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    Sanral says it is not in a position to start work on the N1-N2 Winelands toll highway project in April.

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    Cape Town - The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is not in a position to start work on the N1-N2 Winelands toll highway project in April, it said on Friday.

    “Statements in this regard are mischievous and intended to influence public opinion in a particular direction,” said spokesman Vusi Mona.

    “Sanral has never said it intends to start with the project or to conclude the concession contract on 20 April 2013.”

    Mona was responding to a statement by the City of Cape Town on Wednesday that Sanral intended resuming the N1-N2 Winelands toll highway project.

    Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said the city received notification from Sanral on March 6, and undertook to provide the city with 45 days' notice of its intention to start working on the toll project.

    “This means that Sanral could commence work on the project by 20 April 2013, without first resolving the city's concerns,” said Herron.

    He said a review application about the planned tolling was before the Western Cape High Court and was yet to be decided.

    Mona said negotiations of contracts was a time-consuming and lengthy process.

    “Only after the appointment of a concessionaire, and once funding has been secured, can the necessary works under the project be carried out.”

    There had been exchanges between Sanral and the city about a possible meeting.

    Mona said: “It is untrue that Sanral is not willing to engage the city... however, we have noted the city's threatened action to interdict Sanral on the project.”

    Although Sanral respects the city's right to approach the court where it feels aggrieved, Sanral will also exercise its constitutional right in this respect, he said. - Sapa


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    There was shock and tears as word spread from one family to the next that Jacob Humphreys's sentence had been cut.

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    Cape Town - Struggling to hold back their tears, the heartbroken families of the victims of the Blackheath level crossing accident have reacted with shock at the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling, which effectively overturned the murder conviction of the man responsible for the deaths of their loved ones in August 2010.

    There was all-round disbelief and heart-wrenching sadness as word spread from one family to the next on Friday that Jacob Humphreys’s 20-year murder sentence had been set aside.

    He will now spend eight years behind bars.

     

    Humphreys ploughed his taxi, transporting 14 children, into an oncoming train at the Buttskop level crossing outside Cape Town while dodging between the lowered booms.

     

    The 10 children who died in the crash were Lisle Augis, 11, Cody Erasmus, 15, Jody Phillips, 13, Reece Smith, 7, Nolan Februarie, 13, Michaelin de Koker, 11, Jason Pedro, 14, Nadine Martinissen, 16, Jean Pierre Willeman, 13, and Jade Adams, 10.

    A tearful Valerie Phillips, who lost her son Jody in the accident, said on Friday night she had expected more from the courts.

    “It’s not that I hate him, but I expected that the judgment would be far more fair – even harsher. The pain is still unbearable,” she said, crying uncontrollably.

    Phillips said that the family found out about the judgment after one of her husband’s colleagues SMSed him while he was in a meeting.

    “We are all in a state of shock. I still feel sore about my child being ripped from us at such an early age. What he (Humphreys) has done to us is difficult to accept. I do not hate him, but I believe that God will be just,” she said.

    Phillips was upset that Humphreys could be back with his family in the next few years, while their pain and sorrow would continue indefinitely.

     

    “Nothing can bring back my son. My life won’t be the same. Today was very emotional… very painful for us,” she said.

     

    Ursula Pedro, mother of Jason, was still in hospital, receiving treatment for depression relating to the death of her son, when she received the news yesterday.

    Sobbing uncontrollably, Pedro said: “Our children paid with their lives and I can’t believe that his sentence was reduced. How can you be found guilty of murder, and then it’s just overturned?”

    Lashing out at the justice system, she added: “I have no more hope left. I want my child back, and I’m never getting him back… How could they do this, how could they? It’s unforgivable.”

     

    Cody’s mother, Gail Erasmus, was also overcome with grief.

     

    “What are they saying? That my child’s life is only worth an eight-year sentence?” she asked.

     

    With the pain of the accident still fresh, Erasmus said that, if her son was alive today, he would be in his first year at university.

     

    “What have they achieved by changing the sentence? Nothing, except to break our hearts even further.

    “It’s hard to accept – we are only human. But his day of reckoning will come,” she said.

     

    Nolene Michau, who is the grandmother of Michaelin, who died in the crash, and Luciano de Koker, who sustained serious injuries in it, said they were watching the afternoon news when the story came up on Friday.

     

    Michau said her grandson’s life had changed dramatically since the accident, and he was struggling at college.

    “We switched off the television when the news reports about the sentence came up. It is still very traumatic for Luciano to watch scenes of the accident.

    “He still refuses to talk about it.”

     

    She said the family was saddened by the turn of events.

    “His (Humphreys’s) children can still visit him in jail. Our children were ripped from our lives. There’s only silence at their graves,” Michau said.

    Judith Cyster, mother of Jade Adams, said they were “bitterly upset” at the court decision.

    “It just shows that our children’s lives were worth nothing. We will leave him (Humphreys) in the hands of the Lord,” she said.

     

    warda.meyer@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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    In a carefully argued legal verdict, five SCA judges have clarified the grounds necessary to find drivers guilty of murder.

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    Bloemfontein - In a carefully argued verdict delivered on Friday, five Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judges have, in a unanimous judgment, clarified the grounds necessary to find offending drivers guilty of murder – rather than culpable homicide.

     The ruling, which elicited shocked and horrified responses from affected families, was made on Friday in an appeal lodged by taxi driver Jacob Humphreys to challenge his murder convictions arising from the deaths of 10 children being transported in his taxi.

    The court set aside his murder convictions, replacing them with culpable homicide, and reducing his sentence from an effective 20 years to just eight.

    Humphreys operated a shuttle service for schoolchildren in Eerste River. On the day of the crash in August 2010, he ignored lowered booms over the Buttskop level crashing, and collided with a train.

    In December 2011, the Western Cape High Court convicted him of 10 counts of murder and four of attempted murder, finding that he subjectively foresaw the death of his passengers as a possible consequence of his conduct.

    He was convicted on the basis of dolus eventualis (indirect or legal intent), but took the case on appeal.

    Parents sobbed on Friday, accusing the justice system of having little regard for the value of the young lives lost, as the news spread quickly.

    The judgment, written by Judge Fritz Brand, said the test for dolus eventualis was twofold: whether the person foresaw the possibility of the death of his passengers as a possible consequence of his conduct, and whether he reconciled himself with that possibility.

    Judge Brand said he could not fault the high court’s conclusion that Humphreys subjectively foresaw the death of his passengers, but said the question was whether Humphreys took the consequences that he foresaw “into the bargain”.

    “First, I believe common sense dictates that if (Humphreys) foresaw the possibility of fatal injury to one or more of his passengers – as I found he did – he must by the same token have foreseen fatal injury to himself … But there is no indication on the evidence that (he) valued his own life any less than the average person, or that it was immaterial to him whether or not he would lose his life,” the judge said.

    It could not be said that Humphreys had reconciled himself with the possibility of his own death.

    “In short, he foresaw the possibility of the collision, but he thought it would not happen; he took a risk which he thought would not materialise.”

    On the evidence that Humphreys had dodged the booms on previous occasions, Judge Brand said this probably contributed to a “misplaced sense of confidence that he could safely repeat the same exercise”.

    On Friday night Wits University criminal law expert Stephen Tuson said the judgment spelt out clearly what was necessary for a murder conviction in accident cases.

    He believed it would force the departments of justice and transport to “put the brakes on” any decision to prosecute motorists for murder.

    “It will be the rare exception,” he predicted.

    In spite of the fact that the decision could affect authorities’ efforts to reduce road carnage, Tuson said he viewed it as “a positive step”.

    “They (prosecuting and transport authorities) were on a wrong mission. And the SCA’s put it right,” Tuson added.

    Criminal law attorney William Booth said that the decision meant prosecuting authorities would have to “very carefully” consider the evidence before deciding to charge motorists with murder.

    “It’s very difficult to prove intent in these kinds of cases,” he said.

    However, Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle expressed disappointment last night, warning that unless the consequences were severe.

    It would very difficult to change the reckless and irresponsible behaviour on the roads, he added.

    Weekend Argus


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    Rukshanna Hussain will have the sad task of sorting through the personal effects of her dead relatives and friends.

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    Cape Town -

    This weekend, as the first wave of protests outside the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court have died down, Rukshanna Hussain will have the sad task of sorting through the personal effects of her dead relatives and friends.

    Her neighbours spared her from having to clean the bloodstained floors and furniture, but Hussain is the only person alive who knows which of the slain men the possessions in her home belonged to.

    Her husband, Abid Hussain, is on a visit to Pakistan and will stay on to receive the bodies of his brother, his cousin and two friends. Before the bodies are flown out on Monday, Rukshanna hopes to have a package of Shahzad Ahmad’s possessions together.

    “He was her only son,” she said of Ahmad’s mother.

    Ahmad, 39, was one of four Pakistani men who died after masked gunmen stormed their home on Tuesday evening. The others were Ghulam Baqar, 23, Adnan Haider, 23, and Shafique Muhammad, 42. Two of their friends who survived are in Groote Schuur Hospital.

    After the attack residents spoke fondly of Hussain, his business, family and strength of character. He had been living in Mitchells Plain for 16 years.

    “If you were short of money, they would give you bread and some groceries until you could pay them back. When there was a funeral or sports day, they would donate food,” said one neighbour.

    It is widely believed the killing was plotted by a certain business rival of Abid Hussain. Hussain runs a company, Eastern Distributors, and recently landed a lucrative contract with Albany Bakeries.

    Rukshanna and her granddaughter, 12-year-old Robin-Lee van Nelson, were in the room when the three shots that killed Baqar were fired. This was followed by a barrage of gunfire in an adjacent room. As the assailants escaped with a safe, they shot Ahmad in the driveway of a neighbour’s house.

    “I came outside with my gun drawn and saw Pomi (as Ahmad was also known) slumping over. As I ran past him I touched his shoulder, to comfort him. I walked into the street, took aim at the murderers, but there were innocent people in the street so I did not fire,” said the neighbour.

    “When I returned, he was dead. A good man, we had been friends for years.”

    Police arrested Lehano Jansen, 28, who appeared in Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Friday on four counts of murder, two of attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

    Outside the court, hundreds of Pakistanis and locals brandished placards bearing slogans such as “No Bail For Killers”, and chanting “We want justice”.

    The case was postponed to April 10, and Jansen remains in custody. Ahmed’s uncle Javed Iqbal said: “

    We have not told his mother, my sister. I am afraid that she will have a heart attack.”

    daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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  • 03/23/13--06:11: Fish Hoek shark net in place
  • It’s definitely safe to go back into the water at Fish Hoek after a new net to keep white sharks out of the swimming area was installed.

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    Cape Town -

    It’s definitely safe to go back into the water at Fish Hoek beach after a new net to keep white sharks out of the swimming area was finally installed on Friday.

    The trial net, which encloses the space between the City of Cape Town law enforcement offices and Jagger’s walk and extends 300 metres out to sea, has been in the pipeline for months. It comes in response to concerns about recreational use of the beach with sharks in the bay, and the subsequent potential negative effects on local businesses.

    Felicity Purchase, South Peninsula sub-council chairwoman, said the aim of the trial was to determine the efficacy of the net as a safety measure.

    But they would also conduct research to understand how the net would work in a variety of weather and sea conditions, and determine whether it posed an unacceptable risk to marine life.

    “If successful, the use of an exclusion net at Fish Hoek beach could become a permanent safety measure,” she said.

    But Purchase pointed out that whatever the outcome, the net would not replace the existing Shark Spotting Programme.

    She warned too that there could be changes to operating hours and conditions at the beach, without notice, during the course of the trial, which continues until January.

    “It is not possible to determine ahead of time which days the net will operate on, and for how long it will operate each day.

    “This decision will be made daily, based on weather and sea conditions.”

    Purchase said the netted area would be mainly for the use of swimmers. “No motorised or non-motorised watercraft will be allowed within the netted area. Inflatables will be permitted.”

    Body boards would be allowed within the netted area, but users may be asked to leave during peak periods.

    Purchase said it was unlikely the net would interfere with trek fishers.

    sibongakonke.mama@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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    A Camps Bay house belonging to the daughter of a man said to behind one of SA’s largest Ponzi schemes has been attached.

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    Cape Town -

    A PLUSH R8.8-million Camps Bay house belonging to the daughter of the man said to have persuaded more than 200 wealthy businessmen to invest in one of South Africa’s largest Ponzi schemes, has been attached by order of the Western Cape High Court.

    The house, in Medburn Road, Camps Bay, is registered in the name of Laura Haude, 30, daughter of David Leigh – a former legal adviser for the Development Bank of South Africa, who is believed to have recruited investors for what has become known as the Frankel Scheme.

    According to an affidavit by serious economic offences investigator Pieter Senekal, “the Frankel Scheme is of such staggering proportions that it has been recognised by the minister of finance in Parliament in South Africa”.

    “From the facts at my disposal, it may well be that the Frankel scheme is the largest commercial crime matter which has ever surfaced in South Africa.”

    While investors were mostly South African, some were from abroad, with one overseas participant investing more than $800m (about R7.444 billion).

    Senekal added that the investigation was ongoing, and would, in all probability, continue for a substantial period “in view of the complexity of the matter”.

    By the time the scheme was exposed in 2009, it had about 880 investors who had invested around R12.5 billion.

    This week however, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) focused its attention on the Camps Bay house, applying for a preservation order to allow it to attach the property on the basis that it was bought with money which emanated from the Frankel Scheme.

    In an affidavit before the court, deputy director of public prosecutions Priyadarshnee Bisewar sketched the background. She said that Barry Tannenbaum – son of one of the founders of the Adcock Ingram pharmaceutical group – had initiated the Frankel Scheme in 2004.

    “Tannenbaum punted his scheme as a legitimate business, buying active pharmaceutical ingredients from foreign countries, which he then sold on to generic drug makers like Aspen, Adcock and Novartis to make antiretroviral drugs. Tannenbaum offered prodigious returns of up to 216 percent per year,” she said.

    To make the scheme work, Tannenbaum used agents to recruit investors.

    Leigh was one of the agents.

    “Leigh amassed great wealth from his participation in this illegal scheme,” she said, adding that the Camps Bay house was bought in November 2007, when Haude was 25, for R8.8m. It was paid for, in cash, over three days.

    Months later it was registered in Haude’s name.

    Bisewar said the funds used to buy the property were traced back to Rand Merchant Bank and Investec accounts belonging to Tannenbaum.

    “These accounts are known to have been extensively used by Tannenbaum in the day-to-day running of the Frankel Scheme,” she said, adding that, during the Frankel Scheme, Tannenbaum regularly made transfers to Leigh who, in turn, transferred funds to other accounts in his own name.

    “For the purchase of the property R9 500 000 was transferred from Leigh’s Standard Bank Money Market call account to Leigh’s Standard bank cheque account,” she said.

    In addition, at the time the property was bought Haude supplied an affidavit in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, in which she claimed that a “loan” from her father was used to buy it.

    Bisewar said h

    owever that Haude did not have the means to repay the loan. She was a student at the time, declaring no income to SARS for 2007.

    “The evidence shows that the funds used by Laura Haude to purchase the property are inseparably linked to the proceeds from the Frankel Scheme received by Leigh,” she said, declaring that the property was the proceeds of unlawful activity.

    Tannenbaum now lives in Runaway Bay, Australia. A warrant for his arrest was issued in October 2009, and South African authorities have applied for his extradition. The Tannenbaum estate was finally sequestrated in August 2009, with Leigh giving evidence during a subsequent inquiry with the trustees.

    It was determined that he made a profit of R114m from his investments.

    Judge Nape Dolamo granted the preservation order on Wednesday.

    Weekend Argus


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    Western Cape -

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    Western Cape -

    National Sea Rescue (NSRI) volunteers have helped in the dramatic rescue of a horse which had become trapped on an island in a raging river in the Wilderness area of the Western Cape.

    The horse, Firefly, was finally brought safely out of the river on Friday morning.

    The Wilderness volunteers were called out on Thursday evening, after news about Firefly’s stranding on an island in the Hoogekraal River, near Karatara, got out.

    Garth Dominy, NSRI Wilderness’s duty coxswain, said the owner and a veterinary surgeon had also become trapped on the island during attempts to rescue the horse from drowning in the river.

    “The horse had reportedly been missing for two days. The owner, Don Hartig, found it battling to keep its head above water earlier on Thursday.

    “It’s suspected that the horse had wandered upriver and then tried to swim to safety, but had ended up in deep water, with steep cliffs on either side of the river bank.

    “It was struggling to stay afloat and had nowhere to go.

    “Don paddled to the horse using a borrowed canoe and tried desperately throughout Thursday to keep its head above water while also trying to coax it to either swim downriver to a safe landing or climb on to a small island.

    “Eventually the horse managed to climb on to the little island, but it collapsed from exhaustion and stress, although it was physically uninjured.”

    Vet Dr Rolf Lambrecht, of the Knysna Veterinary Clinic, had been summoned and Don ferried him to the island in the canoe.

    The vet then sedated the horse and he and Hartig stayed with it while it regained its strength.

    Don’s wife, Carien, had also been ferried to the island in the canoe to assist.

    “As the light faded they become quite desperate to find a way to get the horse to safety and concerned friends and neighbours called NSRI Wilderness with a plea for help.”

    The volunteer crew towed two sea rescue craft – with full-scale swift-water rescue kits and night kits (which include donated headlamps and torches) – to the scene.

    Dominy continued: “It was decided to initially send in a reconnaissance team to investigate and our sea rescue craft were launched on to the river.

    “By coincidence, one of our NSRI Wilderness volunteers, Dr Torsten Henschell, is a retired veterinary surgeon himself and another one of our NSRI Wilderness volunteers, Jacques de Bruyn, is an ex SA Defence Force Equestrian Unit officer, so it was obviously decided they should be sent on the initial recce.

    “After consulting with Don, Carien and the vet, the decision was made to ferry Carien and Dr Lambrecht to the low-water bridge to release the vet, who had to leave to attend to another emergency, and to allow Carien and our remaining sea rescue crew to put together a provisions pack so that the owners could consider staying on the island with the horse overnight.”

    A decision was then made that the horse and her carers would remain on the island overnight and the NSRI crew left supplies, including hay for the horse.

    “Our NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew returned to base at 22h00.”

    By early Friday morning a sandbank had emerged and Firefly was walked out through the less deep water.

    The horse was later reported to be “grazing safely at home”, said Dominy.

    Weekend Argus


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    A 22-year-old man was shot and wounded during a drive by shooting in Mitchells Plain.

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    Cape Town - A 22-year-old man was shot and wounded during a drive by shooting in Mitchells Plain, Western Cape police said on Saturday.

    Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said the man was shot while walking in the street on Saturday.

    “It is alleged that while the victim was walking in the street, unknown suspect driving past in a motor vehicle, fired several shots at him,” said Colonel T Kinana.

    He was taken to hospital for medical treatment. The motive for the attack is unknown and no one has been arrested, he said.

    No arrest has been made. - Sapa


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  • 03/24/13--02:11: Mealies whisk dop to the top
  • South African mealies helped a Cape grain whisky win a top international award, the Sunday Times reported.

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     Cape Town - South African mealies helped a Cape grain whisky win a top international award, the Sunday Times reported.

    “South African maize really makes very good grain whisky,” Jeff Green, the maker of Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky told the newspaper.

    The whisky - distilled in Wellington in the Western Cape - was awarded top honours as a grain whisky in London by Whisky Magazine.

    Over three hundred varieties of whisky were assessed in the competition.

    Green said that using mealies was not unusual as most whiskies were actually grain whiskies made from maize or wheat.

    The win was “unexpected”, said Green.

    Nevertheless, although the Bain's Cape Mountain was young for the market, “in a very short time it has done exceptionally well”.

    The whisky started being distilled in 2009 and was then matured for five years.

    Green told the newspaper the South African climate influenced the “flavour profile” of the whisky as more flavour was drawn while the spirit matured in oak casks.

    “It's a lot warmer here than in Scotland, obviously and that accelerated the maturation process.” - Sapa


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    Thousands of bikers roared into Mossel Bay as the 35th Buffalo Rally (The Buff) got under way in sizzling summer temperatures.

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    Mossel Bay -

    Thousands of bikers roared into Mossel Bay for the weekend as the 35th Buffalo Rally (The Buff) got under way in sizzling summer temperatures.

    Hosted by Cape Town Nomads Motor Cycle Club (MC), this is the eighth year the rally is being held in Mossel Bay.

    Organiser Luderick Jacoby said they attracted bikers from across South Africa, with four bikers even flying to Dubai to pick up some Harleys and head for the Garden Route.

    The rally is estimated to bring a welcome cash injection of R10 million into Mossel Bay’s economy, including local charities, and with bikers arriving for the event from Thursday, the holiday weekend got off to an early start.

    Thousands of litres of ice-cold beer were trucked in, while the smells of kudu burgers and boerewors cooking on the braai filled the air.

    World-class extreme stunt riders Bruce and Brent Le Riche were on the entertainment list, along with bands Kiss The Sky and Late Final.

    The Buffalo Rally was first held in 1969 in Bathhurst in the Eastern Cape, with just 250 bikers. Since then it has been held at a number of venues including Aliwal North, Oudtshoorn and Port Elizabeth.

    The rally took a nine-year break when, in 1984, the Port Elizabeth council refused the Nomads Club permission to stage the rally there.

    The rally was resurrected in 1993.

    Weekend Argus


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    Eleven hearses drove into Mandela Park Stadium in Khayelitsha. Twenty brown coffins were unloaded, and lined up on the field.

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    Cape Town - One after another, 11 white hearses drove into Mandela Park Stadium in Khayelitsha on Saturday. Twenty brown coffins were unloaded, and lined up on the field.

    Towards the centre were two small white coffins, carrying the bodies of Ntandokazi Zamubuntu and Lakheka Somfongo, each barely a year old, who were among the 24 people who died in the Hex River pass bus crash last Friday.

    The silence in the stadium was eerie as the blue and white church regalia of the Twelve Apostles Church in Christ congregation dominated.

    The victims, mostly female members of the church, died on March 15 when the double-decker bus in which they were travelling crashed on the way home from a national women’s prayer meeting in Secunda.

    As Dumisani Ximbi, provincial leader of the church, stepped towards the coffins to read out the names of the dead, the sound of people crying broke the silence.

    The crying escalated to incessant wailing as Ximbi moved further down the row of coffins, and some women fell to the ground.

    Relatives of the crash victims sat under a tent on the field, while the rest of the congregation were seated in the stands, listening to chief apostle and president of the church, Professor Caesar Nongqunga.

    National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman, DA MP Masizole Mnqasela and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant were among the politicians at Saturday’s mass funeral.

     

    While most of the victims are to be buried at their homes in other parts of the country this week, the congregation held yesterday’s service to remember the 22 victims who were members of the church.

    One of the 22, 47-year-old Butterworth mother Yolisa Jacobs was buried in Stellenbosch immediately after the service.

    Jacobs’s family was too distraught to speak to the media. Her children stared into the distance and wept as they were comforted by their aunts.

     

    Church member Nomlungisa Joka, 46, who survived the crash, described Jacobs as a woman “who loved praising God in song, even to her death”.

    “When the accident happened I thought I would be one of those in a coffin today. I don’t know how I survived. I was on the top level. I saw the bus moving like a mad man. I was still conscious when it slanted, but I was out of it when it eventually crashed. Seconds after that I found myself out in the sun with my lower body stuck between metal. Luckily I managed to pull myself from between the metal and get out.”

    She said Jacobs was sitting in the front row on the upper deck.

    “When the bus was about to crash people were screaming and crying. (Jacobs) immediately instructed everyone to stop crying and led us in song. We were all singing as the bus crashed.”

    Joka added: “She loved singing. If we were quiet she would ask why we were so quiet and ask someone to lead the choir in song.”

     

    sibongakonke.mama@inl.co.za

    The available names of the dead:

    Thandinkosi Maqamndana, Tantaswa Mbelesi, Nombulelo Mbulawa, Lakheka Somfongo, Nomathansanqa Ngamlana, Nompucuko Ndyoki, Ntandokazi Zamubuntu, Phumla Somfongo, Boniswa Kodwa, Thandeka Sheleni, Makutlosiso Setloboko, Yolisa Jacobs, Noxolo Langa-Jemlana, Nomendile Xatha, Linidiwe Sibobosi, Nomtatela Nkalana, Nokubonga Bene, Babalwa Mbele, Andiswa Dyantyi, Lindelwa Kondlo, Nobesuthu Ngani, Nonhi Mpahleni, Zola Ndamase

    Weekend Argus


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    The Cape Town Club, one of SA’s oldest “gentlemen’s” clubs, is facing financial ruin against a backdrop of internal ructions.

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    Cape Town - The Cape Town Club, one of the country’s oldest “gentlemen’s” clubs, is facing financial ruin against a backdrop of internal ructions.

    And in a last-ditch bid to save it, on Monday night members will vote on whether to pay a levy of between R37 500 and R48 400 (depending on the membership grading), according to an internal memo which describes the club as “hopelessly illiquid”.

    If the 121 paid-up members don’t agree to the increases, they will then vote on whether to sell Leinster Hall, its national monument home in Gardens, to a buyer who will allow them to continue leasing the premises.

    The club’s precarious financial situation was detailed in a letter to members. In the tradition of “a gentleman never tells”, the letter was marked as private and confidential. It makes it clear it presents “a picture of a bleak house”.

    The club’s membership fees for 2013/14 have already been spent. And with an overdraft of R200 000 and short-term loans from members totalling R1 million due shortly, as well as a monthly shortfall of R150 000, the club requires nearly R3.8m to stay afloat. The premises need repairs of about R2m.

    According to the memo,

    the club, formed by a merger of the City Club (founded in 1878) and the Civil Service Club (founded in 1858), and inaugurated by then-Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, is in “the worst financial position ever in its long history”.

    Describing itself nowadays as being “fully integrated”, with “no special rules or categories of membership for female members”, the club counts among its members the former leader of the opposition, Colin Eglin, who is the club’s president; Clive Keegan, a former Cape Town mayor who is an ex-chairman of the club; Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille; foreign consuls and ambassadors; as well as military officers and professionals.

    The club’s first black member was the then-minister of foreign affairs, the late Alfred Nzo, and its honorary members include former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and Western Cape premier Helen Zille.

    According to the letter to members, there is concern that if the hefty levy is agreed, it may send more members fleeing, leaving those who remain with an even higher bill, along with substantially hiked membership fees. The most popular membership category is likely to cost R23 000 next year.

    The club, it appears, is a house divided.

    The letter blames the dire financial crisis on years of membership fees that were too low, allowing the wrong sort to join – a “subversive and disruptive group of people who evidently neither understood the ethos of our club, nor were they loyal enough to sustain their membership in the face of a more apt level of subscription”.

    The letter also refers to “major management disruptions” caused by a “group of dissident members who incessantly and antagonistically slagged off the club’s general manager, its board members and many ordinary members”, and who “wished to take over the club for their own purposes”.

    It says this group “distracted” the board from the financial crisis last year, and then voted against a proposal to increase fees by 30 percent. In addition, it accuses the group of launching a campaign to spread “hindering misinformation to anyone who would listen – even to non-members”.

    An ex-chairman of the club, Business Report Cape Town bureau chief Donwald Pressly, said he was among those who voted against the fee increase last year.

    For that, he said he had been “severely punished and vilified for being a whistle-blower”.

    “We warned nearly a year ago that the business model was unsustainable. It now looks like the building will be sold. I now smell a very stinky rat. Who is it, one must ask, is going to benefit from the process?”

    He and another member, corporate governance expert Martin Hess, had sent an e-mail detailing their concerns to members. They used a year-old membership list which included some former and lapsed members.

    As a result the two were suspended, and have since resigned from the club.

    But not before the club’s attorney accused Pressly of being “deviant” for entering the club’s premises during his suspension.

    Asked to comment, Cape Town Club board chairman James Sedgwick said the club was private, and that its correspondence had been marked private and confidential. If he did make any public comment, it would only be after tomorrow’s meeting, he said.

    “It is up to the members to decide. Anything can happen in a private meeting of members.”

    Air of luxury turns out to be a thin veneer

    THhe Cape Town Club has a reciprocal arrangement with similar establishments abroad and elsewhere in South Africa, such as the Johannesburg Country Club, the Inanda Club, the Durban Club and the Kimberley Club.

    The club’s walls are hung with portraits of prominent South Africans of yesteryear and memorabilia; the library boasts a collection of Africana; and many a cabinet minister has discreetly briefed club members on matters of national import.

    Members, clad in the relaxed dress code of “elegant open-neck lounge shirts and tailored slacks” get to network in the Great Room, which has a “Rhodes bar”, and a lounge opens on to a generous-size veranda overlooking a garden. Until recently members and guests were served by a barman, Johannes Sethole, who recalled serving Jan Smuts.

    But the air of timeless luxury has turned out to be a thin veneer as membership has dwindled from more than 500, and money has become scarce.

    Weekend Argus


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    KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

    A GANG of armed robbers, led by a woman who uses a “damsel-in-distress” ploy to gain access to homes, has struck various Western Cape suburbs, prompting the Western Cape Community Police Forum (CPF) to issue a warning.

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    KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

    A GANG of armed robbers, led by a woman who uses a damsel-in-distress ploy to gain access to homes, has struck various Western Cape suburbs, prompting the Western Cape Community Police Forum (CPF) to issue a warning.

    So far incidents in Athlone, Rylands and Kuils River have been reported to the CPF.

    Chairman Hanif Loonat said: “The woman will often knock on the victim’s door in the middle of the night and claim she is being chased, or is in need of medical help. Once the owner opens the door, her armed accomplices move in and hold the owners hostage while looting the household.”

    Loonat said no serious injuries or deaths had been reported to date, but added that the level of violence was escalating with every case. “The robbers seem to pick specific targets and monitor their potential victims to gather information. This shows the level of sophistication.”

    An Athlone man, who declined to be named, said he was held at gunpoint two months ago when a woman knocked on his door in the middle of the night, claiming she was being chased by gangsters.

    “Because the area is known as a gang hotspot, her story wasn’t hard to believe. I opened the door to let her in but found two men standing beside her.

    “One of them had a gun pointed straight at my chest. The woman told the men they had to move quickly and then I realised they were working together.”

    He was then locked in the toilet. “I was terrified but so grateful my wife and daughter were staying over at a family member’s house for the night.” The man was only released from the toilet when his wife and daughter returned home.

    They discovered that the gang took small to medium-sized appliances and a jewellery box.

    Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk also urged residents to be cautious.

    kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za


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    A bride nearly lost her husband after one day of marriage when a group of thrill-seekers got far more than they bargained for.

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    Cape Town - A bride nearly lost her husband after only one day of marriage when a group of thrill-seekers got far more than they bargained for.

    On Thursday a group of friends went shark diving off the coast of Gansbaai in the Western Cape. But one great white, which must now have a very sore head, decided to ignore the strategically placed bait and head straight for human food.

    YouTube user Bryan Plummer has uploaded a video that shows the full horror of the attack as the huge shark gets its head full of sharp teeth right inside the diving cage.

    The man closest to the great white’s face just manages to swim under the gaping maw. This diver, known only as Roger, had tied the knot only the day before.

    The great white shark then seems to get its head stuck in the bars of the safety cage and thrashes around in the water.

    In all the confusion it is impossible to tell what has happened to the divers in the cage, but after a nervous few moments they bob to the surface unharmed – save for frayed nerves. – Daily Mail


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  • 03/24/13--10:42: Five whales taken to sea
  • Five of the 19 pilot whales that beached themselves in Noordhoek have been taken to deep water off Cape Town.

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    Johannesburg - Five of the 19 pilot whales that beached at Noordhoek Beach in Cape Town were taken out to sea on Sunday afternoon.

    “One of them has already re-beached in Simon’s Town,” said National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

    “It is still alive and we are trying to save that one, but its health has also deteriorated quite substantially.”

    The five had been placed on trailers at Noordhoek Beach and transported to the Simonstown naval base, before being taken out to sea.

    Lambinon said nine other whales had been humanely euthanased, while another five had died naturally.

    The 19, mostly adult, whales beached on Sunday morning.

    Police, sea rescue and other services helped keep the mammals alive by using sheets and water.

    The beach was closed and residents were urged to stay away.

    Attempts to refloat them had failed.

    Marine biologists have said they do not fully understand why whales beach, but there are many theories.

    KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board head of operations Mike Anderson-Reade told reporters one theory was that when a pod leader gets caught in shallow water, so do the others.

    “And then they get disorientated and find their way to shore,” he said.

    Another theory was that when a lead whale gets ill, it beaches and the others follow.

    “But these are all just theories, the reason is still unknown.”

    Scientific American on its website said some environmental activists had suggested that mass strandings of dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals were as a result of human impacts of pollution, shipping noise and, in some cases, military sonar.

    The beaching of the pilot whales was possibly the first-ever mass stranding of these creatures on the South African coast.

    “I don't think we’ve had a mass stranding of pilot whales before,” said a marine life expert, who declined to be named for professional reasons.

    Pilot whales are a type of toothed whale and there are two species - short-finned and long-finned.

    “It's possible these are long-finned pilot whales, which are more prevalent in the Southern Hemisphere.”

    The biggest killer of stranded whales was stress.

    “Pilot whales are very sensitive to stress and will need to be released in calm waters,” the expert said.

    Pilot whales were believed to be notorious for stranding themselves on beaches. The phenomenon is more common along the Australian and New Zealand coastlines.

    Long-finned pilot whales can reach over six metres in length, and can weigh more than two tons.

    The Department of Environmental Affairs' oceans and coast branch, which co-ordinates the rescue of stranded whales and dolphins, was not available for comment.

    In 2009, 55 killer whales beached on Kommetjie Long Beach in Cape Town. Hundreds of volunteers and rescue workers joined forces and saved about a dozen whales. The others were shot. - Sapa


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    Police have arrested two more people in connection with the killing of four Pakistanis in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain.

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    Johannesburg - Two more people have been arrested in connection with the killing of four Pakistani nationals in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, Western Cape police said on Sunday.

    “This brings the number of arrests (made by police in this case) to three,” said Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana.

    “The investigation is at a very sensitive stage at the moment. We therefore cannot release any further details on the case.”

    He said the two, aged between 34 and 41 years old, were facing charges ranging from murder, attempted murder, house robbery and hijacking.

    They were expected to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate's Court on Monday. - Sapa


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    It was a race against time from the moment 20 pilot whales beached and rescuers teams scrambled to save the animals’ lives.

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    Cape Town - It was a race against time from the moment 20 pilot whales beached in Noordhoek and residents and rescue teams scrambled to save the animals’ lives.

    But the day ended in despair after nine of the creatures were put down and five others died of natural causes. One whale swam off through the surf during the early morning.

    The whales were stranded on Noordhoek Beach in the early morning, but by the time rescuers arrived, four of the whales were already dead.

    By 10am, crowds were clumped around the bodies of the remaining beached whales, desperately splashing the dying creatures with buckets of cold seawater and guarding their blow holes from the strong winds which whipped sand across the beach.

    “Don’t you have an injection or something to calm the whales down?” a resident begged one of the numerous sea rescue teams.

    But while the public – turning out in their droves – had not given up hope, the City Disaster Management spokesman, Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, painted a bleak picture of the animals’ future at the scene.

    He said the majority of the whales were in a critical condition.

    The way the creatures were positioned on the sand was crushing their lungs, slowly suffocating them.

    He said returning the animals to the surf would not help because they would probably run aground again.

    An on-site city-appointed vet had declared the best, most humane and viable option was to put down most of the whales using a rifle.

    “There is nothing else we can do,” said Solomons-Johannes.

    But the decision did not sit well with the most of the civilian volunteers, some of whom had been on the beach looking after the whales for almost five hours.

    Ashley Taylor, 13, had been on the beach since 8am tending to a small calf that was part of the herd.

    “The whale was fine, she was perfect. There was nothing wrong with her,” she said, choking back tears.

    “I can’t believe they are doing this.”

    Taylor’s mother, Nicky, said she felt she had been deceived.

    When she arrived at the beach with her daughter they were told to help move the whales further up so they could be taken away to be treated and released.

    “I was shocked to hear they were going to be put down.”

    Lesley Rochat, executive director for Afrioceans Conservation Alliance, said the decision to put down the whales was premature.

    “As always the decision to put them down was made too quickly. I think a lot more of these (whales) could be saved.”

    There were shouts of outrage as metro police began to order people off the beach. Some angry volunteers refused to leave.

    “They want us to move so we don’t see them shoot the whales,” shouted conservationist Trevor Hutton.

    A crowd of angry volunteers began to chant: “Don’t kill the whales,” but metro police continued to chase people from the beach.

    By 3pm, none of the animals had been put down.

    By 5pm, the remaining nine whales on Long Beach were put down as loaders got into position to move them.

    Some of the healthier whales were loaded on to the backs of trailers to be taken to the Simon’s Town naval base, where they were released.

    National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon said five whales were eventually taken from the beach and released just outside Simon’s Town.

    “One of them has already rebeached in Simonstown," Lambinon said later.

    "It is still alive and we are trying to save that one but its health has also deteriorated quite substantially."

    "At last sight at around 7pm they (the rest) were witnessed by following boats to be swimming strongly in False Bay."

    kieran.legg@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus, Sapa


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    The authorities have put the brakes on charging motorists who have caused fatal accidents with murder.

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    Cape Town - The authorities have put the brakes on charging motorists who have caused fatal accidents with murder.

    This comes after the conviction and sentence of taxi driver Jacob Humphreys, 57 – one of the National Prosecuting Authority’s test cases – was set aside by five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Friday.

    Humphreys’s 10 murder convictions were overturned and replaced with culpable homicide, his convictions for attempted murder were set aside all together and his 20-year jail sentence was replaced with eight years.

    NPA Western Cape spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said they would no longer be charging people with murder unless they could prove a direct intention to do so.

    “This judgment defines the law and guidelines on how the NPA prosecutes such cases… Other cases will be dealt with as culpable homicide unless it can be proved there was an intention to kill.”

    This had been a test case and there were no other cases in the Western Cape, Ntabazalila said, where someone involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident had been charged with murder.

    Humphreys was at the wheel on August 25, 2010 when an oncoming train smashed into his taxi, killing 10 children and injuring four.

    He had overtaken a queue of cars waiting to cross the railway line at the Buttskop crossing in Blackheath and ignored warning signals, including a lowered boom.

    The Western Cape High Court convicted him on the basis of dolus eventualis (indirect or legal intent), finding that he had foreseen the children’s death as a possible consequence of his actions.

    The SCA could not fault this conclusion.

    This case, however, lacked a distinguishing feature of dolus eventualis – that Humphreys had brought himself to accept the consequences of his conduct.

    While Humphreys had been ”flagrantly” negligent, Judge Fritz Brand, who wrote the judgment, said there was no evidence that Humphreys’s life was immaterial to him and that he had reconciled himself with the possibility of his own death.

    “What must follow from this is that he had not reconciled himself with the occurrence of the collision or the death of his passengers either. In short, he foresaw the possibility of the collision, but he thought it would not happen; he took a risk which he thought would not materialise,” the judgment read.

    Humphreys had also successfully carried out the manoeuvre he executed on the day of the crash on previous occasions, which had probably led him to the “misplaced sense of confidence” that he could do it again.

    Humphreys’s attorney, Anver Titus, said the outcome was a victory not only for his client, but for all drivers.

     

    Similar cases where drivers had been involved in fatal accidents convicted for murder – such as the one against musician Molemo “Jub Jub” Maarohanye – now stood a good chance of being successfully challenged if they chose to take it on appeal, said Titus.

     

    The NPA, said criminal law attorney and expert William Booth, would now have to fully justify its decision to charge and try a motorist for murder.

    Cape Times


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    A man who was caught breaking into a home tried evading capture by telling the owner of the house he was having sex.

    |||

    Cape Town - A suspected thief tried to evade capture by pretending to be having sex after he invaded a home. But the fast-talking burglar wasn’t quick enough for the homeowner.

    The unidentified man broke into a shack on Friday afternoon, unaware that the homeowner would soon be returning.

    The 34-year-old man says he arrived outside his Philippi shack to find the lock had been removed.

    “I left my place to sit with my friends and when I returned home, the padlock was not there,” he said.

    “And when I pushed the door it was locked from inside.

    “The latch is strong so I couldn’t kick the door down.

    “I shouted and asked who is there, and no one answered.”

    He said after calling out for a second time, someone replied.

    “The man inside my own house said to me I must wait because he’s still having sex with a girl so he’ll open when he is done,” the man said.

    “I couldn’t understand how someone would want to walk into a stranger’s home and have sex.”

    The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Daily Voice he kept knocking until the suspect opened the door.

    “When he opened, he stabbed me with a cable cutter, I held his hand because I could see he meant to injure me,” said the Philippi resident.

    “He managed to escape and then I went to call my friends, we chased after him and beat him up.”

    “When he was lying on the ground, we searched him and found my wallet and flashdrive.”

    The lucky thief was rescued by cops.

    It is unclear if he will be charged.

    Daily Voice


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    As he lay bleeding from a stab wound to the chest, a promising rugby player's mom tried desperately to save him.

    |||

    Cape Town - As he lay bleeding from a stab wound to the chest, a promising young rugby player’s mother tried desperately to save him.

    But her efforts were in vain and on Saturday 18-year-old Abdul-Hadi Manuel’s family laid him to rest.

    The Grade 11 pupil at Alexander Sinton High School was stabbed outside a corner shop near his home in Belgravia in Athlone on Wednesday.

     

    He spent three days in hospital and was declared brain dead. He died on Friday.

    It was not clear what happened or what the motive was and his parents are waiting for a police report to provide some clarity.

    What is known is that he was stabbed near his heart.

    Both his parents rushed to the scene when they were alerted to the stabbing.

    Ismail Manuel recalled watching his wife trying to resuscitate their son. “That was the most hurtful part for me,” he said.

    On Sunday, friends and relatives continued to stream into the Manuel family home to pay their respects.

    Manuel spoke fondly of his son - a star rugby player and an athlete who he said came from a “strict” home and found comfort in reading the Qur’an.

    He became emotional, choking back tears as he talked about Abdul-Hadi’s achievements, his discipline and respectful manner.

    Abdul-Hadi played rugby at school and was a top performer at Primrose Rugby Football Club.

    His father showed off certificates and trophies and told of Abdul-Hadi’s trip to France to watch rugby and of the respect he had earned among younger boys in the neighbourhood. He was also a good sprinter.

    He enjoyed leading Muslim religious gatherings with his father, who said he had “such a melodic voice”.

    “Everybody loved him… he was so down to earth and humble,” he said.

    “The reasons why he had to die such a cruel death will only be known by the man above, but the law has got to take its course now.”

     

    Abdul-Hadi was one of two pupils stabbed dead last week.

    Seventeen-year-old Uviwe Mzingelwa from New Crossroads was also stabbed, allegedly by a fellow pupil on a Golden Arrow bus last Tuesday.

    Uviwe was in Grade 11 at Ned Doman High School in Athlone. It was alleged that he and another schoolboy had been in a fight.

    According to reports, Uviwe and another pupil were involved in a fight on the bus on Monday when he had allegedly stabbed the pupil with a pen. An 18-year-old was arrested.

     

    At the time of publication, police had not responded to requests for comment about the incident involving Abdul-Hadi.

    natasha.prince@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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