available spot right next to the ramp, which serves as the entrance to Lara Linen’s Discount Factory Shop.

    A security guard for Ukhetsha Security Services approached her, tapped her on the shoulder and accused her of parking in a loading zone.

    Lucks told the guard there was no signage indicating this and refused to move.

    “I told him there’s nothing to show it’s a loading zone and I’m not obstructing the garage door in the parking next to me.”

    Lucks said that when she proceeded to enter the store, the guard grabbed her by the arms, blocking her from going inside.

    “I told him to leave me, but when he released me, he started pushing me hard, making me lose my balance and almost causing me to fall.”

    Lucks claimed the guard then taunted her by pointing his finger in her face and telling her he would not allow her to leave the complex.

    “I felt threatened because I could see his body language looked like someone ready to punch me.”

    Lucks left the complex a short while later and reported the incident to the Parow police station.

    She said the guard at first refused to open the boom, but eventually allowed her to exit.

    Store assistant Jonita Douman, 29, said the guards regularly harassed customers with their “rude and aggressive behaviour”.

    Store manager Olivia Solomon, 56 - who was also present at the time - confirmed the parking spot was not a loading zone and agreed the guard’s action had been “unacceptable”.

    “I know they are here to protect the property, but they don’t have to be rude to people.”

    Ukhetsha site manager Paul Chimezie said the incident had not been reported to him and he would investigate the matter.

    Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut confirmed that a case of common assault was being investigated.

    janis.kinnear@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/20/12--07:21: Two rescued from leaky canoe
  • Rescuers were called after two men went canoeing in Hermanus without first plugging a hole in their craft.

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    Hermanus - Rescuers were called after two men went canoeing in Hermanus without first plugging a hole in their craft, the National Sea Rescue Institute said on Thursday.

    “It appears that they had borrowed the canoe from a friend but did not realise that the 'bung' (a plug at the back of water craft that prevents water from coming in, and is used to drain water from the craft once on dry land) was not plugged in,” NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

    As the canoe filled with water it became unsteady and capsized near the Marine Hotel. An NSRI volunteer saw this and alerted a rescue team who found the two men, both 19, swimming for shore.

    “They were taken onboard our sea rescue craft and their canoe was recovered, and they were brought safely to the old harbour where they required no further assistance,” Lambinon said.

    Another duo had to be rescued on Thursday around 11.30am when their small “rubber duck” capsized near Vermont.

    A NSRI rescue craft was deployed but arrived on the scene to find the two men had been rescued by another vessel. Both men were taken by the NSRI to the shore at Hardebaai. Neither man was injured.

    The skipper from Onrus was in his 60s, while the crewman was in his mid-40s and from Bellville. The rubber duck was recovered. - Sapa


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    A murder suspect, dubbed the "Houdini of Pollsmoor", has been re-arrested after he escaped from the prison.

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    Cape Town - A murder suspect, dubbed the “Houdini of Pollsmoor”, has been re-arrested a little over a week after he escaped from the prison.

    Police found him hiding under a bed in a relative’s home in Surrey Estate, Athlone.

    Denzil Adams, who stands accused of murdering 27-year-old Veronique Dickson on November 22, was taken back into custody at about 10am on Thursday, and two people in the house were arrested on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.

    Acting on a tip-off, police were led to the front door of a member of Adams’ family in Surrey Estate. They searched the house and found Adams hiding underneath a bed. He resisted arrest and put up a fight, but was unarmed.

     

    This was confirmed by police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut, who said the 28-year-old would now also face a charge of escaping from lawful custody in addition to the murder charge.

    “The suspects are due in court on Monday. Preliminary investigations revealed that Adams escaped while in transit to court. However, a more detailed investigation will be conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the matter,” Traut said.

    After gathering evidence that allegedly implicated Adams in the murder of Dickson, police first arrested him at his home in Surrey Estate on December 4.

    He appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court two days later and his case was postponed to December 11.

    On that day (December 11), he left Pollsmoor prison’s maximum security section as one of 63 detainees on their way to court in Cape Town. Yet, when the police vehicle transporting them arrived at the court, Adams was missing.

    He’s believed to have evaded police, who take custody of detainees from Correctional Services as they are loaded into the truck, and somehow managed to escape the prison grounds by clinging to the vehicle’s chassis.

    The circumstances of his escape are now the subject of an internal police investigation.

    Dickson’s landlady, Priscilla Patrick, and her family were filled with fear at news of his escape.

    “We are so relieved, but I’m a bit disappointed that the police didn’t inform me about this development. At least now we will be able to have Christmas in peace,” said Patrick.

    Dickson’s family, who live in Stanford, also expressed their relief.

    “We were so disappointed and afraid when we heard that he was on the loose… You don’t know what is going through his head… or whether he would come after us,” said Karin Dickson, Veronic’s mother.

    She would not attend Adams’s court case, saying it would be too upsetting to hear about the circumstances of her daughter’s death.

    Carla Williams, spokeswoman for Correctional Services, said Adams’s escape had not been the fault of Pollsmoor officials.

    “Nonetheless, we are all very relieved. This is a reminder to us all to be on our toes and to be more vigilant. This goes especially for this time of year, when we have more escape attempts than normal,” Williams said.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/21/12--00:38: Cape school closures halted
  • An urgent interdict to halt the closure of 18 schools in the Western Cape was granted.

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    Cape Town - An urgent interdict to halt the closure of 18 schools in the Western Cape was granted on Friday.

    Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai said reasons for the decision would be given later.

    The schools, their governing bodies and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union brought the urgent application against provincial education MEC Donald Grant and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to prevent the schools being shut down on December 31.

    The applicants maintained the planned closures were unlawful and unconstitutional.

    Grant maintained low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes, or a decline in pupil numbers, were lawful reasons for his decision. - Sapa


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  • 12/21/12--01:30: Accused wants case scrapped
  • One of the four men accused of murdering Bronx nightclub owner Bruno Bronn is trying to have a separate case scrapped.

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    Cape Town - One of the four men accused of murdering Bronx nightclub owner Bruno Bronn is trying to have a separate case of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition scrapped.

    Achmat Toffa’s lawyer, Chantal Gillian, told the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday she had been instructed to write to the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) to ask that the case be scrapped.

    The State alleges that while Toffa was out on R15 000 bail in connection with Bronn’s murder, he violated his bail conditions which included that he not make contact or interfere with State witnesses. Bronn was strangled in his Green Point home on February 7.

    Toffa, 36, of Bo-Kaap, John Frederick Coetzer, Fareez Allie and Kurt Erispe were arrested and charged with the murder.

    On Thursday State prosecutor Ebrahim Adams told the court the investigation was not complete and that one witness statement was still outstanding.

    Magistrate Zwelindumile Sogwagwa granted a final postponement to January 23.

    jade.otto@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/21/12--01:53: Brothels in the firing line
  • Cape Town’s Vice Squad says it will be targeting at least 60 suspected brothels over the festive period.

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    Cape Town - The city’s Vice Squad says it will be targeting at least 60 suspected brothels over the festive period.

    In a joint undercover operation, the specialised law enforcement unit will be accompanied by SAPS members and the Human Trafficking Task Team.

    This year alone, the squad shut down 13 illegal brothels.

    In the past three months, 66 fines were issued with a total value of R192 500 for the running of illegal brothels and for street prostitution.

    Unit spokesman Nathan Ladegourdie said the squad had prioritised the targeted establishments after they had been identified as “problematic” by residents in surrounding areas.

    “The Vice Squad is at present clamping down on known problematic areas identified by the public with regard to street prostitution and brothels,” he added.

    Besides the city itself, most of the women arrested came from Port Elizabeth, Joburg, Bloemfontein, Pretoria and China.

    The unit has already started conducting operations to target the suspected brothels scattered across the city in both business and residential areas.

    Ladegourdie said the major focus of their operations will be on “hot spots” in Wynberg, Brooklyn and Lansdowne.

    janis.kinnear@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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  • 12/21/12--01:54: Breastfed by a tik addict
  • A Lavender Hill tik-addict mom says she feels bad to see how the drug affects her daughter when breastfeeding.

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    Cape Town - A Lavender Hill tik-addict mom says she feels bad to see how the drug affects her daughter when breastfeeding.

    Ra’eesah Naicker, 25, was first introduced to tik in 2005 through a friend who asked her to test it.

    “An Angolan friend was selling it and then he asked my sister and I to test it. I liked it, but my sister stopped smoking.”

    The unemployed mom said she had smoked throughout her pregnancy.

    “My daughter is three years old now. When she was eight months, my dad took her in because I didn’t have the finances to care for her.

    “But when she was a year and a half, he brought her back because he’s in the navy and had to leave.”

    She explained that she had still been breastfeeding her daughter for almost a year, although she’s still using the drug.

    “I breastfeed now and then. My daughter is hyperactive and doesn’t listen to me.”

    Naicker said before breastfeeding the little girl, she’d been “normal” and quiet.

    “I do feel bad about how (tik) would affect her and I’ve tried to take her off the breast milk, but she cries. She knows that I smoke tik and she calls it ‘blommetjie’.”

    Ra’eesah said she and her mom Jamiela smoked tik together.

    Jamiela confirmed that she’d started using tik as a slimming method a few years ago.

    “I was very fat after I had my last child. My son and daughter went to the library one day and came back with a newspaper where I read that tik made you lose weight.”

    The mother of four had been on a diet since 2005, but said she hadn’t been losing any weight.

    “It took me a week to find out where to buy (tik) and within three months I lost 30 kg’s. I smoke every day and I’m not going to stop.”

    She added that tik gave her a lot of energy and that she would continue to smoke until the day she dies.

    “I don’t want to get fat again; it’s nice to be thin.”

    Jamiela said she didn’t use the drug like other addicts and that she did not have to steal to get money to buy it.

    “I don’t use it like other people. I repair cell phones and DVDs to support my habit.

    “I’m glad that it doesn’t make me steal. The majority of people here smoke it and the merchant is in your face. It’s not a good environment to stop smoking.”

    Cathy Karassellos, a clinical psychologist at the Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, said she would not advise anyone to use tik as a weight-loss method.

    “First of all, tik is very addictive. It starts with a weight problem and then it’s a dependency problem,” she explained.

    “I would advise anyone who wants to lose weight to see a dietician and look for a healthy diet.”

    A tik-user’s appearance was also negatively affected by the drug, Karassellos added.

    “It affects the teeth, mouth, skin and hair. Tik is also very addictive, as time goes by the person would need more.

    “If you use pills or drugs to lose weight, you won’t look good. Rather change your lifestyle and eating habits.”

    * The Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre can be reached on 021 447 8026.

    natasha.bezuidenhout@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Several farmworkers claim they are being punished for taking part in strikes for higher wages.

    |||

    Cape Town - Several farmworkers claim they are being punished for taking part in the recent protest action for higher wages by being sent home without pay on their last day of work for the year.

    An independent union operating in the greater Robertson area said many workers were also being denied Christmas bonuses.

     

    Karel Swartz, assistant general secretary for the Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural and Allied Workers’ Union, says this is the culmination of a month of intimidation, suspensions, dismissals and disciplinary action to which workers have been subjected by their employers after unprotected strikes in the region in November and early December.

     

    “We have received calls every day, and have logged over 100 complaints since 4 December.

     

    “The farmers are systematically trying to reverse the situation through intimidation and dismissals.

    “What is clear is that workers who supported the strike and unionised in recent weeks are being targeted,” said Swartz.

     

    Ryno Filander, a worker on Wonderfontein farm and the union’s shop steward, said he and 39 colleagues were informed that their bonuses had been cancelled. This was in contrast to 20 workers who received bonuses, apparently for not participating in the strike. Filander had also apparently been told his December wages would be paid to him only next month.

    “Many of us now don’t have money to buy food for Christmas,” he said.

    But his employer, farmer Paul Marais, said the strikes had brought his business to a standstill for more than a week. He admitted that the workers who participated in the strike were being disadvantaged.

    “I lost a lot of money during that time, so why should (the strikers) not bear some of the responsibility and consequences?” he asked.

     

    Swartz has called on churches, mosques and the public to help with Christmas donations and food parcels for the affected farmworkers. The union can be contacted at 072 991 3371.

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Seventeen Western Cape schools facing closure have been given a lifeline.

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    Cape Town - Seventeen Western Cape schools facing closure have been given a lifeline.

    On Friday morning two of three Western Cape High Court judges ordered that the schools remain open.

    Judge Siraj Desai, together with Judge Elizabeth Baartman, granted an interim interdict prohibiting the closure of four urban and 13 rural schools throughout the Western Cape.

    Judge Desai said reasons for the decision would be given later.

    The decision was not unanimous as Judge Dennis Davis, who also sat on the full Bench hearing the application, did not agree with the order and was not present.

    On Friday morning, Judge Desai granted the interdict application for 13 rural schools after the Education Department agreed to keep four urban schools open.

    The order also prohibits the department from transferring or compelling any pupils and teachers from remaining at the schools apart from those who choose to leave.

    In addition, Judge Desai interdicted the department from moving any school property. If it had been done, it should be returned.

    Full subsidies and teacher salaries should also continue to be paid. Judge Desai’s order was made pending a review application.

    Advocate Norman Arendse SC, representing 18 schools, conceded that the application for one of the schools – Tonko Bosman Primary – should not stand because he was not properly instructed to act for it.

    Education MEC Donald Grant announced in October that 27 schools were to be closed, citing dwindling pupil numbers, multigrade teaching and poor numeracy and literacy results as some of the reasons.

    But Grant soon after decided that seven schools would remain open. Eighteen of the remaining schools took the matter to court to seek interim relief pending a review application on whether the decision to close the schools was correct.

    Shouts of jubilation echoed in the corridors of the high court immediately after Judge Desai made his order.

    Community members brandished posters, sang struggle songs and chanted “not without a fight”.

    Outside court the ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman said the judgment was a victory for the poor. The judgment would set a precedent regarding the closure of other schools throughout the province.

    Save Our Schools campaign head Magnus de Jongh said the body was very happy with the decision and that the community would celebrate the victory at Lavisrylaan at 2pm on Friday.

    “The judgment means we have been vindicated and we said from the start the consultation process was flawed. The provincial education department doesn’t have regard to the needs of the poor,” De Jongh said.

    Judge Desai said he would give full reasons for the decision later, because the judges needed time to prepare a comprehensive judgment.

    Earlier this week the court heard arguments in support and against the interdict.

    And in an about-turn, Premier Helen Zille stepped in and gave an undertaking that the four urban schools would remain open pending the review application. The four schools were Lavisrylaan Primary in Bishop Lavis, Protea Primary in Bonteheuwel, Beauvallon Secondary and Valpark Primary, in Valhalla Park.

    But the Save Our Schools campaign rejected Zille’s undertaking, saying they would not agree to a piecemeal approach and wanted all 18 schools to remain open.

    On Wednesday, Judge Desai lambasted politicians, saying he would not allow his courtroom to be used for “political gamesmanship”.

    A note bearing the undertaking was handed to Grant’s advocate, Eduard Fagan SC, around 4.30pm on Wednesday, after two days of arduous argument.

    “This courtroom isn’t a playground for politicians and the cost implications come in after that,” Judge Desai said to a loud eruption of people seated in the packed public gallery.

    Dozens of teachers and parents cheered and drummed on their benches when Judge Desai addressed Fagan.

    Judge Desai did not mince his words either during earlier court proceedings on Wednesday. Before Fagan could properly begin his argument, Judge Desai said: “You don’t close a school because it is limping. You assist it.” Judge Desai also attacked the poor consultation procedure that took place when departmental officials conducted public hearings.

    The proceedings were mechanically recorded and then supplied to Grant.

    Cape Argus


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    The court ruling to halt the closure of 17 schools is a groundbreaking judgement, provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman said.

    |||

    Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court ruling to halt the closure of 17 schools in the new year is a groundbreaking judgement, provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman said on Friday.

    “This judgment has an effect here, it has an effect everywhere else in South Africa, where everyone will now consider deeply when they want to close any school,” Fransman said.

    This was after Judge Siraj Desai granted the schools, their governing bodies and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) an urgent interdict.

    He said he looked forward to a final review application to be heard in the same court sometime in the new year.

    “We fought a fight for every school and we believe with the review process we will save all of these schools,” said Fransman.

    He praised Lavis Drive primary school principal Brenda Davids, who first brought the matter to the attention of teacher unions.

    “I saw the tears of this woman... the day she decided she can't see children suffering, that day she became a victim of the DA (Democratic Alliance) provincial government.”

    Davids said since hearing the school would be closed, they twice received a letter informing them that the electricity would be cut.

    Fransman believed this was a form of victimisation, and warned schools this type of action could continue following the court victory.

    Reacting to the ruling, Davids said: “We just got a letter on the 28th of May saying the school will close... that was a very sad day for us, but today, the 21st of December, is a happy day.”

    Sadtu Western Cape secretary Jonavon Rustin welcomed the ruling and said it sent out a strong message to premier Helen Zille and education MEC Donald Grant.

    “We came here to tell Helen Zille that you will not mess with the communities,” he said.

    In terms of the ruling, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) would have to continue to provide subsidies and full support to the affected schools.

    “The respondents (Grant and the WCED) are directed to take all reasonable steps, including but not limited to the employment of temporary teachers and the renewal or reinstatement of leases, to ensure that all necessary services are provided to the said seventeen schools,” Desai ruled.

    The judge said while colleague Elizabeth Baartman was in agreement with the ruling, Judge Dennis Davis “differed with the order on principle”.

    Eighteen schools originally contested the closure, but one of the institutions, Tonko Bosman in Somerset West, agreed to closure. - Sapa


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    An interdict halting the closure of 17 schools in the Western Cape was a “loss of opportunity” for learners, provincial education MEC Donald Grant said.

    |||

    Cape Town - An interdict halting the closure of 17 schools in the Western Cape was a “loss of opportunity” for learners, provincial education MEC Donald Grant said on Friday.

    Grant was responding to a decision to rule in favour of 17

    schools, their governing bodies and the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu).

    The interdict is an interim one, meaning the schools will remain open pending the outcome of a final review application to be heard in the same court in the new year.

    “I must stress that the interdict does not automatically imply that these schools will remain open indefinitely.

    “The interdict has the effect of delaying their closure,” said Grant.

    The MEC stood by his decision, saying his reasons which included low enrolment numbers, multi-grade classes or a decline in pupil numbers, were sound.

    “I note the court's decision with concern and great disappointment, particularly given that my decision to close these schools was taken after careful consideration of all representations made to me and with the best interests of the learners at heart.”

    Grant pointed out that the court's decision was not unanimous.

    Judge Dennis Davis did not agree with colleagues Siraj Desai and Elizabeth Baartman.

    “We are studying the court's decision carefully and will be consulting with our legal team so that we can give due consideration to all the legal options available to us.”

    Grant denied accusations from the ANC, Sadtu and community organisations that his reasons for closing the schools were political decisions.

    Earlier in court, provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman said the court victory was a landmark decision.

    “This judgment has an effect here, it has an effect everywhere else in South Africa, where everyone will now consider deeply when they want to close any school,” Fransman said.

    He praised Lavis Drive primary school principal Brenda Davids, who led the fight for the schools to remain open, despite “victimisation from the provincial government”.

    Fransman said since hearing of the closure, Davids twice received a letter informing her the school's electricity would be cut.

    “I saw the tears of this woman... the day she decided she can't see children suffering, that day she became a victim of the DA (Democratic Alliance) provincial government,” said Fransman.

    An ecstatic Davids said she was excited about seeing her pupils return in the new year.

    “We just got a letter on the 28th of May saying the school will close... that was a very sad day for us, but today, the 21st of December, is a happy day.”

    Sadtu Western Cape secretary Jonavon Rustin welcomed the ruling and said it sent out a strong message to premier Helen Zille and education MEC Donald Grant.

    “We came here to tell Helen Zille that you will not mess with the communities,” he said.

    In terms of the ruling, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) would have to continue to provide subsidies and full support to the affected schools.

    “The respondents (Grant and the WCED) are directed to take all reasonable steps, including but not limited to the employment of temporary teachers and the renewal or reinstatement of leases, to ensure that all necessary services are provided to the said 17

    schools,” Desai ruled.

    Eighteen schools originally contested the closure, but one of the institutions, Tonko Bosman in Somerset West, agreed to closure. - Sapa


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