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    The attack on Marius Fransman is a clear sign that the ANC is still being plagued by factional discord, say political analysts.

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    Cape Town - The attack on ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman in Oudtshoorn this week was a clear sign that the party continued to be plagued by factional discord, political analysts have said.

    Keith Gottschalk, emeritus senior lecturer in politics at the University of the Western Cape, said attacks like that on Fransman on Tuesday night were common where there was a contest over a senior post.

    He said attacks of this nature were seldom about disagreements on policy issues. “It is almost always about rivals competing for paid jobs,” Gottschalk said.

    Independent political analyst Daniel Silke said the attack proved that deep divisions persisted in the ANC in the Western Cape.

    “When Marius Fransman took control of the ANC in the Western Cape, he said he would unite the movement. It has taken him longer than he thought it would to iron things out,” Silke said.

    “He is feeling the heat and has to create stability. But Fransman is the only one to blame for this.”

    Silke said the attack would not have a negative effect on the party’s election campaign before next year’s polls. “It doesn’t have serious implications for 2014,” he said. “Fransman needs to start a clean-up quickly. There is still time, but he shouldn’t wait too long.”

    Fransman, who is also Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, was rescued by his bodyguards from an attack by a mob in Oudtshoorn on Tuesday night following a meeting to replace the town’s mayor, Gordon April.

    April, who faces charges of theft, intimidation and using municipal resources for personal use, was informed that he was to be demoted pending the outcome of the court case and that a new mayor would be appointed.

    As Fransman and a number of ANC provincial executive committee members were leaving the municipal building, they were approached by the angry crowd.

    A tussle broke out and Fransman, who is believed to have been injured, was rescued by his bodyguards.

    Stun grenades were thrown by police and at least four people - including a journalist who said he and others had been assaulted by police - were arrested.

    ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said should any ANC members be found to have been behind the attack, they would “face the full might of our disciplinary processes”.

    He said the ANC executive would hold an urgent meeting on Friday to discuss the matter.

    Xolani Sotashe, ANC metro region chairman, said: “This is a direct assault on the ANC itself and we will never accept this kind of behaviour.

    “We condemn those who resort to violence and intimidation to achieve political objectives as enemies of the ANC.

    “These barbaric acts can never be… acceptable to the ANC.”

    clayton.barnes@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    A report on the state of literacy teaching in the first few years of schooling has highlighted shortcomings in teaching kids to read.

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    Cape Town - A report on the state of literacy teaching in the first few years of schooling has highlighted shortcomings in teaching children to read.

    The study by the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit, “The State of Literacy Teaching and Learning in the Foundation Phase”, sampled 134 schools last year.

    The findings included that most classes had few reading books.

    “In many such schools the state of the reading corner suggested general apathy and disinterest on the part of the teacher to encourage reading. Much of the responsibility for improving the situation must lie with the provinces where the budgets for learning and teaching support material do not provide for supplying schools at the required level,” the report said.

    Norms for reading fluency had not been developed, the report said.

    In terms of a provisional set of norms - where the top Grade 2 pupils read at an average of about 125 words a minute by mid-year, average pupils at about 70 words a minute, and slower pupils at an average of about 20 words a minute - 72 percent of the three best pupils in each class were reading below the average benchmark for Grade 2 learners, and 22 percent were on or below the poor benchmark.

    Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the report showed a lack of monitoring of pupil reading in school by school management teams.

    ilse.fredericks@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The fight against gender-based violence will not succeed without the involvement of men in feminism activities, says Annie Lennox.

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    Cape Town - The fight against gender-based violence in South Africa will not succeed without the involvement of men in feminism activities, says Scottish singer, activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox.

    “Contemporary feminism, where men become feminists with women, is needed to bring an end to the abuse of women and children… so that fathers can bring up their sons to respect their sisters and mothers.”

    Lennox, HIV/Aids activist and UNAids goodwill ambassador, was speaking at the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday.

    Through her petition, “Make It Happen”, Lennox is calling on the media, the government and religious leaders to commit to tackling the issue of gender-based violence on both a professional and personal level.

    “Everyone refers to the end of apartheid in 1994 as (being as) significant as the 1865 agreement to abolish slavery in America. These events weren’t simply miracles that occurred by themselves. It took a collective effort, courage and vision to achieve these goals.”

    The petition, launched at the beginning of the year, is backed by organisations such as the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Charlize Theron Outreach Africa Project and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

    Lennox shot to fame as a member of British band The Eurythmics in the 1980s before she embarked on a solo career. She said the “tipping point”, which led to her becoming an activist, was on a visit to South Africa in 2003, when she was invited to perform at the launch of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Aids charity concert.

    “It was absolutely mind-blowing when I witnessed Mandela describing the HIV/Aids pandemic as a virtual genocide of the South African people, especially women and children,” said Lennox. “The realisation of what was happening hit me. I am a woman and mother, and I could not understand why I was not hearing about this pandemic outside South Africa? I was ashamed and outraged… I had to do something.”

    Since then, Lennox has gone on to support several anti-rape and gender advocacy groups, and has raised awareness for HIV charities in Africa.

    “I’ve been working continuously to support women and children affected by HIV/Aids in the country. I’ve seen how gender-based violence is one of the factors that comes into play with the spread of Aids, so it’s not unknown to me. I simply feel a moral obligation to respond.

    “Gender-based violence is deeply rooted and affects all of us.

    “Until people realise the extent of it and the urgency of the matter then people will continue to live in a culture where brutality and violence undermine the very fabric of society,” Lennox said.

    nontando.mposo@inl.co.za

    Cape Argus


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    The National Prosecuting Authority is considering taking action against the Stellenbosch Municipality for polluting the Eerste River.

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    Cape Town - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is considering taking action against Stellenbosch Municipality for polluting the Eerste River, which a leading water expert says has contributed to cases of diarrhoea.

    Eric Ntabazalila, spokes-man for the NPA, said it would decide early next week if and how the matter would be taken further.

    The case was referred to the NPA by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA).

    Linda Page, spokeswoman for the DWA, said the municipality was facing possible criminal charges for contravening the National Water Act 36 of 1998 for polluting the river.

    The river’s headwaters are in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

    It flows through the town of Stellenbosch to Macassar, where it enters the sea.

    Page said the department “was forced to resort to prosecution” after it became apparent that sewage polluting the river was “not receiving the necessary attention from the municipality”.

    She said the department had received “numerous complaints”, starting in 1993, from farmers and community members about the river’s poor water quality.

    “This is a situation that has been coming for a decade or more,” said water expert Jo Barnes.

    “The sewage works are far too small.”

    Barnes said the river was polluted by two sources. The first was Stellenbosch’s overloaded sewage plant. Spill over from the plant runs into the river.

    The second was the Plankenburg River, a tributary of the Eerste River, which flows through the area of Kayamandi.

    The river becomes polluted with untreated sewage as it flows though Kayamandi, which lacks adequate toilet facilities.

    Barnes, a senior lecturer in communicable health at Stellenbosch University’s faculty of medicine , said both sources of pollution needed to be fixed to ensure the river was clean.

    Currently, the river’s pollution contributed to cases of diarrhoea, she said.

    The river’s poor water quality can also be hazardous to farmers who use it for irrigation.

    Barnes, who has been red- flagging problems at Stellenbosch’s sewage plant since 1998, said the situation had clearly overtaken the municipality’s ability to act.

    Underfunding of sewage systems, a constantly changing municipality and a growing population had caused the town’s sewage works to become overloaded, she said.

    According to councillor Dawid Botha, the sewage plant’s capacity is 20 megalitres a day, but higher capacity was needed.

    But he said the municipality had a plan to pump R180 million into upgrading the plant’s capacity to 35 megalitres, over a period of three years.

    Botha said the municipality first had to fix, at a cost of R73m, the Wemmershoek sewage plant which was in an even worse state than Stellenbosch’s plant.

    He added that the Stellenbosch sewage plant had recently been upgraded, but this improved water quality, not capacity.

    jan.cronje@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Geo-nita Baartman considers herself previously disadvantaged - and now in 2013 she is a victim of equality targets.

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    Cape Town - Geo-Nita Baartman considers herself previously disadvantaged - her mother was pulled out of school at the age of nine and later worked her “fingers to the bone” supporting three children.

    These days, Baartman, a coloured woman from Ceres who works in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), feels she is being punished. “I fail to understand why I sit here today, 2013, to defend myself over policies I have no control over,” she said on Thursday.

    She was testifying in the Labour Court in the landmark case between 10 DCS employees and the department over its employment equity plan they believe resulted in them being discriminated against and passed over for promotions.

    The department’s equity targets are in line with national, not provincial, demographics.

    Baartman, an applicant in the case, had applied for a post as an assistant director within the department and was shortlisted, but did not get it.

    An application to deviate from the equity targets was applied for so she could be appointed, but this had been turned down.

    On Thursday, she testified that she felt she had suffered under apartheid. Baartman said her mother had been taken out of school at nine years old.

    She watched her mother “work her fingers to the bone” to support three children. “Her whole life she had to hold down two jobs,” Baartman said.

    Baartman said she managed to obtain two degrees at university under trying financial circumstances. Had it not been for a bursary, Baartman may not have managed to do so.

    She said in her experience of apartheid, she did not feel black people had been treated worse than coloured people.

    Under cross-examination Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, put it to Baartman that during apartheid the Western Cape had been the “home of the coloured people” and had been protected from “natives” - what black people had been called at that time.

    He put it to her that the government had wanted to remove “natives” from the province.

    Baartman said she heard what he was saying, but could not understand why she had to defend herself over these policies.

    When Ntsebeza said imbalances created by apartheid had to be redressed, Baartman said she now found herself applying for jobs against candidates who had matriculated in 1999 and was told they would get preference for the job. “I feel I’m being punished over things I don’t have control over,” she said.

    During re-examination Baartman said inmates were picking up on the divisions with the provincial DCS that were being caused by the equity plan.

    “It starts to affect the inmates as well,” she said.

    Baartman said this - inmates picking up on the divisions - had resulted in incidents at Pollsmoor prison and Allandale prison.

    The case continues on Friday.

    caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    On April 27 2012 the E Whale arrived in Table Bay. Now, more than a year later, the ship is still at anchor off Cape Town.

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    Cape Town - On April 27 last year the E Whale arrived in Table Bay.

    Now, more than a year later, the ship is still at anchor off Cape Town and 17 crewmen continue to live aboard the hulking vessel, unable to leave.

    The ship has been arrested and has remained anchored in Table Bay because of several outstanding debts the ship’s owners have neglected to pay on the E Whale’s sister ship, the A Whale.

    The E Whale was arrested as soon as it docked in Cape Town and has since been arrested by three other creditors.

    The crew members must keep the ship functioning until financial matters with the vessel’s owners, Today Makes Tomorrow International Shipping, are sorted out.

    Only 3km from shore, the crew are trapped with little to distract them for up to four months at a time.

    “We are trapped in jail here,” said Joseph Valiyaveethil, a 39-year-old electrical engineer.

    When the Cape Times visited the ship, crew members were excited to have newcomers on board, although some remained despondent about their continued isolation.

    Visitors can get aboard the vessel by climbing into a small netted basket, and being lifted by a crane 33m into the air on to the ship’s deck.

    The only other way to enter or exit the 172 146 ton ship is by helicopter.

    Some of the crew said they were overcome with worry over their families’ wellbeing.

    Valiyaveethil has two children between the ages of four and six whose tuition is paid for by his engineering salary.

    He also supports his parents who live with his wife and children in Kerala, India.

    “In my life this is the worst conditions I have lived in. I am praying to God now all the time. Mentally we are weak, we are totally stressed.”

    He has been working aboard the E Whale since December, unpaid.

    “We cannot sleep, we walk around like mad fellows until 2am because we cannot rest, just circling the ship.”

    The engineer says there is not much to do on the boat. There is a TV but no cable services, some old books, and a few board games.

    Captain Abdullah Al Mahmud said some of the crew members were frustrated and desperate to go home.

    “It’s very bad to have this kind of insanity on a boat when we are so far out,” said Al Mahmud. He has spent 25 years at sea and nearly three months aboard the E Whale.

    Tensions are rising as the crew continue to work without pay. Leaving the ship is not an option except for dire medical need.

    The crew have not been paid since December.

    Maritime attorney Alan Goldberg of Rose Street Chambers is working with the crew to settle the wage dispute, repatriate the seamen, and sell the vessel to a new owner.

    The bank he has been working with agreed recently to pay the crew all of their overdue wages. Negotiations were expected to be finalised by the end of the week, he said.

    The bank that has a mortgage on the E Whale will soon issue an application to the Western Cape High Court to sell the vessel, said deputy sheriff of Cape Town East, Andre Southey. Once the court approved the application to sell, it would take three to four months to find a buyer, he said.

    At that point, the crew will no longer need to remain on board.

    But for now, there is no way out.

    madeleine.may@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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    Luxembourg is top of the pile for teacher earnings, with research showing they earn six times more than SA teachers.

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    Cape Town - Luxembourg may be top of the pile for teacher earnings - teachers there earn more than six times what South African teachers get paid, according to new research by an international finance firm and a local think tank.

    South African teachers are increasingly moving overseas to the greener pastures of increased salaries, smaller class sizes and professional development.

    The Gauteng City-Region Observatory studied data from UBS, a global firm which provides financial services, which compared the earnings of primary school teachers around the world which had showed significant disparities.

    Out of the 72 cities, Johannesburg was at position 43 with Luxembourg in the top spot and Cairo at the bottom.

    The teachers’ net income for the year was

    * Luxembourg – $88 200 (R796 086)

    * Rome – $22 100 (R199 473)

    * Johannesburg – $14 400 (R129 973)

    * Santiago de Chile – $12 300 (R111 019)

    * Cairo – $1 300 (R11 734)

    UBS used data on public school teachers who had been in the profession for about 10 years and were married with two children.

    Darlington Mushongera, a research economist at the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, said there was not enough data to monitor the teachers who leave the system.

    “There’s a demand for skilled teachers from Africa in other regions that are offering things that they want.”

    Mushongera said the observatory had looked at the data to assess how teachers were being paid compared to those in other regions to address challenges around teacher attrition.

    The observatory’s conclusions were:

    * Retaining teachers at the primary or foundation phase is of the highest importance.

    * Teacher attrition may be further exacerbated by the shortage of primary-level teachers.

    * There is a need to improve teacher wages and provide opportunities for professional development elsewhere.

    * There are limited data sources which track teacher movement from South Africa, and government needs to scale up the monitoring process.

    Research by the Department of Basic Education had shown that “a minimum of 20 000 teachers need to be replaced every year” and it was currently producing about 6 000 each year.

    michelle.jones@inl.co.za

    Cape Times


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  • 05/03/13--05:41: No sign of missing dad, son
  • A father and son entered their third day of drifting in a stricken boat off the Cape coast – but they have still not been found.

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    Cape Town - A father and son entered their third day of drifting in a stricken boat off the Cape coast today – but by mid-morning they had still not been found.

    The missing men Christy Jordaan, 59, and his son Brandon, 36, are the husband and son of Berandina Jordaan, a DA municipal councillor from Paternoster on the West Coast.

    An urgent search continued for the pair this morning by the NSRI’s teams at Mykonos in Langebaan, backed up by teams from the Table Bay base in Cape Town and from Yzerfontein, as well as a police rescue craft.

    An air force crew in a Dakota searched from the sky. Ashore, police teams continued scouring the coastline.

    The drama began at 2.55pm on Wednesday, when the Mykonos duty crew were called out for a fishing boat with two men on board that had lost motor power and was adrift in dense fog in the vicinity of Paternoster.

    For the first 18 hours, the men remained in contact. But despite an extensive search they could not be found on Wednesday night.

    “Dressed warmly and with life-jackets, the men were instructed to anchor and deploy drogues to reduce drift and the search resumed at first light (yesterday),” reported Gerard Brune, NSRI Mykonos station commander.

    The search expanded but was hampered by thick fog.

    Cellphone contact with the men was lost at about 9am yesterday, probably after the phone’s battery died.

    The search continued until late last night and resumed this morning.

    “Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre is consolidating the search areas already completed, and is assisting in calculating ongoing search areas and patterns,” said NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon.

    Rescuers suspect the men may have been far from where they thought they were when they sent out their initial SOS, so the search has widened, including north towards Lambert’s Bay, this time in rain and drizzle.

    Councillor Jordaan said: “My husband and son are both professional fishermen; they are very experienced. We hope they will find them soon…”

    Cape Argus


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    ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman has accepted Solidarity's challenge to debate employment equity.

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    Cape Town - ANC Western Cape chairman Marius Fransman has accepted Solidarity’s challenge to debate employment equity.

    Solidarity, along with 10 Department of Correctional Services (DCS) employees, has taken the department and Labour Minister to the Labour Court over the DCS’s employment equity plan.

    The trade union believes the plan is unfair because the department’s equity targets are in line with national, and not provincial, demographics.

    Solidarity called on Fransman to debate the issue.

    On Thursday he agreed to do so.

    “It is time we stripped naked the racism, paternalistic and patronising basis for Solidarity’s attack on employment equity,” Fransman said.

    “Solidarity and other neo-conservatives such as (activist and academic) Rhoda Kadalie and the DA leadership are all using the case of the individuals in the Western Cape who have grievances, as a Trojan horse to try and end employment equity.

    “They give their racist agenda away by claiming the poor service delivery is because of employment equity. In other words, black, coloured, disabled and women workers are incompetent, in their view,” he said.

     

    In another statement, Johnny Jansen, described as the former president of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union and deputy director in the DCS and who was against the equity plan, said: “An approach whereby people are excluded from promotion purely on the grounds of their race, affects their right to dignity and equality. In this way, minorities are alienated from the political system.”

    Earlier on Thursday during a break in the Labour Court case, a number of people against the equity plan stood outside the court building chanting and holding posters.

    Some of the posters read: “No work for coloureds, Indians and whites in the Western Cape” and “We are people, not numbers”.

    At a press conference,

    Peter Marais, who was representing the Brown Empowerment Movement, set up in 2011, said the movement had been created to deal with matters such as the DCS court case.

    Andre Jacobs, of the Nationalist Coloured Party, said: “It’s a huge concern, people are being marginalised.”

    Cape Times


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    A female police officer has been arrested for being the getaway driver for a gang of smash and grab criminals.

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    Cape Town - A female police officer has been arrested for being the getaway driver for a gang of smash and grab criminals.

    On Tuesday, April 23, at 10.45pm, two men aged 26 were arrested for attempted housebreaking in Cape Town Central at a car dealership, said police liaison officer Lieutenant Colonel André Traut.

    The arrest was made with the help of the City of Cape Town’s closed circuit television system.

    A third suspect, driving a Toyota Yaris, was arrested the next day.

    The suspect, a 30-year-old female who is a suspended police officer, was also detained for attempted housebreaking for her part in the crime.

    The suspended officer was identified by metro police members as the same person who was illegally parked in front of a building on the corner of Hans Strydom and Loop streets, Traut said. This was where the accused was earlier monitored by the City of Cape Town’s closed circuit television unit. At that time the officers obtained the driver’s full details which matched the description of the car that drove away from the scene of the crime.

    The suspects appeared in court on Friday, April 26, and were denied bail. They were due to make another court appearance next month.

    “Cape Town Central police would like to warn business owners in the city centre of a new trend of burglaries, following the arrest of three suspects during last week,” Traut said.

    “The modus operandi of the suspects was to approach (the premises of) a business, smash a window and grab whatever was of value,” he added

    Cape Argus


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    An affirmative action case by union Solidarity against the Western Cape correctional services department has been postponed.

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    Cape Town - An affirmative action case by union Solidarity against the Western Cape correctional services department was postponed in the Labour Court in Cape Town, the union said on Friday.

    “The case was postponed today (Friday) on condition that the posts applied for by the applicants and those that have not been filled, remain vacant. The trial will resume on 29 July until 9 August,” the union said in a statement.

    Solidarity said it brought the matter to court on behalf of the department's staff members - Linda-Jean Fortuin, Christopher February, Andre Jonkers, Geo-nita Baartman, Pieter Davids, Derick Wehr, Jan Kotze, Desiree Merkeur, Deidre Jordaan and Teresa Abrahams.

    “In each case, the persons concerned were the best candidates for positions they had applied for, and their skin colour was the only reason they have not been appointed,” the union said.

    “Solidarity maintains that the department's blatant policy of absolute racial representation is unfair, irrational and unlawful.”

    In all the cases, the department argued that the national demographics had to be used as the criterion, said Solidarity.

    It said coloured employees were overlooked because of the department's affirmative action policy.

    Fortuin, a coloured woman with 26 years of service at the department, was one of the employees who were allegedly dealt a blow by the policy.

    “She applied for three posts, but as a result of affirmative action, was passed over for all three. She was later appointed to one of the posts, that of Area Co-ordinator at Pollsmoor, with effect from 1 June 2012.”

    February, a coloured employee with 16 years of service, applied for the post of senior state accountant and was recommended as the best candidate.

    “However, the director for equitable employment argued that the recommendation was not in line with the affirmative action plan, and the second best candidate, a black female, was recommended for the position. She, however, had already accepted another position, and the post was re-advertised.”

    Teboho Mokoena, deputy commissioner of human resources at the department, said his department followed the requirements of the Employment Equity Act.

    “In terms of senior management posts of director and chief director levels in the Western Cape, there are five coloured males, two coloured females, five African males, five African females and one white male - there are no white females or Indian males or females in senior management,” said Mokoena.

    “Coloureds therefore comprise more than one third, or 38.89 percent, of senior managers.”

    Mokoena said Minister Sibusiso Ndebele convened a ministerial consultative forum in February, designated to resolve any problems that may exist between the department and recognised trade unions.

    “The department and the unions have structures in place to address issues related to the employment equity plan.”

    “Solidarity does not serve on these structures, due to the fact that it is not recognised within the department, as per rules of the collective bargaining council.” - Sapa


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  • 05/03/13--09:57: Missing fishermen found
  • The two fishermen who had been missing for almost three days were found by a passing fishing boat near Saldanha Bay.

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    Cape Town - The two fishermen who had been missing for almost three days were found by a passing fishing boat near Saldanha Bay on Friday afternoon, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

    Christy Jordaan, 59, and his son Brandon, 36, were rescued and the fishing boat took them to the harbour, NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said.

    A police helicopter was sent to look for the boat on Wednesday when it was reported to have lost motor power and gone adrift at sea in dense fog.

    On Thursday, Lambinon said rescue workers had lost cellphone contact with the fishermen, possibly because of flat batteries.

    Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre had consolidated the search areas already completed, and had helped to calculate ongoing search areas and patterns.

    He said the men were in good spirits despite spending two nights and almost three days adrift in rough seas off the West Coast.

    They were being taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. Both men were exhausted and dehydrated. - Sapa


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    The owners of the wine estate which snubbed a gay couple who wanted to get married there could face charges.

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    Cape Town - The plight of the gay couple snubbed because of their sexuality by their wedding venue of choice has sparked an online debate, and now the owners of the wine estate in question could find themselves on the wrong end of the law.

    At issue is the right of a business owner to reserve admission, versus gay rights. In terms of the constitution, gay rights win. And the couple have been advised to fight their case in the Equality Court.

    Saturday Star featured the story of Emile Butler and Gareth O’Brien last weekend. They had planned to wed at Diemerskraal wine estate in Paarl but were turned down by owners Daan and Jeanette Morkel, who said they couldn’t “find it in our hearts” to allow a gay couple to get married on their property.

    Comments on IOL label the gay couple “drama queens” and advise them to “just accept it and move on”.

    But constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos warns that owners’ right to reserve admission is not an absolute right.

    The Equality Act in the Bill of Rights states clearly that “no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds”.

    These include “race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth”.

    According to Butler, he and O’Brien are choosing to ignore the negative comments online and focus on the positive.

    “They can say whatever they want, but I am standing up for what I truly believe in,” Butler said.

    “It’s my life, it’s my cause, and what they did is illegal.”

    The couple have also received plenty of support on Twitter, with many people expressing their disgust at the Morkels, and threatening to boycott Diemerskraal.

     

    The Human Rights Commission told Butler this week that the allegations had been sent to the Morkels.

     

    Daan Morkel acknowledged that he had been contacted by the commission, to which the couple directed a complaint last week.

    He said he and his wife had been advised not to discuss the issue further until it had been resolved.

     

    Butler and O’Brien will also wait for the outcome of their complaint, but say they will look at taking their complaint to the Equality Court.

     

    Saturday Star


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  • 05/04/13--01:08: Arch says he is on the mend
  • Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu stepped out on the town after being discharged from hospital earlier this week.

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    Cape Town - He might have looked somewhat fragile, but his signature laugh was undiminished when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu stepped out on the town on Friday morning, after being discharged from hospital on Monday.

    The popular “Arch” stopped pedestrian traffic in St George’s Mall in the city centre, as he enjoyed breakfast at a local eatery with a group of theology students from Stellenbosch University.

    Asked how he was, Tutu, who turned 81 in October, would say only that he was out of hospital and on the mend. As he left the eatery, he was assisted by Father Richard Cogill from St George’s Cathedral.

    Reports earlier this week were that Tutu was discharged from hospital after a “persistent infection” was successfully treated. The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation said a battery of tests were conducted to determine the underlying cause of the infection, “and its persistency uncovered no new malignancy”.

    Weekend Argus


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    A father and son lost at sea drifting in an open boat in fog and rain for two icy nights, were rescued by a random fishing boat.

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    Cape Town - A father and son from Paternoster, lost at sea, drifting in an open boat in fog and rain for two icy nights, were rescued on Friday after what locals described as a miraculous sighting by a random fishing boat.

     Christy Jordaan, 59, and Brandon, 36, were spotted just before 3pm. They were ferried to hospital immediately.

    Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesman, said the two were in “good spirits”. Paternoster resident Ursula Walters added: “They’re very weak… but it’s just a miracle.”

    The two rescued men are the husband and son of Berandina Jordaan, a DA municipal councillor from Paternoster. She had said earlier yesterday that both men were professional fishermen, and that she hoped they would be found soon.

     The men had been at sea in their open boat for more than 48 hours, in swells of up to 6m high, and through swirling fog, rain and two icy nights on the Atlantic. They were spotted by chance by a fishing vessel off the coast of Saldanha Bay – far further south than they were believed to be.

    The pair had drifted less than 30km, but in the past two days of thick fog and inclement weather, they had been all but invisible to those searching for them.

    Lambinon said the hardship of the men’s ordeal disappeared in the celebration as the family was reunited at the Saldanha Bay yacht club.

    The drama began at 2.55pm on Wednesday when the Mykonos NSRI duty crew were called out for a fishing boat that had lost motor power and was adrift at sea.

    A huge rescue effort was launched. For the first 18 hours, the men remained in contact with their would-be rescuers. But despite an extensive search the rescue teams could not find them.

    “Dressed warmly and with life-jackets, the men were instructed to anchor… and the search resumed at first light (on Thursday),” reported Gerard Brune, NSRI Mykonos station commander. The search then expanded to a far larger area, but was hampered by thick fog. Then cellphone reception was lost at about 9am on Thursday.

    The multi-team search continued until late on Thursday night. The two were still in hospital last night, Lambinon said.

    Weekend Argus


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    Michael Pashut’s reaction when he noticed an offensive neo-Nazi number plate has landed him in legal trouble.

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    Johannesburg - Michael Pashut had been visiting Cape Town when he noticed an offensive neo-Nazi number plate – “Führer-WP”.

    So he rolled down his car’s window and proceeded to express his displeasure in no uncertain terms at the owner of the offensive number plates.

    Neels Stander, founder of financial service provider Legacy Wealth, was not impressed.

    And as Pashut, a Joburg businessman, continued to utter his disapproval of the number plates, Stander retaliated with his own set of choice words.

    In the end, Pashut was the one charged, with intimidation. He has made several appearances in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town.

    “Führer” is a German word meaning “leader” or “guide”, which is most often associated with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

    The word führer in the sense of “guide” remains common in German, but because of its strong association with Nazi Germany, it comes with some stigma and negative connotations when used as the meaning of leader.

    In other languages, the word is used almost exclusively as the epithet for Adolf Hitler.

    And it is this connotation that had infuriated Pashut.

    The incident happened in November 2010 but has still not been concluded.

    The next thing Pachut knew, a charge had been laid against him and he was ordered to appear in court.

    “It happened such a long time ago. It is very embarrassing for me. Any right-minded citizen would be offended by a number plate which states ‘Führer’. Then (Mr Stander) lays a charge against me. I couldn’t believe it. It is a lot like the pot calling the kettle black.”

    City traffic officials eventually banned Stander’s number plate as there had been other complaints as well as concern from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). Stander surrendered his number plates without complaint.

    But in court it was alleged that Pashut had made dozens of serious threats against Stander and his workers.

    “At first I didn’t know it was Mr Pashut. He was making threatening phone calls to me. He called my office and threatened my office ladies, saying he was going to slit their throats and rape them. They were all terrified.”

    Stander said he went to the police, but they had done nothing. Eventually he traced Pashut and realised it was the same man he had had words with over his number plate.

    “He went overboard. He didn’t just threaten me, he threatened my family and my staff.”

    Stander said the SAJBD had written to him, asking him to change his number plate because it was offensive. His written response to them was that he was “a student of military science, not political science”.

    “The number plate on one of my vehicles will be cancelled and changed by the end of the month, solely and purely out of respect for my work colleagues and friends of the Jewish faith. Proof of the cancellation will be provided to your office.

    “I apologise sincerely to you and to anyone of the Jewish faith if I have given offence. That was never the intention.”

    Stander also has trusts which have neo-Nazi connotations. He told the SAJBD that the trusts’ names would remain unchanged as they were “holding trusts” wherein properties are registered.

    “They do not trade actively,” he wrote. “Apart from the fact that these names have little or no meaning to South Africans today, they are in any event personal and private documents that are not open for general scrutiny or the public eye. The trusts’ names have a completely military significance for me.”

    Stander wouldn’t reveal the names of his trusts.

    The case continues.

    Saturday Star


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    A R5.3 million trust created for slain musician Taliep Petersen's daughter has set off a fight between her two families.

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    Cape Town - The relationship between the families of slain music icon Taliep Petersen and his jailed widow Najwa Petersen is riven with so much tension that now the multimillion-rand life insurance he left for their only daughter looks set to be moved to the jurisdiction of the Master of the High Court.

    The friction, a report before the Western Cape High Court suggests, is so severe that the two sides cannot work together to ensure that the R5.3 million, paid into a trust founded by Taliep’s brother Igshaan Petersen, is properly administered.

    The tussle over Taliep’s cash was first highlighted by Weekend Argus late last year when Sulaiman Effendi, brother of 14-year-old beneficiary Zaynab Petersen, asked the court to appoint a curator to investigate the circumstances of the payment of the proceeds of the policy to the Blue Bird Trust, founded by Igshaan Petersen.

     Now the curator, advocate Fred Sievers, has declared that it is “clear that the current situation cannot continue to prevail”.

    It was also clear, he said, that the two sides of the family would “never be able to work together in administering a trust”.

     Sievers submitted the 13-page report, together with a host of annexures, to the high court about a week ago.

    He had been appointed to investigate after the application by Effendi, born of a previous marriage of his mother, Najwa Petersen.

    Effendi lodged the application at the request of his imprisoned mother.

    In the application it emerged that Najwa Petersen, with the assistance of an official in the office of the inspecting judge of prisons, and independent insurance broker Rafiek Saville, established a year ago that Liberty Life had paid the R5.3m to the trust.

    She asked her son to find out about the circumstances surrounding the payment, prompting him to appoint attorney Ighsaan Sadien to look into the matter.

    Sadien searched the records at the office of the Master of the High Court, and established that the trust was founded by Igshaan Petersen, who was also a trustee, together with accountant Suleiman September and a company called Iprotect Trustees.

    According to the deed of trust, the beneficiaries were Zaynab, her descendants, any trust established for her and, in the event that any of those beneficiaries ceased to exist, or their benefits were repudiated, her siblings.

    Should Taliep’s brother cease to be a trustee, Nasief Groenmeyer – the husband of Taliep’s sister Ma’atoema – would be appointed in his place.

    Effendi, however, expressed concern at certain clauses in the deed of trust, saying that Sadien had also discovered that a property in Lansdowne had been transferred into the name of the trust. The property had been bought for R1.125m with the proceeds of a Nedbank loan.

    It is occupied by Taliep’s children from his first wife.

    The court appointed Sievers last August and when he consulted Najwa Petersen in prison, she told him the trustees had never informed her either of the existence of the trust, or the fact that the money had been paid to it.

    “She advised that, while she had no difficulty with the concept of a trust, the secrecy in the setting up of the trust, the lack of transparency in its dealings and her lack of input into who should be the trustees, concerned her.

    She furthermore felt that the powers of the trustees were too wide and she believed that the trustees had acted improperly in not advising interested parties of the existence of the trust,” Sievers said.

    According to the report, Najwa Petersen claimed that her late husband’s family had not shown any interest in Zaynab prior to the establishment of the trust.

    Zaynab has been in Effendi’s care since June 2007, when their mother was first arrested. Effendi raised similar concerns when he spoke to Sievers.

    From consultations with the trustees, it emerged that Igshaan Petersen met a Liberty Life official as far back as 2010. The official advised him that the trust be set up so that Zaynab’s benefit could be paid out.

    Explaining the fact that the Lansdowne property was bought, Igshaan Petersen told Sievers it was envisaged that Zaynab would live there with Taliep’s other children.

    However, since Najwa Petersen objected to such an arrangement, it was decided that Taliep’s relatives currently living there would instead pay monthly rental to the trust.

    Discussing the options, Sievers said that either independent trustees or a curator to Zaynab should be appointed. Since these came at a cost, an alternative solution, likely to be safest and the least expensive, would be to terminate the trust and pay the proceeds into the Guardian’s Fund, under management of the Master of the High Court.

     

    The court will now have to decide the way forward.

    Najwa Petersen, who was convicted of her husband’s murder in 2008, is serving an effective 28 years behind bars.

    Weekend Argus


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    A revolt in Oudtshoorn over an impending council reshuffle has exposed a deep rift in the ANC's provincial leadership.

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    Oudtshoorn - A revolt in the Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn over an impending reshuffle of the council has exposed a deep rift in the ANC’s provincial leadership, with senior party members being fingered as instigators in the violent protest.

    It is no secret that the embattled municipality has been riven with acrimonious political battles over recent years, and that there’s still a dark cloud lingering as it awaits the findings of a Special Investigating Unit probe into allegations of malpractice and corruption.

    The town was rocked on Tuesday night by stun grenades as police had to evacuate ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman, along with other party members trapped inside the municipal building.

    Fransman narrowly escaped injury as his security detail and police managed to keep the mob at bay.

    Since then, the powers of the ANC’s sub-region in Oudtshoorn have been suspended, pending an investigation. The party has said it is still fingering culprits, and that the problem is a high-level one.

    Maurencia Gillion, the party’s provincial deputy secretary, who accompanied Fransman to Oudtshoorn, came out strongly against political meddling and infighting in the town. Confirming the move to suspend the Oudtshoorn sub- region, she called the situation “unacceptable”.

    “It’s quite clear there’re people at a provincial level who have worked hand in hand with some of these individuals to embarrass the ANC and try and stop us from sorting out the maladministration.”

    ANC insiders claimed the top five provincial party officials were at loggerheads over changes to be effected in Oudtshoorn. All five were expected at the Tuesday meeting in the town, but only Fransman and Gillion showed up.

     

    Party treasurer Fezile Calana could not go because he was heading the disciplinary action against Cederberg mayor Jonas White, while ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile and deputy chair Abe Pekeur had prior engagements.

    Defending the unity in the provincial structures, Mjongile argued that there was nothing sinister about his absence from the meeting.

     

    “I was in Oudtshoorn the week before and the other members were not with (me). There’s no fight between myself and Fransman. Our aim is to unite the province ahead of next year’s elections, that’s what we are focusing on,” he said.

    On the Oudtshoorn reshuffle, he added: “It was our decision, we supported it.”

    But Oudtshoorn party members told a different story. They said Mjongile, who visited the town with ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte the previous week, misinformed members that councillor Pieter Luiters would replace mayor Gordon April.

    Then came Fransman’s announcement that Luiters would return to the Eden district municipality, and Carmichael Ngalo would be reinstated in the council as ANC chief whip.

    Charlie Wagenaar would then replace April as mayor.

    This was what sparked the violence, with an angry crowd letting fly with fists and bricks, and demanding to see Fransman.

    Fransman was adamant the ANC would not be deterred:

    “It’s going to get worse in Oudtshoorn before it’s going to get better. We are not going to leave any stone unturned to find out what is wrong in the municipality,” he said yesterday.

    He also rubbished claims of a rift in the leadership.

    April, who the party said had agreed to step down, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

    The Oudtshoorn municipality confirmed that April was still executive mayor until the council voted otherwise.

     

    “The next council meeting will take place on May 31, as per the approved council meetings scheduled for 2013,” acting municipal manager Francois Human said. But he acknowledged that special meetings were sometimes held to address urgent matters.

     

    Several Oudtshoorn ANC members, meanwhile, distanced themselves from the attack. They claimed that the local Oudtshoorn sub-region was the root of the problem.

     

    “They operate like a Mafia, basically threatening whoever wants to correct the wrongs in the administration. And they’ve been putting pressure on municipal officials to appoint several contract workers in posts not on the municipality’s organogram,” members claimed.

    Municipal staff also claimed that “more than 40 percent of illegal appointments were never budgeted for”.

    Some ANC members said contract workers were appointed for patronage purposes, and stood to lose their jobs if Fransman’s instructions were affected.

     

    ANC supporter Fanie Booysen, who saw the drama unfold, also blamed the Oudtshoorn sub-region, saying it was inciting people by telling them “Fransman will not come and tell them who should run the municipality”.

    warda.meyer@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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  • 05/04/13--05:08: Uys plugs a political gap
  • Pieter-Dirk Uys says it's important that South Africans start talking about the 2014 elections and launched a platform to do so.

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    Cape Town - Performer Pieter-Dirk Uys had his serious face on Friday when he launched a political “movement”, South Africa’s Democratic National Alternative - or SA-Dna - which he said was aimed at uniting those seeking an alternative democracy in the country.

    Making it clear he was speaking as citizen rather than satirist, he said the movement, launched on World Press Freedom Day, offered political parties an umbrella outside the arena of government.

     Having been involved in theatre for 40 years, and with local politics writing his material for him more often than not, Uys stressed that “if you can get attention with a title, then people will come to the show”.

    He said: “In terms of theatre, let’s say that out of the 126 political parties registered, 10 are significant as parliamentary players. One is the ruling party, one is the official opposition and the others are… well, the others are also there. So theatrically we have a very successful soap opera starring one democratically elected star, called ANC got Talent.”

     With the elections less than a year away, Uys said it was important to get people thinking and talking about them. 

    Arguments are good, he said, encouraging all South Africans – and those of other nationalities – to have opinions, and to discuss them.

    He drew particular attention to the generation of young people who would vote for the first time next year year. They should not be asking “what’s the point?”, but rather understanding that “your vote is your key to the door to your future”.

     “I am not here to attack the ANC or praise the DA, or vice versa.

    “I respect them all and always thank them for what they do for me, how they inspire me, how they put words in my mouth.

    “I know my DA and I know my ANC. They put on good one-person shows. But I am concerned about those other songs without a show, without a good title, without the bums on seats, the votes, the crosses on the ballots.’

    Despite his best attempts, Uys couldn’t resist some comment on the news of the day, saying that Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout was unable to attend the press conference as she was “attending a wedding at Sun City”.

    l The registered domain for the South African Democratic National Alternative is www.sa-dna.org.za.

    rebecca.jackman@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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    The ongoing national bus strike, which is entering a third week next week, has already cost the Western Cape economy as much as R10 million.

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    Cape Town - The national bus strike, which is about to enter its third week, has already cost the Western Cape economy as much as R10 million.

    And embattled commuters have been dealt another blow with Metrorail’s announcement that they will no longer be able to use their bus tickets on the trains.

    Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt said although there was no way to calculate exactly what the cost to the economy has been, his estimate was the result of examining the extra costs to consumers, combined with the number of working hours lost.

     

    The strike which began on April 19, has forced more than 210 000 commuters to find alternative means of getting to and from work.

    While the effects of the strike have been minimised by what he called the “strike fitness” of South Africans – strikes have become a “regular” part of the lives of South Africans, who have learnt to cope better with them – Roodt said a protracted strike would nevertheless have a major impact on the economy.

     

    Unions, led by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), are demanding an 18 percent increase while employers are offering an 8 percent increase across the board for workers earning R23.50 an hour or less, and 7.5 percent for those earning more.

     

    Unions lowered their demand to 13 percent, but reverted back to their original 18 percent demand after talks deadlocked earlier this week.

    Vincent Masoga, Satawu national spokesman, said the union may now call on train operators to join the strike next week.

    Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said that with the exception of student term bus cards, “commuters will no longer be able to use bus tickets to travel by train”.

    Anyone with rides still available on their bus tickets would be reimbursed once the strike was resolved, she said.

     

    Last week Cape Town media manager Kylie Hatton said escalating intimidation and threats prompted many MyCiTi drivers to stay off work. The service was suspended, leaving a further 13 000 commuters to find alternative transport. The city said MyCiTi services would resume once it was safe to do so.

    “For the safety of our staff and passengers, the service was suspended,” Hatton said.

    Meanwhile, a quick poll by the Cape Chamber of Commerce has revealed that commuters continue to struggle.

    Of 15 companies polled, from engineering firms to manufacturing companies, eight made up for lost productivity by additional means, like working over weekends.

     

    “Most of the workers have come to work, albeit some of them late. What’s clear is that workers cannot afford to miss even a single day’s work. But the additional cost of transport means they take even less money home,” the poll determined.

     

    Michael Bagraim, chairman of the chamber’s human capital portfolio committee, said commuters had also approached bosses, banks and loan sharks in a bid to secure transport.

    “The workers (other than the drivers themselves), who played no part in the strike, are the ones who will take the most pain,” said Bagraim.

     

    kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za

    Weekend Argus


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