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    The decision on whether or not to prosecute Professor Cyril Karabus is likely to go before the Abu Dhabi attorney-general on Sunday.

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    The decision on whether or not to prosecute Cape Town doctor Professor Cyril Karabus, 77, is likely to go before the Abu Dhabi attorney-general on Sunday.

    Karabus was last in court on Wednesday, for his 13th appearance, following his arrest in August 2012 on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents.

    The charges against Karabus, a retired paediatric oncologist and a professor emeritus at UCT, relate to the death of three-year-old Sarah Adel Abdulla, whom he treated for acute myeloid leukaemia in 2000 while doing a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medication Centre in Abu Dhabi.

    Karabus was later tried and found guilty in absentia. However, his lawyers were able to overturn the conviction on the grounds that he had no knowledge of the charges or conviction, and had not been able to defend himself. He was recharged following his arrest. On Wednesday the matter was again postponed as the prosecutors have yet to provide the child’s medical records, which would prove or disprove their case.

    Karabus’s attorney, Michael Bagraim, said the judge had indicated that Wednesday’s postponement would be the last. The prosecution was given two court days to produce the child’s file to the attorney-general, who would then make the decision whether or not to proceed with the prosecution.

    The file includes Karabus’s notes, lab reports, and details of the three-week period before he started treating the girl.

    “We consider this an empty prosecution,” Bagraim said. - Sunday Tribune


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    The motorist who drove into Jake Wootton and his friends will be charged with culpable homicide.

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    Cape Town - Nearly a year after Milnerton High head boy Jake Wootton was killed when a motorist drove into him and his friends as they walked alongside the road in Hermanus, the driver will be charged with culpable homicide.

    But it’s too little too late for the devastated family of the 18-year-old, whose body was catapulted about 20m into the air by the force of the impact. He died from severe head injuries the following day.

    “I would like to see the driver charged with murdering my son, and with seven counts of attempted murder,” Jake’s father, Stephen Wootton, told Weekend Argus

    “A charge of culpable homicide cannot be justified considering the severity of what happened. We don’t want the State to start the case with a mere culpable homicide charge.”

    The crash happened on April 6, 2012, Easter Friday, and although questions were raised at the time about whether the driver was drunk, police spokesman Colonel Andre Traut said on Friday that a drunk driving charge against the driver would not be pursued.

    Traut said the driver, 24, was “about to be charged with culpable homicide”.

    He would be arrested and would appear in the Hermanus Magistrate’s Court soon.

    Police failed to conduct a blood-alcohol test on the driver after the crash, despite numerous statements from witnesses who said he appeared to be drunk.

    This week, Wootton said he was “bitterly disappointed” at the quality of the police investigation.

    And Transport MEC Robin Carlisle has gone so far as to suggest the possibility of a police “cover-up”.

    Carlisle called the handling of the case “scandalous” and said he was concerned that the police’s oversights and shortcomings on the night of the crash might have weakened the case against the driver.

    “I am now concerned that we are dealing with a police cover-up, as opposed to a case of police inefficiency,” he said.

    Carlisle also questioned whether affidavits had been taken from the many eyewitnesses, and whether these included evidence about the driver possibly being drunk.

    Wootton, who said he had been told that the driver would appear in court on February 20, alleged that there were several indications that the driver may have intentionally hit his son and his friends, in an attempt to scare or hurt them.

     

    “But the investigation is incomplete and needs to be done properly before charges are put to the accused.

    “It feels as if we’re going around in circles. They don’t have any forensics or an accident report yet,” he said.

    Wootton added that several witnesses had yet to be interviewed, “including a woman who was in my son’s company at Barney’s bar shortly before he left the bar”.

    “A picture was taken of Jake and this woman at 11.21pm. The crash happened at 11.40, just a few minutes after my son left the bar. What also bothers me a lot is that the driver and my son were both in the pub at the same time shortly before the incident,” he said.

    Jake excelled academically and was

    also a keen scuba diver, bodyboarder and rugby player.

    He died in hospital on April 7, a day after the crash.

     

    Traut said police were still investigating the death, and were awaiting a report on the reconstruction of the accident.

    Weekend Argus has confirmed that an independent investigator, Johan Joubert, has been tasked with compiling a traffic accident reconstruction report.

    Meanwhile, Stephen Wootton’s friend, Tony McLaughlin, who is helping him investigate, charged that the police had not secured video footage taken at the club in question soon before the incident.

    We’re seeking justice for Jake, and charging the accused with culpable homicide alone will not be fair,” said

    McLaughlin, who compiled a report on his provisional findings, which he sent to Carlisle.

    On Friday, Wootton told Weekend Argus that officials from the National Prosecuting Authority and the police had told him that the driver was a police officer. But this was denied by Traut.

    Carlisle’s department has been vocal in its criticism of Hermanus police’s handling of events on the night of the accident, as well as the subsequent investigation.

    At the time of Jake’s memorial service last April, Carlisle’s colleague Hector Eliott said police inefficiency in responding to accidents was widespread in the Western Cape.

     

    “The case of Jake Wootton is a tragedy. It is, however, indicative of a far wider-ranging problem with SAPS’s capacity to respond timeously, effectively and thoroughly with road crashes.

    “It is a strong contributor to the culture of lawlessness that prevails on our roads,” Elliot said at the time. - Sunday Argus

    henriette.geldenhuys@

    inl.co.za


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  • 01/06/13--06:26: Hunt for UK blogger goes on
  • Missing British food blogger Wilkes McDermid has reportedly been spotted in a Cape Town bakery.

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    Cape Town - Police and friends are still desperately searching for British food blogger Wilkes McDermid, 38, who disappeared on December 26 while on holiday in Cape Town but apparently surfaced in a bakery on Thursday.

    McDermid was to have returned to the UK on Boxing Day but he never made it on to his flight after checking out of the Westin Grand hotel.

    He was reported missing by his friend, whisky writer Bernard Gutman, on December 30 after he found McDermid’s belongings in the hotel room. Gutman at first thought McDermid had forgotten the belongings.

    On Saturday, a worried

    Gutman said McDermid was in good spirits when he last saw him on Christmas Eve.

    The two exchanged messages on Christmas Day, and McDermid told him he would fly out the following day.

    “I sent him a message on the 27th about the gift he left me. He didn’t reply, and I sent him another message and I also posted a message on his Facebook wall and there was no reply,” said Gutman.

    By December 29 he was very worried.

    “He wasn’t online at all for all those days and he didn’t reply to messages. He is always online. He was last seen on the Cape Grace Hotel’s CCTV camera on Boxing Day at 7.25pm, leaving that hotel, heading on to the bridge towards the Coke display and the main Waterfront area.”

    However, missing persons organisation Pink Ladies reported McDermid was last seen at Rosa’s Bakery in Shortmarket Street on Thursday.

    Director

    Dessie Rechner said he was seen between 2.30pm and 3pm.

     

    “He was still wearing the bright orange shirt, grey pants and the orange glasses. His hair was loose, not in a ponytail. Someone reported it, it was checked out by SAPS and people were interviewed,” she said.

    The visit was confirmed by the bakery owner, who refused to be named.

    The owner handed video footage of McDermid’s visit, taken from cameras inside the bakery, to the police.

    The bakery owner said police had also questioned him and his wife. He was also told that Interpol was looking for McDermid. The owner was adamant there was no doubt it was McDermid who had visited his bakery.

    Gutman said he could not comment on the Rosa’s Bakery sighting as he did not want to jeopardise the police investigation.

     

    Police spokesman Colonel Andre Traut said

    : “All leads are being followed, including his recent visit to a Shortmarket Street bakery.” - Sunday Independent


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  • 01/07/13--00:21: Hiker falls to his death
  • A Cape Town man slipped and fell to his death on Lion’s Head during a walk with his daughter.

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    Cape Town - “He was lying at a horrible angle. It was clear he had broken more than a few bones.”

    This was the description that a hiker gave of the Athlone man who fell to his death on Lion’s Head on Sunday.

    Merle Collins, spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said 47-year-old Ebrahim Salie had been walking with his daughter when the accident happened.

    “Apparently he slipped and fell down (the mountain),” she told the Cape Argus.

    “It happened so quickly. He died at the scene.”

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the hiker who rushed to his aid said he had found the severely injured Salie.

    “He had cuts all over his body and his hand was swelling,” he said.

    “I started checking for a pulse but after two minutes of searching I couldn’t find it.”

    The hiker had been on a weekly trek up the popular mountain when he had run into a distraught-looking man standing at the first ladder which marks the steep ascent up Lion’s Head.

    “He told me he needed the number for emergency services because someone had fallen off the mountain,” the hiker said.

    “Even from up there, I could see the man on the ground. He fell a very long way,” he said.

    The hiker rushed to Salie’s aid.

    “I ran into his daughter on the way down,” he said. “She was shocked. I told her everything would be fine.”

    However, when he got to Salie it was too late. He waited at his body for 45 minutes until paramedics arrived.

    “I’m not a hero. If this happened to my brother, father or uncle, I would want people to do the same for them,” said the hiker.

    This is the third time in three weeks that someone had fallen in the area.

    Collins said people should exercise caution on the mountain.

    “It’s not a walk in the park up there,” she said.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Cape Town professor Cyril Karabus’s legal situation in Abu Dhabi still hangs in the air after the attorney general failed to report to the judge.

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    Cape Town - Detained Cape Town professor Cyril Karabus’s legal situation in Abu Dhabi still hangs in the air after the attorney general failed to report to the judge yesterday, his lawyer Michael Bagraim said yesterday.

    “The attorney general was supposed to give a report to the judge about whether or not they have managed to locate the missing original medical records. Based on that the judge was supposed to make a decision on whether Karabus’s (pictured) charges will be dismissed,” he said. “They didn’t show up in court and they have given no explanation.

    I have now briefed our legal team in Abu Dhabi to go to court (today) to find out what’s going on.”

    An emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, Karabus, 77, has been detained in Abu Dhabi, on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents, since August 18.

    nontando.mposo@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    New Year’s Day burn victim succumbs and another person dies as more fires start in Cape Town

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    Cape Town - Two people died over the weekend, in separate shack fires in Khayelitsha and Dunoon, while a fifth person died as a result of the fire on New Year’s Day bringing the death toll from shack fires to seven in the first week of 2013.

    More than 100 people were left homeless in the latest blazes according to Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesperson of Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre.

    The latest victims, 35-year-old Lungelo Krexe of Thembeni informal settlement in Dunoon, Anele Mkele, 24, and 29-year-old Thobela Ndabambi, of Khayelitsha, all died on Saturday.

    Krexe died in hospital where he was being treated for burns which covered 80 percent of his body, said Solomons-Johannes. He was admitted to hospital on New Year’s Day after a fire destroyed 15 formal houses and 220 shacks in BM Section, Khayelitsha.

    Four men died the same night in separate fires in the Khayelitsha area. The two fires left 4 000 homeless in Khayelitsha and Dunoon.

    Mkele was looking after his brother’s shack in Khayelitsha, according to his neighbour Boniswa Kili, 46.

    Solomons-Johannes said Mkele was overcome by smoke and died as a result of severe burn wounds.

    Kili said they had heard Mkele screaming that the evening. “When we (went) outside, Mkele’s shack was in flames, we couldn’t go near it. I caught a glimpse of him standing by the window with a burning mattress on his back. He was trying to get away but the flames were too much for him… he then collapsed,” she said.

    She said they used water buckets in an attempt to extinguish the fire before the fire fighters arrived.

    When the Cape Argus visited Mkele’s shack yesterday, the roof and walls had caved in. Among the burnt rubble a mattress and microwave, were the only identifiable things.

    His neighbour, Wiseman Ntlondi, 44, was rebuilding his shack. He said the fire had come from Mkele’s shack. They both use pre-paid electricity for cooking and lights, he said. “I am stressed out, I lost everything in the fire,” he said. He said he saw Mkele now and again when he visited for a “chat or to watch TV,” he said.

    On the other side of Khayelitsha, Ndabambi’s family were also rebuilding. His brother Thulani, 27, said he was “traumatised” by his brother’s “sudden” death. Ndabambi, who worked as a quantity surveyor, was the only breadwinner in the family, he said. He had five siblings. “I don’t know where we are going to go from here,” he said.

    His aunt Nobathembu Mashundu, 48, said they suspect Ndabambi fell asleep in the early hours of Sunday while reheating food on the stove, and it exploded. The blaze destroyed 26 shacks and left 60 people homeless.

    Meanwhile a large area of reeds caught fire in Milnerton at 7.30 pm on Saturday. Twenty people living among the reeds lost their belongings.

    Solomons-Johannes said the city helped the fire victims by supplying food parcels, blankets, baby packs, clothing and building materials, among other things.

    nontando.mposo@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The daughter of John Commins, who was murdered in his family home, says the family is confident the police will find those responsible.

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    Cape Town - The daughter of John Commins, who was murdered in his family home a few days ago, says the family is confident the police will find the men responsible.

    “We all believe that the police will do everything that they can to find the killers,” his daughter Donne Commins told the Cape Argus.

    “We believe that they have a lot of leads and that they will find (the culprits).”

    Commins, who played for the Western Province Cricket Union in the 1960s, is the youngest brother of Western Province CEO Kevin Commins and the uncle of former Proteas cricketer John Commins.

    On Tuesday night, the 71-year-old was at his Newlands home with his wife Cherie when three men climbed through the window and tied up the couple in separate rooms.

    The home invaders ransacked the house and made off with money and jewellery.

    Cherie managed to untie herself and make her way to Commins’s bedroom, but he was already dead.

    The police said they had found no sign of visible injury and they believe Commins had been suffocated. But Donne said there were “definitely signs of a struggle”.

    The suspects have yet to be identified.

    “No one has been arrested in connection with this case yet,” Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said yesterday.

    The Newlands Residents Association said that they were shocked and saddened by Commins’s death.

    “We understand this is the third murder in the Claremont precinct in recent months and this combined with an increase in armed robberies in the area over the past few months is of great concern to all residents in Newlands and surrounding areas,” said the association.

    “We appeal to the SAPS to review the policing deployment for the Claremont precinct. The area is far too large for the current level of deployment.”

    Commins, who was also a successful businessman and a philanthropist, leaves Cherie, Donne, his son Greg - who has arrived from Los Angeles where he lives - and three grandchildren.

    His funeral will be held at the St Michael’s Catholic Church in Rouwkoop Road, Rondebosch, at 3pm on Thursday.

    Donne, who is the agent for former cricketer Mark Boucher and cricketers JP Duminy and Albie Morkel, said she had been overwhelmed by the support she had received from the “cricketing family”.

    “The people who have called me or SMSed are literally everyone I have ever worked with,” she said.

    She said Dave Richardson, Ali Bacher, England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and the head of the IPL, Sundar Raman, had lent her their support.

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/07/13--01:56: 2013’s bleak first week
  • The death toll from fires in informal settlements in the first week of the New Year in Cape Town has risen to seven.

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    Cape Town - The death toll from fires in informal settlements in the first week of the New Year in Cape Town has risen to seven – following a fresh round of blazes at the weekend.

    One of three deaths at the weekend saw a victim of the massive blaze that hit Khayelitsha on New Year’s Day – which left 4 000 people homeless and killed four others - succumb to injuries. Two others died in weekend fires in Du Noon and Khayelitsha.

    More than 100 people were left destitute by the latest blazes, said Cape Town Disaster Risk Management spokesman Wilfred Solomons- Johannes.

    Meanwhile, relief efforts to support those who lost everything in the fires continued across the city. A number of drop-off points have been set up for residents to leave donations.

    Cape Argus


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  • 01/07/13--02:53: Man dies in jetski accident
  • A man has been killed in a jet ski accident in Eerste River, near Plettenberg Bay, the National Sea Rescue Institute said.

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    Plettenberg Bay - A man has been killed in a jet ski accident in Eerste River, near Plettenberg Bay, the National Sea Rescue Institute said on Monday.

    The 53-year-old Pretoria man was on holiday when the accident happened, said spokesman Craig Lambinon.

    The man was negotiating a wave when his jet ski was launched into the air and presumably hit his head.

    He was brought to shore by rescuers and was declared dead on the scene. - Sapa


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    Police are investigating the death of a 50-year-old Plumstead man found bound and strangled in his flat.

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    Cape Town - Police are investigating the death of a 50-year-old Plumstead man found bound and strangled in his flat.

    Diep River police confirmed they had found the body of Graham Collop in his second-floor flat in Protea Place on Sunday night.

    A notice issued by the local Neighbourhood Watch in the area said Collop’s relatives had contacted the police after they had been to Collop’s flat and found it had been ransacked.

    Mystery surrounds Collop’s death as he was found bound and strangled, yet there was no forced entry to the security block in Culm Road.

    The cause of death has not been confirmed.

    Police were on the scene and interviewed witnesses, according the neighbourhood watch.

    “Forensics were summoned to the scene to further assist the investigation,” it said.

    Provincial police spokesman Warrant Officer November Filander confirmed that police forensic experts had been back at the flat yesterday.

    Neighbours in the block of flats said they were shocked when they had heard news of Collop’s death.

    One neighbour, identified only as David, said that at 10am yesterday he had received a call from a friend who does not live in the block, who told him about his neighbour’s death.

    David had last spoken to Collop about three weeks ago when Collop had trouble starting his car.

    He said Collop was a “champion cook” and who would occasionally sell them rusks and cakes.

    Anyone with any information regarding this incident should contact Detective W/O Steven Young on 021 710 7340.

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A man who died after falling from Lion’s Head may have slipped after moving aside to let a descending hiker pass.

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    Cape Town - The family of Ebrahim Salie, who died after falling from Lion’s Head on Sunday, believe he may have slipped after moving aside to let a quickly-descending hiker pass him.

    Salie was an active member of Pagad’s G-Force and was detained in 2001 and charged with murdering 11 drug dealers. But these charges were later dropped and he was acquitted.

    The 47-year-old was on a weekly excursion up Lion’s Head on Sunday morning when the incident happened.

    What had started as a day filled with jokes and laughter turned into a nightmare when the Athlone man fell just before the first ladder on the mountain’s trail.

    While Salie’s family, including his two brothers and their families, had joined him on the hike, Salie had elected to push ahead with his daughter Fatima, 13, and son Ebrahim, 14.

    His oldest brother, Abdullah, an executive member of Pagad, said Salie’s daughter, who was walking slightly ahead of her father, had to move aside to let a quickly-descending hiker get past.

    “From what she’s told us, it sounds like this man caused Salie to fall,” said Abdullah.

    In an e-mail sent to the Cape Argus, an anonymous hiker said the route had been extremely busy that day.

    “I greeted (Salie) just before he started his climb,” said the hiker. “I believe that he moved over to allow someone to pass him, then slipped over the edge.”

    Speaking at Salie’s home in Athlone, Abdullah said that Salie was incredibly fit. Just over two years ago, Salie had suffered a heart attack as a result of high blood pressure. He had vowed to beat the disease.

    “He had arms three times the size of mine,” said Abdullah. “He was an outdoorsman, there was no way he could just fall.”

    The Salie family was still in shock yesterday as friends and relatives came over to Salie’s home to offer their support. Abdullah said Salie’s daughter, who had seen him fall, was distraught.

    “It hasn’t sunk in that her father is gone,” he said.

    Abdullah said that his brother would be sorely missed by his family.

    “He would never have a boy’s night out,” he said. “He would spend every minute he could with his wife and children.”

    In an official statement, Pagad saluted the long-serving member: “He was one of the members (we) could always rely on. When mothers called in the middle of the night, seeking help for their sons and daughters, he was the one who would come to the rescue.”

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A column which says same-sex parents should tell their children the set-up was not normal or desirable has sparked outrage.

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    Cape Town - Internet users and gay rights activists have lashed out at Stephen Mulholland after an opinion piece by the columnist was printed in last weekend’s Sunday Times.

    The column, titled “Same-sex parents have a special duty to their children”, concludes that same-sex parents must be “frank with their children that such arrangements are neither the norm nor ultimately desirable”.

    Users on Twitter have lashed out at the views offered throughout the piece, calling Mulholland “backwards”, “homophobic” and “intolerant”.

    Sipho Hlongwane, reacting to Mulholland’s claim the idea of same-sex marriage flies in the face of natural law, tweeted: “Other things once defended in the name of ‘natural law’: Slavery, colonialism, racism, misogyny.”

    “I like how Mulholland thinks we can draw norms re sexuality and child rearing from nature, where males are quite often just sperm donors,” chirped in Charl du Plessis.

    Mulholland appeared on Eusebius McKaiser’s radio show on 702 CapeTalk yesterday morning to defend his views but many users on Twitter were left more furious than before.

    “Jesus Christ. Stephen Mulholland is coming across completely BIZARRE on 702. Has he had a stroke or something?” tweeted Rebecca Davis.

    Pierre de Vos, Claude Leon Foundation chairman in constitutional governance at the University of Cape Town, wrote on his blog Constitutionally Speaking that most of Mulholland’s piece, which among other things, details an early and seemingly isolated encounter with a gay man, is given over to patronising remarks of the “some-of-my-best-friends-are-black” variety.

    “Unlike Mulholland, I believe every parent – whether in a same-sex relationship or otherwise – has the ethical duty to tell their children that loving and caring relationships (whether between members of the same or of opposite sexes) are desirable but that bigotry never is,” said De Vos.

    Cape Town author Lidia Theron, who wrote the book I Back My Daughter Unconditionally, wherein she details how she came to accept her gay daughter, said Mulholland’s column was “incredibly backwards”.

    She said Mulholland’s claim that same-sex parents were not normal was disgusting.

    “It is the same as to expect any other father and mother to tell their children that they are not normal, but expect the children to be normal,” she said.

    Dawie Nel, director for OUT, a local organisation that provides health services and counselling to gay, bisexual and transgendered South Africans, said while the message in the piece was backwards, there was no point in calling for an outright ban of these sort of pieces.

    “While it’s worrying, we still need to talk about it,” he said.

    Xander Flemming, a psychologist at OUT, said it was regrettable Mulholland used unfounded statements.

    “The face of the family has changed and one cannot only use a hetero-normative model to define the structure of families today,” he said.

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A burglary at the Westridge Clinic led to severe damage and resulted in the temporary closure of the facility.

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    Cape Town - A burglary at Westridge Clinic led to severe damage and resulted in the temporary closure of the facility.

    The clinic was broken into in the early hours of yesterday morning, resulting in the clinic flooding and the ceiling collapsing, leaving it unsafe to be used by patients and staff.

    Mayoral committee member for health services Lungiswa James said Westridge patients would be helped at the clinic in Rocklands and the Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre.

    “We would like to encourage patients who normally attend Westridge Clinic to go to the clinic in Rocklands until further notice.”

    She said dental emergencies and clients collecting medication from the chronic dispensing unit should go to the Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre, where a special window would be designated to assist Westridge clients.

    James said the amount of damage caused by the burglary was still being assessed by the city, and details regarding repairs and reopening of the facility would be made available when possible.

    James appealed to members of the public to act against crimes of this nature and asked those with any information regarding the break-in to call the local police station.

    “I would also like to appeal to all members of the community to act against theft and vandalism in our facilities as they belong to all of us,” James said. It has not yet been established whether anything was taken during the burglary.

    The City of Cape Town apologised for the inconvenience the closure has caused and reassured patients that they would strive to have the clinic reopened as soon as possible.

    Those with medical queries can visit the Rocklands clinic on the corner of Lancaster and Park roads or contact them on 021 392 5121/2.

    Police could not confirm the incident yesterday. Those with information can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

    Last year, the Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre was vandalised soon after a multimillion-rand upgrade. Thieves reportedly stripped the hospital of electric cables, taps, door locks and toilet seats.

    yolisa.tswanya@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The wife of detained Prof Cyril Karabus is yet to come to grips with his arrest.

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    Cape Town - The wife of detained Cape Town professor Cyril Karabus, Jenifer, is yet to come to grips with her husband’s arrest, which has caused the family much anguish over the past five months.

    “What is happening is heartbreaking. He has worked hard throughout his career. This was supposed to be a relaxing time for us to enjoy our retirement and spend time with our grandchildren,” said Jenifer.

    After 15 court appearances, Karabus’s fate in the Abu Dhabi justice system is still unclear.

    The buck stops with the attorney-general, who is yet to report to the judge whether they have managed to locate the missing original medical records required by the judge to prosecute Karabus.

    For three consecutive days, Karabus and his legal team in Abu Dhabi have sat outside the court, waiting to hear from the attorney-general, said Karabus’s lawyer Michael Bagraim.

    On Tuesday, they left with “no news” yet again.

    “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. They are toying with us because they know we have no redress. They have trapped him. He may as well be in a cage,” said 63-year-old Jenifer. She was speaking from her Kenilworth home on Tuesday.

    An emeritus professor at UCT, Karabus, 77, has been detained in Abu Dhabi on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents since August 18 last year.

    He was arrested while in transit in Dubai from his son’s wedding in Toronto, Canada, to South Africa.

    “No one explained anything to us. There was a lot shouting. The police were trying to frighten us as much as possible. They took away his passport and left him with only his toothbrush,” said Jenifer, recalling Karabus’s arrest at the airport.

    “I am still trying to make sense of it all. What is the point of this? What is their goal? And what do they want?”

    A specialist paediatric oncologist, Karabus – who has a pacemaker – was tried and convicted in absentia in the United Arab Emirates in 2002, after he worked as a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi in 2000.

    Prosecutors argue that Karabus failed to give a blood transfusion to a three-year-old Yemeni cancer patient during an operation at the medical centre, causing her death.

    She later died of myeloid leukaemia.

    “Something is very fishy here. There was no need for them to wait 10 years to arrest him. They knew where he lived; he signed a contract with the hospital. If they wanted to find him they would have,” Jenifer said.

    Karabus was sentenced to three years and six months in jail.

    His sentence included the payment of about R230 000 “blood money” to the victim’s family.

    Karabus is currently living with Dr Elwin Buchel, the former head of gastroenterology at the University of Pretoria.

    Seeing her husband with shackles on his feet and hands, “shuffling” into court during his earlier appearances was “shocking” for Jenifer.

    She explained that she met Karabus for the first time 40 years ago when he treated her four-year-old daughter from a previous marriage at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

    Her daughter also had myeloid leukaemia, the same disease as the Yemeni cancer patient.

    Jenifer’s daughter died of the disease in 1973.

    “I feel sorry for the parents. I know what they went through… I went through it myself, “ she said.

    It’s a proven fact that on his own, Karabus has managed to reduce the death rate of certain types of leukaemia by 80 percent, said Jenifer

    She said Karabus’ situation is beginning to take a toll on their five children.

    “They worship their father,” she said.

    His “humongous” legal fees are also putting a strain on the family.

    “Money just disappears. He has no income there. He is currently living on a credit card that he uses for basic necessities,” Jenifer said.

    The missing originals are Karabus’ notes, lab reports and details of the three-week period before he started treating the girl.

    “His work is his hobby, he worked all the time. When he was not working, he enjoyed exercising in the pool and working in the garden,” Jenifer said.

    “I miss cooking a meal for him. I have no reason to cook anymore. It’s not like he is on holiday… I don’t know when, or if, he is coming home.”

    Jenifer said she was grateful for the support and donations coming in from all over the world.

    Her friends and children are helping her cope with the ordeal, she said.

    She is planning to travel to Abu Dhabi at the end of the week.

    She explained that all court proceedings in Abu Dhabi are held in Arabic. Although they have an interpreter, their lawyers are not fluent in English.

    “This whole thing is ridiculous. We can’t even get a straight answer from our own lawyers,” she said.

    Karabus is turning 78 on April 1.

    nontando.mposo@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Strikers were turning away trucks and buses in the Wolesley area to stop non-striking farm workers going to work.

    |||

    Western Cape - Strikers were turning away trucks and buses in the Wolesley area to stop non-striking farm workers going to work on Wednesday, SABC radio news reports.

    They had also closed a road into a nearby township.

    It was also reported that farmers in the Hex River Valley had employed private security personnel to protect their property against strikers.

    Western Cape farmworkers went on strike last year, demanding that their daily wages be increased from R69 to R150. They also wanted a coherent land reform programme.

    Two people were killed and property worth millions was destroyed between August 27 and December 4. The strike was then suspended.

    Last week, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) announced that the strike would resume on Wednesday following failed pay negotiations with Agri-SA and government. - Sapa


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    A senior traffic officer is being investigating for allegedly posting calls for violence against farmers on a social network.

    |||

    Western Cape - The Western Cape’s Witzenberg municipality is investigating a senior traffic officer for allegedly posting calls for violence against farmers on a social network. The municipality covers Ceres, Tulbagh and Wolseley.

    This comes amid high tension between farmers and workers in the area, after a series of strikes for higher wages, which are set to resume on Wednesday.

    The Food and Allied Workers Union called on farmworkers to “engage in peaceful strike actions and desist from engaging in violence, yet to remain militant in the course of protest, picketing and other actions”, said Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola.

    The officer’s Facebook page allegedly said, in Afrikaans: “It looks like we must again pick up our AK47s here in the f****** Western Cape. I am sick of farmers and the DA.”

    It continued: “The f****** farmers know who our leaders are, and now our leaders are being targeted,” adding that the “DA wants to make the Western Cape a province for Boere”.

    David Nasson, Witzenberg’s municipal manager, says he views the matter “very seriously”. Agri SA said it didn’t not want to comment until more information had been received.

    The posts were allegedly reproduced by means of a screenshot from the officer’s Facebook page. The original posts appear to have been deleted after they started to gain attention.

    Netherlands-based CensorBugbear.org, which reproduced screenshots of the posts, is a right-wing organisation which claims to promote “uncensored South African news”.

    The postings sparked debate on Facebook and Twitter. “Race hatred!!“ posted one user. Others posted racist comments.

    Cape Argus


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    Western Cape police are ready to deal with any unrest and violence associated with the planned farmworker strike.

    |||

    Western Cape - Western Cape police are ready to deal with any unrest and violence associated with Wednesday’s planned farmworker strike.

    Provincial police commissioner and chairman of the Western Cape joint operational co-ordinating committee Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer said anyone who broke the law would be arrested and prosecuted.

    The Western Cape government has also activated its provincial disaster management centre at Tygerberg Hospital, from which it is to co-ordinate and respond to any possible labour unrest on farms, said Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.

    He said disaster management officials would be “monitoring areas diligently” with the police and district disaster management centres across the province.

    “All necessary government departments and stakeholders, such as the emergency services and other response agencies, have been placed on high alert in preparation for the strike action,” Bredell said. “Contingency plans have been established for various potential threats.”

    Lamoer said farmworkers had the right to peaceful protests to voice their concerns and grievances, as long as they did so within the bounds of the law, respecting the rights of others.

    “We urge farmworkers to protest within the boundaries of the law and refrain from using violence during their actions,” Lamoer said. “We will act against anyone who breaks the law and they will be arrested and prosecuted.”

    Last week, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich announced that the farmworker strike – which was suspended on December 5 – would resume on Wednesday.

    Workers are demanding a R150 a day in wages and a “coherent land reform programme”.

    The strike was suspended when workers agreed with Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson to give farm owners and the government a chance to discuss wages for farmworkers pending a review this year of the sectoral determination.

    Parties agreed that workers and farm owners would continue with farm-to-farm negotiations, while unions would recruit more members during the holidays.

    On Tuesday, Agriculture MEC Gerrit van Rensburg warned farmworkers to think about their jobs before participating in the strike.

    Van Rensburg said police and authorities in the Boland had not received notification of the strike from unions as of Tuesday evening.

    He said this made any gathering or demonstration by farmworkers illegal.

    “It is an unprotected strike. Farmworkers must think very carefully whether they want to risk their jobs by joining in the strike,” Van Rensburg said.

    “We are very concerned about the strike as it comes during the harvest of table grapes for the export market. This is crucial for the economy and provides thousands of jobs.”

    Van Rensburg said the provincial government was committed to the safety and security of all the province’s citizens as well as holidaymakers and tourists in the Western Cape.

    To report any incidence of violence relating to the strike call 10111.

    In the event of any life-threatening emergencies requiring emergency medical assistance, call 112 on a cellphone or the toll-free 10177 number from a landline.

    clayton.barnes@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A political showdown is looming between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato.

    |||

    Cape Town - A political showdown – which might end up in the Constitutional Court – is looming between Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato over the Western Cape Community Safety Bill, formally put out for public comment this week.

    The bill, first announced by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille during her State of the Province address last year, would give the provincial government and community police forums greater oversight over the police. It would also allow the provincial government to determine policing needs and priorities in the Western Cape.

    On Tuesday, Mark Wiley, chairman of the province’s community safety standing committee in the legislature, said the bill was formally out for public comment and that public hearings would be held from January 22.

    But Mthethwa’s spokesman Zweli Mnisi said the bill fell outside the mandate of the Western Cape executive and that Mthethwa would fight it all the way to the Constitutional Court.

    Mthethwa – after getting a legal opinion – said that Chapter 11, section 206 of the constitution stated that a member of the cabinet must be responsible for policing and “must determine national policing policy after consulting the provincial governments and taking into account the policing needs and priorities of the provinces as determined by the provincial executive”.

    On Tuesday, Mnisi said that the police ministry would “closely monitor” developments around the bill. “The constitution is clear – SAPS and everything that goes with it is a national competency,” he said. In response, Plato said the bill was “going ahead” and that his office had not received any formal notification that Mthethwa was taking the matter to court.

    “The bill is in the hands of the provincial standing committee now. Public hearing dates have been set and we wait for that process to run its course now.”

    Wiley said Mthethwa should use the public comment period to make his submissions to the committee.

    “As the provincial parliament, we are following the processes,” he said. “We’ve received the bill from the community safety department and have put it out for submissions. We will see where the process goes.”

    Three public hearings will be held in George, Beaufort West and Vredendal from January 22, culminating in a final hearing in the provincial legislature on January 29.

    clayton.barnes@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    Sthembiso Bhengu could not believe her ears when her friend was turned away from donating blood because he was gay.

    |||

    Cape Town - Sthembiso Bhengu could not believe her ears when her friend was turned away from donating blood because he was gay.

    Bhengu, 19, and her friend – a 20-year-old homosexual man from Cape Town – were left flabbergasted at a blood donation clinic on a visit to Joburg recently and took to Twitter to vent their anger.

    According to the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, the nurse at the clinic told him not to bother donating blood “because he is gay”.

    According to Marika Champion of the Western Province Blood Transfusion Services (WPBTS), the current policy does not allow actively gay males to donate.

    “The national policy deferral period is six months,” said Champion.

    WPBTS maintains these deferrals are based on preventative measures to minimise potential HIV and/or hepatitis transmissions.

    Both Bhengu and her friend are now boycotting blood donation until the laws are changed.

    After the Twitter posts were made, other voices joined the discussion.

    Mfana Dlaba was turned away from a blood donation station at the University of Johannesburg late last year.

    “I was told that they wouldn’t take my blood if I had gay sex in the year preceding the donation date,” he said.

    Editor of GayLife blog, known by his Twitter handle @GayLifeZA, agrees with the general law of imposing restrictions on anyone who has had sex with a stranger in the last six months, due to the risks involved. “However, the question about men having sex with men in the last six months does not specify if you had sex with a stranger, or a long-term partner.

    “This means that a straight person can have unprotected sex (vaginal or anal) with someone they know a day before donating blood, while a gay man who had sex (anal or oral) with his husband of five years, using a condom, cannot donate for six months after having sex,” he said.

    The SA National Blood Service (SANBS) believes the incidents are likely due to misinterpretation of the application forms.

    “There is nowhere on the form that asks if the applicant is homosexual,” said Phoki Sesoro of the SANBS.

    The SANBS encourages anyone who has a complaint to phone their toll free number 0800 119 031.

    Cape Argus


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    Police fired rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of farm workers in De Doorns after a protest for higher wages turned violent.

    |||

    Western Cape - Police fired rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of striking farm workers in South Africa's prime grape-growing region on Wednesday after a protest for higher wages turned violent.

    Scores of police clad in riot gear fired rubber bullets at the strikers, who hurled stones from behind barricades of burning tyres, according to a Reuters reporter on the scene in De Doorns.

    The strike in the Western Cape, also home to the country’s multi-billion dollar wine industry, restarted on Wednesday after being suspended in December, when warehouses were set on fire and at least two workers died in clashes with police.

    The farm workers, many of them seasonal workers employed to pick and pack fruit, want their minimum daily wage of R69 more than doubled to R150. - Reuters


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